Tag Archives: French Revolution

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!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Four more years (of [largely] the same old shit)!

Ann Romney grabs Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from behind as he greets members of the crowd after the conclusion of the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton

Ann Romney holds onto her husband, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as he reaches down to shake hands with members of the audience at the conclusion of the final presidential debate in Boca Raton

Reuters photos

I expect little actual progress from the pseudo-progressive President Hopey-Changey over the next four years, but at least during that time I’ll be spared of having to see the Ann-Cunter-like, bleach-blonde harpy Ann Romney trying to fuck us all repeatedly with her strap-on. (Yes, that’s an actual news photo, and so is that one, too.)

Oh, yeah, there was an election on Tuesday.

As I have noted, I voted by mail for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for president — yes, practically speaking, as a protest vote — but I knew that President Barack Obama would win my state of California by an overwhelming margin, and he did: thus far in California’s vote counting, Obama has 59.3 percent to Mittens Romney’s paltry 38.4 percent. (Stein, in case you were wondering, is at No. 4, with a whopping 0.6 percent of the state’s vote.)

What I didn’t expect, however, was that as a result of Tuesday’s election — elections, as they say, have consequences — the California Legislature would be on the verge of having a two-thirds “super-majority” in both houses, the state Senate and the state Assembly.

Wow.

This “super-majority” — if utilized — makes the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the Legislature even more irrelevant than they already were before Tuesday.

Not that the Democrats will use their power, of course. Although “super-majority” power, if used to its full extent, would make even the centristy Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown fairly irrelevant, since the Legislature could override his vetoes, there are plenty of center-right “Democratic” California legislators who could threaten any two-thirds threshold.

And, of course, already Jerry Brown has assured spooked California Repugnicanswhose registrants don’t comprise even a full 30 percent of registered Californian voters (the Dems, on the other hand, have almost 44 percent of the state’s registered voters) and whose party doesn’t hold a single statewide office — that his party won’t do too much to upset them, even though, of course, were the state’s parties’ positions of political power reversed, the Repugnicans would ram their right-wing agenda through ruthlessly.

When George W. Bush was “re”-elected in 2004 with a measly 50.7 percent of the popular vote, he called the election results a “mandate.” A “mandate.”

That’s how the Repugnican Tea Party traitors roll: They don’t care even if they don’t even win the popular vote (recall the 2000 presidential election) — they just want to be in power no matter fucking what. They want to shove their Randian, theofascist, neo-Nazi agenda down our throats whether we, the people, give them our permission, via our votes, to do so or not. (So of course if you’re perfectly willing to steal power even when you lost the election, 50.7 percent would be, I suppose, relatively speaking, a “mandate.”)

Votes remain to be counted, but right now Obama is sitting at 50.6 percent of the national popular vote to Mittens’ 47.9 percent. Obama on Tuesday sewed up 332 electoral votes to Mittens’ 206. Including the all-important Ohio and Florida, Obama on Tuesday won all of the states that he won in 2008 (when he garnered 52.9 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes), except for two of them, Indiana and North Carolina, which aren’t exactly solid-blue states anyway.

(Indeed, in eight of the last 10 presidential elections, including Tuesday’s, North Carolina went for the Repugnican, and in nine of the last 10 presidential elections, including Tuesday’s, Indiana went for the Repugnican, so Obama’s win in those two states in 2008 was the exception, not the rule, and his loss in those two backasswards states on Tuesday was the rule, not the exception, even though the pathetically straw-grasping Repugnican Tea Party traitors have tried to make some hay out of the fact that Obama didn’t win those two states again on Tuesday. [Indeed, the bar, when it is set by whites, is always set higher for blacks than it is for whites.])

Cheer up, though, white-supremacist wingtards! Mittens did better than John McCainosaurus and Sarah Palin did in 2008. They garnered only 45.7 of the popular vote and 173 electoral votes against the guy with the Kenyan ancestry.

Of course, while George W. Bush in 2004 declared 50.7 percent of the popular vote to be a “mandate” and the fascist traitors who comprise his party talked of a “permanent [Repugnican] majority,” only two years later, in 2006, the Repugnicans lost the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to become speaker of the House in U.S. history, and then two years after that, in 2008, Barack Obama, the nation’s first non-white president, won a higher percentage of the popular vote than either George W. Bush or even Bill Clinton ever had.

