11/24/2021

A Thanksgiving Poem from Indigenous America

by Nora Naranjo-Morse, a member of the Tewa tribe from Santa Clara Pueblo

Thungjoo Kwa yaa na povi sah
Thungjoo Kwa yaa na povi sah
        Tsay ohi taa geh wo gi wa naa povi sah
        pin povi
        pin povi do mu u da kun
        ka nee na nun dun naa da si tah.
On top of Black Mesa there are flowers
On top of Black Mesa there are flowers
        dew on yellow flowers
        mountain flowers I see
        so far away that it makes me cry.
She opened her eyes slowly,
        as if to awaken from a trance
           cast by a song,
           transporting her to childhood,
        Back to the flowers
        agrowing atop Black Mesa
        so far and yet
        clearly brilliant.
Awake from the song,
        Gia focused on her daughter,
        anxiously awaiting
        to be taught a new song.
The old woman chose to take her time,
        she had learned from experience,
        attention is better paid by children,
        when there is a little pause,
           and mystery
            storytelling.
Soon enough Gia spoke . . .
        When I was a young girl,
        my family would camp
        below Kwheng sa po,
        during the farming months.
        We spent most of our days
        following my grandmother
        through rows of corn
        and playing in the streams below.
One day white men came in a wagon,
        telling us about a school for Indians,
        run by the government.
        We were told this school would educate
        and prepare us for jobs in the white man's world.
        None of us knew what any of it meant,
        but these men spoke sweetly
        offering grandmother a roll of baling wire
        for each child that went to school.
        Before we knew what was happening,
        we were sitting in the back of their wagon,
        on our way to government school,
        away from our families,
        to another man's world.
        Often we would cry,
        out of loneliness,
        but this song helped us
        to remember our home."
Gia thoughtfully straightened
the pleats on her skirt,
swallowing the last of her coffee,
Smiling, she continued . . .
        The government school taught sewing,
        I learned on an electric machine.
        By the time I returned to the village I could
        sew, but few of the people had heard of sewing machines,
        or even electricity.
        The machine I learned to operate as my trade
        could not be carried here and there,
        but this song you are learning,
        will always be carried in your heart,
        here and there."

11/23/2021

Be Thankful for the Health Care Workers Not Being Driven From Their Jobs By Anti-Vaxx Morons

Last year, the country was filthy with tributes to health care workers - doctors, nurses, hospital staff - who had to deal with the coronavirus-driven near apocalypse of our medical system. The number of patients was overwhelming, a tsunami of death and suffering that tested the limits of available equipment and the strength and nerve of those who had signed up for jobs where they tried to save lives and ease suffering. And, oh, how we appreciated it. Goddamn, how we put out signs and clanged pots and cheered and applauded. We knew we owed them for their sacrifices, so clearly visible in videos and photos, for their own pain and isolation from their loved ones. 

Then given a chance to demonstrate how much we cared about them, being asked to do the absolute least to give them some relief, to get vaccinated and wear a mask, millions of us said, "Nah, fuck that. I'm batshit insane and I wanna party." So we have had spike after spike of Covid cases. It would have been more honest for many people to have put out signs that read "Suck it, Doc!" and to have chanted, "Fuck you, medi-bitches!"

As we are seeing our 5th (really?) surge in Covid cases, with hospitalizations rising and at least 1000 deaths a day that we have just weirdly decided is fine, we are getting ready to put the exhausted health care workers through another trip to the hellscape of Covid-overcrowding in the ICUs. Michigan, for instance, is seeing a surge that is coming close to the highest number of hospitalizations it's seen. The state just recorded the highest weekly caseload since the start of the pandemic. 

So it's not surprising that a large number of the people who care for us are saying, "No, fuck this shit" and leaving their jobs. "The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the health-care sector has lost nearly half a million workers since February 2020. Morning Consult, a survey research company, says that 18 percent of health-care workers have quit since the pandemic began," says Ed Yong in a recent article in The Atlantic. Read the polls of nurses. 66% have contemplated giving up health care altogether. And "76% say that people who have yet to be vaccinated threaten nurses’ physical and mental well-being." If you're unvaccinated by choice, go fuck yourself. You're hurting all of us not just with the virus but by making the jobs of medical workers miserable by clogging the system with your hacking asses. 

