1/17/2022

Martin Luther King Would Still Fuck Our Shit Up (2022 Edition)

It's more frustrating than ever to hear conservatives who are opposed to legislation that would expand voter participation, supportive of gerrymandering that specifically reduces the power of non-whites, and losing they goddamned minds over teaching the hard truths about the United States's racial history quote Martin Luther King, Jr. like they actually give a single segregated fuck about what King really was about. They sure can trot out the whole "judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" without bothering with the radical context. They can directly tie MLK to whatever racist bullshit they want. But they can't be bothered to fucking learn about King.

Let's put this as plainly as possible: If you are against voting rights or against getting rid of the filibuster so you can vote for the voting rights you claim you're for, you may as well just piss on King's monument in DC. And we will all judge you by the shitty content of your shitty character.

But the truth of the matter is that King has always been talking about the political things that hold back Blacks from achieving full equality in this country. He had called out whites who paid lip service to the Civil Rights Movement but ultimately did nothing. He called bullshit on the filibuster. And he had no fucking patience with the way that some states decided to defy the Supreme Court after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. 

In his speech "The Summer of Our Discontent," delivered at the New School in New York City on February 6, 1964, King clearly connected rising racial protests around the country directly to the lack of progress post-Brown: "The Negro had been deeply disappointed over the slow pace of school desegregation. He knew that in 1954 the highest court in the land had handed down a decree calling for desegregation of schools 'with all deliberate speed.' He knew that this edict from the Supreme Court had been heeded with all deliberate delay. At the beginning of 1963, nine years after this historic decision, approximately nine percent of southern Negro students were attending integrated schools. If this pace were maintained, it would be the year 2054 before integration in southern schools would be a reality...the statistics make it abundantly clear that the segregationists of the South remained undefeated by this decision. In every section of Dixie, the announcement of the high court had been met with declarations of defiance. Once recovered from their initial outrage, these defenders of the status quo had seized the offensive to impose their own schedule of change."

King wasn't just blaming the racist dickholes of the South. See, MLK would still fuck our shit up because he saw both political parties as the problem: "A second reason for the outburst in 1963 was rooted in the failure of both political parties to live up to their campaign promises. From the city of Los Angeles in 1960, the Democratic Party had written an historic and sweeping civil rights pronouncement into its platform. From Chicago, the Republican Party had been generous in its convention vows on civil rights, although its candidate had made no great effort in his campaign to convince a nation that he would redeem his party’s promises. Then 1961 and ‘62 arrived, with both parties marking time in the cause of justice. In the Congress, reactionary Republicans were still doing business with the Dixiecrats, and the feeling was growing among Negroes that the administration had oversimplified and underestimated the civil rights issue."

And he took it directly to the Oval Office (which, as we know, had recently changed hands): "Negroes had manifested their faith by giving a substantial majority of their votes for President Kennedy. They had expected more of him than of the previous administration. In no sense had President Kennedy betrayed his promises, yet his administration appeared to believe it was doing as much as was politically possible and had, by its positive deeds, earned enough credit to coast on civil rights." You got that? King is saying that Kennedy was taking the votes of Black Americans for granted while not following through. "Politically, perhaps, this was not a surprising conclusion," King continued. "How many people understood, during the first two years of the Kennedy administration, that the Negroes’ 'now' was becoming as militant as the segregationists’ 'never'? Eventually the president would set aside political considerations and rise to the level of his own unswerving moral commitment." This is a full-throated endorsement of hardball tactics, including mass protest, to bring about change. 

Today, this would get him nasty tweets from people not thinking he was sufficiently deferential to the leaders who would give him crumbs they think he should be grateful for.

The entire speech is a pretty damn stunning indictment of the way that the nation failed to live up to its promises. It directly connects racist laws to racist economic conditions and the racist history of the nation to the propagation of those conditions. Quite plainly, despite what morons and assholes, like House Minority Leader and Man So White He Drains Color Out of Others Kevin McCarthy, say, King would not only support critical race theory, he'd think you were a liar or ignorant if you didn't. 

