Tag Archives: British Petroleum

The Obama years 7/8 the way through: He’s been our caretaker in chief

Note: I’ll probably be tinkering with this post over the next several days (mostly, adding new thoughts and new points and details). After all, it’s difficult to include everything significant that transpired (or didn’t transpire) in seven years of a presidency.

Obama's executive actions could open a door for successors

Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama is shown above in Washington, D.C., on December 10. Salon.com writer Walker Bragman has deemed Obama “the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years,” and that’s probably an apt short summary of the Obama years, if by that Bragman means that Obama has espoused liberal ideals but has done little to nothing to move the nation forward to ensure greater socioeconomic equity and greater opportunity for all (which is progressivism).

In November 2008, when I went to my polling place, it was going to be Barack Obama or independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader* whose oval I would blacken with my ballpoint pen on my paper ballot to be scanned.

In the end, I voted for Barack Obama. He would win my state of California and all of its electoral votes anyway, and I was happy to be one of the millions of American voters who had the opportunity, for the first time in the nation’s history, to vote for a presidential candidate who is not a (full) white man. That was long past due.

I strongly had supported Obama over Billary Clinton in the primary. I’d donated hundreds of dollars to his campaign to help him knock Billary out of the primary, which he did.

But I didn’t support Obama over Billary because he’s half-white and half-black. I supported him over her because I’d believed his ubiquitous presidential campaign promises of “hope” and “change.” I viewed him as the most progressive yet still viable presidential candidate (as I view Bernie Sanders now). That is why I supported him in the 2008 Democratic primary and why I voted for him in November 2008.

I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her campaign promises, and so when Obama spectacularly squandered his huge amount of political capital in 2009 and 2010 by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress who never were going to cooperate with him in the first place because he’s a Democrat and because he’s half-black, I was incredibly disappointed.

In 2009 and 2010, when both houses of Congress were in the Democrats’ control, Obama could have accomplished a lot more than he actually did. He pushed “bipartisanship,” which always had been a non-starter, instead of pushing a progressive agenda.

And in 2009 and 2010 getting “Obamacare” pushed through Congress took all of the oxygen in the room, and, in the end, “Obamacare,” supposedly Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” apparently contained nothing that the lobbyists for the wealth-care industry didn’t want it to contain. (Indeed, “Obamacare’s” individual mandate requires everyone to have health insurance; what mostly-for-profit industry wouldn’t love such a requirement?**)

Then, in November 2010, the Dems lost control of the House of Representatives, and then, in November 2014, they lost control of the Senate (and lost even more seats in the House).

There are at least a few reasons for those losses, including the incredibly shitty “leadership” of Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but I still believe that had Obama pushed the progressive agenda that he at least indirectly had promised with his “hope” and “change” slogans, the Democrats would have kept the House and the Senate.

Indeed, it primarily was Obama’s dithering in 2009 and 2010 that lost the Dems the House in 2010, I believe, thus crippling any progressive agenda for the remainder of Obama’s two terms, since the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress have held on to the House since January 2011.

Since January 2011, with the House controlled by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the White House controlled by Obama, we’ve had nothing but even more gridlock, and since both houses of Congress fell to Repugnican Tea Party control after the election of November 2014, Obama was guaranteed a final two years of more whimper than bang.

I give Obama faint praise for being the first U.S. president to jump on board with same-sex marriage in 2012, although that was overdue and was coming sooner or later anyway. And as with Billary Clinton, it did take Obama a long time to “evolve” on the issue, even though the U.S. Supreme Court this past June finally ruled that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Something is a constitutional right or it is not; the recognition of a constitutional right might be denied and delayed for even generations, but nonetheless it remains a constitutional right, and further, constitutional rights are not up for a vote or even for a public-opinion poll. Again, same-sex marriage inherently was a constitutional right long before the foot-dragging U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that it is, so yes, Obama fairly led from behind on that issue; history led Obama more than Obama led history.

(That said, I can’t imagine that Obama’s having been the first president to voice his support for same-sex marriage wasn’t a significant factor in the U.S. Supreme Court finally following suit three years later. Wikipedia notes that Obama’s second inaugural address in January 2013 marked “the first time that a president mentioned gay rights or the word ‘gay’ in an inaugural address.”)

I applaud Obama for his work in opening up Cuba after decades. It’s beyond ridiculous that a Latin American nation 90 miles away from the United States should remain locked in a perpetual cold war with the U.S., which is what the right-wing traitors have wanted.

However, as I wrote a year ago, Cubans have much more to lose in closer ties with the United States than vice-versa. (As I wrote, “would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? … Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American ‘freedoms’ as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?”)

Obama’s other notable accomplishments include seating our first Latina or Latino U.S. Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, in 2009, and, with the seating of Elena Kagan in 2010, Obama gave us the first Supreme Court with three female justices (we need at least one or two more of them).

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 also was an accomplishment, even if it again seems that history led and that our politicians finally caught up. Ditto for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. (And it’s hard to say that the abolishment of something hateful and unconstitutional that never should have been instituted in the first place is an “accomplishment,” but we’ll call it one, I suppose.)

Obama hasn’t been able to accomplish enough on climate change, in no small part because his dithering in 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of Congress. And with “Democrats” like the former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Big Oil, with its Big Money to politicians who sell us out to them, combatting climate change remains a political mountain to overcome.

But/and on that note, Obama was stunningly ineffectual in confronting British Petroleum when its underwater oil well belched an estimated 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over almost three months in 2010. It was his first huge test of his campaign promises of environmental protection, and he failed miserably.

Perhaps at least in part because of his failure to deal with the BP oil disaster effectively, Obama did veto the Keystone XL oil pipeline earlier this year, in what Wikipedia calls “his first major veto.” That would be in the “plus” column of Obama’s environmental record, but overall, has Obama done enough in combatting climate change and otherwise protecting the environment? Of course not.

Profound income inequality persists under Obama. It’s yet another critical national problem that became fairly insoluble after the Dems lost control of Congress in the election of 2010, and it’s ironic that the nation’s first (half-)black president has done so little to improve the lot of black Americans (who, for the most part, support him steadfastly nonetheless, apparently more out of identity politics than for his actual accomplishments for them).

Obama hasn’t done a lot more for black Americans for many reasons, that I can tell. One, he’s never wanted to come off as an “angry” black man, knowing that he couldn’t have won the presidency had he done so. (I can’t say that that has been his fault, but that that has been the cards that he has been dealt in this still-racist nation.) Two, Obama was raised by his white mother and her side of the family, so his experience growing up was different than has been the experience of most black Americans. (That’s not some sort of a slam; it’s just the truth as far as I can discern it.) And three, again, after the Dems lost the House in the election of 2010, Obama’s ability to do much for black Americans and other Americans in need was seriously weakened anyway.

On foreign policy, which could be its own blog post — and I think that a heavy focus on foreign policy too often is just a distraction from our disastrous domestic policies — I need only point out, I think (aside from my earlier remarks on Cuba), that while 9/11 happened on the unelected “President” George W. Bush’s watch, the United States has not sustained a large terrorist attack from abroad under Obama’s watch.

So desperate have been the uber-hypocritical Repugnican Tea Party traitors to try to claim that Obama hasn’t kept us safe from the Big Bad Terrorists that they have focused on the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012, while they wholly ignore the fact that almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and that more than 4,000 of our troops died pointlessly in the unelected, treasonous Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and wholly bogus Vietraq War.

Those 7,000 or so deaths on George W. Bush’s watch are nothing, you see, but those four deaths in Benghazi on Obama’s watch are everything. (Indeed, racism is behind this; a white, right-wing president is responsible for thousands of preventable deaths of Americans — almost 2,000 Americans, disproportionately black Americans, died in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so we can add them also to the body count under George W. Bush — and he is excused, yet four deaths under a black president is an inexcusable travesty!)

