Tag Archives: Carly Fiorina

No! Not you, Syed!

Updated below (on Saturday, December 5, 2015)

Above is a selfie that 28-year-old Syed Farook had posted on Facebook sometime before he perpetrated yesterday’s gun massacre in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people in what appears thus far to have been an act of workplace-related violence. While the right wing, which pretty much ignored the recent act of domestic terrorism committed at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs (since the terrorist is a white, probably “Christian” man), will be all over this gun massacre, a look at the gun massacres committed in the United States since 1984 shows that the majority of the perpetrators have been white, native-born males, most of whom probably have self-identified, along with the majority of Americans, as “Christian.”

I was disheartened yesterday when I saw the name of the suspect in yesterday’s gun massacre of 14 people at a county-government holiday party in San Bernardino: Syed Farook.

Sounded awfully Muslim to me, and Muslims (along with “the illegals” from south of the border) already have been turned into scapegoats for all of the United States of America’s problems as it is.

Details will continue to roll in, but the Los Angeles Times reports today:

As authorities continued to comb through the home of the husband and wife responsible for a mass shooting at a San Bernardino holiday party, investigators and legislators from California to Washington, D.C., tried to understand what motivated the shooters.

Speaking at the White House [this] morning, President Obama said the FBI was now leading the probe into the attack at the Inland Regional Center, which left 14 people dead and 17 wounded.

Investigators have yet to rule out terrorism as a motive, but police have also said one of the shooters, 28-year-old Syed Farook, was involved in a dispute at the party shortly before gunfire broke out. Farook and his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, were killed in a gun battle with police hours after the shooting.

“We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes,” Obama said. “But we don’t know why they did it. We don’t know at this point the extent of their plans. We do not know their motivations.”

Farook and Malik were identified as the lone suspects in Wednesday’s shooting at the party for employees of the San Bernardino County Health Department. Farook was born in Illinois, but recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a woman he met online. He had worked at the health department as an inspector for five years.

Malik was born in Pakistan, according to a federal law enforcement source who requested anonymity.

The couple left their young daughter with the child’s grandmother in Redlands shortly before the shooting, saying they had a doctor’s appointment, according to Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles.

They headed to the [Inland Regional Center] soon after. …

Farook and Malik used a pair of .223-caliber assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns in the shooting, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said [today].

The couple was dressed in “assault-style” clothing when police closed in on their Redlands home Wednesday afternoon, roughly four hours after the shooting. The couple fled, sparking a vehicle pursuit that ended back in San Bernardino. Both were killed in a shootout that involved roughly 20 police officers.

An officer was also hurt, but is expected to survive, Burguan said.

In San Bernardino, relatives of the victims were still trying to process how an event meant to celebrate a holiday turned into a bloodletting. …

It’s safe to conclude that Syed Farook was off of his rocker. My best guess is that his wife was following his lead, that he had her under his control. This tends to be a cultural thing in Islam: the submissive, obedient wife. (Keep in mind that Tashfeen Malik reportedly was born in Pakistan and met Farook in Saudi Arabia; she apparently was not Americanized.)

How much of the shooting (if any) that Farook’s wife did I’m not sure; I mean, it initially was reported that there were three shooters, and it turns out that there apparently were only two, so I have no idea as to what extent Malik participated.

Since Farook reportedly shot up his workplace’s holiday party after a dispute at the party, this (thus far, anyway) is indicative of workplace-related violence, not of terrorism. Terrorism has a political aim.

Robert Lewis Dear, for instance, is said to have muttered something about “baby parts” after he shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and is reported to have made anti-abortion and anti-government statements to law enforcement officials since he committed the act of terrorism. No doubt he listened to right-wing rhetoric, such as Faux “News” and the rhetoric of the Repugnican Tea Party “presidential” candidates themselves, the most guilty one probably Carly Fiorina, who probably knowingly falsely described abortion videos during one of the neo-Nazis’ “presidential” debates.

(Yes, lies uttered by high-level individuals can result in harm. We are responsible for what we say, especially when we have a large audience. I highly recommend Ted Rall’s recent column on this topic.)

Again, my best guess is that Farook had some screws loose. That said, native-born, “normative” Americans almost always claim that they always have treated every co-worker (or fellow student or other comrade) who is odd or different perfectly well, especially after a chronically mistreated co-worker (or fellow student or other comrade) finally snaps and goes postal, as it were.

We don’t know how Farook acted in the workplace and how his co-workers treated him. Someone with mental illness can’t handle workplace mistreatment as well as can someone who is fairly mentally healthy.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s possible that Farook was a paranoid schizophrenic or something like that and that his co-workers did treat him fairly well, but I wouldn’t rule out that he chronically was mistreated for being different, such as for being Muslim, for having a foreign-sounding name, and for having married a woman from the Middle East.

If Farook did experience anti-Muslim treatment at his workplace, perhaps especially after the Paris terrorist attacks of last month, well, there you go. That could set off someone who already isn’t mentally stable.

I recall the November 2009 gun massacre at Ford Hood, Texas, in which Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan claimed that anti-Muslim harassment at the base contributed to his rampage in which he slaughtered 13 and injured 32 others.

Those who knew Hasan described him as a nice, quiet man. But we don’t know what abuse he probably endured within the right-wing atmosphere of the U.S. military (and our military pretty much is overrun with “Christo”fascists, who love guns and killing more than they love “God”), since abusers are pretty good at perpetrating their abuse when they feel safe to do so, when no one in authority who might do anything about it is around (this is for “plausible” deniability, of course).

American wingnuts, especially in Texas, were outraged when the federal government decided to treat the case of Hasan as a workplace violence incident rather than as an act of terrorism — because Hasan (who is still alive and in prison) is Muslim. This reaction of theirs (their assertion that any act of violence perperated by a Muslim automatically qualifies as “terrorism” because the perpetrator is Muslim) demonstrates, I believe, the anti-Muslim sentiment and harassment that Hasan claims he experienced (I believe him that he experienced such harassment, especially at a U.S. military base in Texas).*

Similarly, thus far in the Syed Farook case the only evidence that we have is that this was an incident of workplace-related violence. As Farook and his wife are dead, we may never know for certain his entire motives, and thus we may never be able to conclude whether or not yesterday’s massacre was even quasi-terrorism instead of an extreme act of workplace violence.

While this latest American gun massacre was committed by a Muslim, for perspective you should take a look at the Los Angeles Times’ ongoing roundup of American gun massacres since 1984.

You’ll see that most perpetrators of gun massacres in the U.S. of A. are native-born males, most of them white, and that most massacres take place at workplaces and at schools, such as the infamous Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999, with the rest at public places, such as churches, such as the church in Charleston, S.C., where young white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof this past June shot nine congregants to death because they were black.

The moral of the story for workplace and school shootings, I think, is not to bully or pile on a co-worker or a fellow student (or a fellow member of the military or anyone else); it can have deadly consequences (maybe even for yourself).

Again, some people are wholly off of their rockers and can come to believe that they are being mistreated when on the whole they’re not, but often we do mistreat others, and that mistreatment can send someone who already isn’t very stable over the edge.

And let’s face it: We Americans by and large are a selfish, individualistic lot. When we see that someone is struggling, we don’t do much, if anything, to help him or her. After tragedy strikes, we plead ignorance that there had been any problem at all.

I have no desire to launch into a tiresome, trite discussion of gun control right now. While I don’t like guns and never plan to own one (but in general begrudgingly support the Second Amendment, keeping in mind that today’s incredibly lethal weaponry wasn’t around when the amendment was adopted), the underlying problem, it seems fairly clear to me, is that in this “Christian” nation we largely treat each other like shit — and we glorify violence.

(Militarism, along with capitalism and other evil -isms, has come to be considered part and parcel of American “Christianity,” even though the words of Jesus Christ contained in black and white in the Bible oppose such evils as militarism and capitalism; Jesus eschewed capitalism, having been homeless himself and having stated, among other things, that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and Jesus was, of course, murdered by Roman militarism. Yeah.)

We can talk about gun control until we pass out from hypoxia, but until and unless we examine and then change our ways at a deep, deep level, the L.A. Times’ ongoing roundup of American gun massacres is only going to continue to grow.

We are, I surmise, perfectly OK with that, however, because these gun massacres keep happening at a rate at which they happen in no other developed nation on the planet.

Update (Sunday, December 5, 2015): 

Boy, we really, really want the San Bernardino massacre to have been an “Islamo”fascist “terrorist” attack, don’t we?

So all that we have is that Syed Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, pledged her allegiance to ISIS — on her Facebook page. Wow. There is no evidence that the folks who run ISIS were even aware of the existence of Farook and Malik, so we can’t call the San Bernardino massacre a “terrorist” attack if by that we mean that we have evidence of coordination by the perpetrator(s) with a known terrorist group, such as ISIS.

I mean, fuck: I can pledge allegiance to Satan on my Facebook page if I so wish; it would mean pretty much nothing.

As Vox.com points out, “the fact that Farook used to work in the same government department as the targets suggested a more personal motive.”

Yup. This still looks more like an incident of workplace-related violence than of “terrorism,” even though, per the New York Times, Malik reportedly made her pledge-of-allegiance-to-ISIS Facebook post on the day of the massacre. She was 27; perhaps she figured if she was going to go out in her husband’s workplace revenge, she’d go out dramatically. Young adults sometimes do things like that.

Recall that I have defined “terrorism” as the use of violence or the (credible) threat of the use of violence in order to achieve a political aim or goal.

Shortly after his capture, Robert Lewis Dear, the perpetrator of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, is reported to apparently have talked about preventing there being more “baby parts.” His aim, apparently, was to harm Planned Parenthood and its operations and/or scare women from seeking Planned Parenthood’s services.

That is a political aim and so it qualifies as terrorism.

Even Dylann Storm Roof, who slaughtered nine black people in their church in Charleston, S.C., in June, apparently had a political agenda: white supremacy and, apparently, the elimination of black people; perhaps he even wanted to start a race war, which certainly would qualify as a political agenda.

The political agenda, if any, of Farook and Malik, remains a mystery. Again, it might primarily have been Farook wanting to get back at a co-worker or co-workers, and Malik deciding to pledge her allegiance to ISIS on her Facebook page because why not? Or it might have been both of them fully considering themselves to be big, bad soldiers of ISIS, although there is no evidence that if so, they were anything other than so-called lone wolves.

And what, exactly, would be the political objective of shooting up your workplace’s holiday party? To shut down holiday parties? I don’t see a political objective, and thus it’s hard for me to see where my definition of terrorism would come in here. (Perhaps a “political objective” could be just killing any old “infidel,” but if so, that seems to be a very sloppy and unfocused, and therefore a fairly ineffective, political objective.)

We’ll probably never fully know what Farook and Malik had in mind, since both of them are dead.

But let’s not automatically call something “terrorism” just because it was perpetrated by a Muslim or Muslims. Words have meaning.

Thus far, we can call the San Bernardino massacre a massacre. We can call it murder. We can call it mass murder. But we don’t have nearly enough evidence to slap the overused “terrorism” label on it.

P.S. I just read a Reuters news article in which I found two notes interesting.

The first: “It was not clear if the [Facebook] comments were posted by Malik, or by someone with access to her page.” So even Malik’s Facebook pledge of allegiance to ISIS apparently is not settled fact.

And the second: “Farook family attorneys denied [yesterday that] there was any evidence either the husband or wife harbored extremist views.

“They described Malik as ‘very conservative,’ and said Farook also largely kept to himself, had few friends, and that co-workers sometimes made fun of his beard.”

The report that Farook’s “co-workers sometimes made fun of his beard” is not elaborated upon, but again, I have to wonder if he was subjected to anti-Muslim taunts from his co-workers, which might have been behind to shoot them up at their holiday party.

(No, I’m not saying that it’s OK to shoot someone who has taunted you; I’m saying that people usually act for a reason.)

Finally, while reportedly ISIS in its online propaganda claims that Farook and Malik acted on its behalf, there remains no evidence that there was any coordination between Farook and Malik and ISIS, and it’s entirely possible, it seems to me, that ISIS is happy to claim credit for any slaughter of any “infidel.”

P.P.S. (Sunday, December 6, 2015): This additional information from the Los Angeles Times:

… In 2014, Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia to marry a Pakistani woman he had met online, Tashfeen Malik, 29. When he returned, his co-workers teased him about the beard he’d started to grow. Before their baby girl was born this year, they threw him a baby shower at the office. But they never met Malik. …

One of Farook’s co-workers, Nicholas Thalasinos, 57, a Messianic Jew, wore a tie clip with the Star of David. He was outspoken against Islamic extremism, in person and on social media.

