It’s indisputable now that Bernie is the new leader of the Democratic Party

New York Times news photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the support of 16 Democratic senators for the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that he introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Of course we won’t achieve single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” with the current Congress, but because of Bernie’s vision, persistence, courage and leadership, we are moving in that direction when the likes of Democrats in name only like Billary Clinton still are saying that we commoners have to continue to suffer under the for for-profit “health-care” system because there is no other way.

Anyone who claims that Bernie Sanders isn’t the front runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination must explain why, then, anyone who wants to be the 2020 Dem prez nominee signed on to the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that Bernie introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday.

Yes, the 16 signatories (all Democrats and no Repugnicans, of course) included Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey. (Even corporate whores who call themselves Democrats are smart enough to know that they don’t want to be said to have not supported single-payer/“Medicare for all” in 2017 if they want to run for the White House for 2020.)

Sixteen signatories is a lot of them, considering that when he last made the effort in 2013, Bernie could find not a single signatory.

This is what leaders do: They fucking lead.

And this is how big changes happen: People with small minds and no vision (and sometimes with a personal stake in the socioeconomic status quo) laugh and scoff at you, they tell you that it can’t be done, but you push and push and push and push, and then it finally gets done, perhaps decades later, and then it becomes the new normal, and in the future people are surprised to hear that it ever was such an uphill battle in the first fucking place; to them, it was a fucking no-brainer.

A writer for Paste notes:

… The “Overton Window” is a term meant to define the range of acceptable discourse in a certain time and place. In Democratic American politics, circa early 2016, advocating for universal healthcare was not inside the Overton Window — in fact, it was considered a campaign killer.

The fact that it’s not only inside the window today, but that support for it has practically become a requisite for any ambitious Democrat, is entirely the doing of [Bernie] Sanders. His campaign shifted the ideological grounds, and has redefined the party’s platform.

We’re rapidly approaching a point where failing to support the concept of universal health care will be a deal breaker—at this point, 60 percent of Americans favor the idea, and that number is consistently growing with time. …

It’s a simple, popular idea, but it took someone like Sanders with the courage to defy inherited political wisdom and bring it out from under the shadows of history and into the mainstream.

It’s not the only example, but it’s the most prominent right now, and it helps explain why Sanders himself has maintained and grown his personal popularity in the Trump era.

This phenomenon has little to do with Sanders in particular — he has authenticity on his side, but no special charisma. [I disagree that he has no charisma, but no, he doesn’t make his personality and his ego the centerpiece of his politics, which in this day and age is refreshing.]

It’s the strength of his ideas that have persisted and grown. Winning and losing isn’t his primary concern, and his political beliefs are all aimed at the future. And as that future approaches, he’s positioned himself as the most influential leader on the left….

While Bernie Sanders is leading, Billary Clinton is only even further demonstrating exactly what happened — she is now shilling her book that blames everyone except herself for her shitty presidential campaign (which was doomed to fail because it was based upon a shitty human being) and she apparently is trying to keep her brand of obsolete, center-right, pro-corporate, anti-populist, pay-to-play politics alive when it already is in a hospice.

As the writer for Paste also noted:

… Then there’s Hillary Clinton, who remains firmly rooted in the past. She lost the general election to an enormously unpopular candidate, and nearly lost the primary to Bernie Sanders, because she couldn’t rely on the strength of her ideas.

Hers was a personality- and identity-based campaign rather than an ideological one, and it came with the underlying belief that Her Time Had Come.

So it’s no surprise that in the aftermath of an historical loss to Trump, her egocentric rhetoric remains fatally attached to herself, and therefore attached to the past. …

Clinton’s new book, What Happened, is a postmortem that looks for blame everywhere but the proverbial mirror. It is rife with complaints, but woefully short on honest self-analysis. (There’s a comical comparison here to Sanders’ own recently released book, which is a policy-based look at the future of progressivism.) There’s plenty of aspersions to go around, but Bernie Sanders came in for special treatment…

While Sanders stands in the face of the Trump wave, a 76-year-old man fighting tooth and nail and with unprecedented success to bring healthcare to all Americans, Clinton has only emerged from hiding months later to promote a querulous book and sow further divisions on the left.

Their respective actions in the wake of a horrifying election result have proved the point: Sanders cares about the future, while Clinton cares only about herself.

Indeed.

Clearly, having made Billary the deplorable the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee was a huge fucking mistake. And at that time Bernie Sanders, being new to most Americans, just couldn’t overcome the corrupt Democratic National Committee that was doing its best to coronate Billary.

