Tag Archives: Obama

Identity politics loom over 2020; will the so-called Dems fuck it up again?

Boston Herald file photo

Politico reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, pictured above in 2006 with Barack Obama, is Team Obama’s favorite for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Never mind that Patrick works for Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital; if we actual progressives have a problem with that, then we’re “racist.”

Friday was former President Barack Obama’s 56th birthday, and we witnessed another national spasm of Obamamania. (“Barack Obama Day,” a commemorative but not a legal state holiday, begins in Illinois next year.)

Thing is, academic historians and political scientists on average list Obama as only the 17th best of our 43 past presidents.

(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])

So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.

(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)

And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])

So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.

What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.

By comparison to these two, yes, Obama, in retrospect, looks like he indeed was the second coming of Abraham Fucking Lincoln (indeed, when Obama first announced that he was running for president, he did so in Springfield, Illinois, and apparently tried to look Lincolnesque).

But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.

I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”

Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.

But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.

(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)

Indeed, Politico depressingly reports that Team Obama, including Big Bad Obama himself, is pushing for former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to run for president in 2020 — never fucking mind that Patrick works for Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital.

(Wikipedia notes of Bain Capital: “Bain Capital is a global alternative investment firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. It specializes in private equityventure capital and credit products.” Orwellian terms like “alternative investment” and “credit products” should send shivers up and down your spine, like they do mine.)

If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothingno thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”

Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)

I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”

I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”

Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”

That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.

Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.

I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.

For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.

If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.

No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).

Bernie Sanders already went before the American electorate and he won 46 percent of the pledged (democratically earned) delegates to Billary’s 54 percent, and he won 22 states — a remarkable achievement by a largely previously unknown underdog against Billary “Crown Me Already” Clinton, who was in her second run for the White House.

Although the craven, sellout members of the Democratic Party establishment still act like he doesn’t even exist and didn’t come in at a fairly close second in 2016 despite the Billarybots of the Democratic National Committee brazenly having cheated to help BillaryBernie Sanders remains the most popular politician in the United States of America.

And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.

Really, I need say no more.

P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.

One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.

True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.

But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.

That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.

P.P.S. I’m not the only one who does not want to see a Deval Patrick candidacy. Slate.com’s Ben Mathis-Lilley writes:

The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.

And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?

No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”

You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.

As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.

Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.

This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.

Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:

pasted_image_at_2017_08_01_11_31_am

Federal Reserve via Jordan Weissmann

Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.

One group that believes that Democrats shouldn’t overtly represent the interests of the wealthy, in fact, is the current Democratic Party. Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New Yorker who counts Wall Street executives among his most prominent constituents (and top donors), is on board with a 2018 Democratic platform that frames the party’s agenda as a matter of increasing wages while diminishing corporate power.

Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?

The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)

The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”

And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …

Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this*

how i lost by hillary clinton cover

— but never would buy Billary’s own forthcoming predictably bullshit account of how she lost the 2016 election, whose No. 54 placement on Amazon.com’s top-100 book list right now gives you an idea as to how much Americans still care about her.

And hey, how great it is to be a baby boomer! You can blow a presidential election spectacularly and still get another lucrative book deal!

*OR Books describes How I Lost By Hillary Clinton like this:

Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.

Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.

At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.

That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.

The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]

Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.

Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.

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Is Ferguson a symptom of black American panic?

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Cry of the Clintonistas: ‘Surrender, Dorothy!’

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Checks and balances wins out — for now

Obama: The US Military 'Does Not Do Pinpricks'

Associated Press image

The arrogant Barack Obama, shown during his nationally televised speech on Syria last night, has been humbled by actual democracy, but he’s only a part of the problem of a so-called “representative” government in D.C. that no longer carries out the wishes of the majority of the American people in our own best interests, but that carries out instead the wishes of the plutocrats and corporatocrats who fund the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the “Democratic” and “Republican” parties).

President Barack Obama has claimed — and, to my knowledge, has not backed down from that claim — that he has the right to order a military strike or strikes on the sovereign nation of Syria (or on any other sovereign nation that he deems a “threat”) whether he gains the approval of the U.S. Congress to do so or not.

The U.S. Constitution says otherwise — it dictates that only Congress may authorize war — and I’m not sure whether former constitutional law professor Obama actually believes that he has such war powers or whether he’s just another shameless, treasonous power-grabber — but the fact that Obama has backpedaled on striking Syria demonstrates, I think, that, politically speaking at the minimum, you do need the approval of Congress if you want to have a successful war.

You also need the support of the American people if you want to have a successful war. A war is too large a thing to have it widely among Americans considered to be your own personal war.

