Sanders and Trump represent hope and fear as responses to the nation’s crises

Both are older white men who have interesting hair and who appeal to disenfranchised voters, but that’s where the similarities between democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and fascist Donald Trump end. Presidential aspirants Trump and Sanders appear to be the natural result of the United States’ increasing political polarization and long slide into fascism, with the right trying to strengthen fascism and the left (the true left, not the center-right bullshit exemplified by the Clinton Dynasty and the hopey-changey Barack Obama) trying to destroy it and bring about an equitable system that benefits the highest possible number of people instead of only the plutocratic few at the expense of the masses.

The United States of America is in crisis, as it has been for some time now — arguably, it has been in crisis since its founding (ask the Native Americans, among many others) — and the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent the two main responses to crises: hope and fear, the higher response and the lower response, respectively.

Hope and fear as responses to crises come from correctly identifying the sources of the crises and from incorrectly identifying the sources.

Donald Trump & Co. quite incorrectly have identified the main source of the United States’ ills as “criminal” Mexicans who come to the United States to rape our pristine young white women and to drop their “anchor babies” — the brown-skinned hordes whom we must fear and against whom We Must Build a Great Wall.

Bernie Sanders correctly has identified the main source of the United States’ ills as the billionaires who (in no certain order) don’t want to pay workers living wages, who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, who don’t care about workers’ conditions, who want to wipe out what’s left of our labor unions, and who don’t give a fuck about the environment that they devastate for their personal profiteering.

It’s the treasonous plutocrats, not impoverished immigrants, who have been destroying the nation since at least the days of the fascist Repugnican President Ronald Reagan. The vast majority of the wealth of the American working class and what’s left of the middle class has been going upward, to the plutocrats like Donald Trump and his treasonous ilk, not downward to the impoverished, including immigrants from Latin America. (Indeed, if it were, they wouldn’t still be impoverished. The wealth is going to those who are only getting richer and richer, obviously.)

But the “tea party” fucktards, like chickens idolizing Colonel Sanders, refuse to recognize this obvious fact, and, because one day they’d like to be like Colonel Sanders themselves, they worship Colonel Sanders. This is the dynamic that we’re seeing with Donald Trump: He’s Colonel Sanders (no relation whatsoever to Bernie Sanders) and his supporters are the chickens.

Donald Trump appeals to the base ignorance, fear and hatred, the bigotry and xenophobia, of the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards — most of them white supremacists and jingoistic nationalists, most of whom would say that they are members of the “tea party” (or at least sympathize with it) — who are his followers and who are the psychospiritual (if not in some cases the actual) descendants of the Nazi Germans.

Even though most of Trump’s followers experience financial distress because of him and his fellow treasonous millionaires and billionaires, their lottery mentality leads them to believe that they, too, might become filthy rich one day (um, they will not), and because their juvenile jingoism is so easy to appeal to, all that Trump has to do is pose with a bald eagle and they orgasm.

The rise of Trump can’t be a huge surprise in a nation that has been sliding toward fascism for some time now. Lest you think that I’m tossing around the hippie term “fascism” lightly, know that one scholar defined “fascism” as “the government of the financial capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the revolutionary slice of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against other peoples.”

Yeah, that would describe a President Trump to a “T.” (Not that he’s the only fascist running for the White House; Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et. al., are fascists all, and even Billary Clinton is at least Fascist Lite [doing little to nothing to counter fascism is pretty fascist in itself].)

I expect Trump to implode eventually — that is, I at least moderately doubt that he’ll ever sit in the Oval Office — but his current campaign, with anti-Latino-immigrant sentiment as its centerpiece, is chillingly reminiscent of the Nazi Germans’ scapegoating use of anti-Jewish sentiment to gain political power for themselves, no matter the brutal cost to their victims.

I, for one, would not idly stand by while a President Trump and his Schutzstaffel rounded up Latinos for persecution.

Trump leads the fascist, treasonous Repugnican Tea Party presidential pack by double digits in most recent polls, so it’s too early to dismiss him entirely. It seems to me that he could emerge as the party’s presidential nominee, but what I’m hoping is that the party’s panicked establishmentarians push him out of the primary race, piss him off by doing so, and so he runs as an independent presidential candidate, siphoning off votes from the Repugnican Tea Party establishment’s candidate.

Which would be a path to the White House for Bernie Sanders, should he emerge as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, as even the Millennial snobs at fivethirtyeight.com recently finally have acknowledged might actually happen. (Interestingly, one of them, in their online debate/discussion, even makes the point that I made last month: since John Kerry came back from the dead after having won Iowa and then New Hampshire in early 2004, winning him the vast majority of the rest of the states in toppling-dominoes fashion, why wouldn’t the same happen for Bernie Sanders?)

Speaking of Bernie, while fear, represented by the face (and that hair) of Donald Trump, is doing well on the right, hope, represented by the progressive agenda of Bernie Sanders, is doing well on the left.

Two recent nationwide polls of Democrats and Democratic leaners have Billary Clinton down by about 10 percent and Bernie Sanders up by about 10 percent in just a one-month period, from last month to this month.

A CNN/ORC nationwide poll taken August 13-16 puts Billary at 47 percent, down from the 56 percent she’d received in a CNN/ORC nationwide poll taken July 22-25. The August 13-16 poll puts Bernie at 29 percent, up from the 19 percent he’d received in the July 22-25 poll.

An August 11-13 Fox News nationwide poll puts Billary at 49 percent, down from the 59 percent she’d received in a Fox News nationwide poll taken July 13-15. The August 11-13 poll puts Bernie at 30 percent, up from the 19 percent he’d received in the July 13-15 poll.

The two independent nationwide polls average 9.5 percent down for Billary in just one month, and 10.5 percent up for Bernie in just one month.

That’s a lot of movement in just one month.

As I’ve noted, I welcome Veep Joe Biden to become a Johnny-come-lately in the race; his support would only further erode the support for Billary, I surmise, and that’s because while he and Billary are closely associated with the disappointing Barack Obama — the answer to Sarah Palin’s infamous, snarky question, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out?” is “Not very well, but that’s because the crypto-center-right Obama never actually even tried to actually deliver on his promises of hope and change” — Bernie Sanders, who his entire career in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate has been an independent, the lone democratic socialist, truthfully can say that he’s been outside of the Democratic Party establishment.

Sanders and Trump are only superficially alike in that both of them are surging because a huge chunk of the electorate have had it with establishmentarian, duopolistic partisan politics. They correctly recognize that the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party stopped representing the best interests of the vast majority of Americans long ago.

But, again, the Trump side, in order to stoke up ungrounded fear for political gain, blames the wrong people for our crises — those on the Trump side, as all bullies do, pick on the weaker, on those who can’t much fight back — whereas the Sanders side blames the right people for our crises.

And that fight, which is the right fight, the good fight, is the much harder fight to fight, because our opponents — the treasonous plutocrats (like Trump), who of course would rather have us wrongly persecute immigrants than correctly come after them with our torches and pitchforks — aren’t weak, not financially, not politically.

But they are incredibly morally weak, and they are vastly outnumbered, which makes them defeatable.

We of the left could use the Colonel-Sanders-worshipping chickens on our side instead of on Colonel Sanders’ side, but we continue to fight even for them without them.

Because Barack Obama, Billary Clinton and the rest of the establishmentarian Democrats in name only, despite their betrayals and their failures, haven’t completely destroyed our hope.

P.S. I should note that Donald Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric is, of course, not harmless. And it certainly isn’t amusing. It’s chilling.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, in a piece titled “Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny” (again, to me Trump never has been funny — fascism isn’t funny), writes (links are Taibbi’s):

So two yahoos from … my hometown of Boston severely beat up a [Latino] homeless guy earlier this week. While being arrested, one of the brothers reportedly told police that “Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported.”

When reporters confronted Trump, he hadn’t yet heard about the incident. At first, he said, “That would be a shame.” But right after, he went on:

“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

This is the moment when Donald Trump officially stopped being funny.

