Still lots of junk followers

Back in 2013, I wrote about “junk followers” on WordPress, fake or empty or commercial accounts who use bots to follow every blog they possible can in hopes of more exposure for themselves.

Just in case you were wondering, this is a scummy thing to do, right up there with spam-bombing other people’s blogs with backlinks to your own scummy commercial blog.

“Followers” who liked one of my recent posts. This is just skimming off the cream, there were many others.

I have over 1700 followers, and I’ll bet that I don’t have more than a couple of dozen who are really interested in my content. The rest are simply using tricks to improve their own rankings and drive web traffic to their sites. I don’t really care about numbers, since I have no intention of monetizing this blog, but a lot of my focus is trying to reduce spam, scams, and fraud, and warn people about how to avoid being taken advantage of. And this kind of thing is just like a burr under my saddle.

I had to delete about 20 of these, clearly produced by a robot.

If you’re a blogger, don’t do this. Don’t use bots to “like” or “follow” everything in site in order to boost your own presence. It stinks, and it makes you look cheap and disreputable.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

BOO! You’ve been Scammed!

I have written often and at length about fraudulent enterprises and scams, and I am sharing this one here because it deserves to be seen far and wide.

Full disclosure: I was part of a network marketing / MLM / Relationship Marketing firm for about 10 years. I cannot believe how hard I drank the Kool-Aid™. I am ashamed. But it just goes to show how seductive these things can be.

‘Magic dirt’: How the internet fueled, and defeated, the pandemic’s weirdest company

Brandy Zadrozny

(From NBC News)

Thu, December 2, 2021, 7:49 AM•21 min readThe social media posts started in May: photos and videos of smiling people, mostly women, drinking Mason jars of black liquid, slathering black paste on their faces and feet, or dipping babies and dogs in tubs of the black water. They tagged the posts #BOO and linked to a website that sold a product called Black Oxygen Organics.

Black Oxygen Organics, or “BOO” for short, is difficult to classify. It was marketed as fulvic acid, a compound derived from decayed plants, that was dug up from an Ontario peat bog. The website of the Canadian company that sold it billed it as “the end product and smallest particle of the decomposition of ancient, organic matter.”

Put more simply, the product is dirt — four-and-a-half ounces of it, sealed in a sleek black plastic baggie and sold for $110 plus shipping. Visitors to the Black Oxygen Organics website, recently taken offline, were greeted with a pair of white hands cradling cups of dirt like an offering. “A gift from the Ground,” it reads. “Drink it. Wear it. Bathe in it.”

BOO, which “can be taken by anyone at any age, as well as animals,” according to the company, claims many benefits and uses, including improved brain function and heart health, and ridding the body of so-called toxins that include heavy metals, pesticides and parasites.

By the end of the summer, online ads for BOO had made their way to millions of people within the internet subcultures that embrace fringe supplements, including the mixed martial arts community, anti-vaccine and Covid-denier groups, and finally more general alternative health and fake cure spaces.

And people seemed to be buying; parts of TikTok and Instagram were flooded with #BOO posts. The businessman behind Black Oxygen Organics has been selling mud in various forms for 25 years now, but BOO sold in amounts that surprised even its own executives, according to videos of company meetings viewed by NBC News.

The stars appeared aligned for it. A pandemic marked by unprecedented and politicized misinformation has spurred a revival in wonder cures. Well-connected Facebook groups of alternative health seekers and vaccine skeptics provided an audience and eager customer base for a new kind of medicine show. And the too-good-to-be-true testimonials posted to social media attracted a wave of direct sellers, many of them women dipping their toes into the often unprofitable world of multilevel marketing for the first time.

But success came at a price. Canadian and U.S. health regulators have cracked down on BOO in recent months, initiating recalls and product holds at the border, respectively. And just as an online army of fans powered BOO’s success, an oppositional force of online skeptics threatened to shut it down.

Just before Thanksgiving, the company announced in an email it was closing up shop for good. Sellers packed video calls mourning the death of their miracle cure, railing against executives who had taken their money and seemingly run, and wondering how they might recoup the thousands of dollars they paid for BOO that never arrived.

The announcement was the apparent end of one of the most haltingly successful companies to ride a wave of interest in online and directly sold alternative medicines — immunity-boosting oils, supplements, herbs, elixirs and so-called superfoods that, despite widespread concerns over their efficacy and safety, make up a lightly regulated, multibillion-dollar industry.

In a world where consumers flock to alternative health products, BOO seemed to provide an answer to the question: Just how far are people willing to dig to find their miracle cure?

A social post from Black Oxygen Organics and a Facebook post from a fan of the page

What is BOO?

Monica Wong first learned about BOO in May. The 39-year-old was scrolling Facebook from her home in Brentwood, California, and saw a Facebook ad that caught her eye: A woman in a bright green shirt emblazoned with a marijuana leaf holding a sign that read, “F— Big Pharma!” alongside a kind of treatment that promised to “detox heavy metals.”

Wong had been looking for such a product, for her boyfriend and herself, and while the price was steep, a little internet research convinced her that the health effects would be worth it. Wong clicked on the ad and bought some BOO.

Wong said that for two months she dissolved a half-teaspoon of the black stuff in a glass of water and drank it every day. But unlike people in her new BOO Facebook group who posted miraculous testimonials of cured diseases, weight loss, clearer skin, whiter teeth, regrown hair, reclaimed energy, expelled worms and even changes in eye color (from brown to blue), Wong didn’t feel like any toxins were leaving her body. In fact, she started having stomach pains.

“I can’t say it was the BOO for sure,” Wong said she remembers wondering as she went to the hospital for tests, “but wasn’t it supposed to heal my gut?”

Wong quit taking BOO and told the head of her Facebook group, a higher-ranked seller who earned commission off Wong’s participation, about her new pains. When asked why she didn’t alert others, Wong said the group administrators, BOO sellers themselves, censored the comments to weed out anything negative. “They’d never let me post that,” she said.

These online groups are filled with true believers, acolytes who call it “magic dirt.” They post that they are drinking, cooking, soaking, snorting and slathering BOO on their bodies and giving it to their families, children and pets.

“Who would have thought drinking dirt would make me feel so so good?” one person in a 27,000-member private Facebook group posted, her face nuzzling a jar of black liquid.

Another user posted a photo of a baby sitting in a bathtub of water colored a deep caramel. In the caption, she shared that the baby had contracted hand, foot and mouth disease — a virus that mainly affects children and causes painful sores. “Tiny is enjoying his Boo bath!” she wrote. “We’re happy to say our bottom feels happier and we’re in a better mood!”

Many such posts are dedicated to tactics for getting kids and loved ones to take BOO.

“Boo brownies for the picky family,” one poster offered.

Testimonials like these make up the majority of posts in dozens of Facebook groups, set up and overseen by BOO sellers, with hundreds of thousands of collective members, where BOO is heralded as a miracle drug. Teams of sellers in these private Facebook groups claim that, beyond cosmetic applications, BOO can cure everything from autism to cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Conveniently in these times, BOO proponents say it also protects against and treats Covid-19, and can be used to “detox” the newly vaccinated, according to posts viewed by NBC News.

None of the posters contacted by NBC News returned a request for comment. But there may be an incentive for the hyperbole.

The MLM boom

Black Oxygen Organics products can’t be bought in stores. Instead, the pills and powders are sold by individuals, who theoretically profit not only off their sales but off those of others they recruit. It’s the type of top-down and widening profit-modeled business, known as multilevel marketing or MLM, that has led critics to label BOO and products like it pyramid schemes.

Participation in MLMs boomed during the pandemic with 7.7 million Americans working for one in 2020, a 13 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Direct Selling Association, the trade and lobbying group for the MLM industry. Wellness products make up the majority of MLM products, and, as the Federal Trade Commission noted, some direct sellers took advantage of a rush toward so-called natural remedies during the pandemic to boost sales.

More than 99 percent of MLM sellers lose money, according to the Consumer Awareness Institute, an industry watchdog group. But according to social media posts, BOO’s business was booming. In selfies and videos posted to Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, women lather BOO on their faces and soak their feet in sludge-filled pasta pots while, they claim, the money rolls in.

