Are pigs flying?

BREAKING: A Republican governor has just vetoed an anti-trans law.

Let me just repeat that:

A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR HAS JUST VETOED AN ANTI-TRANS LAW.

Breaking News

The Wahington Post (banner)

Arkansas governor vetoes ban on gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youth, calling it a ‘vast government overreach’

 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed a bill that would have prohibited doctors from providing transgender minors with treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapies, or referring them for such medications. The bill was part of a wave of legislation in U.S. states seeking to restrict the rights of transgender young people. Similar bans are pending in at least 17 other states.

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[at Washington Post]

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Georgia conservatives attempt world record for pettiest voter suppression law.

BREAKING NEWS ALERT via Washington Post:

Georgia lawmakers pass sweeping voting bill that would curtail the use of drop boxes and allow challenges to voting eligibility

The measure, which also expands early voting hours and makes it a crime to give voters food and water while they wait in line, now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has not yet announced whether he will sign it.

That’s right: this law “makes it a crime to give voters food and water while they wait in line” to exercise their right to vote. It’s still early in the season, but it’s certainly an ambitious entry for this year’s pettiest voter suppression law!

Still, I can’t help but think perhaps these assholes haven’t quite thought this through. For instance, I wonder whether there’s a (pro-business!) loophole wherein it’s not a crime to sell voters food and water while they wait in line to vote. Or whether the state’s police forces are actually on board with assigning hundreds of officers to enforce this statute on election day, especially when relations between Georgia’s police forces and its minority citizens ain’t exactly copacetic.

I also wonder whether they remembered to grant to themselves and the police officers who enforce the law full immunity from criminal prosecution and civil suits, after some diabetic dies in line when their blood sugar crashes and no one can offer them anything sweet to bring it back up. Or when someone requires emergency medical attention due to severe dehydration.

Maybe I’m overthinking this and worrying for nothing. I mean, it’s not like people in Georgia ever have to wait in line for eleven hours to vote! (Oh wait.)

Now before you get to thinking this law is obviously racially motivated because – as we can all predict with a pretty high level of certainty – it will never be enforced in majority white voting districts, rest assured that this is not the case at all! This law, by constitutional standards, is “racially neutral.” You see, it simply cannot be enforced in majority white districts, because those districts don’t have lines. DUH! No racism to see here, people! Nope, none at all.

I wonder who will try to out-petty Georgia with their voter suppression laws next? I have a feeling it won’t be very long before we have another strong contender.

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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MLK Day 2021: A Time to Break Silence.

Black Lives Matter

While the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” are perhaps his most notable and oft-cited works, it has become my habit on this day to highlight another. Delivered on April 4, 1967 at Manhattan’s Riverside Church, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence reveals King as his fiery and ever-eloquent self, though as a wiser, wearier man than he was just four years earlier, sitting in that Birmingham jail cell.

With the Vietnam conflict raging at the time, King directly linked the profound injustices of that war to many other injustices in our own society – injustices which remain to this day. I wonder what King might say of the Black Lives Matter movement, and of the protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, if he were alive today. Of course, we’ll never know. But for me, one overarching message that the movement for Black lives delivered loud and clear to white America is that it is not enough to personally reject racism. If we are not doing the necessary anti-racist work, we whites are failing as human beings. Especially after reading Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, I get the feeling that King could not agree more.

Silence is complicity.

This work was urgent then. It is just as urgent now. That fact is as infuriating as it is heartbreaking. Let us use it, then, to rekindle our own sense of urgency, and to redouble our anti-racist work.

Speaking as a die-hard atheist, I would be remiss if I did not address King’s repeated references to religion. First, as I’ve noted before,

King tethers these to his eloquent defenses of secular ideas of justice, compassion and love to make the same case; in this way they function to bolster his arguments (for the religious-minded) instead of standing in for them.

Second, as a die-hard anti-theist, I’ll take any opportunity to point out that Christians don’t own every virtue- including forgiveness.

Speech below the cut.

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I know why Trump ordered only 100 million vaccines, and now YOU can know too!

Via our good friends who write The New York Times morning email brief:

Once Pfizer delivers its first 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S., the country may not get another batch until June. That’s because the Trump administration passed on a deal last summer to secure more shots, and the European Union bought them.

Pundits are punditing, opinion writers are opining, and Democrats are… doing what Democrats invariably do: wasting time and money on the same failed strategies and messaging that lost them seats in the House and will almost certainly cost them control of the Senate.

But as far as I can tell, precisely no one has plainly stated the reason behind Trump & Co.’s decision to cut off the country’s access to Pfizer’s COVID vaccines at 100 million. Okay, so maaaaaybe the New York Times did? I wouldn’t know; I didn’t click their link because hello, New York Times.

But I will tell you the reason. Don’t you want to know?

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Veterans Day 2020: Fun, free and low-cost ways to honor U.S. vets.

Today is Veterans Day in the US.

Here are some things you can do for the veterans of our wars:

Veterans for Peace™.

Veterans for Peace™ is a coalition of military veterans and their allies whose mission is threefold: exposing the true costs of war (economic, environmental, human casualties, PTSD & suicide, social); building a culture of peace; and healing the wounds of war, at home and abroad. VFP is at the forefront of our most pressing issues – see e.g. this open letter from veterans to recently activated National Guard troops – and on the right side of many others with which it stands in solidarity. Current National Projects include:

It offers many ways to donate and participate meaningfully in making a better world, not just for veterans but for everyone.

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Wounded Warrior Project®

Because America’s Owners believe themselves entitled to the sacrifices made by these men and women and their families, VA programs are chronically underfunded and veterans benefits are perpetually on the chopping block. Until we can fix that problem, Wounded Warrior steps in with counseling, job resources and material support for veterans and their families. Even if you cannot donate funds, there are all kinds of opportunities to donate time. You can also stay on top of WWP’s news by signing up for their emails. If you’d like to keep on top of precisely how and where the U.S. government is failing veterans, just sign up for their weekly e-newsletter here.

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Contact Your Representatives and Senators.

Call them up and tell them exactly what you think of cutting veterans benefits so that the planet-polluting corporations who benefit from the sacrifices of our soldiers and their loved ones can pay low-to-no taxes! Email your congresscritters a little note telling them to cut the defense budget in half and fund universal single-payer health care with mental health parity! Demand legislation requiring that all companies benefiting financially in any way from our wars be run as non-profits! I am sure you can think of numerous hilarious and fun things to say!

Put those congresscritters’ numbers on speed dial and bookmark their sites. The least we can do to honor our veterans is get ourselves on a whole bunch of anti-lefty government watch lists – today.

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[excerpted, heavily edited and updated from a pre-FtB blog post.]

BREAKING: U.S. Army Coming Soon to a Street Near You! UPDATED.

Multiple notifications popped onto my screen yesterday announcing that the Loser-In-Chief had fired his defense secretary Mark Esper. I was working on something else (and also trying and failing miserably to observe a news blackout for personal reasons*) so I didn’t dig any deeper than the headlines.

But my mind kept on poking at me with a big stick and asking “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” For sure, the reason would be sad, funny, fascist, illegal, counterproductive, enraging, ridiculous or some combination of those. However, this morning as I looked over a few of these notifications before deleting them, our Liberal Media™ informed and enlightened me further only with something about Commander Cheetohead bashing Esper on Twitter. Which, okay, ticked A LOT of those boxes if not all of them but did nothing to shut up my shouty, stabby stick. And It’s not like I was going to click on actual links to read actual stories! I got shit to do, people.

Enter The New York Times to save the day! (Not really.) From this morning’s Times email briefing:

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