The 99.5 Percent Act.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Roots Action is an activist group I happily allow to gain entrée into my inbox. Even on the rare occasions when I disagree, their messaging is always informative and concise, and their target selection is spot-on. (More on the group here.)

Today’s missive concerns a bill being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressdude Jimmy Gomez called the 99.5% Act, and provides a link to send a letter to the Goldman Sachs puppets on Capitol Hill who pretend to represent your interests and those of your fellow citizens who reside in your congressional district and state. The letter urges these assholes to get on board with this bill.

Hahaha. Yes, I know.

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BREAKING: Me + my commenters = “truly sick @$$holes.”

O NOEZ! It seems my post yesterday alerting readers to the death of human-shaped shitbag Rush Limbaugh and announcing the immediate commencement of the traditional grave dancing has caused grave (<-hahaha) offense. And grave offense was taken not only at my post, but at your amusing comments too.

Yes, this morning at 9:42 EST, someone with the handle “Dakota Al”* (whose email address is alandmoller@gmail.com) took time out of her or his or their busy day to enlighten us all with this important information:

You people are truly sick. Good luck with your newly appointed dictatorship ….. assholes.

I just thought you should all know right away.

I think in response, I just want to reply with something I retweeted yesterday:

“how would YOU like it if Republicans celebrate when YOU die???”

If I live my life in such a way that Republicans celebrate my death I’ll have achieved success beyond my wildest dreams

I’ll just keep right on dancing as I eagerly await my marching instructions from my newly appointed dictator.

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*Did I ever tell you about that one time I mailed actual coat hangers to every one of the Republicans (and some Dems) in the South Dakota state legislature who had just passed a statute outlawing all abortions? I included a personal note too, helpfully advising them to keep this very important tool handy for their wives, girlfriends, daughters, mistresses and/or themselves, because as anyone even slightly familiar with the abortion issue knows, outlawing abortions does nothing to stop them, it only maims and kills people who are pregnant and do not wish to be so. I signed off as The Coathanger Lobby. FUN TIMES.

But the whole thing was a time consuming and expensive undertaking, so I switched tactics. When I go for my annual pap smear, I have my gynecologist take a picture of my vaginal canal and cervix, so I can simply send the image as a courtesy to lawmakers and other conservatives who are inexplicably obsessed with what goes into and/or comes out of there. Surely they’ve been pleased to learn that my ladyjunk is in good working order.

Questions for Secretary of State Nominee Antony Blinken.

Roots Action is an online activist groups that I happily allow to exist in my inbox: I find their messaging educational and their activism worthwhile. In case you are unfamiliar with them:

RootsAction is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.

(More info at this link.)

Today they sent me an exemplary missive regarding Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Of course all such nominees are subject to Senate approval, so Roots Action has helpfully drafted questions for Senators to use when they query Mr. Blinken during the vetting process. These are questions that elected officials in any functioning democracy could, should and would demand be answered to the public’s satisfaction before handing over a set of keys to the kingdom. Which means these inquiries are highly unlikely to be asked, or even considered.

But that doesn’t mean that such email campaigns are not worth your click. For one thing, when a sizable enough number of constituents bombards your Senators’ offices with a single concern, some poor staffer is duty-bound to bring it to his or her attention. Unless the Senator in question is, say, Bernie Sanders, this particular collection of emails will have the effect of pissing them off. I mean really irritating the shit out of them.

Now doesn’t that mere thought alone warm your little black heart? Click here, and ruin a Goldman Sachs puppet’s day!

Second, I am a very big fan of taking actions that shift the Overton window. It is certainly in need of a hell of a lot of shifting, especially after conservatives have spent the last several decades on a singular mission to convince us all that people like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are godless communists. There is no question this effort has worked out splendidly for conservatives.

Yet in more recent years we have finally witnessed “fringe” ideas enter the mainstream from both the right and the left. For instance, Medicare for All is not yet seriously on the table, but it no longer gets you laughed out of the room, either. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age, as Biden pretends he wants to do, would certainly be a shift in the same direction. Even more promising, a public option/Medicare buy-in has picked up traction, too. If enacted, I predict this would drag the Overton window toward the single payer point much farther and faster than many now envision. That’s because a Medicare buy-in would never be restricted to individuals: here in ‘Murikka where Corporations ‘R People®, big business buy-in to more affordable employee health coverage could topple the private insurance industry with lightning speed.

Meanwhile, poor Mr. Overton must be nearly dead now from all that punching from the right. Not very long ago the violent overthrow of Congress at the direction of the US president by a bunch of badly dressed mooks sure seemed like a pretty fringe idea. Yet here we are.

The Roots Action email campaign is set up so you can modify the text before it gets routed to your Senators, and I took full advantage of this opportunity. Roots Action’s message is serious and well-documented, though still outside of more mainstream discourse. So is mine, but in the current political environment I’m quite sure I sound like a deranged lefty berserker. Good. Because you know what? It takes an awful lot of little pushes to budge that fucking window.

Why not help kick it a little.

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(My added text is right up front; the Roots Action text is below the cut.)

Subject: Questions for Antony Blinken

Dear [Senators Schumer and Gillibrand]:

War profiteering used to be universally reviled as the evil that it patently is. And yet now, it’s in the job description of the Executive Branch to shill for US “defense” companies like a bunch of used car salesmen. Incentivising the spread of war, violence and weapons around the globe for obscene private profits should not be the business of anyone, much less the United States government. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why, one might think the Executive Branch works on commission, rather than remuneration from US taxpayers. And yet here we are, with a man perfectly emblematic of this problem, nominated to head the State Department.

I have some questions for you to ask Mr. Blinken, but perhaps you could start with asking this one of yourself: Wouldn’t it be more accurate to rename the US Department of State the US Department of Sales? And while you’re at it, please think about how you might use your considerable power to dismantle the system that enables war profiteering and all of the evils that flow from it. Here’s a thought, and I’m just spitballing here: if US weapons manufacturers cannot enrich their shareholders without using the US government to ensure they are the preeminent arms dealers for the entire world, perhaps they should all be run as nonprofits?

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Happy Election Armageddon Day! + UPDATE, + MOAR UPDATEZ.

I hope you’re hunkered down and staying safe, today and in the days to come.

Here at Death to Squirrels Central™, it’s as if a massive blizzard or Cat 5 hurricane had been predicted: we were already sort of well-stocked with staples and essentials due to COVID, but we’re now very well-stocked. We’re also charging all devices, checking flashlights/putting out candles and just generally being extra-EXTRA-paranoid. We have no fucking idea what today may bring – and neither does anyone else.

I have heard a few sharp and contentious-sounding conversations outside my window on Hudson Street this morning, which would not be unusual generally, but is highly unusual on a morning weekday. Then again, the water in my building is shut off to fix a drain pipe or something, so it could just be a couple of my pissed-off neighbors yelling at the super and the plumber. That would be totally normal.

Fuck. I just heard more yelling. What was I saying about extra-EXTRA-paranoid? Yeah. I think it might be klonopin o’clock.

I will NOT be hoping or praying for you (because hope is not a plan and nothing fails like prayer). But for whatever it’s worth I will be thinking and worrying about you, good people of the lefty persuasion (godless or not).

Remember, Iris loves you! Unless of course she doesn’t!

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UPDATE 1:

This just in:

New York Daily News "Breaking News" header, including black and red "Daily News" logo and "NYDAILYNEWS.COM"NYC Election Day: Long lines, lots of voters, plenty of angst across the five boroughs

Lines outside some city polling locations already came with a long wait within three hours of the 6 a.m. start opening, with the sites open until 9 p.m.

Read the Latest

Where’s that klonopin?

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UPDATE 2:

I clicked the link to Read the Latest:

Voters wore masks and observed social distancing in the year of pandemic and a presidential race pitting President Trump against ex-Vice President Joe Biden.

Voters who wear masks and observe social distancing are almost certainly not Trump voters. So, you know, that’s good.

Also: klonopin achieved.

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Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.

On Friday, the preferred president of assholes everywhere issued a shitty proclamation declaring that today’s federal holiday is exclusively a celebration of Italian-American contributions to our nation and the exploits of a particular 15th century Italian explorer, said exploits necessarily encompassing the ensuing brutal colonization and genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. This proclamation is much, much worse than I even imagined. (And I write this as a person with significant Italian-American heritage.) If you choose to read on, you will first want to ensure that your irony meter is in excellent working order and – this is the important part – still under warranty.

For one thing, consider what Pres. Alpha Asshole and his Merry Minions of Masklessness would be saying and doing about Italian immigration a hundred years ago. You know: before Italians suddenly and miraculously became white. I’m pretty sure my grandmother, who happened to be exceptionally dark-skinned even for southern Italy, would have been locked up in a cage along with her sister and all the other Italian immigrant children.

Of course those among us who think we should instead recognize and reckon with the truth of our nation’s history are deemed “radical activists” and “extremists” who “seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy” and instead promote a “radical ideology” and “revisionist history” just to “spread hate and division.”

Let us pause for a moment here so that you can recalibrate your irony meter and/or attempt to extinguish the flames emanating therefrom.

Okay now? Good. The preceding was merely setting the stage for what I really want to talk about on this Indigenous Peoples Day. If you guessed that is “Indigenous people,” you win all the internetz! 🏆⭐️🏅

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TAX THE EVIL.

Carl Icahn, billionaire investor, and his ilk have made hundreds of millions of dollars this year betting America’s malls would default on their loans.

WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT AMERICA’S MALLS WOULD BE AFFECTED BY A HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS AND DEADLY VIRUS.

Oh right: anyone. Even me! Believe it or not, I could have totally predicted that! I am a professional psychic, after all. Yet strangely, I myself have NOT made hundreds of millions of dollars recently. WTF?

And hold on…my spirit guides are now telling me…that…

…millions of retail workers across the country, who were not exactly raking in the big bucks before COVID-19 and are now unemployed, somehow did not make hundreds of millions of dollars either. Huh.