Obama also received less public praise than George W. Bush would have received had 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden been exterminated by Bush when he still occupied the White House instead of by Obama in 2011. Don’t get me wrong; the whole bin Laden extermination affair remains fishy (pun intended), as bin Laden would have been more valuable alive than dead, and the supposed disposal of his body in the ocean was unnecessary and, dare I say, weird and therefore suspect.

The Middle East remains a mess, of course, and while I always have opposed Obama’s use of killer drones, and the use of killer drones in general (and the United States’ over-militarization in general), the bloodshed in the Middle East on Obama’s watch has been much, much less than it was on George W. Bush’s.

(If you say that Well, 9/11!, then I say that On August 6, 2001, while he was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush had been given a presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Um, yeah. [Similarly, there had been plenty of warning that Hurricane Katrina might hit land and kill scores of people. Bush in effect had been issued a presidential daily briefing titled “Katrina Determined to Strike in US,” but he ignored that warning, too. After all, on the day that Katrina made landfall, he was too busy celebrating John McCainosaurus’ 69th birthday in Arizona.)

I acknowledge, of course, that the president of the United States of America can do only so much, that much is beyond his (or her) control, such as congressional gridlock and the separation of powers (which would include a center-right U.S. Supreme Court that has done such things as pick George W. Bush as president even though Al Gore had won the presidential election of 2000 and proclaim that corporations have the First Amendment right to make unlimited monetary contributions to political campaigns [corporations are not people and therefore don’t have First Amendment rights that even actual people don’t even have].)

But given Obama’s limitations of the presidency, I still don’t see that he much tried to deliver very substantially upon his promises of “hope” and “change,” and that would be his fault. He has had some restrictions, we must acknowledge, but has he maximized what he has been able to do around those restrictions? Methinks not.

And yes, of course Obama has been head and shoulders (and torso and legs) above the unelected George W. Bush, but I refuse to allow Bush II to have set the bar for the presidency that low; besides, he never legitimately was elected anyway, so, although death and destruction (including the collapse of the nation’s economy) were the result of his having stolen the 2000 presidential election, I don’t really even count Bush. He never should have happened in the first fucking place.

An aggregate of historians’ (and political scientists’ and political pundits’) rankings of the U.S. presidents puts President Obama at No. 17 out of 43. (Obama is called No. 44, but Grover Cleveland had two non-consecutive terms as president, and thus is called our 22nd and our 24th president, so we’ve actually had only 43 presidents.) Obama ranks in the top half, but for “hope” and “change” I expected much better. (George W. Bush, if you were wondering, ranks at No. 34, in the bottom 10, where he belongs, although I’d put him lower. Ronald Reagan ranks two notches above Obama, with which I disagree, and Bill Clinton ranks three notches below Obama.)

Obama’s race has never mattered to me. While history probably will most remark that he was our first non-all-white president, to me his presidency mostly has represented squandered opportunity; to me he mostly has been, at best, a caretaker in chief. I came to that conclusion no later than the close of 2010, when the Democrats lost the House.

And that is why I could not bring myself to vote for Obama again in November 2012. (I voted instead for the Green Party presidential candidate, which is something that I’d done before and something that I would do again; I owe the Democratic Party nothing.) I’d felt quite punk’d by those ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” and to continue to vote for politicians who don’t follow through on their campaign promises is only to contribute to even more such broken campaign promises. If there is no penalty, how will it stop?

That and I knew that in November 2012 Obama was going to win California and all of its electoral votes anyway. (Yes, many Americans, ignorant of how their own nation and government function, don’t understand the Electoral College, under which if you live in a solidly blue or red state, as I do, your vote for president pretty much doesn’t count; we need a popular vote for the presidency, just as we have for the governorships, for the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and for every other elected office in the nation.)

I still believe that Obama, although overall he has been a rather disappointing, rather lackluster president, more of a caretaking president than a groundbreaking president, has made a better president than Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton would have, and because my principles haven’t changed — among which, I don’t support Democrats in name only, as that doesn’t solve the persistent problem of Democrats in name only — I cannot and will not support DINO Billary Clinton in any way.

(Again, if she wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, she’ll win all of California’s electoral votes in November 2016 anyway, regardless of whether I vote for her or not, so save your misinformed, dead-wrong assertion that if I don’t vote for DINO Billary I have helped whomever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate will be.)

So Barack Obama goes out in his final year not with a bang, but with a whimper. Already we’re looking ahead of him, with incessant media coverage of Donald Trump and to a lesser degree Billary Clinton.

I began with words from Salon.com’s Walker Bragman and I’ll end with more of his wise words:

… If Hillary gets the nomination, and is elected, she will inadequately address the problems this country faces, [problems] that are angering people, by negotiating from the center/right and then moving right as a compromise, to give us mere half-measures or quarter measures. I fear, given her New Democrat background, that she will likely use social programs and financial reform as bargaining chips.

I strongly believe that Hillary will kill the momentum that has been generated over the last eight years by Barack Obama, the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years – and that will do more damage to the Democratic brand than four years of a Republican president would do to the country.

I am not saying that four years of a Republican would not be worse for the country than four years of Hillary in the immediate; I am saying that four years of Hillary will do more long-term damage by prolonging the Democratic realignment. [Absolutely agreed.]

Americans want real change – and they’re looking to the Democrats to provide it. But if we only put a Band-Aid on issues like the wealth gap and financial reform, which is essentially Hillary’s plan, Americans will not be satisfied. As much as politically minded people remind us that change is slow, what Hillary offers is too slow. Her kind of change is weakness.

If the New Deal taught us anything, it’s that unprecedented sweeping government action can happen quickly. FDR achieved significant reforms within the first hundred days of his presidency. Hillary’s supporters have not learned from Obama’s biggest blunder: negotiating from the middle with opponents on the far right. These people insist that we have to just keep making slow progress because all we can hope for are small gains.

They point to the weakness of the Democratic Party since the 1970s as evidence of their position. However, this is a common misunderstanding of history and the lesson of the Democrats’ decline from the 1970s to the 2000s. …

Yup.

FDR is listed as the second-best president on that aggregate of presidential rankings that I mentioned (he’s just behind Abraham Lincoln). Again, Bill Clinton is ranked at No. 20. We don’t need another President Clinton.

We need another FDR, and the closest that we have to that is Bernie Sanders.

*I had voted for Nader when he ran as the Green Party presidential candidate in November 2000, something that I’ve never regretted, and it’s not my fault that Americans just allowed BushCheneyCorp to steal the 2000 presidential election. They should have been rioting in the streets over that treasonously, blatantly stolen election, but they did not. And, of course, Team Gore should have fought much, much harder than it did instead of wanting to appear to be above the fray.

**My general stance on health care is that it is a human right and that no one should have to pay for it (or, minimally, that it should be free of cost to those whose annual income falls below a certain amount) and that health care never should be allowed to be delivered on a for-profit basis. “Obamacare” did nothing, to my knowledge, to solve the overarching problem of health care having fallen victim to profiteering, to greed — and thus having become wealth care.

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Adieu, Landrieu; it’s long past time for Democrats to stop kissing red-state ass

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in New Orleans. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Associated Press photo

Gee, maybe her very own country-Western song would have saved “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana from being denied a fourth term in the Deep-South state. A campaign appearance by Billary Clinton (who does have her very own country-Western song) apparently wasn’t enough.

“Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie,” proclaims the headline of a column by a Michael Tomasky (whom I’d never heard of until today) that will be interpreted as fairly sound advice for the Democratic Party or, perhaps, as a false-flag attempt to give Dems poor advice meant to harm them (the column does appear, after all, on the center-right website The Daily Beast). But probably, it’s more of the former than of the latter.

The occasion of the column is the double-digit defeat of Democrat-in-name-only U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to her Repugnican Tea Party opponent this past weekend. Landrieu was the last remaining “Democratic” U.S. senator of the Deep South. (Wikipedia defines the “Deep South” as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina – and sometimes at least portions of Texas and Florida, too. These seven states, Wikipedia notes, were the first to secede from the Union.)

The advice that Tomasky gives to the Democratic Party – to “dump Dixie” – seems to be the advice that the party perhaps already has taken to heart; well before this past weekend’s election in Louisiana, the national party wisely decided to stop funneling campaign cash to Landrieu and to let her languish, dry up and blow away.

Tomasky concludes his column by proclaiming that “the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying [to win congressional seats in the Deep South ]. If they [the Dems] get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.” (The link there is my own, of course, not Tomasky’s.)

Absolutely.

The likes of Repugnican Lite Landrieu – whose last-ditch, self-serving, desperate attempt to shove the Keystone XL oil pipeline down Americans’ throats for the deep pockets of the fat cats of Big Oil in order to save her Senate seat was incredibly pathetic (as was her defense of Big Oil even as British Petroleum was filling the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of crude oil) – have only harmed, not helped, the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to the right, which started no later than during Bill Clinton’s reign (Wikipedia also notes that the Clintons’ home state of Arkansas sometimes also is included in the list of the states that make up the Deep South) and has continued during Barack Obama’s, doesn’t capture nearly as many Repugnican-leaning voters (who most often simply vote Repugnican instead of Repugnican Lite) as it turns off the Democratic Party’s base. And a party that stands for everything, that tries to please all people, in the end, stands for nothing.

Obama squandered too much of his presidency trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. He tried to negotiate with these terrorists, but you don’t negotiate with terrorists. Obama instead should have taken care of his base and not given a flying fuck what the enemy thought, since politically, he didn’t really have to. Had he done that, I surmise, he wouldn’t be spending his last two years in the Oval Office with both houses of Congress controlled by the enemy. Obama started off in 2009 with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, and, had he played his cards right – instead of having wasted his political capital in trying to placate the implacable wingnuts – he could have maintained that political advantage to this day.

It’s long past time for the Democratic Party to start tending to its base. Obama’s failed experiment of “bipartisanship”* should have made this abundantly clear by now, but waiting in the wings, of course, is Billary Clinton, whose jaw-droppingly awful proxy country-Western music video on You Tube titled “Stand with Hillary” makes you wonder whether Billary approves of the video or not.

The New York Times’ Frank Bruni notes that “The video wasn’t produced by Clinton or her aides. But the people who did put it together [a “super-PAC” called, of course, “Stand with Hillary”] clearly followed the cues that they felt they were getting, and they read her intentions right.” I more or less concur, from what we know of Billary and the way she rolls.

I mean, the country-Western style of the video definitely seems to be geared toward the same shit-kicking voters to whom Billary apparently was trying to appeal when, as her 2008 effort to best Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination grew more and more desperate, Billary (right along with the John McCainosaurus campaign) denounced Obama as “elitist and out of touch with the values and the lives of millions of Americans” for having accurately described the mindset of rednecks (who, Obama correctly had asserted, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”**).

Because Billary wants to be Queen of the Rednecks, you see. But the majority of the rednecks don’t and won’t buy that a Democrat – especially one of the caliber of Billary Clinton – is truly One of Them (replete with her own country-Western anthem!), and true Democrats are put off by those who (like Billary) call themselves Democrats but who court rednecks more than they court the members of the traditional Democratic Party base (who simply are taken for granted, year after year after year).

I should note that the guy in cowboy garb in the “Stand with Hillary” video, who was lip-synching someone else’s vocals, calls himself apolitical and says that the video was just another paying gig, that he may or may not vote for Billary for president should she be on the ballot in November 2016.

Is it that Team Billary could find only someone who would be pro-Billary for pay? At any rate, that the guy in the video is a fake cowboy, a fake country-Western singer and a fake Billary supporter speaks volumes about Team Billary, methinks, including how insubstantial the candidate is herself.

I don’t assert that the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign should not be populist. Of course it should be. The party hasn’t done nearly enough for what remains of the middle class and the working class for many years now and desperately needs to return to its roots of socioeconomic equality and justice. Therefore, I’d love to see the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. But wasting resources trying to convert those who never are going to support you anyway (as the desperate Billary tried to do in the spring of 2008, as the White House was slipping from her talons) is – well, a waste of limited resources.

The cultural stuff – such as country-Western music (for fuck’s sake), God, guns and gays – can, and should, take a back seat this next Democratic presidential cycle, in which populism should be the centerpiece, but should be limited to the discussion of socioeconomic issues that affect the common American, regardless of where he or she lives (and regardless of whether he or she likes country-western music or supports same-sex marriage).

If Billary indeed is on a trajectory to act, once again, like she’s Queen of the Rednecks, and the Democrats actually let this pass and allow her to become the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, then, it will be, I think, just as Harry S. Truman warned us: “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

We just saw the wisdom of Truman’s words in action this past weekend in Louisiana. We don’t have to see the truth of his words again in November 2016.

*In the speech that made Obama a political rock star at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama proclaimed that “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Really? One people? Even those who say that he shouldn’t be allowed to give the State of the Union address?

I mean, does Obama, six years into his presidency, still believe his feel-good, fluffy words from 2004?

**To be fair, this infamous comment of Obama’s should be taken within its larger context of his preceding remarks, which you can find here.

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From ‘audacity’ to a whimper

President Barack Obama will go down in American history something like this…

I have to agree wholeheartedly with the assessment by Michael Moore (who has been too absent from the public arena during Barack Obama’s presidency) that the American history books will mention only (or at least primarily) that Obama was the nation’s first black president. It’s sad that history will remember Obama more for the color of his skin than for the content of his character, but that’s his fault, not history’s.

In fairness, the history books also probably will mention Obamacare (for good or for ill or fairly neutrally), but what else is there to say of the Obama years?*

Allegedly with great audacity and with the dreams of his father behind him, Obama came in with a bang – “HOPE”! and “CHANGE”! “CHANGE”! and “HOPE”! – but he goes out with a whimper.

It’s ironic that Obama’s opposition to the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War – which only ever was meant for war profiteering (such as by Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) and for Big Oil to retake the oil fields of Iraq – helped him into office in 2008 and that now Obama seems poised to end his second term with another war in Iraq (and possibly in Syria).

Yes, of course this time (further) war in Iraq (and in Syria ) can be justified, I think. The Islamic Slate (a.k.a. ISIL and ISIS) – at least in its current incarnation as a rapidly metastasizing, deadly cancer – needs to be stopped. The mass murder and the oppression of those who disagree with certain fascist, religious nutjobs – be they “Christian” fascist nutjobs, “Jewish” fascist nutjobs, “Hindu” fascist nutjobs, “Muslim” fascist nutjobs, whatever – should be met with opposition.

Credible news reports are that the Sunni Islamic State has been slaughtering and oppressing Shiites and other non-Sunnis in large swaths of Syria and Iraq. (No, the Islamic State did not become a problem only when it beheaded two U.S. citizens in propagandistic snuff videos.) Any such mass slaughter and oppression anywhere in the world should be stopped if at all possible, regardless of the United States ’ many missteps and failures to act in the past. (And it should not be the United States playing World Cop all of the fucking time.)

