Tag Archives: Bush

George McGovern’s death makes me yearn for real Democrats

George McGovern, War Critic Routed by Nixon in 1972

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The death today of George McGovern, a progressive who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 (and who is shown above right campaigning in 1972 with his first running mate, Thomas Eagleton), only reminds me, shortly before another presidential election, how far the Democratic Party has fallen.

It’s a perverse fact of politics that the possession of intelligence and compassion (concomitantly known as wisdom) often, if not usually, dooms an individual who is running for high public office.

I write that with the death of real Democrat George McGovern* in mind.

I was only four years old when in 1972 Democrat McGovern lost to incumbent Repugnican President Richard M. Nixon in a landslide. A landslide — and look how wonderful Nixon’s second term turned out to be: It was the Democratic Party’s operations that Nixon’s operatives were snooping into in June 1972 in the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to Tricky Dick Nixon’s resignation in disgrace in 1974. (Nixon’s remains the only presidential resignation in U.S. history.)

The masses often get it wrong.

I don’t remember McGovern’s presidential campaign, of course. The first sitting president I remember seeing on television was Gerald Ford, who followed the disgraced-by-Watergate Nixon, and I seem to remember seeing a perpetually stumbling and falling Ford parodied by Chevy Chase on “Saturday Night Live” more than seeing the actual Ford himself on TV.

I remember seeing also Jimmy Carter on TV, and of course I remember Ronald Reagan and all of those who have followed him. But during Carter’s first and only term, I was an elementary school student who was interested in “Star Wars,” not in politics, and it wasn’t until Reagan’s eight-year reign during most of the 1980s that my political identity started to form.

My father always has been apolitical, not giving a rat’s ass about anything outside of his immediate personal universe, and my mother is one of those “swing voters” who seem to make their presidential picks based upon the logic of a Magic 8 Ball. (My parents reside in Arizona, where they belong, and I in California, where I belong.)

My point in bringing up my parents — which makes me feel like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka when the topic of his parents is brought up — is to illustrate that neither of them even attempted to influence my own political views, with one of them being apolitical and the other being politically muddled at best, so the fact that I grew into a left-winger in the red state of Arizona, which is not conducive to the development of little “socialists,” suggests to me that a progressive political viewpoint is the natural path of human development, unless that path is obstructed (such as by committed right-wing parents who probably should be committed, a “Christo”fascist social environment, etc.) and the journeyer cannot overcome those obstructions, as I was able to do.

The first presidential race that I remember caring about was the 1984 race. I was in high school at the time, and I supported Democrat Walter Mondale over the re-election of Reagan, and I don’t know if I even could have articulated very well why I preferred Mondale over Reagan, since it certainly wasn’t my parents who influenced my preference for Mondale. If memory serves it was a visceral thing, my visceral, intuitive identification of Mondale as the truly wise (again, the compassionate and intelligent) candidate and Reagan as the poser, the phony.

Of course, in 1984 the very first presidential candidate whom I supported (not with money, because as a minor I didn’t have any [and are minors allowed to contributed to presidential campaigns anyway?], and not with my vote, because I wasn’t yet 18), very much like McGovern had done in 1972, lost to the Repugnican incumbent in a landslide.

Four years later, in 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, whom I supported and voted for as a college student (I remember having to sell my plasma as a starving college student, so I’m pretty certain that I wasn’t able to give Dukakis any money), performed barely better against George H. W. Bush than Mondale had performed against Reagan four years earlier.

Um, yeah, so I wasn’t off to a great start in life in my presidential picks, and for 12 long years as I was politically budding, I suffered through first Ronald Reagan and then George Bush I. (I never will forget graduating from college with a worthless degree but with plenty of student-loan debt during The First George Bush Recession of the late 1980s-early 1990s. These early socioeconomic experiences tend to color your political outlook for life, as the Great Depression very apparently colored my Scrooge-like maternal grandmother’s outlook for the rest of her life.)

Then in the 1990s came pseudo-Democrat Bill Clinton, who, although he benefitted from a rebounding economy (how much of the 1990s’ economic rebound was from his policies and how much of it was from the natural course of economic events I’m not certain), gave us such gems as NAFTA, welfare “reform” and DOMA — oh, yeah, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because having an intern blow you in the Oval Office never can blow up in your face.

So the first Democratic presidential candidate whom I supported — I rooted for and voted for Clinton in 1992 and in 1996 — and who actually won the presidential election was the so-called Democrat who destroyed the Democratic Party by dragging it so far to the right that the Democratic Party today looks like Repugnican Lite. Yay!

