I approve of the UK dumping Theresa May…

…but this seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

The prime minister will remain in Downing Street, to shoulder the blame for what are expected to be dire results for her party from Thursday’s European elections – and to host Donald Trump when he visits.

If I were her, I’d ask for something more medieval. Drawing and quartering, burning at the stake, the chopping block? All would be more humane.

So, UK…what slime-oozing gibbering abyssal nightmare are you going to replace her with? I know better than to wonder if politics will improve, it never does.

Policy and romance? How can I not support her?

This was charming enough.

But even better…Elizabeth Warren actually called her, and talked about a plan!

The best kinds of plan always involve raising taxes on billionaires.

I’m getting a little worried. My wife is still fiercely favoring Bernie Sanders, while I keep on warming to Elizabeth Warren. I may have to worry about my marriage if this continues.

Nah, no worries. The DNC will stack the deck for that schlemiel Biden, and we’ll find marital harmony in hating him together while we both end up voting for him. Then, of course, we’ll be comrades in the revolution that follows.

The arsenal of democracy and justice

While it does commit the sin of failing to label an axis, it’s still a good point.

I had to look it up, but it seems the cost of an incredibly effective weapon against white nationalists is only about $2.25. A bargain! I am disappointed by one thing, though.

McDonald’s also has strawberry and chocolate shakes, but everyone seems to have an unconscious bias favoring vanilla. Please, can we overcome white bias? Other places must sell shakes in other flavors, like blueberry and mint. I’d like to see a concerted effort to paint fascists all the colors of the rainbow.

Blinded by the Right

Guilty confession time: I once really respected Glenn Greenwald. I thought he was doing admirable work defending civil liberties, although as I saw more and more of the Libertarian Greenwald, it was getting kind of ugly there. I can salve my conscience a little bit, though, in that David Neiwert also liked some of his work. One can be easily misled if you try to interpret him charitably.

So I was surprised in a good way by much of what I began reading at Greenwald’s blog, Unclaimed Territory, in fall of 2005. It was smart, thoughtful, and quite insightful about what he rightly saw as an executive power grab in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. I began citing it favorably at my own blog, Orcinus, which at that point was also pretty well established (I opened shop there in January 2003).

Hey, me too! Greenwald made a few positive comments about my work, and also follows me on Twitter (although probably not for long). There’s a lot to like about him. There are also lots of hints in his past that there is much to dislike as well. Now Neiwert has compiled a long and thoroughly documented and factual summary of how Greenwald’s libertarian zealotry does harm. Neiwert has all the receipts, and he lays them out, starting with a history of the emerging racist hate groups in the 1950s, through Greenwald’s rise to prominence as one of their most righteous defenders.

I just believe his sort of principled rigidity on free-speech issues blinds him to the real-world effects of fascism—particularly how it manipulates free-speech principles in order to destroy them. Fascists use people like Greenwald to leave a trail of wreckage.

It’s not about whether or not he’s racist—which, after all, would indeed make the whole issue one of guilt by association. That’s not the point of all this. No, this is a question of judgment: If you’re so short-sighted that you can’t see how your ethical choices wind up enabling harmful behavior, then exactly how astute is your judgment in any event?

It’s not guilt by association, it’s the guilt of association: People in responsible mainstream positions who lend legitimacy to people from far-right hate groups—whether Klansmen, skinheads, neo-Nazis, or militiamen—are exercising profoundly poor judgment. Lending them that legitimacy not only normalizes them, it empowers them. It helps fuel the twisted psychology of the far right that inevitably, like a law of physics itself, produces violent horrors and ruptured communities. Ask the folks in Billings, or in Illinois.

It’s an excellent history lesson, but also a solid argument against the multitudes of alt-righters who even now claim they are honest defenders of free speech rights…yet somehow, they always end up aiding the most deplorable, awful people, while overlooking the good people who could use some free speech too, as they get trampled by the rising fascist tide.

Where is Greenwald now? Sadly, he’s doing just that, rushing to the side of Tucker Carlson to claim the white nationalist threat is non-existent, and helping to silence those who oppose it.

