Tag Archives: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Do most public-sector labor unions DESERVE ‘fair share’?

The largely right-wing U.S. Supreme Court is poised to potentially deal a potentially devastating blow to public-sector labor unions by possibly ruling that it violates the First Amendment rights of those whose jobs are covered by the public-sector unions to have to pay a “fair share” of what it costs the unions to collectively bargain and otherwise do business that benefits the workers the unions cover.

First, let me note that in general I’m pro-union. In the aftermath of the decimation of the middle class since the Reagan era, the worker has no other entity working on his or her side.

That said, so many labor unions, at least public-sector unions, have become less and less about working for the workers and more and more about benefiting those at the top of the unionsà la something right out of Animal Farm.

I have watched my public-sector union, Service Employees International Union, go downhill over the past many years.

Nationally, SEIU’s top “leaders” decide on presidential endorsements, giving us rank-and-file members — you know, those of us whose dues pay their salaries no vote whatsofuckingever. (SEIU, without a vote of its rank-and-file members, endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, which I agreed with at that time, but then, again with no vote of the membership, endorsed his re-election in 2012, which I didn’t agree with, as Obama hadn’t delivered on his promises to the labor movement, and for this year, SEIU, yet once again without a vote of its rank-and-file members, has endorsed Billary Clinton, which has outraged me and many, many other SEIU members who want Bernie Sanders, not Democrat in name only Billary.)

Locally, my state’s SEIU “leaders,” after they won re-election in a low-turnout election in May 2015, decided to try to give themselves five- and six-digit raises that they dishonestly have called “stipends.” (Because of the backlash, they have failed — thus far.) Locally, my state’s SEIU is far more about benefiting its president and her cronies than it is about the union members’ best interests.

This has been the case for some years now. When former California Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, starting in 2008, shit and pissed all over SEIU members, such as by imposing first one, then two, then three furlough days (forced days off without pay) a month and illegally eliminating two state holidays, SEIU’s “leadership,” including its current president, who had taken the reins before Baby Daddy’s attacks, were fairly worthless.

Apparently SEIU sued unsuccessfully (apparently bungled its legal action), but SEIU overall was way too quiet in fighting the illegitimate Schwarzenegger administration’s onslaught against its members. When we dues-paying union members really needed our union to fight for us, the union did not fight for us in a meaningful way.

And the union hasn’t improved much, if any, since then. If SEIU here in California seems better now, it’s most likely due mostly or entirely to the fact that the state’s finances rebounded after Democrat Jerry Brown came back to the governorship in January 2011, turning the “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger state budget deficits into state budget surpluses in rather short order.

I acknowledge that in an economic downturn, union leaders feel that they have to be careful not to alienate the populace by refusing to sacrifice anything, but history has demonstrated amply that once something is taken away, it can be very difficult if not impossible to get it back. This is how the right wing operates, and without effective opposition, the right wing gets its way.

What infects SEIU, nationally and, in my case, locally, is what infects so many organizations whose intended creation was to help people: The organizations over time become more and more and more about their well-paid “leaders” and less and less and less about the organizations’ missions and those whom the organizations are supposed to help.

Dissenters are pushed out as the self-serving “leaders” feather their nests, intending on keeping the game — pretending to be doing their jobs when they’re only primarily benefiting themselves — going for as long as they possibly can.

If feathering their own nests means selling their membership out to the powers that be, then the “leaders” of these organizations will do it.

So: When I read that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to perhaps rule that public-sector unions throughout the United States may not collect a “fair share” from any worker who does not want to contribute it, knowing how horribly SEIU has acted over the many past years that it has been “my” union, I can’t say that I’m all that distraught. (And I’d prefer to be distraught, because if SEIU had been doing its job over these past many years, I would be distraught.)

SEIU endorses presidential candidates without giving me a vote on the matter, even though it gladly takes my money every month, and when the local SEIU was tested by “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, it failed miserably — but its “leaders” want to give themselves big raises nonetheless.

What, exactly, do I need SEIU for? Apparently I’ve only been one of its huge herd of cash cows.

If nothing else, let this Supreme Court case, if “fair share” is shot down, be a wake-up call to the many labor unions throughout the United States that have calcified and grown complacent, that have become far more about benefiting the “leadership” than benefiting the membership.

If we don’t see much backlash to a Supreme Court ruling that “fair share” violates the First Amendment — and I predict that we won’t/wouldn’t — in no tiny part it would be because the unions stopped being effective for their members years ago. They — we — have felt about as used, abused and screwed by our own unions as we have been by our corporate overlords.

For now, for years now I’ve been paying full monthly membership dues to SEIU (the dues are taken out of my paycheck automatically), but because SEIU has been making presidential endorsements on my behalf without giving me a vote — yes, that’s just like taxation without representation — I have been considering investigating if I can opt out of contributing to SEIU’s political activity. (I [probably] agree with most of SEIU’s political activity on the state level, but not giving me a vote in the union’s presidential endorsement is unfuckingacceptable.)

If the Supreme Court rules in the not-too-distant future that I don’t have to give SEIU a penny, not even my “fair share,” will I give SEIU a penny?

Right now, I lean toward not.

And that’s SEIU’s fault, not mine. I’m more than happy to pay for a benefit. How the calcified, self-serving, selling-out-its-membership SEIU is benefiting me is harder for me to see with each passing year.

P.S. “Unions fear the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in fees could reduce their power to bargain for higher wages and benefits for teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and other government employees,” notes The Associated Press of the Supreme Court’s possible axing of the “fair share.”

(The Supreme Court case, by the way, originated here in California, apparently by some anti-union wingnut in wingnutty Orange County who opposes the California Teachers Association.)

The AP notes that since Michigan became a so-called “right-to-work” state in 2013, “Membership in the Michigan Education Association has since dropped by 19 percent.” That doesn’t strike me as a devastating drop.

It’s hard to say how much membership in my local SEIU would drop were the “fair share” to be eliminated. I don’t imagine that very many of those now legally required to pay the “fair share” but who don’t want to give a penny to the union will continue to pay the union a penny when/if they no longer have to. (But they’re not union members, so their no longer paying their “fair share” wouldn’t represent a drop in membership.)

And the Supreme Court’s elimination of “fair share” altogether would induce me, I surmise, to give a long, hard look at whether I find enough benefit in SEIU to continue to be a full dues-paying member.

At some point, you really become beyond sick and tired of being a perpetually punk’d and chumped cash cow.

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Lemmings all aboard the Billarymobile!

Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa

Reuters photo

Like a one-woman Thelma and Louise, Billary Clinton (pictured above last month in Des Moines, Iowa) is poised to drive all of us off of a cliff in November 2016. Her net favorability rating among all Americans is negative and has no room to grow, whereas Bernie Sanders’ net favorability rating among all Americans is positive and still has plenty of room to grow. Still, the sense among the Democratic lemmings is that Billary has “earned it,” that “it’s her turn” (even though she hasn’t and it isn’t).

Fivethirtyeight.com’s Harry Enten writes today that “barring something unforeseen, [Billary] Clinton’s going to be the [2016] Democratic [presidential] nominee,” an assertion that he backs up with current and historical data and statistics.

I don’t argue against his point that, at least on paper, Billary looks pretty good. Nor do I accuse the thusly-oft-accused Enten of being a Billarybot; his analysis seems sound and impartial enough. And I’ve seen the establishmentarian Democrats front awful candidates and otherwise incredibly stupidly bungle elections in the past.

California state establishmentarian Democrats, for instance, first wholly ignored the fact that the charisma-free Democratic Gov. Gray Davis might get recalled in the bogus, Repugnican-orchestrated 2003 gubernatorial recall election, and so they didn’t support a possible Democratic successor to Davis should he be recalled; as a result, the then-popular Hollywood testosterone-movie star Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger won the circus-like recall election in which dozens of gubernatorial candidates appeared on the ballot.

And the same California state establishmentarian Democrats who had bungled the gubernatorial recall election put the nerdish Democrat Phil Angelides (then the state treasurer) against the incumbent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, with catastrophic results. (Schwarzenegger garnered 56 percent of the vote to Angelides’ paltry 39 percent, even though voter registration in the state at that time stood at 42.5 percent Democratic to 34.3 percent Repugnican. Um, yeah.)

Angelides would have been a competent (maybe even a good or maybe even a great) governor, most likely, but when does the nerd beat the jock in almost any election? Better had the Dems in 2006 run Steve Westly (then the state controller) against Schwarzenegger – the polls had showed, after all, that Westly would do better against Schwarzenegger than would Angelides – but the blind and stubborn state Dems wanted to reward Angelides for his years in the state party, so they gave him their nod for the party’s nomination for governor instead of Westly. The result was another four catastrophic years of Baby Daddy Ahhhnuld Schwarzenegger behind the wheel.

Similarly, yes, of course, I fully can see the establishmentarian Dems ignoring the flashing lights and wailing sirens warning that Billary Clinton is a weak general-election presidential candidate and giving her the 2016 presidential nomination because of her years in the party. (“She has earned it,” right? [Right?])

But 51 percent of Americans view Billary Clinton negatively, while only 46 percent view her positively (for a total of 97 percent having an opinion of her). Given the fact that the popular vote has been very close for several elections now – 51.1 percent for Barack Obama in 2012 and 52.9 percent for him in 2008; 50.7 percent for George W. Bush in 2004 and 47.9 percent for him in 2000; and 49.2 percent for Bill Clinton in 1996 and 43 percent for him in 1992 (yes, he won on pluralities both elections) – it should trouble the Billarybots that a majority of Americans don’t like their candidate, who can’t count on winning a plurality, as her hubby did in 1992 (and again in 1996, although on a stronger plurality the second time).

But it apparently doesn’t trouble the Billarybots, who, like lemmings, seem just fine with the steep cliff that’s ahead. Eighty-three percent of Democrats express a favorable opinion of Billary, which is great when they’re in rooms with other lemmings Democrats, but nationally, Billary is weak. I could see someone like Marco Rubio, a born liar who smoothly says all of the feel-good things, fairly easily picking her off in November 2016. (Right now, Billary doesn’t beat Rubio by even one full percentage point in Real Clear Politics’ average of presidential general-election match-up polls; she beats Jeb! Bush by only one percentage point; and Ben Carson beats Billary by four percentage points.)

True, Bernie Sanders apparently suffers from not being well-known enough. While he’s been toiling in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for his state of Vermont since 1991, Billary has been running for president at least since 2000, when she carpetbaggingly won a U.S. Senate seat for New York. And, of course, she first ran for the White House in 2008, in a long, dragged-out primary fight in which she tacked to the right to try to smear Barack Obama, who emerged as the victor because while Billary acted like the cocky hare, Obama acted like the slow and steady tortoise.

Forty percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders, with 38 percent having an unfavorable opinion of him; 21 percent, however, have no opinion of him.

This means to me that Sanders’ net favorability, which at least stands at +2 percent, has room to grow, given that about one in five Americans has no opinion of him at all. Does Billary’s net favorability, which stands at -5 percent, have room to grow, with 97 percent of Americans already holding an opinion about her? I don’t fucking think so.*

I don’t give Billary Clinton even a full 50-percent chance of winning the White House in November 2015 (I’d put her chance of becoming president in November 2016 somewhere in the high 40s). But the legions of establishmentarian Democrats appear to be bound and determined to front her as their champion for 2016, come hell or high water.

Oh, well.

After Billary loses in November 2016, at least she’ll never be a presidential candidate again.

Probably.

All of this said: I at least tentatively plan to live-blog tomorrow’s second of the too-few Democratic presidential primary debates, this one scheduled on a Saturday by Billarybot Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, very apparently in order to avoid any possible damage to Billary. Let’s hope for that damage anyway. We knock Billary out now, at the primary-election phase, or the Repugnicans knock her out in November 2016.

Bernie Sanders goes into tomorrow’s debate in decent shape; yesterday the American Postal Workers’ Union endorsed him, adding to the endorsement he received from the nation’s largest nurses’ union in August. Also yesterday, Nina Turner, a prominent Ohio politico, switched her endorsement from Billary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, stating, “I’m very attracted by his message and his style — and that he has held pretty much strong on his beliefs and the world is catching up with him.” Yup.

Salon.com remarks of Turner that she “is the third prominent African-American to support Sanders. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) endorsed him this fall, and Cornel West has praised Sanders as ‘a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years.’”

Turner, by having gone first, also is an example to others who already have endorsed Billary that they can switch to Bernie, too.

Hopefully, Martin O’Malley will drop out after tomorrow’s Dem debate. He’s garnering not even 3 percent in the national polling average and thus is only wasting our time. The only thing that I can figure is that he’s angling for a veep spot, but there are plenty of better candidates for the No. 2 spot, whether No. 1 turns out to be Bernie Sanders or Billary Clinton.

(Yes, O’Malley’s recent swipe at Bernie Sanders that he [O’Malley] always has called himself a Democrat very much rubbed me the wrong way. All kinds of right-wing assholes have called themselves “Democrats.” I’m much more interested in supporting candidates who actually are progressive and who actually are significantly left of center; party labels aren’t primary to me.

The “Democratic” label long has been fairly meaningless anyway, given that the party has become Repugnican Lite. That and I have a history of being registered alternately with the Democratic Party and the Green Party and of casting my votes for Green Party and Democratic Party candidates, and so I found O’Malley’s smear-brag to be personally offensive.

Again, he needs to just go away.)

*Also, it’s important to note that, per ABC News, “Clinton’s challenges outside the Democratic Party include an 85 percent negative rating among Republicans (compared with Sanders’ 56 percent) and 57 percent unfavorable among independents (vs. Sanders’ 38 percent).”

I wouldn’t expect many Repugnicans to cast votes for Sanders or for Billary, so that doesn’t concern me (much), but no presidential candidate can win today without enough support from the independent voters, so Billary’s significant unpopularity with the independent voters should concern the Democratic lemmings. Should, but very apparently doesn’t.

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Jonathan Chait got it mostly right on the toxic identity politics of today

Jonathan Chait's epic race fail: How a story about racism and Obama goes horribly wrong

Left-of-center writer Jonathan Chait has committed the sin of telling the truth about our self-appointed political-correctness police, those who use their membership within an historically victimized and oppressed group to victimize and oppress others (men, mostly, and mostly white men, but sometimes white women as well). It indeed in so many quarters is open season on all white males, who are deemed automatically to be oppressors and victimizers because of their immutable characteristics of being male and being white. (As a gay white male, my non-heterosexuality gives me only so much cover for being a member of a class of victims, as homophobes widely consider homosexuality to be mutable. [Of course, it doesn’t fucking matter whether it’s mutable or not; we all should have the freedom to express ourselves sexually as we please, as long as we do so consensually.])

New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait started a shitstorm when he wrote about toxic PC (political correctness) police. Had he been completely wrong, he probably would have been ignored, but since he spoke so much unflattering truth, I’m one of only a handful of Internet commentators who have yet to comment on his comments.