The thing is, even as Donald Trump said and did horrible things during this year’s incredible run at the White House, most sane people took solace in the fact that he could never win. (Although new polls are showing that Hillary’s recent spiral puts this reassuring thought into jeopardy.) …

That made Trump’s run funny, campy even, like a naughty piece of pornographic performance art. After all, what’s more obscene than pissing on the presidency? It seemed even more like camp because the whole shtick was fronted by a veteran reality TV star who might even be in on the joke, although of course the concept was funnier if he wasn’t. …

So already Trump has demonstrated that he’s a sociopath who should be nowhere near the White House. Of course his hateful rhetoric spurred a hate crime — gee, what a shock that the hate speech of a powerful billionaire running for president actually resulted in a hate crime — but of this hate crime Trump will only say that “the people that [sic] are following me are very passionate.”

This is a man (and I use the term lightly) who shamelessly freely used the freak shooting of a young woman in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico as “proof” that his xenophobic, cruel anti-Latino-immigrant platform is sound, but whose evil won’t allow him to take responsibility for the simple, obvious fact that his anti-Latino-immigrant hate speech — as was entirely predictable — resulted in a hate crime.

This is a “man” who wouldn’t flinch at building concentration camps for the nation’s new scapegoats for the approval of his “passionate” followers who only “love this country” (just as the Nazi Germans were “passionate” lovers of their country).

All of the signs are there. Trump refused to condemn a race-based hate crime that resulted from the fucking centerpiece of his presidential campaign, which is hate speech against Latino immigrants. Instead, he merely called the perpetrators of the race-based hate crime “passionate.”

We ignore the blatant signs of fascism that Trump is displaying for all of us to see at our own peril.

It strikes me that it’s quite possible that should this “man” ever actually make it to the White House, those of us who are true patriots are going to have to get “passionate” and deal with him, as Adolf Hitler needed to be dealt with.

The only good fascist is a dead fascist.

And after Americans just allowed the fascist George W. Bush & Co. to steal the presidency in 2000, we true American patriots cannot just assume that Donald Trump absolutely cannot make it to the White House. The precedent more or less is there.

P.P.S. Here is a frightening news photo of Führer Donald greeting his nearly-all-white adoring supporters in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday:

It looks quite surreal, but it’s quite real.

Of course, with American fascism (like with Nazi German fascism), we have to throw theocracy and toxic “Christianity” in there, too (along with the white supremacism, the jingoistic nationalism and the blind, self-defeating obedience to the titans of capitalism). “Lord Jesus” wants Donald Trump to be president! Of course! How can you argue with that?

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Sanders surges while naysayers blather

Bernie Sanders

A supporter holds a sign during a rally for democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Los Angeles Times and Associated Press photos

Presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders is doing quite well, bringing in massive crowds, polling well, and recently having been endorsed by the nation’s largest nurses’ union, yet some still persist with the worn-out “wisdom” that he can’t win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination and/or that if he does, he can’t win the White House. (Perhaps especially if billionaire jackass Donald Trump does run as an independent, Ross-Perot style, Sanders can win the White House.) Sanders supporters are shown above at a gathering for him at a sports arena in Los Angeles on Monday.

Bernie Sanders is surging.

For the first time, a poll has him beating Billary Clinton in the critical state of New Hampshire beyond the margin of error, and New Hampshire is a purple state, only leaning Democratic a bit. So much for the “democratic socialism” thing being an insurmountable barrier.

Indeed, the conventional “wisdom” about Sanders being unable to win within our rigged political system is bullshit. While the corporately owned and controlled pundits continue to announce that he can’t do it, Bernie just keeps chugging along, doing it.

And as to Sanders’ electability, that should be up to those who actually cast ballots and participate in the caucuses beginning in February, not to the mediocre, soulless pundits whose paychecks depend upon their continuing to act as propagandistic guardians of the status quo.

Among other things, Sanders’ crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger. Again, Billary Clinton has yet to reach a crowd of 6K – and that was at her kick-off in New York – but within the past week, Sanders hit around 28K in both Portland, Oregon, and in Los Angeles.

I agree with this commentator’s view that it’s the Internet and social media that are behind Sanders’ surge. We, the sociopolitically disgruntled, are bypassing the gatekeepers of the corporately owned and controlled “news” media and are communicating to each other – by the millions. This explains why Bernie is actually doing what the corporate-whore mouthpieces are saying he can’t do.

I do credit much of the groundswell of support for Bernie to his fellow Vermonter Howard Dean, who pioneered the use of the Internet and social media to propel political candidates. Unfortunately for Dean, the wave that he created wasn’t large enough to propel him into the White House, but the disappointing, mostly milquetoast Barack Obama, by ubiquitously promising “hope” and “change,” certainly rode the wave that Dean created right on into the Oval Office.

But the Deaniacs never went away, and many if not most of those of us who weren’t with them at the time (myself included; in 2003 I supported John Kerry early on and I kept on supporting him all the way to the November 2004 presidential election) are with them now.

And because Obama punk’d us by apparently only pretending to be a progressive doesn’t mean that the values and desires of those of us on the left just went away. No, they just went latent, and Sanders has reawakened them.

Billary doesn’t excite a majority of Democrats because even the dullest Democrats and Democrats in name only recognize that Billary represents (at best) only more of the same. Only 35 percent of the Democrats in the New Hampshire poll that puts Bernie ahead of her said that they are “excited” about Billary, and I surmise that a sizeable chunk of those poll respondents were lying (or perhaps kidding themselves).

Vice President Joe Biden also apparently represents only more of the same to Democratic primary voters; he came in at third place in the New Hampshire poll, with 9 percent (to Sanders’ 44 percent and Billary’s 37 percent).

Bernie not only is drawing the massive crowds and is polling better than anyone had thought he would (perhaps even himself), but he also is proving himself amply able to adapt quickly to the demands of the campaign.

He has hired Symone Sanders (no relation to him), a black woman who has been a blacks-rights activist, as his press secretary – a hire that was in the works before “Black Lives Matters” idiots selfishly and aggressively refused to allow him to speak this past weekend at a scheduled event on the topics of Social Security and Medicare in Seattle.

Some would call the hiring of Symone Sanders pandering, but those very same people would criticize Sanders if he didn’t have any black American on his campaign staff, so with those people – who are haters and malcontents – Sanders can’t win anyway (usually because he’s white, because he’s not of the “right” race).

We progressives need to ignore these haters and malcontents (many if not most of whom, ironically, are much more racist than they accuse others of being); we progressives have a presidential election to win, and we cannot afford to waste our time and energy on these dead-enders.

Sanders also recently released his platform on racial justice, which also apparently was in the works before the “Black Lives Matter” morons commandeered his first of two appearances in Seattle this past weekend.

This isn’t pandering, either (and again, if he didn’t have it in his platform, he’d be criticized for not having it in his platform); this is responding to the demands of the campaign, and this demonstrates (or at least strongly indicates) that as president, Sanders would respond effectively to the demands of the nation’s highest elected office, which includes serving the interests of many different groups of people.

Bernie Sanders, to our knowledge, is heterosexual, but as a gay man, I have full confidence that as president he would represent the interests of and would fight for the rights of us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals.

Why some apparently can’t imagine that Sanders would have their backs even if he’s not within their particular demographic eludes me. (Well, not really: it’s the result of an utter lack of sociological imagination and of empathy and it’s the result of of toxic identity politics, including misandry posing as feminism and anti-white racism posing as racial justice.)

Bernie Sanders could, I suppose, ultimately flame out, but because he has called himself a democratic socialist and because his fellow Vermonter Howard Dean flamed out doesn’t mean that Sanders will.

Nor is Sanders destined to be another George McGovern, the late darling of the left who, like Bernie Sanders is, was a U.S. representative and then a U.S. senator, and who then went on to lose the 1972 presidential election to Richard M. Nixon in a landslide. (Yes, the American voters sure got that one right, didn’t they?) That was then; this is now.

Little in politics is certain, but something that is fairly certain is that we progressives can’t win with Sanders if we don’t give it a serious effort.

The corporately owned and controlled pundit-whores and their conventional, “Surrender,-Dorothy!-And-crown-Billary-already!” “wisdom” don’t dissuade me from doing what I can do to ensure that the most progressive candidate (regardless of his or her demographics) emerges as the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate.

That candidate, hands down, is Bernie Sanders.

He isn’t concerned about the naysayers, and the rest of us shouldn’t be, either.

He is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.

So should we.

P.S. E-mailgate is getting even worse for Billary Clinton. Apparently, “top-secret” information was exchanged via Billary’s home-brewed e-mail server when she was secretary of state. See this and this.

As much as some bash Bernie, I can’t see Billary going into the November 2016 presidential election from a position of strength. If the Democrats stupidly make her their nominee, she’ll be a considerably tarnished and weakened general-election candidate at best.

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Selfish, stupid ‘Black Lives Matter’ slacktivists again infringe on others’ First-Amendment right to assemble

Updated below (on Monday, August 10, 2015)

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Photo Tweeted by Dan Merica, CNN

Incredibly selfish “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists refuse to allow Bernie Sanders speak before a crowd of thousands at a city park in Seattle, Washington, today. Fuck political correctness — now that this bullshit has happened twice (the first time was last month in Phoenix), Sanders needs to have significant security at his future events, and disruptors need to be removed immediately, because those who gather for events have the First-Amendment right not to have their gatherings shut down by selfish, stupid members of special-interest groups.

So thousands of people gathered at a city park in Seattle, Washington, today, to hear democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak.

But what those thousands of people wanted was not at all important to the handful of “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists who, according to The Huffington Post, forced Sanders to leave the gathering before he meaningfully could speak to the crowd.

I call these ignoramuses “slacktivists” because think about it: They are not taking on the powers that be, those who are the real problem, but they are targeting the very one presidential candidate who, being a pacifist, is the least likely to give them any resistance (thus, his public appearances — thus far, anyway — are pretty easy for these slacktivists to disrupt and to commandeer), and who probably is the one who is the most on their side.

Serious political activism would necessitate attacking those who actually are the problem, but you won’t see these “Black Lives Matter” morons interrupting, say, law-enforcement or Repugnican Tea Party gatherings, will you?

No, these are fucking geniuses: Attack your strongest ally! That’s always a political winner!

What if we LGBT individuals had commandeered black-rights gatherings after 70 percent of California’s black voters hatefully voted for anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8, claiming that Gay Lives Matter? How well would that have gone over? Um, yeah.

The issue is not whether or not the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists have a point. Of course they do. They have many points. Unarmed black Americans continue to be slaughtered by mostly white cops (and it is no consolation that Sandra Bland was pulled over by a light-skinned Latino cop) at a much higher rate than are unarmed white Americans. This is a fucking problem, as is the crazy-disproportionate incarceration of non-white Americans (on top of over-incarceration in general). The so-called “criminal” “justice” system indeed needs a major overhaul.

None of those facts here are in dispute.

But the tactics of the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists are sorry-ass. Bernie Sanders — Bernie Fucking Sanders — thus far has been their main public target when he is the one candidate for U.S. president who is the most and the best positioned to help them.

Democrat in name only Billary Clinton talks a good game, but hers is a record of talking (and of holding titles), not of actually doing anything.

And on the Repugnican Tea Party side? Would a President Ben Carson help the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists? No, sorry — he calls them “silly” and “divisive.”

By all means, “Black Lives Matter” activists need to be in dialogue with all of the candidates for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, but they wouldn’t dare to even try to disrupt a Billary Clinton speech or public appearance.

That’s because Team Billary keeps quite-tight control of her public appearances — something that, unfortunately, Team Bernie is going to have to do from now on, now that “Black Lives Matter” morons have commandeered two of his public appearances.

Again, these tactically challenged fucktards have the right to have their political cause, but they don’t have the right to shut down public gatherings — to hijack them, to try to force their own narrow political agenda down the throats of those who have taken the time, energy and expense to assemble not to hear them speak, but to hear someone else speak.

I would remind the “Black Lives Matter” terrorists — yes, terrorism, broadly defined, is using the intimidation of others, or at least trying to use the intimidation of others, to advance your own political agenda, and that’s what the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists are doing when they shut down public gatherings — that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If the U.S. government may not infringe upon “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” what right do the “Black Lives Matter” terrorists have to infringe upon that right?*

Team Bernie needs to do what Team Billary does: Have tight security at public gatherings and ensure that no fringe groups ruin the gatherings for everyone.

It’s a progressive trait to eschew policing like that, but sometimes policing is necessary, lest chaos ensue. In the case of the last two shutdowns of Bernie Sanders’ public speeches by “Black Lives Matter” fucktards, I rest my case. The “Black Lives Matter” assholes make such policing necessary.

The “Black Lives Matter” terrorists apparently calculate that we white and other non-black progressives will be too intimidated, lest we very predictably slanderously and/or libelously be labeled by them as “racist,” to call them on their shit; therefore, these terrorists are to be allowed to do as they please, lest they defamatorily brand us “racist” if we do so much as to dare to protest their reprehensible actions.

Nope. It’s not about race — it’s about the constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peaceably, the right that the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists selfishly, stupidly have come to believe they have the right to violate (as long as it’s someone else’s right to assemble peaceably, of course).

I’ll tell you what is racist: refusing to call a black person on his or her bad behavior because of his or her race, that is, putting his or her race before his or her bad behavior. That is racist.

If the “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists want their agenda and their rights to be recognized by others, they at the same time need to recognize the agendas and the rights of others. Now.

In the meantime, Team Bernie needs to protect the constitutional right of those gathered to hear Bernie Sanders speak by employing the very apparently necessary security measures — as Repugnican or Billary Clinton a thing as that might feel like doing.

The needs and the rights of the many outweigh the needs and the rights of the few — something that the selfish, self-absorbed “Black Lives Matter” slacktivists need to realize, lest they fizzle out much sooner than any of them had realized could happen.

P.S. I see from further news reportage that, thankfully, Bernie Sanders had a second engagement in Seattle this date, that tonight he spoke to “a packed crowd” at the University of Washington campus — uninterrupted this time, apparently.

“No president will fight harder to end institutional racism and reform criminal justice system,” Sanders told the crowd, according to The Associated Press. “Too many lives have been destroyed by war on drugs, by incarceration; we need to educate people. We need to put people to work.”

The AP also added more details from today’s earlier debacle in Seattle (emphasis in bold is mine):

When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one [“Black Lives Matter”] activist called the crowd “white supremacist liberals,” according to event participants.

After waiting about 20 minutes, Sanders himself was pushed away when he tried to take the microphone back. [That’s called assault and battery — of a U.S. senator, no less; someone should have been arrested.] Instead, he waved goodbye, left the stage with a raised fist salute and waded into the crowd. He shook hands and posed for photos with supporters for about 15 minutes, and then left.

The AP reports that only two “Black Lives Matters” morons had managed to ruin Sanders’ appearance today. Again, they should have been removed from the venue. I, a white man, certainly would expect to be removed — forcibly, if I refused to cooperate — were I to try to commandeer someone else’s public event. To say that a black person similarly should not be removed because of his or her race — again, that’s racist.

And “white supremacist liberals” — what a nice touch. And awfully ironic, coming from an apparent black supremacist.

That said, though, ironically, perhaps if you are a (guilty) white liberal who believes that blacks should not be held accountable to the same standards of behavior that white people would be — if, say, you believe that “Black Lives Matter” morons should just be allowed to selfishly, stupidly ruin public events — perhaps you are a “white supremacist liberal,” since one who is not racist believes in equal treatment and equal expectations of and for everyone, regardless of his or her race.

P.P.S. The Washington Post reports that Bernie Sanders’ crowd tonight in Seattle at the University of Washington was his largest crowd yet, at 15,000 people. The Post notes that thus far in this presidential election cycle, Billary Clinton hasn’t garnered a crowd of even 6,000 people.

Gee, is this why the “Black Lives Matter” fascists are targeting Bernie? Because he’s so popular, because more people want to hear him speak than they do any other presidential candidate, at least on the Democratic side?

At any rate, clearly the “Black Lives Matter” terrorists, who very apparently incredibly stupidly put the nation’s race-based problems at Bernie Sanders’ feet, are vastly outnumbered. And, methinks, because of their misguided and short-sighted tactics — and not because of their basic cause, which is just — their days as anything resembling a real political force quite potentially are numbered.

Update (Monday, August 10, 2015):

The Huffington Post now reports:

A day after being interrupted by Black Lives Matters protesters at a campaign event in Seattle, Washington, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a detailed platform on combating racial inequality.

Sanders’ campaign posted the platform on his website [yesterday], and he addressed the issue of racial justice [last] evening in front of more than 20,000 supporters in Portland, [Oregon,] drawing his largest crowd yet along the campaign trail. Nearly 12,000 people attended Saturday’s event in Seattle.

The platform delineates policy proposals pertaining to what Sanders calls “the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic.” …

So Bernie’s crowds continue to grow by leaps and bounds. More than 20K is a lot of people. (Again, thus far Billary hasn’t even hit 6,000 people, to my knowledge.)

Although Team Bernie has released a fairly detailed platform on racial justice (I will study it shortly), frankly, I don’t expect the race-based harassment of him to stop. He was born while white, and so there’s nothing that he can do to gain the favor of the most hard-core black supremacists (whom I think of as an awful lot like white supremacists, just black). Just sayin’.

I have been woefully negligent in not mentioning until now that as a U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders scored 100 percent — one hundred percent — on the NAACP’s latest civil rights legislative report card. His vote on every piece of legislation that the NAACP found important was in line with the NAACP’s wishes on that legislation.

Some people like to claim that Sanders hasn’t done anything good on race-based civil rights lately, but the NAACP itself reports otherwise.

As I’ve noted, Sanders lives in and represents in Congress an overwhelmingly white state, but that doesn’t mean that his heart and mind aren’t in the right place. Those who judge his stance on civil rights primarily or solely based upon his race (and not upon his actual record) are — well, racist…

*If you’re even tempted to claim that the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech allows public gatherings to be hijacked by a handful of terrorists to exercise their free-speech rights, I’d remind you that there are limits on the First Amendment, and that one’s own right to free speech ends where others’ rights begins.

I may not legally break into your home, for instance, in order to deliver you a soliloquy, claiming “free speech” as my defense.

There are time, place and manner restrictions on the right to free speech, which never has been absolute.

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A late-in-the-game Biden run probably would only help Bernie beat Billary

Is there enough of a political difference between Joe Biden and Billary Clinton for Team Bernie Sanders to worry about Biden jumping into the presidential race at rather the last minute? Methinks not. I see establishmentarian Democrat/“Democrat” Biden drawing more support away from DINO Billary than from Bernie. A perfect alignment of the stars for us progressives would be Biden running and helping Bernie to beat Billary for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Donald Trump running for the White House as an independent, Ross-Perot style, and helping Bernie to win the White House by siphoning votes away from the Repugnican presidential candidate, whichever wingnut that turns out to be.

The big political news now is that Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about entering the 2016 presidential race.

I am unmoved.

I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Joe Biden; I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him, either. I was surprised when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008, as Biden had done so poorly in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary contest that he withdrew on January 3, after having come in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses, with only 1 percent of the vote.

At that time, Biden said that his second run for the presidency (he had run in 1988 also) would be his last. (Biden dropped out of the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary contest after he was damaged by the accusation that he had plagiarized speech material.)

Perhaps Obama didn’t want to be overshadowed by a stronger personality were he to win the presidency, making Joe Biden a Dan-Quayle-like choice for veep. In any event, it apparently has been clear to Biden, with the exception of a “gaffe” or two, that as vice president he very much has been the beta male. No Dick Cheney role for him (at least certainly not publicly).

As vice president Joe Biden has been unremarkable, and since he at least has given the public appearance of being on board with All Things Obama, and since I find Obama’s presidency to have been incredibly disappointing, to put it mildly — as I’ve written a million times, Obama’s biggest mistake was not pushing through a progressive agenda when the Democratic Party held control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010 (and yes, to me, the ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” signified progressivism, not more of the same) — for the most part I view Biden as jut another establishmentarian “Democrat,” along with Obama and Billary Clinton.

Yes, we do get to judge you by the company that you keep.

My support of Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains unswayed and unchanged by the news that Biden might jump in.

I did enjoy, as I wrote at the time, watching Biden thoroughly thrash Paul “Pretty Boy” Ryan in the vice presidential debate of October 2012, which started the hilarious Internet meme that cast Biden as the Hulk and Ryan as the villainous pretty boy Loki, whom in the 2012 hit comic-book movie “The Avengers” the Hulk picks up and smashes to the ground, leaving him in a crater created by his own body.

But of course that doesn’t mean that Biden should be president, and after he dropped out of the presidential race in 1988 due to the plagiarism scandal and after he dropped out after the very first contest of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary season because he’d done so poorly in Iowa, I don’t see Biden as a strong presidential candidate now.

Yes, vice presidents often go on to run for the presidency, but of course they don’t have to. George H.W. Bush and Al Gore did (and both of them won [yes, of course Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election]), but even Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney knew better, and I put Biden’s strength somewhere between those two groups of vice presidents who did run for the presidency and who did not.

The touchy-feely report (which may or not even be true) that it (more or less) was the dying wish of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in late May, that his father run for the presidency in 2016 might be touching for some, but it does not sway me. The presidency is far too important to allow emotional pap like that to decide it. I look at the totality of Joe Biden, and while of course I’d rather have him than uber-DINO Billary Clinton sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, again, I still see him as a member of the Democratic Party establishment.

Bernie Sanders is not. Again, I’m still with Bernie. Whatever Biden does or doesn’t do, it won’t change that.

What I can see Joe Biden doing, however, is helping Bernie Sanders.

I can see Biden and Billary splitting the establishmentarian Democratic Party/DINO vote, which could only help Sanders, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate only as an independent, as a self-described little-“d” democratic socialist. (He is running on the big-“D” Democratic ticket now only because third-party/independent presidential runs are Herculean feats; it’s much easier to run for the White House within the duopolistic party system, as flawed and anti-democratic as it is.)

Sanders has distanced himself from the establishmentarian Democrats his entire political career, so his status as an outsider, which is what so many of us who are left of center want, is solid. (Perhaps you could call him the Donald Trump of the left.*)

The “democratic socialist” label hasn’t been toxic to Sanders, who for a while now has been polling nationally among Democrats and Democratic Party leaners in the double digits, more often than not second to Billary, with Biden more often than not coming in at third place, behind Billary and Bernie, when he is included in these polls.

Indeed, those who have a problem with the word “socialist” never, ever were going to vote for a Democrat for president in the first place. Indeed, even Obama, who has been a moderate at best — I don’t think that it would be inaccurate or unfair to describe Obama as having been center-right on the political spectrum — has been labeled by the lunatic fringe of the right as a “socialist.”

We shouldn’t worry about what the right-wing nut jobs who never are going to vote for a Democrat anyway are going to think. They never were going to be on our team in the first place, thank Goddess.

And young voters love Bernie Sanders.

While the enthusiasm that surrounds Sanders is not the same as that which surrounded Obama in 2008 — every presidential campaign season has its own flavor, and every presidential candidate has his or her own flavor — I’ve seen youthful enthusiasm for Sanders that I haven’t seen for the utterly uninspiring and uncharismatic Billary Clinton.

(Yes, I was one  of the thousands upon thousands of people who attended one of the thousands of Bernie Sanders gatherings across the nation on Wednesday night, and while the gathering that I attended was a good mix of generations, with young, elderly and middle-aged attendees, I’d estimate that at least half of the attendees, of which there were about 30 in total, were enthusiastic Millennials, one of whom identified himself as a Vietraq War veteran who had voted for George W. Bush until after he was sent to Bush’s bogus war in Vietraq.)

So I am perfectly fine with Joe Biden jumping into the race, even though it seems awfully late in the game for him still to be able to do so and to be successful. Not only is it perfectly his democratic right to do so if he wishes, but again, because he has been so closely aligned with the disappointing DINO Barack Obama, as has DINO Billary Clinton, I can see Biden only taking more support from Billary than from Bernie.

P.S. Should Al Gore jump into the race soon, as one Salon.com writer recently wrote he wishes would happen, that would be different. As Al Gore already won the White House in 2000, and as the writer for Salon.com correctly noted that Gore probably could bridge the establishmentarian “Democrats” and progressives (which, in my estimation, Billary can’t do and Biden can’t do much better than Billary can), I could see Gore winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination were he to run, even at this late date. He’d be a powerhouse.

