Tag Archives: friendly fascism

Still Bernie or bust for me (also: Live-blogging the 7th Dem debate tomorrow)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is hugged as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan

Reuters photo

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a progressive U.S. senator for Vermont, is hugged before a rally today in Warren, Michigan. Today Bernie handily won the caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, while Billary Clinton picked up yet another state of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging denizens in the South (Louisiana). Tomorrow night Bernie debates Billary Clinton in Flint, Michigan. Michigan holds its primary election on Tuesday; if Bernie takes the state, gone (at least until Billary’s next win) should be the bullshit talk of Billary’s “inevitability.”

Today Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party presidential caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, and Billary Clinton, in keeping with her popularity in the South, won the backasswards red state of Louisiana.

Thus far the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race (this one from Wikipedia) looks like this, with Bernie’s wins in green and Billary’s in gold:

Note that Iowa was a tie, with Billary “beating” Bernie by a whopping 0.3 percent. Also close was Massachusetts, which Billary won by 1.4 percent. (It apparently helped her to at least to some degree that Bill Clinton apparently was electioneering for Billary at polling places in Massachusetts on “Super Tuesday.” [His mere presence at a polling place, even if he didn’t speak a word, was electioneering, in my book, given how well he is known as a former president and since his wife appeared on the ballot at the polling places that he visited (only to “thank the poll workers,” he claimed). Of course, the Clintons are royalty, and members of royalty are above the law.])

Nevada wasn’t a blowout win for Billary, either; she won that state’s caucuses by 5.3 percent.

Billary’s wins in the Southern states have been in the double digits, which speaks volumes to me. The South is another fucking country, as far as I’m concerned.

Bernie’s double-digit wins in states like Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Vermont (and his almost-wins in Iowa and Massachusetts) indicate to me that he represents the real Americayou know, the portion of the United States that didn’t practice slavery and wasn’t part of the Confederacy.

Queen Billary says that she’s the real Democrat in the race, yet why is her power base in the South — which is not exactly a bastion of the values and beliefs of the modern Democratic Party?

At any rate, although Billary once again stupidly was declared “inevitable” after “Super Tuesday” this past week (she won seven states [all of them, except for Massachusetts, in the South] to Bernie’s four), this remains a race.

(As many have noted, if a clear majority of the voters and caucus-goers pick Bernie over Billary, the so-called “super-delegates” will be pressured not to subvert democracy, but to go with the popular will and to therefore go with Bernie — if the Democratic Party is to survive.*)

Next up is Maine, which caucuses tomorrow, and then on Tuesday, Michigan and Mississippi hold their primary elections.

I expect Bernie to win Maine, and of course Billary will take the backasswards red state of Mississippi. I’m hoping that Bernie takes Michigan; that would be a real coup for him.

In any event, tomorrow night is the seventh Democratic Party presidential debate. It will be held in Flint, Michigan, and is to be carried by CNN at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific.

I plan to live-blog it, but I might do it differently this time; truth be told, after having live-blogged the first six Democratic debates, I can tell you that these debates get repetitive. Tomorrow night I might decide to live-blog only new material and the more interesting exchanges, and let the repetitive crap go.

Finally, if you are a regular reader of mine you will know this already, but I’ll say it again: For me it’s still Bernie or bust.

I will not support Billary Clinton, Queen of the South, in any way. Not a penny and certainly not my vote, not in California’s primary election in June or in the general presidential election in November.

Billary Clinton does not represent the United States of America or the Democratic Party to me.

My world is a progressive one, and she is from another planet.

P.S. Speaking of other planets, as far as Donald Trump is concerned: I’m sorry that he has gotten this far. It’s a sad statement on the sorry state of sociopolitical affairs in the nation that he has.

Donald Trump does not represent all white male Americans. Let me say that. He represents some of them. (White males are around 31 percent of all Americans, and Trump has the support of about 36 percent of Repugnicans, men and women, and around 39 percent of Americans identify as Repugnican or leaning Repugnican, while around 43 percent of Americans identify as Democratic or leaning Democratic. So Trump has the support of around 36 percent of around 39 percent of Americans, including women, so let’s please not say that he’s representative of most white American men. He is not. He is representative of a loud and obnoxious minority of them who share perhaps three brain cells among themselves.)