Bill Clinton benefitted from a three-way race in 1992, and won with a plurality, not a majority, of the popular vote, which today’s Democratic hacks forget or ignore. (Dems deny that third-party candidate Ross Perot, who garnered a-very-impressive-for-a-third-party-candidate 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992, harmed George H. W. Bush’s re-election bid, but it seems to me that the majority of Perot’s supporters were right of center and that most of them would have voted for Bush over Clinton. [If memory serves, my Magic-8-Ball-wielding mother voted for Perot, and my guess is that had Perot not been a choice, she would have voted for Bush or would not have voted at all.])

I get it that after a string of Democratic presidential defeats — George McGovern, Jimmy Carter (denied a second term), Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis — and after long time in the political wilderness during the Nixon/Ford, Reagan and Bush I years — the Democratic Party apparently wanted to pull away, far away, from the egghead image.

Democrat Adlai Stevenson, who lost to Repugnican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956 yet sought (but did not get) the Democratic Party’s nomination yet again in 1960, seems to have been the eggheaded Democrats’ founding father, at least of our modern era, and indeed, Stevenson was the last presidential candidate from either of the two major parties who, despite having lost a presidential election, was nominated by his party to run in the very next presidential election. (These days, losing a presidential election very apparently means that you’ll never get another shot at your party’s presidential nomination again.)

The last Democratic egghead who lost — but who, surreally, actually won — a presidential election was, of course, Al Gore, who in 2000 won 48.4 percent of the popular vote to George W. Bush’s 47.9 percent, for a difference of more than 500,000 votes.** Only in the United States of America could the candidate who won fewer votes be made — crowned — president by the U.S. Supreme Court and his cronies (such as his brother, who was governor of the pivotal state that he “won,” and the chief elections official of that state who made damn sure that he “won” it), and this is yet another of those wonderful, deeply anti-democratic events during my lifetime that has shaped my current outlook.

So Al Gore’s win/loss in 2000 might have been the death knell for the eggheaded Democratic presidential candidate, but isn’t there some middle ground between a Bill Clinton and an Adlai Stevenson?

You might argue that President Barack Obama more or less fills that middle ground, since he’s known as both intelligent and non-nerdy (and, importantly, highly unlikely to be blown by an intern), but today we have Obama in a race for re-election that shouldn’t be nearly as close as it is, and probably wouldn’t be as close as it is had Obama spent his first two years in office actually delivering upon his ubiquitous 2008 promises of hope and change while both houses of Congress were controlled by his own party, a rare alignment of the stars that never should be squandered, and that even George W. Bush, dipshit that he is, did not squander. (Nor did Bush II, dipshit that he is, shit and piss all over his own fucking base, which seems to be the Obama administration’s and the Obamabots’ favorite fucking pastime.)

In Barack Obama, other than in empty rhetoric and false promises, we see precious little of the spirit of George McGovern that used to infuse the Democratic Party. In Obama we see instead the cynical, opportunistic, center-right spirit of Bill Clinton, an approach that the modern Democratic Party argues is the only approach that works, yet in actuality has no track record of effectiveness.

Again, in my book, Bill Clinton won in 1992 in no small part because of “spoiler” Ross Perot, and again, in 1992 Clinton garnered a plurality (43 percent of the popular vote), not a majority. (The only other president during my lifetime who garnered not even a full 44 percent of the popular vote was Richard Nixon in 1968, the year of my birth.)

Clinton again failed to get a full majority even in 1996 (he got 49 percent of the popular vote), and in his 1996 (and pre-Lewinsky) re-election bid he benefitted from having an incredibly wooden Repugnican opponent in Bob Dull — er, Dole — and he benefitted from a strong economy, which, again, I am not certain how much resulted from his economic policies and how much resulted from the natual ebb and flow of the nation’s economy.

Let’s reflect upon the fact that Barack Obama garnered 53 percent of the popular vote in 2008, which was better that Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever did in the elections from 1992 through 2004. Obama’s 53 percent in 2008 bested Jimmy Carter’s and John F. Kennedy’s take of the popular vote, too.

How did Obama do it?

Again, he ran on a progressive (if too-vague) platform of hope and change. That was the bait.

Obviously, if Obama hadn’t perceived that that was what the majority of Americans wanted, that wouldn’t have been what he promised.

