Guest Post: An NYC Teacher With a Chronic Illness Knows Everything That's at Stake in This Election

A pal of mine is a teacher in a New York City public school who has a long-term, debilitating illness. She asked if she could tell everyone what it's like to be a teacher in the time of coronavirus, as well as someone with a pre-existing condition. She's tough as hell despite her diagnosis, and she's pissed at all that this time of pandemic and Trump has put her through. 

We went back and forth on what to call her, and she decided. So this is by One of De Blasio's COVID Prisoners. Take it away:

Back in early March, I was standing in front of a classroom, looking at the electronic pens that write on the SmartBoard with a kind of horror that’s typically reserved for, like, gigantic spiders.  Or seeing a Trump rally on television. I’d stand in front of my classes and dread touching the SmartBoards; I’d use hand sanitizer obsessively. I’d dread touching the computer. Every person who sneezed got several looks like they’d just kicked a puppy. My students begged me to let them go early because they wanted to avoid the crowds so they didn’t bring coronavirus home and kill their grandmas. 

Coronavirus was a hot topic in my department. I was discussing it with my colleagues, most of whom are older Republican Baby Boomer men who act like stereotypical older Republican Baby Boomer men. We sat in a dusty, cluttered office together because there’s not enough space for all of us to have our own classrooms. We were all collectively shitting ourselves because we knew coronavirus would be coming. They’d all speculate when it would come to a school building. Everyone collectively knew it was coming to a New York City Department of Education petri dish near you.  

I’d repeatedly ask these older male colleagues to keep their distance. They’d look at me and laugh; they’d tell me I’m young, I have nothing to worry about. It got to the point where I eventually stopped asking people to keep six feet away, and I just got up and moved.  I had no desire to reveal to my coworkers my extremely complicated medical history. What they didn’t realize is that I probably have more health problems than all of them combined. 

Every illness comes to school buildings. The conditions in my buildings are terrible. There are roaches in these buildings. I was once chased out of the bathroom by a roach; this is not uncommon as I’ve since learned they’re aggressive. There is black mold. There is dust, asbestos, and lead water. Lab equipment is broken. Bathrooms are broken. Ventilation is miserable on a good day. There’s no soap. I knew these buildings couldn’t exist as they were in a world with coronavirus. The flu spread through it like wildfire; it got to the point where you couldn’t pinpoint who you got the flu from. 

I knew coronavirus would be the next visitor; in late February and early March, every day I would come home from work, practically strip at the front door, shower, and get into my bed because I was emotionally numb. Occasionally I would work out in my house, or go for a walk, but most of the time I came home and slept. While everyone in my building was scared of coronavirus, I had a reason to be more nervous than the usual person: I am an invisibly disabled woman who is high risk because I have at least ten chronic illnesses; one of those is asthma. I have what is now referred to as “preexisting conditions/co-morbidities” and I am now terrified I will lose my insurance. For most of March, I was convinced I wouldn’t see the end of 2020 if I stayed in a school building.

This is what it’s like to have a disability that makes you a high risk coronavirus patient, in a plague, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead and a troglodyte wannabe dictator as your supreme leader.  It’s story time, though. Grab a drink. You might need it.  Fuck, I do.

I want you to imagine this: you just got home from high school. You plop down your backpack, and tell your mom you want to use the old treadmill in the basement. You’ve always been pretty energetic; sleeping was never your friend. You always went on hikes, long walks, and bike rides. But you’ve always really liked running and wanted to give it a shot. You pop the key in and get going on the treadmill for about forty minutes. When you get off, your knees feel a little weird, but you figure it’s just some muscle soreness or weakness.  The next day you can’t walk.

So here we are. I’m 15 years old and I can’t walk. I went to a doctor who told me he didn’t know what the problem was, so, for now, I should use leg braces so I can walk while they figure it out. I went for X-ray after X-ray and I am surprised I don’t fucking glow in the dark. They later determined after a few days that my kneecaps were “loose;” in other words, I was “double jointed.”  They just didn’t know why, didn’t know why it was so painful, and didn’t know what caused it.  Mind you, I couldn’t wear these leg braces with my uniform, so I needed to wear sweatpants and sneakers to school. 

I began to read up on Democratic and Republican policies in high school before this happened because I was surrounded by Republicans.  I decided that Republicans were just shitty for everyone, really.  But it also got really, really personal in high school. Because the school nearest to me was laden with crime at the time, I needed to go to a private Catholic school as I didn’t get into any others (public schools here in NYC are bursting at the seams).  I was not thrilled about this at all nor were my parents.  But whatever; I did it.  Most of the staffers in this building were Republican and weren’t shy about it: Abortions should be illegal.  Kill prisoners.  Gay people are bad.  Socialism - no other context needed here. I heard rants about Democratic presidents daily. As you could imagine, I hated nearly every single one of those fucking staffers.  I reveled in it when a lone voice of sanity challenged their beliefs as I would occasionally do. And this is fucked up before you stop and think: holy Cheez-its, Batman, they’re teaching kids this shit. And they’re not even supposed to be.

The dean in my school at the time can only be described as one of the most wicked people I’ve ever known, even before I needed to deal with her. I approached the dean and told her I needed to deviate from the uniform because of a still-unidentified illness; being “double jointed” doesn’t sound like a problem to most people, so I told her we were still figuring it out and that I needed leg braces.  She argued with me. How could she possibly allow me to deviate from the uniform for an unidentified illness? What if I was lying and there was nothing really wrong with me? She told me I couldn’t deviate from the uniform because too many people had already and there was nothing wrong with them. Better yet, I asked her for an elevator key, and she told me she didn’t have any more and I should just “run for the elevator.” For a moment, I was temporarily rendered speechless; then, I told her that I’d give her another note and I was coming to school in these braces with or without her approval, and got up and left.

Mind you, this type of paranoia permeates the Republican base. Scientists have an agenda. The election is rigged. Climate change is created by the libs. People on disability are moochers. This was my first experience of discrimination and Republican-sponsored paranoia all while these very same people were supposedly preaching Christian values.  I even needed to read a book by Dinesh D’Souza in this school. After every chapter, I’d send texts to a like-minded friend laden with curse words. I got rid of that book by throwing it in the garbage where it belongs. I still wish I had burned it.

My supposedly standoffish attitude led to constant harassment. I would be ambushed in the hallways by this dean who would constantly taunt me that I still didn’t have a diagnosis.  She would ask me when I would be switching back and ask me for the diagnosis. She’d tell me I needed to be in the uniform or figure out what the diagnosis was a lot quicker. This came through in my classes: I had a teacher who consistently told me I “looked really comfortable in my sweatpants.” I told him privately I had on leg braces and to please lay off.  He kept doing it.  Now that I am a teacher and see how gossip spreads, I’m convinced that these are the people who didn’t believe I needed the leg braces because the dean must’ve fed them information.  

Over time, these confrontations got more and more aggressive between me and the teachers who confronted me. I was consistently made to feel like shit. Never mind the fact that I was consistently put in awkward situations in the name of “God.” I once sat through a class where the teacher was professing how wrong it is to use fetal cells, even if it cures illnesses. I sat there with my leg braces on listening to this dribble; how “God” made me that way, so I should be grateful for my journey or some shit. 

