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Distraction barely accomplished in Syria

Image result for mission accomplished

Former “President” George W. Bush and current “President” Pussygrabber have a lot in common: Both are baby boomers who were born into wealth, both evaded the Vietnam War, both lost the popular vote and thus had and have no democratic legitimacy, and both believed and believe in using military action to fascistically help themselves politically, knowing fully well that, as has been the case their entire over-privileged lives, they themselves won’t bear any of the pain and suffering caused by their own actions and inaction.

“Mission Accomplished!” “President” Pussygrabber incredibly stupidly proclaimed (via Twitter, of course) after U.S., British and French forces struck what they said were the Syrian government’s chemical weapons sites.

Syria is no 9/11 or post/11 Iraq, but Reuters does remind us that

Trump’s message [of “Mission Accomplished!”] echoed the words of a banner that hung behind former President George W. Bush when he gave a speech in 2003 from the USS Abraham Lincoln during the Iraq War.

That visual dogged Bush’s presidency as the war dragged out, with worsening American casualties, for the remainder of his two terms in office.

Again, “President” Gee Dubya had proclaimed “mission accomplished” way too early. The U.S. had illegally, immorally, unjustly and unprovokedly invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003; on May 1, 2003, Gee Dubya gave his incredibly laughable “mission accomplished” speech (Wikipedia even has a stand-alone entry titled “Mission Accomplished speech”) — replete in a “Top Gun”-like flight suit (just like Pussygrabber, Gee Dubya himself never saw war, of course, his daddy very apparently having saved him from Vietnam by getting him into the Texas Air National Guard).

But U.S. involvement in the wholly bogus Vietraq War that the unelected* Bush regime had created didn’t officially end until December 2011.

There was plenty more death and destruction and pain and suffering to follow in Iraq after May 1, 2003, including the carnage in Fallujah in 2003 and 2004 and the wholly inexcusable Abu Ghraib House of Horrors that was exposed in 2004.

In October 2005, the Washington Post reported that 2,000 U.S. troops had been killed in the Vietraq War, more than 90 percent of them after the mission supposedly had been accomplished by May 1, 2003. Wikipedia similarly notes that “The vast majority of casualties [in the Vietraq War], both military and civilian, occurred after the [“mission accomplished”] speech.”

The unelected Bush regime had strong-armed only two European nations, Britain and Poland, into supporting its launch of the Vietraq War, and the French wisely refused involvement, for which the U.S. right wing ruthlessly excoriated the nation (even branding French fries as “freedom fries,” because we Americans are always mature and high-minded).

Germany and Russia, as well as Canada and Latin America, also refused their support of the launch of the Vietraq War, but for some reason these wise nations for the very most part escaped the excoriation that France received.

Again, Syria is no Iraq, of course; “President” Pussygrabber has had no 9/11-like event to try to use to justify the invasion of another nation, like the treasonous Bush regime had 9/11 to use to justify the invasion of Iraq even though none of the 9/11 hijackers was from Iraq and even though no connection between Iraq and 9/11 ever was found.

Attacks on U.S. soil and war against other nations (especially following the quite-rare attacks on U.S. soil) are great for presidential ratings. Here is Gallup’s graph of Gee Dubya’s approval ratings throughout his disastrous eight-year occupation of the White House:

George W. Bush's Job Approval Ratings Trend

Note the spike that Gee Dubya got because of 9/11, the biggest spike he ever got, and note that his second, much smaller spike came in and around March 2003, after he launched his bogus Vietraq War.

The trend was downhill from there — Gallup notes that Gee Dubya’s average approval rating in his first term was 62 percent and in his second term was 37 percent — but Gee Dubya managed to leverage the ongoing Vietraq War to get a second term, albeit narrowly (he got 50.7 percent to John Kerry’s 48.3 percent of the popular vote).

Can Pussygrabber do what Gee Dubya did — use bogus warfare to get a second term?

I don’t think so, not absent another 9/11-level event, which I highly doubt is going to happen.

And with an approval rating stubbornly stuck around only 40 percent, Pussygrabber wouldn’t have the level of support that he would need to launch a bogus war like Gee Dubya did.

But mostly, probably, Pussygrabber really would need 9/11 redux. (The American sheeple supported the Vietraq War because they just wanted what felt to them to be revenge for 9/11; they didn’t care that the unelected Bush regime was planning to invade the wrong nation. Some Arabs [albeit no Iraqis] had attacked us on 9/11, so we were going to attack an Arab nation, so help us God!)

