How Does One Celebrate The Fourth During These Trying Times?

It’s a dismal time to be an American. Following revelations all but the most casual observers are painfully aware of, our national morale has plummeted to a historic low. A new Gallup poll shows only 47% of us are “extremely proud” to be an American. Giving people the option of saying they’re “extremely proud” is patently ridiculous – Gallup might as well have asked Americans if they “super into” pizza or think having sex is “the best”, but a record low is a record low.

This presents something of a conundrum regarding the appropriate way to celebrate the Fourth of July. Unlike Loyalty Day, we can’t tell you what to do and say or how to feel (loyal). It’s a personal choice, like abortion or which crazy, made-up deity you’re super into. But we have three sensible suggestions to make your Fourth just, like, the best.

  1. Burn an American flag instead of waving it.
  2. Get some summer reading in! I recommend Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. If you’d prefer something briefer, try The Declaration of Independence, a historical document that continues to bewilder some of the less civically literate among us.
  3. Drink until you can’t feel anything, thus avoiding the shame of being an American in 2018.

Have an acceptable day away from the crushing weight of wage slavery!

 

 

 

The Keyboard Is Not Mightier Than The Gun

My immediate, unvarnished reaction to news that a mass shooter has killed five journalists in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland is that an authoritarian reactionary is responsible.

I want to be clear that I don’t know if this is true. It’s a gut feeling, and gut feelings are notoriously unreliable. What’s remarkable to me is it’s so easy to jump to this (perhaps erroneous) conclusion. We’re living under the rule of a would-be autocrat who has branded the media the ‘enemy of the American people’. On a nearly daily basis, he slanders media outlets that take a critical stance, sometimes assassinating the character of individual journalists who really get under his skin. And the fashies who cheer their dear leader’s maneuvers to obliterate a society that allows dissent go even further. Only two days ago, Milo Yiannopoulos encouraged vigilante squads to gun journalists down.

I could be wrong, and I hope I am. No matter the cause, it’s a needless waste of human lives. My thoughts are with the staff of the Capital Gazette, their friends and their families.

We Are Gathered Here Today…

…not to celebrate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s wishy-washy career on the Supreme Court, but to rue the void he leaves behind. Once Trump fills the vacancy with a ratfink sycophant of no account, many expect the Court to further distance itself from the realm of real life. This has some, like reproductive rights activist Robin Marty, pondering a future where Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Starbucks Announces They’ll Pay for All Surgeries of Transgender Employees

Starbucks, mother of frappuccinos and wielder of pumpkin spice, has announced that it will cover all transgender-related surgeries for its employees.

In addition to bottom surgery, which the coffee company has covered since 2012, Starbucks will now foot the bill for additional surgeries like top surgery, hair removal, hair transplates, and facial feminization surgery.  These more comprehensive surgeries are usually deemed cosmetic by insurers and thus aren’t normally covered in insurance plans.  But not with the Siren, honey.  She got you!

The coffee company partnered with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in order to determine exactly which surgeries were the most helpful to their transgender employees.  It was the first company in the world to do so.  Jamison Green, the former president of WPATH, worked with Starbucks as a rep for the health company.  “Starbucks was not afraid to ask all the right questions and demand that people get the best possible care,” he said.

“I view this as a diagnosis with a treatment path,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks, saying the improved coverage was simply the right thing to do.  “You have to think of it from an equity perspective.”

This policy makes Starbucks the world leader in comprehensive trans healthcare.

Travel Ban Gets SCOTUS Seal Of Approval, Fatherly Advice, And More

And the hits keep on coming. The Supreme Court has legally sanctioned the Trump administration’s modified travel ban (this would be the third version, written specifically so it had a strong likelihood of passing the conservative-dominated court). Tweaked verbiage aside, we know how the ban will work in practice. It’s there in the text and subtext of the original executive order, and in the intervening year and a half, our aspiring emperor has shown no respect for legal strictures that hinder him.

In other SCOTUS news: The Roberts Gang has reversed a decision requiring crisis pregnancy centers to disclose that they’re anti-abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers are notorious for pressuring women not to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Tor Ekeland passes along advice from his father for seriously resisting fascism.

If you haven’t been outside the United States of late, you may not be aware we’re now referred to as a ‘rogue state’ with some regularity.

Remember when Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un ended with the president saying they’d made great progress and our military would stop doing war games in the Korean Peninsula? And remember how defense stocks fell and Democrats practically demanded we have a nuclear war with the Kim regime for some reason? And remember how Trump admired said regime’s YA dystopian novel levels of control over its populace? Actually, just remember all of it? It was a profoundly weird time, followed by absolutely nothing.

When investigators threatened his power, he declared himself dictator.

Nazi pederast Milo Yiannopoulos is encouraging vigilantes to assassinate journalists. In related news, 50% of Americans believe we’re in danger of becoming a nondemocratic, authoritarian country; most Americans’ wages have declined over the past year; machines can fire us now; gay Americans are arming themselves to stay alive; and suicide rates are climbing dramatically. Of course if journalists are hiding in fear for their lives, they won’t have time to report on all the bad news!

And now for something completely different: