On Civility

by kara on July 17, 2019

You might think that “condemning racism” would be a fairly straightforward thing, at least if you recently awoke from a long coma.

But when the House of Representatives passed a resolution largely along party lines, 240 to 187, with four Republicans and ex-R Justin Amash voting for the resolution, things quickly descended into fracas and donnybrook. The Republicans insisted the entire resolution, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech in favor of it, violated House rules against calling the president of the USA “racist”. How very uncivil of those barbarian Democrats!

Civility. Civility is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Can’t we discuss locking children up in overcrowded cages civilly? Why must you be so angry about it?

Can’t we discuss black men being systematically murdered by white cops and getting away with it without betting so upset?

Can’t we discuss whether or not gay people deserve civil rights with civility?

Can’t we have a discussion about the bodily autonomy of women without getting so emotional?

Can’t we discuss children dying of preventable diseases because their parents aren’t millionaires without getting mad?

Can’t we discuss how you’re unAmerican and everything you stand for is disgusting and destroying our white country and heritage without you becoming uncivil and calling us a bigot and racist?

No. Fuck you, you un-American piece of foul, disease ridden, maggot infested poop, still bastardizing language to try to protect this clown. You want me to be civil to you, stop being a fucking monster to other human beings.

Trump is the figurehead in a now sadly typical demagogic, authoritarian putsch. History as a guide, you are largely disposable to him. Supporting him through ongoing outrages is very little guarantee of favor. The party line will shift as necessary, apparatchiks will be shed at each hairpin, all the while your nation growing steadily more broken, those on the inside of the grift an ever smaller, tenacious few. Established parties are just hosts for such parasites. Loyalty to them is a mug’s game. You will have sold whatever remains of your conscience for a kick in the teeth. Oppose him, oppose them, it won’t be easy either. Such is life in the no man’s land you have slouched into, step by step. But do the right thing, and you may at least retire with a few drops of honor.

Come on, man.

by kara on July 16, 2019

Die on your feet or live on your knees. When a killer asteroid is hurtling towards earth, concern and sternly worded letters aren’t going to help. Nor are Tweets or tears.

As President Obama used to say at times like this, “Come on, man”.

Yes, we all know that this Senate isn’t going to impeach Donald Trump, no matter what the House does. Jesus Christ himself could descend from Heaven in a golden chariot and write “Impeach His Rapist Ass” in fire across the sky, and Republicans would still insist that President Child Rapist was God’s holy anointed leader and Golden Chariot Jesus is Fake News. He’s not going away.

The Nazi child rapist has to be thrown out of office. Yes, investigations are slow by nature, apt to be delayed for reasons, and for now, impeded by the White House saying “fuck you, how many armies do you have?” So how do you proceed with a lawless executive who isn’t bound by the rules?Fuck if I know, maybe you push the rules to the absolute max, use every weapon permitted to you as lethally as possible. Will that work? Fuck me if I know. It’s not my job. I am slamming out a blog post between watching a cartoon animatic and packing for a comic book convention. But, I did work my ass off to help flip the House last year and saw the dollars flying out of my wallet towards every fucking Democratic challenger on the docket. I didn’t just “ride the Blue Wave”, I helped pilot the Blue Wave. The Blue Wave was to put a check on Trump, and that’s sure as shit not happening in any meaningful way. Impeachment proceedings should have started a year ago, and the bullshit and gaming right now is only going to discourage the base and all the youngsters who showed up for mid-terms.

I’m here to help, but it’s not my job. I am beyond frustrated that it sometimes feels like all the smart people are distracted AND that the statement, “I could stand in the middle of fifth avenue shoot somebody and I wouldn’t alienate any voters” seems to be true. We all know now that Trump could literally get away with ANYTHING. He could rape their daughters, steal their money and fuck them over in any multitude of ways and he wouldn’t lose that base. The ONLY thing he could do to lose his base, is to start doing things that were kind, decent, democratic, intelligent, fair, etc. And we all know that this will never happen. The worse Trump gets, the more the base approves and the less the republicans in power care.

My friend Andrew reminded me about the time when the Net Neutrality issue was a big deal, and websites had pop-ups that would say “sign this,” or “call these people” or “we will automate a call on your behalf”. People were freaking out and activated. The media took notice. People flooded the phones of their Reps every day. That’s the tact we need now. I can’t sit around and wait until the next fraudulent election and hope and pray that trump will be voted out (he won’t). I am sick of our congress people doing nothing. I am sick of the tweeting. I am sick of the platitudes and tears. Obviously nothing is going to happen if we don’t force it. We need to be a constant, daily, relentless noise.

Ask your Reps: “what are you doing right NOW to get rid of Trump?” You think healthcare is important? No. Tell me how were dumping Mitch and dumping Trump. You have an idea about loans? About the environment? About the concentration camps? About infrastructure? Immigration? Gun control? College tuition? That’s nice, tell me how you are dumping Mitch and Trump.

Logically I understand that Mitch and the GOP are allowing Trump to run roughshod in order to distract from their gerrymandering, court-rigging, and general plundering. But come on! “It won’t work”, they say. To which I say, “I dunno, I don’t work in government. Figure it the fuck out”.

When Nancy Pelosi says, “well we can’t impeach him/we are going to wait/that’s not on the table” …I mean, that’s a terrible presentation of a narrative. Why not, “we are taking every possible legal step towards impeaching him. he has support of racists, bigots, and oligarchs planted in our own senate who will not support impeachment, but we are determined to demonstrate that Trump is unfit.” Keep Trump on the defensive, make his regressive, racost, party answer for what the hell is going on. They should be calling for congressional hearings every single day over summer vacation. Just as Donald Trump constantly barrages them with bullshit, they should be actively barraging him with legal hearings.

