BREAKING: I might be terrible.

Readers, I am more than a little disturbed at myself. You see, I have an affinity (<-hi Caine!) for some very dark humor, by which I mean the kind I feel terrible about for finding funny, because it is either rooted in harmful stereotypes, or taboo subjects, or punching down instead of up, that sort of thing. And yet! I still find myself laughing nonetheless.

This laughter, mind you, is inevitably followed by overwhelming feelings of shame, embarrassment and self-admonishment. That is NOT funny, Iris! I will exhort internally. Get a hold of yourself, woman! You should NOT be laughing at this!

Alas, as anyone who has ever commanded themselves to STOP THAT LAUGHING RIGHT NOW! can attest, this exercise is utterly, fatally doomed.

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Freeze peaches at Berkeley and beyond.

[CONTENT NOTE: violent bigotry. lots of it.]

I am ashamed to report to readers that The Washington Post lured me into a time-wasting, life-sucking vortex with a clickbait headline:

I invited Ann Coulter to speak at UC Berkeley. Here’s why.
My group doesn’t agree with her, but we believe in free speech.

Ugh why. Because I AM WEAK, people, that’s why. Coulter’s appearance at Berkeley is not even happening, and yet still I could not just let this shit stand.  Continue reading

Godwinning for the good.

In case you missed it: a few weeks ago revolutionary badass Sunsara Taylor of RefuseFascism.org, with whom PZ and I are acquainted, appeared on the odious Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox. Because Carlson is an ass-cactus of the first order, he constantly interrupted her, spoke over her and eventually cut her feed. Nevertheless, when the smarmy blowhard shut his lie-hole for a moment and she managed to get a few words in, she stated the rather obvious fact that the fascist Trump/Pence regime is more dangerous than Hitler’s. On account of, you know, having nuclear weapons and an apparent enthusiasm for using them (among other things).

According to Taylor: Continue reading

Tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale.

As of this writing, five people are dead and eight remain hospitalized after a gunman fired a barrage of bullets in a baggage claim area at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. The alleged shooter was taken into custody, and the airport was (and still is) on lockdown.

When the news first broke earlier today, my heart did too. My first thoughts went to the survivors, and to the loved ones of those who were killed and injured. I hope they get all the support and assistance they need after a(nother) senseless tragedy. Especially those with medical expenses that our wonderful society likes to charge to hapless victims of injury and illness.

My next thoughts were not quite so empathetic.

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So what’s the problem?

[CONTENT NOTE: worker exploitation and abuse, nativism.]

Whenever immigration policy lands on the front burner we are all treated to “news” stories noting the inevitability of food costs soaring and the nation’s agricultural economy collapsing when undocumented farm workers suddenly become scarce. Here is one such article from The Nation in 2011 reporting on the eminently foreseeable catastrophes after Georgia and Alabama enacted draconian anti-immigrant statutes. Among other shitty fascist provisions, the laws required employers to confirm their worker’s legal status via the federal government’s E-Verify system. Any worker who used false documents to secure a job could be subject to fifteen years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

In perhaps the most utterly predictable chain of events in the universe ever, undocumented farm workers fled Georgia and Alabama in droves, leaving watermelons, peaches, blackberries and cucumbers rotting in the fields and businesses collapsing in their wake. The estimated loss for Georgia’s agricultural sector alone was $1 billion—for one season.

How on Earth could such a senseless situation come to pass? [SPOILER ALERT! Because conservatives.]

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“Forget Plymouth Rock. Stand with Standing Rock.”

The Thanksgiving fairytale is so pervasive that people across the country blindly teach and celebrate a 400-year-old mythic “friendship” between the pilgrims and Indians while turning their backs on real and systemic violence happening now to Native people and allies at the hands of authorities protecting oil interests over the interests of future generations of water drinkers. Forget Plymouth Rock. Stand with Standing Rock.
-Mniconjou Lakota journalist and citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Taté Walker

My friend Sincere Kirabo has a pithy piece up at The Humanist about the myths surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. The money quote: Continue reading

The invisible victims of Trumpism.

blackupsidedownusflag

[CONTENT NOTE: harassment, abuse, assault.]

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the various online accounts (like this one) of violence, harassment, assault and abuse, after the worst elements of our society were emboldened by the election of perhaps the most despicable human being I have known of in my lifetime. Not all of these stories make it to a hashtag much less a news story, and I have a sickening feeling there are orders of magnitude more of them that don’t than do. Here is one from a dear friend of mine, posted here with permission (names and other identifying details have been altered):

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BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Tea Partiers are psychic geniuses.

Remember all those years ago when we laughed and laughed at the mooks carrying protest signs saying “keep government out of my Medicare”? I know I sure do!

keepgovtoutofmedicare

Good times! But it turns out that we had them all wrong. The Tea Party is made up of psychic geniuses.

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So sorry, world.

flagdown

We the People suck. The deadly contagion of right-wing conservatism in the US will no longer be restrained, however tenuously and imperfectly. It has been unleashed to destroy the earth like flesh-eating bacteria. It will start, as it always does, with more death and harm to the bodies of the most marginalized among us, and eventually work its way to harming the very people who enable it—which is to say, harming almost everyone.

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New feature! New acronym! VERY EXCITING.

A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship. –Chalmers Johnson

In the ordinary course of going about my life—you know: tormenting conservatives, torturing faith healers, smashing the patriarchy, extracting $82 billion worth of amusement for readers out of the Religion-Industrial-Complex, sounding the alarm about the deadly squirrel menace, all the usual stuff—I have found myself repeatedly thinking a very specific sentiment: most US citizens have no idea what our government does or who it serves. And to be clear, by “most,” I mean the vast, overwhelming majority.

This is true for a number of reasons. It starts with our grade schools serving up steaming piles of shit: the noble escapades of Christopher Columbus, the warm and cooperative relationship between Native Americans and European colonialists we celebrate as a national holiday, a justice system that produces justice, our fearless and vaunted adversarial press, the great cause of democracy for which US citizens routinely sacrifice blood and treasure all over the world, the moral meritocracy of capitalism and The American Dream™, and on and on. Don’t even get me started on the myths we are fed about race. NEWSFLASH: there is no part of U.S. history or culture that is not inexorably linked to Africans dragged to this country in chains, and forced to work under the most brutal conditions imaginable, thereby amassing great wealth for America’s Owners. It continues to this day.

And then of course our rancid corporate media piles it on, 24/7/365, its sins of omission frequently far greater than its whitewashing of reality. We USians are surely among the most propagandized populations in the world, ever. The fog is so thick, we choke on it.

But this is what a ruling class does. This is what a ruling class has always done, and will always do. And so, quite understandably, most US citizens have no idea what our government does or who it serves.

Most US Citizens Have No Idea What Our Government Does Or Who It Serves.

MUSCHNIWOGDOWIS

#muschniwogdowis

!!!

OMG don’t you love it?! I LOVE IT. This ingenious new hashtag is guaranteed to be trending worldwide on Twitter. Any minute now.

Okay, maybe it’s a little clunky. Also: practically unpronounceable. But I am nevertheless finding it very, very useful.

Today’s demonstration of its utility comes courtesy of this headline in The Nation: The Obama Administration Has Brokered More Weapons Sales Than Any Other Administration Since World War II. You can read the whole thing for yourself for a nice overview of how it all works, though not for all the nasty little devils in the details. But the takeaway is this: the Executive Branch of the US government, from the Pentagon to the State Department to the Commander-in-Chief, is a dedicated worldwide sales force shilling for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrup Grumman.

Here is one example of how it works:

Take the administration’s proposed new 10-year aid deal with Israel. If enacted as currently planned, it would boost US military assistance to that country by up to 25 percent—to roughly $4 billion per year. At the same time, it would phase out a provision that had allowed Israel to spend one-quarter of Washington’s aid developing its own defense industry. In other words, all that money, the full $4 billion in taxpayer dollars, will now flow directly into the coffers of companies like Lockheed Martin, which is in the midst of completing a multi-billion-dollar deal to sell the Israelis F-35s.

What looks like a $40 billion US taxpayer gift to Israel is actually a $40 billion US taxpayer gift to Lockheed Martin. Israeli citizens, by the way, enjoy excellent universal health care, including mental health treatment and dental care for their kids. Unlike, say, the very same US citizens shelling out that $40 billion.

Hell, why not just hand it over directly to Lockheed, with the tiny little caveat that it reincorporate itself as a non-profit? (Hahaha. Oh man, sometimes I really crack myself up.)

__________

I remember reading something somewhere sometime about war profiteering once being considered an unconscionable crime, if you can believe it. Moneymaking from warmaking is evil, generating as it does massive profits for an elite few out of volatility and violence for the many. Now it is quite literally the American Way.

The ‘defense’ budget is three quarters of a trillion dollars. Profits went up last year well over 25%. I guarantee you: when war becomes that profitable, we’re going to see more of it. –Chalmers Johnson

In closing, ask yourself this question: if America’s Owners (the permanent power factions in Washington DC, a.k.a. the deep state) are perfectly willing to bomb and invade sovereign countries at will, to destabilize and violently overthrow the democratically elected leftist governments of countries whose resources they feel entitled to exploit and install brutal tyrants to guarantee unimpeded access, to assassinate and neutralize labor activists, minority and indigenous organizers or indeed anyone who poses even a minor threat to the profit-making schemes from which they so richly benefit, do you believe for one second that they will ever allow leftists in the US to amass sufficient power to turn the ship of state 180 degrees and put it to work creating more just, peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies?

Aww fuck, I’m sorry. That was a loooong question. Makes my new acronym seem downright pithy by comparison, doesn’t it?

#muschniwogdowis.

Have a nice day