Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Gif of the Day


Ok, uh, this is me watching Donald Trump trying to get himself out of the wall-shutdown mess he created. No, this is the world watching Howard Schultz try to pretend to be a likable person who would have a chance running for President as an Independent.

NO, this is GOD WATCHING BETHESDA TRY TO DIG ITSELF OUT OF THE HOLE IT CREATED BY MAKING A SHITTY GAME PROMOTED WITH PREORDER MERCH PROMISES THEY COULDN'T AFFORD SO THEY SENT PEOPLE SHITTY VERSIONS OF WHAT THEY OFFERED AND NOW EVERYONE HATES THEM.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Gif of the Day


GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!

I Don't Normally Like To Say This But CALM DOWN

I'm 100% sure that I'm going to have to make regular posts on this subject until at least the DNC nomination in 2020. Maybe until Election Day 2020. And I'm going to hate writing it more than you're going to hate reading it.

With more and more Democrats and left-of-center (by U.S. standards) individuals announcing their campaigns for the presidency or at least looking into it, I'm seeing the beginning of a massive problem. The left is so traumatized by the 2016 election disaster that many people have become extremely hostile to criticism of any liberal/leftist/Democratic candidate. I've seen posts demanding that people already choose the most viable candidate and fall in line.

This is incredibly absurd because it's wayyyyyyy too early to gauge which of the many candidates, some of whom have not yet announced their candidacy but very likely will later, is the most viable. Also, demanding that people fall in line is the best way to ensure that they cling to their fave and refuse to give them up even when it becomes clear that they're not viable.

But most importantly, in order to have any kind of functioning democracy, we NEED to allow people to discuss, debate about, and poke at each and every candidate who emerges. We should absolutely be combing through every candidate's record and pointing out the things we disagree with. Kamala Harris, for example, is clearly a good candidate and I'm thrilled that a woman of color is in the running. However, we need to talk about whether her record means that she would promote and intensify the prison industrial complex at President. Doing so does not make anyone racist or misogynistic. Is it possible that some people might only be attacking her because they're secretly (or not-so-secretly) racist/sexist? Absolutely. And let's us white people not forget that we are all racist because we were raised as white people in a white supremacist society. Same for men in terms of gender.

But as a woman, I am not here for shutting down any male candidate just because he's a dude. I will absolutely take into consideration that a man cannot understand women's issues on the level that a woman can. But refusing to vote for any male candidate no matter what is a terrible policy when it comes to the office of President of the United States.

Let's talk about Bernie. I knew that, if he decided to run again, it would stir up some shit. I did not predict just how intense the shit would be. I haven't been paying a ton of attention to Bernie since the 2016 election. Maybe it's because I was never a so-called "Bernie bro," nor was I a Bernie hater. But apparently, while I wasn't paying attention, people became SUPER FUCKING POLARIZED on the topic of Bernie Sanders.

Many of the people I'm following on Twitter seem to be split between two camps: Hardcore Bernie supporters and people who have come to hate his guts. #NeverBernie is a thing now. That really blows my mind. Really? Never Bernie? You're kinda putting Bernie Sanders, a Jewish man, into the same camp as Donald Trump, a man who has at the very least pandered to and encouraged neo nazis.

If I'm being very generous, I guess I can acknowledge that this could simply be a response to the small "never Hillary" section of Bernie supporters who drew so much ire and a lot of blame for Trump's victory. I think a lot of people are putting the blame for Trump right at Bernie's feet, and they have therefore come to hate him just as much as they hate the Grifter-in-chief. And if you want to talk about the possibility that he is partially or even mostly to blame, we can talk about that. But what is giving me a big ol' concern right now is the level of intense polarization usually reserved for people who are already nominated for President, at least.

The things people are saying about Bernie has 100% convinced me that the Russian election meddling and general ongoing psyop campaign that I personally mostly blame for Trump's victory has been a massive, wild, runaway success. People are so scared and reactionary and angry and mistrustful that I have literally seen people say that anybody who criticizes [x] candidate or directs any criticism, any negative point, at any candidate for the Democratic nomination is a Russian agent/bot. It is utterly ridiculous.

And yet, I kind of understand. Because I ended up wondering if the people saying that kind of shit themselves were Russian agents.

We need to take a step back and breathe. All of us. We need to acknowledge, admit, and face the fact that the Russians successfully got into our heads. That's the only way we can ever get them out of there. Then probably some kind of education campaign on how to spot a social media bot/propaganda pusher would be excellent, because I don't know how to tell the difference between a bot Twitter account and your average nobody account. Having less than a thousand followers and a lack of a blue check does not mean someone is a bot. I know, because I'm not a Russian bot or even a Russian agent of some kind, though I'd be willing to bet all my money that I'll be accused of that before November 2020.

Then we need to acknowledge that the 2020 primaries are a long way away. Now is absolutely the time to scrutinize and criticize Democratic candidates. It is not the time to write any of them off automatically, with the exception of shitty billionaires trying to run as Independents, because those are the assholes who will split the liberal vote for nothing more than their own power lust. I think what I'm going to do is use this blog to research and break down the records, positions, and rhetoric of each candidate in order to figure out who to ultimately caucus for in the primaries. I don't know who this will be yet. Could be Bernie again, but maybe not.

The worst thing we can do right now is to shut down productive discussion. Once a candidate has been officially nominated, then we can fall in line behind them. But right now is the time to poke and push each and every candidate, because that is the only way we can really figure out who is the most likely to defeat Donald Trump. All of us demanding everyone line up behind 17 different candidates is not going to turn out well, is it?

Take a breath. Maybe have another cry over Trump winning the 2016 election because that kind of trauma doesn't just disappear, especially while he keeps fucking up our country. Process your emotions and try to approach this shit in a semi-reasonable manner. Otherwise I can guarantee that we're in for another 4 years of Trump if he doesn't get arrested or taken out by a Russian assassin.