I have two friends who work in the ICU in a large New Jersey hospital. One of them has been doing it for a long time, another just started her job at the beginning of the pandemic. The older one has described the dozens of people she saw die during the January peak. The younger one is getting treated for PTSD due to the "war zone" conditions she had to work in during that awful period. Even though things haven't gotten bad again for them because we happen to live in an area with a decent percentage of vaccinated sane people, I truly worry about them if shit goes crazy again. And that worry reverberates throughout the profession. We had a nursing shortage in this country prior to the pandemic. It's a full-blown crisis now. 

It doesn't have to be this way. If a great many more than 59% of us were fully vaccinated, we wouldn't even be worried about overwhelming the health care system. The vast, vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are the unvaccinated. The only reason that we're not going to be forced back into lockdown is because of those of us who are vaccinated. So you're welcome, you selfish unvaccinated fucks. 

So. on Thursday, be thankful for the medical workers, the nurses, the aides, the doctors, the staff that cleans the rooms and makes the food, the techs, and more, and maybe offer a toast to them for keeping the country from falling into a complete fucktastrophe over the last 19 months or so. And if anyone sitting around your table isn't vaccinated, ask if they give even a single shit about fact that they are ruining the country's already-unstable health care system, that they are hurting the helpers. Chances are they won't. But they should know what's going to be their fault.

Oh, and if that unvaccinated person happens to be a health care worker? Just stare at them like they are fucking insane. Because they are. 

11/17/2021

Hey, Parents, Most of You Are Too Fucking Dumb to Decide on Your Kid's School Curriculum

A vile undercurrent has always existed whenever bullshit arguments erupt over What My Precious Angels Are Learning in School: that parents know better than educators what should be taught in the classroom. The presumption is that, for some reason, the expertise of educators is worthless and only the gut feelings and rank prejudices of the gibbering crowd of parents and political charlatans should guide the curriculum. They devalue educators, who have been trained and often continue to be trained in what experts in the field believe is best, and they act as they have the same level of training and expertise when, for the vast majority of them, they clearly fucking well don't.

Just like with vaccines, too many assholes who have read some shit on Facebook or watched Tucker Carlson's fart-face talk about nonsense believe they know something when they know fucking nothing. Take, for instance, critical race theory. No one is teaching that in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools (well, maybe now a few are because of how much it's been brought up and students wanna know what the fuck is this dangerous thing they're not supposed to learn and responsible educators would honestly discuss it with them). But whenever any of these rusty cock rings bring up critical race theory (giving it the evil "CRT" abbreviation), they aren't actually talking about critical race theory. They're talking about what they've been told critical race theory is, which is not critical race theory. It's like when someone calls you a "socialist" or a "neoliberal." Fuck them. Almost none of them know what those words actually mean.

And the fact that they don't know is something that is being exploited by repellent shitheels on the right. For instance, in his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean "blindingly brainless babble belligerently belched"), the Washington Post's densest conservative, Marc Thiessen, asserts that it's terrible that "most Americans...do not know just how radical or pernicious CRT is." And then he spends most of the rest of his space quoting historian Allen C. Guelzo, who, when he's not being a Trump apologist, has written acclaimed books about Lincoln and the Civil War. In other words, Thiessen devotes all his precious space to someone who isn't remotely an expert in critical race theory in order to demonstrate how pernicious it is. That's like asking your fucking podiatrist to do heart surgery. At least your podiatrist would be smart enough to say, "Whoa, whoa, no fuckin' way, man." But we're just supposed to accept the word of the ignorant and the uninformed. (And this doesn't even get into the lies about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s beliefs in the damn thing.)

When Terry McAuliffe lost the Virginia gubernatorial race to conservative douchespray Glenn Youngkin, a spiked jello of a human being, many were quick to point to something McAuliffe said in a debate. Youngkin, responding to a question about some book banning bullshit in Fairfax County, proclaimed to the Democrat, "You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”

McAuliffe retorted forcefully, "I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions...I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

That shouldn't be remotely controversial. You don't know enough to teach your kids. That's why you send them to school. If you wanna fuck up your child's education, then elect dumbasses to the school board to fuck it up. But I want educators making decisions about, you know, education, not Katie from down the street who thinks she knows everything because she listens to Dan Bongino's podcast while doing crossfit, and not Deke, the local plumber who heard some shit from his buddies who watch YouTube and OAN. Fix my fuckin' toilet, Deke, and get back to me when you've gotten your M. Ed. And while, of course, there are shitty or deranged teachers (as there are shitty and deranged people in every profession), most of them know a whole lot more than you. Unless you are or were an educator at some level (and not at your church's Bible class), you are too fucking dumb to decide on your kid's school curriculum. Accept that shit. 

