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Focusing on racism, real and contrived, will ensure that ‘shitholes’ remain so

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Image from trumphole.tumblr.com

“President” Pussygrabber on Thursday told a group of U.S. senators and representatives that he doesn’t want people from “shithole countries” immigrating to the United States. I always thought of a “shithole” as that hole in the “president’s” face that continuously spews out shit, but whatever…

The definition of a “shithole” is “an extremely dirty, shabby or otherwise unpleasant place.”

In comparison to standard (that is, at-least-middle-class) U.S. living conditions, there are many “shitholes” outside of the United States and, of course, within the U.S.

Haiti, for instance, would be a “shithole” as defined above. There’s no calling Haiti a fucking paradise, methinks. And most of the world’s most impoverished nations indeed are in Africa.

However, there is a difference between you or I using the term “shithole” and the “president” using the term, and there is a difference between (fairly objectively, once we have defined the term) calling a place a “shithole” — and then thereby deeming its inhabitants to be inherently inferior (which pretty much is the definition of “racism”).

“President” Pussygrabber’s mere use of the term “shithole” obviously is not presidential (but nothing about him is presidential), but it’s not necessarily racist in and of itself. Again, if an impoverished region or nation accurately can be called a “shithole,” then, indeed, “shitholes” abound.

That said, Pussygrabber’s professed preferences among the world’s nations from which he believes we should accept immigrants absolutely reeks of racism.

The Washington Post yesterday indicated that during a meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Pussygrabber referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes” from which he wants no immigrants and proclaimed that he prefers immigrants from nations like Norway.*

I don’t know how else to translate that except that Pussygrabber, like his supporters and most of the members of the Repugnican Party, prefers white immigrants (especially those with money**) to non-white immigrants, especially brown-skinned immigrants (and especially those without money).

The United States is supposed to be a welcoming nation. At the Statue of Liberty is this plaque of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”:

File:Emma Lazarus plaque.jpg

The poem goes:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The second stanza is the most-quoted, but the first stanza is important, too: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land” is an anti-imperialist and anti-militarist sentiment, a sentiment that has been largely to mostly lost; for many if not even most American citizens, the U.S. is and always should remain the conquering colossus, not the “mother of exiles.”

And “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” sounds pretty fucking anti-aristocratic to me. Yet “President” Pussygrabber blatantly proclaims that he much prefers “your storied pomp” to “your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Don’t send these! he repeatedly proclaims.

But ironically, the standard of living that most Americans enjoy largely to even mostly comes at the expense of those from poorer, exploited nations whose inhabitants Pussygrabber and his supporters want to keep out.

Indeed, the United States is not the “mother of exiles,” but is that conquering colossus that helps to create exiles. Many if not most — probably most — of us U.S. citizens, in order to deny our role in poverty here and abroad, tell ourselves and each other that poverty primarily is caused by individual laziness and stupidity (and perhaps also by racial inferiority).

To further exculpate ourselves, we callously ignore major factors in global poverty, including the brutal effects of European colonialism that still grip billions of people today, including brutal global capitalism and the insane income inequality that it creates, climate change (caused, of course, by capitalism) and other environmental devastation (caused, of course, by capitalism) and otherwise harsh environments that make it difficult to impossible for human beings to thrive.

Indeed, many to most (probably most) U.S. citizens are perfectly fine with insane income inequality from capitalist exploitation and with environmental devastation from capitalist exploitation — as long as they are not among the worst victims of these wrongs.

Our moral duty as U.S. citizens is to try to help those around the globe — by living more sustainably and more responsibly and less selfishly ourselves, if nothing else — not to shut out those who aren’t as materially successful as we are and who aren’t as materially successful as we are in no tiny part because of us.

In our current environment of toxic identity politics, though — which is aided and abetted by many if not most who call themselves “Democrats” — all that we want to see is racism (and/or sexism/misogyny), real and even fabricated, because focusing only on identity politics, which keeps capitalist exploitation perfectly intact, allows us to continue to blithely ignore the socioeconomic devastation that plagues billions of human beings around the globe for our own selfish benefit.

We’ll say that we oppose racism, that you shouldn’t be judged based upon the color of your skin, but we’ll still gladly allow you to die en masse because of the excessive lifestyle that we refuse to relinquish.

“Mother of exiles”? Hell, no! We’re the motherfucking U. S. of A., the conquering colossus!

P.S. Race and class are indeed closely intertwined. There very apparently is a close correlation between race and income level in the United States, for example. Per Wikipedia, in 2015 the median household income for Asians in the U.S. was $74,245; for whites, $59,698; and for blacks, $36,544, the lowest median household income for all races.

As I have noted many times before, it rankles me that while we American commoners are too busy discussing race, often fighting among ourselves over it, our plutocratic overlords continue to increase income inequality, which harms people of all races.

That said, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time; we have to fight both racism and income inequality at the same time. Thing is, you can’t legislate a racist becoming a non-racist.*** You can, however, pass legislation (eliminate tax loopholes for corporations, raise taxes on the super-rich, keep raising the minimum wage, etc.) to reduce income inequality.

Finally, because race and class are so closely intertwined, in the case of “President” Pussygrabber, who was born into wealth (apparently he inherited his family’s real-estate business), to me it’s difficult to tell how classist he is vs. how racist he is.

For example, is his main problem with Haitans that most of them are black — or that most of them are poor?