Black Oxygen Organics’ compensation plan, like most MLMs, is convoluted. According to their company handbook, sellers, called “brand partners,” can earn income in two distinct ways: through retail commissions on bags of BOO they sell, and through recruiting other sellers, from which they earn additional commission and bonuses. The more recruits a seller brings in, the more quickly the seller rises in the ranks — there are 10 titles in the company, from brand partner to director to CEO, with compensation packages growing along the way.

A common strategy for MLM participants, including BOO sellers, is to create Facebook groups to collaborate and attract new customers.

“I earned $21,000 in bonuses in my first 5 weeks!” one post read. “I am a single mom, 1 income family, this business was the best decision!!!”

Black Oxygen Organics’ vice president of business development, Ron Montaruli, described the craze in September, telling distributors on a Zoom call viewed by NBC News that the company had attracted 21,000 sellers and 38,000 new customers. Within the last six months, sales had rocketed from $200,000 a month to nearly $4 million, Montaruli said, referring to a chart that showed the same. (Attempts to reach Montaruli were unsuccessful.)

Facts around the company’s actual income are as hazy as the mud it sells, but the secret to dealing dirt seems to be Facebook, where sellers have created dozens of individual groups that have attracted a hodgepodge of hundreds of thousands of members.

The largest BOO Facebook groups, including one with over 97,000 members, are led mostly by MLM jumpers, the term for people who sell a range of MLM products. The groups have also attracted more general alternative health consumers, as well as people seemingly suffering from delusional parasitosis, a condition characterized by the misguided belief that one’s body is being overrun by parasites. Users in these groups mimic activity in anti-parasite internet groups by dosing according to phases of the moon and posting photos of dirty water from foot baths or human waste from toilets asking others to identify a mystery worm.

Facebook did not respond to requests for comment on the BOO groups or whether their claims violated the company’s content policies.

User testimonials about the Black Oxygen Organic dirt posted to social media. (Obtained by NBC News)

In the last several months, the groups have seen a rise in members from anti-vaccine and Covid-denial communities, including prominent activists who sell the product to raise funds for anti-vaccine efforts.

A profile of one top seller featured in BOO’s semiregular glossy magazine, “The Bog,” noted that Covid had drawn more people to the industry.

“It’s been kind of a blessing,” the seller said.

While it undoubtedly attracted sales and built teams, Facebook also created a unique problem for Black Oxygen Organics: Those testimonials might have violated federal law that requires efficacy claims be substantiated by “competent and reliable scientific evidence.” They also attracted attention, not only from customers, but from health professionals, regulatory agencies and a group BOO executives have dubbed “the haters.”

After a summer of unbridled success, the internet backlash began.

The rise of MLMs online prompted criticism from some people who have created informal activist groups to bring awareness to what they say are the predatory practices of MLM companies and organized campaigns to disrupt specific businesses. Many of the groups use the same social media techniques to organize their responses.

Online activists who oppose MLMs formed Facebook groups targeting BOO for its claims. Members of these groups infiltrated the BOO community, signing up as sellers, joining pro-BOO groups, and attending BOO sales meetings, then reporting back what they had seen to the group. They posted videos of the company meetings and screenshots from the private BOO sales groups and urged members to file official complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.

YouTube creators made videos debunking BOO peddlers’ most outrageous claims, ridiculing BOO executives and making public recordings of the private company meetings.

Image: Ceara Manchester (Courtesy of Ceara Manchester)

Ceara Manchester, a stay-at-home mother in Pompano Beach, Florida, helps run one of the largest anti-BOO Facebook groups, “Boo is Woo.” Manchester, 34, has spent the last four years monitoring predatory MLMs — or “cults,” in her view — and posting to multiple social media accounts and groups dedicated to “exposing” Black Oxygen Organics.

“The health claims, I had never seen them that bad,” Manchester said. “Just the sheer amount. Every single post was like, ‘cancer, Covid, diabetes, autism.’”

“I don’t feel like people are stupid,” Manchester said of the people who purchased and even sold BOO. “I think that they’re desperate or vulnerable, or they’ve been preyed upon, and you get somebody to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this product that cures everything.’ You know when you’re desperate like that you might listen.”

The mudman

Black Oxygen Organics is the brainchild of Marc Saint-Onge, a 59-year-old entrepreneur from Casselman, Ontario. Saint-Onge, BOO’s founder and CEO, did not respond to calls, texts, emails or direct messages.

But decades of interviews in local press and more recently on social media offer some details about Saint-Onge, or, as he likes to be called, “the mudman.”

Saint-Onge describes himself as an orthotherapist, naturopath, kinesitherapist, reiki master, holistic practitioner, herbalist and aromatherapist. As he said in a video posted to YouTube that has since been made private, his love of mud began as a child, chasing bullfrogs around Ontario bogs. Years later, he went on to practice orthotherapy, a kind of advanced massage technique, to treat pain. He said he packaged dirt from a local bog, branches and leaves included, in zip-lock baggies and gave them to his “patients,” who demanded the mud faster than he could scoop it.

Saint-Onge said he was charged by Canadian authorities with practicing medicine without a license in 1989 and fined $20,000.

“Then my clinic went underground,” he said on a recent podcast.

He has sold mud in some form since the early 1990s. Health Canada, the government regulator responsible for public health, forced him to pull an early version of his mud product, then called the “Anti-Rheuma Bath,” according to a 1996 article in The Calgary Herald, because Saint-Onge marketed it to treat arthritis and rheumatism without any proof to substantiate the claims. Saint-Onge also claimed his mud could heal wounds, telling an Ottawa Citizen reporter in 2012 that his mud compress healed the leg of a man who had suffered an accident with a power saw, saving it from amputation.

“The doctor said it was the antibiotics,” he said. “But we believe it was the mud.”

In the ‘90s Saint-Onge began selling his mud bath under the “Golden Moor” label, which he did until he realized a dream, “a way to do a secret little extraction,” in his words, that would make the dirt dissolve in water. In 2015, with the founding of his company NuWTR, which would later turn into Black Oxygen Organics, Saint-Onge said he finally invented a dirt people could drink.

In 2016, he began selling himself as a business coach, and his personal website boasted of his worth: “I sell mud in a bottle,” he wrote. “Let me teach you to sell anything.”

The troubles

In September, Montaruli, BOO’s vice president, led a corporate call to address the Facebook groups and what he called “the compliance situation.”

“Right now, it’s scary,” Montaruli said in a Zoom call posted publicly, referring to the outlandish claims made by some of BOO’s sellers. “In 21 years, I have never seen anything like this. Never.”

“These outrageous claims, and I’m not even sure if outrageous is bad enough, are obviously attracting the haters, giving them more fuel for the fire, and potential government officials.”

Montaruli called for “a reset,” telling BOO sellers to delete the pages and groups and start over again.

One slide suggested alternatives for 14 popular BOO uses, including switching terms like ADHD to “trouble concentrating,” and “prevents heart attack” to “maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.”

Screenshot of a Facebook post about the Black Oxygen Organics dirt.
(Obtained by NBC News)

And so in September, the Facebook groups evolved — many went private, most changed their names from BOO to “fulvic acid,” and the pinned testimonials from customers claiming miracle cures were wiped clean, tweaked or edited to add a disclaimer absolving the company from any liability.

But that wasn’t the end of the company’s troubles. While individual sellers navigated their new compliance waters, regulatory agencies cracked down.

Days after Montaruli’s call, Health Canada announced a recall of Black Oxygen Organics tablets and powders, citing “potential health risks which may be higher for children, adolescents, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.” Further, the regulatory agency noted, “The products are being promoted in ways and for uses that have not been evaluated and authorized by Health Canada.”

“Stop taking these products,” the announcement advised.

Inventory for U.S. customers had already been hard to come by. In private groups, sellers claimed the product had sold out, but in the company-wide call, Montaruli confirmed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was holding its products at the border.

Jeremy Kahn, an FDA spokesperson, declined to comment.

Saint-Onge did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News. Phone messages and emails sent by a reporter to the company, its executives and its legal counsel were not returned.

