4/15/2021

Shut the Fuck Up and Get Your Fucking Vaccine

A bunch of fanatics are fucking up the vaccination program for everyone. Polls are showing that a significant percentage of people won't get the vaccine. In places where people don't get vaccinated, cases have been on the rise. There are YouTube videos, filled with conspiracy theories, exhorting people to avoid the vaccine. People spread the idea that the vaccine is a way to spy on them, and there has been violence directed against the distribution, with fear that not enough people will get it to eliminate the illness.

Yeah, that's what's going on in Afghanistan as health groups attempt to get people vaccinated for polio. 

The rhetoric that's coming from the antivaccine right (and, to a lesser, weirder, but just as dangerous extent, the antivax left) is qualitatively not that different from what the Taliban has been pushing in Afghanistan. This is not to disparage the Afghan people or call them stupid. Far from it. It's to say that fear and ignorance is pretty goddamned universal, and it often is so on the same issues no matter where one is from.

Here in the United States, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines, we're swimming in a shit pool of lies and fear. We've got the dumbass white evangelical Christians who believe garbage like "It would be God’s will if I am here or if I am not here." (So, like, if God gave people the ability to create vaccines...fuck it, not worth it.)  We've got fucking idiotic conspiracy theories like "A massive death wave will be witnessed later this year among those who took the vaccine," ignoring that it's been a year since the first people were vaccinated, and, oddly, no reports of all of them dying have come out. 

And then there's motherfucking Tucker fucking Carlson, who always has the expression of a Victorian gentleman learning that women like sex. Carlson has been coyly and not-so-coyly antivax for the better part of the last few years. With the coronavirus vaccines, Tuckfuck has been vigorously gargling the balls of conspiracy nuts. Wondering why you should still have to wear a mask after getting vaccinated, Carlson's just asking,  "What is this about? If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives?" Quite note: You're wearing your fucking mask because you still might be able to spread COVID, even if you can't get it, and you're trying not to be a selfish dickhead, something I'm sure Carlson can't even conceive of.

Carlson, who you know got his vaccine the second he could steal the spot from an elderly person, continued tuckerly, "If the vaccine is effective, there’s no reason for people who’ve received a vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well, you’d hate to think that especially if you’ve gotten two shots but what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one." Yes, big science wants you to wear masks and not eat indoors at restaurants or go to concerts or movies because...he doesn't say, but I'm guessing socialism or critical race theory or AOC.

Of course, things weren't helped when the FDA and the CDC put a pause on the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine because of 6 reported cases of blood clots in the brains of women who had recently received it. And while I don't know the reasons behind such a drastic step, even if the J&J vaccine is only about 5% of the total vaccines out there, it sure as fuck seems like a big damn mistake to have taken that action, considering how fucking stupid and hesitant too many people are being about getting the shot. There may be something to it, but 6 out of nearly 7 million people who received the J&J vaccine makes it an adverse reaction so rare that it's pretty much negligible, and, yes, I'm recognizing that there may be more cases once there's an investigation. Yet the diabetes drug Jardiance can cause your taint (you know, your perineum? your grundle?) to rot (yes, rot), and there have been 12 cases in less than 2 million users, but that son of a bitch has full FDA approval.  

Really, honestly, whenever someone tells me they don't want to get the vaccine because it hasn't been researched long enough or they don't know what's in it or whatever, all I'm left with saying is "Shut the fuck up and get your fucking vaccine." I know one person who shouldn't get it, someone who is severely immunocompromised, and even she wants to get it. Just stop this shit and get the fucking vaccine. Line the fuck up and let shit get back to normal. 

But, no, no, no, not our selfish bourgie asses. Low turnout for vaccine distribution has become standard in many places. Health officials are worried that the country won't reach herd immunity, when at least 70% of people have been vaccinated, primarily because Republicans are being such dicks about it, acting as if there's something to be concerned about with the damn thing.

I mean, come the fuck on. Every single day, Americans suck down and engorge themselves on poisons masking themselves as food. Every single day, Americans are drinking and inhaling hundreds of pieces of microplastics that likely have a toxic effect on us. Every single day, most Americans are living with air so filled with chemicals that we're probably doing ourselves a goddamn favor by wearing a mask. Every single day, most Americans just allow the climate to degrade and diseases to mutate and spread. And barely anyone fucking blinks at this shit. But after shoving a wad of McDonald's french fries in your face, inhaling Dow Chemical's latest highball of poison, and avoiding wearing sunscreen while filling your lungs with enough plastic to make a small ball, all of a sudden, when it comes to the COVID vaccine, you're a fucking purist? Fuck you. Get the fucking vaccine.

By the way, to get back to Afghanistan and toss Pakistan into the mix, there are lots of idiotic, cruel, and backwards reasons that they have an issue with vaccination efforts, including refusing to take it from women (to the point of murdering women delivering it), but one big reason for the vaccine hesitancy is pretty interesting. In 2011, the CIA used a vaccine worker to get DNA samples from kids in an area of Pakistan to see if it matched Osama bin Laden's. Yeah, it was used for spying. Yeah, it completely fucking undermined the efforts of health NGOs. 

In other words, in those countries, they actually have more justification for being paranoid about vaccines than we do, thanks to us. What's our fucking excuse? Bullshit arrogance? Bullshit ideas of freedom?

You know what freedom is? Freedom is celebrating that science can actually solve our fucking problems and taking advantage of that so that your superstition and anti-science fuckery doesn't kill the rest of us.

Shut the fuck up already. Get your fucking vaccine, you fucking assholes.

4/09/2021

Conservatives Finally Just Say, "Fuck Your Right to Vote"

As a slew of new voter laws slime their way through the legislatures of mostly Republican states where Democrats have a chance of winning, almost all based on the lie that there was mass election fraud in 2020, conservative commentators have decided that it's not enough to come up with bullshit new procedures that inhibit voting. Apparently, their goal isn't clear enough when they're voting to allow "poll watchers" to video record people going to vote or drastically limiting the number of drop boxes. No, now they're just flat-out saying, "Yeah, go fuck yourself with your right to vote."

This shit is not subtle. Over at the National Review (Motto: "Outraged that the Negroes get to vote for over 50 years"), Kevin Williamson wants us to ponder if "the republic would be better served by having fewer — but better — voters," and he pads his "column" (if by "column," you mean, "an elitist fart fest") with keen observations like "There would be more voters if we made it easier to vote, and there would be more doctors if we didn’t require a license to practice medicine." Motherfucker, voting doesn't involve surgery or prostate-fingering, even if it feels that way sometimes (for good and ill). It's just a shitty analogy, and it allows Williamson to get all smarmy about the loathsome unwashed voting in large numbers: "That sounds like a wonderful thing . . . if you haven’t met the average American voter." 

The tell in the piece, and there's always a tell whenever one of these squamous shits says something outrageous, is that Williamson doesn't say specifically who shouldn't be allowed to vote (beyond most convicted felons). He doesn't say the education level one should have to vote. He doesn't say if one should be of a certain income level. He doesn't say if you should have to literacy test or pay a poll tax. He merely asserts his little assertion, as if we should all understand who he means, itself both a cowardly and a  frightening position. 

Of course, unafraid to go full motherfucker is Tucker Carlson, the most reliable penis fish living in the muck of Fox "news." Last night, on his show Tucker Carlson Force Fists Lady Liberty, the host, who constantly looks like he just saw a Black person for the first time, continued his hoodless white nationalism. Talking about voting, Carlson said that "[T]he Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World." 

You think that's the fucked up part? No, here's the fucked up part: "I have less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American guaranteed at birth is one man, one vote, and they are diluting it. No, they are not allowed to do it. Why are we putting up with this?"

Try to parse this noxious fuckery out. It's pretty much saying that we shouldn't allow immigration because the immigrants might vote for Democrats (and it also implies fucking clearly that Republicans shouldn't even try to win the immigrant vote). But look at the nonsensical bullshit: He says that his right to vote comes from being born in the United States, which is complete dog piss. His citizenship comes from being born here. His right to vote comes from being a citizen, and there are other routes to becoming a citizen. So the extraordinarily radical proposition here is that only people born in the United States should be allowed to vote. Tell that to the fucking Cubans who have kept Florida red for the last few election cycles. 

Carlson mocks the idea that he's talking about "white replacement theory," which is one of those things that modern Nazis jack off over, the notion that people of white European background are being "replaced" by non-white people from, one assumes they believe, lesser areas of the world through both immigration and having babies. But that's exactly where Tuckfuck's going with all this. 