Despite the fact that he was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, Pussygrabber apparently equates being poor with being a loser, and, perhaps because of his German background, he sees the poor as being weak and thus undesirable, and he always has shown a Nazi Germanic obsession with strength as he defines it.

After all, Pussygrabber advocates that immigrants to the U.S. already be rich, very apparently missing the fact that for many if not most of these already-rich immigrants, coming to the U.S. would be a step down.

*Pussygrabber is OK with some Asian immigrants, WaPo quotes the White House, since Asians tend to have and to make money. Pussygrabber apparently really has it out for the Haitians, probably because they’re the most impoverished nation that’s closest to the United States (as well as because of their race, of course), but, to be fair, U.S. immigration policy long has been rough on Haitians, including the historical preference for Cuban immigrants over Haitian immigrants, even though the island nations are neighbors.

**Why the fuck would white immigrants who live in nations whose governments actually believe in taking care of their inhabitants and their environment want to come to the United States, only to be thrown, like chum, to the corporations for their shark-like, treasonous profiteering? (Western nations whose per-capita wealth is higher than that of the United States include Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.)

***That said, anti-discrimination laws and hate-crime laws are critically important; perhaps you cannot change a racist’s mind, but you have to punish a racist’s crimes against others.

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‘President’ Pussygrabber sets fascist, deregulatory, anti-government tone

“These smug pilots have lost touch with regular passengers like us. Who thinks I should fly the plane?”

Cartoon from The New Yorker

I watched “President” Pussygrabber’s inauguration speech live today out of a sense of obligation to know exactly what toxic propaganda the fascist in chief is spewing into the political environment.

Thankfully it was a fairly short speech, and right off the bat Pussygrabber showed us the direction he’s dragging us in: Gub-mint baaad!

To hear Pussygrabber tell it, the nation’s ills are due to the craven, selfish gub-mint workers in D.C. (federal elected officials and federal civil servants, I presume) who for the past several years have been working for themselves instead of for the American people (I’d thought that it was the Mexicans and the Muslims whom we need to dispose of in order to Make America Great Again, but whatever…).

Pussygrabber huffed and puffed:

… For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you. …*

It’s funny, because I could have sworn that our corporate and other plutocratic overlords, most of them not in government, committed these crimes against us commoners — including by, yes, buying off way too many of those in D.C. — and it’s not that Pussygrabber truly believes that the government hasn’t helped the citizenry enough; no, it’s that the government has helped the citizenry too much, has been too regulatory.

The treasonous profiteers have a harder time treasonously profiteering at the expense of the people and of the planet when the government effectively is regulating bad actors.

Thus, we must put an anti-Environmental Protection Agency guy in charge of the EPA, an anti-Department of Energy guy in charge of the Department of Energy, an anti-public-school woman in charge of the Department of Education, and a white supremacist in charge of the Department of Justice, to name only some of the examples of Pussygrabbers’ having appointed rabid foxes on crack to guard the hen house.

And, of course, the filthy rich — Pussygrabber’s cohorts — want their massive tax breaks, and doing good, beneficial things for the citizenry takes tax dollars; therefore, we must convince the citizenry that the government spending tax dollars on them (even their own tax dollars) is bad.

And of course Pussygrabber and his deregulatory ilk have to falsely frame their deregulation schemes in terms of helping the average U.S. citizen when, in fact, deregulation more often than not harms the average citizen.

It’s all good, though; when the United States of America becomes a complete fucking free-for-all, a treasonous profiteer’s wet dream of deregulation, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth among the vast majority of those who incredibly stupidly voted for Pussygrabber. (Unfortunately, there also will be suffering for the millions of us who did not vote for Pussygrabber, and about 3 million more of us did not vote for him than did.)

Of course a billionaire never had any intention whatsofuckingever of helping the little guy. After all, he stole his billions from the legions of little guys. (You don’t get filthy rich by working; you get rich via the legalized thievery that is capitalism.)

In short order I expect the nation to go right back to the state it was at the end of “President” George W. Bush’s eight illegitimate years (or worse). I expect another nationwide economic collapse and environmental catastrophes (natural and man-made) for which the government is wholly unprepared and/or unwilling to manage effectively.

And, of course, we’ll probably have at least another unnecessary war; after all, as BushCheneyCorp knew fully well, the war profiteers can’t profiteer without a war, and it’s not that hard to fabricate a casus belli; a relentless campaign of propagandist lies will do the trick, as it did for the Vietraq War.

I mean, Pussygrabber already has started out just as Gee Dubya did: with a stolen presidential election. Nothing good follows a stolen election; a stolen election can be nothing else but a harbinger of doom. An individual who loses the popular vote but who takes office anyway isn’t a democratically elected individual.

And an individual who becomes president with the help of a foreign, enemy nation is a traitor — we’ll see how hard “President” Pussygrabber works to quash all further investigation into his very apparently treasonous ties to Russia and to his apparent puppeteer Putin.

With a patently fascist and treasonous “president” in the White House yet once again — yes, thank you, Gee Dubya, for helping to prepare us at least to some degree for Donald J. Trump — I am happy that I live in California, where regulation by the government makes our citizens’ lives better, not worse (if it decreases some bad corporate actors’ profits, oh, boo fucking hoo), and where I at least somewhat will be protected from the worst excesses from the unelected Pussygrabber regime.

We Californians, who reside in by far the most populous state in the nation and who voted for Billary Clinton over Pussygrabber by a margin of almost two to one, are not having this Pussygrabber bullshit and we plan to resist him the way that the Repugnican Teatards treasonously resisted the actually democratically elected Barack Obama every fucking step of the way.

