Also, as a gay man, an atheist and a democratic socialist, I’m fully aware of how many if not most Texans regard me, and so it’s very difficult for me to want to help them.
And as a Californian, I’m very much aware that should, say, a huge earthquake devastate Los Angeles or San Francisco, many if not most of the so-called adults in Texas would claim that of course it was God’s will to punish all of those sinners, or, if it weren’t divine intervention, at least the denizens of the Land of Fruits and Nuts, who are not, of course, real Americans, nonetheless deserved it.
Don’t get me wrong. If I were on the ground in Texas to see the biblical devastation with my own two eyes, I’m sure that I’d want to help. But I decided years ago that I’d never set foot in Texas, fuck Texas.
It’s ironic that Texas, the Climate-Change Denial Capital of the United States of America, is now filling up like an over-sized bathtub. After all, it’s the fossil fuels that Texas always has pushed on us that have caused climate change, which has caused fiercer and wetter and thus deadlier hurricanes.
Would Texas learn its lesson if we (perhaps literally…) bailed it out?
Also, of course, is the fact that we can’t even trust the fucking American Red Cross anymore not to totally squander our donations, so, if you refuse to go to Texas in person and don’t trust that any donation that you give will be used for its intended purpose, and if you’re an atheist who correctly doesn’t believe that praying is going to accomplish a God-damned thing, then what, exactly, can you do for Texas from California, even assuming that you should do something for Texas from California?
I’m not proud that I feel nothing for Texas, that the idea of it being inundated — inundated like Texans believe that “God” inundated the world because it was a punishment for sinfulness (so ironic!) — stirs little to nothing within me when past catastrophes have stirred a lot in me, such as was the case with Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami.*
Again, I’m not proud of my lack of feeling for Texas, but I won’t lie that I feel something that I don’t feel.
Frankly, with Texas it just seems like an awful lot of karma. With Hurricane Katrina and with the 2004 tsunami, those people really struck me as innocent victims. Texans,not so much.
Yes, of course I exempt children, the incapacitated, pets, livestock, wildlife and those progressives (and those who, if they are apolitical, at least aren’t fascists) who live in Texas (the poor things) from any karmic due from Hurricane Harvey, but pretty much everyone else, well, yeah, um…
We’ll see if I change my mind over the coming days.
It’s just that as a gay man, an atheist, a democratic socialist and a Californian who has had his sexual orientation, his atheism, his left-wing political beliefs and his state (the greatest state in the nation, as evidenced by the fact that far more Americans choose to live here in California than in any other state) bashed by Texans, it’s incredibly hard for me to want to lift a finger for a state that would lift a finger for me only to flip me off.
The purpose of deregulation is to allow greedy, selfish traitors to make as much money as quickly as possible, regardless of the price that others predictably will have to pay later down the line.
I’m quite happy to live in a state where the state government believes in regulating capitalists who otherwise gladly would kill all of us for another fucking buck.
Government certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s the only thing that stands between us, the people, and the capitalist traitors.
Update (Wednesday, August 30, 2017): I’m such a softie. I just gave $20 to the Houston Food Bank and $20 to the Houston Humane Society, and I’m sure that I’ll give more over the coming days and perhaps even the coming weeks.
It’s just too hard for me to do nothing when I know that there is suffering. (On that note, The New York Times reports that more than 1,000 people** have died in floods in South Asia this summer. Do we Americans care about them? After all, they’re not Americans and they have brown skin and they’re far away…)
Don’t get me wrong; I believe that much of the misery in Texas could have been prevented, such as by having addressed climate change years ago and by having had meaningful government regulations that protected the people against the profiteers. Catastrophe is the foreseeable result of the rampant cutting of corners for profiteering.
P.S. OK, I’ve given some more today. I gave $10 to the SPCA of Texas, $15 to the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s help-Houston effort, and $20 to the Montrose Center, an LGBT assistance center in Houston.
