10/07/2021

The US Is Ass-Backwards When It Comes to Covid and Freedom

It was as simple as it was obvious. I’m over here in the UK. In Manchester right now, to be precise, and, sure, I’m having a bit of a rough time with the Mancunian accent. When I was buying a concert t-shirt last night, the guy selling it asked if I wanted it “with tits or without tits.” Or at least that’s what I heard, and I thought he was making a joke about wanting a men’s or women’s shirt. So I laughed. It wasn’t funny, but, you know, fuck it, maybe he’d knock five pounds off the price. He did not. “No,” he said. “Tits. Do you want it with tits?” I must have looked utterly confused because another man gestured at the shirt’s back on the display and said, “Tits,” when I realized what he was saying was “dits,” not tits, and that “dits” were “dates,” as in the dates of the band’s tour, and, yes, I did want the shirt with the dits. 

But I’m not writing this to talk about cute misunderstandings between accents in the English language. No, it was before the show that I realized how easy things could be. See, the venue required either the National Health Service’s vaccine passport, which was in a phone app, or, if you weren’t vaccinated or weren’t part of the NHS (as a tourist wouldn’t be), you had to have taken an antigen test within the last 24 hours. In the United States, that would be onerous and expensive, with you needing to find a store that had at-home tests and paying $20-25 for just two in, say, a box from Abbott, as I recently paid at a Walgreen’s in New Jersey. The next time I went there, they were out.

When I said to my companion who lives here that we’d better go try to find an antigen test, she stared at me and said, “No. You just go to a pharmacist or the NHS clinic and you get a box of like 7 or 8 for free.” That was it. Truly. And anyone could get them. You literally walk into a clinic and they…hand it to you like it’s health care Halloween. Now, there’s a certain amount of trust and responsibility built in because you test yourself, scan a QR code, and upload your info and the test result to the NHS, and you can lie. But I’d imagine most people don’t and, like me, simply sent in the results (I was negative), got an email back from the NHS, showed it while walking into the venue, and rocked my ass off among others who were either vaccinated or had just tested. 

Imagine that, though. Imagine having access to free tests no matter your income (no fucking “means testing”). Imagine having that to test before you go visit your parents or grandparents or before visiting friends with kids who can’t get vaccinated yet. Some of the people I’ve met here tell me that they keep getting sent boxes of tests (turns out they have 7 in them) and just have a stack of them at this point. It’s so fucking simple. It’s so fucking obvious. You want people to feel safe? Give them the means to do so. That'll get the economy up and running. That'll get you some goddamn real freedom, not the fake freedom that means "leave me the fuck alone."

You know what else is simple and obvious besides Boris Johnson? That national vaccine passport. Right now in the United States, if I go to, say, Pennsylvania, they won’t take my New York Excelsior Pass as proof that I’m vaccinated. Oh, no. I’ve gotta bring my oversized fucking card with my vaccination details scrawled on it like it’s the goddamn 1800s. In fact, my school has a different pass to get in. And some events have another pass. Right now, I have three different apps saying that I'm vaccinated. Why the fuck is that necessary? Goddamn, we are so advanced in our medical research and so fucking primitive in health care policy.

Here in the UK, no matter where someone goes, their NHS passport is accepted, like this is one fucking country. (Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own NHS apps, but they honor the England and Wales one.) But almost no one is shrieking about “government control” or some such bullshit. It makes like easier. That’s it. That’s the calculus. The fact that we don’t have a national database of who is vaccinated in the United States is fucking deranged. Oh, and by the fuckin’ way, the original card is actually wallet-sized here, not some weird index card size. 

Yeah, there are anti-vaxx protesters. I saw a few in downtown Manchester, among the many protest groups vying for attention as the Tory Party met in its annual meeting. They were as barking mad as ours in the United States, with signs with fake statistics about the number of people who allegedly died from the vaccine, with photos of people who they say the vaccine murdered. But in a country where nearly 90% of people over 16 have had at least one dose and 82% are fully-vaccinated (and growing), you can fucking well bet that the effect of the anti-vaxxers has been something close to nil. 

The UK is going through a lot of unnecessary bullshit right now because of Brexit and because of the cruel Tory government and because of vile fucknut Boris Johnson and because the Labour Party is a feckless shadow of itself at this point. But, after royally fucking it up early on and with fuck-ups along the way, the nation seems to have gotten itself past the crisis at last. Hell, most people don’t even wear masks up here in the North West which might not be smart, but you can do that if you’ve got most everyone vaccinated. 

I'll give the final word to a guy from Northern Ireland I was drinking with when I said it was miraculous that even a Tory government could accomplish this. He said, "That’s what can happen when half your politicians aren’t working to undermine science like the right cunts you have in the United States." 

9/30/2021

Kyrsten Sinema Is Getting Off on This

One of the most fulfilling aspects of self-pleasure done right is how deeply individual, totally personal it is. Your masturbatory preferences are completely yours, and you don't have to tell anyone whatever you need to get off on your own. No one needs to know that what really gets your rocks rolling is, say, a Seaside Woods Yankee Candle scenting up the joint, some Esperanza Spalding on the speakers, and a well-lubed, fully-charged Duke vibrating prostate massager on high jacked all the way up your rectum, taking full advantage of its taint-shaking action until you're jizzing so hard you might rip a hole in time. You can keep all that to yourself, if you choose. Or, you know, you can share it with the world. But it's your call. It doesn't hurt anyone either way.

The problem, of course, is when what it takes to get your peen stiff or your lips juicy is something that affects other people. It's one thing when your kinks are between you, your brain, and your happy spots, like watching blood porn (I have said many times, and I will say it again: if you google shit I mention, that's on you). Yeah, that's all well and good and consensual all around. You get to have your kinks and enjoy them. But if you're a particularly sick fuck, you get off on the actual misery of others. 

Now we're not talking basic schadenfreude, you know, enjoying someone else's failures and fuckups, although I'm sure more than a few hundred thousand of us rubbed one out when Trump was finally, officially declared the loser of the 2020 election. Mostly, though, a good schadenfreude is like ice cream truck soft serve on a hot day. Sweet and fulfilling and you're fine moving on with your life.

But schadenfreude ain't enough for some. There's a depraved sexual thrill that MAGA cretins get in making the liberal snowflakes sad online. You know they have a bottle of lube next to the bed that they've re-labelled "Liberal Tears." You know they're already wanking furiously when they get on Twitter and troll someone successfully. "Fuck yeah, I got AOC upset by mocking her fear on January 6," they might say while jacking it. Or if they attack some regular person for posting sympathy with asylum seekers at the border and that person gets angry in return, man, that's foreplay. Time for the fist-shaped vibrator with Trump 2024 emblazoned on it, eh, Jessie Rae?

Which brings us, in a not-so-roundabout way, to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, ostensible Democrat from Arizona, who has never given a single fucking reason for why she's refusing to vote for the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill, other than "I don't like the cost" and not offering a goddamned alternative. The outline of the bill contains a transformative amount of spending on social programs, finally undoing some of the damage that Republicans have done since Reagan gutted the government's role in making people's lives better back in 1981. 

And it's also gonna do some good in slowing down the out-of-control train that is climate change. Shit, Arizona faces becoming an unlivable wasteland within 30 years if things don't turn around really fuckin' quickly. Being from, you know, Arizona, you'd think that Sinema might give a fuck about her state turning into a dried up hellhole. But Sinema is too busy sucking down wine (no, really) while gobbling truckloads of corporate donor cash. Those fuckin' quirky-ass outfits aren't gonna buy themselves. Meanwhile, she's met four times with President Biden at the White House and issued a simpering, self-serving statement that essentially says nothing, moving the needle on the bill not a fucking inch.

While pundits and politicos try to figure out what the fuck her game is and what she wants, I can tell you. It's simple. And if you've read to this point, you know what it is: She's totally getting off on this. On the attention. On the rage other Democrats are feeling. On the power. On the way in which she's fucking with the lives of millions of people. Hell, she's probably loving that the people voted for her are ready to support a primary challenger. She's long had a perverse, ego-driven streak of doing shit just to piss everyone off. 

You can just picture it: Sinema in a bright kimono on her silk covered bed after a warm bath, using her hand to caress her sopping self to a giant photo of John and Cindy McCain she has glued to the ceiling above her, intoning, "I'm a maverick, too, I'm a maverick, too," over and over, louder and louder, MSNBC on in the background as she hears Rep. Katie Porter tell Lawrence O'Donnell how wrong she is for being an obstructionist. Jesus, fuck, all she needs now is to flip over to Fox "news" and hear them praise her for not backing down and laugh at Democratic in-fighting and she'll have a screaming orgasm. Fuck, finish already.