Two weeks earlier, he and Farook argued over whether Islam was a violent religion. Recounting the conversation to a friend, Thalasinos said that Farook insisted his God was peaceful but argued that Israel had no place in the Middle East.

Thalasinos liked discussing such topics. There was no indication that their interaction was anything out of the ordinary. …

That Farook’s co-workers threw him a baby shower, as widely has been reported, doesn’t exactly mean that they were all angels to him all the time, and I have to wonder if the reportage about Thalasinos’ religious commentary at the workplace has been understated.

I mean, reportedly “He was outspoken against Islamic extremisim, in person and on social media,” yet “There was no indication that their interaction was anything out of the ordinary.” (As I’ve noted, after tragedy strikes a group of people, everyone pretends like there was no conceivable precursor to it whatsoever. And they apparently search their memories for one nice thing that was done, such as a baby shower, to exculpate the entire group from any responsibility for the tragedy whatsoever.)

I don’t know — one worker slamming a co-worker’s religion isn’t out of the ordinary? It’s acceptable? If the target is Muslim? It isn’t harassment? It doesn’t create a hostile workplace environment? One’s religion is a federally protected class, such as one’s race, one’s sex and one’s national origin, from workplace discrimination.

Tellingly, methinks, Thalasinos was one of the 14 people killed in the massacre.

*Interestingly, there was yet another apparent case of workplace violence at Fort Hood in April 2014. In this gun massacre, four people, including the shooter, an enlisted soldier named Ivan Lopez, were killed.

Because Lopez was not (to my knowledge) a Muslim, no one, to my knowledge, has asserted that this was “terrorism.”

There has been, I suspect, a problem at Fort Hood of military personnel who aren’t white, “normative” Americans being harassed by those who are.

Continuing to blame the victims of harassment and to pretend that we were wholly innocent in our treatment of them will only ensure that these massacres continue to happen.

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My money is on ‘Bootstraps’ Rubio for the Repugnican Tea Party nomination

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Marco “Bootstraps” Rubio of Florida has a thirst for power that the party’s primary voters just might quench by making him his party’s 2016 presidential nominee. But I don’t see enough Latino voters, most of whom are Mexican American, falling for the bait and switch (Rubio is a right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class Cuban American [which is fairly redundant]) and putting Rubio into the White House in November 2016.

Now that Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin wonderfully has tanked, I agree with the many pundits who now eye Marco Rubio as the most likely 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate.

Now that the 40-something Walker — the anti-labor-union one-trick pony who once actually compared members of labor unions to terrorists in the Middle East (because everything comes back to destroying what little is left of our labor unions) — is out of the picture, the 40-something Rubio now gets to be the “fresh face” of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field.

I use quotation marks there and I have nicknamed Rubio “Bootstraps” because of the 1950s-era if-you’re-not-rich-it’s-your-own-damned-fault-because-you’re-probably-lazy-and-refuse-to-pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps bullshit political rhetoric that spews like poison from this right-wing Cuban American’s fangs as though he had just stepped out of a fucking time machine.

So now Rubio, at 44, is the youngest of the bunch of fascistic presidential wannabes, and so I expect the Repugnican Tea Party ultimately to view him as Their Latino Answer to Barack Obama. (U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the bat-shit insane reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy, is less than a year older than Rubio, but he seems older than that…)

Of course, when you look at the two Latinos who are vying for the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination, both of them, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are Cuban-American, which makes sense, since most Cuban Americans are to the right. Most of them are rich white (European-stock) Cubans who fled Cuba some decades ago because their plutocracy and their kleptocracy and their advocacy of insane income inequality (since the inequality benefited them) didn’t fly under the new, much more egalitarian Castro regime — and are the progeny of these former Cubans who have passed down their wingnuttery to their progeny. (Rubio’s parents, it should be noted, immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956, a few years before Castro’s rise in 1959, but Rubio, representing Florida, is wholly on board with the right-wing, anti-Castro Cuban Americans who believe that although they relatively are a tiny minority, they should dictate U.S. policy in regards to Cuba.)

While white supremacists don’t differentiate Latinos — a Spanish surname is a Spanish surname, and these racists tend to believe that all Latinos are “Mexicans” (or that, at least, it’s just easiest to just call Latinos “Mexicans” rather than try to sort them all out [much like how Middle Easterners attacked us on 9/11 and Iraq is in the Middle East — close enough!]) — it’s important to note that in 2010, 63 percent of Latinos in the U.S. were of Mexican descent, and only 3.5 percent of Cuban descent.

So Cuban Americans are not representative of most Latinos in the United States, so neither Rubio nor Cruz is representative of most Latinos in the United States.

But again, such distinctions don’t matter to those of the Repugnican Tea Party, who probably ignorantly and cynically will view Marco Rubio as their best shot at trying to reverse at least some of the damage that El Trumpo has done to the party with the Latino demographic.

Most Mexican Americans won’t buy it; the majority of them are quite through with the Repugnican Tea Party, and of course most of them are acutely aware, unlike whitey, of the differences between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans.

But why do I predict Rubio and not Cruz? Because Cruz is so much of a nut job and a douche bag who can’t win a national election that even most of those in his party recognize that fact, that’s why. Perhaps to a lesser extent it’s also because his state of Texas will continue to be tarnished for a while because the last president who hailed from Texas was so fucking abysmally awful. That George W. Bush was the governor of Texas certainly harmed former Texas Gov. Prick Perry’s two bids for the White House, although Perry himself, like Cruz, is a shitty candidate, so in the cases of Perry and Cruz you can’t put all of the blame on Texas.

Let me list others who can’t and won’t win the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination: Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Prick Santorum, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina. None of them (along with Cruz) is averaging even 7 percent in recent nationwide polls. Fiorina is a bit of a darling for the moment, but once more information is released about her — trust me, she ran for the U.S. Senate here in California in 2010 (and lost, of course), and her record and her character are seriously bad — she’s toast. She’s having her Michele Bachmann moment right now. Let her have it, as it’s all she’s going to get. (Well, no, she might get the veep spot. After Sarah Palin, anything is possible.)

So this easy elimination leaves us with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb! Bush and Marco Rubio, whose average nationwide polling right now is in that order, first through fourth.