But the DNC has been exposed now (and at least partially purged of the Billarybots), and in hindsight Bernie looks even better now than he did in 2020. (Indeed, I love this meme:

Image result for hindsight is 2020 )

On the topic of single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care, of course I agree that health care is a human right. Every human being has the right to good health care.

I’m not an expert on health care, but I’m clear on the fact that the largest obstacles to universal health care in the United States are political. There are too many selfish pieces of shit out there who are profiteering obscenely from health care, since health care is a necessity of human life. These selfish traitors, who don’t at all mind harming others for their own excessive, undeserved gain, don’t want their gravy train derailed, and so of course they’re going to continue to fight for their incredibly unfair advantage.*

The United States spends more money per person on health care but doesn’t have outcomes to match that spending, and that’s because the goal in a for-profit “health-care” system is to profiteer — not to actually deliver good health care.

Two nations that spend less per person on health care but have better outcomes than does the United States are Britain and Italyboth of which have universal health care, so those who say that the United States cannot achieve universal health care are full of shit.**

We probably can’t wipe out for-profit “health care” overnight, and I am OK with allowing public/universal health care and private health care to co-exist at least for a time. (We do, after all, have both public schools and private schools, and no child is unable to attend school because his or her family cannot pay for it.)

But my hope would be that public health care (single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care) turns out to be so successful — including delivering significantly better outcomes at significantly less expense — that the private wealth-care weasels just cannot compete and deservedly go the way of the dinosaurs.

In the future, I suspect, history will show that Bernie Sanders was the father of universal health care, that he transcended not just the for-profit “health-care” system, but that he did what the namby-pamby Obamacare, which kept the for-profit “health-care” system intact, did not do: ensure good health care for everyone.

And history will show, I suspect, that Bernie Sanders finally rescued the Democratic Party from the Clintonistas (who, in fairness, include Saint Barack, of course).

*In the for-profit “health-care” system lots of people profiteer at others’ expense, and it’s not only the owners of the for-profit “health-care” companies, but stockholders, too, and those craven politicians to whom the wealth-care weasels give a lot of campaign cash in order to keep their treasonous scam going.

**Other nations whose citizens have longer life expectancy than do Americans but that spend less on health care per capita and have universal health care include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. See here and here.

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James Woods is dead to me

James Woods played closet case Roy Cohn dying of AIDS in “Citizen Cohn” (above) yet today spews homophobic bile and venom via Twitter.

It is sad when a performer whose work you have enjoyed (or at least didn’t hate) in the past turns out to be another fucking wingnut. It ruins whatever work that he or she did that you enjoyed (or at least didn’t hate).

On that note, perhaps James Woods, given his now-public obsession with gay sex, wasn’t acting very much when he portrayed closeted wingnut Roy Cohn in 1992’s “Citizen Cohn.”

Woods has attended at least one AIDS benefit; played the museum director defending controversial gay photo artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s work in 2000’s “Dirty Pictures”; and did a great job as the voice of Hades in Disney’s 1997 “Hercules,” and Disney isn’t known for hiring known homophobes, so at one point in his life, anyway, Woods appeared to be fairly gay friendly (or at least not publicly homophobic).

Somewhere along the line, though — Alzheimer’s, maybe? — Woods has changed his tone dramatically and drastically.

These days, he’s scatologically homophobically tweeting about CNN’s openly gay Anderson Cooper wearing (or rather, losing) a butt plug while on air, and he recently tweeted of the upcoming film “Call Me By Your Name”: “24 year old man. 17 year old boy. Stop. As they quietly chip away at the last barriers of decency. #NAMBLA.”

Woods — who, again, I suspect, is battling dementia — mindlessly trots out the old right-wing lie equating homosexuality with pedophilia.

Of course, there are only seven years between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old, and actress Amber Tamblyn publicly has testified that when she was 16 years old, James Woods tried to “pick [her] and [her] friend up,” and that when she told him her age, he replied, “Even better.” (I believe her.)

Let’s do the math: Tamblyn now is 34, so she was 16 about 18 years ago. Woods now is 70, so he was about 52 when he very apparently tried to fuck a 16-year-old, but he blasts the movie “Call Me By Your Name” because it’s about a romance between a 17-year-old and 24-year-old. “NAMBLA!” he cries.

Clearly, this is about homophobia and heterosexism — as well as a colossal amount of fucking hypocrisy — and not about some concern for our “children.” Equating homosexuality to pedophilia always is only a cover for one’s own homophobic bigotry.

On that note, 17 is not a “child” (or a “boy”) in my book. A 17-year-old is a young adult.

The age of consent in Canada is 16, and in the United States of America, the age of consent is between 16 and 18.

In the more-sophisticated-about-sexuality Europe, where “Call Me By My Name” takes place, the age of consent is between 14 and 18.