It's going to be a terrible year. Let's do this.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Gif of the Day


Mass-producing Jesus. Sounds like the title of a documentary.

This is the Worst Thing I've Read in a While and That's Saying Something

[TRIGGER WARNING: CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, RACIST ABUSE]

I don't know how much more awful I can fit into my head at one time before I just slip into a coma but apparently a school nurse and assistant principal strip-searched four black 12-year-old girls because they were giddy and hyper during lunch. You know. LIKE 12-YEAR-OLDS.

I guess if you're black and on a sugar high, that must mean you're on drugs. I dunno, sounds to me like an excuse for a couple pedophiles to sexually abuse little girls.

Of course, the school is denying this, but sexual abusers never admit to their crimes.

New York Middle School Denies It Conducted Strip Search on Four 12-Year-Old Black Girls

Even if they didn't strip-search the girls, and to be clear I 100% believe the girls, it's still utterly fucked up to take them out of lunch and question them on suspicion that they were high just because they were giddy. Giddy as schoolgirls, you might say. It's also fucked up for any schools to allow the strip-searching of children under any circumstances. That's just asking for pedophiles to make up an exigent circumstance so they can strip-search a child. Make strip-searching children illegal, no exception.

Also, stop accosting black kids for having fun before I punch you right in the face. I'm still recovering from the flu so I'm cranky and uncreative.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Gif of the Day


Remember when this was all we had to contend with? Good times.

At Times Like These Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh

And laugh I did, quite hysterically, because oh my god you have got to be fucking with me. Yes, you, God, you're fucking with us, aren't you?

Who knew? Trump's top White House attorney is Covington Catholic High School graduate

I'm still sick so that's all I have to say on the matter. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Wake me up when this celestial practical joke is over.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Gif of the Day


Hey. Hey you.

You're perfect.

The Government Shutdown Might Not End. It Might Be The End.

As the government shutdown drags on and Trump not only refuses to give up his monument to racism (which is all that it is, walls don't work to stop migration, drugs, crime, etc.) but presents "deals" that are wall + a bunch of other shitty stuff that Democrats will not want, I am getting the sneaking suspicion that this shutdown was planned and that the wall is a red herring.

I'm running a low fever and this might sound like some serious alarmist shit so I'm just going to direct you to this amazing podcast I recently came upon called Gaslit Nation and the incredible women responsible for it, including one Sarah Kendzior.



I have a concern.

I just finally got myself settled into freelance writing work that can fully support me, too. I swear every day it gets harder not to vocally respond to every bit of news about Trump and Mitch McConnell with "SOMEBODY TAKE THE SHOT."

It might take a serious national strike action in order to save us from fascism at this point. Thankfully I hear federal workers are organizing just that. Get ready.

For now, I'm going back to bed.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Gif of the Day


This is just needed today.

Read the Native Account of What Happened to the Native Americans at the Capital

As the mainstream media treats the MAGA kid's account of what happened at the capital on Saturday like truth and people speculate all day long and racists spread lies, etc., all you really need to do is listen to the Native Americans who were there.

Staring Down the Smug Face of American Violence

By Hunter Hooligan.

If you're not an indigenous person, I insist you read the whole thing, but this is a key excerpt:

By now, you have probably seen the video of what came next. There were just a few of us left at that point, chatting and lingering on the steps of the memorial. Across the square, a large group began to form, full of young boys in red hats and red shirts. All of it emblazoned with that tired slogan many of us now wearily associate with white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, and fascism. I had never seen so much MAGA apparel in the flesh until then. 
As more of the “MAGA teens” flooded the plaza from behind us, our small group of remaining demonstrators moved forward, away from them. We were following Nathan Phillips, who played his drum with confidence and courage, and sang a sacred prayer for peace — to de-escalate the growing nervousness on the plaza. It was Nathan who’d lead us in the circle dance. A tall man with a drum and voice like his is hard to miss. And now the MAGA boys noticed Nathan, too. 
From that point, things escalated quickly. We were surrounded by the boys, and we were alarmingly outnumbered. As we attempted to continue our path and move through the crowd, the boys closed in around us, until finally, one particular boy stood in front of Nathan and refused to let us pass. 
Nathan stopped walking, but he kept singing and playing his drum — staring right into the smirking boy’s eyes. We all huddled around him as the other boys began to push, prod, and bump us into a tighter and tighter cluster. They were mocking Nathan’s sacred music with purposefully disrespectful dancing and a perverted imitation of his singing. Their imitations were the racist tropes of “Indian chants” — the stereotypical grunting and “hiyahiyahiyas” of representations past. 
As the boys molded our huddle, I felt panic growing in my gut. I felt trapped.  There were so many of them around us that I couldn’t see out beyond them.  All I could see was cold faces full of empty laughter, boys intoxicated on their own false sense of power, control, and entitlement. 
But Nathan was steadfast. His drumming was constant and he exuded calm, grace, stability. He was unshaken. And it was his example that kept us all together. His singing, his drumming, his prayer. When we were surrounded by the sneering, jeering crowd, his voice was the one I latched onto. The boys alternated between their mock chanting and breaking out into familiar chants. 
“Build the wall!” 
“Gone in 2020!” 
As tensions grew over the course of the encounter, I pulled out my phone, along with several others. Our videos became the documentation of this latest example of bigotry against indigenous lives. But make no mistake, it is not the first, and sadly it will probably not be the last.

I believe Hunter Hooligan. I believe Nathan Phillips. If you don't have a frantic desperation to uphold white supremacy, it's clear that the full video of the account and any additional videos only make it clear that Hooligan's account is correct, and the entire incident was, if anything, more racist and fucked up than was originally depicted in the shorter version that first went viral.