But I doubt that he’ll run.

*While of course I loathe Donald Trump, the success of his presidential campaign thus far — right now he tops the Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls — demonstrates that a sizeable chunk of the American electorate remains displeased with the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (This seems to be fairly unchanged since Ross Perot, who always struck me as a wingnut [he might be labeled as libertarian or leaning libertarian, but the libertarians always have struck me as wingnuts], ran as an independent presidential candidate back in 1992, garnering just short of 19 percent of the popular vote.)

While the poor and the working class who support Trump (and the “tea party”) stupidly support him (and the “tea party”) like chickens stupidly supporting Colonel Sanders — they have the lottery mentality that they can be billionaires, too (of course, they can’t) — cannot identify the real problems of and the real enemies to the nation (the treasonously self-serving plutocrats like Trump, the Koch brothers and the Bush crime family [and yes, the Clinton crime family, too], not labor-union members and “illegals,” are destroying the nation), they at least correctly identify that the duopolistic, corporation- and plutocrat-loving Democratic Party and Repugnican Party stopped representing the majority of Americans’ best interests long ago.

Of course, just as I’d love Joe Biden to jump in and hopefully suck more votes away from Billary Clinton than from Bernie Sanders — which I surmise would be the case — I’d love for Donald Trump to pull a Ross Perot and run as an independent presidential candidate in 2016.

While some argue that Ross Perot’s run didn’t take more votes away from incumbent President George H.W. Bush than from Bill Clinton in 1992, I’ve always surmised that Perot, being right of center, of course siphoned more votes from Bush than from Clinton, thus helping Clinton to win the White House with only a plurality of the votes.

Similarly, I think it is inarguable that were Trump to run for the White House as an independent in 2016, of course he’d take more votes from the Repugnican candidate, whoever that turns out to be, than from the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate turns out to be.

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It’s another summer of race-relations hell, but I believe it is getting better

In this undated photo provided by the Bland family, Sandra Bland poses for a photo. The family of Bland, who was found dead in her Texas jail cell, assert that she would not have taken her own life, but authorities are pointing to mounting evidence that they say shows she hanged herself. (Courtesy of Bland family)

Associated Press image

Sandra Bland (shown in a family photo above) very apparently died for having driven while black in Texas. That conclusion is fairly inescapable. That said, Dear Black People: Hulk Hogan (like Donald Sterling and Paula Deen) is not The Spokesperson for White People. Just putting that out there. (Hogan is photographed below with his daughter, whose relationship with a black man induced him to use “the ‘n-’ word” repeatedly eight years ago on, um, a sex tape…)

Brooke Hogan Defends Dad Hulk with a Poem

Maybe I have a short memory — maybe this comes up every summer, when we have hot temperatures and hot tempers — but this summer seems to be a repeat of last summer, in which race relations were at the fore.

I’m not saying that race relations shouldn’t be discussed nationally — clearly, we in the United States of America have many unresolved, ongoing issues and problems surrounding race (and many other things) that we have to solve, as they won’t simply go away by themselves, as much as we might wish that they would — but at the same time, it seems to me that so many people benefit from the continued interracial strife that they have no real interest in resolution.

White supremacists and black supremacists, for instance, derive their senses of identity, meaning and purpose from continued interracial conflict. I don’t expect them to hold hands for a rousing round of “Kumbaya” any time soon. And, of course, as I’ve noted, race relations aren’t only binary, aren’t only black and white or black vs. white or vice-versa; we see from Donald Trump’s brand of politics that attacking Latinos can pay off politically within the right wing, just as attacking Jews paid off politically in right-wing Nazi Germany.

And, of course, race-based reportage does quite well in the media, and the media corporations that profit from it know that fully well.

This is not to downplay or minimize very real injustices, such as the fate of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. I agree with Matt Taibbi’s assessment that however Sandra Bland died while captive in a Texas jail earlier this month, because she very apparently was pulled over in the first place primarily or only because of racial profiling — and therefore apparently was subjected to race-based harassment by the law-enforcement officer who pulled her over — the Texas law-enforcement and criminal/“criminal” justice/“justice” system officials were responsible for everything that happened to her afterward.

When I say “responsible” I mean morally, ethically and karmically responsible, of course; unless it can be proved conclusively that Bland did not die by self-strangulation, of course no one in Texas will be charged with murder, despite the headline of Taibbi’s piece that proclaims that “Sandra Bland Was Murdered.”

Personally, were a law-enforcement officer to stop me, whether I were on foot or in a car or on a bicycle or whatever, and/or give me any directive and/or request that was not blatantly unreasonable, I probably would comply with his or her order or request. I probably would not argue with him or her. An illegal stop or arrest usually can be sorted out later. The time and place of the stop or arrest probably is not the time and place at which the legality or illegality of it is going to be officially, legally established.

That said, Taibbi notes that “Law-and-order types like to lecture black America about how it can avoid getting killed by ‘respecting authority’ and treating arresting cops like dangerous dogs or [swarms of] bees.” 

I don’t want to come off as one of those kinds of white people, and I do view — for years now I have viewed — the primary role of law-enforcement officers and the criminal/“criminal” justice/“justice” system not as maintaining public safety, the safety of us commoners, but as maintaining the socioeconomic status quo; the taxes of we, the people, fund the cops and the court system, but they function primarily not for our benefit, but primarily to keep the rich — a disproportionate number of them right-wing white people — firmly in power.

And true, of course we shouldn’t have to regard our cops like dangerous animals that might go off on us at any moment, but when the reality, at least for the time being, is that often we do, the safest thing to do then is to regard them as such, it seems to me. You might call that cowardice or caving; I consider it to be survival. You will be less able to celebrate your victory of being right and the cop being wrong when you are in a hospital bed, and you won’t be able to celebrate your victory at all if you’re dead.

The mouthiest that I got with a law-enforcement officer that I can remember is when I was at a pro-labor-union protest at the California state Capitol in late February 2011 and the state police (officers of the California Highway Patrol, especially one of them) were enforcing supposed rules, regulations and ordinances on those of us of the pro-labor crowd while they allowed the anti-labor “tea-party” traitors who were there only to heckle and try to provoke us from across the street to do the same things that we were doing, with complete impunity. I pointed this out to Officer Friendly (and reported his actions later to the CHP).

My sense of that situation is that cops, most of them being right-wing themselves, tend to crack down much harder on left-leaning groups of people than on right-wing groups of people, since they usually agree with the latter.

However, on that day in February 2011 there were many people around, and many if not even most had their “smart”phone or other video-recording devices out, so it’s not like this cop was going to do anything to me for simply having complained to him about his and his cohorts’ unfair treatment.

What happened in the Sandra Bland case, from what I can tell, was that two stubborn people clashed, which often is a recipe for disaster. Sandra Bland probably felt that she had been racially profiled because she probably had been. I’m guessing that her mindset was that she wasn’t going to take it. The cop, conversely, wanted her complete compliance with his commands, which he did not get. Again: It was a recipe for disaster.

While the cop had the right to ask her to step out of her vehicle — the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that it is not a violation of one’s constitutional rights (in and of itself) to be told to get out of a vehicle when stopped by a law-enforcement officer — whether or not the cop who stopped Bland had the right to ask her to put out her cigarette is much grayer.

One retired law-enforcement official interviewed by the Los Angeles Times stated, “No one, including a police officer, wants to get a burning cigarette jammed into their face or eye; it’s basic procedure. The officer asked politely if she would mind putting out her cigarette. The violator then raised her voice, actively resisted multiple lawful directions to get out of the car. The officer requested a backup officer to respond. The officer raised his voice several times in what turned out to be a futile effort to overcome that resistance.” (Consider the source of that loaded quote, of course.)

Why, exactly, the cop asked Bland to put out her cigarette I’m not sure. While a still-burning cigarette could be used as a weapon, it seems to me that most likely the cop just wanted to abuse his authority and control, and perhaps to test his control over Bland.

Of course, he might be someone who is bothered significantly by cigarette smoke that is close by; I am one of those people, and I hate it when people smoke in public and I have to deal with their smoke.