Maybe then she'll be ready to fucking negotiate like the goddamn politician she's supposed to be. If not, take away the one thing she wants: the much-reduced bipartisan infrastructure bill she so proudly humped to life in an orgy with other bullshitters. Deny her the climax she desires.

9/22/2021

Democrats Should Be Having a Five-Alarm Freak Out Over Voting Rights

Yeah, there's a whole lot of shit that needs to get done, but right now Democrats should be freaking the fuck out over voting rights. They should be losing their fucking minds and screaming nonstop on every outlet they can find. Get your gravest, most serious senators, like Leahy or Bennett or Shaheen, and have them shitting themselves at Jake Tapper's scowl or George Stephanopoulos's hair. Because if we don't have a freak out now, then any freak out later will be useless.

Others have played this out, projecting what will likely happen if Congress doesn't pass some version of a bill that secures voting rights. The bullshit voter suppression laws in bullshit places like Texas and Georgia, combined with extreme gerrymandering in every state where Republicans can do it (yeah, Democrats can do it, too, but it won't be enough to counter the GOP), will allow the GOP to at least take the House, if not the Senate, too, in 2022. Then, filled with Trumptastic belligerence and fascistic glee, they would refuse to certify any presidential election that doesn't go their way, and, voila, we very quickly become Jesusstan or Christsylvania or Trumped Trumps of Trumperica.

And that all sounds shitty enough. But here's the thing: once this path starts, there is almost nothing that can be done to stop it once the democracy dominos have begun to teeter over because if Republicans win the House, that's it. The laws simply won't be changed and the total Republican hold on the federal government, with a minority of voters, will be in play. In fact, by that point, a Republican Party that is based on believing elections are only legitimate if they win will go further to dismantle voting protections because it has to make its belief into unimpeachable reality. Of course, this will happen even more at the state and local level, too, because if you're gonna fuck constitutional rights, you might as well fuck 'em into the ground.

Why freak the fuck out now? Well, we should have been freaking the fuck out for a long while now, but  we're seeing a general escalation of anti-voting rights rhetoric and actions, from the racist and completely fucking idiotic assertion that Democrats want to let refugees and asylum seekers into the country so they can be made instant citizens and vote Democratic (which implies that Republicans have nothing to offer immigrants, which, well, if the white hood fits...) to the fact that over 75% of the GOP believe that President Biden was not legitimately elected. The fake allegations of voter fraud and the deeply-held belief that Democrats are not really legit, true-blue Americans are held as gospel with the idiot hordes of the right and, even though most elected Republicans know this is utter twaddle, they are going to use it to solidify power through the exclusion of anyone who might challenge that power.

Even more directly alarming is the fact that Trump's goddamned lawyer, John Eastman, had laid out a six-part plan for how then-Vice President Mike Pence could shitcan some Electoral College votes and allow the House to vote Trump back into the presidency. You can look at that and say, "Well, that's ridiculous. Too many Republicans in Congress would have protested," and I'd respond, "Where the fuck have you been living for the last 40 years?" and then some of you would say, "I'm only 20, old man" and I'd say, "Fuck you. Then get me the good Molly" before explaining how this has all been part of a GOP project to disenfranchise Americans since Reagan shat the White House bed. And, as Eastman wrote, fuck permission. Let those who don't like installing King Trump's lumpy ass into the presidential throne try their luck in court. Fortunately, multiple people advised Pence to not go down that destructive path, even though Pence was trying to have someone he trusted give him the high sign to do it. The crisis was averted because Pence decided to listen to the angel lovingly caressing his right ear, not the devil savagely humping his left one. That's it. That's how close it all came to coming apart.

You want to hear that in scary scholar-speak? Trump "pursued a political and legal strategy aimed not just at sowing doubt but at subverting the outcome of the presidential election. This strategy, which has no precedent at any point in American history, had many parts, but the best evidence now available showed that this was less about saving face and more about reversing election outcomes," writes Richard L. Hasen, Co-Director of Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the UC-Irvine School of Law. That "no precedent" part is the giant "Freak the fuck out already!" sign.

That's not only how fucked things were or are. On top of that, now we know that Trump's campaign knew that allegations about hacked or fucked-with voting machines were hot garbage being sold out of the back Sidney Powell's limo, but they did almost nothing to stop her from embarrassing herself, Rudy Giuliani, and humanity in general because it kept the rubes all het up. On top of that, just last week, Trump sent a letter to Georgia's Secretary of State asking him and Governor Brian Kemp to overturn the election results there in hopes of overturning the whole thing now, nearly a year later. These aren't red flags. They're motherfucking bright lights, bells, and sirens with packs of howler monkeys on top screaming into the void to fucking do something.

I can't help, think, though: How much shit don't we know? That's the part that keeps me the fuck up. God, can you imagine the phone calls where Stephen Miller screeched his demands at Arizona officials? Or Pennsylvania? I want to know how close we came to the coup before the coup attempt on January 6.

So, yeah, we've gotta get the stupid debt ceiling raised. We gotta pass the Build Back Better Act. And the infrastructure thing. We gotta do all that shit. But none of it will mean a goddamn thing if voting rights are left out in the rain like a rag doll forgotten by a distracted child. That's why the freak out has to happen. Anything else passed now would easily be undone by a Republican majority that will fucking laugh as they tear the filibuster out of the Senate rules on their first day back in charge. These fuckers don't care. They don't give a shit if it all burns down.

And Democrats can either be the firefighters or they can just be the gawkers on the sidewalk, wondering why no one tried to put out the inferno while holding the hose behind their backs.

(Sure, yeah, what about Manchin?  Jesus, threaten to investigate his daughter.  And Sinema? Buy her a winery or something. Whatever you can do to move things.)

9/17/2021

Missing the Real Story: Like Many Others, Milley Said Trump Is Nuts

I get the uproar over Bob Woodward's latest luridly compelling book on the administration of Donald Trump. Woodward is like a filthy tabloid version of Robert Caro, and he always squeezes every anecdote for maximum salaciousness. So in his telling, Gen. Mike Milley, Trump's (and now Biden's) Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, was so alarmed at Trump's behavior before the election and after the January 6 riot that he felt compelled to call his counterpart in China and say, more or less, "Don't listen to this president. We're not going to attack you."

What you're hearing mostly about Milley's two phone calls is that he was "treasonous," that he should be "court martialed," and that he should face "immediate dismissal" for undermining civilian leadership of the military. On the other side, Milley himself has defended what he did as proper and that it was "within the duties and responsibilities" of his position to tell other countries that the United States is not going to war with them. He's backed by other generals and President Biden. Chances are that this is really a big nothing sandwich that Woodward oversold and overhyped, as is his way

And that's a whole interesting discussion we can and should have, but it really misses the whole fucking forest for a few shitty trees. Because, see, what's truly important about what Milley, along with then-CIA director Gina Haspel, said is to confirm that the United States was run by a dangerous and unstable fucknut whose naturally worst instincts were held in check by a few public servants who saw that Trump had the potential to fuck things up in an even more deadly and destructive way than he already had.

In other words, the person who is seen as the head of the Republican Party, who would win the presidential nomination in a walk, who is worshiped by millions of Americans, who has politicians bowing and scraping for his favor, yeah, that fuckin' guy is legit a goddamn maniac.

That's the story. That's what we should be talking about. Yeah, fine, we can get around to the debate over whether Milley overstepped his authoritah or whatever. But I'd like to put that on the back burner until we're done reckoning with and doing something about the murderous lunatic who's in charge of one of our two parties. See, when someone is trying to burn down my house, I'm not gonna worry if the pizza delivery guy overcharged me, especially if the pizza delivery guy stopped the arsonist. In that case, I'd probably just tell him, "We'll call this one a wash."

You can just toss Milley and Haspel, who called Trump's post-2020 election behavior "insanity" and said that he was "acting out like a six-year-old with a tantrum," onto the pile of former Trump officials in some of the most important jobs in government who have been quoted or have publicly stated that the ex-president is a mothefucking loon. You've got former national security adviser John Bolton, a loon himself, saying that Trump is "irrational" and a conspiracy-monger. You've got former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that Trump acts impulsively and, perhaps, calling him a "fucking moron." You've got former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former Chief of Staff John Kelly, and former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, among others, saying that Trump is, at best, an incompetent boob and, at worst, a danger to the existence of the country. We may never know how many times Trump took us to the brink of national calamity, only for someone to intervene and get him to back off. We know how his insane insistence on bullshit and lies prolonged the pandemic and got hundreds of thousands killed. Goddamn, what else could he have done?