To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States is serious shit to people, because the ideals laid out within ARE the foundation of what enables stable trans-provincial government and transitions of power.Any power can fall, even “we’re #1!” America if we don’t protect our foundations. Hell, that’s precisely why fundagelicals and repukes support the rotten squash in office, because their loyalties aren’t to America, even as they hump the flag. What the fuck else do you think impeachment proceedings are for? It’s not only the right thing to do, political arguments aside, it’s a Constitutionally mandated duty. We’re sure as shit, barring really good luck, not going to uncover even more serious malfeasance without it, not while Barr’s got his entire ass on the scale.

Case in point – it’s not the “president” that’s the problem. It’s #AllRepublicans. Not one of them has the moral values or the balls to step up. That’s why I say, “If it is a Republican, IMPEACH THE MOTHERFUCKER”. Moreover, appointments made by Republicans, judges, cabinet members, dog catchers…Democratic House Reps need to spend less time reading op-eds in the NYT and Washington Post, less time watching pundits on tv and tweeting, and begin spending a lot more time listening to the people who voted in the Blue Wave.

Remember: It’s not the succeeding, it’s the not acceding. For the love of all that is good you simply cannot let this go without a fight if you have an ounce of pride or self respect. “What did you do daddy, when the fascists came”? “Nothing, because the odds were against me, and I didn’t want to alienate moderates”.

When other kids were dressing their ponies up in Wizard of Oz or Star Wars costumes, I was convincing my friend CarolAnne (front) that colonial maidens leading Uncle Sam was a gold medal idea (it wasn’t).

I was a bicentennial kid, growing up in the 1970’s, naively embracing all things Olde and patriotic. I chose ridiculously nerdy bicentennial iron-ons for my shirts, and was obsessed Ben Franklin was my hero. We saw a stage production of “1776” at the bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia where I grew up, and became obsessed with the movie version, taking place in the “foul, fetid, fuming, foggy” city of Philadelphia. The city’s bicentennial celebration was naturally was ruined by a corrupt Republican Mayor.

I showed up at camp with this asinine shirt

I whined and begged to visit Colonial Williamsburg as a nine year old, and my mom and Mrs Goldberg her packed their 4 daughters into the Goldberg’s woody station wagon and off ye all went in in the time machine.

I immersed myself in the elitist and static images centered on Colonial Revival aesthetics: harpsichords, revolutionary garb and pewter, hoops and fifes, modcaps and tri-corner hats. We had zero interest in the neighboring Busch Gardens. “What was interesting about that”, Kristen, Meryl and Karen and I all wondered, as we sat under our bonnets and wolfed down peanut butter pie.

As students of progressive education, we knew that the silk pants patriots, bonneted demo hosts and african american laborer were depicting a more democratic and egalitarian version of history, hand craftsmanship, good taste, and patriotism, and that the Declaration was still little more than a casserole of Enlightenment tropes dumped over the money grudges of the One Percent. Still….what’s not awesome about colonial re-enactors?

This was the height of the bicentennial fervor and also a very different America. We took more vacations. We took regular museum trips. We were taught more history in schools. We had very limited TV time and no video games in the home, no iPhones to distract us and reduce our attention span to nanoseconds. We were way more patriotic in a way and more aware of history. The old Cold War focus on patriotism, individualism and celebratory history eventually gave way to the new constructionist, social history. People now forego Colonial Williamsburg for Disney world and it can barely stay afloat. Most appallingly, children complain about taking vacations at all, as their gaming devices are more stimulating to their shrinking reptiles brains than anything this worn out old country could conjure up.

I used to love Independence Day. I would organize my siblings and cousins into humiliating Williamsburg-style parades around the cul de sac. We would march around with little American flags that were then ceremoniously arranged around our front yard cherry tree. Now, I know that Independence Day is actually the worst of America’s joyless national celebrations. It’s a hot summer slog for people to act predictably stupid and nobody has the decency to Opt Out. From Bushwick to Silver Lake, from Columbus to King of Prussia, the whole nation of bores wrap themselves in Old Glory in another futile attempt to out-patriot their enemies. The rich make sure to be extra patriotic, slathering themselves in layers of Old Glory as they transfer ever bigger chunks of their massive wealth to offshore tax havens.

The modern Independence Day is a grudge match, with the cable news channels in their zero-sum arms race to coat the entire screen with billowing flag graphics. Fourth of July sects seize this annual opportunity to wrap their various banal causes in a suffocating Old Glory blanket. In full moronic masturbation mode, they roll out a torrent of straight-faced utter bullshit the likes of which you’ll never see outside of a Trump Nazi rally at a half-filled sports arena. Every industry and every banal cause will be draped in the Stars and Stripes, because since 9/11 it is basically a crime against humanity to be unpatriotic.

Flags flutter self-righteously from every floundering storefront and every million-dollar condo unit that sprang forth from a one-story bungalow, from lamp post to street light, and every other old reminder our worn out old power grid. Reliably Republican towns will dress up their fading Main Streets for an annual ritual aping Disney movies of yore with parades and fireworks, minus the fun. Everyday patriots will bivouac curbside with their monstrous ice chests and cheer wildly for the overbearing military presence, which will someday suck their teenage sons away. And in the inner-ring suburbs where the Spanish speakers, Armenian speakers, Afghani speakers, or other immigrants have built new lives, you’ll also see American flags. They must prove to their Real American neighbors that they are no threat at all, because they are also good old hard-working American Families trying to do the right thing, using Capitalism and Freedom.