Donald Trump to me is evil not so much in that he has all of these definite evil plans for the groups of people whom he definitely would persecute, like his forebears the Nazi Germans did, but in that because he has no moral compass and no apparent conscience, but is pure ego, he would go in whatever direction he would perceive to be politically beneficial to himself, regardless of its harm to many others. He sociopathically lacks all empathy, very apparently.

Sure, that also pretty much describes corporate-ass-licker Billary Clinton’s entire political career, but would another Nazi Germany arise under Billary Clinton? Probably not. Under Donald Trump? It certainly could.

That said, I still think that I prefer the overt fascism of Donald Trump to the “friendly” fascism of Billary Clinton; I still think that I’d rather deal with the obvious wolf than with the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

On that note, both the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party establishments — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — need to go.

Yes, the thought that the establishment parties’ demise could be replaced by something akin to Germany’s Nazism (that is, nationalism, far-right-wing ideology/fascism, white supremacism, etc.) is a frightening thought, but there is an alternative to that: the progressive, inclusive, democratic socialism that real Democrat Bernie Sanders promotes.

*While I don’t share Salon.com writer Andrew O’Hehir’s assessment of Billary’s chances of emerging as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee — I think that he overstates her chances (for one thing, she remains underwater in her favorability polling of all voters by double digits — while Bernie’s favorability polling of all voters still has him liked more than disliked by double digits) — I do agree with O’Hehir’s assessment that there is a civil war within the Democratic Party just as there is within the Repugnican Tea Party.

It’s just that the Democrats are “nicer” about it, and it hasn’t blown up (yet).

Whether Billary emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee or not, the fact remains that her center-right brand of Democrat is sorely out of date, is unsustainable and needs to go, and it will go; it’s only a question of for how much longer the Clintonistas can keep the Democrat-in-name-only game going.

If we Berners — progressives — can’t take back our party this year, we will take it back in the near future.

Billary Clinton is not in a good place politically, not in the long term.

Why?

Well, if Bernie beats her, it will be seen as a victory for progressives. (Of course, if Bernie beats her but then goes on to lose in November, he’ll be lumped in with the likes of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, which probably would be damaging for the progressive brand and seen as vindicating the Clintonistas’ brand of the Democratic Party, of course. [This wouldn’t last forever, but would last for some time, I surmise.])

But if Billary wins the nomination but then loses in November, it most definitely will be the final stake in the cold, stupid hearts of the Clintonistas. The members of the party will look for a new direction, and we progressives are quite ready to supply that direction.

But even if Billary wins both the party’s presidential nomination and the White House, she’ll have a very rough go of it.

She will be attacked relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, and if you look at who her supporters are now, it appears as though as president she’ll have the support of the Democrats in the South — Democrats who are fairly powerless within their own states.

The rest of us — us Northerners, mostly — aren’t at all thrilled about Billary Clinton now, so she probably can’t count on much political support from us should she actually become president.

And that’s her fault, not ours.

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Democracy first for Egypt, then for the U.S.?

Mubarak names VP, new PM as deadly protests continue

AFP photo

Egyptian protesters surround a statue of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, Egypt. The protesters are demanding the ouster of autocratic Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A sign that they’re likely to get their wish is that the members of the Egyptian military and the protesters apparently are finding camaraderie, as evidenced by the news photo below that was taken in Cairo today.

Egyptian protesters greet army soldiers atop ...

Associated Press photo

You gotta love the Egyptians. While we Americans are being buried alive in a slew of hollow slogans by a “hopey-changey” president who adafuckingmantly refuses to significantly alter the status quo, the Egyptians are in the streets with the goal of ousting the fossilized President Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

While we Americans refuse to even get off of our fat asses and into the streets, thus far more than 90 Egyptians have died in more than five days of fighting for democracy (for real democracy, not the brand of “democracy” that the U.S. government loves to impose on nations in the Middle East), according to the AFP.

The increasingly embattled Mubarak, following the playbook of ultra-shitty leaders, fired his cabinet (declaring, “I am dismissing the government and will appoint a new one”) in order to show that they were the problem, certainly not he. In a sign that he knows that his days are numbered, for the first time he named a vice president today, as well as a new prime minister.