I'm not interested in what anyone else was saying to these MAGA teens before they turned on the Native Americans who were only trying to diffuse the situation with a prayer song. They may have in fact stopped the situation from getting worse. They put themselves at great risk to try and ease a growing tension that could have exploded in a terrible way. They're heroes.

The high school teens should have known better than to take out any negative energy on a tiny group of Native Americans that included an elder. The adults responsible for the kids should have put a stop to the entire thing long before it got to that point.

That's one thing we should all be asking. Where was the Covington Catholic staff on this? Why did they allow their students to stay within shouting distance of a group of men who were upset by their presence and shouting obscene things to them? Who failed to train them to immediately move the children away from those men in order to avoid a completely avoidable situation?

It was both a failure of the Covington Catholic administration and a perfectly representative snapshot of violent white supremacy, privilege, and power over those we stole this land from via mass genocide.

Summary of the Events Around the Covington Catholic Racists

This is a summary in response to the statement put out by the boy who stood in front of Nathan Phillips and how people are reacting:

Video: *goes viral*

Mainstream media and decent people everywhere: WOW THIS IS FUCKED UP, HOW DO WE EVEN DEAL WITH THIS LEVEL OF FUCKED UP???

Nathan Phillips, Native American veteran: I was trying to diffuse the situation and these kids surrounded me and taunted me with racist chants.

Video: *shows exactly what Nathan Phillips described*

Kid who stared Nathan Phillips down in a MAGA hat with a shit-eating grin on his face while his friends laughed and jeered at Phillips, mocking him with racist chanting and gestures: No, see, I was trying to diffuse the situation by staring down an elderly Native American man with a shit-eating grin on my face while I failed to tell my classmates surrounding us to stop being racist.

Mainstream media and white moderates everywhere: OH OKAY cancel everything because the kid with the MAGA hat is definitely telling the truth and not racist, WHEW we almost had to really care about white supremacy for a second.

Me:

I've Never Met The Covington Catholic Boys, But I Recognize Them

I want to state right off that I'm white and have no idea what it's like to experience racial abuse, let alone what it's like to be a Native American having to listen to a bunch of rich white kids in MAGA hats chant "build that wall" at you when they're the descendants of the real invaders who committed genocide upon your people and is still making life hell for you upon your stolen land to this day.

But I have been harassed by a group of mostly white boys who knew targetted me because I was vulnerable and knew they'd be shielded from any consequences. And I know much of my fellow white people are more likely to listen to me about this than any person of color, so listen up.

The video of the kid standing in Nathan Phillips' face with that smug smile on his face while his shitty little friends cheered him on and laughed at Phillips did something strange to me, and it took me a few hours to realize that it was triggering old memories. Me, greasy-faced and hunched over on the school bus seat as the boys behind me quickly lean over to whisper obscene things in my ears, kick my seat, yell and laugh as loudly as they can, all while the bus driver does nothing.

Anyone who was bullied as a kid recognized the look on those kids' faces. Many, many women flashed back to the men who have gotten in their personal space with that same kind of look, intimidation and threat written all in their body language but not touching! And the smugness that comes from a mind that knows, 100 percent, that they will not face any consequences because they know they have the power and you do not.

They know exactly what they're doing. They know, instinctively, that if they don't touch first, they won't get in trouble. They know that if they smile they can say they were just "joking around." They know just how to send the message to their victims that they can descend and hurt you at any moment and that they hold all the power in that moment while keeping just enough distance to be protected from backlash.

In that situation, the victim has only two options. Take it or fight back and be called the villain.

This tactic has been used by white men and boys for decades, maybe centuries. It was used on a woman I admire and call a friend years ago when she accidentally wandered into a group of Trump supporters, started debating with them, and ended up surrounded. You can see the same smug smiles as she begs for them to let her go, as she panics. And the very second she fights back against this coordinated intimidating tactic guaranteed to cause panic attacks in mentally ill and traumatized individuals, she is assaulted, injured, and blamed for the whole thing.

Those boys won't be expelled. Do you have any idea how much prep schools for rich white boys get for every rich white boy that attends? Without their rich white parents writing them checks, Covington Catholic is gone.

The boys know that. Just like my bullies knew that I wouldn't go to the school administration for help because I knew they wouldn't do anything and probably would only make it worse for me. Thirteen and already we knew who had the power and who didn't.

I say this because some right-wingers have the nerve to claim that the Covington Catholic boys were just "enjoying the music." I refuse to believe that any of them really think that. At the very least, some of the individuals making this claim have essentially forced themselves to believe this because they can't confront reality, in the same way that far too many of this have convinced ourselves that a violent man really does care for us and wants to change. But deep down, we all know the truth.

Human beings have evolved the capacity to both express and recognize irony. Every person over the age of five who watched that video recognized that the boys were mocking Nathan Phillips. We all know that the gestures they were using and their gross "singing" were explicitly racist against Native Americans. The boys knew it, too.

If you've never been in a situation where a privileged person went out of their way to put you in a situation where they had total power over you and gleefully made sure that you were completely aware of it, count yourself very lucky. And know that it's one of the worst feelings in the world. Generally, the less privilege you have, the more often you've been there. Some of us have been put there by bosses, by cops, and/or by the entire U.S. government.

That feeling of helplessness is something that we as human beings put a ton of energy into avoiding. We're terrified of it. It's why Nathan Phillips cried. It's why I could barely force myself to watch the video of those kids taunting him. It's why the video is so disturbing to just about everyone, whether they'll admit it or not. Some don't want to admit it because doing so would threaten all the power they've inherited which prevents them from ending up in a situation where they feel that helplessness.

I almost wouldn't wish it on them, though maybe they'd gain some empathy from it.

