7/28/2021

The Trumpist Right Wants to Emasculate Any Male Who Has Emotions About January 6

The first hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol ran the way every hearing on a national tragedy should run. It was emotional, informative, and unifying (yes, unifying - I'll get to that at the end). By refusing to allow the participation of Rep. Jim Jordan, who is one of the most ardent carriers of every drop of water Donald Trump dribbles and someone who looks like he smells like sweaty, unwashed polyester, Nancy Pelosi assured the committee that it wouldn't be interrupted by constant bullshit objections and constant questions about Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Instead, we got real.

What we were able to hear was the raw hurt and mostly muted rage of the four police officers who were testifying. Capitol police officers Aquilino Gonell and Harry Dunn and DC Metro officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges offered vivid details of the violence when the mob of fucknuts, tripping balls on Trumpism, rampaged into the Capitol. The four men were compassionate to their fellow officers and righteously pissed off at the rioters and their enablers and supporters in the media and in the federal government. They all had the greatest contempt for the revisionists and denialists in Congress, whose lives the men defended, and elsewhere for saying that January 6 wasn't an insurrection, that the rally before the attack was a "love fest," as Fucko the Former President called it. And they all got choked up talking about their near-murders, the worry of their families, and the utter betrayal of any sense of nation by the rampaging fucknuts. 

So, of course, right-wing dickscabs had to immediately attack them for either being pussies, being mentally ill, or just pretending. Some of the dickscabs I'm gonna mention here might make you say, "Who the fuck cares?" but the point is that a shit-ton of people do care what these dickscabs say. So while we may look at, for example, disgraced former NYPD commissioner and convicted felon Bernard Kerik and think, "Fuck that guy," the asshole's treated like a hero in conservative corners.

Speaking of that asshole, he tweeted an image Gonell crying and wrote, "Having commanded the NYPD on 9/11 and been stabbed and shot at; and witnessed numerous colleagues shot and killed in the 80s - 90s in the line of duty, I am shocked at the cowardice. They should be fired - not fit for duty." It's pure emasculation and it's pure backwards ass delusion, hearkening back to a time when the (almost entirely male) police were supposed to just suck up the traumas of their work and take it out on the next perp or their wives or the bottle, abuse being better than dealing with their shit.

Also going straight for the emasculation angle is another conservative criminal and vile propagandist, Dinesh D'Souza, whose sole purpose seems to be trying to out-whore every other nutzoid on the right for that filthy rube lucre, tweeted, "If the #CapitolPolice were this discombulated [his misspelling] by a boisterous walk-through—much tamer than an Antifa assault on a public building and on par with what we’ve seen at innumerable campus occupations—I wonder how they’d hold up in the event of a real insurrection." You got that? It was "a boisterous walk-through," like a frat going to the Louvre, and not a dangerous assault on democracy. And if that wasn't shitty enough, he also tweeted, "I’m reliably informed that the rumor is untrue: The #CapitolPolice have NOT decided to change their official name to the Capitol Pussies." Nothing like a bitch-faced troll calling cops who were nearly killed "pussies" to show how much blue lives really don't matter to you.

On his Fox "news" entertainment program, Tucker Carlson, who always looks like he's wondering if it's wrong to have the dog lick peanut butter off his balls while the dog is licking peanut butter off his balls, played a clip of Fanone saying, "I’ve been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event." Carlson, who should be called "the worst human being" to his stupid face every fucking time he steps foot in public, snickered at Fanone's pain and then asked why Fanone didn't say he was traumatized by BLM protests in DC, as if Carlson gets to decide what is traumatic and what isn't. I'm guessing that Fanone wasn't dragged on the ground, beaten unconscious, tasered multiple times in his neck, and threatened to be killed with his own gun by the BLM marchers as he was by the savage incels at the Capitol. Tuckfuck went on to accuse Dunn and Gonell of lying about what happened to them, which I assume is what Carlson would do if any non-white people accused white people of crimes. 

Carlson's Fox "news" co-conspirator and noxious doom weasel, Laura Ingraham, merely laughed at the officers' pain and accused them of being actors, and she gave them awards for their "performances." Ingraham smeared and sneered, "Now the award for best use of an exaggeration in a supporting role, the winner is Aquilino Gonell, who thinks the pen is literally mightier than the sword." She then played a clip of Gonell saying, "He had all these items and things that were thrown at us and attack and use to attack us. Those are weapons, no matter if it is a pen." But she didn't include exactly what Gonell had said were the weapons he saw: "a baseball bat, a hockey stick, a rebar, a flagpole, including the American flag, pepper spray, bear spray." Yeah, those things can kill you or ruin your fucking day, if not your entire life.

(By the way, lemme pause here to say how fucked up it is that one of the big defenses conservatives are using about January 6 is that there were "no guns." Putting aside that the statement is a factual lie and that baseball bats are also murder weapons, those who say it are implying that no one was really in any danger because of the lack of guns. You got that? In other words, they are declaring that guns kill people. The only logical conclusion to this is that guns should be banned in general, just as they are on the Capitol grounds, because conservatives say we're safer without them.)

This could easily go on with mention of grifting motherfuckers like Greg Kelly over on Newsmax (motto: "Democracy dies in darkness because that's where we strangled it"), who tweeted that "None of these cops can be trusted with weapons.  Resign" and "Put HODGES on 'desk duty' right away.  He's not equipped to be a cop" (Hodges was the cop who was screaming out while being crushed in a doorway), as well as, pithily, "What a bunch of BABIES." Or Fox "news" regular Julie Kelly, who declared the officers "crisis actors" and mocked Dunn for describing being called the n-word with "Oh, the drama!" Shockingly, both Kellys aren't married to each other. They're both just incredibly shitty humans with the same last name.

Almost the entirety of the GOP and the right, especially the right-wing media slime corps, is deeply invested in tearing down any sense that something extraordinary happened on January 6. Every attempt to invest it with greater weight, like calling it the coup attempt or the terrorist attack that it clearly was, has to be cut off at the knees, and it doesn't matter who has to be denigrated in order to minimize the events. Because, see, if you buy the truth of January 6, the one that every video has shown us, the one that every witness has told us, the one your own eyes and ears have seen and heard, then you have to acknowledge the other truth, which all four officers want to be acknowledged: that this was aided and abetted by some of the politicians screaming for this hearing to be silenced and by the White House. And, goddamnit, if they can't convince you everyone is just lying, then they'll degrade the supposedly brave man, emasculate them, cut off their balls, and hope you think they're pussies, too, because who wants to side with cowards?

In other words, it's better to divide the country more than to acknowledge that the hearing should be a unifying moment, one where we recognize the enemy within and all fight to get rid of it. That would have been so simple, just like it could have been with Covid. But Republicans have met the enemy and it is them and, clearly, they like it.

7/23/2021

Answering the Dumb Responses to "Why We're So Fucking Angry at the Unvaccinated"

In response to my post from earlier this week, a number of skeevy anti-vax taint-huffers wrote to inform me of how wrong I am. Some were of the polite "have you considered this?" variety. Others were more along the line of "Fuck you, you fucking asshole." My favorite was the one person who accused me of being a shill for Big Pharma, making bank by promoting their murder shot. Man, I wish. 

Of course, what goes unexplained in that scenario there is that if Big Pharma were really deceiving people and serving up poison, wouldn't that eliminate their customer base? I mean, at least oxy addicted people for a while before they died. You kill your users right out of the gate, and you've cut your profits way down. 

And that's the way most of this shit went. Usually, all I had to do was ask for a source or evidence and the whole fucking thing would fall apart.

Like this from last night over on the Twitter: "Have you seen the thousands of illegal immigrants pouring over our border daily?  Covid is up 900% along the border because of it.  And these people are being bussed around the country. Wake up!!!!" I asked the yelly tweeter for a source.  This was followed by her asking what I wanted the source for: "That thousands of illegals are pouring over the border?  That thousands of illegals are pouring over the border with Covid?" I responded that I wanted info on it all. So she sent me some stuff about the surge at the southern border, which, fine, we all knew about. 

And then she sent me a Fox "news" article that does indeed claim a "900% increase" in the number of Covid cases, which sounds ominous as fuck. That is, until you read the piece, which says, "There were 135 detainees who tested positive in the first two weeks of July alone, marking a 900% increase in confirmed positive cases compared to the previous 14 months." That's it. It went from around 14 cases to 135 cases, which, while a 9x increase, is hardly a reason to slam the shit-yourself button, especially since that's out of around 100,000 people. I mean, if I had 1 bottle of whiskey and now I have 11 of them, it's a 1000% increase, but I don't say that because that makes me sound like a fucking idiot. All that increase means is that Covid cases at the border are rising because of the Delta variant, just like everywhere else. 