So while I don’t expect the lame duck Obama to ever back down on his claim to be a bad-ass who can do whatever the hell he wants — never mind that we elected him in 2008 because of his ubiquitous and relentless promises of “hope” and “change,” and one of those changes that we, the people, wanted was a president who does not act like the swaggering George W. Bush did — the political reality is that a war is unlikely to succeed without the backing of the majority of the American people and the U.S. Congress.

(Recall that even George W. Bush in October 2002 successfully fanagled Congress into rubber-stamping his illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, which he launched in March 2003.

The Bush regime relentlessly had marketed its impending Vietraq War as a response to 9/11, a propagandistic lie that enough Americans bought to the point that most of the members of Congress were too pussy not to rubber-stamp the Vietraq War, fearing that there would be adverse political repercussions for them if they did not vote for it.

Remember also that at that wonderful time in our nation’s history, according to the unelected “President” Bush, you were with him or you were with the “terrorists.”)

Despite Obama’s bluster on Syria and on his alleged war powers, it seems to me that for once the broken American system of governance has worked.

A majority of the American people want no more war unless it’s absolutely, absolutely necessary; they — we — want no more wars of choice that benefit only the plutocratic elite who profit from wars of choice.

For once, the majority of the people in this so-called “democracy” have — for now, anyway — actually gotten what we want on an issue.

We’ll see whether or not this populism spills into other important issues to the point that the elites in D.C. realize that they no longer can get away with extending to us their gilded middle fingers and continuing to act against our best interests and in their own best interests.

And I agree with the gifted progressive writer David Sirota’s assertion that actually avoiding war with Syria was not, as the Obamabots will claim, the “genius” Obama’s crafty game plan all along.

(“More specifically,” Sirota writes that this argument goes, “[Obama’s] administration cited World War II and made a full-court press in Congress for war not to actually start a war, but merely to prompt Russia to intervene to prevent a war. You see, it was an anti-war play all along!”

The purpose of this argument, Sirota wonderfully writes, is “to cast the president as a godlike emperor whose reversals, contradictions and shifts are always a product of prescience and calculation, and couldn’t possibly be a product of pressure from the supposedly lowly, weak and otherwise pathetic rabble.”)

The Obama regime very apparently never seriously considered diplomacy with Syria until after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is not up to the job, off-handedly publicly remarked that Syria could avoid a military strike or strikes if Syria agreed to give up all of its chemical weapons, with international oversight ensuring its compliance. Kerry added, essentially, that he had said that only because he had figured that Syria never would agree to such terms.

But Sure, we’ll give up our chemical weapons, the Syrian government essentially said in response, which underscores the fact that the Obama regime very apparently never seriously had considered diplomacy with Syria over war with Syria (and lobbing missiles at another nation can only be taken as an act of war, as surely the U.S. would consider such an act against the U.S. to be!).

Which underscores the fact that this Syria debacle has demonstrated that the Obama regime’s foreign policy is a hot fucking mess.

To interpret it otherwise is to make the same mistake that the supporting characters in the film “Being There” make about the main character, Chauncey Gardiner, whose abject mental incompetence they take as actual wisdom and genius because that’s what they want to see in him.

Under these conditions, with a bunch of Chauncey Gardiners running the show, we Americans cannot feel safe.

And while imminent war apparently has been averted, it remains to be seen whether or not the elites in D.C. have gotten the message that we, the majority of the American people, want our best interests actually represented in this so-called “representative” “democracy.”

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Skipping toward another debacle in the Middle East

The elites of D.C. have been out of touch with the wishes of the majority of Americans for years now, but are they really going to launch a military attack upon another Middle Eastern nation — one that borders Iraq, no less — that the majority of Americans do not want? Will U.S. President Barack Obama ignore the right-wing political taunts that he’s a wimp, or will he rush in to Syria like a fool, causing even more civilian deaths?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed yesterday that “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.”

“Make no mistake,” Kerry added. “President [Barack] Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Wow.

I’m trying to wrap my head around the mega-double standards that are spewing forth right now from D.C.

The casual use of killer drones against poor people in the Middle East is not the use of “the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people”? (Killer drones aren’t heinous? When’s the last time that you had to try to dodge a drone that was trying to kill you? Have you seen “Oblivion”?)

Is the method of the slaughter truly of more importance than the fact of the slaughter itself?

What’s with this fucking nerve-gas fetish?

If I shoot you or bomb you (the conventional way or with one of my “more humane” killer drones), it’s OK, it’s perfectly pardonable, hey, you have to crack some eggs to make a Freedom™ omelet — but if I gas you, that’s really heinous?

