Haiku Review of 2021: Blue Weekend

I'm loving the pouring on of haikuing that's happening. Yeah, slap me with haiku. Tickle me with haiku. Peg me with haiku. Here's another 10-spot of 'em to kick 2021's ass out the window.

From Madeleine Begun Kane of Mad Kane's Political Madness Blog in NYC:
Evil Dick’s spawn Lynne
Tries to save Democracy.
Hell’s frozen over.

From Q. Santi in Belize:
Party of losers
Stolen election my ass!
Go cry in your beer

From Jim in California:
Merry Christmas from the Boebert Family
The happy Boeberts 
Clutching their guns with dreams of
A Muslim bloodbath

From Heather in Sun City, AZ:
A new baby breathes.
My planet just keeps dying.
I must smile and cry.

From Rabbit Earz in Los Angeles:
On the house tonight
Bleach-A-Ritas cure Covid
Drink until you die

From RG in Illinois:
Lather, Rise, Repeat
The fuck, man! The FUCK!

From T. Mangrove in Wisconsin:
MAGA’s response to
The Audacity of Hope:
Fear, anger, and spite.

From Beth in Alexandria, VA:
Red eyes, freaky sounds,
Bodies falling from the trees,
Brood X in my yard.

From Mel in rural Oregon:
Q has gone silent.
Under psychiatric care?
Or tired of the joke?

From Jack in a hellishly red area of a hellish blue state:
Twenty twenty-one
Rotten to the goddamned end
Rest well, Betty White

I might have one more day of haikunification in me. I've still got a few dozen to get through. Thanks to all who made the effort, whether you got in or not. 

(The title is from Wolf Alice's incredible 2021 album.)

Haiku Review of 2021: Pink Noise

Once more, you have inundated the ol' inbox with a load of magical, mad, and messy little poems. Keep 'em pouring in until I'm slobbering drunk on your words. Here's a sampling of some of the quality haiku you've sent in from sea to not-so-shining sea and even around the world:

From The Human Stain from We Ain’t Gonna Make It, USA:
Doctors, nurses, and
COVID vaccine researchers
Pandemic heroes

From Seattle Snowflake:
1776-2021 (R.I.P.?)
Hey Joe and Kirsten--
Change the filibuster rule
So we all can vote

From Eve Fisher:
Dershowitz is now
shitting bricks. Trump wishes he'd 
pardoned her, not Flynn.

From SPL:
The kid with a gun
Cries tears on the witness stand
What tears for the dead?

From Suffering fools sadly in WI:
Reject the science
Fire Fauci! Burn those masks!
Doctor, help me breathe

From VJ in NJ:
Billionaire playtime
Cock rockets, crypto, and lies
They're our heroes, right?

From Jenny in Staunton, VA:
Marco Rubio
Dude's not worth the syllables
Not even counting

From BB in LA:
Manchin blocked the bill
Someone may have snorted crack
West Virginia bleeds

From Arthur Tiersky:
2021: On the Bright Side
In February
Racist fuckwad Rush Limbaugh
Went to rot in Hell

From Chris in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong under the
Chinese Communist Party

I've only been through the first 24 hours of haiku. So keep your hopes alive if you've sent them in. More tomorrow. And probably Saturday. Once again: 5-7-5 syllables. Titled or untitled. Send 'em to: rudepundit (at) yahoo.com. And make sure you tell me your nom de rude and some place somewhere. 

(Note: The title up there is from Laura Mvula's 80s dance party of an album from this year.)


Haiku Review of 2021: Smiling With No Teeth

Remember how we thought this year absolutely had to be better than motherfucking 2020? The shock is that it objectively was a better year in so many ways, but it felt like a goddamn sequel, shinier but somehow shittier. Yeah, we got rid of Trump, but Trumpism's rank stench continues to pollute everything in this nation. We will not live to see the world rotate out of the eclipse shadow of his orange, jowly moon. Whatever hope we voiced with the vaccine's availability was quickly drowned out by the heaving fuck yawps of humping morons, squealing in orgasmic delight over how they're sticking it to the libs by not getting vaccinated and dying at a much higher rate than the rational rest of us. We saw a fleeting moment of actual bipartisan unity in the moments after the attempted coup on January 6, only to have the MAGA ogres and right-wing media monsters tear it apart like so many billy goats under a bridge and elevate election lies that inspired the mob of yahoos to the level of holy beliefs that one must have in order to be a true Republican shitheel.