More recently, of course, he has appeared frequently on Fox News with Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s record of promoting white-nationalist causes and ideas clearly doesn’t bother Greenwald. In the process, of course, he has become exactly what he once derided caustically: a “Fox News liberal,” one whose appearance on the network is mainly used to help forward right-wing talking points and destroy the left. He’s now a Useful Tool.

And now he is defending his fellow faux progressives as they join Carlson in his campaign to minimize and defend fascist white nationalism as Not Really A Problem.

David Neiwert has earned a lot of trust as a journalist for his careful journalism. Greenwald, sadly, has betrayed it.

Game of Thrones was a metaphor for the Democratic Party!

It’s all clear now. The series came to a slow, awkward close, by having all the complex story lines that had been building for years wrapped up by having a band-aid slapped on them. I’ll say that for it — it did end.

Then, to resolve who finally is going to sit on the throne of the seven kingdoms — you know, the whole core premise of the conflicts in the show — all the surviving noble leaders sit down and talk it out instead of murdering each other, which was weird and out of character. To decide who would be king, they then announce that stories are important, which I can agree with, and that the person who should be king is the one who has the most compelling, interesting life story, an idea only a writer could come up with. They think about it.

Would it be Arya, who fled the execution of her father, wandered up and down the country having adventures, trained in an exotic land to be a magical assassin, and who killed all of the zombies?

Would it be Sansa, the woman who went from a fawning child mooning over kings and queens, through a series of dynastic marriages and rapes and abuses to emerge a hardened, cynical queen of the North?

No, don’t be silly. They’re women.

Instead, they picked the most boring, mediocre guy in the whole show, the guy who spends most of his time staring vacantly into space, who just followed along in the wake of all the heroes in the series, who did nothing but pretended to know everything. He gets the throne for showing up. It seems “interesting story” is defined as “safe, harmless story”.

Obviously, the council of aristocrats who decided who is to be king is the DNC, and the show is prophesying that they’ll nominate Joe Biden, because he is the most mediocre white man they can find.

Only in this real world no one bothered to eradicate the zombie horde with Valyrian steel, so that pat decision isn’t going to end the conflict.

Winter is coming, we’re screwed.

A sense of dread and impending doom

The end is racing at us so fast — we’ve been watching movies about the zombie apocalypse or handmaid’s tales, totally oblivious to what’s happening right here, right now. Michelle Goldberg warns us of the dangers of the anti-woman legislation sweeping various states.

…a lesson of fundamentalist regimes worldwide is that when reactionaries try to enforce their ideas about gender traditionalism, they can be more tyrannical than real tradition ever was. Granting personhood to fetuses has already enabled some states to subject women to new types of social control; as ProPublica reported, in 2014 a woman was arrested under Alabama’s “chemical endangerment of a child” statute for taking half a Valium while she was pregnant. Those who might be ambivalent about abortion should realize that these strictures can apply to them as well.

As we watch Donald Trump remake this country in ways that once seemed unimaginable, it’s tempting to reach for historical analogies to grapple with what’s happening. It’s why, as people struggle to understand how his abuses of power might be constrained, there’s been renewed interest in Watergate. Yet, as in the comparison between Richard Nixon and Trump, the past can prove inadequate to understanding the depredations of the present. Rather than moving backward, we’re charting awful new frontiers.

The new wave of oppression isn’t coming, it’s here, and it’s going to get worse.

Today I’m planning to make myself sick by attending the local showing of Unplanned, an event sponsored by conservative local churches. I expect to be surrounded by pious, ignorant hypocrites who will be angered by the lies on screen, for all the wrong reasons — not because they’re lies, but because they are religious absolutists who will praise anything that celebrates their ignorance, and will have their hatred of women and family planning confirmed. It’s going to be a bad afternoon. I’m going to have to sit there politely and quietly and harmlessly while wishing I could set the building on fire.

Then I’ll go home and read Robin Marty’s Handbook for a Post-Roe America, while the Democratic leadership dithers over everything.

I can’t believe Biden is the front-runner

A former writer for The Onion regrets the gentleness of their satirizing of Uncle Joe. Isn’t just the fact that “Uncle Joe” has become one of his nicknames telling enough?

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but at the time, I didn’t take him seriously enough to think we were doing anything wrong. I thought of him as little more than a political necessity: the older, more conservative white guy who softened Barack Obama’s image in regions where the prospect of a black president was too radical. A deeper dive on Biden never felt necessary.