March 2003’s so-called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (it couldn’t be “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” because that spells OIL, you see) — the U.S.-military-led invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, which was in violation of the wishes of the United Nations Security Council — and its aftermath caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

If you simply claim, as the goody-goody-two-shoes United States of America always does, that your goal is to bring “democracy” and “freedom” and “liberation” and puppies and kittens and cute, fluffy baby bunny rabbits, does that mere claim justify, does that mere claim excuse, a body count of tens of thousands of civilians?

Oopsie! Your loved ones are dead! But it was for [fill in noble goal here]!

It widely is reported that an estimated 100,000 people, presumably on both sides, have been killed in Syria’s civil war of about two years now. The conservative estimate of the number of Iraqi civilians who died because of the bogus Vietraq War exceeds 100,000.

I’m trying to understand why the vast majority of Americans have not lost any sleep over the staggering number of Iraqi civilians whom the U.S. war machine has snuffed out over the past decade in the name of “liberating” them, but some Americans now claim to care so much about the alleged — emphasis on “alleged” — gassing deaths of a few hundred Syrian civilians.

If it’s really all about the safety and welfare of the Syrian civilians, where is the concern that even more Syrian civilians would die in the U.S.-led military bombardment of Syria and in the further chaos that easily could ensue, just like it did in Iraq? Have we really forgotten all of this already?

Is this about the well-being of Syrian civilians or is this about the United States of America (1) collectively egoistically wanting to save face because President Hopey-Changey proclaimed the Santa Claus- or Easter Bunny-like existence of some “red line” and (2) wanting to periodically flex its big military muscles on the world stage like the narcissistic, bullying nation that it is?

Given the United States’ own track record of the casual slaughter of civilians casually dismissed as “collateral damage” and refusing to be held accountable to any international body, John Kerry’s lofty words — such as “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders” being “a moral obscenity” and the necessity of “accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people” — ring pretty fucking hollow.

If Americans, except for a perma-minority of pro-military wingnuts (most of them chickenhawks) — aren’t clamoring for a U.S. attack on Syria (and they’re — we’re — not) — maybe, just maybe, part of the reason for that is that enough Americans realize how incredibly hypocritical it is of the United States of America to talk of the lawlessness and mass-murderousness of any other nation.

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Finally (maybe), the president we voted for in 2008

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” President Barack Obama remarked during a press conference yesterday, immediately adding, “Another way of saying that is [that] Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” He also remarked that while “Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race,” “It doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial society” and “It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.” Anyone who has a problem with these words is a part of the problem.

I usually agree with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, but not this time. He begins his latest column thusly:

We should talk honestly about unresolved racial issues, such as those exposed by the Trayvon Martin case, but President Obama is not the best person to lead the discussion. Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst.

Indeed, yesterday President Hopey-Changey unexpectedly during a press conference at the White House finally discussed American race relations apparently in a way not meant to placate the incredibly easily rattled whitey.

This was the Obama I voted for in 2008 but could not vote for again in 2012, in no small part because of his history of probably being worse on the issues of race relations and racism than an actually progressive white president would have been.

Here are some nuggets from Obama’s remarks (which I recommend that you read in their entirety):

…[In] the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here [in the Trayvon Martin case], [and] I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

…The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

…And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

…So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied. And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. …

Now, I don’t agree with every word that Obama spoke, such as his mindless, pro-plutocratic promotion of nonviolence — “If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family,” he remarked, even though the U.S. government and all other levels of government in the U.S. resort to violence for our plutocratic overlords all the fucking time, abroad and at home, while we commoners are never to respond in kind, thus helping to ensure the status quo (including, of course, our serfdom) — but even simple, obvious, irrefutable reminders of what black Americans routinely go through, such as being followed around at department stores and hearing the clicks of car-door locks in their presence, are powerful.

These simple truths are powerful because in the United States of America they so rarely are mentioned in the public square, and certainly, until now, never by the U.S. president.

These truths aren’t controversial because they’re truths, but because in the dysfunctional family that is the United States of America, truths that make many people uncomfortable are not to be uttered at all, and those who utter them usually are punished — not for lying, certainly, but for uttering the truths that, the unspoken but usually quite understood rule is, never are to be uttered because they make certain people — gasp!uncomfortable.

This dysfunctional bullshit needed to stop long ago, and the reason that Obama got my vote in 2008, at least in part, is that I trusted his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change”; I trusted him to start to break through all of the bullshit.

Unfortunately, Obama apparently has waited until his second term to begin to do so.

In his remarks about the Trayvon Martin case Obama also offered some policy changes in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future. Among those remarks were these two:

“I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than defuse potential altercations” and “…[If] we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?”