So comparing the romance depicted in “Call Me By Your Name” to pedophilia is bullshit, but, of course, wingnuts never care about logic, reasons or facts.

I’m not sure if Woods ever got to fuck a minor, as he very apparently at least had wanted to, but he did date a 19-year-old when he was 59, and when he was 66 he started dating a 20-year-old.

So these, um, rather significant age differences are A-OK if you’re a heterosexual male, you see, but not if you’re a homosexual male. Then, it’s “pedophilia.”

I’m going to see “Call Me By Your Name” (it’s due out on November 24), and from the early buzz, I’m probably going to enjoy it.

And I’ll never be able to watch anything with James Woods in it again. (Except maybe for “Hercules,” since it’s only his voice… And maybe I’ll watch him die again in “Citizen Cohn.”)

In the meantime, the sooner that we can say “the late James Woods,” the better.

Whatever worthwhile contribution he was going to make to the culture, he already made it years ago.

P.S. For full disclosure, even if I were single and not in a decade-long relationship with another man who is six years older than I am, I can’t see myself ever attempting to have sex with someone who is young enough to be my son.

A young man might be tempting to pair with, but I don’t know how I’d keep up with him, and I don’t know how fair the age difference would be to him.

That said, I’m not troubled by a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old having a sexual relationship as long as it’s consensual and healthy, and, of course, unlike the hypocritical, homophobic and heterosexist (and unhinged) Woods, I’m not at all concerned about the configuration of the pairing (male-male, female-female, female-male or whatever other possible permutation). Their ages and what’s between their legs and what they do in the bedroom (and, within reason, in public) would be their fucking business.

And my definition of “pedophilia,” I think, would necessitate that the “child” (the “girl” or the “boy”) were younger than 16. (The United Kingdom’s age of consent is 16, which seems OK to me.)

P.P.S. Armie Hammer, who plays the 24-year-old in “Call Me By Your Name,” is 31 years old, and Timothée Chalamet, who plays the 17-year-old, is 21 years old. So no minors were “harmed” in the making of this film.

And I’m not a “pedophile” for finding both of those actors to be attractive young men. No more so than is James Woods for having dated a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old (and for apparently having tried to fuck a 16-year-old).

P.P.P.S. How could I have forgotten this one? In July, Woods attacked a family with a gender-fluid son, tweeting in response to a photo of the family, “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.”

Classy!

(And what have the child’s parents “done”? They have allowed him to be who he is and who he wants to be, rather than to cram Woods’ backasswards, wingnutty worldview down his throat. Yes, they’re awful parents!)

Again, I question Woods’ mental state. I suspect some form of dementia.

Or maybe it’s possible that he long had planned to wait until his acting career had dried up before he finally would unleash his far-right-wing, bat-shit-crazy, incredibly hateful views on the world…

Or maybe he felt ambivalent about retiring, but knew that after he repeatedly had tweeted his cray-cray, he’d never get work again, and so he forced himself into retirement by doing so (able to tell himself that it only was the “alt-left” who had “forced” him into retiring)…

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Billary won’t take the hint (after all, there is more money to be made!)

Like Freddy, Billary Clinton is the stuff of nightmares and absolutely refuses to go the fuck away, but insists on inflicting poorly produced sequels on us, each one worse than the one before it.

Two wonderful headlines from Politico today: “Trump Hits New Low in Public Opinion — But He’s Still Beating Hillary Clinton” and “Democrats Dread Hillary’s Book Tour.”

Indeed, Billary projects much when she claims, as she has in her pathetic new book (horribly titled What Happened, it’s due out on Tuesday), that Bernie Sanders ran for president only “to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

Billary blasts Bernie for “disrupt[ing] the Democratic Party,” but it’s far more important to baby boomer Billary to continue to profiteer from her sad, pathetic, overlong political career than it is for her to step aside for the good of the Democratic Party that sorely needs to pick itself up off of the ground, dust itself off and learn how to walk again after what her center-right, sellout brand of “Democratic” politics did to it — including giving us “President” Pussygrabber, since it was so hard for the voters to decide in November which presidential candidate they despised less (I mean that literally and seriously).

Bernie Sanders, whose nationwide approval rating long has been in the black by double digits while Billary’s long has been in the red by double digits, is the future of the Democratic Party. That is, even if he doesn’t run for president again himself — and I hope that he does — his unabashedly progressive, anti-corporate, truly populist platform is the winning platform. If Bernie doesn’t become president with that platform, then someone else of his ilk will.