As far to the left as I consider myself to be, I do not believe in absolute, blind pacifism. I don’t believe that in most cases force or the credible threat of force should be the first resort, but nor do I believe that force or the credible threat of force should be taken off the table altogether. It can be a useful tool, and sometimes, the only effective one. And my gut response to the Islamic State, frankly, is: Pound. Them. Into. The. Sand. (With that said, gut responses do not necessarily make for sound actual foreign policy, as we learned with the debacle that was the unelected reign of the illegitimate Bush regime.)

The problem with the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, again, is that of course it never was meant to “liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil Saddam Hussein (who was a “good” dictator until he stopped taking marching orders from the American elite, which then made him a “bad” dictator) – unless you want to call the more than 100,000 Iraqis who died as a result of the Vietraq War “liberated.” No, it was meant to further enrich the cronies of the BushCheneyCorp.

Such treasonously crying wolf, of course, makes it all the harder to sell the American people on military action in the same region, even when military action actually is called for this time – as President Obama surely knows right about now.

And, of course, while the Repugnican Tea Party traitors (redundant) never met a war that they didn’t love (as long as it’s others who are doing all of the dying, of course), they’ll find ways to criticize and condemn Obama no matter how he conducts things militarily in the Middle East. Because if the president is a white Repugnican guy (even one who got into the White House without even having won the highest number of votes of the American people), then to criticize his military actions abroad at all is nothing short of terrorist-lovin’ treason, you see, whereas if the president is a Democrat, and especially not a white, male Democrat, then to criticize his every fucking move is one’s God-given patriotic duty, you see.

So, of course, Obama can’t win, no matter what he does or does not do, but he should have known this political fact from Day One, and so from Day One he should have pushed through a progressive agenda instead of having tried to persuade the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to join him in “Kumbaya” around the campfire in D.C. (You don’t even bother to try to negotiate with terrorists; they cannot be reasoned with.)

Yes, I do believe that having assertively pushed a progressive agenda in the first two years of his first term would have been a winner for Obama. Had he even tried to have delivered upon his campaign promises, he could have been something like the second coming of FDR. He entered the White House with that kind of support behind him, more or less.

Yes, reportedly a majority of Americans deem Obama’s presidency to have been a failure, but these polls that are unflattering to Obama, it seems to me, widely are interpreted, incorrectly, to mean that the majority of Americans embrace the right-wing worldview. But if a pollster were to ask me (or any other actually progressive American) if Obama’s presidency has been a success or a failure, I (or he or she) would say, without even having to think about it, a failurenot because I at all agree with the right-wing worldview and agenda, but because I believe that Obama utterly squandered his chance, especially in 2009 and 2010, to push through an actually progressive agenda, while both houses of Congress still were held by his own party.**

Whereas the unelected Bush regime spent “political capital” that it never even fucking had (I remember when the Bushies called Bush’s “re”-election by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004 to be a “mandate”), Obama was too timid or too lazy or too stupid (or some combination of these things) to even touch his actual stockpile of political capital in 2009 and 2010, and his failure to have done so will go down in history (history that is thoughtful and critical, anyway) as one of the biggest missed opportunities by a U.S. president to accomplish the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of Americans.

And I judge Obama’s presidency to be a failure because, of course, you judge a politician based upon his or her actual accomplishments in office compared to the campaign promises that he or she made in order to get elected to that office. (Yeah, as cynical as I might be, I’m still not ready to let any politician off the hook for having violated, blatantly, his or her own campaign promises.) Based upon his own relentless campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” of course Obama’s presidency – which has delivered primarily more of the same, not “hope” or “change” – has been a failure.

Of course, pretty much any Repugnican president – John McCainosaurus, Mittens Romney or any other Repugnican – would have done even worse in the Oval Office than Obama has done (except, perhaps, for the 1 percent, for the richest Americans), but that doesn’t let Obama off the hook with me; I judge Obama by actually progressive Democratic (that is, actually Democratic) standards, not by the low bar that has been set by the right wing (probably especially by George W. Bush). And speaking of the devil, of course Obama has been a better president than Gee Dubya was – for starters, Obama actually was democratically elected in the first fucking place, for fuck’s sake – but saying that President X is or was better than was “President” George W. Bush is saying exactly nothing.

And how is Obama poised to end his second and final term? At (further) war in the Middle East, with a new/old enemy this time, the Islamic State. (I write “new/old” because just as the “tea party” is comprised of the same old fascists who were around long before they started to call themselves the “tea party,” the Islamic State apparently is comprised, largely if not mostly, of the same old Islamofascists who were around before Obama ever took office. Of course, it was the Bush regime’s woefully-misguided-to-put-it-mildly Vietraq War, more than anything else, that contributed to the genesis of the Islamic State that we see today.)

I have to wonder if Barack Obama is trying to do Billary Clinton a favor right now, trying to make the Democratic Party look Tough! On! Terrorists! — just in time for the 2016 presidential election. But if more war in the Middle East (and exactly how it should be executed) is going to be the centerpiece of the 2016 presidential election, don’t the chickenhawk Repugnicans play the war card a lot better than do the Dems?

Because of that, how could the Dems expect to win the White House again in 2016 by posing as warhawks, as Billary already appears to be doing?

Didn’t someone once remark that when given the choice of voting for a Repugnican candidate or a “Democratic” candidate who acts like a Repugnican, the typical voter will vote for the genuine Repugnican?

The theofascist Islamic State needs to be checked, for sure, just as would any other insane group of murderers and fascists at home or abroad, but at the same time, potential blowback from military actions that always should be considered aside, Team Obama and Team Billary need to be careful, methinks, not to give the war-drum-beating chickenhawks of the Repugnican Tea Party political validation – and thus political victory – by also beating those tired, old war drums (only less convincingly, in the eyes of the voters, than the chickenhawks do) between now and Election Day in November 2016.

*Obama lost me, forever, after he just fucking sat on his hands while British Petroleum filled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude oil in 2010, and after he failed to visit the state of Wisconsin even once in early 2011, when Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker successfully attacked the right of the workers of the state to collectively bargain.

Candidate Obama had promised in 2007: “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’ll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone’s standing in their corner.”

Again, Obama showed up in Wisconsin not once. In his first term Obama failed to lead on a huge environmental issue and he failed to lead on a huge labor-rights issue, part of a pattern of failure that his presidency has been. (As I have noted, while I [stupidly] voted for Obama in 2008, I did not vote for Obama again in November 2012, but voted for the Green Party candidate instead.)

**Indeed, I’m not the only leftist who deems Obama’s presidency a failure; the Washington Post notes of its own (with ABC News) recent nationwide poll that “Those saying Obama has been a failure include one in four Democrats (25 percent), nearly three in 10 liberals (29 percent) and the vast, vast majority of conservative Republicans (92 percent). Nearly one in five liberals (18 percent) say they feel ‘strongly’ that Obama has been a failure.

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I voted for Jill Stein, fuck you very much.

Updated below

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein delivers remarks during a press conference on July 11 in Washington, D.C.

AFP/Getty Images

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, photographed in Washington, D.C., in July

It wasn’t a difficult decision. It felt at least a bit liberating, in fact, to fill in with my black ballpoint pen the oval next to her name on my mail-in ballot, and putting my completed ballot in the U.S. Postal Service mailbox yesterday gave me the at-least-mild satisfaction of having an important task finished.

President Barack Obama is leading Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney by double digits in polling here in California. California and its 55 electoral votes, the nation’s biggest prize, are so not up for grabs that neither candidate is airing any TV commercials here. No mailers, either. Nothing that I have seen, in fact, except what’s on the Internet.