We should have been talking about that every day. Nancy Pelosi told Milley, "He's crazy. You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time." Sorry, but that's way more important than whose toes Milley might have stepped on. And if Trump announces that he's running in 2024, then we're gonna need to make the fact that he's out of his tiny mind front and center in any discussion of him. It's the only story. We can't be too polite about talking about the mental health of someone whose mental health affects every person on the fucking planet. And we sure as hell can't be distracted by something that isn't about life and death.

9/15/2021

Republicans Can Suck Swollen Democratic Balls in California

Here's a conundrum that's hard to explain: 

Impeachment is a perfectly legal, constitutional way to attempt to remove a president from office. I mean, it's right there in the actual, you know, Constitution. And there are no real limits on why you can start impeachment proceedings other than "this feels like a high crime or misdemeanor." But Donald Trump and Republicans lost their fucking minds and starting screaming that the first impeachment of the orange spit globule of rage was "illegitimate" and an attempt to "overturn" the 2016 election. 

Of course, that was all total bullshit and propaganda, meant to keep the yahoos all fired up and ready to rampage. In fact, as long as the House of Representatives is running it and abiding by the Constitution, no impeachment can be illegitimate, no matter how much you don't like it. And as for overturning? Motherfuckers, we would have gotten Mike Pence as president, same as if Trump died or quit when he realized he couldn't just pardon himself for money-laundering and rape.

Because of the stupidity of California's laws, the recall process there is also completely legitimate. It's fucked up and weird and anti-democratic in many, many ways. But it is the actual law of the state, so you gotta surf the waves you got. What that fucked up process does is if the target of the recall, say, the governor, is actually recalled, that overturns an election because it's not the lieutenant governor who takes over. Oh, no. It's whatever celebrity fucknut gets the most votes. 

In this year's recall, Governor Gavin Newsom, who won with nearly 62% of the vote in 2018, could have been removed from office and replaced with the top vote-getter in the dumbfuck second part of the recall, which is picking someone else to replace the recalled official. In this case, the Democratic governor may have been replaced with nutzoid Republican piece of shit Grade D talk radio fucknut Larry Elder. Elder got 2.3 million votes. In 2018, Newsom got 7.7 million. But Elder would have taken over. Now that's undemocratic times nearly 4. But it is the law, like impeachment, so even if the law is idiotic, you gotta follow it. 

So here's the conundrum: Republicans had no problem embracing the California recall like it was their grandma they haven't seen in a year because of Covid. Impeachment? Illegitimate. Cali recall? Awesome beyond awesome. 

That's Republicanism in a nutshell right there. They love the laws and the rules when they can contort them to do their bidding, like fucking a mannequin with multiple joints in its arms and legs. Think Mitch McConnell and the Supreme Court. Man, he bent that mannequin of ethics and tradition in two and twisted its legs behind its head and put its cold finger up his asshole while he balled away, gleefully denying Merrick Garland any consideration while speeding Amy Coney Barrett through like she had explosive diarrhea and needed to get to the shitter. 

But the second those laws go against them? Then everyone's fucking cheating and everything's fucking rigged and everywhere there's illegal shit happening. 

They tried to do that with the California recall, teeing up the outrage machine prior to the election, priming the bullshit pump for the results they knew would be coming. Trump himself bellowed about how he was cheated in the state in 2020, which is stupid on its face, on its chest, and on its ass. Other right-wing self-fellaters jumped in, and Elder even wouldn't say if he would accept the outcome, declaring that there "might very well be shenanigans."

What fucked all that up was the overwhelming win by Newsom, receiving 64% of the vote so far. It was such a blowout that Elder actually conceded (while hinting he might run for governor in 2022, which would be hilarious). Democrats in California told Republicans to suck their balls and take that Trumpy shit somewhere else. This time, the rules and laws worked in Democrats' favor. 

Rather than make any kind of broad predictions about the midterms based on this - although it should be noted that the enthusiasm Democratic voters had was much higher than prognosticators thought it would be - another lesson we can take from the recall is that the Republican playbook is to undermine our election laws. That's not a big revelation. I mean, most of the fucked allegations of fraud or election "shenanigans" involved trying to attack laws passed by legislatures or actions resulting from a court decision. The fucking GOP tried to say that allowing people to vote by mail during a goddamned pandemic was really about allowing election fraud. That's some monstrous shit right there.

And if they would dare to attempt this play with California, a state where Democrats have a 2-1 registration margin, a state that Trump delusionally said he only lost because of the votes of "illegal immigrants," if they would fuck around there, they're gearing up to fuck around everywhere. 

So it's beyond time that Democrats use the rules and eliminate or, at the very least, "reform" the filibuster in the US Senate and get voting rights secured. That's a fair evolution of process and not the blatant fuckery of McConnell's Supreme Court seat grab or refusal to allow votes on pretty much fucking anything. 

Because if Democrats don't, then, in 2022, barring the entire nation telling Republicans to go to hell by huge margins, the balls will be in the other mouth.

9/10/2021

9/11 Knows America Lies to Itself

9/11 hates these years the most. Every half-decade, the annual commemoration is amped up, as if some magic exists in numbers that end in 5 or 0. Every time, the same speeches, the same images, the same patriotic fervor in some places, the same performative sense of loss in others, the same, the same. The only part she feels still has any power is the reading of names. It has an incantatory quality, like a Buddhist prayer, with the timed striking of a sonorous bell. She feels something then. 9/11 is accustomed to feeling nothing anymore. She has been used and brutalized and caressed and beaten and loved and raped and paraded on high and dragged through the streets. 

She was degraded regularly by George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani and the monsters and ogres of that time, forced on her knees to choke as they forced their anxious pricks into her mouth, desperate to steal her power for themselves. She was told to get out and perform for the Obama administration, to dance a whore's dance, to masturbate for the masses in order to justify the unending war done in her name. And through it all, every ceremony, every time she's been dragged out to take her defiled part in, she has appreciated the reading of names. Because then it isn't about them. It isn't about Bush or Cheney or Osama or, ludicrously, Saddam. It isn't about every TV demagogue trying to force finger her or every candidate for office slapping her ass. No. It's not about them. It's not even really about her. It's about heart-wrenching loss and soul-breaking hurt, which is all it really should be. The rest is worthless. 

9/11 hates the lie that Americans desperately need to believe. She wants to scream at her TV or her iPad whenever a report comes on that talks about how the country "came together," how there was "unity," how we "cared about each other." 9/11 knows the purpose of this lie, to cover up the instant divisions in the nation, to bury the hatred that welled up in the streets and in the police precincts, to spackle over the holes in the American conscience that could justify everything that came after. They say, "Never forget" over and over, like a mantra of the deluded inside a rubber room, as if a country that is devoted to forgetting its real past, its evil and its racism and its violence and its cruelty, has to cling to this illusion of a moment in time, a fantasy of togetherness across party, across identities, across the world. 

9/11 doesn't remember it the way the overheated politicians and the frothing media figures remember it. She remembers how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld got harder than they had in years at the chance to blow shit up. She remembers how completely a spell was cast over the American people, with anyone opposing blowing shit up being labeled a traitor. She remembers how many other lies were told, about who was responsible, about what bombing the shit out of them would do, about how people had too much freedom in their lives and that it needed to be limited. She watched, even from the pied-a-terre near smoldering Ground Zero where Karl Rove had stashed her in so she could be conveniently and roughly sodomized by him whenever it seemed the public was straying from walking the War on Terror line, and she saw how immigrants were mistreated and stigmatized by the Bush administration, even as so much lip service was paid to not blaming those immigrants. Or Americans. 9/11 has felt all the savagery done in her name, every drone strike in Yemen, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Sudan, all under the banner of fighting them there so they don't come here when, really, almost none of them want to come here. She has heard every civilian scream. She knows the faces of the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands who were killed, the payback for the almost three thousand killed on her birthdate, when she emerged, whole and adult, from the burning rubble that was made of poison.

It all disgusts her, but, she has to admit, seeing her reflection in the glass on the outside of the museum that bears her name, the nausea from her disgust has kept her in pretty good shape. It's more than she can say for some of the ghouls from back in that time. Sean Hannity looks like someone put two wax dummies of him together. Kellyanne Conway looks like she was washed in a filthy river and balled up in a corner. And Giuliani? 9/11 doesn't even know how he's still alive. But she figures the Devil he made a deal with is just enjoying watching Rudy crash and burn. And so does 9/11.