I’m not bragging, but perhaps giving you some ideas to help out a little if you can and if you want to. I suggest to avoid the American Red Cross, as they very apparently are inept if not also corrupt, and I never give to religious-based organizations, since organized religions cause more misery than they relieve.
Of course I always hope that well-intended money that is received for things like Harvey is well spent and not stolen, and perhaps because of that I don’t give huge amounts to any one organization, and I like to spread my small donations around a bit.
*Also, to be fair even to Texas, it’s quite possible that I just have catastrophe fatigue. Seriously. I did give money toward both Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami victims, and both events made me heartsick.
Maybe I just can’t keep doing that. Maybe I have to shut it out, perhaps because with climate change, this shit is only going to keep on happening.
But mostly, I surmise, it’s that I just really hate Texas.
Also, from what I can tell, Katrina hit the already impoverished, mostly in Louisiana, and its victims disproportionately were black. The denizens of the Houston area are, I do believe, not as impoverished, as a group.
Finally, the body count in the 2004 tsunami, according to Wikipedia, was “230,000 to 280,000 people in 14 countries.” I add that for perspective.
When you’re bumping into the trees — and that’s all that “President” Pussygrabber has us doing, bumping into the trees — it seems that you’re going to be doomed bumping into trees forever.
But ah, there is the forest. And the forest exists not only in space — there is a lot more forest than you can see from your poor vantage point of bumping into trees — but the forest also exists in time, and, busy bumping into trees, you’re rather too consumed with the present to gain perspective from the past.
That is the forest through the trees. Well, part of the forest, anyway.
This is a presidency in crisis. The problem is that we don’t have another nationwide election until November 2018 and don’t have another presidential election until November 2020. But we have to think beyond the next two election cycles, too.
True, when you have a shitty president/“president,” he (or she, someday) can hang on to the Oval Office for a rather long time doing that shitty job, and it seems that you’ll be assaulted with his daily-or-almost-daily utter bullshit interminably.
But everything catches up to you eventually. And nothing lasts forever.
Pete Wilson, a former Repugnican governor of California, is widely credited with turning California into a blue state when he advocated the ugly, anti-brown-skinned-immigrant Proposition 187. Wikipedia explains:
As governor, Wilson was closely associated with California Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services in the … state of California.
Voters passed the proposed law as a referendum in November 1994; it was the first time that a state had passed legislation related to immigration, customarily an issue for federal policies and programs. The law was challenged in a legal suit and found unconstitutional by a federal court in 1998 and never went into effect.
Passage of Proposition 187 reflected state residents’ concerns about illegal immigration into the United States and the large Hispanic population in California. Opponents believed the law was discriminatory against immigrants of Hispanic origin; supporters generally insisted that their concerns were economic: that the state could not afford to provide social services for so many who entered the state illegally or overstayed their visas.
Opponents of Proposition 187 cited its passage as the cause of long-term negative effects for the California Republican Party statewide. Noting a rapid increase in the Latino participation in California elections, some analysts cite Governor Wilson’s and the Republican Party’s embrace of Proposition 187 as a cause of the failure of the party to win statewide elections.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only Republican to win a California gubernatorial, [U.S.] senatorial, or presidential election since 1994, [becoming governor] in a unique 2003 recall election. Schwarzenegger was also re-elected [as governor] in 2006.
Schwarzenegger was an outlier; he took advantage of the embattled, charismatically challenged Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in the bullshit gubernatorial recall election of 2003 and won because he had been a Hollywood action-movie star and because politically he was a blank slate, since he’d never held elected office before. Whatever he promised to do, the voters couldn’t be sure he’d do because he’d had zero track record in elected office. He promised to “clean house” and “blow up the boxes” and the voters fell for that bullshit, much as they did the “Make America Great Again” bullshit.
