The GOP Supports Death Threats Against Officials They Disagree With

At yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, it became clear that for the Republican Party, threats of death and violence against elected officials at every level of government are not only acceptable, but that to speak out in even the mildest way deserves hysterical over-reaction calculated to cause officials to receive even more threats of death and violence. It's the cynical cycle of democratic (and Democratic) doom, and GOP senators were more than willing to aid and abet all the violent motherfuckers using intimidation to chase public servants out of office. 

The basis for this is a relatively milquetoast memorandum from Garland titled, "Partnership Among Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Law Enforcement to Address Threats against School Administrators, Board Members, Teachers, and Staff." After expressing concern about real violence and threats of violence happening at school board meetings and at schools, Garland says, "I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response."

Now, you, being a rational, at least semi-compassionate human being, might think that that sounds just fine. After all, it's pretty fucking hard to argue against the fact that school board meetings have become shit shows of MAGA freaks bellowing about "critical race theory" and antivaxx fucknuts yowling about masks and vaccines. I honestly don't know how some school board members haven't just started screaming, "Shut the fuck up!" repeatedly at the freak parade they have to deal with. But mixed in with bellows and yowls are often threats of knowing where people live or more direct threats about murdering or beating people. It's using fear and intimidation to force government to act in their favor. Generally, we call that shit "terrorism," as in "I'll fucking kill your whole family if you make my child wear a mask in class." Again, you and I would think that law enforcement might want to be involved here, and that local authorities might wanna get some tips from the agency that deals with, you know, terrorists.

But not the modern GOP. Oh, no. That's akin to rounding up parents and sending them to reeducation camps. As Chuck Grassley, the Senate's crabbiest piss elf, put it, Garland created "a task force that includes the department’s criminal division and national security division to potentially weaponize against parents." Except "parents" aren't mentioned in the memo at all. That didn't stop the next few hours of performative fuckery by Republicans in making this memo seem like it was an attack on the very foundations of Uhmerkan freedom. Think that's an overstatement? Grassley cranked on, "This kind of looks like something that would come out of some communist country expansive definition of national security." Yeah, that level of shitting themselves hysteria.

On it went. John Cornyn, who always looks like he's wondering if anyone will find out where he buried that Mexican boy, sputtered, "Can you imagine the sort of intimidation, the sort of bullying impact, that a memorandum from the Department of Justice would have and how that would chill the willingness of parents to exercise their rights under threat of federal prosecution?" Because the rule of law is something that the MAGA right really seems to give a shit about when they're threatening to overthrow the government. And, by the way, Cornyn repeatedly asked Garland that question and got all red-faced that Garland wouldn't play on the field Cornyn wanted him to play on.

And still on it fucking went. 

Mike Lee said, "In hindsight, would you agree that a natural consequence of your memo could be chilling free speech, protected speech, by parents protesting local school board policies?" Lee also offered that there has been no uptick of violent threats in his state, but his fucking state is Utah, which is founded on mass murder.

The biggest self-fellater was Tom Cotton, who harangued Garland endlessly about the memo, and said, "Why do you continue to dissemble in front of this committee that you are only talking about violence and threats of violence when your memo says harassment and intimidation?" Now, again, you and I may think, "Um, intimidation is generally a threat of violence," but you and I are not mighty senators from the mighty state of Arkansas, where, "Shut up or I'll rape your ass" is a statement of endearment. Cotton then went all Tuckerfied, raging, "So are you going to sic your US attorneys and the FBI on a parents’ group if they post on Facebook something that annoys a school board member, Judge?" before concluding like the dickhole he is with "Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, Judge." 

And still on it fucking went. You can read the transcript to get more of the same shit, repeated in different ways, from John Kennedy's corny shit to Ben Sasse's runny shit to Marsha Blackburn's fart mouth to dried turds Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. All of them decided to use this precious time to accuse Garland and the evil Biden administration of using the federal government to silence brave MAGA parents who just want the best for their precious children who hate them. 

But, at the end of it all, what you come away with is that the GOP is trying to protect its base, the violent assholes trying to silence or run out of office officials they disagree with. It's of a piece with the reduction of January 6 to a mere protest than a riot of savage fucks bent on keeping Donald Trump in office. It's of a piece of screaming that mask and vaccine mandates are brutal government control of bodies rather than a public health measure. They want the assholes to keep threatening elections officials and school board members, driving them away, allowing the assholes to install their asshole leaders in positions of power. 

And the senators and House members in a previous hearing who engage in this kind of unfounded attack on the mildest of reproaches, the recognition that fucked up shit is fucked up, ensure that those who might want to make more threats feel empowered to do so. This isn't a fucking political party. It's Al-Qaeda on the Potomac.

