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.”
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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.¹
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.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
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?
We could learn from other nations… if we were willing to listen. It seems that’s what a “hearing” is supposed to be about.
The following text is from a Twitter thread written by Michael Grunwald (@MichaelGrunwald), and I thought it was important enough to share here in a more readable format. I originally saw it posted on Imgur and then a friend of mine on Facebook shared the same link with me. If something shows up a few times in succession in my life, I take it as a sign that it’s worth looking at, and this one definitely is.
I went to an obscure hearing today in the Danish Parliament. It blew my mind, not because of the substance, but because the US Congress has totally warped my view of hearings. And I’m just dorky enough to do a thread about it.
First of all, there was a dais in the hearing room, just like any congressional hearing, except the politicians weren’t on the dais. The six experts who were testifying were on the dais. Can you imagine? As if the hearing was about them and not the politicians?
The politicians were sitting in the front row of the audience. They all stayed in their seats for the entire hearing. And do you know what they did? They listened! I was in the second row and I didn’t see any of them look at a phone or talk to an aide at any time.
Actually, there was one politician on stage, the committee chair. She welcomed everyone, told the witnesses they would each have 10 minutes, then didn’t say anything until one witness asked for an extra minute. She said no. I swooned. ❤
Oh, did I mention this obscure hearing was simultaneously translated into English? They gave me cool high-tech headphones. I think everyone else in the audience spoke Danish but they take this stuff seriously.
Anyway, when the witnesses were done the politicians got their turn to speak. And none of them made speeches! They asked questions! Not leading questions designed to make a point. Thoughtful questions designed to get information!
This part really got me: The pols had to ask all their questions first, which took maybe 5 minutes, and then all the witnesses got to answer all of them, which took 20 minutes. The experts did the talking and the pols did the hearing. Is that how these things got their name?
I couldn’t tell which pols were in which party or what biases any of them had about the topic being discussed. It really seemed like they were there to learn. And by the end it was clear they had.
This thread is really about process, not substance, but I will say the topic was related to climate change, and everyone there took it seriously. One legislator told me only 4 or 5 of her 178 colleagues are deniers.
Anyway, the weirdest thing about this mostly banal experience was how weird it seemed. The lack of speechifying, grandstanding, partisanship or fake umbrage. How seriously they all took their responsibilities. The absence of bullshit.
In conclusion, we suck. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded how much we suck, and how it’s possible to suck less.
A Twitter thread by @MikeGrundwald.
I agree with every single word of this mini-essay, but I would like to add a bit of my own additional perspective on Mr. Grunwald’s conclusion.
As a nation, we don’t suck. Despite the fact that over the last 50 years or so we have lost our way in some areas and owe it to ourselves and to our global neighbors to improve¹, there are a lot of things that America has gotten right since its inception.
Our Constitution is unmatched in the history of the world. In 1835, French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville toured America with a view to seeing if our democracy was worth of emulation by the French. In his book Democracy in America, he declared that our Constitution was “the most perfect federal constitution that ever existed,” but also warned that it would be “profitless in other hands.” In other words, the guarantees and protections and checks and balances written into our Constitution only work if the people desire democracy; any piece of parchment can be trodden down by the feet of a lawless mob.
We are still a welcoming nation. The growing xenophobic right-wing movement in our country still accounts for a minority of our population, and most people understand that America has always been a nation of immigrants. It is the exquisite blending and adapting of countless cultures that makes the United States a vibrant, thriving place.
The citizens of our country are, in the grand scheme of things, a very giving people. In many parts of the country – even those who tend to be politically conservative – people will reach out to neighbors and even strangers and literally give them the shirt off their backs. As the song Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival says, “If you come down to the river, Bet you gonna find some people who live; You don’t have to worry cause you have no money, People on the river are happy to give.”
Bagels. Blueberries. Hot dogs. Pizza. Jazz. Lobster rolls. NASA. Our National parks. Rolling plains and prairies, purple mountain majesties, redwood forests, beaches, fireflies, public libraries, road trips (at least, when there’s not a pandemic going on), Jewish deli sandwiches, Hollywood, Broadway, musea, and countless other things that make me grateful to be a citizen of this nation.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ The things that need work in our country (areas in which we do suck) are also many, but they are subjects for other discussions. In the meantime, this is something good to remember as we contemplate ways to make our country better:
For the first time in over five years, I awoke this morning without a crushing sense of dread to read the news and find out what indignities our former administration had inflicted upon our country and upon the world. It was a literal sense of physical relief, and I still revel in it as I write this.