What we're actually witnessing here is not the growth of a movement, even if it looks that way since the right-wing media megaphone is so goddamned loud that it's like those cicadas fucking all the time. No, what we're seeing is the desperate clinging to power of a party and an ideology that is facing its demographic doom within a generation. And immigration is only part of the reason. Add in the way that online culture expands the world for the next group that will birthday into voting age, and, yeah, the Tuckerites' voices will grown smaller and smaller until they're just screaming into the Newsmax void, like, you know, Donald Trump. 

But until the "replacement" is done, we gotta remain vigilant and active against this stream of conservative thought that seeks to rescind the right to vote. Their problem with Democrats is democracy.

4/05/2021

Republicans Don't Deserve Democrats' Bipartisanship

Today, as President Joe Biden was heading from Marine One into the White House, he stopped to briefly speak to reporters. And, sure as the sun comes up in the morning, he was asked about why he's not doing more to be nice to Republicans on the infrastructure bill that does not need Republican support to pass. "Where is the room for negotiation with Republicans?" some goddamn reporter wanted to know. That Biden didn't say, "Right next to my saggy ballsack" demonstrates an impressive level of restraint.

It's just goes on like this every fucking day. Last Friday, Press Secretary Jenn Psaki, who has become an expert at using stiletto to castrate Fox "news," was asked, "There’s the sense that Republicans will not support anything that has basically a Democratic president’s name on it.  How do you — how do you change that dynamic?" In her firm, clear way, Psaki more or less said, "By telling them to go fuck themselves with poll numbers that show their voters want more shit done."

Of course, Psaki gets this shit tossed at her so often that she's developed an invisible shield that bounces it off her and back onto the reporter who threw it. On March 26, Psaki was asked, "How can you achieve bipartisan support for infrastructure if Republicans are drawing the line — a hard line on taxes?" On March 24, she was asked, "Has the President’s definition of bipartisanship change since he arrived in office on January 20th?" Every fucking time, Psaki has to point out a simple truth: Biden's initiatives are supported by a bipartisan majority of voters. Republicans in power just don't give a fuck what their voters want because they know those voters will be distracted by a shiny Dr. Seuss "cancellation."

The media's pathological need for Democrats to have to get Republican approval for everything they want to accomplish in DC has long been pathetic. Coming out of the cancerous presidency of Donald Trump and after a decade of Mitch McConnell jacking off on any notions of compromise or bipartisanship, it's completely baffling. 

To this day, the majority of Republicans believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen or corrupted in some way, a lie so extravagant and fake that it could decorate a Trump property. Nearly 2/3 of GOP voters still gobble up Trump's election lies like it's kibble from Jesus's ass. Not only are many congressional Republicans still unable to admit that Joe Biden was legitimately elected, but we have states passing laws that make voting harder under the banner of the fake voter fraud. That's like Bigfoot-proofing your house. It won't do jack shit to make you safer, but the Bigfoot supply people are fuckin' happy they put one over on you.

According to too many in the media, Democrats are supposed to just fucking pretend that everything is hunky-dory and forget about Republicans almost getting them actually murdered while cutting off their voters ability to vote because the bipartisan unicorn is more important than anything else. Jesus fuck. Hell, this morning on CNN, Alisyn "Yes, I Spell My First Name That Way" Camerota really said, "Is there some potential upside to some of these laws that it will assuage the anxiety of Republicans?" Luckily, John Berman responded, "You shouldn't have to assuage a lie. I mean, assuaging a lie is not good legislation." No shit. And it shouldn't have to be said. This whole idea of just moving the fuck on is madness.

Let's say your neighbor's kid shit on your porch and set your car on fire. But when you showed your neighbor the Ring video of the teenage fucker doing it, he says it didn't happen, it's not his kid, he doesn't have to pay for anything because your car is the wrong color, and if you call the cops, he'll accuse you of fucking dogs. No one would expect you to invite the motherfuckers to your next barbecue. At the very least, he needs to apologize, admit he's wrong, pay for the damage, and let you shit on his kid's bed. Ok, maybe just three of those things. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democrats should respond to any question about bipartisanship or compromise with Republicans with "When Republicans say that Joe Biden was fairly elected and that there was no widespread or coordinated election fraud or illegal voting, we can talk about bipartisanship." Make it a precondition for everything. The national GOP and all the state GOPs all have to say it. They have to say it's a motherfucking fact. They have to admit they've been fucking lying. They have to say that Donald Trump is fucking lying.  

Fucking hell, stand up for the idea that facts exist. Otherwise, we get the fuckery that's going on in Georgia, which has gone from overcoming Trump's lies and intimidation in certifying its election results to lying about election fraud to passing laws based on those lies so they can overturn an election to corporations protesting the laws that are based on lies to boycotts of the corporations protesting the laws that are based on lies. And that shit is going to happen all over the place. It's not like most Republicans actually believe any of the lies. But, you know, the rubes who still vote for the GOP sure as shit do, so, fuck it. 

Democrats shouldn't be asked to play nice with the party that is trying to legislate them out of existence. We are in dangerous territory when the foundation of democracy, the right to vote, is subject to the whims of a party afraid of losing. I just can't decide if we're more fucked or less fucked if we need corporations to save our sad asses.

4/01/2021

Would a Good Guy with a Gun Have Been Justified in Saving George Floyd?

The testimony coming out of the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has been beyond heartbreaking and beyond enraging. Today, for instance, Floyd's girlfriend revealed on the stand that his pet name for her was "Mama," which is what he called out over and over as he died. It's been this way throughout the testimony of the prosecution's witnesses. Darnella Frazier, now 18 years-old, was 17 when she took the video that first catalyzed the response to Chauvin's murder of Floyd, and she said on the stand, "When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they’re all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. I look at how that could have been one of them." This is not to mention the brave condemnation to the faces of the cops by two black men: Donald Williams, who said to them, "Y’all murderers, dawg, y’all are murderers, dawg," and 61 year-old Charles McMillan, who told Chauvin after Floyd's limp body was taken away, "I don't respect what you did." Both men broke down crying on the stand over what they witnessed, what they've had to live with.

Yet what has also been solemnly encouraging is how many people wanted to help Floyd on that awful day. There was teenaged cashier Christopher Martin who wanted his store manager to put Floyd's cigarettes "on my tab" rather than have the police called on Floyd for passing a counterfeit $20 bill. There was trained EMT and firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who called out again and again for the cops to check Floyd's pulse and wanted to offer medical assistance but was spurned by Tuo Thao, the former officer also on trial for his actions during Floyd's murder. Williams called the police on the police because, as he told the 911 dispatcher of Chauvin, "He just pretty much killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest." 

While the defense is teeing up an attack on Floyd's drug use, which just leads to more questions of why they didn't administer or allow for medical treatment if he was overdosing, I keep thinking about those people who felt helpless before the police. Even 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who was monitoring the events through a video feed since she was the one who sent police to the scene first, knew that "something was wrong" and called Chauvin's sergeant as she watched the murder occur. "You can call me a snitch if you want to," she said.

And I keep thinking about something else that Darnella Frazier said. "It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life," she testified. That urge must have been overwhelming for so many of those watching Floyd beg for his life and Chauvin and the other officers just not give a damn.

Gun "rights" supporters often talk about two things: that some mythical "good guy with a gun" will be able to stop a bad guy in a violent situation, and that people need to be able to own guns to stop the government from treading on their life, liberty, and property. No, I don't believe these things justify mass gun ownership. But we do have a fuckton of guns. In Derek Chauvin, you have both situations bound together. The bad guy was a government official and he was depriving George Floyd of life and liberty. 

So I can't help thinking about what would have happened if someone or more than one someone had pulled guns on the cops and demanded that Chauvin get his goddamn leg off George Floyd's neck. I wonder if a good guy with a gun should have or could have saved Floyd. Would that good guy or gal have been justified in trying? Sure, the obvious answer is that this isn't a fucking game or movie and the cops would have pulled their guns and all hell might have broken loose, and that's a possibility, especially if the civilians who pointed guns at the cops were Black. But let's dare to go there for a moment or two.

I get that this is dangerous shit to even be contemplating, but, motherfuck, we've been watching these white nationalist dickholes work themselves up to a revolutionary rage over lies, over phantoms, over fantasies, and they were ready to overthrow the whole fucking federal government and a few states for shits and giggles and fake election fraud. Meanwhile, all this actual state-sponsored terrorism, violence, and oppression has been happening right in front of our faces, and the fact that we haven't seen a moment when civilians stepped in to stop cops who are abusing and murdering black people, like Chauvin's own sergeant said Chauvin did, is honestly something of a miracle and probably speaks to both the fear we have when it comes to official power and the titanic restraint of Black citizens in this nation. We want to believe the good guys would win. We need to believe that. Goddamnit, we wish that were true. 

To put it succinctly, even if it would have saved George Floyd's life, civilians stopping a violent cop is an uprising, and you can fucking well bet that it would have been put down with a savagery that wasn't even contemplated for the white nationalist rioters. 

Still, not helping, not doing something, anything, when you think you could have to save a life is haunting, as Frazier poignantly says. After voicing those sentiments, she added, "But it’s like, it’s not what I should have done, it’s what he should have done," referring to Chauvin. And that right there is key. The cop is supposed to be the good guy. The tragedy is that they so often aren't.

We have to fix the goddamned broken, racist justice system, hold the cops to the same behavior they hold all of us to, show that murderers aren't above the law because they have a badge, and convict this motherfucker. Do what should be done.  

The alternative is awful to contemplate because it feels so close to real.

3/25/2021

Republicans Need to Feel Way More Heat for Their Opposition to New Gun Laws

Everything you could say about our American gun obsession has been said, repeatedly, and nothing has changed. Now that our time living in the pandemic is lurching towards the finish line, we can once again expect the seemingly daily parade of horrors as mass shootings retake their place in the reopened nation. One nightmare will replace the next as quickly as the Boulder shootings replaced the Atlanta shootings in the news cycle and in the American consciousness, only to be replaced by another multiple homicide, multiple injury shooting by, almost guaranteed, some fucking man for some fucking reason. And we'll do the dance with the same steps that we've done for decades, with the back and forth over politicizing the death, with the round and round of what could have been done to stop the shooter, with the up and down over motives real and made-up, all the thoughts and prayers, all the proposed laws that go nowhere once they leave the House of Representatives, with the National Rifle Association somehow still relevant, with right-wing media telling us how guns equal freedom when we all, all of us know the opposite is true.

On Twitter and elsewhere, you'll see the usual liberal reactions. You'll get degradation, like advising gun owners to lube up their rifle barrels and fuck themselves to screaming orgasm with them. Or how a gun is just a dick substitute, a hard tube that makes up for a gun owner's inadequacies in physicality or skill. Hilarious.

Or it could be just general mocking of gun fucks. Like how they get all worked up if someone dares to misuse the term "assault rifle," as if that's what fucking matters.  Or what "AR" in "AR-15" really stands for (Asshole Reamer? Armed Rube? Authoritarian Robot?). And fuck you, pedantic gun nuts. You know what guns everyone is talking about when they say "assault weapons"

Or it could be an attempt to actually educate the savage gun freaks, pointing out how little gun violence there is in countries where there happen to be strict laws on gun owner. Or it could be to reason with them, Nicholas Kristof-style. But, really, the worst are a small number of gun owners who are deep-throating the NRA's talking points like it's a fellatio fest at Fleet Week (pre-pandemic). And, of course, elected Republicans.

So instead of all that noise, all that rhetoric, all those sodomy jokes, however fun they might be to make, lemme offer this:

In Florida, a February 2020 poll found that 86% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes 96% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans. 72% of voters said they "strongly support" the idea, with majorities in both parties agreeing with that sentiment. Yet, even in the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, skeevy Republican Senator Marco Rubio has never supported universal background checks, completely ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of his constituents.

In Indiana, an April 2019 poll found that 90% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes over 80% of Republicans and over 90% of Democrats. Interestingly, it also includes 88% of gun owners and 73% of NRA members. But Republican Todd Young, one of that shitty state's shitty senators, has an A+ rating from the NRA for, among other reasons, opposing universal background checks. Young has occasionally made noise about supporting some kind of "strengthening" of background checks, but he's never followed through because of course he won't.

In Utah, a September 2019 poll found that 88% of people in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes around 80% of Republicans and nearly 100% of Democrats. And it includes 88% of people who identify as active Mormons. Batshit insane Republican Senator Mike Lee proudly opposes gun laws and thinks that people need guns to prevent the government from taking their guns or some such vaguely treasonous nonsense.

The point here is not that universal background checks would end mass shootings. It would hinder some sales, but it needs to be paired with an assault weapons ban and other measures. But that's not the point of all that information. 

What should be clear by now is that universal background checks are not controversial or extreme, no matter how much the corrupt slugfuckers at the NRA screech that they are. In fact, the extremist position is opposing them. You are going against what almost every American believes and wants. Sure, you can call yourself a lone warrior for Second Amendment rights or whatever the fuck you wanna say to make yourself feel better, but, mostly, you're just a dick who's busy rubbing your nipples with gun lobby cash.

And the three dicks up there are all up for reelection in 2022. I'm under no illusion that Utah, Florida, and Indiana are gonna elect Democrats (although Florida is a little more likely and Indiana did have Evan Bayh for a couple of terms not that long ago), but Rubio, Young, and Lee need to feel some fucking pressure on this issue. Here they are, dismissing the overwhelmingly position of 9 out of 10 of their constituents. There's gotta be some pain for doing that, an ad or two calling them extremists who don't give a fuck about the voters of their state.

Because, see, if they end up having to pledge to support background check expansion, and that actually passes through the filibuster-fucked Senate, that opens the door just a little. Then we can move on to the other anti-gun laws that are also incredibly popular. Or we just fucking elect more Democrats and tell the GOP to go fuck themselves with their AR-15s. You know what the AR means now.

3/22/2021

You Cannot Talk About Biden's Border Actions Without Talking About Trump's Gutting of the Federal Government

Amid the right-wing's newly-found hysteria over the treatment of migrant children who are traveling unaccompanied to the southern border of the United States, amid the media's buying into Republican talking points as if they are gospel because, without Trump, they have to go back to the old rules of creating scandals and crises where none exist because Biden's blissfully boring, amid the ecstatic rage of hypocritical fucks from the Trump administration who are savagely beating off to the images of migrants housed in crowded conditions, one big motherfucking piece of the picture is being completely ignored. And that's the fact that Donald Trump wrecked the federal government, leaving behind a barely functioning shell in many departments. He trashed the joint because that's what the fuck he does, like a fuckin' flood went through the neighborhood, and it's been up to the Biden team to essentially rebuild the houses from the studs and foundation that remain.

We knew this even before he was out of office. As Garrett Graff reported in Politico in mid-January, Trump's irrational, mercurial, and nonsensical revolving door of security officials, most with "acting" status, left the Capitol and, indeed, the entire goddamn nation vulnerable: "The practice has left his agencies severely undermanned and, often, staffed by people who are seriously underqualified for the positions they occupy." At the frantic, bullshit end, "the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence leadership ranks are so empty that it’s currently being led by the principal deputy general counsel." And that extended to, well, motherfuck, the border, where the "three main border and security agencies are all but gutted."

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a statement last week laying this all out: "The prior administration completely dismantled the asylum system.  The system was gutted, facilities were closed, and they cruelly expelled young children into the hands of traffickers.  We have had to rebuild the entire system, including the policies and procedures required to administer the asylum laws that Congress passed long ago." A CNN fact check found Mayorkas was accurate in his assessment of the absolute sabotage of the American immigration system on the Southwest border. But, of course, the verminous conservative criminals from the Trump administration are beshitting the airwaves, with Stephen "Most Likely to Actually Be Drinking Baby Blood" Miller, the architect of Trump's megafuckery at the border, screeching that Mayorkas is lying. Honestly, I could come up with lots of awful karmic and physical punishments for Miller, but I'm pretty sure all of them would just give that coprophagic bitch an erection. 

But it's not just Mayorkas. Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the director of the White House's office of intergovernmental affairs, said, "There were aspects of our legal immigration system that had been gutted and a department that lacked the personnel to administer our laws," with another official adding, "When we came into office, like, it was a disaster. I mean, really. The staffing wasn't in place, the structures weren't in place." Oh, and let's not forget what complete cockfleas Trump's team were to Biden's during the transition, so they couldn't even get the full picture of what they were walking into. Shit was decimated. You don't turn that around overnight.

Even with all this chaos, what's going at the border sucks, but it's been sucking for decades, and it's sucked far, far worse than it sucks now. And the actual situation is far, far more complicated than the manipulated media will talk about. The current surge of unaccompanied kids began in November, for instance. And, again, again, again, you can't leave out the damage done to the very agencies that are supposed to handle migrant issues, and you can't discount the corruption of the Customs and Border Patrol and ICE themselves. Yes, Biden has left in place some Trump policies so far as he's dealt with shit like the pandemic (which also has an effect on shit like the number of beds...like I said, it's fucking complicated) and the economic recovery. It's only been two months. Could we check in around July 20 to see how it's going? To see if shit's improved? To see if Congress might actually do something to unfuck our immigration system?