9/11 does appreciate the memorial in Lower Manhattan. She can stare at the water falling into the void for hours at a time, allowing herself to feel as if she is falling into it, too. She can turn and smile at the giant One World Trade Center building. Goddamn, she's relieved they stopped calling it "the Freedom Tower." What a crass, awful name. It's not as bad as "Patriot Day," as some like to call her. That just reeks of flop sweat, like explaining a joke that no one laughed at. Which, really, that name kind of is. 

Fewer and fewer people notice her now in the plaza. That's the one nice thing about the years going by. She's not something real to so many now. And those who do notice her are startled when they see her, but they don't approach her. They don't want to know the real her. They need the illusion. 

9/11 can't give that to them anymore. If nothing else, the end of the war in Afghanistan has made plain that she was never the gal they thought she was. And that's hard for most of them to deal with.

She does want to hear the names again. But that list should keep being read with everyone killed in the name of those names, victims as sure as those who died here in Manhattan or over at the Pentagon or in a field in Pennsylvania. 9/11 believes that's the only way to tell the truth: since that day 20 years ago, it has never not been 9/11.

9/07/2021

Don't Tell Me Not to Mock People Who Hate My Guts

This past weekend, I was at an event where I learned that someone with whom I have shared some good times "hates your fucking guts," as a cousin of his told me. Why do my fucking guts so upset him? Did I kick his cat or shit on his sofa or fuck his son and leave him? Nothing like that. It's my politics. He hates my fucking guts because I don't believe that Donald Trump was a great president and that Joe Biden is destroying the country. And here's the thing: I knew he was very conservative for a long time. I even knew he went full MAGA. But I never disliked him. I disliked his beliefs, but I can separate that out, especially for someone like him who really has been through hell for the last few years for a number of health-related reasons for him and his loved ones. So, fuck it, I just didn't talk politics with him. There's a whole lot of other shit to bond over.

Apparently not, though. I don't know what tilted him into hating my fucking guts. I don't know when it happened. I do know that he didn't speak to me or even acknowledge me at a gathering this weekend. I do know that he wants nothing to do with me. I don't know if he wishes me harm, but what I did find out was that he supported the January 6 insurrection and demands justice for Ashli Babbit, the terrorist shitbird who got her empty head shot when she tried to break through cops guarding Congress. Mostly, at this point in time, I just pity the deluded fucker. 

The timing of this weird-ass, playground-level bullshit couldn't have been more perfect because over the last week or so, we've been treated to various levels of shame-shaming those of us who mock the fuck out of the deranged and pathetic losers who die after willfully and proudly refusing to get vaccinated or who do something arugably stupider and treat themselves with the horse and sheep deworming drug Ivermectin if they get Covid after not getting vaccinated.

The pleas for kindness or empathy cross ideological lines. In The Atlantic, Elizabeth Bruenig asks us to "Stop Death Shaming" the unvaccinated and says, "It’s worth considering what an honest persuasion effort aimed at the unvaccinated or vaccine-hesitant would look like," although the answer is "It would look like exactly what was done when the vaccine first came out." Writer Conor Friedersdorf asks us to stop "mocking people" for sucking down horse paste and instead do the "tedious work" of convincing them not to suck down horse paste. In the National Review (motto: "Democracy dies in the darkness we created"), longtime right-wing dickstain John Fund wants us to be nicer to people who ingest Ivermectin because there is a version for humans. That's a common refrain: there's a human version that is widely prescribed in places where parasitic worms are an issue (and I don't mean the Republican Party, hey-yo!), so, you know, those who think it's worth a chance to take it shouldn't be instantly dismissed and insulted. 

And all I can say is "Don't be fucking ridiculous. Of course, we're gonna make fun of them. All of them." First, on the Ivermectin insanity, yeah, rich pricks like Joe Rogan can pay a doesn't-give-a-fuck doctor to get the human prescription version, but most of the people doing it aren't rich pricks. They're poor and middle class pricks whose doctors are telling them, "The fuck is wrong with you? Fuck, no, I'm not prescribing the anti-lice and worm drugs for you" so they go to the ol' feed and seed and pick it up. Or, for ten bucks, some Walmarts. It's a tube of paste, for real, often apple flavored, and dumb motherfuckers are sucking it down to prevent or cure their Covid. It's gotten so bad that the FDA and other health officials, as well as the makers of Ivermectin, Merck, have issued statements saying, more or less, "Would you dumb rednecks stop sucking down the sheep goo?" And the goo is selling out at farm stores because you don't need a veterinarian's prescription to get it for your horse or sheep or cow (there is an injectable version that does need a prescription). A Memphis feed store can't keep it on the shelves. A Las Vegas store wants you to prove you have a horse before you can buy it. While, sure, the story about Ivermectin overdoses preventing gunshot victims from being seen at a hospital in Oklahoma was, at best, overblown, the fact is that people are calling poison control in huge numbers after taking the horse drug and they are ODing and taking up space in the ERs with their stupidity.

And you can make all kinds of statements about how we need to understand why people might do this absolutely fucking moronic thing. You can talk about the unfair medical system and rural areas without access to proper care or how desperate people do desperate things. You can blah, blah, blah all fucking day trying to fluff that sympathy cock into a full-blown erection, but it fails for one simple reason. There's a goddamn vaccine. It's free. It works. That's the answer. Anything you try to say after that is bullshit. It's all a lie. You don't want the vaccine because it's "experimental," but you'll eat the horse goo even though it's totally untested for Covid. That's fucking hilarious. You don't want the vaccine because you heard it might harm you and then you got Covid and died. That's so fucking miserable that I better make fun of it or I'll scream at your grave about what a shit-souled loser you were. 

I don't hate them. I pity them and feel superior to them because, well, I am (and so is everybody who gets vaccinated and doesn't put a tube of cow paste to their lips). I won't treat them like children. As I've said repeatedly, they are adults who made an adult decision to listen to assholes instead of doctors. So I save my hatred for Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan and Ron Johnson and every scum from the garbage pail bottom who keeps telling their viewers or listeners or voters not to get vaccinated and to try this bullshit drug or that bullshit cure. 

No, I don't hate the willfully unvaccinated, but I don't have sympathy. I lost that a long goddamn time ago. And that's because the people we are trying to convince to get vaccinated hate our fucking guts and dream of slaughtering us or at least exiling or concentration camping us. So, yeah, I'm gonna keep mocking them for their refusal to do the easiest goddamn thing in the world. I'm gonna do it because they scare the fuck out of me by their actions that might end up dragging us all down into the ditch with them and joking about it keeps me sane amidst this genuine insanity. Being nice about it is a waste of goddamn time. 

Plus, c'mon, finding out that some of these idiots are eating so much horse paste that they shit out their intestinal lining and think it's worms and then think that's a good thing? That's comedy gold. 

(Just to note about the opening story: He wasn't a good friend or anything. Just someone who I always enjoyed seeing when a particular group gathered, so his loss doesn't leave a hole in my life. More of a "Huh. That's fucked up.")

9/06/2021

A Poem for Those Who Do the Work

A Poem About Abortion
by Devi Lockwood

No, not scrubs. Put on your tight purple dress and heels,
dig them into the new carpet. You have to look gorgeous,
that way they’ll trust you. And the patients start pouring in.
Here’s to many pregnant women in this small town, many
small hands growing inside them. A computer and some wine.
Jessica Brent came on the radio while I gave another woman
an ultrasound. She was picking her guitar, rubbing her belly,
telling the imagined audience she is the oldest child, and lovesick,
and where did this baby come from? Down by the river,
not a single couple makes out in the dark. After work
I like to stand there alone, where old meets new. I watch
the Mighty Miss, her ebbs. What is growth? Where are we

flowing out of ourselves and into someone else, their stories?
How slowly must a thing grow to be alive? I can’t quite make
out the other shore, but I know it’s there. I would reach my hands
out to touch it, but my arms aren’t long enough and I don’t know
how to swim. In this mighty state, a woman has to have an ultrasound
before the pregnancy is undone. Somewhere one of my patients pees
on a stick and lets down her hands and her hopes like a shade
at a too-bright window. It is dark outside. No one wants
the neighbors to see. You can’t outrun their hands digging
knives into turkey breasts, you can’t answer every question they ask,
every way they try to tell you they love you. Let’s legislate your body.
They love you. They do. To the many pregnant women

in this small town, and as many small bodies growing inside them,
I want to say: if we look nervous, it’s because we are. Somewhere
fear is a condom in the back of a wallet pressed shut, a pile of cash
on the kitchen table. Somewhere cities aren’t the only places
with healthcare and somewhere abortions are free. In my line of work,
I need love to keep my hands from freezing on the inside. There are people
carrying signs outside my door, shouting arguments about fingernail
development. I need a pen to spin through my fingers when they are idle.
I need you to turn up the radio, louder please. Just so that I don’t have
to listen to this shit again. When I retire, I want to live in a meadow with
not one child, not one soul in sight. Really, they kiss the wind
as they blow past. 