What’s in BOO?

BOO is not the only dirt-like health supplement on the market. Consumers have the option of dozens of products — in drops, tablets, powders and pastes — that claim to provide the healing power of fulvic and humic acid.

Fulvic and humic acids have been used in traditional and folk medicines for centuries, and do exhibit antibacterial qualities in large quantities. But there is little scientific evidence to support the kinds of claims made by BOO sellers, according to Brian Bennett, a professor of physics at Marquette University who has studied fulvic and humic acids as a biochemist.

“I would say it’s snake oil,” Bennett said. “There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that a pharmaceutical based on the characteristics of this material might actually work, but I think eating handfuls of soil probably doesn’t.”

Beyond the questions of the health benefits of fulvic acid, there’s the question of just what is in Black Oxygen Organics’ product.

The company’s most recent certificate of analysis, a document meant to show what a product is made of and in what amounts, was posted by sellers this year. Reporting the product makeup as mostly fulvic acid and Vitamin C, the report comes from 2017 and doesn’t list a lab, or even a specific test. NBC News spoke to six environmental scientists, each of whom expressed skepticism at the quality of BOO’s certificate.

Assuming the company-provided analysis was correct, two of the scientists confirmed that just two servings of BOO exceeded Health Canada’s daily limits for lead, and three servings — a dose recommended on the package — approached daily arsenic limits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no comparable daily guidelines.

In an effort to verify BOO’s analysis, NBC News procured a bag and sent it to Nicholas Basta, a professor of soil and environmental science at Ohio State University.

The BOO product was analyzed for the presence of heavy metals at Ohio State’s Trace Element Research Laboratory. Results from that test were similar to the company’s 2017 certificate, finding two doses per day exceeded Health Canada’s limit for lead, and three doses for daily arsenic amounts.

Growing concern among BOO sellers about the product — precipitated by an anti-MLM activist who noticed on Google Earth that the bog that sourced BOO’s peat appeared to share a border with a landfill — pushed several to take matters into their own hands, sending bags of BOO to labs for testing.

The results of three of these tests, viewed by NBC News and confirmed as seemingly reliable by two soil scientists at U.S. universities, again showed elevated levels of lead and arsenic.

Those results are the backbone of a federal lawsuit seeking class action status filed in November in Georgia’s Northern District court. The complaint, filed on behalf of four Georgia residents who purchased BOO, claims that the company negligently sold a product with “dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals,” which led to physical and economic harm.

Black Oxygen Organics did not respond to requests for comment concerning the complaint.

Screenshots of user testimonials about the Black Oxygen Organics dirt. (Obtained by NBC News)

‘A heavy heart’

The lawsuit hit at an inopportune time, just as the company had “reformulated” its products and added a new label on the powder that now specifies the product is “not for human consumption.”

“Things are starting to settle a little bit,” BOO executive Montaruli said in a video meeting explaining a change from tablet to capsules and a relabeling of the powder.

The powder is “strictly for cosmetics,” Saint-Onge said on the call, a recording of which was shared with NBC News by an attendee.

In the BOO groups, the company’s sellers were undeterred.

“You can continue to use the powder as you choose in your own home,” the admin of one Facebook group wrote to members announcing the product update. “Know that it is the same powder.”

“We cannot TECHNICALLY tell customers to use the product internally,” Adam Ringham, a “Royal Diamond CEO” (BOO’s highest seller title), told his group. “WE CAN HOWEVER — tell them that the powder is THE EXACT SAME as before … ”

Ringham did not return requests for comment.

Just as the BOO sellers were planning their Black Friday sales, the rug was pulled out from them again, this time, seemingly, for good.

Two days before Thanksgiving, an email landed in the inboxes of BOO customers and sellers.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the immediate closing of Black Oxygen Organics,” it read. Details in the note were sparse, but Black Oxygen executives and employees offered an explanation in company Zoom meetings that afternoon.

According to BOO President Carlo Garibaldi, they had weathered the FTC complaints, the FDA seizures, the Health Canada recalls and the online mob. But the “fatal blow” came when their online merchant dropped them as clients.

With no actual product in stock for the last two months, sellers had been urging customers to “preorder” BOO. Now, the throng of customers responding to the nonconsumable “reformulation” by asking for their money back had spooked their payment processor.

“This is our baby,” Garibaldi said, flashing his Black Oxygen elbow tattoo to the screen. “We needed this to go on forever.”

Saint-Onge appeared briefly, holding his head in his hands. “This was my limit,” he said.

Members of anti-BOO groups celebrated.

“WE DID IT!!!!!!” Manchester, the group administrator, posted to the “Boo is Woo” Facebook group. “I hope this is proof positive that if the anti-MLM community bans together we can take these companies down. We won’t stop with just BOO. A new age of anti-MLM activism has just begun.”

In a separate Zoom meeting unattended by executives and shared with NBC News, lower-rung sellers grappled with the sudden closure and the reality that they were out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

“I am three weeks to a month away from having a baby and I’ve been depending on this money to arrive in my bank account,” one seller said through tears. “It’s the only income we have.”

The future of BOO is uncertain. Tens of thousands of bags remain in warehouses, according to Black Oxygen executives. Sellers are unlikely to receive orders, refunds or commissions. The federal lawsuit will continue, Matt Wetherington, the Georgia lawyer behind the proposed class action lawsuit, said.

But in the land of MLMs, failure is just another opportunity. Saint-Onge may have walked away from this cohort of customers, but for those who sold it, BOO was more than just a product; it was a way of believing. Now, the thousands of BOO acolytes still convening in BOO Facebook groups are funneling into a new Facebook group, named “The Solution,” and turning their outstretched hands toward a new direct-sales company, one that BOO’s top sellers claim offers an even purer fulvic acid product and a colloidal silver as well.

“Thanks for all your continued support,” The Solution’s admins wrote in a welcome post. “Moving forward is all we can do.”

The Witches are Coming, by Lindy West

Some time ago, a preview of this book appeared in various places around the internet; reddit, Twitter, and a few others. I encountered it, and knew at once that this is a book I would need to own and read. And I was right.

The excerpt reads as follows:

My husband plays the trumpet, which is a sort of loud pretzel originally invented to blow down the walls of fucking Jericho and, later, to let Civil War soldiers know it was time to kill each other in a river while you chilled eating pigeon in your officer’s tent twenty miles away, yet somehow, in modern times, it has become socially acceptable to toot the bad cone inside your house before 10:00 a.m. because “it’s your job” and your wife should “get up.” What a world! If one was feeling uncharitable, one might describe the trumpet as a machine where you put in compressed air and divorce comes out, but despite this—despite operating a piece of biblical demolition equipment inside the home every bright, cold morning of his wife’s one and only life—the trumpet is not the most annoying thing about my husband.

West, Lindy, The Witches Are Coming

Once I had read the book, I felt morally obligated to leave a review at Amazon, if for nothing else than to give this beautiful collection of essays a signal boost. This is a cross-post of that review, with a bit of amplification.


A witty, acerbic, and irreverent look at sexism in the 21st Century (and other critical issues that are crying out to be addressed).

Make no mistake, this book will resonate with women… but it’s a book for men. We as those who hold supreme privilege in our society by simple roll-of-the-dice virtue of having a Y chromosome cannot be allies in the fight for gender equality (indeed, for human equality) – we must be the frontline warriors.

We can no more expect women to overcome misogyny than we can expect people of color to overcome racism. The problem is not them; the problem is us. Until people like Donald J. Trump and those who think like him can be rendered irrelevant or educated (and doing either will be an Augean task, if even possible), writers and influencers like Ms. West can continue to publish and speak and agitate, but they must become the rear guard. It is up to men to take up the cause and win the war.

At the age of 70, I do not expect to see a bloodsoaked fatal flawless victory in my lifetime, but battles are being won.

The #MeToo movement and its consequences are just one example. But that’s still a sortie in the war, waged by the oppressed minority. Do you wonder why there are so many “strident” feminists out there?¹ It’s because their stridency is the moral equivalent of the Watts riots and so many subsequent outbreaks of violence by people of color who have been enslaved, oppressed, lynched, sidelined, and minimized for over 400 years. Read up on history and you’ll see that women have been waging a battle for equality for just as long, if not longer.