And, being an immigrant himself, Schwarzenegger certainly didn’t make anti-immigrant sentiment a centerpiece of his moderate-Repugnican politics.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has been at the helm since January 2011 and is termed out in January 2019, and no one who is sane and who knows anything about California’s voters believes that a Repugnican has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming the state’s next governor. California may never go to another Repugnican presidential candidate in our lifetimes, and it’s pretty much a given that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein one day will be replaced by another Democrat.
So the anti-immigrant bullshit might have been a cheap, convenient, immediate political boost for Pete Wilson, but the damage that he did to his party in California — where Latinos now outnumber whites! — endures and will persist, probably forever.
Ditto for Pussygrabber’s anti-immigrant bullshit, such as his insistence on a “Game of Thrones”-style Great Southern Wall to keep out the hordes of supposedly murderous, raping, brown-skinned wildlings (who, when they’re not too busy murdering and raping like to vote illegally, because, you know, those bad hombresreally love to vote) — and such as Pussygrabber’s recent pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of contempt of federal court for disobeying a federal court order to stop violating Hispanic individuals’ constitutional rights.
… On October 11, 2016, federal prosecutors announced that they would press criminal contempt of court charges against Arpaio. On October 25, 2016, such charges were officially filed, though Arpaio would not be arrested and no mugshot would be taken. The charges were filed just two weeks before an election in which Arpaio was running for re-election. [He lost that election, by double digits, to a Democrat, lest you think that Arpaio is still a big hit among all of Arizona’s voters.]
On July 31, 2017, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton wrote that Arpaio had “willfully violated an order of the court” by failing “to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed.” Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced in October 2017.
And then Pussygrabber pardoned him, because surely Pussygrabber is going to want a pardon himself in the future. The members of the elite criminal class — to whom their oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution mean less than nothing — must protect each other.
Note the leniency that Arpaio has been shown all along in our two-tiered “justice” system: he didn’t have to suffer the indignity of being arrested or having a mugshot taken, something that you or I could not escape, because we’re just commoners, and then, when he was convicted, it was just a fucking misdemeanor conviction, even though he had violated many, many individuals’ constitutional rights over a period of many, many years. You or I would have been convicted of a felony had we done what he did (repeatedly), I am confident.
And then, even a misdemeanor was too much for poor old Joe to suffer; he had to have a “presidential” pardon.
This is fine. Let the stupid old white men have their last gasps of abject abuse of power, because the world is changing.
Arpaio, at 85, will be dead soon enough, and his long-standing right-wing white-male privilege won’t be able to get him out of death.
And “President” Pussygrabber, who also won’t live forever, of course, is doing to the Repugnican Party on the national level what Pete Wilson did to the Repugnican Party in California: planting the seeds for its inevitable ruin.
The U.S. Census Bureau in March 2015 projected that in 2060, Latinos by far will be the nation’s largest non-white racial group, growing from 17.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2014 to 28.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2060. During that same time period (2014 to 2060), non-Hispanic whites are projected to drop from 62.2 percent of the U.S. population to 42.6 percent of the population.
If we’re talking about walls, well, the writing is on the wall; the white supremacists who scream, “You will not replace us!” already are being replaced and will continue to be replaced.
And just as California’s Latinos remember what the Repugnican Party did to them, the nation’s Latinos remember.
“President” Pussygrabber perhaps is getting some cheap political thrills today, but he is Pete Wilson-ing the Repugnican Party nationally.
Don’t despair; from high above, the forest looks beautiful.
Anti-fascists showed up on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter the neo-Nazis who ostensibly wanted to protest the removal of a statue of traitor Robert E. Lee but who in reality are just domestic terrorists. I love these guys, whose hearts are in the right place if I don’t always agree with their tactics.
Today “President” Pussygrabber, doubling down on his false equivalence between the neo-Nazis who are part of his base and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis, coined the term “alt-left.”
“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’ [in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday]? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Pussygrabber said at an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, Politico reports.
Part of me might recommend that we on the left embrace the term “alt-left,” except that the neo-Nazis already have come to give “alt-” the connotation if not the denotation of white supremacism and white nationalism, and thus have pretty much ruined the prefix “alt-.”
