Tag Archives: Confederacy

Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”

Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.

“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.

“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”

The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.

Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.

“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”

We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.

We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!

All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.

And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.

Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.

But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.

What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.

But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.

P.S. The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.

Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.

Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.

Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.

UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]

He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.

Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.

(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.

We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.

Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.

Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …

***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.

But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.

I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.

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Let the treasonous terrorists in Oregon wear themselves out — for now

Men are seen through a window of a residential building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

An occupier stands in front of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

A bumper sticker on a private truck is seen in front of a residential building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

Reuters photos

Self-appointed “militia” members, many wearing military garb and many armed, occupy the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. (These news photos were taken today.) This is treason and terrorism, not patriotism.

We’ve been here before.

As Wikipedia says of the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident, “The Ruby Ridge incident and the 1993 Waco siege, involving many of the same [law-enforcement] agencies and even the same personnel, caused public outcry and fueled the widening of the militia movement.”

So the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge headquarters in a remote part of Oregon isn’t a brand-new phenomenon. The Associated Press reports of this latest act of treason by stupid white men (emphases in bold are mine):

The man behind the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge [in Oregon] comes from a Mormon family that has been challenging government authority for at least two decades.

Ammon Bundy, like his father in previous confrontations, says he is following directions from God and invokes his family’s faith when explaining the anti-government movement he is attempting to lead.

In March 2014, Cliven Bundy was at the center of an armed standoff with federal officials over grazing rights on government land. Federal officials backed away from seizing the Nevada rancher’s cattle, but the dispute remains unresolved, and the Bureau of Land Management says the family has not made payments toward a $1.1 million grazing fee and penalty bill.

Now Cliven Bundy’s son has put himself in the spotlight, this time in Oregon in a dispute over someone else’s ranching operation. His armed group is pressing federal authorities to turn over government land to local control.

Wow.

Where to begin?

An armed insurrection against a legitimate government is treason. These are traitors, not patriots.

And because these traitors are using the threat of violence, even death, to achieve their political aim — which apparently is to make themselves into well-armed regional warlords with all of the political power instead of allowing our democratically elected governments at all levels (local, state and federal) to function — they are terrorists, because terrorism is the use of violence or the threat of such use in order to achieve one’s political goals.

We already have democratically elected public officials (at the local, state and federal levels) and we already have law-enforcement agencies (at the local, state and federal levels) and we already have a military. For anyone to announce that they are a fucking “militia” simply because they don’t want to follow the law is treason, and when they arm themselves in their attempt to subvert the law, as these fucktards in Oregon have done, they should be treated as the terrorists and traitors that they are.

That said, while it would benefit our gene pool and our nation greatly for these treasonous, gun-toting and thus terrorist Jebs, Zekes, Cooters and Skeeters to have their motherfucking brains blown out, what they want, of course, is to have such “martyrs” in order to draw more Jethroes, Bubbas, Enoses, Roscoes and Jim Bobs (and Clivens and Ammons) to their “cause,” which is just a descendant, spiritually if not also in many if not most cases literally, of the Confederate “cause.”

Again, this is nothing new, and it’s interesting that our usual terrorist friends of the Middle East, such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, just like our homegrown terrorists, not only want “martyrs” for recruitment purposes too but also claim that they are backed by “God.”

Don’t get me wrong; if even just one of these treasonous homegrown terrorists shoots or otherwise illegally significantly harms anyone in their illegal occupation of federal government territory, then I say, Open fucking fire on the piece(s) of shit. The only good treasonous terrorist is a dead one.

But for now — for now — there’s no reason to give these treasonous terrorists what they want: sympathy from their mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, similarly chromosomally impaired sympathizers — the figurative or even the literal sons of the Confederacy — who also hate the gubmint.

But we cannot and we must not allow this to become the norm: groups of treasonous terrorists (most of them right-wing, incredibly stupid and therefore incredibly fearful, Christofascist white males) announcing that they are now an armed “militia” that is taking over a piece of government (or otherwise public) property, land or territory.

This would be akin to just allowing ISIS or another Islamofascist terrorist group to take over swaths of our nation, only the theofascist terrorists are homegrown instead of foreign, and they claim to follow Christianity instead of Islam.