No matter what, you can bet that the jackals and howler monkeys of the right will be yowling like they slammed their nuts in a car door. Or perhaps they'll just continue to show you who they are, like Republican Senator John Cornyn did today. He tweeted out comments from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama condemning "illegal immigrations." Then he followed that with this tweet: "President Biden has instead emphasized the humane treatment of immigrants, regardless of their legal status."

Kind of takes your breath away, no? This mongrel nation only exists as it is because of immigrants, almost all of whom were treated like shit by other immigrants when they first arrived. You'd think acting with humanity wouldn't be derision-worthy, but, well, that's so American, I suppose.

(Note: The First Nations people decided to help the pasty white asses that arrived to this continent rather than murder them. Whites have always been shitty about repaying their debts.)

3/18/2021

The Real Culture War Is Over Vaccines

Yesterday, I was talking to a few people about COVID vaccines. Two of us were fully vaccinated, and another was scheduled to get his. One of our Zoom group, Sandy, a young woman, declared that she was not going to get the vaccine, even if required by her job. She insisted that "everything I've heard" tells her that we don't know if it's safe, that "we don't really know what's going to happen to people 5 years from now," and "I never get a flu shot," and "It's only been a year."

After a few fruitless minutes that included "You're being crazy," "Who tells you that garbage?" and "Jesus fuck, get the fucking shot" (that was me), we decided to change the subject. That's when Sandy added, "And you know they're lying about the number of people who died." We asked what she meant. "They just say it's COVID when it's something else," she said. We pushed again. She got huffy and exclaimed, "I know friends who say they've had family die in the hospital from something else and they put it down as COVID."

"You personally have had people tell you this happened to them?" I asked. She said she had. Rather than saying, "Oh, bullshit," I said that I'd like to know if the dead people perhaps had conditions that were exacerbated by COVID. 

Sandy is not dumb. She claims that she stays out of politics, but that's the kind of lie that lots of people repeat when what they really mean is "I believe some fucked up shit and don't want anyone to know or to challenge me on it." Unspoken through all of this was where Sandy was getting her information. I avoided saying, "Fucking shut off the fucking Fox 'news' already," although I have said that to her on other occasions. She said she doesn't watch it but "it's on when I go visit my mom." Which, again, is just another way of saying, "Yeah, I suck that shit down along with every nutzoid meme my crazed Facebook friends post and every link to a sinister-sounding YouTube video telling me how liberals use coronavirus to mind control you."

This is the real cancel culture right here. It's not Dr. Seuss shitcanning books with racist images. It's not the genitals of Potato Heads. It's not even saying, "Well, I guess fuck Harry Potter" because JK Rowling is transphobic. No, the culture war that's being fought that matters far more than any of that is on the minds of people when it comes to coronavirus and the vaccines. Then the disinformation being spread by the most-watched and -clicked conservative news sources is about life and death, not if you've got the sads because If I Ran the Zoo is hitting history's dustbin. 

What Fox "news" and the rest have done is to turn the COVID vaccine into just another sock they can all jack off into and toss into the laundry basket brimming with stiff footwear. See, getting vaccinated isn't about making you a good citizen, a healthy person, or a considerate human being. No, it makes you a tool being manipulated by Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, Big Pharma, and probably AOC and socialism and, sure, Hillary Clinton. 

For example, on Fox, obviously, Tucker Carlson, who always looks like he's wondering if he just farted or sharted or full-on shit himself, is backing the anti-vaxxers by "asking questions" about the vaccine: "How effective is this coronavirus vaccine? How necessary is it to take the vaccine? Don't dismiss those questions from anti-vaxxers, don't kick people off social media for asking them." Yes, don't dismiss people who think that there are microchips in the shots or still cling to the completely discredited idea that all vaccines cause autism. Doing what conservatives always fucking do in blowing up one small thing, Carlson took the tiny - no, infinitesimal number of cases of blood clots in Europe and used that to discredit the vaccine as a whole. He talked about a case where someone died of a brain hemorrhage after getting vaccinated and asked, "Should this scare you? We don't know, but the rest of us deserve an answer. Instead, our leaders are acting as if the science were totally settled and you're not allowed to ask questions." In Europe, 37 cases were reported out of 17 million people injected. That's statistically zero. At best, it's what we might call "a rare side effect." The diabetes drug Jardiance caused 12 cases of rotting of the taint in 1.7 million users, but no one's rushing to tell people not to take it. (Yes. Taint rot.) 

How is this cancel culture? Because they are treating the anti-vaxxers like all the other things they claim have been "canceled" by the left. If you think Confederate monuments should stay up, why should you be condemned for that? If you think boycotting Goya products is wrong, why should anyone be allowed to tell you you're wrong? And if you think the vaccine is dangerous despite virtually every single bit of available science saying it is not, well, aren't you allowed to say science is wrong despite having absolutely no background in medical research? Shouldn't we all just accept your God-given, American right to dissent from reality? What happened to freedom? Hey, I'm just asking the fucking questions here. 

This is a dangerous fucking game the right is playing, often with full knowledge that they're just conning the rubes and milking them for all the pillows they can buy. Then again, other Fox shows, like Hannity, which is on right after Carlson's, hosts are whining that Biden isn't giving Donald Trump enough "credit" for developing the vaccine. So which is it? Either the vaccine's a dangerous thing that Biden is using to murder you or it's a blessing dropped right from Trump's chafed loins. 

Of course, such contradictions don't matter to their viewers. They'll get outraged for one thing, then outraged for the opposite, even if it kills them, and that's just fuckin' fine as long as it makes liberals cry. 

It's a great cosmic fucking joke that we used to unify and celebrate when America made a great scientific advance and now it's just an excuse for another volley of arrows from the right in an idiotic war of their making. So now we break down as a country between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, a situation ripe to create variants and misery, which, if it happens, will only prove to the anti-vaxxers that the vaccine is worthless, just like they told us.

3/12/2021

Random Observations on a Presidential Presidential Address

1. President Joe Biden's speech to the nation last night could have been a giant victory lap. Having just signed the most significant anti-poverty legislation in at least two generations and leading a country that has gone from the worst rate of COVID deaths to the most vaccinations in the world since he's been in office, no one would have blamed Biden if he had come out to the lectern and said, "Suck my dangly old balls, you Trumpfuckers. Ol' Joe is taking your piles of shit and turning it into fertilizer. You thought I was brain-fucked. Well, sorry, bitches. You're ridin' with Biden and we just floored it. Oh, and indictments have been issued for the following people" followed by a list that included Trump, his terrible children, and most of his circle of poisonous cockmites. Beyond the rhetorical masturbatory fantasies of an angry, exhausted lefty, Biden could have done that. He could have listed all the parts of the American Rescue Plan that will help actual Americans who need rescuing and not only billionaire cash hoarders. 

2. But that's not the speech he gave. Instead, what came through most clearly was that Biden wants us to feel the burden of this fucktastrophe of a year. He wants us to feel it and carry it and understand it, as he carries the burdens of all the deaths he has experienced and his own brushes with mortality. He said that it's okay to mourn, no, that it's necessary to mourn the dead, and it's also necessary to mourn the loss of time that we all experienced. He said, "It’s the details of life that matter most, and we’ve missed those details.The big details and small moments. Weddings, birthdays, graduations — all the things that needed to happen but didn’t. The first date. The family reunions. The Sunday night rituals. It’s all has exacted a terrible cost on the psyche of so many of us." Goddamn, I know it's only been four years since Barack Obama was president, but those lines made me realize how much we have been missing since he left office, that sense that someone understood us as whole human beings and not red-hatted cogs in an orange, screaming ego machine. Biden spoke gently and firmly, laying it out there, as he has done before, and making clear that, yes, we will move forward, but we must honor what the cost has been.

3. Perhaps even more importantly, Biden made a case for the centrality of government in the lives of a nation's people, as a part of the people. Since 1981, the idiot mindset of too many members of both parties has been that government should be something minimal in your life (unless, of course, you want an abortion), that direct help is bad, that social programs are worthless, despite nation after nation proving the exact opposite. This kind of thinking has fucked up so many people's lives, from the deregulation that has allowed our air and water to be poisoned to the denial of assistance to the poor. What fucking monsters we've been. What American pigs. Biden reversed that equation in his speech, saying, "Look, we know what we need to do to beat this virus: Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people — no function more important. We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. 'We the People.'" Notice that he was talking about everyone, and, with his refreshingly straightforward condemnation of violence against Asian Americans, he was saying that the racist shit that was tolerated before is off the table. 