9/03/2021

Have You Read That Destructive Texas Anti-Choice Law? It's Hot, Harmful Garbage

First and foremost, this is a tragedy for women in Texas. The incredibly cruel, physically and mentally harmful, and intentionally divisive anti-abortion law that the Supreme Court allowed to go into effect on Wednesday night will end up with women being maimed or killed or forced to be vessels for fetuses that they do not want to carry, including the products of rape and incest (which, let's be clear, is almost always rape no matter what other word you wanna use), including the fetuses of abusive men. They will be forced to carry those fetuses when they know that they cannot afford the baby (and one reason they cannot afford the baby is because those who are forcing them to carry the fetus provide almost nothing to support the baby). It is a tragedy because it tells a woman that whatever existence she thought she might have, it must become secondary to "mother" once she gets pregnant and doesn't abort the fetus prior to six weeks of gestation, before many women even know they're pregnant. The mostly men who passed this law are savages who cannot wait to bathe in the blood of botched abortions. That will sanctify their brutal, backwards actions and satisfy their desire to kill those who oppose their Christian extremism. 

It's also a fucking weird law. What the fuck is this legitimizing vigilantism shit? So, just to get this right, anyone other than a government official (because that would be unconstitutional, I guess) can bring a lawsuit against anyone who performs an abortion after six weeks, as well as anyone who helps a woman get an abortion after six weeks, including, and this is a level of dickishness that conservatives aspire to but rarely reach, anyone who "knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced." 

You got that? If you're an insurance company that reimburses the cost of an abortion, you can get sued. If you drive your friend to a doctor's appointment and she doesn't tell you it's for an abortion, you can get sued. How far can this go? Perhaps if you advise a woman on how to get an abortion out of state? I mean, obviously, stopping women's right to choose trumps the First Amendment now in Texas. 

Not dickish enough? Then there's this: anyone who "intends to engage in the conduct" of providing or helping with an abortion can be sued. That's right. If you told your friend you're going to drive her to get an abortion, your neighbor can sue you before you even do it if he happens to find out about it. And any fuckin' Karen or Cletus can sue you for meth money. Doesn't matter who the fuck it is, from the cockscabs at anti-choice groups to random, greedy fucknuts and assholes. 

Not dickish enough? Not only can the random, greedy fucknut win at least $10,000 from you for showing that you intended to drive your friend to get an abortion, but you have to pay fucknut's legal fees.

Not dickish enough? If greedy fucknut sues you and loses, you are still stuck with your legal fees. That's right. There is no disincentive for just bringing a whole bunch of lawsuits and seeing what the fuck sticks. How many skeevy lawyers are gonna make bank on this?

The goddamn law just goes on and on, foreclosing nearly any avenue that might show even a bit of compassion for women. The bounty hunters have up to four years from the date when anyone did anything to help a woman get an abortion after six weeks. And you can't bring up that Roe v. Wade is allegedly still the law of the land as a defense. 

It's a fucking mess. It purposely turns citizens against each other. It pays people for playing Abortion Batman. It victimizes the women of Texas who were already being victimized by some of the most blindingly dickish anti-choice laws in the country. I mean, why would you talk to your friends about your choices after you find out you're pregnant? You'd be completely justified in thinking that you might get them in trouble or they might turn against you. Shit, a rapist can sue anyone who would try to help his victim get an abortion if he impregnated her as a result of the, you know, rape. Goddamn, fuck you, Greg Abbott and the Texas legislature. Just fuck you.

And the idea that the Supreme Court would look at this and 5 justices would say, "Yeah, we can let that fly for now" is frightening beyond words. More on that, and what we can do, next week. 

(By the way, the law allows for doctors to be able to perform an abortion if they "did not detect a fetal heartbeat." There are also exceptions for "medical emergency." So it's possible that doctors can lie for the good of their patients. Fine system there, Texas.)

(Correction: I had something in here about the burden of proof being on the accused. That was wrong and proved that I'm not a lawyer. Thanks to SkepticScott61 on Twitter for kicking my ass into learning something.)

8/31/2021

Afghanistan Done (Part 2 of A Country on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)

My dad always wanted to nuke shit. If there was some issue between the United States and another country, he invariably believed that the best solution was to launch nuclear missiles. When I was a kid, he regularly expounded on how the Vietnam War could have been won easily if we had just nuked the Vietcong. "Turn it into a glass parking lot" was a phrase he used often enough that it would describe his approach to foreign relations. Any time the Soviet Union farted in the direction of the United States, he was ready to start a massive nuclear war. During the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, he said that his solution would be simple: "I would call the families of the hostages and tell them that we're going to drop a low-yield nuclear bomb on the embassy and their loved ones wouldn't suffer." I don't know where he got the idea that there were nuclear weapons with such precision that they wouldn't cause massive collateral damage. He did read lots of Len Deighton novels, so maybe from them, but I suspect he didn't care how many Iranians died. He passed away in 1980, so he never got to see how the hostage crisis ended, but I could hear him in my head after 9/11 saying something like "Call the Taliban and tell them that they have 48 hours to turn over bin Laden or we're going to level all the mountains and turn the whole country into a glass parking lot." 

At some other time, I'm sure it would be fascinating to get into the psychology behind the desire to rain mass destruction down on your nation's enemies in every situation. But not right now.

It's a comforting myth, that somehow the United States can just bomb something into submission. I mean, we're told that was part of how we won World War II, with firebombing of cities like Dresden and atom bombing the fuck out of Japan, except historians have told us that neither action was really necessary. But we cling to that idea, that somehow we can win a war that way, that the big dog needs to bark loudly.

To those bomb-loving members of Congress and in the warmongering media, the United States's withdrawal from Afghanistan is a defeat for some vague-ass idea of "security," in that the nation would become a haven for terrorist groups despite the fact that the nation was a goddamn haven for terrorists even while we were there. Two weeks ago, the chaotic retreat and evacuation of Americans, allies, and Afghans was seen as a "catastrophe" all over the political spectrum. When the ISIS-K suicide bombing happened at the Kabul airport, killing over 100 people, including 13 American soldiers, all of a sudden the bloodthirsty mongrels of the right were ready to bomb the place into a mass grave and impeach President Joe Biden. Fuck, if 9/11 happened now, Republicans would blame it on cancel culture and trans people and demand Democrats kill themselves as penance. Unity is for suckers.

The problem, of course, is that the withdrawal wasn't a catastrophe. It simply wasn't. Yes, there were tragedies large and small, but the airlift of 120,000 people, mostly Afghans, was something of a miracle. It exceeded even the most optimistic predictions about the evacuation, and it made all the naysayers seem like damn fools. 

According to so many who understand Afghanistan far more than I do, the end of the war was what it was always going to be: the second the U.S. started withdrawing in earnest, shit was going to go nuts. There was no subtle way to do it. Chaos was going to happen. How could it not? The entire 20-year boondoggle had been a waste of time, lives, and cash, a payoff to military contractors and another woeful experiment in attempting to cram the round peg of democracy into the square hole of another nation and pretend that the stench of colonialism wasn't behind it. There was no way that it all wasn't going to collapse. Nation-building is a Jenga game on a wobbly table on the best days. 

Instead of understanding this, what we have gotten, from the right, center, and moderate left, is an outcry, about the withdrawal as a betrayal of American values, about how Biden isn't fit to be president, about how we have some kind of obligation to stay forever in a country that, truly, doesn't mean dick to us. Yes, what's going to happen to women there is awful. But what's happening to women in a fuckton of places is awful. You wanna bomb Saudi Arabia? What makes Afghanistan so fucking special? Because a guy we wanted dead hid there 20 years ago? Foreign policy is about shitty choices. But too many in Congress and in the media are invested in making this whole withdrawal effort seem wrong for reasons that they can barely describe beyond the idea that we should just keep doing what we've been doing. It's ludicrous. 

And, as Biden put it forcefully today, the rational choice right now is to get the fuck out of Afghanistan. He's right that it's idiotic to keep putting money and lives into an effort just because we can. Goddamn, we haven't fought a war worth fighting in my entire life, and in the post-Vietnam era, the idea that it took 20 years to come to the same conclusion as we did in Vietnam is depressing beyond words. In many ways, Biden's speech was pro-military and pro-veteran. He was saying that he's not going to send them into places for bullshit reasons. And give the man points for consistency. He's been wanting to be out of Afghanistan for at least a dozen years now. 