And, of course, usually it’s best not to allow your enemy to name you, but to name yourself. (On that note, Pussygrabber said, “as you say, the ‘alt-right,’” but “alt-right” is the name that the fucking neo-Nazis have given themselves.)
And the “alt-left” already has named itself: Antifa, for anti-fascist, and it doesn’t need a new name.
And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.
No, I don’t condone every action and every word that everyone who might call him- or herself a member of Antifa might commit, but on the whole, I’m quite happy that there is an active opposition to the neo-Nazis. (As I have written, I reject the term “alt-right” as unnecessary because we already have the term neo-Nazi.)
Fact is, as so many have observed and reported, the police often do little to nothing when there are clashes between the neo-Nazis and the Antifa (and/or other anti-neo-Nazis). That’s because many if not most cops are right-wingers (if not also actually white nationalists/white supremacists) themselves, I surmise, and therefore they aren’t all that enthusiastic about protecting us, the people, from the neo-Nazis. To a large degree, we have to do it ourselves.
I’m sure that there are some who fairly fairly could be called thugs among those who call themselves Antifa — that is, some individuals who are looking for a fight at least as much as they care about a sociopolitical cause. Of course, there probably are far more such individuals among the neo-Nazis.
While both groups routinely show up with weaponry (homegrown and professional) when they expect a confrontation, when there are casualties, they usually are on the left, not on the right, such as the case of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a neo-Nazi cowardly ran her down in his car.
And to my knowledge, Heyer was not a member of the Antifa (or, to Pussygrabber, the “alt-left”), but was just a citizen who had shown up to demonstrate her opposition to neo-Nazism, which she had the right to do (even though I question, for safety reasons, the wisdom of showing up anywhere where there are neo-Nazis).
While I have no personal interest in having a physical confrontation with a neo-Nazi, not seeing what ultimate good it would do, and while I hate to think of any good-hearted (if misguided) member of Antifa (or anyone else) being harmed or even killed by a neo-Nazi, I just can’t bring myself to condemn the Antifa, because I don’t know how far the neo-Nazis would take it if they knew that they faced no opposition in our streets.
The neo-Nazis need to know that should they get too big for their khakis (and thanks for ruining khakis for the rest of us, assholes!) and start harming people on the streets, they’re going to face pushback.
As a gay man, an atheist and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one day I just might need protection from neo-Nazis myself, and so I’m not going to condemn the Antifa and the overall important sociopolitical role that they play in these, um, interesting times.
I would only ask the members of Antifa and all of those who oppose the neo-Nazis, as I do, to pick their battles and to put their personal safety first.
“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”
Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.
“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressedoutside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.
“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”
The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:
Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.
Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.
For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …
The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.
Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.
Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.
“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”
We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.
We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!
All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.
And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.
Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.
But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.
What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?
Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.
But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.
And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.
P.S.The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.
Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.
Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.
The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.
Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.
UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]
He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.
Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.
(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)
To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.
We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.
… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.
Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.
Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …
***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.
But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.
I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.
I, for one, have no desire to be anywhere in the vicinity of a showdown between the neo-Nazis — I reject the euphemistic term “alt-right”; these are garden-variety neo-Nazis, not anything new — and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis.
I surmise that few to none of these people demonstrating against the neo-Nazis who were seriously injured or killed had really thought that they might seriously be injured or killed, but it was predictable that they were at such risk.
In the end, is serious injury or death worth it where it comes to the fairly tiny minority who are neo-Nazis? What does it accomplish in terms of changing the overall social order?
Don’t get me wrong. Because a neo-Nazi and registered Repugnican (is there much difference between the two, especially among those who support “President” Pussygrabber?) murdered someone by car yesterday, demonstrating yet once again that yes, indeed, the neo-Nazis are much more likely to commit unnecessary, deadly violence than are the anti-fascists, in the court of public opinion I’d chalk this one up as a win for us anti-fascists.
But that came at the cost of three lives lost yesterday in Virginia because of a relatively small bunch of fucking losers who aren’t at all worth that cost.
Because the neo-Nazis are a relatively small group, I don’t know that it is at all necessary to go mano-a-mano with them in the streets. As Marcotte notes:
… To be clear, neo-Nazis and the like tend to be disorganized and unreliable, so there are decent odds [that the] Unite the Right [rally] will be poorly attended, and the resulting atmosphere will be one of comical pathos rather than the menace far-right forces are hoping for.
Unfortunately, as Bob Moser at the New Republic argued, there is one group that can help restore some lost dignity to the wannabe fascists: progressive counter-protesters. Yes, the very people eager to fight white supremacists in the street may, as Moser argues, be helping the cause of white supremacy. [Emphasis mine.]
“By confronting both the various breeds of white supremacists with fury and violence, we’re giving them better media attention and recruitment tools than the worst of the worst could ever hope to muster for themselves,” Moser argued.
He laid out a number of examples of how alt-right and KKK rallies are typically poorly attended by white supremacists themselves, and that the behavior of counter-protesters — who often outnumber the actual racists — are invariably used as propaganda by these groups to recruit more members online, which is where the real action is happening. …
Marcotte goes on later:
… As someone whose instinct is to run towards confrontation and not away from it, I decided to talk this out with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, whom Bob Moser used to work for.
The SPLC also warns against counter-protesting, but, Beirich explained, this should not be confused with minimizing the seriousness of the white supremacy threat or claiming that ignoring bullies makes them go away.
“This is a legitimate [???] group of people in the United States who have growing political power and who have frightening views when it comes to minorities,” she said.
“I don’t find that you’re not standing up to bullies” if you resist the urge for angry confrontation, she continued. “I think you’re starving them of the oxygen that they live off,” meaning right-wingers’ pretense that they are constantly victimized, censored and assaulted, a narrative that tends to play better if they actually encounter violent confrontation in the streets.
Instead of counter-protesting, Beirich argued, progressives should speak out in other ways. She recommended speaking out online, lobbying politicians to fight hate crimes and holding counter-rallies at a different place or time. [I don’t know about that; such rallies could attract neo-Nazis, it seems to me, but of course, everyone has the First-Amendment right to assemble peacefully, and I don’t believe that people should cave in on their First-Amendment rights because some neo-Nazis might show up.]
“When you put on something positive that also gets coverage, it presents your community in a much better light, and it puts the focal point on the ideas that are the peaceful, caring ones,” Beirich said.
Holding rallies not centered around direct confrontation with the alt-right has, I’d argue, another benefit: It’s far more inclusive. Direct confrontation on the streets that may lead to violence is a tactic that naturally favors young, able-bodied people, especially men.
For women, disabled people, parents, older people and racial minorities that have stronger concerns about violence from white supremacists, the face-to-face showdown strategy can often be alienating. [Emphasis mine.]
Still, I totally get those who feel that holding hands and giving speeches about favoring love over hate doesn’t feel like nearly enough. People are angry and want, for very good reason, to screw with these guys a bit. Isn’t there any way to take the fight to the wannabe Nazis?
One thing that’s important to understand, Beirich noted, is that the alt-right “is an online movement, for the most part.” Some of its leaders have basically resorted to pleading with their followers to show up for actual events in the offline world.
That has had some effect, with bigger crowds at the American Renaissance Conference and other rallies, but the primary audience and organizing platform for far-right activism remains the Internet.
Even when alt-right folks gather in person, it’s mostly about getting group photos that can be used to recruit new followers online by promising a sense of community.
So for those who are attracted to the simple pleasure of screwing with Nazis, the online world is where to go to make fools of these fools. Beirich suggested reporting hate speech on social media, but there are an increasing number of ways for progressives to use the same online tools used by white supremacists to organize against them. …
Agreed. Most of the fight indeed is within the court of public opinion, and a huge part of that fight is online, where public opinion increasingly is formed.
