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AfterBern redux

Sanders' campaign accused of retaliating against union activities

That’s about how I feel.

Bernie Sanders is a bit of a sad figure to me these days.

I still get his long e-mails about what a piece of shit the “president” is (no, he’d never use that kind of language, of course, but the meaning is the same) and all of the steep challenges that face us (it’s not always, um, uplifting to read his e-mails).

Thing is, Bernie is fairly political powerless, at least in terms of presidential politics. I give him credit for still doing what he can, but he ran for president twice and I don’t see him running a third time. (Hidin’ Joe Biden ran three times, but he put a lot of years in between his runs: 1988, 2008 and 2020.)

Bernie is, I think, too nice, too conciliatory. I don’t think that that works in today’s political environment, perhaps especially given how craven the so-called Democratic Party has become.

No, Bernie never had to be an asshole like “President” Pussygrabber, but he could have stood his ground more forcefully. Yes, Billary Clinton’s illegal shadow e-mail set-up was something, was not nothing — and although he gave her a pass, the Billary-led Democratic National Committee fucked Bernie over anyway and Bernie also was way too nice to Joe Biden, and the result of that was that right before Super Tuesday, Biden & Co., center-right corporate-whore assholes all, suddenly closed ranks in order to tank Bernie’s campaign; no way could these sellout turncoats allow an actual progressive to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

In politics, probably especially presidential politics, politeness does not pay.

I get it that after the 2016 and 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary contests, Bernie has had to return to the U.S. Senate, so he couldn’t annihilate his bridges in his quest for the Oval Office. But he has been too damned nice, and in today’s presidential politics that is perceived as weak.

You can be strong without being an asshole — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an example of that. She takes a lot of heat from the wingnuts but she gives it right back — better than it was thrown at her.

I don’t regret that I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, including having donated hundreds of dollars to him and having voted for him in the presidential primary elections. I believe that Bernie has laid the groundwork for a progressive takeover of the corporate-whore Democratic Party.

Sometimes you have to look at the big picture. Wingnut Barry Goldwater lost big-time in 1964, but few who are knowledgeable disagree that he laid the groundwork for the “Reagan revolution” of the 1980s (which began the downfall of the United States of America).

It’s possible, if not probable, that what’s going to be required for the Democratic Party to ever become progressive again is that all of the center-right old fucks who call themselves Democrats (most of them baby boomers, of course) will have to die off, and year after year they’ll be replaced by younger Americans who subscribe to progressivism.

Indeed, the United States’ youth and young adults, having been set up to fail at birth, and realizing very personally how very fucked up it is to screw over the generations that are following yours, might save the nation that the baby boomers and those older than the boomers have destroyed out of their bottomless selfishness and greed and incredible short-sightedness. From the ashes might rise a United States truly made great again.

And while Bernie Sanders probably won’t live to see that promised land, if it materializes, he was instrumental in its creation. He will have been a founding father of the new nation.

In the meantime, while I still respect Bernie, he is not my boss.

I get Bernie’s e-mails encouraging me to vote for Hidin’ Joe Biden. I will not vote for Biden.

Again, I live in California, one of the bluest states there is; there is no question that Biden will win California and all of its 55 electoral votes.*

Again, if you live in one of the swing states — Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin* — then I encourage you to vote your conscience, but I have the luxury of not having to worry about helping Pussygrabber get a second term, since it’s a foregone conclusion that Biden will win my state and all of its electoral votes.

(No, I don’t give a fuck about the popular vote, since it doesn’t determine who becomes president. It should, but it doesn’t. Bragging rights about having won the popular vote don’t give you the presidency and the political power that comes with that. Ask Billary Clinton.)

If I had to put money on it, I’d say that Biden will beat Pussygrabber in November, for several reasons, but primarily because of COVID-19 and its socioeconomic effects. The economy tends to be the No. 1 factor in a president’s re-election (“re”-election, in this case), and I don’t see the train wreck that is the United States improving nearly enough between now and Election Day for Pussygrabber to pull out a win, even just an Electoral College win, as he did in 2016.

Also, lucky Biden is benefitting from being able to use COVID-19 as an excuse, valid or not (mostly valid, probably), to not have to run a traditional presidential campaign. Less campaigning means fewer of Biden’s, um, senior moments. Less campaigning means that voters largely will be voting for the Joe Biden of yesterday, not of today.

What would I expect a Biden presidency to look like? Much like the Obama presidency looked like: nice words, little substance, negligible improvement in the average American’s life.

Barack Obama for the most part was a caretaker president, and after the Repugnicans won back the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm election (and kept the House until the 2018 midterm election), there was no way that they were going to allow Obama to have any progressive victories. You don’t even try to negotiate with terrorists like the Repugnicans, but the naive and probably arrogant Obama did so right out of the gate — probably the No. 1 mistake of his presidency — and the rest is history.

I expect a Biden administration to make the same mistakes that the Obama administration did. (After all, stuck-in-the-past Biden thinks that parents still routinely use record players for their children.)