Everyone celebrating the July Fourth is an idiot. Never have so many dopes rallied ’round the grand old flag. They’ve all learned – libertarian and labor unionist, anti vaxer and white supremacist, orthodontist and marijuana addict – that if you just stand before a giant flag like General fckng Patton, you can basically get away with anything. Republicans have always known this. When the country was visibly coming apart at the seams, in the crushing horror of the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s handlers just crapped out a nauseating commercial, “It’s Morning In America.” Between that and picking a new unemployment metric that would “prove” half as many jobless, the Reagan Revolution proved you can do absolutely anything in this country of dummies by simply saying things are different now. And such self-serving flag waving in the service of your specific cause – this Hatetriotism – is even skeevier than the mattress stores and car lots, which openly exist to sell you something.

The actual day – Fourth of July – meant nothing to the authors of the Declaration. It’s now widely known that the document was actually signed in August, when the last of a bloated group of landed gentry and elite slaveholders finished signing some rambling pile of grandiosity authored by Thomas Jefferson and in another twenty years or so, thanks to the French finally winning a war somewhere, America the Beautiful was born.

Along with the U.S. Constitution and the Bible, the Declaration has been the subject of more infantile modern-day nationalistic nonsense than all the rest of the world’s legal structures combined. Today’s Independence Day DC is a highly mockable authoritarian display that will make flyover country white supremacists’ dicks hard for a minute, but will be otherwise ignored by all good patriotic. In another hundred years, the Fourth of July will be as emotionally vacuous and sparsely celebrated as May Day is now.

How do you justify celebrating our “Independence” with meats and mattresses after seeing the images of the border camps? Of the teeming human beings in overcrowded, standing room only, cells began pressing notes against the windows pleading for help? Of the 2,669 children held in baby jails? Weirdly, most Americans will still manage to find it in their hearts to come together in celebration of all our many freedoms, among them the freedom to drink outside during daylight hours, fish tallboys out of an Igloo, guzzle Chardonnay on picnic blankets or in the privacy of your own home; We are a diverse nation. Then, after the sun mercifully sets on the scorched earth, do we head home and settle in with a little readup of Thomas Paine or to rewatch 1776? No, we must reckon with the stupid fireworks, an integral part of the day’s celebration since 1777, when the loud, meaningless nonsense befouled the skies above Boston and Philadelphia.

I have no problem with the banned stuff my Uncle Carl used to confiscate at the precinct and bring over, anything that one might blow our fingers off in our backyard. Those are fun! Doing reckless stuff in the backyard with your cousins is an important element of American folk culture. It’s the ginormous, corporate fireworks displays that I find appalling, an exercise in pomposity, aggression, triumphalism, and hubris, showing off our military might by ornamenting the night sky beyond the powers of God himself. Imperialist and, hegemonic, the popularity of fireworks displays as populist entertainment does not say much for the populace. And like other holiday rituals, they have blinded us to whatever the fuck we think we are celebrating.

Who is donating the White Houses’ fireworks? Oh, nobody special. Just some guy who ended up testifying in a public corruption trial about his role in purchasing $75,000 worth of football tickets that a friend of a friend just happened to give to a mayor, gratis. Still, nobody could prove he was involved in a scheme to pay off a government official.

Our country was founded on a radical premise: that all men are created equal. In the 1800s, then, the “Fourth of July” wasn’t just a day to celebrate “liberty.” It was also a time to demand it. Start with black Americans, who used the occasion to underscore the contradiction between the country’s principles and practices. “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?” asked abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in his famous address in Rochester, NY, on July 4, 1852.

“To (the slave), your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”

How do we “celebrate” our Independence when, in 2019, we have to have an organization called “Black Lives Matter”?

After 1776, would take another 80 years for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to still not deliver complete freedom to enslaved Africans — at least not the freedom white people in the country enjoyed and continue to enjoy. Americans still aren’t free. SOME Americans experience fair treatment from our justice system. SOME Americans experience boundless employment opportunity. SOME Americans experience guaranteed social mobility. To say that this is a free country is disingenuous and ridiculous. It is not a free country, and therefore we don’t deserve to celebrate freedom. I have watched our society has grown steadily less equal since the 1970s. How can a country dedicated to the principles of the Declaration of Independence abide by that?

In an 1854 Fourth of July address, abolitionist Wendell Phillips noted that the Founding Fathers had declared independence for some Americans, but not for others:

“It becomes us to take one step further than they dared to take:.

The kind of ignorant white trash who just lerv Donald Tump are still unhappy, still poor, still in debt, their jobs long ago shipped overseas, and their main recreation is having their resentments fulfilled and failed by watching Fox News, and they will still celebrate their Independence Day.

I can’t set aside – even for one day – the fact that the president of American is the Platonic Ideal of a senile buffoon who has both shaped, and helped legitimate and enshrine, a metastasizing array of virulent anti-democratic forces in American politics that will forever damn this nation and its people. And that half this cursed nation will continue to support a political party mostly comprised of sadists, pedophiles and rapists.

So go ahead and eat and drink and make merry, I won’t be joining you. A holiday that used to commemorate our ongoing quest for freedom has become a banal exercise in gluttony and self-congratulation. This is the worst July fourth since Mayor Rizzo ruined Philadelphia’s Bicentennial.

Worst Person Alive

by kara on July 2, 2019

For some years now, McTurtle has been #1 on my personal political Hate Parade. He even outranks the Rapist in Chief because, in the long run, he has done / can do more damage to America-as-it-should-be. And also because of his outsized, shifty-eyed smarminess. I try to avoid state-shaming, because there are good people everywhere, but FFS Kentucky.

Mitch McConnell will go down as the chief destroyer of the American traditions and institutions that checked the power of the majority and protected the minority — something that used to be considered pretty important by both Republicans and Democrats. Historians will be writing about how it was McTurtle that ushered in the end of American democracy, and analyzing the results of the second Civil War. His lack of respect of the traditions of the Senate, indeed the traditions of the Republic, will be our undoing. 