It doesn’t fucking matter that while Billary uses the label “Democrat,” Bernie doesn’t, something that Billary tried to make into an issue both when she was battling Bernie in the primary season and in her bullshit new book.*

“I am proud to be a Democrat. And I wish Bernie were, too,” she taunted in her new book like a mean girl in junior high school.

Um, I’m too fucking embarrassed to be a Democrat because of Repugnican-Lite Billary who, as Politico notes, is despised by the American electorate even more than is “President” Pussygrabber — and because of the corrupt Democratic National Committee that fucked Bernie over to help coronate Billary as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, which is why I changed my voter registration from the Democratic Party to the Green Party to now, no party.**

Only when and if the Democratic Party once again becomes what it should be — a truly progressive, truly populist party — will I be able to register as a Democrat again. And that’s Billary’s fucking fault (and Barack Obama’s too, and definitely Bill Clinton’s, and probably even Jimmy Carter’s, too — the party started drifting to the right under Carter, but then that rightward drift was solidified by Billy Boy and was only perpetuated by Caretaker in Chief Obama).

Billary Clinton uses the label “Democrat” but isn’t a Democrat, while Bernie eschews the label but perversely ironically is more of a Democrat than Billary ever has been or ever will be, if we define a Democrat as a progressive instead of a center-right sellout, a Repugican-Lite asshole.

Yes, it is torture to have to continue to hear from loser-harpy Billary — like nails dragging along a chalkboard — but again, she’s a baby boomer, and among other things, boomers refuse to leave the stage even when the strong majority of the audience clearly is tired of them.

Billary’s refusal to leave the spotlight even though she is so despised might actually work some unintended good, however; her continued presence — her cluelessly and shamelessly perpetually waving her cold, dead hands of the past in our faces — might serve as a continual reminder that the Democratic Party sorely needs to continue to go left and to jettison Clintonism if it ever wants to win the White House again.

This bodes well for 2020.

*Whether or not Bernie, an independent who calls himself a democratic socialist, was acceptable or not as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee wasn’t fucking up to Billary, but was up to us, the people, and Bernie won 22 states in the caucuses and primaries, and he won 46 percent of the pledged delegates (those delegates democratically won).

A huge chunk of us voters didn’t find Billary to be the actual Democrat in the race. Fuck Billary.

**The Green Party had a chance at being a decent, respectable third party after Ralph Nader ran on its ticket in 2000, I think, but it pretty much blew it.

Admittedly, I voted for Jill Stein both in November 2008 and in November 2012, as I couldn’t stomach voting for Obama again or for Billary, but admittedly, if she’s the best that the Green Party can do…

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Attack on DACA one more brick in the wall that will shut out the Repugnicans

In his “presidential” campaign announcement speech in June 2015, “President” Pussygrabber infamously said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

Those words are seared into my brain.

So when Nazi elf Jeff Sessions, apparently cowardly chosen to announce the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA, proclaimed yesterday that “This does not mean [that] they [DACA participants] are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way,” his words rang rather hollow.

After all, Sessions had decided to be an early, ardent supporter of Pussygrabber, who had uttered the incredibly ugly words in the first paragraph above more than two years ago.

Obviously anti-brown-skinned-immigrant animus is involved here; if it’s not on the personal part of every member of the Pussygrabber regime, then the attack on DACA definitely is for the unelected regime’s perceived political gain from Pussygrabber’s base of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging brown-skinned-immigrant haters.

There is a lot to unpack here, not just the obvious racism and anti-(especially-browned-skinned)immigrant sentiment that is behind opposition to DACA, but also the fact that the federal government loses its credibility when one president issues an important policy affecting thousands and thousands of Americans and then another comes behind him and reverses it.

If you are transgender and are in the U.S. military, having been told that you are good to go, you shouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out of the military now because there is a new, albeit unelected, “president” in the White House who wants to throw some red meat to his base of Orcs by demonstrating even more hatred for an already historically oppressed minority group.

If you were accepted into DACA, you should remain in DACA as long as you follow the requirements that were laid out for you when you were accepted into it. The federal government always should follow through on its promises unless there is a clear and compelling reason (such as foreseeable death and destruction) for it not to.

The Pussygrabber regime bullshittingly is arguing that DACA is unconstitutional, as it was created by President Barack Obama’s executive order, but the federal court system has had plenty of time since DACA’s inception in June 2012 to declare it unconstitutional if it is.

(Speaking of Obama, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA of course isn’t just anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant red meat to throw to its base of deplorables, but also is anti-Obama red meat to throw to them because it attempts to reverse yet something else that Obama accomplished.*)

I, a white, native-born American man, welcome Hispanic immigrants. Yes, of course, as with any immigrant, a serious criminal history and/or demonstrated ties to a criminal and/or terrorist group should bar your entrance into the U.S., but the vast majority of the Latinos in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants from Latin America, are hard-working, law-abiding people whose presence by far gives the U.S. a net benefit, not only economically, but culturally, too.

On that note, I’m fine with a fusion of the white American culture and the Latino culture. I mean, that fusion already is happening (I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish for about two years now, for example), but I’m fine with it happening even more quickly. The two cultures can strengthen each other, and it would be great for the U.S. to be a bilingual nation. (It has been shameful, I think, that we haven’t been a bilingual nation all along.)

All of this talk about syncretism scares the hell out of Pussygrabber’s base of white supremacists and white nationalists, but to me, it’s an exciting expansion of what it means to be a human being (a human being first, and then second, an American). It’s not at all a diminishment; quite to the contrary.

Finally, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA is yet just another attack on the largest and fastest-growing non-white racial group in the United States — Latinos — and, as I noted just recently, over the long term this is political suicide for the Repugnican Party.

I feel sorry for those under DACA and those who love them who now have even more stressfully uncertain lives, and I hope that the issue is resolved soon in their favor. Again, DACA has been around since 2012 and therefore its promises should be fulfilled, not abandoned for the cheap, quick and dirty political gain of the unelected and thus illegitimate Pussygrabber regime.

But the longer view is more optimistic than is the short view; the longer view should mean that the Repugnican Party will lose more and more power over the coming many years.

For that, ironically, we have “President” Pussygrabber to thank.

*To be clear, I do agree with Ted Rall’s assertion that DACA (some form of it, anyway) should have been something that Obama pushed through Congress when the Dems controlled both houses in 2009 and 2010. It shouldn’t have been an executive order, since an executive order can be criticized as unconstitutional presidential overreach.

Rall wrote:

… As Barack Obama said [yesterday] after [Jeff] Sessions’ statement: “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”

Totally true words.

And, coming from the man who set the stage for Trump’s xenophobic and racist policies with plenty of his own, totally empty.

Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform, including legal protection for the DREAMers, during his 2008 campaign. As president, however, he never tried to make it happen — even in 2009 and 2010, when his Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

Republicans went obstructionist on all things Obama after 2010, so a frustrated Obama farted out DACA as an unconstitutional executive order in 2012. [Again, I don’t know whether DACA is 100 percent constitutional or not, but, again, I do know that the federal courts have had years to shoot it down as unconstitutional if it is, and they have not.]

In a typically perverse Democratic attempt to out-Republican the Republicans, Obama became the “Deporter in Chief,” throwing more people out of the United States than all the presidents of the 20th century combined. …

Rall later remarks, “This is what happens when the Left goes to sleep because a Democrat is in the White House.”

Yup. I do think that it’s important to recognize that Obama’s and the Democrats’ record on immigration reform has been mixed at best.

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I don’t much care about Texas

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 30, 2017)

Image result for hurricane harvey flooding

Getty Images news photo

I want to care more than I do. It’s that it’s Texas…

That headline might be a bit provocative, but I’m just being honest; I don’t much care about what’s going on in Texas right now. For many reasons.

First and foremost, I think, is that Texas sociopolitically is pretty much diametrically opposed to my state of California. Night and day. (California is day and Texas is night. [Seriously, though, Texas’ claim to be better off economically and to be a better place to live and to do business than California is, of course, utter bullshit.])

Also, as a gay man, an atheist and a democratic socialist, I’m fully aware of how many if not most Texans regard me, and so it’s very difficult for me to want to help them.

And as a Californian, I’m very much aware that should, say, a huge earthquake devastate Los Angeles or San Francisco, many if not most of the so-called adults in Texas would claim that of course it was God’s will to punish all of those sinners, or, if it weren’t divine intervention, at least the denizens of the Land of Fruits and Nuts, who are not, of course, real Americans, nonetheless deserved it.

Don’t get me wrong. If I were on the ground in Texas to see the biblical devastation with my own two eyes, I’m sure that I’d want to help. But I decided years ago that I’d never set foot in Texas, fuck Texas.

It’s ironic that Texas, the Climate-Change Denial Capital of the United States of America, is now filling up like an over-sized bathtub. After all, it’s the fossil fuels that Texas always has pushed on us that have caused climate change, which has caused fiercer and wetter and thus deadlier hurricanes.

Would Texas learn its lesson if we (perhaps literally…) bailed it out?

Also, of course, is the fact that we can’t even trust the fucking American Red Cross anymore not to totally squander our donations, so, if you refuse to go to Texas in person and don’t trust that any donation that you give will be used for its intended purpose, and if you’re an atheist who correctly doesn’t believe that praying is going to accomplish a God-damned thing, then what, exactly, can you do for Texas from California, even assuming that you should do something for Texas from California?