So what the fresh strike on Syria has accomplished politically for “President” Pussygrabber is about zero. I expect his approval ratings to remain stuck around 40 percent for the foreseeable future. We Americans know “our” “president” well by now, and I see only tiny movement, if any, from the anti-Pussygrabber camp or even the somehow-still-neutral camp to the pro-Pussygrabber camp.

And Syria never struck the U.S., and so most Americans don’t give a shit about Syria, which the vast majority of them couldn’t find on a good map.

The unelected* Pussygrabber regime still has a litany of scandals and political problems, including the fact that the feds are investigating Pussygrabber’s personal lawyer, special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into the treasonous Pussygrabber regime’s treasonous ties to Russia is ongoing, Stormy Daniels just won’t go away, and one day (maybe even soon) that long-rumored pee tape just might emerge.**

Pussygrabber probably won’t get a second term***, and even if he does, impeachment in a second term, by which time the Democrats might control both houses of Congress, ever looms. (After all, Bill Clinton was a fucking Boy Scout compared to Pussygrabber.)

In the face of all of that, lobbing some missiles at Syria — and tweeting “Mission Accomplished!” — is as nothing.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong; absent an attack on U.S. soil by another nation, Pussygrabber began to brazenly falsely demonize the denizens of Latin America as a serious and growing “threat” to the U.S. even before he was “elected.”

Fascists always must have their scapegoats, from within and/or from without, to divert attention from their own treason and other criminality.

*Again, in my book, if you didn’t win the popular vote, as was the case with both Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber, you aren’t the legitimate president of the United States of America. And, of course, if you never legitimately were elected in the first place, your “re”-election is bullshit, too.

**If there were no pee tape, Pussygrabber wouldn’t have nagged former FBI chief James Comey to look into the matter. (I believe the imperfect Comey on this.) I mean, you don’t worry about the public emergence of something that doesn’t even fucking exist, do you?

***As I type this sentence, PredictIt.org has 57 cents on a Democrat winning the White House in 2020 and 43 cents on a Repugnican. That seems about right to me. I put Pussygrabber’s chance of being “re”-elected at about 40 percent, the same as his approval rating has been for months now.

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His name was Stephon Clark, young father of two, and we failed him fatally

Image result for Stephon Clark

The rather opportunist Al Sharpton plans to attend the funeral of Stephon Clark (pictured above) in my city of Sacramento, California, on Thursday. Clark, the 22-year-old father of two, was shot to death by two Sacramento police officers on March 18 but had had only a smartphone in his hand. A little-discussed wrinkle in this racially charged incident, however, is that one of the two cops who shot Clark to death is black, as is Sacramento’s police chief.

As I’ve noted before, you have to take these cases of cops killing black men case by case. There is no one-size-fits-all narrative, as politically convenient and personally satisfying as such narratives may be.

For instance, Eric Garner, in my book, was murdered, choked to death by a thug posing as a police officer.

And Walter Scott by any reasonable person’s book was murdered, shot in the back as he ran away from a coward posing as a police officer.

Both black men were unarmed. Garner’s “crime” for which he was put to death by cop was illegally selling cigarettes on the street, and Scott’s was a broken brake light. The cop who murdered Garner remains free, while the cop who murdered Scott sits in prison (albeit he technically was found guilty of civil rights violations, not of murder).

Again, each case must be taken by itself. The Michael Brown case, for instance, spawned a movement that was based on some lies, probably especially the ubiquitous “[my] hands [are] up — don’t shoot!” meme.

The Barack Obama/Eric Holder U.S. Department of Justice’s own final report on the Michael Brown matter found that the physical evidence, including the autopsy of Brown, corroborated white cop Darren Wilson’s version of what had happened, which is that “gentle giant” Brown had not tried to surrender to him with his hands raised in the air, but instead had attacked him and tried to take his pistol from him.

The last page of the Obama/Holder DOJ report concludes:

… As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive.

Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat.

Even if Wilson was mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey the law. The same is true even if Wilson could be said to have acted with poor judgment in the manner in which he first interacted with Brown, or in pursuing Brown after the incident at the SUV.

These are matters of policy and procedure that do not rise to the level of a Constitutional violation and thus cannot support a criminal prosecution. Cf. Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427, 430–31 (8th Cir. 1997) (violation of internal policies and procedures does not in and of itself rise to violation of Constitution).

