I didn’t see this in time to go into Friday Five which is actually a good thing because I can’t link to it without saying, at the very least, "You finally noticed, four years too late!"
Seriously, a bunch of us have been trying to get the mainstream media to recognize this literally for years. The former grifter-in-chief lost the popular vote and seemed to win the electoral vote, but there was credible evidence at the time that Russian interference had effected the outcome of the election in some places.
The day that the Traitor was sworn in, he immediately violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and continued to do so every single day he was in office, literally funnelling hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into several of his businesses, while openly allowing people who wanted favors from him to use those businesses to funnel millions of more dollars into his pockets. He was literally selling presidential pardons at one point!
He also violated the Federal Anti-Nepotism Statute by appointed close relatives to executive positions, often bypassing other rules and laws in the process. He repeatedly violated other laws about which people could assume "acting" positions in the executive branch when major positions become vacant. In violation of the Constitution and other laws he sent troops into a U.S. city to disrupt protests and illegally take citizens into custody.
He lied literally more than 30,000 times while he was in office. And most of the mainstream media could never bring themself to call even his most blatant lies what they were until he was out of office.
When the Supreme Court ruled that several of his Executive Orders violated the Constitution he literally shrugged and told his people to keep enforcing them. When advisors told him something he was doing was illegal he literally yelled at them. When American soldiers were killed overseas he never called any of the families to offer condolences. When one of the widows of a recently killed soldier said something on social media about it, he publicly called her various nasty names and said she was lying.
When neo-nazi demonstrators became violent and caused the death of at least one counter-protestor, he argued with reporters, referred to the nazis as "us" and insisted that they were all very fine people.
He had a crackpot draw up a six point plan (and put it into an official White House memo) to overturn the results of the election, in violation of both the Constitution and election laws. He put people who were not qualified into positions of power in the Defense Department just before Congress was to meet to certify the election, and then the murder mob that he incited stormed the capitol looking for Congress people and the Vice President to hang (they erected a gallows!)… and when loyal members of his own party called him and begged him to authorized troops to deal with the mob, he laughed and taunted those law-makers.
We’ve have a god-damned full-blown Constitutional Crisis going on for more than four years, and only this week did the mother-fucking Washington Post finally notice!
It’s been way too long since I spent part of a Saturday morning composing one of these posts about a news story that I learned about after already assembling this week’s Friday Five. Let’s just hop in:
More than one person I saw online (most of them either queer themselves or presenting themselves as allies) made a joke about the reason that so much of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. have rushed to get our vaccinations is because we’re all just dying to get out there and start hooking up for sex again.
And I know that is a sentiment many had expressed. Or that they missed going to bars or concerts and so on.
But I’m sorry, the friend I quoted in the caption of the graphic above has hit the nail on the head identifying not just why many of us got the vaccine as soon as we could, but also why most of the queer communities in various U.S. towns and cities, canceled 2020 Pride events mere weeks after the first lockdowns were announced.
For a lot of us, this isn’t the first time we have lived during a deadly epidemic.
In May of 2020, there was one of the Fox /(Propaganda/) network talking heads who tried to get a viral thing going about how all the queers and their liberal friends would stop supporting the idea of lockdown once late June rolled around at Pride Parades were cancelled.
She instead was dragged on social media and news sites with the fact that we’d already canceled the Pride Parades, on our own at least a month previously. I remember just weeks into the first lockdowns that on several queer forums people had already been posting, "We’re canceling in-person Pride events, right?"
I know I’ve told the following story on this blog and else where before: but there was one month in the early nineties where 12 people that I knew personally died from complications of AIDS. In a couple of cases, my late husband, Ray, and I had to decide which of the memorial services we weren’t going to attend. And that was after years of watching vibrant people we knew deteriorate before our eyes and die. It’s not that that was the only time a bunch happened close together, it just happened to be the worst.
