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John Fetterman is a trust fund kid. He took money from his parents deep into middle age when he decided finally what he would like to do with the rest of his life, which is to be the U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. The problem is fate intervened and he can now no longer speak. He had a bad stroke and we feel bad about that. Everyone does, but because of that stroke, Fetterman now needs electronic assistance in order to communicate with other people.
He can’t talk on his own. It’s not a right-wing conspiracy theory. It’s not QAnon. It’s real. In fact, it’s so real, his campaign concedes that it’s real. That is true. Fetterman uses a software program to understand the words of those around him and to formulate his responses to those words. In other words, to talk. Now, to be perfectly clear, this software is not a hearing aid. Fetterman doesn’t need a hearing aid because he isn’t deaf. He’s not hearing impaired. Instead, this program takes words and then rearranges them into language that John Fetterman can understand because his brain can no longer do that for him.
That’s sad. For transhumanists, though, it is thrilling. This is an amazing moment. This is Neil Armstrong on the moon. Here you have one of the most famous politicians in the country merging with a computer. This is the future they imagine. They’re thrilled by it, but for everyone else, for the voters of Pennsylvania, for example, it does raise some obvious questions. For example, where exactly does the software end and John Fetterman consciousness begin?
We don’t know. We can’t know, but it’s obvious that Pennsylvania could very well be sending a computer program to the U.S. Senate where inevitably it will be hacked. Yesterday, MSNBC sat down with John Fetterman and his thinking machine to assess where the man ends and the machine begins and the initial impressions were not at all encouraging.
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REPORTER DASHA BURNS: We had a monitor set up so that he could read my questions because he still has lingering auditory processing issues as a result of the stroke, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing. Now once he reads the question, he’s able to understand. You’ll hear he also still has some problems, some challenges with speech, and I’ll say, Katie, that just in some of the small talk prior to the interview, before the closed captioning was up and running, it did seem that he had a hard time understanding our conversations.
Well, good for her for admitting that. That’s a rival channel. Don’t watch a lot of MSNBC, but she should tell viewers that, and she did. What she just told you is that before the machine was turned on, John Fetterman could not understand human language, not even small talk. But once the machine was plugged in, he sounded or the machine sounded nearly human, but don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine in the Senate as long as there’s not a power outage. It’s not like the electricity ever goes down in this country. We definitely have enough renewables to keep John Fetterman voting the right way for the next six years. Better build some more wind farms. That’s the plan.
But once again, to the credit of the MSNBC.com reporter, she did ask a follow-up. How do we know your thinking machine isn’t going to break, John Fetterman? Can we see a doctor’s report on this? Here’s how that exchange went:
REPORTER DASHA BURNS: Can voters trust that you will be able to do this job on day one?
JOHN FETTERMAN: Yeah, of course.
BURNS: So, you say you’re on the road to full recovery, but right now, voters really have to take your word for it. We’ve asked for your medical records. We’ve asked to have a conversation with someone from your medical team to interview your physician. You’ve declined those requests. Why?
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FETTERMAN: Well, I feel like we have been very transparent in a lot of different ways when our doctor has already given a letter saying that I’m able to serve and to be running.
BURNS: I mean, respectfully, that letter from your physician, that was six months ago. Don’t voters deserve to know your status now?
FETTERMAN: Being on, in front of thousands and thousands of people and having interviews and getting around all across Pennsylvania, that gives everybody and the voters decide, you know, if they think that it’s really the issue.
He’s reading that off a screen and by the way, we’re taking him at his word that there’s not a staffer backstage typing out the answers because he himself can’t formulate them. Now, again, you can feel deeply sympathetic to John Fetterman. That’s sad to watch, but this is a guy who wants to run the federal government in a body of 100, the most powerful legislative body in the world, and he wants to be a member of it.
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Over at CBS, reporter Ed O’Keefe asked the obvious question, “Will Pennsylvanians be comfortable with someone representing them who had to conduct a TV interview this way?” Now, that’s a mild way to put it, but it’s certainly a fair observation. The guy’s reading his answers off a screen with the reporter three feet away. That’s the definition of impairment and again, this is a very serious job.
