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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Syria’s civil war: Fools rush in

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a German newspaper in Damascus

Reuters image

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the new Saddam Hussein: not a nice guy, by all accounts, but is he really worth dragging the United States into yet another war in the Middle East? Is the war hawks’ — chickenhawks’ — interest in American military action in Syria’s civil war actually about the welfare of the Syrian people, or would it be just another opportunity for the U.S. military to flex its muscles again on the world stage (against a much weaker opponent — of course)?

If the allegations that the government of Syria killed hundreds of Syrian civilians with nerve gas are true — I suspect that they are, that the disturbing-enough video footage that I’ve seen of the apparent civilian victims of nerve gas is not faked — I am not sure why this particular method of the slaughter of civilians is considered to be worse than, say, how hundreds of Egyptian protesters were slaughtered by the Egyptian military earlier this month, or how hundreds have been slaughtered by U.S. drone strikes, including the confirmed deaths of almost 100 children.

Hey, how about that “shock and awe” that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians? Talk about “liberating” those Iraqis! We took away all of their problems!

I mean, dead is dead; why, exactly, the use of chemical weapons is a “red line,” as U.S. President Barack Obama put it a year ago, but being shot to death by your nation’s military while you are protesting the military coup against the president whom you’d democratically elected, or being snuffed out by an American bomb or an American weaponized drone, is regarded as A-OK eludes me.

That Saddam Hussein reportedly gassed and killed thousands of Kurds in the 1988, and that the unelected, treasonous Bush regime used this, about 15 years after the fact, as one of its many changing “reasons” to invade Iraq in 2003 (actually, Saddam Hussein was, to Washington, D.C., a “good” dictator, or at least a tolerable one, until he nationalized Iraq’s oil fields, closing them off to Big Oil* — then he was a “bad” dictator) does not mean that every time that chemical weapons are used somewhere on the planet, the U.S. military must invade that nation — because chemical weapons!

I’m not a fan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but I’m also not a fan of yet another U.S.-led war in the Middle East while the American empire continues to rot from within (one word: Detroit).

And I’m not alone. Reuters reported yesterday:

Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days — just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans’ resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East. …

I’m not a cold-hearted bastard. The slaughter of one child is the slaughter of too many children. But how many more Syrian civilians would be slaughtered if the United States were to involve itself in Syria’s civil war?

That the president of the United States pronounced the existence of some “red line” and that the U.S. might look “weak” on the world stage if this “red line” materialized but the U.S. did nothing in response — saving face — is not a reason to take your nation to war.

Those who feel differently, those who want to drag us into a war in Syria — well, maybe we can air-drop them into Syria so that they can help the rebels, since they care about the Syrians so much.

But my guess is that, as was the case with the Vietraq War, the majority of those who would drag us to war in Syria are chickenhawks: They’ll talk a mean game — as long as it’s someone else who’s doing the dying.

P.S. In case you think it’s a closed case that the Syrian government gassed Syrian civilians, know this (from AFP):

… Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said about 3,600 patients displaying “neurotoxic symptoms” had flooded into three Syrian hospitals on the day of the alleged [chemical-weapon] attacks, and 355 of them died.

“Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said MSF operations director Bart Janssens.

MSF president Mego Terzian told AFP that “scientific” proof is still lacking.

“Syrian doctors we work with have no scientific proof. They must take hair samples, for example, and send them to a specialist laboratory,” to carry out conclusive tests, he said. …

So, thus far there is no scientific proof that chemical weapons were used. That’s pretty fucking important, isn’t it?

And even if such scientific proof materializes, would it be impossible that members of the Syrian opposition actually staged the attack in order to draw the U.S. military to their aid? Unlikely, one hopes, but again — would it be impossible?

Syrian rebels, after all, have put the deaths at more than 1,000, but the doctors of MSF are saying 355. I tend to trust the word of the MSF doctors, who don’t have the same political agenda that the Syrian rebels do.

