Tag Archives: class warfare

Slouching towards Elysium

The militarized and highly protected exclusive space station for the rich and over-privileged looms over Earth in the 2013 science-fiction and social-justice film “Elysium.”

It is ironic that in the same week that we finally focus our attention on the fact that the heartless, fascistic, unelected Pussygrabber regime is keeping non-citizen Latino children separated from their parents and in cages, “President” Pussygrabber himself demands that we create a/the “space force.”

Gee, how might militarized space play out in the future?

In the 2013 Neill Blomkamp sci-fi film “Elysium,” the rich and powerful live in luxury on a space station (named Elysium) that orbits above Earth, visible in the sky from the surface of the planet. Below on Earth, we’re shown a desperate population that deals with poverty, pollution, overpopulation, hunger, sickness and disease, crime, shit jobs and general misery.

Most of the action on Earth takes place in a futuristic Los Angeles, which is comprised of a lot of Latinos and which is fully bilingual; our white protagonist, played by Matt Damon, was raised by a Spanish-speaking Latina woman and he speaks Spanish as well as English himself, and his best friend, played by Diego Luna, is Latino, and the woman and her daughter whom he tries to help (the latter is in need of a significant amount of health care that isn’t available to her on Earth, but is readily available to the denizens of Elysium) are Latina.

The miserable residents of Earth, who are kept in line by robot thugs, routinely attempt to reach Elysium via small spacecraft, usually if not only for life-saving medical care, but they much more often than not are shot down by the denizens of the space station before they can reach it; the rabble’s success rate of reaching the militarized and weaponized Elysium is quite small.

Elysium’s security is handled by a heartless Department-of-Homeland-Security-head-type she-Nazi played by Jodie Foster, who apparently was the inspiration for our current, real-life head of Homeland Security.

Elysium’s super-computer recognizes you as a citizen or a non-citizen of Elysium; your citizenship status is all-important, as it determines how (and pretty much even whether) you live. And, again, robot thugs, not unlike the U.S. Border Patrol and other law-enforcement thugs, keep the desperate masses in line for the elite of Elysium.

All sound familiar?

Admittedly, “Elysium” is a flawed film — for example, at the end of the film we are to believe that the space station, which is tiny compared to the planet, has enough resources to save everyone on Earth — but its set-up and its social commentary are fairly brilliant.

And it’s fairly visionary, because it is the direction in which we already are headed: an over-privileged few have far more than they’ll ever need — and they protect their over-privilege and their overabundance with violence and with the threat of violence — while the masses don’t have enough.

There are solutions to our problems. To name just one solution: birth control. Overpopulation causes so much pain and misery (hunger, homelessness, pollution, overcrowding, the rapid spread of disease, etc.), which is one of the reasons that while I love my Latino peeps, I oppose the backasswards and ultimately evil Catholick church, with its emphasis on its adherents having more and more children and its official prohibition against even contraception (and, of course, abortion).

No, I don’t advocate forced sterilization or forced abortion or anything like that, but I do advocate totally free birth control and totally free sterilization (and totally free abortion [within the first trimester, and later if medically called for]) for those who want it and request it.* The money that we’d pay toward controlling the population would be a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend because we don’t sensibly control our numbers.

We are at a junction where we still can put our collective foot on the brakes and enact policies to stem such preventable problems as even more overpopulation and even more pollution and even more climate change. And, of course, we must oppose the militarization of space, for fuck’s sake.

Or, we can just sit on our collective asses and wait until “President” in Perpetuity Pussygrabber gets his “space force,” which we’ll pay for, of course, and which he and his henchtraitors only will use against the rest of us — “Elysium”-style.

P.S. Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie wrote a pretty good piece positing that perhaps this time the Pussygrabber regime really has gone too far. In his piece, Bouie concludes (the links are Bouie’s):

… The common thread among each administration official is that they have grossly mischaracterized the situation at the border, hoping to justify their actions by portraying asylum-seekers as vectors of criminality, when they have a legal right to seek asylum, and when their offenses [crossing the border illegally] [usually] are only misdemeanors.

They’ve gotten scant support from fellow Republicans, who seem to see political danger, if not the moral challenge at hand. “The president should immediately end this family separation policy,” said Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska in a Facebook post, calling the policy “wicked” and correctly framing it as “a new, discretionary choice.” Many Republicans rightfully fear a backlash at the polls, should the policy continue.

[“Alt-right” Pussygrabber whisperer] Stephen Miller may have successfully trolled his opposition, but like the attempted “Muslim ban,” his weapon of choice is a moral travesty and a political disaster in the making. Instead of bolstering his boss, it may weigh him down with another crisis, jeopardizing his party’s hold on Congress and the administration’s ability to operate with impunity.

We’ll see. I truly had thought that the “Access Hollywood” tape probably would do Pussygrabber in, but for the most part we heard crickets from the Repugnican Party on that one. Now, though, we’re hearing even from the likes of Laura Bush that separating non-citizen children from their parents and keeping them in cages is a shitty fucking thing to do.

Even the perpetrators of this latest evil have admitted, sideways, that it’s evil, because they continue to knowingly falsely blame the Pussygrabber regime’s entirely voluntary policies and procedures on the Democrats.

And Homeland Security head Nazi Kirstjen Nielsen recently proclaimed: “We cannot detain children with their parents. So we must either release both the parents and the children — this is the historic get-out-of-jail-free practice of the previous administration [blame the Democrats!] — or the adult and the minor will be separated as a result of prosecuting the adult.

“Those are the only two options. Surely, it is the beginning of the unraveling of democracy when the body who makes the laws — rather than changing them — asks the body who enforces the laws not to enforce the laws.”

Here we see again the Nazi-like false, propagandistic claim that we have “only two options” (in this case, not separating children from their parents only for the “crime” of illegally entering the U.S. entirely is an option) and the Nazi-like attempt to fall back on “law-and-order” bullshit in order to try to justify doing evil to other human beings.

