Tag Archives: nonviolence

Assorted shit Sunday!

Updated below

Oakland is burning!

Occupy Oakland protestors burn an American flag found inside Oakland City Hall during an Occupy Oakland protest on the steps of City Hall, Saturday, January 28, 2012, in Oakland, Calif.  (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)

Associated Press photo

So hundreds of people were arrested in Oakland yesterday and last night, a night during which some individuals reportedly broke into Oakland City Hall, snatched an American flag, and burned it in protest.

The responses to this incident are interesting.

Stealing a presidential electionthat’s perfectly OK. Starting bogus wars in the Middle East that result in the deaths of thousands and thousands and thousands of innocent people and loot the U.S. Treasury of trillions of the people’s tax dollars via the military-industrial complex — that’s perfectly OK. Wall Street weasels causing the nation an economic meltdown that’s perfectly OK. The housing bubble, the student-loan shark industry, rampant unemployment, global warming caused by corporate greed — all of that is perfectly OK.

But some “thugs” burned an American flag? Intolerable!

One of my favorite sayings of Jesus Christ’s is one of his many slams of the hypocritical religious authorities (the Pharisees) of his day (today we call these hypocrites “Christians”) — in this slam, he tells them, “You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.”

An American flag burned: that would be a gnat. The egregious shit that I listed above, the blatant acts of treason against the American people: that would be a camel. And the staple of the American diet is the camel.

The plutocratic traitors and the traitors who aid and abet the plutocrats are damned fucking lucky that the only price that they’ve had to pay for their treason thus far is some relatively petty vandalism.

And for the record, the individuals pictured above look like anarchists to me, and while I’m not slamming the anarchists, I know from personal experience that if you hold a protest, anyone can show up, and that you cannot control everything that might happen at a protest, and that your presence at a protest does not, of course, mean that you personally endorse every sign, every message, every person, every act that might, in the end, make up that protest.

It’s easy (and maybe even fun) to generalize a group of people, but it’s inaccurate and it’s intellectually dishonest to do so.

I mean, the caption for the news photo above reads, “Occupy Oakland protestors burn an American flag found inside Oakland City Hall during an Occupy Oakland protest on the steps of City Hall, Saturday, January 28, 2012, in Oakland, Calif.”

“Occupy Oakland protestors”? How do we know whether these individuals consider themselves to be part of the Occupy movement? Or whether Oakland’s Occupy movement claims them? How do we know that they are not opportunists (anarchists, usually) who showed up at the protest in hopes of doing what they did? How do we know that they aren’t even right-wing plants attempting to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement?

The right wing would love to make this kind of thing the face of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but that’s propagandistic bullshit. For better or for worse (I lean toward it being for the worse), the majority of OWS’ers are nonviolent.

Of course, the right wing isn’t nonviolent. The right wing and the plutocrats whom the wingnuts support love death and destruction on a massive scale — witness Vietraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the Middle East — that our tax dollars fund.

Massive death and destruction perpetrated by the right wing is perfectly fine, but some relatively petty vandalism perpetrated in protest against the right wingthat’s absofuckinglutely intolerable.

And for the wingnuts to assert that President Barack Obama and the rest of the establishment Democrats fully support OWS — that’s another load of propagandistic right-wing bullshit. Obama took more money from the Wall Street weasels for his 2008 presidential campaign than John McCainosaurus did.

The establishment Dems might be careful not to alienate some of those OWS’ers whose votes (and maybe even campaign contributions) they still might get, but there has been no robust show of support for OWS from the Obama White House, which has been as missing in action in regards to OWS and OWS’ cause as it has been in the fight in Wisconsin to prevent the right-wing traitors there from destroying what’s left of our labor unions.

Oakland is one of our nation’s poorer cities, and at some point in the midst of such egregious income disparity, something has to give. I’m just surprised that what we’ve seen thus far has been all that we’ve seen thus far.

Multi-millionaire Mitt cannot feel your pain

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney returns a baby to his mother in the audience at a campaign rally at Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City

Reuters photo

Mitt Romney campaigns in Florida yesterday. Gee, maybe the kid’s crying because he can see his future: In November the do-nothing President Hopey-Changey will be re-elected, or Mitt Romney, who is estimated to be 50 times richer than Barack Obama, will be elected to preside over the American economy, which in the Repugnican Tea Party’s book has left way too many millionaires and billionaires behind. 

You should read this little Associated Press article on how Mitt Romney, should he become president, would be one of the Wealthiest. U.S. Presidents. Ever. It begins:

Just how rich is Mitt Romney? Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory.

He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected — probably in the top four.

He couldn’t top George Washington who, with nearly 60,000 acres and more than 300 slaves, is considered the big daddy of presidential wealth. After that, it gets complicated, depending how you rate Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Herbert Hoover’s millions from mining or John F. Kennedy’s share of the vast family fortune, as well as the finer points of factors like inflation adjustment.

But it’s safe to say the Roosevelts had nothing on Romney, and the Bushes are nowhere close.