Hopefully the United Nations will be allowed to take the lead on the investigation into whether or not the Syrian government gassed civilians — and hopefully the United States, with its partner in crime, Britain, won’t do what it did in Iraq in 2003: bypass the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and invade a weaker sovereign nation anyway.

*CNN noted earlier this year on the 10-year anniversary of the Vietraq War:

Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.

The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access. [Emphasis all mine.]

Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.

“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world’s largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq’s economy or society.

These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.” Today it does.

In 2000, Big Oil, including Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell, spent more money to get fellow oilmen Bush and Cheney into office than they had spent on any previous election. Just over a week into Bush’s first term, their efforts paid off when the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Cheney, was formed, bringing the administration and the oil companies together to plot our collective energy future. In March, the task force reviewed lists and maps outlining Iraq’s entire oil productive capacity.

Planning for a military invasion was soon under way. Bush’s first Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, said in 2004, “Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics. Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly.”

In its final report in May 2001 (PDF), the task force argued that Middle Eastern countries should be urged “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” This is precisely what has been achieved in Iraq. …

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Obama wins Round Two (but the media will call it a draw)

U.S. President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Romney debate during the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead

Republican presidential nominee Romney and U.S. President Obama speak directly to each other during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead

US President Obama speaks next to Republican presidential candidate Romney during second US presidential campaign debate in Hempstead

U.S. President Obama answers a questiion as Republican presidential nominee Romney listens during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead

Republican presidential nominee Romney and U.S. President Obama shake hands at the conclusion of the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead

Reuters photos

The up-close-and-personal town-hall format of tonight’s presidential debate, and the criticism that President Barack Obama received for not having called out Mittens Romney on his string of blatant lies during the first 2012 presidential debate, resulted in a fiercer second debate performance by Obama tonight. And moderator Candy Crowley proved herself to be no Jim Lehrer, also to Mittens’ disadvantage.

That’s just anticipatory, my prediction* for tonight’s second presidential debate, which, as I post this, begins in less than a half-hour. (I am watching the debate live online and of course will write about it here, in this same post, later tonight.)

What I’m really looking for in tonight’s debate is to see if Mittens Romney repeats Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s execrable attempt during last week’s vice presidential debate to make a mountain of political hay over the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11.

At the time of Mittens’ initial politicizing of the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in the American consulate in Libya, I saw an editorial cartoon depicting Mittens slapping his presidential bumper sticker on Stevens’ headstone. It was quite apropros.

I can’t find that ’toon now, but while searching for it I did find a couple of others:

Romney Political Posturing

 Libya Tragedy

Beyond the shamelessness of using the attack on the American consulate in Libya for political gain, it’s a fucking laugh that it is the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who are going to keep us safe.

Four Americans died in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, but more than four fucking thousand Americans** died preventable deaths during the watch of the unelected “President” George W. Bush on September 11, 2001, and in late August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states.

There had been plenty of warning that both Osama bin Laden and Hurricane Katrina would strike the U.S., but the Vacationer in Chief George W. Bush couldn’t be bothered to do anything about either threat.

Whether or not the attack on the American consulate in Libya could have been prevented or not — it seems to me that it’s quite difficult to keep an American consulate in any Middle Eastern nation safe — the way to respond to such an incident is first to examine what went wrong and then to do things differently.

Putting another right-wing, swaggering, plutocratic chickenhawk in the White House is not doing things differently, and under a President Mittens, I believe, we’d see a lot more American deaths than we have under President Barack Obama.

We’ve seen already how well Mittens is received on the world stage — a Mittens presidency would be reminiscent of that of George W. Bush. Making the world hate us makes us less safe, not safer, and Repugnican presidents have a way of making the world hate us.

For all of Obama’s shortcomings, we (those of us who inhabit the reality-based world, that is) can’t say that he hasn’t kept the nation safe. Yet that is what I expect Mittens insanely to do tonight.