Sure, sure, some good things happened, with that vaccine at the top of the list. And Biden's infrastructure bill. And the judges that have been approved. And, hey, howzabout that economy, huh? But all that gets ass-fucked by the two-headed Gorgon of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and it gets face-fucked by the Supreme Court, tearing down the right to abortion, and it gets skull-fucked by the nutzoid state legislatures that are pissing all over voting rights. And let's not even get into how the climate change apocalypse is here and we somehow can't get our heads around it, even when we're being burned and frozen and drowned and blown away by it. Or racism. Always racism.

So around these parts, we kick the calendar year's ass out the door with haiku, those little 3-line poems you were forced to write in grade school and everyone made it about farts, except for that one kid who took it seriously and wrote something so beautiful it made the teacher cry and believe, once again, that her career choice was right. What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah, haiku. Send me yours. Here's the deal:

Submit your haiku about anything you want having to do with the fucked up 2021 to "rudepundit(at)yahoo(dot)com." I'm the only judge and jury here, and I am generally fickle, drunk, high, and yelling at squirrels.

I'm also a stickler for the form: one line of 5 syllables, one line of 7 syllables, and one line of 5 syllables, in that order. They can be as filthy, funny, or fucked-up as you like. You can be serious, silly, or sanctimonious. Titled or untitled. The ones I like the best get published on here over the next few days, so lemme know what name you want on it (in case your boss or mate or Mom sees it) and where you're from. Like "Marjorie Taylor Greene's Hammer Toe from Jizzpond, AL" or "Alisha from San Francisco" or something.

Here's a few to inspire you:

Break windows and doors
Beat cops bloody with our flags
Trump over country.

Covid Isn't the Only Illness
Vax should be enough
But fools would rather drink bleach
Soon, a million dead

Today's History Class at the MAGA School
White people are good!
Sure, slavery happened. So?
America rules!

Okay, now it's your turn. Send 'em on.

(Note: The title up there comes from Genesis Owusu's majorly cool debut album, which was one of the things that made this year tolerable.)


The Year of Unmagical Thinking

If we hung out, sometimes you might ask me why, seemingly out of nowhere, I've gotten angry. It's not like there aren't thousands of reasons all the time to be angry, but, mostly, we all keep that in check. This last two years, though, I haven't really been able to, and I'd get morose and snippy and generally unpleasant. I can pinpoint why pretty exactly. 

It's not just the pandemic, although that would be enough. It's not the deaths and suffering, although that never goes away. It's not about my own experience of this time because I know that I have not had it nearly as bad as so, so many others. It's specifically when I think about young people, those in college and graduating during this damned period, and all the opportunities that have been lost, all the lives that have been stunted or postponed because of the foolishness of our leaders and the selfishness of a large part of the population. I'm angry for those young people because I'm a generation or two older and we should have been looking out for them and we didn't. And I'm angry because someone needs to be held to account, and we're not doing that...

If I start to list all the things connected that contribute to my anger, I'd never stop. 

I've talked to many, many people who find themselves or people close to them suddenly upset or anxious, who feel trapped or despondent, who no longer enjoy things like they used to, who don't accomplish as much as they once did, and who beat themselves up over feeling any or all of that. "Maybe it's because we're dealing all this," I'll say, gesturing at, well, everything, primarily meaning the pandemic, but all the damage that has been done because of it. I don't mean that as a diagnosis or anything. I mean it as an observation, that we have been living through trauma and damn if that's not going to have an effect on, well, everything in our daily lives. That's what collective trauma does. 

And how could it not be traumatic? At this point, we're certainly not far removed from people who have died from Covid. All of us know someone who has had it or we've had it ourselves. Again, it's not just the disease. It's being forced to learn how to interact in the world in a new way (and resistance to that is its own kind of demonstration of trauma), from how we work to how we shop to how we go to school to how we gather to how we breathe. It can be relatively minor. For instance, for years, I knew to check before leaving: Keys, wallet, phone. Now I have to add "mask." Or it can be more severe, like the fact that I've barely taught in person for nearly two years and didn't see members of my family for extended periods. It's the involuntary nature of it that gets to us. We didn't choose this, like moving to a new house or getting a new job. It was done to us.