Men, buy this book and read it. Then think about it, and read it again. Despite its biting humor and delicious writing, it’s not a book to entertain or amuse. It should be a textbook for anyone who wants to understand why the problem of misogyny is so rampant, and what needs to be done moving forward.


I’ve written about racism before. For all the talk about Critcal Race Theory, (an academic theory that is not being taught in K-12 schools, no matter what Tucker Carlson may be telling you), white America needs to face the fact that racism is real, and rampant, and deeply ingrained in our society.

But in all honesty, there should be a Critical Gender Theory as well. Donald Trump and his “locker room talk,” Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and so many others bear not mute but loud and blatant testimony that for far too many men, women are still less-than: objects to be used, property to be managed. Ms. West’s book offers few real solutions to the issue. She’s loud and funny and sharp and biting, and shows in delicious prose where our society has gone wrong and how much there is to do, but in the end analysis it will be up to the faction in power (read: men) to make the difference.

Fixing Hollywood and the media would be a good place to start, but I honestly don’t hold out much hope for that in the short run. As long as there are dollars to be made by depicting women as pliant sex toys in drama and advertising, nothing short of the zombie apocalypse will get entertainment and advertising moguls to wise up.

In the meantime: Men, read this book. It’s not just the pathetic moanings of a whiny liberal feminist; it’s an unashamed accounting of what women in general have to face on a daily basis. If you, by the grace of God, get a sense that maybe you’re part of the problem even without wanting to be, this is a good place to start as I mentioned in my other post on racism:

It won’t be easy, but it has to be done.

(And if you care about the climate and the impending destruction of our global environment which we may not have any way to reverse, you should read this book as well.)

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Footnotes

¹ You might also be interested in watching Ms. West’s Shrill, a 2019 Emmy Award-nominated drama about a woman who seeks out ways to change her life without changing her body.

The Great Resignation

From a Tweet thread posted on 1 November, 2021 by Kurt Eichenwald ¹

Sharing because it needs sharing.

“The Great Resignation” is not about people not wanting to work. It is about a dawning recognition that, for a larger and larger portion of this country, the American dream is dead, and with it, the inspiration of working toward a better future for oneself. Instead, work becomes not the means towards reaching an aspiration – a spouse, children, a home, vacations, personal growth, a retirement. Instead, the greed culture has turned work for millions into just a means of survival, with wages stagnant, healthcare unaffordable, insurance treated as a luxury, paid free time an impossibility, children unaffordable, homes a dream. Yes, work is important – but not without the promise of a future. Many young people see nothing but 40 years of the same, further enriching the obscenely rich. This system has taught people how to survive without, because they don’t believe they will ever have. If they reasonably don’t believe they will ever be able to afford a house or to raise children, and never will have group insurance or a paid vacation, and can make it living with their parents, and have already been taught by McResources (real thing) and Walmart how to apply for Food Stamps and Medicaid because those multibillion dollar corporations know they don’t pay enough for their employees to survive, and are already getting those benefits, and have the choice of just saying “forget it, im going to work on my painting or sewing or whatever, I am tired of being abused by my supervisor, I am tired of being screamed at by customers for things out of my control, I am tired of watching adults throw temper tantrums and then being [bawled] out by my company because I could have handled it better. I can survive without all of this. I can be happier without all of this. I am paid so little, my life won’t be that different.”

THAT is why we have the Great Resignation. Because we, the Boomers have endlessly sucked up the capital that could go down to the younger generations to enrich ourselves, then pushed down the debt. Entry level jobs that can be done with a high school education now demand college degrees, PLUS unpaid internship experience. So, to do most anything with the possibility of a future, younger generations have to go to college. But to do it, they have to load up on debt. Then we sneer at them when they talk about how their terrible wages and horrible debt make home buying etc. impossible. Oh sure, the children of ..the rich are fine. And their parents sneer “maybe stop buying avocado toast” as if a single pleasure in life equals the cost of a home. All of this starts and stops with greed and corporations. Pay more, and stop pulling up the ladder. Not all jobs need college degrees.

Many years ago, I interviewed Bill Clark, then the National Security Advisor under Reagan. After the interview, I asked him some background, and asked what college he got his degree from. Sheepishly, he said he didnt. Only had a high school degree. Thats the 1980s – the National Security Advisor for the President of the United States had only a high school education. But I will bet anything, to be the social media voice at Wendy’s, no matter how funny you are, you have to be a college graduate with internships in social media etc etc. Not all jobs need college degrees. Companies need to stop requiring them for jobs that don’t. And they need to start paying fair wages. And treating people like human beings.

People never wanted to “work.” They wanted to invest their effort toward living a better life. And if work doesn’t do that, if work merely makes life worse to people who have been taught how to survive without wages so that McDonalds and Walmart et al can shift their  wage costs onto taxpayers, then a Great Resignation was inevitable.

Footnotes

¹ Kurt Alexander Eichenwald (born June 28, 1961) is an American journalist and a New York Times bestselling author of five books, one of which, The Informant (2000), was made into a motion picture in 2009. Formerly he was a senior writer and investigative reporter with The New York Times, Condé Nast’s business magazine, Portfolio, and later was a contributing editor with Vanity Fair and a senior writer with Newsweek. Eichenwald had been employed by The New York Times since 1986 and primarily covered Wall Street and corporate topics such as insider trading, accounting scandals, and takeovers, but also wrote about a range of issues including terrorism, the Bill Clinton pardon controversy, Federal health care policy, and sexual predators on the Internet. (Wikipedia)

Those days were not so nice.

Found this at a Facebook group dedicated to outstanding illustration.

The picture is beautiful. The colonialist sentiment, not so much. But that was Kipling’s day.

I recall with both amusement and horror browsing in a used bookstore somewhere (I think it was San Francisco), and coming across an English-Hindustani phrasebook written for British soldiers billeted in India. I swear on a stack of Bibles I’m not making this up: One of the phrases was, “You black bastard, you call these boots 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛?” I wish I had bought it, just so I could get past the “pix or it didn’t happen” crowd, but I remember being (even in the ’90s) rocked to my very core to find something like that. 😳

We have come a long way. But we still have a very long way to go.

Critical Race Theory is very simple, but because of political (and prejudicial) undercurrents in certain segments of our society, it is widely misunderstood and misrepresented.

The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Formerly Disgracing the Oval Office is quoted as having said,

“Students in our universities are inundated with critical race theory. This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed.”

45’s Remarks at White House History Conference, September 17, 2020

This is not Critical Race Theory. It is pushback from a white supremacist world view, trying to make something important and human into something frightening and oppressive.

To teach that racism is still baked into our social system, and to serve as a catalyst for change toward a more equal and representative system (in other words, to make America the land of equality and equal opportunity that it has long trumpeted itself to be) is the most peaceful and human thing I could imagine.

Children – and adults – need to understand and see where and how racism operates to perpetuate the lie of Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, to the effect that:

“Our new government[‘s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”[2]

For the most part, we have come past the days when black people could be lynched by white mobs with impunity. But if you read the news, it’s hard to ignore the fact that racism and outright homicide is still endemic in many of the police forces of our nation.

George Floyd’s homicide was widely publicized, but in terms of endemic racism, it’s only the most current tip of the iceberg.

This is not OK, and no amount of pearl-clutching and flag-wrapped pushback or “blue lives matter” wailing can make it so.

But it’s not just policing and inequity in incarceration and a failed drug war and an oppression campaign pushed by the Nixon administration. Racism touches almost everything in obvious and not so obvious ways.

  • Access to equal housing.
  • Access to equal financing.
  • Access to equal education.
  • Access to equal employment.
  • Access to equal relationships.
  • Access to equal voting privileges.
  • And the list goes on.

Racism taints it all. If you’re black, or brown, or yellow – you and your ancestry have certainly encountered this, and continue to do so, in myriad ways that would not even be evident to someone born and raised in white privilege unless they have made a concerted effort to be aware of history.

