Labor Day in the USA.

My state’s governor Andrew Cuomo emails me every (non-holiday) weekday with a COVID-19 update. In Friday’s missive he mentioned that Labor Day, celebrated today in the United States, was first celebrated in New York City.

As is the governor’s practice, he included an “image of the day.” Here it is:

The bottom caption reads: NEW YORK CITY—GRAND DEMONSTRATION OF WORKINGMEN, SEPTEMBER 5th—THE PROCESSION PASSING THE VIEWING-STAND AT UNION SQUARE—From a Sketch by a Staff Artist—See Page 55 The side caption reads: September 16, 1882] FRANK LESLIE'S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER.In case it’s hard to discern in this format, the bottom caption reads:

NEW YORK CITY—GRAND DEMONSTRATION OF WORKINGMEN, SEPTEMBER 5th—THE PROCESSION PASSING THE VIEWING-STAND AT UNION SQUARE—From a Sketch by a Staff Artist—See Page 55

The left side caption reads:

September 16, 1882]  FRANK LESLIE’S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER.

Something that really resonates with me about this image is my own presence at Union Square countless times, including for  protests and political gatherings. (And the truly amazing greenmarket. And chemo and radiation and too many doctors appointments to keep track. And monitoring the Sciuridae menace.)

Long ago, there was a pavilion built specifically for protesting at Union Square; once upon a time, the city was actually required to construct spaces for public meetings and protest. (More Union Square history and some great historical pics at this link, including the immediate aftermath of an anarchist’s failed mass bombing of a socialists meeting in 1908, and a barbers strike in 1913.)

It’s both exhilarating and humbling to know I’ve walked the same paths – and for many of the same reasons – as so many before me.

Of course, it’s also very, very disheartening. Which brings me to the second thing that really strikes me about that image: the messaging on the signs.

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$6,000,000,000.00

In response to my previous post wherein I helpfully suggested to my mayor that he have “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted on the streets in giant yellow letters outside of all 77 police precincts in New York City, a much beloved commenter expressed concern about the cost of all that paint.

I’ve been thinking that the facts I mentioned in my reply are worth highlighting here, because they speak volumes about our priorities as a city, and as a society – and bring the call to #defundthepolice into crystal clear focus: [Read more…]

Medicare for All right f***ing now motherf***ckers.

I was just trawling my Twitter feed for stuff to steal, when I came across a story I just had to retweet to @JoeBiden. You see, Mr. Biden does not support single payer healthcare, for reasons (*cough* conservative *cough* corrupt *cough*).

Here’s the story:

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I hate the New York Times, reason #6,858,944.

Hey, remember that one time I invented the world’s bestest ever and also most useful ever acronym ever? You know: #muschniwogdowis?

Of course you remember! It is simply unforgettable! And, it just rolls off the tongue like the smoothest chocolate ganache. Prediction: #muschniwogdowis will continue to be of critical importance to our national discourse until it is no longer true that Most US Citizens Have No Idea What Our Government Does Or Who It Serves.

There are many reasons for this sad state of affairs. One of them is, indisputably, the fucking New York Times. [Read more…]

What are you, my mom?

First, I get an email from The Nation with the subject line “you DID NOT sign to impeach Donald Trump (WHY NOT?).”

From this alone we can conclude that The Nation must have sent out a mass email survey of some sort recently – one among many similar missives I receive daily from various organs of the Democratic party. Apparently readers were asked to “sign to impeach Donald Trump.” Because that’s how impeachment works: a particular number of readers of a pretentious neoliberal magazine must click “YES” to an email poll.

However, when I tragically failed to timely respond to this embarrassing bid for attention in the guise of an impeachment vehicle, The Nation suddenly got all shouty at me and demanded to know WHY NOT.

Explain yourself, woman!! Do you even read our magazine?! Do you secretly looooove Donald Trump?! How could you???

Because FUCK YOU, The Nation. How’s that?

Moving on.

This morning I get an email from my illustrious Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Wall $treet), presently serving tirelessly as the de facto head of the Democratic party. His subject line is “Yesterday? That was just the start.”

