Convert that Gravy Boat into a Battleship!

As is its wont, Fox News is ginning up outrage among the duct-taped naugahyde recliner set by highlighting godless liberals’ plans to persecute Trump supporters over turkey this year:

The suggestions for how to ruin Trump-supporting relatives’ holiday dinner in the linked GQ article are clearly tongue-in-cheek and purposely silly. But this part is kinda true, IMO:

This year, if you’re headed home to a household that still thinks a sex-offending game show host in rapid cognitive decline was the best choice for a president, it is your civic duty to filibuster Thanksgiving.

Trump has spent the entire year performing one long, clumsy touchdown dance atop the wreckage of America’s former norms and values… Any parents still riding the Trump Train at this point have thereby signaled that nothing is sacred. It is time to follow their example. They can’t stand idly by while President Deals tramples every other American tradition and yet somehow expect that Thanksgiving will be normal too. If every other moment of this year is going to be drastically out of whack, nobody should get to pretend that everything is normal for one meal just because that’s what the pilgrims would have done.

It’s not so much that Trump supporters don’t deserve a normal Thanksgiving (although they don’t); it’s that we who are related to or otherwise entangled with these assholes have a duty to try burst their bubble of complacency.

As it should be, this obligation is borne almost exclusively by my fellow white people — it was our demographic cohort that foisted this treasonous buffoon on the world, and it’s on us Saltine-Americans to try to fix it.

Trump voters should know we feel demeaned every goddamned day that dawns with a self-described sexual predator (and child molester apologist!) representing our country. We should make them aware that we’re appalled that literal Nazis and white nationalist trash are elevated and empowered by this administration.

Trump supporters should understand that we’re repulsed by the Bible-humping hypocrites who flock to support their degenerate president, and that we’re revolted by the arrogant, preening, phony morality of anti-gay creeps like Mike Pence.

We should point out that the huckster-in-chief invited a gaggle of plutocrats to loot the U.S. Treasury while he and his pack of grifting-hyena relatives convert the presidency into a personal branding engine and profit center. That “drain the swamp” thing was 100% bullshit, and if they’re still lapping it up, Trump supporters are a con man’s willing dupes.

And Trump supporters should know we’re repelled by people who wrap themselves in the flag and invoke “the troops” as an excuse to cram their jingoism down our throats while at the same time expressing enthusiasm about a foreign autocrat undermining our democracy or turning a blind eye to it.

I could go on, but the point is, this shit is not normal, and if we’re ever going to get within hailing distance of normal again, we must not only call out Trump and his official minions, we must confront the people who put him where he is. Even if they are our dads, aunties, cousins, etc.

The techniques to confront MAGAts vary. I favor sarcasm. Valued commenter Mnemosyne has described a gambit that I’ve found particularly effective in exposing the stupidity at the core of Trumpian conspiracy theories: Feign ignorance when wingnuts repeat some chain-email lie, politely ask them to elaborate and ask pointed questions until the full lunacy of the premise is exposed, sometimes even to the speaker, who eventually trails off in embarrassment or changes the subject.

Anyhoo, arm yourselves with the rhetorical weapons that suit you best, including sweet reason and loving kindness, if that’s your thing. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m off the hook on Thanksgiving Day since no Trump-supporting relatives will be in attendance. But I will be seeing them over the coming weeks, and I will give no quarter. They don’t deserve it, and these days, silence equals complicity with a white supremacy agenda. Fuck that!

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: It’s Never A Sprint, It’s Always A Marathon

A nonbinding referendum conducted by mail found 61.6 percent of Australians in favor of allowing gay couples to wed. Even though the measure was expected to be approved, the size of the win and the unusually large participation of 12.7 million Australians out of the 16 million eligible voters added to its political legitimacy.

Though the vote isn’t binding, all major political party leaders have promised to implement the decision, which would make Australia one of approximately 26 countries that allow gay couples to wed.

“The people of Australia have spoken, and I intend to make their wish the law of the land by Christmas,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. “This is an overwhelming call for marriage equality.”

In a wealthy, urbanized country where 52 percent of the population regards themselves as Christian, according to a census last year, the vote marks a defeat for Australia’s two big churches, the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, whose leaders were behind a well-organized campaign to defeat the referendum…


Apart from sneaking a slab of rainbow cake, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Possible candidate:


You’re Wrong and They’re Also Sending a Message, You Clueless Numpty

Being a libertarian at Reason means never knowing anything other than whatever the left is doing, they are wrong. Here is the latest:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is angrily condemning a memo released today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it describes as “an all-out assault on LGBTQ people” creating “a sweeping ‘license to discriminate'” in furtherance of President Donald Trump’s “cynical and hateful agenda.” The memo does this via provocative language such as “freedom of religion is a fundamental right of paramount importance” and “government may not interfere with the autonomy of a religious organization” by, for example, forcing an Orthodox yeshiva to accept female rabbinical students.

Don’t get me wrong—we’re not exactly fans of Sessions here at Reason. But today’s memo shouldn’t make your list of reasons to dislike the man, who is much more fittingly criticized for being a lover of asset forfeiture and a drug warrior extraordinaire.

Haters of the religious liberty memo seem to believe (or, perhaps more accurately, want you to believe) that it establishes a new right for businesses and government agencies to turn people away on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. They should be comforted, then, by the revelation that virtually everything in the document is merely a restating of existing law and Supreme Court precedent.

Ok (hold on to your hats folks, but a glibertarian is wrong), this is not true:

Today, HRC responded to the Trump-Pence Administration’s latest attack against the transgender community. At the direction of Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded a memo issued by the Obama Administration. Sessions replaced the important instructions with a discriminatory memo, arguing that anti-discrimination protections under Title VII do not apply to transgender people. DOJ instructed all U.S. attorneys to adopt this dangerous position in all pending and future matters.

But let’s pretend this idiot is correct, and nothing has changed. Then why did they release a memo that, in her words “does little more than reiterate what federal law has been for years.” And let’s note that the weaselly “little more” nonsense, which is an admission that her entire premise that nothing has changed is, umm, a fucking lie.

The answer is because after consulting with Christianist extremists to help craft this memo (which, again, does more than just restate federal law), is that they are sending a message that the Justice Department and the weight of the government is open for business for bullshit religious grievances and eager to advance case law trashing minority parties for the benefit of religious lunatics. It’s “hey guys, we’re stacking the courts, you have a Justice Department that isn’t going to do shit to defend the rights of all Americans, and we’ll have the Supreme Court soon, so start getting these cases into the pipeline. It’s go time for religious bigotry.”

Because that’s how this shit works in America. No one is going to successfully introduce and pass a bill that says all gay people need to be stoned in the public square (well, at least not yet). So what they do is slowly chip away at constitutional protections afforded all individuals, eroding their rights, and creating a separate second class of American citizens which has the added benefit of making the lives of LGBT people miserable. On top of the overt actions in the memo, that’s what is really happening.

And the assorted douchebags at Reason either know this but their kneejerk hatred of “teh left” trumps that knowledge, or they don’t understand what the fuck is going on out side their myopic Randian universe. Either way, they should probably shut the fuck up until they know something.

Friday Night Party Open Thread

And while you’re at it, thank all the gods and your parents that you’re smart enough to understand towels:

…DudeRobe isn’t just a robe, though there is one of those. It’s an entire lineup of towel-lined loungewear—from robes and hoodies to shorts and pants—designed for bros. Because apparently normal robes are just too ladylike for true dudes. No, seriously: The brand’s Kickstarter ad actually says, point blank, “Bathrobes are too girly.” Wow….

And yet, almost five hundred aspiring idiots signed up for this on Kickstarter. What percentage do you wanna bet have used the phrase ‘No homo’ un-ironically?

Happy Pride Month

When I am most displeased with my country’s current trajectory, when I feel inclined to toss in the towel and move to a mythical Scandinavian country with a moderate climate that is willing to take in old crabby Americans with few marketable skills, when I despair of moving forward and feel ready to surrender to the forces of darkness, I remind myself of the remarkable progress we’ve made on gay rights, just during my lifetime.

We’ve still got a long way to go. The legal progress we’ve made is under attack, and prominent recipient of stolen goods (in)Justice Gorsuch shows eagerness to once again give force of law to the bigotry and intolerance that reigned for centuries.

But we’ve come a long way, baby. We’ve seen the White House lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate marriage equality as the law of the land. (Thank you, President Obama!) A new generation of young adults rightly believes that love is love.

It wasn’t that way when I came of age in the 80s, during the plague years. The president at that time wouldn’t speak the name of the disease that was killing my friends in their youth. Degenerate, money-grubbing preachers gained political ascendency by telling us AIDS was God’s judgment.

Closer to home during those dark times, I tried to be wing-woman to a beloved gay sister and had a ring-side seat to witness her struggles for acceptance within the family, and in the world. Through her bravery, and the bravery of millions of people who refused to accept second-class citizenship, refused to pretend to be someone other than who they are, the world changed.

A couple for nearly as long as myself and the mister, my sister and her spouse are now legally married, as of a few years back (I was allowed to marry when the Macarena was the hot new dance craze hereabouts). It’s a recurring joke between my sister and me: how easy it is for kids today, especially my gay kid, who never felt pressure — from her family, anyway — to hide her own beautiful self nor conform to someone else’s definition of “normal.”

I could write a “War and Peace”-length account of her struggles, a shame-filled treatise on my fuck-ups as a parent, an angry tirade on how schools and laws and institutions and society failed and still fail LGBTQ kids and adults. I in no way want to minimize the obstacles and injustices they face.

But yes, progress has been made, and Pride celebrations throughout the land have marked the occasion, even if the current clown in the White House and his beady-eyed, homophobic VP fail to do so. I recall the chant repeated in an ACT UP demonstration I attended so many years ago: “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous! Get used to it!”

And for the most part, America, to its credit, did get used to it. Not everyone. It’ll never be everyone. But enough of us to form a critical mass, I think. We’ll guard our progress and push it forward every day. But there’s plenty to be proud of, even in this shitty epoch. So, Happy Pride!

Good News — If We Can Keep It

According to the Washington Post:

The White House said late Monday night that it will keep the Obama administration protections extended to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, responding to reports that the orders would be reversed.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the White House said in a statement. “The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”…

The executive order Obama signed in 2014 had two parts. It expanded protections in federal hiring, which already barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, to also include gender identity. And it required all companies doing business with the federal government to have explicit policies barring discrimination against gay and transgender workers.

The move was significant because it applied to 24,000 companies that collectively employed about 28 million workers — representing about a fifth of the U.S. workforce…

Status will probably change — possibly more than once! — before most of you get to read this, but I’m kinda hoping Trump’s angry enough at his Talibangelical allies-of-convenience for falsely assuring him that everybody would lurve his #MuslimBan that he’ll refuse to grant them their dearest domestic-sadism wish out of pure spite. Trump seems to have no more animus towards LGBTQ people than he does the rest of us humans; as long as they’ve got something he wants (like Peter Thiel’s money) he’s a universalist. And with the ongoing normalisation of “unChristian” gender values — the Boy Scouts now allow transgender children to join their local troops! — there’s just not sufficient positive publicity for the President-Asterisk to risk any more popularity points just to make Mike Pence shut up for a few days.

And Now for the Gay Bashing

We’ll see. Part of me is wondering if this is a mole hunt inside the WH and this leak is just a chance for Bannon to find the source of leaks, because this would be so unpopular and cause such a shitstorm that it would be mind blowing. Not to mention, Trump was not openly an anti-gay bigot, not that his word amounts to anything.

Then again, another theory is that Trump really does have Alzheimers or mental issues and the Pence/Sessions bible thumper section is just pushing as much through as they can while Trump is still in office.

Fuck these motherfuckers either way.