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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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It’s indisputable now that Bernie is the new leader of the Democratic Party

New York Times news photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the support of 16 Democratic senators for the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that he introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Of course we won’t achieve single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” with the current Congress, but because of Bernie’s vision, persistence, courage and leadership, we are moving in that direction when the likes of Democrats in name only like Billary Clinton still are saying that we commoners have to continue to suffer under the for for-profit “health-care” system because there is no other way.

Anyone who claims that Bernie Sanders isn’t the front runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination must explain why, then, anyone who wants to be the 2020 Dem prez nominee signed on to the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that Bernie introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday.

Yes, the 16 signatories (all Democrats and no Repugnicans, of course) included Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey. (Even corporate whores who call themselves Democrats are smart enough to know that they don’t want to be said to have not supported single-payer/“Medicare for all” in 2017 if they want to run for the White House for 2020.)

Sixteen signatories is a lot of them, considering that when he last made the effort in 2013, Bernie could find not a single signatory.

This is what leaders do: They fucking lead.

And this is how big changes happen: People with small minds and no vision (and sometimes with a personal stake in the socioeconomic status quo) laugh and scoff at you, they tell you that it can’t be done, but you push and push and push and push, and then it finally gets done, perhaps decades later, and then it becomes the new normal, and in the future people are surprised to hear that it ever was such an uphill battle in the first fucking place; to them, it was a fucking no-brainer.

A writer for Paste notes:

… The “Overton Window” is a term meant to define the range of acceptable discourse in a certain time and place. In Democratic American politics, circa early 2016, advocating for universal healthcare was not inside the Overton Window — in fact, it was considered a campaign killer.

The fact that it’s not only inside the window today, but that support for it has practically become a requisite for any ambitious Democrat, is entirely the doing of [Bernie] Sanders. His campaign shifted the ideological grounds, and has redefined the party’s platform.

We’re rapidly approaching a point where failing to support the concept of universal health care will be a deal breaker—at this point, 60 percent of Americans favor the idea, and that number is consistently growing with time. …

It’s a simple, popular idea, but it took someone like Sanders with the courage to defy inherited political wisdom and bring it out from under the shadows of history and into the mainstream.

It’s not the only example, but it’s the most prominent right now, and it helps explain why Sanders himself has maintained and grown his personal popularity in the Trump era.

This phenomenon has little to do with Sanders in particular — he has authenticity on his side, but no special charisma. [I disagree that he has no charisma, but no, he doesn’t make his personality and his ego the centerpiece of his politics, which in this day and age is refreshing.]

It’s the strength of his ideas that have persisted and grown. Winning and losing isn’t his primary concern, and his political beliefs are all aimed at the future. And as that future approaches, he’s positioned himself as the most influential leader on the left….

While Bernie Sanders is leading, Billary Clinton is only even further demonstrating exactly what happened — she is now shilling her book that blames everyone except herself for her shitty presidential campaign (which was doomed to fail because it was based upon a shitty human being) and she apparently is trying to keep her brand of obsolete, center-right, pro-corporate, anti-populist, pay-to-play politics alive when it already is in a hospice.

As the writer for Paste also noted:

… Then there’s Hillary Clinton, who remains firmly rooted in the past. She lost the general election to an enormously unpopular candidate, and nearly lost the primary to Bernie Sanders, because she couldn’t rely on the strength of her ideas.

Hers was a personality- and identity-based campaign rather than an ideological one, and it came with the underlying belief that Her Time Had Come.

So it’s no surprise that in the aftermath of an historical loss to Trump, her egocentric rhetoric remains fatally attached to herself, and therefore attached to the past. …

Clinton’s new book, What Happened, is a postmortem that looks for blame everywhere but the proverbial mirror. It is rife with complaints, but woefully short on honest self-analysis. (There’s a comical comparison here to Sanders’ own recently released book, which is a policy-based look at the future of progressivism.) There’s plenty of aspersions to go around, but Bernie Sanders came in for special treatment…

While Sanders stands in the face of the Trump wave, a 76-year-old man fighting tooth and nail and with unprecedented success to bring healthcare to all Americans, Clinton has only emerged from hiding months later to promote a querulous book and sow further divisions on the left.

Their respective actions in the wake of a horrifying election result have proved the point: Sanders cares about the future, while Clinton cares only about herself.