The former Massachusetts governor has disclosed only the broad outlines of his wealth, putting it somewhere from $190 million to $250 million. That easily could make him 50 times richer than Obama, who falls in the still-impressive-to-most-of-us range of $2.2 million to $7.5 million. …

This, very apparently, is the right wing’s answer to the nation’s main problem of insane wealth disparity: more of the same. Who could better feel the socioeconomic pain of the average American than the man whom the experts say would be one of the top four wealthiest U.S. presidents ever?

If you truly don’t know why they’re tearing up Oakland these days, you need to have your head surgically removed from your ass.

Prick Perry’s getting no love at home

Republicans Debate

Associated Press photo

Rick Perry refers to his crib sheets during a Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate.

I’d thought that Texans are so fucking stupid that Rick Perry wouldn’t suffer politically there from his disastrous run for the presidency, but apparently Perry hasn’t received a warm homecoming. Reports Reuters:

Austin, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry has gotten a rocky welcome home to Texas, facing low poll numbers and criticism over state expenses related to his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Travel for Perry’s security team cost the state nearly $800,000 between September and November, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Safety.

The money paid for airfare, food and hotels for the governor’s protective detail during trips both in Texas and to out-of-state locations such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history was briefly the frontrunner among Republican presidential contenders, but he stumbled with poor debate performances and gaffes — including his memorable “oops” when he couldn’t recall the third federal agency he wanted to eliminate. He dropped out of the race last week.

His campaign paid many expenses, but the state provides security for the governor and first lady. That’s been the policy in Texas for decades, gubernatorial spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said.

“Governor Perry is governor no matter where he goes,” Nashed told Reuters in an e-mail. “It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue.”

Democrats say he should repay that money.

“Unnecessary government spending is not just morally wrong, it is criminal,” state House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar wrote Perry in a letter this week asking him to give the Texas comptroller a check for expenses related to out-of-state campaigning.

A poll of Texas adults released this week by the state’s major daily newspapers showed Perry’s job approval rating at 40 percent, the lowest level in 10 years. Forty percent said they disapproved of how Perry was doing as governor.

Still, Perry has proved politically resilient over the years. Until he launched his presidential bid, he’d never lost an election.

It’s time for Perry to step aside, methinks, and let someone else run the show. (I’m not alone; a recent poll of Texans shows that more than half of them believe that he shouldn’t run for re-election in 2014.) I have to wonder if Perry’s quixotic run for the White House indicates that he is burned out as the red state’s longest-serving governor.

Still, it seems to me, that if he wants to run for re-election again, the Texans will keep him.

I’m perfectly fine with Prick Perry being kept there, too.

Is it a choice? Does it fucking matter?

Alan Meeks, left, and Robert Domenico celebrate with a kiss during a reception inside Orlando City Hall after officially registering as a domestic couple during the launch of the city's new domestic partner registry in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.  The registry gives non-married couples, both gay and heterosexual, some of the same rights as married couples in matters such as hospital visitation and healthcare decisions. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Associated Press photo

A same-sex couple kisses in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month after they registered as domestic partners there. The question is not whether these men could have chosen heterosexuality. The question is why any two consenting adults in the United States of America don’t have equal human and civil rights — and why we allow separate-but-not-equal substitutions for marriage, such as domestic partnerships, instead of full marriage rights for all Americans.

So apparently actress Cynthia Nixon (whose work I don’t believe I’ve ever seen) has come under fire for having proclaimed that she has chosen to be a lesbian.

Reports The Associated Press:

Cynthia Nixon learned the hard way this week that when it comes to gay civil rights, the personal is always political. Very political.

The actress best known for portraying fiery lawyer Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City” is up to her perfectly arched eyebrows in controversy since The New York Times Magazine published a profile in which she was quoted as saying that for her, being gay was a conscious choice. Nixon is engaged to a woman with whom she has been in a relationship for eight years. Before that, she spent 15 years and had two children with a man.

“I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me,” Nixon said while recounting some of the flak gay rights activists previously had given her for treading in similar territory. “A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out.

“I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”

To say that a certain segment of the gay community “is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice” is an understatement. Gay rights activists have worked hard to combat the idea that people decide to be physically attracted to same-sex partners any more than they choose to be attracted to opposite-sex ones because the question, so far unanswered by science, is often used by religious conservatives, including [Repugnican Tea Party] presidential candidate Rick Santorum and former candidate Michelle Bachman, to argue that homosexuality is immoral behavior, not an inherent trait.

Among the activists most horrified by Nixon’s comments was Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen, whose organization monitors and tries to debunk programs that claim to cure people of same-sex attractions with therapy. Besen said he found the actress’ analysis irresponsible and flippant, despite her ample caveats.

“Cynthia did not put adequate thought into the ramifications of her words, and it is going to be used when some kid comes out and their parents force them into some ex-gay camp while she’s off drinking cocktails at fancy parties,” Besen said. “When people say it’s a choice, they are green-lighting an enormous amount of abuse because if it’s a choice, people will try to influence and guide young people to what they perceive as the right choice.” …

While the broader gay rights movement recognizes that human sexuality exists on a spectrum, and has found common cause with transgender and bisexual people, Nixon may have unwittingly given aid and comfort to those who want to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, adopt children and secure equal spousal benefits, said Jennifer Pizer, legal director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and the Law, a pro-gay think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles.