As you might expect, Chuckie is trumpeting Doug Jones beating Roy Moore for the Senate seat abandoned by Jeff Sessions, after Mr. Sessions decided that he could do a lot more damage to peoples’ lives as Trump’s Attorney General than he ever could as Senator from Alabama.

So of course Chuck lays on the usual banal accolades and then he says this:

Now, look, you are welcome to celebrate for a moment. You’ve earned it. This win is thanks to Doug Jones, his incredible team, and you — your calls, your donations, your Facebook posts, your emails to friends. Thank you.

But that moment to celebrate is over. Now it’s time to get back to work.

You had your fun missy, but all that’s over!

Can we just pause for a minute to appreciate how generous it is of Chuckie to allow everyone a brief moment to celebrate a hard-won victory in Alabama?

BZZZT! Show’s over! NOW GET THE FUCK BACK TO WORK!

I am sure you are now wondering how we might toil to best please the honorable Senator? Funny you should ask! Why, it turns out Chuckie wants all of us to give a single dollar to each of the eight most conservative Democratic incumbents running for reelection in the US Senate:

If you’re fired up, the single most important thing you can do to help us seize this moment is to let Democrats across the country know that you have their back.

Baldwin, Brown, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Tester — those eight Senators are on the frontlines of the fight for the middle class. They’re in the fight of their lives. And they need your support — celebrate last night by splitting $8 between them!

Uh no, sorry Chuck. That is not how I celebrate election victories. I’d prefer to spend my eight bucks – more, even – on a lefty primary challenger for your Senate seat.

Any takers?

No…?

Hello…?

Whose pain matters?

Since there are currently no pressing problems facing our great nation, the US House of Reprehensibles has just passed HB 36, a national ban on abortions after 20-weeks. Charmingly entitled “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” the legislation would force a pregnant patient who is carrying a fetus that is dead, dying, or incompatible with life to carry it to term and give birth, unless the patient is in grave danger of death or “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

According to reality, fetuses are not capable of feeling pain until at least 28 weeks. But since conservatives are highly allergic to reality, perhaps Your Liberal Media™ might helpfully report on this egregious tripe from another angle. Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that a fetus is indeed capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.

SO FUCKING WHAT?

You know what’s really painful? Giving birth. (So I’ve heard – I personally dodged that bullet thank Vishnu.) I would like my legislator to promptly propose a bill entitled The Pain-Capable Pregnant Person Protection Act, which provides free abortions on demand to anyone who wishes to avoid the pain of childbirth. The bill should have no problem passing in this congress, seeing how the majority is so concerned about sparing citizens from painful medical procedures.

Why I despise religious leaders, conservative Democrats and The New York Times, Reason No. 918,287,499.

[CONTENT NOTE: abortion rights.]

If I had known it was a link to the Times, I never would have clicked on it. But in my defense, I was reading a decent if lightweight article about Rep. Maxine Waters [h/t Alyssa] elsewhere, when I happened upon this passage:

Waters’ forthright condemnation of right-wing media came as a relief—and a rallying point—for Democrats sick of mainstream articles urging them to abandon abortion advocacy, or talk less about trans rights, or stop speaking out against sexism and racism. Critics have argued that these moves are necessary to broaden the party’s appeal and win back white working-class voters who swung from Barack Obama to Trump, and are credited with winning the election.

What fuckery is this? I wondered. How and why would “mainstream articles” possibly justify such demonstrably counterproductive nonsense?

So I clicked on “abortion advocacy.” And down the NYT rabbit hole I went.

Fuck.

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New petition: hold terrible Democrats accountable.

resistfistOn our Freethought Resistance page, I posted a new petition (via CREDO Action*) to Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair Chris Van Hollen demanding he refuse to allocate campaign funds to any Democratic senator who votes or strikes a deal to advance the confirmation of right-wing extremist Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Directing your activism time, energy and resources toward Democrats, particularly with regard to primary campaigns, is vitally necessary. A primary challenger does not need to win in order to pressure the prevailing candidate to move left on issues that matter. There are far too many corporatist, corrupt conservatives in the party, particularly in leadership positions. If we want to put the pressure on where it counts, we need to take every opportunity to go after wayward conservative Democrats in every way possible. (Yeah I’m looking at you, Chuck Schumer.)

