Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America

You may think I’m exaggerating, but hear me out.

B and I chose to watch Twilight on Netflix because most of the good vampire movies aren’t on there. And we wanted something we could laugh to. Since we didn’t have any comedies in mind, we decided mocking laughter would do.

People, I have read endless reviews of both the book and the movie. I could tell you exactly what happens scene by scene, from opening to closing credits. Much of my joy came from finally seeing some notorious moments for myself. Have you ever watched a movie and gone, “Hey, I know that scene from memes!” or “They used that one in a Bad Lip Reading clip!”? It’s a very specific sort of pleasure.

Now, I’ve read many a review by outraged feminists who utterly despised Edward. I know all of his abusive proclivities. I even know he’s a completely genocidal shitmonger. But actually seeing Robert Pattinson act it out rather than reading about it made me scream roughly five thousand times something along this lines of the following: Continue reading “Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America”

Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America
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An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator

Despite our best efforts, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education. This is terrible news for our nation’s public schools. Those of us concerned about science education will have to pour our efforts into protecting our schools on a local and state level. We’ll also have to push hard for accountability. Just because DeVos was confirmed doesn’t mean she gets free rein to destroy our schools. She now has a responsibility to provide all of America’s children with a quality free primary education, and we will hold her to that.

My friend J.S. recently retired from a twenty-eight year career as a teacher at one of our nation’s public schools. He has some sage advice for DeVos. I hope she hears it, and takes it to heart. Please feel free to copy this open letter and send it directly to her.

Dear Secretary DeVos: Continue reading “An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator”

An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator

Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era

Promised Land is screening at Seattle Central College on Thursday, February 9th, and at the University of Oregon on Friday, February 10th. For other screenings in various cities, please see listings here.

 

Imagine that you live in a place your ancestors have occupied for thousands of years. Every landmark, every waterway, every plant and tree and animal is part of your heritage. You can stand in places that your grandmother, and her grandmother, and women stretching in an unbroken line back to a mythical point, told stories about, stories that defined your people.

You have stories passed down since the Ice Ages, which your ancestors witnessed. You don’t remember the ice because scientists found its traces in the rocks and on the land: you remember it because your tribe descended from people who lived with it, and your generational memories are strong.

Imagine that your roots here go that deep, that they stretch over ten thousand years into the past.

Now imagine that new people came, and took possession of your lands without permission. They uprooted you and cast you aside. They tore down your houses and stole your art. They changed your rivers and landmarks almost beyond recognition. They built cities on your land, the land that holds your ancestors, that was your inheritance and your future, and then outlawed you from those cities – not for any crime, but because of the color of your skin. They made it literally illegal for you to step foot in the cities they built on your land after sundown, and they only allowed you in by day in order to exploit your labor for their profit.

They made it illegal for you to gather together, to tell your stories, to carry on your traditions, to pass your culture on to your children. They tried to strangle everything that made you you: your language, your clothing, your art, your music, your identity.

Imagine you somehow survived all of this. You held on. You sang your songs. You spoke your language. You protected what was left of your land as best as you could. You learned how to survive in this new world without losing quite all of your heritage. In a city named for one of your forebears, you have done your best to survive as a people among strangers who are happy to take your art and your symbols and your resources without giving much of anything back.

And imagine that after all of this, those strangers tell you that they won’t recognize your tribe as a legal entity. That, despite the fact that you come from an unbroken line of indigenous people stretching back ten thousand years, perhaps more, in this place, you can’t check the box that says you’re Native American. You have to call yourself White, or Other. You can’t protect the things that belonged to your ancestors when they’re unearthed. You can’t protect your lands. You can’t even get back a tiny fraction of the wealth that was stolen from you, because they say you’re not one of the tribes who can get a grant or a scholarship reserved for those whose inheritance was taken by force, fraud, or both.

That’s the story of the Duwamish, told in the heart-rending documentary Promised Land. Continue reading “Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era”

Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era

New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education

Without Ania and Chris, this post wouldn’t have happened, so: thank you both!

Betsy DeVos’s confirmation vote is tomorrow. Here is all the information you need for calling your senators and opposing her, including reasons why. She is a complete catastrophe – we need to fight her! If you have a Republican senator, make extra sure you call them to lodge your opposition, because we need three of those little shits to flip in order to prevent her from getting her grubby Christian Dominionist hands all over the Department of Education.

While you’re on the phone with them, you might want to drop in a mention that you oppose Trump’s actions on immigration and would very much like to see him obey the fucking law.