For years we watching our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, community leaders, and more suffer and die with virtually no help from government health agencies. There were exceptions. Dr. Anthony Fauci famously (incognito) went to bathhouses and some other places queer men went looking for sex to get a better idea of the cultural reasons that a disease which could be transmitted sexually had spread so quickly. But most responses were like this:
The headline on that particular article at the site doesn’t mention what I think is a crucial aspect of those chilling recordings: most of the laughter you hear at the very idea that the government would concern itself at all with a deadly disease that was perceived as killing gays were members of the so-called liberal media.
In the early years hospital staff didn’t want to treat AIDS patients. What treatments that were offered were anti-viral medications most of which had been developed a decade or so before under military research grants because we were afraid future soldiers would face biological weapons in the field during conflicts. They actually hoped to develop a drug that would allow every soldier to be issued a few pills along with their other equipment and if they thought they’d been hit with a bio-weapon, they could take the pills and keep fighting. Didn’t quite work out.
But they were the only thing that seemed to slow down the virus, even though there were often some pretty severe side-effects.
In the early 90s someone came up with the idea of putting patients on not just one anti-viral, but three or more that each attacked different parts of typical viral replication process. By 1995, the so-called "antiviral cocktails" were approved for general use.
The result was startling.
It seemed like a miracle. Some people who were already very sick and looked like shadows of their former selves seemed to rejuvenate in a matter of months.
Unfortunately, those anti-viral drugs are very expensive. If you need three or more in combination, that makes things even worse. So the cocktails have only performed their apparently miracles in countries that have reliable health care.
And note that it isn’t a cure. It’s not really a miracle (unless you want to talk about the insane profit margins of the pharmaceutical companies). Because in order to stay alive and healthy, people infected with the HIV virus have to take those very expensive drug combinations (which still often have wicked side effects) every day for the rest of their lives.
We don’t have an HIV vaccine. Forty years into the epidemic that still kills hundreds of thousands of people world wide every year doesn’t have a vaccine.
Queer people younger than me, who don’t have the same personal memories of the worse part of the HIV epidemic, still had their lives overshadowed by the disease. Because despite the fact that most new infections in the U.S. these days are straight people (that’s right!), and most of the people who are dying in the so-called developing world are straight women and children, the perception is still that AIDS is a "gay thing." I linked a year or two ago to a poignant story a young cartoonist posted about how when he was 15 years old and had never had sex with anyone, he went to an anonymous clinic for an AIDS test–because all he knew about the disease was the gay people got it. Nothing he had been taught in school or seen in the news or what very few media portrayals of people dying of the disease there were at the time, had conveyed two very important facts: 1) any human can get infected by the virus that causes AIDS, 2) it is most often transmitted sexually.
And part of his story is talking about when he came out in in twenties and started meeting other gay people, virtually all of them approximately his age had gone through a period in their teens where, after realizing they were attracted to members of their own sex, they also assumed that meant they would die young because of AIDS.
My point is, that once these younger queers do find out that his horrible specter which was part of their trauma growing up queer and closeted is a disease that was ignored for decades? Well, their attitude about health issues is a lot like us older queers.
And so that is the real reason that so many of us rushed out to get vaccinated. We know what happens when a health crisis is ignored. And we damn well refuse to take part in ignoring this one.
It’s been a while since I did a post using a bunch of the memes, cartoons, and similar graphics that have been accumulating on my hard disk without finding their way into a blog post.
I also have a few stories that I don’t want to wait until Friday to comment on.
Ed Buck Guilty of All Charges Against Him, Will Likely Die in Prison This guy got away with preying on homeless men for far too long. The short version: rich white bastard who donated lots of money to local elected officials over the years, had a fetish about watching black men take a lot of drugs until they passed out, then he fucked them. Two that we know of died in his apartment, and based on the videos he took (and assuming that he was doing it for years before recording it became so easy), he’s probably responsible for a lot more. Anyway, yeah, I hope he rots in prison.
Metro Atlanta spa shooter agrees to guilty plea deal in Cherokee County shooting, gets life without the possibility of parole This is only the first case. He faces more charges in another county. If you don’t recall, this is the idiot who shot up some day spas because looking at asian women made his dick hard, and he’d been taught by his fundamentalist evangelical church that being horny was a sin worse than murder. So he murdered a bunch of strangers. Again, I hope he rots in prison and dies behind bars.
"Trump Man" Guilty In Serial Pooping Spree – Ohioan, 70, targeted gay neighbors for ten years Besides the fact that he was only sentenced toe 20 days and to write a letter of apology, his letter is obviously a big lie. Why is that? Well, he insists in the letter that he didn’t target these neighbors for harassment because they were gay. No, it was because they were Biden supporters and he’s a "Trump Man." Other than the little fact that Biden only became the Democratic nominee a year ago, and Trump wasn’t running president until a bit over five years ago — but this guy has been doing this to his neighbors for at least 10 years. Long before he could have become a Trump man. He’s a liar and a homophobe, and I wish the judge would hold him in contempt for the letter…
That’s enough for those sorts. Let’s close with:
I will be working on the next Friday Five tonight, and skimming through my news bookmarks I realized that there has been several of these stories in the news lately, and I’d rather not make a whole category for them tomorrow.
I suppose giving them their own post isn’t much better, but since I’m putting the topic of pastors committing sexual abuse in the title, I hope people who don’t feel like getting any of this imagery in their heads can skip this post and tomorrow read more general news and such.
Former Maryland Youth Pastor Don Martin Charged In 30-Year-Old Rape, Police Search For Other Victims He was a youth pastor at the time of the assault, and the victim was underage. They bury that in the story. I’m leaving the "former" in the headline here, but want to note that at the time of his arrest while he was no longer a youth pastor, he was still an active pastor.
New Albany assistant youth pastor arrested on child pornography charges I took the word "former" out of this headline because he wasn’t fired from his position as a youth pastor until after he was arrested. I really wish that news outlets would stop putting the word "former" in the headline in those situations. I will say that I’m happy the church at least acted this quickly. It is more often the case that the church refuses to believe the pastor is guilty and don’t fire him until the legal case moves forward past arresting and charging.
National Guard chaplain, youth pastor among 18 arrested on human trafficking charges I didn’t have to remove any words from this headline. This was actually a sting. Law enforcement placed an ad about having sex with a 16-year-old, and these 18 men answered the ad, got directions to the location, and arrived each expecting to have sex with a minor. I suspect that more charges may be applied if any victims of molestation come forward.
Florida youth pastor arrested for 3rd time; accused of hiding camera in church bathroom Hidden cameras in church bathrooms. One of them specifically in the boys’ bathroom of the youth hall.
Vernon minister arrested for sexual assault of 15-year-old – Cops Say TX Pastor Charged Church For Motel Room Where He Smoked Meth, Had Sex With Underage Girl I’m not sure how to respond to this tidbit: "The girl told police they continued to meet at the church for counseling and he continued to offer her methamphetamine." That’s a very unusual counseling method…
Florida Megachurch Pastor Charged With Molestation- SBC megachurch ‘shocked’ ex-pastor arrested, accused of grooming, molesting 12-y-o girl Note that this is a different Florida pastor than the one arrested for planting cameras and recording people using the restroom. Anyone, this guy started sexually abusing the girl when she was twelve, and continue to do so for five years.
The next story is from March, but it illustrates a point I made above and have mentioned many times before: Catholic Church Opposes Colorado Bill That Lifts Time Limit On Lawsuits Against Accused Child Molesters
Lots of states have a statute of limitations on child sexual assault (many also have statutes of limitations on rape of adults), which just makes no sense. Adult sexual assault victims are reluctant to come forward in part because statistically they are very unlikely to be believed when they do, but also because society conditions us to blame the victim in such situation. Multiply that by at least 1000 for children. The kids are often groomed by the abuser to believe that they deserve what has happened to them, and to believe they will be punished by family, their church, and so forth if anyone finds out.