When the law results in the pain and suffering of innocent human beings, fuck the law. The law is made for and should serve human beings — NOT vice-fucking-versa.

We allow neo-Nazis like “President” Pussygrabber, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III, Pussygrabber puppeteer Stephen Miller and Homeland Security boss Kirstjen Nielsen to hide behind “law and order” at our own peril; they can try to use “the law” against the rest of us at any time. (First, they came for the undocumented, brown-skinned immigrants…)

P.P.S. Finally, I should note that of course the fictional space station Elysium and “President” Pussygrabber’s proposed Great Wall serve the same purpose: to keep the rich and over-privileged — and mostly white — people safe from having to share any of their (well, “their”) shit with the poorer, often-brown-skinned “others.”**

This is why Pussygrabber’s wall hasn’t faced the backlash that it should have: many, mostly white, Americans are fully on board with protecting — and growing — what they (we) have while others continue to suffer without (and make no mistake: our selfish excess most definitely comes at their loss).

We don’t want to admit that (our selfishness, our materialism, our racism, our xenophobia, our tribalism, our heartlessness, our willful blindness, etc.) outright, so we talk about “law and order” instead in order to try to make our motives appear to be much, much higher than they actually are.

And we call ourselves “Christians.”

P.P.P.S. Seriously, here is a photo of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen —

Kirstjen-Nielson-rtr-img

Reuters news photo

— and here is Jodie Foster as Elysium’s head of security:

Image result for Jodie Foster Elysium

Give Nielsen a haircut and we’re there.

Seriously, though, while there are calls for Nielsen to resign — and I think that she should resign — why would the cadre of stupid white men who gave her her marching orders get to keep their jobs?

Nielsen is nauseating, but all of the Nazis in the occupied White House need to go. Just one token head rolling won’t do, and methinks that a focus on Nielsen’s removal only whiffs of sexism, as much as I don’t want to defend Nielsen in regards to anything.

*No, I don’t advocate paying people to get sterilized or to use contraception or to get an abortion. That would open up a huge ol’ can of worms. But there is no good reason not to provide birth control for free to those who want it, and with a reduced population, or at least with a population whose growth rate is being managed, quality of life for everyone would improve.

And, of course, the Catholick church, which has demonstrated amply how much it truly cares about children, can and should go fuck itself. I see precious little difference between right-wing “Christians” trying to dictate the law for everyone and Sharia law. Both are theofascist.

**In my review of “Elysium” I compared the space station to our gated communities. Of course, Pussygrabber’s Great Wall would just make the entire nation one big gated community.

It’s much easier to build even a ginormous gated community that an exclusive, humongous space station, but hey, with a/the “space force,” maybe a real-life Elysium is in the cards…

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Attacks on Elizabeth Warren demonstrate her strength

Warren listens to Yellen testify on Capitol Hill in Washington

Reuters news photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has the stuff of which U.S. presidents are made, which is why she has plenty of detractors. (And she really rocks purple. Just sayin’: I want eight years of a purple-wearing president.)

Reading Yahoo! political commentator Matt Bai’s recent column on why he believes Vice President Joe Biden should run for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, I was stopped cold by Bai’s casual, cavalier remark that besides Biden, “There’s [Vermont U.S. Sen.] Bernie Sanders, who’s an avowed socialist [as though there were something wrong with that], and Elizabeth Warren, who sounds more like a Jacobin.”

I recalled that the Jacobins were associated with the French Revolution, but I couldn’t recall exactly what they were about, and so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia notes of the Jacobins, in part: “At their height in 1793-94, the [Jacobin Club] leaders were the most radical and egalitarian group in the [French] Revolution. Led by Maximilien de Robespierre (1758–1794), they controlled the government from June 1793 to July 1794, passed a great deal of radical legislation, and hunted down and executed their opponents in the Reign of Terror.”

Wow.

For all of the right wing’s bullshit about “class warfare” — which, conveniently, according to the right wing’s playbook always is waged by the poor against the rich and never vice-versa — Elizabeth Warren actually has not called for a violent revolution.* She has called for a return to socioeconomic fairness and justice, which is more than reasonable, especially given what has happened to the American middle class since at least the 1980s, during the reign of Reagan (another reign of terror from history, not entirely metaphorically speaking). But if you can’t win an argument these days, you just accuse your opponent of being a terrorist (not entirely unlike Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent comparison of Wisconsinites standing up for their livelihoods to the terrorists who comprise ISIS).

Matt Bai makes only one other brief reference to Warren in his screed about why, in his estimation, Biden should run for president for 2016: “Biden’s a middle-class champion who makes the case for economic fairness with more conviction than [Billary] Clinton and less vitriol than Warren .”

I agree that Billary has little to zero credibility on the issue of socioeconomic justice, but if you Google “vitriol” you will see that it means “cruel and bitter criticism.”

Wow. Warren is passionate, absolutely. She’s one of the relatively few passionate and progressive elected officials in D.C., and passion is a normal response to socioeconomic injustice that is deep and widespread. But when has Warren ever been bitter and/or cruel? WTF, Matt Bai?

I’m not the only one who has recognized this. I was pleased to see soon later that Salon.com writer Elias Isquith wrote a column on Bai’s drive-by bashing of Warren and on the establishment’s fear of Warren — fear of Warren because she actually threatens to upend the status quo in Washington, D.C., the status quo that is toxic for the majority of Americans (and much if not most of the rest of the world) but that is working out just fine for the denizens of the halls of power in D.C. (which would include Bai, whom Isquith refers to as “the star pundit-reporter and longtime communicator of whatever the conventional wisdom of the political elite happens to be at any given time”; I would add that Bai is a mansplainer par excellence as well).

Isquith, too, takes issue with calling Warren a “Jacobin,” and Isquith compares a quotation of an actual Jacobin (the philosophy of whom is that “[the] policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror. … Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs”) to a quotation of Warren (one of my favorites):

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This statement (from August 2011, when Warren was running for the U.S. Senate) is eminently fair and reasonable — I’d call it “common sense” if the wingnutty fascists hadn’t already bastardized that term for all of their harmful ideas and opinions.