I’m not proud that I feel nothing for Texas, that the idea of it being inundated — inundated like Texans believe that “God” inundated the world because it was a punishment for sinfulness (so ironic!) — stirs little to nothing within me when past catastrophes have stirred a lot in me, such as was the case with Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami.*

Again, I’m not proud of my lack of feeling for Texas, but I won’t lie that I feel something that I don’t feel.

Frankly, with Texas it just seems like an awful lot of karma. With Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami, those people really struck me as innocent victims. Texans, not so much.

Yes, of course I exempt children, the incapacitated, pets, livestock, wildlife and those progressives (and those who, if they are apolitical, at least aren’t fascists) who live in Texas (the poor things) from any karmic due from Hurricane Harvey, but pretty much everyone else, well, yeah, um…

We’ll see if I change my mind over the coming days.

It’s just that as a gay man, an atheist, a democratic socialist and a Californian who has had his sexual orientation, his atheism, his left-wing political beliefs and his state (the greatest state in the nation, as evidenced by the fact that far more Americans choose to live here in California than in any other state) bashed by Texans, it’s incredibly hard for me to want to lift a finger for a state that would lift a finger for me only to flip me off.

P.S. Deregulation kills. I recommend this Newsweek piece about how Texas’ love of deregulation is now costing lives.

The purpose of deregulation is to allow greedy, selfish traitors to make as much money as quickly as possible, regardless of the price that others predictably will have to pay later down the line.

Again: Karma.

I’m quite happy to live in a state where the state government believes in regulating capitalists who otherwise gladly would kill all of us for another fucking buck.

Government certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s the only thing that stands between us, the people, and the capitalist traitors.

Update (Wednesday, August 30, 2017): I’m such a softie. I just gave $20 to the Houston Food Bank and $20 to the Houston Humane Society, and I’m sure that I’ll give more over the coming days and perhaps even the coming weeks.

It’s just too hard for me to do nothing when I know that there is suffering. (On that note, The New York Times reports that more than 1,000 people** have died in floods in South Asia this summer. Do we Americans care about them? After all, they’re not Americans and they have brown skin and they’re far away…)

Don’t get me wrong; I believe that much of the misery in Texas could have been prevented, such as by having addressed climate change years ago and by having had meaningful government regulations that protected the people against the profiteers. Catastrophe is the foreseeable result of the rampant cutting of corners for profiteering.

P.S. OK, I’ve given some more today. I gave $10 to the SPCA of Texas, $15 to the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s help-Houston effort, and $20 to the Montrose Center, an LGBT assistance center in Houston.

I’m not bragging, but perhaps giving you some ideas to help out a little if you can and if you want to. I suggest to avoid the American Red Cross, as they very apparently are inept if not also corrupt, and I never give to religious-based organizations, since organized religions cause more misery than they relieve.

Of course I always hope that well-intended money that is received for things like Harvey is well spent and not stolen, and perhaps because of that I don’t give huge amounts to any one organization, and I like to spread my small donations around a bit.

*Also, to be fair even to Texas, it’s quite possible that I just have catastrophe fatigue. Seriously. I did give money toward both Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami victims, and both events made me heartsick.

Maybe I just can’t keep doing that. Maybe I have to shut it out, perhaps because with climate change, this shit is only going to keep on happening.

But mostly, I surmise, it’s that I just really hate Texas.

**The highest body count due to Hurricane Harvey that I’ve seen thus far is 30. Of course it is sure to rise, but Hurricane Katrina’s body count exceeded 1,800.

Also, from what I can tell, Katrina hit the already impoverished, mostly in Louisiana, and its victims disproportionately were black. The denizens of the Houston area are, I do believe, not as impoverished, as a group.

Finally, the body count in the 2004 tsunami, according to Wikipedia, was “230,000 to 280,000 people in 14 countries.” I add that for perspective.

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‘President’ Pussygrabber : United States :: Gov. Pete Wilson : California

When you’re bumping into the trees — and that’s all that “President” Pussygrabber has us doing, bumping into the trees — it seems that you’re going to be doomed bumping into trees forever.

But ah, there is the forest. And the forest exists not only in space — there is a lot more forest than you can see from your poor vantage point of bumping into trees — but the forest also exists in time, and, busy bumping into trees, you’re rather too consumed with the present to gain perspective from the past.

This is the bottom line: Pussygrabber’s approval ratings are below 40 percent in most nationwide polls. It has been a month and a half since he hit even 40 percent in Gallup’s daily tracking. Fivethirtyeight.com right now puts his average approval polling at 36.9 percent.

That is the forest through the trees. Well, part of the forest, anyway.

This is a presidency in crisis. The problem is that we don’t have another nationwide election until November 2018 and don’t have another presidential election until November 2020. But we have to think beyond the next two election cycles, too.

True, when you have a shitty president/“president,” he (or she, someday) can hang on to the Oval Office for a rather long time doing that shitty job, and it seems that you’ll be assaulted with his daily-or-almost-daily utter bullshit interminably.

But everything catches up to you eventually. And nothing lasts forever.

Pete Wilson, a former Repugnican governor of California, is widely credited with turning California into a blue state when he advocated the ugly, anti-brown-skinned-immigrant Proposition 187. Wikipedia explains:

As governor, Wilson was closely associated with California Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services in the … state of California.

Voters passed the proposed law as a referendum in November 1994; it was the first time that a state had passed legislation related to immigration, customarily an issue for federal policies and programs. The law was challenged in a legal suit and found unconstitutional by a federal court in 1998 and never went into effect.

Passage of Proposition 187 reflected state residents’ concerns about illegal immigration into the United States and the large Hispanic population in California. Opponents believed the law was discriminatory against immigrants of Hispanic origin; supporters generally insisted that their concerns were economic: that the state could not afford to provide social services for so many who entered the state illegally or overstayed their visas.

Opponents of Proposition 187 cited its passage as the cause of long-term negative effects for the California Republican Party statewide. Noting a rapid increase in the Latino participation in California elections, some analysts cite Governor Wilson’s and the Republican Party’s embrace of Proposition 187 as a cause of the failure of the party to win statewide elections.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only Republican to win a California gubernatorial, [U.S.] senatorial, or presidential election since 1994, [becoming governor] in a unique 2003 recall election. Schwarzenegger was also re-elected [as governor] in 2006.

Schwarzenegger was an outlier; he took advantage of the embattled, charismatically challenged Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in the bullshit gubernatorial recall election of 2003 and won because he had been a Hollywood action-movie star and because politically he was a blank slate, since he’d never held elected office before. Whatever he promised to do, the voters couldn’t be sure he’d do because he’d had zero track record in elected office. He promised to “clean house” and “blow up the boxes” and the voters fell for that bullshit, much as they did the “Make America Great Again” bullshit.

And, being an immigrant himself, Schwarzenegger certainly didn’t make anti-immigrant sentiment a centerpiece of his moderate-Repugnican politics.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has been at the helm since January 2011 and is termed out in January 2019, and no one who is sane and who knows anything about California’s voters believes that a Repugnican has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming the state’s next governor. California may never go to another Repugnican presidential candidate in our lifetimes, and it’s pretty much a given that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein one day will be replaced by another Democrat.

So the anti-immigrant bullshit might have been a cheap, convenient, immediate political boost for Pete Wilson, but the damage that he did to his party in California — where Latinos now outnumber whites! — endures and will persist, probably forever.

Ditto for Pussygrabber’s anti-immigrant bullshit, such as his insistence on a “Game of Thrones”-style Great Southern Wall to keep out the hordes of supposedly murderous, raping, brown-skinned wildlings (who, when they’re not too busy murdering and raping like to vote illegally, because, you know, those bad hombres really love to vote) — and such as Pussygrabber’s recent pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of contempt of federal court for disobeying a federal court order to stop violating Hispanic individuals’ constitutional rights.

As Wikipedia explains:

… On October 11, 2016, federal prosecutors announced that they would press criminal contempt of court charges against Arpaio. On October 25, 2016, such charges were officially filed, though Arpaio would not be arrested and no mugshot would be taken. The charges were filed just two weeks before an election in which Arpaio was running for re-election. [He lost that election, by double digits, to a Democrat, lest you think that Arpaio is still a big hit among all of Arizona’s voters.]

On July 31, 2017, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton wrote that Arpaio had “willfully violated an order of the court” by failing “to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed.” Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced in October 2017.

And then Pussygrabber pardoned him, because surely Pussygrabber is going to want a pardon himself in the future. The members of the elite criminal class — to whom their oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution mean less than nothing — must protect each other.

Note the leniency that Arpaio has been shown all along in our two-tiered “justice” system: he didn’t have to suffer the indignity of being arrested or having a mugshot taken, something that you or I could not escape, because we’re just commoners, and then, when he was convicted, it was just a fucking misdemeanor conviction, even though he had violated many, many individuals’ constitutional rights over a period of many, many years. You or I would have been convicted of a felony had we done what he did (repeatedly), I am confident.

And then, even a misdemeanor was too much for poor old Joe to suffer; he had to have a “presidential” pardon.