Update:

I found that cartoon:

Bill Schorr - Cagle Cartoons - Romney Libya Comments - English - Mitt Romney,Libya,Chris Stevens,politics,

Update: Fifteen minutes in, I’d say it’s a draw-leaning-toward-Obama. Mittens makes pledges, such as regarding job creation, but surreally, he offers no specifics. His first prickish attempt to steamroll moderator Candy Crowley of CNN failed.

Update: Obama, apparently having learned from Round One, freely states that Mittens isn’t telling the truth, and we’re seeing a fairly feisty Obama tonight.

This debate on oil, coal and alternative energy production is way too reminiscent of the 2008 debates. The wingnutty mantra of “Drill, baby, drill!” hasn’t changed. Indicative, I believe, of how the right wing does its damnedest to prevent progress.

Update: I don’t for a nanosecond believe Mittens’ claim that he won’t give the rich and super-rich tax breaks and that he wuvs the middle class (um, aren’t we the 47 percent he was disowning just back in May?). I believe that his plan is to give them tax breaks right away, and his “five-point plan” sounds like Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan…

I believe Obama’s assertion that Mittens’ plan is to give the plutocrats their tax cuts and spend even more on the military-corporate complex, bloating the federal budget deficit even further — just like George W. Bush did.

Update: Mittens’ attempts to run over Candy Crowley aren’t going nearly as well for him as they did during the first debate, and I think that Mittens’ aggressive, steamrolling behavior is indicative of his character.

On the topic of women’s issues (specifically, women in the workforce), Mittens claims that as governor of Massachusetts he essentially engaged in affirmative action where women are concerned. Um, aren’t the wingnuts against that?

Meh. I look at the patriarchal Mormon cult that Mittens supports and women’s status within the Mormon cult that Mittens supports. That fact, I believe, is a much better barometer of the truth than are Mittens’ words in his post-Etch-A-Sketch-shaking phase.

Update: A great question from an audience member (who said that she is “undecided” but seems to lean toward Obama) for Mittens was how he is different from George W. Bush (a.k.a. He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned). Mittens first lied that he “appreciate[d]” the question that mentioned He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned and then blathered about how he wants to focus on small businesses, whereas the Bush regime focused on Big Business, and how he wants to focus on jobs.

Obama retorted, correctly, that just as Gee Dubya did, Mittens would only give tax breaks to the rich and otherwise support the plutocrats.

Update: Mittens brought up Ronald Reagan, which I guess was meant to neutralize the mention of George W. Bush.

It strikes me that this presidential election isn’t entirely unlike the 2000 election: We are to believe that vulture capitalist multi-millionaire Mittens Romney, whose religion is all about elevating the right-wing, “Christian” white man over the rest of us, is a “compassionate conservative,” which is what George W. Bush claimed he is, and we know how well George W. Bush worked out.

It’s interesting when liars like Mittens actually promise to govern progressively. They’re lying through their fangs, of course, but the fact that they are lying that they will be progressive is proof that progressivism is superior to what the wingnuts actually stand for.

Update: Mittens just used the term “illegals” in the discussion of immigration. Wow. I wonder if they’ll be talking about that tomorrow. “Illegals” is a charged word that reveals, I believe, how Mittens regards those who are in the nation without documentation.

Update: The attack in Benghazi finally came up. Mittens claimed that Obama didn’t take the situation seriously enough, which is interesting, given that when George W. Bush received the August 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,” Bush was on vacation in Crawford, Texas, and on August 29, 2005, the day that Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, George W. Bush was celebrating John McCain’s birthday in Arizona.

It’s sickening that the Benghazi incident is being used by Team Mittens as a political football, and it’s sickening that the back-and-forth on the Benghazi incident is the only topic thus far that has caused the studio-audience members (in violation of the rules…) to applaud first for Obama and then for Mittens.

Update: Mittens has used the topic of gun violence to try to bring up another anti-Obama pseudo-scandal, “Fast and Furious.” I get it that it’s his role to tarnish Obama, but — Oh, cool: Moderator Candy Crowley has redirected Mittens back on topic. Clearly, Mittens was too comfortable with the Jim Lehrer treatment.