And, for lack of a more concise way of putting it, it's fucked us up. Badly. And extensively. The world was one way and now, in the blink of an eye, really, it's another. 

"Maybe we just need to be more forgiving," I'll say to people, to fellow professors, to friends, to myself. "Maybe we need to forgive ourselves and forgive others for sometimes not being able to hold it all in. Maybe it's okay to feel like that."

I have learned the act of forgiveness in so many ways over the last two years. I've been advising professors to be forgiving to their students in ways that we never would have been prior to March 2020. Many students have written to me about how they've had to negotiate the pandemic landscape, how they've had to care for family members, how they've gotten sick, how they've just felt depressed and unable to work. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I can't help but feel like I need to forgive them and let them make up work or turn it in late or help them out. I'll be a more discerning judge of their pain in the undefined future.

The trauma is especially keen now because we've been told, at least twice now, that we were emerging from the pandemic and back into whatever normal is going to be, only to have it Greek-lettered away. And that trauma is on top of the steady thrum of stress and trauma we were already dealing with on a daily basis, the personal events or racism or sexism or poverty or abuse or some terrible combination of those and more. Yes, there are things that shouldn't be written off as related to the pandemic. But one exacerbates the other. 

Just to be clear, though: No, I don't forgive the willingly unvaccinated, especially those who refuse to get their children vaccinated. I'm only human, after all, so I won't forgive those I blame for putting us in this terrible time and those who are keeping us in it.

But this last year has been one where I had to remind myself that, despite however many meds I suck down to keep me from going on a five-state killing spree, of course I'm going to be upset, irritated, angry, even. I've been in mourning for nearly two full years. Now, though, I'm not mourning for what's past. I'm mourning for what is. And I'm trying to push myself through dread for the future. 

I want next year to be better. Truly. I'm not despairing yet. Hell, I keep writing and sending stuff out. That's gotta mean I believe in a future. I know we've got a big fight waiting for us politically in 2022, and I wanna fight it. Hell, I'm planning trips, buying tickets to concerts and shows, and looking forward to seeing friends. Hell, I'm heading to a bar now to meet up with people. See? Hope. And whiskey.

I'm filthy with hope, but I'm exhausted by this last year spent hoping. I'm exhausted because I know it's not enough, but it's what we've got.

In the back of my head, though, I know we're one slight push from it all being swept away. 

And I forgive myself for thinking that.


The Rude Pundit's Annual Nativity-palooza, Now Including Weird-Ass Glass and Metal Ones

Like movies about suicidal snowmen and tortured ghosts and pole-frozen tongues, some things are a tradition around the rude house. Beloved reruns are good for the soul. My favorites to trot out this week are the Invader Zim Christmas episode and Olive the Other Reindeer. Even here, in Left Blogsylvania, we can indulge in revisiting old posts.

Before Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, and many other places you can get your fix of weird shit, I posted this Christmas blast back in 2004, updated yearly with new bits of freakishness (some links might not work anymore, but they were or are all real and are not meant to be ironic):

Xmas - And, lo, a small teddy bear will lead them:
In the days before Christmas, the Rude Pundit roamed his neighborhood, looking at the displays in the charming stores and corner markets. There he saw the agony of so many dichotomous feelings about this holiday. One window had a kneeling, praying Santa next to a baby Jesus in the manger. Santa's hat was off. He was balding. Another display had the jolly old fat man landing his sleigh and reindeer on the roof of the manger. Surprisingly, neither Mary nor Joseph seemed rattled by the noise, although a camel was looking upward, as if asking, "What the fuck?" The Rude Pundit loved that camel.

Ah, sweet camel, what the fuck, indeed. Christ and commerce, Alleluia. The Savior has been born and he thanks you for your presents. Santa showing that he'll even honor the king of the Jews in the land of Islam. There's no telling what it means (and don't get all up in the Rude Pundit's face about St. Nicholas). Except this: we want to embrace both things, good deconstructionists that we are: Santa, who soothes our greed, and Jesus, who promises us peace. Either way, we want them both to tell us we're good people, nice people. And, of course, guilt-ridden Christians want to make sure that Santa toes the party line, you know.