If the treasonous terrorists among us really want a rematch of the Civil War — and recall that the Civil War officially began when the traitors who formed the Confederacy attacked and occupied the U.S. military’s Fort Sumter — then I say, Bring it on, bitches!

We finally can finish the job that Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, never did.

Alas, it probably won’t come to that just yet. Indications are that the little boys who never outgrew their toy guns and playing dress-up most likely will tire out, give up, pack it in and go the fuck home, since they have such little popular support for their “cause.”

The Associated Press also reports:

Ammon Bundy came to Oregon hoping to rally support behind his cause, but his tactics have been broadly rejected by many locals, by the state’s main ranching group and by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which the Bundy family has belonged to for generations.

In a statement issued [yesterday], Mormon leaders said the Oregon land dispute “is not a church matter,” but they condemned the seizure and said they were “deeply troubled” by reports that suggest the armed group is acting “based on scriptural principles.”

The ranchers that Ammon Bundy came to defend rejected his assistance and [yesterday] voluntarily surrendered to serve a federal prison term on a 2012 conviction on charges of committing arson on federal land.

A leader of the group Oath Keepers — past and present members of the military, first responders and police officers who pledge to uphold the Constitution — issued a statement saying Ammon Bundy has gone too far. Many Oath Keepers were at the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff in Nevada.

But in Oregon, Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes said, Ammon Bundy had picked the wrong battle.

“We cannot force ourselves or our protection on people who do not want it,” Rhodes said last week on the group’s website. …

Maybe. Or maybe it’s that this is a(nother civil) war that the stupid white men really don’t want to start.

P.S. Many have noted that if black Americans had started an armed occupation of any government property, land or territory, they would have been dealt with very, very differently than have the white American fucktards who are engaging in an armed occupation in Oregon.

Wholly agreed, of course.

It’s telling that the AP story notes that the Oath Keepers, just like many if not most of the members of these “militias,” are “past and present members of the military, first responders and police officers who pledge to uphold the Constitution.” (Of course, they have a unique take on the U.S. Constitution, as does the entire right wing.)

Indeed, members of our law-enforcement agencies and our military — our official ones, not these treasonously self-appointed “militias” — tend to be right-wing and white, and therefore they tend to be much more sympathetic toward their fellow right-wing whites than they do with members of the left and with those who aren’t white.

We need to continue to work to make our law-enforcement officers and members of our military much more reflective of the American populace, and we need to continue to work to ensure fair, just and equitable treatment of all, regardless of their race and their political orientation.

Just as the peaceful, unarmed members of the left-leaning Occupy Wall Street movement weren’t allowed to occupy their public and/or governmental spaces indefinitely, neither may these hostile, armed occupiers of the right-wing “militias.”

P.P.S. Rolling Stone has a pretty good piece on the origin of the Oregon “militia,” which, it notes, has been dubbed “Y’all Qaeda,” “Yokel Haram” and, my favorite, “Vanilla ISIS.” (The participants, of course, are “Yee-hawdists.”)

“Taking up arms against the federal government is no laughing matter, of course,” Rolling Stone notes, and that’s true, but I think that we could use a good laugh right about now. Rolling Stone continues: “And if the militants were black, brown or Muslim, they’d likely be dead by now. But for a group of heavily armed Christian white dudes play-acting at revolution, things could hardly be going worse.”

Rolling Stone reports that “The would-be insurrectionists are undermanned, under-supplied and exhausted. They’ve been unable to provoke the confrontation with federal agents that they chest-thumpingly declared themselves willing to die in.”

Yee-ha-ha-ha!

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It’s long past time to ban the treasonous Confederate flag throughout the U.S.

Dylann Storm - flag

White supremacist, mass murderer and nutjob Dylann Storm Roof burns an American flag in an image of himself he posted on the Internet. He much has preferred the Confederate flag, you see, from another such image. (Gotta love the Gold’s Gym shirt on such a cowardly pipsqueak…)

a_1

The nation of Germany wisely bans the public display of the Nazi flag or any other Nazi symbol. (Germany, in fact, “prohibits the distribution or public use of [Nazi] … flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”)

Despite its ban on communications espousing (neo-)Nazism, Germany is viewed as a democratic nation that is not oppressive to its people. Germany’s ban is wise; it apparently is meant to prevent the resurgence of a system of right-wing hatred and terrorism that forever will be a stain on that nation.