Over the last half-decade, political cartoonists have had a literal heyday. Never in my life has there been a president or an administration that was more thoroughly or more deservedly pilloried. If anyone wanted to anthologize all the cartoons that were done about the Orange Screechweasel and his abortive presidency, I suspect it would look like this (Volume 1): ¹
I collected a few of these over the years, more as a pressure valve than anything else and to reassure myself that it was not just me that felt these things, but I think the one that impacted me the most was this one that appeared on the morning after the 2016 election:
The eyes said it all. And although Mr. Rowe caught a lot of flak from American Trump Cultists among others, here on the morning of January 21, 2021, when the White House is occupied by President Joseph Biden, Jr., and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and a fresh, clean breeze of hope is blowing over our nation for the first time in far too long, it becomes clear that – as the saying goes – we had no idea. Mr. Rowe’s cartoon was spot-on, but dramatically understated. The horror would be far worse than anything any of us could have imagined.
There are a handful of online comics that I follow, less than a dozen and far fewer than in days past (I was always a fan of the daily funnies from my earliest days of reading The Herald Tribune in New York City), and one of the is “The New Adventures of Queen Victoria” by Pab Sungenis. The writer’s political satire has always been a favorite of mine, but the last two days of his strip pretty much say it all:
We survived. Sadly, some 400,000 of us did not – and counting – and while not all of those deaths from the Novel Coronavirus could have been avoided, a significant percentage could have been had there been functioning adults in the White House.
Well, now there are. And while no administration of either party is perfect, I feel more hope for the future now than even I did with the election of Barack Obama, whose campaign slogan was Hope and Change. He began the trend, and with this unwanted and hideous interlude behind us, I look forward to the reparation of as much damage as possible and forward motion to a nation that works for all of us, with no one left out, and a nation that can re-assume its position at the global table as a functioning, adult equal.
The inauguration yesterday morning was breathtaking in its honesty, in its beauty, and in its hopefulness. I literally wept tears of joy and release as I listened to the speeches, the poetry, and the music. It was exhilarating and cathartic.
May the 46th Administration of our great but suffering nation bring healing and progress. May we undertake effective new steps to protect our populace from the depredations of the current pandemics, one of a new and relatively unknown virus, and a second of ignorance and brainwashing by 50 years of spite and disinformation.
Our nation awakens to a fresh, new morning of hope. May we see that hope fulfilled more abundantly than our previous fears were.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ Not to mention all the wonderful video parodies by people such as Randy Rainbow, late-night segments by John Oliver and Stephen Colbert and so many like them, and serious critical essays by the likes of John Pavlovitz, Heather Cox Richardson, Dan Rather, Jim Wright, and countless others. Just had to add this because they shouldn’t be forgotten.
Recently the Washington Post conducted a survey of every Republican member of congress, asking who they thought won the recent election and if they would support the winner. The results are below:
Of the individuals surveyed, 27 correctly stated that Joe Biden was the winner (with 306 electoral votes, of which over 270 have been officially certified as of this date, and over 7 million more votes in the popular vote count.) Many of those in this category declined to respond directly to the survey, but their positions have been made clear in other public statements.
Two (Mo Brooks of Alabama and Paul Gosar of Arizona) stated flat out – and incorrectly – that Trump won the election, because it was fraudulently conducted.
The remaining 220 legislators refused to comment one way or another.
Now it is unheard of in my lifetime and longer that the results of a democratically-conducted election should be disputed in this way. Election night happens; one individual wins; the other individual concedes; and an administration continues or there is an orderly transition of power. That’s the way our system has worked for as long as I’ve been alive.
So why are things different now?
Because one man, with an ego the size of Jupiter and living in an artificial reality refuses to believe that there is a world where he could lose at anything.
Long before the election was held, the incumbent was telling people right and left, day and night, “If I lose this election, it was rigged.” Mail-in and absentee balloting has been a part of our electoral system; per the History Channel, “Voting by mail can trace its roots to soldiers voting far from home during the Civil War and World War II.” But in the mind of this pathetic, infantile clown, mail-in ballots are simply a channel for millions of people to vote illegally: the dead, illegal immigrants, people of color (their votes don’t really count because they’re not really Americans), and (gasp!) Democrats and Liberals. He even installed a Postmaster, a Republican party fundraiser, to make sure that the mechanism for delivering absentee ballots was crippled, so that it would be easy to claim (as Trump did) that any ballots received after election day were invalid. This, however, is simply untrue; states decide how to deal with absentee ballots, and many allow them, particularly if they were postmarked before the actual election.
Trump hammered on these lies again and again. Lies that have no basis in fact, no basis in history, and no basis in the results. The fact that he did so is a thundering disgrace. And he lost, soundly.