For the holiday, here's a few of my favorite nativity sets, none of which are intended to be mocking of the event:

That right there is the Veggie Tales Nativity. In case you don't know, Veggie Tales are cute vegetables who love Christ and salad tossing. The newborn savior up there is a carrot. Get it? A baby carrot? What a delight.

Holy shit, that bear nativity is one of the creepiest fucking things I've ever seen. Staring straight ahead with their dead eyes, it looks like a satanic cult sacrifice to some horrible bear-demon. Although, the three wise bears have provided snacks for the blood rite: salmon, honey, and berries. All go well with cub entrails.
Every year, I think, "I wonder if there's an even weirder nativity set that I can find" and every year I come across something where I think, "Yeah, that's friggin' crazy shit, man." Here, it's the snow people nativity, with a snow angel, a snow Joseph, a snow Mary, and horrible half-snow, half-flesh sheep chimera. Did Snow Mary give birth to Snow Baby Jesus? Or did they all just make Snow Baby Jesus out of snow?

You know how gnomes used to be just those creepy little bitches you put out on your lawn and forgot about? Well, now they can apparently give birth to the Gnome God's child, who will, no doubt, be crucified on a cute little cross one day for the sins of all gnomes. Oh, so many sins.

That goddamn nightmare fuel isn't a lab experiment gone horrible awry. It's a bunch of white mice with eyes so wide they look like someone laced some cheese with meth and let the little bastards go crazy. It's gonna be horrible when baby Jesus mouse gets crucified in trap.

This is not to mention the Chickentivity, the Moosetivity, the Barntivity, the Native American Nativity, and the various Beartivities, all available unironically for your Christmas consumption.

And then there's the baby nativity:

You might think, "Oh, that's adorable. What's so wrong with it?" To which I can only inform you that the implication of it is that a baby Mary shoved a baby Jesus out of her baby vagina.

Speaking of implications, think of what this dog one means:  
This means there is a dog Pilate who will sentence dog Jesus to dog crucifixion. It means that there is a dog Mary Magdalene who is a dog prostitute. This is not to mention the dog centurions who routinely torture and kill dogs, the dog slaves who serve their dog masters, and the Jewish dogs who get blamed for everything. But don't worry. Dog Jesus will rise from the dead in three days. Have some damn kibble waiting for him. 

And to all a good night.

Oh, wait. What's that you say? You think that last one was kind of a weak one to end on? Well, then, fuck you. Here's the Day of the Dead nativity:

Yeah, you might think they're singing Christmas carols, but they're all screaming in horror and pain. Essentially, that's Christmas in the time of MAGA and Covid.

Oh, wait. What's that? Those aren't that bad after all we've suffered? Then how about these terrifying motherfuckers:

Or maybe that's just how we'll all look after climate change has its way with us.

Maybe your taste is more cutting edge. Well, you fancy motherfucker, you can cut lots of shit with this one

I mean, come the fuck on. It screams, "I want to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but I don't want my friends to think I'm too Christian-y." It yells, "Look how pretentious I am but still love Christmas." It cries, "A nativity, but with multicolored ghost blobs." It announces, "I don't have children and fuck you if yours break my glassy Mary."

Finally (for real), here's one I actually like. It's the Recycled Auto Parts Nativity
C'mon. It's got everything. Skeletal camels, edges that would slice open a loaf of bread and some fishes, and baby Jesus sleeping on a bed of chicken wire. That's awesome art by Armando Ramirez, and I'd proudly put that up in my home next to my Peanuts creche and dare some internet asshole to talk shit about it. 

Merry Christmas, baby. Let's just get out of this year alive. May George Bailey finally get to push Mr. Potter into the frozen river.

(Note: Previous editions of the nativity post have included the ZombitivityDogtivity, the Boyd's Bears Nativity, and the Rubber Duck...oh, fuck, you get the idea.)