Similarly, the United States of America should ban the public display of the Confederate flag. Period. (Other such dangerous forms of treasonous, terrorist communication also should be banned, but banning the Confederate flag would be a good start.)

The Confederate flag should, of course, be allowed to remain in museums and in history books. (Its continued use in Civil War re-enactments is, in my book, gray area, since these public events can be rallying points for those whose allegiance is to the Confederate flag — these can be white-supremacist rallies under the guise of “history education” or the like.)

Fact is, most public displays of the Confederate flag are treasonous. They are meant to signify one’s allegiance to an illegal, treasonous, breakaway, illegitimate, deeply racially oppressive “government” that was crushed by the democratically elected government of the United States of America long ago — and more often than not also to signify one’s white supremacism.

The Confederate flag is not neutral. Its public display is meant to strike fear and terror in others — as are the Nazi flag and the flag of ISIS, for example. There is an apt word for this: terrorism.

This is so indisputable that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court just this past week ruled that the state of Texas did not act unconstitutionally when it refused to allow a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag. (Even wingnutty idiot “Justice” Clarence Thomas was on board with the 5-4 decision.)

Reuters notes in its reportage of the fresh U.S. Supreme Court decision: “During the oral argument in the case in March, a major concern for some justices was that if the state has no say over what messages to allow, it would pave the way for other potentially offensive messages, such as images of Nazi swastikas or statements promoting the Islamist militant group al Qaeda.”

Reuters also notes:

… The [Supreme Court] found that Texas did not infringe on the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment free speech guarantee when it turned away the application by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group says it aims to preserve the “history and legacy” of soldiers who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.

“Free speech is a fundamental right to which all Americans are entitled, and today’s ruling upholds Texas’s specialty license plate program and confirms that citizens cannot compel the government to speak, just as the government cannot compel citizens to speak,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

States can generate revenue by allowing outside groups to propose specialty license plates that people then pay a fee to put on their vehicle.

“I hate that we were turned down,” said Gary Bray, commander of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“We deserve the rights like anyone else to honor our veterans,” added Bray, who said his group likely will submit a revised design.

The state declined in 2010 to approve the plate with the Confederate flag. The flag in question, a blue cross inlaid with white stars over a red background, was carried by Confederate troops in the Civil War. …

The “preserving history” and “honoring our veterans” “arguments” for the public display of the Confederate flag are bullshit.

The history of the Civil War isn’t going away. It’s there forever. It’s quite well chronicled and well preserved, in books (fiction as well as non-fiction), in films, in documentaries, in museums, in historical artifacts, in historical documents, in public monuments, in cemeteries, etc., etc. It’s not going to be forgotten if Jeb or Jethro or Zeke or Cooter or Skeeter can’t fly his freak Confederate flag in front of his trailer or on his monster truck.

And the “honoring our veterans” “argument” flies no better here in the United States than it does in Germany, if the neo-Nazis there were to claim that they only wish to “honor” Germany’s Nazi “veterans.”

You say Confederate “veterans”; I say traitors. Traitors don’t deserve to be honored publicly. At best, the Confederate war dead should be remembered only as actors in a dark time in U.S. history, actors who supported a treasonous, deeply racially oppressive, illegitimate “government” — which makes them far from “heroes.”

Speech is free until it becomes hate speech, which predictably can bring harm to others. Hate speech — which includes the display of hateful flags or other symbols — so often precedes unprovoked violence that is based in the hatred of what and/or how someone else is, not based upon anything wrongful and/or harmful that someone else actually has done.

Dylann Storm Roof of South Carolina is an abject nutjob, of which I have no doubt, but the environment in which he grew up — South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union after the democratic election of Abraham Lincoln as president and even before his inauguration — very apparently was instrumental in pushing him over the edge.

The environment in which Roof grew up included the widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag, which still flies on the grounds of the state’s capitol (to “honor” “veterans” of the illegal, illegitimate, treasonous and racially and otherwise oppressive Confederacy, you see). Even worse, Roof’s car sports a state-issued Confederate-flag license plate.

