Finally! However, we can’t let this one, and so far only one, instance of a cop getting real consequences for murdering an unarmed person distract us from the many, many, many other cases where the cops get away with murdering a black man, or any person of color, or a queer person.
There is a long way to go! We still need to eliminate qualified immunity and so many other things!
Meanwhile… The following news about another bad white man who has been causing problems in my state for years broke on Friday, but I didn’t have time to do a Weekend Update post, so you get it now.
I have written more than once about financial and other shenanigans of local political gadfly and perennial anti-tax, anti-gay, anti-well-anything-decent initiative filer: Tim Eyman. This a-hole had previously been found in violation of a number of campaign finance laws and was forbidden from being treasurer of any political action committee. Unfortunately he continued to find was to skim tons of money illegally out of the campaigns he was still heading up, even though technically not the treasurer. Please note, I didn’t say allegedly, because as of Friday, a court came to that conclusion:
Tim Eyman fined $2.6 million, barred from campaign control. So now he is no longer allowed to be in control in any way shape or form of political campaigns.
And on top of that, Tim Eyman ordered to pay additional $2.9 million to reimburse taxpayers
Allow me to quote the judge:
"In the history of the Fair Campaign Practices Act enforcement, it would be difficult for the court to conceive of a case with misconduct that is more egregious or more extensive than the misconduct committed by defendant Eyman in this matter.”
The wheels of justice may have ground slow on this one, but eventually…
A few years ago I wrote a blog post about, among other things, why white folks such as myself should amplify the voices of people of color when they talk about matters of concern to their communities: Queer Plus, or Intersectionality Isn’t Just a Noun — more adventures in dictionaries. So, when Lil Nas X released his new single, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" along with its even more creative/compelling music video, I figured that since the them was about coming out as a gay man within the African-American community and reconciling the teachings of his childhood church with his lived reality, my job was not to pontificate, but share links. So a couple of weeks ago I linked to the video and to two articles about it in the Friday Five.
I thought the video spoke for itself, though the two articles did offer some context.
I thought my work here was done. Until this week when a news site I read just about every day posted an op-ed about how brilliantly Lil Nas X used the conservative outrage machine to make the video go viral before the single was available to stream or buy.
It started out with a fair assessment, but then things went pear-shaped. Nas and his fans and supporters crossed a line, you see. They (or rather we – I’m an unabashed fan) betrayed our religious neighbors because we failed to understand that those religious people sincerely believe that the devil is literally the source of evil in the world.
When I read that bit, I said "What the f–!" out loud, then re-read the entire paragraph to make sure I was following the guy’s point correctly. On the second reading I noticed another bit that had slipped past me. He notes that recently polling finds that 47% of Americans say that they belong to a church, synagoge, or mosque, and then later he asserts that those 47% of all Americans are the people offended by Lil Nas X’s latest video. But also, yes, he definitely said we were all being insensitive to the sincerely held beliefs of the most conservative religious people who took offense at the video.
Before I explain how bass-ackwards this i, in case you you haven’t seen the video, here is a summary. Young Lil Nas is portrayed in an idyllic field playing a guitar, when a huge sinister serpent whispers in his ear and leads Nas away. A group f blue-heaired drag queens admonish and scold Nas, and eventually he hops on a stipper pole, slides down into into Hell. Where he gives the Devil a lap dance, before stealing the devil’s horns, causing the devil to explode, and then Nas sits on the throne.
Nas, by the way, plays almost every character in the video.
So it’s one way of describing the journey of a queer man raised in a conservative religion. You start out just innocently being yourself. You become aware of desires you have that you have been told are wrong. You get bullied and or rejected by the community of faith. Eventually you realize your truth is stronger than the lies you were told. You embrace your true self. Unfortunately there will always be those who continue to believe the lies, and now they see you as the evil one.
The entire point of that metaphor in the video is that many of the haters believe that the devil is literal and the source of all evil. The entire point is that they tell us – again and again – that we are tools of that literal source of evil. It is part of the dehumanizing process. Queer people, in their minds, don’t deserve rights or respect or even the chance to live because we aren’t actually people, we are merely tools of the devil.
At no point in the writing of the song, the recording of the song, the filming of the video, nor in the writing of the poignant letter to his younger self that accompanies it, did Lil Nas X ever forgot that those bigot sincerely believe in the devil.
It’s not betrayal; it’s holding up a mirror and saying, "This is what you believe? Own it!"
And while we’re on the subject, not all of the Americans who belong to a church or another house of worship are anti-gay bigots and Biblical literalists. A whole lot of progressive, pro-queer straight people belong to and regularly attend church in this country. Not only that, a lot of out and proud queer people do, too.
Once again, a concern troll has looked at an act of self-defense from a bullied, oppressed survival of an abusive religion, and construed it as an unprovoked attack.
