Monday, December 28, 2020

New Year, Same Old Bullshit

Even as we’re about to turn the calendar page and put out the dumpster fire that was, the same misguided arguments continue to circulate. Here are a few more from last week’s Facebook browsing.

The Right is desperate to deflect blame for the lack of COVID relief for Americans, so they’ve become heavily invested in the fact that foreign aid was also included in the omnibus bill that was passed, and eventually signed by the Current Occupant. I’ve seen a lot of this sentiment online.

There is so much wrong with this I barely know where to start. But the first point has to be, “The Republicans have been in charge for four years, completely unimpeded for the first two. If it’s so important to them, why didn’t they address the water situation in Flint?”

Answer: Because they don’t give a shit about the people in some woe begotten city in Michigan, except as a fulcrum in bad arguments for not doing other things that would help average, suffering, non-Fortune 500 board member Americans.

Another point is the obvious lack of understanding about how this Omnibus bill was put together. Several bills were cobbled together to ensure passage in a short period of time. Merely an exercise in expediency. So pretending that the COVID bill is larded with pork for other countries is misleading, intentional or otherwise. Do they think this is the first year the US has doled out foreign aid? It’s not. Do they think that only the Democrats approve of foreign aid? They don’t.

Foreign aid is passed for a number of reasons:

·        It keeps shaky countries from collapsing and possibly falling under the influence of our enemies.

·        It gives us leverage to influence their behavior and national policies.

·        It gives the government leverage to promote American businesses expansion into their countries, which is probably why the Republicans sign on… there’s money to be made by their benefactors.

·        It’s the right thing to do on a humanitarian level, for the richest country in the world to help out some of the poorest.

The most direct critique of this idea of foreign aid in the “COVID Bill” is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Who says the government can’t do both. And it’s not the Democrats who are holding up COVID checks, it’s the Republicans because they just don’t want to do it. Watch how fast and overwhelmingly they vote down the House’s stand-alone $2000 check bill.

As I’ve said before, this COVID crisis reached emergency status because the party in power believes, right down to their DNA, in not doing the one thing that is required in this situation… the direct cash payments to average Americans, without first running them through private businesses for skimming. A dozen other countries shut down their businesses and issued regular checks to their citizens so the virus could be contained without crashing their economy. And that’s why they’re in recovery and we are still spiking and have been banned from traveling to their countries. The federal government didn’t take it seriously. Half measures will not solve the problem.

The Republicans will counter by claiming “poor” and point out that it runs up the deficit. To which I say to fuck right off. No Republicans complained when Trump’s tax bill went through in 2017 and the deficit exploded, even well before the strain of COVID. That says they don’t really care about the deficit at all, other than as a means to keep their opponents from helping people who don’t do them any good. They only worry about the deficit when someone else is doing the spending.

We need to get a handle on COVID right now and worry about the deficit later. If we don’t, the economy will continue to crater and people will continue dying at a record pace.

Yes, we have vaccines now, but not nearly enough. It’s going to take the better part of this year to get enough people vaccinated before we can live anything close to a normal life again.

A lot of people are angry about politicians getting vaccinated ahead of, well, fill in the blanks… health care workers, teachers, retail workers, etc. I think we need to have a functioning government so I’d include politicians as essential workers, with the following exception: Anyone who belittled the virus as a hoax or overblown or just the flu should fuck right off too, along with those part-time deficit hawks. They can share an Uber to FuckOffsville.

The only thing that lets me cope with this is that if these me-firsters didn’t get vaccinated, they’d just be out there getting others sick, like their staff or the congressional support staff, who probably have to wait in line for the shot like the rest of us schmucks.

And speaking of the vaccine, here’s another idiot take on the situation:

This is literally binding two things together that have nothing in common other than the use of a card. Would they say the same thing about a driver’s license or social security card? (Probably, if either one were proposed now instead of ages ago.)

If people are going to want the regain the freedoms to eat out, see movies or otherwise assemble without wearing masks, they’re going to have to demonstrate that they’ve had the shot. It’s not like you could take someone’s word on it. People are already lying about having “a medical condition” that keeps them from wearing a mask. So if not a card, then what? Chip implants under our skin? I’m pretty sure the Right would kibosh that on the basis that we’re already getting “chipped” by Bill Gates and the vaccine.