This "bullying" that we're supposed to care so much about in America. This is exactly what it looks like. And yet as long as the bullies are privileged enough, we allow it and even encourage it every single day. It's what this country was built on. It's why I believe in revolution rather than reform. Because the smug grin of that kid standing too close to Nathan Phillips as his friends cheer him on - that is the face of privilege, the face of power over others, and the face of America.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Gif of the Day


I will never get tired of watching cat pupils dilate. It sounds weird but you know what I mean.

Guest Post: In 2019, I'd Like Celebrities to Learn How to Apologize Better

[TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A TEEN]

Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.



"Say you're sorry." Many of us received this demand as a child, and we may have followed our parents’ insistence on saying the words even if we didn't really mean the apology sincerely. While our childhood apologies may have lacked sincerity, as we grow and mature, we ideally move up through Kohlberg's theory of moral development, and we learn how to apologize in a heartfelt fashion.
Sadly, it seems many celebrities hit a roadblock on the moral development highway. As celebrities and other public figures serve as role models, shoddy apologies from the A-List set encourage others to mimic their bad behavior. This new year, my fondest wish is for those walking the red carpet to set a better example by learning how to apologize gracefully and correctly.

Celebrities Who Need to Learn How to Apologize
Some celebrities prove the theory that having money and fame can equate to bad behavior. In fact, there are quite a few notable people who really need to learn how to apologize.
Consider celebrity chef Paula Deen. She carelessly dropped the "N" word in a deposition and publicly posted pictures on social media featuring relatives wearing "brownface." The apology she issued was so lackluster, her show was canceled and her career completely derailed as a result.
Outrage also swept the LGBTQ+ community when actor Kevin Spacey tried to draw a correlation between sexual orientation and pedophilia. Spacey stood accused of groping a teenage boy. Not only did his so-called apology anger those of us with even a hint of common sense or compassion, but he has yet to face any consequences other than being ousted from his role on Netflix's House of Cards.
Kevin Hart recently refused to apologize for a series of homophobic tweets, and who can forget all the pitiful apologies that came in the wake of the #MeToo movement? Even in an era during which many companies and organizations have begun taking serious measures to eliminate workplace harassment, the lessons of #MeToo and #TimesUp still seem to fall on deaf ears when it comes to those who truly need to hear them.
What Makes a Proper Apology?
Many of us believe apologizing means simply saying the words, "I'm sorry." But a sincere, quality apology contains much more than that. Any right and proper apology consists of three elements.
1. Expressing Remorse
The first step of apologizing involves expressing sincere remorse for your actions. People can sense another person's lack of sincerity, so acting authentically may make the difference as to whether the person you wronged forgives you or not. Simply mouthing the words, "I'm sorry," does little to repair relationships, whereas, "I'm so sorry for [insert thing you did]. I feel embarrassed by how I behaved," can mend far more fences when spoken in a genuinely contrite manner.
2. Admitting Responsibility
Admitting responsibility for your errors makes for the second step of apologizing properly. Here's where many celebrities fail when they issue public apologies — instead of accepting personal responsibility for their wrongdoing, they make excuses and place blame on other people or any host of other factors such as intoxication.
3. Changing Your Ways
Speaking a sincere apology means little if you continue displaying the same bad behavior. End an apology with a promise to change your ways and avoid similar behavior in the future. And then FOLLOW THROUGH. Even the most generous folks tire of hearing the same apology time and again with no subsequent modification in behavior and become less likely to forgive with each insistence of change.
The Power of Forgiveness
Not all celebrity apologies fall onto the cringe-worthy scale. Some have mastered perfect apologies, such as Samantha Bee, who apologized sincerely and correctly for calling Ivanka Trump a profane name (although I can’t say I blame her, personally!). Most notably, Bee followed all the steps to make a proper apology, including promising to change going forward.
In 2019, I sincerely hope other celebrities learn from Bee's example and issue genuine apologies when they harm someone or a group of people. Young people adapt their behavior to what society deems to be acceptable, and witnessing specious apologies from celebrities lead children to think any harm done to others can be fixed with platitudes. If we wish to build a kinder, gentler society, those we admire need to set better examples.

Rich People Want Your Blood, Literally, Bye

I keep seeing this kind of shit pop up, like, it's been peeking into my Tumblr world for at least two years now and now here it is in Business Insider.

A controversial startup that charges $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood now claims to be up and running in 5 cities across the US


Basically there's an increasing "trend" among the rich running on the belief that young blood actually makes you younger, somehow rejuvenating your internal organs. There's pretty much zero evidence that this works but logic doesn't often enter the arena in the obsession with eternal life.

Enter "Ambrosia."

The company is now up and running, Karmazin told Business Insider on Wednesday. Ambrosia recently revamped its website with a list of clinic locations and is now accepting payments for the procedure via PayPal. Two options are listed: 1 liter of young blood for $8,000, or 2 liters for $12,000.

I don't know what to say other than the horrors of capitalism have produced actual vampirism for profit. I'm glad I'm probably too old to have my blood siphoned to be consumed by cartoonishly evil rich people, but I have a number of young family members who I will protect with my life and a pointing stick if necessary.


Also if this diverts blood stocks away from blood donation programs then people are going to die, end TED Talk.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gif of the Day


This is so dangerous but also looks like so much fun honestly.

Helpful Advice For Men: Stop Talking

[TRIGGER WARNING: CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, MISOGYNY, HOMOPHOBIA]

I know a lot of men are feeling really attacked right now and to be clear, I don't actually care. But maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't get yourselves into so much trouble if you just, you know, shhhhhhh.

In the space of 24 hours, I've learned that the interim president of Michigan State University said that the victims of the guy who sexually abused a ridiculous number of underage girls were enjoying the spotlight.

"You’ve got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight," Engler said. "In some ways they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”

One question. What awards have the victims received? I mean, maybe there should be an award dedicated to victims who come forward, because they are braver than any Marine. But this is textbook "privilege white dude running his mouth about something he has zero understanding of" because uhhhhh nobody enjoys that spotlight, fucko. Nobody likes to have their personal trauma put on display for the entire world to dissect.