I’ve said many times that I’m not an ex-Christian because I just decided one day to give the church the finger. I’m an ex-Christian because the church I was raised in rejected me and actively drove me away. Long before I understood what was different about me, the church told me again and again that queers were abominations to the loathed and punished, spurned and ostracized. While out of the other side of their mouth, they claimed god’s love was unconditional and insisted that they were instruments of that love.
Then, as soon as they see us for who we are, the bullying and abuse begins. Unconditional love is only for people who conform to their beliefs. Now that is betrayal.
Calling their betrayal out, particularly of our childhood selves, is not a betrayal. It is a reckoning.
You Know Things Are Bad if the Guy Whose Boots You’ve Licked for More Than Four Years Won’t Meet You
Liz Cheney On Matt Gaetz: ‘As The Mother Of Daughters, The Charges Certainly Are Sickening’ – Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Sunday said that sex trafficking and other allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are "sickening."
Glenn Greenwald Defends Gaetz’ Right To Have Sex With ‘Consenting’ Teenagers – Frequent Fox News guest, this week said that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has the right to have sex with a "consenting" 17-year-old girl.
Mass Shootings Everywhere
Cops Killing Unarmed People
Derek Chauvin’s defense begins its case by highlighting George Floyd’s prior arrest Because of course they do!
King County Executive Dow Constantine urges Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to retire – Sheriff sent an internal email to staff saying the settlement is “not a reflection of how I view the actions” of the deputy who shot unarmed 20-year-old Tommy Le This one has the complication that we King County voters approved a charter amendment last fall that ends Sheriff elections and makes the position of county sheriff an appointed position. In just 9 months the request from the executive (and calls from several county council members) will no longer be requests…
And a few links:
Explosive eruption rocks volcano on Caribbean’s St. Vincent – There were no immediate reports of casualties. The La Soufrière volcano last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people
Fact-check: Was Matt Gaetz the lone no vote on an anti-human trafficking bill? One of the few times that when a headline asks a question that answer is ‘Yes’
The giant parking squid has come to Ballard My old neighborhood!
Let’s close with something funny:
Before I get into the fuckwits and deplorables in the news, this is a story some folks may find useful: COVID-19 or allergies? How to tell the difference between symptoms – With the arrival of springtime, people are starting to question whether coughs and sniffles are mere allergies, or something more scary.
I need to say, for the record, that because I have an allergic hay fever reaction to every pollen, spore, and mold out there, that the COVID or hay fever game is one I have played almost every single day since February 2020, it’s not just a springtime thing for me. And when the hay fever is severe, I happen to get some of those symptoms the article says usually only happen with the flu or COVID. But if you are a more typical hay fever sufferer, I hope the article is useful.
Let’s move on…
You remember all those lawsuits that were supposed to prove that Donald didn’t lose? And how every judge and justice (including a bunch appointed by Donald himself) threw all those cases our for lack of evidence, lack of reason, lack of logic, and lack of a legal argument that could hold any water at all? Well, one of the lies that were repeated (and easily refuted) again and again by the lawyers and others pushing the issue was that a certain company’s voting machine had mucked with the vote totals but only in the states where Donald lost. That fact was easily refuted because not one of the states in question was using that company’s machines or software. None.
So, they’re suing for defamation. And things are not looking good for the lying lawyers: Kraken Lawyer Sidney Powell is ‘in a whole lot of trouble’ after her latest legal maneuver: attorney.
This headline tells you the crux of her argument for why the lawsuits should be thrown out: ‘Should Be Disbarred’: Internet Furious After Sidney Powell Insists ‘No Reasonable Person’ Would Have Believed Her.
Insisting that she knew the lies weren’t true and arguing that no reasonable person would believe them in this filing can now be used against her in all the sanctions investigations going elsewhere. Because as an officer of the court, you aren’t supposed to knowingly lie in your filings…
Anyway, all anyone needs to do to disprove that no one took those lies seriously is to look at the murder mob that invaded the U.S. capitol on January 6. Remember that?
People are still being tracked down and arrested: Former NYPD officer from Queens charged in Capitol riot, officials say.
And at least one Congressman, himself a veteran of the Marine Corps, wants military and former military personnel who participated in the murder mob to face other consequences: Democratic Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego wants any former military members who participated in the January 6 Capitol riots to be stripped of their veterans’ benefits. His request comes as the U.S. military has begun examining the rise of extremism within its ranks.