They also ought to have something to differentiate someone from having one shot versus having both. Different colored cards, maybe? Or they can combine it with the flu shot or shingles shot and make it a punch card. After five shots you get a free small order of fries.

The voter ID thing is just more fake rationale for the way conservatives use ID carding as voter suppression. I’ve written exhaustively on this already. They would be much more believable if they weren’t also closing DMV stations in Democratic areas and dumping voter rolls, reducing early voting stations, pulling back absentee voting, and every other “anti-voter fraud” action they’ve taken that just “coincidentally” keeps their opponents from voting easily.

And then there are the conspiracy memes that really only conspire to keep rational argument at a minimum.

Maybe someone would break it to the numb-nut who created this, that in 2020, not having taverns, restaurants, and churches open has zero effect on whether people could organize a revolt, because of some recent advances called “telephones” and “the internet” that they didn't have in the 1700s.

Also, why is a “revolt” necessary? Because one side lost an election and their leader is desperately trying to cling to power?

Someone thinks locking down public places, which is necessary to fight a pandemic, the scale of which this country has never seen, is also a top-secret scheme to prevent idiots from banding together to fight the government? They give the government too much credit. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an emergency plan to fight a deadly virus is just that. But in return, we have to be mildly inconvenienced by wearing masks and staying home.

Yes, those who would otherwise be working at these closed places are put out, but then there’s an obvious solution to that, which I mentioned above… you know, the ones the Republicans are dead-set against.

And now, some non-virus-related idiocy:

This is nothing but Republicans trying to ride the coattails of actions they took in the 1800s, which made them seem reasonable and the Democrats tyrants.

What they omit is that in the mid-1960s, millions of people left the Democrats to become Republicans when Lyndon Johnson and the Dems got the Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws passed. As far as I’m concerned, when they did that, they abdicated claims to their history. For all intents and purposes, based on their actions since 1964 and 1965, they became the party of racism, here and now. What who was doing what 150 years ago is irrelevant.

And not for nothing, I don’t know what Obamacare has to do with race relations, other than giving people of all races a chance to get health insurance. I’ll wear that badge proudly. The author of this meme basically makes the point for me. Republicans used to be the party of supporting minorities and now it’s the Democrats.

And now, because it’s the end of the year and I still have a number of graphics I’ve culled but never saw fit to use, I present my 2020 Annual Meme Dump!

23 days and counting.

Similar to an old joke I told back in the 70s:

Q: How do Republicans change a light bulb?

A: They don’t, they just sit around in the dark and talk about how good the old one was.

From those who knew him well.

Just shows how low they’ll go to smear someone if they think they’d benefit from it. All this stuff is fake and it’s been fake all along.

Nothing further needed…

I just kept this to demonstrate, whenever you see something from the Federalist Society, they are 100% misogynist in their beliefs. I don’t know how any female can align herself with them.

Just for shits and giggles.

Words of wisdom. I wish I knew whose.

And lastly but not leastly…

I tell myself this time after time, but still, here I am.

Thank you for reading me this year. Your time and attention mean a lot to me and keep me going throughout the grind. Here’s to a great 2021, or at least a year better than this one has been.

Because if we can’t break that threshold, we are well and truly screwed.

Monday, December 21, 2020

It's Always the Season for Debunkery

Contrary to how it might seem, I’m well aware that people are seldom swayed by logical arguments. All the literature suggests that if you want to change minds, then make an emotional argument that appeals to someone’s feelings. Yet why do I continue to engage in logical debunkery?

Because to me, it’s still important to have a clear delineation between right and wrong, what’s true and what’s false, and what’s valid and what’s bullshit. If you cede the grounds of truth, it’s awfully hard to claw it back. So I try to fight every missed point, every apples to oranges comparison, every instance of stunning hypocrisy, and every meme full of straight-up lies, any time I can. Truth and logic have to matter, or else we’re just a bunch of monkeys fighting for bananas and gibbering in the trees.

This brings me to today’s debunkery, which I picked up from Facebook over the weekend.

There two very distinct reasons no one outside the Right Wing Bubble talks about impeaching Pelosi over the lack of a COVID response bill.

First off, there is no valid comparison between Trump/Ukraine and Pelosi/COVID bill. Trump interfered in the execution of a Congressional order to supply aid to Ukraine. He stopped it so he could use it as leverage for a personal, political reason. That’s illegal and he was impeached for it.

On the other hand, even assuming Pelosi is responsible for holding up the COVID bill, that’s just lawmaking. It takes both sides to come to an agreement. It’s neither illegal nor impeachable for one chamber leader to hold up a bill for basically any reason. Hell, McConnell has had the House COVID relief bill, and many, others, on his desk since May.

This leads to the second reason, which is that it’s highly debatable that Pelosi is to blame for the failure of a COVID relief bill to pass. As far as I’m concerned, she’s in the right, considering all the poison pills the Republicans have in their bill, from the liability shield for employers who don’t provide anti-viral protection for their employees, to ham-stringing the next Administration’s ability to deal with this and any other financial crisis.

Mitch would just love Nancy to roll over and give him everything he wants, but Nancy don’t play that shit. So why is it that she’s the problem and not him? He could have acted on a relief bill months ago, even if it was just to start negotiating, but half the year went by without even an opening bid. And to listen to some other Republican congressmen, we really don’t even need more money or unemployment, people just need to get a job. But businesses need some more tax breaks, don’t they?

If there’s to be a price paid, it will have to be political, like voting her out of office. (Good luck with that.)

(Note: An agreement was announced this morning that a COVID bill will pass, after the Republicans backed down on their bid to tie up the COVID money that’s been set aside.)

This one misses another giant point as it tries to rationalize right-wing racism.

Mexico and Canada closed their borders to us because we’re an infectious mess. We’re the nation who didn’t take COVID seriously and now leads the world in cases and deaths. This is a classic quarantine situation that is necessary to preserve national health.

That has nothing in common with Trump closing the borders… And Trump has had so many closed border issues that I don’t even know the instance to which the meme creator is referring.

Trump famously tried to close the southern border by building a wall and encaging anyone who dare try to immigrate illegally OR legally. (Check out what happens to people who try to apply.) He’s had a myriad of reasons for this, mostly fear-mongering over gangs or Muslim radicals he says were pouring over the border. Nothing that explains separating children from their families, locking them up, and removing the capacity to get them back to their parents. It’s more like Republicans don’t want any more brown people showing up here (and voting for Democrats.) That’s pretty racist.

Or we could be talking about the Muslim ban brought forth in his first months of office. Declaring that all citizens from any particular country are a threat-based solely on where they’re from is completely racist. There was no effort to filter out legitimate students or engineers or any other skilled labor, just a blanket denial of passage.

Or it could be referring to blocking flights from China at the onset of the ‘Rona, which, unfortunately, was done so haphazardly, the virus came flooding in any way. That wasn’t racist, it was just inefficient and poorly executed.

When a meme finishes with “Let that sink in,” why is it that it’s almost always complete bullshit? 

Great, more whiney shit about “freedom.” What’s the endgame here? Do these fuckers want everyone suffering or dying from the virus? All so they can wear their big-boy Freedom pants?

I’ll tell you what… Exercise your freedom and avoid the COVID vaccine altogether. Leave it for the rest of us “sheep” so that there will be fewer shortages. Then you can have all the freedom you want to traipse about the country and swing your big balls all over town. Get all the “freedom” lovers together and just roll around in all that freedom. Drink beer, shoot guns, get tattoos and share beard grooming tips.

And then, when you’re gasping for breath and suffocating, be sure not to have your freedom curtailed in some hospital. Just dig a hole in the back yard and go lie down. Then you and your “freedom” can take a nice long nap.

With freedom comes responsibility; to yourself, to others, to your community, country, and planet. Shared sacrifice brings people together for a common goal that benefits everyone.

You have the freedom to do what you want… why be an asshole?

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you and your family have a great Christmas and a safe holiday season.

Here’s my favorite ornament for this year.

And why look at ornaments without appropriate holiday music?