One other thing that Biden is doing is saying that the U.S. will abide by its agreements, unlike Donald Trump who shitcanned the Iraq nuclear weapons deal and the Paris Climate Accord. With a strengthened Taliban in the wake of Trump's deal with them (helped by 5000 Taliban prisoners released as part of the agreement), the options were to abide by the deal and leave or to go full-on aggressive war, with all the civilian casualties and misery that would cause, as well as the increased US casualties and exploding cost. At least that latter path is foreclosed. Hopefully for good. It's over. It's really goddamn over.  

But, hey take comfort, war-humpers. We're probably still gonna drone missile the fuck out of people living in stone huts in some godforsaken rural area of Afghanistan because freedom. My dad would advocate nuking them, but, as I said, he was a bit of a one-strategy guy.

8/26/2021

A Country on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Part 1: Mask Madness)

The first time I saw the irrationality of large groups of adults happened when I was an adolescent in Lafayette, Louisiana. My mom took me to a parish council meeting (in case you don't know, parishes are counties but they're called "parishes" in Louisiana because Catholicism) for a debate over allowing fluoridation of the water in the community. I had asked to go because I've always been perverse that way. To my family, it seemed like the easiest call: Of course. We had moved from a town in Florida where the water was fluoridated and we were all fine.

I wasn't really surprised at how many people opposed it. However, I remember being shocked (and, lemme be honest here, amused - I was around 12) by the passionate way these putative grown-ups, some of whom were parents of friends of mine, spouted insane bullshit. It wasn't just that they were ignorant. They were proudly ignorant, wanting to share that ignorance with the whole goddamn city. Even in the dark ages of pre-internet time, they had done their own "research" and brandished supposed studies that showed how fluoride caused all kinds of maladies, from mental illness to bone destruction. It was weird and eye-opening. I mean, none of us who drank fluoridated water had grown a third arm or shit out teeth or gone dumb. Besides, the garbage put into the air by the oil industry and the chemical plants was gonna get us if the lead paint and asbestos in our schools didn't first. That didn't matter. 

What mattered was some egghead doctors thought they knew better about how to take care of children's teeth than the gathered moms and dads and that shit just wouldn't fly. And to this day, there is no fluoride in the water in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, and the state's overall dental health is consistently among the worst in the country. 

Ignorance and cowardice won because, well, it usually does. Right now, for instance, the Covid vaccination rate in Lafayette Parish is around 39%, and it's not close to the lowest in the state. And its rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are at or near the highest since the start of the pandemic, which proves that the fucking worst people can fuck things up even in a state with a Democratic governor who has issued a mask mandate that most everyone is just ignoring because all the right-wingers are ear- and eye-fucking them with waves of disinformation and lies that they gobble up like kibble from Jesus's asshole.

That scene of brazen, public, proud ignorance I witnessed as a kid is playing out every damn day. 

In Michigan, Kalamazoo County's Health Department held a meeting on mask mandates where the people said shit like, "Don’t tell me how to raise my family" and "We as parents should decide what that risk is going to be." At a Kent County meeting, you could hear some fucknut say, creepily, "We are responsible for our biological property, which is our children" while people fucking applauded those sentiments. Not to get all into moron logic, but the second your kids step outside your house, they gotta play by the rules or go the fuck home to their biological owners. (Yeah, that's genuinely creepy. Can we get child protective services over to that house?)

Up the road a little ways in Ottawa County, parents dragged kids to chant, sing, and pray outside a Board of Commissioners meeting. One man-shaped butt plug shouted at the commissioners, "There's hell coming and I'm not doing it to threaten anybody but there's a lot of good guys out there ready to do bad things soon. Watch what's coming." These little bitches do this all the time: they aren't threatening anyone, but here's a threat. Fuck you, you fake warrior. Make a goddamn threat and take the consequences or sit the fuck down. 

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont had to stop a back-to-school roundtable at an actual high school because anti-mask dickmites showed up to yell at him and other officials. They were called "criminals" and one asshole called out, "When did we start living in Nazi Germany, Ned?" The answer, of course, is when a bunch of unelected thugs started refusing to follow legitimate laws and used force to shut down dissent with their extremist beliefs. But that's a bit too nuanced for the Masks = Holocaust crowd.

I just wanna say to all of 'em, "Motherfuckers, we're the ones who should be pissed off. We got vaccinated. We did what was good for the nation, what was good for everyone. We thought we were gonna be in unmasked bliss and getting back to normal, but you ignorant fucks blew it for everyone. Eat my whole ass." But that won't matter to someone who thinks they are so right and righteous in their stupidity that they need to show everyone, like a proud toddler with an erection.

And let's not even begin to get into the basic fuckery behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order suspending laws so that no government nor any body that receives funds from the state can issue a vaccine mandate. Abbott, who has decided to try to out-Trump Trump on deranged and harmful acts, is sucking so hard at the nutzoid right teat that he'll go cross-eyed from the effort. There should be a national vaccine mandate and anyone who doesn't like it can go live on Covid island where they can pass around variants until they run out of Greek letters or people.

Or Florida. Jesus fuck, Florida.

The GOP has put this nation on a ledge and threatened to push it off. And every day, they keep chipping more and more of that ledge away through their actions and inaction. For those who know that they're spreading utter bullshit, it's brutal and cruel. For those who are true believers, it's dumbfounding. We're approaching a convulsion point where the only way some will know how to react is through violence. And that still won't be enough for the conservative jackals feeding on our anxiety and rage and conflict.

We've been close to madness in modern times before as a nation, but each time, we seem to pull back just before we plunge over that edge. I'm not so sure we can this time.

(In Part 2: The Afghanistan withdrawal is breaking the brains of the warmongers.)

8/20/2021

Note to Anti-Maskers: You're Not Revolutionaries. You're Just Assholes.

At one point in the chaotic Louisiana Board of Secondary and Elementary Education meeting in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, a local Christian extremist pastor, Tony Spell, announced as the elected officials tried to start things, "Let’s welcome the board to our meeting today." He was standing on a chair, surrounded by a couple of hundred people there to protest the school mask mandate issued by Governor John Bel Edwards. Despite the requirement, almost none of the gathered flesh lumps wore masks in the tight space. 

Spell, his hair greased back, declared, "King Edwards is the biggest lawbreaker in the state history," an objectively false statement since, you know, the fucking state was pretty much founded by pirates. Hell, even if Edwards were breaking the law, he wouldn't be the biggest lawbreaker who was governor. The ghosts of Huey Long and Edwin Edwards (no relation to John Bel) must have been thinking, "What the fuck? Forget about us already?"

But facts were hard to come by in the meeting room, as they are in all these school board and other meetings where whiny assholes wail about their children's loss of freedom and order is barely or not maintained and no one has the fucking guts to say to the cops there, "Arrest these dumb pricks. They're too stupid to walk and breathe at the same time."

After watching and reading about a bunch of the anti-mask uproars, two things are perfectly clear:

1. You don't fucking know how to raise your kids better just because you pooped them out or spewed some jizz into a woman who pooped out your kids.

2. These motherfuckers really do think they're revolutionaries.

Look again at what Skeevy Spell said: "Let's welcome the board to our meeting today." Before that, Spell essentially declared himself as the leader of the whole goddamn thing, saying, with no sense of irony, "We're going to run this meeting by Robert's Rules of Order" and then started calling witnesses. In other words, the group of deranged virus-lovers believed they had taken over the state school board. While the police remained idle, the board members did vote to shitcan the whole meeting.

This kind of scene from the depths of MAGA madness is playing out all over the country. In the Philly suburb of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, the North Penn School Board was deciding on whether or not to have a mask mandate for students, and its meeting last Thursday devolved into a shouting match where one fucking moronic woman actually brought up, "The Nuremburg Code of 1947, U.S. federal law, prohibits forcing or coercing anyone, under any circumstances, to participate in a medical experiment. And the code states: 'the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.' In lieu of all of this information, my kids will not be adhering to the mask mandate — which by the way is not a law." The Nuremberg thing is bullshit that's been around for months in the Facebook shit pages of the nutzoid right because it's one of those things that idiots say to sound smart. Of course, the meeting had to be shut down because of the barbaric yowls of the anti-maskers, but the school board did pass the mandate.

And that's because something else is true: the people at these meetings don't represent how actually reasonable most people are. Polls show that over two-thirds of the public support mask mandates in schools. But you know who don't go to meetings where they know that a bunch of screaming fucknuts aren't going to be wearing masks? The people who support mask mandates.