It’s not impossible for Trump to emerge the victor, of course, but I doubt that he will. His campaign has money but no substance, and the party establishment wants him eliminated, so I can’t see Team Trump not sputtering out eventually. As some have posited, Trump might make some noise at the Repugnican National Convention, but it’s unlikely that he’ll win the party’s presidential nomination. Again, Trump has flash but no substance, and flash has a short shelf life.

Of course Ben Carson won’t win the nomination. Even if the party’s voters could get over his race in enough numbers to win him the nomination, no president in my lifetime of more than four decades had not been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state before ascending to the Oval Office, so that hurts Carson (as well as Trump). Of course, Carson very apparently has been in this only to sell his brand of life-advice bullshit anyway.

Jeb! not only has the Godzilla-sized albatross that is his brother’s presidency around his neck — it’s interesting that Jeb! says that Gee Dubya “kept us safe” when almost 3,000 Americans died in September 2001, the month that followed Gee Dubya’s receipt of the U.S. presidential daily brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”; when almost 4,500 of our soldiers have died in the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (more than 3,500 of them combat deaths); and when almost 2,000 Americans were killed by Hurricane Katrina when there had been at least two or three days’ warning before it made landfall that the hurricane could be absolutely devastating — but Jeb! is only mildly more charismatic than is Scott “Dead Man” Walker.

I mean, the use of “Jeb!” perfectly encapsulates Jeb!’s problems: He runs away from the surname of Bush because it’s so politically toxic, and he has to use an exclamation point! in order to try to gin up some excitement for himself.

Even if Gee Dubya’s stolen presidency had been much, much, much better than it was, we Americans never would put three people from the same fucking family into the White House, so it’s unlikely that Jeb! ever was going to break the previous record of two U.S. presidents from the same family (the Adamses, the Roosevelts and the Bushes are the record holders).

So we are left with Marco Rubio, whom the Repugnican Tea Party will view as the perfect 2016 presidential candidate: He’s young and he’s not Anglo, so he’s the Barack Obama of the Repugnican Tea Party. He is Latino, but he’s the “right” kind of Latino — right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class, light-skinned Cuban-American. And again, after El Trumpo has bashed the party like an elephant piñata, the party needs all the help with the Latino vote that it can get, so the cynical fronting of a right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class candidate with a Spanish name will be mighty tempting.

Rubio — unlike Trump, Carson and Fiorina — has been a U.S. senator or the governor of a state, so he has that going for him, too.

Rubio, like Ben Carson, is a wingnut but can pass (for the low-information/“swing”/“independent” voter) as a fairly sane and decent individual, so there’s that factor as well. (As I noted, Cruz can’t pass for decent and sane, and neither can Jindal, Santorum or Huckabee, or Paul, to a lesser extent.)

And Rubio’s state of Florida is an important swing state; recall that Florida and its 25 electoral votes were pivotal in the stolen 2000 presidential election, when Jeb!, who then was governor of the state, worked with former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and others to steal the presidential election in the state (and thus the presidential election for the nation) for his brother.

All in all, the stars align for Marco Rubio to become his party’s champion for this presidential election cycle.

Could he win the White House?

I don’t think so. The Democrats and those who lean Democratic won’t vote for him, of course, and I don’t think that Rubio’s presidential candidacy could fool enough Latino voters, as much as they would love to see one of their own finally in the White House. Not just because the sulfurous stench of El Trumpo probably still will be lingering enough to damage the Repugnican Tea Party come November 2016, but also because Rubio’s socioeconomic and political philosophy in and of itself is pretty fucking odiferous.

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Repugnican Tea Party’s post-2012 ‘autopsy’ sorely needs an autopsy

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks in Little Rock, Ark. August is typically one of the worst fundraising months for any politician. But it was Ben Carson’s best yet. The political novice, a retired neurosurgeon seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, raised $6 million, doubling his July total, his campaign told the Associated Press on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Associated Press photo

“Christo”fascist presidential wannabe Ben Carson, who doesn’t want to be left behind in the far-right-wing Parade of Hate that is the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary fight, today proclaimed that no Muslim ever should be president of the United States. (Carson has yet to come out against theocracy by “Christians”…)

Remember the post-2012-presidential-election “autopsy” of the Repugnican Tea Party? The clarion call for a kinder and gentler party so that the fascists would stop losing presidential elections by offending the majority of Americans?

Let’s see:

Since that “autopsy,” we have had Donald Trump refer to immigrants from Mexico as criminals and rapists whom We Must Keep Out of the United States with A Great Wall.

We have had Carly Fiorina lie about the existence of a grisly abortion video as well as by doing so perpetrate and perpetuate the blatant lie that most abortions are late-term abortions. Per the Centers for Disease Control (for the last year for which data is available):

The majority of abortions in 2011 took place early in gestation. In 2011, most abortions (91.4 percent) were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.3 percent) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.4 percent) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 19.1 percent of all abortions were medical abortions.

So per the CDC, more than 90 percent of abortions are performed in the first trimester. I surmise that the majority of the 19 percent of abortions performed for medical reasons account for those abortions performed past the first trimester. Yes, the life of the mother overrides the life of the fetus when it unfortunately comes to that.

Further, per the CDC, the number of abortions performed in the United States fell from 2002 to 2011, representing “historic lows.” Abortions in the U.S. have been dropping, not increasing. (But even if they’d been increasing, abortion rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled decades ago.)

But Carly Fiorina demonstrates amply that women are men’s equal, at least where it comes to shamelessly lying through her fangs for personal political gain — even though her blatant lies hurt many real people.

Although Fiorina in junior-high-school fashion called Donald Trump out during their last debate for his apparent misogyny by having commented negatively about her looks in junior-high-school fashion, Fiorina herself in 2010, during her disastrously losing campaign for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat for California (replete with The. Worst. Political. Ad. Ever.), in junior-high-school fashion was caught on a live television camera criticizing Boxer’s hairstyle as being “sooo yesterday.”

Only women may immaturely attack other women’s looks, you see. That’s “feminism.”

We have had Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz rush to the side of Kentuckian “Christo”fascist Kim Davis, who became the “Christo”fascists’ “hero” for having refused to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the nation’s highest court ruled in June that same-sex marriage is protected by the rights enumerated within the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, Kim Davis is a real Gandhi, a real Martin Luther King Jr. (to whom Huckabee actually compared Davis, even though MLK had been jailed for fighting for people’s equal human and civil rights, whereas the “Christo”fascist Davis had been put in jail for her refusal as a government official to honor people’s equal human and civil — indeed, constitutional — rights; yeah, MLK and Kim Davis are just two peas in a righteous pod!).

