Monthly Archives: January 2011

Only thing stopping a free Egypt is U.S.

Responses to my optimistic post of yesterday on the future of Egypt have been pessimistic.

It is true that real democracy is never assured. It is difficult to attain and perhaps even harder to maintain.

But American pessimism on Egypt’s future seems to stem from at least three things that have nothing to do with the abilities and talents and intelligence and resourcefulness of the Egyptian people.

One of these things is the belief, held even by so-called liberals, that other nations can do nothing without American aid, because Americans are superior and other peoples of the world are inferior. (Indeed, the vast majority of Americans need to be reminded that, in the words of anthropologist Wade Davis, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”)

The “white man’s burden” began with the British empire, and this chauvinistic mentality was transplanted to the British colonies that became the United States of America.

A corollary of this phenomenon is that the U.S. government, through its military and its Central Intelligence Agency and other thuggish apparatuses, has a long history of making sure that real democracy never takes root in other nations whose leaders look out for the best interests of their nations’ peoples instead of for the best interests of the American capitalist system and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

The U.S. government and the U.S. ruling elites do their very best to cripple certain nations whose leaders refuse to submit to Washington — like Cuba — and then proclaim that these nations are struggling or failing not because of U.S. attempts to make them fail, because of their supposed inherent inferiority.

Leaders of other nations who actually look after their people’s best interests instead of the U.S. government’s and U.S. ruling elites’ best interests are called “dictators.” Like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (whom the CIA tried but failed to overthrow in 2002). Even though Chavez has been democratically elected repeatedly, with international observers (including Jimmy Carter) certifying that the elections were on the up and up, because of the center-right propaganda happily trumpeted by the “free” mass media owned and operated by corporations that allow only pro-corporate speech, most thoroughly corporately brainwashed Americans incorrectly go along with the label of Chavez as a “dictator.”

Actual dictators, on the other hand, like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has kept his grip on power for more than three decades, get a free fucking pass as long as they kiss U.S. ass, as Mubarak always has done.

The second source of the pessimistic belief of so many Americans that Egypt can’t get it together democratically stems, I believe, from the fact that Americans can’t get it together democratically, and therefore, they don’t want anyone else to. Call it democratic jealousy.

Americans just sat on their asses while two presidential elections in a row were stolen and bogus wars in the Middle East were launched in their name. Americans have just allowed corporations to render our democratic system meaningless, because decisions in Washington are made not by our elected officials, but by the highest bidders via our bribed elected officials. (And speaking of elections, way too many elections are won by the highest bidder.)

Speaking of our elected officials, “Whose side is Obama on anyway?” asks a piece on Salon.com today, noting:

The Egyptian people are fighting, not only to end the 30-year reign of dictator Mubarak, but for democracy. So far, our government has continued its de facto support for the Mubarak regime by paying lip service to the need for “reform” at the same time that it lauds Mubarak as an ally and source of “stability” in the Middle East.

President Obama and his spokespeople have carefully avoided the fundamental issue. The Egyptian people are not asking their government to reform itself. They are demanding an end to the entire autocratic and kleptocratic regime they have endured for even longer than Mubarak’s rule. They want democracy.

The answer to the question of whose side Obama is on is a fucking no-brainer: Obama is on the side of the Israel-first lobby, which wants Egypt to remain under the thumb of a U.S.-controlled dictator. Israel doesn’t want Egyptians to have self-determination, and because the Israel-first lobbyists’ hands are so far up the asses of the elected officials in Washington, what Israel wants it usually gets from its meat puppets in D.C.

Obama isn’t concerned about democracy in Egypt — or anywhere else. He’s concerned about his political survival (and his hollow slogans, which he very apparently views as his vehicle to continued political success [hey, they worked for him in November 2008!]).

Not that Egypt needs the spineless, slimy, slippery, ethics-free Obama and his regime of Clinton-era leftovers. What Egypt needs for democracy to take root there is for the United States of America to leave Egypt the fuck alone. Only without U.S. interference can true democracy take root anywhere. What’s been happening in Latin America for the past several years — because the gaze of the Eye of Sauron, which sits upon the White House, has been focused upon the Middle East instead of upon Latin America since late 2001 — is proof of that.

A third reason for pessimism over Egypt’s future, I surmise, is that the relatively few Americans who aren’t drunk on the jingoistic Kool-Aid know all too well how much their own government historically has prevented actual democracy from taking root elsewhere in the world, and they expect this pattern to be repeated in Egypt.

But this pessimism overlooks the fact that fortunately, the American empire is so weak from the military and economic overextension of the reign of the unelected Bush regime (um, yeah, there were actual consequences of the fact that Americans just allowed the Bush regime to steal the White House in late 2000) that its ability to quash democracy elsewhere now is limited.

But most Americans are drunk on the Kool-Aid, and they are so adverse to actual democracy taking root elsewhere on the planet that even while a new Egyptian leader already clearly has emerged in Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, these intoxicated Americans are wringing their hands, wailing, “But whooooo will lead Egypt?”

What the fuck?

ElBaradei appears to be the Egyptian people’s choice, but Americans are largely fucking ignoring that.

Is it that Americans don’t want the Egyptian people to choose their next leader? Are Americans that addicted to their governmental elites choosing the leaders of other nations, especially those in the Middle East, such as the current leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes, they are. They’re that brainwashed, that ethnocentric. To most Americans, all that is important about Egypt is that Egypt continue to serve the wishes of the government in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. government’s pimp, the Israel-first lobby — the Egyptian people be damned.

My hope is that democracy takes root in an Egypt unmolested by the U.S. government and spreads elsewhere in the Middle East. The United States of America never could transplant true democracy to the Middle East or anywhere else on the planet because the USA only ever has its own greedy interests in mind.

My hope is that in my lifetime democracy spreads throughout the world, like a domino effect, to the extent that democracy is established in the United States of America before I die.

Perversely ironically, it seems to me that the United States of America will be the last domino to topple to the spread of actual democracy.

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Democracy first for Egypt, then for the U.S.?

Mubarak names VP, new PM as deadly protests continue

AFP photo

Egyptian protesters surround a statue of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, Egypt. The protesters are demanding the ouster of autocratic Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A sign that they’re likely to get their wish is that the members of the Egyptian military and the protesters apparently are finding camaraderie, as evidenced by the news photo below that was taken in Cairo today.

Egyptian protesters greet army soldiers atop ...

Associated Press photo

You gotta love the Egyptians. While we Americans are being buried alive in a slew of hollow slogans by a “hopey-changey” president who adafuckingmantly refuses to significantly alter the status quo, the Egyptians are in the streets with the goal of ousting the fossilized President Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

While we Americans refuse to even get off of our fat asses and into the streets, thus far more than 90 Egyptians have died in more than five days of fighting for democracy (for real democracy, not the brand of “democracy” that the U.S. government loves to impose on nations in the Middle East), according to the AFP.

The increasingly embattled Mubarak, following the playbook of ultra-shitty leaders, fired his cabinet (declaring, “I am dismissing the government and will appoint a new one”) in order to show that they were the problem, certainly not he. In a sign that he knows that his days are numbered, for the first time he named a vice president today, as well as a new prime minister.

But the Egyptian protesters apparently are stopping at nothing short of total regime change. They apparently believe (correctly) that a fish rots from the head down, and they’re going after the rotten fish head. (My hunch is that they should reject Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president and prime minister and new cabinet members, too, and pick an entirely new leadership wholly unaffiliated with Mubarak. Megalomaniacs like Mubarak pick only their ideological clones to succeed them.)

The events in Egypt are inspiring.

If only we could have revolution here at home.

Sure, nonviolent revolution would be nice, but when, in the history of the world, did the corrupts powers that be ever respond to niceness?

That’s why it’s a fucking joke that President Barack Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters not to resort to violence: Violence often, if not usually, is the only way to oust the calcified powers that be. It’s not like you can ask tyrants nicely to pack it up and leave and they will.

While Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters to be utterly ineffective in changing the status quo (just like he is), he has advised Mubarak to institute “reforms.”

“Reforms.”

Bullshit.

Like an 82-year-old man is going to significantly change his game now.

“Reforms” are lame-ass excuses for not doing what needs to be done.

When something is utterly broken, you cannot “reform” it. You can only sweep aside the old, broken system and build something new.

Which is what we need to do here in the United States of America, where the will of the people long has been ignored by an entrenched duopolistic partisan system in which the corporateers and the war profiteers and the others with the millions of dollars to buy off our politicians (like the Israel-first lobby [a.k.a. AIPAC*]) long have been running the show under the guise of “democracy.”

We don’t have democracy (true majority rule) here in the United States of America. We have friendly fascism (as Bertram Gross put it) or managed democracy and inverted totalitarianism (as Sheldon Wolin put it). We have a slogan-spewing smooth operator in Barack Obama, who serves not us, but who serves his corporateering and war profiteering masters (including, of course, AIPAC) who bankrolled his rise to the top.

Obama’s type of tyranny — friendly fascism, inverted totalitarianism — is even more dangerous than is Mubarak’s, because while Mubarak fairly openly is a tyrant, Obama employs a veneer of friendliness — a veneer that confuses many if not most, because while they hear his warm and cuddly promises and his soothing slogans, they see that things in a corporately and plutocratically owned and controlled nation that is at perpetual bogus war continue to get worse, not better.

And a majority of us Americans were, after all, duped by promises of “hope” and “change” to cast a vote for Obama in November 2008. (It happened to the best and to the most well-meaning of us, including to yours truly.)

But I assure you that Obama’s greatest hope is that a critical mass of Americans do not wake up during his watch.

*Speaking of the devil (AIPAC), while I disagree with newly elected Repugnican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on most issues, I love his balls for suggesting that the United States of America cut aid to the sacred fucking cow that is Israel.

Both Repugnican and Democratic politicians slavishly kiss Zionist ass for fear of being branded as “anti-Semitic” and for having the Israel-first lobby fund their political opponents over them in their election battles.

The United States this fiscal year is giving Israel $3 billion in military assistance, notes The Associated Press, adding that last fiscal year Israel got $2.8 billion, and starting next fiscal year is slated to get $3.1 billion a year for five years.

In his defense, Rand Paul’s spokesman released a statement that “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Senator Paul — our current fiscal crisis makes it impossible to continue the spending policies of the past. We simply cannot afford to give money away, even to our allies, with so much debt mounting on a daily basis.”

Unfortunately, while Paul wants to cut around $20 billion in foreign assistance, and wants to cut $16 billion out of the bogus wars in Vietraq and Afghanistan (while both wars should just be fucking ended altogether; the United States no longer can afford to meddle in the Middle East when things literally are crumbling here at home), he also “would make significant cuts in education, housing and energy,” according to the AP.

Speaking of the fact that charity should fucking begin at home, the AP also reports that on the topic of de-funding Israel,

Rep. Nita Lowey of the New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said the United States cannot renege on its commitment to the only Democratic nation in a dangerous region.

“Using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Israel is inexcusable,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is unclear to me whether Rand Paul speaks for the tea party, the Republican Party or simply himself. I call on all those who value the U.S.-Israel relationship to make it clear that our nation will not abandon our ally Israel.”

But using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Americans here at home is perfectly acceptable to the Israel-first lobby, you see. Americans can fucking starve to death — as long as we continue send Israel $3 billion a year with which to slaughter Muslims!

