blood in the streets

“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there’ll be riots in the street.”

That was Senator Lindsey Olin Graham of South Carolina. But I’ve been seeing and hearing that sort of idiotic bullshit a lot lately–on the news and in real life. There was a guy at the gym last week–a living caricature of a Trump supporter; overweight and angry, loud and obnoxious–saying much the same thing. He said he was so angry he was “about ready to take up arms.” About ready. Not actually ready to take up arms, but just about ready.

Putting aside the fact that this guy would have probably collapsed in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street, there’s the question of whom he’d take up arms against. In his rant, he mentioned Uncle Joe Biden, Antifa, the DeepStateFBI (yes, it was all one word) and communists. Maybe he meant to take up arms against all of them? Or maybe he thinks they’re all the same group? I don’t know. It was an unhinged, unfocused, unorganized rant.

Is this blood-in-the-streets scenario something we really need to fret about? Well, yes and no. I mean, the 1/6 insurrection is evidence that there are a lot of angry Trumpistas who are willing to use violence to get their way. So yeah, that’s a real concern.

But that anger had focus. Misdirected focus built on lies, true–but there was a focal point. The Capitol Building. Comrade Trump pointed them at the Capitol. It’s entirely possible (assuming Trump gets indicted–and I think he will–and goes to trial–and I’m not so sure about that) that a Trumpista mob would assault the courthouse.

He could riot for maybe half a street.

But as for widespread rioting in the streets? Naw, probably not. Sure, there’ll be pro-Trump protests and some of those will likely turn violent. But the problem with the sort of conspiratorial free-floating rage we see from so many Trumpistas is that it’s undirected. Like the fuckwit at the gym, they’re intensely angry at some vague, nebulous Biden/Antifa/DeepState/commie Bogeyman that doesn’t exist. It’s easy to sustain that sort of anger, but hard to sustain any sort of direct action against vapor. You can’t punch smoke.

But you can punch fascists. If holding Trump accountable for his crimes leads to violence in the streets, then so be it. I’d much rather it didn’t happen, but if it does then it does. It’s a price we may have to pay to resist fascism.

EDITORIAL NOTES: 1) I don’t advocate punching anybody, even if they’re fascists. But if you find yourself on the street and there’s a fascist in front of you doing or saying fascist stuff, DO NOT punch him (it’ll almost certainly be a guy) in the head; heads are mostly bone and you could hurt your hand. Punch him someplace soft. 2) When I described the Trumpista at the gym as being “overweight and angry” and said he’d likely collapse “in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street,” it wasn’t to denigrate fat people. There are fat people who are in really good shape. I’m just describing those armchair warriors who sit around drinking cheap-ass beer and eating bags of Doritos and fantasize about being tough. I probably am denigrating cheap-ass beer, though. Sue me.

it’s not rocket science

It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my toes in the fetid fever swamp of FreeRepublic. I was curious to see how they were responding to the FBI executing a search warrant on Comrade Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort/home while Trump his ownself was up in Communist NYC taking the Fifth Amendment in a civil fraud suit.

There were a few surprises. For example, I expected to see a lot of posts claiming the FBI had ‘planted’ incriminating documents in Mar-a-Lago. That’s been a common theme on FOX News, after all. But there was very little of that. I was also surprised to see a small but persistent group of Freepers who were seriously concerned about the gravity of the situation. They supported Trump, of course, but were disturbed by the accusations that he’d taken and kept classified documents in his golf club. They felt it was irresponsible. The Freepers in this group were always accused by the majority of being ‘woke leftists’ who were, deliberately or not, undermining Trump.

Many Freepers simply dismissed the entire matter, either as ‘fake news’ or political theater by Democrats meant to disrupt the mid-term elections.