So all she really wanted to do was tell me she hates Mexicans, which I wish she had because that's racist and shitty but it's at least honest.

Without quoting any more of their incoherent, subhuman gruntings, lemme try to answer a few more of the dumbass responses.

1. The vaccine is flat out killing people and/or giving them seizures and/or tearing up their internal organs and/or raping their cats and laughing while doing it. Your cat is safe. You have a better chance of lightning striking your nipple rings than you have of dying or being harmed by the vaccine. This hysterical shit is never calmed down by citing actual statistics, like the odds of death versus the odds of your nipples going all Ben Franklin. No, no, these motherfuckers have secret sources that tell them that people are just fucking dropping dead left and right after they get the jab. But the government or Big Pharma or George Soros would have to be hiding thousands of deaths for it to even be statistically significant when you're talking about 140 million people who have been fully vaccinated. That's a fuck-ton of shocked nipples.

2. Tucker Carlson said thousands of people died from the vaccine. Tucker Carlson said it and I believe in him more than I believe in God. First off, Tucker Carlson is the rectal prolapse of Fox "news" in that he's showing us everything that Fox thought it was keeping hidden up its own ass. Never listen to a rectal prolapse. It's just desperate for attention. And that number is garbage because it comes from a garbage self-reporting site that doesn't say what someone died from, only that they died at some point after being vaccinated. The Covid vaccine doesn't prevent cancer. 

3. I done had me the Co-Vids, so I don't need yer fancy vaks-seen. Okay, lemme deal with this one on a more personal basis: Hey, you dicks. I had the 'rona. I had it and recovered and got an antibody test in May 2020 and lo and fuckin' behold, I had me some antibodies. Made me feel like the goddamn Incredible Hulk or something (but there was no one available to smash in the lonely Covid summer). Then I went to give plasma in January and, oh, shit, I didn't have antibodies anymore. Now, it's entirely possible one or the other test was a false reading. It's also likely that my antibodies faded because I had a mild case of Covid. I was gonna get vaccinated anyways, but I sure as hell got it because no one knows how well protected you are post-infection. In other words, don't act like you're a fucking virologist when you're not a fucking virologist.

I mean, really, c'mon, anti-vaxers. Just say you're afraid. Just say you're fucking cowards, that you're like cave people who cowered and shit themselves when they first saw fire, that you're part of the crowd of barbarians who would burn astronomers at the stake when they said that the earth revolves around the sun, that you're the country bumpkins who thought movies were ghosts and phantoms. 

Because you either embrace incredible scientific advancements or you scream at the setting sun like a lunatic because you believe it will never rise again. 

7/20/2021

Why We're So Fucking Angry at the Unvaccinated

One night long ago, I saw a small cat in an underpass during a downpour in Louisiana. I was driving home in the dark when my headlights caught a glimpse of an animal that was cowering on the sidewalk as the puddle down there started to become a flood. Part of me wanted to keep driving, but another part said, "No. Turn around, asshole," and I listened to the part that didn't wanna think that I let something drown. So I went back. It was late, like about two in the morning, and few other cars were on the road. I stopped in the underpass, railroad tracks above me, and I got out. There I saw the cat, just a bit older than a kitten, and I approached it, using as soothing a voice as I could. But when I got close, it hissed and clawed at me.  What the fuck was I doing? "Goddamnit," I thought because I knew I couldn't give in to the voice in my head that said, "Fuck that cat. Go home." I went back to the car and found a large towel in the trunk. 

When I approached the cat again, it hissed, spit, did that weird growl-meow thing, and tried to claw me. I sat on the sidewalk with the towel and waited, talking gently. I knew it was wet and freaked out, but I wanted to help it. At one point, I reached out to try to pet it, but the little shit just fucking ripped my hand, and really, I kind of wanted to kill it myself right then. Instead, I tried again to soothe it, but it wasn't happening, and the water was gonna be up to where the cat was gonna have to swim for it and probably not make it. So, screw it, I covered my hands in the towel, reached out quickly, and grabbed the damn cat, wrapping it in the towel while it screamed and tried to claw. "Stop it! I'm trying to fucking help you!" I said, obviously expecting the cat to understand me. I put it in the passenger seat where I could hold the towel closed. Yeah, I know the cat was panicking, but it was this or probably drowning or getting run over or something other horrible thing. Eventually, through cat magic, it got out of the towel and was free in the car. Fortunately, it didn't attack my face. It just hissed and leaped onto the floor in the back, hiding under the seat. I stopped at a gas station to get something for my bleeding hand. When I got out of the car, the cat leaped out and ran under the barely open garage door. As it was running away, I muttered, "You're welcome, you dumb fuck." I don't have strong opinions on cats in general one way or the other. I mean, I'm allergic as hell, but I don't hate them or anything. However, I hated that cat, and I would have saved it again if I had to.

I thought about this short, silly story as I read again and again about how we the vaccinated, we who believe that the vaccine is not only safe but is the only way out of the coronavirus clusterfuck, we who want everyone to get vaccinated need to reason with the willfully unvaccinated (who are different than those who can't get it because of some medical condition or are too young; I'm also leaving out those who are in communities that are underserved by the health care system, so, really, basically, I'm talking about Republicans), need to be more understanding, and need to calmly explain the vaccine to them. 

But you know what? There are a fuckton of us who think that we had months of understanding. And where the fuck did that get us? 

We're furious. We're furious at adults who made adult decisions that fucked it all up. We're furious that, after all the shit they've done to fuck up this country by voting for Trump, they won't do this one goddamn thing by getting the vaccine that Trump is legitimately partially responsible for getting developed so quickly. So this was your win, and you refused to take the W. 

Jesus fuck, Trump voters should be having crazed, hedonistic vaccination parties, whooping it up with shitty fast food and fucking each other wearing nothing but red MAGA hats as they celebrate their great and glorious Covid killer president with a primal orgy of doughy flesh suctioning against doughy flesh and wheezy cigarette coughing in harmony with inarticulate grunts of ecstasy, all in worship of their orange god who has deigned them worthy of saving, firing guns in the air in triumph. Yeah, you dumb motherfuckers, you missed a golden opportunity to own us liberals so fuckin' good that we would have had to throw up our hands and say, "You're right. We are so fucking owned. Here's a delicious cup of our tears for you to drink" while we get the vaccine, too. 

But you didn't. Instead, you decided that it had become tainted because Trump lost, and you decided to say fuck everyone, and you decided to disappear down the shit-smeared rabbit-holes of conspiracy theory YouTube videos and worthless websites and Tucker Carlson's smug, elitist maw. You decided that the hurt feelings of one man were more important than saving the nation. You made these decisions, on your own, as motherfucking grown-ups, and now we're supposed to reach out to you and gently cajole you to do something like you're tired children? Fuck you. That fucking ship sailed. 

Bitches, we want you to get vaccinated not just for us, but for you. We want you to get vaccinated so you don't get sick and clog our hospitals with your ventilated semi-corpses, driving our awful health care system even further into the ground. We want you to get vaccinated so you're not a goddamned incubator for the next variant, the one that the vaccine can't mitigate the effects of or the one that really fucking kills our children. Yeah, we want to save your fucking asses even if you don't want them saved with the added bonus that it saves us.

We're fucking angry because we were legit so fucking close to being over this virus. If vaccinations had continued at the rate they were going in the first part of the year, we'd be at herd immunity. But rather than that actual freedom, you fucknuts think that you have the "freedom" to go around spreading Covid to whoever the fuck gets in your ignorant way and you call that a constitutional right. No, it's not. It's not your right to spread a disease that might kill even 1 out of 100 people who get it. 

We're fucking angry because every fucking thing you say about Covid is just blindingly stupid. It's "poison"? So you think the 180 million people in the United States who got at least one dose of the vaccine are gonna die? You think that the thousands of people who worked on the vaccines are in a secret conspiracy that none of them will reveal? And for those who say they wanna wait to see, man, it's been over a year since the first batch of test subjects got vaccinated. They're alive. I know a couple of them. They're not gonna suddenly explode in five more years or grow demon testicles on the backs of their heads in ten. That's not how vaccines work. That's not how any of this works.

Or you say some shit like "It was rushed." No, you goddamned pathetic moron. Decades of research on this type of vaccine and even more decades of modern fucking medicine got us to the point where we could do this quickly. That's a good thing. It's so good that Trump gave the effort to do it the spastic little boy name of "Operation Warp Speed." So you can't support Trump and say the vaccine was rushed. He fucking rushed it. And as long as the medical scientists say it's cool, even those of us who fucking hate Trump are good with it. 