As I was saying, I get it that Mittens wants to tarnish Obama, but I don’t think that the anti-Obama pseudo-scandals from which the members of the right-wing blogosphere get their rocks off are going to appeal to a general audience.

Update: So according to Mittens, China is our big economic enemy, and we must stop sending our jobs overseas. Nevermind that Mittens made his millions via corporations whose profits skyrocketed through cheap labor overseas. Wow.

Again, Mittens is lying that he’d stop the flow of jobs overseas, but in his lie, he admits that sending jobs overseas (which he actually supports) is the wrong thing to do.

Update: It’s winding down. Mittens says that the biggest misperception of him is that he doesn’t care about “100 percent of the people.” Well, um, he was video-recorded in May saying that he has written off 47 percent of us.

He has used the phrase “100 percent” at least three times now, which underscores what a gaffe his “47 percent” remark was. (A “gaffe” as in he wouldn’t have said it had he known he was being video-recorded, not a “gaffe” as in that he “misspoke” or put it “inelegantly.” He knew exactly what he was saying and he meant exactly what he was saying.)

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!: Obama saved the best for last, reminding us, finally, of Mittens “47 percent” remark.

Obama got the last word in the debate, and my impression now, now that the debate is over, is pretty much what it was early in the debate: That Obama won the debate, but that he didn’t deliver a knock-out punch.

I expect the corporately owned and controlled mass media to call the debate a draw.

Whatever, but if Obama continues his trajectory, he will deliver the knock-out blow next week.

Obama is a smoother debater than is Mittens. Obama can deliver a blow smoothly and without apparent arrogance, whereas Mittens practically salivates all over himself when, in his mind, he has delivered a body blow, such as his bullshit on Benghazi and his bullshit on “Fast and Furious.”

If you take all of Mittens’ “blows” tonight combined, they don’t add up to that one “47 percent” remark of his that he made, as, Obama put it tonight, “behind closed doors” not even a full six months ago, and while the incident in Benghazi and “Fast and Furious” haven’t touched you or me personally, being categorized as half of the American people whom Mittens Romney doesn’t give a shit about: That is personal. That does affect us.

And that is the central (albeit secretly video-recorded) campaign promise that Mittens Romney, as president, would fulfill: That he would ignore at least 47 percent of the nation.

*My initial title of this post was “Obama wins!” Then I changed it to “Obama wins Round Two!” and then I changed it to its current title, once it seemed clear to me that Obama won but probably wouldn’t get credit for having won.

**Per Wikipedia, 2,977 were killed by the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001, and more than 1,830 were killed by Hurricane Katrina.

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Bin Laden’s death changes nothing

Updated below

Osama bin Laden

Associated Press photo

There is no shortage of bogeymen for the war profiteers and the war hawks anyway. Like Big Brother in 1984, the United States always has an enemy, and if there isn’t a real enemy, an enemy will be fabricated.

So news is coming out now that Osama bin Laden is dead. I knew that the wingnuts would spin this into much, much more than it is (little more than a symbolic, rather than much of a practical, “victory”), but I wasn’t expecting NBC’s correspondent Richard Engel to spin it the way that he did.

Not to pick on Engel, because I’m sure that we’re going to hear variations on the same theme from the members of the same corporately owned and controlled mass media organizations that were fucking cheerleaders for the Vietraq War, but I just listened to him state that now that bin Laden is dead, the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will know why they were there, and now the “war on terror” is over (he said something close to that if that’s not exactly what he said).

Oh. My. God.

OK, the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been there for the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton. No war, no profits. The unelected Bush regime gave the war profiteers their war. Oh, and the whole oil thing, too, of course — which is why they called it Operation Iraqi Freedom instead of Operation Iraqi Liberation.

Bin Laden and 9/11 were just an excuse for the radical right-wing traitors to do what they’d wanted to do all along. For instance, Project for a New American Century, a right-wing think tank, was pushing for the full-scale invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein when Bill Clinton was still president, and members of that very same think tank ended up in the BushCheneyCorp’s cabal after the stolen presidential election of 2000. (Google it.)