 McConnell is a scumbag who “serves no master but his own ambition.” He blocked Obama’s rightful Supreme Court pick because he could. Period. There was no larger ideological principle. Oh sure, he claimed as much and people gullible enough to buy bridges in Brooklyn took him seriously. While Trump’s hogging the lime light, it’s Mitch McConnell who is destroying out democracy. He stonewalled the Garland nomination and who engineered Kennedy’s resignation. He has engineered the greatest coup in American history and his actions will pervert justice for forty years or more.

It’s time that the Democratic Party put its energy into flipping the Senate. The ideal outcome would be that Democrats can find a candidate to run against Mitch McConnell in 2020 and completely end his career in politics. At minimum, we should win the Senate so that we can lessen McConnell’s influence and he gets demoted to Senate Minority Leader. Trump is just one bad actor existing within larger frameworks of injustice, oppression, and unfairness in the American political framework. Beating Trump is just the start. Winning the Senate and keeping the House should be a crucial part of the agenda for Democrats in 2020, because Congress is ultimately going to be making the decisions on which bills go to a vote and which policies eventually become law.

Mitch McConnell is literally the devil incarnate but without honor, style, or a neck. He must be destroyed.

In 2015 -2016 Bernie Sanders consistently maintained that he didn’t want to run for President, that his run had “no personal ambition attached to it”. In fact, the only reason he changed his mind and ran was because Elizabeth Warren declined to run.

That’s right. Bernie ran last time because he claimed he had to step into the breech because Warren was not running.

Now Liz is running, so why is Bernie still hanging around? I mean I knew he was lying last time, because no one runs for President without personal ambition being a huge part of it, but the reason he claimed in 2015  is not valid anymore. She’s in, and she has all the plans. Elizabeth Warren just can’t stop releasing fantastic policy ideas.

In 2013, Elizabeth Warren’s VERY FIRST hearing as a brand-new member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, she asked a succession of creepy federal bank regulators WHY their agencies weren’t taking big banks to trial when they commit crimes, WHY? Warren kept asking when the last time was that a bank had been taken to trial for defrauding people, and the regulators proudly replied trials weren’t needed, because fines and settlements were plenty.

In 2011, Elizabeth Warren mansplained how the economy really works, and how nobody ever got rich all on their own, and it’s perfectly fine to expect the goddamned social contract to involve those who benefit the most paying something back. In 2016, Elizabeth Warren  yelled at Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf about his bank’smind-boggling fraud, where Wells Fargo created extra accounts for customers without their permission, so the bank could collect fees on those accounts nobody asked to have. But maybe you prefer Bernie’s tweets and finger wagging while be spouts platitudes.

Remember Elizabeth Warren giving that monster Steve Mnuchin hell about the big banks in 2017? Mnuchin said he just LOVES the idea of updating the Glass-Steagall Act (a bill Warren actually introduced), just as long as it wouldn’t break up the big banks’ investment and commercial functions — which is kind of what Glass-Steagall is all about. As Warren pointed out, that makes no fucking sense AT ALL

Remember way back in 2016 when Bernie kept ranting, over and over that we needed to scrap “too big to fail” banks. People asked him ”how big” that was. He had no fucking idea.

Hillary, not being a fucking moron like Bernie, said that “too big to fail” was misdiagnosing the problem, because the problem was risk. So her solution was to require all banks above a certain size (I forget what it was, but she specified one) to put a certain amount of funds (again I forget the amount, but she specified one) into a pool, and banks that engaged in high-risk behaviors had to put in more. The pool would be used to mitigate problems that risky behaviors led to, and would have pushed big banks in one of two directions: either knock off the risky behaviors or break themselves down into smaller organizations so that they wouldn’t have to put money in. That’s what a smart person who cares about the country came up with.

Bernie, though … ? The guy couldn’t be bothered. Vague, hand-wavey non-solutions won’t solve a single thing. If that’s all we required, there are probably 100 million Twitter users who could make for fine presidents. But the good presidents were at least somewhat engaged in the details, while the failure presidents (Reagan, W, and Trump) were not.

Three years ago, Bernie’s utter lack of substance was considered a selling point among a certain type of Leftie. And if we said (quite correctly) that Bernie was clearly not serious about change if he couldn’t answer basic questions, apparently we were being too hard on that tousle-haired lad.

Anyone who still backed him after that, is too stupid to participate meaningfully in democracy.

June 19 is also known as “Juneteenth,” the day in 1865 when former slaves in Texas learned, oh you know, just a coupla years late, that they were free. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, was not enforced in Texas until after the Confederacy collapsed. The House will mark the occasion with its first hearing in a decade on the subject of reparations and why the fuck are we talking to Mitch McConnell about this?

MCCONNELL: “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African-American president”.

Barack Obama was part of black people’s settlement? Good for black folks to finally know this. As I remember, Mitch McConnell wasn’t even that fond of our first black president. I seem to remember that Senator McConnell fought very hard to make sure Barack Obama didn’t get reelected, and when he did, didn’t even take President Obama’s phone call, but whatever.

I don’t remember Obama being just black people’s president….I seem to remember him saving all our asses when he rescued the economy George W. Bush cratered. And he didn’t offer affordable health insurance plans to just black people. We got it too! And he didn’t locate and have killed Osama bin Laden just for appease all the black folks…..did he?

Mitch McConnell went on to pooh-poo reparations because “it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate.” Things……..they’re hard! Honestly, would it really be so difficult to identify all those people that we are currently incarcerating and purging from voter rolls?