That progressivism is what the majority of Americans wanted, and that progressivism is what Obama Version 2008 promised (even if gauzily), even though his hacks (the Obamabots) love to engage in historical revision and deny that fact, but what Obama has delivered as president is just more Clintonesque, center-right, “bipartisan,” Repugnican-ass-licking bullshit, replete with Billary Clinton as his secretary of state and Bill Clinton as his current campaign surrogate.

So the news of George McGovern’s death early this morning at a hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at age 90 only underscores for me, with another presidential election only a little more than two weeks away, the fact that the Democratic Party of today is only a shadow of what it used to be.

I lament that the only presidents named George whom I got during my lifetime are surnamed Bush, and I have to wonder how George McGovern felt about the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who turned the Democratic Party into the center-right, corporate-ass-licking, lesser-of-two-evils monstrosity of a fundraising machine that it is today.

And I can’t see how I can honor the memory of George McGovern by blackening the oval next to the name of Barack Obama on the mail-in ballot that sits just yards from me right now as I type this sentence, yet unmarked.

*Wikipedia’s entry on George McGovern reports, in part:

George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922-October 21, 2012) was a historian, author and U.S. representative, U.S. senator and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.

McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota…. [After he fought in World War II] he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D., and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected there in 1962.

As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.

The subsequent McGovern-Fraser Commission fundamentally altered the Democratic presidential nominating process, by greatly increasing the number of caucuses and primaries and reducing the influence of party insiders.

The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment sought to end the Vietnam War by legislative means but was defeated in 1970 and 1971.

McGovern’s long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph in gaining the Democratic nomination but left the party badly split ideologically, and the failed vice-presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton undermined McGovern’s credibility. In the general election McGovern lost to incumbent Richard Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in American history. Re-elected senator in 1968 and 1974, McGovern was defeated in a bid for a fourth term in 1980.

Throughout his career, McGovern was involved in issues related to agriculture, food, nutrition, and hunger….

Wikipedia also notes that anyone running against the incumbent Nixon would have had an uphill battle anyway, but after high-profile Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey and other Democrats declined to be McGovern’s running mate, McGovern picked U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, whom McGovern later replaced with Kennedy clan in-law Sargent Shriver after Eagleton’s history of treatment for mental illness came to light, casting doubt on his fitness to handle the presidency if it came to that, and raising doubts about McGovern’s judgment.

Wikipedia notes that Team McGovern didn’t vet Eagleton thoroughly and that Eagleton and his wife intentionally kept Eagleton’s hospitalizations for mental illness from McGovern. Bloomberg notes that less than a week after McGovern had proclaimed that he supported Eagleton “1,000 percent,” he replaced Eagleton with Shriver.

Bloomberg notes that McGovern later wrote in his autobiography, “I did what I had to, but the Eagleton matter ended whatever chance there was to defeat Richard Nixon in 1972. In the minds of many Americans the Eagleton episode convicted me of incompetence, vacillation, dishonesty and cold calculation, all at the same time.”

Bloomberg notes that “The Eagleton misstep ushered in today’s rigorous vetting of potential vice presidential candidates,” which doesn’t really explain what happened with Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin, but whatever…

**You might argue that the last Democratic egghead who ran for president actually was John Kerry in 2004, and while he does hail from Massachusetts, a la egghead Michael Dukakis (indeed, Kerry was Dukakis’ lieutenant governor), Vietnam vet Kerry ran such a war-hero campaign (the “swiftboaters'” defamation of him notwithstanding) that, in my estimation, anyway, he fairly escaped being branded as an egghead.

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Obama’s ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ moment?

So this exchange between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was caught on a live microphone today:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this — this can be solved, but it’s important for him [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Is this going to become Obama’s “Etch-A-Sketch” moment? That is, is Obama going to be pilloried for playing the game of politics the way that it is played?

A spokesperson for Mittens Romney was criticized for having simply pointed out the obvious fact that a fall presidential campaign is different from the primary season presidential campaign — duh.* If you don’t tailor your message to your audience — and the national audience is very different from a deeply partisan audience — then you’re a clueless fucktard who is going to fail with your audience. (Thankfully, it is Prick Santorum’s apparent refusal to modify his far-right-wing, “Christo”fascist message that will prevent him from ever sitting in the Oval Office.)

Not dissimilarly, Obama was uttering an obvious political truth: that a U.S. president has a degree of freedom in his (or, someday, her) second term that he (or she) does not have in his or her first, when re-election still is a consideration. It’s not Obama’s fault that a U.S. president is granted only two four-year terms and thus is a “lame duck” in his or her second term. As much as the wingnuts love to blame everything on the nation’s first black president, that political constriction is what he inherited.