(Not to give any credit to any of the GOP's dried jizz stains, but Lindsey Graham actually didn't ask Garland about the memo, sticking to issues of the border and international terrorism. It was still prickish, but it's the kind of prickish we're all used to.)


Note to Anxious Progressive Democrats in Congress: Take the Deal (And Then Fuck Up the Party)

Let's be clear that Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are corporate-owned, preening shitmongers who deserve every bit of rage and condemnation that has come their way. Sinema, in particular, is just a fucking garbage heap made of crass ambition and inhuman levels of egotism, gloatingly pretending to float above it all, including her own voters. Fuck both of them, but fuck her especially. But, still, fuck both of them. Fuck them for watering down the already watered down $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill (that progressives originally wanted to be $6 trillion), fuck them for threatening to wreck President Joe Biden and the Democrats' agenda, the very thing that got them to win both houses of Congress and the presidency. 

I wanna add an extra special "fuck them" for the way in which their bullshit demands and tactical games have delayed the passage of a reconciliation bill for months. Remember: The Build Back Better bill was originally supposed to be one big three-part package that included COVID relief (the passed American Rescue Plan) and infrastructure (the negotiated American Jobs Plan). Without Manchin, Sinema, and moderate Democrats in the House (who Nancy Pelosi reamed into compliance) interfering, this all could have been done in the summer. 

What the delay in passage means is that there's a delay in implementing the genuinely paradigm-shifting aspects of the bill, which, of course, were much greater back then. And the delay in implementation means a delay in the very real people affected by the bill seeing their lives improved by its very real benefits. And that delay can have an effect in the perception of the bill and the Democrats come the 2022 midterms. 

That's why I'm saying that progressive Democrats should vote for whatever bastardized, moderated-to-an-inch-of-its-sad-life version of the reconciliation bill comes out of finally bringing Manchin and Sinema the orgasmic release they obviously desire. Yes, it's criminal to reduce in any way efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Yes, it's fucked beyond fucked that massively popular measures like prescription drug price negotiation or paid family leave or expanded Medicare benefits are being bargained down or out. All of that is so fucking true. It is like eating a shit sandwich with a piss shake.

Progressives need to suck it all up and vote for the goddamn bill because most of the things that will remain come from a progressive viewpoint on the role of government. We need to be able to show voters that the federal government can actually act to improve their lives. That's how this is supposed to work. If you do shit for people and they can tell that you've done shit for them, then maybe they'll connect you with the shit you've done and vote for you. (Of course, you have to make sure they know you did that shit. See the Affordable Care Act.) We're obviously not talking about MAGA voters here suddenly turning Democratic because they actually can intellectually connect Biden with the $300 a month they're getting to help them raise their families. No, we're talking about motivating Democratic voters and, especially, those "independents" who don't normally vote in midterms to get off their asses and vote.

I fucking hate saying all this. But I've got two other reasons why:

First, there's the looming threat of a Republican takeover of the House and, perhaps, the Senate. If that happens, 2024 is going to be a fucktastrophe, on top of nothing getting done except endless investigations of Hunter Biden and fake voter fraud. It will be MAGA up your asshole for years.

Second, if something gets passed, then it's time for progressive and liberal Democrats to parlay that into electoral strength. "Oh, you like 4 weeks of paid maternity leave at 85% of your pay? How about 12 week at 100%?" we can say. You can make the case that bigger benefits are possible with a bigger majority. Don't be stupid about it: no Democrat is going to win in Marjorie Taylor Greene's district. And, in West Virginia, Joe Manchin's about all we've got. But, fuck yeah, we can go after Sinema's seat. Democrats in Arizona are fucking pissed at her. And, yeah, we can challenge in Pennsylvania, Nevada, perhaps Texas, and other places. 

Of course, that would likely also require voting rights legislation to stop GOP election-fixing. And fucking away we go again.

The end part of the vote is a chance to fuck up the Democratic Party, to build progressive numbers and possibly vote out the moderates who keep strangling even the minimal programs that this country needs. Unfortunately, that starts with taking the goddamn deal.

Update: The actual proposal contains no family leave, which is some bullshit. But the premise here still stands: Vote. Get something. Campaign on getting more.


Back to Regular Posting Next Week, But Check Out These UK Anti-Vaxxers

Yeah, it's been quiet in these parts the last 2 weeks while I've been on my UK walkabout. I'll be posting again come next week. Give a guy a fuckin' vacation every decade or so.

One thing I saw in several places were small anti-vaccine protests, where well-dressed fucknuts tried to engage passersby. There were almost always more curious gawkers like me than actual participants. Check out this weird little gathering in front of Parliament last week:

This is what you get when you don't have an entire fucking political party devoted to your bullshit message.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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