My favorite part of people trying to refute the idea of reparations is they invoke the 300,000 Union soldiers who died in the war as a blood debt settlement.

“What about all the whites who died during the Civil War”?

What about all the Africans who died during the Middle Passage coming to N. America? How many more died prematurely because of brutal living and working conditions?

“What about all the whites who died during the Civil War”?

Um that was their penance for living in a country that was founded on the tenant of slavery and free labor. The real issue is not whether you are personally responsible for slavery and Jim Crow–the real issue is the extent to which you’ve benefitted from it. Because you have. Every. Single. Person. in America benefited from it….full stop. A vast amount of labor and goods were produced without having to pay any kind of wage. The entire economy of the US was truly formed around slavery, the act of using humans as laboring beasts. Therefore every person in America benefited from it. One of the many wonderful things my dad ever taught me was that despite the fact that no member of our families were on US soil before 1901, slavery was still our history because we were Americans now, and we didn’t get to pick and choose just the parts of US history that we liked.

How about, for a start, looking at the WW II GI Bill as a model? That was intended to compensate veterans for the years they spent in uniform while the civilians racked up high wages etc. The Bill provided essentially free education, a big subsidy for home buyers, amongst other benefits. Guess what? It repaid its costs in increased productivity and social mobility many times over. I myself would never have been born had it not been for the GI bill dragging my dad out of abject poverty!

The brilliant Ta-Nehisi Coates on McConnell’s reparations remarks:

“We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox, but he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodward. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama.”

To my fellow nice white people:

Stop being so fucking fragile. If you can’t cut it in a just world, that’s exactly not a black person’s problem. If being confronted with the fact that you were enriched by an unjust system makes you uncomfortable, good, sit in that for a nice long while. Don’t expect absolution from POC, it’s not their responsibility and it’s not your right.

Signed, just a grouchy white lady who struggles with this shit too, but is trying to sit down, shut up, and listen.

DSM Diagnosis: Fear of being Aborted

by kara on June 10, 2019

I’ve oft apotheosized that old, conservative men are rabid about women they don’t even know having abortions because deep down they know that their parent(s) would have aborted him/her if it had been legal/possible at the time of his/her conception. In fact, said parent(s) would still probably get one, retroactively. 

There needs to be a DSM diagnosis for “fear of having been aborted” – for men who get the existential heebee-jeebees when hearing that their moms had the choice to abort them. Because, this is actually the reason for a lot of Dem leaning men opposing abortion. They honestly believe that if abortion had been more available to their mothers, they would have not been born. Nominally liberal, less successful Piers Morgan Bill Maher made my point the other night on his own dumb show when he had Rep. Katie Porter as a guest and holy shit in a pantsuit I love her. The topic turned to Joe Biden’s late term abortion of his previous stance of the Hyde Amendment. And yes, she was the one lone woman booked for this discussion topic.

PORTER: I’m the only person sitting at this table who’s had to face these kinds of health care decisions. Joe Biden is simply trying to make a political decision here, and failing still to recognize that this is a personal decision.

Porter hilariously mocked Biden’s inability to even get the word “abortion” out when he talked about it. The audience laughed as the congresswoman imitated Biden fumbling his words while announcing his changed position on the matter. Contrast Biden’s response with Elizabeth Warren’s direct and compelling thoughts on the subject. Proving further that we need ONLY WOMEN leading this discussion.

Maher then predictably revealed that while he was “pro choice”, he was personally “squishy” on women’s bodily autonomy because a doctor had advised his mother after the “difficult birth” of his older sister that getting pregnant again could prove fatal for her.

This obligated Porter to explain the concept of “choice” to Maher like he was a small, dumb child. She took him to the woodshed:

MAHER: I could’ve been on the cutting room floor … but I get it. As long as it’s still in you …

PORTER: Your mom made her choice. We’re all here with the consequences of that choice. God bless her for having you. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. But the point is she … made her choice.

Thanks, Bill, for clarifying what the abortion “debate” is really about for white penis-havers; another opportunity to share with the rest of us how terrified they are of their own insignificance.

It sure was neat to see Porter unearth the sad, soggy snowflake that festers inside Bill Maher. You see, Maher is the personification of the media game: alternately enrage and mollify both sides and exploit them to victory. Toss each side a bone once in a while and they’ll forgive all the times you kicked ’em in the teeth. ..But then comes the day your one of your guests disembowels you on camera. After that, the occasional bone doesn’t keep them at bay anymore. And you’re fucked. When the audience shrieked with delight at Porter’s torching, Maher, red faced, stood up and leaned over the desk, addressing the audience directly. “First of all, fuck you, you can go watch another show,” he told them, desperately trying to come across as joking which he definitely was not. “We got a lot of them here if I’m not doing it for you.” Maher whines on that he was basically agreeing with Rep Porter. But he wasn’t. He was just repeating stale old male anti-choice talking points that lament the “lost potential” from every abortion. We have potentially “deprived” the world of the next Bill Maher. A potential man trumps a living adult woman every time.

Let’s assume that, instead of having a choice in the matter, there is no abortion. That merely changes his mother’s choice to, is she going to have sex *ever again* under the possible resultant penalty of death. Maher was conceived prior to the development of the Pill. And in a time when it was unthinkable that a woman would ever refuse her husband. And when no self-respecting man would ever wear a rubber with his own WIFE, for God’s sake. So it was only a matter of time before his mother was pregnant again.