Indeed.

Clearly, having made Billary the deplorable the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee was a huge fucking mistake. And at that time Bernie Sanders, being new to most Americans, just couldn’t overcome the corrupt Democratic National Committee that was doing its best to coronate Billary.

But the DNC has been exposed now (and at least partially purged of the Billarybots), and in hindsight Bernie looks even better now than he did in 2020. (Indeed, I love this meme:

Image result for hindsight is 2020 )

On the topic of single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care, of course I agree that health care is a human right. Every human being has the right to good health care.

I’m not an expert on health care, but I’m clear on the fact that the largest obstacles to universal health care in the United States are political. There are too many selfish pieces of shit out there who are profiteering obscenely from health care, since health care is a necessity of human life. These selfish traitors, who don’t at all mind harming others for their own excessive, undeserved gain, don’t want their gravy train derailed, and so of course they’re going to continue to fight for their incredibly unfair advantage.*

The United States spends more money per person on health care but doesn’t have outcomes to match that spending, and that’s because the goal in a for-profit “health-care” system is to profiteer — not to actually deliver good health care.

Two nations that spend less per person on health care but have better outcomes than does the United States are Britain and Italyboth of which have universal health care, so those who say that the United States cannot achieve universal health care are full of shit.**

We probably can’t wipe out for-profit “health care” overnight, and I am OK with allowing public/universal health care and private health care to co-exist at least for a time. (We do, after all, have both public schools and private schools, and no child is unable to attend school because his or her family cannot pay for it.)

But my hope would be that public health care (single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care) turns out to be so successful — including delivering significantly better outcomes at significantly less expense — that the private wealth-care weasels just cannot compete and deservedly go the way of the dinosaurs.

In the future, I suspect, history will show that Bernie Sanders was the father of universal health care, that he transcended not just the for-profit “health-care” system, but that he did what the namby-pamby Obamacare, which kept the for-profit “health-care” system intact, did not do: ensure good health care for everyone.

And history will show, I suspect, that Bernie Sanders finally rescued the Democratic Party from the Clintonistas (who, in fairness, include Saint Barack, of course).

*In the for-profit “health-care” system lots of people profiteer at others’ expense, and it’s not only the owners of the for-profit “health-care” companies, but stockholders, too, and those craven politicians to whom the wealth-care weasels give a lot of campaign cash in order to keep their treasonous scam going.

**Other nations whose citizens have longer life expectancy than do Americans but that spend less on health care per capita and have universal health care include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. See here and here.

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James Woods is dead to me

James Woods played closet case Roy Cohn dying of AIDS in “Citizen Cohn” (above) yet today spews homophobic bile and venom via Twitter.

It is sad when a performer whose work you have enjoyed (or at least didn’t hate) in the past turns out to be another fucking wingnut. It ruins whatever work that he or she did that you enjoyed (or at least didn’t hate).

On that note, perhaps James Woods, given his now-public obsession with gay sex, wasn’t acting very much when he portrayed closeted wingnut Roy Cohn in 1992’s “Citizen Cohn.”

Woods has attended at least one AIDS benefit; played the museum director defending controversial gay photo artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s work in 2000’s “Dirty Pictures”; and did a great job as the voice of Hades in Disney’s 1997 “Hercules,” and Disney isn’t known for hiring known homophobes, so at one point in his life, anyway, Woods appeared to be fairly gay friendly (or at least not publicly homophobic).

Somewhere along the line, though — Alzheimer’s, maybe? — Woods has changed his tone dramatically and drastically.

These days, he’s scatologically homophobically tweeting about CNN’s openly gay Anderson Cooper wearing (or rather, losing) a butt plug while on air, and he recently tweeted of the upcoming film “Call Me By Your Name”: “24 year old man. 17 year old boy. Stop. As they quietly chip away at the last barriers of decency. #NAMBLA.”

Woods — who, again, I suspect, is battling dementia — mindlessly trots out the old right-wing lie equating homosexuality with pedophilia.

Of course, there are only seven years between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old, and actress Amber Tamblyn publicly has testified that when she was 16 years old, James Woods tried to “pick [her] and [her] friend up,” and that when she told him her age, he replied, “Even better.” (I believe her.)