Those who don’t recognize these obvious political realities are ignoramuses, and those who do recognize them but who nonetheless attempt to use them as political weapons are hypocrites unless they are trying to change the current political climate themselves. (And, of course, they’re not.)

Still, it’s not as though Obama has carte blanche in his second term. (I can’t see myself voting for President Hopey-Changey again, but I believe that he most likely will be re-elected.) Obama during his second term still would have the consideration of keeping the Oval Office in the hands of his own party come November 2016, so while his second term would give him more political wiggle worm than he has had thus far, I don’t expect a second Obama term to be much more aggressively progressive than has been his first term (which is a huge reason why I’m not giving him a penny this second go-around and why I very most likely will not give him my vote a second time).

Obama will prove to be, I surmise, far more cautious in his second term than was “President” George W. Bush, who bragged about the shitload of “political capital” that his 2004 “re”-election “win”** supposedly gave him, even though Bush had garnered only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004.

While Bush sat on his laurels during his second term as the unelected-but-U.S.-Supreme-Court-coronated monarch of America, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 pretty much swept away his party’s chances of keeping the White House come November 2008. (Recall that on the day that Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, August 29, 2005 — and would leave more than 1,800 confirmed dead in its wake — Bush was in Arizona having birthday cake with John McCainosaurus to celebrate the latter’s 69th birthday, even though forecasters had predicted at least two days in advance that Katrina likely was to be devastating to the Gulf Coast.)

In his second term I expect Barack Obama to be much more vigilant than that.

*Of course, given Mittens’ reputation as a flip-flopper, the Team Mittens spokesperson could have chosen his words much better than to have uttered: “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

It was quite foreseeable that the “Etch-A-Sketch” comparison would boomerang.

**The pivotal state of Ohio probably was stolen in 2004, just as the pivotal state of Florida most definitely was in 2000.

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Perry is scary — and YES, he COULD win the White House

Texas Gov. Rick Perry bows his head as he leads a  prayer at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Perry attended the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Associated Press photo

Repugnican Tea Party Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads thousands of “Christo”fascist zombies* in “prayer” in Houston yesterday. The widely wildly misunderestimated Perry is No. 2 in recent nationwide polls of Repugnican Tea Party traitors regarding whom they want to be the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate. In most of these polls Perry is only two or three percentage points behind long-time front-runner Mitt Romney.

Every time I hear some smug, “liberal,” baby-boomer “expert” — like Salon.com’s Joan Walsh or MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell — pontificate that Repugnican Tea Party Texas Gov. Rick Perry has zero chance of becoming the next president of the United States of America, I cringe.

While it is true that former Texas Gov. George W. Bush lost the popular vote in the presidential election of 2000 — and that he became “president” only through fraud** — it is chilling that an abject dumbfuck like Bush even came close enough to be able to steal the 2000 presidential election. It is even more chilling that Americans just allowed BushCheneyCorp to blatantly steal that election.

And do we really have good reason to believe that Americans wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, that Americans have learned their lesson, even after all that the unelected Bush regime put our nation through?

I suspect that because “liberal” elites like Walsh and O’Donnell can’t imagine themselves or anyone they know voting for Rick Perry for president, they believe that there’s no way in hell that Perry could muster enough votes even to be close enough to be able steal the 2012 presidential election like Bush did back in 2000.

Methinks that Walsh and O’Donnell and their ilk, to put it as Bush might put it, dangerously misunderestimate the stupidity of the American populace.

No doubt, a Perry presidency would be another disaster upon disasters, but to believe that this fact is blatantly obvious to a majority of Americans is a huge mistake.

Where to begin as to what a Perry presidency would look like?

Someone who claims, directly or indirectly, that he (or she) governs based upon how God instructs him (or her) to govern — well, I see precious little difference between someone like Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann (or George W. Bush) and an “Islamofascist” cleric where it comes to the claim that one has a hotline to God. The only difference I see is that one theofascist claims Islam and the other theofascist claims Christianity. (To be fair and balanced, plenty of Jews are into theofascism, too. Look at Israel.)

No one has a fucking hotline to God. (The fact that there is no fucking anthropomorphic God aside.) One who makes that claim is either mentally ill, delusionally believing that his or her own thoughts and impulses are God-given, or is a fucking liar, purposefully falsely claiming that he or she takes marching orders from God in order to be able to get what he or she wants. (Perry strikes me as belonging to the latter category.)