The Bad Guys Are Winning and I've Lost Hope That They Can Be Stopped

I've tried to write a bunch of different posts this week. We've had a wave of ludicrously sinister political news, like the texts of frantic Fox "news" hosts desperately trying to get sweaty lackey Mark Meadows to convince then-President (no, really) Donald Trump to call off the red-hatted goons as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, waddling and stumbling around in hopes of murdering their way to overturning the 2020 election. Adjacent to that is the pathetic mewl of dried jizzstain Donald Trump, Jr. also attempting to get Meadows to talk to Daddy, which is like the stupidest, saddest episode of Succession. There's the gruesome, slow garroting of the Build Back Better bill, with Democrat-adjacent Senator Joe Manchin of (dicking over the people of) West Virginia standing nude and red-faced behind it as he tightens the rope on its neck, its gasping last breaths bringing him closer to the powergasm he so intensely desires. There's the wildfire of the Omicron variant of Covid, sweeping through the world and hitting our population of moronic antivaxxers so hard that you'd think it would bitch slap some sense into them, but it won't. It just won't. 

Over here on the left, we keep hoping. We think that there is going to be some deal, some prosecution, some shift in the vaccination zeitgeist. If you are damned to be on Twitter, you might see someone say, "Boom!" when a piss dribble of news about New York prosecutors investigating Trump comes out. Yet there will be no "boom" moment, even if every revelation seems like it should be. No matter how may times Joy Reid burns Tucker Carlson or Eric Swalwell destroys Marjorie Taylor Greene or Twitter eviscerates Ted Cruz, it doesn't really mean shit beyond the masturbatory release of dopamine we get whenever we see our team get tough with the players on the other. 

But it never sticks. It never hurts. The rhetorical disemboweling of Sean Hannity because of the texts he sent Meadows is meaningless because Hannity doesn't have to make you happy. He just has to keep humping Trump's leg and that pleases the yahoos who will forgive whatever hypocrisies he's committed. I mean, it doesn't even matter that right-wing media and elected officials are literally causing the deaths of their constituents by "questioning" the legitimacy of the Covid vaccine and of mask use. If it makes those same yahoos hate the "libs" even more, then cords of stacked corpses are a legit price to pay.

But we know all this. We know that 30-40% of this nation is lost in the racist, xenophobic, anti-science, anti-reality fog that the right has created, and we know they will never come back. The fever will never break because they are the virus itself. We know that the right has been working for decades to shift all power in their direction, from state legislatures to the judiciary. We know that they have worked the refs and roughed the players. 

Still, so many of us believe that, somehow, the good guys will win. 

I was once writing a play, and I was in a workshop with a Great Writer. In a one-on-one meeting, he said he liked some aspects of the piece I was working on, but he thought the end rang false. He asked me, "Do you think the good guys always win?" I said that of course, I didn't. He said that was the problem with the end. It was wishful thinking that goodness would triumph in the situation of the play. He was right. We want the good side, our side, victorious so badly that we delude ourselves to the point where our own experience and understanding of the state of the things is shoved aside in favor of that desire to see the heroes win. So I changed the ending.

This week, I finally gave in to the idea that the bad guys are not only winning, but that they have closed off the paths to being stopped. Let me be as clear as possible: I think that Republicans will win back the House in 2022 because of open racism and unchecked gerrymandering and restrictions on voting. I think that they will use the power of the purse to immediately shut down any investigations into or prosecutions of Donald Trump and those responsible for the January 6 coup attempt. I think that the 2024 presidential election will be stolen. I think that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and other decisions that have made life fairer and healthier. I think that even if Democrats actually do the things we think will ameliorate some of the damage, that same Supreme Court will undo most of them. I think that we're fucked when it comes to climate change and this virus and the next.  I think that a civil war is now in the realm of possibility. I think that all of this is going to be so much worse for non-whites, for LGB and especially T Americans, and for women. And I think the only hopeful thing I can say is that we need to start thinking ahead on how to react to any or all of that happening. It's gonna take a fuck-ton of hard, hard work. 

I originally wrote that "it is far more likely than not" that those things would happen, rather than just saying what I truly believe because I don't want to give up on the hope of the prosecutorial unicorn jailing these traitorous motherfuckers or that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will finally say, "Fuck the filibuster" or that all the election fuckery will be overwhelmed by Democratic turnout or that Brett Kavanaugh will grow a soul.

But, if I'm being honest, I'd say that I know the bad guys will win. Oh, sure, sure, there have been moments when the good guys have scored, like on getting judges confirmed. There will be victories along the way for us, maybe even on voting rights. Yet that just feels like it's staving off the inevitable. I mean, the best-case scenario when it comes to elections, for instance, is that either the country is divided even further by right-wing lies about fraud and chicanery and that leads to violence. Or that Trump is actually prosecuted and that leads to violence. More likely, we'll just watch democracy swept away like so much dust on the floor, our civil rights wither, and the nation fall apart, not with a "boom," but a whimper. 