I’ve since changed my mind. Today, Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, despite women calling him out for touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable at public events, and despite objections from the left wing of the party. He has said he has “no empathy” for the problems millennials are experiencing and claimed that Republicans will embrace bipartisanship after Trump is defeated. As I watch him campaign as an old (-fashioned, -school, -old) centrist, I realize how badly we screwed up. Instead of viciously skewering a public figure who deserved scrutiny, we let him off easy. The joke was funny, but it didn’t hit hard enough.

A Biden nomination by the Democratic Party would be another out-of-touch catastrophe. He generates no enthusiasm, except by comfortable older white people who like the fact that he’s not going to change a goddamn thing — smug confidence in the status quo might make him the Democratic nominee, but I don’t see him winning when all he can instill is apathy, and he’s going to be an easy target. Trump is going to claim that Biden is in the pockets of the bankers (not that Trump isn’t), that we can all see that patronizing women is fine and nice, that he’s the Establishment that the populists want to bring down.

If he does win, all we get is a right-of-center centrist who will waltz before congress thinking his affability gives him an edge, and the Republicans will just say “NO” and eat him alive. He’s the lose-lose candidate.

I’m just hoping he’ll commit some terrible gaffe and go down in flames before he’s the nominee, and I expect he’ll oblige. He usually does. Right now, though, the media seems to be anointing him as the right and electable candidate, so he might get the kind of pass no other Democrat would receive.

None of us are better than this

When an Alabamian tells you to “Stop telling people that Alabama is better than this. It’s not,” you should listen. It’s a bitterly scathing op-ed.

In the past few years, when they weren’t being sent to prison for one felony or another, Alabama Republicans have attacked Hispanics, blacks, gays, blacks, transgender people, blacks, teachers, anyone who practices a religion other than Christianity and blacks.

And now, girls and women.

Their hateful bills have been ripped to shreds by federal courts and they have managed to drive away potential businesses looking to relocate to Alabama. Not to mention, the poor management of this state has deterred our best and brightest from sticking around and has driven a number of businesses out of the state.

All of that has not cost Republicans a single vote in this state. In fact, in those midterms I spoke about, the Republicans without a plan — running on nothing but hate and religion — gained seats in the Alabama Legislature.

Stop telling me we’re better than this.

We’re not.

That’s true of all of us, though. We’ve got a Trump in the presidency and corruption and unconstitutional destruction in the Senate; the Republican party is working hard to shut down democracy by suppressing the vote, and if that doesn’t work, they’re wrecking education so coming generations will be as ignorant as this one. This disaster isn’t the work of some distant nefarious evil-doer in Washington DC, it’s your neighbors and co-workers and those gomers down at the local reactionary church and your conservative uncle and your parents soaking in the warm glow of Fox News and your kids who are absorbing idiotic memes from their fellow players in video games. We’re not going to get out of this mess by electing the right figurehead. You’re going to have to pay attention to school board elections and speak up in uncomfortable social situations and canvas neighborhoods before elections and tell certain members of your family to go fuck themselves.

No more getting by, avoiding conflict, sitting quietly so you don’t make a scene. If you keep that up, it’s on you. You’re just as bad as an Alabama Republican senator, and you’re making the country worse.

It’s the malignant stupidity that gets me down

To justify spending large sums of money on a “Space Force”, Ted Cruz argues that we need it to defend ourselves from Space Pirates.

During a hearing Tuesday of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) argued that a Space Force is necessary to ward off space pirates.

“Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space,” he said during his opening statements. Since “the ancient Greeks first put to sea,” Cruz argued, we’ve recognized the “necessity to protect waterborne traffic and commerce from bad actors.”

And now, he says, it’s time for the Space Force to do the same in space.

<throws up hands in despair>

<throws plans for the day to the floor>

<sweeps arms across desk, throws everything to the floor>

<tears at hair>

<stares exasperatedly at ceiling>

<seethes & weeps>

There is no point to anything. Our Republican overlords are fucking idiots whose sole purpose is to distract and delay with nonsense while the looting proceeds behind the scenes. We are all so fucking fucked by these fucking clowns.

When is the People’s March on Washington? I’m going to go sharpen my kitchen knives while I wait for the main event to begin.