Please keep Louie Gohmert and Steve King apart

Whenever they’re together, the stupidity reaches criticality. Here’s Steve King making an argument for adding anti-transgender legislation to a bill,
because if we don’t, we’re all going to die.

This isn’t a civilization-killer, but an indication of a civilization-killer. I think of the circumstances in a little bit older history, back in the 16th and 17th century when the Ottoman Empire were sweeping across the countryside, they pressed [people] into slavery. They wanted to have their crack troops and other troops, too. But what they did to keep them from reproducing was that they did reassignment surgery on those slaves that they captured that they put in their troops. They took them from being a male and suitable to work in the army and they put them out in the field to do battle against the enemy and they didn’t have the testosterone to take on the fight and they figured out how to stop turning these men into eunuchs…None of the men had the will to fight. They decided that when they kept complete men in their troops, they fought well. So that’s a lesson from the Ottoman Empire…This is one of the most appallingly stupid things I’ve seen the Congress of the United States do.

Problems:

  • Reassignment surgery is not the same as castration. Castration is not the same as reassignment surgery.

  • The Ottomans did not carry out mass castrations. Historically, many men have been castrated in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, but not as a mechanism of population control. As a punishment, yes; to produce individuals who could work in government or as servants who would not scheme to place offspring in positions of power, yes; to produce unique biological effects, such as the castrati who sang in European concert halls, yes. But it was also a crude procedure that killed a many of its victims.

  • There was no policy or pattern of producing castrated soldiers — perhaps he’s confusing reality for Game of Thrones?

  • There’s no evidence that the will to fight and live comes from our testicles. Women can also be aggressive. Historically, eunuchs have served in the civil service, and had a reputation for ambition. There were men who voluntarily became eunuchs as a path to advancement in the bureaucracy.

Here’s a brief summary of the historical role of eunuchs. They tended not to be soldiers, but I repeat: castration is not a synonym for reassignment surgery, nor do you need testes to be a good soldier.

Can Gohmert possibly exceed the stupidity on display by King? Challenge accepted!

Some people, they think we exaggerate, but my very good friend from Iowa and I have stood there on the mountaintop in Vienna where western civilization stood there in the gap and it was all at risk…If Vienna fell, then the rest of Europe would fall…and there’s a good chance we’re not even here in this fashion today…Perhaps we are headed into a new period of the dark ages and that Polish prince comes down and puts cannons in those mountains and nobody in two years seeking a sex-change operation and change reassignment, as they call it, could possibly help it…I can assure my friends here in the House that there was nobody who was out there defending western civilization who had undergone a sex-change operation in the previous two years.

I think he’s talking about the siege of Vienna in 1529, when the Ottoman Turks failed to capture the city. Maybe? I don’t know. Or possibly the battle of Vienna in 1683, when the Poles under John Sobieski defeated the Turks? I don’t see what his point is, since the first experimental sex reassignment surgeries were performed in the 1930s, and the first successful ones were carried out in the 1950s, so yeah, he’s right, there was no one in 1638 who had had a sex change operation in 1636. I doubt there was anyone at either Viennese battle who was taking Viagra, either. This is not relevant.

Can he get even more confused? He can!

When it’s advertised that the United States Congress is in favor of taking men and surgically making them into women with the money that they would use to protect the nation otherwise, or taking women and doing surgery to make them men, the United States Congress would rather spend that money on that surgery than defeating radical Islam, then it is an advertising bonanza for the radical Islamists because my Muslim friends tell me, the recruits, you’re right, if that’s how stupid they are, this society has no right to remain on the earth. We need to take them out. They are too stupid.

Uh-oh. Someone better tell King and Gohmert that being stupid removes your right to remain on earth is a personally very dangerous argument. I am tempted to agree that we need to “take out” a certain pair of legislators for being dangerously idiotic, but that would be wrong.

Rats. Sinking ship.

The exodus is ongoing. Joe Scarborough has announced that he’s leaving the Republican party. Isn’t that nice?

Time and time and time again they turn the other way, Scarborough said of Republicans. And they are doing the same thing now. It’s actually disgusting and you have to ask yourself, what exactly is the Republican Party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out? I am not a Republican anymore. I’ve got to become an independent.

But, you know, when the rats abandon ship, that isn’t a sign that they’ve become cute and adorable, they’re just desperate and self-interested. Go ahead and become an “independent”, Joe, while promoting the same old deceits.

You’re wrong. This is still Ronald Reagan’s party, and the foundation of greed and contempt for government and racism and science denialism were all there in the 1980s. I haven’t forgotten what a monster of ignorance and corruption he was, and to dream of turning back the clock to that nightmare is no ideal to aspire to.

At least he’s not becoming a Democrat. That’s my worry: that those opportunists in the Democratic party will see all the deserters from the Republican party and decide to become more accommodating to plague rats. We don’t need another party infected with the disease of Reaganism.

When’s the part where we say “You’re FIRED!”?

Good god. This is like a tedious reality TV series about a Mafia family filled with bumblingly stupid people, people with no redeeming qualities at all, who every week do something jaw-droppingly idiotic. Yet the network just keeps airing it because there is an audience of yokels who love watching people who succeed despite being more incompetent and lazier than they are.

Yeah. Donald Trump Jr just dumped incriminating emails on Twitter, email in which he openly reveals that he was colluding with Russian agents to smear Hillary Clinton, and that the Russians wrote of their “government’s support for Mr. Trump”. He thinks it’s perfectly OK because nothing came of that meeting.

Media complicity

David Brooks has a new fucking column out, and I’m seeing outrage at its banality everywhere. I don’t give a damn. Brooks is a symptom of the corruption in our media; just a great big pustule oozing on the surface that tells you something is sick and rotten underneath. I’m going to just let driftglass tell the story, so go read that. It’s a long summarizing moan of despair, covering Brooks & Newt Gingrich & Rush Limbaugh & the High Holy Church of Bothsiderism. Liberals have been exactly correct about the bankruptcy of the Right all along, and it doesn’t matter, because the Murdochs and Zuckers and Sulzburgers just chuckle and throw money at the festering batshit.

History will note that the New York Times keeps shoveling cash at David Brooks for his regular insipid apologetics for elitist criminality.

An autocatalytic negative feedback loop in the Republican party

The Republican attitude towards education is taking an abrupt plunge, which is both unsurprising and unfortunate.

It’s unsurprising because Republicans have been the anti-education party for as long as I’ve been alive — this is what they do, hatin’ on those damned hippie elitists and their uppity airs, and also, as the Republican party fuses with the religious right, they figure going to college is the fast track to atheism and ultimately, hell fire. So they rail against education, and now it’s reached the point where it is going down faster than ever: They rage against education, so when they don’t do well in college they blame the institution, so they rage further, fueling more disaffection, leading to poorer performance, und so weiter. Students improve when they see a path to correcting their own deficiencies; they do more poorly when they find an irrelevant scapegoat. And Republicans are all about the scapegoating.

It’s unfortunate because this is the 21st century and a technological society that depends on maintaining an edge in their beloved capitalist competition with the rest of the world, and they’re going to throw it all away out of spite and ignorance. But then, the Republican have become the party of spite and ignorance ever since Saint Reagan. They’re going to tear it all down for the rest of us, too.

Lauren Duca should be teaching journalism to the big networks

She is exactly spot-on in this analysis of that stupid Trump/CNN wrestling video. The bottom line: everyone is focusing on the dingleberry troll who created the video, and churning up the conversation with “blackmail” nonsense, effectively burying the significant story. And that story is that our president is babbling like an immature troll himself on Twitter.

CNN responded with an investigation into the creator of the video, thus totally missing the point, which was not who created the content, but the fact that it was officially disseminated by the White House.

We have to stop getting distracted by the alt-right noise machine and turn our attention directly to the root problem: the Trump regime itself.

It’s easy to tell you to stop getting mad, to pull this visceral experience into the abstract, and declare that we shouldn’t be so confused by confusion, but we must be especially mindful with our outrage when it is being leveraged for intellectual destruction. #CNNBlackmail is not the last we’ve heard of trolling, though calling it out for what it is can help us find focus in the haze of perpetual BS. You’ll be less likely to fall for such trickery if you remain true to yourself, and are actively thinking through your contributions to the public forum. If we can’t yet figure out how to turn off the strobe light, we can at least try admitting that the flashing lights are contributing to our collective headache.

Man, she’s smarter than I am. Smarter than most of the media faces that drone on on the TV, too.

Any priests willing to donate some entrails?

Wait a minute here…Ivanka sat in for Trump at the G20 meeting? This is nuts.

I think all three of my kids are pretty darn great and brilliant and wonderful and thoughtful, but I would never think of taking a day off and inviting one of them to take over teaching my genetics course. If I did, not only would the students be annoyed, but I would be called in to the division head’s and dean’s offices and asked to explain my irresponsibility. But Trump can do this with something that is probably of greater importance to the rest of the world?