Is there something about how kids were taught in Bill Maher’s day that makes it impossible for them to comprehend how others circumstances might not be like their own? Sure, Bill Maher can be grateful for his mother’s choice but how does that equate to the government forcing every woman to make the same one? It’s so dumb. Men are never faced with this kind of choice. Not ever. The idea that having sex might have life-ending consequences is utterly foreign to almost every man alive and most certainly Bill Maher. And how about the women told not to have another kid and she dies in childbirth. Do those kids say “thanks mom, it was totally worth it!” Somehow I doubt it. Also the moms can’t tell they they regret the decision after they are dead.

Further, it kind of infuriates me that assumed “liberal” men like Bill Maher just can’t be bothered to do anything about abortion accessibility, not even when they’ve very likely benefitted from the procedure in the past and will benefit again in the future. Men, like Maher, who can maintain they’re “pro-choice”, yet feel no urgency behind the position. When forced to clarify their position, they talk about feeling “squishy” and rage scream at their audience. Even though we are all pretty fucking sure they have benefitted from legal abortion, probably many times over, their “pro-choice” stance never seems to manifests into any form of political action. 

Maybe Bill Maher exists so liberals can be afraid of Muslims and not feel bad about it and feel “squishy” abortion. Bill Maher may think he’s a “skeptic”, but is really just your run of the mill contrarian, your smug, slight pervy uncle who still wears the back of his hair just a little too long. And there’s nothing more boring, except that there are real human consequences to his bullshit. Maher is a net negative for all who truly hold progressive ideals. Truly courageous thinkers who are willing to punch through trendy rhetoric and get at the hard truths don’t always wind up with misogyny, racial and religious bigotry, and the rest of the ugly misanthropy Maher always seems to deliver.

Bill Maher, although a self proclaimed womanizer, doesn’t ever have to exist under the hazard of being forced into a dangerous, life-altering medical condition for nine months and then being forced to give birth. He doesn’t have the specter of this biological conscription hanging over him whenever he has sex with Anne Coulter.

In closing, if we treated men like Bill Maher more like the dull-witted, xenophobic old uncle we try to sit far away from at Thanksgiving, and less like a celebrity, entitlement wouldn’t flow to his giant head like sewage to a dump. Thank you.

This Puppet

by kara on June 3, 2019

I just watched this interview and honestly, for as hideously unattractive as Jared Kushner is in photos, that’s nothing compared to how repulsive he is when he opens his mouth and speaks. He has the back-stabbers manner of speaking through a fixed smile, no matter the gravity of matters being discussed. I literally gasped.

He’s been called a murderous waxen doll, a haunted ventriloquist’s dummy, a sentient bag of marshmallows wearing cotton Dockers. An egg. But he’s worse than that.

He’s neither ugly nor handsome.

He’s the white bed sheet you hang on the wall when you need a spot to project an image.

His androgyny isn’t even interesting, he would be equally mundane as a woman as he is as a man.

He’s smart enough to pronounce words, but too stupid to say anything that means anything.

If he has a hobby, it is looking at pictures of other people doing their hobbies while he tries to figure out what hobbies are.

He is a void that neither absorbs nor exudes color, sound, or emotion.

A coloring book outline of a generic person would bear an entirely unstriking resemblance to Jared Kushner.

His complexion is both flawless and disgusting. Ever waxier. If there was anyone who would convince me there really are lizard aliens living in human hosts and plotting to take over the world, it would be Jared Kushner and his ever waxier complexion. And those dead, dead eyes. Doll’s eyes. I’ve never seen anything like it.

by kara on May 29, 2019

We’re finally seeing how voter suppression, mass incarceration, the war on women and the demise of labor all feed off each other. Something conservatives figured out 50 years ago.

  1. Abortion is being criminalized in state after state, punishing poor people and people of color.
  2. We have no attorney general.
  3. Prosecutions of Trump’s political opponents seem inevitable.
  4. War crimes are being rewarded.
  5. Foreign adversaries have been invited to interfere with our elections, again.
  6. We’re denied even basic knowledge about how effectively we’ve already been hacked.
  7. The census is being rigged to reinforce minority rule for at least another decade.
  8. The Trump Administration is trying to start a war with Iran and the press is proving it learned nothing from Iraq.
  9. And the federal courts are lost, probably for the rest of our lives.

When did we first begin to get our ass kicked after the monumental victories of the 60s, despite a few good months in 2009 and 2010?

Was it when Democrats barely defeated the man who pardoned Nixon, failing to pass any sort of labor reform under Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama? 

Was it the shift to policies that prioritize incarceration over social services? 

Was it a fear of prioritizing the courts or anything that boldly protected or expanded abortion rights, though Roe remains far more popular than any conservative policy? 

Was it the failure of expanding on the success of the Motor Voter Law? Was the tipping point just two bad elections — 2014 and 2016?

Obviously, it was the not the moment Trump — the personification of all that’s wrong with conservatism but not the cause of any of it — was “elected.”

The Powell Memo of 1972 lays out a master plan that has largely become a reality. a blueprint for corporate domination of american democracy

U.S. President Richard Nixon holds a commission that he will present to Lewis F. Powell Jr., left, and another will be given to William Rehnquist, right, at a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C., Dec. 22, 1971. The two men were appointed to the Supreme Court by President Nixon. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)

People on the left tend to think systematically about policy, which is why Democratic policies lead to better job growth, more people insured and a inclusion for those who have historically been denied rights. But when it comes power, conservatives get it. And the left has gotten served.

This is why appeals to trust the elders of the Democratic Party are starting to ring increasingly hollow to so many. Nancy Pelosi is the singularly most successful Congressional leader of the century. She must have a plan for Trump, right? We have 243 years of democracy under our belt – surely there are systems in place to deal with this, right?

Let’s hope she’s giving Donald Trump a master class in dealing with narcissistic personality disorder and that she knows that he wants nothing more than for the House Democrats to bumblefuck their way into a speedy impeachment, so that it can skedaddle on over to the fucking Senate before things deteriorate for Trump, the turtle fuck can throw a show trial, it’ll lose, and then the GOP can hit the 2020 campaign running before the end of 2019.