I think he hit the nail on the head — the two big takeaways from the Trayvon Martin case are the problems of racial profiling (and racism and race relations in general, which, of course, are behind such profiling) and right-wing state laws that indeed actually encourage Wild-West-style violence rather than work to reduce violence.

The only Americans who possibly could have a real problem with Obama’s remarks are those who are guilty as charged. These would be the racists and white supremacists who have opposed Obama from Day One anyway.

I get it that Obama also from Day One was careful, probably especially once he stepped into the national limelight, not to appear to be an “angry” black man, lest too many white (and other non-black) people be put off by it and not vote for him. (There is a reason that someone like Obama, and not someone like Jesse Jackson [who did run for president — back in the day I went to his presidential campaign stop at my university], became our first black president.)

However, up until now Obama has gone too far in the direction of caution, neglecting the issue of race to the point that, again, I seriously have considered that an actually bold, progressive white (or other non-black) president would have done much more to improve the lives of black Americans than Obama has.

Obama’s chronic over-caution has had the paradoxical effect, I suspect, of making the fact that he’s been our first black president to be fairly meaningless, in terms of the quality of black Americans’ lives. Hell, not even just meaningless, but actually detrimental, given his “leadership” style of holding back and doing little to nothing (not only on race relations but on most matters of importance; for instance, I’ll never forget his relative inaction while British Petroleum just filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil, arguably the first real test of his presidential mettle).

Still, I suppose, better late than never, although none of us should expect that Obama now will be talking frankly and candidly about race and race relations with any frequency between now and the end of his second term. It’s never been his style, and I can’t see him radically changing his style now.

But it is the job of the president of the United States of America to talk about social issues, and to be a leader to the nation that elected him or her, and probably the most controversial social issues are the ones that need to be discussed the most, just as the most painful parts of your body are the parts that most need medical attention — certainly not denial and avoidance.

And a part of the American body politic that needs medical attention — stat — is the demographic of young black males. “We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys,” Obama also remarked yesterday, adding, “There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”

Obama continued: “You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I’ve got some convening power.”

Indeed. As president, Obama does have power, power that thus far he hasn’t used nearly enough for good.

So I have to disagree with Eugene Robinson when he states that “The record indicates that honest talk from Obama about race is seen by many [white (let’s face it, Robinson, who seems almost as timid as Obama does, very most likely mostly means white)] people as threatening” and that therefore, “the unfortunate fact is that if his aim is to promote dialogue about race, speaking his mind is demonstrably counterproductive.”

No, it is Obama’s up-to-now historical silence on the topic of race — other than non-threatening/non-“threatening,” throw-away platitudes — that has been demonstrably counterproductive.

Those who — gasp! — feel threatened!/“threatened”! and/or uncomfortable! need to get a fucking grip already, because they are the ones who have been preventing the United States of America from fulfilling its up-to-now fairly empty promises of liberty and justice for all.

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Magical Elves, sparkleponies and other assorted gay shit

Pro-gay ally NFL player Chris Kluwe’s colorfully titled book is due out next month. Kluwe earlier this month was dropped by the Minnesota Vikings but was picked up by the Oakland Raiders. I’m glad and proud to have him as a fellow Californian; Minnesota’s loss is California’s gain.

I usually comment on gay-rights issues in the news in a timely fashion, but I’ve been slacking as of late. So here I’ll try to catch up:

It was great to see basketball player Jason Collins, the first active player from one of the “Big Four” sports organizations (the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League ), come out late last month, even if there is at least a grain of truth to gay writer Bret Easton Ellis’ criticism that Collins’ treatment by the media “as some kind of baby panda who needed to be honored and praised and consoled and — yes — infantilized by his coming out on the cover of Sports Illustrated” also made Collins a “Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude.”

And I also was happy to hear the news that pro-gay ally NFL player Chris Kluwe, who was dropped by the Minnesota Vikings earlier this month (perhaps at least in part due to his vocal pro-gay-and-pro-gay-marriage stance), shortly thereafter was picked up by the Oakland Raiders.

If Minnesota didn’t appreciate Kluwe, I’m happy to have him here in California, where Kluwe already has done us some good: Kluwe and another pro-gay ally, NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo, per Wikipedia, “filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on February 28, 2013, regarding Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which they expressed their support of the challenge to California Proposition 8,” which in 2008 amended California’s Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, a right that California’s Supreme Court had ruled was guaranteed to Californians by the state’s Constitution before the haters later amended it with Prop H8.