Thankfully, this asshole has already resigned.

But that's not all! I got this gem in an email today:

Social Security official: Married working mothers hurt society, condoms rob women of “remarkable chemicals” in semen


Before joining President Donald Trump's administration, right-wing commentator Robert W. Patterson argued against contraceptives because “condom use robs” women of the “remarkable chemicals” in semen; said married women in the workplace have undermined society; and suggested that homosexuality is a mental disorder and sexual orientation can be forcibly changed.

Things must be super fucked up for this guy to have slipped through the cracks. And like, there has been some research suggesting that there are beneficial chemicals in semen, but could you be any more creepy right now? Plus like uh, there are so many other contraceptives besides condoms. I'm in a long term monogamous relationship with a cis man so we don't use condoms but I take my birth control pill every damn day.

But also, if semen is so good for you, why deny that to men? Let me come in and on each other and enjoy those remarkable jizz chemicals. Stop oppressing men, Robert.

I doubt this guy will resign but I do hope he gets sent some of that shampoo with semen in it, or at least some gummy dicks and glitter bombs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gif of the Day


Honestly, how can you not like cats?

Hey Koch Brothers Please Choke on the Physical Manifestation of Your Racism

Imagine if you had like one wish and could cause racist words to literally turn into sand or clay in a person's throat. That would be awesome. Anyway.

Anyway, I was trying to watch the Democracy Now headlines on YouTube this morning when I was greeted with an ad by the Koch Brothers. My partner actually had the PS4 controller and for whatever reason wanted to see what bullshit they were peddling today, and suffice it to say it enraged me enough to write a blog post on.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is this coming Monday, the 21st, and already my fellow white people are spreading the great man's words without context or to promote what they might think is peace but it really only submission by the oppressed. It's no surprise to see the Koch Brothers hop on board, seeing as they've exploited his image and legacy in the past and one of them even compared himself to MLK, which...


Now, I'm having trouble finding a video of the ad or any commentary on it, which makes me think it must be very new. Trust me when I say that it's gross as fuck.

The ad uses MLK's words in order to try and convince black people that they shouldn't protest. It declared that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was a complete success, total victory, and so now black people should just sit back and shut up! Everything's fine! Don't march, don't conduct sit-ins. MLK wouldn't want you to do all those thinGS THAT HE ABSOLUTELY DID HIMSELF AND ALSO ORGANIZED AND THAT IS HOW WE HAVE ANY CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS AT ALL RIGHT NOW.

It's infuriating and it's more than out of touch - obviously we still have massive levels of systemic racism in this country and it can be argued that very little of substance has actually changed since MLK's time. The Koch Brothers almost certainly know this. The ad is a straight up propaganda piece. Peddling clear lies to try and convince black people to accept their oppression.

The good news is that this must mean the Koch Bros are terrified. I personally am up for a nationwide protest specifically against the Koch Brothers in response to this.

Okay, I just found it. It's a video by Jason Riley, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, which is a think tank largely funded by the Koch Brothers. I knew it was a Koch thing because all their recent propaganda videos look and sound like this:


So not only does it urge black people to stop resisting, it blames all the current problems black people have on *checks notes* black people.

"The black Civil Rights battles in America are now over, and King's side won," says Riley. "The best indication of that may be that King has had no real successor."

I need to pause and take a breath here because the reason King had no successor is because the U.S. government fucking killed them all. They destroyed the Civil Rights movement, they destroyed the Black Panthers, they destroyed every bastion of black resistance in the country AND THEY FUCKING MURDERED MLK HIMSELF.

Riley then claims that if black people in the U.S. had any REAL problems like legal discrimination and voter disenfranchisement (he literally names these two issues), then a leader "of his calliber" would have appeared.

I don't even know where to begin. DeRay Mckesson, anybody? Patrisse Cullors? Obama? The fact that Black Lives Matter activists have mysteriously been murdered time and time again? The concerted efforts by the government to flood black communities with illicit drugs and everything else they've done to keep them in a state of poverty in desperation so that black leaders don't emerge?

This video is FIVE MINUTES LONG.

Riley goes on to call today's black community leaders "pretenders" and blame Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for the widening gap between white and black Americans in education, income, and home ownership. Surely it doesn't have anything to do with all the white racists who have been in charge of this country the whole time.

It gets worse. Riley then points squarely at what he calls "black culture" for all of black people's problems. This is the most rank victim blaming and I feel really sorry for Riley because he is a black man and has internalized all this rank racism and it's just so, so sad.

And so he says that protests and sit-ins won't fix anything anymore, because racial gaps aren't white people's fault, it's black people's fault.

That's like halfway through the video but you know what, I'm going to stop there. There are black writers who will deconstruct this video way better than I ever could. What I am going to do is place the blame for this propaganda video squarely at the feet of the Koch Brothers, who are clearly so so afraid of the BLM movement and other current young black leaders who threaten their wealth and power. Because they know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist and would have been a force against Koch Industries if he hadn't been assassinated by the FBI.

Dear Koch Brothers. Your time is coming, and no cheesy YouTube videos can change that. You'd do better to disappear and lock yourself in your doomsday bunkers now because life comes at you fast.

Child Migrant Prison Camp Shuts Down Thanks To Activist Efforts

Put this one down at something I did NOT see coming. That child prison camp you always see in that one photo that's in Tornillo, Texas has released its last kid and officially closed down. I didn't even know they were working on this but FUCK YES THANK GOD.

“Officials said about 5,500 of the 6,200 Central American teens who cycled through the Tornillo camp since June have been released to a parent or guardian inside the United States to await a decision in their immigration cases,” the Washington Post reported. “About 700 were transferred to other facilities overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” 
While Tornillo’s closure represents a victory for the humane treatment of vulnerable children, it absolutely cannot mean a free pass for those responsible, considering that BCFS, the organization contracted to run the prison camp, “filed more than 30 reports on ‘significant incidents’ at Tornillo since June, some involving interactions between children and staff, but none of a sexual nature.”