America is not a wicked country, or a Marxist country, and Critical Race Theory doesn’t make any attempt to paint it as such. America is a human country – filled with brave and noble men and women who strove to make it a great nation for all. But it’s also a country that made mistakes, some of which have echoes which continue to ripple down to the present day. And it’s those mistakes that people of good will seek to recognize, and enshrine in our official chronicles, and remediate in the fastest and best way possible.

I applaud the idea.

This is not a matter of debate. It’s a reality. Those who have eyes to see will see, and do their best to make a difference.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

A brutal summary of Trump’s Presidency

A tweet from Ethical American (@AmericanEthical) which deserves to be read and shared widely.

Edit: A comment made me aware that Ethical American is not the original author, but: Redditor u/techsinger posted it because the original author encouraged people to share it widely. Redditor u/GaterMachetteSr then posted it to r/copypasta. Hence Ethical American was reposting with implicit permission, rather than stealing it. I’m still trying to track down the OP for attribution.

Edit 2: The earliest instance of this that I’ve found was by user paddyC at the politics.ie forum, dated 16 Feb 2021. Still trying to determine if sir or madam is the original author.

Only slightly bowdlerized for a family-friendly audience.

Click to view the original thread.

For what it’s worth, every one of the items listed here has been documented with painful clarity. This isn’t “fake news.” This is the real deal.


I owe my Trump-supporting friends an apology.  I’ve been critical of the Trump presidency these last four years and am still exhausted from the experience. But to be fair President Trump wasn’t that bad, other than when he:

• incited an insurrection against the government
• mismanaged a pandemic that killed nearly half a million Americans
• separated children from their families
• lost those children in the bureaucracy
• tear-gassed peaceful protesters on Lafayette Square so he could hold a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church
• tried to block all Muslims from entering the country
• got impeached
• got impeached again
• had the worst jobs record of any president in modern history
• pressured Ukraine to dig dirt on Joe Biden
• fired the FBI director for investigating his ties to Russia
• bragged about firing the FBI director on TV
• took Vladimir Putin’s word over the US intelligence community
• diverted military funding to build his wall
• caused the longest government shutdown in US history
• called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate”
• lied over 30,000 times
• banned transgender people from serving in the military
• ejected reporters from the White House briefing room who asked tough questions
• vetoed the defense funding bill because it renamed military bases named for Confederate soldiers
• refused to release his tax returns
• increased the national debt by nearly $8 trillion
• had three of the highest annual trade deficits in U.S. history
• called veterans and soldiers who died in combat losers and suckers
• coddled the leader of Saudi Arabia after he ordered the execution and dismembering of a US-based journalist
• refused to concede the 2020 election
• hired his unqualified daughter and son-in-law to work in the White House
• walked out of an interview with Lesley Stahl
• called neo-Nazis “very fine people”
• suggested that people should inject bleach into their bodies to fight COVID
• abandoned our allies the Kurds to Turkey
• pushed through massive tax cuts for the wealthiest but balked at helping working Americans
• incited anti-lockdown protestors in several states at the height of the pandemic
• withdrew the US from the Paris climate accords
• withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear deal
• withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed to block China’s advances
• insulted his own Cabinet members on Twitter
• pushed the leader of Montenegro out of the way during a photo op
• failed to reiterate US commitment to defending NATO allies
• called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries
• called the city of Baltimore the “worst in the nation”
• claimed that he single handedly brought back the phrase “Merry Christmas” even though it hadn’t gone anywhere
• forced his Cabinet members to praise him publicly like some cult leader
• believed he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
• berated and belittled his hand-picked Attorney General when he recused himself from the Russia probe
• suggested the US should buy Greenland
• colluded with Mitch McConnell to push through federal judges and two Supreme Court
• justices after supporting efforts to prevent his predecessor from appointing judges
• repeatedly called the media “enemies of the people”
• claimed that if we tested fewer people for COVID we’d have fewer cases
• violated the emoluments clause
• thought that Nambia was a country
• told Bob Woodward in private that the coronavirus was a big deal but then downplayed it in public
• called his exceedingly faithful vice president a “pussy” for following the Constitution
• nearly got us into a war with Iran after threatening them by tweet
• nominated a corrupt head of the EPA
• nominated a corrupt head of HHS
• nominated a corrupt head of the Interior Department
• nominated a corrupt head of the USDA
• praised dictators and authoritarians around the world while criticizing allies
• refused to allow the presidential transition to begin
• insulted war hero John McCain – even after his death
• spent an obscene amount of time playing golf after criticizing Barack Obama for playing (far less) golf while president
• falsely claimed that he won the 2016 popular vote
• called the Muslim mayor of London a “stone cold loser”
• falsely claimed that he turned down being Time’s Man of the Year
• considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller on several occasions
• mocked wearing face masks to guard against transmitting COVID
• locked Congress out of its constitutional duty to confirm Cabinet officials by hiring acting ones
• used a racist dog whistle by calling COVID the “China virus”
• hired and associated with numerous shady figures that were eventually convicted
• of federal offenses including his campaign manager and national security adviser
• pardoned several of his shady associates
• gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two congressman who amplified his [ ] crazy conspiracy theories
• got into telephone fight with the leader of Australia
• had a Secretary of State who called him a moron
• forced his press secretary to claim without merit that his was the largest inauguration crowd in history
• botched the COVID vaccine rollout
• tweeted so much dangerous propaganda that Twitter eventually banned him
• charged the Secret Service jacked-up rates at his properties
• constantly interrupted Joe Biden in their first presidential debate
• claimed that COVID would “magically” disappear
• called a U.S. Senator “Pocahontas”
• used his Twitter account to blast Nordstrom when it stopped selling Ivanka’s merchandise
• opened up millions of pristine federal lands to development and drilling
• got into a losing tariff war with China that forced US taxpayers to bail out farmers
• claimed that his losing tariff war was a win for the US
• ignored or didn’t even take part in daily intelligence briefings
• blew off honoring American war dead in France because it was raining
• redesigned Air Force One to look like the Trump Shuttle
• got played by Kim Jong Un and his “love letters”
• threatened to go after social media companies in clear violation of the Constitution
• botched the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
• threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans when he finally visited them
• pressured the governor and secretary of state of Georgia to “find” him votes
• thought that the Virgin islands had a President
• drew on a map with a Sharpie to justify his inaccurate tweet that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane
• allowed White House staff to use personal email accounts for official businesses after blasting Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing
• rolled back regulations that protected the public from mercury and asbestos
• pushed regulators to waste time studying snake-oil remedies for COVID
• rolled back regulations that stopped coal companies from dumping waste into rivers
• held blatant campaign rallies at the White House
• tried to take away millions of Americans’ health insurance because the law was named for a Black man
• refused to attend his successors’ inauguration
• nominated the worst Education Secretary in history
• threatened judges who didn’t do what he wanted
• attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci
• promised that Mexico would pay for the wall (it didn’t)
• allowed political hacks to overrule government scientists on major reports on climate change and other issues
• struggled navigating a ramp after claiming his opponent was feeble
• called an African-American Congresswoman “low IQ”
• threatened to withhold federal aid from states and cities with Democratic leaders
• went ahead with rallies filled with maskless supporters in the middle of a
• pandemic
• claimed that legitimate investigations of his wrongdoing were “witch hunts”
• seemed to demonstrate a belief that there were airports during the American Revolution
• demanded “total loyalty” from the FBI director
• praised a conspiracy theory that Democrats are Satanic pedophiles
• completely gutted the Voice of America
• placed a political hack in charge of the Postal Service
• claimed without evidence that the Obama administration bugged Trump Tower
• suggested that the US should allow more people from places like Norway into the country
• suggested that COVID wasn’t that bad because he recovered with the help of top government doctors and treatments not available to the public
• overturned energy conservation standards that even industry supported
• reduced the number of refugees the US accepts
• insulted various members of Congress and the media with infantile nicknames
• gave Rush Limbaugh a Presidential medal of Freedom at the State of the Union address
• named as head of federal personnel a 29-year old who’d previously been fired from the White House for allegations of financial improprieties
• eliminated the White House office of pandemic response
• used soldiers as campaign props
• fired any advisor who made the mistake of disagreeing with him
• demanded the Pentagon throw him a Soviet-style military parade
• hired a [] ton of white nationalists
• politicized the civil service
• did absolutely nothing after Russia hacked US
• falsely said the Boy Scouts called him to say his bizarre Jamboree speech was the best speech ever given to the Scouts
• claimed that Black people would overrun the suburbs if Biden won
• insulted reporters of color
• insulted women reporters
• insulted women reporters of color
• suggested he was fine with China’s oppression of the Uighurs
• attacked the Supreme Court when it ruled against him
• summoned Pennsylvania state legislative leaders to the White House to pressure them to overturn the election
• spent countless hours every day watching Fox News
• refused to allow his administration to comply with Congressional subpoenas
• hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer
• tried to punish Amazon because the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post wrote negative stories about him
• acted as if the Attorney General of the United States was his personal attorney
• attempted to get the federal government to defend him in a libel lawsuit from a women who accused him of sexual assault
• held private meetings with Vladimir Putin without staff present
• didn’t disclose his private meetings with Vladimir Putin so that the US had to find out via Russian media
• stopped holding press briefings for months at a time
• “ordered” US companies to leave China even though he has no such power
• led a political party that couldn’t even be bothered to draft a policy platform
• claimed preposterously that Article II of the Constitution gave him absolute powers
• tried to pressure the U.K. to hold the British Open at his golf course
• suggested that the government nuke hurricanes
• suggested that wind turbines cause cancer
• said that he had a special aptitude for science
• fired the head of election cyber security after he said that the 2020 election was secure
• blurted out classified information to Russian officials
• tried to force the G7 to hold their meeting at his failing golf resort in Florida
• fired the acting attorney general when she refused to go along with his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban
• hired Stephen Miller
• openly discussed national security issues in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago where everyone could hear them
• interfered with plans to relocate the FBI because a new development there might compete with his hotel
• abandoned Iraqi refugees who’d helped the U.S. during the war
• tried to get Russia back into the G7
• held a COVID super spreader event in the Rose Garden
• seemed to believe that Frederick Douglass is still alive
• lost 60 election fraud cases in court including before judges he had nominated
• falsely claimed that factories were reopening when they weren’t
• shamelessly exploited terror attacks in Europe to justify his anti-immigrant policies
• still hasn’t come up with a healthcare plan
• still hasn’t come up with an infrastructure plan despite repeated “Infrastructure”
• forced Secret Service agents to drive him around Walter Reed while contagious with COVID
• told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”
• [botched] the Census
• withdrew the U.S. from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic
• did so few of his duties that his press staff were forced to state on his daily schedule “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings”
• allowed his staff to repeatedly violate the Hatch Act
• seemed not to know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican
• stood before sacred CIA wall of heroes and bragged about his election win
• constantly claimed he was treated worse than any president which presumably includes four that were assassinated and his predecessor
• whose legitimacy and birthplace were challenged by a racist reality TV show star named Donald Trump
• claimed Andrew Jackson could’ve stopped the Civil War even though he died 16 years before it happened
• said that any opinion poll showing him behind was fake
• claimed that other countries laughed at us before he became president when several world leaders were literally laughing at him
• claimed that the military was out of ammunition before he became President
• created a commission to whitewash American history
• retweeted anti-Islam videos from one of the most racist people in Britain
• claimed ludicrously that the Pulse nightclub shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone there had a gun even though there was an armed security guard there
• hired a senior staffer who cited the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre as a reason to ban Muslims
• had a press secretary who claimed that Nazi Germany never used chemical weapons even though every sane human being knows they used gas to kill millions of Jews and others
• bilked the Secret Service for higher than market rates when they had to stay at Trump properties
• apparently sold pardons on his way out of the White House
• stripped protective status from 59,000 Haitians
• falsely claimed Biden wanted to defund the police
• said that the head of the CDC didn’t know what he was talking about
• tried to rescind protection from DREAMers
• gave himself an A+ for his handling of the pandemic
• tried to start a boycott of Goodyear tires due to an Internet hoax
• said U.S. rates of COVID would be lower if you didn’t count blue states
• deported U.S. veterans who served their country but were undocumented
• claimed he did more for African Americans than any president since Lincoln
• touted a “super-duper” secret “hydrosonic” missile which may or may not be a new “hypersonic” missile or may not exist at all
• retweeted a gif calling Biden a pedophile
• forced through security clearances for his family
• suggested that police officers should rough up suspects
• suggested that Biden was on performance-enhancing drugs
• tried to stop transgender students from being able to use school bathrooms in line with their gender
• suggested the US not accept COVID patients from  a cruise ship because it would make US numbers look higher
• nominated a climate change sceptic to chair the committee advising the White House on environmental policy
• retweeted a video doctored to look like Biden had played a song called “[F] tha Police” at a campaign event
• hugged a disturbingly large number of U.S. flags
• accused Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his State of the Union address
• claimed that the FBI failed to capture the Parkland school shooter because they were “spending too much time” on Russia
• mocked the testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault
• obsessed over low-flow toilets
• ordered the rerelease of more COVID vaccines when there weren’t any to release
• called for the construction of a bizarre garden of heroes with statutes of famous dead Americans as well as at least one Canadian (Alex Trebek)
• hijacked Washington’s July 4th celebrations to give a partisan speech
• took advice from the MyPillow guy
• claimed that migrants seeking a better life in the US were dangerous caravans of drug dealers and rapists
• said nothing when Vladimir Putin poisoned a leading opposition
• never seemed to heed the advice of his wife’s “Be Best” campaign
• falsely claimed that mail-in voting is fraudulent
• announced a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Syria which not only handed Russia and ISIS a win but also prompted his defense secretary
• to resign in protest
• insulted the leader of Canada
• insulted the leader of France
• insulted the leader of Britain
• insulted the leader of Germany
• insulted the leader of Sweden
• falsely claimed credit for getting NATO members to increase their share of dues
• blew off two Asia summits even though they were held virtually
• continued lying about spending lots of time at Ground Zero with 9/11 responders
• said that the Japanese would sit back and watch their “Sony televisions” if the US were ever attacked
• left a NATO summit early in a huff
• stared directly into an eclipse even though everyone over the age of 5 knows not to do that
• called himself a very stable genius despite significant evidence to the contrary
• refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and kept his promise
• and a whole bunch of other things I can’t remember at the moment.

• But other than that…

If there is any justice in the world, they will be.

Oh, and don’t forget when he

• evilly mocked a disabled reporter¹
• told America that if he didn’t win in 2020 the election was rigged
• insisted that he won the 2020 election (The Big Lie)
• incited a mob of followers to attack the Capitol on January 6th, and promised that he would be there with them (he wasn’t)
• watched with glee as the events of January 6th unfolded
• continues to this date to insist that the election was stolen and that he is the legitimate president of the United States

The Old Wolf has spoken


Footnotes

¹ Of all the horrors that The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Formerly Disgracing the Oval Office perpetrated upon America, this is the one which early on showed me that he is nothing but a cruel, pathologically-motivated third-grade schoolyard bully from a terminally-corrupt family, one who should never have been allowed within 10,000 miles of any seat of government or power or influence.

Plane Accident – Happy Ending

Cross-posted from LiveJournal 4/28/2021

Occasionally on the Interwebs one comes across rather sensational photos. I’ve seen this one in numerous places, with a caption like “Tragic accident caught at the moment of death,” or some such.

It always disturbed me, just because it was so poignant, and I could only imagine the terror of the two pilots as they augered their plane into the ground at 150 MPH or whatever.

Well, guess what? It was an accident, and it was unfortunate, but no loss of life was sustained. The nosewheel collapsed on landing, leading to a spectacular flip, but no deaths.

Click Here to view the photo in full size.

Uff da!

Fortunately, things are not always as they seem, and it always pays to do some fact-checking.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Once Upon a Time, A Long Time Ago… it was Great to be a White Male in America

I grew up in New York City in the ’50s. So when a friend of mine posted this, and I watched it, I was naturally struck with feelings of nostalgia for times and events in my life that are now gone forever.