If you're a vaccine hesitant evangelical because "God gave us immune systems" or whatever, then don't take painkillers or antibiotics when you're sick. God hates hypocrites. He told me that. You don't believe me? Why? 'Cause I might just be making shit up? Yeah, welcome to religion, motherfuckers. Besides, you can always get your God on by saying that the invisible sky wizard waved a magic wand and gave humans the ability to create vaccines to stop viruses the Devil made. Man, this shit is easy.

And I'm not even gonna address the microchip/magnetism/alien DNA or whatever crazy horse diarrhea is flowing out of some people's idiot mouths. Fuck those people. Covid can take them. (That's a joke, you fucking mental invalids.)

This isn't even to get into the way you cockscabs have attacked Anthony Fauci and other scientists desperately trying to save your worthless lives. That deserves its own post.

But most of all, we're angry at how easy this could have all been. The vaccines were done. They were rolled out pretty damn smoothly and quickly. I can't get past how such a simple, common thing like getting a vaccine became a war. It's so ludicrous. It's so goddamn ludicrous. How can you look at case after case of people who were against the vaccine who now are sick or dead and still cling to that belief?  That makes you such a fool. You're wrong. You're just so fucking wrong about everything here. 

So, yeah, we've been patient. And now we're ready to do what it fucking takes to get you vaccinated. No, that doesn't mean forced vaccination. We're not evil, despite what you think. But, if that means paying you to do it, fine. I do not have a problem with that. And I won't even be a selfish dick about it and whine that I should have been paid, too. But we are gonna have to make it hurt if you still refuse to get vaccinated, and that should mean you don't get to participate in daily life. Bottom fucking line. We need to do like France and say, "Yeah, go fuck yourself with a baguette if you wanna go to restaurants or clubs or bars or sports stadiums without being vaccinated." And that might mean a fucking genuine i.d. card or phone app or something to prove it, not just a scribbled little card that can easily be faked. See? No one is forcing you to put on pants. We're just saying that if you don't wear pants, you gotta stay home.

To get back to the cat story up top, it's not a perfect analogy. My stakes with the cat were infinitely lower than our stakes with Covid. But it works in this way: I didn't like that cat. That cat didn't like me. At the end of the day, all that mattered was to stop it from dying, no matter how stupid and scared and stubborn it was. Once that was done, once that simple but meaningful interaction had finished, we could go back to whatever we wanted to do, a bit scarred, but alive.

7/15/2021

Republicans Loved the Covid Vaccine Before They Hated It

I have seen a lot of cynical shit when it comes to the way that conservative politicians and media whores manipulate their fucking ignorant followers, from the Cadillac-driving welfare queens to drug hysteria to birtherism and so very much more. But I cannot wrap my head around the exploitation of fear and the selfish hyping of ideological division behind the right-wing campaign against the Covid vaccine. It's nonsensical on a health level and on a basic reality level, and for the majority of us who know that the only way to finally be out of the coronavirus despair is with herd immunity from the vaccine, it's unforgivable.

Prior to the election of Joe Biden as president, Donald Trump, his ass remoras in the GOP, and the conservative press bottom-feeders were all about how awesome the Covid vaccine was gonna be and how it was gonna be available to everyone. Here's Trump in an interview with Sean "Frankenstein-Shaped" Hannity on June 25, 2020: "I think the vaccines are coming along great...I think it will be even before the end of the year, we’ll have a vaccine. We have great companies, and we’re totally mobilized. Military is doing it. We’re ready to go. As soon as they have it, we will be distributing that all over the country." Nothing but enthusiasm and hype. 

In August 2020, at one of his endless, hedonistically self-aggrandizing daily press conferences, Trump preened, "We are investing in the development and manufacture of the top six vaccine candidates to ensure a rapid delivery. The military is ready to go. They’re ready to deliver a vaccine to Americans as soon as one is fully approved by the FDA. And we’re moving very close to that approval. We’re on track to rapidly produce 100 million doses as soon as the vaccine is approved and up to 500 million shortly thereafter. So we’ll have 600 million doses." If we have 600 million doses, that means he was expecting everyone to get the vaccine. 

I mean, Jesus fuck, in December, after the election, then-Vice President Mike Pence, prior to being the target of a literal lynch mob, spoke in his usual squeamish biblical tones about the vaccine: "I think every American can be proud that we are just a matter of days away in this whole of America approach, to delivering a safe and effective vaccine unto the American people." You got that? A "whole of America approach." Not "minus the fucknuts who all of a sudden are raging against science."

And it wasn't just Pence that was all about celebrating what Trump hath given unto the pleading masses. At their own press conference in November, Senate Republicans were braying about how amazing it was and how Democrats like Andrew Cuomo were being dicks for saying they didn't trust the Trump administration's ability to distribute the vaccine. John "The Easy Joke Here Is 'Bare Asshole'" Barrasso of Wyoming  exclaimed, "This is something to celebrate. This is a success for the world to turn to America and say, 'You have done it and you have done it right.'" Iowa's Joni "I Take My Anger Out on Pig Nuts" Ernst agreed, saying, "I do want to give a shout out to the Trump Administration for making this possible by thinking outside of that box on making sure that we can deliver those much needed vaccinations quickly to the American people." 

And as for health care workers, many of whom are now resisting getting vaccinated? Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar was clear that they should be at or near the front of the line: "As important as doctors and nurses, it’s the janitors, it’s the orderlies, it’s the aides, everybody who are providing that kind of help that make the system in the hospital, the nursing home, what have you, work and are just as important, if not more often, than everybody else to make sure they get protection also." 

It was fucking nothing but celebration, back-slapping, and joy. Sure, they used language at times like "Everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get it." And, at the time, when the number of people who didn't want to get vaccinated was at around 33%, Trump wouldn't say a bad word about antivaxers when prompted by Laura Ingraham on Fox "news" back in August. But even with that, no one in the mainstream media was saying the crazy shit that's going on now, with the bizarro theories of government control and forced vaccination in order to scare people away.

Instead it was all positive, forward-looking, and ambitious. At an HHS event in December, when Trump was still in office, one of the doctors there, Bruno Pettinaux, said pretty fucking clearly, "I look forward to also taking this vaccine when my turn comes, and I highly encourage everyone to seriously consider being vaccinated when the opportunity arises." And he didn't even get flooded with death threats after. I mean, for fuck's sake, even Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, who has become the loudest antivax dick in the Senate, said in December, "Operation Warp Speed was brilliant. We need to celebrate vaccine development, but it still won't be available to every American for months." Yeah, he was anticipating, not dreading its availability. 

What I don't get is that the right, especially the evangelical right (which is wildly anti-vax), talks all the time about "miracles." Well, you know what? The Covid vaccines are a goddamn miracle, a scientific miracle. And I don't use that word lightly. When the vaccines were being developed, the researchers were hoping for a 50-60% effectiveness against Covid, which would still have been a game-changer. Instead, the Moderna and Pfizer double shot is over 90% effective, which shocked everyone. Yeah, it's a fucking miracle, and it's a tribute to the amazing things that humanity can do, across administrations, across parties. It's this generation's motherfucking moon shot and everyone involved should be gleeful. This one thing wasn't fucked up by the Trump administration. They should be out there braying like just-fucked teenagers about how incredible it is instead of hiding in the shadows from the irrational forces that they helped unleash. It's a miracle. You wanna bring the invisible sky wizard into it? Fine. Say that God inspired everyone who made it and gave them the abilities to do it. There. God make the vaccine. Fucking happy?

We know what this is about, and this gets back to that incredible cynicism I started with. Obviously, it's about the right denying the Biden administration a win with Covid herd immunity. Obviously, it's a craven ploy to keep the nutzoid evangelicals and the conspiracy fucked-heads on edge and pouring money into the coffers of whoever exploits them. And if a couple percent of them die, well, shit, that's just the price of lying about freedom.

If we had a sane ex-president, this could all be solved. He would be out there talking nonstop about his amazing triumph in getting the vaccine done so quickly and how everyone should get it instead of whining about the election. But Trump is not sane. And, truthfully, neither is half the nation anymore.

(Note: Yeah, I know. "Not all Republicans." But, you know, it ain't Democrats scaring people away from the vaccine.)

