The compromise that wasn’t

Remember that disgusting hate-filled piece of legislation out of North Carolina last year? The one crafted by Republicans at the last hour and rushed into law? The vile, discriminatory bill written in response to a Charlotte, NC Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) which sought to protect the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual folks, and transgender people?

That repugnant bill, commonly referred to at HB2 (here’s a breakdown of the bill),  was signed into law by then Governor  (R) Pat McCrory. Opponents of the law touted it as one of the most extreme anti-queer pieces of legislation they’d seen. Supporters of the bill simultaneously frothed at the mouth or tried to find some place to privately masturbate bc they were excited at the thought of sticking it to us. The bill eliminated anti-discrimination protections in place for queers (and we know how much it turns on Republicans to deny queers the right to make use of public businesses without discrimination). It also mandated that in government buildings workers were required to use the restrooms that corresponded to their birth sex.

The resultant backlash was immediate, fierce, and long lasting:

  • PayPal decided to not move ahead with a location in  NC
  • Global German banking institution Deutsche Bank decided not to expand into NC
  • the American Institute of Architects moved their conference out of NC
  • the Kellogg Foundation cancelled plans to host a conference in NC
  •  the 2017 NBA All moved their game out of NC
  • the NCAA stripped NC of its hosting rights
  • Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and many more artists cancelled concert appearances in the state
  • Cirque du Soleil cancelled performances
  • producer of Wicked will not allow the play to show in NC
  • and much more (which can be read here)

As months passed and the 2016 gubernatorial race hurled toward its conclusion, it became apparent to  both the knuckle-dragging conservative status quo supporters who supported the bill and the opponents of the bill that the election outcome would determine the future of HB2.  After all, despite the tremendous economic fallout HB2 had brought to North Carolina, GOP leadership (including Gov. McCrory),  in the state remained firm in their support for bigotry. Meanwhile, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who hoped to unseat McCrory, ran a campaign that opposed HB2. Ultimately, Cooper received on the necessary votes to win the governor’s office.  In the end, the economic fallout of HB2, as well  as the ridicule and derision the state received for its passage were instrumental in McCrory’s defeat (a defeat he would not accept for weeks bc he was a sole loser). With a Democrat in place as Governor one would think North Carolina’s year of hell might be drawing to a close. To social justice organizations and queer rights groups, it looked as if a reversal of HB2 was imminent.

Sadly, rather than a reversal of HB2, a compromise was reached.

“Compromise”.  That’s not quite the word HB2 opponents where hoping for. But it can’t be that bad, right? After all, we have a Democratic Governor in office now. One who opposes anti-queer discrimination. Yeeeeaaah. About that.

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The compromise that wasn’t
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Celebrities say awful things: Nicole Kidman

Celebrities are people who have political views and there is nothing wrong with them sharing those opinions.

Some pretty novel ideas in there (three, I believe), no?

To some folks, yes.

Unlike those people, however, I do not subscribe to the notion that celebrities ought to stick to entertaining us and remain silent on politics. While the lives of celebrities are quite a bit removed from those of the average citizen, at the end of the day, they are still citizens of the US. Whether to critique or support the opinions of others or rally people behind or in opposition to a politician or a piece of legislation, civilians have the right to speak their mind. Celebrities do as well. Being a world famous movie star, a television or social media sensation, or an icon of the music industry does not remove the right of these people to share their opinions with the world.

That said, just as celebrities share with civilians the right to share their opinions, like civilians, they also ought to be prepared for criticism of those opinions. Their right to speak their mind does not insulate them from criticism when they say shitty things. And celebrities often say Very Shitty Things. Azaelia Banks has said many shitty things.  Ted Nugent has built a second career out of saying shitty things. Mel Gibson famously opened his mouth back in 2006 and out poured shitty anti-Semitic things.