Why the establishmentarian attacks on Warren, whose actual words and actual record have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with what her detractors and critics claim about her? Isquith offers a plausible explanation (links are Isquith’s):

… The first and most obvious reason is that Washington is, to put it gently, a swamp of corruption where many influential people live comfortably — thanks to Wall Street. Maybe they’re lobbyists; maybe they work in free-market think tanks; maybe they’re employed by the defense industry, which benefits greatly from Wall Street’s largesse. Or maybe they’re government bureaucrats who find Warren’s opposition to the “revolving door” to be in profound conflict with their future plans.

My second theory is less political and more prosaic. Another reason Bai and his ilk find Warren discomfiting may be her glaring lack of false modesty and her disinterest in keeping her head down and paying her dues. Because despite being the capital of what is nominally the greatest liberal democracy on Earth, Washington is in truth a deeply conformist and hierarchical milieu, one where new arrivals are expected to be neither seen nor heard until they’ve been deemed to have earned their place. And while Warren may want to be seen as a team player, what she cares most about is reining in Wall Street. If she deems it necessary to accomplish her primary goal, she’s willing to step on some toes and lose a few fair-weather friends. …

I would add that patriarchy, sexism and misogyny certainly play a role, too. It might not be conscious in all cases, but I surmise that because every single one of our 44 U.S. presidents thus far have been men, there is an ingrained cultural, even visceral, belief among many, many Americans — even women — that the U.S. president should be a man. Thus, the likes of Matt Bai is rooting for Joe Biden; Bai’s support of Biden apparently stems, in no tiny part, from the fact that Biden is yet another older white man.

The U.S. president should be, in my book, the candidate who both is the most progressive and the most electable, and right now that candidate is Elizabeth Warren. That she happens to be a woman is great, as we are woefully overdue for our first female president.

Presidential preference polls consistently show both Warren and Biden to be Democrats’ second and third choices after Billary Clinton (who, after E-mailgate, might slide in the polls of Democrats and Democratic-leaners; we’ll see).

Joe Biden probably would be an acceptable-enough president – I’d certainly take him over a President Billary – but given his age (he’s 72 years old today and would be 74 were he to be inaugurated as president in January 2017, making him the oldest president at the time of inauguration in U.S. history [even Ronald Reagan was a spry 69-going-on-70 years old when he took office in early 1981]) and given his reputation as a hothead, I don’t know how electable Biden would be.

And while in fairness the vice president doesn’t get to do very much, what has Biden done over the past six years?

Biden’s age doesn’t bother me — if you can be the job, I don’t much care how old you are — but it would become a campaign “issue.” And while perhaps it’s not fair to Biden as an individual, it’s pathetic and sad and deeply disappointing that in our so-called “representative democracy,” our 45th president would be yet another white man, for a string of 44 out of 45 U.S. presidents being white men.

Elizabeth Warren is a twofer: an actually progressive Democrat who is electable as U.S. president, and thus also potentially our first U.S. president who is a woman.

Attacks on Warren by the shameless, worthless, self-serving defenders of the status quo are to be expected; when the voters hear and read what Warren has to say, versus the bullshit that the establishmentarians spew** about her, they will, I believe, put Warren in the White House, where she belongs.

*For the record, I don’t rule out the use of violence in a revolution. Our plutocratic overlords never rule out the use of violence (state violence, usually) against us commoners. Unilateral disarmament is bullshit.

I’d much prefer a bloodless revolution, of course, but again, when the enemy doesn’t rule out violence, you shouldn’t either.

**Similarly, were most Americans actually informed about what democratic socialism actually is all about, they probably would embrace it, which is why it has been so important to the establishmentarians and the wingnuts (really, “wingnut” is too-cuddly a word for right-wing fascists) to lie about what socialism is all about.

Such a dog-whistle word has “socialist” become, indeed, that Matt Bai simply dismisses Bernie Sanders’ entire being in one fell swoop in just one phrase (“an avowed socialist” — gasp!).

Thank you, Matt Bai, for so courageously doing your part to discourage all actual thought in the United States of America!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Warren fights for the working class while Walker calls us terrorists

CPAC shows how the GOP’s 2016 strategy of avoiding the MSM could backfire

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Reuters and Associated Press photos

Koched-up Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday, in his braying before the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland (as pictured above), compared the thousands and thousands of Wisconsinites who converged on Wisconsin’s Capitol four years ago to oppose his decimation of the working class and the middle class to the terrorists who comprise ISIS

There is a receptive audience to Wisconsin Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker’s recent indirect but sure comparison of members of the working class and middle class who want union protection from the likes of the Koched-up Walker’s billionaire sugar daddies to the terrorists who comprise ISIS.*

That audience, of course, would be the Repugnican Tea Party.

Anyone who would dare oppose the continued decimation of the American middle class and working class by our plutocratic overlords surely is an anti-American terrorist. The hallmark of the teatards, in fact, is that they do the plutocrats’ bidding for them by bashing the working class and middle class.

I saw this with my own eyes at a pro-working-class rally here in Sacramento that was in solidarity with Wisconsin four years ago, in late February 2011, when Wisconsin’s capital was afire with thousands and thousands of protesters trying to protect their livelihoods and families from Walker’s right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-populist assault on their labor rights.

The plutocrats, of course, weren’t there taunting those of us who were there at the rally at California’s state Capitol to support labor rights. No, it was the teatards — people (if you can call them that) who hardly are rich themselves (and who very unlikely ever will be) but who think that it is a great idea to help the millionaires and billionaires to destroy what’s left of labor rights and thus to destroy what’s left of the middle class and the working class. These “people” are, of course, in a word, traitors, just as are the plutocrats whom they insanely support against even their own best interests.