First off, it’s necessary to describe the environment in which all of us Americans operate: to such a large degree stupid white men (emphasis there on “stupid”) still rule, as evidenced by the popularity of “American Sniper.” Not only is the Clint Eastwood film still No. 1, despite Eastwood’s penchant for talking to a vacant chair (actually, for “American Sniper’s” target audience, I’m sure that was in Eastwood’s favor), but the book American Sniper is No. 1 on amazon.com, and in amazon.com’s top-100-selling book titles there are no fewer than four different versions of the same fucking book (as I type this sentence) — plus an apparent knock-off book about yet another American sniper called The Reaper.

So mindless, blind worship of stupid, murderous (or at least violent or at least aggressive) white men widely misconstrued as “heroes” continues. (This could be its own blog piece, and indeed, was going to be, but I’ll get it over with here: “American sniper” Chris Kyle, who died by the sword as he lived by the sword, was no “hero.” He was part of an illegal and immoral occupying force in Iraq. As part of that illegal and immoral occupying force, he slaughtered a bunch of people who were, at least in their own eyes, defending their nation from a foreign occupying force [duh]. As Iraq had posed zero threat to the United States, as Iraq had not killed any Americans and had had no capability of killing Americans en masse [yeah, those Iraqi “WMDs” claimed by the war criminals who comprised the illegitimate Bush regime have yet to be found], there is no valid argument that Kyle was “protecting our freedoms” or some other jingoistic, Nazi-like bullshit. Kyle very apparently just really, really liked to slaughter people, and if he were Muslim instead of “Christian” and weren’t taking the big dirt nap, he probably would be a member of ISIS right now, slaughtering people left and right with gleeful abandon.)

So that is the nasty backdrop (part of it, anyway) against which those of us who aren’t stupid white men (again, emphasis on “stupid,” not on “white” or on “men”) or one of their worshipers must live in the United States of America.

That is the kind of background and context that Jonathan Chait’s piece is largely if not wholly missing, and I fault him for that fairly glaring omission, as well as for apparently not having allowed his piece to gestate long enough before birthing it upon the nation. (I often if not usually let something gestate for at least a few days before I finally give birth to it, such as this piece.) Further, the gravity of the topic — political correctness (which falls under the umbrella of identity politics) — could merit its own book, so no magazine article or blog piece (not even this one) could do it more than partial justice.

But Chait describes fairly well the phenomenon in which so many members of historically oppressed groups identify so much with being oppressed (whether these members as individuals actually have been very oppressed as individuals themselves or not) that they are hyper-vigilant about any signs of oppression.

Seriously — it used to be that people were just oppressed. And oppression was a bad thing. You didn’t want to be oppressed.

Now, being a member of an historically oppressed group is très chic. And apparently maintaining your membership in your très-chic group of oppressed people means constantly finding fresh meat, fresh new examples of how you have been oppressed, so if there aren’t any actual examples of how you have been oppressed, you’ll wildly exaggerate or even fabricate such “examples.”

Since you haven’t been (very) oppressed yourself lately, you’ll gladly piggy-back on to others’ (real or exaggerated or fabricated) oppression. That’s always fun.

If you didn’t jump on the Michael Brown bandwagon, for instance, to many that means that you are a white supremacist who supports the gunning down of black men, especially young black men, by white fascist cops who enjoy killing black men.

Never mind that it still remains quite unsettled as to whether or not Michael Brown actually went for the cop’s gun before the cop shot him dead. The cop claims that Brown did, and not only was the cop not indicted by a grand jury (which, indeed, might have been a bogus process), but the U.S. Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against the cop for civil-rights violations (granted, proving a civil-rights violation can be a high bar to clear, I know from personal experience).

It’s disturbing that so many people jumped to conclusions and have held fast to them. If your identity politics is that of the oppressed black American, then of course Michael Brown was innocent, a “gentle giant,” and was gunned down by whitey primarily if not solely for his race, and if your identity politics is that of the right-wing white person whose worldview at least verges on white supremacy if it isn’t already fully there, then of course Brown was a thug (and the phrase “black thug” would be redundant) and of course the white police officer only did what he had to do.

Either Brown went after the cop’s gun or he did not. (If I went after a cop’s gun, I’d expect to get shot.) The cop, under our existing (deeply flawed) legal structure, used deadly force against Brown legally or he did not. But whatever actually happened on that August day in Ferguson, Missouri, has little to nothing to do with identity politics, yet for many if not most Americans, their identity politics dictates the “facts.” That’s scary.

(The Eric Garner case, as I have written, at the bare minimum was a clear-cut case of manslaughter by the thuggish white cop, and, entirely unlike the Brown case, we have video of Garner incident, so “I can’t breathe” is an apt slogan of protest, whereas I never was on board with the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” meme because there is no evidence that Brown ever put his hands up in surrender — there are only biased claims that he did.)

The case of Woody Allen, too, also wasn’t about the actual knowledge of actual facts but was about identity politics.

Women whom Rush Limbaugh might call “femi-Nazis” have asserted that of course Mia Farrow, being a woman, told the truth that Allen had molested their adopted daughter, even though the allegation came during a nasty custody battle — and that of course Allen, being a man, was guilty as charged. Never mind that none of us was there and has any actual knowledge of what did or what did not happen; we have only the claims and counter-claims of the members of a deeply broken family whose dirty laundry has been scattered all over the public square.

This is some highly toxic shit.

The case of Bill Cosby, though, and that of Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger when he was running for California governor in a bullshit recall election in 2003 that had amounted to a do-over election since the bumbling Repugnican candidate had lost the election in 2002: When several women have come forward publicly to state that a man has sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them, to call all of them liars (as so many did to the at-least six women who came forward about the past deeds of the future Gov. Groper) very most often is a misogynist, patriarchal thing to do.

I have little to no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby (and Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger) serially sexually harassed and sexually assaulted women.

But actual victimization is diminished when victimization is falsely claimed or is claimed whether or not there is any evidence to support the claim of victimization — usually out of identity politics. Perversely, many if not even most members of an historically oppressed group very apparently want the latest example of possible victimization (such as the shooting death of Michael Brown) to be true victimization because, in their eyes, it strengthens their political power as claimants of oppression.

It’s perverse that oppression has morphed from something that no one wanted into something that so many cherish to the point that they’ll happily fabricate it if they deem that to do so will advance themselves somehow.

(In his piece, Chait correctly notes that “It [identity politics and its concomitant claims of perpetual and ubiquitous victimhood] also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” Indeed, both Slate.com and Salon.com, two of my favorite websites, have resident identity-politics writers, taking the feminist and the black angles, mostly, and I routinely read these writers’ pieces, and often if not usually I agree with them [Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie rocks], but sometimes, yeah, it’s apparent that they’re really milking it. [Sorry, Salon.com’s Brittney Cooper, but in his article Chait calls you out on your frequent hysteria and hyperbole fairly fairly.])

This professional “victimhood,” is, I suspect, what has eaten at Chait, but that he perhaps did not articulate well enough in his now-infamous article.

And of his article, this paragraph, I think, is the money shot:

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

The emphasis there is mine. In the most rabid “p.c. culture,” indeed, “There is no allowance … for the possibility that the accusation [of an act of oppression or victimization] may be erroneous.” Within this toxic, tightly closed-off atmosphere, facts and evidence have no place at all; the politics of group identity rules supreme. Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter. Period. If you disagree with this, then you hate women and/or you are a pedophile yourself. Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” (never mind the very inconvenient video footage of him roughing up a convenience store clerk while he stole cigarillos from him on the day of his death) who was gunned down in cold blood by a white supremacist police officer. Period. If you disagree with this, then you are a white supremacist.