I admire the very apparently heterosexual Kluwe, who is heterosexually married and has two children. According to Wikipedia, Kluwe wrote a blog called “Out of Bounds” for a Minnesota newspaper before he quit the blog last year in protest of the newspaper’s having run an editorial in support of the euphemistically titled “Minnesota Marriage Amendment,” which, just as Prop H8 did in California, would have amended the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. (That amendment failed at the ballot box in November, with the haters losing by just more than 5 percentage points, and subsequently the Minnesota Legislature legalized same-sex marriage this month.)

It takes balls and selflessness to fight for a historically discriminated against and oppressed group of people of whom you apparently aren’t a member. Kluwe did the right thing by boycotting the anti-gay newspaper.

Kluwe also has been outspoken about the facts that not all athletes are dumb jocks and that there is more to life than football, even for an NFL player.

And yeah, I’ll probably buy his upcoming book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities, which is due out next month.

Also this month, three states approved same-sex marriage: Delaware, Rhode Island, and, as I mentioned, Minnesota. (I find it ironic that just after the Minnesota Vikings dropped Kluwe, very possibly at least in part due to his advocacy for same-sex marriage, the state’s Legislature enacted same-sex marriage.)

True, Rhode Island and Delaware are only our 43rd and 45th most populous states, respectively, but Minnesota is our 21st most populous state, and it joins Iowa as another Midwestern state with same-sex marriage. Once the Midwest goes, how far behind can the rest of the nation be?

Finally, I found it to be a pleasant surprise to learn that President Barack Obama, this past weekend in his commencement speech to the graduates of the all-male, historically African-American Morehouse College, remarked, “… and that’s what I’m asking all of you to do: keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife or your boyfriend or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important.”

True, Obama’s wording was inelegant.* If you were a man who had married your boyfriend, he would be your “husband” or your “spouse” or your “partner” or however else you chose to refer to him (hell, call him your “wife” if you want to and if he is OK with that; it’s your marriage, not mine). But if you had married him, you probably wouldn’t still be referring to him as your “boyfriend.”

Still, I found it at least a bit encouraging for the president of the United States of America, whatever his other many flaws and missteps might be, basically state in a college commencement address before an all-male audience that marrying a member of the same sex is perfectly fine if that is what is right for the individual.

You never would have heard George W. Bush, or even Bill Clinton, utter those words at a commencement ceremony.

I noted above that Chris Kluwe is “heterosexually married.” I did that on purpose; married” no longer should automatically mean heterosexually married; “married” should include the possibility of being homosexually married — in all 50 states and in every nation on the planet that recognizes marriage between heterosexuals.

And one day, it won’t matter; “married” will just be married, and no one will much care, if he or she cares at all, whether it’s a same-sex marriage or an opposite-sex marriage.

But it still matters now, and we Magical Elves and our allies have a lot of work to do between today and the day that it no longer matters because everyone (or at least almost everyone) realizes that each and every one of us is a beautifully unique sparklepony.

*Slate.com’s William Saletan reports that Obama’s prepared remark was “Be the best husband to your wife or boyfriend to your partner or father to your children that you can be,” but, again, what Obama actually said was, “Be the best husband to your wife or your boyfriend or your partner.”

Saletan writes:

… But this time, the speech didn’t go according to script. Literally. Obama changed the “boyfriend” line from hetero boilerplate to explicitly gay-inclusive. He ad-libbed. And this was a heck of a time to do it. The speech was about what it means to be a man. The president of the United States, who until a year ago didn’t support same-sex marriage, has just put an official stamp of masculinity on male homosexuality. …

That’s certainly a possibility; it’s a valid interpretation, and it would be my interpretation, too, more or less, but, in my viewing of the clip of the remark, it appears to me as though Obama does stumble and/or hesitate a bit in getting the words out, with a nervous-and-unsure-of-himself-sounding inflection on the final word of that sentence, “partner,” and it’s not 100 percent clear to me whether he stumbles over these words because he’s messing them up or because he’s not sure how what he is saying — that it’s perfectly OK for a man to marry a man — is going to be received by his audience (Morehouse College, after all, is in Georgia, a state that isn’t exactly known as a gay-friendly state).

Indeed, sadly, if you also watch the clip, you will hear and see that after Obama asks his audience to “keep setting an example for what it means to be a man,” he has to pause for applause, but then, after he says next, “Be the best husband to your wife or your boyfriend or your partner,” very apparently his audience at first is silent in momentary confusion but then breaks out in some derisive laughter and mumbling and grumbling.

Indeed, in response to this very apparent derision over his remark that a man may marry a man, Obama puts his index finger up to his audience in apparent admonishment over their apparent homophobia.

As I said, we still have a way to go.

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