4. And, inevitably, conservatives lost their little goddamned minds, going full-blown ragegasm at a speech that sought to unify the nation. There was the laughably moronic image of tiny Tucker Carlson reacting to the speech in the corner of the Fox "news" broadcast; it was mostly Carlson doing his Tucker stare, which means looking like a little boy seeing a vagina for the first time. There was Brian Kilmealready bizarrely telling everyone to move on from the half-million dead, which is what you say when you're one of the people who helped murder them. Screechmaven Mark Levin blustered that the speech was "propagandistic," revealing that right-wingers think that compassion and care is propaganda, which is pretty accurate. But the most hilarious thing that upset the right-wing fucknuts is that Biden didn't give "credit" to Donald Trump for his administration's role in developing the vaccine, which is pretty bold for a bunch of people who never gave Obama credit for building the economy that Trump brayed like an ass about for years. Sure, though, let's give credit where credit is due. Biden could have said, "Donald Trump ignored the coronavirus for too long, politicized simple things to prevent it, lied about its seriousness, held events that actively spread it, and refused to come up with a national plan, leading to widespread economic misery and over a half-million Americans dead, but he didn't totally botch it when it came to the vaccine." Yeah, fuck all of these increasingly deranged, insignificant, pathetic dicks.

5. What we also got in the speech is that Biden isn't looking for our approval (although, you know, every politician is). He is looking for our help. He is leveling with us about what has happened and what needs to happen and what consequences are if we fuck it all up. He told us he needs us and that he trusts us, perhaps a little too much, to do the right thing when it comes to finally bringing this miserable crisis to its jubilant end. Yes, July 4 as our Independence Day from COVID is hokey, but it's not a goal for cynics like me. And, unlike Trump's promises a year ago that things would be over by Easter 2020, it's genuinely realistic. It was a presidential presidential speech, and, even more, it was a healing speech, not just from the virus, but from what the last administration did to us. We can get past this, Biden was saying, all of it, and be better in body and mind and soul and country. Let's hope he's right. Let's help him be right. 

(Note: Yeah, this is a bit of a slobbery blow job for Biden. But that's okay. There will be plenty of time to take him to the woodshed over all kinds of shit.)

(Note: The Affordable Care Act is arguably the last great anti-poverty legislation, but the American Rescue Plan does even more.)

3/10/2021

One Year On in CoronAmerica (Part 1: Keeping It Together)

It was a year ago that I finally told my students that we were going to move our class online. Over the two weeks before March 10, student after student kept telling me about how they were worried, how they lived with parents or grandparents with comorbidities, how they themselves were scared for their own health. They wanted to know from me what to do. I had finally faced the reality of the situation. I was an idiot in February 2020, telling people that it wasn't any worse than a bad flu because I desperately wanted it to be that. Because I knew that if it wasn't, we were fucked, that a chunk of our short lives was about to be sliced out as a sacrifice to the coronavirus. And it wasn't just me - yeah, I had all kinds of things planned - it was the students. It was the kids of friends and in my family. I was and remain crushed by all that they have missed out on, by the stalled careers, the canceled life-affirming events like graduations, and more. But denial wasn't going to do anyone any good.

So I told my students that I was making the decision to go to remote learning. I'm also a chair of an academic department (yeah, I know, I'm as surprised as you are), and I had told my colleagues the same thing the night before, writing to them, "I see no reason not to respect the judgment of faculty who believe that their health may be at risk" when it comes to the decision to move online. By the end of the day March 11, the entire City University of New York, all two-dozen campuses, shut down, and the world became a new, alien place. 

On March 18, I wrote to my department, "I want to be realistic about things without being grim. But we're looking at this getting much worse before it gets better. There is a very good chance that at least some of us will get ill, if we aren't already, and there is a very good chance that at least some of our students will, too. You can add into that our loved ones and our students' loved ones. And we know that there is a chance that some will get very ill and even die." I asked them to practice a "pedagogy of compassion," where our empathy for the confusion and fear all of us were experiencing would guide our virtual classroom decisions. "If we're all in this together," I said, "then the more compassionate and forgiving we can be, the easier it will be for all of us when it's finally under control and we go back to whatever normal becomes. Hopefully." We thought it would be a few months until normal. Then a few more. And now a year. With more to come.

I've been fortunate in so many ways in this year. I have a job that I was never at risk of losing and could, with some adjustment, do from home. All my loved ones are fine. I personally know only one person who died of COVID; he was an elderly retired professor who was a lovely human being. I know many who got the virus, but all were fine with a few exceptions, including some who have symptoms that have lasted months. I went through a mild bout with the bastard but recovered quickly. I was never food insecure or threatened with eviction or bereft of medical care when I needed it. I don't believe in being blessed by an invisible sky wizard, but maybe there's a secular version.

Being a professor, I got an understanding of the suffering that so many families were enduring through students coming to me to tell me about their sick and dying relatives. For a period of time, at least once a week, a student had to miss class to go to the hospital to look after someone. More than a few did have to handle death near to them. Students got COVID, and it laid some of them out, making them unable to even come to a Zoom class. It was a snapshot of the pandemic in its worst months in New York City. They told me about lost jobs at restaurants and shops, or essential jobs, as EMTs or grocery store workers, where, frightened and worried, they did their best to keep society together for people who were just as frightened and worried. Many of my students are new teachers or teachers-in-training, and they found themselves thrown into a pedagogical world where their own young students' fears and frustrations were complicated by the Zoom distance. They found themselves acting as emotional support for young people. It made more than a few question their career choices. I tried to offer advice and comfort where I could, and maybe it helped for a moment or two, a salve for a pain that allows you to forget it for a little while until a twinge brings you back to reality.

This was the heart of my year in America during the coronavirus. CoronAmerica, if you will. Outside of personal relationships, this was what prevented me from falling into despair. The first couple of months, during lockdown, students clung to our Zoom classes as moments of attempted normalcy and of desperately-needed community. And so did I.

I don't know how I would have dealt with this past year without that because of the other overwhelming feeling, that of a burning rage that has never diminished in the last 12 months. More on that tomorrow.

3/06/2021

Grappling with Andrew Cuomo's Scandals

There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty or bad because you found comfort in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings during the lockdown early in the coronavirus pandemic. While President Bumblefuck Magoo was prancing around and lying about the severity of the situation while shitting on anyone who would dare ask the federal government to do more, Cuomo was a soothing voice of calm, seemingly honest and straightforward, ready to challenge Donald Trump, and, holy fuck, we just needed that. 

You can still appreciate that. I don't feel ashamed that I enjoyed Bill Cosby's comedy for decades. But now, I feel awful for his victims, first and foremost, and, way down the list of Cosby fallout, I can't see him or listen to him without being viscerally repulsed. That's the only rational reaction. The point here is that you can have thought one way about Cuomo in March 2020 and now think the complete opposite in March 2021 (and as an employee of the state of New York, I've thought in many ways about him).

But we have to grapple now with what we know about Cuomo. We know that he has been accused of sexual harassment by at least three women, including two who previously worked for him and his administration. We know that Cuomo and his administration sought to hide the true number of deaths from COVID at nursing homes, partly because it reveals how disastrous was his decision to allow patients recovering from COVID to go back to their nursing homes while still testing positive for it. 

And, frankly, as Steven Thrasher details in a Scientific American article, Cuomo made many moves early on in the pandemic that fucked over New York. In mid-March 2020, for instance, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wanted to do a shelter-in-place order, as had been done in Wuhan, China, and Lombardi, Italy, but Cuomo refused to authorize it, saying, "It cannot happen legally. No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval and I have no interest whatsoever and no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city." That order might have saved 17,000 lives.

Oh, it's fun to laugh at Cuomo and the Cuomosexuals, the ones who put him on a pedestal so high that he had the gall to write (or have ghostwritten) a book titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic while we are still very much in the midst of the goddamn crisis and the fuckin' lessons are still being learned. It's pretty awkward and not so fun that the book has this line: "New York was number forty-six of fifty in the nation when it came to percentage of deaths in nursing homes." Well, no fucking shit when you're reporting numbers that are half what they should be.

And now multiple Democrats have called on the Democratic governor to resign in the wake of the allegations of inappropriate behavior with women who worked for him. This has led other Democrats to angrily cry, "Franken!" under the belief that Senator Al Franken resigning over sexual misconduct with several women was hasty and wrong and excessive. While I would have liked to have seen a full inquiry into the allegations, I said at the time that Franken had to go because it gave strength to the growing #MeToo movement and allowed us to criticize Donald Trump with clean hands. (And, to be fair, Franken's replacement, Tina Smith, has been a pretty great senator for Minnesota.)