If the Democrats win back the White House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House in November, which is quite possible, I expect them, “led” by Biden, to squander their political capital with their bipartisan “Kumbaya” bullshit, just as Obama did when, in the first two years of his presidency, the Dems controlled the White House, the Senate and the House — and utterly wasted all of that political capital when the stars don’t align like that (having control of the White House, the Senate and the House) very often.

Indeed, last week’s sad Democratic National Convention, in which much more love was shown to moderate Repugnicans than to progressive/actual Democrats, doesn’t bode well for a progressive agenda being passed through should the Dems once again win the White House, the Senate and the House.

Were I to vote for Biden, to me it would mean that I supported the continuation of a center-right, Repugnican-Lite, corporate-whoring Democratic Party — when I didn’t even have to, since I live in deep-blue California.

And I’m still not sure which would be the better longer-term outcome: Pussygrabber gets a second term, perhaps demonstrating amply, for once and for all, that the center-right, sellout campaigns of the likes of Billary Clinton and Hidin’ Joe Biden don’t work anymore, inducing the Democratic Party to, at long last, return to its progressive roots; or that Biden wins, and that this center-right, sellout bullshit under the banner of the Democratic Party continues indefinitely. “President Harris” gives me nightmares.**

In the meantime, it’s hard to describe the feeling that I have whenever I get one of Bernie’s e-mails or see him in the news. I still respect him — he is not dead to me, as self-serving, pseudo-progressive snake Elizabeth Warren is — but today Bernie makes me feel like a deflated convention balloon.

And I look to our younger generations to get us out of this abyss. They shouldn’t have to, but it has been forced upon them to, and they just might prove to be our next greatest generation.

*One of the most helpful graphics that I’ve seen is fivethirtyeight.com’s “snake chart,” which you can see here. The extreme two ends of the “snake” represent the states that are going to go to Biden or to Pussygrabber without doubt. As we progress toward the center of the “snake,” we see which states are less solidly blue or red, and which states appear to be the swing states. The 10 states that I’ve listed above as swing states are the 10 states that make up the middle area of the “snake,” which is the 270 electoral votes that must be won in order to win the White House.

**If Kamala Harris were a progressive, instead of just another centrist corporate whore who takes whatever political positions she deems most likely to help her political ambitions right now, a la Billary Clinton, I’d be happy to have her as president. That she’s a woman of color would be the icing on the cake. But there has to be some fucking cake.

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Boston bombers were tweeners — homegrown and from Chechen region

This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)

Associated Press image

Brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, right, have been identified by law-enforcement authorities as the probable perpetrators of Monday’s twin bomb blasts during the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed many others. The brothers came to the United States from the area of war-torn Chechnya about a decade ago. The older brother was shot dead by police and the younger brother remains on the run. Despite having expressed his support of Chechen independence from Russia and his support of Islam, the younger brother on a social networking website reportedly listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So the Boston Marathon bombing apparently was indeed an act of domestic terrorism, but the apparent terrorists weren’t anyone we had suspected.

Those on the right, apparently, were hoping for an Arab terrorist or Arab terrorists, fitting in nicely and neatly with the 9/11 scenario (15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates [not one of them was from Iraq, I will add]).

There was the 20-year-old Saudi man — a college student — who was tackled by a bystander at the site of the Boston Marathon just after the twin explosions on Monday because of course the Arab-looking man in the crowd was the perpetrator (of course this young man was not the perp).

The right-wing rag the New York Post (which, along with Faux “News,” is owned by right-wing plutocrat Rupert Murdoch) yesterday ran a cover image of a 17-year-old high school track athlete (the one in blue with the blue duffel bag in the image below) and called him a suspect in the Boston bombing when he never was a suspect at all. The other “bombing suspect” in the image that the Post ran on its cover (the man with the black backpack) actually is the student’s 24-year-old track coach.

new york post

But the high-school athlete and his coach, who are from Morocco, look like the usual suspects — here is another image of them that the Post published, encircling their faces with big, red, attention-grabbing rings:

— and that, for the Post, was enough.

I hope that the young men wrongfully called terrorism suspects because they were At the Boston Marathon While Arab sue the Post for libel.

I, on the other hand, had figured that the perpetrator or perpetrators of Monday’s bombing in Boston probably were along the lines of a Zeke or Jeb or Cooter or Skeeter, a homegrown, white, “tea-partying,” anti-federal-government-and-so-of-course-also-anti-tax type, such as we saw with Timothy McVeigh. I mean, a bombing on Tax Day in Boston, home of the Boston Tea Party.

It turns out that the actual probable perps of the bombing apparently are somewhere between the two stereotypical terrorist types of the “Islamofascist” from abroad and the terrorist from home. There is more to be learned, but that’s where it stands right now.