Not that Osama bin Laden is/was a great guy. Bin Laden and company killed just under 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. But since then more than 6,000 U.S. and coalition troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them in Iraq, but Iraq had absolutely fucking nothing to do with 9/11, so how — how — can anyone assert that Osama bin Laden’s death makes the whole Vietraq War, in which more Americans have died than died on Sept. 11, 2001, worth it? (Yes, it’s a fucking fact: via his bogus war in Iraq, George W. Bush killed more Americans that did Osama bin Laden on American soil.)

And after the United States has slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq alone since 2003, how can we declare the “war on terror” to be over? For us to do that, we’d have to assume that none of the thousands upon thousands of Iraqis who had loved ones slaughtered by the United States will ever attempt to exact revenge.

Since the Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — using 9/11 and non-existent weapons of mass destruction as the justification — the U.S. has far more enemies in the Middle East than it did before Sept. 11, 2001. And that’s just the Iraqi body count. The U.S. continues to slaughter civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan pretty much every day.

This makes us safer from future (attempted) terrorist attacks?

And is the corpse of Osama bin Laden really worth the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that have been funneled to the war profiteers via the bogus Vietraq War?

Will bin Laden’s body get us back those hundreds of billions of dollars not just squandered, but stolen from us? Will his death resurrect our economy, including easing our federal budget deficit, a huge chunk of which is due to the expense of the bogus Vietraq War?

Bin Laden’s death won’t improve things here in the U.S. any more than Saddam Hussein’s death did.

We can celebrate all we want that ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead, but the wicked witch’s death won’t stop the collapse of the American empire.

That so many of us Americans apparently so stupidly believe that one man’s death is worth the thousands of lives and the hundreds of billions of dollars that we blew through first in order to get it is a sure sign that our empire’s collapse is close at hand.

Update (Monday, May 2, 2011): The Huffington Post gives this as the Richard Engel quote that I referenced:

“This [news of bin Laden’s death] is nothing less than breathtaking,” said Richard Engel, reporting from Bengazi, Libya. “This ends a chapter — the global war on terrorism that has defined a generation, which has defined the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and Iraq. So many people, so many soldiers have been waiting for this moment.”

I seem to remember Engel having made a stronger comment to the effect that now our soldiers know why they have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I heard his remark live via the Internet and I didn’t write it down.

Again, the so-called “war on terror” is not over, and Iraq never had anything to do with bin Laden. For a major television “news” network correspondent to reinforce that myth is journalistic malpractice.

And I don’t even believe that “So many people, so many soldiers have been waiting for this moment.” I believe that the vast majority of Americans had, until now, mostly forgotten all about bin Laden.

I’ll give Engel a bit of a pass for having been caught up in the moment of the breaking news, but fuck.

P.S. For more commentary on this, see my mirror blog at Open Salon, where there is more discussion than there is here.

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Elena Kagan is a pussy

Elena Kagan

Associated Press photo

Elena Kagan testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today in her quest to become the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Kagan, being a woman (biologically, at least, to our knowledge…) is in a prime position to subvert the patriarchy, but she refuses to do so, instead choosing to claim that she just goes along with the good ol’ boys — like a good woman should.

I’m not following the confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan much, since her confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court pretty much is a foregone conclusion.

But I am struck by what a pussy she is.

First, she and her supporters dodged the question of her sexual orientation. My money is on her being a big ol’ dyke. (We fags and dykes may use the words “fag” and “dyke”; you breeders may not.) By refusing to be out and proud, no gay man or lesbian — er, fag or dyke — is helping to advance the cause of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals.

And now, Kagan is smooching militant stupid white male ass, assuring her stupid white male Repugnican inquisitors (especially uber-asshole Repugnican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alafuckingbama*) that of course she blindly, bleatingly, wholeheartedly supports the stupid white man’s military-industrial complex!