And note that it’s a Democratic politician defending the Israel-first lobby here. No doubt that she gets plenty of money from the Israel-first lobby. I mean, she’s the top Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees foreign aid — you don’t think that AIPAC & Co. have paid her off?

In fairness, I don’t support cutting Israel off cold turkey, necessarily. Perhaps the assistance could be cut gradually from $3 billion a year to zero a year over a period of five years or so, which would give Israel at least some time to adjust to the new fiscal reality.

But to continue to arm Israel, which then uses these U.S.-funded arms to slaughter Muslims, which then causes even more unrest in the Middle East, which then “justifies” continuing to send $3 billion in military aid a year to Israel — yeah, this bullshit has to stop.

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This is our BIG T-shirt moment!

T-shirt

The new Team Obama T-shirt is yours for a donation of $25 or more!

Confession: I purchased and I wore a white-lettered-on-black “got hope?” T-shirt before Barack Obama was elected in November 2008. In public. Repeatedly.

That was back when I had hope.

Now, Team Obama, I see from a shameless fundraising e-mail that I received today, is asking us to wear a T-shirt (pictured above) that reads: “WE DO BIG THINGS.” With the “BIG” really BIG.

“We do big things” comes right from Obama’s recent State of the Union address, of course. He ended his address thusly:

…We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.

Sadly, the State of the Union address apparently now is just a vehicle with which to roll out new empty slogans to slap on T-shirts and other campaign gear.

As I recently noted, “hope” and “change” — or, as Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin once put it, “that hopey-changey stuff” — doesn’t cut it anymore, so now we have “winning the future” and “we do big things.” (Palin once again has mocked the shameless sloganeering, pointing out that “winning the future” would be “WTF.”

What we have with Team Obama, unfortunately, is marketing slogans, not presidential leadership. (And when Sarah “Inflammatory Political Rhetoric Endangers No One But Your Inflammatory Political Rhetoric Endangers Me” Palin is making valid criticisms of you, you’re in trouble.) 

Worst of all where Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address is concerned, the state of our union is not strong, and Obama has neither the stomach nor the balls to seriously confront what I see as the nation’s three main problems (not in a particular order):

  • Corporateers whose tentacles now reach into every imaginable aspect of our lives and who won’t stop until they privatize absofuckinglutely everything — and who would charge us for the very air that we breathe if they could.
  • War profiteers and others within the military-industrial complex who keep us at perpetual war for perpetual war profiteering. (The members of the Repugnican Tea Party were fine with the BushCheneyCorp’s runaway government spending because it benefited the war profiteers, but any government spending on the people — having the audacity to use the people’s money to benefit them — the ringleaders of the Repugnican Tea Party cannot abide.)
  • Millions of baby boomers who are poised to wipe out Social Security and Medicare and other resources, leaving nothing for those who follow them.

These are powerful, intertwined lobbies, and without standing up to these lobbies, there is no solving the nation’s real problems — such as the federal budget deficit, which is caused by runaway spending by the military-industrial complex (with all of its corporate contractor cronies) and by treasonous tax evasion by the corporateers and the super-rich, and climate change, which many if not most of the boomers don’t care about because they figure that the worst of it will come after their lifetimes, and about which the polluting corporations don’t give a shit, because they put their profits far above both people and the very planet itself. 

But standing up to these lobbies Team Obama refuses to do. Team Obama would never offend the boomers or the corporateers and the war profiteers who are destroying the nation, as Team Obama wants their campaign contribution$ and their votes.

Instead, the members of Team Obama wax nostalgic about about “Sputnik moments” and “winning the future” — even while their staunch refusal to confront our real problems dooms our future.

We can’t “do BIG things” when we can’t even do the comparatively little things, such as provide our citizens with meaningful, well-compensated work (no, long stints as cannon fodder in the Middle East don’t count), decent health care that doesn’t put them into bankruptcy, and an affordable, quality college education free of the corporate student loan sharks and the textbook industry butt-rapists that surround our young people, viewing them only as victims to bleed dry. 

It’s enough to make one proclaim: WTF?

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We’ve already lost the future

President Barack Obama delivers his State of ...

President Barack Obama is applauded by House ...

Reuters photos

In character with the “hope” that he dashed and the significant “change” that he never delivered, President Barack Obama last night delivered a falsely positive State of the Union address meant to capture the “swing vote” for his 2012 re-election campaign. The new slogan is “winning the future,” which is meant to make you keep on hoping for that promised change.

I watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, live via whitehouse.gov (and I even followed along with his prepared remarks, which he followed to the word, with only a few minor exceptions), and my immediate reaction to the “SOTU” was that the Obamanesque slogans of “hope” and “change” — now that they’re defunct because we know that we were punk’d — apparently have been replaced with the equally fluffy but insubstantial “winning the future.”

(Oh, and Repugnican Rep. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson was able to contain himself this time.)

Seriously, though, Barack Obama is far more about saying the right thing, the most politically advantageous thing, than he is about doing the right thing. And the nation’s challenges are far more daunting than Obama let on in his address.

We’re soon to be awash in baby boomers who will be dependent upon us — that’s “dependent” as in “dependent upon Depends” — and we already don’t have the resources to handle the old people that we have now. And the profits-over-people Repugnicans want to undo any gains that might have been made with health-care reform (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).

We can talk all we want about this being our “Sputnik moment,” as Obama put it last night, but with an impending avalanche of dependent senior citizens who can only suck up our already vanishing resources, in the coming several years we’ll have far more sputum moments than “Sputnik moments.”

But hey, bravo to Barack for appealing to the “swing voters” with his new empty slogan of “winning the future” while he continues to alienate his base, those of us of the “professional left.”