Because Wilson did not act with the requisite criminal intent, it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt to a jury that he violated 18 U.S.C.§ 242 when he fired his weapon at Brown.

VI. Conclusion
For the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed.

Indeed, case closed. Legally, anyway, but the myth of Michael Brown lives on, because the myth still is politically useful and personally satisfying to so many.

Unfortunately, in the Brown case the black community rallied around the wrong case. If I had ever tried to take a cop’s gun away from him (or her), I wouldn’t expect to be sitting here typing this sentence — and I am a white male.

The Brown case unfortunately immediately was turned into an inherently-racist-and-murderous-white-cop-vs.-inherently-innocent-young-black-man-guilty-only-of-being-black myth. According to the DOJ report on the Brown case, bystanders had lied through their teeth about what they had witnessed — very apparently in order to perpetuate the lie that every time a white cop shoots a black male, it only can be rooted in racism (and not, say, in very immediate self-defense because the black male is trying to take your gun from you).

The recent shooting death here in Sacramento of 22-year-old black man Stephon Clark also has some wrinkles that aren’t convenient to the aforementioned narrative that (only) white cops shoot young black men willy-nilly: One of the two cops who are reported to have shot Clark to death is black (see here too), as is Sacramento’s police chief, Sacramento native Daniel Hahn.

Hahn has said that he suspects that Clark was the man reported to have been breaking the windows of vehicles in a Sacramento neighborhood on March 18 before he was confronted by two cops in his grandparents’ backyard and shot to death.

All that Clark had in his possession, however, was a smartphone, and from the police helicopter video of the shooting, I cannot see that it was necessary for Clark to be shot even once, much more 20 times.* (A police body-camera video of the shooting that also was released does not give any more insight than does the helicopter video, other than that the cops apparently were trigger-happy; I struggle to even see Clark in the body-cam video at all until a while after he has been shot and is on the ground.)

I am not an expert in the excusable use of police force, but in the videos I don’t see Clark raising anything in the direction of the police officers or otherwise appearing to pose an immediate threat to them; I only see him being shot many times, apparently even after he already has fallen to the ground.

In the police helicopter video, before he is shot by the two cops it certainly looks like Clark isn’t up to any good, but running from police, probably especially if you are a black man, isn’t in and of itself indicative that you are dangerous and/or criminal; it always could be that you’re simply scared of being shot 20 times.

And even if Clark is guilty of having committed property crimes, there are penalties for that — and those penalties don’t include summary execution.

And it’s probably fair to say that many if not most white (and many other non-white) people do need to learn that human life — all human life — is far more important than is fucking property.

All of that said, it largely to totally has been ignored in the local protests over Stephon Clark’s shooting death that one of the cops who shot him — and the city’s police chief — are black. And I have to suspect that that’s because those two pieces of information aren’t convenient to the narrative that it’s only ever white cops and white chiefs of police who unjustly shoot and who support the unjust shootings of black men.

Sacramento has had some localized protests since Clark’s death, but it’s not at all like the city has been shut down, and to my knowledge not one person even has been hospitalized because of the protests. So it’s not like Sacramento has been enveloped in a conflagration, and many more Sacramentans have been touched by the heavy local media coverage than those who actually have been touched by any of the localized protests.

And again, I have to wonder if that outcome might have been different — if the protests might even have turned deadly — if Sacramento’s police chief weren’t black and if one of the two cops who shot Clark weren’t black. Does the race of the actors, rather than the acts themselves, matter that much? I suspect that it does.

Nonetheless, we need to continue to have the discussion about race and policing, and we have to examine where racism and police culture overlap, because very apparently there is a police culture that all cops can get sucked into, regardless of their race, and very apparently part of that police culture is the underlying belief that black lives do not matter as much as do white (and other non-black) lives.

And unnecessary police shooting after unnecessary police shooting amply proves that we must develop — and require the use of — non-lethal ways of neutralizing those we suspect of having committed a crime and/or of being about to commit a crime.

And for fuck’s sake we must stop executing people on the spot for property crimes, and we must hold every human being’s life as sacred. And we must prosecute — really prosecute — cops who don’t value human life, just as we prosecute the criminals who don’t value human life.

If we learn nothing else from the case of Stephon Clark, we need to learn that much.

*Since almost everyone in the world but I carries a smartphone, it seems to me that cops now have complete immunity to mistake or “mistake” smartphones for hand-held weapons. That is something with which we must as a society grapple — and fix.