None of these shit-smeared yahoos is the revolutionary they think they are. At best, they're the loudest farting assholes in the right-wing flatulence chorus. You think that's too harsh? Check out these motherfuckers from a school board meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This is how they reacted to speakers who favored masks:

"A woman snorted with laughter as a teen said she was in favor of masks because she worried about people like her dad, who has one lung.

"A man rolled his eyes at an 11-year-old who asked for unity in the face of the virus, suggesting she was just manifesting her mother’s fear: 'Good job, mom,' he said with a snicker.

"The crowd laughed at a board member while she talked about comforting children who have lost a parent to COVID-19."

The board voted in favor of the mask mandate, so suck on that, you cruel jizz stains.

I have long, long ago given up having any sympathy for the belligerently unmasked and/or unvaccinated. I have given up feeling bad when someone who said Covid is a hoax or vaccines are mind control ends up dying from the virus. As I've said, I want them to be vaccinated. I want them to save their own lives. But, you know, you fucked around and you found out. Just stop taking up ICU beds from people who gave a shit or the kids you gave Covid to.

But the anti-mask warriors behave as if the school board meetings are the U.S. Capitol and they all have painted faces and are wearing horns, ready to overthrow the government. It's worse than the Tea Party bullshit back in 2010 because, as stupid as that was, at least it was mostly directed at full-time members of Congress. This shit is just neighbors attacking neighbors. It's less 1776 and more Lord of the Flies.

8/16/2021

When, After All, It Was You and Me: Spreading Blame Where It Belongs for the War in Afghanistan

Those of us who opposed invading Afghanistan in 2001 were few, with overwhelming public support for bombing the shit out of the Taliban for harboring 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and possibly supporting al-Qaeda (they really don't have the same goals). Or that's what we were told. When I said that I opposed the war two decades ago, I was looked at like a goddamn traitor. I've said multiple times that the 9/11 attacks were crimes, not acts of war. What's the difference? Scores of soldiers from the Japanese military were involved in attacking Pearl Harbor. 19 deranged fundamentalist dickholes, exploited by cave-dwelling zealots who sure as fuck weren't doing a suicide mission themselves, were directly involved in taking down the Twin Towers, hitting the Pentagon, and losing a fight over Pennsylvania. A couple of decent metal detectors and an extra frisk or two would have ended the whole thing. As I've said often, 9/11 was a James Bond villain plot where James Bond didn't defuse the bomb in time. 

I remember clearly (and wrote about this in 2004) when then-comedian and political writer Al Franken interviewed Boston Globe columnist James Carroll on his Air America show (yeah, that was a lifetime ago). Carroll shocked Franken by stating that he thought the invasion of Afghanistan had been a huge fuckup, just like the invasion of Iraq. Franken said the thing that most on the left still say (and, to be honest, I've said once or twice): we had the Taliban on the run and the Iraq War was a massive distraction from accomplishing the mission in Afghanistan. Carroll stood firm that it was all a complete clusterfuck we had no business fighting. Franken left it at a kind of agree-to-disagree stage because Carroll was right, as was Rep. Barbara Lee, the sole vote in Congress against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the blank check given to President Bush (and all presidents after) to wage war, as were the tiny percentage of us who opposed the war on the grounds that it's a fucking war against a nation that didn't, as a nation, attack us, that, at worst, was harboring a criminal that it was willing to hand over to a neutral country. (No, really.)

There are mountains of blame to go around for the failure of the United States to stand an army and a stable government in a place that, in its best times, had a couple of cities that were islands of progress amid a rocky land of ignorance and poverty, in a nation where opium and heroin make up a big share of the GDP (at least 10%), which the Taliban has been controlling. And while we could date the blame back to the fucking British attempting to make it another goddamn colony or perhaps blame the United States for arming the mujahideen against the Soviet Union for stupid Cold War reasons (or, you know, the USSR for backing the assassination of the Afghan president and a coup in 1978), so much of blame for the war started in 2001 clearly and obviously rests with the vile George W. Bush and his cabal of neocons with imperial hard-ons who wanted to fuck countries into freedom without their consent. 

It's tempting to leave it there. But I can't because that lets others off the hook. And I'm not talking about Obama and Trump. No, I'm talking about the bloodthirsty American public who, for years after the attacks of September 11, wanted to keep murdering people overseas in order to satiate an impossible desire for vengeance. And I get it, I get it. I can remember right after the attack thinking, "Someone was really fucking dumb for deciding to poke the fucking bear." I can remember feeling the desire to fucking waste some motherfuckers in the name of the dead. Fuck, I had family that barely got away from the collapse of the towers. That's only human to wanna fuck shit up. What's also human is to take a moment and think, "Okay, yeah, lizard brain can take over but what if it didn't?"

Almost everyone let their lizard brain run rampant. Polls from September 2001 and for nearly a year after showed 85-94% support for going to war in Afghanistan. One November 2001 poll asked, "How long would you be willing to use combat forces to deal with the problem of terrorism -- less than one year, one to two years, three to five years, or more than five years if it takes that long?" 63% said more than five years, with 10% saying up to 5 years. The support for extended war in Afghanistan crossed party lines, ideological lines, generational lines, all the fucking lines. 

You wanted war. You already hated the Taliban for how they were making life a living hell for women because of their bullshit adherence to bullshit Sharia law. You wanted al-Qaeda destroyed because you were told, over and over, that 9/11 changed everything. You wanted blood. And you can sit there and try to say you didn't want this, but, really, c'mon, the best you can do is that sometime five or seven years after the war's start, you finally started to think, "Whoa, this is way fucked up." 

Or maybe it was even longer. In June 2009, a Pew Research poll showed that 57% of Americans, including 45% of Democrats, still thought that we should stay in Afghanistan. 76% said that it would be a "major threat" to the U.S. if the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan. By September 2009, the support for the war would finally drop to 50% and it continued downward. The surge in troops that President Obama did (against then Vice President Joe Biden's advice), with the accompanying rise in American casualties in the war, seemed to turn the tide, with support, already dropping, bottoming out for Democrats. 

Clearly, if we're judging things by public support, we should have gotten the fuck out of Afghanistan in 2009 and not stayed for another dozen years before facing the inevitable. But the American public bears the burden of fighting this war that was misguided from the start. Americans needed pounds of flesh, needed to get repaid for the murder of Americans with multiple degrees of interest on that debt. 

I wish we had been wrong, those of us who opposed the war. I wish we had set up a glorious oasis of democracy and freedom, with schools, with alternate crops for the poppy farmers, with modernization of the nation. Yeah, that's my Western mindset at work, sure, but when it comes to the horror that Afghan women in particular are facing, well, fuck it. 

This is a tragedy. It was never not going to be a tragedy. Yes, President Biden was brave to decide this was a mistake and it was time to stop making it, even if the speed at which Afghanistan fell was breathtaking (and truly telling). We should be letting in refugees by the tens of thousands, at least those Afghans who helped our troops during this disaster, if not thousands upon thousands more. We couldn't shoot our way to peace. We poured in money and killed so many people and had so many killed. And still we promised more than we could ever deliver. Let's at least own our role in ruining their lives.

(Note: Of course, the real villains here are the Taliban. Fuck those delusional incel motherfuckers.)

(Note: If you want to know what the Afghans were thinking in the first decade of the war, check out this report.)

8/11/2021

Now Abbott, DeSantis, and Other COVID Accomplice Governors Need to Resign

At some point, if vaccination rates climb in Texas and Florida and other states where the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been allowed to freely lung-fuck the residents, I'd almost expect the governors of those states who refused to do jackshit to mitigate the virus to say, "See? It took a few thousand more deaths, but now people are making the personal choice to get vaccinated. Government didn't force them to. Reverse psychology in action."

Of course, they aren't that crafty. What we have are ideological pig fuckers who are getting high on the power they have over the lives and deaths of the people in their states. They see defiance of rational actions to slow the spread of the virus as some kind of mighty stand for freedom and rights and the economy when, really, they're just accomplices to the murder and maiming that Covid is doing. 