“Given the FISA fraud, 2 nonsense impeachments, and the blind eye given leftists, I consider any charge against Trump to be baseless and solely politically motivated.”
by fruser1

Other Freepers found the matter confusing–not the claims made by the FBI and the DOJ, but the motivations of Trump opponents. They could NOT understand why anybody would deliberately want to oppose President Donald J. Trump. It just didn’t make sense to them.

“At least they unsealed the warrant so Trump knows what he’s up against. It’s still weird that they’re coming after Trump before he’s even announced his 2024 run, before he’s any kind of threat to their agenda. Generally law enforcement only spends this kind of effort on career criminals. That obviously isn’t the case with Trump so I don’t know what they’re playing at.”
by FormerFRLurker

Who can possibly understand why the FBI would even consider searching Trump’s home for classified documents? It’s ridiculous. It’s crazyworld.

It’s just the FBI; it’s not rocket science.

But most Freepers clearly believed the ‘raid’ on Mar-a-Lago was an attack directed at Trump his ownself. Why? Because 1) the work left hates him and/or 2) they’re terrified he’s about to expose them for what they ‘really’ are. (SPOILER: what they are, apparently, is evil pedophile god-hating communists.)

“It doesn’t make sense why they are so obsessed with destroying him unless he himself presented a huge threat to them BEYOND being elected POTUS again.
Think about it, when he was in office he didn’t go after them, he even let Hillary walk after the collusion hoax. So why are they still after him? Because they are terrified of something he has! A list, and I think it involves kids, pedophilia.”
by GrandJediMasterYoda (As long as Hillary Clinton remains free, the USA will never have equal justice under the law).

“Gore, Biden, Garland, Obama, both Clintons – they’re all in this together. The thought of targeting a political opponent with imprisonment is pure evil.”
by Observator

“The Left MUST STOP him BEFORE he announces….there must be an INDICTMENT…..they KNOW he’s totally innocent, but they DESPISE him because they are EVIL, VILE, LYING DESTROYERS of GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD THINGS!”
by Ann Archy (Abortion……. The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)

Evil, vile, lying destroyers of good people and things always go after innocent people like D.J. Trump. It’s not clear to me why, if Trump has information proving so many woke leftists are evil pedophile god-hating communists, he hasn’t published it, but apparently he’s waiting for the right moment. (Tangent: another Freeper explained that the hate of these wicked Leftists is exactly why there hasn’t been anything good on television since Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.)

There was also a large contingent of Freepers with a vast knowledge of the nuances and subtleties involved in of the process of classifying and declassifying sensitive documents, knowledge they’d gained through intensive study over the last day or so. Having familiarized themselves with these nuances and subtleties, they universally agreed the nuances and subtleties weren’t that important, and could just fuck right off.

“The president doesn’t have to write up anything. He can wave his hands over the documents and say, ‘Presto! Declassified.’ Why is that so hard to grasp? The president is the ultimate consumer of all the classified information, and as the head of the executive answers to no one else within the executive. This is not rocket science.”
by curious7

It’s hard to argue with that. Waving presidential hands over documents is deffo NOT rocket science. I mean, you know, there might be some top secret, compartmentalized documents that involve science–and maybe even rockets–but overall, it’s not even remotely rocket science. So the opinions of FBI rocket scientists can be dismissed out of hand.

Rocket science has no place in FreeRepublic.

more about assholes and libraries

In my last post, I wrote about assholes and Carnegie libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a theme. But this is the United States in 2022, and Comrade Trump has turned the Republican Party into a smug nationwide collective of aggressively stupid, hate-fueled, authoritarian bullies.

So, there’s a Carnegie library in the small Iowa town of Vinton, population of about 5000. Dedicated in 1908, it’s one of the smallest Carnegie libraries in the US. It operated to the benefit of the community for over a century.

That pretty much ended last week, when the library was closed. Why?

Because of assholes.

It began in May of 2020 when, Virginia Holsten, the Director of the Vinton Public Library for 35 years, resigned. She was replaced by Janette McMahon, who’d been a librarian in both Iowa and Wyoming.