You know who knows they're not teaching critical race theory? The fucking teachers. You may as well be saying that your kids are being raped by the classroom leprechauns for all the basis in reality you have. You know who knows what books are appropriate for an age group? The fucking people who study children. If your precious high school student can't handle Beloved, then you're a shitty parent. That's on you, not the teachers. Jesus, I'm just so fucking sick of dick parents who think they know better, empowered by their dick friends and followers on Facebook who like their dickish posts about CRT and the 1619 Project and other stuff that makes them uncomfortable with their racism. 

This is the kind of things that snowballs. Careers have already been destroyed over the absolute fraud that critical race theory is being taught outside of university racial studies courses. Laws have been passed that eliminate honest discussion of the racist past of the nation. How fucking cowardly do you have to be to not be willing to face the reality of history? That fear is driving the desire to block discussion of race and LGBTQ people. And the chicken-shit bitches are not just coming to burn those books and prevent those lessons. They're attacking suicide prevention programs and crisis counseling because they say that kind of stuff brainwashes their kids (into thinking for themselves, which is really the problem).

Too many people in this country want to live in a fantasy United States, where racism was never institutional, where gay people don't exist or don't deserve to exist, where people create vaccines to enslave you, where elections are stolen if your candidate loses. And where teachers are the enemy, not some of the hardest-working, least-appreciated fucking people who have been through hell the last 18 months and now have to deal with these crazed cuntfleas telling them how to do their jobs and threatening them if they don't knuckle under to their brute stupidity, showing up at school board meetings to bleat their dull, savage, incomprehensible yawps and grunts.

Yeah, those people won't be satisfied until we all agree to live in their fake world rather than in the reality  that requires us to see the world as a complex, fascinating, frustrating, and evolving place where we want to learn from the horrors of the past so that we don't keep making the same goddamned mistakes.

11/11/2021

What We Can Learn from Germany on Teaching the Hard Past

While the first history textbooks in postwar Germany were light on the subject of the Nazis, by the early 1960s, less than two decades after the fall of the Third Reich, things changed. In textbooks that were used at different levels comparable to middle and high school in the United States, authors began confronting the real history of recent past. They "engaged the most contentious issues of the recent past: Adolf Hitler's rise to power, German support for the Nazi Party, concentration camps, and the extermination of the Jews. For most of them, the traumas suffered by Germans were part of a larger story of suffering and sacrifice brought about by National Socialism and the war," as an article by Brian Puaca, a scholar of German education history, put it. While at first, textbooks portrayed the German people as victims, as the 1960s progressed, the position changed to one of culpability, too, in the atrocities committed. 

How to teach the Holocaust is an ongoing discussion in Germany. But whether to teach the Holocaust is not up for discussion: "High-school students are required to take classes on 20th-century German history, including the Nazi era and the Holocaust," although each state may decide on how to implement that teaching. Obviously, some states do a better job than others, but the lesson itself is mandated. Many students take school trips to concentration camps, and around 2800 schools are part of a program called "Schools Without Racism," where that issue is studied in depth.

Students in Hamburg, for instance, first learn about the Holocaust in 6th grade German class; they read the autobiographical book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr, about a young Jewish girl in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis. As a report from the U.S. Department of Education described it, "While poignant, the language is simple and graphic imagery is not covered. This book covers the most basic understanding of the Holocaust: that Hitler ‘took away’ the Jews from Berlin." As they progress in their programs, students read more books that do delve more graphically into the actions and the psychology of the Nazis and their victims, especially (but not exclusively) the Jews. The Holocaust is also dealt with in Religious Education class, looking at specific ways in which Jews were targeted for their faith, and it's also part of History classes, obviously.

In 2005, Germany's federal/state education standards recommended teaching about Naziism and the Holocaust at least as early as 8th grade and says that in 12th grade, "in the curricula for the basic and advanced classes, a differentiated and in-depth dealing with the history of National Socialism and the Holocaust is to be provided but also with its consequences for German society (among others: Racist policy as consequence of ideology, questions of the reaction of the population, assessment of the contributions of Jews to German society until the Holocaust, discussions about collective guilt and continuation theses)." 

