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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This bodes well for 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those words are seared into my brain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rall wrote:

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

Totally true words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I don’t much care about Texas

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 30, 2017)

Image result for hurricane harvey flooding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again: Karma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Wikipedia explains:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice!

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Thank Goddess for the ‘alt-left’

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

Getty Images news photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“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 expressed outside 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:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

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?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

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.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

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.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

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.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [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.

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Let’s not give the neo-Nazis an air of legitimacy that they don’t have

Charlottesville, Virginia, Daily Progress news photo

A car driven by a 20-year-old neo-Nazi and registered Republican from Ohio plows through a crowd of anti-neo-Nazi/anti-fascist demonstrators yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. Additionally, two Virginia state troopers were killed in a helicopter accident while policing the neo-Nazi rally that was dubbed the “Unite the Right” rally, ostensibly to protect a statue of Confederate “hero” Robert E. Lee from removal in the Virginia city.

I largely agree with Salon.com’s Amanda Marcotte’s research and opinion, which she had expressed before shit went down in Charlottesville, Virginia, yesterday, that, as the headline of her piece puts it, “It’s time to fight the alt-right — but not by actually fighting in the street.”

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.

You could get stabbed, as multiple people were in a melee between the neo-Nazis and the anti-fascists here in Sacramento last summer, or shot, or severely beaten, perhaps even to death, or, as happened to several people yesterday in Charlottesville, intentionally hit by a car (and thus killed, as was one 32-year-old woman, or severely injured, as were several).

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 belongs in museums, not on any property that is supported with a penny of taxes. And Confederate statuary — such as the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, whose removal was approved by the city council but is now tied up in litigation (and which ostensibly was the reason for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville yesterday) — has no place in public, either, especially in places that are maintained by tax revenues.

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 for the most part is not against the white race, if there really even is any such monolithic thing as “the white race.” (“You will not replace us,” the apparently spooked neo-Nazis chanted this past weekend in Charlottesville, but whites still make up more than 60 percent of the U.S. population and so probably aren’t going to be “replaced” any year soon.*)

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.

*That said, the racial composition of the United States doesn’t matter. It has changed throughout the decades and it will continue to change in the decades to come. At one time it was solely Native Americans, of course, and yes, in the modern era the U.S. is becoming less and less white, with Latinos being the fastest-growing non-white racial group in the U.S.

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.

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