7/13/2021

Tennessee Legislators Are Outraged That Teenagers Might Want to (Checks Notes) Not Get Covid

The state of Tennessee abides by the "Mature Minor Doctrine" when it comes to almost all medical care. That means that minors between 14 and 18 years-old can see doctors on their own without a parent's permission. The physician or medical provider may decide not to provide care based on a judgment about the maturity of the teenager, but, generally, if you're over 14, you can get medical help (except abortions because, well, Tennessee). A 1987 Tennessee Supreme Court decision clearly put this doctrine in place for the state. Hell, the Tennessee legislature even passed legislation guaranteeing that minors could get medical care without parental consent for things like drug abuse, emergencies, and even contraception. Sometimes, sanity does exist where you least expect it. And then again...

When the Covid vaccine was made available to those 12 and up, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health, sent guidance to all vaccine providers as a response to inquiries about the applicability of the Mature Minor Doctrine in the case of the Covid vaccine. Prior to sending the email, Dr. Fiscus had contacted the Department of Health's general counsel for a statement she could use for the guidance, and she received an email that had the very document I linked to up there, adding that it had been "blessed by the Governor’s office on the subject" and "feel free to distribute to anyone." So she did. 

And, because we live in the stupidest fucking time possible, someone complained and that complaint led to Republicans in the state legislature losing their shit. They attacked Dr. Fiscus and the Department of Health for the letter and for ads that featured kids that read, "Tennesseans 12+ Eligible for Vaccines: Give COVID-19 vaccines a shot." That's pretty much bullying, according to GOP assholes, like Rep. Scott Cepicky from the ass-end of nowhere, who said, "For a department of ours to make it seem like you need a vaccine...to fit in is peer pressure applied by the state of Tennessee. Personally, I think it's reprehensible that you would do that, that you would do that to our youth." Another dumbass, Sen. Janice Bowling from Sisterfuck or Pigass or something, said of the letter, which, again, was sent to vaccine providers in case a 14 year-old came in to get jabbed, "It is very disconcerting to see the letter, or memo, from Dr. Fiscus stating that Tennessee law allows the Department of Health to give vaccinations to children 14 years of age." Except Tennessee law does allow it. Also, Tennessee is way the fuck behind on vaccinations in general, with only 38% of the population fully-vaccinated and the Delta variant starting to kick medical asses.

And, because the stupidest fucking time possible always leads to the stupidest actions possible, the governor fired Dr. Fiscus. In her response to her termination, she wrote an impassioned plea: "I am afraid for my state. I am angry for the amazing people of the Tennessee Department of Health who have been mistreated by an uneducated public and leaders who have only their own interests in mind. And I am deeply saddened for the people of Tennessee, who will continue to become sick and die from this vaccine-preventable disease because they choose to listen to the nonsense spread by ignorant people." Damn straight. Science, motherfuckers.

And, because the stupidest fucking actions possible are always topped by something even stupider, today, the Tennessee Department of Health, which had already slowed outreach to young people on the Covid vaccine, decided that it "will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases." That's right. That's how fucking awful this has gotten. That's how short-sighted, idiotic, and savage the Tennessee GOP is. No outreach for any vaccines they might have missed. No outreach for flu shots. Nor for meningococcal vaccines. Certainly not for HPV vaccines.

There's bonus fuckery, too, like "the health department will also stop all COVID-19 vaccine events on school property." I got my vaccine at a high school in NYC. I'm sure many others have gotten theirs at schools, and one event was planned in Tennessee for this month. That's canceled. 

Let's remember that the reason for young people to get vaccinated is not their risk for Covid; they rarely get seriously ill or die from it, although it's more frequent than any side effects from the vaccines. It's so that they don't carry the disease and, really, so they don't become incubators for fucked up variants. But this is some insidious shit because the basis for any of this is the completely deranged idea that the vaccine is harmful in some way. And it's not. It's extraordinarily safe. It's so safe that it's morally and medically fucking wrong not to get it.

It is madness, truly. The country is being divided into zones based on the vaccination rate, and that shit's unsustainable and nonsensical. More on that later this week.

7/09/2021

Hey, Fellow White People, We Should Be Ashamed and Angry About Racism in American History

When I was applying for jobs in academia years ago, I figured that, depending where I was applying, my whiteness and maleness would work against me or in my favor. It never occurred to me to resent the idea that I might lose out to an equally qualified non-white person or a woman because I believe that diversity in education is an imperative to maybe, perhaps one day overcoming or at least ameliorating the effects of racism and sexism. On more than one occasion, some other white guy would ask me if I was upset that I might lose out on a dream job because of affirmative action or diversity hiring. 

And my answer was always the same: "I'm not angry at people today for getting jobs. I'm not angry at people today for considering race and sex as factors. I am pissed off as hell at all the stupid, racist, sexist white men in the past who fucked it all up." 

See, what gets me, time and again, is trying to conceive of all the people whose genius, whose talent, whose abilities were never even given a chance because of the actual laws and the unspoken rules of white male domination and oppression. If you really think about it, that loss is overwhelming. It's incalculable. And it is frankly entirely rational, entirely normal, entirely expected that trying to wrap your head around it is going to make a white person feel like shit. 

Frankly, we white people should feel shame. We should feel anger. And rather than deny those feelings, rather than repress them and revolt against them, we should embrace them, learn from them, and grow from them. Otherwise, we'll just keep doing all the things that make future whites ashamed and angry, perpetuating the very system that we're pretending we've defeated. 

The fake outrage over critical race theory in schools has morphed from the bizarre idea that a law school idea about race and the judicial system was being taught to grade school kids to an existential threat to the nation. It has gone from banning teaching about white privilege to banning books deemed offensive, like the children's book Ruby Bridges Goes to School, about the young Black girl who integrated the New Orlean public schools and faced screaming mobs of white people while doing it. 

And why is this? Because learning that white people were cruel racists makes white people feel bad so don't teach the truth about the racial history of this country. You think that's an oversimplification? The head of one mothers' group in Tennessee said that the Ruby Bridges book "too harshly delineated between Black and white people, and that the book didn't offer 'redemption' at its end." The book does offer redemption: for Ruby Bridges and those opposed to segregation. There are objectively good people and bad people. And you know what else the book has? It shows a photo of a white member of the Eisenhower administration and says that "The United States government said: 'Segregation is wrong.'" So it does have good white people. It just says that the racist white people were wrong, so that must be the problem.

By the way, that same mom says that it's offensive for students to learn to spell words like "injustice," "unequal," "inequality," "protest," "marching" and "segregation," in case you really wondered what this was about. 

(Yes, of course, it's a grift, a scam to fundraise off the rubes. But it has also become an obsession on the right, to the point of violence at school board meetings and death threats against teachers. So let's take it seriously.)

Those attacking critical race theory believe that some of the racial sensitivity training (which have little to do with actual critical race theory, it's becoming tedious to point out) that some companies, government agencies, and, yes, teachers are undertaking are actually "political indoctrination" in disguise. What makes it political indoctrination? The fact that it asks white people to contemplate that much of what we consider even foundational ideas about the United States come from a white perspective because, for much of the history of this county, the white perspective was the only one that was allowed to be expressed. And that once we recognize that, we realize that we need to revise how we conceive of some of the things that we white people take for granted as true. It's called "growth." I'd call it "evolution," but you know how that would go.

If what you get from that is that white people are bad and that you don't want to feel bad, that's on you. For chrissake, as a white person, why wouldn't I feel like shit about the fact that the country wouldn't exist without the enslavement of one race and the genocide of another, both done by white people? Why wouldn't I feel like shit that the white-run government didn't enforce the very laws that it created to bring about equality between the races? Why in the world wouldn't I feel like shit about lynching and terrorism by whites against Black people? As someone who grew up white in the south, why wouldn't I feel like shit about the Supreme Court-endorsed apartheid that prevented Black people from prospering for a hundred years after slavery? Why wouldn't I feel like shit about policies like red-lining and banking discrimination and environmental ghettoes? We're now talking about things white people have done in my lifetime, not 400 years ago. 

Goddamn, you'd have to be so deep in denial, so delusional, so sociopathic to not think that whiteness has been used as a weapon against non-white people. Don't tell me not to feel like hell. Tell me how you agree that we need to accept it, teach it, learn it, and change it. 

Instead, now we've got things like the governor of Nebraska praising the Board of Regents for the University of Nebraska system for putting out a statement opposing critical race theory in the university curriculum. We've got idiots like Sen. Tom Cotton raging at professors and the Pentagon for daring to teach it to cadets at the military academies. 

As if it was written by a hyper-patriotic child, the University of Nebraska statement reads, in part, "America is the best country in the world and anyone can achieve the American Dream here." Putting aside that the country is actually called "the United States of America" and, by default, you could only achieve the American Dream here, it's just laughable in its pathetic hyperbole. 

A truly great country doesn't have to keep saying it's great. A truly great country can handle more than one idea about itself. A truly great country is one that recognizes its mistakes and treats them as the chance to become, what's the phrase, "a more perfect union," as our flawed, racist, but, yes, wise founders said.