I want Trump impeached, I want it NOW. But, the reality may be that the practical impact of impeachment was wildly diminished when the shit for brains 1990’s Republicans impeached Bill Clinton over a consensual sex scandal and could fuck us over. I don’t know. We are all grappling with the unknown, and need to return to normalcy, the feeling that somebody has got this. They’ve led us back to power before to deal with losing wars, financial crises, wacked budgets. Now, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to restore the rule of law after the rise of authoritarianism.

But what we all feel is that we are getting our asses kicked. And we need a plan. It’s clear that reproduction rights fighters have failed miserably and that they have no plan. They have failed women on every level. We have to take back the narrative and restructure this debate.

Whereas it’s obvious that the forced birth lobby in America has been operating in a well-coordinated fashion to end the legal right of women to seek an abortion. Like the Sons of Jacob in A Handmaid’s Tale, they want to take away a woman’s right to control her own reproductive decisions and hand those decisions over to misogynistic religious conservatives.

This is what is happening this year, 2019, 46 years after Roe vs Wade:

Outright bans on abortion (10 states)

  • Alabama – Makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years. No exception for rape or incest
  • Arkansas – Bans abortions after 18 weeks. Includes exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
  • Georgia – Bans abortion after a heartbeat can be detected which can be as early as 6 weeks. Includes exceptions for rape and incest if a police report is filed and to save the mother’s life or if the fetus is nonviable.
  • Kentucky – Similar ban to Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill. Struck down by federal judge, will go to the Supreme Court.
  • Mississippi – Similar ban to Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill.
  • North Dakota – Bans most second trimester abortions except in the case of emergency. Punishes doctors only.
  • Ohio – Similar to Georgia’s heartbeat bill.
  • Louisiana – Near passage of a heartbeat bill
  • South Carolina – Near passage of a heartbeat bill
  • Missouri – Near passage of a heartbeat bill (no exceptions)

Trigger laws – Complete bans if Roe is overturned (14 states)

  • Kentucky
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Pre-Roe abortion bans still in place (7 states)

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

These are not all happening right now and this quickly by accident. This is a concerted, decades long effort by the forced birthers. They are moving quickly now, not because public opinion has finally swung in their favor – because it has not – but because they finally have what they have been waiting for: someone as dumb and craven as Donald Trump to hold the highest office in the land, and a compliant Supreme Court to be delivered to them. With Trump and McConnell, their moment has finally arrived.

If you think Republicans are willing to negotiate on the forced birth issue, disabuse yourself of that notion please. In Michigan, House Republicans passed a bill that would prohibit the use of dilation and evacuation procedures to end late-term pregnancies involving nonviable fetuses. When confronted with the fact that D&E procedures are the safest and least painful way to deal with these tragically sad situations, we have Republican assholes like Michigan State Sen. Kim LaSata, who became angry after testimony that by banning standard second-trimester procedures for abortion, the Michigan legislature would be putting women into painful and dangerous scenarios. Sen. LaSata’s response was the kind of Jesus empathizing you might expect from a good Christian:

Of course it should be hard! And the procedure should be painful! And you should allow God to take over!! And you should deliver that baby!”

The women who are put in the position of having to get a D&E are women who have already been pregnant for quite awhile. Many, if not most of them have already chosen names and decorated their nursery. But Ms. LaSata isn’t content for them to have to go through that excruciating mental and psychic trauma of losing that baby after all of that. She wants them to deal with physical pain and suffering, too. In her deranged mind, it’s God’s will. For forced birth proponents, women are simply host bodies, there to deliver children no matter how painful or how dangerous or how potentially fatal that may be for them. Even if the child will be born dead.

Being overly draconian isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. It’s the actual intent. In their effort to remake American in the model of the Republic of Gilead, they are pushing things so far that they are guaranteed to be sued which will allow them to take their case to the Trump-stacked Supreme Court which has made it quite clear that precedent, the so-called principle of stare decisis, is nothing but a quaint concept in American jurisprudence today.

Forced birth conservatives have recently invented a new kind of abortion. One in which an expectant mother is having a bad day, gives birth, and then the doctor stabs a perfectly good baby in the head for no reason other than pure cruelty and blood thirst. 

Remember that hilarious time when the media pretended that Hillary Clinton had “defended an accused child rapist and laughed about his lenient sentence,” because 40 years prior she had been ordered by the court to represent a criminal defendant, and she actually did her job? Remember when they spent months reporting that she had given speeches to Goldman Sachs for money!!!(I had a respectable, very rich man I know actually complain about Hillary’s paid speeches as a “money grab”), while ignoring the part about Donald Trump getting paid $150,000 by a Ukrainian oligarch to Skype in for a 15-minute talk, and then routing the cash through his charitable foundation where it would be conveniently un-taxed?

Last week, Senator reporters were outraged that Elizabeth Warren got paid in actual American currency for practicing law. The blatant sexism in the coverage has overtaken the nothingburger story itself. How dare Elizabeth Warren get paid fair market value for her labor! If she had minutes in the day left over after being a law professor at University of Pennsylvania and Harvard, she should have spent them advising students and organizing the office Christmas party, or writing letters of recommendation for their male peers. You know, the uncompensated shit that women do just because they have always done it.

The woman is running for president against a man who routinely stiffed his creditors, who ran a scam “university,” and whose main “achomlishment” is managing to go bankrupt running a casino — a giant machine that takes in quarters and gives back nickels. And the woman gets WHAT IS SHE HIDING???? Donald Trump is waging several legal battles to hide his taxes and finances from the American voters. But please, tell us more about Elizabeth Warren’s scandaloushourly compensation for hard-earned expertise, which she voluntarily disclosed on her own campaign website.

