Hold onto your hats, folks, it’s about to start raining rodent brain tissue:
Who knew that a vaccine technology pioneered in the 1990s — yes, way back then, and NOT yesterday! — would finally find its niche during a particularly deadly pandemic? And who knew that this technology — which is NOT experimental anymore! — would work?
Well, these two scientists did. And now the whole world knows, too.
Congratulations, Doctors, you deserve every bit of this. Just keep your umbrellas up in case some plague rat’s head explodes near you, y’hear?
Just imagine how much more damage he can do with anti-environmental nonsense like his idea that man-made climate change is just a “scare”, and that the “discipline of the free market”, which has been conspicuously absent, will somehow “correct” it. Because unlike COVID, climate change will harm us all, and no place is safe from it. And the eastern seaboard of the US, in particular, is heavily populated and in grave danger from rising ocean levels.
Mike’s right, we should be concerned. It’s time to start slapping corporate carbon monsters with real punishments, instead of waiting for the much-vaunted “free market” to come up with something, because it won’t. And time’s up. My home and native land is on fire, and people are choking to death on the smoke, while our neighbors are drowning just to the south of where I sit. And what is the Great Environmental Lawyer, nephew of the late, lamented JFK, and son of the also-lamented RFK, doing about it? In effect, he’s just twiddling his thumbs and emitting hot air…when he’s not being openly farted at by some climate-denialist fool.
Ash Sarkar dissects the latest right-wing moral panic over something that doesn’t really exist — i.e., kids who identify as animals. It’s especially hilarious when “journalists” start offering to pay for accounts by supposedly exasperated parents of such children. It’s such a real thing, that so truly exists, that they have to pay for stories of it!
And when they’re not busy offering payment for anonymous parent accounts (and getting trolled by respondents who’ve clearly read their Kafka), they’re going on the air in cat ears and makeup themselves, and presenting this as An Actual Thing That Actually Happens. They’re becoming exactly what they’re supposedly denouncing.
The right is all about free speech, as we all know. And freedom of expression, too, provided that said speech and expression are sexist, racist, imperialist, pro-capitalist, anti-queer, anti-poor, or anti-anything and anyone that isn’t exactly like themselves. They will fight to the death (yours) for their right to call you a slur, and tooth and nail to oppose your right to object. And when you keep fighting back, and winning, they’ll retreat to their little corner, mewling and whimpering about how No One Has Any Respect Anymore.
Well, hard cheese. No one owes respect to people who seriously believe that public schools are now being forced to provide litterboxes in every classroom for those kids who identify as cats, or who can’t tell a transgender kid (which IS a real thing) from a kid who thinks they’re a cat to the extent that they actually communicate only in meows and eat only kibble. People who think that you shouldn’t teach school-age kids what LGBT+ people are without immediately assuring them that “that’s not normal, those people are sick and need help”, don’t deserve any more respect than a meow down the phone, or a prank e-mail about their son who now thinks he’s a giant cockroach. Because, unlike people who identify as cats, LGBT+ people are real, they are normal, and they don’t need any help other than the kind that comes from actual societal acceptance. LGBT+ people are the ones who are owed respect here, and they’re still having to fight to get it.
And when they put up a fight, and that fight seems to be going in their favor, what does the free-speech right wing do? Why, just what any respectable fighter for Freeze Peach does: They make shit up. Because made-up shit has always trumped reality in the right-wing world. How else would anyone believe that empires are good, that people who make their bundle off the backs of everyone else are the best and brightest, or that racism, sexism, and all the phobias and bigotries are normal?
Now, out here in the real world, there ARE classrooms where buckets of kitty litter are kept in the closet. But it’s not for kids who think they are kitties. It’s for when there’s an active shooter on the loose, and schools are in lockdown, so no one can get to a bathroom for hours on end. That is a real and pressing problem. But of course, the right won’t talk about that, and will even shame you for “politicizing a tragedy” if you try to bring it up — because among all the other made-up shit they believe in, they also think that guns are the solution to all problems, and never an actual problem unto themselves, nosirree!
And of course, the same right-wingers who think guns solve all problems, also think that guns would be the best answer to the existence of anyone who contradicts their smug, cozy, all-about-me narratives. LGBT+ kids? If you can’t talk them out of that, shoot them like you would a rabid dog. Same goes for blacks, Jews, Asians, indigenous peoples, you name it. Anyone who’s out of line, bang-bang.
Yes, it’s been tried before, and yes, a whole world war was fought (and lost) by those defending just such ideas. And empires and bigotries have been crumbling slowly ever since. But remember, kids, it’s Antifa who’s the real baddie here!
Most of all, you must never ask what Antifa is or why it’s so bad, because then, you’d have to talk about fascism. And that’s a swearword to those on the Freeze Peach right. You can tell by how much they whine when anyone calls them, quite rightly, a fascist. Hell, Elon Fucking Musk will even ban you from Twitter if you dare to denounce them as such, or try to block their hateful tweets. No, better just to believe some 4chan hoax than to point out that the emperor is nekkid as a jaybird, and nowhere near as pretty. Because it’s all about your freedom to believe in the dumbest shit, don’t you know?