As unpleasant as it is for me to hear “President” Pussygrabber speak even a short sentence, while he sickens me, as all neo-Nazis do — seriously, listening to even his short inauguration speech, one of the worst ever given, was work for me — I don’t feel that I didn’t do enough to try to prevent a “President” Trump.

From Day One I was a strong supporter of actual populist Bernie Sanders, whom I always saw as more likely to win the White House than the unlikable, corrupt, faux populist, Democrat in name only, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton.

I gave Sanders’ presidential campaign more than $1,000 over time and spent countless hours writing about him and discussing him with others. I even stood on my feet for at least two hours waiting to see him at a rally attended by thousands here in Sacramento in May.

But in the end, the “Democratic” dead-enders shoved the coronation of Billary Clinton down our throats — even though the nationwide polls, right up to the end of the Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses, consistently showed Bernie Sanders doing much better against Donald Trump than she — and as a result of that colossal collective “Democratic” stupidity, we now have “President” Pussygrabber.

Yes, blame the fucktards who voted for Pussygrabber in the general election, but blame the fucktards who supported Billary Clinton in the Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses, too.

Clintonism finally is dead now, thank Goddess, but now we have to deal with “President” Pussygrabber and the damage that he is going to wreak through his systematic dismantling of our institutions in order to benefit himself, his family and his rich cronies.

We survived George W. Bush, but I don’t know whether we’ll survive Pussygrabber.

I only know that I am part of the resistance, even though my conscience is clear and even though I can say, Don’t blame me — I voted for Bernie!

*Of course corruption, fraud, waste and abuse and even inefficiency should be rooted out in all levels of government and corrected, and of course in some states and locales (the vast majority of them Repugnican-controlled) the governments actually don’t do the people’s business but do the plutocrats’ business, but on the whole, all levels of government do the citizenry much more good than harm.

Government is all that stands between us peasants and our corporate overlords getting absolutely everything that they want from us and doing absolutely everything that they want to do to us.

This is why “President” Pussygrabber and his ilk want to destroy, or at least seriously cripple, government: So they can get to us more quickly and more easily.

“President” Pussygrabber must distract the angry hordes carrying torches and pitchforks from the real enemy: our millionaire and billionaire corporate overlords like Pussygrabber. Indeed, as the new head of the Repugnican Party, this is one of Pussygrabber’s chief jobs: to keep the faux populist propaganda flowing and to keep publicly identifying the wrong enemies of the people (Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and now, apparently, government workers and elected officials) so that our treasonous corporate overlords can continue to fuck us over blind.

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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

Image result for fidel castro

Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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88 years for a U.S. president to travel 90 miles; Cubans still have more to lose

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (Cubadebate/Ismael Francisco via AP)

Associated Press photo

The caption for the AP news photo above reads: “President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, [today]. Obama’s trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro’s ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries.”

The caption for the AP news photo below reads: “A poster features portraits of Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama and reads in Spanish, ‘Welcome to Cuba’ outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, [on Thursday]. Obama is scheduled to travel to the island [today], the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years.”

Steps Obama has taken to ease US restrictions on Cuba

Associated Press photo

If I can’t say much that’s positive about the Obama years — and I can’t* we at least can note that today Barack Obama historically became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit our island neighbor of Cuba. (Before today, Calvin Coolidge last visited Cuba, in 1928...)

It is pathetic that the United States remains so largely inimical to a nation only 90 miles away from it, but the history of Cuba and the United States (and Spain, too) is, um, complicated.

In its report on Cuba for 2015, Human Rights Watch noted:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

There are elections in Cuba, in which those 16 years and older may vote, but as only the Communist Party is allowed to exist, these elections are fairly bullshit; Cubans are allowed to chose only from those who pay fealty to the Communist Party (again, the only party that there is).

That said, here in the United States of America we have elections, but since the corporations give most of our elected officials obscene amounts of campaign cash and other monetary rewards to do their bidding instead of to act in the public good, and since this treasonous bullshit has been going on at least since the first (and hopefully the last) President Clinton, our corporately owned and controlled parties have become pretty indistinguishable — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party, I think of them lovingly — and so our so-called democracy is pretty fucking hollow, too.

For all intents and purposes, we Americans pretty much have one-party rule, as do the Cubans.

How else to explain that the lives of us American commoners never get better? If we had an actual democracy — a socialist democracy — instead of a corporatocracy/kleptocracy, our lives would actually improve.

Wingnuts, who want to turn Cuba into a wage-slave capitalist nation like the United States is (and who also, of course, want to turn Cuba into an island resort for wealthier Americans, as it used to be), routinely uber-hyperbolically claim that the Castro regime routinely executes its political opponents, but I see no mention in the Human Rights Watch report on Cuba linked to above that executions continue there.

(And, of course, our buddy Saudi Arabia continues to execute people — by public beheading, no less — and we Americans are perfectly fine with that, because we want fuel for our gas-guzzlers.

Also, I should add, the Cuban government since 2001 has had a moratorium on capital punishment, from which it made one exception in 2003, when it executed three people. The United States executed 22 people alone in 2015. [Texas is the most bloodthirsty state, having executed more than 525 people since 1976, whereas since 1976, 16 states have executed fewer than eight people each.])

Wikipedia does report that in the early years of the Castro regime there apparently were executions, with estimates ranging from around 220 executions from 1959 to 1987 (per Amnesty International) to many thousands (most of these latter accusers are anti-Castro wingnuts with an ax to grind, I surmise).