But along with the nostalgia and wistfulness was an overpowering awareness that I was watching the documentary of a reality that only existed for some Americans. The stark contrast, totally ignored in this yearning little video, is well represented in this image from Life Magazine:

Those happy folks in the back, smiling in their car… those are the people we see in the video. The ones in the front, waiting in a bread line, were not even visible anywhere.

It was great to be white in the ’50s.

You grow up in that environment, and you grow up a racist, and a sexist, even though there may not be a malicious bone in your body. Racism and sexism were in the blood and bones and DNA of society, and you were bombarded with blatant or subconscious reminders that women’s place was in the kitchen (barefoot, pregnant, and with no vote)¹, and black lives didn’t only not matter, they were totally invisible.

See Dad and Jim play. Watch Mom and Mary wash the dishes. And enjoy it.

This one was relatively subtle. There was much, much worse out there.

With a history like that, anyone born in the ’50s or even the ’60s is going to have these attitudes driven deep into their psyches, and they are devilishly hard to expurgate completely. That’s why a person who wants to have a positive effect on the world around them needs to pay attention to the advice below (which applies to any “-ism,” not just racism) and practice it on a daily basis. Not unlike alcoholics in recovery who realize and understand that they are never really “cured,” these ways of thinking will surface at a moment’s notice given half a chance.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Footnotes

¹ Things have improved, at least on the surface – but sexism in American society is still a very real phenomenon, particularly in the workplace. Advertising agencies, still embarrassingly aware that sex sells almost more than anything, still pump out sexist ads, although in the #MeToo era, some companies are issuing mea culpas (but only when they get caught out).

As for racism? Sometimes I wonder if we’ve made any progress at all since Selma. Some of the things I’m seeing now in terms of voter suppression in Georgia and other GOP states recalls a very dark stage of American history, as outlined brilliantly by Heather Cox Richardson.

Where were the adults in the room?

I wrote this post on August 25, 2020, but never finished it simply because life got in the way. I’ve updated it a bit to reflect recent events.

Clearly, there were none.

America is not Liberia, where in 1927 “the most rigged ever” gave Charles D. B. King 243,000 votes despite the existence of fewer than 15,000 registered voters.

America is not Ukraine, where results were contested, candidates were poisoned with dioxin, the media was biased, and voters were intimidated.

No, this is America, where even in the most hotly contested and controversial of elections, the result was a peaceful transfer of power.

Until now.

Now we have an individual in the White House, an impeached president who was elected despite losing the popular vote by a margin of at least 3,000,000, who has been dog whistling to his base that “the only way he will lose is if the election is rigged;” making loud noises on Fox News that he won’t commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election and ensuring a peaceful transition of power; and doing all he can to disparage mail-in voting and make it difficult or impossible for countless millions of underserved Americans, who tend to vote dominantly Democratic. to vote.

This is unheard of. It has never happened in our history. It’s an absolute disgrace. It’s shameful. And there’s not a single person in this administration who has big enough balls to shout into the *president’s face, “You can’t do that! If you lose an election, you’ve lost, and you accept it with good grace!”

Of course, “good grace” is not something compatible with this administration. But it’s truly one of the most frightening things I have encountered in my lifetime here on American soil. And given that we are currently living in one of the most challenging years ever, what with Covid, BLM, police overreach, a tanked economy (oh, it’s great if you’re rich – not so much if you’ve lost your job, your business, or your insurance), and the most polarized political climate I’ve ever seen, that’s saying something.

I tremble to think what could happen if the Orange Screechweasel loses the electoral vote and calls on his base to rise up against the “liberal, radical, Communist” horde who rigged the election so he could not win – despite decades of Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression, roll purging, and most recently, dismissing mail-in balloting and hamstringing the US Post Office. This could be an absolute catastrophe.

Here ends what I had written before the election.

And it was.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

It was worse than could have imagined. People died, including one Capitol police officer who was beaten to death by “protestors.” They were not protestors, they were armed thugs. They were not “Antifa,” they were almost exclusively Trump cultists.

But even today, more than 2 months after this disgraceful event, there are no adults in the Republican party who are willing to shout into the faces of their brainwashed, “Stop the Steal” colleagues, “You can’t do this! You are destroying American democratic traditions, and wiping your feet on the Constitution!” Nobody. Any opposition comes across like someone whispering in a hurricane, and it’s just as disgraceful as the events of January 6th, just as shameful as a year-long trumpeting of “The Big Lie,” just as destructive to our nation’s political landscape as the 4 years of the most heinous *administration the White House has ever seen.

America is a wonderful land, full of storied, honorable traditions and good people who want nothing more than to provide a good living and a safe place for their families, people who would reach out to each other and give the shirts off their backs and their lives if need be for those around them.

But Congress is full of some of the most repugnant individuals I have ever encountered in my life, and I’m counting people like George Wallace, Richard Nixon, Strom Thurmond, Spiro Agnew, and Joseph McCarthy in that assessment. Our nation has a deep-seated illness, and these people are the symptoms. The illness was born of 50 years (at least) of Republican gaslighting and disinformation, designed to marginalize people of color, Democrats, and anyone they considered “other.”

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Harper’s Magazine, April 2016 “Legalize It All

This quote was backed up five years later by another Nixon aide:

“[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

–H. R. Haldeman (quoted in Christian Parenti’s, Lockdown America, p. 3. Unsourced quote.

People of good conscience cannot allow this madness in our government to continue. We need to elect more people like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, young, fiery progressives who have the courage to stand up to the exclusionary, white, evangelical, xenophobia of people like Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, MTG and Lauren Boebert. These people are those of whom John the Apostle wrote, “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

We need Medicare for All. We need election reform (H.R. 1). We need corporate reform (repealing Citizens United). We need equality of economic opportunities and the elimination of such great financial inequality in society. We need so many things to heal the illness that festers at the heart of our nation.

Only adults in the room can make that happen.

Let it be so.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Vaccine denial is still a thing… and it’s killing people.

Jason Chatfield, The New Yorker

People can believe whatever they want. They can preach it from the street corners, or on TV, or the radio, or the Internet. Flog your religion, be a vegan. Most beliefs are lifestyle choices and are pretty harmless. But some things cross the line, and vaccine misinformation is one of them. And it enrages me that this is still a thing, even after all these years.

This popped up on my Facebook feed just yesterday:

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you [Babylon]; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you: for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries [aka pharmakeia!] were all nations DECEIVED.Revelation 18:23I have warned about this way before it came out, but PLEASE, just say NO to cv vaccine. 😭🙏
Inform yourself of the ingredients:
mRNA
Luciferase
Hydrogel
Aborted fetal cells
Toxic chemicals & poisons
Don’t take my word for it.
Research it yourself.

In the case of wild, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and science denial, “research it yourself” is equivalent to “watch the YouTube video that supports my position.” Because that’s not how science works.

So let’s look at the actual ingredients in Pfizer’s vaccine:

  • Active Ingredient
    • nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2
  • Lipids
    • (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis (ALC-3015)
    • (2- hexyldecanoate),2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159)
    • 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine (DPSC)
    • cholesterol
  • Salts
    • potassium chloride
    • monobasic potassium phosphate
    • sodium chloride
    • basic sodium phosphate dihydrate 
  • Other
    • sucrose

mRNA: ✓. That’s how the vaccine works, and it’s quite miraculous. Instead of injecting the body with dead or living virus so the immune system can ramp up to deal with a future real attack, it teaches the body how to build the part of the virus that attaches to our cells, so when a real virus attacks us, the immune system recognizes that protein spike and goes after the invaders. That’s crazy cool, and it’s completely harmless because no actual virus gets anywhere near the patient.

luciferase: ✘ Luciferase is one of two chemicals fireflies use to attract mates, and it has nothing to do with Lucifer. The roots of this word are Latin: “lux, lucis” meaning “light,” and “fer-” from the verb “to carry” whose principle parts are ferro, ferre, tuli, and latus. Hence “a substance that carries light.” Now, “Lucifer” is basically the same word, and the wanker is described in the Bible as an angel of light who fell from heaven. But there’s none of him in the vaccine. According to Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, a neuroscientist and priest in the Fall River, MA diocese:

Luciferase, an enzyme involved in firefly illumination, is being used in various testing and development stages ahead of the production of a COVID-19 vaccine, but is not itself part of the injected material included in human vaccinations. Luciferase is a commonly used biomedical research tool, and has been used, for example, in lab animals to study the most effective way to deliver mRNA vaccines, whether by an injection into the skin, muscle or a vein. (emphasis mine).