One of the factors courts consider in determining if a law is unconstitutional is whether members of the minority group it targets share an unchangeable or “immutable” trait, Pizer noted. Although the definition of how fixed a characteristic has to be to qualify as immutable still is evolving — religious affiliation, for example, is recognized as grounds for equal protection — the U.S. Supreme Court still has not included sexual orientation among the traits “so integral to personhood it’s not something the government should require people to change,” she said.

“If gay people in this country had more confidence that their individual freedom was going to be respected, then the temperature would lower a bit on the immutability question because the idea of it being a choice wouldn’t seem to stack the deck against their rights,” Pizer said. …

Although science has not identified either a purely biological or sociological basis for sexual orientation, University of California, Davis psychologist Gregory Herek, an expert on anti-gay prejudice, said Nixon’s experience is consistent with research showing that women have an easier time moving between opposite and same-sex partners.

A survey Herek conducted of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals of both genders bore this out. Sixteen percent of the lesbians surveyed reported they felt they had had a fair amount of choice in their sexual orientations, while only five percent of the gay men did. …

Wow. Why are we even having a discussion as to whether or not same-sex orientation is a choice?

Why should it fucking matter whether or not it is a choice?

What any two consenting adults do with each other is their own fucking business. We claim that we are the “home of the free” — that should settle it.

However, since we’re on the topic, my feeling, from decades of observation and from my own experience, is that for some individuals, homosexuality is quite hard-wired into who and what they are. Homosexuality does not at all strike me as a choice for those male and female individuals who, since they were pre-pubescent, showed signs of latent homosexuality, such as non-gender conformity.

For other individuals, it seems to me, more choice indeed is involved, and it does seem to me that it’s a choice for more women than it is for men, as research indicates. (There has been a lot of research lately on female “sexual fluidity,” and this research indicates that females are more “sexually fluid” than are males.)

Perhaps these individuals for whom homosexuality apparently is not hard-wired have had satisfying-enough homosexual fantasies and/or sexual encounters, and so they stick with members of the same sex, whereas if their early sexual fantasies and experiences had been heterosexual, they might have developed into well-adjusted heterosexuals as well.

Who knows? And again, who cares?

I wholeheartedly agree with Nixon’s assertion, “I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here.”

Those who steadfastly argue that homosexuality could not possibly be a choice for anyone basically are arguing that homosexuality is a birth defect otherwise, why have to defend it?

I, for one, am not OK with essentially equating homosexuality (or bisexuality) as a fucking birth defect.

We should be arguing for our personal freedom to do what we want to do and to be with whom we want to befor our equal human and civil rights — and not whether or not homosexuality is “immutable,” which presumes that heterosexuality is the only OK way to be.

Update (Sunday, January 29, 2011, 9:00 p.m.): Via the Los Angeles Times’ website, I just saw this news photo of the exterior of Oakland City Hall that was taken today:

Occupy Oakland

Associated Press photo

Note that anarchists, with their spray-painted symbol, took credit for their handiwork.

The anarchists and the Occupy Wall Street movement are two different groups. True, some of their beliefs and values overlap, but their sanctioned tactics are quite different.

Again, not that I’m bashing the anarchists. They’ve yet to kill anyone, that I’m aware of, and property damage is not the same as violence against human beings. (That and, as I have pointed out, the right wing believes in mass murder, only mostly in other nations, so I certainly am not going to condemn the anarchists, who [thus far, anyway] only commit property damage, while the right wing perpetrates the worst crimes of all, war crimes and crimes against humanity.)

I like that the anarchists have balls (if they lack a certain amount of direction), and they might prove to be great allies against the right wing should all-out revolution ever break out.

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Stormtroopers gone wild!

Updated below (on Saturday, November 19, 2011)

To anyone who believes that I’ve been hysterical in my last few posts, I offer this photo from The Associated Press:

A police officer uses pepper spray on an Occupy Portland protestor at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland Ore., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen)

Associated Press photo

The photo’s caption reads: “A police officer uses pepper spray on an Occupy Portland protestor at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.”

Yes, that’s not water — that’s pepper spray. And clearly the young woman is such a dire threat to the jackbooted thugs who serve and protect the 1 percent that spraying her directly in the face with a massive amount of pepper spray was necessary for the stormtroopers’ safety.

Where is Barack Obama speaking out against these outrages?

Oh, right — he puts Wall Street weasels on his cabinet and makes them his advisers. He’s on the side of the 1 percent.

Face it, folks, if you haven’t already: Barack Obama just isn’t that into you. He’s not on the side of the 99 percent. He wants your money and your vote — it got him into the White House, after all — but expect only empty promises from President Hopey-Changey in return.

And the message is clear: The 1 percent decide where and when and how the rest of us can protest and demonstrate. They make sure that our protests and demonstrations are so restricted that they can be toothless at best. Our plutocratic overlords even have established so-called “free-speech zones,” for fuck’s sake. If we step outside of these rigidly, plutocratically proscribed “free-speech” lines, we will be pepper-sprayed — or worse.

Look at the news photo above and reflect upon the fact that this is the blue state of Oregon that we’re talking about. If this is what the plutocratic-protecting pigs are doing on the Left Coast, what’s next? Can concentration camps for anti-plutocratic, anti-corporate dissenters be far behind?