Wikipedia notes that

The Cuban government justified such measures on the grounds that the application of the death penalty in Cuba against war criminals and others followed the same procedure as that seen in the trials by the Allies in the Nuremberg trials.

Some Cuban scholars maintain that had the government not applied severe legislation against the torturers, terrorists, and other criminals employed by the Batista regime, the people themselves would have taken justice into their own hands.

and that

The vast majority of those executed following the 1959 [Castro] revolution were policemen, politicians and informers of the [Fulgencio] Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.

Scholars generally agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused, but that the trials did not follow due process.

Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictator whom Fidel Castro and crew overthrew in 1959, is credited with having executed anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of his political opponents, but because he was right-wing, the right wing doesn’t talk about that.

Besides, to the wingnuts, right-wing dictators aren’t really dictators, since they are right-wing — as long as they obey American capitalists, that is (usually, this means handing over their nations’ natural resources [and human resources, in terms of very cheap labor] to American corporations for their profiteering, no matter how much this harms the host [“host” as in the victim of a parasite] nations) — and surely the left-wing rabble whom right-wing dictators have slaughtered had it coming.

So Cuba has a long way to go in terms of human rights — it must move to allow freer speech and political dissent, including allowing the existence of opposition parties and holding real, meaningful elections — but I understand, I believe, why the Cuban government is so closed off and so authoritarian: It knows that if the capitalists from the north can get their greedy fingers on the island and turn it into a wage-slave nation in which only a few prosper while the working-poor masses suffer from the obscene profiteering of the few, they will.

For this reason, as I have written**, while I welcome at least some opening up of Cuba (where I’d like to visit one day), I fear for the people of Cuba, too, lest the virulent pestilence that is anti-democratic wage-slave capitalism (masquerading as “democracy” and “freedom”) infect their sovereign island nation from the north.

The Cuban people would fare worse as wage slaves to American (and other) corporations than they fare now. 

Capitalistic oppression is no better, in terms of what it does to the human spirit, than is (big-“C”) Communist oppression.

*As I’ve noted here a million times, he had the opportunity and the political capital in 2009 and 2010 to push through a progressive agenda, and he spectacularly declined to do so, and once the Repugnican Tea Party traitors took back the House in 2010, that meant gridlock for the remainder of Obama’s presidency (and “Obamacare,” his “signature” “achievement,” contains virtually nothing that the for-profit health-insurance industry didn’t want it to contain).

**I wrote back in December 2014:

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’tbe an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, 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? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) 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?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.

I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins.

In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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Michael Moore’s new film on socialism* opens across the nation tomorrow

Where-to-Invade-Next_poster_goldposter_com_3

Michael Moore’s new film “Where to Invade Next,” which interestingly coincides with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, starts tomorrow. You can see if it’s playing near you by visiting the film’s website (click or tap here) and clicking or tapping on “screenings.”

In my fifth decade of life, not much excites me anymore, but I’m still excited by a new Michael Moore movie.

I saw Moore’s breakthrough film, “Bowling for Columbine,” here in Sacramento at one of our historical art houses when it came out — and Moore himself made an appearance inside of the movie theater and spoke for a while during the showing, which was a great treat.

(“Columbine” went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary for 2002. “Sicko” was nominated for Best Documentary for 2007, and Wikipedia notes that “Fahrenheit 9/11, at the time the highest-grossing documentary film in movie history, was ruled ineligible [for an Oscar nomination] because Moore had opted to have it played on television prior to the 2004 election.”)

While Bernie Sanders has stopped mentioning Denmark in his public appearances (Sanders does take feedback and he fairly rapidly adjusts accordingly), Moore’s newest film, “Where to Invade Next,” at least on its face seems to be an ad for Bernie, as in the film Moore apparently doesn’t travel to Denmark but does travel to Finland, Iceland and Norway (and to Germany, Italy, Portugal and France and other nations) and points out the areas in which these other nations do a much better job of taking care of their peoples than the United States does of taking care of its own.

The popularity of “Fahrenheit 9/11” didn’t prevent “President” George W. Bush from getting a second term, but in November 2004, Bush “won”** with a “mandate” of a whopping 50.7 percent of the popular vote.

(“Fahrenheit 9/11” helped to keep Bush’s margin of “victory” quite slim, I surmise — recall that in 2004 the “war on terror” was still fresh enough for the right wing to use fear tactics with the voters quite effectively and that the Repugnicans in 2004 also used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue and scare tactic — but despite its having been the top-grossing documentary of all time at that point, “Fahrenheit” wasn’t enough to boot an incumbent president, which is difficult to do.)

We’ll see how much of an effect “Where to Invade Next” has on the current presidential election cycle. I expect it to boost Bernie, whom Michael Moore has endorsed, of course.

I plan to see “Where to Invade Next” tomorrow, its opening day — at the same theater where I saw Michael Moore discuss “Bowling for Columbine” all of those years ago — and I plan to post a review of it no later than on Saturday or Sunday (probably Saturday).***

Yes, if I don’t like it, I’ll say so. Some of Moore’s films are better than his others. I rank his bigger films thusly, from my most favorite to less favorite: “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004), “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), “Capitalism: A Love Story” (2009), “Sicko” (2007) and “Roger & Me” (1989).

*We shouldn’t run away from the “s”-word. If the United State of America were so fucking free, then why do we commoners not have the freedom to discuss alternative socioeconomic models?