Let’s move from merely deplorable to deplorable people making we go WTF?!After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle admitted in their interview with Oprah that racism of certain palace officials, the British press (and certain royals) was more than just a small contributing factor in their decision to leave Great Britain and essentially resign as royals, conservative talking heads in America of all places started stumbling all over themselves to defend the British Monarchy. You know, the same monarchy that our Founding Fathers—who conservative claim to revere—rejected? We published that Declaration of Independence that the conservatives all claim to love (but misquote), fought the Revolutionary War (that conservatives love to praise) to secure that independence, and then fought another war in 1812 to remind them that no, we really meant that we didn’t want to be subjects of a King or Queen any more, thank you very much?
Yeah, that monarchy is somehow now even more beloved than the Founding Fathers and must be defended from the Radical Left: Heritage Foundation Mocked for Defending British Monarchy From American ‘Radical Left’.
Seriously, the Onion can’t make up weirding stuff than this: Conservatives Are Showing Their “Patriotism” By… Defending The British Monarchy?
I get it, the monarchy is being accused of racism, and if they don’t speak up when Oprah calls out the Queen for racism, there will be no one to speak up for American Republicans when we call them out for racism… again.
While we’re on the topic of people judging others by the color of their skin…
This one is personal in a weird way. Most of my childhood was spent in the Central Rocky Mountain region of the country, and King Soopers supermarkets is a big chain there. Most of my childhood memories of going shopping with my Mom for groceries happened in a King Soopers. We don’t have those up here in the Pacific Northwest where I now live, so on those rare occasions the brand gets mentioned online, it immediately grabs all of my attention:
Of course the white-appearing suspect was taken alive. Yet: Boulder Shooting Suspect’s Arrest Sparks Comparisons to Elijah McClain’s Death – Comparisons are being made between the arrest of the suspect in the mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and the death of Elijah McClain.
Let’s move on to another form of discrimination…
Colorado shooter posted anti-LGBTQ content on social media. Because of course he did!
First, some context: Even Republicans Mostly Fine With LGBTQ People Now, So PASS THE DAMN EQUALITY ACT. Seems like protecting LGBTQ civil rights would be a no-brainer for politicians and the like. Despite overwhelming majorities of the public support LGBTQ equality and for allowing transgender kids/teens to participate in school sports as the gender the identify, people still feel the urge to hate on LGBTQ people: Sweeping legislation allowing LGBTQ patients to be refused healthcare services over ‘conscience’ on Arkansas governor’s desk.
Voter suppression efforts are rampant: How pitiful is this GOP tactic? – Not only Democratic but neutral and expert observers agree that voter fraud was no problem in the big picture and that very little fraud occurred in the 2020 vote..
Fight voter suppression laws in the states. Let’s not let America regress to Jim Crow – There’s no time to wait while state-level suppression bills gain steam. Fair and free elections will be an uphill climb unless Congress passes HR 1.
Spare us: After Trump, seven Republican lectures Democrats never need to hear again – It probably would be easier to list what Republicans are still qualified to pontificate on. Why the federal deficit is a huge problem? Hmmm. Never mind.
Last year, more than 338,000 copies of “Green Eggs and Ham” were sold across the United States, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks the sale of physical books at most retailers. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” sold more than 311,000 copies, and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” — always popular as a high school graduation gift — sold more than 513,000 copies.
“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” one of the six books pulled by the estate, sold about 5,000 copies last year, according to BookScan. “McElligot’s Pool” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” haven’t sold in years through the retailers BookScan tracks.
Fox News Defends Piers Morgan and Pepe Le Pew as COVID Bill Passes: A Closer Look:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
How Pro-Trump Forces Pushed a Lie About Antifa at the Capitol Riot. “On social media, on cable networks and even in the halls of Congress, supporters of Donald J. Trump tried to rewrite history in real time, pushing the fiction that left-wing agitators were to blame for the violence on Jan. 6.”
Biden’s Covid relief bill is extremely popular. So why do D.C. Republicans oppose it? Because they don’t serve the American people, they serve the tiny community of billionaires.
Ilhan Omar leads calls to fire Senate official who scuppered $15 wage rise – Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled provision in $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill did not qualify for budget reconciliation.
Lots of people misquote an old Latin proverb and admonish us that we are never to speak ill of the dead. The actual proverb is more properly translated into modern English as, “Of the dead, speak nothing but truth.”
So allow me to speak some truth.
Rush Limbaugh was a racist, sexist, homophobic, hypocritical liar. His radio show normalized a form of hateful demonizing of political opponents in addition to people of color, queers, women, and anyone who had the audacity to show compassion to their fellow humans. And he frequently insisted that there was no proof that nicotine was addictive (there is tons), and likewise no proof that smoking tobacco could cause cancer, emphysema, or heart disease (there is a lot).
And today he succumbed to lung cancer.
Maybe there is some justice in this world after all.
Time once again for stories that either didn’t make the cut for this week’s Friday Five, or broke after I finished that weekly news post, or update stores I have linked to and/or commented upon previously..