Will the “swing voters” give Obama any money for his 2012 re-election campaign, though?

As far as I know, “swing voters” aren’t known for making substantial political donations.

And I’m one disgruntled former Obama supporter — a member of the “sanctimonious,” “professional left” — who won’t give Obama another penny or another vote. (I quite regret that I gave him hundreds of dollars and that in November 2008 I cast my vote for him.)

Former “President” George W. Bush is one motherfucking dipshit, but the one thing he never did was alienate his own base. Bush might have tried to play to the center sometimes, but he never abandoned those who brought him to the dance.  

At any rate, I might write more about Obama’s speech of last night, but frankly, when the man moves his lips these days, all that I hear is the crafty rhetoric of promises that already are broken even as they are spoken.

I, for one, just can’t hear him anymore.

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The predictable political deaths of Palin and Steele



Orlando Sentinel photo

Michael Steele and Sarah Palin embrace at a rally in Orlando, Florida, in October.

Repugnican National Committee chair Michael Steele, the RNC’s first black chair, has dropped out of the race to lead the RNC for the next two years, and we’ll never see a President Palin. (Sarah’s chances before this week weren’t good anyway, but her incredibly narcissistic and sociopathic response to the massacre in Tucson on Saturday sealed her fate.)

But it’s not like either Palin or Steele really had the love of the Repugnican Party anyway.

Repugnican John McCainosaurus chose Palin as his running mate after Barack Obama rather than Billary Clinton had emerged as the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate. The choice of Palin was, in large part, a cynical ploy to convince the nation’s women that the Repugnican Party, not the Democratic Party, is the true party of feminism — never mind that Palin sets women back by several decades.

The Repugnican Party, you see, believed (perhaps still believes) that women are stupid.

And shortly after Obama took office in January 2009, the RNC, in a cynical ploy to convince the nation that the Repugnican Party is just as friendly to blacks as is the Democratic Party, put Michael Steele, whose highest post had been lieutenant governor of Maryland, in charge of the show. (That the best that the RNC could do was the former lieutenant governor of a tiny state shows how many high-ranking blacks within the party the RNC had to choose from.)

Two years later, Steele got the boot, and a white man (surprise surprise) probably will be his replacement.

True, Steele, as the majority of Repugnicans are, is a bumbling idiot, but another factor in his ouster, I believe, is that his skin color didn’t magically make the Repugnican Tea Party any more attractive to those outside of the white supremacist set.

And Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.

Palin was not, I surmise, supposed to try to go beyond being John McCainosaurus’ running mate, but, as she put it herself, she “went rogue” and made herself the fascistic face of the Repugnican Tea Party. Palin was supposed to have been just a prop, but she very apparently had ambitions of her own. (With emphasis there on “had.”)

Had the “tea party” element of the Repugnican Party been more successful on Election Day in November (significant “tea party” losses included Joe Miller’s, Sharron Angle’s and Christine O’Donnell’s for the U.S. Senate), the Repugnican Party might have been willing to tolerate Palin for a while longer, but the “tea party” is sputtering out, and this past week proved that Palin is becoming much more of a liability than an asset for the traditional GOP. 

And now, the true face of the Repugnican Party has re-emerged in the white-male faces of the likes of Speaker of the House John “Cry Me a River” Boehner, Darrell “Joseph McCarthy Jr.” Issa and Reince Priebus, the Repugnican Party chair of Wisconsin, who probably will succeed Steele (and who apparently is meant to cynically appeal to the youthful vote, since previous appeals to the women’s vote and the non-white vote didn’t work out so well…).

And not a single female or non-white face is among those who are considered to be serious contenders for the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination. (Indeed, stupid white male presidential wannabe Mitt Romney already is jet-setting around the globe like some sort of shadow president, which I find to be rather treasonous, at least in spirit if not in the letter of the law.) 

Sarah Palin and Michael Steele were lame attempts to con the country into believing that the Repugnican Party is diverse.

But the country didn’t buy the con job, and now that they no longer are needed, the Repugnican Party has relegated Steele and Palin to the dustbin of history.

P.S. Moments after I posted this, the breaking news came that Reince Priebus has been named the new head of the RNC.

So here is the new face of the Repugnican Party:

Priebus attends a debate among five candidates ...

Reuters photo (taken Jan. 3, 2011)

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Sarah Palin-Quayle gives the sociopathic response that we expected

The cover of the current issue of The Stranger of Seattle, via Salon.com.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital bed in Tucson with a bullet having sliced through her brain. The extent of her future recovery is unknown.

But who is the victim in this?

Sarah Palin-Quayle!

In a propagandistic defensive statement, Palin-Quayle actually claims that for anyone to point out that she had listed Giffords on her mapped hit list of 20 Democratic members of Congress is to “manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Really?

Tell you what: When Sarah Palin-Quayle takes a bullet to the brain, then I’ll buy that argument.

Palin-Quayle in her defensive statement also rehashes a supposed quote from Ronald Reagan repeating the myth that everytime someone commits a criminal act, it occurs in a vacuum:

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Yes, Jared Lee Loughner is responsible for his actions. No doubt. But he acted within a social context. In gun-loving Arizona, it was way too easy for him to purchase a gun and ammo. We can thank the Repugnican Tea Party, the party of the gun nuts that controls Arizona, for that.

In a written statement before he tried to assassinate her, Loughner referred to Giffords as a “bitch.” He apparently is misogynist. Listen to right-wing talk radio and you’ll discover that misogynistic comments made by stupid, chauvinistic white male commentators (such as Rush Limbaugh’s “femi-Nazi”) abound.

Minimally, Loughner apparently grew up in an environment in which firearms are worshipped and in which women, especially Democratic or left-leaning women, are “bitches.”