And if capitalism were so inherently and self-evidently great, and since it preaches competition, why can’t the capitalists handle any competition in the marketplace of ideas?

**I put “won” in quotation marks since you can’t win re-election if you never legitimately were elected in the first place (Al Gore won in November 2000 by more than a half-million votes, and Florida’s electoral votes were stolen blatantly) and because in 2004 there was plenty of electoral fishiness in the important swing state of Ohio, whose then-secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, was a Repugnican operative, much how swing state Florida’s former secretary of state, Katherine Harris, was a Repugnican operative in 2000 who delivered the state to Gee Dubya, with help from his then-governor brother Jeb! and the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, among others.

***Some time ago I used to post movie reviews regularly, but I’ve really dropped off from that, out of lack of time and out of my inability to see new movies as quickly as I’d like to sometimes. But I have to review a new Michael Moore movie…

 

 

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Billarybots in the corporate media punditry: A ‘God’-less Bernie ATTACKS!

Now that the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination is between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton, of course the attacks on Sanders have intensified. While Barack Obama has been painted as a Muslim, Sanders apparently is being painted as an atheist (gasp!) as well as a socialist (gasp! gasp! gasp!). And because the corporately owned and controlled media love to report on a fight, they’re portraying Sanders’ campaigning — that is, simply distinguishing himself from his main opponent — as “attacks” on poor Billary. Above is a screen grab of Sanders’ recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s television show, in which Kimmel asked Sanders whether he believes in “God” and Sanders did not give a direct “yes” or “no” response to the religious test for the presidency that long-time asshole Kimmel put before him. (Video of that exchange is here.) 

I supported Barack Obama in 2008*, and I remember that whenever he made a reference to “God” when he was running for the nation’s highest office, I cringed.

I didn’t much hold it against him, but held my nose and voted for him anyway. Although there is supposed to be no religious test for the presidency, up to now, anyway, pretty much any presidential candidate who hasn’t claimed to believe in the “Christian” equivalent of Zeus widely has been considered unelectable. Therefore, no presidential candidate has dared not to make such a claim, whether true or not.

Until now, apparently.

Last month I wrote of Bernie Sanders:

… I much would rather see a secular Muslim in the White House than I’d ever want someone like Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz (or Mittens the Mormon millionaire) in the White House. Because the issue isn’t nearly so much the content of the religion that we’re talking about, but how much one who is in power (or wishes to have more power) wishes to impose his or her religious beliefs upon the rest of us.

That is the problem — when theofascists just can’t/won’t keep their hateful, insane, dangerous dogmas to themselves, but wish to shove them down our throats, a la theocrat Kim Davis and those who publicly support her, including theocratic Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.

Where it comes to religion I am equal opportunity; I couldn’t support a right-wing Jew for president, either, because I can’t see a right-wing Jew keeping his or her right-wing religious ideology out of his or her governance.

Bernie Sanders, my chosen 2016 presidential candidate, was born to Jewish parents, but from his biography I gather that he’s quite secular, that he understands how critical is the separation between church and state, so he doesn’t frighten me in the least. I don’t see at all that Sanders has a hidden agenda of imposing Jewish law (which, I guess from my quick Internet research, is called “halakhah”) upon the land once in the Oval Office. …

So this isn’t news, but now that Bernie Sanders unquestionably is the only candidate who still might yet bring down Queen Billary Clinton, the attacks by the corporately owned and controlled media (which play the “God” card, since it’s good for bidness [more than 90 percent of Americans say that they believe in “God”]) — hard and soft attacks, direct and indirect attacks — are starting. (Well, not “starting,” really, but intensifying; the whole “socialist” thing has been anywhere from a sneer to a slam all along.)

Reports the Washington Post yesterday under the headline: “Bernie Sanders: Our First Non-religious President?” (remarks in [brackets] are mine):

Much of the attention paid to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has to do with the s-word: Can a socialist be elected president? How much of a socialist is he? What exactly is socialism? [Red-baiting is fun! It gets clicks! And advertising dollars!]

What many haven’t picked up on is that a Sanders presidency would be a first in a couple other ways. First, Sanders would be our first Jewish president. [Is that meant to scare people or enlighten them?] And second, while Sanders is culturally Jewish, he has said that he’s “not particularly religious” and has been described by some as agnostic [horrors!].

Asked during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show this [past] week whether he believed in God, Sanders demurred.

“I am who I am,” Sanders said. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

Sanders added: “This is not Judasim. This is what Pope Francis is talking about — that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

In political terms, this is what’s known as a dodge. It’s an economic and cultural vision that Sanders attempts to shoehorn into a religious conversation by noting that religious people like Pope Francis feel the same way. It’s basically saying, “I’d rather talk about poor people than God.” …

Just: Wow. (Again, that’s the Washington Post.) I’d add, of course, that Jesus Christ talked an awful lot about poor people, something that most of today’s American “Christians” simply ignore because they don’t want to help out the poor. (Most of them, in fact, haven’t actually read the New Testament, and those who have, have retained very little of it.)

How about we put Bernie Sanders in a huge tank of water with huge rocks tied to him? If he sinks, then he doesn’t believe in God! — and he’ll receive his just punishment!

That would be the spirit of the mob mentality of a “Bernie-Sanders-doesn’t-believe-in-God!” meme, if it metastasizes.

I don’t much give a fuck whether Bernie Sanders believes in “God” or not. I mean, I would hope that the person who has access to the nuclear codes, to paraphrase Jeb! Bush, is not actually so insane as to believe in a non-existent Zeus-like deity who, he believes, wants him to do this or that, as though he were fucking Moses (as at least half of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants claim — that “God” has communicated to them personally that he wants them to be president).