But while Bland was non-compliant, the cop, who, because he had a lot more power in the interaction than did Bland (he had not only a lethal weapon but also the full force of the Texas “justice” system, which he knew always is going to give him the benefit of any doubt, behind him), had that much more responsibility than did Bland to keep the interaction from escalating.

Yet the cop threatened to “light” Bland “up” with his Taser — Tasers are supposed to be used defensively, not threatened to be used as a bargaining chip, as far as I understand — and when Bland, who at this point had been grabbed by the cop by the wrist, proclaimed that she had epilepsy, the cop replied, “Good.”

Only because there was video and audio of this did the cop’s Texan superiors Orwellianly understate that the cop had violated the department’s “courtesy policy.” Otherwise, the cop probably would have lied about the entire interaction (including how wholly professional and polite he had been), and his lies would have been taken as gospel.

As I do, another police expert who was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times correctly puts the onus on the cop:

Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina law professor and former Florida police officer, said Enicinia [the cop’s name is Brian T. Encinia; he is Latino] missed several opportunities to deescalate tension and should have explained in calmer tones what he was doing and why.

“He certainly has the legal authority to get her to step out of the car,” Stoughton said. “But in this case, if he is exercising his authority because she defying his direction to put out the cigarette, then that is more based on his ego than public safety…. Just because it is legal to order her out of the car doesn’t make it a professional approach in modern policing.

“This is a systemic problem with policing,” Stoughton said. “There is emphasis on compliance over cooperation.”

There are no laws that require an officer to order alleged violators to extinguish a cigarette in their car during a traffic stop, he said.

“It was a request, not an order,” he said. “If a person was out of the car, then an officer could determine it poses a safety threat and order it be put out. But it is hard to argue that inside the car.”

Again, Encinia might have a hard time breathing around cigarette smoke, as I do, but again, he had significantly more responsibility than did Bland to prevent the interaction from spinning out of control, but he fairly clearly had little to no interest in doing that, and perhaps he even wanted an ego-boosting fight with her. (I don’t know, since I wasn’t there, and since even if I had been there, I’m pretty intuitive but I am not telepathic.)

In a nutshell, I suspect that being a black woman with, presumably, an Illinois license plate on her car, Bland was profiled as being a certain type of individual who is not welcome in the deep-red state of Texas and therefore was pulled over — and had that not happened, she very most likely still would be alive.

While what happened to Bland (if she indeed did take her own life) does not match the legal definition of murder, of course, it is difficult to impossible for me not to conclude that she was killed by systemic injustice. She was, in effect, killed for being black (and perhaps also for being from out of state, and from a blue state) in Texas. She was killed by the actions and the inaction of many, many people. And of course black lives matter.

And then there is Hulk Hogan, who this past week was in the news, Donald-Sterling style, for having been recorded repeatedly using the word “nigger” in a sex tape that was made eight years ago and later was leaked. (Apparently Hogan was not pleased that his daughter was in a relationship with a black man. [Donald Sterling, recall, similarly didn’t like his girl-toy associating with black men.])

“This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise,” the Hulkster has proclaimed.

That’s not very credible. It’s not absolutely impossible that Hogan truly has had a change of heart in the past eight years, but as most people develop their belief systems early in life and tend to keep them intact until death, it seems quite unlikely.

That said, Hogan is 61 years old and was born in Georgia and raised in Florida. (His fellow racist Paula Deen is 68 years old and also was born in Georgia, where she has remained.

Let’s please not presume that all (or even most) white people routinely throw around the word “nigger” in private. White racism (as is all racism) is largely a function of one’s age and one’s upbringing, including the region where he or she was raised and the region where he or she has been living for a while now (and how much racism has been prevalent and how much it has been tolerated — or even encouraged — in that region).

Donald Sterling is 81 years old; he was born in Chicago but apparently has lived in the Los Angeles area for the vast majority of his life. I chalk up his racism more as a function of his age than of his geography.

Socioeconomics, including one’s highest level of education and one’s income, also affect one’s level of racism, regardless of his or her race.

The likes of Hulk Hogan, Donald Sterling and Paula Deen are not spokespeople for the entire white race.

Thankfully, younger whites tend to be significantly less racist than older whites — as with homophobia, racism’s eradication probably depends mostly upon older people finally kicking off and taking their bigotry with them to their graves and urns — and again, with racism there are regional differences. There is no region of the U.S. that is entirely free of racism, of course, but some regions inarguably are much worse with racism than are others. (Fuck, I’m a white [albeit gay] guy and truly I would be afraid to drive through Texas. Perhaps especially with California plates.)

And where lovely white people like Donald Sterling and Hulk Hogan are concerned, I do have a problem with violations of privacy, which would include being recorded secretly or having one’s consensual recording (such as a sex tape) taken from his or her possession and then leaked to others.

All of us have a constitutional right to privacy, whether we’re racist or not. Yes, that constitutional right to privacy would include being able to say even the vilest things within the privacy of our own fucking homes, much how the constitutional right to free speech enables us to say even the vilest things. It is at our own peril that we allow the constitutional right to privacy to fall to the wayside by not defending others when their right to privacy is violated. Defending their right to privacy is not the same thing as agreeing with their words.

And I don’t believe for a nanosecond that non-whites, in private, never make any racist or negative, race-based comments about members of other races or similar comments that they wouldn’t want leaked to the public. Again, all of us have the constitutional right to privacy, and it’s quite easy for us to be hypocrites and burn the likes of Donald Sterling and Hulk Hogan at the stake when we certainly wouldn’t want certain utterances of our own to be secretly recorded and publicized (or to be recorded for our own use but then publicized against our wishes).

Finally, it can come as no surprise that, the New York Times reports, Americans right now hold a dim view of race relations. The Times reported this past week:

Seven years ago, in the gauzy afterglow of a stirring election night in Chicago, commentators dared ask whether the United States had finally begun to heal its divisions over race and atone for the original sin of slavery by electing its first black president. It has not. Not even close.

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President [Barack] Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good.

The swings in attitude have been particularly striking among African-Americans. During Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, nearly 60 percent of blacks said race relations were generally bad, but that number was cut in half shortly after he won. It has now soared to 68 percent, the highest level of discontent among blacks during the Obama years and close to the numbers recorded in the aftermath of the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King.

Only a fifth of those surveyed said they thought race relations were improving, while about 40 percent of both blacks and whites said they were staying essentially the same.

Respondents tended to have much sunnier views of race relations in their own communities.

For instance, while only 37 percent said they thought race relations were generally good in the United States, more than twice that share, 77 percent, thought they were good in their communities, a number that has changed little over the past 20 years. …

That 77 percent of the poll’s respondents believe that race relations are pretty good in their own communities but that only 37 percent of the respondents believe that race relations are generally good in the nation as a whole demonstrates two things, I suspect: One, that a lot of Americans probably live in neighborhoods that aren’t very diverse — Americans tend to self-segregate by race (and by other demographics, such as income and age) — and so, surrounded mostly by people like themselves, there isn’t a lot of race-based conflict in the typical American’s daily routine.

And two, having a journalism degree and valuing the First Amendment, I’m not a knee-jerk blame-the-media type, but race-based news/“news” stories, because they get viewers and readers hot and bothered and so they get the media outlets viewers and readers (and thus more money), I surmise would lead us to believe that interracial relations are significantly worse than they actually are.

I don’t at all mean to downplay what happened to Sandra Bland or to Eric Garner or to Walter Scott or to way too many others. Their deaths/murders of course needed to be reported within the news/“news” media. I mean only to point out the simple fact that when interracial relations go smoothly, very rarely is it ever considered to be “newsworthy.” When interracial relations go significantly badly, especially if death or violence or property destruction is involved, all of us hear about it.

And in today’s instantaneous media environment, we hear about it instantaneously. And no media outlet wants to be seen as being outdone by the others, so we have wolf-pack journalism/“journalism,” and so when something is in the news/“news,” we see incessant, relentless coverage of it until it’s taken over by a new outrage or tragedy or debacle.

That we hear primarily only of the bad gives us a skewed view of how horrible things actually are. Your chance of dying in an airplane crash is 1 in 11 million. Your chance of dying in a vehicular crash, however, is 1 in 5,000. But horrific plane crashes that the media cover relentlessly make flying in airplanes seem to be much more dangerous than it really is.