Fantastic. Though I am a little afraid that that place must have been seriously horrific for them to actually dismantle it. I hope all those kids are okay and weren't too traumatized. We still don't really know what that prison camp was like because they wouldn't let congressional Democrats inside, let alone press.

This place.

I'm unsure if this was the only prison camp, but there are still many migrant kids in detention, including in giant warehouses where they for some reason keep it super cold and give them those weird silver emergency blankets to sleep on the floor. They and all adult migrants need to be released. But it does make me feel better than maybe we don't have prison camps for Latinx children anymore. That's a step back from the cliff.

Keep it up, folks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gif of the Day


This is literally an ant trying to steal a diamond. All solidarity with this funky little class warrior.

Not To Be Capitalist But I Love This Gillette Ad

I was all set to be cynical about this ad put out by Gillette because no matter how you slice it, it's a big company owned by one of the like five massive conglomerates that own everything we buy and I am not going to believe this is anything more than a marketing scheme to them but damnit if it didn't bring tears to my eyes.


Damnit, Gillette.


Some people who are apparently even more bitter than I am are like "uh yeah this is just telling men to exhibit basic human decency" and they're right but man, I've been a serious feminist for at least 10 years now, and 10 years ago even something like this felt out of reach. All I wanted was for people to demand basic accountability from men and lay the blame for men's violence against women at the feet of men. I would have killed for the idea of "isn't it time we stopped excusing bad behavior in men and boys" to become so mainstream as to be in a Gillette commercial.

It's sad that we were so far away from something that basic and common sense that my feeling right now is "we've come so far." But damn, we have.

You also can't understate the value of shitty men getting incredibly pissed off when told to act like adults, and there is plenty of that happening, from full-on tantrums to centrist dorks already putting out thinkpieces about how the Gillette ad doesn't "work." And it's not because it rings hollow from a massive corporate entity that's definitely exploiting women of color right now.


Nobody asked you, Josh.

But really, most of the fragile takes on this ad are tired and predictable. It's the old "THIS AD IS ATTACKING MASCULINITY" which is, of course, admitting that they think that men are inherently violent and useless when it comes to raising kids. Which they want to believe because it means they don't have to be held accountable for their actions like real adults. I've been hearing that shit for 10 years and I'm so over it.


Anyway, Procter & Gamble, could you stop being a giant monopoly maybe? Stop exploiting underpaid workers as you're almost certainly doing?

90% of Kids Seized By the Manitoba Government Are Indigenous

Manitoba is in Canada if you were wondering.

This statistic is brought to you by a devastating video making the rounds on the internet that shows a mother sobbing as social workers and cops take her newborn baby from her. Her family is there, arguing for her and asking if there will be time made for bonding between the mother and baby. If you know anything about child development you know how essential the newborn bonding period is.

Why are they taking this baby away?

The child was taken away because of a false accusation that the mother was drunk when she arrived at the hospital to give birth, the woman’s aunt said. 
The videos show family members telling social workers the accusation was not true. They ask whether the baby could stay with one of them instead of being taken away. The request is denied.

I don't know how you can accuse a person in labor of being drunk. How could you even tell, honestly? They're in pain, and they're utterly awash in hormones as the body prepares for the most painful experience they will likely ever endure. If they thought she was drunk when she arrived, truly, then did they not perform a blood test or something? And if not, then they have no proof, so how can they possibly justify taking a baby away from their mother?

Racism is how. In Manitoba, 90% of cases like these are with Indigenous mothers and babies. Canada has a long and horrific history of anti-indigenous racism, which includes genocidal policies of separating children from their families and sterilizing Indigenous women via coercion or simply without their consent.

Hopefully this video will get people to start noticing and caring about this issue. I know, however, that many will brush this off because the mother in the video has struggled with addiction.

Cora Morgan, a family advocate for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said the mother may have been targeted for a “birth alert” – a note to social workers that an expectant mother is high risk – because she had another daughter who was temporarily in care several years ago. 
The woman had previously sought help for addictions and with parenting from Child and Family Services, Ms. Morgan said, but was not intoxicated when she arrived at the hospital to give birth.

Addiction and poverty are closely linked, as are poverty and being an Indigenous person in Canada. That generational poverty fueled by systemic racism combines with general racism to result in scenes like this, where an Indigenous mother is more likely to be labeled "high risk," hospital workers are more likely to call social workers on her, and social workers are more likely to take her child away because of her race.

There needs to be some kind of concerted effort to stop this cycle. As things are now, this would mean government intervention. Unfortunately, Trudeau is not the progressive angel that he passed himself off as during the election. His record with Indigenous Canadians is shit. We're going to have to put a lot of pressure on him and the Canadian government in general to get this shit to stop.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Gif of the Day


Why can't I eat bred?

The U.S. For-Profit Healthcare System is Collapsing

I'm pretty sure. I googled 'American healthcare system collapsing" and there are several articles from last year expressing the same thing so I don't think I'm out of line here. The reason I'm talking about this now is because this shit is trending on Twitter right now:



One second.


Ok.

All joking aside, this is a serious problem that is already killing people are is poised to kill a whole lot more. Our healthcare system has been in serious trouble for many years now. Spiking drug prices, reduced quality of care, rushing people out of the hospital and doctors' offices, continuing lack of affordable health insurance resulting in a fucked up situation where a single aspirin given to you at a hospital costs you $30 because hospitals have to make up for massive losses created by resources spent on people who can't pay, it's all combining into a complete clusterfuck that is unsustainable. A lot of those "the U.S. healthcare system is collapsing" articles came out around the same time as this news:

The US was once a leader for healthcare and education — now it ranks 27th in the world

So there goes the last coherent argument that capitalists can use to defend our healthcare system. It's now ranked worse than pretty much every other Western nation, and all of those countries have a universal healthcare system. Including Canada.

The ACA could have prevented this collapse if it hadn't been hobbled from the beginning by Republicans and their corporate masters and then sabotaged as much as possible since then. Instead it may have only been a stall. Of course, said Republicans will probably blame all of this on the ACA, ignoring the fact that nearly every other nation on Earth uses a universal healthcare system.

But the point is that we are facing a serious crisis in healthcare. This combined with the spiking cost of secondary education is resulting in a fucking doctor shortage.

U.S. health care's biggest problem: a doctor shortage

As the Salon article points out, most new doctors right now are either going into specialties, which are more lucrative than staying in primary care, or looking to serve affluent, largely white communities. This is definitely partially greed but also, new doctors face a serious problem when they have $200,000+ in student loan debt and primary care doctors don't get paid as much as they used to, plus they have to pay for things like malpractice insurance.

Unless they come from a wealthy family, doctors may not be able to afford to stay in general medicine. Yet primary care doctors are the ones we all see. They're the people who need to figure out what's wrong with us and then refer us to specialists. You can't just jump to seeing a specialist because our shitty insurance won't cover that. We're already seeing the result of this doctor shortage as wait times just to see a primary care physician increase. It's becoming more difficult to get to a doctor when you need it, like when you have the flu and maybe need a doctor's note to miss work and not get fired.

And despite the rapid enshittening of our healthcare system, the U.S. is still a big asshole about doctors from other countries trying to practice here. These doctors are often required to go back to school here for some amount of time, which of course costs them money. Put all of this together and it's like we want a doctor shortage.

I'd love to see increased interest in a single payer healthcare system here as a sign of a shift to the left, but at this point it's simply necessary to avoid a horrific crisis. We need socialized medicine yesterday. This is not a radical leftist position. This is just basic reality. Please make more articles about this. Hell, steal and re-publish this post under your name if it helps. I'll be annoyed but it's better than thousands or millions of people dying unnecessarily because we slept on this shit.

Justice for Chrystul Kizer

[TRIGGER WARNING: CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, GUN VIOLENCE, DEATH]

I knew there was a specific case like Cyntoia Brown's somewhere that was going around, and I found it over the weekend.

If You Care About Cyntoia Brown, You Should Know Chrystul Kizer's Name

The incident in which Kizer allegedly shot and shot a white man happened just last year, which means we have a chance to get this girl out of prison before she ends up spending half or all of her life there. Let's go.

Kizer did indeed shoot and kill a guy, but he 100% deserved it.

In October, Kizer's public defenders introduced a motion that would require the state to turn over evidence that, at the time of his killing, Volar was under active investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls. 
“The defense believes that the discovery in this case suggests that Ms. Kizer acted in self-defense. Mr. Volar, a 34-year-old man, was engaged in the ongoing sexual and physical abuse of Ms. Kizer, then a 17-year-old girl, and several other girls whose identities are currently unknown to the defense," reads the statement presented to Judge David Wilk.

The article doesn't explain exactly why she was there, only that this Volar pedophile dude "transported her from Milwaukee to engage in sexual contact with her," and that her boyfriend gave her the gun because Volar kept touching her. Volar was also under investigation for producing child pornography, so that may be why she was in his home. She may have been a victim of trafficking.

Kizer's court case is ongoing, but she's still in jail because her bail was set so high. This girl rid us of a child sexual abuser and pornographer, so in my book she's a hero and should get to keep the stuff she stole from him. But mostly, she's a victim of sexual abuse herself and locking her up does nothing to help her or society at large. It only ruins her life. She needs help, not for her entire life to be stolen from her.

Spread this around. Send it to the celebrities who spoke up for Cyntoia Brown. This happened in Wisconsin, so you can contact Governor Tony Evers (phone number and email address at the link) to speak out for Kizer and promise to grant her a pardon or clemency. Let's do it again, but much faster this time.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Gif of the Day


Same.

Guest Post: 4 Foreign Issues Americans Need to Care More About in 2019

Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.


Americans are selfish people, even when we don't think we are. There are very obvious and serious problems here at home that require our attention, but we'll do far more harm than good by pretending our domestic problems are the only ones worth worrying about, or that some form of globalism isn't inevitable.
The world has gotten a lot bigger and smaller all at once, revealing hidden strife and unsolved problems all around the globe. Let's not wait until these foreign issues have become history to learn from them. Let's get plugged back into our global reality and use our resources to help others.
1. Asia and Central America: Displaced Climate Refugees
As the average temperature of the planet rises, so does the likelihood of drought in many of the drier regions of the world. In 2018 alone, hundreds of thousands of people were forced from their homes in Afghanistan, the Sahel region of North Africa and Somalia due to droughts, floods and famine. According to the World Bank, things will only get worse from here: 2050 could see 143 million people displaced from Latin and Central America as well as parts of Africa and South Asia.
Why worry about this? First, because many on the political spectrum seem to believe climate change will be some trifling inconvenience with minimal or easily reversible consequences. It's not. Second, where climate refugees already exist in other countries, others will soon follow right here at home. Some already are.
2. Haiti: Natural Disasters and No Relief
This potentially idyllic Caribbean nation has had a string of bad luck in recent years, a great deal of which makes noise here in the States but then quickly subsides again.
A disastrous earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, killing 316,000 people and displacing another 1.5 million. Seven years after this devastation, it was estimated that more than 2.5 million Haitians were still left without basic humanitarian aid. The UN has reported that in the aftermath of the storm, the nation has seen famines, runaway poverty, additional natural disasters and even outbreaks of cholera.
3. France et al.: Political Turmoil Fueled by Economic Inequality
Unfortunately, Haiti's desperate situation makes a double appearance on this list thanks to its precarious and often violent political climate. This degree of unrest comes courtesy of the same economic stratification we see everywhere else on earth: friction and violence between the haves and have-nots as decades of grotesque inequality and rising costs-of-living come to a head.
Haiti, like France, has been rocked with protests over the government's decision to hike the price of gasoline. As of November 2018, 10 Haitians have died in demonstrations. The vision was to use the revenue to fund infrastructure projects — a noble goal. However, after decades of tone-deaf leadership and the neglect of the working poor and destitute by the well-off, the proposed path forward in Haiti, France and elsewhere has so far put a disproportionate burden on the working class rather than the ones with enough buying power to actually change things.
4. Yemen: Sectarian Violence and World Power Shadow Wars
For 2019, the United Nations is petitioning member countries for $4 billion USD to bring aid to Yemen. This is the most aid money ever requested for one country. How did things get this bad?
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies began attacking Yemen in earnest. Saudi leadership claimed to be seeking the restoration of a "legitimate" Yemeni government, and have mounted multiple offenses against Houthi rebels, which they claim to be acting as a proxy for Iran. Quelling Iran's influence and crushing religious and political dissent, claimed the Saudis, is a vital part of defeating Al Qaeda in the region.
That was years ago. Today, a confluence of world powers remains in Yemen, where one of history's worst famines is raging on and claiming the lives of the young and old alike. According to 2018 estimates, the war has claimed more than 50,000 lives.
Yemen seems to be inching toward a difficult peace, but Americans should be paying very close attention to the finer details. It's easy to write off the war in Yemen as a proxy conflict between other religious and governmental powers, in which the U.S. has no obvious vested interest.
Except we do. Saudi Arabia has been the most enthusiastic buyer of American-made weapons of mass destruction since the '90s. In 2017, U.S. weapon sales to the Saudis rose 33 percent, for a new total of $55.6 billion. A great deal of this merchandise was brought to Yemen by the Saudi coalition, where it has cost the lives of more than 50,000 people through direct means and an estimated 85,000 children since 2015, due to indirect causes such as famine.
The Trump Administration has been a factor in this disaster, all in the name of vouchsafing American jobs and livelihoods. This is a critical reminder that economic growth at any cost usually carries a price that's far too high to pay.
When Ignoring World Problems Is Convenient
The reason Americans don't have better answers to these challenges is because we're good at convincing ourselves that borders drawn on a map carry more weight than they actually do. We tend to believe, probably because some of our loudest leaders do, that an exchange of solutions across borders will leave the aid-giving nation at some kind of lasting disadvantage. As though rising tides don't raise all boats. As though we're not all human beings, no matter which side of an arbitrary line we grew up on.

Brazil's Fascist President Declares He Will Wipe Out Indigenous Brazilians

Among the massive levels of bullshit going on in the U.S. right now, a lot of really alarming news is slipping under the radar. Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro, who has been praised by Trump and ran on a platform of bigotry and fascist rhetoric, has pretty much stated that he intends to commit genocide.

Brazil’s New President Openly Threatens Genocide of Indigenous Amazonians

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, campaigned on a plan to sell off major portions of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness, mining. and hydro-power. 
“Minorities have to adapt to the majority, or simply disappear,” he said on the campaign trail, adding that under his administration, “not one square centimeter” of Brazil will be reserved for the country’s indigenous peoples. 
Thirteen percent of the land in Brazil is protected indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest, where most of the world’s last uncontacted tribes take refuge. Bolsonaro has said he wants to put all of that land on the auction block.

Of course, this has terrible implications in terms of climate change, which will and has affected the poorest and most vulnerable first. But this is also straight-up genocide of uncontacted tribes and indigenous Brazilians in general. Uncontacted tribes in particular are extremely vulnerable to disease and could not adjust to the rest of the modern world. Their culture is also 100% rooted in the rainforests in which they live. This is genocide in every sense of the word.

I have no idea what to do about this because Bolsonaro does not give a single fuck. All I can say is that this is what happens when you let fascists have a platform and elect shitfuckers like Trump.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Gif of the Day


Life comes at you fast.

White Supremacist Steve King Wonders What's So Bad About Being A White Supremacist

Remember that time I freaked out over Trump calling himself a nationalist because I knew that if nationalism became acceptable in the U.S., it wasn't long before people would be like "what's wrong with being a white supremacist?"

Welp.


“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
I fuckin' told you. And I'm being like this because I got all kinds of messages on Tumblr asking me "what's wrong with nationalism?" And maybe outside of the U.S. they aren't taught through their entire childhood via education and media that nationalism is bad because in the U.S. it has always led to deadly racist violence, but even if you don't live here, it can't take that much thought to figure out that Donald Trump + nationalism = bad.

But a lot of those people went on to defend nationalism in a way that made it clear they're white nationalists, and the sheer amount of them was alarming as all hell. Seriously, this problem is almost certainly worse than you think it is.

Now, predictably, America's most white nationalist congressman is like "what's wrong with being a white supremacist?" Yeah, right, Steve. What's wrong with the KKK and nazis and lynchings and genocide, right?

And it's not just that. The second half of his quote is just as bad. He's saying that "the merits of our history" are all white people shit and our civilization is a result of and belongs to white people. This is absolutely and 100% the opinion of white supremacists. It's the basis of their ideology. We white people created everything that's good and people of color have done nothing. It's absolute bullshit, of course, but reality doesn't matter to people so fragile that they have to convince themselves that they're better than others because they're white.

This is where we're at. And the reason Steve King feels comfortable saying this to the New York Times is because we have a president actively spouting racist, dehumanizing propaganda because his wall is a metaphor for his penis.

This keeps getting worse and worse. Things have already happened that can't be undone. People have already died. Mueller better pounce soon.