Update (Saturday, November 19, 2011):

If you are wondering about the young woman who took the blast of pepper spray to the face, The Oregonian yesterday posted a piece on her. The Oregonian identifies the woman as Liz Nichols, a “soft-spoken 20-year-old who’s only about 5 feet tall,” and reports of her:

Raised in Mountain Home, Ark., a town of about 1,600, she plans to stay in Portland as long as the Occupy movement is alive. She’s motivated to protest by the plight of her parents. Her mother has multiple sclerosis and her father was disabled by a back injury. They’re both surviving on his Social Security disability checks.

 The Oregonian reports of the pepper-spray incident caught by a photographer:

A police van blared a warning, telling people they risked arrest if they ventured into the street. Nichols and others stayed on the sidewalk. Laura Seeton,  a 31-year-old Portlander who locked arms with Nichols, said they had nowhere to go as people in back pushed and the riot police in front shoved back.

“It was terrifying,” Seeton said.

Nichols said a policewoman jabbed her in the ribs with a baton and pressed it against her throat. That made her angry.

She yelled at the officer, saying she was being mistreated. That’s when another officer shot her with pepper spray. A photo by The Oregonian’s Randy L. Rasmussen, which flashed across social media websites, shows Nichols was sprayed from a few feet away.

“It felt like my face, ears and hands were on fire,” she said.

She dropped to the ground, and police yanked her into their ranks.

“She was dragged away by her hair and disappeared into the black of their uniforms,” Seeton said.

Why in the fuck are our so-called “police officers” not only pepper-spraying non-threatening citizens, but also actually dragging women by their hair? This kind of police brutality is different from that practiced by dictators’ thugs how?

I also thought that I would share this cartoon on the topic of nonviolence by Ted Rall:

Ted Rall

That’s pretty much it, in a nutshell, but also worth reading is Rall’s recent column on the topic, titled “The Occupier’s Choice: Violence or Failure.” And if you haven’t read his book The Anti-American Manifesto yet, what the fuck is the matter with you?

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Time to fight fire with fire

Seattle Police officers deploy pepper spray into a crowd during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 at Westlake Park in Seattle. Protesters gathered in the intersection of 5th Avenue and Pine Street after marching from their camp at Seattle Central Community College in support of Occupy Wall Street. Many refused to move from the intersection after being ordered by police. Police then began spraying pepper spray into the gathered crowd hitting dozens of people. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)  MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Associated Press photo

Did you know that cops are using pepper spray against citizens who peaceably are voicing their grievances in canisters that are the fucking size of fire extinguishers?

The caption for the Associated Press photo above reads: “Seattle Police officers deploy pepper spray into a crowd during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at Westlake Park in Seattle. Protesters gathered in the intersection of 5th Avenue and Pine Street after marching from their camp at Seattle Central Community College in support of Occupy Wall Street. Many refused to move from the intersection after being ordered by police. Police then began spraying pepper spray into the gathered crowd, hitting dozens of people” — including the 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, who has become the poster woman for the police brutality that we have seen in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The use of pepper spray on people whose “crime” is simply refusing to move from an intersection is not justified. Before you argue with me on that point, note that seattlepi.com reports:

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn on Wednesday apologized to protestors, including an 84-year-old woman, who were pepper-sprayed during a face-off with the Occupy Seattle demonstration in downtown.

McGinn said he spoke personally to Dorli Rainey, the former school teacher and activist who was photographed by seattlepi.com with red, swollen eyes just after she’d been doused with pepper spray Tuesday. The photo went international and captured an iconic moment for the Occupy movement.

“To those engaged in peaceful protest, I am sorry that you were pepper sprayed,” McGinn said in a statement. “I spoke to Dorli Rainey (who I know personally) to ask how she was doing, and to ask for her description of events.”

McGinn said he asked Police Chief John Diaz to review the police use of pepper spray and to ensure appropriate commanders are on-scene during such events. He said he did not want overly aggressive enforcement to exacerbate a situation.

He said police agreed that what happened Tuesday night was not “their preferred outcome.”

“My instruction to police and other city departments has been to protect free speech rights, protect public safety of protestors and the public, and protect other legitimate public and private uses of property,” McGinn said.

A pregnant woman and a priest were among those hit with pepper spray during a march from the Occupy movement’s current camp at Seattle Central Community College to Westlake Park. They were marching in support of protesters who were kicked out of Zuccotti Park in New York. The Seattle protesters were blocked by police officers at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, where the confrontation took place, according to reports.

A police spokesman said Tuesday that pepper spray was used only on people who refused to disperse or who engaged in assaultive behavior toward officers. …

That obviously is a fucking  lie. We have photographic evidence that the Seattle pigs — and that’s what they are, pigs — wantonly sprayed pepper spray from large canisters all over whoever happened to be in front of them. There very apparently were no surgical strikes of pepper spray only upon those individuals who might actually have been aggressing upon the pigs. (And when a cop claims that he or she actually was aggressed upon by an unarmed citizen, take that claim with a grain of salt unless their is photographic or video evidence to back it up.)