Let’s do the math: Tamblyn now is 34, so she was 16 about 18 years ago. Woods now is 70, so he was about 52 when he very apparently tried to fuck a 16-year-old, but he blasts the movie “Call Me By Your Name” because it’s about a romance between a 17-year-old and 24-year-old. “NAMBLA!” he cries.

Clearly, this is about homophobia and heterosexism — as well as a colossal amount of fucking hypocrisy — and not about some concern for our “children.” Equating homosexuality to pedophilia always is only a cover for one’s own homophobic bigotry.

On that note, 17 is not a “child” (or a “boy”) in my book. A 17-year-old is a young adult.

The age of consent in Canada is 16, and in the United States of America, the age of consent is between 16 and 18.

In the more-sophisticated-about-sexuality Europe, where “Call Me By My Name” takes place, the age of consent is between 14 and 18.

So comparing the romance depicted in “Call Me By Your Name” to pedophilia is bullshit, but, of course, wingnuts never care about logic, reason or facts.

I’m not sure if Woods ever got to fuck a minor, as he very apparently at least had wanted to, but he did date a 19-year-old when he was 59, and when he was 66 he started dating a 20-year-old.

So these, um, rather significant age differences are A-OK if you’re a heterosexual male, you see, but not if you’re a homosexual male. Then, it’s “pedophilia.”

I’m going to see “Call Me By Your Name” (it’s due out on November 24), and from the early buzz, I’m probably going to enjoy it.

And I’ll never be able to watch anything with James Woods in it again. (Except maybe for “Hercules,” since it’s only his voice… And maybe I’ll watch him die again in “Citizen Cohn.”)

In the meantime, the sooner that we can say “the late James Woods,” the better.

Whatever worthwhile contribution he was going to make to the culture, he already made it years ago.

P.S. For full disclosure, even if I were single and not in a decade-long relationship with another man who is six years older than I am, I can’t see myself ever attempting to have sex with someone who is young enough to be my son.

A young man might be tempting to pair with, but I don’t know how I’d keep up with him, and I don’t know how fair the age difference would be to him.

That said, I’m not troubled by a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old having a sexual relationship as long as it’s consensual and healthy, and, of course, unlike the hypocritical, homophobic and heterosexist (and unhinged) Woods, I’m not at all concerned about the configuration of the pairing (male-male, female-female, female-male or whatever other possible permutation). Their ages and what’s between their legs and what they do in the bedroom (and, within reason, in public) would be their fucking business.

And my definition of “pedophilia,” I think, would necessitate that the “child” (the “girl” or the “boy”) were younger than 16. (The United Kingdom’s age of consent is 16, which seems OK to me.)

P.P.S. Armie Hammer, who plays the 24-year-old in “Call Me By Your Name,” is 31 years old, and Timothée Chalamet, who plays the 17-year-old, is 21 years old. So no minors were “harmed” in the making of this film.

And I’m not a “pedophile” for finding both of those actors to be attractive young men. No more so than is James Woods for having dated a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old (and for apparently having tried to fuck a 16-year-old).

P.P.P.S. How could I have forgotten this one? In July, Woods attacked a family with a gender-fluid son, tweeting in response to a photo of the family, “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.”

Classy!

(And what have the child’s parents “done”? They have allowed him to be who he is and who he wants to be, rather than to cram Woods’ backasswards, wingnutty worldview down his throat. Yes, they’re awful parents!)

Again, I question Woods’ mental state. I suspect some form of dementia.

Or maybe it’s possible that he long had planned to wait until his acting career had dried up before he finally would unleash his far-right-wing, bat-shit-crazy, incredibly hateful views on the world…

Or maybe he felt ambivalent about retiring, but knew that after he repeatedly had tweeted his cray-cray, he’d never get work again, and so he forced himself into retirement by doing so (able to tell himself that it only was the “alt-left” who had “forced” him into retiring)…

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Billary won’t take the hint (after all, there is more money to be made!)

Like Freddy, Billary Clinton is the stuff of nightmares and absolutely refuses to go the fuck away, but insists on inflicting poorly produced sequels on us, each one worse than the one before it.

Two wonderful headlines from Politico today: “Trump Hits New Low in Public Opinion — But He’s Still Beating Hillary Clinton” and “Democrats Dread Hillary’s Book Tour.”