Even Repugnican presidential loser Mittens Romney has called upon the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds. (Unfortunately, he has not, to my knowledge, called for the eradication of the Confederate flag anywhere else in the state, such as on its license plates, for fuck’s sake.)

The widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag in the backasswards state of South Carolina no doubt contributed to the deaths — the murders — of the nine black Americans whom Dylann Storm Roof hatefully and cowardly gunned down in cold blood in their own historic church in Charleston on Wednesday night — after apparently having gained his victims’ trust.

Again, this is where free speech has become hate speech, and hate speech, because it so predictably can result in injury or murder, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It is long past time to ban the public display of the Confederate flag, the terrorist symbol of the traitor and the white supremacist — the homegrown terrorist — everywhere in the United States of America (including, of course, on license plates, and yes, even on clothing), just as Germany similarly bans the public display of the Nazi flag.

The traitors who still pay allegiance to the long-defeated-and-defunct Confederacy would be lucky that we’re only eradicating their symbols. After all, the only good traitor and terrorist is a dead one.

The South — as the neo-Confederates think it should be — never will rise again. Not on the watch of those of us who are the true patriots, those of us who are ready for another civil war if the treasonous terrorists make another one necessary.

P.S. It’s rare, thank Goddess, that I ever see the Confederate flag here in Northern California. I still remember that some years ago, when I was at a demolition derby at a fair at a nearby Podunky town, a truck displaying the Confederate flag actually came out into the arena. My jaw dropped. (After the stomach-turning display of the Confederate flag on the truck, I sarcastically remarked to those whom I was with, because it looked like it might rain: “Oh, no! If it rains, how will we have the cross burning?”)

Minimally, the state governments and the federal government should be banned from the public display of, the sale of, or any other promotion of the Confederate flag, be it an actual flag or an image of the flag. (California, thankfully, already has such a statutory prohibition.)

You can sign this online petition to be delivered to the legislature and the governor of South Carolina demanding that the state remove the Confederate flag from all public places. It’s a start.

I also encourage you to make (as I have) a donation to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the nine individuals were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. You can do so by going to the church’s website and clicking on “Donate.”

I’m an atheist (who pretty much supports “Christian” churches only in that it’s churches’ First Amendment right to exist) and a gay man — and the black church historically has been pretty homophobic, with which I have a real problem — but this was some seriously fucked-up shit, and if we can restore this congregation to some of its former wholeness, we should.

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Michele, we hardly knew ye (and other notes on the horse race)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announces the end of her presidential campaign in West Des Moines

Reuters photo

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann announces today that her sixth-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucuses has induced her to quit her quest for the White House.  

We won’t have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore. At least not for a while.

Bachmann dropped out of the Repugnican Tea Party horse race after garnering only 5 percent — sixth place — in the Iowa caucuses yesterday. 

Yahoo! News quotes Bachmann’s communications director as having told reporters of Bachmann, “She doesn’t see where she made mistakes. None of us, you know, see where there were mistakes made.”

Gee, maybe that was their primary problem: their inability to recognize their mistakes. 

I remember when “President” George W. Bush, on at least one occasion before a television camera, struggled to come up with any mistakes that he’d made as “president” when a reporter had asked him to list any.

The inability to enumerate any of one’s mistakes is a pretty fucking serious pathology.

Speaking of Gee Dubya, it is interesting that his name rarely comes up in the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential horse race when he was his party’s last occupant of the White House, for a full eight years.

It is as though extraterrestrials shoved memory-erasing probes up our collective national rectum, completely wiping out our collective memory of the years 2001 through 2008, idn’t it? Indeed, we went right from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, did we not?

Speaking further of Gee Dubya, about the only time He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned has come up this quadrennial go-around is when people have asked if we really want another governor of Texas ascending to the Oval Office.

Speaking of Texas governors, unlike even Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Prick Perry can’t take a hint. Despite coming in at fifth place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (with only 10 percent of the vote), Perry has proclaimed that he will compete in the January 21 South Carolina primary, where, he remarked, “real” Repugnican Tea Partiers will vote, as opposed to those “quirky” Iowans.