We see you coming, assholes. We saw it last month with all those How Is Bernie Even Getting Paid to Write a Book if He Says Billionaires Don’t Deserve a Tax Cut? stories. As if Elizabeth Warren getting $425,000 over a period of years is exactly the same as the Trump kids getting a billion dollar windfall if we abolish the estate tax. How can you say you really oppose homelessness if you live in a house? If she really supported ending the plight of the poor, she’d get rid of the pantsuit and wear a barrel held up by suspenders!

Doug McLeod, a Mississippi state Representative was a co-sponsor of the so-called “Heartbeat Bill” banning most abortions in Mississippi, a bill that Republicans have been claiming they support because they just love fetuses so much, and not because they love controlling women so much. Well, he was arrested this past weekend for punching his wife in the face while very drunk, because he wanted to have sex with her, and she did not get undressed fast enough. He punched his beloved so hard that there was blood on their bed and floor. She had to barricade herself in the room with another woman to call the police while Rep. McLeod banged on the door, threatening to kill her dog.

The deputies’ report said when they arrived, McLeod was holding a “glass of alcohol” and replied “Are you kidding me?” when they notified him that they were there because of a reported domestic assault. Mr. Special was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and released him on a $1000 bond. Mississippi law does not prohibit those with domestic violence misdemeanors from owning weapons, which I would imagine is not a very fun fact if you happen to be Doug McLeod’s wife. Remember a few months ago when Republicans and the NRA were all upset because the new Violence Against Women Act included a provision banning those with misdemeanor domestic violence charges from owning a gun? This alcoholic, rage punching lawmaker is who they were fighting for. This is the kind of fella they wanted to make sure could still have a gun. You know, in case his next wife failed to get naked fast enough.

And shit like this is why we do not believe the forced birther people. At all. For even a second. Certainly, if they really cared about “life,” they would not be giving Doug McLeod the chance to do a post-birth abortion on his wife with a gun he can legally purchase in their state.

If this was about “preserving life from conception forward”, we’d see mass protests outside fertility clinics where fertilized human eggs are discarded. Ain’t happening. Just like male masturbation won’t be considered genocide, blowjobs cannibalism, ultrasounds child pornography and Viagra an illicit drug. Yeah, the whole “personhood” thing isn’t really well thought out.

Many men are the product of a culture that teaches male entitlement. Men are entitled to women, to sex, to jobs, to money. It is why you haven’t seen so many women in fields like art or TV comedy until recently – women are raised to believe we have to have a more realistic prospect of making a living. My parents were a little alarmed that I wanted to be an artist, for those reasons. Men are raised differently. No woman I knew growing up in the 70s and 80s would have conceived of a job in art or comedy. The real problem are the men who are raised in this culture of entitlement who if they don’t get what they feel they are owed, become livid and blame women Men like Elliot “Incel” Rodger, or the guy who murdered those women in an L.A. Fitness center. You don’t see women committing crimes like this because we are not taught to feel entitled to these things. They create environments where they can be as repulsive as they like, without consequences and are in fact rewarded for being cruel and offensive. When they leave their bubble, they discover that other people do not feel this is an acceptable way of behaving and the things they felt entitled to become even further out of their reach, they feel even more rejected and more angry and more dangerous.

The only way to stop more people like this is to stop teaching men to feel entitled. Start with not telling them they are so so fucking special because of their dicks, or their whiteness. Stop with the “boys will be boys.” Start by telling them there’s no such thing as “friendzoning” and that women are allowed to not be sexually attracted to them. Start by telling them to listen when we say that we don’t want their “compliments” on the street, and that we don’t have to be flattered by them. It’ll work out better for all of us. And stop handing out trophies to men who claim to be progressive but are still fucking misogynistic. We often tolerate them, and refuse to stand up to them.

Men, you can use your voices to stand up to men behaving badly toward women, whether in real life, or on the internet (which is also real life, because we are real people tip tapping away). Men who believe themselves superior to women do not listen to women. And they probably won’t change because of anything you say, but they will be afraid to behave that way if you guys stand up to them.

Maybe spend a few minutes reflecting on your behavior. Do you freak out when a man you admire is accused of inappropriate behavior, and start blaming the woman because she had a glass of wine or was perceived as flirtatious? Do you lose your mind when a woman respectfully disagrees with you or stands up for herself to a man? My point is, you don’t have to be an Elliot Rodgers or a Sarah Sanders to be part of the problem.

We all have live in this shitty and fucked up patriarchy. We are raised in it and steeped in it and all our ideas are shaped by it. Oppressing women is part of the very fabric of our society. We all have learning and unlearning and growing and changing we need to do. Even if you are a woman raised with horrible ideas about yourselves as women. Or a man raised with horrible ideas about women. It’s okay not to be perfect. That just means you are like everyone else, but it’s not fine to never examine yourself for things that need to be fixed. I guaran-goddamn-tee you that you need a tune-up.

The fight for the soul of our country is now underway and it’s not happening at the federal level. it’s happening at the state level. If you think you can skip voting because you’re somehow not wild about the eventual Democratic candidate for president in 2020 (or any of the other down-ticket races, for that matter), you are complicit in converting the United States of America to the Republic of Gilead. And now you should get off your asses like the rest of us and work overtime to retake Democratic control of our state legislatures before it is too late.

Suggested reading: Read The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement,Rick Perlstein’s genealogy of the modern conservative movement, Ari Berman’s Give Us the Ballot, Jane Mayer’s Dark Moneyand Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chainsto begin to answer these questions.