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Kevin de León denies Sen. Cryptkeeper state Democratic Party endorsement

Image result for Kevin De Leon Dianne Feinstein

California State Sen. President Kevin de León (pictured above left) yesterday won 54 percent of the vote of the delegates at the annual state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, a crushing blow to Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein (above right), whose name depressingly and oppressively has been on the ballot for the past 25 years. Cryptkeeper won only 37 percent of the delegates’ votes — 485 fewer votes than de León won.

Wow. For a little while I was a little worried about Kevin de León’s bravely insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate seat for California that the ancient, Democrat-in-name-only Dianne Feinstein — whom I lovingly think of as “Cryptkeeper” — has held with a death grip since 1992.

No more.

Not only did de León recently win the endorsement of the nation’s largest state’s largest public-sector union, the Service Employees International Union (for once the Billary-Clinton-loving union to which I belong got a political endorsement right), but yesterday at the annual state Democratic Party convention, de León handily denied Cryptkeeper the state party’s endorsement.

It’s a high bar to win the state party’s endorsement — a vote of at least 60 percent of the delegates to the convention — but not only did de León deny Cryptkeeper that 60 percent, but he blew her out of the water: De León won 54 percent of the delegates’ votes to Cryptkeeper’s 37 percent.

Again: Wow.

The Los Angeles Times calls it “an embarrassing rebuke of” Cryptkeeper and notes that “Though de León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.”

Of course multi-millionaire Cryptkeeper, one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, has more campaign cash in the bank (including at least a cool $5 million that she gave herself) than does de León, and of course because of her name recognition (she has been around longer than has God), Cryptkeeper is polling better right now than is the much-less-known de León, but de León’s big wins — such as winning the majority of the state party delegates’ votes and winning not only SEIU’s endorsement but also the California Nurses Association’s — demonstrate that not only is de León a serious contender, but that plenty of Californians have had it with the plutocratic Cryptkeeper’s center-right bullshit and wish her gone.

I expect de León’s coffers to fill soon, and I expect his poll numbers to climb the more that Californians realize what a winner he is. And I expect more labor unions to endorse him, and without labor unions’ help, I can’t see Cryptkeeper winning. Her big money alone won’t be enough; she’ll have to actually earn enough votes.

The 84-year-old Cryptkeeper could have saved herself this embarrassment and stepped down, but she’s been tone-deaf to her constituency, who is to the left of her on many if not most issues, for years. The only reason that they’ve been re-electing her is that this is the first time that a viable alternative has emerged.

Cryptkeeper is no longer inevitable, and that’s great news not only for the people of California, but for all Americans who are affected by Cryptkeeper’s center-right votes in the U.S. Senate.

P.S. Also yesterday, California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom (who also has been endorsed by SEIU) garnered more votes for a state party endorsement than did any other candidate, with 39 percent.

While DINO Antonio Villaraigosa and Newsom have been in the top two in polling, yesterday Villaraigosa came in at fourth place in the endorsement vote, garnering only 9 percent. (The second-place winner garnered 30 percent and the third-place winner garnered 20 percent, and because there are so many Democratic gubernatorial candidates, it wasn’t expected that any one of them would reach the 60-percent mark necessary for an endorsement from the state party.)

I expect Newsom, who is my imperfect-but-preferred candidate, to become California’s next governor.

Some are saying that these votes for state party endorsements reflect only the wishes of party insiders, but these so-called party insiders are dispersed throughout the state and they are opinion leaders. These state party endorsement votes aren’t meaningless, even though both de León and Newsom fell short of 60 percent (which, in my opinion, should be reduced to anything above 50 percent).

P.P.S. I should note that under California’s top-two primary system, the top-two vote-getters (regardless of party) in the state’s June 5 primary will move on to the November general election, and I expect the top two to be Kevin de León and Cryptkeeper. (In 2016, there were only two Democrats on the ballot for U.S. Senator for California, Kamala Harris and a nut job who didn’t stand a chance against Harris.)

Some have posited that because Cryptkeeper is center-right — that is, Repugnican Lite — the state’s Repugnicans will vote for her, figuring (correctly) that she’s closer to their political orientation than is de León.

But I don’t know about that. I’d have to see a poll or polls of registered Repugnicans that asks whether or not in a de León-vs.-Cryptkeeper race they’d vote for Cryptkeeper or not vote at all. I surmise that most of the state’s Repugs wouldn’t vote for a Dem, not even DINO Cryptkeeper.

In any event, for de León to win, it’s going to take grassroots support. He doesn’t need as much money as Cryptkeeper does, but he does need those of us who are left of center to vote.

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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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Et tu, Al?

Updated below (on Friday, November 17, 2017)

In the current climate, it was only a matter of time before someone I really have liked and respected was going to be outed as having acted sexually inappropriately in the past. This time, there is photographic evidence:

Franken gropes the accuser while smiling

That’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota apparently pretending* to grope a sleeping woman (radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden) during a U.S.O. (United Service Organizations) tour in the Middle East in 2006.

From his expression, he fairly clearly thinks that it’s pretty fucking funny. Of course, it isn’t, which he has acknowledged, and he has apologized for his inappropriate, immature, abusive, disrespectful act, and Tweeden has stated that she accepts his apology and that she doesn’t believe that he should step down.

To me, that’s pretty much case closed.

More disturbing to me than the frat-boy-level photo above is Tweeden’s allegation that Franken, under the guise of rehearsing a skit that he wrote that (rather conveniently) required him to kiss her, kissed her forcefully against her wishes (and gave her tongue, she adds).

Such unwanted contact constitutes sexual battery, in my book, but Franken said that “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

He immediately added: “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

So: This contact between Franken and Tweeden happened in 2006, before Franken became a U.S. senator in 2009. (And in Tweeden’s own words, “Franken had written some skits for the [U.S.O.] show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many U.S.O. shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.” That’s some context, and context matters.)

The New York Times reports that “Ms. Tweeden said that no one else witnessed the [alleged forced] kiss, and she did not tell the tour’s organizers [about it].” (Indeed, Tweeden’s own words to this effect are here.)

Franken couldn’t have been convicted of sexual battery at the time even if Tweeden had gone to the authorities, because they apparently have different versions of the same event that no one else witnessed. Legally, it seems to me, that’s pretty much that.

It seems to me that absent a felony conviction, which should disqualify anyone from becoming or remaining a U.S. senator, it’s up to the voters of Minnesota to decide Franken’s fate when he comes up for re-election in 2020, assuming that he decides to run again.

It’s probably safe to say that any hope that Franken might have had about running for president in 2020 is dashed — even though “President” Pussygrabber bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and still became “president” — but I refuse to write Franken’s political obituary today. I believe that he can come out better and stronger for this (and that yes, hell — who knows? — he still might become president one day).

No, I don’t condone sexual harassment of any kind, from non-body-contact sexual harassment, such as making unwanted sexual remarks to taking a photo of yourself pretending to grope someone sexually to exposing yourself to someone who doesn’t want to see your goods, to actual body-contact sexual harassment, such as actual groping or forceful, unwanted kissing.

But nor is it productive to take the stance that we should utterly fucking destroy anyone who has misstepped.

That self-righteous revenge-seeking goes beyond justice and becomes a crime in and of itself; that is, to assert that those who can be redeemed cannot be redeemed, but must be destroyed for the rest of their lives, is to commit yet another type of violence against the human spirit.

P.S. Two more things:

One, there seems to be a definite double standard where Democrats and Repugnicans are concerned. Again, “President” Pussygrabber in 2005 bragged, on tape, about grabbing women by the pussy and kissing them without their consent, and yet that was A-OK with enough voters to allow him to take the Oval Office.

Two (which is related to one), what U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama has been accused of, especially the under-aged shit, is much worse than what Franken has been accused of (and was photographed doing), but even for a backasswards, right-wing piece of dog shit like Moore, I would say that absent a felony conviction — that is, he had had his day in court and was found guilty by a jury — it still would be up to the voters of Alabama to decide whether or not to send him to the U.S. Senate. (And then the Senate could, I understand, refuse to seat him, although I’m not sure of all of the legalities on that.)

But let’s not compare Al Franken to Roy Moore (or to “President” Pussygrabber). Franken so far has had one accuser, who was an adult at the time. Moore thus far has had at least eight accusers, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of their reported events.

Update (Friday, November 17, 2017): Leeann Tweeden said this on “Good Morning America” today: “I didn’t do this [publicize Franken’s actions of 2006] to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate. You know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide. I’m not calling for him to step down. That was never my intention.”

She also apparently said of the bullshit comparison of “President” Pussygrabber’s actions to Franken’s, “His [Pussygrabber’s] issues — that’s a whole other thing.”