So I have to disagree with Ronald Reagan and with Sarah Palin-Quayle (who is no Ronald Reagan): Yes, society can be guilty, too. And it often, if not usually, is.

Palin-Quayle in her bullshit defense mentions “maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle” (emphasis mine). Oh, really? Someone please inform me of a single Democratic or left-leaning candidate for political office who used the equivalent assassination rhetoric and imagery that Sarah Palin-Quayle did. One. Name one.

Again, when someone one the right or in the center asserts that the left is just as guilty, we need to insist that these lying wingnuts show us actual examples.

Sarah Palin-Quayle should have taken responsibility for her poor judgment for having used the imagery and rhetoric of the assassination of public officials. And she should have apologized.

Instead, not only does she insist that she did nothing wrong — indeed, she falsely claims that everybody does it! — but she claims that she is the victim here.

No, she isn’t. Gabrielle Giffords and several other victims of gun violence in a state dominated by a party that worships firearms are the victims here.

We already knew that Sarah Palin-Quayle is utterly unqualified to hold public office. This should be the final nail in her political coffin.

P.S. These are probably the best editorial cartoons I’ve seen on the topic:

1-12-2011

1-10-2011

Cartoonist Mike Stanfill deserves a much larger audience than he apparently has.

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Politics permeate EVERYTHING

It may be a uniquely American inability or unwillingness — or both — to realize how everything is connected.

So many are screaming that politics have had nothing whatsoever to do with Saturday’s shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others, including a girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and who had shown an interest in a life in politics.*

I read at least one (right-wing, if memory serves) commentator claim that accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner’s act was “random.” (Which, if true, of course lets the right wing entirely off the hook.)

“Random”?

Maybe the Lotto is random, maybe atoms bounce around more or less at random, but human beings don’t act entirely randomly. They might be mentally disordered, as Loughner certainly seems to be, but do they act “randomly”? No. Inanimate objects can act randomly, but human beings do not. Human beings act within and respond to social contexts, even if their mental processes are disordered.

I never have claimed that Loughner was directly “inspired” by Sarah Palin-Quayle’s rhetoric of assassination, but, as I have noted, if he didn’t see or read Palin-Quayle’s assassination rhetoric, perhaps he saw Giffords’ Repugnican Tea Party opponent’s advertisement for a June fundraiser that read, “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.”**

Perhaps Jesse Kelly saw Palin-Quayle’s March 2010 assassination rhetoric and followed her lead for his June 2010 fundraiser — Palin-Quayle is, after all, the Borg queen of the Repugnican Tea Party — and perhaps Loughner saw Kelly’s Palin-Quayle-inspired assassination rhetoric if he didn’t actually see Palin-Quayle’s.

If so, we still can draw a line back to Palin-Quayle.

We don’t know yet how all of the dots connect, and it’s possible that we never really will, but just as it’s too early to directly blame anyone, it’s too early to absolve anyone whose assassination rhetoric might have inspired Loughner.

A Washington Post columnist makes an interesting argument that the cause of Giffords’ shooting is not politics, but is too-lax gun control.

While I agree that too-lax gun control certainly was a factor in Saturday’s massacre in Tucson, apparently in the widespread fervor to be “bipartisan” and to avoid pissing off the right wing (who do, after all, like to pack heat), the columnist seems to ignore or to at least miss the fact that the members of the National Rifle Association and other assorted gun nuts support the Repugnican Tea Party, not the Democratic Party or the progressive or liberal cause.

The Repugnican Tea Party itself encourages gun violence under the guise of “Second Amendment rights.” (Indeed, in the atmosphere of Repugnican Tea Party rhetoric in which Loughner acted [the available evidence suggests that Loughner has not been living in a cave, by the way], Second Amendment rights have morphed into “Second Amendment remedies.”)

To assert, as the Washington Post columnist essentially asserts, that too-lax gun control is disconnected from politics (or even to assert that it is a “bipartisan” problem) is insane (if we define “insane” as “detached from reality”).

Way too many Americans right now are demonstrating not only their inability and/or their stubborn refusal to connect the fucking dots, but they’re also displaying their penchant for false equivalencies, which demonstrates their moral turpitude or their utter inability to reason (or both). Under the soothing umbrella of false equivalencies, everyone is guilty or no one is guilty — therefore, there is no need to actually do the work of sorting through the facts.

False-equivalency-loving pundits still are referring to assassination rhetoric as “war” or “military” rhetoric (or the like), when, in fact, rhetoric about shooting or otherwise killing a specific individual (usually, but not always, a political figure) is nothing else but assassination rhetoric.

I have not seen a single Democratic or other left-leaning candidate for political office employ assassination rhetoric. Repugnican Tea Party candidates, however, have. (Right off the top of my head, I can name three of them: Sarah Palin-Quayle, Sharron Angle and Jesse Kelly. [And Repugnican Tea Party princess Michele Bachmann has advised her followers to be “armed and dangerous.”])

And false-equivalency-loving pundits still are stupidly comparing such remarks as President Barack Obama’s remark that if the opposition brings a knife to the political fight, then you bring a gun, to Palin-Quayle’s listing of 20 Democratic lawmakers whose congressional districts she indicated on a map with gun-sight crosshairs while simultaneously advising her followers not to “retreat” but to “RELOAD!”

These are not equivalent. Obama never suggested or even hinted that certain, specific individuals actually be shot. Sarah Palin-Quayle did.

I fear for the American empire, because its denizens are either too morally bankrupt or intellectually disabled (or both) to be able to connect the dots, and because they compare apples to blood oranges. 

An empire can survive with a certain percentage of its inhabitants being immoral and/or incredibly stupid, but the United States of America apparently has reached a critical mass of immorality and stupidity that imminently threatens its survival.