7/07/2021

Why Critical Race Theory? Because What the Hell Else Do Republicans Have to Run on

One technique I use when teaching my students the historical background of a text is to get them to imagine what it was like in that time period and how it might have affected the writers. Imagine, say, the smell of Elizabethan London and tell me that the shit-laden streets around the Globe Theatre didn't have an impact on Shakespeare. Or maybe just facts of existence, like the idea that around the corner, at any moment, the fucking plague could just shut everything down and take out half the people you know. How does that not take up permanent residence in your brain and be a part of everything? How does it not impact every aspect of life, from the laws that are created to the interactions between people in everyday life? Of course, it does. And to deny that would be sheer ignorance.  

One of the things that critical race theory asks us to do is to make those connections with the history of this nation. It honestly seems like a rational way of looking at the past: Slavery existed. Jim Crow laws existed. The economy of the nation was based on those realities. Those are indisputable parts of the American past. They indisputably maintained a huge difference in power between Blacks and whites. How could they not have affected every single person every single day? How could they not have had an effect on the culture, the laws, the society, and why wouldn't some of those effects of racism, many of them embedded in the law, have persisted to this day in things like the carceral state and ongoing poverty? And if you agree with that, then you would have to agree that when teaching the history of this country in an honest way, you'd have to acknowledge those racist realities. In fact, the only way to avoid discussing any of this is to willfully obfuscate or outright lie about history because telling the actual history of this country might mean having to acknowledge that we are living in a janky house built on one fucked-up foundation. 

So the right has decided on a two-prong approach to demonizing anyone who might dare to say that bad shit that happened in the past still has relevance and reverberations today. 

One of those prongs is obvious: Just fuckin' lie. Just fuckin' lie as openly and carelessly as you can and rely on the laziness and stupidity of those you're lying to. For instance, here's very white Kayleigh McEnany, who was Donald Trump's most grotesque press secretary, lying about slavery and the founders: "We know most of our forefathers, all of our main Founding Fathers were against slavery, recognized the evils of it." We know for sure that 41 of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves at the time. Of the "main Founding Fathers," only John Adams gets off scot-free. Franklin later became an abolitionist and freed his slaves. But Washington, Jefferson, and Madison all were slaveowners. (Alexander Hamilton is up for debate.) So, yeah, we can argue about the range of their attitudes towards slavery and abolition, but it's hard to say someone is "against slavery" when they own slaves. 

The lying prong goes hand-in-hand with the other prong, which is more of a meta-approach that can be best summarized as "Teaching critical race theory to schoolkids is a problem because it's a problem." This is the new version of "Communists are hiding under your bed" in that nothing needs to be proven so nothing can be disproven. You don't have to understand a single thing about critical race theory. You don't have to offer an example of critical race theory being taught to third-graders. It just is happening and it's making your white child hate themselves. 

(Note: One thing that never comes up here is that maybe it's a rational reaction to be angry at what your racial group did to another racial group just because of the color of their skin. I'm fucking furious and ashamed about the evil and stupidity of whites because what they did was evil and stupid. That doesn't make me self-hating. That makes me sane. And maybe a little compassionate to the victims of whites' evil and stupidity. But I guess that's why it needs to be silenced.)

There are so many examples that involve Fox "news" white nationalist Tucker Carlson, who always looks like he's wondering if he can fit a second butt plug up there, that it would take a fucking book to list them all just from the last month. Fox "news" has become the critical race theory clearing house, with stories like "Ohio private school students denied reenrollment after moms' 'inflammatory' campaign against 'indoctrination,'" which is about these two white morons who spewed a bunch of lies and threatened the school with withholding payment for tuition even after the school had addressed many of their concerns about how race was being taught. That was a beautiful "fuck around and find out" moment.

Carlson has gone so hysterical that it would be laughable if people didn't take this shitheel seriously. Critical race theory, says Carlson, is "civilization-ending poison." You might think, "Whoa, whoa, there Tuckus. Wouldn't racism be civilization-ending poison?" Ah, but then you fall into his trap because to the anti-critical race theory goons, critical race theory itself is racist because it points out that white people used racism in the formation of this nation and that its effects are still felt today. To put it simply, "Telling me about racism makes me, a white person, feel bad so stop telling me or you're the racist." To put it more simply, picture a grown man sticking his fingers in his ears and going "La, la, la, it's not true if I can't hear you!"

Again, a sane, healthy society would be engaged in an ongoing examination of how racism was woven into the fabric of this goddamned country and figure out how to rip those threads out and seam the fucking thing to attempt to be whole, and teaching kids about this shit is a good place to start. Jesus, is it so fucking wrong to say that maybe we shouldn't teach that everything needs to viewed through a white lens? Is that such a fucking threat? "Inclusion" is not "replacement." In fact, it's expanding the ways that you learn. That's complex and requires that you give a goddamn about changing things. We didn't weaken the study of literature by including James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. We made it so much richer.

Carlson's solution is much easier because it's insidious, dumb, and untenable: "How widespread is it? Well, we can’t really be sure until we finally get cameras in the classroom, as we put them on the chests of police officers. Until we finally bet a civilian review board in every town in America to oversee the people teaching your kids, forming their minds. Until we do, we can’t know exactly how widespread this is." Yeah, that's exactly how fucked this has gotten: Make sure strangers can watch your kids all day on video. Not creepy at all. And in states where anti-critical race theory laws were passed, it's fucking Orwellian (and I'm using that properly). 

Let's be honest, though. The real reason behind the critical race theory apocalypse talk is that it gives Republicans something to campaign on and raise cash with. It's one of the top stories on the GOP's website. It's big on the National Republican Senatorial Committee's website, as well as on the National Republican Congressional Committee, supporting House candidates. Incumbents like John Kennedy from Louisiana are blathering bullshit about it as they face reelection in 2022. 

What the fuck else do they have except made up shit like this? Jobs? The pandemic response? The shit that actually matters in the day-to-day lives of Americans? And even the other overblown issues or lies the GOP is pushing, like the rise in crime or whatever the fuck they're making up about immigration, are all tied to race in some way. So maybe, in that way, it's typical Republicanism: hinge it all on white fears of no longer controlling non-whites.

7/02/2021

Emotions Experienced While Watching the New York Times Video on the January 6 Insurrection

If you haven't yet, you should absolutely watch the 40-minute video blow-by-blow of the January 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol that was produced by the New York Times. If you're like me, you will go through some things as you watch the consortium of copious cretins and countless cunts attack the center of our democracy to try to stop it in its tracks from certifying the fair and lawful election of Joe Biden. I thought a bunch of shit, like:

1. I remembered when I marched in a peaceful protest at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2008. I ended up with a group of Code Pink activists, and when we left the park where we had gathered and headed into the downtown area, the streets were solidly lined with cops in riot gear. It was goddamn wall of helmets, bulletproof vests, and black batons at the ready, all the cops armed, with snipers on the roofs, staring down at us through their scopes. I tried to interview some of the police, but, you know, they weren't in the mood to be friendly. It was meant to intimidate us and meant to keep us in line, with the idea being that if we stepped out of where we were supposed to be, we'd be met with intense force by some motherfuckers just aching to ruin our days. Yeah, I couldn't help but think about those cops and all the cops that were a constant presence at Occupy Wall Street and at other protests when the Times video showed how essentially a skeleton crew of Capitol police were on duty on a day when fucking truck horns were blowing about how there was going to be premeditated and planned violence against the Capitol itself. 

2. I know we say a lot that it's really kind of miraculous that no members of Congress or their staffs were taken hostage or strung up by the cretins and cunts in the crowd that scampered through the building like a pack of starved curs off-leash and looking for blood. But, to me, what was even more miraculous is that the police didn't gun these motherfuckers down by the dozens. And, yeah, yeah, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that if the Capitol had been rampaged through by Black Lives Matter protesters or Muslim activists, the marble would have become a morgue. But that doesn't really cover every single one of those officers. We've seen tons of situations where cops shoot someone walking towards them with a knife, yet the police officers outside the Capitol didn't draw their weapons while being beaten by the crowd with flagpoles and batons, while having their eyes gouged and being sprayed with bear mace. I've read that they knew they were badly outnumbered and feared the crowd getting even more violent, but that doesn't explain the almost entire lack of gunfire. The police were restrained (heroically so, in some cases) while it was pandemonium, and a whole lot of assholes should be grateful that they were. 