Yup. More than a dozen women thus far have accused Pussygrabber of having perpetrated sexual harassment to sexual battery.

Sadly, I’ve seen, among others, Slate.com’s otherwise thoughtful and intelligent Mark Joseph Stern and the progressive group Justice Democrats both call for Franken to step down immediately. (And in an e-mail that I received, the Justice Democrats also called for Franken to be replaced with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison by Minnesota’s governor. I admire Ellison and I supported him for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, but he should run for the U.S. Senate if he wants to be a U.S. senator. Denying Franken due process and summarily replacing him with Ellison is not what I’d call justice or democracy, Justice Democrats!)

We all need to take a deep fucking breath and not be even more outraged than the actual victims are and therefore call for even harsher punishments than they are calling for. (And no, let’s not say that part of the victims’ victimization is that they’re just not outraged enough and that they are too forgiving, so we need to “correct” that. Jesus fucking fuck.)

And yes, as both Stern and Justice Democrats and many others have argued, we who are left of center don’t want to be called hypocrites on the subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault and sexual battery.

But we also need to take each case on its own (each case can vary widely in severity) and not lump all of the cases together, or collapse the many different kinds of sexual violations into one big generic sexual violation because we don’t feel like dealing with shades of gray.

And if we claim that we care about justice, then we need to give the accused the chance to explain him- or herself — and/or to be investigated as fairly and impartially as possible — instead of immediately calling for his or her head on a silver fucking platter so that we can try to look cool by keeping ahead of the news cycle.

Nor should our No. 1 concern be what the fucking Repugnicans will think. They never fucking care what we think, which is why they “win” elections even when they lose them, such as “presidents” George W. Bush and Pussygrabber both did.

*To grope someone is to touch him or her with your hands, and while the incident in the photo widely has been described as a groping, to me it appears to be Franken pretending to be groping or pretending to be about to grope the sleeping woman. Not that even pretending to do so is OK, but it’s not as bad as actually groping. There are levels of bad, for fuck’s sake.

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Kevin de León for U.S. Senate

Come January 2019, current California state Senate President Kevin de León, pictured left, should join Kamala Harris, pictured right, representing California in the U.S. Senate. Fivethirtyeight.com recently has noted that incumbent “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein “has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time,” which is “a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.”

In 2016, I’d really wanted California to elect a Latino or Latina U.S. senator to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer, but unfortunately, the Latina who ran in 2016 (Loretta Sanchez) is a nut job who, had she been elected, would have embarrassed the state continually.

In the top-two primary-election system of California that pitted two Democrats (well, one Democrat and one “Democrat”) against each other, Kamala Harris clearly was the better choice to represent California in the U.S Senate, and so I voted for her.

Why did I want to be able to vote for a Latino U.S. senator in November 2016? Because more Californians are Latino than are of any other race, and it’s long past time that California’s Latinos, now a plurality of the state, had their own representative in the U.S. Senate.

Of course, “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein, who has “represented” California in the U.S. Senate since 1992 and who at age 84 is the oldest U.S. senator, refuses to step aside but is seeking a fifth six-year term.*

Feinstein’s old, dead hands of the past have a death grip on her Senate seat, which she and her supporters need to realize doesn’t actually belong to her, but belongs to us, the people of California.

We, the people of California, can and should retire Feinstein at the ballot box.

Thus far, I support Democrat Kevin de León, the current president of the California state Senate, to replace Feinstein come January 2019. He formally launched his bid for the U.S. Senate seat today.

De León not only is Latino, but is 50 years old and is much more in step with the California of today. He is the fresh, much more representative face that California needs. Out-of-touch multi-millionaire Feinstein doesn’t need, and should not be allowed, yet another six-year term in the U.S. Senate at the end of which she would be 91 years old.

Huge kudos to de León for having the cajones to face Feinstein in the June 2018 California primary election. Many if not most of California’s so-called Democrats, the establishmentarian zombies, already knee-jerkedly and stupidly have endorsed Feinstein, which is a big fucking mistake before the field is even known.**

The calcified Democratic Party really needs to stop frowning upon primary challenges, such as it did for mega-weak, center-right, widely despised candidate Billary Clinton, and let the voters decide.