All the while, I was bouncing from doctor to doctor, paying copays, only to be told ,“I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” I could walk after a year in leg braces because I went to physical therapy, but we needed to get to the bottom of why I was loose jointed. I estimate, to date, we have spent approximately $20,000 to 30,000 in copays alone. But even at physical therapy, older people would see me and ask me what put me in physical therapy. I said my kneecaps were loose and my muscles were weak and it was never going to go away. The responses ranged from wildly inappropriate to plainly odd to sensitive and caring. People asked me if I could work.  People simply told me, “That sucks” and laughed. People sometimes lectured me on how their wife’s second cousin’s best friend had some rare health problem but taking a bath in horse shit and mayonnaise fixed it. It was then I realized: people don’t know how to deal with chronically sick people. This also somewhat extends to the medical profession: once they don’t know what’s wrong with you, some of them don’t know what to do with you. One doctor plainly told me, “I give you until you’re 30 to have a decent life.”  She didn’t even know the diagnosis. She didn’t even try to give me one.

So this is at least two years of this uncertainty and jumping from doctor to doctor. Of course, as I am jumping from doctor to doctor, I am beholden to insurance. One of them made me nearly pass out on the table because he messed with my joints so much, and I didn’t have a choice but to go back to him. And that is not to say all doctors are bad – the way insurance is done in America is bad. Yes, I am obviously pitching Medicare for All here.

I continued going to this doctor who’s just doing x-rays of every joint in my body, trying to figure out what the fuck is happening and still obviously getting nowhere. I still didn’t know what was wrong with me. I had (and still have) leg pain. I had these pains a lot as a child, and they were consistently called “growing pains.” I was no longer growing and these pains still persisted, and now they were going all over my body. I was sitting in a car and realized my entire body felt “loose.” 

I got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore and began googling.  I found a disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I became convinced this is what I had.  Still, I had no official diagnosis. 

I was finally referred to a rheumatologist. I knew I needed to go for it; I needed to just go into the appointment and say all the right things. At this point, I’d seen one primary care doctor, two orthopedic doctors multiple times, two physical therapists, and now this rheumatologist.  She told me I had “Joint Hypermobility Syndrome,” and there it was. I told her Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome were the same thing. To my surprise, she didn’t argue and just seemed genuinely mystified as to how I knew that, but I would be sent to yet another doctor, a geneticist, because it was out of her area of expertise. 

But I didn’t forget what I researched earlier in high school. I researched that Republicans opposed pre-existing conditions coverage and I’d likely be charged more money when I had my own insurance. There was no pre-existing conditions coverage at the time, and I was scared to get officially diagnosed. Someone needed to talk me into seeing a geneticist because I knew what it meant. I paid attention to politics, after all. I kept trying to cancel. I kept trying to bail on this appointment. I waited a year to see the geneticist and paid 400 dollars out of pocket. On the way to the appointment, I was reading about the politics regarding pre-existing conditions and filled up with a sense of dread, as well as anxiety from knowing this information and knowing I was about to get formally diagnosed with a life-changing medical disorder.

Going to a geneticist is a strange experience; the appointment itself lasted hours. It’s less like going to a doctor and more like where science and doctors meet. She measured every part of my body. She asked me questions about every part of my body. She asked me questions about my career choices that she needed to personally approve of. She asked me about my hobbies.  But all of this wasn’t small talk: it was a large, all-encompassing medical evaluation. She finally said that I had Ehlers-Danlos. This event is relieving and mournful at the same time: you’re happy the endless X-rays and back and forth between doctors is over, but you’re also mourning the possibilities you thought you might’ve had as soon as an hour ago.  

But still, my biggest concern was always pre-existing condition coverage. When Obamacare passed, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I have since endured more goddamn X-rays, multiple MRIs, and have at least ten diagnosable problems. Yes, actually ten. Two of those undeniably place me in the high-risk coronavirus category. If you’re wondering why I have 10 illnesses and someone else you know has, like, 3, it’s because Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a connective tissue disorder.  It can affect anything because connective tissue is all over your body. It supports your organs, your vascular system, your skin. It is also a very painful disorder because all of your joints are loose; it’s also exhausting because your muscles need to hold in your joints.  I needed to get every single major organ and organ system checked following this diagnosis. Think of me as a real life member of the X-Men.  I’m hyper-flexible, and it causes problems beyond that. I have seen nearly every -ologist there is.  

Ehlers-Danlos has a couple of comorbidities that are actually making the news right now, and it would be wise for you to know their names: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).  Both of these disorders are now being diagnosed in coronavirus “long haulers.”  Mast cells are involved in the inflammatory response that ensues when someone is severely sick from COVID; they cause the cytokine storm.  But instead of these cells “calming down” after the infection is cleared, it is possible they still overreact to various stimuli. Not only that, but Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is currently being considered for being one of the causes of severe COVID-19 illness as well as post-COVID illness.  And I’m here to tell you right now:  POTS sucks. MCAS is totally horrifying. 

POTS and Dysautonomia in general is sort of like being hungover because of the brain fog.  Except, it’s, like, constantly.  You also react heavily to any kind of external change your body experiences - temperature, blood pressure, gravity.  You can’t tolerate hot/cold extremes. You can’t exercise because your body can’t adjust to the changes in severe cases.  You can’t stand up too fast, or at all, or you’ll pass out.  You get tired from doing mundane tasks, like showering. You sweat too much or not at all.  You have heart palpitations often.  Your sleep is absolutely shit and not restful at all on a good day.  You get random fainting spells. You’re constantly dehydrated, and you might need regular saline infusion treatments. 

MCAS and mast cell disorders are a little more dangerous.  Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is like your immune system needing a Xanax. You are allergic to everything and nothing, simultaneously, and any of these things that set off your mast cells can lead to random anaphylaxis, but it isn’t consistent. For example: you’re “allergic” to cats on Tuesday but you’re not anymore after Thursday.  On Thursday, instead, you’re “allergic” to vinyl couches or a specific type of laundry detergent. Hot showers can set it off.  Exercise. Cold air. Environmental pollutants. Stress. It is ever changing, and you can’t fully predict it. They also can activate in different places, causing different symptoms: if they activate in your gut, they cause diarrhea.  Brain? Anxiety/fatigue/depression.  Skin? Rashes, It can send you into anaphylaxis, and none of these “allergies” typically show up in routine allergy blood tests.

You are one viral infection away from being just like me, and potentially getting these.

Quarantine for chronically ill people is rough. Like, really rough. The reason is, yeah, it sucks. I've seen the inside of a supermarket three times since March. Like, I miss the goddamn supermarket. Yeah, it sucks I live with other people who are afraid of bringing it home.  But there’s a social aspect to this now: people still don’t know how to deal with chronic illness.  Some people I know tell me I’m “living in fear” and I need to just take risks. This is happening to most people I know that have chronic illness right now. Their friends and family members are telling them they’re just living in fear. Their parents or siblings actively fucking protest wearing masks. People didn’t understand how difficult it was to be chronically sick in America when someone like Obama was president. They understand it even less under Mango Mussolini. 

But there’s another part of this too: we can’t go to doctors. I needed to coordinate my appointments with coronavirus infection rates. I’m lucky. I can wait. Other people can’t wait.  Other people need kidney dialysis. Other people need infusion treatments. Every time they step out the door and go there, they’re taking a risk if there’s some idiot without a mask.  In my case, the most dangerous thing has been not going to the gym and not seeing my physical therapist.  Because my ligaments are weaker than most, my muscles do all the work. Except, now, I haven’t been able to go to the gym and I am losing muscle, and my other issues are experiencing deconditioning. This is extremely painful and making everything else I have worse. And the decline isn’t just me; it’s everyone with any kind of illness that needs routine attention you cannot do at home. And you’d never even know all this if you saw me in person. It’s all invisible.