However, as Dahlia Lithwick points out, we've gotten to where thorough investigations into allegations made in the media should be welcomed. She writes, "It’s not a terrible thing to allow an independent investigator to gather all the facts and arrive at a formal conclusion before calling for his immediate ouster...If we’d spent the time we’ve spent calling for people to step down immediately in formulating and refining an actual process that could formally investigate claims and issue guidance on what should be done about them, we might have ended up in a place where more sexual predators could be held accountable rather than fewer." And that, to me, seems like pretty solid footing to be on. 

And that's not because I have any love for Andrew Cuomo. Seriously, in most ways, fuck that guy. But it's because, as I've written before, we're in the midst of reckoning on shitty behavior by men, including those who may not understand how their behavior is shitty (really, if you don't get how being a creep is making a woman feel uncomfortable or threatened or even just getting in the way of her doing her goddamn job, that's on you). It's a reckoning that is long overdue. These allegations may just take down Andrew Cuomo and force him to resign. More likely, he'll have to answer to voters, which isn't necessarily an awful outcome. 

But I think the way to give power to this reckoning is for there to be some kind of official affirmation of the charges. It's not about disbelieving Charlotte Bennett, Lindsay Boylan, and Anna Ruch. As with the allegations against Joe Biden or against Brett Kavanaugh, it's about taking allegations seriously and not dismissing or accepting them because of your feelings towards the person being accused. It's about trying to make sure the due process and due diligence are done. 

I'll tell you one thing that has me additionally pissed about the Bennett case is that she followed the procedure that the state, you know, the one led by Cuomo, has for reporting harassment in the workplace. As someone in a supervisory position and, like I said, employed by New York State, I can tell you that this shit is hammered into us, with potential consequences if we don't act correctly on hostile workplace reports. By law, there was supposed to be an investigation, and that wasn't done. In fact, according to Bennett, Cuomo's chief of staff and general counsel said that there would be no investigation because "You came to us before anything serious happened. It was just grooming and it was not yet considered sexual harassment." How fucked is that. Also, every employee of the state at a certain level has to take an online sexual harassment training, as I have, and Cuomo didn't fucking do it.

Andrew Cuomo was never who his biggest fans thought he was. Thrasher's article makes it crystal fuckin' clear that his actions in slashing hospital beds and Medicaid spending exacerbated the effects of COVID on New York. Cuomo is a fucking asshole, an old school hardball player who will fuck with members of his own party (although, in New York, sometimes Democrats are the Democrats' biggest enemies). He's had multiple scandals already, although you wouldn't know that since they happened before he became "America's governor" (damn, I think I gagged writing that). 

So if this is the end for him, if it's because of the harassment allegations against him, then so be it. Cuomo is not irreplaceable. Almost no one is. He might have given us something that we needed in a terrible moment, but, hey, breakups happen.

One note, though: If you're someone who gave Donald Trump a pass on all his rape and sexual misconduct allegations, you can just sit the fuck down on Cuomo.

3/02/2021

"Fuck Those Dr. Seuss Books" and Other Proper Responses to the Fake "Cancel Culture" Bullshit

As an honest-to-goodness professor of the literary arts, I have seen your "cancel culture" bullshit so many times before that it's honestly fucking laughable. I can remember sitting next to a renowned Shakespeare scholar as I argued that a course in ol' Bill shouldn't be required of English majors. His face got red as he sputtered, "What do you mean? You think someone deserves a degree in literature without reading Shakespeare?" I said I did and that we needed to get away from such prescriptive ways of thinking about literature and the canon and more. 

This was in the midst of the late 1980s and early 1990s upheaval in my field over what students ought to read. See, all of a sudden, we were supplanting white male writers with women and people of color, cutting down on the number of Europeans while adding Asians, Africans, and South Americans, and allowing gay and lesbian authors their proper credit. The gatekeepers of the literary world were aghast. It was "political correctness" run amok. Fucking books were written about it. "Tenured Radicals," as one hysterical tome put it, were destroying the foundations of Western Civilization by daring to say that the works of dead white men might not be the only lens with which to view the world. This shit was everywhere, on TV news networks, in Congress, in the presidential race, how "political correctness" was wrecking the joint like a black lesbian feminist Godzilla devouring the canon and setting fire to the Ivory Tower.

Now, it all seems so fucking dumb. I don't think students could imagine an education in literature that privileges white male authors entirely over, say, Toni Morrison or Sylvia Plath or James Baldwin. And most students will end up reading Shakespeare because, you know, he's just hard to escape no matter how hard we might try. But the point here is that after hyperventilating that there was only one way to properly learn the humanities, most of academia adjusted and, indeed, embraced this blowing a hole in the wall of racist and sexist bullshit surrounding the precious subject matter. Now, you're an outlier if you think we should go back to a Great Books as Defined by Crusty Pale Fuckers. 

So this whole "cancel culture" thing is so fucking dumb and it's just another way that conservatives are exploiting the ignorance of their voters. So what if there's a warning in front of a couple of episodes of The Muppet Show to indicate that it's fucked up that Johnny Cash sang in front of a Confederate flag or that Spike Milligan did yellow face and fake Chinese voice. So what if the packaging for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head went unisex? You can still put high-heeled shoes and a mustache on your plastic potato, just like you could before. And, really, truly, fuck those Dr. Seuss books. How is it not a problem that the books contain racist images? Let's stop acting like there aren't a million other books that are just as good that don't have crazy Arabs or weird indigenous Alaskans. Besides, you're not losing your Horton or Lorax or Grinch. Your childhood is protected, so you can stop being an asshole because (checks notes) the Seuss estate pulled the books out of publication.

The point here, of course, is not that some conservative dicks are upset that liberals believe things. That's been the story since forever. No, what we're seeing here is the distraction, the thing that makes you forget you the GOP really is. Remember that Republicans don't give a fuck about appealing to people through Ideas That Might Make Their Lives Better. No, they prefer the Shit That Makes Idiots Mad and Fuck Your Voting Rights approaches. The vaccine program is a big success? The COVID bailout prevents the nation from being economically fucked by the pandemic? Oh, fuck, what's a scummy GOP fucknut going to do? Time to cue up the culture wars, motherfuckers. "Yes, it's true that Republicans supported policies that flat out murdered hundreds of thousands of people, but, hey, look, Kermit's nuts are being cut off by Cancel Culture and AOC," they'll say and that'll be dutifully re-vomited by right-wing media led by Tucker Carlson's one-mustache-short-of-a-Fuhrer face.

This becomes the same-sex marriage or anti-abortion initiatives on ballots that distract people from voting for Democrats. Yeah, we've been through this before. In fact, every fucking time now with Republicans, who would rather toss shit than discuss an issue honestly. Or, these days, rather than talk about the same reality.

In so many cases, "cancel culture" just means "Oh, shit, they caught us" to the people who got caught. And they're pissed that now that they're caught, they can't just be white people who, say, casually use the n-word. Like, well, the Republican Party.

(Note: By the way, back in the late 1960s, Warner Brothers made sure that no one would see the ultra-racist cartoons they used to produce. So they got rid of the grotesque Black people, the hideous Asians, but, oddly, not Speedy Gonzales until recently. And now, no one even cares about them except out of perverse curiosity. We don't think twice about it. If that happened now, the Proud Boys would be attacking Bugs Bunny.)

(Note: There are more complex examples of different works being updated or recontextualized than the ones noted up there. We should be having a hell of a discussion about how we talk about Washington, Lincoln, and especially Jefferson.  We might argue about whether the racist depictions of Native Americans in the Little House on the Prairie books make them unsuitable for younger readers. Sometimes we may end up disagreeing and never figuring it out, like with Huckleberry Finn. And fuck the idea that you let it go because "it was fine" back in the day. That's not a free pass. You should read some of the shit included in old anthologies of American literature. Shit changes. Change with it.)

2/26/2021

Don't Let Republicans Off the Hook on COVID Relief and the Minimum Wage

In Pennsylvania, 62% of voters in 2019 supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That was consistent with polls from previous years. A poll this month showed that 59% of Pennsylvanians support the COVID relief bill currently being voted on, including the hike in minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Pennsylvania is the same as the federal one: $7.25 an hour.

In Wisconsin, the bill polls at 60% support. A 2019 poll showed 57% support for a higher minimum wage. The minimum wage right now in Wisconsin is $7.25 an hour.

In West Virginia, raising the minimum wage to $15 has the support of 62% of voters. The state's Republican governor, Jim Justice, supports the COVID relief bill, including the minimum wage hike, which is currently a comparatively generous $8.75 an hour.