*Newser reports:

Pundits aside, most Americans don’t actually think the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was caused by inflammatory political rhetoric, CBS News reports.

Of 673 people polled on the issue, 57 percent said political discourse had nothing to do with the shooting, while 32 percent said it did. In a reflection of the opinion war being waged between liberal and conservative political figures, fewer Republicans (19 percent) felt the shooting was related to rhetoric than did Democrats (42 percent).

Well, again, it remains to be seen, if it ever is seen at all, to what degree inflammatory political rhetoric played a role in Saturday’s massacre, doesn’t it?

And it’s hardly a shock that apparently only one in five Repugnicans believes that there’s any problem whatsoever with the assassination rhetoric of the likes of Sarah Palin-Quayle, Sharron Angle and Jesse Kelly. And it’s a testament to the cancers of “bipartisanship” and centrism that so few self-identified Democrats are willing or are able to make the apparent connection between assassination rhetoric and an actual assassination attempt.

**I just checked out Kelly’s website, and the only thing on the home page of his website is this statement:

In the wake of this stunning tragedy, my prayers are with Rep. Giffords, her husband Mark and the rest of her family. May God’s strength comfort her as we pray together for her recovery. We mourn for those who lost their lives in this horrible act.

Senseless acts of violence such as this have absolutely no place in American politics.

Kelly used the shooting of “a fully automatic M15” with him as part of his campaign, but now (like Sarah Palin-Quayle does) he denounces violence!

How politically, morally and ethically convenient!

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Giffords victim of permissive environment

When Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona spoke to the “liberal” MSNBC in March 2010 about her concerns over rhetoric about her assassination, the MSNBC co-hosts couldn’t minimize her concerns quickly enough and asserted (without any examples or proof) that the left wing is just as guilty of wrongdoing as is the right wing as they sang their praises to the god of bipartisanship and centrism. I wonder how the smug co-hosts feel now. 

There are a lot of factors that came together and resulted in Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson taking a bullet to the brain on Saturday; not only are there too many factors for me to list here, but there are too many factors for us to even be able to identify. Plenty of people, of course, would love to lay the blame solely and squarely at the feet of Giffords’ would-be assassin, but that not only is factually inaccurate, but to do so only guarantees even more assassination attempts.

Undoubtedly, Jared Lee Loughner, Giffords’ accused attempted assassin, is a troubled young man. Friends have described Loughner as “confrontational, nonlinear and obsessed with how words create reality.” For all of his obsession with words, grammar and (il)literacy, however, his own skills with the English language are lacking, as his online screeds demonstrate. He also has been obsessed with the concept and practice of currency, strongly believing that U.S. currency should exist only in gold and silver — which is, to my recollection, a right-wing and libertarian obsession, but we’ll leave it at that.

This Associated Press article details Loughner’s gradual mental unraveling, but tells of no significant efforts to actually help the obviously mentally ill young man. This is not a surprise, given his environment of the red state of Arizona, where all that matter are profits, not people, and where, therefore, social services are virtually nil.

(I know: I spent the first three decades of my life in that God-forsaken state, which appropriately has been dubbed “Tombstone” or the [new] Wild West, or at least, as the sheriff of the county where Giffords was shot put it, “the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” [And it is that, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t set foot in that state since I left it 12 years ago, even though the majority of my relatives still live there.])

Loughner also grew up in a nation dominated by baby boomers, who as a group (and as parents, teachers, employers, et. al.) never have made responsibly raising our nation’s young people a priority. It always has been, and it always will be, as long as they still live to be able to be thorns in our asses, all about the boomers, and therefore, way too many of our young people, like Loughner, end up on their own, falling through the cracks and finding themselves at the ends of their ropes.

And then there are the media.

If you watch just one video clip regarding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ ordeal, you should watch her interview on MSNBC in March 2010, when several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Giffords, had just had their offices vandalized and had received threats after they voted to pass the health-care reform bill.

In the clip, MSNBC’s God-awful Chuck Todd, whom I despise because he acts as though he knows everything when, in fact, he’s a fucking retard, casually blows off Giffords’ stated concern about the fact that Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle recently had put Giffords on her hit list of 20 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who should be taken out because they live in conservative-leaning congressional districts but voted for the health-care reform bill.

Giffords specifically states in her interview that Palin-Quayle’s use of a graphic on the Internet including “the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district” concerns her, adding, perhaps presciently, “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there [are] consequences to that action.”

Todd immediately shoots Giffords down (pun intended), cannot minimize her just-stated concern quickly enough, fucktardedly countering her, “In fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.”

Except that this wasn’t “war rhetoric” — this was assassination rhetoric. Big fucking difference, Chucky.

Never before was it ever acceptable for a former vice presidential candidate to advise her followers not to “retreat” but to “RELOAD!” and to indicate, on the Internet, her political targets’ congressional districts on a map of the United States with graphics of gun-sight crosshairs.

Never before was it ever acceptable for a candidate for the U.S. Senate to talk about “Second-Amendment remedies” to deal with her and her supporters’ political foes.

Again, this isn’t the rhetoric of battle or war — this is the rhetoric of assassination.

Chuck Todd’s co-host, a bubble-headed woman whose name I don’t know, in an incredibly stupid attempt to be a centrist on crack, stupidly suggests to Giffords that perhaps Democrats are just using these attacks on Democratic lawmakers for political gain!

Wow. So I suppose that the attacks by wingnuts on the Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives for their votes on a piece of legislation should not have been reported at all — you know, to avoid politicizing the issue! Must! Be! Fair! And! Balanced!

The minimizing-fest continues, however, as even Giffords herself talks about “extremes on both sides, frankly, not just on the Republican side” — apparently so as not to piss off even further those on the right, even though neither Giffords nor her two co-hosts list one act of violence or intimidation against an elected official by a Democrat or by anyone else on the left. 