But the Egyptian protesters apparently are stopping at nothing short of total regime change. They apparently believe (correctly) that a fish rots from the head down, and they’re going after the rotten fish head. (My hunch is that they should reject Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president and prime minister and new cabinet members, too, and pick an entirely new leadership wholly unaffiliated with Mubarak. Megalomaniacs like Mubarak pick only their ideological clones to succeed them.)

The events in Egypt are inspiring.

If only we could have revolution here at home.

Sure, nonviolent revolution would be nice, but when, in the history of the world, did the corrupts powers that be ever respond to niceness?

That’s why it’s a fucking joke that President Barack Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters not to resort to violence: Violence often, if not usually, is the only way to oust the calcified powers that be. It’s not like you can ask tyrants nicely to pack it up and leave and they will.

While Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters to be utterly ineffective in changing the status quo (just like he is), he has advised Mubarak to institute “reforms.”

“Reforms.”

Bullshit.

Like an 82-year-old man is going to significantly change his game now.

“Reforms” are lame-ass excuses for not doing what needs to be done.

When something is utterly broken, you cannot “reform” it. You can only sweep aside the old, broken system and build something new.

Which is what we need to do here in the United States of America, where the will of the people long has been ignored by an entrenched duopolistic partisan system in which the corporateers and the war profiteers and the others with the millions of dollars to buy off our politicians (like the Israel-first lobby [a.k.a. AIPAC*]) long have been running the show under the guise of “democracy.”

We don’t have democracy (true majority rule) here in the United States of America. We have friendly fascism (as Bertram Gross put it) or managed democracy and inverted totalitarianism (as Sheldon Wolin put it). We have a slogan-spewing smooth operator in Barack Obama, who serves not us, but who serves his corporateering and war profiteering masters (including, of course, AIPAC) who bankrolled his rise to the top.

Obama’s type of tyranny — friendly fascism, inverted totalitarianism — is even more dangerous than is Mubarak’s, because while Mubarak fairly openly is a tyrant, Obama employs a veneer of friendliness — a veneer that confuses many if not most, because while they hear his warm and cuddly promises and his soothing slogans, they see that things in a corporately and plutocratically owned and controlled nation that is at perpetual bogus war continue to get worse, not better.

And a majority of us Americans were, after all, duped by promises of “hope” and “change” to cast a vote for Obama in November 2008. (It happened to the best and to the most well-meaning of us, including to yours truly.)

But I assure you that Obama’s greatest hope is that a critical mass of Americans do not wake up during his watch.

*Speaking of the devil (AIPAC), while I disagree with newly elected Repugnican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on most issues, I love his balls for suggesting that the United States of America cut aid to the sacred fucking cow that is Israel.

Both Repugnican and Democratic politicians slavishly kiss Zionist ass for fear of being branded as “anti-Semitic” and for having the Israel-first lobby fund their political opponents over them in their election battles.

The United States this fiscal year is giving Israel $3 billion in military assistance, notes The Associated Press, adding that last fiscal year Israel got $2.8 billion, and starting next fiscal year is slated to get $3.1 billion a year for five years.

In his defense, Rand Paul’s spokesman released a statement that “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Senator Paul — our current fiscal crisis makes it impossible to continue the spending policies of the past. We simply cannot afford to give money away, even to our allies, with so much debt mounting on a daily basis.”

Unfortunately, while Paul wants to cut around $20 billion in foreign assistance, and wants to cut $16 billion out of the bogus wars in Vietraq and Afghanistan (while both wars should just be fucking ended altogether; the United States no longer can afford to meddle in the Middle East when things literally are crumbling here at home), he also “would make significant cuts in education, housing and energy,” according to the AP.

Speaking of the fact that charity should fucking begin at home, the AP also reports that on the topic of de-funding Israel,

Rep. Nita Lowey of the New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said the United States cannot renege on its commitment to the only Democratic nation in a dangerous region.

“Using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Israel is inexcusable,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is unclear to me whether Rand Paul speaks for the tea party, the Republican Party or simply himself. I call on all those who value the U.S.-Israel relationship to make it clear that our nation will not abandon our ally Israel.”