Back in 1898, Morgan Robertson published The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility — a novel depicting the sinking of an “unsinkable” ocean liner, of then-unprecedented size and “innovative” safety features that are touted as infallible, but which collectively prove to be the ship’s doom. The novel was meant as a cautionary parable on the hubris of the wealthy, the powerful, and the careless. The author was no crystal-ball psychic; he relied on his own knowledge of the then-current trends in ship design to create a convincing picture of what elements could combine to create such a disaster. He also relied on well-known facts about the nature of Gilded Age capitalism and the captains of that particular (metaphorical) sinking ship.
14 years later, in April of 1912, that novel proved eerily prescient when the similarly-named (and sized) Titanicsank on her maiden voyage, after striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. The ship’s captain sailed into a known iceberg field on a moonless night in early spring, disregarding warnings that the ship was about to hit a berg — which it did. The “watertight” compartments that were supposed to contain any seawater leakage failed, due to cost-cutting and poor construction. One by one, they filled and spilled over. This, in turn, caused the ship to tilt stern-up before finally speeding to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Titanic‘s lifeboats, already insufficient for the number of passengers on board, were lowered only half-full. Over 1500 people drowned that night.
The Cassandra-like warnings of Morgan Robertson had gone unheeded. A combination of hubris, cost-cutting, and willful ignorance brought the Titanic up against an iceberg…and eventually, down onto the sea floor.
More than a century later, it’s evident that some people just haven’t learned a damned thing from Morgan Robertson’s parable, or from its all-too-real sequel. A tourist mini-sub named (what else?) the Titan fatally imploded on its way down to the wreckage of the Titanic a few days ago. Four passengers and a pilot — the OceanGate company’s CEO, as luck would have it — perished. The passengers had paid $250,000 US apiece for the privilege of visiting a sea-floor graveyard in an unregulated submersible which was very shoddily constructed for its intended purpose.
And yes, the same forces at play in The Wreck of the Titan and the wreck of the Titanic also played an all-too-predictable part in this particular disaster:
What’s truly galling about all this is that submarine design principles have been known, or at least researched, for far longer than Morgan Robertson’s novel has been in existence. And all the truly good ones — the same “rules” Stockton Rush complained of, and bragged of breaking — have been around, and followed with excellent results, for decades. Here is a video by an engineer, explaining clearly and in some detail why the Titan was not safe for the depth it was supposedly designed for, and why the whole expedition went catastrophically wrong:
Bad choices of materials; no secure seating; cheap gaming controllers instead of a more reliable dashboard (and redundancies in case the primary controls fail); exposed wires on the outside of the ship, held on by zip-ties. Not only was the Titan disastrously out of its depth, it was something to be wary of at any depth.
And, bear in mind, that’s just from an engineering perspective — although at the end, the narrator does touch (with audible exasperation) on the stupid interpretation from right-wing commentators that “woke hiring” was somehow what doomed the vessel, because the CEO said a few disparaging things about “white men in their fifties”. No, that’s not it. For one thing, most of the OceanGate hires were male, and all (as far as I could see) were white. As for the younger ages of the employees, cost-cutting and greed are far more likely reasons; that, and the tendency for very young employees to be intimidated by the CEO, who clearly was a cocky son of a cuss. Not only would they not have the nerve to demand better pay (and insist on doing things the way they ought to be done for safety’s sake), they also wouldn’t have the experience and know-how to justify such demands.
And nerve, experience, know-how, et cetera ad nauseam, are NOT traits limited to white men over the age of 50. It’s cringey how often this needs to be pointed out, but for right-wing ignorami, certain things are just not as self-evident as you’d think they were. Here’s another video, just for funsies:
No, “wokeness” didn’t sink the Titan. Hubris did. It’s sheer hubris to build a minivan-sized potato-chip can out of carbon fibre deemed unsafe for aircraft by Boeing, over the protestations of one of the few employees who knew better, sue said employee for “revealing trade secrets” when he raises a public alarm, drive it around with gaming controllers, and expect anything other than disaster to eventually ensue. Hubris is the opposite of wokeness, on steroids. Don’t buy the crapaganda…and don’t waste much time mourning for a 60-year-old white man — oh sorry, “innovator” — whose million-dollar-a-trip greed got him quite literally (and permanently) out of his depth.
I first caught wind of this icky plot a couple of days ago, when Vaush posted this video:
Minus the YouTube-necessitated censorship, the title reads: “Don’t buy the e-pills from Twitter! They will kill you and Nazis made them!”
Someone tried to kill (and/or humiliate) trans women and girls by offering fake estrogen pills for sale on Twitter. The pills in question allegedly contained an unsafe dose of ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb that is supposed to act in much the same ways as ginseng: as an adaptogen, immune-system supporter, and in men, as a fertility and virility booster. Some unscrupulous supplement manufacturers even tout it as “Indian ginseng”, or as actual ginseng, which it is not.
Apparently, the male fertility/virility aspect is the one the Twitter Nazis seized upon. They claimed it would actually induce male-pattern baldness and other testosterone-related woes in any transfem unwary enough to buy it in hopes of getting a working substitute for the gender-affirming hormonal therapy that several US states have attempted to ban.
But there is no evidence that ashwagandha will actually create or exacerbate “masculine” traits in a user at any dose. Here is a list of its actual side effects. You’ll note that elevated testosterone is not among them. In other words: They will not make a transfem “more masculine”, which is something she’d undoubtedly want to avoid, as it would aggravate any existing gender dysphoria she may have.
What too much ashwagandha would do, however, is make an unwary user pretty damn sick to the stomach, possibly induce peptic ulcers, dangerously lower the blood pressure, and even do liver damage. Any of these could indeed prove fatal.
So who’s behind this dirty (and possibly deadly) trick? Well, we already know it’s Nazis, who have had it in for LGBT+ people ever since Ernst Röhm met a horrific end on the Night of the Long Knives. But who exactly was running the show?
His name is Kevin Lowy, and this was not his first rodeo — and not the first in which he ended up wearing the clown shoes, either. In 2021, he and his neo-fascist “Patriot Front” confederates got exposed and humiliated thusly:
He’s the first guy shown, in case you wonder.
How embarrassing that he looks exactly like the kind of pudding-fed, out-of-shape “soy boy” he and his buddies are supposedly trying to beat back into the closet, eh?
Oh, and in case you’re still in the dark ages: soybeans don’t “feminize” you any more than ashwagandha “masculinizes” you. Turns out that unrefined plants — including the humble soybean, which has fed the very large population of China for centuries — aren’t that good at influencing the sex hormones in general. Oopsie poopsie!
Unable and/or unwilling to learn from his past mistakes, Kevin is still at it. And attempting to profit from it, too, by joining an existing anti-LGBT+ campaign which has been bumble-fucking along for the past three or so years. Yeah, Operation Pridefall is apparently still a thing. 4chan wankers tried it (and failed) in the summer of 2020, and apparently this fake-estrogen-that’s-really-(not)-testosterone is just its latest toxic iteration.
Of all the dumb things I’ve heard from panic-mongers since COVID began, this is some of the absolute dumbest. David Doel of The Rational National breaks it down:
Notice how the furniture company ad uses a model that looks like a woman well past retirement age. Are they insinuating that we should all be schlepping our butts to an office when we’re in our 70s and 80s? Because that’s the message I’m getting. I don’t think that’s the one they meant to send!
On a more serious note, though: I’ve been working from home for literal decades now. And no, I don’t look like “Anna”. My back isn’t hunched, my hands haven’t turned into claws, and my eyes aren’t red and swollen. Because when you’re not chained to a desk, and no one is breathing down your neck and forcing you to stay there, you soon realize how great it feels to get up and walk around on a regular basis. You can use the bathroom when you need to; no need to schedule those breaks (or get chewed out if you need more toilet time than the company allots). And also, you can stretch without fear of others seeing it. I don’t walk a few measly steps to and from boring-ass meetings where grey-faced people sit around mindlessly consuming coffee and doughnuts while someone drones on about productivity and goals; I actually get outside to walk for as long as an hour a day, weather permitting, which is great for my sanity. I don’t have to pay health-club fees or spend hours staring at the dull walls of a gym; I get out into my garden and grow my own veggies, herbs, and berries. I also get in regular naps, which does wonders for both one’s eyes and one’s posture (and again, sanity). And I prepare my own meals, which are balanced and healthy. I rarely eat fast food, and I haven’t seen the inside of a cafeteria since I graduated university.
And what’s the outcome of all this? Well, it is awfully nice to hear your doctor tell you that your blood test values are all excellent. And it’s great to look in the mirror and see someone who looks like you, and not some lame 3-D model of whoever you’re supposed to turn into if you don’t drag yourself through countless hours of commuting and office-bound grinding.
If anything, the folks who keep those silly office-furniture manufacturers in business should be the ones worrying about looking like “Anna”. Because working in an office at an unsustainable pace during a pandemic — or even just at all — is far more likely to make you look like that than working from home ever will.
It’s taken the experts awhile (think 20 whole fucking years), but finally, at least some of them are saying what I’ve been saying here all along. Namely, that the former party of Lincoln has come out the anus of Mussolini:
And if you doubt that fascism and intense, cultish stupidity have taken over, watch and listen to this:
But thankfully, they’re also a bunch of cowards who can’t deliver on their own loud terror threats:
What’s more disturbing, however, is how the believers in “alternative health facts” didn’t even bat an eye at this bad sourcing. In fact, most of them probably had no idea who was behind it, and hadn’t a clue that they were spreading fascist lies. All they “knew” was that they needed justification for their needle phobia, and they were quick to embrace anything that provided it. And if that meant swallowing a literal poison pill — or horse paste — then so be it.
Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui have the blood of over a million dead US citizens on their hands, as well as countless other dupes around the world. Both of them should be rotting in jail for their part in this, but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t want to join the ranks of the prematurely dead, myself.
Fear doesn't travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory's truth. What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next.
--Arthur Miller, "Why I Wrote 'The Crucible'", The New Yorker, October 21, 1996
All opinions here are the brain-wrackings of Sabina C. Becker, unless otherwise credited. If you cite them, please give credit where due.