3. Yeah, okay, you wanna bring up Ashli Babbitt, the one person shot and killed by an officer as she was about to breach the doorway to the Speaker of the House's lobby? You go right ahead, but if I'm being totally honest here, and why the fuck not, fuck Ashli Babbitt. I don't fucking care. Watch the video. She was about to leap through the window where there were cops with their guns drawn, telling her to stop. She didn't. She was on a mission to undo the election, and she had already committed violence and probably wanted to do more, with those around her shattering windows and breaking doors. Fuck her. Fuck her and fuck everyone turning a traitor into a martyr. And you know what else? Fuck the other rioters who died, like the Q-Anon crazy who was crushed to death by other crazies, like the guys who died of a heart attack or stroke. I feel bad for their families, sure, yeah, I guess. But the ones who died? They were adults who made adult decisions that got them fucking killed. I think of them the same way I think of the Confederate soldiers whose rotted bodies pollute our American soil.

4. If I haven't been clear, the rioters were plainly, in their own words, there to invade the House and the Senate and halt the election certification. They were there to fuck shit up (as more than one announced). Some were in organized groups, like the self-fellaters known as the Proud Boys and the twatmites known as the Oath Keepers. Most seemed to be a conglomeration of random shitheels and fucknuts who wanted to get their white rage on. Sure, you could make a case that this was a bunch of military LARPers who got out of control. Except there were real fucking soldiers in there, even some active duty. But not a goddamn one of them didn't understand that what they were doing was breaking the law. They just thought they were the law, that they were righteous, that Donald fucking Trump's mad insistence that it was a "stolen election," which was really just his desperation to stave off prison and bankruptcy, gave them some kind of imprimatur of official status, that their defeated president would pardon them, even. It doesn't matter that they really believed in their cause (although I'm guessing many were just getting off on the violence). It doesn't matter that they were lied to and continue to be lied to. You wanna sit at home and wallow in your ignorance and hatred, fine. You wanna bring that shit out and try to overthrown the government by violence? You fucking get what you deserve: hundreds of people under arrest and being whiny bitches about it. 

5. Another thing that comes through is just how disgusting the vast, vast majority of the GOP is in denying their complicity in making January 6 happen and in their concerted effort to scrub the insurrectionist intent of the events of the day. There's flaccid cock Andrew Clyde going from cowering behind armed law enforcement to pronouncing that the rioters were mere "tourists." And the media savages who weren't even there are shown pronouncing that the whole thing is overblown. Watch the events. The rioting fucks have murder in their eyes. Even now, we have the shit-slicked worms that lead the GOP, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, refusing to allow for an independent commission to look into January 6, with McCarthy inhaling Trump's nutsack deeply as he decries any effort to investigate things by Congress. And then there are the slop-sucking piglets of the nutzoid right, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, who always looks like he's worried he's gonna be caught masturbating to images of dead immigrants on his work computer. Lauren Boebert, who is Marjorie Taylor Greene without the charm, is palling around with one of the extremists who attacked the Capitol because of course she is. 

6. No, you right-wing dickheads, we can't get past January 6 until the motherfuckers who caused it are held accountable. If you don't want that, then that means you know who is responsible. And it's not just Trump and Giuliani and Matt Gaetz and Alex Jones and the other raging whores who spoke to the crowds. It's not just the ones openly provoking it. It's people like you who cheered it on and who want it to go away before the jig is up.

6/29/2021

Republican Leaders Will Do Everything They Can to Fuck With the Infrastructure Bill

One of the ways that the oh-so-clever take-makers on the left like to describe how Republicans always act like they are going to go along with Democrats on some bill or some issue, only to bail when it comes time to actually vote for shit is to say it's like when, in the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy holds a football, invites Charlie Brown to kick it, and pulls it away at the last second, causing that poor, trusting bastard to end up on his ass. And yet, every time Lucy holds the football, even as he says he knows exactly what's happening, he can't help himself: Charlie Brown attempts to kick the goddamn football and falls on his ass. 

But as readily analogous as that is to what Republicans do to Democrats, it also presumes that Republicans are willing to pretend that they are playing football. See, we're at the point by now where it's kind of a quaint to believe that the GOP might actually still believe in the game. Yet, frankly, everything points to Republicans bailing on games or rules or behaving in any way that anyone would deem fair or rational.

When it comes to the infrastructure bill that was negotiated between (all white, it must be noted) Democratic and Republican senators and that President Biden said he would support, Republicans are acting less like Lucy pulling the ball more like Lucy tossing the football aside, charging at Charlie Brown, knifing him, and kicking his head repeatedly while he lays on the ground bleeding and screaming, "I thought we were playing football," until Lucy says, "You dumb motherfucker, Charlie Brown. You were too stupid to know that this shit was never a game" and drags his corpse to bury under the pitcher's mound.

It's been known for weeks that any deal on infrastructure would be part of a twofer: the bipartisan part where everyone can jack each other off so they can tell everyone how functional our dysfunctional legislative branch is and the larger bill that would be passed through reconciliation so the Republicans can act all outraged and shit. This has been talked about for a couple of months. Back in early April, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was on Fox News Sunday (motto: "It's exhausting being the only mildly sane show on this shit-tossing network") and he said, "If the proposal was to do just that, I don't think there’d be a problem with the bipartisan group of supporters for this package. I’ve reached out to the White House a couple of times now and said, you've got an easy bipartisan win here if you'll keep this package narrowly focused on infrastructure, and then the other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn't have very much too do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you can still do that." Seems like a pretty fucking clear understanding of the lay of the land in the Senate: shit can be done way and then other shit can be done another way. 

Yet, of course, Republicans went full berzerker when Biden said that he wouldn't sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the reconciliation bill came along with it because Biden's off-the-cuff remarks simply gave them the space to throw themselves on the Walmart floor and roll around until they got a toy. Lindsey Graham screamed, "That’s extortion!" like someone just suggested canceling the Daughters of the Confederacy Cotillion this year. Mitch McConnell, who always looks like he's getting a surprise pegging from Elaine Chao and he's not sure if he should like it, used the occasion to grumble that Biden was trying to "hold the bipartisan agreement hostage," saying that Biden was threatening a veto, which, you know, he kind of was.

And, of course, Biden issued a statement saying he wasn't really threatening a veto and that one bill is not contingent on the other, but, no shit, Democrats are gonna try to pass more spending because the fucking country is falling apart. Which, of course, led McConnell to swing back around and accuse Democrats in the House of the same exact thing he had just accused Biden of doing: "The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process." You see that shit? That's not pulling the football. That's rushing to stab the kicker. Motherfuckers can't just keep the process going. Everything is a fucking war.

We saw that today in the House in the vote to remove statues of Confederate leaders and other dicks from the Capitol. It could have been a feel-good moment of both parties coming together to acknowledge that the past of this country is fucked up and we should do better. Instead, Minority Leader Kevin "My Cologne Smells Like Trump's Sweaty Taint" McCarthy assholed, "[Democrats] are desperate to pretend their party has progressed from their days of supporting slavery, pushing Jim Crow laws, and supporting the KKK. But today, the Democratic Party has simply replaced the racism of the Klan with the racism of critical race theory." That is some crazy-ass, rawdog fuckery right there, and doubly so because 120 Republicans voted to keep the statues, so who's the fucking racist today, Kevster? This is not to mention that critical race theory never lynched anyone, but people are getting figuratively lynched for supporting it.

Back on infrastructure, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was having none of McConnell's bullshit. She told her caucus that the bills are being done in tandem and that they aren't going to move on anything until the Senate gets its shit together and passes them. It's certainly easier for Democrats in the House to kick Lucy in the face when she starts fucking around with the football.

But over in the Senate, McConnell is slavering in anticipation of fucking with the whole infrastructure deal. If he can use progress on the reconciliation bill as a reason to blow shit up, he'll do it. If he can, he'll attempt to fuck with Democrats by demanding things that are poison pills to liberals in the House. 

When it comes to this part of Biden and the Democrats' agenda, the filibuster is off the table if Democrats wanna play it that way. Reconciliation gives McConnell a shitty hand here. So, hopefully, Democrats are ready for Lucy's death charge. Fucking trip her and make her fall on her own blade. Then kick the football over her bleeding body. 

(Note: Yes, I have taken the Peanuts analogy and wrung it dry. We shall speak of it no more.)

6/23/2021

Manchin and Sinema Made Promises to Their Voters That They Refuse to Keep

After yesterday's 50-50 vote killing the For the People Act because a Republican filibuster prevented it from even being debated, let alone voted on, I was ready to write another piece raging about feckless Democrats and their inability to get things done, even when they have both houses of Congress and the presidency. But every time I thought it through, I came up against one pretty solid wall built by Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and their declarations that they will not vote to do away with the filibuster, which will affect every bill from now until Republicans take back over the Senate and almost definitely ditch the filibuster when a Republican is president. Sure, sure, we can say that President Joe Biden could try some kind of LBJ-like threats and/or cajoling to get them to change. But that's not going to happen. Screaming against that wall is kind of useless. So lemme zag instead of zigging:

Sinema and Manchin have taken an untenable position on the filibuster because it puts them in the position of lying to their constituents about a whole lot of the promises they made when they last ran for office in 2018. 

For instance, Manchin's campaign website explicitly says, "America’s infrastructure is deteriorating, and too many roads and bridges in West Virginia are falling apart. Joe wants to put West Virginians to work updating and modernizing infrastructure." And in the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act, which is set to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives, West Virginia gets earmarks worth in the neighborhood of $35 million in specifically budgeted infrastructure projects, all requested by Republican members of Congress from the state, Carol Miller and David McKinley. That seems pretty damn bipartisan.

When it comes to broadband, Manchin was even more enthusiastic for helping a state that has the third-worst access in the country. His website says, "He’s fighting to expand high-speed broadband access in the Mountain State because it’s essential that businesses, entrepreneurs, and students are connected to the world and have the tools they need to compete in the global economy. Currently, 500,000 West Virginians do not have access to broadband internet. Joe believes that West Virginia requires expanded internet access in order to create new jobs, better train our workforce, and build a brighter future for West Virginians. Senator Manchin refuses to allow rural communities to be left behind due to lack of broadband access." 35 of WV's 52 counties don't have broadband internet. So, yeah, you'd think the state's senators would want to do something about that.

The infrastructure bill that Biden proposed, which has been the subject of negotiations cutting it deeper and deeper, has $100 billion to expand broadband access across the country. West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice has said he welcomes the spending in his state. As he said about the bill, "I have more wishes and hopes than I have concerns." Other Republicans in West Virginia support the bill, too. Once again, the desire to improve the lives of West Virginians is bipartisan. 

This could go on. Manchin made promises about education. The Biden's proposal, the American Jobs Plan, has $100 billion for construction and upgrades to public schools. Manchin made promises about better health care and better care for veterans, also specifically in there. And considering the water issues in his state, you'd think Manchin might welcome the spending on clean drinking water. 

None of these are controversial. All of them have bipartisan support beyond the Senate. 

And we could do the same thing for Kyrsten Sinema. She's taken down most of her campaign website, but Archive.org is forever. Although, it's perhaps poignantly symbolic that the "Priorities" page now says "Not Found." But, her website once said, "She’s worked across the aisle to help family farmers, supported expanding rural broadband, and fought to protect community health centers that are so vital to rural Arizona." Sinema's a bit different from Manchin because she emphasized, time and again, that she would "reach across the aisle" to "get things done." 

The question for Sinema is if aisle-reaching is more important than, say, the $92 million in earmarks for Arizona roads and bridges in the INVEST in America Act in the House. Or the billions in other spending for Arizona in the American Jobs Plan. This is spending that would benefit all Arizonans, who, you know, have to vote for Senator in 2024. What's more important to them? That Sinema held the line on the filibuster? Or that they got more jobs, better broadband, and improved health care, among other things?

Even by her own standard that she laid out for voters, Sinema fails. On her website, it said, "We believe that delivering results is more important than scoring political points. That’s why Kyrsten will work with anyone – regardless of party – who’s serious about getting things done for everyday Arizonans." If she believes that the vote-blocking Republicans are "serious about getting things done" at this point, she's either owned by someone or delusional (or, yes, both - you can safely put away the little girl gif). But if Sinema believes "delivering results" really is "more important than scoring political points," then, it seems, the only result she cares about is preserving the filibuster. And that's just about scoring political points because it accomplishes nothing more.

Manchin and Sinema made explicit promises about what they wanted to do while in office. And the only people who are preventing them from fulfilling those promises are Manchin and Sinema. They will need to go home and explain why an anti-majoritarian Senate rule is more important than jobs, safe drinking water, bridges that don't break, and decent health care, especially for seniors and veterans. 

You want them to change their minds? Forget about raging. Go full court press in their home states. Remind voters of what they stand to lose.

6/18/2021

How a Story From a Middle Tennessee College Is Really About Our American Apocalypse (Part 2): The Mascot and the Damage Done

(Note: It's been a while since Part 1 of this story about how two professors protesting Turning Point USA starting a student group at their school, Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, turned into a question of employee rights and a minor cause for right-wing media. But that's because a few events have occurred that I won't be able to expand on until Part 3. For now, enjoy Part 2.)

Another place this whole story could start is with the damned mascot because the mascot battle is what led to the flyer battle.

Right now there's a long-running conflict going on in Cookeville, Tennessee, over the mascot of one of the local schools. Algood Middle School students and staff call themselves "the Redskins," complete with a Native American in full chief headgear featured on the front page of the school's website. Hell, the website is a big, farting "Screw you, snowflakes," since its url is "algoodredskins.com." After a push last year and into early this year, including a vote in the mascot's favor by the Putnam County school board, the name is staying, and the defense of it is pretty stunning. According to one online petition, the mascot is "a Native American depiction of a strong Warrior. It upholds and honors the many Native Americans who lived in Tennessee and were forced out. The word 'redskin' is not negative or derogatory." 

And if you think that last line there is blindingly ignorant, like in a "guns don't kill people" kind of  deranged and stupid way, the petition goes on, "Mascots and names of local schools are being changed to reflect the flavor of today. To satisfy a passing fad of erasing our past to build one of hate and destruction." Beyond the atrocious syntax, their "logic" is that a derogatory word is not derogatory and it's "hate" to say we should get rid of it because of course they think it is. 

By the way, the Redskin chief mascot represents the middle school. The elementary school, no joke, is the Braves. I mean, if you're gonna crap on a people, you may as well empty your bowels. 

By the way, local Native American activist Sayota Knight said, as you might expect, yeah, that's racist. "How can a board that professes inclusiveness with anti-discriminatory policies, allow this offensive, racist term to be their mascot?" he wrote in the Nashville newspaper. Knight has lived in Putnam County for over 25 years, and he regularly is invited to teach about Native American culture at public schools there. On May 1, Sayota and the Tennessee Indigenous Coalition had a protest and march through Cookeville against racist mascots, among other activism and attention to the issue by the very people who the mascot's supporters believe they're "honoring."

Now, how does this connect to the story of Julia Gruber and Andrew Smith and their conflict with AJ Donadio? During that February school board meeting, a committee was proposed to look into changing the mascot. When it failed to get any support, Donadio, who, as mentioned in Part 1, is also a county commissioner, clapped and yelled in approval. Gruber had been one of the parents spearheading the mascot change, and it just galled her that one of her fellow professors and an elected official was cheering for racism. That's when she contacted Smith to talk about Donadio at the meeting. As Gruber wrote to me, "A few hours later, he sent me a copy of the flyer and I thought it was accurate." And then they decided to put up the flyers. 

Make of that what you will. You can certainly see it as a seemingly disconnected response to losing a fight at a public meeting. You can see it as justified, as a return of fire, if you will, against someone who supports a racist mascot and a racist organization (in case you didn't read Part 1, Donadio, a nursing professor, is the faculty advisor for the TPUSA chapter at TTU). 

But that would ignore a whole bunch of other history. Now, we could go all the way back to the early 20th century, when TTU was founded as Dixie College. Or we could talk about Dixie Avenue, which goes through town and right by the university. Instead, let's focus in on more recent events. 

See, being liberal in a place like Cookeville isn't easy, as I'm sure many of you know who live in places where you feel like someone is always thinking of gunning you down for your Bernie bumper sticker. And that means that every action you take as a liberal is treated with suspicion, and when that suspicion is compounded by right-wing media losing its mind over something like Black Lives Matter and when you know the vast majority of your neighbors buy into that propaganda, well, you're gonna face some resistance.

For instance, Smith advised a youth group organizing a BLM rally. This was one of several groups who wanted to stage events protesting the mistreatment of Black Americans by police in early June 2020. It was looking like it was going to be a larger, more organized event, but the actual KKK threatened violence if it went forward.  Cookeville has a Black population of about 5% of the total. The purpose of the event was to show support for that community, as well as for the larger movement that was growing in the wake of George Floyd's murder. For the sake of safety, several of the groups canceled. But others, like the high school and college kids, persevered. There were still multiple events, including a June 6 rally in the town square of over 200 protesters. At one event prior to June 6, a small group, primarily high school students, held signs and chanted in the square. And self-proclaimed members of the KKK showed up. And one of them actually choked one protester who exclaimed, "Fuck the KKK," which is an objectively correct thing to say. This really happened. It was caught on video. So even after direct threats and violence by the KKK, on June 6, a couple of hundred people still made sure their voices were heard.

Of course, there's more to this because I didn't even mention how the FBI showed up to question Smith and the organizers of the protest rally. Yeah, actual FBI agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force knocked unannounced on the doors of four citizens of Cookeville to ask them if they "knew anyone in Antifa or had heard anything about Antifa coming to Cookeville." The agents indicated they had read private posts on Facebook, you know, those ones that aren't public and only your "friends" are supposed to be able to see. One thing I love about Andrew's response is that he was a total, preaching prick to the authorities who came to his house. But one organizer, Katy, dropped out for fear of what would happen to her, a fear that was totally justified considering that "agents turned up unannounced at Katy’s work, pulling her off the job and into a large truck in the gravel parking lot to question her about her connections to the upcoming rally and to antifa." Katy said, "I really thought I was going to lose my job. The whole experience was terrifying." And I'd be terrified, too.

You have to understand this atmosphere to understand where the flyer and the animosity towards TPUSA that got Gruber and Smith in trouble came from. You have to understand that social media in the town was inundated with warnings that busloads of leftist activists were about to pour into town and riot. You have to understand that there is a private Facebook group called "Protect Cookeville From Looters" with over 1600 members that is a hotbed of derision of BLM and paranoia about protests. You have to understand that a monument to Confederate soldiers was erected in 2004 at the town cemetery. Yes, 2004. It is dedicated "to the greatest fighting force ever assembled," a sentiment that is perhaps belied by the fact that it lost. You have to understand that Cookeville is not just a Trump town; it's a TRUMP town, filthy with MAGA, where every weekend lines of cars and trucks would drive up and down the main drag waving Trump signs in the run up to the election, where to express anything that wasn't Trump-worship was seen as traitorous. 

Gruber and Smith weren't being activists in a vacuum, and they are certainly not the only kickass leftist activists in this Trumpiest of places. They decided to act when the racists decided to proudly proclaim themselves at their place of work. Of course, one cannot be silent about that. Of course, they have received death threats, harassment, the possibility of sanction at their jobs, and, in Smith's case, the loss of one of his jobs.

(In Part 3, I'll get into that and into one of the great ironies of the whole situation: Gruber and Smith were placed on TPUSA's Professor Watchlist.)

6/16/2021

Conservatives Believe That Critical Race Theory Will Teach Our Children Too Much Truth (Part 2: Fear of a Non-White Country)

(Part 1 concentrated on Florida's new anti-critical race theory/1619 Project rule.)

The Citizens for Renewing America have a booklet for you: Combatting Critical Race Theory In Your Community (yeah, they use the British spelling of "combating"). As the subtitle says, it's "An A to Z Guide On How To Stop Critical Race Theory And Reclaim Your Local School Board," although it doesn't actually go from A to Z on anything. So it's already lying to you. 

According to the "Guide," critical race theory is coming after you to hijack all your institutions: "The fact is that proponents of this radical ideology will attempt to take over your cultural institutions, including all educational institutions." How is it going to do that? By telling you that "because racism is embedded in every single part of the system including anything from laws, to morality, to culture, to healthcare, and even science, racism is everywhere—no matter what anyone thinks. The way society operates is racist," which, let's be honest, is fucking true. That's the hilariously depressing part of this: these anti-CRT, anti-1619 Project assholes tell you that the truth isn't true. 

Now, I know you're wondering, "Why, how will I know if my precious white child is being subjected to the jungle madness that is critical race theory if they don't specifically say that heinous phrase?" Well, shitty parent of a kid who is going to grow up to hate you, there are certain buzzwords you should look out for. In fact, there's a big motherfuckin' list of 'em. They include, no shit, "equitable," "multiculturalism," "racial prejudice," and "anti-racism." Yes, there are some loaded words and phrases, but I don't think anyone is using "identity deconstruction" in little white Todd's 4th grade social studies class. 

(Side note: What's with these culture warriors and their problem with ideas or people that are "anti" something awful? How is it bad to be "anti-racist"? Or "anti-fascist," for that matter? It's like they're saying, "Don't tell us the shit we believe is wrong. You're wrong for telling us we're wrong about our wrongness." Really, I'm just saying they're a bunch of cowardly, brainless garbage fuckers on the right.)

If you're thinking, "Okay, this shit can't get any weirder and crazier," oh, you are mistaken. Because, see, this bullshit shifts from warning you about the horrors of your kid learning that Black and brown people have been treated like shit throughout American history to a completely nutzoid, paranoid rant about the CRT soldiers fucking up your nice, white society: "Once the Critical Race Theory activists show up, they will do everything in their power to take over your school, church, mosque, synagogue, club, business, government, police service, hospital, and any other institution you can think of. They will not always come as wolves in wolves’ clothing. Often, they will come as sheep, pretending to be articulate, reasonable, and moderate thought leaders. But with just an ounce of power, they will move surreptitiously and artfully to implement destructive CRT dreams into reality. It is incumbent on parents to always be on their guard and not invest power or potential in those who could do their children harm...They will stop at nothing...They are not trying to win an academic debate, they are attempting to socially replace you."

I read that and thought, "You hysterical motherfuckers, we just want kids to be taught that racism is real and it's been part of our history. Is that so fucking hard? Does that make baby Washington cry? Fuck off." And I thought, "Damn, they really don't want Black people teaching their kids."

But this is the tiger that conservatives have decided to unleash to tear into the heart of any burgeoning unity that the country might have over things like voting rights or gun laws or economic justice or, really, just about any fucking thing that Republicans don't want. They create a socialist/Marxist/Negro/Islamic babadook to haunt anyone who might want to think beyond their prejudices and actually make the nation stronger. "Oh, fuck that Joe Biden," they want voters to say. "Fuck those Democrats. Sure, they may want to give us supplemental income to help lift our children out of poverty, but not at the cost of our white souls!" Racism is the convenient cudgel of conservatism.

Yesterday in Texas (motto: "Your guns will keep you cool when the power goes out again"), Gov. Greg "People with Disabilities Can Be Assholes, Too" Abbott signed an anti-critical race theory/1619 Project bill into law, and, like those in other states, it's a confusing pile of contradictions and hyperbole. For instance, it requires that students learn about Ona Judge, George Washington's slave who escaped her bondage, and Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson's enslaved rape victim, as well as Frederick Douglass's newspaper, the North Star, the Fugitive Slave Acts, and other documents related to Black life before and during the Civil War. The students have to learn about the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Movement. They have to learn "the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong."

However, teachers are supposed to give lessons in these things while adhering to the second part of the law, which says that they can't teach that "with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality." So, just to get this right, you're supposed to teach how, for most of the history of this country, Black people were either enslaved or denied rights, but you have to lie and say that's a "deviation," "betrayal," or "failure," not the reality that "This is America."

And you cannot do anything that might cause "an individual [to] feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual's race or sex." So if you teach your class that white people in Texas were some of the lynching-est motherfuckers in the nation after the Civil War and that makes Todd feel like shit and he tells his MAGA mama, you might get in trouble. 

Oh, and you very specifically cannot, no way, no how, "require an understanding of The 1619 Project." Yeah, it's that fucking clear in it's "fuck you, libcucks."

That booklet I talked about up top also offers tips for getting teachers and others at the school to narc out the CRT supporters, as well as how to run for school board so that the loyal (white) Americans can run the joint. That's become an entire insane movement, with the group No Left Turn (god, they are so dunderheaded in their names) leading the way.

And it's continuing, with more states passing laws and more states teeing up laws, because this is the new hysteria. This is the new "transgender people will fondle your children in the restroom" or "Shariah law is coming for your pork" or "violent video games cause people to murder" kind of fake controversy. And it's not like this is something the fuckers have studied. Over in Alabama, a reporter actually asked a state legislator who is sponsoring a bill banning the teaching of critical race theory in his state what the fuck it is. And, of course, the dumb fuck didn't know. That's because you're not gonna know unless you take a course in it because "critical race theory" doesn't mean "all that black shit that makes my white ass look bad." It means something pretty goddamn precise

This is part of the backlash to Black Lives Matter. It is a reaction to legitimizing the pain and oppression of non-white people. It is the fearful squeal of a hegemonic whiteness that is seeing its power diminish as the United States becomes a non-white country, the crepuscule of a dominance that cannot continue. The shift to that non-white USA is going to happen, as it should. The only question is how much of this hateful bullshit are we going to have to wade through to get to the truly equitable, multicultural, anti-racist dawn.