Nationally, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill polls at 76% approval, including 60% of Republicans. It is one of the most popular major pieces of legislation in years. It is bipartisan. Hell, it's universal, considering that 71% of independents are for it at least "somewhat." And at least 59% of Americans support the $15 minimum wage. 

I chose Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia specifically because they are states whose two senators are divided between Democrat and Republican. And while it's easy to dump on Democrats in the Senate for their failure to unify behind the minimum wage hike or getting rid of the filibuster (and, yes, I realize it's primarily Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona), and while it's easy to be cynical about Republicans' fealty to their agenda of owning the libs and getting back power so they can get in more judges while undermining democracy and kissing Trump's voluminous ass, that lets Republicans off the hook for doing things that large majorities of Americans, including in their own states, want them to do. 

Seriously: the approval of the COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, is above 50% in Republican states like Florida, Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana. And that's in a poll that not only laid out what was in it (including the minimum wage), but also gave examples of arguments for and against it before asking about support. 

We simply give up on Republicans without making them take the blame. The problem isn't just two Democrats. The problem is 50 Republicans. Yeah, sure, put all the pressure you can on Manchin and Sinema. (By the way, Manchin isn't changing parties if he's squeezed. If he does, he'll be crushed in the Republican primary in West Virginia in 2024.) But Republicans need to be reminded that they can pay a price for ignoring their states' voters. Why should Manchin get all the grief when West Virginia's other senator, Republican Shelley Capito, simply sails along, flipping off the people in her state who desperately need funding. Even now, Democratic groups and the DNC need to be running ads nonstop that put the screws on Republicans, that get the phone calls pouring in. Will most of the targeted Republicans not give a damn about it as long as their corporate funders back them? Probably, but you can make them sweat and set things up for 2022, at the very least. 

When Senate Minority Leader and Man Who Always Looks Like He's Seen a Large Penis for the First Time Mitch McConnell was asked about the broad support for COVID relief, he called it "wasteful," and Republicans criticized Democrats for things in the bill like funding for the Kennedy Center and a bridge in upstate New York, as if $100 million is anything other than a molecule in a drop in a $1.9 trillion bucket. 

But this popularity of this bill and the minimum wage fight during the time of COVID gives Democrats a chance to do something that I've talked about a great deal: it allows them to shift the political narrative away from "feckless Dems are too liberal" to "cruel Republicans are taking food out of your mouths" and "Republicans want to keep you at starvation wages." Democrats like Manchin and Sinema and previous self-proclaimed "moderates" are still buying the former narrative, but the nation has obviously moved away from that. The nation took the legislative and executive branches away from Republicans two years after giving them complete control of them.

Democrats are still responding to the narrative that Republicans created for them during the Reagan presidency. Too many Dems tried to prove they weren't that "liberal" (including Joe Biden). Now, let's figure out how to make Republicans have to show they are not who we say they are. This is a legit chance to do that, the first one since 2009, and we screwed that one up. Don't waste this opportunity.

2/24/2021

500,000+ Dead Need to Be Piled in Front of the GOP

This dumbfuck nation has no idea about how deep the post-traumatic stress disorder it's going to have to deal with for the foreseeable future is going to be. As we shift back to whatever normalcy is, we are going to bear the scars of the miserable last year and more. Every human interaction will be burdened with a sense of unease, an anxiety that will remain even as we know that we're vaccinated, that the virus is gone or under control. We will have been rewired by this brief but scarring period, and that goes even for those who act like it's all back to how things were pre-COVID. Resistance to the trauma is an active effect of it. 

And then there's the mountain of the dead to contend with. Over a half-million people who lived in the goddamned United States are no longer here, and that's another scar on our exhausted, marked-up bodies. We cannot allow that loss to simply be absorbed into our collective propensity to repress, to forget the quotidian horrors of 21st-century existence. We need to keep that pain and grief present. And we need to lay those corpses down where they belong: piled like fleshy cordwood right in front of the Republicans.

We live in the world that they fucked up. No, the GOP didn't start the coronavirus, but they sure as hell made it into a catastrophe through their unending support for Donald Trump, who saw COVID not as a crisis but as a turd in the punchbowl at his gaudy party that he wasn't going to fish out. And they can't ever be allowed to forget it. What I fear is that the Republican Party is already changing the narrative, shifting blame for the high death count to states, to federal medical officials like Anthony Fauci, and, when it doesn't seem completely insane, eventually to the Biden administration, sweeping their own guilt away. 

You can see it happen in real time with their refusal to deal honestly in any way with the insurrection and riot at the Capitol on January 6. You can see it in the party's refusal to censure, formally or informally, their members who profess to believe that the 2020 election was so filled with fraud and illegalities that Donald Trump actually beat Joe Biden. In fact, when you get to the level of the state GOP, they've gone completely nutzoid in their adherence to what we now call "the Big Lie" about the election, using it as an excuse to fuck over the voters with bullshit, useless restrictions that seek to turn Democratic voters into criminals. They are gaslighting and then building their agenda on how they've gaslit everyone.

In her scathing piece titled "Trump Is Guilty of Pandemicide" in Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett damningly lays out how Trump completely checked out on any decisions at all on COVID efforts between the election and the inauguration. He was essentially telling us all to go fuck ourselves and die if he wasn't installed back in office. And it's not as if he did much of anything before, other than not blocking funding to get a vaccine. He made masks and social distancing and lockdowns into a political battleground. He perversely refused to acknowledge the dead and sick, offering virtually no words of comfort or sympathy. He lied about his own bout of coronavirus. He supported the sick fucks who protested maskless against restrictions, even to the point of violence, even to the point of an attempted kidnap/murder of the governor of Michigan. He held rallies and events with no masking and no social distancing that were superspreader events. He pointedly declined to use the Defense Production Act until too far into the pandemic and even then on a limited basis. He didn't give a single rat shit about having a national plan on testing and mitigation, and, at the end, we lost two months of vaccine distribution because, as I said, we could all go fuck ourselves, as far as he was concerned. So many lives could have been saved. So many jobs and businesses could have been saved. As Garrett puts it, prior to Trump, "no sitting U.S. president...has willfully allowed such preventable carnage to unfold on the American people."

And sitting there, almost to a person, aiding and abetting and supporting and comforting Trump was the Republican Party. They didn't kill people with weapons, but they sure as hell caused hundreds of thousands more to die than needed to. They're counting on the short attention span of American voters to forget that complicity or to believe the lies they are telling now. Democrats can't allow that to happen. The corpses of COVID victims ought to be tied to each one of them, weighing them down like Jacob Marley's chains. 

Democrats are losing the moment. They are losing the chance to tar and feather Republicans with their failure, much like they did in 2009. They are losing the momentum and the plot on the COVID relief package as they try to get Republicans to buy into it (even if President Biden has said that he doesn't have a problem passing it without them). Hell, in 2009, by this point, the Recovery Act had been signed into law by Barack Obama to deal with the economic crisis. Meanwhile, Republicans have been given a chance to regroup post-insurrection and get their cocks hard for obstruction while Democrats keep finding ways to step on their dicks every time they move, even as the bill is supported by a huge majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans. Just pass the goddamn thing.

But it's not just a problem with the legislation. Democrats are also dropping the ball on making sure that everyone fucking knows that the reason vaccine distribution is going so well now is because of the Democrats running the federal government now. Donald Trump is a moronic piece of shit, but he's a savant when it comes to marketing himself. He fucking dreads the idea of not getting credit for the vaccine rollout. It's not that he deserves any credit, but that never stopped him from claiming it. He knows that Democrats could easily plant their flag on the vaccine's success. 

And, frankly, I don't know what the fuck they're waiting for. Get those ads out there. That's where you draw the separation between the parties in stark terms: They're the disease; we're the cure. (Not to go all Cobra on you.) There should be a commission on the COVID incompetence like what's being done with the 1/6 coup attempt. And, in general, we should have more moments like Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly absolutely tearing Republican Jim Jordan a new asshole, as he did today over the election fuckery.

I know we say all the time that Democrats are unmatched in their ability to fuck up golden opportunities to put a goddamn stake in the heart of the GOP vampires. But this shit isn't even that hard. Every terrible allegation you can make against Republicans is fucking real, unlike the fantasy crap they pin on Democrats. And it would suck to lose the chance to secure a narrative that paints the GOP as the criminals and extremists they are, all in the name of some worthless fucking illusion of unity.

See, Democrats can explain, the problem with unity, the problem with bipartisanship is that one of the parties is filled with murderers. Look at all the dead people piled in front of them.