Iowans indeed are quirky, although “quirky” sounds like a dangerously minimizing euphemism for “bat-shit-crazy theofascist.” 

However, Perry should have done better in Iowa, with its plethora of “Christo”fascists to whom he is trying to appeal. If he doesn’t appeal to the “quirky” Iowans, it’s difficult to see him appealing to the Repugnican Tea Party nationally.

The Associated Press reports that Perry today “said voters in South Carolina share his values and that he feels confident he will do well there.”

Share his values? Is that code for Texas and South Carolina both being bastions of white supremacists who long for the “good old days” of the Confederacy? (“Quirky” Iowa, of course, never was part of the treasonous Confederacy, but both Texas and South Carolina seceded from the Union before President-Elect Abraham Lincoln even took office in 1861.) 

Prick Perry had an uphill battle as it was, joining the horse race relatively late and reminding everyone of the last governor of Texas who went to the White House — the “president” who was so shitty that the members of his own party pretend as though his two terms hadn’t even happened — but Perry blew it by acting like a drunken Alzheimer’s patient in the nationally televised debates and in other public appearances.

He might do fairly well in fellow secessionist state South Carolina, but only 11 states formed the Confederacy, and Perry would have to do much better than that to win his party’s nomination.

Perry has only himself to blame for his failure, not “quirky” Iowa or anyone or anything else (with the possible exception of Gee Dubya, of course, for having soured the nation, even his own party, on governors from Texas).

Hopefully, though, Perry will do horribly in South Carolina and we’ll be done with him then.

Ditto for Rick Santorum.

However, at least one pundit posits that Santorum, because he trailed permacandidate Mitt Romney, the party establishment’s choice (indeed, 2008 party presidential candidate John McCainosaurus just endorsed Romney), by only eight (yes, 8) votes yesterday in the Iowa caucuses, might make it even beyond “Super Tuesday” on March 6.

I can’t see Santorum winning the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party nomination. Do the Repugnican Tea Partiers really want to front against President Barack Obama a candidate who lost his last election (his 2006 re-election bid to the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania) to his Democratic challenger by 18 percent, which Wikipedia calls “the largest margin of defeat for any incumbent senator since 1980 and the largest margin of any incumbent Republican senator ever”?

And how can Santorum, whose fundraising and organization lag woefully behind permacandidate Romney’s, catch up now, even if he does get the lion’s share of Newt Gingrich’s and Bachmann’s and Perry’s supporters? (Gingrich came in at fourth place in Iowa yesterday, by the way, which I’d find more encouraging if McCainosaurus also hadn’t come in at fourth place in Iowa in 2008 yet still won his party’s nomination.)

But I can see Santorum dragging the whole mess out, although hopefully not nearly as long as Obama and Billary Clinton dragged out the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential primary season (in which Obama didn’t emerge victorious until June 2008).

Oh, well.

It will, I suppose, provide more blogging fodder, and a prolonged fight between the establishmentarian Repugnicans, represented by Romney, and their “tea party” wing, represented, for the moment, by Santorum, might only swing even more “swing voters” Obama’s way in November 2012.

Obama sucks* and does not deserve to be re-elected, but push come to shove — and you’d have to push and shove me pretty hard — I suppose that I’d prefer his re-election over another Repugnican in the White House. I, for one, have not forgotten the eight long years of unelected rule by George W. Bush.

P.S. How could I forget Ron Paul? He did, after all, come in third place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (at 21 percent, just behind Romney and Santorum, who were tied at 25 percent), and anyone who makes the top three in Iowa generally is considered to be a viable candidate for his or her party’s presidential nomination.

Well, let’s face it: Paul has a few positions that even progressives like me agree with, and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald is correct that Paul, while wrong on many if not most issues, has brought up some critically important issues that neither the Coke Party nor the Pepsi Party wants brought up in a presidential campaign. But the bottom line is that Paul isn’t taken seriously even by his own party, so what progressives think of Paul is a fairly moot point.

Ron Paul is treated like his party’s crazy old uncle, and having attained only to the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul never really had a chance anyway. (This was unfortunately true for Democratic Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is treated like his party’s crazy uncle [he was my ideological favorite for 2004, but his nationally presidential unelectability was clear, and so I supported John Kerry, whom I viewed as much more electable] — and fortunately true also for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.)

If Ron Paul wants to run as an independent/third-party candidate, he has my blessing, though. Although many if not most Democrats deny it, it seems to me that the third-party presidential bid of billionaire H. Ross Perot (yet another Texas special) largely was a reason that Bill Clinton denied the first George Bush a second term in 1992.

*The Obamabots have easily toppled “defenses” of President Hopey-Changey — you should read Ted Rall’s recent column titled “How to Talk to an Obama Voter (If You Must)” for a list of a few of these “defenses” and why they’re bullshit. Here, I think, is the money shot:

Obamabot Talking Point: If I don’t vote for Obama, the Even Worse Republicans win.

Answer: So vote for Obama. Or don’t vote. It makes no difference either way. Voting is like praying to God. It doesn’t hurt. Nor does it do any good. As with religion, the harm comes from the self-delusion of thinking you’re actually doing something. You’re not. Wanna save the world? Or just yourself? That, you’ll have to do outside, in the street.

But perhaps Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi delivers the most scathing criticism of President Hopey-Changey that I’ve seen (at least in a long time) in his recent piece titled “Iowa: The Meaningless Sideshow Begins.” The money shot of the piece, I think, is this (the links are all Taibbi’s and the emphases are mine):

… But the ugly reality, as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.

That damning statistic just confirms what everyone who spends any time on the campaign trail knows, which is that the presidential race is not at all about ideas, but entirely about raising money.

The auctioned election process is designed to reduce the field to two candidates who will each receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from the same pool of donors. Just take a look at the lists of top donors for Obama and McCain from the last election in 2008.

Obama’s top 20 list included:

 McCain’s list, meanwhile, included (drum roll please):

Obama’s list included all the major banks and bailout recipients, plus a smattering of high-dollar defense lawyers from firms like WilmerHale and Skadden Arps who make their money representing those same banks. McCain’s list included exactly the same banks and a similar list of law firms, the minor difference being that it was Gibson Dunn instead of WilmerHale, etc.

The numbers show remarkable consistency, as Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup all gave roughly twice or just over twice as much to Obama as they did to McCain, almost perfectly matching the overall donations profile for both candidates: overall, Obama raised just over twice as much ($730 million) as McCain did ($333 million).

Those numbers tell us that both parties rely upon the same core of major donors among the top law firms, the Wall Street companies, and business leaders – basically, the 1%. Those one-percenters always give generously to both parties and both presidential candidates, although they sometimes will hedge their bets significantly when they think one side or the other has a lopsided chance at victory. That’s clearly what happened in 2008, when Wall Street correctly called Obama as a 2-1 (or maybe a 7-3) favorite to beat McCain.

The 1% donors are remarkably tolerant. They’ll give to just about anyone who polls well, provided they fall within certain parameters. What they won’t do is give to anyone who is even a remote threat to make significant structural changes, i.e. a Dennis Kucinich, an Elizabeth Warren, or a Ron Paul (hell will freeze over before Wall Street gives heavily to a candidate in favor of abolishing their piggy bank, the Fed). So basically what that means is that voters are free to choose anyone they want, provided it isn’t Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul, or some other such unacceptable personage.

If the voters insist on supporting such a person in defiance of these donors – this might even happen tonight, with a Paul win in Iowa – what you inevitably end up seeing is a monstrous amount of money quickly dumped into the cause of derailing that candidate. This takes overt forms, like giving heavily to his primary opponents, and more covert forms, like manufacturing opinions through donor-subsidized think tanks and the heavy use of lapdog media figures to push establishment complaints. …

President Hopey-Changey can’t even pretend to be on the side of the 99 percent when it’s the 1 percent — the Wall Street weasels and their allies — who gave him many more millions than they gave even to McCainosaurus in 2008.

And it’s the numbers next to the bullet points above that explain why I refer to the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party: the two are fairly indistinguishable. (I am, by the way, a registered member of the Green Party, and proudly so.)

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