But using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Americans here at home is perfectly acceptable to the Israel-first lobby, you see. Americans can fucking starve to death — as long as we continue send Israel $3 billion a year with which to slaughter Muslims!

And note that it’s a Democratic politician defending the Israel-first lobby here. No doubt that she gets plenty of money from the Israel-first lobby. I mean, she’s the top Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees foreign aid — you don’t think that AIPAC & Co. have paid her off?

In fairness, I don’t support cutting Israel off cold turkey, necessarily. Perhaps the assistance could be cut gradually from $3 billion a year to zero a year over a period of five years or so, which would give Israel at least some time to adjust to the new fiscal reality.

But to continue to arm Israel, which then uses these U.S.-funded arms to slaughter Muslims, which then causes even more unrest in the Middle East, which then “justifies” continuing to send $3 billion in military aid a year to Israel — yeah, this bullshit has to stop.

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Tim Tebow anti-choice ad not harmless

I watched the infamous Tim Tebow anti-choice Super Bowl ad, and I have to conclude that it isn’t harmless. That it skirts around its objective — the subjugation of women — probably makes it even more dangerous because it wishes to appear to be harmless. (The title of the book Friendly Fascism comes to mind right now…)

No, I didn’t expect to see a shrieking bloody embryo in the ad, but the ad gets its anti-choice message across nonetheless. At the end of the ad, which features friendly sounding singers in the background, is the message: “For the full Tebow story go to FocusOnTheFamily.com” and “Celebrate family. Celebrate life.” 

If nothing else, the 30-second ad directs the viewer to the website of the “Christo”fascist group Focus on the Family. CBS probably wouldn’t have aired an ad for any other hate group, but it aired the ad for Focus on the Family.

The Nation sums it up well:

The Tim Tebow/Pam Tebow [Super Bowl] ad has finally aired, and it is about as vanilla as an Andy Williams Christmas special. This is none too surprising. After all, CBS actually co-produced the ad to run seamlessly with the rest of its slick Super Bowl coverage.

This has the anti-choice right wing on the blogs mocking the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood for “making a big deal over nothing.” But the concerns of NOW and Planned Parenthood were absolutely spot-on when you saw the final shot of the ad: “This message is brought to you by Focus on the Family.”

The idea that Focus on the Family — an organization that believes in reparative therapy for LGBT people, that likens abortion rights to the Nazi holocaust, and that has shadowy connections to open hate groups — gets this kind of a mammoth public forum is an absolute disgrace.

As for the ad, Pam Tebow speaks about the choice to ignore her doctor’s advice and risk her own life. She has every right to stand on a soapbox with her hunky, Heisman-winning son, and tell other women about the benefits of ignoring your doctor.

But the idea that CBS would provide the platform for such a message without so much as a medical disclaimer is simply wrong.

Also, the idea that Focus on the Family, an organization that stands unequivocally for the view that other women should be denied Pam Tebow’s choice, would get this kind of prime commercial real estate exposes CBS as a frighteningly fraudulent operation.

They should offer free commercial time to Planned Parenthood. And if Roe v. Wade is ever deemed unconstitutional, I hope the executives at CBS ponder their role in this process. Maybe it will cross their minds when they are taking their daughters on a first-class trip to France for legal, safe abortions.

Somewhere, Edward R. Murrow weeps.

Well, Murrow has been crying uncontrollably for some years now, starting no later than when the major American television networks acted not as critical journalists, but as “embedded” cheerleaders for the unelected Bush regime’s “shock and awe” when it launched its bogus Vietraq War in March 2003. The networks treated this “shock and awe” like a fucking sporting event — like the Super Bowl.

That was when I stopped watching television.

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Whom to believe: the Taliban’s video — or my own fucking lying government?

Berg and Bergdahl: Above is a video grab of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American civilian who was held captive and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004, and below is a video grab of Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier who now is being held captive by members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I’m hoping that Bergdahl’s fate turns out to be better than that of Berg.

This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video ...

Associated Press image

So I read in the news today that a 23-year-old American soldier from Podunk, Idaho named Bowe Bergdahl is being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and I see his image, and he eerily reminds me, way too much, of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American telecommunications entrepeneur who was captured and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004.