Not too dissimilarly, I believe, the vast majority of interactions between cops and civilians end without injury or death. Most cops actually are not out to harm or to kill anyone (most — of course, no one wants to experience, or should have to experience, the exceptions to that rule).

And Hulk Hogan and his ilk are not representative of all or even of most white people. A sweepingly generalizing sentence that begins with “(All) white people…” is as likely to be as bullshit and as racist as is a sweepingly generalizing sentence that begins with “(All) black people…” And to me it’s just as offensive and just as racist to paint all white people with the same broad brush as it is to paint all members of another racial group with the same broad brush. Respect needs to work both ways for it to work at all.

Of course electing Barack Obama as president in 2008 wasn’t the magic bullet that was going to slay racism in the United States of America once and for all. As the New York Times’ reportage indicates, however, many if not most of us apparently to some degree thought that it was, at least in the “gauzy afterglow” of his initial election.

But since Obama’s arrival in the White House didn’t magically wipe out racism — since racism is much bigger than is any one person, even the president of the United States of America — nor does Obama’s departure from the White House a year and a half from now mean that racism inevitably is going to get even worse than it is now.

It’s quite trite, but it’s quite true: racism’s eradication or its persistence is up to us, to each and to every one of us.

Had I been asked to take the New York Times’ poll, I’d have responded, truthfully, that I believe that race relations in the United States actually are getting better, not worse.

That probably strikes most as counter-intuitive, given what’s in the news/“news” these days, but I say that because although racial relations in the U.S. continue to be quite messy, we’re talking about them.

Not talking about racism perpetuates it. All of us, regardless of our race, need to continue to talk about racism and we need to continue to act to eradicate it.

It’s incredibly messy. It’s awfully ugly. But we must do it nonetheless.

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Attacking their allies isn’t a winning strategy for black-rights activists

As dozens protesters shout, Tia Oso of the National Coordinator for Black Immigration Network, center, walks up on stage interrupting Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, as moderator Jose Vargas watches at left, during the Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Associated Press photo

Black-rights activists commandeered a progressive forum in Phoenix on Saturday, even taking the microphone from the frustrated moderator, left, while Democratic presidential aspirant Martin O’Malley, right, who had been trying to speak, looks on. This was a bad political move. Those gathered at the event weren’t there to have an outside group take over the event, and those gathered at the progressive forum aren’t the enemy. It was a safe target for a hostile takeover, however, since the attendees at the progressive event didn’t really need the lesson.

So if I understand the “#BernieSoBlack” meme correctly, democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t black.

Wow.

Of the five-thus-far announced candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination (all of them white), a President Sanders probably would be the best booster of black Americans – probably even better than Barack Obama has been (which isn’t saying all that much, I know [I mean, Obama is great with the rhetoric…]) – but Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t of the “right” race. (Not that that’s racist or anything…)

As I’ve noted, yes, it would be nice if the most progressive presidential candidate weren’t another older white man, as we’ve had more than our fill of older white men in the White House and in other positions of power, but the bottom line with Bernie Sanders is that he is the most progressive presidential candidate that we have today.

It’s not Sanders’ fault that no black (or Latino or Asian or…) American is running for president on the Democratic Party ticket (but hey, black Americans have Ben Carson!), and the demographics of Sanders’ home state of Vermont aren’t exactly his fault, either. (Vermont was about 94 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate.)

Thus far there isn’t a “#BillarySoBlack” meme because, I suppose, Billary Clinton is seen as an extension of Bill Clinton, whom black American writer Toni Morrison in 1998 billed as “the first black president,” even though his “welfare reform,” his support of NAFTA, and his other right-wing, pro-plutocratic and pro-corporate policies harmed, not helped, black Americans as well as Americans in general.

The Clintons are great at saying that they’re on your side; actually acting in your best interests, however, is much more challenging for them (as it has been for Obama).

But, I believe, I get it: Barack Obama is in office for only another year and a half. Statistically speaking, while the door has been at least cracked opened, we probably won’t see another black president any decade soon. If the Repugnicans take back the White House in November 2016, of course Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be replaced, and if the Democrats keep the White House, she may or may not be kept on (I’d like to see her kept on).

Black Americans very apparently are concerned, and rightfully so, that the work that Obama’s Justice Department has started on civil rights won’t be continued after he leaves office. If the Repugnicans regain the White House, of course that work will stop. If the Democrats keep the White House, black Americans want to ensure that they don’t drop the ball.

It’s a big ball to drop. Unarmed black Americans are more than twice as likely to be slaughtered by a cop than are unarmed white Americans, and in 2009 almost 5 percent of black Americans were incarcerated, compared to fewer than 1 percent of white Americans. Black Americans have the lowest median household income of all of the races in the U.S. (Latinos have the second-lowest, while Asian Americans have the highest and white Americans have the second-highest).

I could give many more such statistics. Black Americans, by almost every measure, indeed struggle more than the members of any other racial group, and of course institutionalized racism is the largest factor in that. And of course symbolic actions alone, like banning the Confederate flag (while that’s a necessary step), aren’t going to reverse these grim statistics.

As much as these statistics capture the real suffering of real human beings, it disturbs me that mindless, knee-jerk political correctness has driven us to the point that it widely is considered to be quite unseemly to assert these days that all lives matter. Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley now know this after both of them made the political mistake of recently publicly asserting that “all lives matter,” which very apparently is interpreted by many if not most within the black American community and the black American community’s uber-politically correct supporters to mean that black Americans’ concerns are being minimized by the blithe pronouncement that “all lives matter.”

All lives do matter, of course, but of course it’s critically important to note that not all Americans have it the same, that the average white American and the average Asian American, for instance, have it much better than do the average black American and the average Latino American.

I know – I’m not supposed to mention Latinos and Asians, because so many of us are addicted to the binary view of race relations, the view that race relations really are only black and white (and black vs. white and vice-versa).

But that’s just not the reality of the United States of America.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2013 are that 62.6 percent of Americans were white only, 17.1 percent were Latino only, 13.2 percent black only, and 5.3 percent Asian only, with the rest being of another race (such as Native American) or of more than one race. The pie graph looks like this:

(The lettering of this pie graph, which I found online, is small, so, if it helps, the blue area represents whites, the reddish-pinkish area represents Latinos, the green area represents blacks, the purplish area represents Asians, the turquoise represents those of more than one race, and the orange-ish represents Native Americans.)

Seeing it graphically helps to give us some perspective, I think. We are a diverse nation, but we also are supposed to be (in my book) a fairly proportionately representative democracy, albeit one that still protects minorities’ equal human and civil rights.

To those who think it’s just awful that Bernie Sanders was born white (as a Jewish American, however, he is a minority [Wikipedia notes that Sanders’ “father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland whose family was killed in the Holocaust, while his mother was born to Jewish parents in New York”]), I’d point out that a solid majority of Americans are white. (And, of course, Jewish Americans weren’t always considered to be white in the United States. And we’ve yet to have a Jewish U.S. president.)

I state this obvious fact (that most Americans still are white) because “Black Lives Matter” so often off-puttingly, offensively comes off as “Only Black Lives Matter” – especially since you get into trouble for asserting that “all lives matter” or even that “black and all lives matter.” Again, black Americans inarguably have it worse, as a racial group, than does any other racial group in the U.S., but black Americans, at 13 percent of the U.S. population, don’t comprise even one in five of all Americans (Latinos, whose numbers in the U.S. overtook blacks’ around 2000, are reaching that point, however).

For such a relatively small piece of the American pie to be demanding political power that is much greater than its actual numbers – such as the apparent demand that Barack Obama be followed only by another black president (even though the only black American who is running for president right now is the unelectable wingnut Ben Carson) – is not only unseemly and undemocratic, but it’s a shitty political tactic.

I can think of no better way to sink your own minority cause than to act like your minority cause is the only cause, or at least, the most important cause.

As a gay man, I’ve long recognized that without the help of our heterosexual allies, we of the non-heterosexual minority never would have achieved same-sex marriage (we still have a long way to go toward full equality, of course).* I’ve never advocated that we non-heterosexuals kiss heterosexual ass or beg for crumbs from the heterosexuals’ table, but at the same time, some political tactics that alienate one’s supporters or would-be supporters – such, as, oh, say, interrupting presidential candidates who are trying to speak to the members of a progressive group, even commandeering the microphonearen’t smart.