And let’s not act like it’s only a crime if it’s the elderly, pregnant women and priests who are pepper-sprayed without very good cause. Anyone who is pepper-sprayed unnecessarily by the legalized thugs for the 1 percent whom we call “law enforcement officers” is a victim of a violent crime him- or herself.
 
The AP photo above eerily reminds me of images like these:
 
Photojournalist Charles Moore, R.I.P.
 
Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 9.17.17 PM.png
 
 
Non-violence? Bullshit.
 
When those who are supposed to protect us and to serve us — we fucking pay their salaries for them to do so — instead attack us, it’s time for us to attack back. I don’t believe in starting it, but I believe in ending it, and nothing fights fire better than fire. The only effective way to deal with a fucking bully is to give back to him what he has dished out himself.
 

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Notes on the nationwide occupations

Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrators hold placards Zuccotti Park

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator stands in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator holds a sign in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

Reuters photos

These are my kind of people: The powers that be won’t admit it, but prolonged anti-plutocratic protests in our nation’s cities like these (the photos above were taken today in New York City) embarrass our nation’s plutocrats in the eyes of the world. That is why sustained protests are effective, although an all-out second American revolution would be the ideal.

I have yet to get my ass down to Sacramento’s Occupy Wall Street effort, Occupy Sacramento, but I support the participants and the protesters 100 percent, and I hope soon to support them more than just in spirit, but to support them practically. They don’t appear to be going away soon — they even have a website with a calendar of events — and their website has listed things that they need to have donated to them, including the basics, such as food, water and toiletries. I can do that much, if I can’t join them for long periods of time, since I work full time.

As Ted Rall points out in his book The Anti-American Manifesto, there are levels of support of revolutionaries. Even if you are able to support the participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement only in spirit, that’s still much better than opposing them.*

Many of us, I think, myself included, have been watching and waiting to see how all of this is going to pan out, and thus far it seems that it’s panning out to be the true people’s movement that the “tea party” traitors only pretended to be.

And I say that from direct observation. In February, at the California State Capitol here in Sacramento, I attended a pro-labor, pro-working-class rally in solidarity with the public-sector unions that were (and that remain) under attack in Wisconsin, and across the street from us was a much-smaller contingent of uninvited, treasonous “tea party” counterprotesters, many of them with videocameras, obnoxiously voicing their opposition to labor unions, very apparently wanting to provoke a physical response from us so that they then could post to the Internet their selectively edited video clips of “unprovoked” labor-union “thuggery.” (I wrote about the event here.)

The vision of those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class is that everyone should have a living wage, good benefits and good working conditions. The apparent “vision” of the “tea party” traitors is that almost everyone should be without these things and should be miserable. Those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class want to raise all boats; the “tea party” traitors don’t want us to own even viable boats. They want only a handful of us to own yachts while the rest of us sink or swim.

Labor unions, seriously weakened over the past several decades already, probably are the last barrier between bad and even worse, the last barrier — short of all-out bloody revolution — preventing all of us from becoming serfs to our corporate feudal overlords.

Yet the “tea party” traitors gladly would destroy that barrier. They claim that they follow in the footsteps of the early American revolutionaries who opposed the oppressive British monarchy, which profited obscenely from the early Americans’ labors, yet today’s “tea party” traitors do not oppose, but aid and abet, the oppressive corporatocrats and plutocrats, who are today’s monarchs, as stupidly as chickens aiding and abetting Colonel Sanders. Which is why I call them traitors: because they are. They support the status quo, they support the powers that be over their fellow Americans. Under their “vision” things only can get much, much worse.

Which is why the “tea party” already is pretty much dead: The insanity of “revolutionaries” fighting on behalf of our corporate oppressors is evident to even the dullest among us.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, on the other hand, feels like something else. It’s not a bunch of treasonous troglodytes in tri-corner hats pretending to have the monopoly on patriotism and Americanism. It’s a bunch of normal, working-class Americans, many if not most of whom now have nothing else to lose. At rope’s end, they now find themselves out in the streets.

Our young people especially have nothing to look forward to unless the current system of inequity, built up over decades (starting, most notably, with Ronald Reagan, whom President Hopey-Changey fucking worships, unsurprisingly) to benefit a select few at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of us,  is not reformed/“reformed,” but is replaced.

And people who have nothing to lose are, let me tell you, dangerous to the status quo.

That, I think, is why the “tea party” traitors never felt like much more than a national irritant: the “tea party” traitors, for the most part, aren’t desperate people, aren’t people with nothing else to lose. They’re just a bunch of tools who are trying to prop up the crumbling system of rule by the stupid white man, who incredibly stupidly believe that the way to improve things is to continue to do what you’ve been doing all along — only with even more force and fervor.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, however, feels like an incipient hurricane, one that, if it grows to its full potential, can — will — alter the national sociopolitical landscape forever.

The Occupy Wall Street movement might seem to have come out of nowhere, but that’s not the case. While we Americans have been focused on differences such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ethnicity, etc., what almost all of us (indeed, 99 percent of us, the protesters say) have in common is that over at least the past several decades, those in power, gradually and behind the scenes, have been stacking the deck increasingly in their favor and against ours.