I can think of a couple of possible excuses.

  • The way Trump manages the presidency makes it so trivial and fungible that they can bring in any bozo off the street to replace him.

  • Trump believes the job is bestowed on his bloodline — that he’s American royalty, making his daughter a princess.

He probably thinks both are true. My solutions:

  • Fire Trump now, replace him with one of those inflatable bopper clowns.

  • We all know what this country should do to kings.

A call to protest on 15 July

I urge you to join me in reading, adding your name to, and joining in these protests July 15th across the country.

On July 15, 2017:
To all who agonize and rage at what’s being done to the people, protest and demand:
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

IMMIGRANTS ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not “illegals” or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime … they must GO!

MUSLIMS AND REFUGEES ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be shunned, banned, and cast out to be swallowed up by oceans and wars. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

WOMEN AND LGBTQ PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not objects to be grabbed, demeaned, victimized, and denied their fundamental right to control their reproduction, and how they choose to live. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

BLACK AND LATINO PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be denied the right even to live, gunned down by the police with impunity, incarcerated in genocidal numbers, and denied basic rights. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE PEOPLE OF EVERY COUNTRY ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, and not collateral damage to be subjected to massive bombing, invasions, occupations, the danger of nuclear war, and a program of “America First” that would bludgeon them into submission. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE CHILDREN, ELDERLY AND POOR of this country, as in every country, should have food for sustenance, health care to live, homes to live in, and not be denied with cruel calculation for the benefit of the few. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE EARTH AND THE SPECIES WHO INHABIT IT – including humanity – should sustain life and not be despoiled by ignorance, greed, and the disregard of science. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY: THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.

The Trump/Pence government has been step by step criminalizing dissent and bludgeoning the truth with worse to come. Stripping away basic rights and the rule of law is at the core of fascism. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory leading to real horrors. We must not let this be normalized. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

The demand: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” can unify people and our resistance. There are different programs of struggle against the multiple attacks of the Trump/Pence regime, people have diverse views for how to achieve a better future, and all of this should be aired, shared, and debated. But, if we don’t stop the consolidation of fascism by organizing together to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, people’s lives here and around the world, and the earth itself will face greater catastrophe.

Now is the time to act. The scandal and turmoil the regime faces is an opening through which the mass action of the people could burst through and make our demand resound throughout the country, in the halls of power, and around the world.

On July 15th “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” must be spoken, shouted, and acted on with fiercely creative determination. We have righteously marched for women, for science, for the climate, for immigrants, for Black Lives, for LGBTQ Pride. Now the resistance must pull together to drive this regime from power.

July 15th must be a day when every person, every group – religious, community, service, political organization – all who feel the tremendous threat to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence regime – stand together showing the world that people here are determined that this regime must go … not in two years or four, but now.

July 15th must mark a leap to more sustained struggle, inspiring people to see the possibility of ousting this regime through unleashing the tremendous power of the people – aiming for the time when millions can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate – Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until The Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.

On July 15, with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, we will act together to resist and say NO!… Not for ourselves alone, but in the name of humanity.

Sign this statement, find a protest in your area, or add your own here: refusefascism.org/2017/06/09/july-15-2017-in-cities-across-the-country-demonstrate/

(from Sunsara Taylor)

Canada has fascists?

I am so disappointed. Down here in the poisonous south we’ve been dreaming of Canada as the perfect utopia — the place our souls go to when we’re crushed under the heel of the neo-Nazi jackboot. Now I learn that you’re infected with alt-right assholes, too.

The five showed up to a Halifax park on Canada Day, waving an early variant of the Canadian flag, with the aim of interrupting a ceremony being held at a statue of Edward Cornwallis — the military officer who founded Halifax, but who also ordered the killings of the area’s Indigenous people.

The five say they are part of the “Proud Boys,” a small group started by far-right commentator Gavin McInnes, expressly for males who consider themselves “Western chauvinism” — a blend of sexist and white nationalist themes that have become central to the alt-right.

I hadn’t realized that transphobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist Gavin McInnes was Canadian. You’ve got a few nasties up there, too, eh?

At least a couple of stereotypes were preserved.

The five left after roughly ten minutes, without incident, after being confronted by the larger crowd at the the statue.

Alt-righties are cowards, and Canadians can intimidate with niceness. And the Proud Boys are just weird, sick people.