In other news, I am not doing well at all. If you want to help me make rent so there’s one less thing causing panic attacks, I would be eternally grateful. You can donate here:




I may be taking the next couple of days off from ETEV, due to major upheavals at home, plus B and I going out job hunting, and having exceeded my ability to handle shit without medication. Please do follow me on Facebook (most of my stuff is public, so you can see and share even if we’re not formally friends). With the Chitler regime doing something else appalling every half hour, it’s about the only place where I can even try to keep up. Plus, you’ll get lots of pictures of a very elderly felid. She is just over a month away from her 23rd birthday! Continue reading “New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education”

New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education

Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure

Too many Senate Democrats rolled over and played nice, confirming Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA.

This is not acceptable behavior. Mike Pompeo is someone who should never have been confirmed. He’s a dire threat to our civil liberties. He believes torturers are patriots. Under his leadership, the CIA will not only be at dire risk of repeating the atrocities of the Bush regime, but exceeding them.

No Democrat should have ever voted to confirm him.

My wise and angry friend A.M. has made it easy for those of you whose Senator voted yes to contact them and register your anger. Let them know that their continued employment depends on them doing their jobs and opposing Trump’s appalling appointees.

If you are living in California, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Missouri, call your Senator. If you can’t call, write. Here is the information you need: Continue reading “Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure”

Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure

New at Rosetta Stones: The National Park Service Spits Out the Gag

This is fucking fantastic, people: the National Park Service is trolling Chitler hard. Read all about it here, including ways to support them.

Not long after Badlands was brought into line, anonymous employees of the NPS went rogue. They created the AltUSNatlParkService account and, after retweeting a particularly provocative image from the Badlands account along with some climate change data, announced their intent in no uncertain terms:

Screenshot of @AltNatParkSer tweets. From the bottom (earliest) to the top tweet, they are as follows: Tweet 1: "'The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm.'" Tweet 2: "Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out. Tweet 3: "Respect goes out to our brothers and sisters at the @BadlandsNPS. When they silence you, we will speak for you."

Chitler is trying to gag government agencies vital to our nation’s health. It’s good to see some of them spitting out the gag and then spitting in his eye.

New at Rosetta Stones: The National Park Service Spits Out the Gag

Some Alternatives to Punching Nazis

Before I begin talking about alternatives to literally punching Nazis, I just want to state for the record that I am 100% in favor of punching Nazis. We tried using our words, and all they’ve done is allowed the mealy-mouthed quisling center to bloviate at us about “going high when they go low,” as if punching someone who is advocating for genocide is actually the greater of two evils. (Newsflash: it is not.)

We used our words, and continue to use our words, and what we have ended up with is Nazis in the state houses, Nazis on school boards, Nazis on Capitol Hill, and Nazis in the White House. We now have a Nazi puppet dancing on their strings in the Oval Office. We have Nazis everywhere, advocating state violence and white supremacy and ethnic cleansing. I don’t think words alone are enough.

So, yes, I am here for this person who so valiantly punched a Nazi:

I am here for the anti-fascists who’ve made it their mission to stop Nazi violence with violence. I’m generally a pacifist, but when people are already hurting and killing us, I really have no problem with meeting their violence with necessary force.

I am here for self-defense. Sometimes, the best self-defense is to throw the first punch.

However. Not all of us can punch Nazis.

I, for instance, cannot punch Nazis. I haven’t any upper body strength. Also, I don’t get out much. I mean, if it comes to it, I could throw some elbows, and I do plan to wear boots more often in case any Nazi-stomping becomes necessary, but I am not really built or trained for physical confrontation.

Lots of us aren’t. So here are some things we can do instead of literally punching Nazis: Continue reading “Some Alternatives to Punching Nazis”

Some Alternatives to Punching Nazis

Graphic Art for the Rebellion

We’ve reached the end of the Obama era. Now America swears in a man who’s already proven he’ll be the worst president in its history.

I’m joining the women’s strike, which means I won’t be doing any posting over the next couple of days. After that, I’ll be spending my time offering up every ounce of resistance I’m capable of.

This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This administration deserves no first chances, much less second ones.

Here is a collection of some of the graphics I’ve created for resisting the assholes determined to fuck this country and the world over. Feel free to use them for your own rebellious purposes. Continue reading “Graphic Art for the Rebellion”

Graphic Art for the Rebellion

Part 2: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Content note for antisemitism, Trump, eliminationist rhetoric.

I think that where Trump and Hitler really diverge from each other is in their sincerity. Trump has always been a con man and a reality show personality. There’s no doubt he’s a bigot and a racist, not to mention a complete misogynist, but those things weren’t tied to his political ambition from the beginning. In fact, he seems to have pursued politics only to revive his failing brand. And the outrageous shit he spews on an hourly basis is calculated to pander, to shock, to get people buzzing. He’s discovered it’s very easy to get his ego fed to bursting by being the most “politically incorrect” politician possible. He hasn’t spent his life dreaming of Muslim registries and letting the religious right overthrow our Constitutional rights. These just happen to be a few of the things that get people sleazy enough to follow him excited, so he pushes them.

Hitler, on the other hand, pursued political power early on. And from the start, he intended to slaughter as many Jews as he could manage.

“Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews.”

This is a goal Hitler never lost sight of even when circumstances forced him to dial down his overt antisemitism. But when whipping up his followers, he knew hate sells. He used it freely. He spent years blaming all of Germany’s woes on Jewish people. And Germany, defeated and humiliated in the first World War, had plenty of woes. They were far worse off than we are. Desperate people need scapegoats; Hitler offered them up.

Hitler shouldn’t have been around to provide them. After fomenting hatred of the Jews for several years, he made a premature attempt at revolution that ended with him facing high treason charges. He should have been tossed in prison for life or deported. But he figured out what he needed to say in order to gain the court’s sympathies. He learned that with people outside the Nazi party, it was best to dial back the rabid bigotry and appeal to ethnic pride.

Over the next six weeks, Hitler, the uncouth agitator, remade himself into an innocent patriot who had been betrayed by a democracy too weak to defend Germanic honor…. Hitler transformed his public self from a raging antisemite into a resolute tribune of the Volk who captivated audiences with his vision of “cleanliness everywhere, cleanliness of our government, cleanliness in public life, and also this cleanliness in our culture… that will restore our [national] soul to us.”

Of course, “cleanliness” meant purging the Jewish people, but he wasn’t so crude as to actually say that in front of non-Nazis whose esteem he had to win. Instead, he attacked more widely despised and impersonal things: the Versailles Treaty, Bolshevism, and liberals. He cast himself as the doughty patriot willing to sacrifice anything to protect his beloved volk. He sprinkled in appeals to Germany’s proud military past, and finished with an appeal to “the goddess of the eternal tribunal of history.”

He’d found all the right buttons to push. And so, instead of spending the rest of his life moldering in a Bavarian prison or thrown out of Germany with no hope of returning, he received a mere slap on the wrist: five years in prison without subsequent deportation.

So what are we seeing? That a clever fascist will tailor his appeals to his audience. All it takes to rally nascent fascists who won’t respond to overt bigotry and racism is an appeal to be the hero fighting those things they abhor: liberals, socialists, Marxists, and other assorted lefties. Sprinkle in a hefty dose of national, ethnic, and military pride, and you can get conservatives to bless even outright treason.

Sound familiar? It should. Trump is far cruder, but he plays the tune Hitler wrote. Not surprising, considering how much he reportedly admires the genocidal shit.

We’ll see next how Hitler reassured his followers that yes, he still hated Jews. It’s a reminder to never take Trump at his word when he dials back his hatred to pander to less hateful audiences.

Image is the cover of The Nazi Conscience. It shows a brown-uniformed man digging while a man in traditional German folk costume holds a pole that has a swastika banner on it.
We’re studying The Nazi Conscience as a way to prepare for what’s happening now. If you want to read along, you can pick up an inexpensive used copy at Amazon. Buying through that link also supports my blogging, so thank you!

Intro • Prologue1.1 1.21.32.1

Part 2: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass

Yesterday, we saw that Martin Luther King would’ve definitely been part of the resistance to Trump’s regime. Today, we’re going to see he would’ve also been one of those politically correct social justice warriors. He would’ve been marching for a guaranteed minimum income, higher minimum wage, and affirmative action. He would have been demanding universal healthcare and championing Obamacare in the meantime. He would have been defending Planned Parenthood to the hilt, probably even doing clinic escorting when he could. He would have been standing up to protect public schools from people like Betsy DeVos. And he definitely wasn’t at all here for your libertarian free market at all costs bullshit.

How do we know? Because he had very definite opinions on those subjects. Look:

On Following the Law

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”

Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

Black and white image of Martin Luther King Jr., showing only his face. He is speaking, facing left. Caption says, "It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced."

Healthcare

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.

Speech to the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights – Chicago, March 25, 1966

Economic Justice Continue reading “Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass”

Martin Luther King Would’ve Been (Non-Violently) Kicking Right Wing Ass