Not only are their surnames too similar, but their images are too similar, and I hope that Bergdahl, unlike Berg did, comes home safely, in one piece.

The Associated Press reports today of a 28-minute Taliban video of Bergdahl:

In the video, Bergdahl had his head shaved and was seen with the start of a beard. He was sitting and dressed in a nondescript, gray outfit. Early in the video one captor held the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera. His name and ID number were clearly visible. He was shown eating at one point and sitting cross-legged.

He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. It’s clear the video was made no earlier than July 14 because Bergdahl repeated an exaggerated Taliban claim about a Ukrainian helicopter that was shot down that day.

He was interviewed in English by his captors. He was asked his views on the war, which he called extremely hard; his desire to learn more about Islam; and the morale of American soldiers, which he said was low.

Asked how he was doing, the soldier said: “Well I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”

He later choked up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

“I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day when I’m gone,” he said.

He was prompted by his interrogators to give a message to the American people.

“To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it’s like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home,” he said. “Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country. Please bring us home. It is America and the American people have that power.”

Of course the U.S. military was quick to imply that Bergdahl couldn’t possibly have said anything like that on his own accord, but that of course he was coerced by his captives to say that. Reports the AP:

“I’m glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video,” spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker said. “They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.”

Like the United States never violates international law (such as with the unelected Bush regime’s launch of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003 against the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and against world opinion) and like the U.S. military doesn’t produce propaganda videos (such as with its G.I.-Joe-like recruitment ads targeted at our young cannon fodder for the military-industrial complex).

And the members of the Taliban are exploiting Bergdahl no more than the U.S. military has exploited Bergdahl.

Bergdahl is, after all, fully expected to die for the obscene profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who send our precious young people off to their wars for their obscene profits, if it comes to that. And in Bergdahl’s case it just might come to that.

How does Sidenstricker sleep at night, being a spokesnake for the military-industrial complex, I wonder? (And doesn’t Sidenstricker sound like a great surname for a spokesnake, kind of like sidewinder?) How does Sidenstricker feel, I wonder, selling out her own comrades to those greedy, evil overlords who so casually put them into the meat grinder to which they never would subject their own cowardly selves?

The sad thing is that I don’t know whom to believe: the Taliban, who put out the video of Bergdahl apparently saying of his own accord that he and his comrades want to come home — I mean, what 23-year-old lower-to-middle-class American male used as a pawn in a war in the Middle East would not want to die for the obscene, oily profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who sent him there without a second thought but who never would put themselves in harm’s way? — or the U.S. government, even when it is under Barack Obama.

Perhaps even especially when it is under Obama, because at least when it was under the auspices of the BushCheneyCorp, the fascism was rather evident, but under the auspices of the Obama administration, fascism wears a happy face.

P.S. I just watched the entire video of Bergdahl (via this web page), in which he responds to a series of questions by an English-speaking inquisitor who remains off-camera.

It is difficult to say what Bergdahl actually believes and what he might have been coerced by his captors to say, such as when discussing the allegation that the U.S. government has underreported the number of deaths of American troops in Afghanistan (and misinformed the American people on the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan in general), the suicide deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, U.S. troops deserting in Afghanistan, and scared American troops “hiding behind” their superior military technology, whereas the low-tech Taliban fighters cannot do so, but must rely on their bravery.

In the video Bergdahl states (whether it is what he actually believes or whether it is what he has been coerced to state): “My message to my government is to remove Americans from Afghanistan, because that’s not where we belong…. My county’s first concern should be its [own] people…. We can’t go around fixing other countries … when we haven’t removed our own problems. When our [own] country is failing, we can’t help anyone else….”  

I can see Bergdahl genuinely believing that — because it’s an oft-ignored-in-the-United-States thing called the truth.

I won’t just assume, like a good little brainwashed American is supposed to, that because he’s being held captive, Bergdahl believes none of what he said during his half-hour interview with his English-speaking inquisitor.

I don’t know enough about Bergdahl and his beliefs and the circumstances of his capture, which differ wildly based upon who is relating those circumstances.