And indeed, as Chait writes, “A white person or a man can achieve the status of ‘ally,’ however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue.” Yup. That means going along with all manner of blatantly bullshit groupthink in order to get along, lest you be called a misogynist or racist/white supremacist or worse.

The goal of “p.c. culture” as it stands today indeed so often seems to be to push all white men into a corner, indeed, to destroy all white men or, minimally, to make all white men feel perpetually guilty (and thus perpetually disempowered) because, of course, merely by their having been born white and male, they inherently are the evil victimizers and oppressors of others (of women and of black people, mostly, but of other groups, too, of course). It’s not their individual deeds that make white males automatically-guilty victimizers and oppressors, but their mere membership within the group of white males, you see.

This is the sorry state of affairs even though the origin of “p.c. culture” was the fact that white men were pushing too many others into a corner due to those others’ immutable differences from white men, and pushing others into a corner based upon their immutable differences from oneself is a bad thing to do.

To such a large degree, the victims (well, in so many cases, the “victims”) have become the victimizers, and today the victims don’t even have to be actual victims to call themselves victims, and their actual victimization of others isn’t victimization because they are victims, and a victim cannot also be a victimizer, you see.

Get it? These are the new rules.

These new rules have got to go.

Jonathan Chait got it (mostly) right, which is why we’ve seen the reaction to him that we’ve seen.

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Gov. Moonbeam No More still deserves re-election

476008647JS007_Gov_Jerry_Br

Getty Images

Within this past week, Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown (pictured above within this past week) both made his re-election bid official and infamously voiced his concern that marijuana legalization might lead to societal degradation caused by “potheads” (even though we’re not exactly a state or a nation of alcoholics because alcohol is legalized…).

When I cast my vote for Jerry Brown in 2010, his “Governor Moonbeam” moniker was a selling point, not a turn-off, for me.

How great it would be, I thought, to have Jerry Brown back in the saddle, making California cool again.

Since he took the reins of the state that Repugnican Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger ran into the ground during his too-long tenure, alas, the now-75-year-old Brown has not been Governor Moonbeam Redux.

I have not agreed with everything that Brown has done and said since he began his current term in January 2011, and Brown 2.0 has turned out to be more centrist than I’d thought he would be, but at least I don’t regret my vote for him, as I regret my 2008 vote for Barack Obama, and unlike how I could not vote for Obama again in 2012, I plan to vote for Brown again this coming November.

Brown has been a competent, if unexciting, governor of the nation’s most populous state.

While wingnuts, most of them outside of California, claim that under Brown’s leadership California still remains in a budget deficit (and face a myriad of other problems that we don’t actually face), the fact of the matter is that Brown turned Baby Daddy’s budget deficit around some time ago, and we Californians have had a sizeable budget surplus for some time now. (Look it up.)

Are we Californians better off now than we were four years ago, when the usurper Baby Daddy was still at the helm? Hell, yes, we are.

Does Jerry Brown deserve re-election? Hell, yes, he does.

Yes, it’s too bad that the moonbeam’s glow has faded, as evidenced by such things as Brown’s recent pronouncement on “Meet the Press” that he’s not big on marijuana legalization, remarking, “How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.”

I believe that the science that holds that chronic marijuana use can make one “amotivational” still is considered to be fairly sound science, but still, I rather doubt that as the result of marijuana legalization, we’re all going to become a bunch of “potheads.” I mean, alcohol is legal, but not all of us are alcoholics, are we?

I support the legalization of marijuana, but it’s not such a huge issue to me that Brown’s “pothead” comment has soured me on him.

But what probably does rankle me about Brown’s “pothead” comment is that my guess is that when he was younger, he sure had his fun, but now he would wag his finger at today’s young people and deny them theirs. I hate that hypocritical bullshit coming from the baby boomers and from those, like Brown, who preceded them.

And I do hope that the 75-year-old Brown doesn’t become anything like the 77-year-old John McCainosaurus, whose every pronouncement is some variation of “You damned kids get off of my lawn!”*

*Seriously, McCainosaurus’ latest attack on Obama is the contents of an article that Obama wrote when he was in college, for fuck’s sake. McCainosaurus is peeved, you see, that the younger Obama, like the older Obama, hasn’t taken the Cold War bullshit as seriously as McCainosaurus still does.

Memo to McCainosaurus: The majority of us Americans don’t have the Cold War fetish that you do, since we’re living in 2014 and not still living in the 1950s, and more and more you come off as much like the deranged general played by George C. Scott in “Dr. Strangelove” (or the deranged general played by Rod Steiger in “Mars Attacks!”). Please die already. Or, at the very least, stop pretending that we elected you, or even that we should have elected you, as president in 2008.

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Team Obama mostly ignores issues, pushes utterly uninspiring money race

Wow. Team Obama isn’t even bothering to make false promises anymore. It has become entirely about the dash for cash.

On June 24 I received a fundraising e-mail from Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s “deputy campaign manager,” titled, “We’re getting outspent‏.”

“For the first time in modern American history, the incumbent (that’s us) will get outspent in a re-election campaign — by some estimates as much as 3-to-1,” Cutter whines in the e-mail, asking for a donation of $25 or more.

(Um, why does Cutter have to remind us that Barack Obama is the incumbent? Because we’re too fucking stupid to know what the word “incumbent” means or because where actual progress is concerned, Obama has been so fucking invisible that we need to be reminded that he occupies the White House? Or maybe some combination of both?)

Two days later, on June 26, I received an e-mail supposedly from the Big O himself. “I will be outspent‏” is the title of the e-mail supposedly from Barack.

“I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far,” he proclaims, asking for a donation of $25 or more.

In the e-mail Obama attacks Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney for Mittens’ fundraising, even though Obama broke all previous U.S. presidential fundraising records in 2008.

“I’ve got other responsibilities I’m attending to [other than fundraising],” Obama proclaims in his June 26 fundraising e-mail, which is an interesting choice of words, because when he was asked where the fuck he was when the labor movement was fighting for its life in Wisconsin, he replied, “I have a lot of responsibilities.”

The president of the United States of America has so many responsibilities, you see, that he cannot be bothered to actually do anything other than to hold the title of president of the United States of America. (And to fund-raise in order to keep that title.)

Fuck, sure, fine, let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the man is busy — but the battle in Wisconsin went on for well more than a year, from the time of the occupation of Wisconsin’s capital by angry throngs of the pro-working-class in early 2011 all the way through the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election of earlier this month.

Obama, as busy as he might be, wasn’t so fucking busy that he couldn’t have done a hell of a lot more in Wisconsin than he did (which was next to fucking nothing).

Obama didn’t do anything in regards to Wisconsin because he just doesn’t give a flying fuck about the labor movement and the working class (except for their votes and their campaign contributions, of course) and/or because he is so beholden to his corporate sugar daddies that he was too terrified to actually stand up in any meaningful, effective way for the working class and the labor movement.*

Anyway, the fundraising e-mails from Team Obama continue. On June 27 I received an e-mail titled “Get onboard” from Julianna Smoot, yet another Obama “deputy campaign manager.” In this e-mail she proclaims, “We know the other side is going to have more money in this race. President Obama will be the first incumbent in modern history to be outspent.” In the e-mail she asks for “$25 or whatever you can” give.

On June 27 I received, at my other e-mail address, yet another e-mail from Smoot, this one titled, “If we’re drastically outspent.” It says, in part:

If we’re drastically outspent in this election, there’s a very good chance we will lose to Mitt Romney.

This is a distinct possibility. The financial landscape in this race has changed over the last few weeks.

What concerns me is the Obama supporters I’ve encountered who don’t understand that this is what we’re facing.