This is what Scott Walker represents: Aiding and abetting millionaires and billionaires in their class warfare against the rest of us (while actually claiming that this actually is to our benefit).

So it’s not a huge surprise that Walker recently told the fascistic traitors at the Wingnuts’ Ball (a.k.a. the Conservative Political Action Conference): “We need a leader who will stand up and say [that] we will take the fight to them [he was referring to the members of ISIS] and not wait until they take the fight to American soil. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same in the rest of the world.”

Wow.

I get it: Walker was trying to make the bullshit claim that somehow his experience as the pro-plutocratic, anti-populist governor of Wisconsin has qualified him to be a leader on the world stage as president (and commander in chief) of the United States of America.

But in so doing, of course Walker compared members of the middle class and working class who have dared to stand up to him and his plutocratic puppeteers to terrorists. That’s probably how he views them personally. If not, at the very least, that’s how his main plutocratic puppeteers, the Koch brothers — whose millions are behind Walker’s political success (well, “survival” probably is a better term than “success”) in Wisconsin — want him to portray those of us who oppose treasonous plutocracy.

(And it’s funny — in a sick and fucking twisted way — that the teatards have attempted to appropriate the American Revolution, which was fought against the oppressive monarchy and aristocracy of Britain, yet the teatards fully support the oppressive plutocrats and aristocrats of the United States of America today. These hardly are revolutionaries. They actively aid and abet the enemy, the oppressors of the masses, which makes them not revolutionaries but traitors.)

It’s interesting that Walker would compare members of the American working class and middle class to the terrorists of ISIS, because I see Walker and his ilk and their plutocratic patrons as evil. They don’t behead people or burn them alive (yet), but the harm that they nonetheless cause to millions and millions of Americans (and millions and millions of others abroad) is incalculable, and, just like the terrorists of ISIS, they sociopathically feel no guilt or remorse over the grave harm that they cause others for their own benefit. And that, of course, is the very definition of evil.

I’ve written before (more than a year ago) that I’d love to see a Scott Walker-Elizabeth Warren matchup in 2016. (I’m not saying that it’s going to happen — I’m saying that I’d love to see it happen.)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s words for the members of the middle class and the working class are diametrically opposed to Walker’s. Walker & Co. blame the victims; Elizabeth Warren actually stands up for the victims. For instance, I recommend that you watch this video of Warren’s recent opening statement for the Middle Class Prosperity Project (I’m glad that progressives have taken back the true meaning of the word “prosperity,” as opposed to the Koch brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity,” which more accurately should be named Billionaires for More Prosperity for Billionaires, and Repugnican Tea Party Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s bullshit “Path to Prosperity,” which, of course, was only a blueprint to further destroy the middle class and the working class):

Wow. It’s a rare member of Congress — which for years and years and years now has been dominated by the corporation-loving duopoly of the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — who speaks like this. Billary Clinton (who, if the Repugnican Party is the Coke Party, is Diet Coke) certainly never speaks like this (or, if she ever does, given her coziness with the weasels of Wall Street and other corporatocrats and plutocrats, her credibility on the issue is nil).

While Koch, Walker & Co. continue to blame our nation’s ills on the members of the working class and middle class who only want to staunch the flow of their — our — blood to the Olympic-sized private swimming pools of the plutocrats, Elizabeth Warren, by stark contrast, correctly identifies and emphasizes the fact that beginning in the 1980s, under the treasonously pro-plutocratic, anti-populist Repugnican President Ronald Reagan, the once-robust middle class and working class have been under continued, decimating assault by the treasonous plutocrats who scream “class warfare!” when the members of the middle class and the working class attempt to protect ourselves from the actual class warfare that the treasonous plutocrats started against us decades ago.

Elizabeth Warren fights for the middle class and the working class when no one else (save only a few others) in Washington, D.C., dare to actually do their fucking job, which is to fight for the greatest good for the greatest number of Americans; Scott Walker, meanwhile, compares the middle class and the working class who are fighting for their lives and their families’ lives to the terrorists who comprise ISIS.

This is a fight in which I’d love to participate. To Scott Walker and the treasonous teatards who support him, I can only say: Bring! It! On! Traitors! We are beyond ripe for another, actual American revolution!

*If you are wondering where I stand on ISIS, I oppose ISIS not for the religion that its members claim they adhere to, but I oppose their continued and multiple acts of terrorism, such as their slaughter of scores of those who don’t share their fascistic religious ideology and their destruction of valuable pieces of art, artifacts and architecture that they deem to be “idolatrous” or the like.

In short, the “Islamofascists” of ISIS are doing exactly what the “Christo”fascists here at home would do if they could. It’s not the exact religion (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc.) that is the problem, but the theofascism that is the problem. (And if you want to further reduce that to fascism in general, religious-based or not, that’s fine with me, but fascism tends to have at least some degree of religious backing. It certainly does here in the United States, big-time.)

I can’t deny that I’d like to see the smug, punk-ass “Jihadi John’s” theofascist head on a silver platter, but, again, evil in the form of theofascism certainly isn’t limited to Islam. (“Jihadi John” — seriously. What, did this virgin nerd [whose real name is Mohammed Emwazi] go from being on his computer in his underwear in the basement of his parents’ house to being a “bad-ass” terrorist overnight? And could you be a bigger fucking coward than to tie someone’s hands behind his back, rendering him defenseless, and then behead him, or put him beneath an iron cage, rendering him defenseless, and burn him alive? This isn’t bad-assery. This is fucking cowardice to the nth degree.)

And no, I don’t let the United States off of the hook, either. The treasonous, unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, which I vehemently opposed before it was launched in March 2003, has resulted in the wholly preventable and unnecessary deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocents in Iraq, and the U.S. military continues to slaughter innocents in the Middle East (via drone and other technologically advanced lethal methods, which one certainly could call cowardly) and continues to prop up the terrorist state of Israel, which treats Palestinians much like how the Nazi Germans treated the Jews, including slaughtering them by the masses.