The past American decade — a lost decade, for sure, and this decade is shaping up to be another lost American decade — has been one of war and war profiteering in the Middle East, which has come in no small part because the United States of America is a “Christian” nation. With a majority of Americans calling themselves “Christians” — without even being familiar with Jesus’ actual words as printed in black and white in the New Testament, so that being a “Christian” in the U.S. is much more about identifying with a tribe or a team than it is about actually being a Christian, if we define a “Christian” as someone who knows and who at least tries to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ — the indiscriminate slaughter of Muslims and Arabs in the Middle East has been A-OK with most Americans.

It long has been our “defense” spending that is killing us here at home, that has made us a debtor nation. So entrenched are the treasonous looters of the U.S. treasury who comprise the military-industrial complex, however, that when it’s said that we must slash the federal budget, slashing the bloated-beyond-belief “defense” budget rarely is mentioned. Instead, it is programs that actually help Americans here at home — instead of programs that slaughter Muslims and Arabs abroad for the war profiteering and the corporateering of the treasonous, plutocratic few — that are put on the chopping block. 

So — would a President Perry end the wars in the Middle East that have drained the United States of America of its lifeblood to benefit only the blood-sucking plutocratic parasites? If President Hopey-Changey hasn’t done so, we could expect another former Texas governor to do so?

Not fucking likely.

A President Perry would escalate our wars for the war profiteers and the corporateers and would escalate the deep decay here at home. As shitty as things are now, under a President Perry things would get much, much, much worse.

But would that stop Americans from putting Perry into the White House?

No. I don’t think so.

Americans are dipshits. They know so little about politics that when things aren’t to their liking, they just vote for the candidate from the other party.*** They weren’t happy with Gee Dubya’s second term, so in November 2008 they voted for Barack Obama. They aren’t happy with Obama’s first term, so yes, I can see them in November 2012 voting for Rick Perry (or for whomever the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate turns out to be).

In normal times — we haven’t had anything like normal times since the 1990s, so it’s hard even to remember what normal times are like — it is probably true that a radical right-winger like Perry couldn’t make it to the White House, but these aren’t normal times.

George W. Bush got into the White House the first time through fraud (made possible by widespread American apathy) and the second time through fear. The traitors who comprised BushCheneyCorp milked 9/11 for political gain for as long as they could (it probably wasn’t until August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, that BushCheneyCorp no longer could use 9/11 for political gain; by the time Hurricane Katrina hit, the unelected emperor was quite nude).

As our economic meltdown continues — in no small part because the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have done their best to keep the economy in meltdown, because they figure that that is the best way for them to recapture the White House and both houses of Congress — panicky voters are more likely than they otherwise would be to vote for an obvious fascist like Rick Perry.

It is true that Barack Obama didn’t create the nation’s economic mess. He inherited it from the BushCheneyCorp, which for eight long years of nightmarish, unelected rule, wrecked the nation just as Gee Dubya had wrecked the state of Texas before he stole the White House.

However, Obama has handled our nation’s economy shittily. Rather than having enacted left-wing economic policies that have lifted the nation out of an economic ditch before (think FDR), Obama instead has enacted only half-assed, weak-hearted, “bipartisan” measures or he has just given the Repugnican Tea Party traitors the items on their Ayn-Randian economic wish list, such as trillions in federal budget cuts (except for “defense,” of course) without any tax increases for the rich and the super-rich.

In the process, Obama has alienated his own base, something that George W. Bush, as incredibly stupid as he is, never would have done. Obama and his spokesweasels have referred to those of us on the left as “the professional left” and as “sanctimonious.” Obama repeatedly has claimed that he is emulating Ronald Reagan, one of the figures most hated by the left. I don’t remember George W. Bush ever claiming that he was emulating John F. Kennedy. What the fuck?

With Obama working overtime to lick the asses of the “swing voters,” to convince them that he’s not one of the left-wing crazies, but that he idolizes Ronald Fucking Reagan, why in the fuck should the “swing voters” vote for him, then? If Obama is a “Democrat” who is claiming to be a Repugnican Tea Partier, why in the hell shouldn’t the “swing voter” just go ahead and vote for the actual Repugnican Tea Party candidate?

No one respects Obama’s “bipartisanship.” They can only see him for what he is: an unprincipled political sellout who thinks that he’s so fucking smart that he can fool everyone into voting for him, regardless of where he or she sits on the political spectrum.