So let’s see: After the “autopsy” calling for a Repugnican Tea Party that alienates fewer groups, the party has alienated Latinos, the largest non-white racial group in the nation. They have alienated women, who comprise just more than half of all Americans. They have alienated us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals and our close allies (surely, that would comprise at least 10 percent of the nation).

The anti-labor-union, anti-working-class, pro-plutocrat Scott Walker, who for years now has had the billionaires’ hands up his ass like a sock puppet, has alienated the (admittedly shrinking) population of Americans who belong to labor unions and those who love them.

Yes, in his increasing desperation (he was supposed to be a front runner for his fascistic party’s presidential nomination, you see), he has vowed to destroy all federal government labor unions — indeed, all unions throughout the nation, if he can. (He’s been saying this at least since May, but no one’s really been listening, since the charisma-free Walker has yet to catch fire on the national stage and very apparently never will. [Although if he literally wants to catch fire on a stage or anywhere else, that’s perfectly fine with me.])

But seriously, it’s too bad that the “cause” of destroying labor unions that the Koched-up Walker exploited for his own personal political gain (at great harm to many other people) in Wisconsin hasn’t translated nationally; no, the group of people on whom we’re hating and turning into scapegoats for all of the nation’s ills today primarily is Latino immigrants. As Carly Fiorina might put it, Walker’s anti-labor-union rhetoric, which he’d thought would take him right to the White House, is sooo yesterday!

The electoral loss of these groups of Americans alone is enough to doom the Repugnican Tea Party to the dustbin of U.S. history, where it belongs, but that’s only a partial list, of course.

The group to hate du jour — literally today, this day — is Muslims.

Donald Trump of course declined to correct a mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktard who at one of Trump’s Nazi/KKK rallies recently declared that “we have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”

Donald Trump never is going to take the high ground, people. He’s a modern-day Adolf Hitler wannabe. When did Hitler ever correct any of the white supremacist, jingoist, xenophobic, fascistic haters who surrounded him?

No, these are supposed to be rallies of the like-minded.

(Whether or not Trump actually believes his own neo-Nazi rhetoric is fairly pointless; the damage that he is causing by trying to bring about a neo-Nazi Party of which he is the leader/Führer is done whether he truly buys his own hate-filled, far-right-wing bullshit or not.)

Not to be outdone in hating on Muslims, Ben Carson, the very odd combo of retired neurosurgeon and abject “Christo”fascist who for a while now has been in second place in the polling for the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination, today issued the fatwa that no Muslim should be president of the United States of America because Islam is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

Never mind that it rapes the U.S. Constitution in the ass with ground glass as lube to assert that one’s mere membership in a religious group is enough to disqualify him or her from running for office.

What about Mittens Romney’s being a Mormon? Frankly, I personally find the idea of a U.S. president who is a practicing Mormon to be more disturbing than the idea of an American Muslim president.

I say that because it depends on the individual whom we’re talking about. I have little to no doubt that Mittens Romney’s allegiance first and foremost is to the cabal of old white men who run the theocratic Mormon cult in Salt Lake City. I have little to no doubt that Romney personally puts the Mormon cult and its theocracy above the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. government.

That’s how Mormons are raised. Their very lives depend upon it, as their families’ acceptance of them hinges on their obeisance to the cult. When your physiological and other basic human needs (Google “Abraham Maslow”) depend upon your obeisance to the cult, you’re going to obey the cult.

How many American Muslims truly wish to impose Sharia law on the United States, if that is what Ben Carson was blathering about today? I haven’t known many Muslims — which probably is because they are only about 1 percent of the American population (and about a quarter of them are native-born black Americans who have converted to Islam) — but I don’t see that they have nearly the numbers necessary to impose Sharia law on the United States of America even if 99.999999999 percent of them wanted to.

I surmise that most American Muslims aren’t radical, but are fairly moderate to even fairly secular. Really, how could they stand to live in the United States if they weren’t?

And as a gay American man, I am not seeing Muslim government officials refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. I’m seeing “Christo”fascist government officials refusing to do so, so I’m much more concerned about a “Christo”fascist takeover of the U.S. than I at all am concerned that Sharia law ever will become the new law of the land.

There are far, far more “Christo”fascists in the U.S. than there are “Islamofascists.” It would be a mistake to ignore the homegrown “Christo”fascist domestic enemy while focusing instead on the supposed “Islamofascist” “threat.”

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 separate 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.

(Oh, God — I probably just gave the wingnuts [and perhaps even the Billary Clinton campaign] an idea… Jews, by the way, are no more than 2 percent or 3 percent of the American population, so I don’t envision a Jewish takeover of the nation, either. [Mormons are only about 2 percent of the American population, but they’re homegrown and they’re significantly more fundamentalist and theocratic than are American Jews or American Muslims, in my observation and experience.])

At any rate, regardless of my views of someone’s religious affiliation, he or she may run for the office of president of the United States of America if he or she meets the qualifications and requirements laid out in the U.S. Constitution, none of which is a religious test.

Realistically, at least up to today in U.S. history, no candidate who has not at least has claimed affiliation with Christianity has made it to the White House, so while there is no religious test imposed on the presidency by the Constitution, of course there is one imposed by public opinion. The Constitution may not get to discriminate, but of course all of us voters get to discriminate at the ballot box. (Indeed, voting is all about discrimination, in the broader definition of the term, which is “the ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.”)

Just as Ben Carson and his ilk never would vote for a Muslim (while hypocritically having no problem whatsoever with the fact that throughout our nation’s history you must at least have claimed to be a Christian in order to be elected president), I never would vote for a “Christo”fascist and theocrat like Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz or Prick Santorum, all of whom are running for the White House on the Repugnican Tea Party side, along with other right-wing nut jobs who if they aren’t religious themselves are careful not to alienate the “Christo”fascists, whose votes they want. (Yes, even Donald Trump pays lip service to the ” Christian” “God,” even though he apparently thinks that he is higher than that deity.)

I’m not Muslim — I don’t believe in a Zeus-like deity any more than I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy, so I’m not Muslim, Jewish or Christian — but I have a real fucking problem with any minority being shit and pissed upon and made into scapegoats by far-right, white-supremacist, nationalist thugs, as was done in Nazi Germany.