(Despite the Israelis’ non-stop claims of being oppressed victims, the body counts always have been insanely lopsided, with far more Palestinians dying than Israelis; the United States of America’s blind support of Israel, with detractors of this deeply insane and deeply immoral foreign policy knee-jerkingly slanderously branded as “anti-Semitic,” is a huge factor behind this evil. [Yes, the Judeofascist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can kiss my fucking ass, as can all of the “Christo”fascist members of the U.S. Congress who believe that it’s perfectly OK to do a treasonous end-run around the democratically elected president of the United States of America by inviting the stinking piece of fascistic shit that is Netanyahu to speak in what is supposed to be the American people’s house, not Netanyahu’s for his campaign purposes.])

U.S. actions in the Middle East, such as the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War (whose perpetrators should be put on trial for their war crimes and crimes against humanity and punished accordingly, Nuremberg style, as that would be the only fair and just thing to do) and the continued coddling and arming of Israel, provide ISIS and the like-minded with all of the recruitment material that they could ever need.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greatness eludes ‘Elysium,’ but Blomkamp is getting better

Film review

This film image released by Columbia Pictures-Sony shows director Neill Blomkamp, left, and Matt Damon on the set of "Elysium." The film, opening nationwide on Aug. 9, is a rogue burst of originality _ a futuristic popcorn adventure loaded with contemporary themes of wealth discrepancy, immigration and health care. (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures, TriStar, Kimberly French)

Associated Press image

Writer and director Neill Blomkamp directs Matt Damon on a set of “Elysium,” Blomkamp’s second big entry into the sci-fi genre.

Like his “District 9,” writer and director Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium” is a worthwhile and entertaining but imperfect sci-fi venture in which Blomkamp takes the opportunity to inject social justice.

“Elysium” hits much closer to home here in the United States than “District 9,” which is set in Blomkamp’s native South Africa, did, however.

“Elysium” takes on at least four large American sociopolitical issues: immigration, class-based access to health care, the environmental degradation of planet Earth, and the phenomenon of the gated community, which is a euphemism for what actually are becoming privately militarized compounds as the filthy rich get richer and the rest of us get poorer and the rich want to keep the shit that they’ve stolen from us safe from us.

Set in the year 2154, in “Elysium” Matt Damon plays Max, a member of the poor working class in a future Los Angeles whose residents speak both English and Spanish. Most of Max’s companions, including his best friend Julio (played by Diego Luna) and his love interest Frey (played by Alice Braga), are Latino.

Like poor Mexicans attempt to get into the United States (although not nearly with the same frequency since the U.S. economy crashed and burned, like everything else did, under the watch of George W. Bush), poor and desperate Earthlings attempt, via spacecraft, to get into Elysium, the name of the gargantuan wheel-like space station that orbits Earth in space like the moon, and that like the moon, is visible on Earth. (The full backstory of the construction of Elysium is not given in “Elysium”; like the moon, it’s just taken as a given, which is OK, since we don’t really need the backstory anyway, since we already have a very good sense of how Elysium came to be.)

Protecting Elysium from the poor and desperate Earthlings who wish to reach it — the “illegals” — is the space-station plutocrats’ defense secretary, the sometimes-French-speaking Delacourt (an icy Jodie Foster) and legions of humanoid robots that keep the “illegals” (who even on Earth are deemed “illegals,” because they are not allowed admittance to Elysium) in line, mostly on Earth but also on Elysium should any of the “illegals” actually make it to Elysium.

Max, whose job is in a factory that manufactures the robots that keep the “illegals” in line, is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation while on the job — there is no OSHA in Blomkamp’s dystopian Los Angeles — and is given five days to live, and he finds out that Frey’s daughter has terminal leukemia.

The elites on Elysium have the automatized technology to cure a human being of any malady (as long as he or she is still alive, anyway), and Max’s underground associate Spider (Wagner Moura), who is a futuristic coyote, has a plan that could take Elysium down, and so the film takes off from there.

True, as others have noted, “Elysium” does go off the rails a bit, as it goes from a social-consciousness movie into a typical Hollywood action flick, but then, it more or less saves itself at the end, when it returns to its social-consciousness beginning.

Matt Damon carries “Elysium” well. He is a reliable workhorse of an actor. And as his own sociopolitical views lean strongly leftward, my guess is that he infused his performance with the sense that with Blomkamp he is furthering good causes (because, methinks, he is).

I found Jodie Foster’s performance, however, to be remarkably stilted and lifeless. I mean, she was nominated four times for the Best Actress Oscar and won twice. Foster’s character is supposed to be icy, I get that, but Foster nonetheless seems to have phoned it in. Some of this might be Blomkamp’s fault, however; as we get no backstory on or real development of Foster’s character, perhaps the two-dimensional portrayal is about the best that she could do.

And while Blomkamp apparently likes Sharlto Copley enough to have put the star of “District 9” in “Elysium” as well, Copley’s villainous Kruger, a mercenary who is on Delacourt’s payroll, is, as others have noted, over the top. Indeed, this villain, when compared to the other characters in the film, even that of Delacourt but perhaps especially that of Max, seems to have been cut and pasted from another film entirely… (Ditto for Kruger’s immediate associates, who also seem like refugees from a “Mad Max” movie.)

And like “District 9” does, “Elysium” suffers from some inconsistencies and some explanations that don’t make sense, as though Blomkamp hadn’t really thought all of it out.

The ubiquitous humanoid robots that keep the “illegals” in line on Earth suddenly go mostly or even entirely missing when the action moves from Earth to Elysium, and while our protagonists and antagonists battle it out on Elysium, I found myself asking myself, “Where the hell are all of the robots? They’re all over Earth, but they’re missing in action on Elysium?”

Apparently a “reboot” of Elysium’s “core” (its central computer) somehow is going to remove President Patel (Faran Tahir) — whom the right-wing, merciless Delacourt despises because she considers him to be too soft and too merciful toward the “illegals” (whose spacecraft she just wants to blow from the sky as they try to reach Elysium, without exception) — and, presumably, put Delacourt in the deposed Patel’s place.