The New York Times’ prognosticator Nate Silver, as I type this sentence, puts Obama’s chances of re-election at just a little below 75 percent and Mittens’ chances of winning the White House at just a little above 25 percent.

Fact is, living in a solidly blue state under the undemocratic, winner-takes-all Electoral College system, my vote for president essentially doesn’t count. I could have voted for Mittens, for fuck’s sake, and the outcome in California wouldn’t have been altered one nano-iota. That Obama would win all of California’s 55 electoral votes on November 6, 2012, was a foregone conclusion long ago.

No, of course I don’t want Mormon multi-millionaire fascist Mittens to win, and of course I recognize that the winner of the election will be Obama or Mittens (and certainly not a third-party candidate), which is why this time around I gave Obama more than $100 in campaign contributions — much less than I gave him in 2008, but, according to an e-mail that the Obama campaign put out earlier this month, only about one in 75 Americans has given Obama one single penny, so hey, even the less than $200 that I’ve given him toward his re-election bid is pretty fucking good, comparatively.

But I almost didn’t vote for Obama in November 2008. When I went to my polling place on Election Day 2008, I had it down to Obama or to independent progressive candidate Ralph Nader, and even when I’d just received my ballot I still had to ponder which candidate to vote for, and at the last minute I went ahead and gave my vote to Mr. Hopey-Changey, knowing that he would carry California whether I voted for him or not, but hoping that he would at least try to deliver the change that he’d promised.

And yes, I also felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to vote for the first non-white president of the nation’s history. It gave me at least a little bit of an uplift to know that I was part of that historical event. (Of course, any Obama-related uplift was blunted by the blow of the passage of Proposition Hate here in California, which happened in large part thanks to the big money and the efforts of Mittens’ Mormon cult and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s Catholick church, which, much like the Taliban, seek to shove their theofascist, ignorant, hateful bullshit down the throats of all of us.)

Four years later, it is clear to me that Barack Obama had only said what he’d figured (correctly) would get him elected. Indeed, his take of the popular vote was bigger than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever got.

I could post a litany of reasons why, in good conscience, I could not cast my vote for Barack Obama again, but here are just three of them:

  • Obama for the most part just sat idly by while British Petroleum assured us that it had its crude-gushing underwater oil well perfectly well under control. Obama’s inaction was a clear signal to the planet-raping corporations: Do (or don’t do) whatever the fuck you want. The Democratic Party is addicted to your campaign contributions and therefore won’t lift a fucking finger to stop you from destroying the planet.
  • Obama had promised before his election that if the right to collectively bargain ever were under threat anywhere in the nation, he’d don a pair of comfortable walking shoes and join the fight himself. Yet when workers in Wisconsin fought for months and months for the survival of their right to collectively bargain, Obama showed his face in Wisconsin not one fucking time. Wisconsinites were on their own, with only very-last-minute support from the national Democratic Party, which was way too little way too late, and resultantly, Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived the gubernatorial recall election against him in June.*
  • The Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning-for-fuck’s-sake Obama loves his civilian-killing drones, which, if you are awake, alert and oriented, you should find spine-chilling. A recent study of drone strikes by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law found that “from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 to 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 to 881 were civilians, including 176 children.” Um, yeah, “they” don’t hate us for “our freedom.” And what’s to stop drones from being used against American civilians here at home at some point in the future?

Even without those three things, this one thing is more than enough reason not to vote for Punker in Chief Barack Obama again: Obama’s best opportunity to push through a progressive agenda was in 2009 and 2010, when his party controlled not only the White House but also the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Instead of even fucking trying to deliver upon his promises of hope and change for his base, however, Obama in 2009 and 2010 was too busy trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress whose only mission was to make sure that the nation’s first non-white president failed. (They even openly had stated that this was their mission from Day One.)

You don’t negotiate with terrorists. You crush them. Which is what Obama should have done.

Obama’s role model, he repeatedly essentially has told us, was Ronald Fucking Reagan, who, in my book, ranks with Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush as the worst three presidents of my lifetime (I was born in 1968).

Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” the so-called “Obamacare,” contains little to nothing that the wealth-care industry didn’t rubber stamp, and even while proclaiming his support of same-sex marriage, Obama still maintains that each state nonetheless should be allowed to decide whether or not same-sex couples’ constitutional guarantee of equality should be honored or denied.

All of this, yet Barack Obama is on our side?

After the 2008 election, Obama and his surrogates called us progressives — the Democratic Party’s (disappearing?) base — “sanctimonious” members of the “professional left.”

I, for one, don’t forget such slights — I helped put you where you are, and then you turn and shit and piss all over me? Really? — and the Obama administration’s incredibly stupid practice of base-bashing is a large reason why I voted for Jill Stein.

Again, of course I hope that Mittens Romney doesn’t win, but if he does, you can’t blame me.

Blame Barack Obama, who promised hope and change but who has delivered only sweet-sounding rhetoric and even base-bashing, and who has presided over the nation as a Ronald-Reagan-loving Repugnican Lite.

And blame the Obamabots — the blind, mindless, amoral Democratic Party hacks — who to this day have refused to hold the center-right Barack Obama accountable for anyfuckingthing only because he wears the brand-name label of “Democrat,” and who continue to actually buy the Democratic Party’s pandering bullshit that the Democratic Party of today actually gives a flying fuck about us, against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Update: I’d wanted to keep my bullet-pointed list of Obama’s fuck-ups to only three items, but Barack Obama has been such a fuck-up that I found it fairly impossible to list only three of his fuck-ups, so I ended up listing other fuck-ups of his elsewhere in my post, and I want to add a fourth bullet point, a point that I’m surprised that I forgot to include in my original post:

  • Early on, Obama appointed Wall Street weasels like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers as his economic advisers, and in 2008, Obama took more money from Wall Street weasels than even John McCainosaurus did — which is probably why Obama rejected the advice of progressive economists, like the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman, who warned that Obama’s “stimulus” wasn’t nearly enough to restore the nation’s economy. All of this while Obama claims to care sooooo much about the working class and the middle class. Again: Whose side, exactly, is Barack “Talk One Way, Walk Another” Obama on?

*A judge in Wisconsin last month struck down Walker’s union-killing legislation, which was a victory for labor, but a victory that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party had a hand in. And the state is appealing the judge’s ruling, so the fight isn’t quite over quite yet.

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Biden’s endorsement of same-sex marriage is not nearly enough

So Vice President Joe Biden today on “Meet the Press” said that he supports same-sex marriage.

When host David Gregory asked Biden, “You’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?”, Biden replied: “Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual [men and women marrying] are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. …”

That to me sure sounds like an endorsement of legalized same-sex marriage — full marriage equality for same-sex couples — in all 50 states, but the White House was quick to back-pedal and say that no, Biden actually still is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage just as President Barack Obama is.

Whether Biden’s nationally televised endorsement of same-sex marriage is just a calculated political game of good cop-bad cop, or whether Biden was, at least in the Obama White House’s opinion, just shooting his mouth off again, I’m not sure, but in either case, I am not moved, perhaps especially in light of this fact:

MSNBC quotes a White House “aide” as having stated: “The vice president was saying what the president has said previously — that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights. That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it.  Beyond that, the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country.”

Um, no, Biden did not say that “he too is evolving on the issue” of same-sex marriage. He said, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual [men and women marrying] are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.” He said “men marrying men” and “women marrying women.” He did not say, “Committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans.” He did not use such mealy-mouthed language that public-relations hacks love to employ, believing that they are word-magicians who are bamboozling all of us with their ingenius hocus-pocus. He was not talking about the separate-and-unequal, second-class, unconstitutional substitutions for marriage, such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. He was talking about same-sex marriage.

