Tag Archives: Glenn Greenwald

Will Queen Billary’s tainted victory carry her in November’s election?

Donald Trump Accuses Bill Clinton of Rape, Hillary Says She Isn't Afraid

Maring Photography/Getty/Contour photo

Multi-millionaire Billary Clinton, photographed above at the January 2005 wedding of fellow elitists Donald and Melania Trump, apparently believes that now we commoners will ignore her Repugnican-Lite/Democrat-in-name-only record and policy positions — and her scandalousness — and instead focus exclusively on How evil Donald Trump is! We shall see how that “plan” works out for her.

Progressive writer Glenn Greenwald, whose writing on Salon.com I still miss but who still writes via his newish website The Intercept, summed up this past week’s Democratic establishment coup nicely (all links are Greenwald’s and all emphases in bold are mine):

Last night [Monday night], the Associated Press — on a day when nobody voted — surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show[ed] Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “super-delegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors, and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected [pledged] delegates.

AP claims that super-delegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identity of the decisive super-delegates who said this.

Although the Sanders campaign rejected the validity of AP’s declaration — on the ground that the super-delegates do not vote until the convention and he intends to try to persuade them to vote for him — most major media outlets followed the projection and declared Clinton the winner.

This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals.

The decisive edifice of super-delegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that its nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward, and undemocratic sputter.

None of this is to deny that Hillary Clinton — as was always the case from the start — is highly likely to be the legitimately chosen winner of this process. It’s true that the party’s governing rules are deliberately undemocratic; [that] unfair and even corrupt decisions were repeatedly made by party officials to benefit Clinton; and [that] the ostensibly neutral Democratic National Committee (led by the incomparably heinous Debbie Wasserman Schultz) constantly put not just its thumb but its entire body on the scale to ensure she won.

But it’s also true that under the long-standing rules of the party, more people who voted preferred Clinton as their nominee over Sanders. Independent of super-delegates, she just got more votes. There’s no denying that.

And just as was true in 2008 with Obama’s nomination, it should be noted that standing alone — i.e., without regard to the merits of the candidate — Clinton’s nomination is an important and positive milestone.

Americans, being Americans, will almost certainly overstate its world significance and wallow in excessive self-congratulations: Many countries on the planet have elected women as their leaders, including many whose close family member had not previously served as president. [Way too diplomatic there, Glenn!]

Nonetheless, the U.S. presidency still occupies an extremely influential political and cultural position in the world. Particularly for a country with such an oppressive history on race and gender, the election of the first African-American president and nomination of the first female presidential candidate of a major party is significant in shaping how people all over the world, especially children, view their own and other people’s potential and possibilities.

But that’s all the more reason to lament this dreary conclusion. [Indeed. Billary Clinton being the very first female major-party presidential candidate is fucking depressing.]

That the Democratic Party nominating process is declared to be over in such an uninspiring, secretive, and elite-driven manner is perfectly symbolic of what the party, and its likely nominee, actually is. The one positive aspect, though significant, is symbolic, while the actual substance — rallying behind a Wall Street-funded, status quo-perpetuating, multi-millionaire militarist — is grim in the extreme. The Democratic Party got exactly the ending it deserved.

The AP had, I suppose, the First-Amendment right to pull the bullshit that it did on Monday, but in wanting to be first — the corporately owned and controlled Billary’s coronation was going to be announced by the corporately owned and controlled “news” media the next day anyway — the AP, at the minimum, acted irresponsibly.

There was no reason to wait until after California, New Jersey and the other states had voted on Tuesday for the corporately owned and controlled “news” media to prematurely declare Billary the winner (she can’t get the actual votes of the super-delegates until the end of July, so to say that she already has won the nomination is patently untrue).

The AP beat everyone else to the punch, true, but in so doing it damaged its respectability and its reputation. I hope that the assholes of the AP won’t find it to have been worth it to have flushed journalistic ethics down the toilet.

The AP not only acted journalistically and civically irresponsibly on its own, but the AP knowingly fully enabled the rest of the “news” media to do so, cravenly and slimily claiming that Hey, we’re only quoting the AP! (such as with the screenshot of The New York Times that Greenwald included in his piece).

The AP’s premature coronation of Billary is an excellent case in how members of the establishment and the establishment media work together to advance their mutual interests against us commoners.

The AP is not a corporation, but a nonprofit, but it’s a nonprofit that functions within a corporate atmosphere (first and foremost among other things, it is primarily corporate media outlets that pay for its content and thus expect the AP’s content to be within well-understood if not explicitly stated political parameters), and these days many if not most nonprofits act just like corporations, if for no other reason than that capitalism is our national religion and that corporatism permeates virtually everything within our culture.

Like Greenwald does, I recognize that from Day One, Billary likely was going to emerge as the nominee. As Greenwald wrote, yes, Billary ultimately garnered more votes than Bernie did, but what does that mean in light of the fact that it wasn’t just a plethora of thumbs on the scales, but it was body-slams on the scale, every step of the way?

There is overt, big cheating and then there is Cheating Lite: There were thousands of decisions by thousands of Clintonista sycophants throughout all 50 states who were in positions to make decisions (big, medium and small) regarding the primary elections, caucuses, delegate allocations, party rules, etc., and at thousands of junctures their decisions benefited Billary. And the super-delegates, too, of course, who, as Bernie has pointed out, had already declared their allegiance to Billary even before the first primary election or caucus had even taken place.