But others in the media scoffed at the idea that was a problem at all. In fact, far from being a problem, it was an asset because if the equity agenda means anything, it means that incompetent people ought to be in charge. That’s equity.
As New York City Councilwoman Rita Joseph put it, questions about Fetterman’s profound brain damage are, “incredibly ableist.” Ableist? “We desperately need more diversity in elected office, and that includes people with speech impediments.” Well, we desperately need that. That is absolutely right, but actually we’re not talking about a speech impediment. She’s telling us he’s got a stutter just like Joe Biden. Remember they told you that Joe Biden’s dementia was just a stutter? But of course, a speech impediment would not prevent Fetterman or Biden from understanding other people’s speech. Huh?
Investigative reporter Hunter Walker, who writes for Rolling Stone and The New Yorker, answered that question with a question of his own “Would they treat a deaf person like this for needing assistance?” Oh. So, if you have questions about John Fetterman, you hate the deaf. You’re a hearingist, bigot. We’re going to close down your bank account of JPMorgan, ablest. But again, it’s not really relevant to the Senate race in Pennsylvania because once again, John Fetterman doesn’t have hearing problems. He’s not deaf. This isn’t deafness. This is brain damage.
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The Independent’s Eric Michael Garcia tried to tie up that loose end, and he used an analogy to do it. That’s how really smart people talk. “How is this any different,” he wrote “from Tammy Duckworth or Madison Cawthorn needing a wheelchair?”
So, John Fetterman, being unable to talk without reading it off a screen, either from the software or from one of his staffers backstage is exactly the same as being wounded in defense of your own country. It’s a war injury.
And then John Fetterman’s wife, who came into this country as an illegal alien by the way, wondered the same thing and we’re quoting “Truly appalling. Have these ‘journalists’ never heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act? Really curious to learn how they feel about wheelchairs and glasses.”
Really? So, your questions about John Fetterman’s mental health, the acuity of his brain, his ability to talk and listen and reason, use his higher faculties, those questions are banned by the Americans with Disabilities Act because he’s not just an incompetent guy trying to take over the country. No, he’s disabled.
Over at Vox, Ian Millhiser said he knows exactly how Fetterman’s bigoted critics view people with eyeglasses. “Is it the position of NBC News that a senator with glasses cannot be trusted in office because they use assistive technology to accommodate their disability?”
It’s unbelievable. Not only can you not ask questions about the guy you’re supposed to vote for and whether he can actually represent you in the United States Senate, you’re not allowed. He’s fine and by the way, the fact he’s not fine is the reason to vote for him. So, they’re hitting you for both sides. Vote for him because he’s so profoundly disabled. We don’t have enough for those in the Senate. But if you note he is profoundly disabled, you’re a bigot. They got you coming and going.
Have you heard this before? Does it sound kind of familiar where they take someone with an obvious impairment and then they use him to accrue more power for themselves? It’s not really about the disabled person. It’s about them and then if you ask questions about it, shut up bigot!
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Does the name Greta Thunberg come to mind? That’s the girl who is always lecturing you about global warming and how you are evil. Greta Thunberg is someone who needed help and concern from adults. At the age of 11, she lost 22 pounds because, according to her parents, she was so depressed about global warming that she couldn’t eat and then she was diagnosed with a whole suite of very serious problems: OCD, mutism, Asperger’s, very, very sad, actually.
But the people around Greta Thunberg and the people who used Greta Thunberg didn’t see this as sad at all. They saw it as an advantage for them because Greta Thunberg could be used to accrue more power to them and you weren’t allowed to say anything about it because she was disabled, which, by the way, you weren’t allowed to notice. Here’s Greta Thunberg:
GRETA THUNBERG: You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
So you look at that and on one level you think, why is this person lecturing me, someone who’s never had a job before is in charge of, like, our energy policy? That’s crazy.