The majority of Americans already have fairly strong feelings one way or the other where it comes to neo-Nazis, it seems to me, but the vast majority of Americans never are going to go to a neo-Nazi rally. And who, exactly, are you converting at a neo-Nazi rally?Who there has an opinion that you can sway?
Let the 41-year-old virgins have their little neo-Nazi rallies. Let’s not give them the physical confrontation that they want and that they then use to recruit. It’s better to ignore them and thus to let them be embarrassed and to further weaken their ability to recruit. To confront them gives them the veneer of legitimacy and importance that they don’t actually inherently possess.
But don’t get me wrong; should these treasonous, far-right-wing motherfuckers ever truly become a significant threat to the well-being of those whom they hate — should they, say, begin to physically attack the objects of their hatred with anything that is like regularity and that is outside of lone-wolf actions — then yes, let’s face them in the street.
But if they’re just going to gather in public spaces from time to time and spout off, let them; and ignore them.
And yes, while we’re on the subject, the symbols of white-supremacist/white-nationalist terrorism need to be removed from public property.
The Confederate flag and a statue of a Confederate “hero” — and let’s get this straight: no traitor who fought for the “cause” of perpetuating slavery can be a fucking “hero” — are not neutral, innocuous symbols of “history” or “heritage.”
They are terrorist symbols that are meant to strike fear into the hearts of certain members of those who see them, and no one should have to worry about being out and about in public and encountering terrorist symbols that are meant to terrorize them.
The war here is against terrorism — in this case, the domestic terrorism that routinely is perpetrated by the neo-Nazis.
We have to continue to fight against these domestic terrorists and traitors, and we have to do so intelligently and effectively.
Brawling with them probably isn’t the way to do that. Not right now, not yet, anyway.
P.S.Slate.com reports that the murderer by car was photographed with a neo-Nazi group earlier in the day by a news photographer yesterday, so no, the neo-Nazis can’t distance themselves from this guy. He is one of them.
Here is the news photo:
New York Daily News news photo
The perpetrator, whose name is James Alex Fields Jr., is the evil fucktard in the middle, fourth from the left and fourth from the right.
As a white man, I’m not troubled by this in the least. The only thing that is constant is change, and the change in racial demographics in the U.S. is a slow, gradual change, and for the most part it is a non-violent change except for the violence perpetrated by the neo-Nazis.
Finally, I am a proponent of racial mixing, socially, culturally and reproductively. Genetically and culturally, inbreeding is the worst thing that you can do; it only guarantees that your defects and weaknesses are repeated — and sometimes even amplified.
If racial “purity” were a good thing, then so many of the neo-Nazis wouldn’t be mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards. The proof is in the pudding.
(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])
So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.
(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)
And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])
So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.
What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.
But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.
I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”
Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.
But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.
(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)
If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothing — no thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”
Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)
I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”
I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”
Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”
That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.
Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.
I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.
For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.
If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.
No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).
And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.
Really, I need say no more.
P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.
One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.
True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.
But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.
That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.
The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.
And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?
No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”
You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.
As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.
Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.
This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.
Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:
Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.
Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?
The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)
The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”
And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …
Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this* —
Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.
Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.
At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.
That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.
The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]
Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.
Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.
I found the (rather poor) graphic above posted with a 2010 blog piece on black separatism, but Amazon.com reportedly plans to put out an alternative-history series called “Black America,” in which black separatists create a new nation called “New Colonia” out of three former slave states. Black separatism is A-OK, but HBO’s “Confederate,” in which the Southern whites no doubt would be the villains, is not. This situation is not sustainable.
“I hope that these what-if-history-had-turned-out-differently television series don’t proliferate too profusely,” I wrote very recently of HBO’s plans for an alternative-history series called “Confederate,” adding, “but I don’t recall Amazon.com being called anti-Semitic for having resurrected Hitler [in its alternative-history series ‘The Man in the High Castle’], so I think it’s incredibly bullshit for the creators of ‘Game of Thrones’ to be called racist for planning to resurrect the South.”