Read the background on the petition and then please sign if you are so inclined.

Because fuck these d00ds, that’s why.

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*CREDO is a lefty activist mobile company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. (CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor.) Consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop funding anti-democratic corporations that fund conservatives like AT&T. They offer pretty much all the same deals on phones, contract buyouts, incentives, fees, etc.

#muschniwogdowis of the day: business as usual.

The ‘defense’ budget is three quarters of a trillion dollars. Profits went up last year well over 25%. I guarantee you: when war becomes that profitable, we’re going to see more of it. –Chalmers Johnson

Until it is no longer the case that Most US Citizens Have No Idea What Our Government Does Or Who It Serves, I am just going to continue to insist that #muchniwogdowis is simply the GREATEST ACRONYM EVAR™!!!11!!!

Today’s demonstration of its awesomeness is an Op-Ed in The Nation by former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) entitled Why Is the Foreign Policy Establishment Spoiling for More War? Look at Their Donors. He is “fed up with the DC policy elite who cash in on war while presenting themselves as experts, at the cost of other people’s lives, our national fortune, and the sacred honor of our country.”

It’s kind of adorable that Kucinich thinks our country has some sort of “sacred honor” going for it. Nevertheless, I have always liked this d00d.

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Ahh, the distinct scent of Squirrel Person scalp.

noDWS

DEATH TO SQUIRRELS EXCLUSIVE!
unretouched congressional portrait of
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the notorious Debbie Wasserman Squirrel, chair of the DNC, finally resigning under pressure from every angle on the eve of the party’s nominating convention.

Readers of this blog will no doubt recall her breathtaking incompetence, as well as her habit of standing with Republicans on their despicable votes on issues as diverse as the Drug War, the TPP/TTIP trade deals, private prisons and payday lenders. She has long been under heavy fire from multiple DNC Vice chairs, rank and file Democrats, the Sanders campaign and high-profile progressive groups and pundits, who accused her of deliberately orchestrating Democratic primaries to favor Clinton over Sanders and then lying about it. None of that got her fired of course, even though all of it is true. If anything, it could only have helped boost her position among her fellow conservative Democrats Squirrel People, who have long held the power center of the Democratic Party.

But then some Russian hackers got hold of the DNC’s email, and Wikileaks published them. Among the more damaging disclosures was her team trash-talking big donors. You see, if there was one thing Debbie Wasserman Schultz was exceptionally good at, it was fundraising. And, well, I’m sure you can see why that would turn out to be her Achilles heel.

Naturally, she proved as hard to get rid of as a squirrel infestation.

Two reliable sources say Wasserman Schultz was trying to make top aides take the fall, rather than take personal responsibility. Until the end, she struggled to understand what a lightning rod she’s become.

“There was a lot of drama,” a Democratic member of Congress involved in the discussions leading up to her resignation [said]. “She made this as painful as she could. She did not want to go… She wasn’t going to resign until the president called her. She put a lot of people through hell.”

Even the Clinton camp pressured her to resign, which, you know, holy shit. It finally took a phone call from President Obama—who originally installed her as head of the DNC in the first place—to get her to see that her run as DNC chair was finished.

In a statement, Obama said he was “grateful” for Wasserman Schultz’s service. “Her fundraising and organizing skills were matched only by her passion, her commitment and her warmth,” the president said.

Democratic strategist and Clinton ally Donna Brazile will be taking over as the interim chair.

Brazile, a vice chair of the convention, also was caught up in the leak. Asked for comment in an email from a Washington Post reporter about negotiations between the Sanders campaign and the DNC about the composition of the party’s convention committees, Brazile forwarded the reporter’s request to DNC officials.

“I have no intentions of touching this,” she said. “Why? Because I will cuss out the Sanders camp!”

Meanwhile, the Democrats mentioned as permanent replacements are:

former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, [Squirrel Person and former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] Rep. Steve Israel of New York and EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. All are loyal supporters and trusted allies of Clinton.

So not to worry. It’s all good now.

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UPDATE:

Usually conservatives aren’t very good at this, but I have to admit this is a fine specimen of mockery:

CoORUu4VYAAgZnf.jpg_large

Hahaha. Awesome.