Obama’s pussy, trying-to-have-it-both-ways public political stance is that each state reserves the right to determine whether or not to institute legalized same-sex marriage, and he very apparently sees no problem with forcing non-heterosexual Americans to drink from different drinking fountains by offering them only cheap imitiations of marriage, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions, which he supports. Publicly, at least, he very apparently thinks that these unconstitutionally separate-and-unequal substitutions for marriage are A-OK. (He used to teach constitutional law, too. He truly must have sucked ass at that as much as he sucks ass at being president of the United States of America.)

This “states’ rights” “argument” is the fucking coward’s way out, and if President Abraham Lincoln had adhered to such cowardice as the “states’ rights” “argument,” slavery probably would have lasted a lot longer than it did. (Funny that Obama’s official kick-off of his 2008 presidential campaign in February 2007 had him mimicking Abraham Lincoln at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois:

Associated Press photo

Barack Obama is no fucking Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had balls. Big balls.)

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not nearly enough that Joe Biden supports same-sex marriage. He’s just the vice president. I and millions of other non-heterosexual Americans are to hope for Barack Obama to die or to otherwise become incapacitated, so that President Biden can fight for our equal human and civil rights, since President Obama refuses to do so? Is that it? Is that the kind of change that we are to hope for?

No, fuck Barack Obama.

Nothing short of his full endorsement of same-sex marriage in all 50 states could induce me to give him my vote in November or to give him a fucking penny toward his re-election.

Obama also has been a dismal disappointment as far as labor rights are concerned. Early next month, Wisconsinites will decide in a recall election whether or not to allow Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker to keep his job for his decision to try to destroy the state’s labor unions, a project that he apparently started immediately after his election in November 2009 (if not even beforehand).

(Walker claimed that the labor unions were making the state go broke, but he had had no problem giving the state’s plutocrats tax cuts. In bad economic times, you see, it’s the working class and the middle class who are to suffer even more — not the plutocratic elite, who, like on the Titanic, are the ones who get the lifeboats while the rest of us are to drown in the icy sea.)

In November 2007 at a campaign rally in South Carolina, 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 when Wisconsin became a battleground for the life of its labor unions in early 2010, when national media attention was focused on the state’s capital, where the fuck was President Barack Obama? He couldn’t find a comfortable pair of shoes? Despite his clear promise to stand up for — in person — “American workers [who] are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain,” Obama showed his face not once in Wisconsin. Not once.

How about the British Petroleum debacle? Obama sat on his hands as BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico filled the gulf with crude oil for months in the summer of 2010, making it the largest marine oil spill ever. Clearly the corporate-ass-kissing Obama White House took a back seat to BP and to Big Oil in the environmental catastrophe.

Yet despite his colossal failures of leadership — and these are just three of them — the sweet-talking Barack Obama, who is as slick as the millions of barrels of crude oil that have filled the Gulf of Mexico, wants, even apparently expects, the money and the votes of gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming Americans who want equal human and civil rights right now — none of this “evolving” bullshit), the money and the votes of the members of labor unions, and the money and the votes of environmentalists.

Barack Obama does not deserve this money or these votes. He makes promises and he breaks them. He asks you to put him or to keep him in power, yet once you do, he does not deliver for you, but tells you that in the future, in the future, in the future, he will use his public office for the public good.

You have absofuckinglutely no reason to believe that Barack Obama the sweet-talking and self-interested two-faced coward will be any more effective in a second term than he has been thus far. None.

(On a related note, when “Meet the Press'” Gregory asked Biden if the Obama administration would come out for same-sex marriage in a second term, Biden replied, “I don’t know the answer to that,” adding, “This is evolving.”)

You know, at least with Mittens Romney we would know what we were getting. The enemy clearly would be the enemy.

Which is worse:

Someone like Mittens, who at least is fairly up front about the fact that as president he wouldn’t lift a fucking finger to help non-heterosexuals achieve equal human and civil rights, that as president he would help further destroy what’s left of our labor unions and our middle class in order to further enrich the filthy fucking rich, and that as president of course he would side with Big Oil and other corporations over the environment — or — someone like Barack Obama, who explicitly or implicitly promises us progressives that he’s on our side, but then, once we’ve put him in office, fucks us over anyway?

And memo to Joe Biden: You also stated on “Meet the Press” today, “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done so far.”

“Will & Grace,” Joe?

Really?

It’s a fucking sitcom, Joe. A fucking sitcom. One that ended six years ago this month.

That’s the best example that you can come up with to show how gay-friendly and how politically correctly accepting of non-heterosexuals that you are?

That’s like saying to a gay man, “I have a gay cousin in New York City. Maybe you know him!”

As well-intended as it might be, it’s better to say nothing at all than to reveal that you actually have no fucking clue about the historically oppressed minority group that you’re talking about.

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U.S. now produces only corpses

The body of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lies on a mattress in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The burial of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into his death. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

Associated Press photo

This is all that the crumbling American empire produces and exports these days: death and destruction. Gooooo USA! 

A column that Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald posted yesterday is pretty spot-on about what the United States of America has become. Greenwald notes that “there is something very significant about a nation that so continuously finds purpose and joy in the corpses its government produces, while finding it in so little else.” (The occasion of Greenwald’s column is the latest U.S.-government-produced corpse, that of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi [pictured above], whom, like other dictators, the U.S. government opposed, then cooperated with, then opposed again.)

Greenwald begins his column by reminding us of the uber-creepy language that President Hopey-Changey used in early May after the U.S. government summarily had assassinated Osama bin Laden in violation of justice and of international law:

When President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden on the evening of May 1, he said something which I found so striking at the time and still do: “tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

That sentiment of national pride had in the past been triggered by putting a man on the moon, or discovering cures for diseases, or creating
technology that improved the lives of millions, or transforming the Great Depression into a thriving middle class, or correcting America’s own entrenched injustices.

Yet here was President Obama proclaiming that what should now cause us to be “reminded” of our national greatness was our ability to hunt someone down, pump bullets into his skull, and then dump his corpse into the ocean.*

And indeed, outside the White House and elsewhere, hordes of Americans were soon raucously celebrating the killing with “USA! USA!” chants as though their sports team had just won a major championship. …

Speaking of sports teams, that is all that the Democratic Party has become: a sports team that many Americans identify with. This is evidenced by the fact that even when Barack Obama violates the U.S. Constitution (e.g., denying assassinees and detainees due process, unilaterally declaring war, etc.) and international law (e.g., assassinating individuals on foreign soil without the consent of that sovereign nation’s government) and sits on his hands in the face of catastrophe (Obama handled British Petroleum’s destruction of the Gulf of Mexico as effectively as George W. Bush would have) — even when President Hopey-Changey acts or fails to act in the same illegal and/or immoral and/or ineffectual manner of which the Dems would have been critical had it been a Repugnican president in power — the Obamabots, if they can’t exactly find it within themselves to celebrate Barack Obama’s George-W.-Bush-like ways, at least keep their mealy mouths shut, and thus empower and enable the lawless, immoral, pro-plutocratic and militaristic Obama regime through their complicity.

This amorality and immorality is why, as Chris Hedges writes, the liberal class (as he calls the Democrats in name only, those who claim to be liberal or progressive but who don’t actually lift a fucking finger for progressive causes, and who, if they don’t actually engage in evil themselves, at least enable the evils encouraged and perpetrated by the right wing) is in its death throes.