Nicole Kidman can now add her name to the list of celebrities who have said shitty things:

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Celebrities say awful things: Nicole Kidman

I’m so tired of liberal calls for reaching across the aisle

In the wake of the supremely awful badness that was the 2016 US elections (which saw the rise to power of a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ableist rapist), think piece after think piece has been written about liberals needing to reach across the aisle and work with conservatives. We’ve heard that we need to break bread with Chitler supporters. That we need to sit down at the table with them and hear what they have to say. That it’s some sort of high moral calling to reach out to conservatives and empathize with them. The latest bout of the “shake hands and play nice with the bigots” nonsense comes from Anthony Bourdain, who recently said that Chitler’s  rise to the presidency is the fault of Eastern liberals (content note for casual ableism):

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I’m so tired of liberal calls for reaching across the aisle

Chitler, the orange haired douchebag

Happy Holidays all.
I’ve been largely silent on the blog front for a while now, dealing with personal issues, a loss in creativity, and a general feeling of despondency over the election of Chitler (Dana Hunter’s nickname for Trump, which merges ‘cheeto’ and ‘Hitler’). My personal issues are subsiding and I feel my creativity returning. Can’t do anything about the horrifying election we just had, unfortunately. While trying to cope with the knowledge that the next four years are going to be difficult for many people, I came up with a little diddy which has me smiling ear to ear, even as I’m simultaneously repulsed. So of course, I had to share it with everyone. Sing it to the tune of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer:

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Chitler, the orange haired douchebag

Neither the Green Party nor Jill Stein are oppressed or marginalized

On a recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host decided to take an honest look at some of the policy proposals of Jill Stein (2016 Green Party presidential hopeful) and Gary Johnson (2016 Libertarian Party presidential hopeful). That honest look meant that their ideas were put under a microscope and closely scrutinized.  You can watch that video here.  Stein was not at all happy with Oliver’s criticism of her proposed idea to use quantitative easing to cancel student debt. On her Facebook page, Stein writes:

I know you’re all sick of hearing about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and that you probably don’t want to hear me going after John Oliver again.

But I would like you to watch this video from TYT Network‘s, The Jimmy Dore Show. We need to begin having honest conversations about the oppressive tactics corporate comedians continue to do towards already-marginalized groups of people.

This country was built on oppressing The Other (Blacks and indigenous people) and I’m not going to stand for more of this while we deal with major crises in this country that could determine whether we’ll even survive as a species.

Oppressive tactics?

Already-marginalized groups of people?

Who is she referring to as oppressed? What groups of marginalized people is she speaking of? She doesn’t make that clear, but given that all John Oliver did was criticize some of Stein’s proposals, it stands to reason that either she herself feels oppressed or marginalized, or she thinks the Green Party is. Either way, that’s just plain horseshit, and my friend Ari Multhauf explains why:

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Neither the Green Party nor Jill Stein are oppressed or marginalized

When America was great

Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America great again”. Apparently, he thinks the country is not in good shape and needs to be as great as it once was. As of this writing, I’ve seen no explanation from Trump detailing the ways in which the country is doing poorly, when the US was last great, nor what exactly it would take to return the country to the glorious heights he longs for. But then Trump isn’t one to explain the logic of his opinions (if there is any logic to them in the first place). I recently found myself thinking “Self, if Trump wants to make this country great again, he clearly envisions some point in the past as an era when the United States was great. Soooooo, when exactly was the United States great?” After the jump, I explore some possibilities.

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When America was great

They want to be just like Trump

Dan_Bilzerian

That guy in the image to the right? That’s the so-called ‘King of Instagram’ and self-proclaimed playboy Dan Bilzerian. Before I go any further, I recommend you find a puke bag. Bilzerian recently showered presidential hopeful Donald Trump with praise. To his more than 1 million Twitter followers, Bilzerian said:

In an age of pussified political correctness, you have to respect the people who remain unfiltered @realDonaldTrump

When I first read this Tweet, I felt the exasperation swell within me. For months now, I’ve read who knows how many comments from people who say they like Donald Trump bc he is “unfiltered”, “speaks his mind”, isn’t “politically correct”, is “honest with his thoughts”, or some such bullshit. I’ve wondered for a while now why people think these are positive character traits. To be sure, they can be a good, depending on the situation, but it isn’t inherently a good thing that someone (for instance) speaks their mind. In the case of Donald Trump, speaking his mind often leads to some bigoted rhetoric. But I had an ‘AHA!’ moment while reading Bilzerian’s B.S.