Click for more from Fr. Tad.

Remember the game of “telephone” that you played in grade school? It goes by other names, too – but you sit in a circle and the first person whispers something into the ear of the person next to them, like “Johnny kissed Mary under the apple tree.” And you can’t ask for a repeat or clarification. (This rule was called “no operator!” if I remember correctly.) And by the time it gets back to the last person, what comes out is completely different, like “My mother made apple pie for Thanksgiving.” This is how rumors spread and become twisted. Because very few people are trained in critical thinking, and people don’t understand what “doing research” really entails. They hear things from people they know, and repeat them in mommy groups or around water coolers or at football games or on the Internet, and all of a sudden the Pfizer vaccine contains the Devil, because sadly – in far too many cases – religious belief trumps anything based on centuries of scientific research.

hydrogel ✘ Hydrogels have many uses, including “injectable hydrogels which can be used as drug carriers for treatment of diseases or as cell carriers for regenerative purposes or tissue engineering.” That said, none are being used in Covid-19 vaccinese. This is an unsubstantiated myth.

aborted fetal cells ✘ From the University of Nebraska:

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for emergency use, neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines used fetal cell lines during the development or production phases. (So, no fetal cell lines were used to manufacture the vaccine, and they are not inside the injection you receive from your doctor.)

To be clear:

Fetal cell lines are not the same as tissue from aborted fetuses. Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s. Those individual cells from the 1970s and 1980s have since multiplied into many new cells over the past four or five decades, creating fetal cell lines. Current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue. 

This is a standard scare tactic used by the religious right, linking anything that they are afraid of to abortion – one of their favorite hot-button issues.

Toxic chemicals and poisons ✘ To many who view science as a product of the Devil, anything they can’t understand or can’t pronounce is “toxic poison.”

Far too many proponents of natural health repeat this claim far and wide on the Internet and in published works. But let’s look at the “toxic chemicals and poisons” which make up an organic blueberry:

Every bit of food that we eat is made up of chemicals, many of which you would have to be an organic chemist to understand or pronounce. Look closely, and you’ll find that most of these health-oriented websites are linked to something that they want to sell you: a supplement, a product, or a service.

The lipids and salts used in the Pfizer vaccine are there as lubrication to encase the mRNA and ease its passage into our system, or as preservatives to prevent its degradation before it can be effective.

The Pfizer vaccine contains four salts, one of which is ordinary table salt. Together, these salts are better known as phosphate-buffered saline, or PBS, a very common ingredient that keeps the pH, or acidity, of the vaccine close to that of a person’s body. You’ll understand how important that is if you’ve ever squeezed lemon juice on a cut. Substances with the wrong acidity can injure cells or get quickly degraded.

Sucrose ✓ Sugar. It’s there to keep the mRNA particles from sticking together when the vaccine is frozen. No danger to the human system, especially given how much sugar we humans like to consume.

In addition to the massive amount of testing that went in to the development of these vaccines, all of the real ingredients in the vaccine are present in such minuscule amounts as to render them entirely innocuous. Beyond that, there’s nothing in the Pfizer vaccine that people (unjustifiably) scream about – no mercury, no thimerosal, and no microchips.

Just as a matter of passing interest, here’s my vaccination schedule:

DPT Vaccine
1st11/13/1951
2nd11/27/1951
3rd12/11/1951
1st Booster4/8/1961
Polio
1st12/18/1955
2nd1/11/1956
3rd10/8/1956
4th8/1958
5th4/14/1961
Smallpox
1st1951
2nd4/14/1961

As a result of these vaccines, I survived childhood with only chicken pox, German measles, and mumps – and didn’t die from easily preventable diseases. And over the course of my life I’ve had many other vaccines, including TB, Tetanus boosters, Yellow Fever, influenza, shingles, and a host of others. And I’m still alive, and I’m no more autistic than I was when I was born twitch twitch (that was a joke, folks. I suffer from ADHD but it has nothing to do with vaccinations.)

Now it’s time to repeat something that shouldn’t have to be repeated, but sadly does: vaccines don’t cause autism, and they don’t poison people

This viral image enraged a scientist who published this response (his screen name is kinda crude, so I don’t want to use it here, but it’s out there if you need to find it, and I have only slightly bowdlerized his or her essay):

You are the worst person.

You can be a vegan and whine at people, that’s hurting nobody but when you tell people to not take vaccines, you’re endangering public health.

If YOU mixed mercury, aluminium phosphate, ammonium sulfate, formaldehyde and viruses and injected it into someone, you’d kill someone because you have no pharmacological experience. 

If someone in a lab mixed those together, they know how they work, they have medically assessed and peer reviewed evidence and strict guidelines to follow to create a safe and effective product. Why is it legal? Because they know what they’re doing and know how to spell “phosphate” and “ammonium”.

Why don’t YOU educate yourself instead of subscribing to the notion that all scientists are evil and want to poison you are your natural, vegan lifestyle. I say this as an IMMUNOLOGIST, you are single-handedly responsible for the skyrocketing resurgence of deaths caused by TB, measles and the worrying prospect of smallpox returning.

Let’s break this one down and give you some education.

Mercury is an element in the compound thiomersal which was part of many vaccines. It has been claimed with NO tangible evidence other than a multifaceted correlation that thiomersals cause autism. This has been investigated thoroughly and no causal link has been found.

Aluminium phosphate is an aluminium salt which is used as an adjuvant in vaccines. An adjuvant is a compound which causes an immune response to be higher and stronger, so that the immune system comes into contact with the attenuated virus more, so that it can recognise the antigens of the virus and provide immunity. They are a necessary part of the vaccine if you want it to work well.

Ammonium sulfate is used in the process of purifying the proteins in the synthesis of a vaccine. It is also found in bread and flour, so you’d better learn to enjoy rice if you want to avoid it.

Formaldehyde is used in the treatment and purification of vaccines and stops contamination. Most of this is removed before the vaccines is shipped, although some remains.

In my personal and scientifically backed opinion, the war against disease is a hundred fold more important than the mum-led war against vaccines. Do you want your child to die a slow, painful, agonising death? If not, then shut up with your so called “facts” you got from Yahoo Answers and get your kid vaccinated.

I am going to sound derogatory, but if you don’t have formal education in at least biology, you have no role to talk about the way vaccines should be done. You have no idea of the actual function and mechanism in which they work, and you have is a vague knowledge that mercury used to make people mad, formaldehyde is used in embalming and that ammonium sulfate and aluminium phosphate sound scary.

Vaccinate your kids if you want them to live. End of. If you don’t then you clearly don’t love your kids and would prefer to see them die of completely preventable diseases.

This has been a rage filled, alcohol induced response from a scientist.

To say it again: VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.

So I didn’t “take your word for it,” and I “researched it myself.” And came up with a bunch of baseless lies, misrepresentations, and scare tactics. And by encouraging the susceptible not to take the Covid vaccine, you’re killing people.

Your move.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Footnotes:

¹ Human genetics and chemistry are so complex that no medication is without possible risk or side effect for someone in the general population. I would be a fool to say that nobody has ever had adverse responses up to and including death from some vaccine or medication. But when one is dealing with wide societal health issues, the concept of risk/benefit has to be considered.

If the MMR vaccine protects countless, numberless children (and later adults) from crippling or even fatal diseases, and there’s a one in a million chance that a child will respond adversely to a vaccination, is that a reason to tell people not to take the vaccine? The loss or injury of a child to its parents and loved ones is incalculable and should never be minimized – but how many lives have been saved, and how much disease averted, by the simple act of keeping a population protected?