And then the other level, the more deep level, the more important level, you realize what a tragedy you just saw. Here is someone who is profoundly troubled, who needs real help and care and empathy and love from the adults in her life, but she’s not getting any of that. Instead, she’s being carted out like a sideshow freak for the profit of others. They’re using that child in exactly the way they’re using Joe Biden and John Fetterman and by the way, Kamala Harris, the dimmest person ever to work in American politics. None of them have any idea what’s going on. And they’re being used by people for the benefit of those people, but you can’t say anything because you would be against people with disabilities and the ADA prohibits you from doing that. Right?
You’re supposed to accommodate Greta Thunberg’s disability, pretend her words are profound, just like the fake poet at Biden’s inauguration. Oh, she was so great. We dare you to say she wasn’t. She was ridiculous, but you did not because it’s so profound.
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In Greta Thunberg’s case, of course, the media loved it because they could use her too. They could use Greta Thunberg, didn’t care anything about it. She could die and they wouldn’t care. They would find someone else to use as a marionette for their own political ambitions. Watch them:
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: Perhaps the most impressive and impassioned remarks have come not from a president or prime minister, but 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg
CNN ANCHOR: She is the teenager on strike for the planet. Time’s Person of the Year. Greta Thunberg is leading a generation of climate kids.
LAURA COATES, CNN: Greta, first of all, I got to reassess my life choices. That is a force to be reckoned with.
BILL WEIR, CNN: Greta Thunberg, the Swedish girl who inspired so much, she said she was in a deep depression when she understood the warnings of science, but turned that depression into action. I see the result here today.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: Greta’s passion does reflect what really is happening and we’re still arguing whether or not it exists?
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She turned that depression into action. Well, no, she didn’t, actually. She’s living in hell. Like most emotionally unbalanced children, she’s suffering, but you don’t care because you can use her. You did nothing to support her, to love her, to cure for serious mental illness.
No, you used her to take more power and if anyone says anything about it, if you think children shouldn’t go on television to talk about climate policy and energy, then you’re a bigot. You hate children. You hate Greta Thunberg; And by the way, as you sit and watch the results of the lunatic policy that she’s espousing without even understanding Europe’s energy grid collapsing, then you’re a bad person.
As Vox reported, “Attacks on Greta Thunberg expose the stigma autistic girls face.” No, they expose the callousness and cynicism of her parents and MSNBC anchors and everybody else who used her suffering to their own benefit. The Washington Post complained “Autistic young people deserve serious respect and attention, not dismissal as the pawns of others.” Really? Whose pawn is Greta Thunberg? Yours. Researchers at the University of Albany even published a study on “Analysis of ageism, sexism and ableism in user comments and YouTube videos about climate activist Greta Thunberg.”
So again, you need to listen to her because she’s not well, but if you note that she’s not well, you’re a bigot. It’s the same, exactly the same dynamic you’re watching what the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who is not well and everybody knows it. Joe Biden mourned the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski publicly. Then a few weeks later, he asked, totally befuddled, why isn’t she here at the event? But if you notice it, that happened, you’re the ageist.
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WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You know, my gosh, come on. You can’t go after him for, you know, not giving aid to Florida or not tackling the infrastructure and he’s giving aid to Ukraine. So, you can’t go after him for that, but you can go after him for forgetting that someone has passed. I mean, and she passed last month, not like 100 years ago.
SUNNY HOSTIN: I think what it really shows is that this country is so ageist. This country has a problem with age and I think they need to stop weaponizing his age. I hate that about this country.
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This country has a problem with age so if you don’t like the fact the commander-in-chief, the guy who commands our nuclear arsenal, is deranged because of age, which he is, then you’re the bigot. But underneath all of this is this single most cynical political move in the history of this country, and that is elevating Joe Biden precisely because he is fading away, because he is demented. That’s why they chose him.
They had an option, actually. His name was Bernie Sanders. We’re hardly endorsing Bernie Sanders’ program, but Bernie Sanders could think clearly. And the people who run the Democratic Party just hated what he had to say. So, they picked a guy who had nothing going on upstairs, was flatlining mentally, so they couldn’t control him. That’s exactly what they’re doing with Fetterman.