Over on Reddit, you can read responses from Germans discussing how they were taught about their country's genocide (acknowledging that anyone can lie on Reddit). One Redditor talked about being taken on a class trip to Auschwitz when he was ten: "A lot of my peers weren't ready for the immense shame and guilt we felt; however, we were told that it was not our fault directly, and that as a country, we were working on making a better name for ourselves." This urgency to learn from the past in order to do things better is a thread through many of the responses. As one Redditor wrote, "We learned a lot about WWII, its causes as well as its cruelties and horrors. We were often asked to think for ourself when it came to family stories and the fact, that when you heard elderly people talk about the time, almost nobody confessed being a part of it, while in fact it WAS a mass movement. We learned a lot unpleasant things but always with the perspective to learn from the past and not repeat [these] mistakes."

Sure, a lot of former students express that they get tired hearing about the Holocaust and Hitler and Nazis, and, certainly, the fact that very few Holocaust survivors remain has an effect in making history a great deal more, well, historical.  And no country is going to get everything right in teaching something so unspeakably awful. And, yeah, there is a movement of ultra-right wingers who want to de-emphasize the Holocaust, deny it, or make the Third Reich just a "speck of bird poop" in Germany's history. But it's a very small number of people, and, besides, German law punishes "Whoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism" under its "Incitement of Masses" section of the criminal code.

You know what you don't see? You don't see a bunch of politicians and parents decrying that teaching the Holocaust and Nazi history is wrong because it makes non-Jewish kids feel sad. That's the point. Make them feel sad. Make them feel regret. Make them understand all the things that happened that led to the Holocaust. If that means German students have to confront that their relatives were evil, well, the truth is more important than maintaining a blatant lie. In a nation that has taken in millions of refugees in recent years, making young people understand the nativism and nationalism and prejudice that led to mass violence is crucial to having a peaceful society. Using the Holocaust as an example of what happens when the worst of humanity gets to run the joint is what that nation (and every nation, frankly) should be doing. 

A nation that keeps its horrors hidden, that believes its students are too delicate to handle the truth about history, is damned to keep repeating the same mistakes. 

11/05/2021

The Fuck, Joe Manchin?

Yesterday morning, Joe Manchin, Democratic senator from West Virginia and cockblocker extraordinaire, was on CNN's New Day (which would be far more entertaining if it was a Canadian show called "Nude, Eh?"). As we all know, Manchin, along with Arizona's most dickish dress-up doll, Kyrsten Sinema, has been the biggest asshole on the stupidly-named Build Back Better bill that will transform people's lives through funding of social programs and more, at first saying he was willing to go as much as $4 trillion and then $3.5 trillion and now $1.5 trillion, but he'll settle for $1.75 trillion, but don't you dare touch his coal. 

Talking to John Berman, Manchin demonstrated why he's just a fucking moron. Seriously, there's a line between stupid and liar, and Manchin blurs it constantly, with a barrage of great-sounding pleas for comity and bipartisanship that bear no resemblance to anything going on in what we might call "reality." Watching him babble incoherently for 20 minutes about a Senate and a country that doesn't exist anymore, if it ever existed at all, is like listening to someone explain to you why the Star Wars prequels are good movies. You're just wrong, Brian, you're just objectively fucking wrong.

For instance, Manchin kept talking about how Democrats and Republicans need to "come together." Then he offered, "We didn't participate in the tax cuts in 2017, John. It was all done with Republicans, and we Democrats were all against it. Don't you think we ought to be able to come to agreement just to fix the tax code?" And he's so fucking close to getting it that it's like the moment in hentai when the tentacle is just about to tickle someone's asshole. Because, see, what did happen is that Republicans got what they wanted with the tax cut and didn't give a single dry mouse turd about whether or not Democrats were on board. That's how you use power when you've got power.

Manchin continued claiming that the bipartisan unicorn is out there. On voting rights legislation, he said, "We started talking and working all summer long. But, you know, that all those talks on we never had Republicans involved. That was wrong." Except that Republicans were invited to negotiate. You know who invited them? Joe fucking Manchin in June, and Republicans gave him a wedgie and laughed in his face, using as an excuse that Stacey Abrams supported Manchin's efforts. That's leaving aside the fact that Republicans had supported legislation that was pretty much the exact same as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement bill for decades, including 2006. To not recognize the shift in the GOP to the far right is disingenuous and ludicrous on Manchin's part.

To his credit, Berman followed up with the logical "I mean, you keep on hoping for bipartisanship, but you don't seem to find any partners when you reach across the aisle," which evokes Manchin standing alone at a candy machine, putting in money, and failing to get candy, but rather than move on, he keeps putting money in the machine. 

Then Manchin replied, and you gotta read this in full because it's such blithering dickery and nonsense divorced from everything we know about modern politics:

"I go to work in a hostile working environment every day. If you're a Democrat, and a Republican is up for election, you're supposed to be against that person. If Donald Duck's running against that person, you're supposed to give money from your PAC to help the other person, [not] the person that you've been working with. And even sometimes, they'll say, can you come campaigned against so and so. And then we come back on Monday. And here's the person that we've given money against. And here's the person that we're supposed to give basic work against saying, hey, could you sound on this amendment for me? Could you work with me on this amendment? How well do you think that's going to work, John, and I've never done that. If we ever do anything to change this place, there should be an ethics law against us campaigning against each other against us, basically sending money to the candidate against the sitting colleague. These are people you're working with. You have an obligation or responsibility to get something done. And you can't get something done if you're the enemy on the other side every time there's an election."

What the fuck? Honestly, what the genuine fuck, Joe Manchin? If you wanna play some slap and tickle with wet towels in the Senate gym locker room and all get together to make fun of Ted Cruz's tiny dick, that's great for you. That doesn't get jackshit done for the country. 

What I despise most about that whole spiel is not just its complete logical irrationality, as in what's the purpose of a political party if you don't want to get more of your own elected. It's the idea that somehow you owe something to people who want to prevent the elderly from getting hearing aids, oppose universal pre-k, talk about the 2020 election being stolen, cover-up for insurrection, stole a fucking Supreme Court seat, stated they want a Democratic president to be one-term or a failure, refused to negotiate on anything, and that's just off the top of my enraged head. You need to be nice to them because you work with them and your relationship with them is more important than delivering for your voters? That's one of the most blindingly egotistical things I've heard a politician say and its in the guise of sounding like he's the good guy when he's just the dupe of Republicans and the obvious fuck toy for corporate interests. You don't get things done because you don't want to get things done. Get to the bottom of why that is and you've nailed this prick to the table.

Even more masturbatory spew came when Manchin said he's for paid family leave, just not as part of a reconciliation bill. Berman pointed out that people in West Virginia would benefit from it, asking, "How do you explain to a working mother that you're for paid family leave but you're only going to vote against it because as part of this process bill?"

Honest to fuck, Manchin said, "Because basically the people in West Virginia I work with have common sense. They have responsibilities. They do understand that when you do need to pay for these things, they want that to last, they don't want to be flip flopped back and forth and be used as like a yo-yo." A September poll in his state showed that 70% of the voters there support policies that would raise taxes on the very wealthy. Manchin does not support that, calling it "divisive," even though it's pretty unifying across party and ideology. In 2017, 70% of West Virginians supported paid family leave. So, yeah, they do have some common fucking sense in that they understand that you tax the rich to help everyone else in a goddamn country. In other words, Manchin thinks his constituents are stupid, which, you know, they are, but not as breathtakingly dumb as Manchin believes.

Manchin is talked about in some outlets like some wise elder preventing the Democratic Party from giving into the wild and woolly liberals. He's not. He's a fucking dope who loves pleasing his wealthy donors and pretending that he's a fair, moderate player in this savage game. He has nothing to base his views on, just a bunch of useless aphorisms and folksy cliches that mask a disdain for anything but himself. 

And probably his $700,000 yacht.

11/03/2021

Random Lessons from the Virginia Reaming

Let's get a couple of things out of the way up top here. If you voted for Democrat Joe Biden for president in 2020 and then voted for Republican Glenn Youngkin for governor in 2021, you're a fucking idiot who has no core beliefs other than what your social media is shoveling into your stupid face. And you're almost definitely white and you don't mind racism; you just don't like when someone is so open about it, like Donald Trump. Someone should have stepped in and said, "The fuck is wrong with you, Stacy? You don't cast opposing votes a year apart. You just fucking undid part of your first vote. You just fucked us on abortion rights and pandemic response. What the fuck, Stacy?" 

Also, don't talk to me about how Terry McAuliffe was a bad candidate. He was a bland, regular middle-of-the-road Democrat, and still tens of thousands of people who had voted Democrat chose the candidate of the party of Trump, of insurrection, of racists, of anti-voting regulations. Or they didn't vote at all. All those Democrats just staying the fuck home, which is almost as vile. The connection to Trump should have been enough. Being Republican should have been enough. It wasn't, which leads us back to the fucking brain damage of the white Virginia voter.