This truly patriotic American says to that, a return to the sociopolitical environment of Nazi Germany here in the United States of America: Over my dead body.

P.S. While the Repugnican Tea Party traitors always will be Islamophobes, I expect the focus of their hatred to return soon to “the illegals,” that is, to Latino immigrants (and, by extension, to Latinos in general). This is because there are far more Latinos in the U.S. than there are Muslims, so Latinophobia is an easier sell than is Islamophobia (many more right-wing white Americans routinely see Latinos than routinely see Muslims), yet Latinos still are outnumbered significantly by whites in the U.S., so the white right wing considers it still to be safe to bash them.

Also, of course, I expect Donald Trump to remain in the race for a while, and I don’t expect his main focus of hatred (which is something like the evil gaze of the evil Eye of Sauron) to switch from Latinos to another minority group.

The Repugnican Tea Party does indeed have a Big Tent — its adherents hate Latinos and most other non-whites, feminists, progressives, non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, intellectuals, labor-union members, Muslims and other non-“Christians,” non-capitalists, pacifists, et. al., et. al. — but I expect anti-Latino-immigrant sentiment to remain the centerpiece of the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential race. I do believe that His Royal Highness the Trumpster has set the tone for his party for this presidential election cycle.

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Veep Biden: We’re all you’ve got

Wow.

Vice President Joe Biden is well known for shooting his mouth off, but for him actually to encourage his fellow Democratic operatives to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives,” as he did yesterday in New Hampshire, is surprising to come out of even Biden’s mouth.

Not that there isn’t some truth to Biden’s words; it’s that it’s pathetic that the Democratic Party has come to this: the lesser of two evils.

A voter should vote for your party because the voter is enthusiastic about your party — not because the alternative to your party is even grimmer than is your party.

These days, too many of us voters on the right and the left cast votes more out of opposition to the other party’s candidate than out of enthusiasm for our own party’s candidate.

I have to confess that in 2004 I voted for Democrat John Kerry much more out of my hatred of Repugnican incumbent George W. Bush and his fellow traitors than I did out of a special love for Kerry, whom I simply viewed as the Democratic candidate best placed to be able to deny Bush a second disastrous term in the White House.

I felt a little better about Barack Obama than I did John Kerry — I was snookered to at least some degree by Obama’s promised “hope” and “change,” I am chagrined to admit — and I don’t hate Repugnican John McCainosaurus as much as I hate George W. Bush, but even in 2008 I still was voting against the opponent about as much as I was voting for my candidate.

And while my U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer is OK (she’s considerably better than average for a Democratic politician), I have to say that I’m voting for her on November 2, and that I’ve given her a modest amount of money for this election, at least as much because I can’t stand her Repugnican opponent, Crazy Carly Fiorina, as because I have a special love for Boxer.

And in California’s gubernatorial race, it’s difficult to say which is greater: My love for Jerry Brown or my hatred of Nutmeg Whitman, although I like Brown quite a lot and I think that he’ll be a kick-ass guv (the kind of governor that Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 promised to be but never has been). As well as I know myself, I’m at least equally motivated to vote for Brown on November 2 out of my like of him as I am out of my utter dislike of his opponent, who would run the state even further into the ground than has Schwarzenegger.

But I digress.

The point that I want to make is that pointing out that the alternative to you is even worse than you are isn’t a strong political position to come from. Biden and the other Democratic operatives should fucking know that.

As a registered Green Party member, I feel no fealty to the Democratic Party. My vote for a Democratic candidate is never guaranteed.

Although President Barack Obama reportedly has told Rolling Stone that “It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election,” the Obama administration has not given me or any other Democratic or Democratic-leaning voter much inspiration to vote on November 2. Repugnican rich bitches Nutmeg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, who never have held office and wish to buy office, have given me a lot more “inspiration” to vote on November 2 than has the Obama administration.

This doesn’t bode well for 2012.

Fortunately, Obama, Biden & Co. have some time to wake up.

Otherwise, history, methinks, frequently will compare Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

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I might not have to move to Canada

On March 25, 2010, I wrote:

So in November, I predict, not only will a majority of California’s voters put “Governor Moonbeam” [Democrat Jerry Brown] back into office, but they will make marijuana legal in the state…. 

It will be like the ’70s all over again….

Don’t get me wrong — Repugnican California guv wannabe Nutmeg Whitman, a billionaire former CEO who never has held public office but wants to buy the governorship of the nation’s most populous state, must be brought down. We can’t act as though Jerry Brown already has won the election. We have to fight (… for our right … to paartaaay!).

But when all is said and done, even if Nutmeg doesn’t make some major campaign-killing fuckup, I expect that the majority of California’s voters, hit hard by the economy brought to them by the Repugnican Party, aren’t going to vote for another fucking Repugnican to lead the state.

Megalomaniac wants us to believe that she’s great because she’s a billionaire. But a majority of Californians, I think, are much more resentful of what the super-rich have done to the nation and to the state than they want to emulate the plutocrats….

My guess is that at least 55 percent of the voters will vote “yes” on the marijuana measure — and that many, many of us Californians will discover a new love for gardening….

(My only concern is whether or not the feds will try to step in and block the legalization of marijuana in California like Cruella de Vil coming for the doobies — er, doggies. I haven’t researched that possibility yet.)

So I can envision a California with a Democratic governor again — and not just any Democratic governor, but Gov. Jerry Fucking Brown — and a state that has legalized marijuana, which should have been legalized long ago and which only those who decry a “nanny state” inconsistently hold should remain illegal….

So how is my crystal ball holding up six months later?

Well, the Los Angeles Times reports that Jerry Brown now leads Nutmeg Whitman by 5 percentage points when until very recently polls had showed them neck and neck for some time. I expect Brown’s lead over Megalomaniac Whitman to hold and to expand, and my prediction is that on November 2 he’ll beat Nutmeg, although probably only by a single-digit win. (If the Democrats weren’t so unenthused by the Obama administration’s broken promises of “hope” and “change,” Brown probably would break into the double digits, I surmise.)

The Times also reports that Democratic U.S. Sen. Barabara Boxer has broken ahead of her Repugnican rich bitch opponent, Carly Fiorina, by 8 percentage points when both of them also had been neck and neck for a while. I predict that Boxer will beat Fiorina, perhaps by double digits.