2/19/2021

Dead Terrrorist: Rush Limbaugh Wrecked America

When I heard Rush Limbaugh had finally died, my first thought was "I hope he was screaming in pain when the light switch flicked off." He had lost his hearing, battled opioid addiction, and succumbed to lung cancer, and he still didn't suffer enough. I hope he realized at the end that there was no afterlife, that after he died, he was dead. Forever. 

Rush Limbaugh was already a mad bomber before he was invited to become the spiritual leader of the terrorist movement known as the Republican Party. The top hyena of the savage beasts of right-wing talk radio, Limbaugh was the jabbering clown, mixing the naughty school boy humor of drive-time DJs and the nonstop ranting of an end times preacher. He gave voice to the aggrieved white men who saw their hegemonic control over everything being encroached upon by women, by people of color, by gays and lesbians, by them, that undefined shadow culture ready to wreck all that the good, bleached, heteronationalists had done for the ungrateful hottentots, whores, and homos. He turned "liberal" into a dirty word, and we are just recovering from that.

Like Ronald Reagan letting the evangelical sadists into the White House, thus making them a poisonous political force we are dealing with to this day, Limbaugh's status was legitimized by President George H. W. Bush. Bush was seeking man-of-the-people street cred in his run against the genuinely earthy Bill Clinton in 1992. Against the young, hip, sexually-voracious Clinton, Bush seemed like an out-of-touch dilettante, a prissy pussy, a rich elitist, so he took a sojourn to Limbaugh's studio, which must have smelled like phlegmy cigar breath and fiery beef farts, to canoodle with the egotistical prick with a mic, who was already on a tear against both Bill and Hillary Clinton, with whom he'd be obsessed for the rest of his shitty life. And why not? In that election year, Limbaugh was the most popular talk radio host in the country, he had a number one bestseller with his first book, and was about to launch his quick and pathetic failure of a TV show. He was fucking ubiquitous. Hell, Bush had already hosted him overnight at the White House. 

You who weren't aware or alive during this time have no idea how huge Limbaugh was, how significant, and how omnipresent he was. I was talking to my pal Mark last night about it. Back in the 1990s, as part of a radio drama show I produced in Tennessee, I wrote a parody of Limbaugh called "The Rich Flemball Show" (no, it was not subtle). And Mark played Flemball, so I thought he'd have some insights or at least a good insult or two upon that bastard's death. He told me about how, in his town in middle Tennessee, "There was a barbecue restaurant that had a Rush room. Every day they would turn on Rush to listen, and every day the room would be filled with people who wanted to listen to Rush." He said that when Limbaugh was at his peak, you couldn't be at a red light without someone blaring Rush. "My mail carrier would have Rush playing whenever she drove up," he added.  People wanted to act like and be Rush Limbaugh. (And, yes, radio was that important back then, pre-internet, pre-Fox "news.")

There was something else that George H. W. Bush was seeking that Limbaugh embodied: identification with a caricature of a type of masculinity. Not rugged machismo, no, that was for Reagan and his horses and ranch. That took too much physical effort. Instead, it was a white male dominance, a sense that power and acclaim and riches and women were owed to the white men. In Limbaugh's telling, it wasn’t enough that men were seen as superior. It’s that all opposed to men had to be defeated and denigrated. You couldn't just say someone was wrong; you had to dehumanize them, and that meant something beyond calling them "hippies" or "communists" (although he certainly did). It meant being as savage and cruel as possible. Limbaugh set out to destroy the center and the left in our political spectrum, leaving only a brute force right led by white men and possibly a non-white or two who acknowledged how awesome white men are.

You can read all about Limbaugh's wanton cruelty, like his attacks on women's sexuality while constantly bragging about his own. He didn't coin the term "feminazi," but he popularized it to the point that it helped wreck the momentum of the feminist movement for decades. That pejorative debased any feminist effort, from equal pay to equal treatment at work to issues like rape laws and sexual harassment policies, all things he saw as attacks on normative white masculinity. He wrote in in The Way Things Ought to Be, "A feminazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed." His reasoning is that women want abortions because it disempowers men. "They don't need men in order to be happy," he blathered on motherfuckingly. "They certainly don't want males to be able to exert any control over them. Abortion is the ultimate symbol of women's emancipation from the power and influence of men." Remember: he's saying that this is a bad thing. Anything a woman did to gain power had to be done at the expense of male power, and that shit would not stand in his perverse world view.

There was an image of the white male as the natural leader of the world, that to criticize the white male is to demean him (which is the narcissistic way in which "political correctness" and "cancel culture" are defined by these pricks). Limbaugh didn't invent toxic masculinity, but he made it something to be embraced, something to aspire to for men, and you had to actively resist it. For many in the 1990s and since, it's easier to embrace this image of the white collar male as conqueror, the Attilas of the cubicles. It presents an outdated and even comforting way of ordering the world, but, of course, it was one that was based on a bullshit hierarchy and notions of gender and race that were outdated in the 1970s. 

Mark said, "The one image that sticks in my head is a close-up photo of him, looking up at his jowls, cigar stuck between his teeth, as if saying, 'Look what a tough son of a bitch I am.'" And on his show, he would assert an alpha male dominance over callers that was just tedious because he always could just cut them off and move on. Limbaugh couched all of this in biblical bullshit, yammering on about how Christianity needed to be taught in schools and that biblical notions of identity needed to be enforced. He embraced the evangelical nutzoids and they embraced him because they both pushed a patriarchal view that was the antithesis of the embrace of equality of the sexes, genders, sexualities, and races. That shit is comforting to too many people, and Limbaugh leaned into it, even as he rotated through so many wives it was as if he announced, "Bring me another woman. This one broke" before he moved on to the next one. 

Some will tell you that Limbaugh was funny, that his caller abortions and his jokey slams on the disabled and the deceased were just dark, edgy humor. Except this deaf bitch punched down most of the time, and that's not funny. Besides, that's what conservatives will always say when they're caught being complete fucks: we were joking. I read Limbaugh's fucking books. He wasn't joking. Chances are that he hated you and wanted you to be, at least, subservient to him, or, even, dead at his feet.

We are living in the United States that Rush Limbaugh was a large part of creating. He inspired Newt Gingrich to fuck up the running of Congress. He tore apart families like right-wing media and Donald Trump did in more recent decades. Hell, my brother listened to that brazen buffoon for a few years, and I regularly had to say, "No, fuck him. I wish he would choke to death on one of his cock-substitute stogies." He perverted media by substituting his bullshit lies for actual facts. He showed Roger Ailes that you could make shit-tons of money by spouting the most racist, divisive fuckery and laugh at the rubes while you counted the cash. He was cruel to the weak and made hate into a something to aspire to. Jesus, he made it fine for conservatives to not even pretend they gave a shit about people who weren't them and gave license for the right to use degrading language to anyone different. And he inspired all those even further devolved shit worms that came after him, like Hannity and Coulter and fucking Tucker Carlson. 

"He won," Mark said. "He made the Republican Party in his image: a bunch of fucking misanthropes with no sense of humor about themselves, and that's it. That's who they are for the foreseeable future. He's a big part of why their party is so broken, that us vs. them mentality." He didn't do it alone, but, goddamn, he gave the GOP license to treat legislating as a battle to the death. He fanned flames of the culture war until he could cackle over the conflagrations like a gleeful arsonist jacking off as his fires burned down schoolhouses. "I'm glad he lived to see Trump lose," Mark said, for, yes, Trump was the ideal Limbaugh president, a fake tough guy who thought his bravado and bullshit masculinity would make him a great leader. 

I hated Rush Limbaugh for over three decades. It was a visceral, burning hatred, the kind that has only been topped by a hatred for George W. Bush and Donald Trump. I fucking hate bullies, and that's what he was, always pushing around others through his sexism and racism and homophobia and Islamophobia. More than that, he was a terrorist, finding new targets to poison and electrocute and blow up. He didn't give a fuck how much damage he did as long as he got credit for doing it. He wanted you to feel inferior to him, like every half-assed, self-hating shitheel in history. And he arguably caused more death and destruction than ten Osama bin Ladens. It would take volumes to detail all the evil done by him and in his name.

Yeah, I fucking hope he died screaming. I fucking hope he was in just enough pain to feel it all without going into shock. If there's a hell, I hope he's next to Antonin Scalia, awaiting a train of hot, spiked demon dicks to ream his ass and mouth for eternity, two spurts of lava jizz coursing through him from each side until they fill his desiccated lungs, over and over again. 

Then he'll begin to come close to feeling all the suffering he caused on earth.

(Note: There are no fat jokes in here because I made enough of them over the years. Unlike Limbaugh, I don't do the same schtick forever.)