The fundraising deadline this week is a test: Are we going to allow the other side to dominate us, or are we going to prove that elections are decided by everyday Americans pitching in what they can?

In this e-mail, Smoot asks for (“only”) “$10 or more.”

Yesterday I received a fundraising e-mail supposedly from Vice President Joe Biden in which he proclaims:

Tomorrow is the biggest fundraising deadline of this election so far. Romney and the Republicans may outraise us again — you can bet they’ll  have a whole slew of special interests who want to see Romney make good on his promise to repeal Obamacare on Day One. …

Unsurprisingly, in the e-mail Joe also asks for a donation of $25 or more.

Today I received yet another fundraising e-mail supposedly from Obama himself, this one titled, “This is important.” It reads, in full:

Robert —

Today is one of the most important fundraising deadlines of this campaign so far.

We might not outraise Mitt Romney.

But I am determined to keep the margin close enough that we can win this election the right way.

To do that I need your help today.

Please donate $25 or more before tonight’s deadline:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Tonight

The stakes in this election are real. Thanks for all your support so far.

Good week.

Barack

These people are nothing if not on the same talking-points memo: Barack Obama might be the first incumbent president to be outspent in his re-election bid in modern history, so give $25 or more today!

What is most disturbing about these e-mails from Team Obama is that while we might get a throwaway line such as “The stakes in this election are real,” there is no mention in these fundraising e-mails of what the stakes actually are, no mention of the working class, the middle class, the struggling. No mention of how our perpetual warfare for the war profiteers and for Big Oil in the Middle East has destroyed the middle class here at home (because, of course, the drone- and assassination-loving Obama has only perpetrated such perpetual warfare); no mention of the beyond-ridiculous income gap between the richest and the rest of us (which persists in no small part because Obama puts Wall Street weasels in charge of his fiscal policy); no mention of the Homo-sapiens-threatening environmental catastrophe that we face; no mention of the persecution at the hands of fascistic wingnuts that women and minority groups, such as “illegals” and other non-whites and non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, still experience today in the so-called “land of the free” that values “liberty and justice for all.”

Nope.

All!

That!

Matters!

Is!

That!

Barack!

Obama!

Is!

Not!

Outspent!

By!

Mitt!

Romney!!!!!

The focus on fundraising was bad enough when John Kerry ran for president in 2004.

I remember that when my brother and I organized Meetups for Kerry’s campaign here in Sacramento (quite independently from the actual Kerry campaign), when Kerry was still an underdog, the attendees mostly wanted to talk about the issues that were important to them.

But after it was clear that Kerry, who came back from the dead like Lazarus, was going to win the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, a self-serving Democratic Party hack, who had never attended any of the previous Kerry Meetups, wholly hijacked the Meetups and made them into Democratic Party presidential fundraising events. Gone were the discussions of issues, and all that she did was ask the attendees to give money.

It was because of that deeply negative experience that I was not active in Obama’s 2008 campaign at all, except (stupidly, in retrospect) to give him at least a few hundred dollars (primarily to knock Billary Clinton out of the primary race) and (stupidly, in retrospect) to vote for him.** (And of course I blogged in support of Obama defeating first Billary and then John McCainosaurus and Sarah Palin, and I did talk him up with friends, family and associates, for whatever sway I might have over anyone else’s vote.)

This time around, though, I have been unable to give Obama a fucking penny, I could not in good conscience tell anyone else that he or she should support Obama’s re-election (even by just casting a vote for him), and in November I plan to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for president (Obama’s e-mail remark, “Thanks for all your support so far” notwithstanding…).

I don’t give a flying fuck whether or not Barack Obama is outspent by Mittens Romney, because I don’t see what I got in return for the at-least-few-hundred dollars that I gave Obama the first fucking time.

(I already hear the Obamabots’ chorus, so let me respond: “Obamacare,” Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” even assuming that it’s a good thing, won’t/wouldn’t kick in until 2014. Giving Obama credit now for having turned around the healthcare mess is as stupidly premature as was was giving Obama the Nobel Fucking Peace Prize in 2009. [You’ll agree with me when the drones are attacking you…])

On the issues nearest and dearest me — such as the preservation of the working class and the labor movement and the reversal of beyond-ridiculous income inequality; stopping the corporate war machine that is only sucking this nation dry in the holy names of “national security” and “national defense”; and the expansion of equal rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — Barack Obama has been a dismal failure, maintaining the steadily decaying status quo at best.

“Hope” and “change” are what Obama promised. What he has delivered is more of the same.

I still expect him to win re-election, however. I expect him to garner no more than around 51 or 52 percent of the popular vote in November, but a win is a win. (Indeed, George W. Bush didn’t garner even a full 48.0 percent of the popular vote in 2000, which showed us that if one has the right-wing U.S. Surpreme Court on his side, actually, a loss isn’t always a loss, and Bush garnered only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004, while in 2008 Obama garnered 52.9 percent of the vote, which is 2.2 percent better than Gee Dubya Bush ever did.)

The fact that Americans are fairly evenly split between Obama and Romney — most recent nationwide polls show that both of them are at 40-something percent each, with Obama usually no more than a few percentage points ahead of Romney — is, I think, evidence of the fact that the pro-corporate Democratic Party and the pro-corporate Repugnican Tea Party are so similar to each other (I think of them as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party) that a good chunk of Americans see no huge difference between the two.

Regardless of which party occupies the White House, the rich get richer and the rest of us get poorer, and the United States of America continues its decline into collapse. A “Democratic” president might slow down that slide a little bit, but the downward slide continues nonetheless.

So: All other things being more or less equal, Presidential Election 2012 will come down to, I think, which candidate is considered by more voters to be more likeable.

Obama, despite his abject failure to use the office of the presidency to benefit the most number of Americans, is considered by most Americans to be more likeable than is the weird-ass Mittens Romney, whose status as both a multi-millionaire and a Mormon*** makes him alien to most of us, because most of us are neither a multi-millionaire nor a Mormon.

Money does not mean everything in an election, which 2010 California gubernatorial candidate Nutmeg Whitman, a billionaire and a long-time personal buddy of Mittens who ran on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket, discovered when she outspent her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown.

Nutmeg spent more than $140 million of her own money in the gubernatorial race, breaking all records for a self-financed political campaign for any elected office in American history. Despite that fact, on Election Day Brown beat her soundly, 53.8 percent to 40.9 percent.

True, in October 2010 California’s voter registration was 44.1 percent Democratic to 30.1 percent Repugnican, which gave Brown a decided edge, but after all of the votes were counted, Nutmeg still trailed Brown by double digits even after she had smashed all previous self-financed-campaign-spending records.

It wasn’t just California’s voter registration statistics that did Nutmeg in. Repugnican Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, after all, still won California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election even though at the time the state’s voter registration was 43.7 percent Democratic to 35.3 percent Repugnican.

Baby Daddy’s popularity, his status as a testosterone-movie star and his perceived status as a real he-man, and the perception of the then-incumbent Democratic Gov. Gray Davis as a weakling, overcame the difference in voter registration.

After all, many if not even most voters wanted to be like Schwarzenegger — the way that they perceived him to be, anyway.

Similarly, more of the state’s voters in November 2010 wanted to be like Jerry Brown (who still more or less is considered to be a cool cat here in California, for his age, anyway) than wanted to be like the weird-ass, overprivileged Nutmeg Whitman, whose status as a billionaire CEO whose money gets her (almost…) anything that she wants and with a years-long housekeeper whom she apparently cold-heartedly fired for being an “illegal” because she thought that it would hurt her gubernatorial campaign to have an “illegal” as her housekeeper, were things that the majority of California’s voters, especially in our protractedly shitty economy, could not and still cannot identify with and did not and still do not wish to emulate, any more than the majority of the nation’s voters can identify with or wish to emulate Mittens’ purchasing an elevator for his cars or his making jokes about factory workers being laid off (ha ha ha!).