This is fine. Let the stupid old white men have their last gasps of abject abuse of power, because the world is changing.

Arpaio, at 85, will be dead soon enough, and his long-standing right-wing white-male privilege won’t be able to get him out of death.

And “President” Pussygrabber, who also won’t live forever, of course, is doing to the Repugnican Party on the national level what Pete Wilson did to the Repugnican Party in California: planting the seeds for its inevitable ruin.

The U.S. Census Bureau in March 2015 projected that in 2060, Latinos by far will be the nation’s largest non-white racial group, growing from 17.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2014 to 28.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2060. During that same time period (2014 to 2060), non-Hispanic whites are projected to drop from 62.2 percent of the U.S. population to 42.6 percent of the population.

If we’re talking about walls, well, the writing is on the wall; the white supremacists who scream, “You will not replace us!” already are being replaced and will continue to be replaced.

And just as California’s Latinos remember what the Repugnican Party did to them, the nation’s Latinos remember.

“President” Pussygrabber perhaps is getting some cheap political thrills today, but he is Pete Wilson-ing the Repugnican Party nationally.

Don’t despair; from high above, the forest looks beautiful.

Rejoice!

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Thank Goddess for the ‘alt-left’

What Is Antifa? Anti-Fascist Protesters Draw Attention After Charlottesville

Getty Images news photo

Anti-fascists showed up on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter the neo-Nazis who ostensibly wanted to protest the removal of a statue of traitor Robert E. Lee but who in reality are just domestic terrorists. I love these guys, whose hearts are in the right place if I don’t always agree with their tactics.

Today “President” Pussygrabber, doubling down on his false equivalence between the neo-Nazis who are part of his base and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis, coined the term “alt-left.”

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’ [in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday]? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Pussygrabber said at an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, Politico reports.

Part of me might recommend that we on the left embrace the term “alt-left,” except that the neo-Nazis already have come to give “alt-” the connotation if not the denotation of white supremacism and white nationalism, and thus have pretty much ruined the prefix “alt-.”

And, of course, usually it’s best not to allow your enemy to name you, but to name yourself. (On that note, Pussygrabber said, “as you say, the ‘alt-right,’” but “alt-right” is the name that the fucking neo-Nazis have given themselves.)

And the “alt-left” already has named itself: Antifa, for anti-fascist, and it doesn’t need a new name.

And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.

No, I don’t condone every action and every word that everyone who might call him- or herself a member of Antifa might commit, but on the whole, I’m quite happy that there is an active opposition to the neo-Nazis. (As I have written, I reject the term “alt-right” as unnecessary because we already have the term neo-Nazi.)

Fact is, as so many have observed and reported, the police often do little to nothing when there are clashes between the neo-Nazis and the Antifa (and/or other anti-neo-Nazis). That’s because many if not most cops are right-wingers (if not also actually white nationalists/white supremacists) themselves, I surmise, and therefore they aren’t all that enthusiastic about protecting us, the people, from the neo-Nazis. To a large degree, we have to do it ourselves.

I’m sure that there are some who fairly fairly could be called thugs among those who call themselves Antifa — that is, some individuals who are looking for a fight at least as much as they care about a sociopolitical cause. Of course, there probably are far more such individuals among the neo-Nazis.

While both groups routinely show up with weaponry (homegrown and professional) when they expect a confrontation, when there are casualties, they usually are on the left, not on the right, such as the case of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a neo-Nazi cowardly ran her down in his car.

And to my knowledge, Heyer was not a member of the Antifa (or, to Pussygrabber, the “alt-left”), but was just a citizen who had shown up to demonstrate her opposition to neo-Nazism, which she had the right to do (even though I question, for safety reasons, the wisdom of showing up anywhere where there are neo-Nazis).

While I have no personal interest in having a physical confrontation with a neo-Nazi, not seeing what ultimate good it would do, and while I hate to think of any good-hearted (if misguided) member of Antifa (or anyone else) being harmed or even killed by a neo-Nazi, I just can’t bring myself to condemn the Antifa, because I don’t know how far the neo-Nazis would take it if they knew that they faced no opposition in our streets.

The neo-Nazis need to know that should they get too big for their khakis (and thanks for ruining khakis for the rest of us, assholes!) and start harming people on the streets, they’re going to face pushback.

As a gay man, an atheist and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one day I just might need protection from neo-Nazis myself, and so I’m not going to condemn the Antifa and the overall important sociopolitical role that they play in these, um, interesting times.

I would only ask the members of Antifa and all of those who oppose the neo-Nazis, as I do, to pick their battles and to put their personal safety first.

The pathetic neo-Nazi losers aren’t worth it.

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