The reason that Obama’s re-election prospects are dim, you see, is that the wingnuts prefer actual wingnuts to “liberal” sellouts like Obama — no matter how many baddies/“baddies” he assassinates with our tax dollars as though he were some Big Fucking Badass — and the so-called “independents”/“swing voters,” the majority of whom actually are center-right or even pretty far to the right, also prefer the actual Repugnican candidate to the Repugnican Lite candidate (like Barack Obama).

Actual progressives like me and the millions of other Americans (and those abroad) who are participating in or who at least sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street movement also have no use for Obama — stick a fork in him, because we are done with him and his false promises and his true allegiances — which leaves President Hopey-Changey only with his mealy-mouthed Obamabots, who are so fucking worthless that they might as well donate their organs now so that others can make better use of them.

We actual progressives can thank Obama, however, for thoroughly exposing how much the Democratic Party, since Bill Clinton, has sold us Americans out to our corporate/plutocratic overlords. Chris Hedges asks us:

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

An Obamanation, I might answer.

And Hedges answers, I think, the question of why the Occupy Wall Street movement has been so successful:

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes
piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order
to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets.

[All emphasis in this block quote is mine. Indeed, the success of the Internet as a political organizing tool is due to the fact that the duopoly of the corporate-ass-licking Coke Party and Pepsi Party stopped addressing the common American’s needs and interests long ago, and thus the common American has found alternative routes, has flowed around the obstruction that is the partisan duopoly that masquerades as “democracy” in the United States of America. And now we see Occupy Wall Street as yet another adaptive response to the utter ineffectiveness refusal of the two parties to represent us, the people.]

Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. …

[T]he liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street. …

Yup. Because although the United States of America quickly is on its way to becoming something like the way that it is portrayed in the very dark movie “The Road,” we Americans aren’t ready to become cannibals quite yet, and we would prefer that the trillions of our dollars that are being used to kill people abroad (mostly so that the oil corporations can steal and profit obscenely from other nations’ oil) instead would be used for necessities here at home, such as health care, shelter and food.

Because even if we were to feast upon the corpse of Moammar Gaddafi, which reportedly cost us more than $1 billion to obtain, it wouldn’t feed very many of us Americans for very long.

*On May 2, I similiarly wrote:

… More chilling than the words and actions of my jingoistic cohorts, of whom I expect precious little, however, are those of President Barack Obama, of whom, despite his string of broken campaign promises, I still expect more.

“Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” Obama proclaimed today about the snuffing out of bin Laden. (“We do big things” is one of the campaign slogans that Obama rolled out during his last State of the Union address, since “hope” and “change” don’t work anymore.)

Jesus fuck.

When we make such feel-good statements as “as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” are we really supposed to say that about the killing of one individual? Even someone like Osama bin Laden?

Is this what “American greatness” has come to: our ability to kill one man after 10 years, hundreds of billions of dollars and the killing of tens of thousands before him? (That’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes.) …

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Assorted shit (gay pride month edition!)

Homophobes take another blow

File photo of judge Vaughn R. Walker speaking ...

Reuters photo

Former federal Judge Vaughn Walker (pictured above in April), who last year correctly ruled that to prohibit same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, came out after he retired from the federal bench in February. Homophobes  shamelessly had challenged the ability of Walker, who had been appointed by the first President George Bush, to be able to rule fairly on same-sex marriage, but today another federal judge, who also was appointed by the first President Bush, affirmed that Walker did not inappropriately rule on the case.

If I could say two words to the “Christo”fascists who still oppose legally recognized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, it might be something like this: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Same-sex marriage in all 50 states is going to be a reality within the next decade, most likely. So for the supposedly freedom-lovin’ wingnuts to keep expending their time, money and energy trying to stop the inevitable — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and justice for all — is a fucking waste. (If they were true Christians, they’d spend their time, money and energy helping people, as Jesus Christ instructed his followers to do, instead of trying to keep others down so that they can feel better about their miserable selves.)

Today the homophobes suffered a significant defeat when federal Judge James Ware rejected their “argument” that another federal judge, the now-retired Vaughn Walker, should have recused himself from ruling on Proposition Hate — the anti-same-sex-marriage proposition that passed narrowly in California in November 2008 — because he has been in a long-term same-sex relationship himself.

Walker — who, like Ware, was appointed by the first President George Bush — correctly ruled last year that Prop Hate violates the protections granted to all Californians by the U.S. Constitution.*

(When judges who were appointed by Repugnican presidents are ruling against the haters, the haters’ days are numbered, methinks.)

As The Associated Press notes, today’s ruling that Walker had no reason or obligation to recuse himself from ruling on the matter of same-sex marriage “does not settle the legal fight over Proposition 8. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether Walker properly concluded that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry violates their rights to due process and equal protection.”

But the ruling does make it much more difficult for the homophobes to try to pick and choose the judges who hear their bullshit homophobic arguments.

To the “Christo”fascists and other assorted wingnuts, only conservative, heterosexual, “Christian” white male judges should be able to rule on anyfuckingthing. Indeed, in Ware’s ruling he noted that female and non-white judges historically have been accused of not being able to rule impartially in certain cases — a right-wing “argument” that the law rejects.

“The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification,” Ware wrote in his ruling.

Indeed, one easily could counter-argue that a heterosexually married (or perhaps even a heterosexual but single) judge should recuse him- or herself from ruling on same-sex marriage, but how far would that argument get?

Ironically, in their homophobic attacks on Walker, the pro-Prop Hate crowd only further proved that non-heterosexuals in the U.S. routinely face bigotry, hatred and discrimination — which is going to speed up, not slow down, the eventuality of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

But this fact apparently escaped the homophobic abject fucktards, who are capable only of stupidity, fear and hatred, not of reason.

Black homophobes still suck ass

Tracy Morgan

Associated Press photo

“Comedian” Tracy Morgan, pictured in March, has apologized for having said some hateful things that you really can’t apologize for, not credibly, anyway.

Way back in 2005 I posted a piece titled “Black Homophobes Suck.”

Among other things in that piece (which I think you should read if you have the time), I wrote about how a so-called leader in the black community actually wrote in a letter to me that being gay or lesbian might be a choice or it might be a “birth defect” and closed the letter with, “Take care of yourself health wise,” an apparent reference to her apparent belief that all gay men must have HIV or must be just about to contract HIV, since all that being a gay man means is taking cock up the ass as often as possible.

Alas, little has changed since 2005.

In the news recently has been black “comedian” Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay rant during a recent stand-up performance that you can’t just apologize for.

According to an audience member, among many other things, such as suggesting the President Barack Obama has been as pro-gay as he has been only because he is pussy-whipped, Morgan stated that being gay or lesbian is a choice and that “if his son [were] gay he better come home and talk to him like a man … or he would pull out a knife and stab that little [nigger] to death.”

Morgan also reportedly made the unfunny, already-made (by comedian Carlos Mencia, long, long ago) “joke” that if gay men can take a dick, they can take a joke — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The audience member further stated that

The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. [Morgan’s] entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us. As far as I could see, 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up … he won.

I understand where this man, the audience member, is coming from: When someone tells an anti-gay joke/“joke,” you can tell what kind of space it’s coming from, whether it’s truly a joke or whether it’s coming from a space of bigotry and hatred and meanness.

The routine of Carlos Mencia that I saw on television years ago that I just made reference to did not strike me as coming from a space of actual hatred of gays, so it did not repulse me. Similarly, some years ago, the creators of “South Park” created an episode in which a classroom gerbil named Lemmiwinks must save his own life after having been inserted into a gay man’s rectum, for fuck’s sake.

On the face of it, that’s pretty fucking homophobic and stereotypical (I am one gay man who knows of no other gay man who ever inserted a small mammal into his rectum), but the way in which the episode was done does not give me the impression that the creators of “South Park” actually are homophobic. Therefore, I was able to laugh at the episode, even if at least on the face of it it’s pretty fucking homophobic. (Anyone who truly believes that gerbils are a routine part of the gay man’s sexual repertoire probably is beyond help anyway, so I can’t even really knock the “South Park” creators for having put out a negative and damaging view of gay men, even if they aren’t homophobic themselves.)

Anyway, Tracy Morgan sounds like he’s as out of control as is his character on the NBC show “30 Rock,” and after his homophobic rant, I don’t think that I can watch that show anymore (I’ve watched several of the early episodes via the Internet, mainly because I love Tina Fey and a co-worker recommended the series to me).

I hope that NBC dumps Tracy Morgan. After all, any star of any major network show who made blatantly racist (or, say, anti-Semitic) remarks in seriousness should expect to get fired, so why not Morgan?

Also in the news, it recently was reported that U.S. Rep. Allen West, a black Repugnican whose district is in Florida, recently fired an intern for having sent an unauthorized pro-gay Tweet in response to Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant. (I read the Tweet, and it seems to me that it could have been meant sarcastically, which actually would make it an anti-gay message, but whatever…)

The reportage of the firing of West’s intern notes that West has called same-sex marriage “an oxymoron.”

Gee, that’s nice. There was a time when pro-slavery white supremacists would have called the term “a free black man” an “oxymoron.” (Just as white supremacists might call being born black a “birth defect.”)

As long as your own freedoms and liberties and rights are secured, that’s all that fucking matters, right?

I wrote way back in 2005: “Black homophobes will attack injustice that affect them — racism — but fuck the rest of us minority groups. They don’t have a problem with oppression in general; they have a problem only with being oppressed themselves.”

Nothing has changed, has it?

Some have actually suggested that we non-heterosexuals visit with members of the black community to convince the homophobes within the black community that we are deserving of their approval or respect or the like.

I say: Fuck! That! Shit! We non-heterosexuals shouldn’t have to fucking grovel on our hands and knees for equal human and civil rights any more than blacks ever should have had to or should have to today.

We non-heterosexuals should boycott all black homophobes, just as we would boycott any other homophobe, regardless of his or her race. I, for one, won’t spend a penny on anything that has Tracy Morgan in it. (That won’t be hard to do, since Tina Fey, certainly not Morgan, is the creative genius behind “30 Rock,” and since Morgan isn’t, in my estimation, remarkably talented anyway.)

And I invite black homophobes to commit some introspection and to ask themselves why it’s so fucking important to them to be able to have one historically oppressed minority group that even they, also members of a historically oppressed minority group, can shit and piss upon — and whether or not this is moral.

Still not much to be proud of

It’s “gay pride” month, but the corporatization of the gay and lesbian “community” continues.

It’s interesting: While gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) proclaim that they won’t take it from the heterosexists and the homophobes anymore, they’ll still gladly bend over for the corporations.

Memo to the gay and lesbian “community”: The corporations don’t love us.

In October 2009 I posted on my blog “An Open Letter to Joe Solmonese,” who is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, and I e-mailed a copy of the open letter to the HRC.

In the letter (which, I think, you should read, if you have a few minutes), among other things, I criticized the HRC for accepting corporate money from corporations that, while they might have pro-gay-and-lesbian-et.-al. policies (at least on paper), are harmful to human beings and to the planet.

In the fall 2009 issue of HRC’s membership magazine (titled Equality), I noted, I saw full-page ads for Chevron, Shell Oil, American Airlines and Citigroup — corporations that, respectively, are killing the planet with the continued production of fossil fuels, drastically underpay their employees (their pilots, in the case of American Airlines), and, as Wall Street weasels, are partially responsible for the Wall Street meltdown that has tanked our nation’s economy.

I seem to remember getting some e-mail reply from HRC — not from Joe, of course, but from some lackey — stating that HRC supports those corporations that at least pay lip service to being pro-gay-and-lesbian (my words, not hers), and that if I have a problem with this, then I can have my subscription to Equality canceled.

I didn’t ask to have my subscription canceled, thinking that it would just run itself out, but I’m still getting the magazine even though I stopped giving HRC money a long time ago, disgusted by its corporate ass-licking and its selling out of the gay and lesbian community to the fucking corporations.

Nothing has fucking changed, because in the current (spring 2011) issue of HRC’s Equality is a full-page ad for — wait for it — that paragon of corporate responsibility — keep waiting for it — drum roll, please! — British Petroleum!

Yes, my non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming brethren and sistren, BP loves us!

(Along with the full-page ad for British Petroleum in the current issue of Equality are full-page ads for Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Chase, Chevron and Deloitte, all banking fraudsters, planet destroyers and Wall Street weasels. And American Airlines has another full-page ad.)

Not just to pick on HRC.

Locally, Sacramento’s annual gay pride festival earlier this month for the first time ever got rained out, which, naturally, resulted in low attendance, and the organizers of the festival subsequently actually apparently unashamedly and unabashedly sent out a fundraising e-mail asking people to just fork over $40-something because the festival didn’t recoup its costs this year (and they calculated that the average person would have spent $40-something at the festival were it not for the rain).

Well, the festival was held two weeks earlier this year than it was last year, increasing the chances of rain, it seems to me, but that aside, the fundraising e-mail actually read: “Pride 2011 was always going to be different for many reasons. Our corporate sponsorship support was the highest ever, with over two dozen sponsors this year. We invested in more marketing and promotion to hit the far reaches of our area to bring as many LGBT people and our supporters to [Sacramento] on June 4th….”

The first thing that the e-mail lists is the “highest-ever” “corporate sponsorship.”

Why has the gay and lesbian “community” become so fucking dependent upon corporate sponsorship over the years?

Can we not do anything on our own without corporate handouts, for which there are always strings attached?

Is bigger always better? Do we have to do everything huge? Is a huge amount of money necessary for every endeavor? Can nothing be home-grown? (Ironically, it seems to me, if the organizers of the rained-out Sacramento gay pride festival hadn’t focused on making the event so huge, the rain-related losses wouldn’t have been as huge. The bigger things are, the harder they fall.)

Anyway, I replied to the shameless fundraising e-mail with this: “Maybe the Rain Goddess was pissed off over that record-level corporate sponsorship, the selling out of the LGBT community to profits-over-people corporations by the same people who claim to care about and to be helping the LGBT community. Just sayin.'”**

(Unsurprisingly, I haven’t received a response to my response, and no, I don’t claim that I always play along nicely with the other kiddies in the sandbox…)

This gay pride month, if it were up to me, the gay and lesbian “community” would ponder this question: How are we of the gay and lesbian (and bisexual and transgendered and…) “community” doing ourselves a favor by fighting for equal human and civil rights for all non-heterosexuals (and for all non-gender-conforming individuals) while further enslaving ourselves and others to our corporate overlords, who have only their profits, not our best interests, at heart?

But I’m not queen just yet

*In his ruling, Walker concluded:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis [emphasis mine] in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Indeed, that you just don’t like a whole class of people is not sufficient cause to deny this class of people equal human and civil rights as guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.

**Not even to pick only on the gay and lesbian “community” in Sacramento — other festivals in Sacramento have been ruined by a corporate omnipresence, such as a recent festival for Asians and Pacific islanders here in Sacramento that I recently attended at which McDonald’s and Wells Fargo had prominent presences. (Indeed, McDonald’s provided the only place to sit down to eat — provided that you were eating McDonald’s, of course, because I don’t know about you, when I think of Asian and Pacific islander food, I immediately think of McDonald’s.)

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