But 222 Republican legislators either believed the lies, or – despite seeing the writing on the wall about what had been happening to our government over the last 4 years – were unwilling to step up and accept the results of the election for fear of losing their power and their position. And this is equally disgraceful, and in my mind it approaches the standard of sedition and treason.
The president himself will be going back to the business world after January 20; that’s a foregone conclusion, although in his mind he still thinks he won and that somehow, there’s going to be a Hail Mary play in Congress or the Supreme Court that will reverse the clear results shouted by the American people. Ain’t gonna happen. And many of the 222 who bought in to his fantasy are businessmen themselves.
If there were any fairness in the world, no one would get involved with these people ever again. Trump, or his sycophantic, spineless enablers. People of good conscience would say to them, “No, thank you. I have no desire to do business with someone who has demonstrated a total disregard for the history and traditions of our nation. I have no desire to do business with someone who has no honor. I have no desire to do business with someone who is guaranteed to stiff me.
Sadly, as everyone knows, there are many people in the world who are not of good conscience. Personal interests and the desire for gain take precedence in their lives, and in the years to come we will see many who are more than happy to conduct transactions with the ex-president (at their peril!) or with other GOP members of Congress who have shown that lies and fantasy are more profitable than principles or good governance. But Americans who believe in honor will take note, and it is my hope that they will speak at the ballot box at the next possible opportunity and replace these people with others who can see past the duplicity and corruption.
I have recently seen claims that Democrats support “abortion on demand up to the point of birth – and beyond – in some states.” This is a complete falsehood; not just a dogwhistle but a foghorn. Democrats do not believe in infanticide. Doctors do not believe in infanticide. People like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are simply lying when they claim otherwise.
Joseph Biden believes that Roe v Wade is the law of the land and supports it, feeling – just as Hillary Clinton does – that “abortion should remain legal, but it needs to be safe and rare,” but he has never said that he supports elective, late-term abortions unless a pregnancy has gone catastrophically wrong. This is another gross Republican misrepresentation.
It is important to understand that Donald Trump is not pro-life. He simply echoes the views of his evangelical supporters, the part of his base that he can most easily manipulate because of this single issue. And they themselves are not pro-life, they are only pro-birth, without any regard for surrounding circumstances.
If the GOP were pro-life, they would be providing increased government support to Planned Parenthood, which prevents far more abortions on an annual basis by providing family planning services than they ever facilitate.
“Roughly half of the more than six million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. And many of them are to young mothers: according to the Guttmacher Institute, the rate of unintended pregnancies among sexually active teens is double that of all women. Despite opponent’s claims, the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s work is devoted to the organization’s more central goal—helping people avoid unwanted pregnancy altogether.”
(Michael Specter, the New Yorker)
If the GOP were pro-life, they would all be wearing masks and supporting a national, comprehensive plan to fight the pandemic instead of being “maskdebaters,” waving Confederate flags and screaming about “muh freedom!”
If the GOP were pro-life they would be marching in the streets protesting the horrible conditions immigrant families are subjected to, in cages, their children cruelly torn from them (and Stephen Miller has said out loud that cruelty was the point).
If the GOP were pro-life they would be immediately voting for Medicare for All instead of trying to take healthcare away from millions of Americans and dismantle the ACA – a plan they hate only because it was put in place by a “black, socialist president”, the thought of which still galls them – and maintain a status quo that favors profit and “maximizing shareholder value” over health and well-being.
If the GOP were pro-life they would be enacting reasonable gun-sensibility laws like banning the insane high-power, high-capacity rifles and other weapons that no one needs to hunt deer, supporting universal background checks for every gun sale public or private, and treating guns and gun owners with exactly the same kinds of regulations required to own and operate a car (which, it may be noted, almost everyone does regularly and abundantly, mostly without complaining about the “draconian government control” of education, licensing, inspection, insurance, registration and taxation that are part of that privilege.)
If the GOP were pro-life, they would immediately get us back into the Paris accords and work as a global leader with the rest of the world to control anthropogenic climate change. The National Bureau of Economic Research predicts that if climate change is left unchanged, higher temperatures could lead to 85 deaths per 100,000 people globally per year by 2100. Calculating from today, that comes to a half-billion lives lost. That’s not pro-life in anyone’s book.
No, the GOP and by extension Donald Trump – who has no other values than his bank account and his galactic ego – are not “pro-life.” They only use this term to court the evangelical right and make sure that their political opponents are demonized for being “baby killers.”
You may believe – as I do, parenthetically – that all life belongs to God and should be treated sacredly. I don’t fault you for this belief. But a huge percentage of our nation doesn’t share your values, and decisions of government should never be based on religion, as enshrined in the First Amendment.
A real pro-life stance is far more complicated than that.