Be very fucking afraid of coronavirus. I actually had a relative on a ventilator during the beginning of the pandemic. He was on a ventilator for a week and was one of the first people in the United States to receive Remdesivir. His hospital bill was well over a quarter of a million dollars, and he is now dealing with chronic health issues. But beyond that, be very fucking afraid of Amy Coney Barrett and the Republican Party’s desire to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. I’ve paid enough for my healthcare in this capitalist hellscape because I am a cash cow for the medical establishment.

Wear a mask. Wear a mask, so you don’t kill me, your child’s teacher, or your sick friends, or your older relatives. Tell your representatives to fight, so Amy Coney Barrett cannot kill anyone either. Just fight them every way you can. Vote Democrat for the Senate. Do fucking anything to resist them and this party, and I am literally pleading with you. Teachers in poorly ventilated buildings are pleading with you because Trump wouldn’t give blue states federal money and says, “Open the schools.” Your nurses who worked without PPE are pleading with you so they don’t need to die or infect their relatives. Your mailman is pleading with you so he can keep his job and get a pension. Your chronically sick and disabled friends, who are very much a part of society, are pleading with you so they literally are not killed.  

I am one person who has been affected by multiple aspects of this crisis long before it was a fucking crisis and boiled to this point. There are thousands like me, and I am in no way unique. I have been fighting this party since I was a kid and I’m not about to stop, but you need to help me.

Fight for me. 

Fight for you.

Fight for your disabled friends.  

Fight for the coronavirus victims. 

Because if you become like me, you’re fucked along with me. 


Donald Trump, See You Next Tuesday

Donald Trump is a cunt. He has been a cunt for his entire worthless life. He might not be the most racist president, but he is certainly the cuntiest. He is campaigning by being as cunty as any human being has ever been, buoyed by the barbaric whoops of his crowds of cunts. He surrounds his cuntish self with as many cunts as can fit into whatever space he's in, with his staff of cunts and his cunt family.  He's aided and abetted in his cuntiness by the cunt Republicans in Congress and the cunts in right-wing media who praise him as fulsomely as one might describe a lifeguard who rescued you from a shark. Except that lifeguard is not a cunt and Donald Trump is and he wouldn't lift a finger to save you.

If you've voted already, you know that feeling of hope and anxiety and promise, a suppressed giddiness that is overwhelmed by our 2016 PTSD. You just felt good voting that cunt out of office. It was like you got to say, "Yeah, Donald Trump, you cunt, take that" as you dropped your ballot in the box or the mail. You allowed yourself to imagine how enraged and scared that cunt is gonna be when he loses. If he loses. No, when he loses. 

You don't need any evidence of how much of a cunt Donald Trump is. Every single public appearance is just another occasion for him to be a cunt. Every action he's taken is merely another representation of how he is a supreme cunt. Want one example? His "Proclamation on United Nations Day, 2020" last week spent the bulk of its words on how much more awesome the United States is than the United Nations and included this bit of completely unnecessary cuntishness: "Our recent decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization underscores our firm commitment to hold governmental organizations accountable when they succumb to political influence and fail to uphold their core values." Yeah, he fucking threatened the U.N. How else do you read that? And then he followed that with "The Chinese Government has misled the international community since the outbreak in Wuhan, and the UN must join with the United States in holding China accountable for its actions." Yeah, he issued a fucking ultimatum. In a proclamation celebrating the founding of the U.N. He just had to be a cunt about it for no reason other than to assert that he's a cunt. It's like when he would sue small contractors on his shitty buildings to weasel out of paying them. That's what a cunt does.

And I know he didn't write the proclamation. No president, cunt or not, writes these kinds of things. But they sign them, so they own them, good or cunty. 

Trump's such a cowardly cunt, too. He obviously thinks mask-wearing doesn't work, but when he's confronted on it, he says that he doesn't mind if people wear them instead of saying, "I'm an arrogant cunt who thinks he knows more than scientists." If he asserts that his lies are the truth, like every cunt ever, and he's challenged with facts from interviewers, he says that the questions are "nasty" or "unfair" or "fake news" or he just walks out. Because that's what a cowardly cunt does rather than answer the goddamn question.

In every single speech he has ever given, Trump is a throbbing cunt. He can't help it. To his core, he is a cunt. If you look under his cunt exterior, you'll see a cunt. Take his speech last night in Omaha, Nebraska. It's not just that he lies and preens and performs. It's that he does it with such abandon, just a tubby orange cunt waddling around on stage as if everyone there wants to fuck him (and, to be fair, the gathered cunts likely do). He insists that the size of his COVID crowd is the real measure of how his campaign is going, waving that around like it's a knife he can bury in Joe Biden's chest. And it's not just that he cuntishly, constantly lies about Biden's mental health. He adds an extra cunt layer to it: "His wife was sitting next to him and you could see she was not happy." Yeah, now, it's not just Biden's kid. Trump's dragging Jill Biden into it.

Oh, was that not cunty enough? Here he is on Biden and coronavirus: "Joe Biden will delay the vaccine, postpone therapies, prolong the pandemic, shutter your schools, right? Shutter your schools, destroy your small businesses and shut down our country...Biden’s cruel and senseless lock downs would cause countless deaths from suicide, drug overdose and delayed medical care, alcohol." Trump's actually saying that Biden will actively harm people, which is, of course, the usual Trumpian projection of what his own crimes and failures are, another cunt move. 

But he's not just a cunt about Biden. He's a cunt when describing his supposed accomplishments. Trump took credit for ending the conflict in Kosovo. You know, the one that ended in 1999, with a huge assist by Bill Clinton? In Trump's cuntish telling, it didn't really end until he "helped" make a trade deal between Kosovo and Serbia. He said, cuntily, "They’ve been fighting for 400 years, you want to know the truth, but they’ve been fighting for a long time. They want to make a deal. All of a sudden, two months ago, they’re in the Oval Office hugging and kissing...That was easy. It just makes sense. I just said, “Hey, why don’t we get them together? I mean, we’re going to do these two deals. Tell them to stop fighting, and we save a lot of lives. That’s a good thing.” 

That's just not true. Like so many things with Trump, it was bullshit. First, there isn't "fighting" between the countries. There is tension. There are minor skirmishes. But what Trump did was essentially worthless, a minor move in a trade and border dispute. As Majda Ruge, a Balkans analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations said, "There wasn't really any truly strategic approach or planning on solving the Serbia-Kosovo dispute, rather it was a kind of a PR event that was very important for the campaign."

That was one fuckin' rally, where the cunt didn't give a shit about his cunt followers herding together unmasked for hours at a time. And he gave them license to be their cuntiest selves.

Whatever you want to say about Joe Biden, the one thing you cannot claim is that he's a cunt. He is quite clearly not a cunt because he seems to genuinely give a shit about other people and that's decidedly un-cunty behavior. So it's easy. If you still need to vote, vote for the candidate who isn't a cunt. Send the cunt packing.

See you next Tuesday, Donald Trump. For real.

(Note: Your objection to the word "cunt" is noted.)

(Note 2: Yes, I've seen In Bruges. Martin McDonagh is a great writer.)