That, I think, is what Team Obama should be focusing on if Barack Obama wants to win re-election: Not on the fucking money race, which indeed, Obama might not be able to win this time, but on how much Mittens isn’t just like the rest of us.

Mittens is an overprivileged, out-of-touch freak who should not be put in the Oval Office, and while it’s too bad that Team Obama can’t run on Obama’s accomplishments, since he hasn’t found it necessary to even partially deliver on his 2008 campaign promises until his fourth fucking year in office, at least Team Obama has Mormon multi-millionaire Mittens’ freakishness and Obama’s “likeability,” which, if exploited enough, should get Obama his second term, even if he only ekes by.

*Obama said of the battle in Wisconsin that eventually saw Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett lose to Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 gubernatorial recall election:

“My goal has always been if we can bring parties together, there are ways that we can manage through tough fiscal decisions whether on the federal level or at the state level, but make sure that everybody is a part of it and everybody is doing their fair share, nobody is carrying the entire burden of sacrifice. I think that’s what the American people are looking for – balanced approaches that take everybody’s interests into account.”

Jesus Fucking Christ, in year four of his woefully unremarkable, disappointing first term, Obama still is talking about holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors.

Um, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want to annihilate what little is left of our labor unions. That is their goal. Their goal is not to “make sure that … everybody is doing their [sic] fair share, [that] nobody is carrying the entire burden of sacrifice.” Their goal is to make damn sure that the haves get even more and that the have-nots get even less.

You cannot take a “balanced approach” with an insane opponent who has no interest whatsofuckingever himself in taking a “balanced approach.” All that you can do with such an opponent is to crush him. You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

**Even then, I was not sure, until I actually completed my ballot, whether I was going to vote for Obama or vote for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. If I could do it over again, I would have voted for Ralph Nader again, as I did in 2000.

***No, Mittens’ Mormonism certainly isn’t off limits, just as Obama’s being called a “Muslim” very fucking apparently was not off-limits for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors. Fuck. Obama isn’t a Muslim, but Mittens is a fucking Mormon, and I’m hard pressed to say which group of patriarchal, misognyist, homophobic theofascists I’d prefer to have in charge of the White House: the cabal of stupid old evil men in Salt Lake City or the fucking Taliban.

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Obama makes it easy to be Green

Updated below

Unlike both Barack Obama and Mittens Romney, a Green Party president wouldn’t be just a puppet of the corporations.

I yet to have been inspired to give Barack Obama’s re-election campaign a single fucking penny, and I already have cast my (mail-in) vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein for California’s June 5 presidential primary election.

I am not sure which is worse: to have had the unelected Bush regime use opposition to same-sex marriage to “win” “re”-election in 2004, or to have the (at-least-actually-duly-elected) Obama administration use support of same-sex marriage to win re-election.

In both cases, we of the “LGBT” “community” are only being used by the “leaders” of the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party in order to raise million$ and in order to pander for votes.

The Obama campaign earlier this month released an incredibly pandering five-minute re-election campaign video in which the Obamanistas act as though all throughout his first term Obama has been fighting fiercely for the LGBT community when, in fact, his fairly recent “breakthrough” announcement that he finally has “evolved” and now supports same-sex marriage — even though he had proclaimed that position way back in 1996 in Chicago, and even though he still maintains that each state should be allowed to decide the issue, meaning that we will continue to have gross inequality and unfairness and injustice throughout the nation — came quite late in his first term.

Yes, the demise of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a good thing, but let us recall that it was “Democrat” Bill Clinton who gave us “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the first fucking place, as well as DOMA (the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which the Obama administration does not defend in court, but which remains the law of the land).

The Dems are our friends? They enact awful, discriminatory, unlawful/unconstitutional legislation, and then want to take credit and want praise for reversing it? Really? Really?

And “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, someone who doesn’t see why anyone of any sexual orientation would aid and abet the criminal U.S. military in the first place, someone who recognizes clearly what a fucking racket the U.S. military is — it’s not about actual “defense” or “national security” nearly as much as it is about funneling the contents of the U.S. Treasury (billions and billions and billions of our tax dollars) to the pockets of the traitors who comprise the military-industrial-corporate complex. (Well, the nation’s treasury is empty these days, so what they’re doing is making sure that those of us who have to follow them inherit a mountain of national debt.)

The members of the U.S. military these days primarily serve as the thugs for the corporations to exploit other nations’ natural resources — thugs that we, the taxpayers, pay for, even though it’s the plutocrats, and not we, the people, who get the lion’s share of the spoils of the wars that we, the people, pay for.

(The Vietraq War, for instance: Saddam Hussein’s real crime was not that he tyrannized his people, but that he nationalized Iraq’s oil fields. Now that the people of Iraq have been “liberated,” so have the nation’s oil fields — for Big Oil. No one in Iraq died for freedom or for democracy or for puppies or for kittens or for butterflies or for marshmallowy goodness. No, all of them died primarily for the profiteering of Big Oil and the profiteering of the military-industrial-corporate complex, such as Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton, which couldn’t profiteer without a war, so the unelected BushCheneyCorp gave it a war from which to profiteer, using 9/11 as a pretext, much as how the members of the Nazi Party had used the Reichstag fire as a pretext to ram their right-wing agenda down their fellow countrymen’s throats. Happy fucking Memorial Day, by the way, and it’s so awfully nice to know that we of the “LGBT” “community” now are “free” to be cannon fodder in the plutocrats’ war profiteering that we call “national security” and “national defense” and the like.)

I suppose that I digress, but I like — well, I love — what Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi had to say earlier this month about Presidential Race 2012:

…But this campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it’ll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a hand job in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It’s just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate. …

This is exactly the John Kerry scenario. Kerry was never going to win, either, and everyone pretty much knew that, too. [No, actually, I, for one, thought that Kerry had a pretty good chance, having recognized that an incumbent president usually is difficult to unseat, and I still suspect that Kerry actually would have won the pivotal state of Ohio, and thus the White House, had the election in Ohio not been overseen by the Katherine-Harris-like Kenneth Blackwell.] But at least in the Kerry-Bush race there was a tremendous national debate over the Iraq war, which many people (incorrectly, probably) thought might end more quickly if a Democrat was elected.

This year, it’s not like that. Obviously Republican voters do hate Obama and genuinely believe he’s created a brutally repressive socialist paradigm with his health care law, among other things. But Romney was a pioneer of health care laws, and there will be dampened enthusiasm on the Republican side for putting him in office. [No, they hate Barack Hussein Obama primarily because he’s black. The “Muslim” and “socialist” charges are just code words for “nigger,” which you can’t utter in the public domain anymore without repercussions. Let’s be real about that fact.]

Meanwhile, Obama has turned out to represent continuity with the Bush administration on a range of key issues, from torture to rendition to economic deregulation. Obama is doing things with extralegal drone strikes that would have liberals marching in the streets if they’d been done by Bush. [Absolutely.]

In other words, Obama versus [John] McCain actually felt like a clash of ideological opposites. But Obama and Romney feels like a contest between two calculating centrists, fighting for the right to serve as figurehead atop a bloated state apparatus that will operate according to the same demented imperial logic irrespective of who wins the White House. [Emphasis of that money shot is mine, although the money shot of Taibbi’s piece actually might be his hilarious but fairly accurate assertion that this year’s presidential election “will be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a hand job in a Bangkok bathhouse.”]

George Bush’s reign highlighted the enormous power of the individual president to drive policy, which made the elections involving him compelling contests; Obama’s first term has highlighted the timeless power of the intractable bureaucracy underneath the president, which is kind of a bummer, when you think about it. …

That, to me, is the main reason that I’m not at all excited about this cycle’s presidential race: Both Obama and Romney indeed are calculating centrists. But since the Repugnican Tea Party has succeeded in moving what used to be the center to the right, that makes both Obama and Romney, in my book, center-right candidates. Romney is a bit more to the right than is Obama, but not enough to see the two as much more different from each other than are Pepsi and Coke. The tiny plutocratic minority will continue to do well while the rest of us, the vast majority of Americans, will continue to suffer, regardless of which calculating centrist wins in November.

Obama panders to the left now and then — when he or his spokesweasels aren’t calling us such things as “sanctimonious” members of the “professional left” — but it’s his actions, or lack thereof, that I pay attention to, not his words, especially after his words “hope” and “change” fizzled specfuckingtacularly.

Speaking of Obama’s lack of actions, on June 5, not only will California hold its presidential primary, which will help Mittens finally get the 1,144 delegates that he needs to be the Repugnican Tea Party’s official presidential candidate (he has 1,084 delegates right now, according to Politico), but Wisconsin will hold its gubernatorial recall election.

Unfortunately, as I type this sentence, intrade.com puts Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s chances of surviving the June 5 recall election at 92.6 percent.*

That’s in no small part because Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party have been conspicuously missing in fucking action where the fight for the right to collectively bargain in Wisconsin has been concerned. Wisconsinites have been on their own since early 2011, after Walker took office and gave tax breaks to the state’s plutocrats and announced that it was the state’s public-sector labor unions that were the cause of the state’s fiscal problems.

In November 2007 at a campaign rally in South Carolina, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said this: “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” (Here is video of that promise.)

Yet Obama has yet to appear once in Wisconsin to stand up for the Repugnican-Tea-Party-beseiged members of the working class and the middle class there. The national Democratic Party has thrown some money Wisconsin’s way at the very last fucking minute, too late to make much of a difference, if any difference at all (Scott Walker’s corporate sugar daddies have thrown many more millions his way than the Dems in Wisconsin have had available to them), but now, I suppose, the national Dem Party can say, and will say — well, actually, it has said — that it did something in Wisconsin, even though this has been just a repeat of the Democratic cowardice and incompetence and sluggardry that we have seen before.**

I remember the debacle that was California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election all too well: The state’s Dem Party was in incredibly stupid denial that its uber-uncharismatic incumbent governor, Gray Davis, might actually lose the Repugnican-orchestrated recall election, which more than anything else was just a do-over of the 2002 gubernatorial election that the Repugnicans had lost, only this time they would front as their candidate against Gray Davis testosterone-movie-star Arnold “Baby Daddy (We Know Now)” Schwarzenegger. Because of their denial, the state’s Dem Party elites staunchly refused to rally around another Democratic candidate to run against Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger. To do so, the Dem elites rationalized, would be to admit Davis’ impending defeat.

Then-Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, apparently recognizing that Davis indeed might lose, ran against Schwarzenegger in the recall election, but he did so on his own, without the support of the state party. Had the state party supported Bustamante, or another viable Democratic candidate, he or she might have won the recall election.

It’s incredibly fucking difficult to support a party that absofuckinglutely refuses, repeatedly, to fucking fight for you in return for your support.

Should Scott Walker survive his June 5 recall election, I will chalk that up in no small part to the fact that Barack Obama utterly reneged on his 2007 promise to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” and join “American workers [who] are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain” — “because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

We workers do deserve to know that somebody is standing in our corner, but nobody fucking is — at least no one who actually can win the White House in November.

However, I’d much rather vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein again in November, even though of course she can’t win the White House, than to vote again for Barack Obama, to continue to be punk’d by the party that claims that it loves me so much — but that can’t show me such “love” unless it can then use me in its fundraising efforts immediately thereafter.

P.S. Disclaimer: I have been registered with both the Green Party and with the Democratic Party. Currently I am registered with the Green Party, in large part because I can’t stomach the Democrats’ pseudo-progressivism, their unwillingness to fight the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, and the party’s ever-increasing move to the right. Background:

In 2000 I voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for president because he was the candidate whose platform most closely matched my own beliefs and values, and because it was obvious that Democrat Al Gore was going to win all of California’s electoral votes anyway (and, of course, he did).

In 2004 I supported and voted for Democrat John Kerry, primarily because preventing a second term by the unelected Bush regime was my No. 1 priority, and Kerry early on struck me as the strongest candidate to put up against Bush. (Of course, the spineless, incompetent Dems didn’t let me down; when it was announced that Kerry had “lost” the pivotal state of Ohio, Kerry couldn’t concede fast enough, and shortly after the election, word came out that Kerry had not spent millions of dollars that he’d collected, millions that might have made a difference in the outcome of the election.)

In 2008 I still was not sure, as I entered my polling place, whether I would vote for Barack Obama or whether I would vote for Ralph Nader again. I knew that Obama would win all of California’s electoral votes anyway, just as it was a foregone conclusion that Gore would win them in 2000 and that Kerry would win them in 2004. (Until we get rid of the Electoral College, millions of Americans’ votes for president won’t really matter at all.) At rather the last minute, I blackened the oval by Obama’s name.

That is a mistake that I won’t make again, unless, perhaps, by some miracle it actually looks like Mittens Romney might win California. (That, of course, will not happen.)

Update (Monday, May 28, 2012): Oops. I wrote above that Mittens should seal the deal on June 5. Actually, Mittens is expected to finally reach 1,144 delegates tomorrow, when Texas holds its presidential primary. If for some reason Mittens does not get enough of Texas’ 155 delegates — Reuters reports that he needs fewer than half of those to reach the magic 1,144 — then he would get the remaining delegates on June 5, when California and four other states hold their primaries. (The very last state in the presidential primary season is Utah, which doesn’t vote until June 26.)

*As I type this sentence, intrade.com gives Mittens Romney only a 38.7 percent chance of winning the White House and gives Obama a 57.4 percent chance of winning re-election, which seems about right to me, about 40 percent to 60 percent.

**While I have yet to give Obama another penny for his re-election — I gave him hundreds of dollars in 2008, primarily during the 2008 Democratic primary fight because I believed that as president he would be significantly more progressive than would Billary Clinton — I have given hundreds of dollars towards the recall elections in Wisconsin, because that, to me, is where the real fight has been, and because, as I noted, the Wisconsinites for the very most part have been on their own, having been abandoned by the Obama administration and the national Democratic Party.

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The Anita Hilling of Sharon Bialek (or, there goes the women’s vote)

Sharon Bialek, a Chicago-area woman,waits to address a news conference at the Friars Club, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in New York.  Bialek accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of making an

Associated Press photo

The Herman Cain campaign today incredibly stupidly released a statement reading, “In stark contrast to Mr. Cain’s four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises, Ms. Bialek [pictured above] has taken a far different path,” which includes a “long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances.” So the Cain campaign’s “argument” is that if you are rich and powerful and you are accused of sexual harassment by someone who has had personal and financial difficulties, then she must be lying because she’s not rich and powerful and you are. And the smearing of the (alleged) sexual harassment victim’s personal life, including her financial difficulty (which millions and millions of Americans have had), which has nothing to do with her allegations of sexual harassment — yeah, that makes you look good. 