Every year since 2004, I've written an MLK Day post based on something King wrote or said. Every fucking year it's a scream of defiance against everyone who wants to do what lynch mobs did and neuter the Black man who stood up to them. Martin Luther King was a radical motherfucker and we have not yet fully grappled with his insights into the nature of race in this backsliding nation. 

(One final thing: In the Q&A part of the evening, King was asked what he thought about the more violent tactics of the Nation of Islam. While King said he opposed their approach and their belief in racial separation, he offered, "It did not come into being out of thin air; it is symptomatic of the deeper unrest, discontent, and frustration of the Negro. And I think it is an indictment on the laxity of Christianity and the laxity of democracy that a movement like this came into being. And I think that the challenge of this movement is not so much to condemn its philosophy, as I will continue to do, but go out and work harder to get rid of the conditions that brought it into being." That's some badass compassion right there.)

1/11/2022

Covid Tests, Sick Leave, and More: This Country Has Lost Its Ability to Give a Shit About You

It's sadly fucking hilarious and hilariously fucking sad how the Biden administration is rolling out its at-home COVID-19 tests. Sure, 500 million will be available for free, but, for most of us, we've learned that our health insurance will be forced to cover the price of any we buy at the local Walgreen's. Which means, likely, we'll have to fill out forms, upload receipts, deal with fuckups, deal with denied claims, and handle the usual fuckery that is part and parcel of the insanity of our health care "system," all in the name of some kind of perverse version of "freedom." Just give the fucking tests away. Just make them available to everyone. Why the hell should everyone have to go through this just to see if they have Covid before they visit their parents? Why the hell should anyone who can't afford them have to rely on going to wait in line at a clinic or testing site? Easily-available testing helps everyone. This isn't vaguely up for discussion.

President Biden could have flooded the country with tests by now, and that no one has thought to do this bespeaks a reality about living in this United States. The country doesn't act like it gives a shit about you when it comes to health care (and many other things, but let's just stick to health care right now). Oh, it talks a good game (and there are amazing people working in health care), but the official actions of our state and federal governments are bound up in ideologies that can't help but hurt people. 

Jesus, it's like being in a relationship with an intense sadist when you're not into BDSM: "Wait, we can't just fuck for once? We gotta break out the whips and nipple clamps and ball crushers and spiked spanking gloves? Can't we just fuck and enjoy it? Why does everything have to be complicated and painful? My sphincter just healed from last time." But, no, your partner wants to cuff you and beat you before you're allowed to get off, and, well, shit, fuck, sometimes it's just easier to take it than to fight about it. Otherwise, you have to break-up, move out, and who's got the time. "Fine. Fist me."

That's not the way it should be. Mutually-consensual BDSM is a beautiful thing, filled with love and pleasure. (No kink-shaming here.) But if it's not mutual, it's just abuse. And the United States has gotten really good at caning our asses whether we like it or not, with Covid making the blows sharper and more frequent.

What this pandemic has starkly revealed just how failed so many of the policies we've been forced to live under have been. 

We were warned early in the pandemic that the lack of paid sick leave for workers was going to fuck us over. While there was an actual effort to provide for this during the lockdown period of the pandemic, now, as Omicron has its viral way with us, the fact that most workers get little or no paid sick leave has led to, well, sick people going to work (if they aren't forced to by their employers), which leads to more sick people, including people who are too sick to work, which depletes the work force and makes it so no one can work. Or is that math too fucking hard? As in so many things, the US is an outlier as one of only 11 countries where there is no national paid sick leave law. In other words, our selfish capitalism is freedoming us to death.

Even worse, there's the lack of any or of decent health insurance in this country. I personally know people who refuse to get help for their obviously symptomatic Covid because they are afraid of how much it will cost if they end up in the hospital. This has been one of the brute realities for Americans, and even with Obamacare and expanded Medicaid (not to mention Medicare for the many elderly who are sick), the out-of-pocket cost can go into the thousands and thousands of dollars and, fuck it, that's not worth it unless you might die. How much undiagnosed Covid is out there? How much untreated? 

Fuck, I'm not even getting into the lack of support for parents whose children have to stay home from schools.