And then Chuck Fucking Todd, not to be outdone by his centrist-on-crack co-host, ends the interview by practically jizzing in his pants as he reflects that Giffords’ congressional district is “probably one of the most perfectly balanced swing districts in the country.” Utopia!

And less than a year after the smug MSNBC talking heads incredibly stupidly and irresponsibly blew off Giffords’ concerns and bizarrely turned the discussion about the dangerous rhetoric of assassination into a bipartisan kumbaya moment, Giffords took a bullet to the brain.

Chuck Todd and his bubble-headed co-host pretty much threw Gabrielle Giffords, as a human sacrifice, to the god of centrism that they slavishly worship.

And MSNBC is supposedly a member of the “liberal” media.

But don’t blame them!

These things just happen!

In a vacuum!

Within no social context whatsofuckingever!

The irresponsibility in the media, the gross journalistic malpractice, continues even after Giffords took a bullet to the brain on Saturday.

The Daily Beast immediately concluded that we can’t blame Sarah Palin-Quayle for Giffords’ shooting! — even though Palin-Quayle had put out there the idea, the concept, of assassinating Giffords and 19 other Democratic lawmakers. The Daily Beast’s centrist-on-crack columnist Howard Kurtz concluded that “This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map [yes, indeed, less than 10 full months is a very long time here in the United States of Amnesia!]; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” and also noted:

Liberals were quick to denounce Palin at the time of the map posting. And after Giffords’ Tucson office was vandalized that same month, the Democratic congresswoman told MSNBC, “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.”

Giffords had every right to ask Palin and others to tone it down. But is it now fair for the rest of us to tie Palin to the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner?

Let’s be honest: Journalists often use military terminology in describing campaigns. We talk about the air war, the bombshells, targeting politicians, knocking them off, candidates returning fire or being out of ammunition. So we shouldn’t act shocked when politicians do the same thing. Obviously, Palin should have used dots or asterisks on her map. But does anyone seriously believe she was trying to incite violence?

Yes, actually, I do. Or, minimally, I believe, her frame of mind was that it wouldn’t much have troubled her conscience if someone actually did take out someone she’d listed on her hit list. Nor do I believe that she’s really that sorry about what happened to Giffords. Palin-Quayle is a sociopath, and sociopaths by definition have no empathy for others; they care only about their own ego-filled agendas. Palin-Quayle for political purposes would offer her condolences, of course, but does she feel it? I don’t think so. I don’t think that that woman feels much of anything — except for her own lust for power.

To assert that Giffords’ attempted assassination was caused solely by “a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” as The Daily Beast’s Kurtz did, is beyond bullshit. It wholly ignores the social context in which Loughner grew up and in which he has lived, an environment itself in which human life is not valued, an environment in which our young people are seen only as opportunities for profit-making (as overcharged consumers and as wage slaves), as cogs in the wheels of capitalitism, and as cannon fodder. It blames Loughner, a victim of this environment, for all of the evils of this environment, while society, the system, as usual, gets off scot-fucking-free, and we can all go back to our mindless consumption now!

We spiritually dead Americans sure love our scapegoats!

The “argument” that we’re seeing now is that Palin-Quayle didn’t specifically publicly proclaim that “Someone should shoot Gabrielle Giffords in the head!” — and therefore, Palin-Quayle is blameless! (Even though she took down her hit list with the map with the gun-sight crosshairs on it after Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday!)

Fact is, when a former vice presidential candidate uses the rhetoric of assassination and links this rhetoric to an actual list of actual elected officials, this is not the “harmless,” commonly used, wholly acceptable “military” or “war” rhetoric used in politics that Howard Kurtz and Chuck Todd claim it is. Are the two of them fucking liars or are they actually that fucking stupid?

And when asswipes assert that Democrats and those of us on the left are just as guilty as are Repugnican Tea Partiers and those on the right of the use of assassination rhetoric and in actual acts of violence and intimidation, they need to fucking cite actual examples of Democratic or left-wing sins. It’s not fucking good enough to vaguely assert that “both sides are equally guilty” when, in fact, this is demonstrably fucking false.

For now, Jared Lee Loughner isn’t talking. We don’t know if he was inspired by Sarah Palin-Quayle’s assassination rhetoric or not, but if he never saw her hit-list map with the gun-sight crosshairs and never received her accompanying Tweet to “RELOAD!”, perhaps he did see the advertisement for Gabrielle Giffords’ Repugnican Tea Party opponent’s fundraiser in June that read: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.”

See, Kelly talked about “removing Gabrielle Giffords from office” and “shooting a fully automatic M15” in the same advertisement, but what a streeeeeeeeetch! it is to assert that one could interpret the ad as advocating gun violence against Gabrielle Giffords! No! This is perfectly acceptable political rhetoric! You see it all the time!

I have yet to see a single Democratic or other left-leaning political candidate use rhetoric like this, but we’re told by the kumbaya corporate media — “in fairness”! — that “both sides are equally guilty!”

One of the questions that Americans are asking themselves now is whether or not Giffords’ shooting will tone down, forever, the political rhetoric of violence.

It’s a stupid question because the answer to the question is obvious: The rhetoric of violence and even of assassination of one’s political opponents will die down for a little while, but here in the United States of Amnesia it won’t be long before that rhetoric is ratcheted up again, and we can, I believe, expect more assassination attempts.

We can expect this because nothing has changed. The corporately owned and controlled media are still singing the praises of centrism and bipartisanship, are still saying, without offering any actual evidence, that both sides, left and right, are equally guilty of violent rhetoric and acts of violence and intimidation, and, most of all and worst of all, we’re still asserting that when someone finally snaps in our environment of our own making in which human life is so fucking cheap and he kills someone, it was all his fault, he was just a bad apple — and our society is just fine!