My take on all of this is that now that California’s voters are paying more attention to the November 2 election, they’re realizing that to return California to the Repugnican Party, which ran us into the ditch in the first fucking place (I mean, as forgettable as the still-amateurish, usurping Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is, he has been a shitty governor, and he’s a moderate Repugnican whom Nutmeg promises to out-Repugnican), is a very, very poor idea.

There are Nutmeg and Crazy Carly in theory — and then there are Nutmeg and Crazy Carly in actuality. And that’s pretty fucking scary.

Finally, a Field Poll shows that California voters are poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, supporting the pro-pot Proposition 19 by 49 percent to 42 percent.

Not that this is an issue of huge importance to me, but it’s clear to me (as it is to lefty columnist David Sirota) that alcohol is responsible for far more damage and death than is marijuana, yet the former is legal and the latter is not. (Yes, our laws should be logical and rational.)

And to deny the masses the release of marijuana while our empire continues to crumble because of Repugnican Tea Party dipshittery and obstructionism — that’s just plain wrong.

Of course, the impending Democratic wins in California probably will lower Californians’ demand for marijuana, since the wins will improve Californians’ lives, but still, I don’t want to hear the “libertarians” and other wingnuts lecture the rest of us, those of us who are sane, about the guv’mint staying the fuck out of our lives while they still want to outlaw marijuana, abortion and same-sex marriage.

In any event, I’m just happy, at least for today, that California’s intelligent voters (those who at least know how to vote in their actual own best interests) as of right now outnumber California’s fucktarded voters (those who think that the members of the Repugnican Party are the ones to fix the mess that the Repugnican Party put us into — and that marijuana actually poses any significant threat to our society).

And that after November 2, I probably won’t have to move to Canada, as nice as I hear Canada is.

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What’s the matter with California?

Updated below (on Sunday, March 21, 2010)

The Field Poll, California’s most prominent polling organization, released a series of fairly surprising polls this past week that got plenty of media attention here in the nation’s most populous state.

The first poll, released Wednesday, shows that Repugnican gubernatorial wannabe Megalomaniac Whitman, a billionaire former CEO who has pumped tens of millions of her own dollars into her ubiquitous television ads, not only trounces her closest Repugnican rival for her party’s gubernatorial nomination, but holds a three-point lead over Democrat Jerry Brown, the state’s current attorney general and former governor who has no (serious) competition for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The poll puts Nutmeg Whitman at 46 percent to Jerry Brown’s 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

After the disaster that Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger has been as governor — the state that he promised to “save” from twice-elected Democratic former Gov. Gray Davis has only gotten worse under his watch since 2003 — are Californians really going to allow another Repugnican governor?

Moreoever, are they really going to allow someone to buy the governorship? That’s not an exaggeration — that is billionaire Nutmeg’s game plan. The Megalomaniac has never held any elective office before but wants the top elected office of the most populous state right off.

As governor she would be catastrophic. Already she wants to kill the state’s climate-change legislation that even Schwarzenegger supports and she wants to lay off 40,000 state workers in a state that already has enough unemployment problems and already has suffered enough damaging hits to government services.

As Brown has pointed out, as The Associated Press recently paraphrased him as having put it, “California needs an elder statesman who can broker deals to lead it out of its current fiscal morass, not an autocratic CEO who is used to giving orders.” Reports the AP:

[Brown] said CEOs are used to hand-picking their employees, but a governor must confront an independent and sometimes hostile state Legislature and deal with public employee unions and courts that are constantly second-guessing their decisions.

“The political process is about civic engagement, not autocratic executive decision-making in the corporate suite. The two have virtually nothing in common,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press at his campaign headquarters in a converted warehouse in Oakland.

Yup. The autocratic, spoiled rich bitch Nutmeg is not cut of the same cloth of which good governors are made. She’s much more like the Red Queen in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” — “Off with their heads!” she already has said of 40K state workers — than she is anything like a stateswoman. 

If Californians think that Schwarzenegger is bad — and they do; his approval rating is around 30 percent and about six in 10 Californians believe, correctly, that the state is worse off now than it was in 2003, when he took 0ffice — then they should elect Nutmeg, who knows as much about being governor as Sarah Palin-Quayle knows about being president.

Speaking of stateswomen, Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California can claim that title, but her election to a fourth term in the U.S. Senate seems uncertain.

A second Field poll, released on Thursday, shows the top Repugnican challenger for the Repugnican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that Boxer now holds, Tom Campbell, with 44 percent to Boxer’s 43 percent. When matched up against the No. 2 Repugnican contestant, the Nutmeg-like Carly Fiorina (who also is a former CEO who wants to buy high office), Boxer beats Fiorina by only one point, 45 percent to 44 percent.

Like we really need more Repugnican white men — or more Repugnicans, period — in the U.S. Senate. What the fuck?

It wasn’t that long ago that the stupid white men of and led by the unelected BushCheneyCorp ran the nation into the ground, a stupid white man continues to run the great state of California into the ground, and yet the voters of California are poised to replace Barbara Boxer with another stupid white man (or with a stupid white man in woman’s clothing, like Palin-Quayle is).

I recognize that a lot can change in the coming months before the November 2010 election, but I find these 40-something-percent matchups between the Democratic and Repugnican candidates in the blue state of California to be way too close for comfort.

The culprit, I think, is the same phenomenon that put Repugnican pretty boy Scott Brown into the U.S. Senate for Massachussetts in the wake of the death of Ted Kennedy: the dumbfuck vote, which consists mostly those who identify themselves as “independents” or “swing voters.” They get the bulk of their political “information” from the candidates’ television ads. Because TV commercials are a great source of complete and unbiased information. Every intellectual knows that.

So, if you are just filthy rich, like Nutmeg Whitman is, you can buy office, since your base consists of the dipshits who don’t know anyfuckingthing about politics but who vote anyway.

The third Field poll released this past week (yesterday) perhaps is the most encouraging of the three. It shows that Californians’ favorability rating of President Barack Obama has fallen since he took office, but still remains at a majority, with 52 percent of Californians approving of the job he’s doing. Obama’s highest point among Californians was a year ago this month, when he had a 65-percent job-approval rating.

The poll showed Californians evenly split over Obama’s handling of health care, with 45 percent favoring his handling of it thus far and 45 percent disfavoring it thus far.

Of course, I’m not sure how many of those Californians who disfavor Obama’s handling of health care are wingnuts who buy the health care = “socialism” crap that the wealth care weasels — whose only concern is to continue to profit obscenely from Americans’ pain and suffering — have been pushing and how many of them oppose his handling of health care because it’s not aggressive and/or progressive enough.