I want to be dead wrong about all of this. I want to look goddamned foolish in a year or two. That's the most optimistic thing I can offer right now. I can't shake it, though, this feeling that the bad guys outplayed us. They did it right. They turned language itself against the left, outright changing the meaning of words. They made the news media afraid to be honest while creating their own information ecosystem devoted to lies. They made misdirected hate into a virtue and incoherent rage at the Other into a sacrament while declaring that the problem is the hate directed against them. They pushed a mutant version of Christianity into the central organizing principle while unapologetically committing every sin repeatedly. And while we have ourselves to blame for a whole lot of the ways in which we've slouched towards Armageddon, I have to tip my non-existent hat to the right. 

Well-done, you moral lepers, you shit-spreading freaks, you savage monsters. Instead of trying to make it get well, you fucked the dying country hard until it's become a corpse and now you're fucking the corpse while telling everyone that it's alive and more beautiful than ever. You played the long game. You sowed the wind, but the whirlwind belongs to us all.


They Really Thought They Could Overturn the 2020 Election

In the lunatic Powerpoint that Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff and loyal cumrag Mark Meadows turned over to the committee investigating the January 6, 2021 coup attempt, there are two words that completely undo any assertion that there was any real fuckery in the election. Without those two words, these weak-minded, strong-arming fucktoads could have perhaps tried to say that they were more concerned with the integrity of the elections than anything else, that they were standing firm for America's democratic traditions and laws. But there was no way that they were going to be allowed to make the case without them because that's all it really was about and no one was gonna be fuckin' permitted to forget it.

The two words? "Trump wins." 

It's not that we all didn't know that the goal was to wipe away the legal election of Joe Biden in favor of another term lurching through shit with Donald fucking Trump. But the Powerpoint file makes clear: they wanted to do anything they could to install Trump, even if it tore the country apart. The short sentence "Trump wins," in all capital letters with two exclamation points after it, appears twice. It's a declaration of purpose and a call to arms against reality. 

When I saw that in the goddamned file, I couldn't help but wonder how this could have gone if they hadn't been so stupidly evil, if Trump's morbidly obese ego hadn't put his cheating his way to victory front and center. Would it have given cover to more Republicans to sign up to the Big Lie if they had played it as about election integrity as an end in and of itself? Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and begged for him to conjure out of thin air the exact number of votes for Trump to win the state. Instead, Trump could have merely said he was concerned about the vote there and wanted to assure that Biden's victory was real. 

That's how you do shit subversively. You put enough questions out there without the overarching narrative of overturning the election. You give enough cover for Republicans to fuck around with the actual vote count. You give Pence an excuse to slow things down. As another page in the Powerpoint put it in a list of possible actions by the Vice President, "VP Pence delays the decision in order to allow for a vetting and subsequent counting of the all the legal paper ballots." He might have done so if the goal was generic election legitimacy. 

I don't know if anything would have gone differently, but "Trump wins" is like walking up to a murder scene and saying, "Oh, I wanted him dead."

And that's the thing about the whole coup attempt (and we can stop being coy about this shit. Call a coup a "coup"): the people behind it weren't fucking around. They just smoked their own stash too much and believed that others in the various levels of government throughout the country would go along with the coup. Or they were riding Trump's mania like a surfboard, hoping they'd catch a sweet wave of Republican officials willing to shitcan democracy for the sake of the ego and potential criminal liability of a fake billionaire and wannabe Mussolini.

The rest of the plan of the gang that couldn't coup straight includes references to a "federalized National Guard" counting paper ballots and the Supreme Court affirming the suspension of the part of the Constitution dealing with the appointment of electors. In other words, Meadows and others believed they had corrupted the government enough that every branch, every area would do its bidding. Or, if not, they would fire, say, Attorney General William Barr and appoint someone who was even more of an anus-licking lackey. Hell, they were advising that Trump declare a "national security emergency" to secure all the ballots so that they might be recounted by their own people.