But since Bernie just doesn’t talk about religion (thank “God”!), and since his record and his history make it pretty clear that as president he would preside secularly, I’m fine with him.

The thugs, murderers and rapists who comprise ISIS claim that they believe in “God.” (To be fair, within the U.S. military we’ve long had plenty of “Christian” thugs, murderers and rapists of our own.) The Israelis, who have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, claim that they believe in “God” — indeed, they claim that they slaughter for “God,” as do their Palestinian adversaries (for whom I have much more sympathy than the Israelis, since far more of them die and since the Israelis long have had far more assistance from the United States than have the impoverished Palestinians [Israel apparently is the third-richest nation in the Middle East, behind Qatar and Kuwait; Palestine is the second-poorest nation in the Middle East, behind Yemen]).

George W. Bush, who, among other things, blatantly treasonously stole a presidential election in 2000; treasonously failed to protect Americans from “God”-driven terrorists on September 11, 2001 (on which almost 3,000 Americans were killed); treasonously started a wholly illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust, bogus war in Iraq in 2003 (in which more than 4,000 of our troops died for his lies and for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s war profiteering, and in which many, many more Iraqis were killed); and treasonously just allowed around 2,000 Americans to be killed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, claimed to be a huge believer in “God,” and look how much his belief in “God” benefited the nation and the world.

Billary Clinton claims to believe in “God,” but look at her record. She’s a war hawk (as the first [arguably viable] female president wannabe, she doesn’t want to appear to be weak on “defense”) — as long as she’s never put in harm’s way, it’s A-OK (she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War in October 2002, knowing fully well that her precious ass never would be at risk). And while she claims now to be a populist, she’s always done Wall Street’s bidding, and the Wall Street weasels who give her mountains of campaign cash aren’t bothered by her populist rhetoric because, with a wink, they understand that it’s only rhetoric.

Not just to pick on Billary. Obama claims that he’s a “Christian” who believes in “God,” yet he very apparently is wholly untroubled by the hundreds of civilians whom his precious drones have slaughtered, and while he has talked about the struggling middle class, what, as president, has he done about the insane income inequality that began no later than during the presidency of Ronald Reagan? (Oh, that’s right: He’s always been too busy talking up Reagan as having been one of our greatest presidents ever.)

Jesus Christ proclaimed, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” and Jesus obviously was an anti-capitalist socialist. The Bible’s anti-capitalist, socialist stance long predates Jesus; I long have taken the story of the golden calf to be at least as much about the evil that is capitalism (specifically, greed, selfishness and materialism) as it is about “idolatry”; it wasn’t just the form of the calf that was being worshiped, but it also, of course, was the gold out of which it was made.

I applaud Bernie Sanders for not publicly proclaiming that he believes in “God.” Again, whether he actually believes in “God” or not isn’t nearly as important to me as is the fact that nothing in his political career (he was a mayor, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now is in his second term in the U.S. Senate) suggests that he thinks it’s OK to shove his own religious beliefs down others’ throats. He is no theocrat.

My observation long has been that on the whole, agnostics and atheists are significantly more moral than are those who call themselves “Christians,” especially the right-wing nut jobs who proclaim themselves already “saved.” Once you’re already “saved,” you can do as you please, and you can find a way to claim that you’re just doing “God’s” bidding, whatever it is that you’re doing — even mass slaughter, such as George W. Bush did with his war crimes and his crimes against humanity (as well as with his treasonous, anti-democratic theft of the 2000 presidential election, in which he received more than a half-million fewer votes than did Al Gore).

Untold evil has been done in the name of “God” over the centuries, so to slam Bernie Sanders for possibly not believing in “God” is insane — and quite possibly evil, when we use “God” to justify our evil.

I support Bernie Sanders to the possibly-bitter end, but I’m acutely aware that it’s quite possible, if not even probable, that Bernie Sanders is way too evolved and advanced for the American people, who still dwell in their caves, knuckles dragging and mouths perpetually open, blathering about “God” and how important it is that everyone else believe in this “God.”

I’ve seen the Internet meme that Bernie Sanders is “not the president that we deserve, but the president that we need.”

That increasingly appears to be the case.

P.S. The corporately owned and controlled media, who profiteer from reporting conflict to the point that they’ll fabricate it if it doesn’t actually exist, and who of course want to take down the “socialist!” Bernie Sanders (capitalism must not be threatened!), now are reporting that he is “attacking” poor, poor Billary Clinton.

“Bernie Sanders Goes on the Attack at Iowa Democratic Dinner,” Politico reports, without actually substantiating the headline in the “news” story that’s right under it. The Washington Post takes a bit more sober approach, with “After a Long Stretch for Clinton, Sanders Turns More Aggressive,” but that headline doesn’t support the “news” story under it, either.

Read the two “news” stories yourself. You’ll see that Bernie Sanders and his campaign team simply are talking about his record and his beliefs and where his record and his beliefs differ from Clinton’s. That’s called campaigning. It’s what you’re supposed to fucking do: Tell the voter why she or he should vote for you instead of for your opponent or opponents. Duh.

I’ve seen nothing that Bernie Sanders has done or said that accurately could be deemed an “attack” on Billary — but, of course, it’s much more sensationalist to claim that “Bernie ATTACKS!”