“On July 2, two U.S. officials told the AP [that Bergdahl] had ‘just walked off’ his base with three Afghans after his shift,” the AP notes, adding, “On July 6, the Taliban claimed on their website that five days earlier ‘a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison’ and was captured by mujahedeen.”

If it is true that Bergdahl “just walked off,” that sounds like desertion to me, and if Bergdahl did desert, then I’d tend to believe that he believes at least some of his statements in his half-hour interview. But during the interview, Bergdahl states that he was captured by the Taliban when he was lagging behind his comrades during a patrol.

So who knows?

In any case, that the U.S. government, which spends millions if not billions of Americans’ tax dollars on propaganda campaigns to brainwash Americans here at home (yes, they use our own money against us) as well as to brainwash individuals abroad, would denounce the Taliban’s video as “propaganda” is risible; the U.S. government calling it “propaganda” constitutes the practice of propaganda itself.

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Americans are in no position to lecture others on stolen presidential elections

Smoke billows from a burning bus as a supporter of Mir Hossein ...

A supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi hurls a stone at riot police ...

Supporters of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

Supporters of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

A supporter of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

AFP and Reuters photos

You won’t see this at home: An opponent of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes a “V” for “victory” sign with a burning bus as his backdrop in Tehran, and other anti-Ahmadinejad protesters hurl rocks at riot police in Tehran. There were no such demonstrations of love for true democracy in the United States of Amnesia after the Bush regime stole two presidential elections in a row and launched a bogus war that has cost thousands and thousands of lives and billions and billions of dollars. Yes, the American sheeple have been quite tamed, rendered quite harmless.

“Ahmadinejad Re-elected Under Cloud of Fraud,” the Salon.com article by Middle East expert Juan Cole is titled. While I wouldn’t expect a mention in the headline that George W. Bush was “re-elected” under a cloud of fraud in 2004, it would have been nice to have seen a mention somewhere in the article following the headline that the United States of Amnesia is in no position to lecture any other nation about stolen presidential elections.

Don’t get me wrong. If I had to put money on it one way or the other, I would put my money on Iran’s election having been stolen. I’m no expert on Iran, but my understanding of Iran — which Cole’s article, assuming that it is accurate, reinforces — is that it is a theocratically totalitarian nation, which makes “democracy” there just a show.

But the United States of America long has been a corporatocracy/plutocracy, under which “democracy” often if not usually is just a show.

Just as the clerics in Iran really pull the strings, it’s those with the big bucks in the pay-to-play United States who really pull the strings. In both nations, it seems, elections are dog and pony shows meant to give the masses the illusion that the majority of the people actually are, as former “President” Bush might put it, the deciders.

Americans delude themselves over how much freedom and democracy they truly have. We have friendly fascism here in the United States. You aren’t physically forced or tortured or enslaved here; here you economically are forced/coerced and tortured and enslaved, so to speak. (And you are lulled to sleep by such things as endless mindless television, mountains of junk food and cigarettes and alcohol and pharmaceuticals meant to numb you and to enrich the corporations that manufacture them, and a perpetual parade of consumer goods that you don’t need but that you desperately want nonetheless.) But we American commoners are controlled just as effectively as are the masses in Iran; make no mistake about it.

Actually, the American sheeple apparently are better controlled by their plutocratic/corporatist overlords than the Iranians are controlled by their theocratic overlords, as evidenced by the fact that when the Bush regime stole a presidential election not once, but twice, nary a single brick or large rock was thrown through a single store-front window, to my knowledge. In Iran, however, the people have been rioting for two days now over Iran’s apparently stolen presidential election.

Reports The Associated Press today:

TEHRAN, Iran – Protesters set fires and smashed store windows [today] in a second day of violence as groups challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election tried to keep pressure on authorities. Anti-riot police lashed back and the regime blocked Internet sites used to rally the pro-reform campaign.

Ahmadinejad dismissed the unrest — the worst in a decade in Tehran — as “not important.” He said Friday’s vote was “real and free” and insisted the results showing his landslide victory were fair and legitimate. Along Tehran’s Vali Asr street — where activists supporting rival candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi held a huge pre-election rally last week — tens of thousands marched in support of Ahmadinejad, waving Iranian flags and shouting his name.