To name just a few of their deck-stacking victories, they have the U.S. Supreme Court, which has deemed corporations to be people, on their side; they have most of the members of the U.S. Congress in their pockets in a system in which paying off legislators isn’t called what it is — bribery — but is called “campaign finance”; they own and operate even President Hopey-Changey, who can’t make enough of them his economic advisers; and because of all of this, the functions of our nation’s laws and our nation’s law enforcement (and our nation’s military, too, of course), over decades, have been grossly contorted from benefitting and protecting us, the people, to delivering even more of our commonwealth into the hands of the super-rich few.

It’s much like how a virus hijacks a cell and changes the cell’s normal functions over to the replication of more viruses, benefiting the virus but eventually destroying the cell.

And our presidential elections under the political duopoly of the increasingly indistinguishable Coke Party and Pepsi Party have become such a fucking national joke to the point that about the only people who can become excited about them are the rich and the super-rich who have poured their millions and millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of the money-whores who, once in the White House, would sell us out the most.

Again, this isn’t a system that you can “reform.” This is a system that you can only raze. And then you start over again.

Anyway, here are more thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which at this point we can call a movement:

It’s fine that everything isn’t hammered out yet. Probably the No. 1 way to try to kill an individual’s or a group of individuals’ enthusiasm for creating something new — and thus to preserve the status quo, even though the status quo even literally is killing all of us — is to point out that he or she or the group doesn’t have every future move choreographed yet.

So fucking what? Getting there is more than half of the fun, and things do happen organically, if we just let them unfold and don’t panic that we don’t have a clear roadmap yet.

The early American revolutionaries surely didn’t have everything all mapped out, and to a huge degree their efforts were a shot in the dark (sometimes even literally). Yet it was their hunger for freedom from their oppression that kept them going, even against the fear of not knowing what the future would hold for them, including potential retaliation from their oppressors, including even their execution.

It’s perfectly OK to employ corporately produced and delivered goods and services in our fight against corporate oppression. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s pretty unfuckingavoidable. Early into the Occupy Wall Street movement, the “tea party” traitors and/or their sympathizers put this “clever”  image out there:

down with evil corporations

Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s so fucking funny!

OK, yes, in a capitalistic system such as ours, by definition corporations/capitalists own and control the means of production. Therefore, most of the products and services in such an economic system would have been produced and delivered by corporations/capitalists. Duh.

But this is the problem: Those relative few who own and control the means of the production of goods and the delivery of services are slowly killing the rest of us (global warming is just one example, but probably the most [literally] glaring one), and they have taken over so much of the people’s business and so many of the people’s natural interests that it has left us, the people, fairly powerless, and has put us at their mercy. (The massive British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on the sidelines of which the U.S. government sat fucking helpless, is a stark example of this.)

We, the people, need to own and control the means of the production of essential goods and the delivery of vital services and/or, at the very, very least, exercise meaningful, substantial, democratic oversight of capitalist production and practices to ensure that the net effect of this capitalist activity is not to our common detriment, but is to our common benefit. It’s a fucking lie that the corporations are going to police themselves. They’re not. Their only concern is ever-increasing profiteering. They don’t give a flying fuck about what happens to the rest of us as the result of that.

But the “humorous” image above does apparently unintentionally illustrate the degree to which corporations have infiltrated our lives. Of course, the image apparently assumes that corporations (the majority of them, anyway) are benevolent and that the Occupy Wall Street protesters just don’t know how great they have it. In order to try to prevent the slaves from revolting, the masters always tell the slaves how much the slaves need them, don’t they?

Anyway, it’s perfectly fine — and, as I said, fairly unfuckingavoidable — to use the goods and services produced or delivered by corporations in the fight against against corporate greed, in our fight against the ongoing corporate feudalization of the United States of America. This isn’t “Avatar” where we’re the natives and we can use only what we find in nature, for fuck’s sake. (Besides, if we did that, they’d only criticize us for our bongos and for our loincloths…)

Speaking of which, um, what’s wrong with bongo drums? Anyone who doesn’t mimic the consumeristic clones portrayed in corporate advertising isn’t a human being worthy of dignity and respect? It seems to me that the point of a revolution is freedom — which of course includes the freedom to be the way that one wants to be and the freedom to do what what wants to do as long as he or she isn’t harming anyone else.

The system won’t be changed from within, won’t be changed by cooperating with it. (Try to cooperate with it, and it will only co-opt you.) The protesters should keep their bongos and wholeheartedly reject the idea that the way to win this budding revolution is to don a three-piece-fucking-suit and act just like the assholes whom they want to overthrow.

The corporate media prostitutes who with straight faces call themselves “reporters” and “journalists” are owned and controlled by their corporate pimps, so it’s not like they’re ever going to be on our side anyway. Let them find the colorful members of Code Pink and the one person in the crowd who brought his or her bongo drums and put that kind of stereotypically negative image out there. (I love Code Pink, by the way. The members of Code Pink have balls, which is why they are so widely hated by cowardly, corporation-obeying sheeple.) Once the people’s revolution were complete, there would be no more treasonous corporate media anyway — which is why the self-preserving, self-interested corporate media portray in a negative light anything that threatens their continued parasitical existence.