I'm betting that Trump and his inner circle of syphilitic whores were deranged enough to believe that they could just roll over local election officials, that they could intimidate a lowly voting-system implementation manager like Gabriel Sterling in Georgia, and that others, like Michigan legislators, would be dazzled by having a meeting with the actual Donald Trump, the orange godhead of the GOP. I'm betting they were counting on all that being enough to tilt the scales in their favor. 

And when it wasn't enough, well, fuck it. They went full insurrection as a last-ditch effort. 

I sincerely don't understand why anyone who in any way supports the Big Lie is allowed anywhere near a decent reporter or news show, let alone run for or stay in office. Who the fuck cares what Josh Hawley has to say about anything if he won't agree that 2020 was a fair election? If your neighbor likes to fuck weasels to death, you shouldn't care about his opinion on lawn maintenance. How could you even ask him? Every time you look at him, you wanna say, "Jesus, there must be ten jizz-covered weasel corpses in your backyard, Josh Hawley. You can keep your perspective on racism to yourself."

I believe that the January 6th committee is moving towards some kind of reckoning. But the longer it takes, the more that our Netflix-fucked attention spans shove the coup attempt back into the delusional recesses of the brain, where weird thoughts like "George W. Bush wasn't that bad" are born. What should be hammered again and again by Democrats is this message: they tried to take an election away. And if they didn't try to do it themselves, they are almost all helping cover up the fact that it happened and it's still happening. Maybe it's time to treat the fucking criminals like the fucking criminals they are.

"Trump wins" needs to stay in the realm of the masturbatory fantasies of the soon-to-be-imprisoned.


The Conservatives on the Supreme Court Want to Punish Women

If things go as awfully as they very well may in 2024, we might end up with a Republican president and Congress. Surely, this will be the result of multiple levels of GOP fuckery, from gerrymandered districts to restricted voting rights to outright refusing to accept slates of electors from states that voted for the Democrat for president. This is not idle doom prophesying. It's legitimately the plan of Republicans in order to force the majority of the country to live under its heavy, corrupt, and very white and male hand. 

If that happens, I fucking promise you that one of the first orders of business will be shitcanning the filibuster in the Senate in order to ban abortion nationwide, which will be the next order of business. I would bet that abortion and the GOP's fetus fetish will be given as the imperative for the aforementioned shitcanning. And then that's it. The extremist right-wing Supreme Court would uphold the law. The Court has long wanted abortion rights to be codified by Congress. A barking mad conservative court would be hooting in pleasure to send the nation back 50 years, you know, when America was great or some such shit.

Yesterday's Supreme Court hearing in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, about the Mississippi law that cuts off abortion rights at 15 weeks, was a ghoulish display of mock sensitivity to the lives of women and the potential lives of fetuses by the conservative majority. It was a display of sadness and frustration by the three liberal justices, who were almost mourning the future they know is coming.

I mean, look at this shit. Justice Rapey McLikesbeer actually said to Mississippi's counsel, "So if you were to prevail, the majority of states or states still could and presumably would continue to freely allow abortion, many states, some states would be able to do that, even if you prevail under your view. Is that correct?" Except that nearly half the states already have laws on the books ready to ban abortion if Roe is overturned and those states contain at least half the population of the country. So, yeah, the majority of  Americans would not "freely" have access to abortion.

The justice who seems most likely to jack it to snuff films, Samuel Alito, showed how little he gives a shit about women, at one point stating, "The fetus has an interest in having a life." No, motherfucker. The fetus has no interest in anything. It's a fucking fetus. Alito kept pressing Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who represented the Jackson Women's Health Organization, on abortions past the point of viability, which is generally towards the end of the second trimester. He asked, "Upon reaching the point of viability, does not the woman have the same interest that she had before viability in being free of this pregnancy, that she no longer wants to continue?" He wanted Rikelman to admit that the viability line was ever-shifting and that religious concerns weren't guiding the religious nuts like Alito who wanna force 12 year-olds to give birth to that rape baby. 

Justice Amy Coney Superspreader appeared to believe that carrying a pregnancy to term, giving birth, and then giving the baby up for adoption (through "safe haven" laws that allow that) is no big deal. She said to Rikelman, "In so far as you...focus on the ways in which the forced parenting, forced motherhood would hinder women’s access to the workplace and to equal opportunities, it’s also focused on the consequences of parenting and the obligations of motherhood that flow from pregnancy. Why don’t the safe haven laws take care of that problem?" 