 See you next week, to close out the year.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Resistance is Feudal

We live in an alarming time, a time where it doesn’t seem like our country will ever go back to business as usual. The ‘Rona aside, we’ve got about half the country living in a partisan fog, unable to tell real things from fake. The politicians they elect, backed by the only media they listen to, continue blowing the fog into their faces, telling them things they desperately want to believe, that THEY are the “real Americans” and everyone else is an enemy of the state.

And I’m sure that if a Republican were to read that statement, he would assume I was talking about the Democrats.

The lengths that Republicans, elected and otherwise, have gone to overturn righteously-cast votes of other American citizens in the last few weeks, is appalling. Despite each debunking, they cling to the idea that this election was somehow stolen from them. And then when the lack of evidence becomes choking, they just start making stuff up, claiming it just had to be there because there’s no other way Biden could have won.

It’s kind of the same way so many believe that a God created man and earth out of nothing, just like they appear today. No volumes of evolutionary evidence can sway what they “know.”

They seem to ascribe to the Bigger Cheater Theory, which says, “Given how hard they cheated to win, (gerrymandering, limited voting places, and equipment, rigid ID requirements, sabotage of the post office to cripple the delivery of ballots both to and fro), the only way Democrats could have won is by cheating even bigger. And it was cheating so clever, it didn’t leave a single trace of evidence!”

Virtually every lawsuit brought to bear was laughed out of court. Even the Supreme one, where Trump was sure he had bought enough votes there to approve anything he needed.

The logic came down to, “We think they cheated because some people told us they did, but we can’t prove or validate any of it. We also don’t like how they held their election, although it was consistent with their state laws. So we want you to invalidate millions and millions of votes so we can try it again. Better yet, just hand us the presidency.”

And when a case finally went to the Supreme Court, over a hundred Republican Congressmen signed on with their approval of this logic. Despite having just won their own seats in that same election, the Trump part was somehow rigged, so all those votes should be discounted so Trump can win.

These people showed us that to them, our votes mean nothing. And that’s the new Republican paradigm… “Hang the voting, we’ll just pull strings behind the scenes to get what we want, which is to stay in power regardless of the will of The People.”

Just like Madison and Jefferson drew it up, huh?

All these people who comport themselves as such supreme patriots, these red, white, and blue Super Citizens, are willing to flush the Constitution down the toilet as soon as it becomes expedient. Such true-blue Americans! Paragons of justice!

These governors, attorneys general, representatives, and senators need to be remembered by the rest of us as the seditious shit-weasels they are and treated as such for as long as they cling to power or public life. They literally approved the nullification of an election whose results were as overwhelming as they were clear, solely because they didn’t like the result. Nothing else is relevant or applicable.

Even after the SCOTUS ruling, there’s still another avenue of pursuit, which is for Congress to disregard the voters’ decision when appointing and approving electors. And that really comes down to the same logic described above, just overturning the vote because they don’t like it.

The kindest explanation is that they’re terrified of the outgoing president and they don’t have the backbone to defy him and defend the Constitution, or the values this country is supposed to represent. They want to appease this troll so that one day he will smile upon them, thus directing his fan base to accept him as one of his loyal toadies, fund his campaign and attend his rallies.

All it costs is the soul of this country.

One day there will be history books about this time, which will either examine it as a black hole in our nation’s record or praised as the start of a new authoritarian government, where We the People have become nothing more than modern-day serfs, toiling in the fields for the benefit of our Masters.

“But we want a say in government!”

“Shut up and get back on the plow!”

“We’re crying out for justice!”

“I’ll give you something to cry about…”

“Come see the violence inherent in the system!”


Director's DVD Commentary: "Seditious Shit-Weasels" would be a great punk rock band name.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Excuse Me, Pardon Me

A lot of people are talking about the Pardonpalooza going on right now with the Current Occupant and his demon spawn (and other assorted hangers-on). I see lots of serious analysis about what’s legal or Constitutional and what’s not. But I think there’s a major point that I don’t see being addressed.

Why would Republicans not make a stand over this and tell their deposed leader that they cannot set a precedent that a president can pardon himself right before a Democrat assumes the presidency?

Think about it. If Trump is allowed to pardon himself, that means every future president is free to commit whatever malfeasance he wishes and then give himself a pardon on the way out the door.

Maybe they’re counting on Biden’s basic decency, (I don’t think Biden would ever stoop that low), but what about whoever comes next? This is especially tricky considering the kind of pardon Trump is talking about… a general, non-specific pardon to cover whatever it is that comes to light. Eventually, someone else will come along who has as little honor or decency as Trump has, and look at the presidency as his crowning achievement in profiteering. Yes, I know, if it’s another Republican, that’s no problem for the McConnells of the world. But what if it’s one of “the enemy?”

I know, we’ll just tell them that we might run Hillary again!

A self-pardoning president is the first step in establishing a dictatorship. Granted, he’d have to steer clear of committing the kinds of crimes a state could prosecute, but that still leaves a lot of room for mischief. (And a lot of room for grifting, especially if one happens to get away with owning hotels and golf courses while serving as president.)

Regardless of what the Supreme Court thinks about the constitutionality of a self-pardon, it’s something that this nation just can’t have. I hope the calmer heads prevail if this should ever reach the SCOTUS, but I’m not sure there are enough of them left.

And now, let’s engage in a little Decembunkery…

This one is especially irritating because it comes from a US Senator, who should (and probably does) know better. What does he know? That the system for sending the stimulus checks and the system for running elections are entirely different.

The IRS handled the distribution of stimulus checks, (to be specific, the IRS led by the Trump Administration,) so I can see where they’d take shortcuts just to rush the checks out so Fearless Leader could bask in the good PR.

But election registrations are run on entirely different systems managed by individual states, which is an entirely different group of people. So there is no crossover of data. All we have here is another baseless accusation of election fraud with zero supporting evidence. Just like they present in court.

Also, consider that even if some dead people remain registered, how are they going to vote? There is still voter verification going on. Someone would have to either show up or mail back the specific ballot belonging to the deceased. Then you have to multiply that process by the number of people it would take to change an election result? The entire accusation is ludicrous. It’s just not an efficient or realistic way to rig an election. (Unlike gerrymandering, dumping hundreds of thousands off the voter rolls, or requiring specific IDs that you then make harder and more expensive to obtain.)

This is just a smear designed to appeal to those without critical thinking skills, who very much want to believe it.

And now, let’s hear from those very brave and rugged individualists who would rather infect their family, friends, and neighbors with a deadly disease than be told what to do by some pencil-neck doctor.

I’ve got an idea for another sign that should go on the front door of everyone who agrees with the one above:


Occupant couldn’t care less if you live or die.

He’s too busy rolling around in his freedom.

(Ammo deliveries around back.)

This is 100% about selfishness. A pandemic requires a degree of sacrifice from all residents. But many don’t have the decency to give a shit about anyone else because they won’t be told to wear a mask or how many packages of TP they can buy, or which direction to walk in a store.

They may feel like William Wallace, but they’re more like a scared little boy acting out so no one catches on. They’re the poster children for “compensation.”

What if they just looked at it as having the freedom to help end a national disaster by being slightly uncomfortable for a little while? It’s not like they’re being asked to go fight a war in the Pacific.

It’s the people who fuss about wearing masks that condemned the rest of us to wear them for the foreseeable future. I just hope they’re rugged enough to pass on the hospital care when the Rona eventually catches up with them. Just go out in the back yard and die like a man.

And now, more faux shit about Socialism:

Actually, it would be quite simple. Canada, Denmark, Sweden, the other Scandinavian countries, all with socialist systems, and all quite comfortable with free speech. Of course, no one advocates for freedom there because they’re too busy enjoying life. Aren’t these the countries always ranked so high in citizen happiness?

The anti-social Anti-Socialists always like to bring up scary places like Cuba or Venezuela when trying to pursuade people that certain socialist ideas that would help the vast majority of America are actually a bad idea. And that for some unexplained reason, it’s much better to toil our lives away for basic necessities so that the wealthiest 1% can afford more yachts.

The truth is, we already have “socialist” programs in The United States.

The funny thing is that if any of these were proposed today, Conservatives would still put up a fight. Hell, they’re already trying to get rid of Social Security and the post office. I’m sure the only reason these things came to be is that there was no internet when they were first proposed. The rich didn’t have enough tools to persuade the masses to vote against their own interest.