Mousavi released his first statement since two days of violent protests began, calling on authorities to cancel the election. He said that is the only way to restore public trust. Mousavi, who has accused authorities of election fraud, urged his supporters to continue their “civil and lawful” opposition to the results and advised police to stop violence against protesters. He has claimed he was the true winner of the election.

The violence spilling from the disputed results has pushed Iran’s Islamic establishment to respond with sweeping measures that include deploying anti-riot squads around the capital and cutting mobile phone messaging and Internet sites used by the Mousavi’s campaign.

There’s little chance that the youth-driven movement could immediately threaten the pillars of power in Iran — the ruling clerics and the vast network of military and intelligence forces at their command — but it raises the possibility that a sustained and growing backlash could complicate Iran’s policies at a pivotal time….

So far, Mousavi has issued mixed signals through his website before it was shut down. He urged for calm but also said he is the legitimate winner of Friday’s election and called on supporters to reject a government of “lies and dictatorship.” He has not been seen in public since a news conference shortly after polls closed.

In a second day of clashes, scores of young people shouted “Death to the dictator!” and broke the windows of city buses on several streets in central Tehran. They have burned banks, trash bins and piles of tires used as flaming barricades to block police.

Riot police beat some of the protesters with batons while dozens of others holding shields and motorcycles stood guard nearby. Shops, government offices and businesses closed early as tension mounted.

In a news conference, Ahmadinejad called the level of violence “not important from my point of view” and likened it to the intensity after a soccer match….

About a mile away from Ahmadinejad’s news conference, young Iranians set trash bins, banks and tires on fire as riot police beat them back with batons….

[Yesterday] Mousavi, a 67-year-old former prime minister, released [an Internet] message saying he would not “surrender to this manipulation.” Authorities responded with targeted detentions, apparently designed to rattle the leadership of Mousavi’s “green” movement — the trademark color of his campaign….

Mousavi’s newspaper, Kalemeh Sabz, or the Green Word, did not appear on newsstands [today]. An editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the paper never left the printing house because authorities were upset with Mousavi’s statements….

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, closed the door for possible compromise. He could have used his near-limitless powers to intervene in the election dispute. But, in a message on state TV on [yesterday], he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a “divine assessment.”

Again, democracy in Iran apparently is just a show, when, in fact, the clerics pull all of the strings. In his Salon.com article, Cole notes, “With the backing of the clerical supreme leader, Ahmadinejad’s victory is unassailable in the theocratic Iranian system, where Shiite clerics hold ultimate power.”

Of course, “democracy” in Saudi Arabia is just a show, too, with the monarchy there pulling all of the strings, but for some oily reason the U.S. government accepts monarchy in Saudi Arabia but demands democracy for certain other Middle Eastern nations.

The rioting in Iran indicates to me that a good number of Iranians are passionate about true democracy, a passion that my fellow Americans lost long ago, as evidenced by the fact that today my fellow Americans are willing to accept such unacceptable things as stolen presidential elections and the launching of bogus wars for the war profiteers, with nary a tire burned or a store-front window smashed.

We Americans do participate from time to time in peaceful protests, such as the “Not My President Day” rally on Presidents’ Day in which I participated at the California State Capitol in early 2001, and the anti-war rally that I attended there shortly before the unelected Bush regime launched its bogus Vietraq War in March 2003, but the thing about peaceful demonstrations is that, being peaceful, the powers that be are able to simply ignore them. Which they do.

P.S. I have to note that I find this Associated Press news photo from today

Protestors shout slogans as about 250 demonstrators turned out ...

(caption here) to be pretty fucking poignant, because it was at the “Not My President Day” rally here in Sacramento in early 2001 that I held a homemade sign that read “George Dubious Bush is not MY president!” — and I see that a young Iranian woman in The Hague, Netherlands, displayed a very similar sign about Ahmadinejad during a protest there today…

To this day I consider George W. Bush’s presidency to have been illegitimate, and I never could write “President” Bush without the quotation marks, because to have done so would have been to give him the legitimacy that he never possessed.

Finally, I have to wonder if the “green revolution” in Iran has any connection to the international Green Party, if the green theme was intentional on the part of Mousavi and his supporters or if it is a coincidence… I’m a Green at heart.