I surmise that if Obama would stick steadfastly to a side, he’d find a lot more respect — even from many (if not even most) of those who disagree with him. At least they could respect his conviction. No one respects a milquetoast sellout.

But Obama’s unfounded arrogance is infectious. He has plenty of Obamabots, like Joan Walsh and Lawrence O’Donnell, who apparently are in denial over Obama’s weakness, proclaiming that there’s no way that Obama can lose re-election.

Oh, but he can.

Let’s recap:

  • Obama has lost his own base, the “sanctimonious” members of the “professional left” who, in addition to voting consistently, actually give money, time and energy to Democratic campaigns (as opposed to those who just call themselves “Democrats” and who maybe consistently vote for Dems)
  • Obama, by diddling the “swing voters” so much, has basically told them that he’s so much like the Repugnican Tea Party traitors that they might as well vote for an actual Repugnican Tea Party traitor (as much as 20 percent of the electorate appear to be in the “swing voter” category)
  • Probably at least 40 percent of the electorate is going to vote for the Repugnican Tea Party candidate, whoever it is, and would rather die than cast a vote for Barack Obama no matter what he says or does (true, most of these are just racists/white supremacists, but they probably comprise at least a good one-third of the electorate) 

Yet, given all of this, Obama’s re-election is assured?

Yeah, I don’t fucking see it.

And neither, I assure you, does this guy:

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2011, file photo Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs up as he takes the stage at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis in Houston. The GOP electorate has made clear in polls that it wants more choices, perhaps a conservative who is strong both on economic and social issues, leading Perry to consider a White House bid. A nationally televised debate, a test vote in Iowa and a candidacy by Perry, should he decide to seek the GOP nomination, could shake up the Republican presidential race in the coming days. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Associated Press photo

*Photographic evidence for my use of the term “zombies”:

Participants sing and pray at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to attend the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Joy, who did not want to give her last name, prays at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to attend the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Worshipers pray during The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry attended the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A woman prays at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry attended the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A man raises his Bible as he prays at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick  Perry attended the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Lucy West, of Killeen, Texas, prays at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to attend the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Associated Press photos

**Gee Dubya’s brother Jeb at the time was the governor of the pivotal state of Florida, which Gee Dubya “won”; Florida’s chief elections official, Katherine Harris, had sat on the state’s committee to elect Gee Dubya, in a blatant conflict of interest; and the Repugnican-stacked U.S. Supreme Court decided to just crown Gee Dubya as president, regardless of the American voters’ intent.

***In the voters’ defense, self-interested sellout assholes like Barack Obama don’t exactly help them to see any fucking difference between the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Tea Party, which I have come to think of as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party.

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Whom to believe: the Taliban’s video — or my own fucking lying government?

Berg and Bergdahl: Above is a video grab of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American civilian who was held captive and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004, and below is a video grab of Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier who now is being held captive by members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I’m hoping that Bergdahl’s fate turns out to be better than that of Berg.

This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video ...

Associated Press image

So I read in the news today that a 23-year-old American soldier from Podunk, Idaho named Bowe Bergdahl is being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and I see his image, and he eerily reminds me, way too much, of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American telecommunications entrepeneur who was captured and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004.

Not only are their surnames too similar, but their images are too similar, and I hope that Bergdahl, unlike Berg did, comes home safely, in one piece.

The Associated Press reports today of a 28-minute Taliban video of Bergdahl:

In the video, Bergdahl had his head shaved and was seen with the start of a beard. He was sitting and dressed in a nondescript, gray outfit. Early in the video one captor held the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera. His name and ID number were clearly visible. He was shown eating at one point and sitting cross-legged.

He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. It’s clear the video was made no earlier than July 14 because Bergdahl repeated an exaggerated Taliban claim about a Ukrainian helicopter that was shot down that day.

He was interviewed in English by his captors. He was asked his views on the war, which he called extremely hard; his desire to learn more about Islam; and the morale of American soldiers, which he said was low.

Asked how he was doing, the soldier said: “Well I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”

He later choked up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

“I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day when I’m gone,” he said.

He was prompted by his interrogators to give a message to the American people.

“To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it’s like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home,” he said. “Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country. Please bring us home. It is America and the American people have that power.”

Of course the U.S. military was quick to imply that Bergdahl couldn’t possibly have said anything like that on his own accord, but that of course he was coerced by his captives to say that. Reports the AP:

“I’m glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video,” spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker said. “They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.”