Even though winning California, even by a large margin, probably wouldn’t have been enough for Bernie to emerge as the victor, it still would have enabled him to go into the convention with more political capital, and so the Democratic establishment closed ranks in order to ensure that even that wouldn’t happen.

In his piece Greenwald also comments on how we Americans are patting ourselves on the back for finally having our first female presumptuous presidential candidate of the Coke Party or the Pepsi Party, and he notes that many other nations already have had female leaders.

Hell, naming just one, the odious wingnut Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of the United Kingdom during the Reagan era, is enough to demonstrate that (1) the United States finally having a female president (whenever that actually happens) is, in the big picture, no big fucking deal, and that (2) merely being a woman doesn’t make one a good (an ethical, a compassionate, a competent, etc.) leader.

When the first female U.S. president does finally come, it will be fairly anti-climactic, even for the femi-Nazis who, incorrectly feeling somehow especially empowered, will be ready to castrate every male within sight when it does.*

It’s funny, because as a male supporter of Bernie Sanders I have been branded as a “Bernie bro” by the ironically sexist Billarybots/femi-Nazis, even though I’m gay and even though I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in November 2012, while the vast majority of the Billarybots/femi-Nazis voted for DINO President Hopey-Changey’s re-election in November 2012.

Yes, even though to the Billarybots/femi-Nazis I’m by definition “sexist” for having been born with a penis and testicles (and for not loathing myself because of that), I already have voted for a woman for president.

True, I knew that Jill Stein wouldn’t and couldn’t win the presidency in 2012, but the rise of the self-serving, center-right, sellout Billary Clinton demonstrates more than amply that the mere possession of the XX chromosomes is all that fucking matters, so guess what, Billarybot bitches? I voted for a woman for president before any of you sorry pieces of shit ever will! Ha! In your faces!

And come this November, there is a very good chance that I’ll vote for a female president again — no, absolutely not for Billary, but for Jill Stein again.

I voted for President Hopey-Changey in 2008, but once it became crystal clear even fairly early into his first term that we progressives had been punk’d again, that we’d elected a DINO who only had used us progressives to get into the White House, there was no way in hell that I could vote for President Hopey-Changey again, so in 2012 I voted my conscience and Stein won my vote. That she is a woman and women have been sorely underrepresented throughout our nation’s history was a bonus, but I didn’t vote for her because she’s a woman, but because she’s a progressive.

Elizabeth Warren’s recent belated endorsement of Billary — Warren was the last female Democratic U.S. senator to endorse Billary, which is, I’m sure, telling as to how Warren really feels about Billary, and, along with President Hopey-Changey and Veep Joe, Warren waited until all 50 states had voted before she finally endorsed Billary — means less than nothing to me.

As I’ve written before, even if Billary were to make Warren her running mate (which, per Politico, is unlikely to happen, given the believable report that Billary hates the-late-to-endorse-her Warren’s guts), that wouldn’t be enough to induce me to vote for Billary, as amusing as it is that Team Billary condescendingly and patronizingly believes that we progressives are that fucking stupid (perhaps some to even many of us are, but not all of us are).

My No. 1 problem with a Billary-Warren ticket is that Repugnican Lite Billary Fucking Clinton is anywhere on the ticket. If I want to vote for a Repugnican, I will. But I don’t fucking want to, so I won’t.

And, as I’ve noted before, as vice president, Elizabeth Warren would be completely neutralized within the Clinton 2.0 White House; Bill Clinton would be the de facto vice president (if not the de facto president).

I’m fine with two women on the ticket, and I’d be excited about a two-woman ticket, but only if both of them were actual Democrats — that is, actual progressives.

In the meantime, I agree wholeheartedly with Matt Taibbi’s take on what the Democratic Party will do now: more of the same, i.e., nothing. He writes (link is Taibbi’s and emphases in bold are mine):

… This was no ordinary primary race, not a contest between warring factions within the party establishment, á la Obama-Clinton in ’08 or even Gore-Bradley in ’00. This was a barely quelled revolt that ought to have sent shock waves up and down the party, especially since the Vote of No Confidence overwhelmingly came from the next generation of voters. Yet editorialists mostly drew the opposite conclusion.

The classic example was James Hohmann’s piece in the Washington Post, titled, “Primary wins show Hillary Clinton needs the left less than pro-Sanders liberals think.”

Hohmann’s thesis was that the “scope and scale” of Clinton’s wins Tuesday night meant mainstream Democrats could now safely return to their traditional We won, screw you posture of “minor concessions” toward the “liberal base.”

Hohmann focused on the fact that with Bernie out of the way, Hillary now had a path to victory that would involve focusing on Trump’s negatives. Such a strategy won’t require much if any acquiescence toward the huge masses of Democratic voters who just tried to derail her candidacy. And not only is the primary scare over, but Clinton and the centrist Democrats in general are in better shape than ever. …

Indeed, that’s how the establishment Dems no doubt are viewing this: “the primary scare” is over, so let’s get back to the status quo. That already happened on Monday, in fact, when the establishmentarian AP obediently declared that the status quo once again was safe.

Taibbi continues:

If they had any brains, Beltway Dems and their clucky sycophants … would not be celebrating this week. They ought to be horrified to their marrow that the all-powerful Democratic Party ended up having to dig in for a furious rally to stave off a quirky Vermont socialist almost completely lacking big-dollar donors or institutional support.

But to read the papers in the last two days is to imagine that we didn’t just spend a year witnessing the growth of a massive grassroots movement fueled by loathing of the party establishment, with some correspondingly severe numerical contractions in the turnout department (though she won, for instance, Clinton received 30 percent fewer votes in California this year versus 2008, and 13 percent fewer in New Jersey). …

Democratic voters tried to express [their] frustrations through the Sanders campaign, but the party leaders have been and probably will continue to be too dense to listen. Instead, they’ll convince themselves that, as Hohmann’s Post article put it, Hillary’s latest victories mean any “pressure” they might have felt to change has now been “ameliorated.”

The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially the case now that the Republican Party has collapsed under the weight of its own nativist lunacy. It’s exactly the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But they won’t do that, because they don’t see what just happened this year as a message rising up from millions of voters. …

Yup.

And let’s face it: Most of Billary Clinton’s supporters are baby boomers. Billary and her boomer cohort’s primary concern is to keep the sick and twisted status quo going for as long as possible, because the status quo has been very, very good for them. What happens to the generations that follow them never has been their concern; for them it’s always been about what they can get for themselves while they still can.

Boomer Billary has eked out a victory for now, but it wasn’t a clean victory — nothing about the Clintons is clean — and we’ll see how she fares in November, without the support of me and millions of other voters whom the Democratic Party has alienated over these past many months, believing that our support is either inevitable or at least expendable.

*My definition of “femi-Nazi,” by the way, is Wikipedia’s first definition: “a term used pejoratively to describe either feminists who are perceived as extreme or radical, women who are perceived as seeking superiority over men, rather than equality, or in some cases, to describe all feminists.”

While it was Rush Limbaugh, unfortunately, who coined the term (or who at least brought it into prominence), I don’t subscribe to a definition of the term that includes all feminists. (Indeed, to me, a femi-Nazi by definition isn’t an actual feminist at all.) I understand Limbaugh’s definition of the term he coined to include all feminists.

My definition of the term “femi-Nazi” is something like this: “a woman who calls herself a feminist but who actually is just a rank misandrist who isn’t interested in equality of the sexes, but who wants women to dominate men, as ‘justified’ revenge for the wrongs done to women by men in the past.”

The term “misandrist” pretty much captures all of that, but “femi-Nazi” is a lot more fun, and while I see the term written as “feminazi” on the Internet, I’ll stick with my own “femi-Nazi” rendition of term.

My definition of a “feminist,” by the way, is something like this: “a woman (or a man!) who believes in the sociopolitical equality of the sexes, and who opposes the mistreatment of or the discrimination against or the preferential treatment of anyone based primarily or solely upon his or her sex.”

(Yes, preferential treatment of someone based on his or her sex, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, etc., is just the other side of the discrimination coin. That you’re benefiting someone, that is, discriminating for someone instead of discriminating against someone, doesn’t make it any better, because you’re just engaging in “good” discrimination, which is still engaging in discrimination, which you can’t say is OK only when it benefits you or those whom you wish it to benefit.)

A lot of the Billarybots don’t fit my definition of “feminist” above. This “Bernie bro,” however, considers himself to be a feminist. Just not a femi-Nazi.

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Obama solidifies his status as a thug

Updated below

U.S. journalist Greenwald embraces his partner Miranda upon his arrival at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

U.S. journalist Greenwald walks with his partner Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

Reuters photos

The courageous American journalist Glenn Greenwald — who, unlike the cowardly traitors in Washington, D.C., actually respects and defends the Constitution of the United States of America — receives his partner, David Miranda, at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport after his partner was detained for nine hours yesterday by British thugs — lapdogs of the Washington elite — at the Heathrow Airport in London, where Miranda had stopped on his way from Germany to his and Greenwald’s home in Brazil.

Wow is the Obama regime out of fucking touch.

To have had the government officials of the United Kingdom — Washington, D.C.’s obedient little bitches (the UK, recall, was the only major nation to join in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) — for several hours detain and interrogate the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald and confiscate his cell phone, his lap-top computer and his memory sticks — was supposed to accomplish what, exactly?

If you are smart — and neither the thug in chief Barack Obama nor anyone else in the Obama White House (nor, pretty much, in all of D.C.) is — you always calculate how a strike at your enemy might harm or hinder your own political position. There is this thing called blowback, and when you abuse your power to actually attack your political enemy’s family, you might find that this blatant thuggery gains you even more enemies than allies. 

No doubt the megalomaniacal Obama thinks that he’s some fucking bad-ass and that by having had the UK detain Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, with whom Greenwald is in a civil union, he is going to frighten — to terrorize, and to terrorize for political gain, which yes, makes it a form of terrorism — anyone else who, like Greenwald, would dare to challenge the D.C. elite by exposing their treason against the American people, even when the D.C. elite brazenly and obviously treasonously are violating the most basic provisions of the U.S. Constitution, of which no one, not even the bad-ass President Hopey-Changey, is above.

Obama is painting himself and his pathetic, plutocratic-ass-kissing, Constitution-violating, corporation-loving party into a corner. Obama and his bots for years now have believed that they don’t need us members of the actual (a.k.a. the “professional” and the “sanctimonious”) left, that they can act just like Repugnicans — with impunity and for perpetuity.

Except that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are even bigger traitors than Obama and the Obamabots are, and that without the support of the actual left, the so-called “Democratic” Party is only going to continue to weaken. You can claim to represent the interests of the majority of the American people while actually representing the interests of only the plutocratic elites for only so long.

Memo to the DINOs (and you are, I realize, legion): We actual members of the left don’t have to vote for the “Democratic” presidential candidate. In 2000 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and in 2012 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. And I’d do it again.

Even if the DINOs who now comprise the “leaders” of the “Democratic Party” don’t worry about losing votes — even if they are confident that enough deeply disappointed and disgruntled Democrats will hold their noses and still vote for the latest center-right offering labeled as a “Democrat” (and labeled as “the best that we can do”) — in order to consistently and decisively win elections, you need the enthusiasm and the dollars of your base, and once you have lost that, good luck in your fucking elections.*

Having the family members of your political opponents detained, when neither these family members nor even your political opponents have broken any law, is, as Greenwald himself put it, despotism. (“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic,” Greenwald correctly proclaimed.) It is, as I have put it, terrorism — the use of fear and intimidation for political gain.

In this case, the political gain is that the D.C. elite intend to continue to blatantly violate the constitutional rights of the American people by making the mere exposure of their crimes against the Constitution itself a “crime,” while they, the real criminals, remain free (instead of in prison, where they belong) to continue to commit their crimes against the American people and our Constitution.

The Obama regime officially has lost all credibility. The transformation of the so-called “Democratic” Party into the Repugnican Lite Party is complete.

The only question now, it seems to me, is whether enough of us actual patriots — those of us who actually care about our Constitution and our freedoms — will fight against the despotic “Democratic” Party (as well as against the even worse Repugnican Tea Party) or whether the United States of America will go out with a boom or with a whimper.

P.S. Glenn Greenwald, I am delighted to see, has vowed to fight on with even more determination than before. As a result of the despotic detention of his partner by the UK, the U.S.’s No. 1 partner in crime, Greenwald proclaimed, “[I’m] going to write much more aggressively than before, [and] I’m going to publish many more documents than before.”

That’s exactly how you respond to thugs: You do even more of what you were doing before. You don’t back down, because that’s what they want you to do, and you use their continued thuggery as evidence that you are on the right track. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t be attacking you.

Update (Monday, August 19, 2013): In case you actually believe that maybe the Obama regime was not behind the unlawful detention of Greenwald’s partner, know that the UK Guardian reports today that “the White House confirmed that it was given a ‘heads-up’ before David Miranda was taken into custody for nine hours at Heathrow [Airport in London],” but that “the U.S. distanced itself from the action by saying that British authorities took the decision to detain him.”

But did the Obama White House instruct or even ask the British government not to detain Miranda? Very most likely not.

And why was Miranda’s name on a “terrorist” watch list no doubt authored by the U.S. government in the first fucking place? Simply because he is a close associate of a journalist whose reportage the White House dislikes?

These are serious, Nixon-level abuses of power. These are not tiny things.

Finally, I recommend that you read Greenwald’s column on these latest events. Among other things, he writes:

…. They [the British officials who detained and questioned Miranda with at least the knowledge of the White House] completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists,” and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name. …

And the money shot:

… This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.

But the UK puppets and their owners in the U.S. national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.

Beyond that, every time the U.S. and UK governments show their true character to the world — when they prevent the Bolivian president’s plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did [yesterday] — all they do is helpfully underscore why it’s so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark. …

Greenwald adds that Miranda’s cell phone and lap-top computer remain with UK authorities, who had no legal or ethical right to forcibly take them from Miranda in the first place.

Those who aren’t abusing their power and who thus have nothing to hide have no reason to go to lengths against individual citizens of the world like this.

I hope that Miranda sues the holy living fuck out of the British government, which is as fascistic as its U.S. counterpart.

*Well, of course, one could argue that both the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the “Democratic Party” and the “Republican Party”), having stopped representing the interests of the American people long, long ago, rely increasingly on corporate millions and millions to fund their shams of “campaigns,” so no, they don’t need the dollars of individual voters, but still, how long can two duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, corporately owned and controlled parties that stopped representing the interests of the majority of the American people go on?

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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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SEIU sells us out

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one the nation’s largest labor unions. 

I am a dues-paying member (almost $50 a month) of Service Employees International Union, better known as SEIU.

I’m very pro-labor. Pro-SEIU? Um, not so much.

On Thursday I received an e-mail from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry with the probably hyperbolic subject line “The fight of our lives.”

The e-mail reads, in part:

Dear Robert,

You’ll probably hear about it on the news very soon, but I want you to be the first to know.

Today, with great pride and a sense of purpose, the 2.1 million members of the Service Employees International Union have endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election.

President Obama is the only candidate for president who shares our vision of America as a land of opportunity for everyone. We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.

Please join us in returning President Obama to the White House so he can keep fighting for more jobs and less nonsense.

You’ve probably seen how hard it is to get the concerns of working people taken seriously in our political process. Here’s why:

Our economy and democracy have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent.

These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …

We know what’s really important. We know that after a decade of tax breaks for the rich and out-of-control gambling on Wall Street, things have gotten much harder for working Americans. We know that if these problems aren’t taken care of now, the next generation will have it even worse. …

President Obama is working to turn things around, but he needs help from all of us to be heard over his wealthy opponents, people who seem to believe that the only thing wrong with the economy is that they have to share it.

From now until Election Day next November, we need to dedicate ourselves to this goal. We will knock on doors, we will talk to our friends and neighbors and co-workers, and we will fight shoulder-to-shoulder alongside working families across this nation to show the one percent that they aren’t the only ones willing to fight for America’s future. …

In solidarity,
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union

I’m a dues-paying member of SEIU, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to help President Hopey-Changey continue to punk those of us who put him in office. I will give Obama not one red fucking cent (I gave him hundreds of dollars for his 2008 bid) and I will not give him my vote again. Nor could I, with a straight face and a good conscience, try to convince others that they should support Barack Obama’s re-election, as SEIU would have me do.

Mysteriously missing in Henry’s propagandistic e-mail is the promise that Barack Obama made to labor on the campaign trail in November 2007 (here is video of it): “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Where were Obama’s “comfortable shoes” when the state of Wisconsin this year was a battleground for labor, for the rights of the middle class and the working class against the greedy, thieving plutocrats, represented by Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker & Co.?

Obama didn’t show his face in Wisconsin once and could be bothered to make no more than one or two weak, vague statements in support of Wisconsin. Wisconsinites have been doing it on their own.

Where is Obama speaking out against the police brutality that we are seeing against non-threatening citizens who want to voice their grievances in a meaningful way, and not in the toothless, politically ineffectual way that our treasonous and oppressive plutocratic overlords have proscribed for us (the meaningless, politically ineffectual way that Obama himself no doubt endorses)?

Mary Kay Henry’s proclamations in her propagandistic e-mail are outright lies or delusions or some combination thereof.

Indeed “We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.” That leader is not President Hopey-Changey, however. At best, Barack Obama is the lesser of two evils, and for millions of us, that isn’t good enough anymore — thus, the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And Henry shouldn’t even have gone here: “These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …”

As Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald points out in his recent column that is critical of SEIU’s shameless and pathetic attempt to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement such as by using its signature phrases “1 percent” and “99 percent,” Barack Obama has done nothing but coddle the Wall Street weasels. You should read Greenwald’s entire column, but here, in my opinion, is the money shot:

… But whatever else is true, the notion — advanced by SEIU — that it’s the Democratic Party and the Obama White House working to bring about these changes and implant these values of the 99 percent is so self-evidently false as to be insulting. …

… [D]oes SEIU think that people will just ignore these key political facts? How does anyone think these protesters will be convinced that it’s exclusively the GOP — and not the Democratic Party and the Obama White House — who “protect the rich” when: Wall Street funded the Democrats far more than the GOP in the 2008 election; the Democrats’ key money man, Charles Schumer, is one of the most devoted Wall Street servants in the country; Obama empowered in key positions Wall Street servants such as Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Bill Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and an endless roster of former Goldman officials; JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been dubbed “Obama’s favorite banker” after Obama publicly defended his post-bailout $17 million bonus; the president named the CEO of GE to head his jobs panel; the DCCC and DSCC exist to ensure the nomination of corporatist candidates and Blue Dogs whose political worldview is servitude to the lobbyist class; the Democratic president, after vocally urging an Age of Austerity, tried very hard to usher in cuts to Social Security and an increase in the age for Medicare eligibility; and the Obama administration has not only ensured virtually no accountability for the rampant Wall Street fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis, but is actively pressuring New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others to agree to a woefully inadequate settlement to forever shield banks from the consequences of their pervasive mortgage fraud.

That’s just a fraction of the facts one could list to document the actual factions to which the Democratic Party has devoted itself. If one wants to argue that the GOP is more opposed to progressive economic policies than Democrats, that’s certainly reasonable. If one wants to argue that, on balance, voting for Democrats is more likely to bring about marginally more of those policies than abstaining, I think that, too, is reasonable.

But to try to cast the Democratic Party and the Obama administration as the vessel for the values and objectives of the Occupy movement is just dishonest in the extreme: in fact, it’s so extreme that it’s very unlikely to work. Those who believe that further empowerment of the Democratic Party is what is most urgently needed can make their case and should pursue that goal — they should try to generate as much citizen enthusiasm as possible behind them — but they should stop trying to depict and exploit the Occupy movement as an instrument for their agenda.

Exactly. As Greenwald claims, “SEIU officials have long been among Obama’s closest and most loyal allies in Washington.”

This is why I stopped financially supporting the Human Rights Campaign: Clearly the HRC elites are much more interested in hobnobbing with Washington, D.C.’s elites than to actually fight for the rights of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals. It was clear to me where money that is donated to HRC goes: to its elites so that they can be socialites in D.C.

HRC gives Barack Obama a full pass on the fact that he still claims that he is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage, even though in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state Senate, he responded to a campaign questionnaire that he supports same-sex marriage. (“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” he wrote. Of course, as president he has fought efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage as much as he has put on his “comfortable shoes” to fight for labor.)

But the if the HRC elites were to actually challenge Obama on the fact that he’s a fucking liar who sells his supporters out, then the HRC elites wouldn’t get to rub shoulders with the elites in D.C. anymore.

Go ahead and give money to the HRC if you want to, but know that HRC won’t use your money to actually fight for your rights.

Similarly, I can tell you that as a dues-paying member of SEIU, I never got a voice or a vote in the union’s endorsement of Barack Obama’s re-election (which I didn’t even know was coming). Apparently only the union’s elites and insiders got such a voice. The rest of us, who got no fucking voice, are too busy actually working — so that we can pay the SEIU elites’ salaries with our dues, so that they can then sell us out.

I am pro-labor, but SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should resign. She should do something that she’s actually good at — perhaps she should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one of the nation’s largest labor unions.

P.S. I e-mailed Mary Kay Henry that she should resign. If I get a response, I’ll share it, but I doubt that I will. To the SEIU elites I’m only good for my dues, which the SEIU elites use to sell me out.

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U.S. now produces only corpses

The body of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lies on a mattress in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The burial of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into his death. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

Associated Press photo

This is all that the crumbling American empire produces and exports these days: death and destruction. Gooooo USA! 

A column that Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald posted yesterday is pretty spot-on about what the United States of America has become. Greenwald notes that “there is something very significant about a nation that so continuously finds purpose and joy in the corpses its government produces, while finding it in so little else.” (The occasion of Greenwald’s column is the latest U.S.-government-produced corpse, that of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi [pictured above], whom, like other dictators, the U.S. government opposed, then cooperated with, then opposed again.)

Greenwald begins his column by reminding us of the uber-creepy language that President Hopey-Changey used in early May after the U.S. government summarily had assassinated Osama bin Laden in violation of justice and of international law:

When President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden on the evening of May 1, he said something which I found so striking at the time and still do: “tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

That sentiment of national pride had in the past been triggered by putting a man on the moon, or discovering cures for diseases, or creating
technology that improved the lives of millions, or transforming the Great Depression into a thriving middle class, or correcting America’s own entrenched injustices.

Yet here was President Obama proclaiming that what should now cause us to be “reminded” of our national greatness was our ability to hunt someone down, pump bullets into his skull, and then dump his corpse into the ocean.*

And indeed, outside the White House and elsewhere, hordes of Americans were soon raucously celebrating the killing with “USA! USA!” chants as though their sports team had just won a major championship. …

Speaking of sports teams, that is all that the Democratic Party has become: a sports team that many Americans identify with. This is evidenced by the fact that even when Barack Obama violates the U.S. Constitution (e.g., denying assassinees and detainees due process, unilaterally declaring war, etc.) and international law (e.g., assassinating individuals on foreign soil without the consent of that sovereign nation’s government) and sits on his hands in the face of catastrophe (Obama handled British Petroleum’s destruction of the Gulf of Mexico as effectively as George W. Bush would have) — even when President Hopey-Changey acts or fails to act in the same illegal and/or immoral and/or ineffectual manner of which the Dems would have been critical had it been a Repugnican president in power — the Obamabots, if they can’t exactly find it within themselves to celebrate Barack Obama’s George-W.-Bush-like ways, at least keep their mealy mouths shut, and thus empower and enable the lawless, immoral, pro-plutocratic and militaristic Obama regime through their complicity.

This amorality and immorality is why, as Chris Hedges writes, the liberal class (as he calls the Democrats in name only, those who claim to be liberal or progressive but who don’t actually lift a fucking finger for progressive causes, and who, if they don’t actually engage in evil themselves, at least enable the evils encouraged and perpetrated by the right wing) is in its death throes.

The reason that Obama’s re-election prospects are dim, you see, is that the wingnuts prefer actual wingnuts to “liberal” sellouts like Obama — no matter how many baddies/“baddies” he assassinates with our tax dollars as though he were some Big Fucking Badass — and the so-called “independents”/“swing voters,” the majority of whom actually are center-right or even pretty far to the right, also prefer the actual Repugnican candidate to the Repugnican Lite candidate (like Barack Obama).

Actual progressives like me and the millions of other Americans (and those abroad) who are participating in or who at least sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street movement also have no use for Obama — stick a fork in him, because we are done with him and his false promises and his true allegiances — which leaves President Hopey-Changey only with his mealy-mouthed Obamabots, who are so fucking worthless that they might as well donate their organs now so that others can make better use of them.

We actual progressives can thank Obama, however, for thoroughly exposing how much the Democratic Party, since Bill Clinton, has sold us Americans out to our corporate/plutocratic overlords. Chris Hedges asks us:

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

An Obamanation, I might answer.

And Hedges answers, I think, the question of why the Occupy Wall Street movement has been so successful:

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes
piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order
to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets.

[All emphasis in this block quote is mine. Indeed, the success of the Internet as a political organizing tool is due to the fact that the duopoly of the corporate-ass-licking Coke Party and Pepsi Party stopped addressing the common American’s needs and interests long ago, and thus the common American has found alternative routes, has flowed around the obstruction that is the partisan duopoly that masquerades as “democracy” in the United States of America. And now we see Occupy Wall Street as yet another adaptive response to the utter ineffectiveness refusal of the two parties to represent us, the people.]

Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. …

[T]he liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street. …

Yup. Because although the United States of America quickly is on its way to becoming something like the way that it is portrayed in the very dark movie “The Road,” we Americans aren’t ready to become cannibals quite yet, and we would prefer that the trillions of our dollars that are being used to kill people abroad (mostly so that the oil corporations can steal and profit obscenely from other nations’ oil) instead would be used for necessities here at home, such as health care, shelter and food.

Because even if we were to feast upon the corpse of Moammar Gaddafi, which reportedly cost us more than $1 billion to obtain, it wouldn’t feed very many of us Americans for very long.

*On May 2, I similiarly wrote:

… More chilling than the words and actions of my jingoistic cohorts, of whom I expect precious little, however, are those of President Barack Obama, of whom, despite his string of broken campaign promises, I still expect more.

“Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” Obama proclaimed today about the snuffing out of bin Laden. (“We do big things” is one of the campaign slogans that Obama rolled out during his last State of the Union address, since “hope” and “change” don’t work anymore.)

Jesus fuck.

When we make such feel-good statements as “as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” are we really supposed to say that about the killing of one individual? Even someone like Osama bin Laden?

Is this what “American greatness” has come to: our ability to kill one man after 10 years, hundreds of billions of dollars and the killing of tens of thousands before him? (That’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes.) …

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Wake me up on September 12

55315893_large_watermark_comp

AFP/Getty Images photo

The owner of an investment and public relations firm stumbles away from the stricken World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. While we are seeing plenty of images like this one these days, we certainly aren’t seeing images like this one, an Iraqi girl whose parents were blown away by American stormtroopers in 2005 (you know, because of 9/11) —

Chris Hondros/Getty Images photo

— or, of course, one of the many wonderful images that came out of Abu Ghraib (which I think is Arabic for “a few bad apples”) prison in Vietraq, like this unforgettable gem, circa 2004:

File:Abu-ghraib-leash.jpg

Seriously, though, no nation does rank hypocrisy and self-righteousness like the “Christian” United States of America does rank hypocrisy and self-righteousness. We! Are! Number! One!

So the 9/11 decennial already has begun, with cheesy (redundant…) 9/11-related retrospective pieces already having been appearing in the mainstream media, but the worst of it should come next week, as the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

As Ted Rall points out, we Americans have learned virtually nothing from 9/11, and this is evident from the woe-is-us fest that we’re seeing now.

And as Glenn Greenwald (also) points out, of course part of the self-serving, mawkish 9/11 commemoration that we won’t see is any official mention of the fact that the U.S. government first supported (and armed) the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before it declared them enemies or any official mention of the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis whom the United States slaughtered in the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War, which the unelected Bush regime launched in March 2003 using 9/11 as a pretext, even though not a single one of the 19 9/11 hijackers was an Iraqi (15 of them, in fact, were from Saudi Arabia, as was Osama bin Laden, but the U.S. power elites and the Saudi power elites remain great oily buddies).

Greenwald concludes his piece by noting that

… the fact that victims of American violence over the last two decades have easily outweighed, and continue to outweigh, those of the Dictators and Terrorists whom we so vocally despise is nonetheless an extremely important fact that should shape our understanding of 9/11. But as usual, that’s another fact that will be “left unsaid” [in the 9/11 decennial commemorations].

What 9/11 signifies most for me is nothing like American victimhood, since the United States hardly can claim to be a victimized nation (9/11 was only blowback for longstanding U.S. oppression in the Middle East), or “patriotism” (which is just jingoism or fascistic nationalism), but it marks the lost decade of 2000 through 2009.

That decade started out swimmingly, with the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000. What possibly could have gone wrong by just allowing a bunch of right-wing, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate chickenhawks to steal the White House?

Then there was 9/11, then there was the Vietraq War, then there was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 — which the unelected Bush regime was prepared for as well as it had been prepared for 9/11 (recall the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, and forecasters had predicted Katrina’s landfall at least two days in advance) — and then there was Barack Obama promising “hope” and “change” to a weary, Bush-whacked nation in 2008.

In 2009, with the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate all in Democratic/“Democratic” hands — his best opportunity to push through a progressive agenda — what did President Hopey-Changey accomplish? Jack fucking squat. And in 2010? Ditto.

And now we are in 2011 and where are we? We are pretty much right back where we were back in 2000: the Repugnican (Tea) Party presidential frontrunner is the Big-Oil-ass-lickin’, “Christo”fascist-lovin’, dipshit governor of Texas, and the Democratic presidential candidate will be a reportedly intellectual (“elitist” in “tea party”-speak) but rather uncharismatic guy who has been in Washington for a little while now.

And yes, I can see another Texas governor going to the White House in January 2013, whether he steals it and Americans just fucking let him, a la 2000, or whether he actually wins the 2012 presidential election fairly and squarely.  Americans are that fucking stupid.

But can they — we — survive two lost decades in a row?

Fuck. Maybe I should have titled this “Wake me up in 2021.”

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Obama’s move to the middle takes us off a cliff

Glenn Greenwald has posted a good analysis of what the fuck it is that Team Obama is doing, and I have to agree with Glenn.

Greenwald argues that it isn’t that Team Obama wants to defeat the Repugnican Tea Party’s agenda but just doesn’t know how. Greenwald argues (or at least I interpret his argument to be) that Team Obama, for its own political benefit, wants to c0-opt the Repugnican Tea Party as much as possible — even if that means hurting millions of Americans.

Greenwald writes:

Conventional D.C. wisdom — that which Obama vowed to subvert but has done as much as any president to bolster — has held for decades that Democratic presidents succeed politically by being as “centrist” or even as conservative as possible. That attracts independents, diffuses GOP enthusiasm, casts the president as a triangulating conciliator, and generates raves from the D.C. press corps — all while keeping more than enough Democrats and progressives in line through a combination of anti-GOP fear-mongering and partisan loyalty.

Isn’t that exactly the winning combination that will maximize the president’s re-election chances? Just consider the polling data on last week’s budget cuts, which most liberal commentators scorned. Americans support the “compromise” by a margin of 58 percent to 38 percent; that support includes a majority of independents, substantial GOP factions, and two-thirds of Democrats.

Why would Democrats overwhelmingly support domestic budget cuts that burden the poor? Because, as [Matthew] Yglesias correctly observed, “just about anything Barack Obama does will be met with approval by most Democrats.” In other words, once Obama lends his support to a policy — no matter how much of a departure it is from ostensible Democratic beliefs — then most self-identified Democrats will support it because Obama supports it, because it then becomes the “Democratic policy,” by definition.

Adopting “centrist” or even right-wing policies will always produce the same combination — approval of independents, dilution of GOP anger, media raves, and continued Democratic voter loyalty — that is ideal for the president’s re-election prospects.

Sadly, I can’t argue against most of Greenwald’s points. Most “Democrats” very apparently have just picked a team — and operate not out of a set of shared basic, non-negotiable principles and values, but simple-mindedly rally behind their team flag with the big blue “D” on it, no matter who is carrying it.

That’s fine. (I mean, it isn’t fine, but it is what it is.) But that a majority of so-called “Democrats” are unprincipled, easily led sellouts doesn’t mean that I have to join their ranks. (Besides, I’m registered with the Green Party, and I don’t much mind being on the outside looking in, especially if being on the inside means that I have to sell my soul.)

To give one of many possible examples of how Team Obama could operate differently, what should happen with our federal budget is plain and simple: The rich and the super-rich should pay their fair share of taxes — after all, their wealth comes largely from the infrastructure that other taxpayers’ dollars provide (public schools, highways, etc.) — and so the BushCheneyCorp-era tax breaks for the wealthiest never should have been extended like Team Obama allowed them to be in December. And the bloated budget of the bloated military-industrial complex sorely needs to be cut down to size. The U.S. spent more than $685 billion on its military in 2010, while next largest military in the world, China’s, gobbled up less than $115 billion in 2010. At numbers three and four in military spending are France and Britain, each of which in 2010 spent less than one-tenth of what the U.S. spent, as did No. 5 Russia. Here is what that looks like on a graph:

Cutting the insanely bloated budget of the insanely bloated military-industrial complex should be able to keep Medicare and Social Security afloat — but the right-wing traitors, aside from wanting to continue their looting of the U.S. Treasury via the military-industrial complex, want to privatize everything. “President” George W. Bush’s idea to privatize Social Security went over like a lead balloon, so now the right-wing traitors want to get their greedy grubbies on Medicare. But make no mistake: “privatization” means the theft of public dollars by unscrupulous fraudsters whose No. 1 goal is not to provide quality goods or quality services, but to profiteer — to take the money and run, just like the Wall Street crooks just did.

At the barest fucking minimum, U.S. military spending should be cut at the same proportion that any domestic spending is cut, yet the bloated budget of the bloated military-industrial complex, year after year after year after year after year, remains untouched — while the treasonous right wing tells us that we just can’t afford to spend the people’s money on the people.

It’s like the head of a household spending a huge chunk of the household’s income on a home arsenal instead of on things like food, rent or the mortage payment, clothing, and health care, and when the household’s income really tightens, the home-aresenal spending remains intact (or even increases), but the rest of the home’s budget (food, clothing, utilities usage, etc.) has to take cuts. It’s not just grossly irresponsible, but it’s insane. (And it’s soooo United States of America.)

Team Obama could make this strong case. Leadership is about leading. Sometimes leading means being unpopular at first, leading the people (kicking and screaming, sometimes) where they initially might not want to go. Disrupting the long-standing dysfunctional national narrative, including the sub-narrative that we need to spend as much as we do on “defense,” takes leadership. It’s hard work, not the path of least resistance, which is the path that Team Obama is taking. (Indeed, if the winguts have their “path to prosperity,” in which blatant thievery from the majority of the people for the further benefit of the already rich and super-rich few is redefined as “prosperity,” then Team Obama’s path is the path of least resistance.)

I get it that Team Obama is trying to appeal to the mushy middle, those who don’t understand politics and who thus believe that “centrism” — standing for nothing, so that you don’t have to bother to learn anything or to fight for anything — is the way to go. I get that.

The two problems that I have with this “strategy,” however, are that:

(1) The members of the mushy middle are unlikely to contribute significantly to presidential campaigns, so it seems to me that if he is going to raise as much money for his re-election bid as he raised in 2008, Obama is going to have to take much more from the corporatocrats than he did in 2008, since he has burned his base beyond belief and cannot realistically expect their level of support to be repeated. (I, for one, gave him hundreds of dollars but will never give him another fucking penny.)

and

(2) More importantly, I see no reason why the “independent”/“swing” voters should vote for any Democratic presidential candidate when the Democratic Party, first under Bill Clinton and now under Obama, continues to resemble, more and more, the Repugnican Tea Party. Why go for second-class conservatism when in the Repugnican Tea Party you can have the best? 

When we quite predictably will have both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney saying pretty much the same thing in their battle for the White House, I don’t know why the members of the mushy middle whom Team Obama loves so fucking much — over the disposable remnants of his base (you know, us suckers who got him into office in the first place) — should bother to vote for Obama when they’ll get the same thing from Mitt.

I know that for myself, when I see Obama and Romney singing the same old song and dance, I see no reason to continue to support the dog and pony show with my money or my vote, when I believe that the show just needs to be shut down. 

I want real hope and real change. And that won’t come through continuing to support Barack Obama or the so-called Democratic Party even though they see no reason to support me.

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