How, exactly, the mere rebooting of a central computer would achieve that change of guard, Blomkamp doesn’t explain. Nor does he explain how the mere reprogramming of Elysium’s “core” to recognize all Earthlings as citizens of Elysium would magically mandate that all Earthlings automatically are to receive the level of medical care that the denizens of Elysium get.

I mean, it’s not like reprogramming a computer, no matter how powerful it is, is the same as reprogramming human beings. (That said, the craniums of the denizens of Elysium apparently are linked with implanted, wireless circuitry that at the least allows them to communicate hands free [Google and/or Apple is/are working on this right now, right?], and there is a character [a CEO whose corporation Max works for, played by William Fichtner] who, much like how R2-D2 held the plans to the Death Star, holds the plans to “reboot” Elysium inside of the small computer that is implanted in his head, where he has downloaded the plans, but, presumably, the over-privileged denizens of Elysium cannot be reprogrammed into believing that they actually had elected someone else as their president or that the destitute denizens of Earth suddenly now are their sociopolitical equals.)

Also, if we are to buy the central premise of “Elysium” — which is that the rich and the powerful tiny minority (the 1 percent, if you will) have fled the increasingly overpopulated, diseased and polluted Earth for their own mega-gated community in the sky, and that they have done this in order to protect and to preserve the limited, apparently scarce reserves of life-enhancing things for themselves — then how can we buy “Elysium’s” ending, which apparently portrays the 1 percent’s hoarded resources, or at least their hoarded medical-care resources, as being enough to serve at least the entire area of Los Angeles, but apparently even the entire Earth?

This does not compute…

Still, despite “Elysium’s” flaws, it’s a more than watchable film, it’s an improvement over “District 9” (and so Blomkamp seems to have a promising career ahead of him), and it’s great, of course, to see a mainstream film take a socialist-y stance on current hot topics such as immigration, access to medical care, environmentalism, and, of course, the ugly phenomenon of the gated community, which is but a manifestation of the insanely great class division that we see in the United States of America today.

I don’t expect American wingnuts to love this film, and that’s a great thing.

My grade: B+  

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hurricane Karma heads toward Tampa

On August 29, 2005, then-“President” George W. Bush and future presidential candidate John McCainosaurus shared a birthday cake in Arizona on the occasion of McCainosaurus’ 69th birthday. Here is a news photo of that event:

Associated Press photo

Also on August 29, 2005, the very same day, Hurricane Katrina touched down in Louisiana, breaching numerous levees in New Orleans.

In all, there were more than 1,800 fatalities caused by Hurricane Katrina, most of them in New Orleans, even though there had been warning at least as early as August 27, 2005, that Louisiana likely was in Katrina’s path. Indeed, even George W. Bush had declared a state of emergency for regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on August 27, 2005, yet he still found time to celebrate John McCainosaurus’ birthday a couple of days later. (A “decider” must decide his priorities, you see.)

Hurricane Katrina was a graphic example of how some Americans are considered to be wholly expendable.

Victims of Katrina were criticized for having refused to leave their homes, but where would they go? And when you have little, don’t you want to protect what little you have? Is it that easy to leave your home, perhaps the only home that you’ve ever known?

The class warfare wasn’t evidenced only in the fact that Katrina’s victims disproportionately were black Americans; Barbara Bush, the former first lady and Gee Dubya’s mother, infamously said of the Katrina survivors who were huddled in the Houston Astrodome: “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”

Seven years later, we now have Tropical Storm Isaac apparently headed toward the Gulf Coast, possibly gaining strength along the way and becoming a hurricane — and hitting the southern tip of Florida on Monday, the first day of the scheduled four-day Repugnican Tea Party National Convention in Tampa:

AccuWeather.com image, August 23, 2012

AccuWeather.com image, August 23, 2012

Where is Tampa on the Florida map?

There it is.

It appears to me that Tampa has a “moderate” risk of being hit by a Hurricane Isaac, while the Florida Keys and the eastern portion of the Gulf Coast are where you really don’t want to be.

What will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors do should Isaac become a hurricane and hit Tampa?

Will they be brave and stand their ground, like the wingnuts like to brag about doing?

Or will they get the swift and effective evacuation that the victims of Hurricane Katrina never got, because they’re mostly lily white and therefore their lives count?

I’m surprised, though, that in the coverage of Isaac I haven’t seen much mention of Katrina. It seems to me that a hurricane hitting Florida during the Repugnican Tea Party National Convention can only remind the nation of how less than worthless the last Repugnican “president” was the last time that a devastating hurricane hit the United States (just as he was less than worthless in preventing 9/11 despite the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”).

And not only are devastating hurricanes often seen as events of biblical proportions — so-called “acts of God” — but the name of this one: Isaac…

In the Old Testament, Isaac was the lad whose father, Abraham, was about to make a human sacrifice, per God’s command, as a test of Abraham’s faith and/or obedience, when an angel sent by God at the last moment stayed Abraham’s knife-wielding hand, sparing Isaac.

Will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors convening at their quadrennial KKK-like convention get such a reprieve early next week? Will they get the knife or will they get an angelic intervention?

We shall see.

P.S. Oh, how could I forget global warming and its effects on the frequency and the strength of hurricanes? Will the climate-change deniers gathered in Tampa get a bitter up-close-and-personal taste of climate-change science? Would that make them believers?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The handjob-in-a-Bangkok-bathhouse presidential campaign

But this [presidential] campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it’ll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a handjob in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It’s just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate.

Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi, May 7

It’s difficult to write about this year’s presidential race, since it’s so substance-free.