Over in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis is the discharge from that infected penis of a state, the hospitals in the central part have been inundated with patients at record levels as cases surge to their highest levels in the pandemic. In St. Petersburg, emergency rooms are so full that patients have to wait for at least an hour in an ambulance before being allowed in for, you know, their emergency. Nearly 70% of Florida hospitals will experience a shortage of staff in the next seven days. In Brevard County, where 313 patients are hospitalized with Covid, only 3 are vaccinated. That's over 99% of patients unvaccinated. The Florida Department of Health and Human Services is reported to have requested hundreds of ventilators from the federal government, and it seems like they didn't tell DeSantis about it. Meanwhile, DeSantis and the savages in the Florida GOP are against vaccine mandates and masking requirements, as well as vaccine passports, essentially inviting Covid to speed around the state and fuck up everyone. DeSantis is a sentient hemorrhoid that was cut off Donald Trump's asshole, and fortunately, mayors and county school board superintendents are telling the governor to go fuck himself, even with the threat of legal action hanging over them.

In Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is the dry cow dung on the bottom of a cheap pair of boots, the ICUs are filling up to capacity with Covid patients. Austin activated its emergency alert system to warn people about the worsening situation, and Houston hospitals are putting up tents to deal with the extra patients. While going to fucking war over mask mandates, Abbott has asked hospitals to postpone elective surgeries to make more room even more sick and dying. At this point, it's like Abbott's tiny, fucked-up brain has been taken over by Covid and it's forcing him to not only allow Covid to spread, but to make it comfortable while it kills Texans. Fortunately, like in Florida, leaders in different localities have told Abbott he can eat their whole asses when it comes to school mask mandates. One judge in Dallas said, "The citizens of Dallas County have and will continue to be damaged and injured by Governor Abbott’s conduct." Of course, Abbott has said he would fight that decision and one in San Antonio because, goddamnit, he has to strangle more children to calm the Covid brain worms.

Where the fuck else do you want to go? Down to Mississippi, where Gov. Tate Reeves, who really looks like he's got a woman pit in his basement, has also shit all over mask mandates and the CDC, even as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths blow up all over the state. By the way, less than 35% of Mississippians are fully vaccinated. Up to Missouri, where Gov. Dipshit Magoo said he thought it "undermined" confidence in the vaccine to ask the vaccinated to mask up, but when you have a toxic soup of disease and assholes in your state, where only 41% are fully vaccinated, then it's pretty fucking hard to trust people to wear masks voluntarily. And, yeah, the hospitals are overwhelmed, too. 

Republicans (along with most Democrats) were screaming for the head of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for sexual harassment, and, thankfully, he resigned yesterday. It was the right and decent thing to do because he had demonstrated that he no longer could be trusted to run the state (and, as an employee of the state of New York, I'll just say, "Fuck, yeah" to his departure). 

So what about DeSantis, Abbott, Reeves, and Parsons (the aforementioned "Dipshit Magoo")? They are essentially accomplices to the spread of Covid, helping it thrive and continue, allowing it to take down more children, providing it with incubators for more variants. They are feeding the people of their states to a dragon that promised them electoral gold in exchange for sacrifices. There should be an outcry for them to resign in disgrace because while Covid giddily run rampant through their populations, what the fuck have they been working on? Fucking anti-critical race theory laws? Restricting voting rights? That's not fiddling while Rome burns. That's jacking off on the ashes of the dead.

Like Cuomo but different in kind, their behavior has demonstrated they are unfit to lead their states. Get the fuck out of the way and let someone who gives a damn try to fix things. Jesus, at least Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas admits he fucked up on mask mandates. The rest of them are shamelessly doubling down. Of course, they're Republicans, so shame isn't really in their vocabulary or the menu of emotions they feel. 

(Note: The outlier here is Louisiana, where the Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, has reinstated a mask mandate in response to the shocking surge of cases. We'll see what the people do there. I don't have much faith in my home state.)

8/04/2021

Maybe We're Just Sick of Ignorance and This Time We Can Do Something About It

The easiest way to describe the genuine anger at the anti-vax idiots is that we're fucking sick of their shit. We're tired of having the direction of our lives decided by the most credulous and easily manipulated motherfuckers in the population. We've reached the end of our proverbial ropes and, goddamnit, we're done buying longer ropes.

You saw that today when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who successfully guided his state through the worst shit in the first part of the pandemic, was fucking done with the anti-vax protesters at a news conference he was having. "Because of what you are saying and standing for people are losing their life... and you have to know that," he told the hooting morons, calling them "knuckleheads," a favorite term of his. 

I could go back a long fucking time in detailing all the shit we've been forced to eat, but let's just concentrate on the last few years. So much of it was assholishness and savagery that we had no fucking say in and no control over. We've had to sit there while knuckle-dragging, Fox-lobotomized cock dribbles cheered for all the brute bullshit that Donald Trump and the various infected pustules in his administration could do, like banning people from mostly Muslim-majority countries for no rational reason and separating migrant children from their families for the specific purpose of being dicks to them. We could do nothing when the perverse Republicans in the Senate not only prevented Barack Obama from making a Supreme Court pick nearly a year before the next president would be inaugurated, but then decided it was cool to rush through a nominee after people had already started voting for the 2020 election, thus allowing a SCOTUS face-fucking on issues like abortion and voting rights all but inevitable. We watched in horror as the federal government was used as a weapon against Black Lives Matter protesters and as open, enthusiastic racists were welcomed, even honored, by the GOP, who couldn't be bothered to do a goddamn thing about the ongoing execution by cop of black people. We couldn't do a fucking thing as Trump pranced around the globe, dicking over the United States's longtime alliances, wiping his ass with the Paris Agreement on climate change, and pissing on the Iran nuclear deal. And speaking of climate change, we've had to watch dumbfounded for years as Trump reversed even the small bit of progress that the country was making, essentially declaring that he'll be dead, so fuck it, burn all the fossil fuels you can, fuckers, because wind turbines are ugly and kill birds. And that's not even getting into the scandal upon scandal upon scandal, all happening while the sinister cuntmites in the GOP grinned, their teeth slicked with MAGA jizz, discovered that they fucking loved being openly evil, and enabled, supported, aided, abetted, and cheered the filthiest urges of this filthiest of presidents and his mongrel circle, making celebrities out of the skeeviest, stupidest of their pitiful lot. 

And then we were helpless for the first year of the Covid pandemic, aghast as we saw the White House simply refuse to do basic things to help not just the sick, but the front line workers who were working themselves sometimes to death trying to keep the rest of us alive. We saw organized groups threaten to fucking murder leaders over efforts by state governments to mitigate the spread of the virus. And we saw Trump and the GOP act as if this was all just the price to pay for some debased notion of freedom, one that was contorted around allowing a certain number of people to die rather than raise taxes on the wealthy in order to prevent economic collapse.

And, through it all, we had to watch the idiot hordes of MAGA cretins whoop it up, acting like every fucking day was asshole Christmas, electing rank boobs to Congress just because they promised to be Trump's ass remoras while doing nothing except piss off the liberals. The last fucking straw was the vaccine. That was it. That was the breaking point. When these yahoos who aren't fit to live in sewage ditches refused to get vaccinated from the very vaccine that their great and powerful leader bragged about helping create, when they decided that that vaccine was a plot to control their brains or poison them, and when their monstrously dumb decision allowed the virus to regroup and fill the hospitals with patients again in places where their idiocy ran amok, when the yahoos and their skeevy leaders mock the idea that masks might be needed again because of the actions of the very yahoos who need to masks, well, that fucking does it. E-fucking-nough.

So, yeah, we have some fucking control, some power here, and we're gonna use it. Companies are saying, "Get fucking vaccinated or fuck off." Cities and schools and other places are saying, "Get fucking vaccinated or stay in your homes, you plague rats." And while some states have banned mandates for localities and schools, many of those are based on the emergency authorization and would expire once the Covid vaccine receives full FDA approval, which is expected in the next couple of weeks. 

When I read shit like "Stop Harassing the Unvaccinated" by Washington Post columnist and torture apologist Marc Thiessen, I just wanna say, "Bitch, we've been polite up until now." Shit, most polls show that at least 60% of Americans support vaccine mandates. We haven't even started harassing them.

We're done. We've eaten enough shit force-fed us from the right-wing moron brigade. Finally, there's something where we have some control, where we don't have to beg GOP senators for crumbs or where we don't have to try to convince Joe fucking Manchin or Kyrsten goddamn Sinema to end the filibuster rule. Those of us in places where hospitalization isn't skyrocketing because of the rate of vaccinations want to keep it that way. 

And we're saying, "Fuck you" to the unvaccinated because, at last, we can and because we're tired of bearing the consequences for your irrationality and ignorance.

(Note: This shouldn't need to be said, but, obviously, if you can't get vaccinated because of some medical condition, you're not included. Also, if you're in an underserved area, that's a different case.  And kids. But if you're just being stubborn, selfish, and/or stupid, yeah, fuck you.)