Otherwise, the party will continue its slide into irrelevance. If an incumbent candidate is strong, he or she can fucking handle a primary challenger. (Of course, a weak “Democratic” candidate nonetheless will get all of the help possible from the center-right “Democratic” establishment, as Billary did.)

Kevin de León knows how to legislate and how to lead. He served in the California state Assembly for four years, from 2006 to 2010, and then was elected to the state Senate in 2010, and has served there since, having been made the president of the state Senate in 2014.

De León’s legislative accomplishments especially have been in the area of environmentalism and renewable energy; Wikipedia notes that “De León is the author of much of California’s renewable energy and environmental protection regulations, which are regarded by environmental groups as exemplary.”

Gun control is one-trick pony Cryptkeeper’s forte, but de León is strong on that issue, too; Wikipedia notes that “In 2016, de León led the charge in the passage of a package of eleven bills intended to prevent gun violence.”

De León is quite qualified to be a U.S. senator and very probably can do a better job than can the Cryptkeeper.

The predictable cries for “party unity” (How dare de León challenge the Cryptkeeper?) that we’ll hear are meant only to preserve the power and the privilege of center-right, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, anti-populist, self-serving “Democrats” who have plagued us since at least the Clintons in the 1990s. They know fully well that the multi-millionaire, octogenarian Cryptkeeper has their conservative, elitist, plutocratic backs.

These “Democratic” sellouts aren’t going to give up their power.

We, the people, must take it from them.

And it is within our grasp; fivethirtyeight.com reports that “Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Seat May No Longer Be a Sure Thing,” noting that:

… Feinstein is feeling the heat [from the California electorate right now] in part because her more liberal constituents are correct in surmising that she is more conservative — relative to the politics of the state she represents — than other Democrats.

Feinstein has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time, according to our Trump score. Ten [Senate] Democrats have voted with Trump more [than she has].

But because California is so liberal — Trump lost there by 30 percentage points in 2016 — we’d expect Feinstein to vote in line with the Trump position just 19 percent of the time. That’s a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.

California just passed legislation to become a “sanctuary state,” a move that has been met with displeasure by the Trump administration. De León seems likely to play up the state’s need to assert itself as a powerful bloc of resistance to Trump.

In recent weeks, local news sources have noted de León’s rebukes of Feinstein, whom he paints as sympathetic to Trump. In August, after Feinstein said Trump “can be a good president” if he were to “learn and change,” de León hit back, saying, “It is the responsibility of Congress to hold him accountable — especially Democrats — not be complicit in his reckless behavior.”

Most recently, de León pushed back against Feinstein’s comments that the recent massacre in Las Vegas couldn’t have been prevented by changes in gun laws because the shooter had passed background checks. …

Feinstein has been able to get away with her center-right, Richie-Rich elitist bullshit in the U.S. Senate for about 25 years now.

The tide finally seems to have turned on Cryptkeeper, however; if it hadn’t, you wouldn’t see such a high-level challenger to her like Kevin de León, whose decision to buck the status quo and not just allow Cryptkeeper to coast to yet another do-nothing Senate term already demonstrates his courage and his leadership.

*Cryptkeeper went to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1992 (then-California U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson became California governor, freeing up the Senate seat) and then had to run for a full six-year Senate term for the first time in 1994, and won that election and the elections of 2000, 2006, and 2012.

**The field could expand beyond de León and Cryptkeeper, which I acknowledge by having written “Thus far, I support Democrat Kevin de León.”

However, I much doubt that anyone who impresses me more than de León does will enter the fray, and so I most likely will be marking my ballot “Kevin de León” in the June 2018 primary election and hopefully also in the November 2018 general election.

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Have hope; mad kings come and go

Image from Cher’s Twitter feed

I haven’t written much about “President” Pussygrabber, and that’s in no small part because I never have accepted that he legitimately is the president of the United States of America (because he isn’t a legitimate president).

That’s for many reasons, but mostly, it’s because millions more Americans voted for his opponent in November 2016 than voted for him — and that was even with the help of Russia. (If there were no “there” there, the many concurrent investigations into the very apparent collusion with Russia very probably wouldn’t be ongoing.)

Also, of course, Pussygrabber not only is an abject moron and an ultra-tacky flim-flam man, but he had lost me well before the presidential election. He had lost me with his hateful, ignorant, racist anti-Mexican comments of June 2015 during his official “presidential” campaign announcement, and with the October 2016 release of the recording of him bragging that “when you’re a star, they [(attractive) women] let you do … anything,” such as “Grab them by the pussy.”