You may remember that 2020 was an election year. Some library patrons complained about books written by Kamala Harris (who, by the way, had visited the Vinton Library and read from her children’s book) and Dr. Jill Biden being on display. They also complained that there weren’t enough books about Comrade Donald Trump. McMahon explained the rigorous process by which books are selected for the library. She said, “I can’t buy what doesn’t exist, and there weren’t quality books about Trump. We pay attention to reviews and publishers and our collection needs as a whole. We don’t just say what looks good on Amazon.”

Library patrons who objected to the Biden and Harris books began checking them out, then refusing to return them. In effect, they stole the books.

Eventually the attacks against the library became personal attacks against McMahon. She resigned.

In November 2021, Renee Greenlee was hired as Director. She had a long, respected career as a librarian in Iowa. She was one of the librarians given the 2022 I Love My Librarian award, which is bestowed by the American Library Association. Only ten librarians in the country win the award each year.

Vinton library patrons objected to the fact that she hired some LGBTQ staff and that there were book dealing with LGBTQ topics on display in the library. At a library board meeting, one of the patrons read a statement, saying:

It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept in our children’s section of the library. I don’t believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.

Another said,

We would like to see more balance in the offerings of books for children. For each book promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle, there should be a book on display that discusses how God created and designed people as either male or female from birth, for life.

Greenlee reported that of the 5,779 children’s materials the library holds, only three books had a subject heading of ‘LGBT’, only two books had a heading of ‘Gay’ and only two books referenced ‘transgender’ issues. In addition, there were 173 books in the library collection that were based on Christian life.

Following the next library board meeting, which was apparently a repetition of the previous one, Greenlee resigned. The interim Director, a gay man, resigned shortly afterward, leaving the Vinton Public Library without any full-time staff.

This is NOT to say that Vinton, Iowa is a town full of assholes. It’s to say that the people of Vinton allowed their local assholes to disrupt a public service that’s been supporting their community for over a century. They’ve turned a lovely gift–a Carnegie library–into an open, festering wound of resentment and hate.

This is happening all over the United States. It happens because the assholes show up while decent people stay home and watch television. In small towns throughout the nation, a minority of bitter, ignorant, self-righteous religious bigots terrified of imaginary enemies have begun to impose their mean-spirited agenda on the rest of us.

And we’ve let them do it. We can’t expect them to be better. We have to DO better ourselves.

in facebook jail

I’m in Facebook jail this morning. I sorta deserve it. Not for the reasons given by FB, but for another reason. I’m prevented from commenting or posting on FB for a few more hours today, and for the next 29 days my group posts will be moved lower in the Feed (whatever that is). Why? Because I apparently have “repeatedly violated our Community Standards” by advocating violence.

How did I do that? My first time was back in March, during a discussion about Wordle of all things. I don’t recall the exact context, but I made a comment that I’d have to put a dollar in the knife jar. Somebody asked what the ‘knife jar’ was, and I told them the concept was similar to a swearing jar — when somebody is trying to stop cursing, they put some money in a jar every time they say an obscenity. The knife jar is based on that idea, except it’s when I feel the urge to stab something. It was obviously a joke, and everybody understood that. Everybody except FB. I was restricted for ‘advocating violence.’

Yesterday, while commenting in real time on the January 6 hearing, I complained that both Greg Jacob (former vice-presidential counsel) and Judge Luttig were responding to questions in excruciating detail, often repeating things they’d said earlier in their testimony, even repeating things they’d said earlier in the same response. I was especially irked by the slow, deliberate, very judicial responses of Judge Luttig. I commented that what Lutting was saying was critically important, but he didn’t need to consider every word before he said it. I commented that Liz Cheney could “stop them from repeating the same things over and over and over” if she “choked them with her pearls.” Again, it was obviously a joke, but again I was restricted by FB for ‘advocating violence.’

Here’s the thing. I do deserve punishment. NOT for advocating violence, but for being a jerk about Judge Luttig’s way of speaking. I learned this morning that Lutting may have suffered a stroke recently, which could account at least partially for his slow, deliberative speech. I don’t know if that’s true, of course, but it really doesn’t matter. The judge was under no obligation to speak the way I wanted him to speak. I, on the other hand, had a positive obligation to be patient with his way of speaking. I wasn’t patient. I was annoyed by the constant repetition, but I was also annoyed at Lutting for making me be patient. I was…let’s face it, I was an asshole. Mocking somebody for their manner of speech is an asshole move.

So yeah, I deserve to be in FB jail. Not for advocating violence but for being an asshole. Judge Luttig deserved better from me.

they’re right to be afraid

This is an actual Washington Post headline for an article by Jeff Stein (WaPo’s White House economics reporter):

With Roe at risk, GOP faces pressure to support families after birth

Republican supporters of policies to help children say new restrictions on abortion should change political calculus

Dude, c’mon, you ought to know better. The GOP opposition to abortion isn’t about babies. It’s not about children or families.

If it was about babies or children or families, the GOP wouldn’t need to start cobbling together policies “to help children.” If it was about babies, those policies would already be in place.

From the Women’s March in January, 2017

If it was about babies and families, the US would make pre-natal care, childbirth, and post-natal care free (or at least affordable). If it was about babies and families, the US mandate paid parental leave with employment safeguards. If it was about babies and families, we’d support new parents by guaranteeing they’ll be able to return to their jobs and insuring they didn’t lose income during the important first few months of a baby’s life. But the GOP opposes all of this.

If it was about babies and families, we’d have free (or heavily subsidized) day care for working families. If it was really about babies and families, we’d provide a basic income for a parent who opts to be a full-time parent. If it was about children and families, we’d fund public education better; we’d pay teachers more; we’d give much more financial support to after-school programs. But the GOP opposes that.

If it was truly about babies and children and families, we’d enact sensible firearm legislation. In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death among kids aged one to nineteen. More kids died from gunshot wounds than from car crashes, cancer, or drugs. But there’s no way the GOP would support gun restrictions.

From the Women’s March, January 2017

No, it’s perfectly clear the GOP opposition to reproductive freedom isn’t–and never has been–about protecting babies, children, or families. It’s certainly not about protecting women. It’s about controlling women. It’s about reinforcing patriarchy. And deep down, it’s about being afraid of women.

The GOP is right to be afraid.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Burn the patriarchy. Set it ablaze and let it burn until its reduced to ash. Stomp the ashes into dust. Let the wind blow it away.

human decency 101

Fischer Wells just wants to play field hockey. The State of Kentucky says she can’t. I’m not making this up. Kentucky passed a law to make sure this twelve-year-old girl won’t be able to play field hockey at her middle school. Think about how fucked up that is.

You know what? It’s more fucked up that you think. Consider the process of passing a law in Kentucky (or any other state, for that matter). It’s a time-intensive process. You have to cobble together the language of the bill you want to become law, including defining all the elements. Then you have to present the bill to…wait. Here, look at this:

This is the amount of effort the State of Kentucky went to in order to keep 12-year-old Fischer Wells from playing field hockey at school. Note Step 11: “If bill is vetoed, it goes back to each chamber. If approved by a constitutional majority in each chamber, the veto is overridden and the bill becomes law.” That actually happened with this particular bill.

Andy Beshear, a Democrat and the Governor of Kentucky, vetoed the bill because it “most likely violates the equal protection rights afforded by the United States Constitution.” The Republicans, who control both legislative chambers, voted to override the veto.

Why would Republicans go to so much fuss and bother to pass this law? Because Fischer Wells is a trans girl. She’s the ONLY known trans girl playing in middle or high school sports in Kentucky. She’s in the 8th grade. She’s not much of a threat.

12-year-old Fischer Wells

A number of states have passed similar laws designed to prevent trans students from participating in middle school, high school, or college sports. They claim they’re doing it in the interest of ‘fairness’. Their reason can be summed up in this comment by Robby Mills, the Kentucky law’s GOP sponsor:

“Boys have athletic advantages even before puberty in cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed, agility and power tests. A lot of time and effort is put into achieving a certain level of mastery in a sport and it would be crushing for a lady to train her whole career to have it end up competing against a biological male in the state tournament or state finals.”

Sure, that would be tough on a ‘lady’. But Mills and his fellow (should I call them bigots? I mean, the law is bigoted, to be sure. And it’s supported by anti-trans bigots. But it’s possible, I suppose, for a legislator to support the bill NOT because they’re a bigot, but because they want the votes cast by a bigoted public. But fuck that, if you vote for a bigoted law, you’re a bigot) bigots seem to be under the insane impression that there are guys out there in the sports world who consider themselves male BUT are so insecure in their ‘mastery in a sport’ that they’re willing to temporarily identify as female simply in order to win a high school sports championship.

And that’s fucking ridiculous. You have to be astonishingly stupid to believe that.

At the college level, where sports participation starts to really pay off, they’ve already taken steps to insure fairness. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has a complete policy outlining transgender student-athlete participation. In theory, it applies to both trans men and trans women; in practice it’s directed primarily at trans women. It says trans women have to be taking hormonal treatment for gender transition for a certain period of time in order to participate in women’s sports. Trans men, on the other hand, don’t have to be taking testosterone in order to participate in men’s sports.

I’m not entirely convinced the NCAA actually needs to do this, but at least it’s an honest and sensible approach to ‘fairness’ regarding trans folks in college sports.

But the ‘fairness’ issue is really just a mask for all trans-related fear and hatred. Banning trans athletes isn’t just unfair to openly trans athletes, it actively discourages trans kids from even considering participating in sports. It actively discourages trans kids from letting their family and friends know they’re trans. It actively encourages trans kids to hate themselves. It actively increases the likelihood of trans kids self-harming or killing themselves. It actively encourages transphobic people to bully trans kids or find other ways to harass trans people. It normalizes trans fear and hatred.

On the surface, this seems to be a partisan political issue. Republicans pass anti-trans laws, Democrats try to protect trans rights. But some (how much, I don’t know–maybe a lot, maybe a little) of GOP anti-trans legislation is an aspect of their performative politics. It gets their base motivated, so they don’t give any thought to the repercussions. And yet at least one GOP governor demonstrated some basic human decency.

Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah vetoed an anti-trans sports bill passed by his own party–a bill that, like the Kentucky bill, only affected a few kids. Cox wrote this in his response:

“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live.”

I want them to live. There it is. I don’t understand what they’re going through or why they feel the way they do. BUT I WANT THEM TO LIVE. You don’t have to understand (though it would be nice if you tried). You don’t have to agree with their choices. Just refrain from cruelty. Just let other folks live and be comfortable in their bodies.

There have been thousands–tens of thousands–of Fischer Wells, who’ve grown up afraid. There are lots of adult Fischer Wells out there, trans women who worry about going out in public, who wonder if they look fem enough to avoid harassment, to avoid assault, to avoid being targeted and killed.

If you vilify a 12-year-old trans girl who only wants to play field hockey, you create the social conditions that can keep her scared and uncertain and anxiety-ridden and alienated her entire life.

Just let Fischer Wells play. Let every Fischer Wells play. Just stop being assholes. Just make some attempt at some basic human decency. That’s really what this is about. Letting other people get on with their own lives. Letting people be themselves. It’s really not that hard.

male ego masquerading as love

Look, in the grand scheme of things (wait…IS there a grand scheme of things? It doesn’t seem very likely, does it. But never mind, it’s too early for that sort of tangent.) Chris Rock getting slapped by Will Smith is pretty small beans. Who cares if a rich actor slaps a rich comedian?

Except it happened in front of an audience–a live audience and a really huge television audience. Except that it happened during an award ceremony. Except Smith, just half an hour or so later, said, “People do crazy things for love,” as if the slap–and let’s just call it what it really was: a violent assault–as if that violent assault was the result of love. Except that some folks interpreted the assault as a ‘defense’ of Smith’s wife, who was the butt of a tacky Chris Rock joke.

It’s ego that makes people do crazy things, not love.

Except that the assault was really a clear, public display of male ego, of male rage, of male privilege. Except that Will Smith felt he had the right to interrupt a ceremony to exact physical retribution for a perceived insult to somebody else. Except the assault had nothing to do with love. Except that Will Smith made the entire incident–the entire award show and the entire night–about him. “Keep MY WIFE’s name out your fucking mouth.” MY wife.

You know what would be a good way to defend your wife? A good way to turn that joke into something actually about love? A good way to truly demonstrate your love for your wife? Use your time in front of the camera to talk about alopecia. Use that time to educate folks about what it is. Use that time to discuss the weird and often unhealthy social relationship between women and their hair. Use that time to remind folks that humor doesn’t have to be cruel. Use that time to say love doesn’t depend on hair. That love doesn’t depend on appearance. That the Beatles were right, and love is all there is.

At the end of his acceptance speech, Smith said, “I’m hoping the academy invites me back.” Invites ME back. Me. This may be the saddest thing about the entire incident. Will Smith was given an opportunity–a truly unique opportunity–to demonstrate how love for another person works. Instead, he put himself in the center.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I’ve said this before, but it’s always worth repeating. Hell, it’s necessary to keep repeating. Burn the patriarchy. Burn it to the ground, Burn it to the ground and collect the ashes, and grind them into powder. Bury the powder deep in the earth, and salt the ground above it so nothing will ever grow there. Pour cement over the salt. Then nuke the entire site from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure).

jesus suffering fuck, this guy, I declare

I’m sitting here this morning, minding my own business, right? Drinking my coffee and noshing on some sort of unpronounceable chocolate cookie I bought at the Grand European Market (yes, that’s actually its name), reading the news, getting pestered by the cat, just like every morning. Then I come across this bullshit:

This shouldn’t surprise me. I mean, Comrade Trump–he’s an ignorant, lying sack of shit. Ain’t nobody surprised by that. And that bit about NATO dues? That’s probably just an example of his ignorance. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Trump actually believes NATO nations pay ‘dues’. Like it’s a membership at one of his golf clubs. We’re probably lucky he’s not complaining about NATO not paying green fees.

But “There would be no NATO if I didn’t act strongly and swiftly“? Fuck me with a chainsaw. This is the guy who wanted to withdraw the US from NATO, something he’d even talked about during his 2016 presidential campaign. That talk didn’t stop after his election. In fact, both the House of Representatives and the Senate were alarmed enough that they passed bills that would require Congressional approval for the US to withdraw from NATO. For him to claim credit for the continued existence of NATO is utter bullshit.

What a fucking idjit.

But this is where the real delusional thinking comes into it: “[I]t was me that got Ukraine the very effective anti-tank busters (Javelins)“. We all know Trump tried to withhold those Javelins unless Ukraine’s recently elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, cobbled together some sort of dirt on Joe Biden (or his son). We know he actually froze the military support for Ukraine, and it remained frozen until a Federal whistleblower spoke out and basically forced Trump to release the funds and gear. This was money and weaponry Congress had approved, and Trump illegally froze it in order to cheat on a coming election. I mean, c’mon–the motherfucker was impeached for trying to pull that shit. You’d think Trump would remember that. You’d think Republicans would remember it.

But no.

Happily, Ukraine got its Javelins (sadly, they need to use them). Also happily, Ukrainians have given us a handy phrase to respond to bullshit like Comrade Trump’s statement. Іди на хуй. Go fuck yourself.