So some caution needs to be exercised before declaring a “permanent [insert party name here] majority,” or even a “mandate” based on not even a full 51 percent of the popular vote, but at the same time, to the victor goes the spoils, and the so-called “leaders” of the Democratic Party need to stop acting like losers even after they’ve fucking won.

(Yes, on the heels of his second electoral victory, Obama still is talking about cooperation with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress, even though the past four years have demonstrated amply that you cannot negotiate with such terrorists, because the assumption that they are rational creatures capable of compromise is patently incorrect.) 

The Repugnican Tea Party traitor-fascists act like winners even after they’ve lost, and if the damage that they’ve wreaked upon the nation is to be reversed (if that’s even possible at this point [it very most likely isn’t, perhaps especially in regards to global warming]), the Democrats really need to stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I’m not holding my breath, however.

I expect the next four years to look and feel much like the past four, although I expect things here in California to improve more quickly than they improve — if they ever improve — nationally, since here in California we have demonstrated how to edge the Repugnican Tea Party traitors more and more closely to the endangered species status that they oppose so much.

As California goes, so goes the nation, it has been said.

I hope that that is correct.

P.S. Of course I’m happy that on Tuesday the voters of three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — voted for same-sex marriage, being the first states to adopt same-sex marriage upon a popular vote, and pushing the number of states that have same-sex marriage from six (before Tuesday) to now nine. (The other six states are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The District of Columbia also has same-sex marriage, as do two U.S. Native American tribes, apparently.)

The 2008 election results were a bittersweet pill here in California, because although Barack Obama had become the nation’s first black president based upon his ubiquitous campaign promises of hope and change (and to a large degree they were just that — promises — we know now), Proposition Hate had shot down same-sex marriage, which the California Supreme Court had ruled earlier in the year was every Californian’s constitutional right.

If same-sex marriage were put up to a vote again in California today, of course it would pass this time — even though, let me be clear, no one’s constitutional guarantee of equality ever should have to be put up to a fucking vote — and it’s gratifying to see that the Mittens Romney-Pretty Boy Paul Ryan ticket, representing the Mormon cult and the Catholick church respectively, were rejected by the majority of the nation’s voters, since the Mormon cult and the Catholick church were the biggest sponsors of Proposition Hate, in their attempt to shove their brand of theocracy and theofascism down our throats, Taliban-style.

Karma is a bitch.

(Just like Ann Romney is. I am sooooo happy not to have to see her fucking face as first lady for the next four years, by the way. Ann Romney reminds me of an Ann Cunter who actually ate something. Why are so many Repugican Tea Party women bleach-blonde harpies who act like sorority chicks who are getting revenge upon all of us for the ponies that they never got as spoiled little girls?)

P.P.S. For all of their post-election sore-loserism crying and whining, the white-supremacist Repugnican Tea Party traitors are fucking lucky that we are seeing a for-the-very-most-part bloodless, demographic revolution in the United States, and not (thus far, anyway…) the actual bloody revolution that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors deserve to have launched against them, a la the French Revolution.

After all, the “47 percent” that Mittens “Let Them Eat Cake” Romney talked about in May when he didn’t know that he was being video-recorded actually is a bit more than 50 percent, we see from Tuesday’s presidential election results.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Raise THIS, baby-boomer bitches!

John Boehner

House Republican Leader Boehner watches U.S. ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Repugnican U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio (photographed above in Washington, D.C., earlier this month), a member of the get-mine-and-get-out generation, wants to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits to age 70 for Americans who have at least 20 years to go before retirement (that would be Generation X’ers and Generation Y’ers and those who follow the Y’ers). Boehner also wants these future Social Security recipients (including yours truly) to have to prove their (our) need for Social Security checks. Don’t worry about the baby boomers, though — they’ll be well taken care of.

Like I needed yet another reason to despise John Boehner, the Repugnican minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Not only is Boehner (pronounced like bay-ner, not like boner, by the way…) a fucking baby boomer and a fucking Repugnican, but his steely-cold reptilian eyes always have given me the fucking creeps.