Trump and MAGA Nation Want to Kill You

Let us say, and why not, for the sake of argument, just for a thought experiment, that racism, sexism, and xenophobia weren't the driving factors behind Donald Trump's victory in 2016. Let us say, and, indeed, why not, that we can put aside any arguments about Hillary Clinton or Russian fuckery. Surely we have all wondered, "Why the fuck would anyone vote for a bloated, molesty carnival barker?" And maybe, after seeing everything excluded, it would make sense to conclude that they did it to "own the liberals." 

But what the fuck does that mean in action? The knee-jerk response is that Trump voters (the "they" here) believe we Trump haters think we're smarter than them and that, generally, we think we're better than them, which, to be fair, we are. (I'm not being glib. Objectively, if you are a Trump voter, you are a worse human than me.)

I wanna go further here. Lemme give you a theory, some dime store sociology: They hate us because we're right and we've been right all along. We're right about getting health insurance to more people being a good thing. We're right about climate change harming us. We're right about racism. Hell, Barack Obama allowing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy to expire didn't murder the economy; it helped with the recovery, as did big government investment in infrastructure and rescuing states. Every fucking thing they were told was going to be a disaster turned out to be fine. And everything they were told was fine, like the COVID response, has turned out to be a disaster. 

How right were we? Go back to the same sex marriage debate. Pre-2015 Obergefell decision, a large number of conservatives were predicting the end of "traditional" marriage and all manner of supposed societal downfalls. What happened in the years after Obergefell? Marriage rates rose and divorce rates fell. And now, over 5 years later, a huge majority of the country supports the rights of two dudes or two chicks to get married. And we haven't legalized polygamy or marriage to animals. (Although, to be sure, there are backwards ass evangelicals and savage conservatives who still hate them some queers, and some of them are on the Supreme Court now.)

So when you're confronted with facts that show that all the shit you've been injecting into your brain for decades is just wrong and the people who you were told were nation-destroying, soy-sucking animal fuckers are right, you've got a few options. You can accept you were wrong and change. But, goddamnit, your entire identity is based on all that shit. So your other options are various levels of denial. You can just say, "Fuck you" and ignore reality and cling to your lies. Or you can jack up that noise and declare, "Not only do I not accept reality, but you eat babies!" Or you can declare that you wanna fuckin' murder those smug fucks for the crime of being right about all the things you thought you were right about. 

Like I said, it's a thought experiment. Chances are, it's just racism, sexism, and xenophobia covered with a secret sauce of stupidity, with a glaze of Christian extremism jizzed on the top. Although, you know, one of Donald Trump's biggest grievances is that he was never accepted into a kind of bourgeois elite in Manhattan he craved to be part of, that he was too boorish and awful (which he was, although they weren't much better), and he developed a healthy hatred of rich liberals because they didn't invite him to their parties. He always wanted to get those fuckers back for their rejection of him.

To bring this into our current situation, what we see in Trump and his voters is a proud anti-intellectual and anti-science ignorance, either willful or learned. And if you don't believe in something like doctors telling you what the fuck to do when a virus is spreading, you're not gonna believe in a whole lot of other shit, like, say, the rules and laws when it comes to elections.

Ultimately, if they can't beat us fair and square, then they will cheat. And if they can't win by cheating, they will kill us. To my mind, that's where we stand as a country right now. Everyone in professional political punditry knows that if the election were held in a way that protected voting rights instead of disenfranchising people in any way Republicans can dick over voters, the GOP would never win a presidential election and would be a permanent minority in the Congress. That's something else that we're right about, and it scares the fucking daylights out of them. It's gotta be stopped, just like the diminishing powers of whiteness and maleness have to be halted, according their worldview. They face being stripped of power, and they'd rather shoot the horse than hand over the reins.

What are we to make of the White House Science Office's declaration today that Trump is responsible for "ending the pandemic" as cases reach an all-time high and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed again? What are we to make of Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, saying, plainly, that "We are not going to control the virus" and that we just need to tough it out, or "learn to live with it," until there are treatments and a vaccine? What are we to make of Trump's constant threats against Democratic governors and mayors to withhold coronavirus aid? What are we to make of a Supreme Court that is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade and, even though there is no reason to rule this way, toss out the Affordable Care Act and gut environmental regulations? 

All of these things will end up killing people. Not having a national plan to deal with COVID even 10 months after it appeared will cause so much more death. Refusing to give relief funds to Democrat-run areas will cause more death. The end of Roe will cause more deaths of women. The end of the Affordable Care Act will cause a great many more deaths. And failure to address climate change will one day cause cataclysmic levels of death. It's a banal evil, less obvious than sending troops into the streets, although that's not off the table. 

All of this is possible not only because of vile leadership and craven voters who are unable to handle reality, but because they want to destroy those who state what reality is. 

If this seems a bit over the top, good. That's the level of prepared you need to be for what's going to happen after the voting is over on November 3. Barring a sudden eruption of rationality among Republicans now that they have gotten their cruel Supreme Court pound of flesh, there is no way that Trump doesn't sue for every perceived minor infraction in voting. That motherfucker sues more than a jerk who makes money by pretending to get hit by cars. There is no way that they don't try to get the Supreme Court to junk the whole election and declare him the victor. 

It's gonna be a hell of a battle between fantasy and reality. And I don't know how it ends. I just know that I wanna be ready to hit the streets, if need be. Hopefully with millions of us.


Biden Wipes Trump's Cards Off the Table

Last night's presidential debate at Christian institution Belmont University in Nashville, TN, was notable for President Donald Trump calmly lying and being an asshole for the whole thing. Sure, he wasn't a bellowing shit-blower like he was in the first debate, where he desperately tried and failed through sheer belligerent motherfuckery to provoke Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden into a pique of confusion and alleged dementia. But just because you speak calmly when you lie and act assholish doesn't mean you're not still a lying asshole. Hannibal Lecter may sound erudite and even-tempered, but he's still gonna gut you.

And it would be easy to write another goddamn post about Trump's inhumanity towards suffering people. I mean, c'mon, he treats the number of people dead and sick from coronavirus as if its sole purpose is to fuck with his poll numbers and prove his happy talk about "rounding the corner" on it to be bullshit. On top of that, he mocked Biden for saying he cares about average Americans; Trump dismissed the 545 migrant children who may never be reunited with the parents they were ripped from by touting how nice they have it: "They are so well taken care of. They’re in facilities that were so clean;" and he said that only "low I.Q." asylum-seekers came back for their hearings, as if following the law was only for the stupid. It was truly, truly psychopathic.

And it would be easy to write another goddamn post about how Trump lies with the kind of enthusiastic glee of a masturbating bonobo and point out all the lies, big and small. Or to write about how he seemed to think that everyone in the country gobbles Breitbart jizz like his eager mouth when, truly, most of the viewers must have listened to him talk about Hunter Biden and payoffs from China to Joe Biden and laptops and emails and thought, "What the fuck is this?" Or about how Trump's racism was on clear display with examples like him saying he hadn't heard of Black Lives Matter until he heard an incendiary anti-cop chant (that BLM leaders immediately put a stop to) and that discredits them?

All of that is out there for ready exploitation and lots more jizz jokes. 

Instead, lemme talk about Biden and what he did in what was a much sharper debate performance. Honestly, Biden's gotten stronger as the campaign has worn on, so whatever the hell he's doing in his basement, as Trump and conservative media get off on saying, seems to be working. He wiped out notions about him being a pitiful old man with cognitive decline (yes, he's still 77 and all of us when we get older forget names and shit. Jesus, just yesterday I forgot the name of a close friend when talking about him), and he wiped the floor with Trump on so many things.

Take, for instance, on the simple issue of compassion. Biden not only did his usual speaking to the camera to speak to average Americans watching (which is theatrical, of course, but no more so than Trump's fake "I'm not a politician" schtick), but he offered an understanding of so many different kinds of American pain. "The fact of the matter is, there is institutional racism in America. And we have always said, we’ve never lived up to it, that we hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women are created equal," Biden said after talking about what Black parents and their kids have to go through when it comes to dealing with cops. Biden also found sympathy for people who live near polluting chemical and oil plants, saying that he lived near them when he was a teen in Delaware and "That’s why so many people in my state were dying and getting cancer." 

But more importantly than anything else, Biden demonstrated clearly that he just simply gets what is most prominent on Americans' minds: how savagely fucked the nation has been by both COVID-19 and Trump's response to it. He talked about the constant flow of false promises and bullshit hopes from Trump: "The fact is that when we knew it was coming, when it hit, what happened? What did the President say? He said, 'Don’t worry. It’s going to go away. It’ll be gone by Easter. Don’t worry. Warm weather. Don’t worry'...even today, he thinks we are in control. We’re about to lose 200,000 more people." And Biden laid out quite clearly everything that needs to be done, the funding that schools and businesses will need, the reliance on science when it comes to potential shutdowns, and more. All of sudden, in the midst of one of the worst pandemics in human history, a potential American leader said to the current one, "Yeah, you can have a fuckin' plan, numbnuts." Instead, Trump keeps bumblefucking us into the dark winter ahead that he denies will happen.

Biden also just had some great lines last night. There was the Abraham Lincoln line and flatly saying about Trump, "He doesn’t understand this" about those poor people living in areas dangerous to their health and "We’re going to choose science over fiction." While Biden may not be as far left as we want him on health care yet, it was genuinely bold and progressive of him to state what is obvious on handling climate change: Oil is done and we need to transition out of it and into cleaner sources, where there will be a fuck-ton of jobs. Challenged by Trump on it in his bullying way with "That's a big statement," Biden didn't back down. "It is a big statement," he said. "Because the oil industry pollutes, significantly...it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time, and I’d stopped giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies." As the man said, this is a big fucking deal, and you're gonna hear about this the rest of the campaign from Trump, as if Biden isn't absolutely right about oil.

Ultimately, Biden won because Trump played every fucking card he had - the supposed scandal (that was debunked by the Wall Street Journal today), that Biden's a puppet to Sanders or "AOC plus three" (which is such a fucking dumb phrase), that he,Trump, did everything he could on COVID, that Biden would tank the economy that's already tanked - and Biden just swept them off the table. He didn't even play the game of attacking Trump's family, which he could have done so simply as Trump attacked his. 

Biden seemed like the goddamn president last night. And, holy fuck, it would be nice to have one again. 


Note to Republicans: No One Gives a Shit About Hunter Biden's Business Deals

Yeah, Republicans and their right-wing media co-conspirators have tried to desperately rub the limp stories of the business dealings of Joe Biden's son, Hunter, into a full-on scandal erection, but that dick won't fuck this time. And it's frankly shocking considering the record that the GOP has in fluffing flaccid fairy tales into career-killing crisis cum. Just in recent years, you've had the Swift Boat Vets lies about John Kerry. And you had the decades of utter nonsense about Hillary Clinton, Travelgate to Benghazi to But Her Emails. 

Encouragingly, no one is falling for it this time. And that's a tribute to a few things.

See, Republicans succeed on this shit only when everything is going fine for most of the voting public (or at least enough of them to give the GOP the presidency and one or both houses of Congress). When, like at the end of the Obama administration or, arguably, the end of the Bill Clinton administration, the economy was swimming along nicely and things were relatively peaceful-ish in the world as far as it affected the United States, there's a sort of a mid-life crisis mindset in Americans, and a fear of complacency comes in, along with a bourgeois desire to upend everything for some fake notion of different being better. So we're more susceptible to the flaming shit bags that conservatives start leaving at our doors and that's part of the reason Republicans get elected president.

The sex scandals didn't kill Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992 because the country was tumbling into recession at the end of HW Bush's term. The birther racism didn't lay much of a glove on Barack Obama in 2008 because the country was on the edge of financial ruin and was in two wars that we wanted the fuck out of, among other shit. Now we're teetering on a depression, the federal government is actively making the pandemic worse and flat out murdering Americans, poverty and hunger are rising, domestic political violence is becoming more likely, and shit's just gone mad. Do you really think anyone but Trump's saddest and stupidest voters (and assorted, self-anointed purity lefties) honestly gives a single rat turd about whether or not Hunter Biden got a job because his dad was Vice President? 

But, like a blind drunk asshole frantically trying to jack his cock into a semi-chub so he can bang the first one-nighter he's gotten back to his place since the coronavirus hit, it's just pathetic and a waste of everyone's time, but that's not gonna stop Trump from making that his closing argument for his reelection: that Joe Biden is a criminal who profited from Hunter's deals. And since the Ukraine/Burisma stuff didn't stick, they're also going with something something China because they get to make it sound extra-scary. As campaign chair Bill Stepien wrote in a whiny letter to the debate commission, "Biden himself was mentioned as a financial beneficiary of a deal arranged by his son Hunter and a communist Chinese-related energy company."

One glance at the Trump campaign website, which I won't be linking to because fuck them, and you see article after article about Hunter Biden and China, about Hunter Biden's alleged laptop, about Hunter Biden and Ukraine (which, if you'll remember, Trump was impeached for going all mob boss to coerce Ukraine's president to cough up fake dirt on the Bidens), and more. You know what you don't find on the website? A single fucking idea for what Trump would do in a second term. 

With the Hunter Biden bullshit (and let's not even get into the bizarro fixation on mocking Biden's son's drug addiction, where it's like the GOP is trying to drive him into a relapse), Republicans have fallen into the Democratic scandal trap. See, if Democrats had impeached Trump for his mistreatment of migrants or his profiting off his presidency, that shit's easy to understand. "Here's a kid being torn from his mother who she'll never see again" is pretty fuckin' easily comprehended. Instead, they went with the complex machinations of Trump's relationship with Ukraine and the way disinformation spreads. Yeah, it was fucked up and Trump should be in jail. But the public didn't fucking care enough. Usually Republicans come up with scandals that are perfect for a bumper sticker and about as deep. This time, there's nuance, and no one's got time for nuance.

(Note: To reiterate, "no one" means "no one who hasn't permanently stapled themselves to Trump's ass.")

No one gives a fuck about China's investments in companies Hunter Biden worked for. And it goes further than that. No one really gives a fuck about the other shit Trump's tried to throw at Biden. Court-packing? Why the fuck should anyone think about that when they're trying not to die or lose their jobs? Higher taxes? Motherfucker, we're out here wondering if we need to hoard toilet paper and canned soup again to get a jump on the inevitable lockdown. We're wondering what the fuck we're gonna do with our kids' schooling when we can't afford wifi anymore. And Trump's out here talking about how mean the press is to him and toilets don't flush right for him. Who gives a fuck? The world's burning and Biden might actually try to put it out instead of pissing gasoline on it. That's all that matters.

And, yes, yes, it has to be said again, yes, another big fucking reason GOP fuckery isn't working now when it worked on Hillary is because 25 years of nonstop defamation, of dragging her for trying to get people health care or support women's rights, of seeking to destroy her for no reason other than to see if you can, of punishing her for daring to be a presidential nominee without a dick, aided and abetted by a media that has been contorted into a repetitive commentary stream because of Fox "news," yeah, all that worked. So we're on the verge of fucked beyond fucked not because of Russian disinformation, but because of homegrown motherfuckers in the media making it so that people believed Russian disinformation because it confirmed suspicious shit they had been told over and over on CNN and in the New York Times

Biden doesn't have that burden. He doesn't have that burden with the American people. And, more especially, he doesn't have that with the American press. It's sexist as fuck, but it's there. Trump thought he could run the same play as 2016, but the narrative that has finally taken hold is that Biden is worth the effort to unite and, with our votes, say, "Nah, not this time." And also, "It's really pretty fucked that you're making a big deal about a candidate's son. Wanna talk about your kids?"

Look, anything can happen come Election Day. Shit's so unpredictable now and we were burned so badly in 2016 that we're not allowing optimism to lead to complacency. Right now, Trump is like a torpedoed ship lurching to get to port before it sinks.  He's gonna dump his munitions to save himself. But I feel pretty confident that all he's got are duds. 

Except for voter suppression. That's what might fuck shit up.


Trump Has Faced Less Punishment Than Three Women in Mississippi Arrested for Getting Health Care for Their Kids

I can't stop thinking about this story. The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration announced last month that law enforcement had arrested and charged three separate women for committing fraud against the state's health insurance system, which falls under its TennCare program. Two of the women, Nikki Carr and Nakina Brooks, face 24 years in prison for defrauding Tennessee for under $10,000 by using TennCare. The third, Nancy Smith, faces 27 years in prison because her fraud cost $24,000.  They were charged with multiple felonies, including theft of property through TennCare, and held on between $20-30,000 in bail. 

What were their exact crimes? What was so heinous that they may get decades behind bars? They live in Mississippi and were using a Tennessee address so they could sign up their children for TennCare and get them health care. Read that again: they were getting their kids health care. The "theft" was reimbursements to medical care providers. 

Let's put an even finer point on it. Carr and Smith live in Olive Branch. Brooks lives in Southaven. They are both in northwest Mississippi, right near the border with Tennessee. They are suburbs of Memphis. It's like someone from Pasadena going to Los Angeles; hell, it's probably a shorter drive or bus ride for the women to get to Memphis from their homes. The next nearest city is Tupelo, about an hour and a half away. Memphis is probably where they work. That's how it is when you live near a big city. 

I haven't been able to find out why the three women, none of whom appears to have known what the others were doing, took this route. But I can assume. Beyond the fact that Memphis has an entire medical district filled with, you know, hospitals and medical centers and more, Mississippi ranks at the absolute bottom of just about every measure of medical care. Tennessee's nowhere near the top, but it's sure as hell isn't Mississippi. And we're talking about health care for kids here. It makes absolute sense that the mothers would go to the best and most convenient place they could for their kids. Maybe Mississippi's Medicaid and CHIP systems are such shitshows that TennCare, which administers both and has its own problems, looked better. Either way, none of this should be an issue for anyone.

So we can look at this and go, "Goddamn, these cases are just another avatar of how well and truly fucked-up health care is in the failing United States." Like, seriously, the funds went to medical providers, not to the women. What fucking civilized country punishes people for wanting their children to see good doctors? The answer is virtually none. No other fucking rational country on earth would arrest anyone for this. And we're actually arguing over taking health care away from people, as an Amy Coney Barrett-infused Supreme Court likely will. What barbaric shits too many of us are. 

But we can look at this and go, "Goddamn, how shit is our justice system if Carr, Smith, and Brooks are facing prison for years for this?" And you can take that in all kinds of directions, like the ludicrous oversentencing of non-violent criminals. Or the criminalization of something that should be a human right, something so very Jean Valjean that there should be a goddamn musical about it. Or the way bail is even a factor here. 

Or perhaps, as you probably have by now, you're thinking, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. These women, at most, got Tennessee to pay a total of $40,000 for medical care for their kids. And Donald Trump..." And then you don't need to tell yourself anything more because you know exactly what you mean. Trump defrauded the government of tens of millions of dollars, if not more. He has broken so many tax laws and campaign finance laws that they could literally throw the law book at him and just charge him with whatever is on the page it lands open on after it bounces off his enormous casaba head. Three poor women probably don't stand a chance while Trump may very well end up paying a bullshit fine and admitting no wrongdoing. Hell, Trump defrauded people of millions of dollars for his not-university and he used his charity as his own piggy bank, and those hurt far, far more people than Carr, Smith, and Brooks, and he walked away with barely a scratch on his cheap platform shoes.

You wanna even attempt to make America great (fuck "again")? Then give a shit about how we've created a system that rewards such savage inequality. And, as soon as Biden is in office, demand we make it so health care isn't a fucking game of chance.


For Indigenous Peoples' Day: When It Comes to COVID-19, Native Americans Are Getting Screwed Over, as Usual

At a September 30 hearing of a panel from the House Appropriations Committee, the CEO of the National Council of Urban Indian Health, Francys Crevier, who is Algonquin, said that when it comes to COVID-19, "The state of affairs in Indian Country remains dire." Currently,  the rates of COVID for "American Indians and Alaska Natives are 3.5 times higher than that of non-Hispanic whites," according to the Centers for Disease Control. And "American Indians die from COVID-19 at nearly 50% higher rates than whites." 

In New Mexico, the rate was even more horrific this past summer: "Native Americans had a COVID-19 mortality rate 18 times higher than Hispanics and 23 times higher than whites," according to that state's Department of Health.  With 11% of the population, Indigenous people in New Mexico made up 53% of those testing positive for COVID. You won't be surprised to hear some in Indian country are comparing this to small pox.

Even those stark statistics are likely undercounting the true number of coronavirus cases and deaths. As Abigail Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation and the director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, has said, "The data is a national disgrace...How can decisions be made in the United States to prevent, intervene, and treat COVID-19, when you can’t even truly tell what populations are most affected?”

From the data we have, we know that the coronavirus has hit Indian country much harder than a great deal of the rest of the United States. The Navajo Nation has a higher death rate than any state, and things got so bad with new cases last month that the entire Navajo Nation has instituted curfews and weekend shutdowns. One Mississippi group of Choctaw had 10% of its 10,000 residents test positive, with 81 deaths. Most of Mississippi's Choctaw live in Neshoba County, and, "despite making up 18 percent of the county’s residents, tribal members have accounted for more than half of the county’s virus cases and about 64 percent of the deaths."

The traditionally underfunded Indian Health Service simply could not handle the demands of the pandemic. "It was absolute panic at first; everyone assumed N95s were going to be forthcoming, and pretty quickly we realized that, holy cow, the tribe doesn’t have the stockpiles they were supposed to have," said the chief medical officer at an Arizona Indian medical center.  The Indian Health Service spends less than half per patient compared to Medicaid patients. It's less than a third of what the federal government spends per Medicare patient. 

The CARES Act contained $8 billion in support for tribal medical care, but (as anyone involved in getting CARES Act funds can tell you) the restrictions in the law make it difficult to spend up front, which is what's desperately needed. "The National Congress of American Indians has asked Congress for $20 billion more in coronavirus relief funds, as well as emergency appropriations with flexible conditions," but even the Democrats' bill only contains an additional $2.3 billion specifically for Native American health services dealing with coronavirus. 