All that said, there are a few lessons Democrats can take from last night's reaming in Virginia and near-reaming in New Jersey.

1. Watching Democrats, who came into office in 2021 filled with bravado about the wide range of shit they were going to get done, bumblefuck around about the reconciliation bill because no one can fucking control Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema had an effect. Joe Biden's approval rating starting to go underwater around the time of two events: the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Manchin's reconciliation fuckery. After voting for the framework for the domestic spending bill on August 11, the Chin of Man quickly started hemming and hawing, joined in it by Sinema, who also had just voted for the framework. Prior to that, Biden and the Democrats were riding high on economic issues. Manchin's newly-found inflation concern gave credence to Republicans' spouting the same ludicrous, overwrought bullshit, and that narrative took over, along with the fecklessness of Democrats who, all of a sudden, couldn't pass anything. 

That's not on the progressives, even if many commentators and Democrats want to blame them. That's on the moderates. The progressive shit that's in the reconciliation bill has huge support. You fucking tell suburban moms that there's gonna be universal pre-k and paid family leave, and they're gonna fucking vote for you. Yeah, it was a state race in Virginia, but this shit matters. The identity of the party matters. Being a goddamn winner matters. That gets the base out. Some of that can overcome the stupid. Some of it might even overcome the racism.

2.  And that racism is something that can't be ignored. Youngkin based much of his campaign on lies, setting himself up as the great defender of precious white children in the evil public school system. Critical race theory is not being taught in Virginia's schools. And why would it be? It's got nothing to do with what Virginia's education standards are. School districts would have to spend extra money on lessons and materials and training in order to include it. It's just not true.  

But that reality doesn't matter. All that mattered is that some white parents think that their white children feel bad after they learn that slavery and Jim Crow and the denial of civil rights for non-whites occurred, all done whites. Most of the examples are anecdotal at best and insidious at worst, coming from Republican activists in on the fucking game. But let's be honest here: "I don't like critical race theory" is just a palatable way to say, "I'm racist" or "I'm afraid of white people losing power." CRT is the new "urban," it's the new "high-crime," and if you can say it's coming to your white neighborhoods, invading and lowering the value of education, then that just fits a fucking pattern, doesn't it. Democrats have to come up with a way to squelch this bullshit. You can't ignore it. You ignore fucked up shit, and it's gonna grow teeth and bite you in the ass. History teaches that every goddamn time. Without a real response, it's gonna be nonstop CRT and cancel culture through 2024.

3. What that means is that Democrats have to come up with a way to counter the weird-ass anti-Democratic media spin, including the antagonism to the Afghanistan withdrawal and the discussion of CRT in schools that leaves out the fact that it's not fucking real. I'll have more to say on that later, but I've been saying for fucking years that Democrats have to own the narrative, not get owned by the GOP's version of it.

4. Local shit matters, too. In New Jersey, the biggest issue was property taxes, not critical race theory. 

5. Don't be an asshole. Lots of good outcomes happened, too. Look at the Boston mayoral race. Biden's presidency isn't a failure. Democrats can recover from this. But that's going to take a fuck-ton of work, and it means passing something where Americans can see the benefits. 

6. Finally, for fuck's sake, blame Republicans, blame Republicans, blame Republicans for being unwilling to even negotiate about the things that Americans want. It's not just Trump. It's the entire depraved, vile, anti-American party. Fuck them up they way they fuck us up. Don't say that you wish they would work with you. Fucking destroy them. They are murderers. They want the elderly to suffer. They don't give a fuck about child care. They want to cut benefits. They don't care if you can't afford drugs or health care. They want more hurricanes and fires and floods. 

This isn't that difficult. Say they're killing Americans and don't back down from that. Stop acting like they can be rehabilitated and start acting like they're the enemies they are.

10/28/2021

The GOP Supports Death Threats Against Officials They Disagree With

At yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, it became clear that for the Republican Party, threats of death and violence against elected officials at every level of government are not only acceptable, but that to speak out in even the mildest way deserves hysterical over-reaction calculated to cause officials to receive even more threats of death and violence. It's the cynical cycle of democratic (and Democratic) doom, and GOP senators were more than willing to aid and abet all the violent motherfuckers using intimidation to chase public servants out of office. 