We all know what Repugnican Tea Party candidates Mittens Romney and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan are all about: the continued radical redistribution of wealth, from the very many to the very few. (Right-wingers oppose the redistribution of wealth only when such redistribution benefits the many instead of the few. Then, it’s “communism” or “socialism” or some other “anti-American” “evil.”) And Team Romney/Ryan are about the Orwellian, Randian relabeling of those of us serfs who produce for our plutocratic overlords as “parasites” when it’s the plutocrats who are the parasites on the rest of us — not vice-versa.

Class warfare, indeed.

And we all know that President Barack Obama, the lesser of the two evils, won’t/wouldn’t do much more in a second term than he has(n’t) done thus far. An Obama re-election, while not the hell that a President Romney would mean for us, would mean four more years! of whatever the hell it is that you could call these past three-plus years.

So devoid of substance is this presidential race that the narcissistic, shallow, cold-blooded Paul Ryan’s workout routine is considered “news,” and so coveted has been a shirtless pic of Ryan that the gossip website TMZ has put a watermark on the Paul Ryan shirtless pic from six years ago that it managed to find and present to the world:

0817_paul_ryan_TMZ_03

Thankfully, in TMZ’s online poll, as I type this sentence, 85 percent of the respondents proclaim that the chicken-legged Ryan’s looks will not influence their vote, while only 15 percent say that Ryan’s looks will/would be a factor in their voting decision, and 58 percent of the respondents say that they would not do the nasty with Ryan, while 42 percent say that they would. Seventy-seven percent claim that they would rather get it on with Ryan Gosling than with Paul Ryan, while only 23 percent choose the surnamed Ryan over the first-named Ryan. And asked whether we’ll ever have a President Paul Ryan, 69 percent say no and only 31 percent say yes.

This is what American politics has been reduced to. Just so you know.

This is the result of decades of “infotainment” and celebrity culture and corporately owned and controlled non-journalism poisoning what we still call our “democracy.”

So watered down and insipid all of it has become that we have Mittens Romney proclaiming the obvious as though it were scandalous.

This past week Mittens proclaimed that President Barack Obama is “running [for re-election] just to hang on to power, and I think he would do anything in his power” to remain in office.

Duh.

Most presidents run for a second term, and Mittens has not been running for president since at least 2008 because he wants power?

Yeah, you know, I think that the vast majority of those who run for president want the power of the presidency. (What they would do with that power, of course, is another matter.)

The very definition of “politics” (the broad definition) is the use of power.

Barack Obama is to be shamed for wanting to retain his power, but we are to believe that Mittens doesn’t want the same power? (Or, at least, are we to believe that Mittens actually would use such power for good?)

And what about former “President” George W. Bush? When he ran for a second, unelected term, didn’t he “just [want] to hang on to power”? Or are only Democratic candidates power-mongers?

Such sheer hypocrisy is what it means to be a wingnut or a Mormon, and in multi-millionaire Mittens we have both.

Mittens this past week also proclaimed that Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is driven by “division and attack and hatred.”

Let’s see: The Mormon cult and the Repugnican Tea Party both believe that women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-“Christo”fascists, non-citizens, non-capitalists, et. al., et. al. should be/should remain second- or third-class citizens, and that only right-wing, “Christo”fascist, white, heterosexual, patriarchal, capitalist males should continue to run the show, but somehow that’s not “division” or “hatred” or an “attack” on those of us — who are the majority of the human beings who inhabit the United States of America — who don’t fit those demographics and who disagree that those with those demographics should continue to have an insanely unfair amount of political power in what is supposed to be a representative democracy.

No, when Mittens’ Mormon cult — and Paul Ryan’s Catholick church — actively supported Proposition Hate here in my home state of California, that was an attack, a personal attack on my equal human and civil rights guaranteed to me by the constitutions of my nation and my state.

That was a divisive attack based — steeped — in hatred.

Women should not be allowed to control their own uteri; same-sex couples should not be allowed to be married; “illegals” should be deported immediately (or, as Joe the Plumber, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives for Ohio on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket, recently put it, “put a damn fence on the border going with Mexico and start shooting”); the filthy rich should continue to get richer and the rest of us should continue to get poorer; and Hey, let’s start another war in the Middle East! — as John McCainosaurus hilariously sang during the last presidential election cycle, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!”

But the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the members of the Mormon cult are nice people, you see, because they don’t use profanity or salty language (like that evil Joe Biden!), and they smile lovingly while they propose to destroy you with such euphemistically named plans as Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” which is only a blueprint for the continued prosperity of the richest among us at the continued expense of the rest of us.

It’s difficult for Team Romney/Ryan to talk substance when their only goal is to ensure that the richest and the most powerful among us gain even more wealth and more power while the rest of us lose even more wealth and even more power than we’ve lost since at least Ronald Reagan’s reign in the 1980s. When you are concealing your true aims — because your true aims are patently evil — there isn’t much of substance for you to say. Thus, you are reduced to such hypocritical, ludicrously insubstantial charges as that your political opponent — wait… for… it… — wants power!

Not that Barack Obama has much more to run on. He promised us, incessantly, “hope” and “change.” Instead, he has delivered much of the same, and has been one of our nation’s most mediocre, most disappointing presidents.

But even that, sadly, is head and shoulders above what the Romney/Ryan ticket offers, and that is catastrophic for the United States of America.

As Ted Rall concludes in his latest column,

If all Democratic strategists have to do to attract progressive voters is to frighten them with greater-evil Republicans, when will people who care about the working class, who oppose wars of choice, and whose critique of government is that it isn’t in our lives enough ever see their dreams become party platform planks with some chance of being incorporated into legislation?

In recent elections (c.f. Sarah Palin and some old guy versus Barry), liberals are only voting for Democrats out of terror that things will get even worse.

That’s no way to run a party, or a country.

Well, I, for one progressive, have refused to give President Hopey-Changey (a.k.a. President Lesser of Two Evils) a single fucking red cent for his re-election, and come November 6, I probably will cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein or maybe even Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr.

Throwing away my vote, you say?