So most of these cases wouldn’t come to light until years later. For example, when we learned that former Republican Congressman Dennis Hastert had molested numerous teen-age boys back in the days he was a high school wrestling coach, he couldn’t be charged with any of those crimes. What he was charged with was violating financial laws as he sought to pay-off some of his former victims to keep them from talking.
One of the main reasons we have statutes of limitation of child sex abuse is that organizations such as the Catholic Church have lobbied for them. And then they lobby against appealing them. Gee, I wonder why?
Carl Nassib—former All-America football player for Penn State, who has since played in the NFL on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cleveland Browns, and currently the Las Vegas Raiders—came out as gay earlier this week in a video in which he also announced he had made a large donation to the Trevor Project, and explained why people ought to also donate to the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide among LGBTQ youth.
Members of his own team and leaders within the National Football League management immediately chimed in with messages of support and congratulations. The internet erupted with other people reacting with encouragement—given that other gay NFL players have never felt it was safe to come out, and the only gay player who was out before he was drafted was not met with anything that could be described as a welcoming attitude from the league just seven years ago.
So it was a bit of a surprise that the league seemed to be reacting supportively.
Not everyone reacted quite so well: While NFL player Carl Nassib comes out, homophobes go overboard pretending that they don’t care.
All of those homophobes have been screaming that they don’t care, and then making the angry bad attempts at sexual insults. Coincidentally, on one of my other blogs, another homophobe sent me some angry messages in response to my posting of several Pride Month images. The phrase, “No one f—ing cares!” was repeated several times in those messages, too.
First, anyone who angrily yells or posts a comment asserting that “No one cares” when a queer person expresses anything about their lives, has just admitted that they care entirely way too much. They have also admitted that they are hateful bigots who lose their temper any time they are reminded that not everyone is straight.
Nassib responded to the people those (disingenuous) questions asking why he has to make an announcement. “Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you’re a friend, a parent, a coach, or a teammate — you can be that person.”
One of the first studies to show that was published by the George H.W. Bush administration. Bush tasked the National Institutes of Health with determining how to reduce teen suicide, and the conclusion was that the most teen suicides would be if parents were encouraged to tell their children that they would still love and accept them if they were gay.
This is one of the reasons I say every year around National Coming Out Day and during Pride Month that queer adults should be out. It makes your life better not to constantly hiding a secret and fearing discovering, but it also makes it more likely that younger queer people will live—period.
So, I’m happy for Nassib. Even if it does mean that I have to reinstate the search on my DVR to record Raiders games, again.
This story is from March, but apparently it is still believed to be an issue: Nearly 7 million Americans might not get a COVID-19 vaccine because they don’t know it’s free
In another story I read (and now I can’t find it), some people still don’t believe it’s free specifically because certain pharmacy companies are saying, "Free with insurance." But that isn’t exactly the truth. By law in the U.S. no one is allowed to charge anyone for the vaccine. The government is paying for the vaccine. Unfortunately, while the same law says that they are not allowed to even charge patients any fee to cover the administration or other costs of delivering the vaccine, the law does allow them to charge your insurance a fee to cover the administering process.
But only if you have insurance.
They are legally barred from charging you anything for the vaccine.
I wish that the law had barred them from charging the insurance companies, too. Not to protect those for-profit companies, but because studies have shown that, for instance, if a municipality or county adopts a policy of trying to recovery ambulance costs from insurance companies while allowing the uninsured to get ambulance service free, people in critical health situations try to get themselves to an emergency room because they believe they will be hit with a very large bill if they take an ambulance.
Anyway, get the word out! Places providing vaccine shots are legal barred from charging you for the vaccine or any administrative fees related to getting the shot.
Get your shot!
In their timezone it’s already past midnight, but I am really happy that we have a First Lady who I’m not ashamed of, so: Happy 7-0 To Dr. Jill Biden, The Best First Lady Since Michelle Obama!
As often happens, the Wonkette captured my thoughts perfectly!