Think of the stress all this causes, stress that's added to the stress of the pandemic. Our country is doing that to us. Our leaders, especially Republicans, are doing it. But, honestly, Biden has broad powers that he could draw on right now in a crisis that we're two goddamned years into. Could he say that government is going to cover all Covid-related medical expenditures, creating a de facto Medicare for all? (Maybe, but then the savage dickbeasts on the Supreme Court would tell everyone to fuck off and die.) I remember when President Obama decided to make health care his major first-term goal, and many wondered why that in particular, why not go for a greater economic and infrastructure package to build on the Recovery and Reinvestment Act? But Obama knew that health care insecurity was overwhelming for many Americans. Of course, what we got was severely compromised and has been undermined by Republicans at every turn, at every level, so that, while an improvement, the Affordable Care Act is still a fucking sieve of a program.

Fuck, I'm not even getting into the PTSD everyone is going to have to deal with for the next few decades. I'm not even getting into the absolutely unforgivable burden we've put on health care workers repeatedly, breaking many of them. 

It's not working, this way of existing without caring about each other on a national basis. Yet what can you say about a nation that allows this to happen and a people that don't rise up and demand something better other than that we have lost our ability to care about each other (not you, of course, not you personally, unless it is you, in which case, go fuck yourself). Instead of doing the things that would make us better, our leaders keep things the same, even in the face of a genuine catastrophe, even when one easy thing, free at-home Covid testing, would ease some of the burden of this sadistic time we're damned to live through and allow us to at least pretend we care.

(Note: This isn't about anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers because fuck them always.)

1/06/2022

Notes on the Anniversary of a Failed Coup

The riot/insurrection/coup on January 6, 2021 was violent. We know that various members of law enforcement were beaten, gassed, cut, crushed, and more. We know that a great deal of property was damaged. If you had been on the receiving end of it, it would have fucked you up. And if you had been a Democratic member of Congress or Mike Pence, you would have shit yourself when you heard the violent herd of morons yipping in gleeful rage as they tried to get to you so they could...what? I'm pretty sure that once someone's beaten a cop with a pole that has an American flag on it, they're not there to have a calm discussion about election law.

But that violence and threat of violence isn't enough for too many Americans, including members of Congress, who crawled on their bellies and invited Donald Trump to jack off on their backs as they begged for forgiveness for ever saying a truthful word or two about his complicity. No, we're told by right-wing media figures and by insane and/or opportunistic politicians, this wasn't violent, this was just people expressing their anger over an election loss, calm down, nobody died. And all I can think when I hear that shit is that they're saying that they need corpses to even consider the seriousness of what happened. They're saying they need to have had Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mike Pence hanging in the rotunda in order for it to have been more than a bit of overzealousness. And even then, those motherfuckers would still be yelling, "False flag" or "Lies" or whatever because to admit that the actions of the insurrectionists were wrong would be to have to grapple with their role in the insurrection.

There are things I get and things I will never understand about January 6.

For instance, I understand why law enforcement didn't just open fire on those who were trying to breach the Capitol (with the exception of the barking mad Ashli Babbit). I get the fear that they would then be overwhelmed by a tide of racist yahoos, many of whom had weapons of their own or were improvising with things like the shields they took from riot cops. While I fully believe that 90% of the rioters would have scampered away like surprised squirrels, it would have been a bloodbath. And, with the exceptions of those who may have helped the yahoos, law enforcement ended up preventing the absolute worst from happening, at the cost of their bodies and minds. 

On the other hand, I will never understand why Donald Trump and his staff and advisors weren't immediately arrested. Don't fucking tell me that he was the president. The idea of a goddamn president was always that no person is above the law. And Trump had already taken the presidency and pissed on its face before telling it to sign an NDA about his water sports fetish. Arresting him would have been saving the presidency.

I'm not saying that Trump shouldn't have had a trial or been denied any due process. But he should have immediately been jailed without bail until his trial, along with Giuliani and Bannon and Kerik and anyone else who was trying to figure out a way to steal the 2020 presidential election. But fuck them because fuck them. None of this happens without Trump refusing to accept the court-approved, state-approved election results. He's the goddamned ringleader. You put him the fuck away and tell the others, "We're not afraid to lock any of you up." Treat people who try to overthrow the government like they fucking tried to overthrow the government. And if Trump's people wouldn't do it, then it should have happened right after Biden was inaugurated. Frankly, Trump should have been handcuffed and frogmarched after the phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State where he begged Raffensperger to conjure up enough votes to just get past the margin of Biden's victory became known.