Indeed, Billary projects much when she claims, as she has in her pathetic new book (horribly titled What Happened, it’s due out on Tuesday), that Bernie Sanders ran for president only “to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

Billary blasts Bernie for “disrupt[ing] the Democratic Party,” but it’s far more important to baby boomer Billary to continue to profiteer from her sad, pathetic, overlong political career than it is for her to step aside for the good of the Democratic Party that sorely needs to pick itself up off of the ground, dust itself off and learn how to walk again after what her center-right, sellout brand of “Democratic” politics did to it — including giving us “President” Pussygrabber, since it was so hard for the voters to decide in November which presidential candidate they despised less (I mean that literally and seriously).

Bernie Sanders, whose nationwide approval rating long has been in the black by double digits while Billary’s long has been in the red by double digits, is the future of the Democratic Party. That is, even if he doesn’t run for president again himself — and I hope that he does — his unabashedly progressive, anti-corporate, truly populist platform is the winning platform. If Bernie doesn’t become president with that platform, then someone else of his ilk will.

It doesn’t fucking matter that while Billary uses the label “Democrat,” Bernie doesn’t, something that Billary tried to make into an issue both when she was battling Bernie in the primary season and in her bullshit new book.*

“I am proud to be a Democrat. And I wish Bernie were, too,” she taunted in her new book like a mean girl in junior high school.

Um, I’m too fucking embarrassed to be a Democrat because of Repugnican-Lite Billary who, as Politico notes, is despised by the American electorate even more than is “President” Pussygrabber — and because of the corrupt Democratic National Committee that fucked Bernie over to help coronate Billary as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, which is why I changed my voter registration from the Democratic Party to the Green Party to now, no party.**

Only when and if the Democratic Party once again becomes what it should be — a truly progressive, truly populist party — will I be able to register as a Democrat again. And that’s Billary’s fucking fault (and Barack Obama’s too, and definitely Bill Clinton’s, and probably even Jimmy Carter’s, too — the party started drifting to the right under Carter, but then that rightward drift was solidified by Billy Boy and was only perpetuated by Caretaker in Chief Obama).

Billary Clinton uses the label “Democrat” but isn’t a Democrat, while Bernie eschews the label but perversely ironically is more of a Democrat than Billary ever has been or ever will be, if we define a Democrat as a progressive instead of a center-right sellout, a Repugican-Lite asshole.

Yes, it is torture to have to continue to hear from loser-harpy Billary — like nails dragging along a chalkboard — but again, she’s a baby boomer, and among other things, boomers refuse to leave the stage even when the strong majority of the audience clearly is tired of them.

Billary’s refusal to leave the spotlight even though she is so despised might actually work some unintended good, however; her continued presence — her cluelessly and shamelessly perpetually waving her cold, dead hands of the past in our faces — might serve as a continual reminder that the Democratic Party sorely needs to continue to go left and to jettison Clintonism if it ever wants to win the White House again.

This bodes well for 2020.

*Whether or not Bernie, an independent who calls himself a democratic socialist, was acceptable or not as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee wasn’t fucking up to Billary, but was up to us, the people, and Bernie won 22 states in the caucuses and primaries, and he won 46 percent of the pledged delegates (those delegates democratically won).

A huge chunk of us voters didn’t find Billary to be the actual Democrat in the race. Fuck Billary.

**The Green Party had a chance at being a decent, respectable third party after Ralph Nader ran on its ticket in 2000, I think, but it pretty much blew it.

Admittedly, I voted for Jill Stein both in November 2008 and in November 2012, as I couldn’t stomach voting for Obama again or for Billary, but admittedly, if she’s the best that the Green Party can do…

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Attack on DACA one more brick in the wall that will shut out the Repugnicans

In his “presidential” campaign announcement speech in June 2015, “President” Pussygrabber infamously said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

Those words are seared into my brain.

So when Nazi elf Jeff Sessions, apparently cowardly chosen to announce the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA, proclaimed yesterday that “This does not mean [that] they [DACA participants] are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way,” his words rang rather hollow.

After all, Sessions had decided to be an early, ardent supporter of Pussygrabber, who had uttered the incredibly ugly words in the first paragraph above more than two years ago.

Obviously anti-brown-skinned-immigrant animus is involved here; if it’s not on the personal part of every member of the Pussygrabber regime, then the attack on DACA definitely is for the unelected regime’s perceived political gain from Pussygrabber’s base of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging brown-skinned-immigrant haters.