It’s a sign of how too-much power the bloated military-industrial complex has that a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court should feel the need to lick the asses of the members of the U.S. military-industrial complex and their brain-dead pseudo-patriotic cheerleaders — especially when the last justified war that the U.S. military fought was World War II and given the fact that now the U.S. military doesn’t stand for actual defense, but stands for corporate expansion (Iraq’s oil fields were nationalized before the Vietraq War but now are open to corporate exploitation, for example) and war profiteering (Halliburton, anyone?).

We civilians are supposed to be in charge of the U.S. military — not the other way around. Even though the wingnuts would rather that stupid white military men be in charge of the show, that’s not how it fucking works.

If Kagan had balls, she’d not only proudly assert her sexual orientation, but she would assert the fact that the U.S. military is to answer to civilian control and not vice-versa.

The Obama administration’s selection of the balls-less Kagan is just yet another example of how Clintonesque (that’s synonymous with milquetoast) the Obama administration is.

Elena Kagan — having been nominated by the president who promised us “hope” and “change” (only in order to get our campaign contributions, we realize now)should make me moist.

But because she has no balls, she leaves me quite dry.

*Here the wingnut is pictured today during Kagan’s grilling:

Jeff Sessions

Associated Press photo

You can tell that some people are major fucking assholes just by looking at them. Sessions is one of them.

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Obama can’t win

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There is plenty about President Barack Obama not to like, but, like him or dislike him, it’s a fucking fact that with the right wing the man just can’t win.

Lately I’ve seen rather strange news stories about how the White House has been emphatic that Obama has been sufficiently angry! about British Petroleum’s devasation of the Gulf of Mexico.

Reports French news agency AFP today:

Washington – President Barack Obama insisted [today] he was “furious” about the U.S. oil [leak] disaster but that “yelling” would be pointless, as aides rejected claims he had shown insufficient emotion over the crisis….

In a new attempt to demonstrate its engagement, the White House said Obama would make his third trip to the Gulf of Mexico coast [tomorrow], and he appeared on CNN talk show “Larry King Live” to discuss the catastrophe.

“I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people, but that is not what I was hired to do — my job is to solve this problem,” Obama said.

“I am furious at this entire situation. This is something where somebody didn’t think through the consequences of their actions,” he added.

Obama has been besieged on multiple fronts, and is dealing with the Gulf crisis, the Gaza flotilla raid and North Korea’s belligerence, not to mention the slowly recovering economy.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hit back at a growing media frenzy, along the lines that the president should simply “do something” to stop a gushing undersea well clogging the Gulf with a thick slick of oil.

“If jumping up and down and screaming would fix a hole in the ocean, we’d have done that five or six weeks ago,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs has been peppered with questions in recent days over whether Obama, known for a cool, intellectual demeanor, is doing enough to convey anger and dismay over the disaster.

Some normally sympathetic commentators have also been tearing into him, frustrated at his “no-drama” persona….

Gibbs argued Obama would gain nothing by going on television and throwing a tantrum.

“Pounding on a podium isn’t going to fix a hole in the ocean,” he said….

My main criticism of Obama’s handling of BP’s disaster is that he seemed to have trusted BP’s apparent lies that it had everything under control — and/or Obama seemed to be too intimidated by the mega-corporation to take control of the situation sooner, and if so, that’s a dangerous situation for a nation that calls itself a democracy.

Last on my list of criticisms would be that Obama hasn’t displayed enough anger, and I have no doubt that if he had done that, the very same assholes who now are saying now that he hasn’t been emotional enough would accuse him of being overly emotional and too unstable for a U.S. president.

And it would be a huge mistake to put the blame on Obama when the blame rests squarely on BP, Big Oil and the Repugnican Party, which has been aiding and abetting Big Oil at least since George W. Bush stole the White House in late 2000 and then launched his illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust war on Iraq in March 2003 in order to open its sovereign oil fields to Big Oil and to provide Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton with war profits.

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