But there's one thing I am perfectly clear on: The assholes and mental invalids and Confederacy humpers who ragegasmed at the Capitol before smearing the walls with shit were doing it based on fucking lies about the election. Anyone who defends or excuses them is saying that the fucking lies are truth. The fucking liars themselves need to be punished, not just the fucknuts who decided they could finally live out their pornographically violent racist Christian nationalist militia fantasies in DC because the chief fucking liar told them it was go time. The lie part of this needs to be taken as seriously as possible because not squelching the fucking lies like they're goddamn mosquitoes is going to drain the blood of this weakening democracy. 

The problem, of course, is that the fucking lies have metastasized because, as ever, Democrats acted as if they just let passions calm down that everyone could Come Together and Be Reasonable. That did not happen. We accommodated our abusers so they wouldn't abuse us more. There are so many woulda-coulda situations from January 6. What if the House and Senate had not adjourned after the Electoral College vote? What if they had decided right then and there to stay in the wrecked Capitol and impeach and remove Trump from office, convicting him of high crimes and misdemeanors? (And, yes, there was a chance then that the Senate might convict.) 

But, no, no, every decision has been made slowly and with great consideration so as not to upset the violent dickholes and their rhetorical enablers any more than they are.  The time called for action and everyone just went home. Thus Republicans had a chance to get all the  attacks from Trump and his idiot hordes and any spine they might have had softened into jelly and collapsed. With no prosecutions so far of the leaders of the coup attempt, including Trump, President Biden risks making another of President Obama's mistakes: letting the evil fucks get away with it and letting them set the narrative.

President Joe Biden's speech today was a good start. He was clear and forceful, stating plainly that the coup attempt was Trump's fault and that the idea that the election was fraudulent or rigged or stolen is just a fucking lie. He gave as good a talking point as any to demonstrate how stupid those spouting the fucking lies are: "The former president and his supporters have never been able to explain how they accept as accurate the other election results that took place on November 3rd — the elections for governor, United States Senate, the House of Representatives — elections in which they closed the gap in the House. They challenge none of that." Biden still holds the irrational belief that there are decent Republicans left. The motherfuckers were indecent before January 6. They are indecent to their filthy, rotting core. Stop trying to pretend there's goodness there, like you can find some cure for evil. But his definitive statements about that day are a solid, even inspiring foundation upon which we can fight back. 

And we should all be as angry all the time about what was done to us on January 6. In the midst of a deadly pandemic, in the midst of despairing about the economy, we held the fairest, best-run election anyone has seen. That should have inspired confidence in us that we could survive all this shit and get back to something like normalcy.It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but, fuck, it went so much better than anyone expected. That feeling was taken away from us by Donald Trump. Our security about the stability of our nation was undermined further. Goddamnit, every fucking day should be an expression of our anger about that until we are made whole with his ass in prison. Or else just toss the fucking country out into the trash heap of history.

Still, yeah, we're a little antsy about what Attorney General Merrick Garland and the January 6 committee are finding and what they're gonna do. It's not just because the clock is running out should the GOP win back at least one chamber of Congress. It's because everything that the GOP is doing, at the local, state, and national level, everything that their media accomplices are doing in nutzoid online videos and on Fox "news" and elsewhere points to them just fucking doing it again in 2024 if not to re-install Trump, then to put in some other deranged monument to incompetence and madness like Josh Hawley. As we learn time and time and time and time again, if you let the powerful go unpunished, they take that as permission to get more powerful and do it again. Appeasement is not an option. Even today, the right is screeching with outrage that people would dare be angry at Trump. Fuck all of them with wooden scroll holding the Constitution.

If I'm being completely honest, the only thing we should be arguing over at this point is if Trump should die in prison or be executed. (I'm for life in prison only because I oppose the death penalty.) 

On this one-year anniversary of the Yahoo Coup, we can say with quite a bit of evidence that the morons lost the battle but have a real chance of winning the war.