The probable perps of Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston reportedly were two brothers from the area of Chechnya (also called the Chechen Republic, which is part of Russia), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan, 26, reportedly was shot dead during a police shootout that took place in Boston between yesterday, when the brothers’ surveillance-camera images were released by the FBI, and early this morning, and Dzhokhar, 19, a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, reportedly still is on the run. I hope that he is captured alive so that we learn more about the motives behind the bombing.

Being an American, I don’t know much about Chechnya, but there is Wikipedia, a blogger’s best friend, and from Wikipedia I see that Chechnya has a population of less than 2 million people, and that racially, the denizens of Chechnya are grouped as “Caucasoid,” Wikipedia notes, adding, “The majority of Chechens are dark-haired (medium to dark brown or black), but there are Chechens with blond or even red hair, while eye color ranges from blue to brown and skin tone is typically rather pale and light (though there are some Chechens with olive complexions).”

Arabs, anthropologically speaking, also are “Caucasoid,” but apparently among the Chechens there are some who look Anglo (all Anglos are “Caucasoid,” but not all who are “Caucasoid” are Anglo).

The right-wingers no doubt feel vindicated, however,  over the fact that (per Wikipedia) “Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to Sunni Islam, the country having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries.”

But Chechens aren’t Arabs, the usual terrorism suspects in the eyes of many if not most Americans, and reportedly the Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States about decade ago as refugees from the war-torn Chechnya.

Because they (have) lived in the United States for about a decade, and because they came here when they were young, I still would call the Tsarnaev brothers homegrown terrorists, but, of course, not of the usual variety of homegrown terrorists.

My guess is that the older Tsarnaev brother influenced the younger, and that the older brother was quite unstable and the younger brother was quite impressionable, as younger brothers often are.

Yahoo! News notes that Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly had a wife and young child and that “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was remembered by former classmates as bright and personable, posted links to pro-Chechnyan independence sites on his social media page, and listed his worldview as ‘Islam.'”

Yahoo! News also reports that “in an emotional press conference,” the brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, “said his nephews had brought shame upon his family, and called them ‘losers.’ He said they were not ‘able to settle themselves’ and were ‘angry at everyone who was able to.’ He said he did not believe they were motivated by the radical politics in Chechnya or their Muslim religion.”

Again, hopefully the younger brother will be captured alive and will tell us exactly what happened and why. His role might have been only as an accessory to his much more radicalized older brother, it seems to me.

The take-home lesson in all of this, it also seems to me, is that any chronically angry young man, foreign or domestic, white-skinned or brown-skinned, identifying as a Muslim or a Christian (or as a member of another religion), can perpetrate an act violence or even of terrorism — chronic anger and testosterone are a dangerous, explosive mix — and that the best way to prevent terrorist attacks in the future is to address, seriously and significantly, that which causes chronic anger in young men.

Chief among those causes here at home, it seems to me, is a lack of economic opportunity in the United States of America. In the so-called land of opportunity, our young people are struggling. And, despite their hard work and their struggle, they are told that their lack of progress is entirely their fault — certainly not the fault of the plutocratic system of the haves and the have-nots that actually has their failure built in, that has institutionalized it, pretty much guaranfuckingteed it, in fact.

Before you claim that I’m full of shit, know that while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (according to Reuters) on his Russian-language social networking website posted links to websites promoting Islam and Chechen independence from Russia, he listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So while his Chechen birth gave him an identity as a Chechen/Chechen American and a Muslim, his most immediate personal concern apparently was “career and money.”

And over that issue, it seems to me, we Americans, who forfuckingever now have been perfectly complacent with our system of haves and have-nots that eats its own young, should be surprised — and probably thankful — that justifiably chronically angry young men of all identities in the United States aren’t blowing shit up all over the fucking place.

P.S. I have to note that while I find the pervasive presence of surveillance cameras in public to pose real threats to privacy, and to create an oppressive, Big-Brother-like atmosphere, one has to be impressed, I think, by the swiftness with which the apparent perpetrators of Monday’s terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon were identified by law-enforcement officials.

Once the FBI released the surveillance-camera images of the two suspects yesterday, it was just a matter of time before they were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers.

Update: I want to be accurate, so let me clarify: Apparently the Tsarnaev brothers might have come to the United States from Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, and the brothers are (well, one is and one was…), according to media reports, “ethnic Chechens.” I am not certain of the exact nation of the brothers’ birth, but apparently they were born in one or both of the two neighboring nations of Chechnya and Dagestan.

Per Wikipedia, Dagestan has a population of about 3 million and, like Chechnya, its primary religion is Sunni Islam.

From Wiki, here is a map of Chechnya and Dagestan:

And here is a map of the larger area, known as the North Caucasus:

File:Chechnya and Caucasus.png

Second update: According to NBC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11 of last year, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was married to a U.S. citizen and had hoped to become a U.S. citizen himself, was born in Russia. The Associated Press reports that

Dzhokhar’s page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the United States, he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian.

The same AP story also reports that the two brothers “had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya [Dagestan, I presume], according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass.”

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