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They want to be just like Trump

I agree and disagree with Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has a few words about the media criticism of Dr. Ben Carson-specifically the inconsistencies in various stories he has shared over the years:

NBC “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd asked Sanders what he thought about “the Ben Carson stuff.”

“Because you have seen some people leak out stuff you wrote 30 and 40 years ago,” Todd continued. “Is this fair game?”

“No,” Sanders replied. “And look, I listened to the interviews with Dr. Carson. And it’s interesting. But you know what, Chuck? The American people want to know why the middle class of this country is disappearing.”

“I think it might be a better idea, I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe we focus on the issues impacting the American people and what candidates are saying rather than just spending so much time exploring their lives of 30 or 40 years ago,” Sanders continued. “And I think the reason that so many people are turned off to the political process has a lot to do with the fact that we’re not talking about the real issues impacting real people.”

He’s basically saying there are more important things to discuss than whether or not Carson’s story of his rags-to-riches, bootstrapping, come-to-Jesus [bullshit] story is accurate or truthful. What are his actual plans to run this country? How would he tackle the economy? What are his views on foreign policy? How is he going to tackle income inequality? These are questions that need asking. Questions that resonate with many people quite a bit more than “did he or didn’t he tell the truth about his past in his biography”.
I both agree and disagree with Sanders. More the former than the latter though.

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I agree and disagree with Bernie Sanders

Sometimes I despair

By now, most USAmericans who pay attention to politics are probably aware of The Donald’s inane idea to build a wall between the U.S./Mexico border. Ya know, to keep out all those rapists, murderers, and drug dealers that he’s worried are pouring into this country (a belief he holds and has no qualms about sharing despite his failure to produce supporting evidence):

Donald Trump said he would force the people of Mexico to build his vowed border wall to keep immigrants out of the United States, warning that if his order was not fulfilled, he would do something “severe.”

When asked how he might force the country to build this wall, Trump said in an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, “you force them because we give them a fortune. Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall.”

The 2016 presidential candidate added: “I’d build it. I’d build it very nicely. I’m very good at building things.”

I wonder-scale of 1 to 10…how big is his ego? Hell, it’s probably so big it breaks the scale. In any case, the idea has been called moronic, unrealistic and costly, and ridiculous. Trump has given no consideration to the difficulties in constructing a wall more than 1,900 miles long*, across a varied topography, and through a fair amount of private land. But that’s not what he’s concerned about. No, for him, the important thing is preserving the United States for “us” by keeping “them” out. Trump’s frothy mix of xenophobia and racism has found purchase with some of the brightest stars among the dregs of humanity including:

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Sometimes I despair

The lack of concern for Russian citizens by their own government is repugnant

I just read this article on Russian officials destroying contraband food illegally smuggled into the country:

Authorities earlier this month started bulldozing piles of cheese, peaches and even frozen geese after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of food smuggled into the country illegally.

Now police in the Moscow region say they have arrested six people for producing cheese worth some $30 million (27 million euros) with banned Western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production.

Authorities “foiled the activities of an organised international criminal gang in the Moscow region whose members have for a long time been engaged in smuggling sanctioned products from abroad,” police spokeswoman Yelena Alekseeva said in a statement.

My first thought was WTF?! All  that food could have helped feed many of the Russian citizens living in poverty.  My second thought was “an international criminal gang that smuggles in food? What’s bad about that?”Those were still my thoughts even after I considered that maybe officials feared the food wasn’t inspected. After all, why couldn’t they simply inspect it? So I thought maybe there was some other reason-a really good one-to destroy that food.  After all, the number of Russians living in poverty reached 16.1 million last year. I imagine all that food could have been of great use to many of them. I found this article by Russian political analyst Andrew Korybko which attempts to explain and justify the actions of the Russian government:

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The lack of concern for Russian citizens by their own government is repugnant