Again: It strikes me as probably true that we need Bernie but don’t deserve him, that we deserve a President Billary or a President Rubio or yes, even a President Trump, if enough of us Americans don’t remove our heads from our rectums and finally vote in our own best interests — which necessitates that we see attacks on the democratic socialist and apparently agnostic-to-even-atheist Bernie Sanders by the corporately owned and controlled media punditry as what they are: desperate attempts to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, in which the vast majority of us Americans remain serfs to our corporate overlords.

*I supported and voted for him in 2008, but I didn’t vote for him in 2012 (I voted for the Green Party candidate instead), since the “change” that he’d promised never materialized — indeed, he spectacularly squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010, which gave rise to the “tea party” and the loss of the U.S. House of Representatives to these fascists, which made me lose all of that hope.

Um, yeah: I, for one, actually hold someone to his or her campaign promises.

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Obama’s failure on NAFTA-like TPP spells potential doom for Billary

Hillary Clinton is joined onstage by her husband former President Clinton after delivering her

Reuters photo

Democrat in name only Billary Clinton is joined onstage by her DINO husband during her official presidential campaign kick-off in New York City yesterday. Billary refuses to say whether she supports the NAFTA-like, anti-middle-and-anti-working-class, pro-plutocratic Trans-Pacific Partnership, because of course she supports it, just as her husband brought us the North American Free Trade Agreement, but such treasonous support is unpopular with actual Democrats. DINO President Barack Obama’s lame-duck failure to get the TPP passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday indicates that the Clinton-Obama brand of politician — the DINO — is headed for long-overdue extinction. Actual progressive Bernie Sanders, who opposes the TPP, has my full support for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

The United States of America has been looking past President Barack Obama for some time now, with talk of who the next president will be having been going on for many months now. Obama is not just a lame duck; he’s a zombie duck.

This (the lame-duck syndrome) is not unique to Obama, of course, and so I am not picking only on Obama; in 2007 and 2008, those of us who are sane were looking far past the unelected and thus illegitimate “President” George W. Bush (to whom I must give credit for being my main inspiration to start blogging way back in 2002).

But one suspects that while even Gee Dubya at least dimly understood that he was a lame duck in his last two disastrous years in the White House, the perhaps-more-arrogant Obama hasn’t yet received the memo.

Obama’s delightfully stunning loss on the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Friday demonstrates that all of us, Democrats and non-Democrats alike, are looking past him. As TIME.com puts it:

President Obama suffered a stunning defeat Friday when fellow Democrats in the House hobbled his push for a legacy-defining Pacific Rim trade deal.

House Democrats used a tactical maneuver to deny Obama the fast-track negotiating authority he needs to finalize that pact, sinking a worker assistance program that’s become a precondition for Democratic support of such agreements. The vote was 126-302.

The path forward for Obama’s trade agenda, his top legislative priority, is hardly clear. “I don’t think anybody knows,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a member of House Democratic leadership, said after the vote. …

It’s heart-warming that DINO Obama’s parting gift to us all was going to be another NAFTA-like, Clintonesque “trade” “deal” that further would decimate the working class and middle class. That Obama was depending on the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to help him push his pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate, anti-populist fast-track “trade” “deal” through the U.S. House of Representatives shines a blindingly bright spotlight on Obama’s dark heart and very apparently reveals, sickeningly, where his allegiances always have been.

But further shitting and pissing on the middle class and working class is not very popular right about now, which is why a President Billary would do that were she to win the Oval Office, I have no doubt, but is why she is promising, like Obama did in his first presidential campaign, hope and change.

Billary isn’t using the actual words “hope” and “change” — since it’s obvious to all of us how that turned out — but she’s essentially giving the same Obama-2008 bullshit message. As Reuters reports:

New York — Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised [yesterday] to fight for a fairer society for ordinary Americans, staking out a place on the left to cut off any budding challenge for the Democratic nomination.

In the first major rally of her campaign for the November 2016 presidential election, Clinton touched on many of the issues that energize liberal Democrats. She highlighted her support for gay marriage, women’s rights, income equality, clean energy and regulating Wall Street.

Speaking on New York’s Roosevelt Island, with Manhattan’s skyscrapers as a backdrop, Clinton promised to “make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top” if elected president. …

By far the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for president, Clinton nevertheless faces some competition from the left, especially from liberal Bernie Sanders.

The independent senator from Vermont has drawn relatively large crowds at recent campaign events in Iowa, the state that kicks off the party’s nominating contests early next year. …

Well, yeah.

Anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention to Billary’s career of holding titles (first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state, etc.) but having pretty much zero accomplishments knows that her sudden, new-found populism is compete and utter bullshit. Her presidency would be a continuation of the lackluster-at-best, center-right Obama administration — at best.

Was it long ago enough that we heard promises of “hope” and “change” to be able to believe Billary Clinton today?

I don’t think so, which might explain why a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post, ABC News and Quinnipiac University found that Bernie Sanders is regarded more favorably than unfavorably by Americans, but that Americans regard both Obama and Billary more unfavorably than favorably.*

I don’t know that Sanders can win the White House; wise men almost never do.

I have been a supporter of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who not only is progressive — an actual Democrat — but is tough and tenacious (a real pit bull with lipstick) and who would fit the bill of being both our first female president and a probably-great and an actually progressive president.

But Warren isn’t running for the White House for 2016, and the closest that we actual progressives have to Warren is Bernie Sanders, to whom I’ve been giving all of the support that I would be giving to Billary Clinton if she were an actual Democrat instead of a Repugnican Lite (and maybe not even Lite).