“Trump is toast,” I declared in October 2016, as I truly had believed that no one running for high office could survive having bragged, on tape, about “grabbing” women “by the pussy,” but here we are.

(Hey, again, he did lose the popular vote — substantially, which is why he has lied repeatedly about actually having won the popular vote. The anti-democratic [and anti-Democratic] Electoral College has got to go; we tell people how important it is that they vote, and then the candidate who won the highest number of votes doesn’t even take office, but the fucking loser does.)

Aside from his illegitimacy, Pussygrabber’s abysmal behavior in office disallows me from considering him to be the real president of the United States of America. Just this past week in post-hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, for instance, “President” Pussygrabber (in no certain order):

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels to a crowd of local residents

Reuters news photo

Because when your nation has been destroyed by a natural disaster, your No. 1 need is paper towels. (And the paper towels that Mad King Pussygrabber so generously deigned to toss to the rabble of Puerto Rico weren’t even the quicker picker-upper, which you would need after a hurricane.)

Seriously, though — look at that Reuters news photo above for a long time and then tell me that I should accept this fucking imbecile as my president, even if he actually had won the fucking presidential election.

(Oh, and as if he hadn’t made a big enough of a baboon’s ass of himself when he was in Puerto Rico earlier this week, during a speech for Hispanic Heritage Month at the White House yesterday, Pussygrabber very apparently adopted a mocking Spanish accent when he repeatedly said “Puerto Rico.”*)

Alas, despite the mind-blowing image and the beyond-pathetic information above, I do have hope for the United States of America. “President” Pussygrabber isn’t the first idiot in chief whom we have weathered (even though he does make even George W. Bush look presidential). We probably will survive him.**

And no, I don’t buy the oft-repeated argument that Pussygrabber is just the logical outcome of what most Americans are. No, he isn’t representative of most Americans. (Indeed, let me say it again: Most Americans did not vote for him; in fact, Billary beat him by 2.1 percentage points, or almost 3 million more popular votes.***)

Pussygrabber certainly is representative of his narcissistic and rapacious generation, the baby boomers, but not of all Americans. Indeed, Pussygrabber probably represents the last, pathetic gasp of rule by the baby boomers and rule by stupid white males (I can’t call them “men”).

I can’t see our socially conscious young adults of today, when they become presidents in the future, acting anything like Pussygrabber routinely does. No, Pussygrabber is an anomaly, the occasional illegitimate, mad king that we’ve seen throughout history.

He will pass.

Yes, it feels like passing a fucking kidney stone, but it will pass.

And our history books (the honest ones, anyway) will record “President” Pussygrabber as just another bad blip, just another blemish on our history.

P.S. Two things: One, Pussygrabber still can’t reach an approval rating of even 40 percent in most nationwide polls. This doesn’t bode well for his “re”-election. Don’t become complacent, but take some comfort in that fact.

Two, if you want to help out the people of Puerto Rico — whom you should want to help whether they are U.S. citizens or not — you can do so by giving what you can afford to give to the Hispanic Federation, as I have, and/or to another reputable aid organization.

*As I have noted, the anti-Latino Pussygrabber is doing to the Repugnican Party on the national level what anti-Latino former Repugnican California Gov. Pete Wilson did to the party here in California (for his own short-term personal and political gain, Wilson planted the seeds that later would decimate his party here in California).

As Latinos are the fastest-growing group of people in the United States, I encourage the Repugnican Party to continue to alienate these voters.

**As far as nukes and nuclear war go, Pussygrabber is an abject idiot, but I don’t think that he’s suicidal. No vampire wants to die, but wants to continue to suck the blood of its victims for as long as possible.

***Don’t get me wrong; as I’ve written here a million times, it was a colossal fucking mistake for the (so-called) Democrats to make Billary Clinton, (with Pussygrabber) one of the most unpopular candidates for U.S. president in history, their presidential nominee. (As I have noted, I am not a registered Democrat and will not register with the Democratic Party again until and unless it becomes the progressive party that it once was.)

With their heads planted firmly in their rectums, the “Democrats” all pretended that Billary isn’t the widely despised, corrupt harpy that she is, and we have them to thank in no tiny part for “President” Pussygrabber.

The so-called Democrats had a winning candidate in Bernie Sanders, but they decided to coronate Repugnican Lite Billary instead because it was “her turn,” you see.

We’ll see if they learned their lesson. I much doubt that they have.

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