Like the United States never violates international law (such as with the unelected Bush regime’s launch of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003 against the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and against world opinion) and like the U.S. military doesn’t produce propaganda videos (such as with its G.I.-Joe-like recruitment ads targeted at our young cannon fodder for the military-industrial complex).

And the members of the Taliban are exploiting Bergdahl no more than the U.S. military has exploited Bergdahl.

Bergdahl is, after all, fully expected to die for the obscene profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who send our precious young people off to their wars for their obscene profits, if it comes to that. And in Bergdahl’s case it just might come to that.

How does Sidenstricker sleep at night, being a spokesnake for the military-industrial complex, I wonder? (And doesn’t Sidenstricker sound like a great surname for a spokesnake, kind of like sidewinder?) How does Sidenstricker feel, I wonder, selling out her own comrades to those greedy, evil overlords who so casually put them into the meat grinder to which they never would subject their own cowardly selves?

The sad thing is that I don’t know whom to believe: the Taliban, who put out the video of Bergdahl apparently saying of his own accord that he and his comrades want to come home — I mean, what 23-year-old lower-to-middle-class American male used as a pawn in a war in the Middle East would not want to die for the obscene, oily profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who sent him there without a second thought but who never would put themselves in harm’s way? — or the U.S. government, even when it is under Barack Obama.

Perhaps even especially when it is under Obama, because at least when it was under the auspices of the BushCheneyCorp, the fascism was rather evident, but under the auspices of the Obama administration, fascism wears a happy face.

P.S. I just watched the entire video of Bergdahl (via this web page), in which he responds to a series of questions by an English-speaking inquisitor who remains off-camera.

It is difficult to say what Bergdahl actually believes and what he might have been coerced by his captors to say, such as when discussing the allegation that the U.S. government has underreported the number of deaths of American troops in Afghanistan (and misinformed the American people on the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan in general), the suicide deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, U.S. troops deserting in Afghanistan, and scared American troops “hiding behind” their superior military technology, whereas the low-tech Taliban fighters cannot do so, but must rely on their bravery.

In the video Bergdahl states (whether it is what he actually believes or whether it is what he has been coerced to state): “My message to my government is to remove Americans from Afghanistan, because that’s not where we belong…. My county’s first concern should be its [own] people…. We can’t go around fixing other countries … when we haven’t removed our own problems. When our [own] country is failing, we can’t help anyone else….”  

I can see Bergdahl genuinely believing that — because it’s an oft-ignored-in-the-United-States thing called the truth.

I won’t just assume, like a good little brainwashed American is supposed to, that because he’s being held captive, Bergdahl believes none of what he said during his half-hour interview with his English-speaking inquisitor.

I don’t know enough about Bergdahl and his beliefs and the circumstances of his capture, which differ wildly based upon who is relating those circumstances.

“On July 2, two U.S. officials told the AP [that Bergdahl] had ‘just walked off’ his base with three Afghans after his shift,” the AP notes, adding, “On July 6, the Taliban claimed on their website that five days earlier ‘a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison’ and was captured by mujahedeen.”

If it is true that Bergdahl “just walked off,” that sounds like desertion to me, and if Bergdahl did desert, then I’d tend to believe that he believes at least some of his statements in his half-hour interview. But during the interview, Bergdahl states that he was captured by the Taliban when he was lagging behind his comrades during a patrol.

So who knows?

In any case, that the U.S. government, which spends millions if not billions of Americans’ tax dollars on propaganda campaigns to brainwash Americans here at home (yes, they use our own money against us) as well as to brainwash individuals abroad, would denounce the Taliban’s video as “propaganda” is risible; the U.S. government calling it “propaganda” constitutes the practice of propaganda itself.

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Hypocrisy, thy name is Repugnican

So Repugnicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for having made some professional basketball picks and for having planned to appear on Jay Leno’s show tonight.

After all, shouldn’t Obama perpetually be miserable, knee deep in the shit that Repugnican “President” George W. Bush left behind for him?

No, Obama should find time to enjoy himself now and then.

George W. Bush certainly did. It was during one of his many vacations at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that Bush received the Aug. 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

Bush was on vacation and just couldn’t be bothered to do anything about the worst terrorist attack upon mainland American soil that would take place the following month.

According to this source, more than a year before his first term was over, Bush already had taken more vacation days than President Bill Clinton took during both of his terms in the White House. (The least-vacationing modern president, according to this source? The much-maligned Jimmy Carter.)

So yeah, I think that we can allow President Obama to enjoy himself from time to time. And that the Repugnicans, who never criticized Bush for his many vacations, can go fuck themselves.

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Keep wanting that revolution

Will the American poor ever go after the American rich’s riches? Uh, no, because the rich own a vast propaganda machine (the flagship of which is Fox “News”) that has convinced the poor that the redistribution of wealth is a bad thing for them.

Lefty editorial cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall concludes his current column:

…What happens next, I think, is that people will do what large numbers of people always do when they need money and food but can’t find a job: They will start to think about the rich, who still have all the wealth they accumulated while money was still circulating. And they will take it from them.

It might be the easy way, through liberal-style income redistribution. Or it might be the hard way. Either way, it goes against the laws of nature to expect starving people to allow a few individuals to sit on vast aggregations of wealth….

With the economic distress we’re likely to see in the coming year or two or three, revolution will become increasingly likely unless money starts coursing through the nation’s economic veins, and soon.

Will it be a soft revolution of government-mandated wealth distribution through radical changes in the tax structure and the construction of a European-style safety net, as master reformer FDR presided over when he saved capitalism from itself?

Or will the coming revolution be something harder and bloodier, like the socioeconomic collapse that destroyed Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union?

To a great extent, what happens next will depend on how Barack Obama proceeds in his first weeks as president.

Damn — do even I write that apocalyptically?

Don’t get me wrong; I do wish for another American revolution. But I don’t have my hopes up that fat-assed Americans will put down their Big Gulps and get out of their lard-hauling scooters long enough to, um, revolt. (Oh, they’re revolting, all right, but in a different sense of the term…)

I mean, a pattern emerges: A man named George Bush takes Oval Office and wrecks the economy; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Then a Democrat takes the helm and the economy recovers; there is (relative) prosperity, under which Americans grow fat and lazy. Then, because Americans are fat and lazy and can’t be bothered with something like preventing the utter destruction of their democracy, another man named George Bush steals office and wrecks the economy, just like his fucking father did. Then another Democrat takes the helm. Presumably the economy will recover and even eventually blossom under President Barack Obama and Americans will become even fatter and lazier.

But after President Obama will Americans be fucking stupid enough to put another Bush into the White House, as Grandpappy George Bush suggests they should, in his son Jeb? (Will Americans perhaps even allow Jeb Bush to steal the White House like his brother did?)

I mean, aren’t we being played? A Repugnican president (usually with the surname of Bush) brings the nation to the brink of utter ruin and then a Democrat fixes things, only to have the whole cycle repeat itself?

Revolution?

I’m not going to buy a pitchfork or a torch just yet.

Obama’s numbers in the public opinion polls are pretty fucking good. To a solid majority of Americans, Obama is fucking Superman. Or at least Batman (and, as Catwoman noted in the second Tim Burton “Batman” movie, Americans are always waiting around for some hero to save them from their own fucking messes).

A Gallup poll taken last month found that 32 percent of Americans listed Barack Obama as their most admired man living today anywhere in the world. George W. Bush came in a distant second place at only 5 percent. (John McCainosaurus? He came in third place, with only 3 percent. I’m surprised that he did as well as he did on Nov. 4…)

Polls taken last month found that at least 75 percent of Americans approve of the job that Obama is doing thus far in his transition to the White House.

Obama’s shit doesn’t stink — at least right now. He’s riding high.

Americans seem to fully expect Obama to save them.

As long as things don’t get much, much worse than they are now, I don’t see the forcible redistribution of wealth that the Repugnican plutocrats so fear.

The tagline of Rall’s current column reads: “There’s Plenty of Money Around. Let’s Take It.” That’s my dream (and apparently Rall’s, t0o) and a plutocrat’s nightmare, but the Repugnicans, with their incessant propaganda campaigns, have convinced enough stupid poor people that the redistribution of wealth somehow is a bad thing for them — “socialism” and “Communism,” you know — that the rich and the super-rich and the super-fucking-rich are pretty safe, I think, atop their mountains of cash that they stole from the rest of us.

And just enough Americans have bought Barack Obama’s promises of “hope” and “change” — last month 63 percent of Americans polled said that they feel “hopeful” for 2009, while only 35 percent said “fearful” — that I don’t see that revolution coming any day soon.

When things are this shitty, things have to improve only a little for people to think that things have turned around again, even though the bar keeps getting lower and lower and lower. 

Yeah — we’re being played…

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