The only thing that surprises me, frankly, is that in our toxic national environment — for which no one is reponsible except, of course, its victims — it took this long for an assassination attempt to happen.

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Giffords was on Palin’s hit list

In March 2010, Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle put Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ name on her hit list and indicated Giffords’ legislative district in Arizona with a graphic of gun crosshairs. Today, Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson.

We don’t know yet whether or not Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old shooter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, ever saw Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle’s Facebook-page hit list — which, along with Palin-Quayle’s Tweeted advice to “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD! Pls see my Facebook page” (which contained her mapped hit list as shown above), I wrote about in March.*

Clearly, however, there are plenty of mentally unstable among us who take such advice as to “RELOAD!” and who take such symbols as gun crosshairs over an elected official’s legislative district quite seriously.

Rep. Giffords is No. 4 on Palin-Quayle’s hit list. Giffords made the hit list because she’s a Democrat in a conservative congressional district who voted for the same health-care reform bill that the Repugnican Tea Party now is trying to repeal.

Of course, members of the Repugnican Tea Party, such as Palin-Quayle and Repugnican Tea Party House Speaker John Boehner, are falling over each other now to express their condolences for the violence that the Repugnican Tea Party condones — and their claims that of course the Repugnican Tea Party does not condone violence!

Fact is, once the idea is put out there, repeatedly, that it’s OK to commit violence against elected officials with whom one disagrees, it kind of doesn’t matter who exactly suggests it (such as Nevadan Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s suggestion that “Second-Amendment remedies” might be necessary for those elected officials who just won’t do what we want them to do) or who exactly the suggested targets are; it just contributes toward making the idea of shooting elected officials whom you don’t like the new norm.

They will deny their obvious complicity in actual acts of violence, as the fucking hypocrites never admit their wrongdoings, but those of us few Americans who still value what is left of what we call our “democracy” have to hold the feet of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party to the fire for the violence that they promote. (Figuratively. [For now.])

*In that post, titled “Bricks and Stones Can Start a Civil War,” I concluded:

Today, bricks — tomorrow, bullets?

It would be interesting to see what would happen in the aftermath of a “tea-baggin’” fascist actually assassinating someone, and I have to wonder if the question isn’t whether that will happen but when it will happen.

Hey, sign me up for the next civil war! I’ll be happy to fight for the blue states! This next time, though, we need to finish the job!

You betcha!

I still feel that way, by the way. I prefer bloodlessness, but if it’s a bloody civil war that the wingnuts want, I still say: Let’s give it to them!

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Why the wingnuts’ Constitution fetish

Darrell Issa

John Boehner, Darrell Issa

Associated Press photos

Fascists John “Cry Me a River” Boehner and Darrell “Joseph McCarthy Jr.” Issa are pictured fetishizing the U.S. Constitution in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

It wasn’t very long ago that that wingnuts were fetishizing our “founding fathers.” The point of that exercise, of course, was to assert that only white men — the only true Americans, of course — should run the show here in the United States of America.

Maybe fetishizing our “founding fathers” was a bit too blatantly white supremacist and patriarchal, however, so now the wingnuts are fetishizing the more neutral, more impersonal U.S. Constitution.

Today’s jingoistic charade in which the new Repugnican majority of the U.S. House of Representatives led the recitation of the U.S. Constitution (instead of beginning to solve the nation’s serious problems) wholly was meant to give the impression that only the Repugnican Tea Party understands, values and follows the U.S. Constitution, as though the mere recitation of the document magically confers an embodiment of the document, just like mere recitation of the Bible is supposed to magically confer an embodiment of its contents.

“Republicans in charge of the chamber rattled [the Constitution] off with missionary zeal, as if in a school civics class,” The Associated Press notes,* and “missionary zeal” is appropriate, since the members of the Repugnican Tea Party claim to have the monopoly not only on patriotism and Americanism but also on Christianity.

I love the Constitution, but, just as we have wildly divergent versions of U.S. history, we have wildly divergent versions of the Constitution. Neither U.S. history nor the U.S. Constitution should be politicized, but, of course, they are. All the fucking time.

Where the U.S. Constitution is concerned, I fall in the “living document” camp. The document’s authors couldn’t possibly have known what challenges future generations would face, and I can’t see that the authors of the nation’s founding document intended to put future generations into a straitjacket — otherwise, they wouldn’t have provided for constitutional amendments and for a U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution.

Yes, besides constitutional amendments, there’s that little thing of U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The chief job of the nation’s highest court being to interpret the Constitution, constitutional law does not consist solely of the text of the Constitution, as the wingnuts allege, but also consists of a plethora of Supreme Court decisions.

For the wingnuts to claim to be The Keepers of the Constitution and to claim that only the Constitution itself comprises all constitutional law is not only inaccurate and propagandistic, but it’s dangerous as well, and their intention in falsely claiming so is to curtail, not to expand, freedoms and liberties in the United States of America.

The wingnuts want to drag us back to the “good old days” when, among other things, white men owned black slaves and women couldn’t vote. The wingnuts talk about freedom, but they intend that only certain people have freedom.

We allow the wingnuts to co-opt our Constitution (and our history) at our own peril.

Regarding their attempt to redefine what our nation is all about, we need to send the wingnuts this message loudly and clearly: Over our dead bodies.

*“Democrats pitched in [in the recitation], but with seemingly less ardor,” the AP immediately notes thereafter, and while surely the Repugnicans would claim that this is due to the Dems’ lack of patriotism, it’s actually due to the fact that most of the Dems know dangerous fascism, nationalism and jingoism when they see it. 

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