After health-care reform legislation finally fucking passes — which apparently will be as soon as tomorrow — we might see increases in the number of Californians who state that they approve of Obama’s job performance and his handling of health-care reform.

And a coattail effect of the Democratic Party actually having accomplished something, and having accomplished something pretty big, might help Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown in the polls, too.

Of course, it’s also important for long-time Democratic politicians like Boxer and Brown not to take their support by the fickle voters of California for granted. It is my impression that California’s voters will vote for a Repugnican in order to punish a Democrat whom they believe takes their vote for granted — even though voting Repugnican almost always is against the voter’s own best interests.

And those who don’t understand politics (those who get their political “information” from candidates’ TV commercials) really seem to believe that the solution always is to just change parties — even if the party they are thinking of switching to just recently trashed the nation and the state.

That problem — abject stupidity — I don’ t have a quick and easy solution for, unfortunately.

Update (Sunday, March 21, 2010):

Today the Field Poll has released yet another poll, this one showing that Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating has hit an all-time low of 23 percent.

“This is the poorest assessment that voters have ever given Schwarzenegger and is statistically equivalent to the all-time record low job appraisal that voters gave to [Democratic Gov.] Gray Davis shortly before he was recalled from office in 2003,” the Field Poll notes.

The Sacramento Bee quotes Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo as deeming this fact to be “ironic.”

Repugnicans are distancing themselves from Schwarzenegger, claiming that his low approval rating doesn’t really matter because he isn’t really a Repugnican — that is, he isn’t enough of a Nazi for them, even though his father was a Brownshirt

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Great moonbeams think alike

March 2, 2010

Democrat Jerry Brown announces that he has entered the race ...

Associated Press photo

Jerry Brown formally announced his candidacy for governor of California in a video message on his website today.

“We’re supposed to believe that a rich person who never has held elected office would make a great governor, but look at how great Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger turned out,” I wrote yesterday in reporting that Jerry Brown would announce his candidacy for the governorship of California today.

This seems to be one of the main lines of attack that Brown is going to make in his battle against billionaire Repugnican candidate Nutmeg Whitman.

Today, in making his formal announcement, Brown said, “Our state is in serious trouble, and the next governor must have the preparation and the knowledge and the know-how to get California working again. That’s what I offer, and that’s why I’m declaring my candidacy for governor.”

Reports the Los Angeles Times:

Brown also sought to use voters’ frustration with [Repugnican] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came into office without having been elected [to any political office] before the 2003 [gubernatorial] recall [election], to argue against repeating that pattern with Whitman, and to a lesser degree, the other GOP contender, one-term Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

“Some people say that if you’ve been around the process, you can’t handle the job, that we need to go out and find an outsider who knows virtually nothing about state government,” Brown said.

“Well, we tried that, and it doesn’t work. We found out that not knowing is not good.”

Oh, snap!

In a poll taken last month, Brown and Whitman were neck and neck, at 43 percent each.

However, Whitman declared her candidacy a while ago, while Brown didn’t make it official until today, so last month’s poll was taken when Brown wasn’t even an official candidate. Further, Whitman, who thus far has put about $40 million of her own money into her campaign, has been spending millions of dollars campaigning already.

I expect Whitman to go down in flames (the flames would be from the millions of her own dollars that she might as well just burn) for several reasons (not necessarily in this order):

  • Current Repugnican Gov. Schwarzenegger’s approval rating has been less than 30 percent for months now. And, as Brown pointed out, Schwarzenegger will still be governor when people are at the voting both in November. Schwarzenegger will still be around to remind them how fucking brilliant it was to put a rich “outsider” in the governor’s office in 2003.
  • Most Californians correctly identify the Repugnican Party as the party that flushed the nation’s and the state’s economies down the toilet. (Maybe the memories of George W. Bush would have faded if it weren’t for Dick Cheney’s Penguin-like visage on the Sunday morning political television shows all the fucking time.)
  • Outspending your opponent is never a sure-fire way of winning office in California. Notes Time

[Whitman] also faces scrutiny because of her wealth, which is estimated to be more than $1 billion.

“There’s a history of wealthy Californians trying to start at the top, like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina [who is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in November], without having paid their dues,” says Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, an anti-tax group, who is supporting one of Whitman’s opponents.

It takes a vast amount of money to be competitive in California, but the road to Sacramento is littered with the bodies of failed parvenus: Michael Huffington, the former Republican Congressman and ex-husband of Arianna, blew $28 million on a failed Senate bid in 1994; Al Checchi, a former co-chairman of Northwest Airlines, spent $40 million losing to Gray Davis in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1998; and the businessman Bill Simon, who campaigned unsuccessfully against Davis in 2002.

All of them were seen as overconfident and underprepared, liable to self-destruct when pressed on basic policy questions. Raphael Sonenshein, a political-science professor at California State University at Fullerton, notes that self-made, first-time candidates often imagine incorrectly that politics can be made as efficient, orderly and logical as business.

“While [very wealthy candidates] are usually competitive, it’s not nearly as easy as they think it’s going to be,” he says. “There’s a reason that politics is a profession.”

Afuckingmen.

  • It shouldn’t matter, but in the video age, it does: Megalomaniac Whitman is not an attractive woman. OK, I’ll say it: she’s fairly fugly, in my book. We like to think that we’re above such superficial things in elections, but we’re not. Physical appearance no doubt helped such politicians as Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama and Scott Brown. (Too bad Nutmeg didn’t use some of her millions to buy herself a face transplant or something…)
  • Besides rolling back state climate change legislation that even Schwarzenegger championed, Nutmeg’s other campaign promise is to fire tens of thousands of state workers. She hasn’t bothered to say which ones. In a state already dealing with unemployment problems, this idea to slaughter sacrificial lambs who aren’t even the cause of the state’s economic troubles doesn’t sit well with most Californians, who already have seen state services drop because of massive budget cuts to state social programs. This also is a sure-fire way to fire up the state’s powerful labor unions, whose support Jerry Brown already has.

Still, one never should underestimate the stupidity of many and often of even most of the voters, who did, after all, elect Schwarzenegger in the bogus 2003 do-over — er, “recall” — election and then re-elected him in 2006.

I plan to help fight to keep Megalomaniac Whitman in retirement from her gig at eBay.

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