Again, I don’t know that Sanders could win the White House — it wasn’t nearly long ago enough that Americans allowed the likes of George W. Bush to steal the White House (Al Gore beat Bush by more than a half-million votes in November 2000) — but I am confident that Sanders might beat Billary for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, especially if he wins in one or more of the earliest voting states.

When Sanders talks about standing up for the middle class and working class, he has his entire political career as a self-identified democratic socialist to back him up on that. (As there is no national socialist party in the United States, unfortunately, I don’t expect the “socialist” thing to be the problem for Sanders that so many say it would be, and socialism is looking better and better to millions of Americans right about now, especially for younger Americans, whose collective future treasonously runaway capitalism has severely jeopardized and for whom the Red Scare is just what it is: a pro-plutocratic, anti-populist propagandist relic of the paranoid, jingoistic 1950s.)

Billary Clinton’s background, by deep contrast, includes having been a “Goldwater girl” — yes, in her youth she supported wingnut Barry Goldwater (the “Goldwater girls” “got to wear cowboy hats,” Billary has said, perhaps while giggling. “We had a sash that said, you know, ‘I voted AUH2O.’ I mean, it was really a lot of fun”) — and having helped, with her husband and the now-thank-Goddess-defunct Democratic Leadership Council, to drag the Democratic Party so far to the right that year after year it becomes more and more indistinguishable from the pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate Repugnican Party to the point that I think of the two duopolistic parties as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party.

I know my history, which is why I can’t, in anything remotely approaching good conscience, support Billary Clinton — who, of course, hasn’t made her stance on the Trans-Pacific Partership public** because of course she personally supports it (everything in her political history points to that fact) but knows that it’s politically unpopular (rightfully so) to come out in favor of it. Bernie Sanders, of course, publicly opposes the TPP.**

(Billary Clinton is nothing if not a human weather vane on crack; when she coldly calculated in the toxic, post-9/11 atmosphere that voting for the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War in October 2002 would benefit her politically, she did so when she was in the U.S. Senate. [Bernie Sanders was in the U.S. House of Representatives at the time, and he wisely voted against the Vietraq War, as did 21 Democratic U.S. senators, so let’s not revise history to claim that Billary really had no choice; she did.]

When Billary coldly calculated that publicly supporting same-sex marriage would harm her politically, she did not publicly support it, and publicly supported it only after she had calculated that it was safe to do soshe waited until March 2013, for fuck’s sake.

This is a pattern of political behavior that amply demonstrates Billary’s character and that is plain to see once one gets past her bullshit use and co-option of the “Democratic” label.)

I was punk’d by Obama in 2008, when I truly believed that he might actually do his best to enact an actually progressive agenda.***

I wasn’t punk’d by DINO Obama again in 2012 — I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein instead — and I won’t be punk’d by DINO Billary Clinton in 2016.

Instead, I’m on board with Bernie Sanders.

*The Washington Post thought that it was awfully cute to throw in another, online poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys to add fictional movie villains to the poll, but not only was movie-villain poll an unscientific Internet poll, but the individuals who were polled on presidential wannabes obviously were not the same individuals who were polled online by Google on movie villains, so by smashing the two poll results together into one bogus poll, Washington Post shit and pissed not only all over journalism, but also on the art and science of polling, and further dumbed down public discourse by melding politics with entertainment.

Great job, WaPo!

**Reuters reports today:

Bernie Sanders, the outspoken progressive U.S. senator challenging Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, urged her [today] to take a stand on a big trade deal that has divided the Democratic Party.

Clinton aides appearing on Sunday television news shows said she would not weigh in until negotiations were complete.

Sanders, a vocal critic of free trade, called on Clinton to join labor unions, environmentalists and other opponents of the trade package before it is brought up for another vote this week. Clinton is the front-runner among candidates to be the Democratic Party nominee for the November 2016 election.

“Corporate America and Wall Street are going to bring that bill back,” Sanders said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “If she joins us, we could stop this disastrous deal once and for all.”

Democrats in Congress dealt a blow to President Barack Obama on Friday when they rejected related trade legislation that would have cleared the way for a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal, despite his personal plea that it was crucial to bolstering ties with Asia.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is shaping up to be a significant test for Clinton as her party has grown more suspicious of the merits of free trade since her husband, Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law as president in 1993.

Clinton has expressed reservations about free trade deals in the past, but she played a central role in trade talks with the 11 countries involved in the TPP as Obama’s secretary of state.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said she would render a judgment when the deal is final.

Gotta love that last sentence (the emphasis is mine, of course): Billary won’t lead on this important issue now, but will wait so see how it shakes out politically, and then, apparently, retroactively will announce that all along she had supported whichever position apparently emerges as the political victor.

And Queen Billary can’t even be bothered to tell us commoners this herself, but has her surrogates tell us this.

***When I walked into my polling place in November 2008, I still hadn’t decided whether I would vote for Barack Obama or for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, for whom I’d voted in 2000. At rather the last minute, I cast my vote for Obama, knowing that he was going to win all of California’s electoral votes anyway, and feeling at least a little good about having voted for the nation’s first non-white president.

In 2009 and 2010, while I watched Obama jaw-droppingly squander his political capital by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the treasonous Repugnicans in Congress — instead of enacting the actually progressive agenda that he’d promised to enact, and which he could have enacted, given that his party controlled both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010 — I knew that my November 2008 vote for Obama had been a regrettable mistake.

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