There is a lot to unpack here, not just the obvious racism and anti-(especially-browned-skinned)immigrant sentiment that is behind opposition to DACA, but also the fact that the federal government loses its credibility when one president issues an important policy affecting thousands and thousands of Americans and then another comes behind him and reverses it.

If you are transgender and are in the U.S. military, having been told that you are good to go, you shouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out of the military now because there is a new, albeit unelected, “president” in the White House who wants to throw some red meat to his base of Orcs by demonstrating even more hatred for an already historically oppressed minority group.

If you were accepted into DACA, you should remain in DACA as long as you follow the requirements that were laid out for you when you were accepted into it. The federal government always should follow through on its promises unless there is a clear and compelling reason (such as foreseeable death and destruction) for it not to.

The Pussygrabber regime bullshittingly is arguing that DACA is unconstitutional, as it was created by President Barack Obama’s executive order, but the federal court system has had plenty of time since DACA’s inception in June 2012 to declare it unconstitutional if it is.

(Speaking of Obama, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA of course isn’t just anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant red meat to throw to its base of deplorables, but also is anti-Obama red meat to throw to them because it attempts to reverse yet something else that Obama accomplished.*)

I, a white, native-born American man, welcome Hispanic immigrants. Yes, of course, as with any immigrant, a serious criminal history and/or demonstrated ties to a criminal and/or terrorist group should bar your entrance into the U.S., but the vast majority of the Latinos in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants from Latin America, are hard-working, law-abiding people whose presence by far gives the U.S. a net benefit, not only economically, but culturally, too.

On that note, I’m fine with a fusion of the white American culture and the Latino culture. I mean, that fusion already is happening (I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish for about two years now, for example), but I’m fine with it happening even more quickly. The two cultures can strengthen each other, and it would be great for the U.S. to be a bilingual nation. (It has been shameful, I think, that we haven’t been a bilingual nation all along.)

All of this talk about syncretism scares the hell out of Pussygrabber’s base of white supremacists and white nationalists, but to me, it’s an exciting expansion of what it means to be a human being (a human being first, and then second, an American). It’s not at all a diminishment; quite to the contrary.

Finally, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA is yet just another attack on the largest and fastest-growing non-white racial group in the United States — Latinos — and, as I noted just recently, over the long term this is political suicide for the Repugnican Party.

I feel sorry for those under DACA and those who love them who now have even more stressfully uncertain lives, and I hope that the issue is resolved soon in their favor. Again, DACA has been around since 2012 and therefore its promises should be fulfilled, not abandoned for the cheap, quick and dirty political gain of the unelected and thus illegitimate Pussygrabber regime.

But the longer view is more optimistic than is the short view; the longer view should mean that the Repugnican Party will lose more and more power over the coming many years.

For that, ironically, we have “President” Pussygrabber to thank.

*To be clear, I do agree with Ted Rall’s assertion that DACA (some form of it, anyway) should have been something that Obama pushed through Congress when the Dems controlled both houses in 2009 and 2010. It shouldn’t have been an executive order, since an executive order can be criticized as unconstitutional presidential overreach.

Rall wrote:

… As Barack Obama said [yesterday] after [Jeff] Sessions’ statement: “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”

Totally true words.

And, coming from the man who set the stage for Trump’s xenophobic and racist policies with plenty of his own, totally empty.

Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform, including legal protection for the DREAMers, during his 2008 campaign. As president, however, he never tried to make it happen — even in 2009 and 2010, when his Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

Republicans went obstructionist on all things Obama after 2010, so a frustrated Obama farted out DACA as an unconstitutional executive order in 2012. [Again, I don’t know whether DACA is 100 percent constitutional or not, but, again, I do know that the federal courts have had years to shoot it down as unconstitutional if it is, and they have not.]

In a typically perverse Democratic attempt to out-Republican the Republicans, Obama became the “Deporter in Chief,” throwing more people out of the United States than all the presidents of the 20th century combined. …

Rall later remarks, “This is what happens when the Left goes to sleep because a Democrat is in the White House.”

Yup. I do think that it’s important to recognize that Obama’s and the Democrats’ record on immigration reform has been mixed at best.

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