These tactics make you feel good about yourself – you rebel, you! – but they run counter to your own stated objectives. People who already are on your side or who could (have) be(en) on your side now have less respect for you; you have shown that you have no concerns outside of your own immediate concerns for yourself and your own group, and those toxically narrow identity politics don’t work anymore (if they ever did).

And when justifiably aggrieved blacks attack a progressive like Bernie Sanders, isn’t that just because they know that he won’t respond in a vicious, violent way? I mean, are these same people going to even try to similarly crash right-wing events? I much doubt it. So why attack those who already are on your side? Just because you can?

I hope that the “Black Lives Matter” movement continues. It’s vital to keep the issue of police brutality against blacks in the national spotlight. If it’s not, the deaths – the (negligent) homicides and the murders – of black Americans at the hands of the police will continue unabated.

But if the “Black Lives Matter” movement wants to succeed in the long term, it’s going to have to stop attacking allies (because they probably won’t fight back, being allies), and it’s going to have to realize that blacks comprise a minority of Americans, and that there are other oppressed minorities of Americans – and that yes, all lives do matter.

To acknowledge that simple fact is not to dismiss the living hell that the United States of America is for so many of its denizens, a disproportionate number of them black and Latino (and otherwise non-white). To acknowledge that fact is to gain and to keep allies on your side, because as powerful as you think you are, you can’t do it alone. You do need allies in this fight, and that means taking an interest in others’ interests and concerns, too.

Echo chambers are an awful lot of fun, but they don’t bring about a lot of lasting political change.

P.S. I see that long-time Billary Clinton stooge Joan Walsh of Salon.com predictably used the Phoenix incident to try to bash Bernie Sanders and boost Billary (even though Billary, like her hubby, always has been all words and promises but little action), as though Sanders needs a lecture from the DINO-loving Walsh, but vox.com notes that “Hillary Clinton was invited [to speak to the progressive group (Netroots Nation) in Phoenix on Saturday], but declined the invitation.”

At least Bernie showed up. You can’t fuck something up if you can’t even be bothered to be there, can you? No, Queen Billary prefers much more controlled, stage-managed “events.”

And of course Walsh won’t point out that it’s pretty shitty to interrupt and commandeer someone else’s event, no matter how just your cause might be, and that it’s pretty pointless to attack those who already support you — um, how about crashing a police officers’ convention when your main grievance is police brutality? — because that doesn’t fit in with her little narrative.

Some have posited that Billary was behind the crashing of the Netroots Nation in order to try to make her challengers look bad. That doesn’t strike me as impossible.

But after Bill Clinton’s record, anyone who believes that Billary Clinton would be “the first female black president” needs his or her head examined.

Finally, I note that not to be outdone by “Black Lives Matter” in alienating allies based upon toxic identity politics, Joan Walsh gleefully indirectly but surely calls Bernie Sanders’ white-male supporters “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives” — because to be a white male by definition is shameful and bad, you see — even though about a third of Americans are white males, a group that’s too large for progressives to be able to afford to alienate entirely.

All white males should support Walsh’s DINO candidate, Billary Clinton, you see, simply because Billary is a woman who calls herself a Democrat, or they’re — we’re — to be demeaned as “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives.” (Har har!)

You know, some might call Joan Walsh a “femi-Nazi.” Not I, of course, but some!

*On that note, on the day that I cast my vote for Barack Obama for president in November 2008 – happy to be able to vote for the first non-white president in U.S. history – 70 percent of California’s black voters voted for Proposition H8, which banned same-sex marriage (which the U.S. Supreme Court just last month ruled is unconstitutional).

It was, to put it mildly, a slap in the face to have had the black community’s back but to be betrayed by the black community like that.

Barack Obama didn’t come on board with same-sex marriage until 2012; he had to “evolve,” he said. Bernie Sanders already had publicly “evolved” on same-sex marriage before both Obama and Billary Clinton finally did, and arguably, Sanders publicly was supporting same-sex marriage way back in the 1970s.

There are plenty of pseudo-progressives — DINOs like Billary Clinton and Barack Obama — whom one can attack as being pseudo-progressives, as not really having oppressed minorities’ interests in mind or at heart.

Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them.

If all that matters is that our next president is black, then by all means, let’s elect Ben Carson, right-wing lunatic that he is.

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Donald Trump is a hypocritical dick, but John McCain indeed is no war hero

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1973, file phot, John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a

Associated Press photo

An ambitious John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain shakes the hand of President Richard Nixon in 1973, not too long after his having been held as a POW in Vietnam. The warhawk McCain shamelessly has used his POW status for political and personal gain ever since, and there probably isn’t a nation on the globe he thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t bomb.

Repugnican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona indeed is no war hero, but not for the reason that Repugnican presidential aspirant Donald “The Mouth” Trump infamously recently cited.

At an event in Iowa yesterday, Trump declared of McCain: “”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The left-leaning Margaret Cho similarly quipped in 2008, when McCain was running for the White House: “I am not voting for McCain. I hope that is obvious. I am sick of everyone saying, ‘He was a good soldier. He was a good soldier.’ Um, yeah. He was captured. So he was not that good!”

(I don’t recall Cho’s comment as having created a shit storm then. Of course, she wasn’t running for president…)

To me, if the war was unjust, as the Vietnam War was, it’s difficult to call anyone who participated in it on the American side a “war hero.” How does something just and heroic emerge from something that was inherently unjust and unheroic?

Only perhaps if someone was drafted — forced into — fighting in an unjust war that he or she had recognized as unjust (which was not the case with McCain in the Vietnam War) might we be able to call his or her brave actions during that war “heroic,” but the war itself still remains unjust.

But with John McCain, it goes further than that. I lived in Arizona from my birth in 1968 to my overdue departure from the state in 1998, and I recall McCain’s television ads for his U.S. Senate bids. It was POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. It was POW 24/7, all POW, all the time. (McCain, whose U.S. Navy plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, was captured and kept as a POW for five years.)

Clearly, the message was that you were to vote for McCain — or you hate POWs. (You hate freedom! You love Commies!)

I was shocked that McCain didn’t exploit the POW thing much, much more than he did when he ran for the White House in 2008. Maybe he wanted to and his advisers advised him to cool it, since it is unseemly to exploit one’s POW status for political and personal gain.

Those who are rushing to defend McCain against Trump right now are simply sheeple who can’t worship the U.S. military enough, despite the fact that the bloated-bey0nd-belief military-corporate complex has sucked up our national resources and is killing us like stage-four cancer and has caused untold suffering to millions and millions of innocent people abroad.

(Um, yeah, the U.S. military exists primarily to enforce the existing global socioeconomic status quo, in which Americans continue to enjoy a quality of life that is crazy-better than the quality of life of the planet’s average human inhabitant, and that comes at the average human inhabitants’ expense. “Spreading democracy” — riiiiggghhhht!)

That said, of course baby boomer Trump, who, like his fellow Repugnican baby-boomer chickenhawks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and many others of that demographic), avoided the Vietnam War, so for him to be criticizing McCain’s performance in the Vietnam War is beyond hypocritical.

But I still say that McCain is no war hero, as not only was the war he voluntarily fought in unjust — Vietnam never had posed a real threat to the United States, and estimates of the number of people who died because of the war (the vast majority of them Vietnamese, of course) range from 1.5 million to 3.6 million, of which the hundreds of Vietnamese civilians slaughtered by mass-murderous U.S. troops in the My Lai Massacre of 1968 were only a tiny fraction — but also as that true war heroes don’t boast about their (supposed) war heroism for personal and political gain.

John McCain, whose almost-30-year Senate record has been unremarkable, for years has benefited from the fact that it’s taboo to openly disagree with or to show anything other than worshipfulness for a former POW. Had McCain never been a POW (which obviously was no accomplishment) and then shamelessly exploited it, I seriously doubt that he’d be where he is now. That’s some sick shit.

Still, it’s great to watch the infighting within the Repugnican Tea Party. “Clown car” is overused but it’s quite an apt description.

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