Think of the burden this adds to the lives of Native Americans in their nations. For the Navajo in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, many don't have electricity and a third don't have running water. Think about how this affects the education of the kids living there. Voting was already difficult; now, with voting by mail in places where most people just have P.O. boxes, it's become almost impossible. 

"Tribal leaders have reported to us that their nations, their existing systems of service delivery and infrastructure, are under a great deal of stress and are very close to reaching a breaking point, as they try to seek to maintain the status quo and increase essential government functions in response to COVID-19," that congressional panel was told by Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians and a member of Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin.

This nation's ongoing failure to respect and assist Indigenous Americans is a disgrace that spans generations, administrations, and political parties in power. And, like with so many other things, coronavirus is revealing the cost for that cruel apathy. 


A Few Thoughts on the Vice-Presidential Debate (with No Mentions of the Fly or Pinkeye Except Here in the Title)

No, Kamala Harris did not do what we all hoped she would at last night's vice-presidential debate. She did not treat Mike Pence like a hostile witness at a Senate hearing and eviscerate him from tiny nutsack to tensely smirking mouth, bathing in his blood and gore as it poured out of him, a goddamned warrior queen unapologetic in claiming the spoils of her battles won. Fuck, we all wanted that catharsis, of seeing this smug Jesus-huffing hypocrite brought to his goddamn knees and begging to fellate Harris's strap-on before she soundly fucked him. We know we're not getting that out of any of the debates between Biden and Trump (if there are any more - and there shouldn't be), so we hoped this would be the brutal ass-kicking that this criminal administration so richly deserves.

Alas, it was not. But that doesn't mean it was entirely worthless.

First, there was a friggin' woman of color in a debate for the second-highest office in the land. That's some history book shit, and we should never hedge on celebrating Harris for that. In one of his more simpering moments of fake sincerity, even Pence said, "I also want to congratulate you...on the historic nature of your nomination." It was one of the only times in the entire evening that he was right.

See, what Harris did was clearly demonstrate, and even say, that there is no case to be made for a second term of Donald Trump. His murderous response to the coronavirus crisis proves that "this administration has forfeited their right to reelection," Harris said. And, frankly, there is little else that needed to be said. It should be that simple: if you fuck up this badly, you get fired. The only reason to support Donald Trump is if you really like cruelty: If you want more tax cuts instead of spending on infrastructure and housing and jobs programs and education; if you want to outlaw abortion and send women to their deaths; if you want to take health care away from people at all, let alone during a pandemic; if you want to end the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Harris hammered Pence on the rank incompetence and savage indifference and wanton evil of the Trump administration, especially when it came to the pandemic. What answer is there to "Whatever the vice president is claiming the administration has done, clearly, it hasn’t worked, when you’re looking at over 210,000 dead bodies in our country"? The right response is "You know what? You're correct. We fucked it all up." 

Instead, Pence offered platitudes about "the American people," saying repeatedly that "the American people" support Trump, even though he hasn't broken 45% approval since he was first inaugurated, or that "the American people know that this is a president who has put the health of America first," when 65% say that Trump failed in the COVID response and he's lost support since he got the goddamn virus, or that "Obamacare was a disaster, and the American people remember it well," even though 62% say they support the Affordable Care Act. It's almost as if the only people Pence considers "American" are the ones who blindly follow Donald Trump, which, of course, is absolutely what the whole administration and the Republican Party believe.

Harris had some really great moments of pointing out how Trump and his gang are just a bunch of dolts bumblefucking in the dark through every crisis and creating ones of their own. "There is a weird obsession that President Trump has had with getting rid of whatever accomplishment was achieved by President Obama and Vice President Biden," she said, which might have been the first time a lot of people who aren't living on Twitter thought about that idea, that it's the one and only goal that Trump has ever had in office besides soothing his ego and his greed. 

And the other thing Harris offered that Pence did not and could not was plans for the future, a vision for what a Biden administration would do when it comes to the pandemic and health care and jobs and taxes and a whole bunch of stuff. Yeah, it was sloganeering with no depth during the debate, but that's the way our modern bullshit debates go. Head over to the website for details. 

In contrast, Pence had no goddamn plans for a second term, no goddamn hopes or dreams or ideas, because Trump is bereft of such things. He is a huckster who only exists for the moment when he'll say whatever he wants to close a deal and take your money. Shitty, ineffective moderator Susan Page asked Pence, point blank, "Tell us specifically, how would your administration protect Americans with preexisting conditions to have access to affordable insurance if the Affordable Care Act is struck down?" And, of course, Pence didn't even attempt to answer. Earlier he had said they have a plan for preexisting conditions, but, as I've said, they don't have a plan because if they had a plan, they could show us the goddamn plan. That's what it means to have a plan. 

Pence was a sexist, preening dick, lying through his pursed lips as he refused to abide by any of the rules of the debate. We should never forget that Mike Pence is an awful human being in general, a right-wing talk radio host who said that LGBT people don't deserve civil rights, that biblical law is more important than secular law, and that the cartoon Mulan is liberal propaganda. When he was the terrible governor of the terrible state of Indiana, he refused to allow a needle exchange in a town that was having an HIV outbreak for two months and then he prayed on it before he agreed to a small program. Pete Buttigieg absolutely destroyed him to a stunned Fox "news" anchor just yesterday, asking why a supposed evangelical Christian would agree to run with someone who was caught fucking a porn star. That's because Pence is a fucking power-hungry piece of shit.

Harris had many chances for a kill moment, where the voice in her prosecutor's head must have been crying out, "Finish him!" She didn't because she didn't need to. No one was going to watch a man who looks like a diseased mummy speaking lies with forced sincerity and think, "Oh, he convinced me to vote for that orange trash can who yells at us all the time." Biden has the lead. She just needed to maintain, which she did, and demonstrate that she could be president, which she far exceeded the bar on. 

And let's not forget, as several women of color said on CNN and elsewhere, the double burden of her sex and her race meant that she'd be judged completely differently if she got her rage on with Pence. She could have easily ripped him to shreds, torn off his arms and beat him to death with him. Instead, her jabs of "I'm speaking" came across like a woman who was talking for all the women who are fucking sick and tired of men like Mike Pence, who see themselves as naturally ordained by God and/or their penis to wield power over women. She simply wasn't putting up with his shit, and she was saying that she shouldn't have to.

At the end, there was clearly a bitch on that stage, and it wasn't Kamala Harris.


MAGA Cretins Worship at the Church of the Manly Grifter

One weird thing that burbled up through the miasma of the coverage of a virus-shedding President Donald Trump releasing himself from Walter Reed Medical Center to go forth and infect others is a literal - as in what the word "literal" means - desire by some of Trump's most fervid fanatics that they be healed by his blood. As fucked up as this sounds, it's not hyperbole. It's not interpretation. It's what they fucking said.

Truculent doom gnome Ben Shapiro tweeted, "You think 2020 has seen its biggest twist? Wait until Trump develops the anti-covid serum using his own antibodies like Will Smith in 'I Am Legend,' and then wins 50 states," although he later claimed he was joking (which is what every conservative says whenever they realize exactly how deranged and dumb they sound, so kudos to wee Benjamin for his self-awareness). Donald Trump, Jr. came out of his coke-and-shame bender long enough to post a meme on Instagram that read, "Imagine this: Trump gets all better and donates his plasma to develop a corona treatment. And then all liberals will have to get vaccinated with Trump's blood." And there are other examples of the Trump blood cult revealing itself. Sure, an air of facetiousness, another tiresome "own the libs" trope, threads through them, but there's no way to separate the responses from what is an ever-growing worship of Donald Trump. 

A fetishization of his bloated body and his manicured, bronzer-coated masculinity is prevalent among the MAGA faithful. You see it in those homoerotic images with Trump's head on the body of Rocky or Rambo or some other super-soldier or a bodybuilder. (I'm not gonna link to them. You can google that shit if you need it poisoning your brain.) And you see it in the way in which the premature celebration over Trump's supposed defeat of COVID-19 is placed into a context of toxic masculinity: he is a man's man because he overcame a disease that can kill you.  

The fact that he hasn't actually beaten it yet and remains contagious and sick doesn't figure into it. The fact that it could leave him with long-term lung and other damage doesn't figure into it. Trump beat the virus, motherfuckers. He's the man. That's the message in MAGA minds. It's like screaming and shaking your dick at the heavens in triumph that your flight arrived on time and safely before you've landed and before you know if your luggage made it. Put your dick away and go back to your seat, sir, and put on your goddamn seatbelt. (It's not even a good analogy because if flying killed one out of 1000 people - which is where we'll be by the end of the first COVID year in the United States - no one would fuckin' fly.)

Look, the vast majority of people who get COVID will be fine. That obviously doesn't mean it's not dangerous. It is ten times more deadly than the flu. But it does mean that Trump's not special. See, when I recovered from coronavirus back in March, I didn't howl like a deranged ape at how mighty I am. I felt fortunate as hell that the roulette wheel of death and suffering didn't land on my number. I was humble because shit could have gone south easily.

Trump has made this whole fucking ordeal worse by degrees for the country because he sees sickness as weakness and mitigation as some kind of pansy-ass, feminine bowing to the virus. Wearing a mask? That's for pussies or, as Tomi "I Pointed a Gun at My Vagina to Own the Libs" Lahren said about Joe Biden wearing his badass black mask, "Might as well carry a purse with that mask, Joe." And some heinous New York Post troll on Fox "news" said, no, really, "It's incredibly selfish of older people or neurotic people who are timid and afraid and won't come out of their basements to confine children and young people to miss out on the most important part of their lives." Someone ask Rupert Murdoch to shake hands with Trump and see if he'll do it. 

Along those idiotic lines, Trump keeps saying that we have to get on with our lives and that "we are learning to live with COVID." That might be worth a discussion if we had national health care, extensive testing available everywhere, funding for schools and businesses to properly keep people safe, assistance for people who have to quarantine, child care assistance, and so very much more. If we had a compassionate society, it might be possible to live with COVID because we actually would be actively attempting to live with it, understanding that the alternative is overwhelmed emergency rooms and hospitals and greater death and suffering. 

But that's not what Trump is saying we need to do. He's not telling us to live with COVID. He's telling us we're just going to have to live with tens of thousands of more deaths and hundreds of thousands more sick with symptoms and who knows how many more spreading coronavirus to keep the spiral going, probably until some point in the future when we have a vaccine. In fact, today, by shitcanning any further discussions of a relief package with Democrats in Congress, Trump is assuring that we're going to have to live with death. Fuck you if you're poor and can't be given the experimental treatments he's gotten. Fuck you if you have a business on the verge of dying. Fuck all of us unless we reelect him.

And you know what? I'm sure we're going to be treated to commentary about how Trump the man really showed that Nancy Pelosi bitch who's in charge.  And it will become the next sacrament in the tastelessly-decorated church that the MAGA morons are constructing so they can pray to his diseased blood, his failing body, and his deranged mind. They can gather in their parking lots of worship with their red hats and blue flags to show their devotion. They can stand below his balcony and watch him wheeze in pain and believe that he is doing it for them when he is really doing it all, all, all for himself.


Donald Trump Is Sick and I Really Wish I Could Feel Good About That

You're gonna hear from a lot of people today imploring you to offer sympathy, thoughts, and prayers to President Donald Trump and Christmas-hating wife Melania since they have tested positive for COVID-19. You're gonna hear how Democrats should show how above politics we are when it comes to the human pain of our opponents. And that's all well and good, but we all have to make our own decisions here, and my initial response is "Yeah, fuck that."

See, there is nothing wrong with hearing Trump is sick and hoping that he suffers. It's a very human thing to do. We don't have to be better angels all the time. Frankly, it is wholly rational to me that when you hear that a rapist, racist, and con man whose evil and narcissistic actions have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the suffering of untold millions and who has torn children away from their parents while holding people running for their lives in squalor, disease, and torment and whose response to the suffering of others is apathy, if not a hope for more suffering and who has pledged to undermine the very nation and people he is supposed to lead, tearing them apart and wrecking their institutions just to assure he stays in power and whose entire life has been devoted to bathing in the misery of others, even mocking the ill and the disabled, and whose arrogance about the pandemic has left the nation battered and lost and who refused to follow basic medical advice, dismissing it outright and insulting those who did follow it, and did I mention rapist? well, I'm saying it again, yeah, when you hear that guy and his enabling, cruel wife are sick with a virus that might kill them, it's completely okay to say, "I hope you motherfuckers suffer." 

And, goddamn, I wanna be able to just say that and feel the warm glow of schadenfreude, the hot blast of karma, pour over me like oil from the supple, strong hands of a skilled masseur. But I can't. It's not that easy. If Trump had had a heart attack or a stroke or if he had gotten cancer, I could have easily gone all Nelson Muntz and moved on. 

Because, see, I think about all the people around him. Not his cabinet or any of his advisers. Those fuckers deserve to drown in their own fluids. I'm talking about the people who might have had the virus spread to them, like the staff at the White House - the people serving the president and his family, the lifers, the butlers, maids, and ushers, the people who bring Trump his Diet Cokes and Big Macs. I'm thinking about the people who work at Trump's Bedminster, NJ, golf resort, where he stupidly and greedily went for a fundraiser yesterday even after finding out that his aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus. I'm thinking about the crews on Air Force One and Marine One, as well as Trump's Secret Service agents and members of the military at the White House. And I'm thinking about their families, their elderly relatives, their sick relatives. 

This is not to mention how much this whole goddamned debacle weakens a nation already weakened by Trump's abject failure to confront the pandemic. If both Trump or Biden get too sick or die, their party's nomination doesn't simply go to their vice presidents. The whole election is thrown into turmoil and, with it, whatever sanity the nation had left. It's enraging to think of how easy it would have been for him to have just worn his fucking mask and told others to do the same. Instead, he turned it into a political statement, a signal of alpha masculinity to go maskless. He deserves our endless contempt, yes, at the very least that, because of the contempt he has for all of us. 

Yet I can't compartmentalize Trump's suffering now from the suffering he's caused and from the suffering of the others he may have made ill. Every laugh at his misery is also laughing at their misery. If you can do it, more power to you.

However, I don't see this as a moment for a redemption arc in this terrible time we're damned to live through. Assuming he survives (since, sorry, most do, even with comorbidities), Trump won't come out of this changed and demanding action. He'll go on being the same vile cock he always has been. So when we destroy him at the ballot box, I will luxuriate in his pain.