Rikelman must have had to fight to hide a "What the fucking fuck?" face as she responded to Justice Superspreader, shredding Mississippi's cruel indifference to pregnant women: "Pregnancy itself is unique. It imposes unique, physical demands and risk on women, and in fact has impact on all of their lives and their ability to care for other children, other family members, on their ability to work. And in particular, in Mississippi, those risks are alarmingly high. It’s 75 times more dangerous to give birth in Mississippi than it is to have a pre-viability abortion. And those risks are disproportionately threatening the lives of women of color."

In other words, equal protection under the law, motherfuckers.

That point seems to have eluded Justice Likesbeer. Like the little bitch that he is, Likesbeer kept pretending that he was protecting the integrity of the Supreme Court, which was already undermined by having Likesbeer on it. He bitched, "Why should this court be the arbiter rather than Congress, the state legislatures, state Supreme courts, the people being able to resolve this. And there’ll be different answers in Mississippi and New York, different answers in Alabama than California, because there are two different interests at stake. And the people in those states might value those interests somewhat differently. Why is that not the right answer?" 

Essentially, Likesbeer is saying that it's okay to force women to have children they don't want in one state because "interests" while they don't have to in another. That's utter bullshit, and Rikelman pretty much said that: "It’s not the right answer because the Court correctly recognized that this is a fundamental right of women. And the nature of fundamental rights is that it’s not left up to state legislatures to decide whether to honor them or not. And it’s true different rules would prevail throughout the country if this court were to overrule Roe and Casey. But what that would mean is that women in those states who are refusing to honor their rights and who are forcing them to use their bodies to sustain a pregnancy, and then to bring a child into the world will have no recourse other than to travel, if they’re able to afford it, or to attempt abortion outside the confines of the medical system, or to have a child, even though that was not the best choice for them and their family." It's as good a comprehensive "shut the fuck up, person who can't give birth, just shut the fuck up" as I've heard.

The liberals really were flailing about at times. Justice Stephen Breyer tried to appeal to the principle of stare decisis, that decisions with long standing are established law. But Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Alito all made strong statements at their confirmations about honoring stare decisis, and now, especially Alito and Kavanaugh couldn't give a fuck about it. Breyer also attempted to bridge gaps between what was being litigated, the Mississippi law, and Roe v. Wade, and he just seemed out of step with the passions involved here.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was more effective, slamming Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart, who clerked for Clarence Thomas and was a deputy attorney general for Donald Trump, so, basically, a vile shit-slinger. Stewart brought up the "fetal pain" idea as a reason to change ideas about the viability of a fetus. Sotomayor was having none of that noise: "A gross minority of doctors who believe fetal pain exists before 24, 25 weeks is a huge minority, and one not well-founded in science at all. So, I don’t see how that really adds anything to the discussion." Then she further reamed him out: "Virtually every state defines a brain death as death. Yet, the literature is filled with episodes of people who are completely and utterly brain-dead, responding to stimuli. There’s about 40% of dead people who, if you touch their feet, the foot will recoil. There are spontaneous acts by dead brain people. So, I don’t think that a response by a fetus, necessarily proves that there’s a sensation of pain or that there’s consciousness." As she usually is, Sotomayor was great, bringing up the shitty state of medical care for working class pregnant women in Mississippi, as well as telling Webster to shove his idea of when life begins up his bright white ass.

This was one of those hearings where you don't have to read the tea leaves because an air horn was blaring. The best possible outcome here is that Chief Justice John Roberts, who legit seemed queasy at the idea of completely overturning Roe being part of his legacy, convinces four of the other five dickhole conservatives to go along with his narrow decision to support the Mississippi 15-week ban and leave Roe in place, reamed out and wheezing in pain, but still there. But the other five ranged from Thomas and Alito fondling themselves under their robes as they contemplated punishing women to others bullshitting their justification for overturning Roe, all hiding a freakish, extreme Christian agenda that they were put on the court to enforce. 

The clock will turn back for women in this country, and it won't be that way for women of means like Amy Coney Barrett. The fallout from overturning Roe will be bloody and brutal and played out on the bodies of women and girls, with conservatives toasting each other for their protection of fetuses while they stand on the corpses. Then they'll move on to banning it altogether because fuck all of us.


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
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."


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.)