The use of violence should never be taken off of the table. “Peaceful” this, “nonviolent” that — that kind of wussy talk makes me want to vomit. When did the so-called 1 percent ever rule out the use of violence against the rest of us? Indeed, when they’re not using actual violence against us, such as with police brutality or even just threatening to sic the National Guard on us, they are employing socioeconomic violence against us every fucking day (yes, Americans die every day because they do not have access to adequate health care, shelter, food, clothing and other basic necessities, almost all of which are controlled by our loving corporations).

Of course I don’t advocate wanton, willy-nilly violence in the street that is for the amusement of the perpetrators rather than for the greater cause. But I can think of no major world revolutions that did not take place without at least the credible threat of violence. The treasonous plutocrats aren’t just going to give us back what they stole from us over decades because we nicely ask them to do so. (Ted Rall and I are in agreement on this, and if you haven’t read his Anti-American Manifesto yet, you should — and you can get it for less than $10 on amazon.com [which, yes, is a corporation that for now is an/the avenue for most of us to most cheaply purchase books].)

Speaking of violence, whose side are the cops on? Increasing incidents of police brutality raise this question. (Didn’t the actions of the cops during Hurricane Katrina demonstrate to us whose side they are on?) Let’s fucking face it: Most cops are just paid security guards for the rich and the super-rich. And to add insult to injury, we, the people, pay the salaries of these security guards who work not for us, but who work for the rich and the super-rich.

Let me just say this: When the shit really hits the fan, those cops (and yes, members of the military, too) who still are trying to protect our oppressors instead of protecting us will be identified by the masses for who they are: agents of the oppressors. The cops might have some weaponry and some skill in using it, but we, the people, can get weapons, too, and we vastly outnumber the cops.

(I fully support the Second Amendment, because you never know when/if you will need to defend yourself, but I believe in the judicious use of firearms and other methods of force. I’m not one of the ignorant, fearful gun nuts who believes that the best way to solve virtually every conflict or threat or to get what you want is with a gun, but at the other extreme, “judicious” doesn’t mean that you rule out the use of force in every single conceivable situation, and thus a belief in blanket nonviolence is bullshit.)

Buckle up! Any budding revolution could fizzle, I suppose, but the Occupy Wall Street movement seems different. It seems like it’s here to stay for at least the foreseeable future.

Minimally, the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be striking fear into the cold hearts of those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and “liberals” who had thought that they could shit and piss upon their base indefinitely. Maximally, the Occupy Wall Street movement will result in the second American revolution that we have needed for a long, long time — a revolution that will be only as bloody as the treasonous plutocrats and their supporters (who include the “tea party” traitors and those cops and members of the military who attack the American people in defense of the plutocratic traitors) necessitate.

Those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and even “liberals” don’t dare openly criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement, since the Occupy Wall Street movement consists of the millions and millions of us who are pretty fucking pissed off that we were promised “hope” and “change” but have seen only the gap between the rich and the poor widen since President Hopey-Changey took office in January 2009.

Wall-Street-weasel-coddler-in-chief Barack Obama has not a shred of credibility left, so I don’t see Team Obama successfully co-opting the Occupy Wall Street movement for Obama’s re-election campaign. Obama can’t now openly oppose Wall Street without only drawing even more attention to the fact that he’s been in bed with the Wall Street weasels since before he took office.

It’s safe to assert, I think, that the audaciously arrogant Obama and his henchpeople never saw the deeply politically embarrassing Occupy Wall Street movement coming, and that they’re still scrambling to figure out how to respond to it. (They will, I surmise, do their best to pretend that the new movement doesn’t even exist, since it wasn’t in their 2012 re-election playbook, and they will continue to pretend that we’re still in 2008, when “hope” and “change” weren’t just empty campaign slogans. The best slogan that they could come up with for 2012 would be something like “Really This Time!” — but how many would buy it?)

Defeating faux progressives like Obama & Co., I might argue, is even more of a coup for us actual progressives than is defeating blatant right-wingers, because if even phony progressives won’t be tolerated any longer, how could blatant right-wingers be tolerated any longer?

Finally, support your local revolutionaries! It seems to me that unless they can do something grandiose, many if not most people don’t do anything at all. The net result of this is that no one does anything. There are plenty of things that you can do that don’t cost (much) money. If it’s not feasible for you to camp out at one of the occupation sites across the nation, as it isn’t for me, you still can talk to your friends, family members and associates in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. You can blog in support of the movement and otherwise assert your support for the movement on the Internet.

If the movement isn’t perfect, at least it’s Americans getting off of their asses and into the streets in order to redress their grievances, which is loooong overdue.

When you hear some assbite defend the corporations, such as with the “funny” graphic above, you can call him or her on his or her shit.

If you can give money or other necessary resources to the occupiers, why not? While writing this longer-than-usual blog post I gave $25 to Occupy Sacramento (my name is on their donors’ page, which is kind of cool). I’d rather be camping out with them, but giving them a donation is better than doing nothing at all.

At the bare minimum, if you don’t want to help to create a better world, if you are too fearful and cowardly and/or too lazy and/or too self-interested and/or too uncreative and untalented to help to alter the status quo, then the least that you can do is to stay out of the fucking way of those of us who are trying to make a difference.