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Prick Warren WUVS you — even though you’re going to HELL

Then U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama ...

Reuters photo

President-elect Barack Obama pals around with Pastor Rick (Prick for short) Warren at Warren’s mega-church in Orange County, Calif., in August. Warren, whom Obama has chosen to deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month, believes that the only sexual activity that is acceptable is sexual activity between a man and a woman who are married to each other for life. (He says so explicitly here. And yes, he says “for life,” which indicates that he opposes divorce and remarriage as well as homosexuality.) Gee, I had thought that the Obama Era of “hope” and “change” was going to end the Dark Ages…

Oh. My. God.

I just watched (more than once) a six-and-a-half minute video of Prick Warren — it’s a video message to his congregation that is less than a week 0ld — and he is almost as smooth as is Barack Obama. He hates fags and dykes, he makes clear in his message — it’s not difficult to read between the lines — but he tells you so oh so nicely.

Warren doesn’t hate gay men and lesbians, because he has to love everyone, he tells us — but, of course, he informs us ominously, all of us have the choice as to whether we follow God’s mandates or not. (Translation: Fags and dykes are going to hell. But he wuvs us fags and dykes. Because the Bible says he has to.)

Warren makes the rather bizarre “argument” that he has nothing against gay men and lesbians — even though he says that the only sexual activity that is acceptable is between a man and a woman who are married for life — but that gay men and lesbians just can’t use the word “marriage.” Really? Why? He’s OK with same-sex couplings (“partnerships,” he calls them) but he’s going to quibble over what we call such couplings?

Shit. I wish Warren would just call for the execution of us gay men and lesbians. It would be more direct and more honest as to what’s really in his heart. Clearly he believes that he and his brainwashed followers are going to heaven and that gay men and lesbians are going to hell. But that’s not hate ’cause he’s not a hater!

Warren reminds me of a co-worker I once had who told me that she didn’t hate gay men and lesbians — because she was no hater! — but that she fully believed that gay men and lesbians were going to suffer whatever punishments are prescribed for them in the Bible (hellfire was the punishment, I believe she asserted, but that was years ago). Actually, come to think of it, I have had (at least) two different co-workers who told me that they have nothing against gay men and lesbians but that they believe that homosexuality is a sin — no offense!

Anyway, first in the video, Prick Warren bashes the mainstream media — and bloggers — and warns his audience of churchgoers to be careful not to believe everything that they hear or read. Because only he is the purveyor of absolute truth, of course! (Kind of like how when a new weight-loss program is rolled out, the purveyors of it claim that all of the other weight-loss programs don’t work but that this one does!)

Warren also pontificates that the media love to “create” conflict and he asserts that where no conflict exists, the media will create it. What he’s really saying is that he’s as innocent and pure as the driven snow, and that all of the controversy about him in the media has been just the fabrication of conflict.

No, it’s real fucking conflict; it’s not media-created. President-elect Barack Obama is palling around with a stupid white man who opposes women’s reproductive rights and same-sex marriage rights, and we, Obama’s base, those of us who put his ass into office, have a real fucking problem with that. Our anger is quite real, fuck you very much, Prick Warren.

And Warren’s rant against bloggers sure makes it sound like he thinks that the First Amendment for the masses is a pretty bad idea.* Those American citizens who actually exercise the First Amendment — only when Warren disagrees with them, of course — should “get a life,” he proclaims. Which really means: Shut up! Only mega-churches that can afford to get their messages out — and those who agree with the mega-churches — should be allowed to excercise the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, thank you.

Yes, Prick Warren is yet another friendly fascist (and also a “compassionate conservative”?), which makes you have to wonder about Barack Obama: He wuvs us fags and dykes too, he claims, but he won’t publicly support same-sex marriage either, because while separate sure isn’t equal for him, he asserts that separate is equal for us gay men and lesbians.

*“A lot of people think that because they can sit in the quietness of their own home and hide behind the screen, they can hurl all kinds of bombs at people and get away with it,” Warren huffs in the video. That sure sounds like a thinly veiled threat to bloggers to me, but then he concludes: “Well, no, they’re just being rude.”

But gee, Prick, can we bloggers with whom you disagree “get away with it”?

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