I was, unfortunately, prescient.
Slate.com reported yesterday that “now Amazon has revealed that it’s planning ‘Black America,’ a series created by Will Packer and ‘Boondocks’ cartoonist Aaron McGruder in which, as a form of reparations, black Americans have annexed three former slave states and founded a country of their own called New Colonia.”
I mean, would Amazon, HBO, Netflix or any other mainstream entertainment corporation put out a series called “White America” about white separatists who had succeeded in gaining a portion of the nation for whites only? Methinks not, even if the whites in the series clearly were the uber-villains. It would be way too radioactive.
But in the current sociopolitical environment, black separatism apparently is A-OK.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I get it that whites enslaved and then continued and still continue to oppress blacks, not vice-versa, at least at the institutional level (although sometimes it is vice-versa at the individual level, and I long have believed that one-on-one interactions are much more important than are groups, since we interact with others as individuals and not as entire fucking groups). And of course I get it that throughout U.S. history whites (as a group) always have had the numbers, the money, the power and the resources that blacks (as a group) have not, so that it hasn’t been a level playing field. And did I mention that whites enslaved blacks and not the other way around?
But while the early descriptions of HBO’s proto-embryonic “Confederate” give me the clear impression that the whites in “Confederate” will be the villains, Slate.com’s description of “Black America” sure sounds like a ringing endorsement of black separatism.
…“Black America” was first announced in February, but Amazon kept the show’s details under wraps, saying only that it would be vaguely along the lines of “The Man in the High Castle.” But the controversy over “Confederate” has prompted the company to show their hand, undoubtedly because the premise of “Black America”sounds a lot like some of the things that critics behind the #NoConfederate campaign have suggested as possible alternatives.
The Deadline article focuses on the issue of reparations, saying “Black America”“may have a sense of wish-fulfillment” for, as Packer puts it, “black Americans who are suffering from the effects of slavery in various ways.” But the idea for the series verges on more intriguing terrain yet, suggesting how a U.S. devoid, or at least largely evacuated, of people of color might founder and fail, while the nation of New Colonia prospers. …
All of that said, as I have established, I am a strong supporter of the freedom of expression, and so no, unlike the self-serving, free-speech-hating, “safe-space”-loving assholes who already are protesting “Confederate” — no, actually, they’re not really “protesting” it as much as they’re trying to kill it before it even is born — I have no plan to join any public backlash against “Black America” that might materialize before it even airs (emphasis, of course, on “before it even airs”; we’ll see how I feel after it airs).
“Black America” sounds much worse to me than “Confederate,” but I don’t believe in prior censorship and I believe in the marketplace of ideas. Let Amazon do its thing and let the chips fall where they will. (I do a lot of business with Amazon and so I’d hate to have to boycott Amazon, so I’m hoping that if “Black America” actually materializes, it has cultural/social/artistic merit and isn’t essentially just a hate-whitey fest.)
And also as I have stated, I think that it’s fine for historically oppressed groups to have their own culture, their own novels, their own songs, their own television shows, their own movies, etc. As a gay man who always has been in a heterosexist dominant culture, I know how important it is for a subculture to have its own creations of artistic expression.
But separatism is something else.
The whole hate thing aside, how incredibly boring and soul-arresting it would be to be surrounded only by others who look, think and act just like you do. It sure might feel great at first, but then the soul rot would set in.
Yes, indeed, visit with the members of your own tribe regularly and often.
But then, at least on occasion and with some regularity, come back to the whole to share what you have to offer and to receive what others of other tribes have to offer.
The early description of “Black America” doesn’t seem to share that sentiment at all, and while I think that I can understand the appeal of black separatism to those blacks who have felt the grinding effects of white anti-black racism the most, I don’t see that black separatism ultimately is any better for them than white separatism is for whites or for the nation or for the world.