P.S. As many have noted, one of the simple ways that you can fight back is to withdraw every penny that you have in any bank and to use only credit unions, not banks. I’ve used only credit unions for more than a decade now, and I’m quite happy with credit unions’ service.

*Occupy Sacramento’s donations page first lists this as the kind of support that it is seeking:

Spiritual

It’s not all about money; you can also support us by sharing the movement with your friends and family. Make a post on Facebook letting us know that you have our backs. Call the mayor and let [his office] know you support this movement.

I am pleased that Occupy Sacramento lists spiritual support first. It is a statement of faith that from spiritual support, material support naturally follows. And that’s not just faith; that’s observable fact.

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Sprinting toward another American revolution

Oh people, look around you;
The signs are everywhere.
You’ve left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care.
You’re lost inside your houses;
There’s no time to find you now.
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning;
I’m going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow….

Those are the opening lyrics of the oldie “Rock Me on the Water.” Written by Jackson Browne in the early 1970s, those words seem especially appropriate for today.

Today we learned that the highest number of U.S. troops — 31 of them — that have died in one day in Afghanistan in the past decade have died after “insurgents” shot down their helicopter. (If we were defending our own home territory from foreign military occupation, we would be “freedom fighters” or the like, but anyone who resists American military occupation is an “insurgent” or a “terrorist” or the like.)

Of course, we Americans only care about American deaths. We don’t care about the many, many, many more “insurgents” and “terrorists” whom our own stormtroopers — er, troops — have slaughtered in the Middle East over the past decade, since the “other” is not fully human. (Yes, you have to dehumanize a human being first before you can not give a flying fucking shit about his or her slaughter. That’s how evil works.)

President Hopey-Changey Obama — who had promised to get us out of Afghanistan — issued the exact same kind of response to the needless death of 31 American troops in Afghanistan that George W. Bush would have. Reports The Associated Press:

President Barack Obama mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that the crash serves as a reminder of the “extraordinary sacrifices” being made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned “the Afghans who died alongside our troops.”

Really? If he truly cared that much, then why the fuck hasn’t he honored his campaign promise to get us the fuck out of Afghanistan?

His response, though, is yet another example of why I say that our nation is ruled by the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — that the significant difference between the two is difficult to distinguish.

See, it’s not about the fact that our “leaders” are corrupt and inept, that they still have us mired in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, where billions and billions of our tax dollars are being funneled to war profiteers while here at home, our credit rating just got downgraded for the first time in our nation’s history.

We sure the fuck could use our own fucking money here at home right about now, but the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex would rather to continue to steal our nation’s wealth — our wealth — via their bogus “defense” operations. Their personal financial situations are just fine — as is President Hopey-Changey’s personal financial situation, and the personal financial situations of the members of Congress who absofuckinglutely refuse to do what’s best for the highest number of Americans (which can only be defined as treason) —  so fuck the rest of the millions and millions of the rest of us Americans.

But no, see, it’s all about the “extraordinary sacrifices” made by our troops.

How about our fucking so-called leaders make some extraordinary sacrifices? No, they would rather leave the extraordinary sacrifices to our young men and women who are too naive about the ways of the world to know that the last just war that the U.S. military fought was World War II, for fuck’s sake, and that as members of the U.S. military they are not protecting “freedom” and “liberty” and “democracy” and puppies and kittens or doing anything nearly as noble as all that, but that they are only cannon fodder for the treasonous, uber-greedy war profiteers and the corporateers who want to loot the U.S. treasury via “defense” spending and want to steal other nations’ natural resources and profit obscenely from them, which is made possible only after U.S. military invasions and occupations.

And those young men and women in the U.S. military who do know that war is a racket find themselves at a loss for any other employment than with the U.S. military. They are fairly socioeconomically trapped where they are.

But if you criticize the plutocrats’ wars, then you are accused of attacking our troops — even though it’s the plutocrats who treasonously are sending our troops off to die and to be maimed in wars that benefit only the plutocrats. (If our wars in the Middle East of the past decade were meant to benefit all Americans, then why, oh why, are most Americans in dire economic straits? That’s because the spoils of war never trickle down. Only piss trickles down.)

No, I am not attacking our troops, who are just pawns, who also are victims of the treasonous plutocrats, victims just like the thousands and thousands of innocent civilians whom they slaughter in the Middle East. I am attacking the treasonous plutocrats who are destroying our nation whose heads belong on pikes.

And yes, President Hopey-Changey is among the treasonous plutocrats. He promised us that he would use the power of the office of the president of the United States of America to raise all boats, but all that he is done is to help the plutocrats buy bigger and bigger yachts.

As George W. Bush once put it, you are for us or you are against us. You are for us working-class, middle-class and poor Americans, or you are for the plutocrats — and against us.

Oh, we are long overdue for a violent revolution here at home.

A nonviolent revolution will not cut it. Violence is the only language that the plutocratic traitors who are driving our nation into the ground understand.

A violent American revolution is coming, regardless of what you or I have to say about.

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

Mubarak names VP, new PM as deadly protests continue

AFP photo

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

Egyptian protesters greet army soldiers atop ...

Associated Press photo

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

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

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

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

The events in Egypt are inspiring.

If only we could have revolution here at home.

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

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

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

“Reforms.”

Bullshit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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