No. To vote for the pure, raw evil or to vote for the lesser of the two evils — that would be to throw away my vote.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Team Blast to the Past proclaims: ‘Arbeit macht frei!’

Getty Images photo

Romney/Ryan 2012! Because right-wing white males have been sorely underrepresented throughout the history of the United States of America! (Helpful household tip!: If you or a loved one has swallowed some poison and you have no ipecac in the house, just use the nausea-inducing image above!)

If Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney was going to pick a significantly younger running mate to try to appeal cynically to the youthful vote, I’d figured that it would be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who would (have) be(en) a two-fer — a cynical appeal to the youthful vote and a cynical appeal to the increasingly important Latino vote. (Actually, I suppose, a three-fer — Marco is from the Mittens-must-win swing state of Florida.)

Instead, Romney picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — the man of whom Jon Stewart, I can never forget, once quipped that Eddie Munster grew up and became a J.C. Penney catalog model. The left-leaning MoveOn.org remarked in an e-mail to its members today that “Paul Ryan isn’t just a extremist — he’s young, smart and charming. The media constantly describe him as looking like ‘the boy next door.’ He’s the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Yup. Ted Bundy also looked like “the boy next door.” That was how he gained his victims’ trust.

I’m a little surprised that Team Mittens chose Paul Ryan, who strikes me as maybe one notch above Dan Quayle. No doubt Team Mittens wanted Ryan’s telegenic appeal, but Ryan is only a U.S. representative — and U.S. representatives are lower on the totem pole than those who usually are on presidential tickets (current or former governors or U.S. senators, for the most part) — and Team Mittens flushed the concept of diversity right down the toilet by picking neither a woman nor a non-white for the Repugnican Tea Party’s 2012 presidential ticket, but by picking another right-wing white man, a younger version of Mittens, kind of like Batman and Robin, only fighting for evil instead of for good.

Wow.

Is this, the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential ticket, the angry white man’s last stand?

Paul Ryan is most known for being to social Darwinism was Charles Darwin was to Darwinism. Ryan wants to annihilate what precious little is left of our social safety net, including, of course, Medicare, and the rhetoric of the Romney/Ryan team — the evil dynamic duo — in the coming several weeks is easy to predict.

Romney and Ryan will talk about the virtue of hard work, and will implicitly, if not explicitly, proclaim that if you’re not filthy rich, it’s because you’re a lazy piece of shit.

This line of perennial propaganda is the plutocrats’ chief weapon in trying to prevent the masses from rising up against them with torches and pitchforks: telling the masses that their poverty is their own fucking fault.

It’s not that Americans (well, Americans who aren’t right-wing white males, I mean, of course [and can we really even call such people “Americans”?]) are lazy. It’s that the No. 1 goal of capitalism is to maximize profits, and a huge part of maximizing profits is to pay your employees as little as you possibly can. Therefore, at least tens of millions of Americans don’t even earn a living wage.

Mittens’ recent rhetoric that welfare recipients should work perhaps sounds reasonable, but let’s reflect upon the fact that the plutocrats who receive corporate welfare, such as the $700 billion bailout for the Wall Street weasels, certainly didn’t perform any work in return for their welfare, and let’s get fucking real about the kind of work that is available to the “welfare queens”/“welfare cheats.”

Let’s suppose that you have a single mother who is a “welfare queen.” Even if she has only one child, if she has only a high-school diploma (or maybe not even that) and doesn’t have a remarkable skills set (hell, maybe she’s really not that great at anything at all, in terms of what can earn her money in the marketplace), what kind of job can she get to satisfy the Mittenses and the Eddie-Munsters-cum-J.C.-Penney-catalog-models of the world?

She can get, very most likely, a job that pays only minimum wage or maybe just a bit above minimum wage — she can become a wage slave. Maybe she’ll get decent benefits, but most likely not; good employee benefits cut into the plutocrats’ precious profit margins, you see, as does paying an employee even a dime over minimum wage.

After you take out what having her minimum-wage job costs her, such as in child-care costs (which can be quite considerable) and in transportation costs, how much money will she have left? After she pays her rent (or house payment, if she can afford to be living in a house, but she probably cannot), how much money will she have left?

What if she or her child gets seriously ill and she has no health-care coverage, or only shoddy health-care coverage, because her money-grubbing employer doles out no or only shitty benefits?

Is the amount of money that she will have left after she has been forced to work because privileged right-wing white males likes Mittens Romney and Paul Ryan believe that she should be forced to work in order to increase their fellow plutocrats’ profits be worth her inability to be with and care for her child during most of the child’s waking hours?

What if our “welfare queen” decides to pick herself up by her bootstraps and go to college? What then? She’ll still have child-care issues, and perhaps transportation-cost issues, and she still will have less time to spend with and care for her child, and will she be expected to work on top of attending her classes and studying?

Will her college education be paid for, or will she find herself like so many millions of our young people now, who graduate from college with worthless degrees (worthless because there are no fucking decent jobs), and with a shitload of debt owed to the student-loan sharks?

You know, though, Mittens’ recent rhetoric has given me a great idea, an idea that struck me when I read this quote of Mittens in a recent Los Angeles Times news article:

“People who receive payments from the government are going to be required to do work, not as a punitive measure but as a gift. Work is enhancing; work is elevating.” (Emphasis mine.)

This work-related rhetoric reminded me of something that I’d heard before…

And then I remembered the Nazi slogan “Work sets you free.”

The German of that is “Arbeit macht frei,” and this chilling German slogan was posted at the entrances of Nazi death — er, work — camps, such as that of Auschwitz:

Seriously, though, regarding the problem of the cost of child care and transportation for the “welfare queens” and other “welfare cheats” that I mentioned above, I have a modest proposal: If we forcibly put them into “work” camps — and if we make their lazy, free-loading children work, too — then problem solved!

After all:

Work!

Sets!

You!

Free!

Romney/Ryan 2012, I am here to advise you!

Let me be your Goebbels!

Vee must take back zee Vaterland!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized