Tag Archives: Latin America

Why the United States should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela

Two peas in a pod, really. Both have disturbing autocratic tendencies, including their mistreatment of the press, and if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wasn’t duly elected, U.S. “President” Pussygrabber certainly wasn’t, either; he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

I like and I respect Mexican-American telejournalist Jorge Ramos of Univision. A passionate advocate for Latin Americans seeking a better life, he has reported on their plight and has written several books about it as well.

I believe Ramos’ report of what happened to him and his crew when he recently tried to report on Venezuela. Ramos wrote for The New York Times:

I was expelled from Venezuela on Tuesday [yesterday] after a contentious interview with Nicolás Maduro, the country’s strongman. He stood up in the middle of our conversation and his security agents confiscated our television cameras, the memory cards and our cellphones. Yes, Mr. Maduro stole the interview so nobody could watch it.

We got the interview the old fashioned way: by making a phone call and requesting it. A producer from Univision — the television network where I’ve worked since 1984 — contacted the government’s communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, and asked if Mr. Maduro wanted to do the interview. The leader said: “Come to Caracas.” And so we did, with official entry papers in hand.

The interview started on Monday evening, three hours late, at the Miraflores Palace. Mr. Maduro had spoken a few minutes before with Tom Llamas of ABC News, and he seemed to be in a good mood. The humanitarian aid that the political opposition — with the help of an international coalition — had tried to get into the country over the Colombian and Brazilian borders had been largely stopped, and Mr. Maduro felt emboldened. This was supposed to be a good day.

But it wasn’t. The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him “Presidente” or “Dictador,” as many Venezuelans do. I confronted him about human rights violations and cases of torture that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, and with the existence of political prisoners. I questioned his claim that he had won the 2013 and the 2018 presidential elections without fraud and, most important, his assurances that Venezuela was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis. That’s when I opened up my iPad.

The day before I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution. That’s when he broke.

About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over. “That’s what dictators do,” I told him. …

I also heard Ramos give this account on NPR. Again, I believe Ramos; he is credible.

I don’t dispute such assertions as that Maduro is an authoritarian (if not technically a dictator, since there was at least the semblance of some election that at least initially put Maduro in power) or that many Venezuelans are so desperate that they’re combing through garbage for sustenance.

These reports are so widespread that I little doubt their veracity, although I’m always leery of the right wing shamelessly lying and exaggerating for political gain.

The problem, though, is how to solve the problems that plague Venezuela and who should solve them.

It should not be the psychopathic, fascist likes of “President” Pussygrabber or “Vice President” Mike Pence — who didn’t win their own fucking election, for fuck’s sake (Billary Clinton won by about 3 more million votes) — to deal with Maduro. (It’s always stupid white men, too; John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton — an abject wingnut who of course is “President” Pussygrabber’s “national security adviser” — also is a Venezuela hawk, of course.)

The people of the sovereign nation of Venezuela should deal with Maduro.

The claims of the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime and its jackbooted supporters that they care so much about Venezuela’s humanitarian problems are beyond laughable.

The Pussygrabber regime and its aiders and abettors don’t give a flying fuck about the American citizens in the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, for fuck’s sake, so for them to claim to care so much about the plight of the Venezuelans is incredibly incredible.

No, the right-wing, unelected Pussygrabber regime and its supporters want two things from Venezuela, not necessarily in this order: (1) its vast oil wealth (like Iraq’s, which was the No. 1 reason for the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) and (2) to install a right-wing government in Venezuela that will do corporate America’s bidding, especially in terms of just handing over the nation’s natural resources like a good Latin American nation should.

Did I mention Venezuela’s vast oil wealth? It has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Venezuela is not a democratic socialist nation. Its current government started off with socialist aspirations, but now it has an autocrat, not a democratic socialist, at the helm. (To be fair, this autocracy began under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but further to be fair, the Venezuelan right wing, with the full support of the unelected, illegitimate, right-wing second Bush regime, did try to overthrow Chavez after his democratic election — spectacularly unsuccessfully — in April 2002, which probably accounts for Chavez’s turn toward autocracy; I mean, you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you!)

It’s easy to criticize the Venezuelan government (the real one, not the fake one that the wingnuts so badly wish to install, as they tried to do in April 2002 [they tried to impose a right-wing oil magnate on the people of Venezuela as their new, wholly unelected “president”]), but look at the United States of America: The only reason that “President” Pussygrabber isn’t acting just like Maduro right now, perhaps especially in regards to the treatment of the press, is that the American system (thus far, anyway) has reined the “president” in.

Jorge Ramos again is a great example. Then-“presidential” candidate Pussygrabber infamously kicked Ramos out of a news conference in August 2015, telling him to “Go back to Univision” and motioning to one of his thugs to eject Ramos from the room. One of Pussygrabber’s jackbooted thugs (yet another stupid white man, of course) in the hallway to which Ramos had been ejected was more direct; he told Ramos, who is an American citizen, for fuck’s sake, “Get out of my country!”

Americans who act like Pussygrabber — who as I type this sentence is palling around with North Korean dictator (yup, wholly unelected and dynastic) Kim Jong Un, who treats his people far worse than Maduro treats his, replete with gulags — is better at heart than is Maduro are deluded or liars or deluded liars, and they’re huge fucking hypocrites.

Again, Maduro is simply doing what Pussygrabber would do if Pussygrabber could. (Totally unrestrained, my bet is that Pussygrabber would do far worse than anything that Maduro has done thus far.)

Therefore, the United States of America, as long as it remains occupied by the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime, should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela.

The United States of America right now could only make things in Venezuela worse, not better. The “aid” that the wingnuts wish to bring to the people of Venezuela is just a Trojan horse, because the wingnuts’ ultimate aim is the subjugation of Venezuela — not its betterment.

This is obvious to anyone who is honest, sane and who has been paying attention to the ugly history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

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¡Viva AMLO!

AMLO

Reuters photo

Mexicans are poised to elect democratic socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador as their new president by double digits today. This is excellent news for freedom, democracy, fairness and justice.

I’ve been meaning to write about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is expected to be elected as the next president of Mexico today. I’m not too late, as his victory has yet to be announced. As Politico reports today:

Mexico City — Mexicans [today] appear likely to elect a left-wing populist president who has campaigned on standing up to President Donald Trump, potentially ushering in a more confrontational era of U.S.-Mexico relations on everything from immigration policy to trade.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who styles himself as a champion for rural Mexico, has enjoyed a double-digit lead over the other top candidates from the country’s major parties for months.

His vows to eradicate violence and official corruption — long unaddressed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling PRI party — have played a major role in lifting him to the head of the pack. But his pledge to defend Mexicans from Trump, coupled with his nationalistic rhetoric, has also bolstered his standing with Mexican voters.

López Obrador traveled through the U.S. after Trump was elected to advocate for Mexican immigrants living in the states and even published a book called Oye, Trump (Listen Up, Trump) that condemns Trump’s plans to build a border wall and “his attempts to persecute migrant workers.”

Mexico “will never be the piñata of any foreign government,” López Obrador, 64, told more than 90,000 supporters at a rally here to close out his campaign on Wednesday.

The election of López Obrador — like Trump, known for his impulsive and nationalistic tendencies — could further strain U.S-Mexico relations. The candidate, nicknamed AMLO, says illegal migration to the U.S. should be addressed with economic development programs, not a border wall.

And while he supports continued talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, he’s also been a critic of free trade in the past, arguing that Mexico needs to be more self-sufficient.

“AMLO won’t hold back the way Peña Nieto has,” said Mark Feierstein, former senior director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council. “Peña Nieto has been very passive toward Trump and toward the United States.” …

Not that the U.S. government won’t do everything in its power to try to cripple the democratically elected López Obrador. The “freedom-loving” U.S. government has a long history of tyrannically violently overthrowing left-wing presidents whom the people of their nations elect to office, including in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile. Historically, Latin American nations had better elect right-wing candidates who promise to do the bidding of the rich oligarchs in the United States of America, even if this make them fucking traitors to their own people, you see.

However, I don’t see a weakened United States (weakened by years of bogus warfare in the Middle East and weakened by our dumbest “president” ever [George W. Bush is fucking Einstein compared to Pussygrabber]) being able to overthrow López Obrador. Mexico isn’t Guatemala or Nicaragua or Panama or El Salvador or Honduras or the Dominican Republic or some other smaller Latin-American nation that the U.S. government found fairly easy to bully.

Mexico is the big enchilada, not only the most populous Latin-American nation by far, but also, more than 11 percent of Americans are Mexican-American, and Mexican Americans make up almost two-thirds of Latinos in the United States. That and they have their legions of non-Latino supporters, such as yours truly.

If you scoff at that, look at how quickly the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime backed down after the majority of the nation, Mexican-American or otherwise Latino and not, was outraged at the fascist’s regime treatment of “illegal aliens” — outrage that continues, and that won’t allow simply exchanging separating and locking up families for simply locking up the families together.

I wish AMLO the best as president of Mexico, and if “my” government tries to cripple his presidency, as is so predictable, I am on Mexico’s side, the side of democracy; the side of the people who have expressed their wishes through their votes; the side of a nation’s sovereignty to democratically guide itself, free from interference from imperialist nations that have only their own greedy interests in mind; and the side of right over wrong, the side of good over evil.

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Pussygrabber regime issues ‘biblical’ fatwa on the breaking up of families

Updated below (on Friday, June 15, 2018)

Because Jesus Christ was all about breaking up families.

It is ironic that the “Christians” among us are so fucking evil. It’s not what Jesus Christ would do; it’s what “President” Pussygrabber would do.

I can’t believe that we even have to discuss whether or not separating children from their parents is acceptable. Of course it’s not acceptable.

Yet Nazi elf Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III said today that the unelected Pussygrabber regime’s cruel policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their undocumented immigrant parents is — wait for it — biblically sanctioned.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said today. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Protecting the weak is the goal of the Pussygrabber regime’s constant attacks on undocumented immigrants — and even on U.S. citizens, such as the citizens of Puerto Rico who continue to be ignored because they aren’t white?

Pussygrabber regime spokesnake Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed the Nazi elf up; The Associated Press reports today that she “said [today] that she hadn’t seen Sessions’ comments but affirmed that the Bible did back up the administration’s actions.

“‘I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,’ she said. ‘It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.'”

If a government’s laws are so fucking sacrosanct, then what about the ancient Roman Empire’s laws to persecute the early Christians? Were those laws OK? Or are we going to pick and choose among the laws that we use to justify our evil against others?

If you call yourself a Christian, there is only one law above all others that you should follow. This iteration of it comes from John 13:34-35: “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’”

Another iteration of this supreme law — which, in a word, boils down to “love” — comes from Luke 6:31: “‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’”

If you call yourself a Christian, these aren’t helpful hints or suggestions. These are commands from Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament.

You cannot call yourself a Christian if you refuse to obey the commands of Jesus Christ.

Trying to fall back on “orderliness” and “lawfulness” to justify knowingly causing pain and suffering to others that you would not want visited upon yourself is evil. It is anti-Christian. It is satanic.

Don’t get me wrong; I get it that U.S. citizens who are incarcerated for serious crimes are separated from their children, and that there is no general outcry against this practice, which widely is considered to be a part of the price that one pays for having been convicted of having committed a serious crime.

But undocumented immigrants’ “crime” is wanting a better life. For that “crime” alone, families should not be separated.

The Associated Press notes:

… Last month, [Sessions] announced a “zero tolerance” policy that any adult who enters the country illegally is criminally prosecuted. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border during a two-week period in May. …

and

… In an unusually tense series of exchanges in the White House briefing room [today], [Sarah Huckabee] Sanders wrongly blamed Democrats for the policy separating children from parents and insisted the administration had made no changes in increasing the use.

[But] Until the policy was announced in April, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation.  [Emphasis mine.]

Again, only if an undocumented immigrant has been charged with having committed a serious crime — a felony — should he or she possibly be separated from his or her children. Simply being where you’re “not supposed” to be is not a serious crime.

Shame on us, the American people, if we continue to allow “our” government to continue to perpetrate pain and suffering on those who only want a better life for themselves and their families — and to claim ludicrously (and yes, satanically) that the Bible backs them up in their commission of their evil.

Update (Friday, June 15, 2018): I just wanted to add a few more points.

First, another quote — and commandment — of Jesus Christ: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That comes from Mark 12:31. Is Mexico and the rest of Latin America our neighbor? If so, shouldn’t we love those from Mexico and the rest of Latin America?

It’s quite rare that a right-wing “Christian” (such as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III) quotes Jesus Christ himself. Instead, these “Christians” usually opt for the authoritarian, pro-institution-over-the-individual later books of the New Testament, the cold, detached, churchy ones that talk about so-called law and order, not about love from one human being to another.

Secondly, here is a wonderful editorial cartoon that was killed by editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers’ newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which apparently fired him because of his unflattering editorial cartoons about Der Pussygrabber:

More of his suppressed work is here, and I have to include this one, too:

OK, and this one:

I love a good editorial cartoon and I should include a lot more of them here…

Finally, today The Associated Press explains the scope of this family-separation bullshit:

Washington — Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the [southern] U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Department of Homeland Security figures obtained [today] by The Associated Press.

The figures show that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults from April 19 through May 31. The separations were not broken down by age, and included separations for illegal entry, immigration violations or possible criminal conduct by the adult.

Under a “zero tolerance” policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security officials are now referring all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

Sessions announced the effort April 6, and Homeland Security began stepping up referrals in early May, effectively putting the policy into action.

Since then, stories of weeping children torn from the arms of their frightened parents have flooded the media and the policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children’s advocates who say it is inhumane. A battle in Congress is brewing in part over the issue.

Some immigrant advocates have said women were being separated from their infants — a charge Homeland Security and Justice officials flatly denied. They also said the children were being well cared for and disputed reports of disorder and mistreatment at the border. …

The International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid group, released a statement [today] saying, “A policy of willing cruelty to those people, and using young sons and daughters as pawns, shatters America’s strong foundation of humanitarian sensibility and family values.”

The new figures are for people who tried to enter the U.S. between official border crossings. Asylum seekers who go directly to official crossings are not separated from their families, except in specific circumstances — such as if officials can’t confirm the relationship between the minors and adults, if the safety of the children is in question, or if the adult is being prosecuted. …

Finally finally, today the pathologically lying “President” Pussygrabber repeated the fucking lie that the Democrats are the ones who put the separation policy into place. “I hate the children being taken away,” he huffed and puffed. “The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”

“This is false,” counters The Washington Post, adding: “As part of its border crackdown, the Trump administration is separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents largely due to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. No law requires these separations. [Link is WaPo’s.] …”

That the unelected, fascistic, xenophobic, cruel Pussygrabber regime continues to lie blatantly that the Democrats are responsible for the separation of families at the southern border at least is an indirect acknowledgment that what the Pussygrabber regime is doing is evil.

But in the meantime, people are suffering because we, the American people, have not stopped “our” government from perpetrating evil — in this case, a form of ethnic cleansing — in our name.

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SHUT IT DOWN!

Yes, these human beings are worth fighting for.

In just a little more than three hours from now, as I type this sentence, the U.S. government might be shut down.

GOOD.

The “Dreamers” — those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — are worth fighting for.

There are upwards of a million of them, and we need their talents and abilities.

DACA was instituted under former President Barack Obama in June 2012 and mean-spiritedly was rescinded by the far-right, fascist, racist, unelected Pussygrabber regime in September.

Wikipedia notes of DACA that

Research shows that DACA increased the wages and labor force participation of DACA-eligible immigrants, and reduced the number of unauthorized immigrant households living in poverty. Studies have shown that DACA increased the mental health outcomes for DACA-eligible immigrants and their children.

There are no known major adverse impacts from DACA on native-born workers’ employment, while most economists say that DACA benefits the U.S. economy.

To be eligible for the program, recipients may not have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. There is no evidence that DACA-eligible individuals are more likely to commit crimes than any other person within the United States.

DACA is win-win.

It is fittingly karmic that “President” Pussygrabber started his campaign for the White House by bashing those from Mexico — when those from Latin America for the very most part are hard-working, law-abiding people of good character, which we cannot say about Pussygrabber & Co., with their treasonous and illegal business dealings and collusion with foreign actors — and that now, the U.S. government faces shutdown over DACA.

The wingnuts keep crowing about how a shutdown would affect the U.S. military, when the bloated-beyond-belief military has gobbled up the lion’s share of our tax dollars for generations now. It’s long past time to put the U.S. military on a starvation diet and to put our tax dollars to use for the benefit of human beings and the planet.

Hopefully, a federal government shutdown will be the beginning of that return to sanity and basic decency, and it strikes me that a shutdown will benefit the Democratic Party more than the Repugnican Party.

After all, it would show that the Democratic Party might be getting its spine back, and that probably would energize the base.

And when people vote, they tend to vote for Democrats, which is why the Repugnicans are doing everything in their power to prevent people from voting — and why they want to keep immigrants out of the United States of America: because most of these future voters, voting in their own best interests, won’t vote for the treasonous Repugnicans.

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Focusing on racism, real and contrived, will ensure that ‘shitholes’ remain so

image

Image from trumphole.tumblr.com

“President” Pussygrabber on Thursday told a group of U.S. senators and representatives that he doesn’t want people from “shithole countries” immigrating to the United States. I always thought of a “shithole” as that hole in the “president’s” face that continuously spews out shit, but whatever…

The definition of a “shithole” is “an extremely dirty, shabby or otherwise unpleasant place.”

In comparison to standard (that is, at-least-middle-class) U.S. living conditions, there are many “shitholes” outside of the United States and, of course, within the U.S.

Haiti, for instance, would be a “shithole” as defined above. There’s no calling Haiti a fucking paradise, methinks. And most of the world’s most impoverished nations indeed are in Africa.

However, there is a difference between you or I using the term “shithole” and the “president” using the term, and there is a difference between (fairly objectively, once we have defined the term) calling a place a “shithole” — and then thereby deeming its inhabitants to be inherently inferior (which pretty much is the definition of “racism”).

“President” Pussygrabber’s mere use of the term “shithole” obviously is not presidential (but nothing about him is presidential), but it’s not necessarily racist in and of itself. Again, if an impoverished region or nation accurately can be called a “shithole,” then, indeed, “shitholes” abound.

That said, Pussygrabber’s professed preferences among the world’s nations from which he believes we should accept immigrants absolutely reeks of racism.

The Washington Post yesterday indicated that during a meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Pussygrabber referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes” from which he wants no immigrants and proclaimed that he prefers immigrants from nations like Norway.*

I don’t know how else to translate that except that Pussygrabber, like his supporters and most of the members of the Repugnican Party, prefers white immigrants (especially those with money**) to non-white immigrants, especially brown-skinned immigrants (and especially those without money).

The United States is supposed to be a welcoming nation. At the Statue of Liberty is this plaque of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”:

File:Emma Lazarus plaque.jpg

The poem goes:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The second stanza is the most-quoted, but the first stanza is important, too: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land” is an anti-imperialist and anti-militarist sentiment, a sentiment that has been largely to mostly lost; for many if not even most American citizens, the U.S. is and always should remain the conquering colossus, not the “mother of exiles.”

And “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” sounds pretty fucking anti-aristocratic to me. Yet “President” Pussygrabber blatantly proclaims that he much prefers “your storied pomp” to “your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Don’t send these! he repeatedly proclaims.

But ironically, the standard of living that most Americans enjoy largely to even mostly comes at the expense of those from poorer, exploited nations whose inhabitants Pussygrabber and his supporters want to keep out.

Indeed, the United States is not the “mother of exiles,” but is that conquering colossus that helps to create exiles. Many if not most — probably most — of us U.S. citizens, in order to deny our role in poverty here and abroad, tell ourselves and each other that poverty primarily is caused by individual laziness and stupidity (and perhaps also by racial inferiority).

To further exculpate ourselves, we callously ignore major factors in global poverty, including the brutal effects of European colonialism that still grip billions of people today, including brutal global capitalism and the insane income inequality that it creates, climate change (caused, of course, by capitalism) and other environmental devastation (caused, of course, by capitalism) and otherwise harsh environments that make it difficult to impossible for human beings to thrive.

Indeed, many to most (probably most) U.S. citizens are perfectly fine with insane income inequality from capitalist exploitation and with environmental devastation from capitalist exploitation — as long as they are not among the worst victims of these wrongs.

Our moral duty as U.S. citizens is to try to help those around the globe — by living more sustainably and more responsibly and less selfishly ourselves, if nothing else — not to shut out those who aren’t as materially successful as we are and who aren’t as materially successful as we are in no tiny part because of us.

In our current environment of toxic identity politics, though — which is aided and abetted by many if not most who call themselves “Democrats” — all that we want to see is racism (and/or sexism/misogyny), real and even fabricated, because focusing only on identity politics, which keeps capitalist exploitation perfectly intact, allows us to continue to blithely ignore the socioeconomic devastation that plagues billions of human beings around the globe for our own selfish benefit.

We’ll say that we oppose racism, that you shouldn’t be judged based upon the color of your skin, but we’ll still gladly allow you to die en masse because of the excessive lifestyle that we refuse to relinquish.

“Mother of exiles”? Hell, no! We’re the motherfucking U. S. of A., the conquering colossus!

P.S. Race and class are indeed closely intertwined. There very apparently is a close correlation between race and income level in the United States, for example. Per Wikipedia, in 2015 the median household income for Asians in the U.S. was $74,245; for whites, $59,698; and for blacks, $36,544, the lowest median household income for all races.

As I have noted many times before, it rankles me that while we American commoners are too busy discussing race, often fighting among ourselves over it, our plutocratic overlords continue to increase income inequality, which harms people of all races.

That said, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time; we have to fight both racism and income inequality at the same time. Thing is, you can’t legislate a racist becoming a non-racist.*** You can, however, pass legislation (eliminate tax loopholes for corporations, raise taxes on the super-rich, keep raising the minimum wage, etc.) to reduce income inequality.

Finally, because race and class are so closely intertwined, in the case of “President” Pussygrabber, who was born into wealth (apparently he inherited his family’s real-estate business), to me it’s difficult to tell how classist he is vs. how racist he is.

For example, is his main problem with Haitans that most of them are black — or that most of them are poor?

Despite the fact that he was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, Pussygrabber apparently equates being poor with being a loser, and, perhaps because of his German background, he sees the poor as being weak and thus undesirable, and he always has shown a Nazi Germanic obsession with strength as he defines it.

After all, Pussygrabber advocates that immigrants to the U.S. already be rich, very apparently missing the fact that for many if not most of these already-rich immigrants, coming to the U.S. would be a step down.

*Pussygrabber is OK with some Asian immigrants, WaPo quotes the White House, since Asians tend to have and to make money. Pussygrabber apparently really has it out for the Haitians, probably because they’re the most impoverished nation that’s closest to the United States (as well as because of their race, of course), but, to be fair, U.S. immigration policy long has been rough on Haitians, including the historical preference for Cuban immigrants over Haitian immigrants, even though the island nations are neighbors.

**Why the fuck would white immigrants who live in nations whose governments actually believe in taking care of their inhabitants and their environment want to come to the United States, only to be thrown, like chum, to the corporations for their shark-like, treasonous profiteering? (Western nations whose per-capita wealth is higher than that of the United States include Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.)

***That said, anti-discrimination laws and hate-crime laws are critically important; perhaps you cannot change a racist’s mind, but you have to punish a racist’s crimes against others.

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Why I am not a white supremacist

Shit like this blows my mind: The Washington Post reports that these fliers were found at a campus of the University of Maryland this week:

Washington Post images

Reports the Post:

Fliers linked to a white supremacist group were found this week on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, authorities said, part of what appears to be a new effort targeting colleges in several states.

The fliers featured the logo of American Vanguard, a group associated with white supremacy. One read “We have a right to exist” and another read “Defending your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime.”

“We hear it every day: ‘Whiteness’ is evil, and must be destroyed,” the group said in a statement on its website. “Our religion, our traditions, and our identity are dragged through the mud by the globalist establishment while millions of nonwhites flood our nation every year. If current trends continue, White Americans will be a minority by 2044. It’s time to take a stand.”

As first reported in the school’s Diamondback newspaper, University of Maryland police responded to Marie Mount Hall at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of vandalism and discovered several fliers posted at the main entrance and the south entrance. Another set of fliers was discovered posted to pillars at Tydings Hall at around 10 a.m. Monday, a spokesman for the University of Maryland Police said, and the fliers at both locations were removed.

American Vanguard, based in California, has posted fliers on other U.S. campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Its posters were found at Purdue University in Indiana, the University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and Emerson College in Massachusetts in recent weeks, the ADL said.

Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s center on extremism, said he has been seeing a proliferation of white supremacist, alt-right messaging at college campuses around the country in recent weeks. “It seems to be an extension of this effort by the alt-right and their supporters to try to reach younger audiences,” he said.

Segal also said some white supremacists have perceived Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election as a victory for their cause, leading to hate incidents around the country. “I feel like the alt-right in general thinks this is the time to pounce,” he said. …

Wow. It disappoints me that “American Vanguard” is based in my state.

Speaking of my state, according to at least one source, California was the 48th whitest state in 2004 (with only Mississippi, the District and Columbia and Hawaii having a smaller percentage of whites). That source puts California’s white-alone population in 2004 at 63 percent of the state’s total population.

The U.S. Census Bureau now puts California’s white-alone population at only 38 percent, its Latino population at 38.8 percent, its Asian population at 14.7 percent, and its black population at 6.5 percent.

Yes, a little while ago Latinos surpassed whites here in California, so that now more Californians are Latino than of any other race. And Latinos in California and elsewhere throughout the United States will continue to outgrow whites.

Indeed, apparently the projection is that by 2044 or 2045, white Americans no longer will be the majority of Americans.

Do I feel like my “whiteness” is under threat? (I do have blue eyes, light skin and brown hair, and I did genetic testing some years ago that put my genetic ancestry most likely with the dominant genetic populations of Britain and/or Germany.)

No, I don’t.

Not only are the racial demographics in the United States changing over time, giving us plenty of time to adjust to the changes, but it doesn’t matter what race an American is. An American, to use the definition of a denizen of one of the 50 states, used to be a Native American; then to be an American meant that you probably are or were white; in the future, to be an American might mean that you probably are Latino or mixed.

Nothing is so precious about the white culture, if there is a monolithic white culture (there is not), that it would be an irretrievable loss to humankind should we see fewer and fewer blond-haired-and-blue-eyed human beings born upon the planet. White culture — hopefully only the best parts of it — will be absorbed into the overall culture anyway; it won’t be lost altogether.

As far as changing demographics in my home state of California go, no one is forcing me to learn Spanish (although I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish on my own for a while now), no one is forcing me to change my name to Roberto, no one is even forcing his or her Catholicism down my throat. (I love Mexican food, so if someone wanted to force that down my throat, I’d probably be OK with that.)

I don’t at all feel threatened that Latinos now outnumber the members of my own race in my state. For the very most part, Latinos and whites co-exist in California just fine.

I find white culture to be a bit stiff and boring, and so the injection of other cultures into white American culture is a benefit, not a threat. Other cultures show us still-dominant-in-the-U.S. whites (white-alones still are 61.6 percent of all Americans) other ways of seeing, of believing, of thinking, of living.

And we Americans get to pick and choose. I like the Spanish language. I like Mexican food. I like Cuban music. (I’d love to visit Cuba before I die.) I like the leftist politics that we’ve seen throughout Latin America throughout time. (Yes, I’ve been a fan of both the late Hugo Chavez and the late Fidel Castro — no, I’m not in agreement with everything that they did, but I like that they stood up to the evil empire in the north instead of selling their people out to the plutocratic plunderers of the north.)

But I remain free to hate any or all of those things if I choose. The only thing about the Latino culture that I’m not crazy about is its rampant Catholicism, but, again, no one is forcing me to become a Catholic. (It would take something like the Spanish Inquisition 2.0 for me to “convert” to that oppressive, patriarchal and misogynist, fairly racist [or at the very least Eurocentric], homophobic, backasswards, toxic institutionalized religion.)

In terms of religion, when I’m not feeling atheist-y, I gravitate toward the Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. I’m not a practicing Buddhist, but I’m fairly familiar with Buddhism, and while I wouldn’t swallow, hook, line and sinker all of its teachings any more than I would any other religion’s, Buddhism is the major world religion that makes more sense to me than does any of the others, especially Judaism, what passes for Christianity, and Islam.

I admire Asians, perhaps especially the Vietnamese, whose food I love. My best friend in junior high school and high school was half-Vietnamese; born in Vietnam, as a child he had come to the United States with his Vietnamese mother. He had a bit of a mischievous streak about him, but he was very bright and was a good friend.

Black culture is infused into the culture of the United States to the point that many if not most blacks often complain that elements of their culture have been stolen by whites. Hey, black Americans, we bland white Americans need that spice. Without it, you’d be blinded by our whiteness, too. (Melting pot, baby!)

One of my favorite books is an old one, La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race), by the late prominent Mexican José Vasconcelos. Published in 1925, in his treatise Vasconcelos did assert some things that today we’d find racially stereotypical at best, but his overall theme — that the mixing of the races is beneficial, not harmful, to humankind — was forward-thinking for its time and holds true for today.

Wikipedia notes of La Raza Cósmica:

Published in 1925, La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) is an essay written by late Mexican philosopher, secretary of education, and 1929 presidential candidate, José Vasconcelos to express the ideology of a future “fifth race” in the Americas; an agglomeration of all the races in the world with no respect to color or number to erect a new civilization: Universópolis.

As he explains in his literary work, armies of people would then go forth around the world professing their knowledge. Vasconcelos continues to say that the people of the Iberian regions of the Americas (that is to say, the parts of the continent colonized by Portugal and Spain*) have the territorial, racial, and spiritual factors necessary to initiate the “universal era of humanity.”

Claiming that the Darwinist ideologies are “scientific” theories only created to validate, explain, and justify ethnic superiority and to repress others, Vasconcelos attempts to refute these theories and goes on to recognize his words as being an ideological effort to improve the cultural morale of a “depressed race” by offering his optimistic theory of the future development of a cosmic race. …

Any biologist will tell you that a species that never gets any genetic variation introduced into its gene pool (usually because of isolation) is at risk for extinction because its genetic code never gets any updates, so to speak.

This is true not only for the human animal on the biological level — think of the common results of inbreeding — but it is true for the human animal on the cultural level.

Cultural isolation leads to cultural stagnation, and cultural stagnation often leads to cultural extinction.

White supremacists speak endlessly of strength, but ironically, the genetic and cultural isolationism that they espouse (whites must only reproduce with other whites and the white culture must be “defended” and all other cultures rejected) is a fucking recipe for literal and cultural extinction.

That which does not bend will break in the wind. White supremacists do their fellow whites no favor by advocating staunch rigidity when the changes that we have been experiencing on many levels call instead, loudly and clearly, for flexibility and adaptability.

To be clear, just as there are white supremacists, there are Latino supremacists, Asian supremacists, black supremacists, et. al., people who believe that their race is the best, or, at least, the only race that really matters.

Racial supremacism of any kind is an unfortunate, harmful disease, but in the United States of America of course white supremacism has been the most prevalent and most harmful racial supremacism, but even with that historical fact, no one is really saying that whites don’t have the right to exist, as the flier pictured above alleges.

The supposed war on whites is as bogus as is the supposed war on Christmas (the “war on Christmas,” of course, is just an aspect of the “war on whites”; often, if not even usually, in fact, it’s just code for “war on whites”).

No one, with the exception of a crazy, relative very few, has called for the extermination of white Americans. Very most often it’s white Americans calling for the extermination of other races, or, if not their extermination, then at least their banishment, as is the case with how millions of white, Trump-loving Americans believe that brown-skinned and/or Spanish-speaking individuals all should be banished to the south of the Great White Wall that Der Fuhrer Trump has promised to erect. (After all, these brown-skinned hordes are threatening what it means to be an American — which is to be white!)

So it’s always interesting to see white supremacists claim that whites actually are the victims. Fucking losers.

This is not to say that it’s OK to shit and piss on a white person primarily or even solely because he or she is white. That’s called racism. And you don’t correct racial injustice by committing even more racial injustice yourself.

Nor do you get to punish the son for the sins of the father, so to speak. Because a person is white doesn’t mean that he or she is the descendant of a white slaveholder any more than it means that a person who is a black is a descendant of black slaves. (Barack Obama, for instance, is not. And there are plenty of whites who immigrated to the U.S. after slavery was abolished. And most Southerners didn’t hold slaves during the years of slavery; you had to be pretty rich to hold a lot of slaves.) But even if someone were proven to be the descendant of a slaveholder, do you really get to punish him or her for something that happened when he or she was not even alive?

Slavery was a colossal sin that never should have happened and that can’t be undone. It never should be minimized, but it also shouldn’t keep blacks and whites hating each other in perpetuity. It is the national wound that won’t heal, and even then there are plenty of other wounds, such as the decimation of the Native Americans, who rarely are mentioned in discussions of race; the internment of the Japanese and other mistreatment of Asians throughout U.S. history; and the ongoing prejudice against Latinos, against whom we are told by our pussy-grabbing “president”-“elect” that we must built a huge wall — you know, in order to “make America great again.”

In regards to the second white-supremacist flier shown above, I fully agree that “defending [my] people is [my] social duty.” It’s that I define “my people” very differently than do the white supremacists.

While I don’t at all call myself a Christian, as I reject institutionalized Christianity and don’t believe in bullshit like virgin births and resurrections, there is a quote of Jesus that I find interesting. Three of the four gospels give some version of it. Here it is in Matthew 12:46-50:

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

I always have interpreted this to mean that Jesus (at least the Jesus of the New Testament as he is written about in the New Testament, whether there actually was a historical Jesus or not) did not believe that mere genetic closeness was real closeness; real closeness comes only with a shared worldview, a shared philosophy, a shared love that is not racially or otherwise exclusive, but is universal, all-encompassing.

I extend the definition of genetic closeness beyond the genetic closeness that one sees in his or her nuclear and extended family to the genetic closeness within one’s own race; having said that, again, I maintain that mere genetic closeness does not confer real closeness, and that perhaps is where the white supremacists err the most.

That another person is white doesn’t mean that he or she and I automatically have this bond. We don’t. I don’t care what’s in your genetic code; I care what’s in your heart and mind.

All human beings have the right to exist. White supremacists and other racial supremacists, however, care only about the welfare of the members of their own race. Tragic.

Defending our people indeed is our social duty, but our definition of “our people” had better include all human beings.

*It’s true that Vasconcelos is partial to the Iberian Peninsula, probably especially to Spain, but it’s also true that the Spanish conquerors did something that the white, non-Hispanic European conquerors were loathe to do: they routinely interbred with the peoples they conquered.

Thus, today’s populations of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, et. al., have Spanish blood in them, as the population of Brazil has Portuguese blood in it.

The willingness to mix racially is laudable, even necessary for the long-term survival of humankind, as I have established, but it’s also important not to feel that one’s own race is superior or supreme… And one could argue that Vasconcelos in his La Raza Cósmica at times at least verges on that.

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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

Image result for fidel castro

Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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