The basis for this is a relatively milquetoast memorandum from Garland titled, "Partnership Among Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Law Enforcement to Address Threats against School Administrators, Board Members, Teachers, and Staff." After expressing concern about real violence and threats of violence happening at school board meetings and at schools, Garland says, "I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response."

Now, you, being a rational, at least semi-compassionate human being, might think that that sounds just fine. After all, it's pretty fucking hard to argue against the fact that school board meetings have become shit shows of MAGA freaks bellowing about "critical race theory" and antivaxx fucknuts yowling about masks and vaccines. I honestly don't know how some school board members haven't just started screaming, "Shut the fuck up!" repeatedly at the freak parade they have to deal with. But mixed in with bellows and yowls are often threats of knowing where people live or more direct threats about murdering or beating people. It's using fear and intimidation to force government to act in their favor. Generally, we call that shit "terrorism," as in "I'll fucking kill your whole family if you make my child wear a mask in class." Again, you and I would think that law enforcement might want to be involved here, and that local authorities might wanna get some tips from the agency that deals with, you know, terrorists.

But not the modern GOP. Oh, no. That's akin to rounding up parents and sending them to reeducation camps. As Chuck Grassley, the Senate's crabbiest piss elf, put it, Garland created "a task force that includes the department’s criminal division and national security division to potentially weaponize against parents." Except "parents" aren't mentioned in the memo at all. That didn't stop the next few hours of performative fuckery by Republicans in making this memo seem like it was an attack on the very foundations of Uhmerkan freedom. Think that's an overstatement? Grassley cranked on, "This kind of looks like something that would come out of some communist country expansive definition of national security." Yeah, that level of shitting themselves hysteria.

On it went. John Cornyn, who always looks like he's wondering if anyone will find out where he buried that Mexican boy, sputtered, "Can you imagine the sort of intimidation, the sort of bullying impact, that a memorandum from the Department of Justice would have and how that would chill the willingness of parents to exercise their rights under threat of federal prosecution?" Because the rule of law is something that the MAGA right really seems to give a shit about when they're threatening to overthrow the government. And, by the way, Cornyn repeatedly asked Garland that question and got all red-faced that Garland wouldn't play on the field Cornyn wanted him to play on.

And still on it fucking went. 

Mike Lee said, "In hindsight, would you agree that a natural consequence of your memo could be chilling free speech, protected speech, by parents protesting local school board policies?" Lee also offered that there has been no uptick of violent threats in his state, but his fucking state is Utah, which is founded on mass murder.

The biggest self-fellater was Tom Cotton, who harangued Garland endlessly about the memo, and said, "Why do you continue to dissemble in front of this committee that you are only talking about violence and threats of violence when your memo says harassment and intimidation?" Now, again, you and I may think, "Um, intimidation is generally a threat of violence," but you and I are not mighty senators from the mighty state of Arkansas, where, "Shut up or I'll rape your ass" is a statement of endearment. Cotton then went all Tuckerfied, raging, "So are you going to sic your US attorneys and the FBI on a parents’ group if they post on Facebook something that annoys a school board member, Judge?" before concluding like the dickhole he is with "Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, Judge." 

And still on it fucking went. You can read the transcript to get more of the same shit, repeated in different ways, from John Kennedy's corny shit to Ben Sasse's runny shit to Marsha Blackburn's fart mouth to dried turds Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. All of them decided to use this precious time to accuse Garland and the evil Biden administration of using the federal government to silence brave MAGA parents who just want the best for their precious children who hate them. 

But, at the end of it all, what you come away with is that the GOP is trying to protect its base, the violent assholes trying to silence or run out of office officials they disagree with. It's of a piece with the reduction of January 6 to a mere protest than a riot of savage fucks bent on keeping Donald Trump in office. It's of a piece of screaming that mask and vaccine mandates are brutal government control of bodies rather than a public health measure. They want the assholes to keep threatening elections officials and school board members, driving them away, allowing the assholes to install their asshole leaders in positions of power. 

And the senators and House members in a previous hearing who engage in this kind of unfounded attack on the mildest of reproaches, the recognition that fucked up shit is fucked up, ensure that those who might want to make more threats feel empowered to do so. This isn't a fucking political party. It's Al-Qaeda on the Potomac.

(Not to give any credit to any of the GOP's dried jizz stains, but Lindsey Graham actually didn't ask Garland about the memo, sticking to issues of the border and international terrorism. It was still prickish, but it's the kind of prickish we're all used to.)