We can see now why the first three reported apparent victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Herman Cain have not gone public with their stories. Look what the wingnuts are doing to the fourth apparent victim, Sharon Bialek, who went public yesterday.

The comments left on this Yahoo! News story are typical of the “arguments” that we are seeing coming from the wingnuts.

Among the nicer allegations in the comments are that Bialek has come forward only in order to make money from it. I’m not sure how, exactly, she would do that, and, until and unless there is any actual evidence to suggest otherwise, I take her at face value that she came forward in order to help stop the sexual harassment of women. Indeed, when we keep things such as child molestation or sexual harassment hush-hush, we only perpetuate them.

Then there are the (inevitable, I suppose) comparisons of Herman Cain to Bill Clinton, which is weird, because Herman Cain isn’t Bill Clinton and because these situations are different. No known serial sexual harasser ever became president in modern times, to my knowledge. (Known serial sexual harasser Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger was able to become governor of California, but the presidency is much bigger.) Bill Clinton did his thing with Monica Lewinsky in the Oral — er, Oval — Office later in his first term and early in his second term, according to Lewinsky, and while Clinton no doubt abused his power over an intern, it apparently was consensual. And the Repugnican-controlled U.S. Senate found that there was no cause to remove Clinton from office.

“Shes way to ugly to be harrased [sic]. Im calling this #$%$,” comments an individual with the username of “HotTeaPartier” whose avatar shows a white female holding a gun. Yes, the Sarah-Palin types are A-OK with sexual harassment. And with calling other women “ugly,” because all women should be physically attractive to and for men. Women exist for men’s sexual gratification. You betcha.

“Another Jennifer Flowers story. She would not be the first person to exchange sexual favors for a job,” chimes in a “TinaO,” another apparent Sarah-Palin type. So there is the comparison to Bill Clinton again, and there is a wholly unsubstantiated allegation that Bialek did “exchange sexual favors for a job” when, to our knowledge, Bialek refused Cain’s alleged quid-pro-quo sexual advances and never got any job in exchange for sexual favors.

With self- and other-loathing women tearing each other apart like this, who needs male chauvinist pigs?

“Why don’t these people start yelling when this stuff was supposed to of [sic] happened instead of years later?” asks “Legal My Foot.”

Um, because now Herman Cain isn’t just a comparatively small-time sexual harasser, but is running to be president of the United States of America?

Gee, do you think that that might be why, genius?

“Why is it that we can now just destroy a man’s reputation without doing anything but holding a press conference,” asks the question-mark-challenged “AllisonS,” adding, “I don’t understand how the media can allow people (be they men or women, but sadly it’s women) who can just make a claim and nothing is done to validate before a man’s career and whole being is destroyed. Why is this not handled at the time by the judicial system. I just don’t understand the motivation of these people.”

Well, um, Bialek is the fourth woman we know about who has alleged that Cain sexually harassed her in the 1990s when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association, not the first. The fourth. Please try to keep up, Allison.

How can a woman not empathize with how another woman who has been sexually harassed might feel about going public about it? Of course the harasser is going to deny it, and especially if the harasser is popular and/or prominent, the harasser’s supporters, facing cognitive dissonance about their beloved, are going to attack the accuser.

How many women want to go through that? Is this really that hard to understand? And as far as the judicial system is concerned, not only is it still disproportionately dominated by men (mostly white men), but since sexual harassment usually is not witnessed by a third party and all that the accused harasser would have to do in a court of law is lie, why would a woman even try to litigate a she-said-he-said case?

“BigDaddy” offers us his sage take: “Lets see she [Bialek] hasnt worked in 13 years [um, she’s a stay-at-home mom — it’s OK to actually raise your children], hires the best man hating lesbo attorney/political hack she could find [all strong, confident, successful women are “man-hating lesbos,” you see — except for Repugnican Tea Party women like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter] and shows no real emotion about the alledged [sic] event….. [Of course, had Bialek cried or otherwise shown great emotion during the press conference, she would have been accused of acting.] After only waiting 15 years to bring it public……..That about right??????? Gloria get a life…..Im still voting for Herman Cain and you inspired me to give a donation to his election.”

Sure, there are plenty of sexual harassment deniers and even sexual harassment lovers and misogynists (male and female) who still support Herman Cain and who are giving him (even more) money in light of the news that four women have accused him of sexual harassment.

That’s fine.

Sexual harassment is no big deal to the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, but sexual harassment won’t play well in the November 2012 general election, if Cain makes it that far, which now is highly unlikely. (As “RON,” one of the minority of sane commenters puts it, “Cains political career is over. He just doesn’t know it yet,” and “One woman, maybe she’s not being fully truthful. two or three, they probably are. Four, We now have a serial sexual predator.” Yup.)

“If you don’t want the sex, dont get in the car!!!!” advises “Jim R,” more typical of the average commentator. “Fatty leatherfaced lady trying for money! Not by the hairs on your gobblin chinny chin,” chimes in some anonymous genius. (So Bialek is “ugly” and “fat,” which must mean that Herman Cain did not sexually harass her in 1997. Or something like that.)

“Wizardofhogs” observes: “This story can NEVER be proved… and yet the media runs with it because H.Cain is a republican. They wouldn’t write it if the dude was a demon-crat… fhucking media is ruining our country….”

Yes, as I indicated, sexual harassers usually do their deeds when there are no witnesses. So their victims should keep their mouths shut if there were no witnesses? Really? As far as the allegation that Cain is being picked on because he’s a Repugnican Tea Partier, I remember that the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal dominated the media for months and months, stoked by the Repugnicans who wanted to remove Bill Clinton from office over a consensual blow job. I mean, puhfuckinglease. And the corporately owned and controlled mass media love sex scandals, regardless of the party affiliation of those involved.

And there is that cognitive dissonance again: you like and support some person and then some unflattering truth or allegation about that person comes out, and so in order to try to preserve your attachment to that person, you blame the accuser(s) and/or the media.

It’s as pathetic as it is time-worn and predictable to blame the media.

We have this little thing called the First Amendment in this nation. That means that sometimes your sensibilities are going to be offended, and that people have the constitutional right to say and to report things you’d rather they not. Boo hoo hoo. Get over yourfuckingself.

“why aren’t sharpton and jackson defending cain against these unsubstaniated charges?” asks “Wildcrzy.” Um, maybe it’s because just because someone else is of your same gender and race, it doesn’t mean that he or she is your kindred? And because Sharpton and/or Jackson might believe that Cain is guilty as charged, and thus not worth defending?

Duh.

There also are, of course, many comments attacking attorney Gloria Allred (besides such allegations as that she’s a man-hating lesbian). You could call that an Allred herring — diverting the attention from Herman Cain to Gloria Allred. I’m not asserting that Allred is an angel. I don’t know her. But regardless of anything about Gloria Allred, Herman Cain either did or did not do what Sharon Bialek claims he did to her in 1997.

That the Repugnican Tea Party traitors don’t want to address that issue speaks volumes about them, and the way that Sharon Bialek has been treated demonstrates that as a nation, we haven’t grown up much, if any, since Anita Hill was burned at the stake in 1991 for having had the courage to have gone public about her sexual harassment by now-U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Clarence Thomas.

The Repugnican Tea Party’s strategy of attacking women who have alleged sexual harassment is interesting. As the stupid white male demographic — the Repugnican Tea Party’s base (aside from millionaires and billionaires, whose numbers are few) — continues to shrink, you’d think that the party wouldn’t want to offend half of the American population* and those of us males who support them.

*Actually, the 2010 U.S. Census put females at 50.8 percent of the nation’s population.

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