I guess we can only conclude that Carl Icahn has worked hundreds of millions of times harder than those retail workers have. Simple. That’s how capitalism works, right? American Dream! Bootstraps, and all of that!

A system that generates profits for a tiny minority of elites from the misery, misfortune, death and destruction of others is inherently evil.

Health insurance companies.

“Defense” contractors.

Slumlords.

Fossil fuel exploiters.

Hedge funders.

This is hardly a complete list. But every single one of these industries should be re-incorporated as non-profits, with excess revenues going to programs that ameliorate the damage and carnage they so casually wreak.

‘Twas Ever Thus: U.S. Women 100 Years Post-Suffrage.

Uh-oh! Must be a day that ends in Y! The New York Times is pissing me right off.*

Today’s email briefing starts with a splashy paean to the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The 19th Amendment, which granted (some) women voting rights, was enacted on this date one hundred years ago.

The email piece naturally links to recent Times articles on women’s suffrage and related topics. As usual, their failure to connect the blazing red dots of our history – history they themselves reported – does a criminal disservice to readers. And as usual, what they don’t deliver is at least as damaging as the disinformation they do.

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NYC pushing kinky COVID sex!

My little town is reopening in more ways than one. On Monday of this week, the day the city entered Phase 1 of reopening, New York City’s Health Department published a guidance document entitled “Safer Sex and COVID-19.” I am posting it below in its entirely because (1) it’s amazing, and (2) I have no idea whether other states (or countries) are doing anything similar. For instance, I highly doubt Alabama is following suit, since sex toys are illegal there. And something tells me all those conservative panty-sniffers in states where “abstinence-only” non-education is standard fare in public schools would start shooting their elected officials if they dared to publish anything so…so… reality-based.

But in order to appreciate just how good NYC’s safer sex guidance is, it is worth noting how gawdawful it is elsewhere. In case you are blissfully unaware of (or have blissfully forgotten) how disturbingly fucked-up the US is with regard to sex and sexuality, just consider a few facts. According to Guttmacher:

  • only 17 states require sex education programs in public schools to be medically accurate.
  • only 20 states (plus DC) require teaching information on contraception. (Uhh, seems to me if 30 states are not teaching students about contraception, then they really cannot call whatever it is they’re doing “sex education.” FFS.)
  • only 3 states prohibit these programs from promoting religion. (!!!)
  • at least 6 states require only negative information to be provided on homosexuality and/or positive emphasis on heterosexuality, including Alabama (I KNOW SHOCKER!), Arizona, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas. (W. T. F.)

39 states are on the taxpayer-funded abstinence-only train to STDs and teen pregnancies.

  • 10 states and DC require that abstinence be covered.
  • 29 states require that abstinence be stressed.

This is a good analysis and debunking of the smugly touted “100% effectiveness rate” of abstinence as birth control. All you have to do is measure it by the same standards as other forms of contraception, i.e. rates of “perfect use” and “typical use.” (SPOILER ALERT! Epic fail!)

Since nearly 80% of states have been engaging in this educational malpractice for decades, perhaps that explains why STD rates are at record highs.

And that’s hardly the only damage abstinence miseducation causes:

According to a 2004 report prepared for House Democrats, language used in abstinence-based curricula often reinforces “gender stereotypes about female passivity and male aggressiveness” — attitudes that often correlate with harmful outcomes including domestic violence, the report notes.

Okay, one more – and this one’s personal:

  • 36 states and DC allow parents the option to remove their child from instruction.

Mine did.

There are more jaw-dropping statistics and state-level details at that Guttmacher link, and of course none of this takes into account over a million kids homeschooled by conservative Christians. These benighted children are indoctrinated with sex-role stereotypes and abstinence-until-marriage, under penalty of eternal damnation and hellfire, right along with stories of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark as explanations for the origins and diversity of life on Earth.

I could go on (and on and on…) but I think this paints enough of a picture of the status quo to contrast with NYC’s…different approach. Please enjoy this reality-based document, and feel free to forward the information and/or the link to anyone and everyone you think may benefit. Especially people in Alabama.

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COVID Chic!

As I am sure my many tens of loyal readers will recall, I had to leave my apartment for the first time in months for a doctor’s appointment. This was a perilous endeavor, for two reasons I mentioned:

The virus appears far deadlier for cancer patients, according to a study by the Lancet“Researchers found that 13 percent of the current and former cancer patients died within 30 days of testing positive for coronavirus, a far higher mortality rate than has been observed in the general population.”

And:

(HealthDay News) — Ten percent of COVID-19 patients with diabetes die within a week of entering the hospital and 20% need a ventilator to breathe by that point, a new French study found.

And there’s a third: I am a goddamn New Yorker. Virus or no virus there are RULES here, people – and one breaks them at one’s peril. I speak of fashion, of course. If I die of shame, the consequences of a misstep here are worse than contracting COVID-19!

So what’s a New York City diabetic cancer patient to do wear?

I had already decided that I was gonna rock this shit like the motherfucking Queen of England.

Her Majesty Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

And so I did.

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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…]