Boehner’s latest kick is his suggestion that the minimum age for receiving Social Security retirement benefits be raised to age 70 for those Americans who have at least 20 years left until they reach retirement age — and that these future Social Security recipients must prove that they need the Social Security checks before they can get them.

So the baby boomers, the get-mine-and-get-out generation, get it all — they get to collect Social Security retirement benefits as early as at age 62 and they get to collect these benefits even if they’re millionaires.

Under the Boehner plan, we of Generation X, however (and those who follow us), get fucked up the ass by the baby boomers. Like we always do. With ground glass for lube.

But we’re supposed to love the baby boomers. Love them.

I recently visited with my baby-boomer uncle. I always generally have liked him and considered him one of my favorite relatives, but during our recent conversation he referred to himself as a “socialist.” And he meant it; his political philosophy is progressive. He always supported and still supports Barack Obama. (Which is not to say that the labeling of Obama as a “socialist” is anything like accurate, because it is not. Obama is a Clintonista, not a socialist.) 

Yet my uncle the “socialist” is a contractor for the U.S. military, even though he acknowledges that the bloated military-industrial complex is not sustainable, and even though, he also acknowledged, the last necessary war that the U.S. military fought was World War II. He also lives in a gated community among golf courses in Tucson, Arizona — and he acknowledged that this lush community is not sustainable, being in the middle of the fucking desert but using so much water.

My uncle, to my knowledge, has no intention of changing his lifestyle before he dies, acknowledges that his lifestyle is not sustainable, yet calls himself, without any discernible hint of cognitive dissonance, a “socialist.”

And he’s one of the better baby boomers.

I’m so often called — almost exclusively by baby boomers — “angry!” As though that were a bad thing. (My baby-boomer uncle and my baby-boomer aunt both told me during our recent visit that they can’t read my blog because I’m so “angry.” [I wonder if they’ll read this…])

It’s easy for the members of a generation who had just about everything handed to them on a silver fucking platter and who are leaving not a crumb behind on that silver platter for those of us who follow them to criticize us Gen X’ers (and Y’ers) for being so “angry!”

In France, the young people are protesting right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Yes, from 60 to 62.

Reports The Associated Press:

Paris – The front lines of the latest French protest against raising the retirement age revealed a remarkable sight: Not the slightest wrinkle, not a single gray hair.

Brandishing “Save Our Pensions!” banners, students who haven’t even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.

Welcome to France, where workers’ rights are so deeply entwined into the culture that even teenagers are unsettled about plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, which is still among the lowest in Europe. The reform protest brought nearly a million people out into the streets across the country Thursday.

Young people fear they will lose the most from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms, which aim to cut France’s ballooning deficit and make the money-losing pension system break even starting in 2018….

Shit. American young people are too busy texting to stand up against the baby boomers who are destroying their future. It’s pathetic.

Boehner (whose name I wish were pronounced like boner), even while proposing to fuck over royally my generation and the generations that follow mine, accuses the current Democratic “leadership” in Washington of “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.”

Oh, please.

It’s not the Democrats who are snuffing out the nation in which I was born in 1968 and in which I grew up.

It’s the fucking baby boomers who are destroying the nation. (Indeed, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who could be poster children for the baby-boom generation, started the nation’s destruction long before the black guy ever made it to the White House.)

It doesn’t matter whether they’re Repugnicans or Democrats, because even when they call themselves, in all seriousness, socialists, the way that the baby boomers live their lives demonstrates that they don’t give a flying fuck about the fate of those who follow them.

I think the reason that the boomers love to call me “angry” — as though this actually is going to shut me up — is because they’re terrified that anger sometimes leads to action.

What kind of action?

Well, why should we younger Americans just allow the baby boomers to continue to bleed our nation dry?

What if we decided, instead of just passively accepting our unfair and unjust treatment, to nip the baby-boomer problem in the bud?

Yeah, it just might come to that.

I hope that it does.

P.S. The French have so much more than Americans do because they fight the powers that be. The guillotines of the French Revolution, I understand, are always in the backs of the mind of France’s power elite.

Guillotines just might solve the nation’s problem of the baby boomers sucking up all of its resources, leaving future generations fucked.

I am reminded of that great line of Brad Pitt’s in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds.”

To paraphrase: “We’re in the boomer-killin’ bidness! And bidness is a-boomin’!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized