Tag Archives: poverty

Death magically makes all of us saints

Editorial cartoon by Ted Rall

Boy, has the biography of the late former President George H. W. Bush thoroughly been whitewashed.

The credible groping allegations that came late in his life pale in comparison to the other harm that he caused to millions of people at home and abroad.

I was a victim of the first George Bush recession of 1990 and 1991 right out of college, and I vividly remember the first George Bush Gulf War of 1990 and 1991, which, along with the recession, was a great way to start out my young adult life: in an environment of unnecessary war* and unnecessary poverty created by the elite for the elite.

Of course, Son of Bush would go on to unnecessarily slaughter even more people in the Middle East and cause even greater economic collapse here at home — not to mention how 9/11 happened even after the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” and how Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 Americans, most of whom were expendable because they were black and/or poor.

So why has George H. W. Bush magically been rehabilitated in death?

For two reasons, that I can see:

One, most people are assholes who fear death, and when they see that someone else has died, they are reminded of their own assholery — and, of course, most paramount, they are reminded of their own mortality. It’s not actually about the person who died; it’s all about them. When they die, they don’t want people telling any ugly truths about them; they want to be whitewashed, too.

Also, of course, compared to “President” Pussygrabber, even the George Bushes seem like Abraham Lincoln — in style, anyway. (In substance, at least under Pussygrabber thus far we haven’t had another bogus war or another economic collapse. [Not that either or both of those things couldn’t still come yet, and yes, Pussygrabber has acted like an acid on what we call our democracy, and the damage from that is difficult if not impossible to calculate.])

Perhaps the ignorant masses conveniently “forget” what an evil asshole George H. W. Bush actually was because it makes them feel a little bit better about the Joffrey Baratheon-like “president” that they allowed to rise to power. (Yes, Joffrey Baratheon — a cruel, crass, wholly unfit and quite illegitimate ruler.)

Also, of course, I’m sure that there are many who think that praising George H. W. somehow hurts Pussygrabber.

And/or maybe they believe that praising George H. W. somehow will inspire Pussygrabber to clean up his act. But look at George H. W.’s act.

I, for one, certainly hope that Pussygrabber doesn’t match the damage that George H. W. Bush so casually inflicted upon so many millions of others.

I do, however, very much hope that just like George H. W., Pussygrabber humiliatingly is booted from the White House after only one term.

And it will be interesting to see how the ignorant masses try to whitewash Pussygrabber after he finally dies and goes to hell.

*The “Highway of Death” that Ted Rall mentions in his editorial cartoon was a war crime.

Good guys don’t commit war crimes. And no, an American never automatically is the “good guy.”

P.S. Here’s a lovely photo from the “Highway of Death” war crime:

In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo.

Also know that the wonderful George H. W. Bush opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he later claimed he regretted, but he then went on to perpetrate the blatantly racist Willie Horton fiasco — and infamously to refer to his own grandchildren as “the little brown ones” — so methinks that he didn’t regret it all that much.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Slouching towards Elysium

The militarized and highly protected exclusive space station for the rich and over-privileged looms over Earth in the 2013 science-fiction and social-justice film “Elysium.”

It is ironic that in the same week that we finally focus our attention on the fact that the heartless, fascistic, unelected Pussygrabber regime is keeping non-citizen Latino children separated from their parents and in cages, “President” Pussygrabber himself demands that we create a/the “space force.”

Gee, how might militarized space play out in the future?

In the 2013 Neill Blomkamp sci-fi film “Elysium,” the rich and powerful live in luxury on a space station (named Elysium) that orbits above Earth, visible in the sky from the surface of the planet. Below on Earth, we’re shown a desperate population that deals with poverty, pollution, overpopulation, hunger, sickness and disease, crime, shit jobs and general misery.

Most of the action on Earth takes place in a futuristic Los Angeles, which is comprised of a lot of Latinos and which is fully bilingual; our white protagonist, played by Matt Damon, was raised by a Spanish-speaking Latina woman and he speaks Spanish as well as English himself, and his best friend, played by Diego Luna, is Latino, and the woman and her daughter whom he tries to help (the latter is in need of a significant amount of health care that isn’t available to her on Earth, but is readily available to the denizens of Elysium) are Latina.

The miserable residents of Earth, who are kept in line by robot thugs, routinely attempt to reach Elysium via small spacecraft, usually if not only for life-saving medical care, but they much more often than not are shot down by the denizens of the space station before they can reach it; the rabble’s success rate of reaching the militarized and weaponized Elysium is quite small.

Elysium’s security is handled by a heartless Department-of-Homeland-Security-head-type she-Nazi played by Jodie Foster, who apparently was the inspiration for our current, real-life head of Homeland Security.

Elysium’s super-computer recognizes you as a citizen or a non-citizen of Elysium; your citizenship status is all-important, as it determines how (and pretty much even whether) you live. And, again, robot thugs, not unlike the U.S. Border Patrol and other law-enforcement thugs, keep the desperate masses in line for the elite of Elysium.

All sound familiar?

Admittedly, “Elysium” is a flawed film — for example, at the end of the film we are to believe that the space station, which is tiny compared to the planet, has enough resources to save everyone on Earth — but its set-up and its social commentary are fairly brilliant.

And it’s fairly visionary, because it is the direction in which we already are headed: an over-privileged few have far more than they’ll ever need — and they protect their over-privilege and their overabundance with violence and with the threat of violence — while the masses don’t have enough.

There are solutions to our problems. To name just one solution: birth control. Overpopulation causes so much pain and misery (hunger, homelessness, pollution, overcrowding, the rapid spread of disease, etc.), which is one of the reasons that while I love my Latino peeps, I oppose the backasswards and ultimately evil Catholick church, with its emphasis on its adherents having more and more children and its official prohibition against even contraception (and, of course, abortion).

No, I don’t advocate forced sterilization or forced abortion or anything like that, but I do advocate totally free birth control and totally free sterilization (and totally free abortion [within the first trimester, and later if medically called for]) for those who want it and request it.* The money that we’d pay toward controlling the population would be a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend because we don’t sensibly control our numbers.

We are at a junction where we still can put our collective foot on the brakes and enact policies to stem such preventable problems as even more overpopulation and even more pollution and even more climate change. And, of course, we must oppose the militarization of space, for fuck’s sake.

Or, we can just sit on our collective asses and wait until “President” in Perpetuity Pussygrabber gets his “space force,” which we’ll pay for, of course, and which he and his henchtraitors only will use against the rest of us — “Elysium”-style.

P.S. Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie wrote a pretty good piece positing that perhaps this time the Pussygrabber regime really has gone too far. In his piece, Bouie concludes (the links are Bouie’s):

… The common thread among each administration official is that they have grossly mischaracterized the situation at the border, hoping to justify their actions by portraying asylum-seekers as vectors of criminality, when they have a legal right to seek asylum, and when their offenses [crossing the border illegally] [usually] are only misdemeanors.

They’ve gotten scant support from fellow Republicans, who seem to see political danger, if not the moral challenge at hand. “The president should immediately end this family separation policy,” said Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska in a Facebook post, calling the policy “wicked” and correctly framing it as “a new, discretionary choice.” Many Republicans rightfully fear a backlash at the polls, should the policy continue.

[“Alt-right” Pussygrabber whisperer] Stephen Miller may have successfully trolled his opposition, but like the attempted “Muslim ban,” his weapon of choice is a moral travesty and a political disaster in the making. Instead of bolstering his boss, it may weigh him down with another crisis, jeopardizing his party’s hold on Congress and the administration’s ability to operate with impunity.

We’ll see. I truly had thought that the “Access Hollywood” tape probably would do Pussygrabber in, but for the most part we heard crickets from the Repugnican Party on that one. Now, though, we’re hearing even from the likes of Laura Bush that separating non-citizen children from their parents and keeping them in cages is a shitty fucking thing to do.

Even the perpetrators of this latest evil have admitted, sideways, that it’s evil, because they continue to knowingly falsely blame the Pussygrabber regime’s entirely voluntary policies and procedures on the Democrats.

And Homeland Security head Nazi Kirstjen Nielsen recently proclaimed: “We cannot detain children with their parents. So we must either release both the parents and the children — this is the historic get-out-of-jail-free practice of the previous administration [blame the Democrats!] — or the adult and the minor will be separated as a result of prosecuting the adult.

“Those are the only two options. Surely, it is the beginning of the unraveling of democracy when the body who makes the laws — rather than changing them — asks the body who enforces the laws not to enforce the laws.”

Here we see again the Nazi-like false, propagandistic claim that we have “only two options” (in this case, not separating children from their parents only for the “crime” of illegally entering the U.S. entirely is an option) and the Nazi-like attempt to fall back on “law-and-order” bullshit in order to try to justify doing evil to other human beings.

When the law results in the pain and suffering of innocent human beings, fuck the law. The law is made for and should serve human beings — NOT vice-fucking-versa.

We allow neo-Nazis like “President” Pussygrabber, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III, Pussygrabber puppeteer Stephen Miller and Homeland Security boss Kirstjen Nielsen to hide behind “law and order” at our own peril; they can try to use “the law” against the rest of us at any time. (First, they came for the undocumented, brown-skinned immigrants…)

P.P.S. Finally, I should note that of course the fictional space station Elysium and “President” Pussygrabber’s proposed Great Wall serve the same purpose: to keep the rich and over-privileged — and mostly white — people safe from having to share any of their (well, “their”) shit with the poorer, often-brown-skinned “others.”**

This is why Pussygrabber’s wall hasn’t faced the backlash that it should have: many, mostly white, Americans are fully on board with protecting — and growing — what they (we) have while others continue to suffer without (and make no mistake: our selfish excess most definitely comes at their loss).

We don’t want to admit that (our selfishness, our materialism, our racism, our xenophobia, our tribalism, our heartlessness, our willful blindness, etc.) outright, so we talk about “law and order” instead in order to try to make our motives appear to be much, much higher than they actually are.

And we call ourselves “Christians.”

P.P.P.S. Seriously, here is a photo of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen —

Kirstjen-Nielson-rtr-img

Reuters news photo

— and here is Jodie Foster as Elysium’s head of security:

Image result for Jodie Foster Elysium

Give Nielsen a haircut and we’re there.

Seriously, though, while there are calls for Nielsen to resign — and I think that she should resign — why would the cadre of stupid white men who gave her her marching orders get to keep their jobs?

Nielsen is nauseating, but all of the Nazis in the occupied White House need to go. Just one token head rolling won’t do, and methinks that a focus on Nielsen’s removal only whiffs of sexism, as much as I don’t want to defend Nielsen in regards to anything.

*No, I don’t advocate paying people to get sterilized or to use contraception or to get an abortion. That would open up a huge ol’ can of worms. But there is no good reason not to provide birth control for free to those who want it, and with a reduced population, or at least with a population whose growth rate is being managed, quality of life for everyone would improve.

And, of course, the Catholick church, which has demonstrated amply how much it truly cares about children, can and should go fuck itself. I see precious little difference between right-wing “Christians” trying to dictate the law for everyone and Sharia law. Both are theofascist.

**In my review of “Elysium” I compared the space station to our gated communities. Of course, Pussygrabber’s Great Wall would just make the entire nation one big gated community.

It’s much easier to build even a ginormous gated community that an exclusive, humongous space station, but hey, with a/the “space force,” maybe a real-life Elysium is in the cards…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Focusing on racism, real and contrived, will ensure that ‘shitholes’ remain so

image

Image from trumphole.tumblr.com

“President” Pussygrabber on Thursday told a group of U.S. senators and representatives that he doesn’t want people from “shithole countries” immigrating to the United States. I always thought of a “shithole” as that hole in the “president’s” face that continuously spews out shit, but whatever…

The definition of a “shithole” is “an extremely dirty, shabby or otherwise unpleasant place.”

In comparison to standard (that is, at-least-middle-class) U.S. living conditions, there are many “shitholes” outside of the United States and, of course, within the U.S.

Haiti, for instance, would be a “shithole” as defined above. There’s no calling Haiti a fucking paradise, methinks. And most of the world’s most impoverished nations indeed are in Africa.

However, there is a difference between you or I using the term “shithole” and the “president” using the term, and there is a difference between (fairly objectively, once we have defined the term) calling a place a “shithole” — and then thereby deeming its inhabitants to be inherently inferior (which pretty much is the definition of “racism”).

“President” Pussygrabber’s mere use of the term “shithole” obviously is not presidential (but nothing about him is presidential), but it’s not necessarily racist in and of itself. Again, if an impoverished region or nation accurately can be called a “shithole,” then, indeed, “shitholes” abound.

That said, Pussygrabber’s professed preferences among the world’s nations from which he believes we should accept immigrants absolutely reeks of racism.

The Washington Post yesterday indicated that during a meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Pussygrabber referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes” from which he wants no immigrants and proclaimed that he prefers immigrants from nations like Norway.*

I don’t know how else to translate that except that Pussygrabber, like his supporters and most of the members of the Repugnican Party, prefers white immigrants (especially those with money**) to non-white immigrants, especially brown-skinned immigrants (and especially those without money).

The United States is supposed to be a welcoming nation. At the Statue of Liberty is this plaque of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”:

File:Emma Lazarus plaque.jpg

The poem goes:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The second stanza is the most-quoted, but the first stanza is important, too: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land” is an anti-imperialist and anti-militarist sentiment, a sentiment that has been largely to mostly lost; for many if not even most American citizens, the U.S. is and always should remain the conquering colossus, not the “mother of exiles.”

And “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” sounds pretty fucking anti-aristocratic to me. Yet “President” Pussygrabber blatantly proclaims that he much prefers “your storied pomp” to “your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Don’t send these! he repeatedly proclaims.

But ironically, the standard of living that most Americans enjoy largely to even mostly comes at the expense of those from poorer, exploited nations whose inhabitants Pussygrabber and his supporters want to keep out.

Indeed, the United States is not the “mother of exiles,” but is that conquering colossus that helps to create exiles. Many if not most — probably most — of us U.S. citizens, in order to deny our role in poverty here and abroad, tell ourselves and each other that poverty primarily is caused by individual laziness and stupidity (and perhaps also by racial inferiority).

To further exculpate ourselves, we callously ignore major factors in global poverty, including the brutal effects of European colonialism that still grip billions of people today, including brutal global capitalism and the insane income inequality that it creates, climate change (caused, of course, by capitalism) and other environmental devastation (caused, of course, by capitalism) and otherwise harsh environments that make it difficult to impossible for human beings to thrive.

Indeed, many to most (probably most) U.S. citizens are perfectly fine with insane income inequality from capitalist exploitation and with environmental devastation from capitalist exploitation — as long as they are not among the worst victims of these wrongs.

Our moral duty as U.S. citizens is to try to help those around the globe — by living more sustainably and more responsibly and less selfishly ourselves, if nothing else — not to shut out those who aren’t as materially successful as we are and who aren’t as materially successful as we are in no tiny part because of us.

In our current environment of toxic identity politics, though — which is aided and abetted by many if not most who call themselves “Democrats” — all that we want to see is racism (and/or sexism/misogyny), real and even fabricated, because focusing only on identity politics, which keeps capitalist exploitation perfectly intact, allows us to continue to blithely ignore the socioeconomic devastation that plagues billions of human beings around the globe for our own selfish benefit.

We’ll say that we oppose racism, that you shouldn’t be judged based upon the color of your skin, but we’ll still gladly allow you to die en masse because of the excessive lifestyle that we refuse to relinquish.

“Mother of exiles”? Hell, no! We’re the motherfucking U. S. of A., the conquering colossus!

P.S. Race and class are indeed closely intertwined. There very apparently is a close correlation between race and income level in the United States, for example. Per Wikipedia, in 2015 the median household income for Asians in the U.S. was $74,245; for whites, $59,698; and for blacks, $36,544, the lowest median household income for all races.

As I have noted many times before, it rankles me that while we American commoners are too busy discussing race, often fighting among ourselves over it, our plutocratic overlords continue to increase income inequality, which harms people of all races.

That said, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time; we have to fight both racism and income inequality at the same time. Thing is, you can’t legislate a racist becoming a non-racist.*** You can, however, pass legislation (eliminate tax loopholes for corporations, raise taxes on the super-rich, keep raising the minimum wage, etc.) to reduce income inequality.

Finally, because race and class are so closely intertwined, in the case of “President” Pussygrabber, who was born into wealth (apparently he inherited his family’s real-estate business), to me it’s difficult to tell how classist he is vs. how racist he is.

For example, is his main problem with Haitans that most of them are black — or that most of them are poor?

Despite the fact that he was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, Pussygrabber apparently equates being poor with being a loser, and, perhaps because of his German background, he sees the poor as being weak and thus undesirable, and he always has shown a Nazi Germanic obsession with strength as he defines it.

After all, Pussygrabber advocates that immigrants to the U.S. already be rich, very apparently missing the fact that for many if not most of these already-rich immigrants, coming to the U.S. would be a step down.

*Pussygrabber is OK with some Asian immigrants, WaPo quotes the White House, since Asians tend to have and to make money. Pussygrabber apparently really has it out for the Haitians, probably because they’re the most impoverished nation that’s closest to the United States (as well as because of their race, of course), but, to be fair, U.S. immigration policy long has been rough on Haitians, including the historical preference for Cuban immigrants over Haitian immigrants, even though the island nations are neighbors.

**Why the fuck would white immigrants who live in nations whose governments actually believe in taking care of their inhabitants and their environment want to come to the United States, only to be thrown, like chum, to the corporations for their shark-like, treasonous profiteering? (Western nations whose per-capita wealth is higher than that of the United States include Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.)

***That said, anti-discrimination laws and hate-crime laws are critically important; perhaps you cannot change a racist’s mind, but you have to punish a racist’s crimes against others.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cornel West, fresh from Democratic platform committee, endorses Jill Stein

Cornel West, who is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in his presidential run, at a fish fry on Saturday in Charleston, S.C., organized by Representative James E. Clyburn.

New York Times photo

Cornel West, whom Wikipedia describes as “an American philosopher, academic, social activist, author, public intellectual and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America,” recently finished his stint as one of the 15 members of the 2016 Democratic Party platform-drafting committee (he was one of Bernie Sanders’ only-five picks to the committee) — only to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. West, shown above campaigning for Bernie in Charleston, South Carolina, in January, correctly calls Stein “the only progressive woman in the race” for the White House.

Here is Cornel West’s piece for The Guardian, in full (the links are the original links, not mine):

A long and deep legacy of white supremacy has always arrested the development of U.S. democracy. We either hit it head on, or it comes back to haunt us. That’s why a few of us have pressed the president for seven years not to ignore issues of poverty, police abuse and mass unemployment. Barack Obama said it very well, following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, that some communities “have been forgotten by all of us.”

And now – in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and beyond – this legacy has comes back to haunt the whole country.

Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies. Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration it’s been a question of “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality.

I have deep empathy for brothers and sisters who are shot in the police force. I also have profound empathy for people of color who are shot by the police. I have always believed deliberate killing to be a crime against humanity.

Yet, Obama didn’t go to Baton Rouge. He didn’t go to Minneapolis. He flew over their heads to go to Dallas. You can’t do that. His fundamental concern was to speak to the police; that was his priority. When he references the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s to speak to the police. But the people who are struggling have a different perspective.

The very notion that Dallas is the paragon of policing is something that needs to be interrogated. The Dallas mayor said we have done nothing wrong, but look at your history. Ask people in southern Dallas about the police. Ask Clinton Allen, an unarmed black man fatally shot by the Dallas police in 2013. I was with his mother, Collette Flanagan, the founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, last year. Countless people came up and told us about all the struggles black communities are having with the Dallas police.

Unfortunately, Obama thrives on being in the middle. He has no backbone to fight for justice. He likes to be above the fray. But for those us us who are in the fray, there is a different sensibility. You have to choose which side you’re on, and he doesn’t want to do that. Fundamentally, he’s not a love warrior. He’s a polished professional. Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Ella Baker – they were warriors.

Obama’s attitude is that of a neo-liberal, and they rarely have solidarity with poor and working people. Whatever solidarity he does offer is just lip service to suffering, but he never makes it a priority to end that suffering.

Obama has power right now to enact the recommendations made after Ferguson: better training, independent civilian oversight boards, body cameras. But he has not used executive orders to push any of these changes through.

This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between [Donald] Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and [Hillary] Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster. That’s why I am supporting Jill Stein. I am with her – the only progressive woman in the race – because we’ve got to get beyond this lock-jaw situation. I have a deep love for my brother Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him on Hillary Clinton. I don’t think she would be an “outstanding president.” Her militarism makes the world a less safe place.

Clinton policies of the 1990s generated inequality, mass incarceration, privatization of schools and Wall Street domination. There is also a sense that the Clinton policies helped produce the right-wing populism that we’re seeing now in the country. And we think she’s going to come to the rescue? That’s not going to happen.

The American empire is in deep spiritual decline and cultural decay. The levels of wealth inequality and environmental degradation is grotesque. The correct response to this is: tell the truth about what is going on. Bear witness. Be willing to go to jail to fight for justice if need be.

When the system is declining, it can bring despair. That’s why Black Lives Matter – and all other young people of all colors who are mobilizing – is a beautiful thing. We are having a moral and spiritual awakening. It gives us democratic hope. Its not about having hope but being hope. It’s time to move from being spectators, to being actors.

Among his many other points, I share West’s contention that Barack Obama hasn’t done enough for black Americans, irrespective of Obama’s race.

In fact, I’ve long speculated that Obama has done even less for black Americans than would a president of another race even with a similar political ideology — out of Obama’s fear of being accused of doing too much for black Americans because he is a black American himself.

And yes, of course all lives matter and of course Obama is supposed to be every American’s president, but these assertions often if not usually are made to whitewash the fact that black Americans still struggle mightily — by most socioeconomic measures more than any other racial group — in a largely racist, white supremacist nation.

As I’ve noted, I don’t hold it against Bernie that he endorsed Billary. Because he ran as a Democrat, he pretty much had to. But he didn’t have to do so wholeheartedly, and he didn’t do so wholeheartedly. In my view, he did it with a major wink-wink.

And, of course, we Berners are free to vote for whom we wish, and like Brother Cornel (who, again, helped to write the Democratic Party platform, for fuck’s sake), I intend to vote for Jill Stein, who is not only the only progressive woman in the presidential race, but is the only progressive, period, who still is in the race.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Mittens on the topic of money for nothing (he’s an expert)

Ann Romney, wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, attends the equestrian dressage individual grand prix special at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park

Reuters photo

Corporate welfare queen Ann Romney enjoys watching her horse compete in the Olympics in London today (seriously), while in the United States today, her hubby Mittens extolled the value of “good, hard work” — for the rest of us.

Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney, whacking the perennial political piñata that is the “welfare queen” or “welfare cheat,” declared today that President Barack Obama has reversed the “great accomplishment” of former President Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform” and declared, “If I am president, I will put work back in welfare. We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good, hard work.”

Wow.

Let’s talk about “good, hard work” and a “culture of dependency” — a plutocratic elite who blatantly steal hundreds of billions of our tax dollars via such things as bogus warfare, which benefits the likes of Big Oil and the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton (which was granted no-bid federal contracts for the Vietraq War that Cheney pushed), and corporate welfare, such as the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that were just handed over to the “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street weasels as their reward for having tanked our nation’s economy.

That kind of welfarecorporate welfare — is perfectly OK to the treasonous, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class right wing.

We can give hundreds of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars to those who already are filthy rich (who, being the Benedict Arnolds that they are, pay as little in taxes themselves as they can get away with).

But we can’t give a fucking penny of our own tax dollars to those poor and working-class Americans who supposedly just don’t want to work.

Welfare can be for a person only if we define a person as a corporation.

Gee, just how hard, do you think, does the typical multi-millionaire like Mittens Romney actually work?

Do you think that Mittens ever scrubs a toilet or mops a floor? Or ever even makes his own meal? Does his own laundry? Does he even drive himself anywhere?

Yeah, Mittens has it hard. He’s a hard worker. He does good, hard work.

I tell you what: Mittens Romney has not done tens of millions of dollars’ worth of actual work.

No. He has been the beneficiary of a sick and fucking twisted socioeconomic system that allows a few — especially those who, like Mittens, were born into wealth and privilege — to steal the wealth of the many.

The only way to become a multi-millionaire is to fuck people over. You pay your employees much less than the value of their labor and you charge your customers much more than the actual value of your product or service. That’s how you get rich. Not through good, hard work.

It’s legalized thievery is what it is.

The last thing that our plutocratic overlords want is for us, the masses, to realize that it is they, the plutocrats, who are our real enemy, the real drain on our nation, so they tell us that it’s actually the weak and the powerless who are destroying this nation: immigrants who want a better life for themselves, same-sex couples who want the equality that is guaranteed to them under the U.S. Constitution, “welfare queens” or “welfare cheats,” Muslims or those who look like they might be Muslims (especially as evidenced by their use of a turban), et. al., et. al.

No, I tell you, it is the strong and the powerful who are destroying this nation. The weak and the powerless are just trying to survive. They are not the enemy.

However, in the supposedly bad-ass United States of America, it’s popular to pick on the powerless,* including and perhaps especially the poor, even though we supposedly are a “Christian” nation and Jesus Christ’s Number One teaching is to love one another as we love ourselves and to take care of the least among us, including, of course, the poor, and of the rich, Jesus remarked that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:25).

Multi-millionaire Mittens is a “Christian”?

Not if we define a “Christian” as someone who actually follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

If Mittens were a Christian, someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, he would forego the houses and the cars and the car elevator and the thoroughbred horse in the Olympics, and he’d use his millions (well, our millions that he stole from us in the system that is rigged against us) to help out some people in need — instead of kicking the poor while they already are down for his own personal political gain.

That’s not Christian. That’s quite anti-Christian.

Not that Barack Obama is any fucking angel.

Team Obama will not be accused of going easy on the “welfare queens/cheats,” you see, and so also today, Obama’s mouthpiece Jay Carney declared that Team Mittens’ claim that Obama is trying to roll back Bill Clinton’s cold-blooded, right-wing welfare “reform” is “categorically false” and “blatantly dishonest.”

With “friends” like these so-called “Democrats” in our corner, who needs the fucking Repugnican Tea Party?

Seriously — the economy is our nation’s Number One problem (outside of global warming, of course, which makes pretty much every other problem that we might have pale by comparison), and we have both the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate and the Democratic Party presidential candidate fighting over which party will stick it to the poor the most, which party will kick those Americans who already are down and out the hardest.

We’re fucked.

Unless we revolt.

And soon.

When the system fails you this fucking miserably — when both parties of the partisan duopoly are against you and for the rich — it’s time to replace the system.

Not to “reform” the system — but to scrap it and start over.

This system is irfuckingredeemable.

*We never launch one of our imperialistic military invasions on a nation that actually can defend itself, do we?

No, we bomb a comparatively defenseless nation like Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan and then applaud ourselves, even though our “victory” is like that of an NFL team over a junior-high-school flag-football team.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Why this gay man supports Planned Parenthood

On the surface, I suppose, I, as a gay man, have the least reason of any demographic group to support Planned Parenthood.

I don’t have to worry about experiencing an unplanned pregnancy because I’m not a woman. I don’t have to worry (very much at all) about accidentally impregnating a woman because I prefer members of my own sex. I don’t have to worry about contracting breast cancer. (Very probably.)

But I clearly see that we’re all connected, and that a right-wing attack on one of us is a right-wing attack on all of us.

That, and let’s face it: the right-wing hatred of women and the right-wing oppression of women overlaps with the right-wing hatred and the right-wing oppression of gay men. The patriarchal right wing values males and male heterosexuality and the masculine, and devalues females (regardless of their sexual orientation) and devalues gay men, because gay men, to the right wing, are part of the feminine that must be subjugated (indeed, in some cases, even, destroyed).

So whenever Planned Parenthood comes under attack by the misogynists, be they female-hating men or self-hating women, whether it be an attack by the self-loathing women who “lead” the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation or an attack by the women-hating stupid white men of the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party who for now control the U.S. House of Representatives, I give Planned Parenthood another donation, usually of at least $20 or $25.

Seriously: These right-wing attacks on Planned Parenthood must be great business for PP. (Similarly, when National Public Radio and/or Public Broadcasting Service come under attack from the right wing, I give them donations, too.)

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation sure made a serious misstep by deciding to side with the right wing and fuck over Planned Parenthood. I have given to the Komen foundation at least once before, but I very most likely never will again. I would not be surprised if the foundation folds. (Indeed, it should, and others should assume the work of battling breast cancer.) You can’t say that you are for women and women’s rights but that you are against Planned Parenthood.

I also support Planned Parenthood because overpopulation harms all of us, regardless of our sex or sexual orientation.

Parenting experts have concluded that gay men and lesbians as a group probably make better parents than many if not most heterosexual couples because, among other reasons, same-sex couples who become parents obviously want to be parents, while about half of pregnancies that occur within heterosexual couplings are accidental. (What percentage of those unwanted pregnancies are terminated, I am not certain.)

For all of the societal ills of which gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) are (most often wrongfully) accused, the one thing that we are not guilty of is contributing to overpopulation and its many attendant problems, which include the depletion of the planet’s natural resources from increased human consumption of those resources, increased pollution from human activity (and increased global warming, of course), and the more immediately obvious sufferings that overpopulation causes, such as hunger, poverty, poverty-related crime, and the fact that there is a serious “quality-control” issue when more human beings are produced than can be adequately cared for, which includes not only meeting their physiological needs, but meeting their psychospiritual needs as well. (Indeed, humankind, despite what so many awful heterosexual parents appear to believe, does not live by bread alone.)

It’s ironic — one of the most shit-and-pissed-upon groups of people on the planet (non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) probably are the ones best equipped to save it.

In the meantime, I continue to support Planned Parenthood, which is at least decreasing the amount of damage that those who (easily can) take their reproductive ability for granted are doing to all of us.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts on the new year from the Island of California



Early explorers thought that California is an island. It might as well be.

2011 should be an interesting political year.

It’s ironic that Repugnican former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been convicted of money laundering just as his stupid white male ilk, led this time by the steely-cold-blue-eyed Repugnican Rep. John Boehner, are ready to take over the House — you know, to bring back the good old days of Tom DeLay & Co.

When we of the left say that Americans are fucktards, this is the kind of thing that we’re talking about: expecting the same bunch of people who sank the nation in the first place to be the same ones to rescue it.

Here in California, things should be at least a little different next year.

On November 2, not a single Repugnican was elected to statewide office here in California, and come early January, gone will be Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was elected governor in the gubernatorial recall do-over election of 2003. (The Repugnican candidate in the 2002 gubernatorial election, Bill Simon, was an uncharismatic Richie Rich fucktard who lost to the uncharismatic Democratic incumbent, Gov. Gray Davis, although by just under 5 percent, so the Repugs just orchestrated a do-over election the next year with a much more charismatic candidate this time.)

Schwarzenegger promised to turn California around, but of course he leaves the nation’s most populous state in worse shape than it was when he got it. Ironically, in his too-short recall election campaign, Schwarzenegger blamed the BushCheneyCorp’s sins, including the Enron* debacle, on then-Gov. Gray Davis, even though Schwarzenegger had had a secret meeting with Enron head Ken Lay before he went on to run for governor of the state that Enron crippled. By Schwarzenegger’s own logic in 2003, though, we can blame only him for California’s current mess (even though, of course, the unelected BushCheneyCorp has been a huge factor in California’s decline, from 2001 to present). 

In the days of old, it was believed that California is an enchanted island — the long peninsula of Baja California is what gave the early explorers the idea that California is an island; they didn’t realize that Baja California is attached to the rest of the continent. (It is, in fact, attached to Mexico just under California.)

With the Mojave Desert in the southern part of the state and the Sierra Nevada mountain range running along the eastern part of the state, however, geography actually did leave California as somewhat of an island to itself, and for a while, anyway, these natural barriers for the most part kept the hordes of westward-immigrating white people out (two words: Donner party…).

Speaking of white people, it’s fairly clear that brown is the new black, and that as the nation’s population of Latinos continues to grow — here in California, more than a third of us are Latino, and more Latinos live in California than in any other U.S. state — the white supremacists, whose numbers, at least proportionally to the numbers of non-whites, are dwindling, are going to continue to blame the decline of the Great White American Empire on the browned-skinned.

A tea-bagging white-supremacist dipshit here in California (yes, unfortunately, plenty of fucktarded whiteys have made it past the Mojave Desert and the Sierra Nevada to inflict themselves upon the rest of us) has been given the legal go-ahead to try to collect enough signatures to put an Arizona-like anti-Latino law on the state ballot.

I expect the white supremacist, who used to be a Repugnican Party county chair (surprise surprise), to succeed in getting his signatures; it seems that nothing appeals to the voters like hatred, bigotry, ignorance and making scapegoats of minority groups. The voters seem to be loathe to OK anything productive, but to dog-pile upon already historically persecuted minority groups is just great fun! Proposition Hate was evidence of that.

However, while Prop H8 passed in November 2008, I expect a proposition for an Arizona-style anti-Latino law to fail here in California, where, unlike in Arizona, the majority of us are just fine with sharing our state with those of other races, and here in California, Latinos aren’t “other” — they are part of what makes California California, perhaps especially since California used to belong to Mexico, and the names of California’s largest cities are testament to that historical fact: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, etc., etc.

Ironically, it seems that it’s the brown-skinned who most likely can save the sinking United States of America. While the United States’ white overlords seem congenitally unable to do anything but to overextend themselves and to self-destruct, like their British forebears did, progress is being made in South America.

Notes a columnist for The Christian Science Monitor:

One in 10 South Americans – about 38 million people – escaped poverty during the past decade. That’s remarkable progress by any measure.

Contrast that with the United States, where poverty has been growing due to a decade-long stagnation of income for the middle class and the Great Recession. In 2009, the U.S. had more poor people than in any of the 51 years since poverty levels have been estimated.

Of course, America’s poor are far better off than South America’s poor. And the U.S. still has a much lower poverty rate (14.2 percent versus around 70 percent). South America remains infamous for huge income gaps between a tiny elite and masses of people making, often, just $1 or $2 a day.

Still, 10 years of growing prosperity has shrunk that gap. The credit goes to democratic leftist governments that have vastly boosted social spending to help the poor, maintains Mark Weisbrot, a left-of-center economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Half of that improvement comes from Brazil. Under outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the nation pushed up the minimum wage a real 65 percent in eight years, helping to raise the wages of tens of millions of workers, including many receiving more than minimum wage. A program offered small cash grants to poor families if they sent their children to school.

The results? Real income per person is up some 24 percent since 2000. Illiteracy is down. Poverty has been halved since 2002; extreme poverty is down by 70 percent, says Mr. Weisbrot, pulling more than 19 million people into the middle class.

And the economy hasn’t suffered. Unemployment under Mr. da Silva’s presidency dropped from more than 11 percent to 6.7 percent. Income inequality has fallen considerably.

Other nations with “progressive” governments have made much social progress, notes Weisbrot. He lists Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela. Under President Hugo Chávez, attacked by the right in the U.S., oil-rich Venezuela has tripled social spending per person since 2003. Attendance at universities has doubled. Most of the poor now get health care under a government program.

The continent weathered the financial crisis relatively well. Social spending rose. So there was no big rise in poverty, says Norbert Schady, an economic adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank, speaking from Quito, Ecuador.

Moreover, prospects for continued economic progress are strong. The Institute of International Finance (IIF), set up by the world’s biggest banks, forecasts 6 percent growth in gross domestic product in Latin America this year, which includes Mex­ico and Central America as well as South Am­er­ica. That growth should shrink poverty further.

By contrast, the IIF forecasts a 2.5 percent growth rate this year for the U.S. At that slow pace the U.S. could see a further rise in poverty. [Emphasis mine.]

South America’s new economic vigor is also causing a geopolitical shift. The U.S. has long considered Latin America part of its political and economic sphere of influence. Officials running South America’s left-of-center governments often charge the U.S. with imperial ambitions.

But as U.S. growth slows, South America’s businesses have reached out to other markets. While 15 percent of South America’s trade is still with the U.S., a greater share is tied to Europe. Also, trade within the continent is growing with a free-trade deal. So South American governments no longer feel so much under the thumb of the U.S.

What the columnist doesn’t note is that the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon, for decades focused its evil gaze upon Latin America, where its Uruk-hai ruthlessly quashed any democratically elected governments that actually dared to put the needs of the people above the greed of American corporations. And that now, with the Eye of Sauron having been focused on destroying the Middle East for the past decade, democracy has been flourishing in Latin America, and consequently, poverty there has been declining, now that U.S. interference there is at its lowest in decades.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone, in his worthwhile documentary “South of the Border” (in which he visits with South American presidents Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva, Cristina Kirchner [and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner] and Rafael Correa and with Cuban leader Raul Castro), posits that, ironically, it might be the democratization of Latin America, with Latinos’ growing influence on U.S. politics, that finally democratizes the United States of America. (You know, something like that dreaded “domino effect” that the right wing used to talk about where Vietnam was concerned.)

California, with more Latinos than any other state (more than 13 million of them**), and now with Democrat Jerry Brown to take back the helm of the state on January 3, just might lead the way in the democratization of the nation.

The myth of California as a magical island might not be so mythical after all.

It will be interesting to watch the rest of the nation from the Island of California in 2011. I expect to see the nation only worsen under a Repugnican-controlled House of Representatives, and it will be interesting to see which wingnut emerges as the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee. Will it be Sarah Palin-Quayle, who says that we must stand with our “allies” in North Korea?*** It would be rather Kubrickian if a U.S. president nuked the wrong Korea, wouldn’t it?

Stay tuned. I sure will, from my island.

*Such wonderful things come out of the state of Texas: Tom DeLay, George W. Bush and Enron, to name just three. Really, when Repugnican-of-course Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks about secession, we should give him our full support in such an endeavor.

**Texas is at No. 2 in terms of its Latino population, with around 9 million Latinos.

***Really, though, it’s apparent that white privilege makes whites incredibly stupid, probably from their overly comfortable lives and their lack of any challenges.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Give me socialism or give me death!

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The right wing’s witch hunts during the Cold War and the McCarthy Era involved Communists and homosexuals. Must! Root! Out! The! Enemy!

Today, it’s “socialism!” instead of “Communism!” that the right wing bandies about, and we non-heterosexuals (along with immigrants from Latin America and Muslims and other historically less powerful minorities) remain scapegoats for all of the nation’s ills.

It’s interesting that for all of the wingnuts’ blather about “freedom,” serious discussion of alternative economic systems is so fucking taboo. Here in the United States of America, land of the free only to support capitalism, socialism isn’t an economic system; it’s an epithet meant to shut down any actual serious discussion of socialism.

It’s a pretty powerful way for the capitalistic plutocrats to maintain control, to make the masses think that any other way of doing things isn’t even possible.

If capitalism were so strong and so self-evidently the only feasible economic system, then why does the right wing do its best to stifle any serious discussion about alternative economic systems by branding those of us who wish to have such a discussion as traitors? Um, yeah.

Of course, it’s the millionaires and billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch and his little bitch boy Glenn Beck, who keep stoking the pro-capitalistic propagandistic fires, since Hey, capitalism sure has been good to them! (to the rest of us, um, not so much…).

Capitalism has, in the minds of millions of American sheeple, been equated with patriotism and Christianity — and all kinds of other things, such as militarism, and yes, colonialism (um, why wouldn’t Barack Obama or any other at least semi-sane and moral individual oppose colonialism, Dinesh Dikshit, since colonialism by definition is about the exploitation of the weaker by the more powerful, you fucking moron?).

The right wing, of course, for all of its talk about “looking forward, not backward,” equates socialism and (little-“c”) communism with tyranny and the like, as though we humankind are doomed only to repeat the mistakes of the past, as though we cannot create something new.

Democratic socialism could work quite well in the United States of America, and, if the nation survives the right wing’s attempt to destroy it in an Armageddon that it creates only through its wish for such an Armageddon, probably democratic socialism — which is about what’s best for the most number of individuals (in contrast to how capitalism is about what’s best for only a small number of individuals, at the expense of the majority) — is the only thing that’s going to save the nation.

This news story from the French (socialist!) news organization AFP, though, highlights the propagandistic obstacles created by the plutocratic propagandists that we Americans who want a better future and a better present for ourselves and those who follow us have to overcome:

New Castle, Delaware — Stephen Knotts, a blond, blue-eyed member of the conservative Tea Party movement, is deeply concerned about where he sees the United States heading.

“We are pushing towards European values. Socialism, that’s a European value,” he warns. “Everybody’s kind of zombified over there.” [Gee, has he even been “over there,” I wonder?]

Knotts is one of a crowd gathered at a Delaware shooting club, awaiting an address by Senate candidate and Tea Party superstar Christine O’Donnell.

He is one of many Americans who fear their country is lurching dangerously towards higher taxes and bigger government and cites with fear the experience of France and Germany.

“Sixty percent of what they earn goes for taxes,” he tells a reporter, though the actual figure is closer to 40 percent.

Paul Lamanna, a member of the shooting club who describes himself as a first generation Italian immigrant, is similarly concerned about what he sees as a turn towards European policies in the United States.

“They have communism, they have fascism, they have socialism, even today. I’m not interested in any of that. I’m interested in democracy,” he says.

In neighboring Newark, Delaware, 31-year-old Kevin Thomas pronounces himself “sick and tired of this big government coming in, taking our money, giving it away basically to people who don’t deserve it.”

“We’re building a nation of slackers,” he warns at a campaign event for O’Donnell….

Wow. So the millionaires and billionaires who get bailouts from those of us who actually pay our fair share of taxes aren’t “slackers” — it’s only the working class and the poor who are the “slackers.” Which is exactly what Uncle Rupert wants you to believe, and which is exactly what his legions of Faux “News” viewers parrot dutifully. (Trust Uncle Rupie! He has only your best interests in mind!)

Only the rich deserve even more, you see, while the have-nots deserve even less — because they’re lazy slackers. (It absolutely is not that they are exploited in a ruthless corporatocracy that dipshits like the “blond, blue-eyed member[s] of the conservative Tea Party movement” in the story above stupidly call “democracy.” [“Blond, blue-eyed member[s] of the conservative Tea Party movement” — hmmm… Reminds me of another fascistic movement comprised mostly of the blond and blue-eyed…])

“Everybody’s kind of zombified over there [in Europe],” the blond and blue-eyed “tea-party” dipshit remarks in the news story above, very apparently oblivious to the zombification of millions of Americans by the right-wing noise machine funded by the millionaires and billionaires like something right out of “The Matrix.”

The way that we non-heterosexuals have to get equal human and civil rights is to stand up to the bullies and to counter the propaganda and lies that the wingnuts pump out there. It’s a long, tough slog, but we’re no fucking slackers, and we are winning the war against bigotry and ignorance and hatred.

And the only way that we, the millions of us Americans who are the have-nots and are the living-from-paycheck-to-paycheck and are the just-an-illness-away-from-poverty are going to get a better future and a better present for ourselves is to counter the plutocrats’ blatant fucking self-serving lies that we are the lazy “slackers.”

It’s called projection — the rich are the slackers. And we don’t need them. They need us.

It’s a popular uprising that the rich fear the most, which is why they keep a steady stream of pro-capitalist propaganda flowing to keep the “patriotic” sheeple zombified. (And it’s also why they live behind their gates with their private security.)

You gotta hand it to them, though: The plutocratic propagandists are quite successful — I mean, millions of Americans tolerate, even praise, an economic system that clearly works only for those relative few at the top. Millions of Americans stupidly incorrectly believe that this system of institutionalized exploitation — capitalism is nothing but legalized thievery — one day is going to make them rich, too. (This I call the “lottery mentality.”) Millions of Americans stupidly would defend, to the death, the very same economic system that is killing them slowly.

This slow death these dipshits call “freedom.” (George Orwell put it best when he invented Big Brother’s slogans of “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.” This is the credo of the Repugnican Tea Party.)

That the filthy-rich powers that be have demonized socialism to the extent that they have demonstrates that it is a clear and present danger to them. If they want you to reject it, there must be something about it that’s quite good for you. 

Only when the majority of us Americans demand democratic socialism — instead of continuing to acquiesce to the pro-plutocratic, pro-corporatocratic, duopolistic partisan charade that we call “democracy” that is incapable of delivering anything even close to hope or change, since it is designed only to perpetuate the status quo of perpetual hopelessness for the majority — will we overthrow our capitalist overlords who call us the lazy slackers while they continue to steal from us.

We Americans, quite to the contrary of the claims of the “tea-party” dipshits in the news story above, could learn quite a lot from the Europeans, perhaps especially from the French, who fucking fight for better conditions for themselves.

Reports The (capitalist) Associated Press today:

Paris – A nationwide strike by major French unions canceled flights and trains and shut the Eiffel Tower [today], disrupting daily life for many and putting new pressure on the government to drop a plan to raise the retirement age by two years.

Unionized train and Paris public transport workers vowed to stay off the job for at least another day, and police said at least 1.2 million people marched in protests against the plan, the largest turnout in four nationwide demonstrations over the last five weeks.

That could be a signal of rising momentum for the movement facing off against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservatives over its proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

The government has refused to back down, saying the plan is the only way to save the money-draining pension system. Some unions upped the ante by declaring open-ended strikes starting [today], meaning walkouts could drag on for days or even weeks.

The outlook for Wednesday was still uncertain in many sectors, but many workers at the national railways planned to stay off the job, as did some employees of the Paris transport network. Some oil workers pledged to keep up a protest at refineries, and one union warned of looming gasoline shortages.

[Today] hundreds of tourists visiting the Eiffel Tower were ushered away after workers there voted to join the strike.

“The closure of the monument is a symbol,” said Yann Leloir, a striking employee. The tower — France’s most-visited monument — is to reopen [tomorrow] as usual….

This is why the American right wing, led by the millionaires and billionaires, bashes labor unions: because labor unions can accomplish something for the common working citizen. Labor unions can make the playing field more level.

Yet millions of Americans — working Americans — have been brainwashed by the filthy rich into believing that unions are bad for them. No — unions are bad only for the rich.

Change in the United States of America will come. The capitalist center cannot hold. It will not hold.

The only question is whether the revolution for what is right and what is fair and what is just — an end to the exploitation of the masses by the few — will be a bloody one or whether the rich will save their own necks from a repeat of the French revolution here at home.

Otherwise, those torches and pitchforks, methinks, are going to materialize sooner than most would ever guess.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I see homeless people

I just read about an apparent new trend — how widespread it is, I’m not sure — in which individuals are creating Facebook pages for their local homeless people. No, not charitably or humanitarianly (is that a word?), but as in turning the homeless into online local “celebrities,” as objects of satire and ridicule, without their knowledge, apparently.

Rude. And wrong.

However, I am guilty of having nicknamed most of my neighborhood homeless people, whom I affectionately think of “homies.” However, I’ve never shared my nicknames for them (or my term “homies”) with them, and I never would. And I certainly never would take their photos and post them to the Internet, and I most certainly wouldn’t start a Facebook page for any of them, because that shit is mean and isn’t funny. (It’s not as bad as “bum fights,” true, but it’s still bad.)

Over the years — I’ve lived in the same Sacramento apartment for nine years now, because I really, really hate to move — in my neighborhood there have been:

  • “Chimney,” the old guy who smoked like one. He was an old, tall, very thin white guy with a long white beard who used to hang out within a radius of only a few blocks of my apartment. He’d listen to the radio, mostly talk radio (not right-wing talk radio, that I could discern), and sometimes I’d see him reading, usually a newspaper, which he probably got from a trash can or a dumpster, I always surmised. If he drank, I never detected it. However, because of his lack of hygiene he smelled to high heaven, so much so that when passing him on the sidewalk I would hold my breath for several seconds, but for me it was a live-and-let-live situation. He never seriously bothered me, except sometimes to ask me questions about my comings and goings that made me at least mildly uncomfortable, but, except for how he smelled, especially on a hot day, he was rather harmless. He never asked me for anything at all, that I can recall, not a penny, not a bite of food. I think that he utilized at least some of the local services for the homeless at least sometimes, but I’m not sure. Unfortunately, after I had become used to having him around for years — he was a fixture of my immediate neighborhood — some months ago, Chimney simply disappeared. A neighbor of mine whom I don’t know used to let Chimney hang out in front of his apartment, sitting on a chair, where he had the shade of a small tree. (Where Chimney slept at night, I don’t know to this day.) I would ask my neighbor what happened to Chimney, whose real name, I believe, was John, but I’m afraid of what the answer probably would be. Chimney/John was around for so many years that his sudden disappearance seems like it could indicate only one thing.
  • “Frankenhobo,” who walks like Frankenstein’s monster, with his arms outstretched and his legs far apart. He is an old man who is so perpetually dirty that I think he’s white, but he actually could be of another race (that is, he might not be Anglo). He walks slooooowly and often stops dead in his tracks, for no apparent reason, sometimes for a long time, before ambling on slowly again. His arms he often waves about jerkingly and apparently uncontrollably. My best guess is that he fried his brain on drugs years ago. He’s harmless, but you don’t want to get within noseshot of him. He never speaks, but he once, recently, made a very strange, very loud noise outside of my apartment as I was leaving for work, if memory serves. At first I thought maybe he’d had a major medical episode, and right in front of my apartment, since he had sounded like a large, cud-chewing animal bellowing in distress, but I saw him then continue to amble on. Frankenhobo’s range is much larger than was Chimney’s; I see Frankenhobo all over the place, even outside of my neighborhood (and I’ve seen him within the past week), and he seems to walk all day long. Where he goes at night I have no idea.
  • “Crazy Hide-Her-Face Lady” was a white woman probably in her 40s. She would wear all black, including a black trenchcoat, I believe it was, and black gloves, too, if memory serves, no matter how warm the weather (Sacramento hits the 100s in the summertime). When you came anywhere near her she immediately would hide her face with her hand. I know that “Crazy Hide-Her-Face Lady” isn’t a very nice nickname for someone, but as she never spoke and as I never spoke to her — she would run away, actually, when you would approach her direction on the sidewalk, even if you were on the other side of the street — I never shared it with her. Like Quasimodo used to hang out at at Catholic church, Crazy Hide-Her-Face Lady used to hang out primarily in the vicinity of the large Catholic church in my neighborhood. Like Chimney, she disappeared, too, but that was a long time ago. Given her youthfulness compared to Chimney’s, I’d like to think that she disappeared for a better reason than Chimney apparently did. I always wondered why she felt the need to always hide her face from view. I never noticed any facial disfigurement or the like, so I always wondered if some severe childhood trauma was responsible for it.
  • “Crazy Bark-at-My-Dog Lady” is a white woman in her late 50s to 60s, I’m guessing, who seems to dress too well to be homeless, but she’s mentally ill, it’s pretty clear. I see her at neighborhood coffeehouses, wearing full-length dresses, usually, no matter what the weather, and too much makeup. She seems quite in her own little world, chatters to herself, and rarely, if ever, to anyone else, that I ever have observed. Whenever I walked my now-deceased long-haired Chihuahua past Crazy Bark-at-My-Dog Lady, she inevitably would make an “Arf! Arf!” sound at my dog. This annoyed me greatly, but as my dog completely ignored her and was not spooked by her whatsoever, I let it go. (I could not have a Dorothy-is-indignant-because-Toto-is-being-terrorized moment, very unfortunately…) I saw Crazy Bark-at-My-Dog Lady just a day or two ago. As I no longer have my dog (her name was Kit, by the way; I named her after the kit fox and she lived for a good 15 years or more), I might have to rename Crazy Bark-at-My-Dog Lady someday, except that as I no longer have my dog, these days she ignores me altogether, so a new nickname for her probably is not forthcoming.
  • “Cardboard” is a woman who, I am guessing, is at least in her 50s. Her ethnicity is difficult to discern, as she sits in a plastic chair and surrounds herself almost entirely with pieces of cardboard, and I believe that she keeps her head and face concealed with a scarf or scarves or some other material. She seems humped over and I’m not sure if that’s her spine or if she intentionally keeps herself hunched over, cowering from her environment. As she employs the pieces of cardboard regardless of the weather, I’m not sure how much of it is for protection against the elements and how much of it is from her belief that the cardboard protects her from the world. This woman usually sets up her cardboard camp right in the middle of the sidewalk and people just pretend that she isn’t there. “Cardboard,” I know, is not a very clever nickname. “Fort Lady” doesn’t really seem to fit, since she doesn’t build an actual fort like my brothers and I used to build out of cardboard boxes when we were kids. I’ll work on it…
  • Finally, there is this little white-bearded troll of a man whose name is John. I’ve yet to nickname him, but “Troll” seems appropriate. Like my boyfriend is, this man is one of those people I call “vaguely ethnic-looking”: you know that he isn’t Anglo, but you’re not sure exactly what he is: Italian? Jewish? Arab? Some mixture? What? He’s at least in his 50s and he’s the only one of these people I’ve described who I know is an alcoholic, and it’s OK with me if he wants to drink and pickle his liver — it’s his liver — but it wasn’t OK with me when he was sleeping on my front porch. Well, I would have been OK with him sleeping on my front porch, actually, except that he’d leave cigarette butts and other trash on it, and he wouldn’t leave at sunrise, but he would sleep inon my fucking front porch. Once I took Kit outside for her morning walk around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday. He was still on my porch. I gave him a dirty look, which I thought was a clear communication of, “Your ass had better not still be here when I return from this walk.” But when I returned with Kit, he still was there. Unfuckingacceptable. It was that time or shortly thereafter that I blew up at him. I normally don’t scream at people, but I yelled at him at the top of my lungs, and every other word was “fuck” or one of its derivatives. It was the only thing I knew to do after I’d already instructed him at least three or four times previously to stop sleeping on my porch, since he’d thought that he could stay there all day and litter liberally. My having gone ballistic on him worked. He no longer sleeps on my porch. I still see him lurking around my apartment sometimes, usually with a bicycle. When I see him from my porch I usually shoot him a stone-cold look. So that he remembers. So far, it has worked.

I probably sound callous, but the fact is that after at least nine years of living in my neighborhood, I’m quite used to seeing homeless people. I don’t like being a member of a society that doesn’t take care of its most needy, especially with all of these self-proclaimed “Christians” running around amongst us, but at the same time, I’m quite middle class and there isn’t much, if anything, that I can do for these people in terms of any long-term solution, and further, I am of the full belief that I play plenty in taxes already and that my tax dollars should go to things like helping the homeless — and preventing homelessness in the first fucking place — instead of to things like bogus wars for the oil-military-industrial complex and to corporate welfare.

As a member of the middle class, which is disappearing with the polar ice caps, I feel thoroughly fucked up the ass (in a bad way) as it is; using what money I have left over after taxes and other paycheck deductions, and after my monthly rent check to my slumlord, to help the homeless people in my neighborhood would make me feel like a colossal fucking chump.

If we of the middle class pay out of our own pockets for what our tax dollars already should be covering, when will the abuse of our tax dollars ever end?

I do care, but I don’t have any solutions, especially when it strikes me that I’d be the only one trying to solve the problem.

I like to think that I’m at least one notch above the vast majority of my cohorts who see the homeless people who populate my neighborhood and yet don’t see them, my cohorts who probably don’t even bother to take a moment to give the homies nicknames.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A decade later, Elián is still a pawn

Elian Gonzalez attends  the UJC, Union of Young Communists, ...

Associated Press photo

Elián Gonzalez, now 16, is shown in Havana, Cuba, three days ago.

I remember when the right-wing, mostly Repugnican, anti-Fidel-Castro Cuban-Americans and their supporters made Elián Gonzalez, then only 6 years old, a pawn in their feud with Cuban President Fidel Castro a decade ago. (And I remember how ironic I found it that his name sounded an awful lot like the word “alien,” which he was…)

Gonzalez’ mother had tried to get Elián into the United States illegally in order to join her relatives in Miami. In November 1999, she left Cuba in a boat with Elián, who at that time was 5 years old (he turned 6 the next month), and several others without having first informed Elián’s father. She and most of the others drowned during their attempt to make it to Florida, and Elián was one of three survivors found holding onto an inner tube off of the coast of Florida. (Since 1995, U.S. law has stated that Cubans intercepted in the water attempting to reach U.S. soil may not remain on U.S. soil, but must be returned to Cuba or to a third country.)

After a protracted political and legal battle, Elián finally was returned to his father in in April 2000 – per the international law that mandated that the child, a citizen of another nation, be returned to his father, who still was residing in that nation. If you were Elián’s father, you would have wanted his return, too.

The relatives of Elián’s mother in Miami absolutely refused to release him to the rightful custody of his father in Cuba, so federal authorities, under order of then-Attorney General Janet Reno, had to force their way into Elián’s relatives’ house and take him forcibly.

While they wanted to appear to be martyrs, Elián’s relatives were simply lawbreakers, and it is reported that they tried to brainwash Elián against returning to his father in Cuba; notes Wikipedia:

On April 14, [2000,] a video was released [by Elián’s mother’s relatives] in which Elián tells [his father] that he wants to stay in the United States. However, many considered that he had been coached, as a male voice was heard off-camera directing the young boy.

In a September 2005 interview with “60 Minutes” after [having been] sent back to Cuba, Elián stated that during his stay in the U.S., his family members were “telling [him] bad things about [his father]” and “were also telling [him] to tell [his father] that [he] did not want to go back to Cuba, [when he] always told them [he] wanted to.”

I tend to believe Elián’s account that he wanted to return to his father in his familiar Cuba instead of remain with relatives in a strange land whom he didn’t even know, relatives who essentially were keeping him as their political/ideological prisoner — and who had the support of the right wing.

Now, had Elián been Mexican and his mother died while trying to get him across the southern border, and had he been found wandering in the desert, it would have been an entirely different story. Then, he would have been an “illegal Elián” – er, “illegal alien,” no question about it. No right-wingers would have taken up his “cause.”

But because Miami’s embittered Cuban-American community and its supporters wanted to turn Elián into a political football in their ideological war with Fidel Castro, the law was supposed to be bent to their political will, and Janet Reno and then-President Bill Clinton were demonized for only having followed the law (and common decency, which dictates that a child whose mother has died be returned to his father unless there is a very compelling reason not to do so, and a difference in political ideology is not such a compelling reason).

The Cuban government has been accused of propaganda for having recently released some images of an apparently happy and healthy teenaged Elián, but it wasn’t Cuba that turned Elián into a symbol of the decades-long cold war between Cuba and the United States – it was his mother’s relatives in Florida and their supporters who did that.

And to this day the American right wing asserts that Elián should not have been returned to his father. Yahoo! News quotes a wingnut blogger as having proclaimed:

If Elián had been granted asylum, today he would be a teenager preparing to go to college with every opportunity for success ahead of him. Instead, on the cusp of adulthood, Elián poses for propaganda photos sandwiched between Cuban army soldiers attending the Union of Young Communists congress in Havana…

The youthful Gonzalez should have been wrapped in the America flag. Instead, a boy who once represented the quest for the God-given right to be free, waves a Cuban flag symbolizing poverty, oppression, authoritarianism and misinformation.

Oh, Jesus fuck. Where to begin?

“Wrapped in the American flag”? That blogger must be a fucking virgin to use ridiculously jingoistic rhetoric like that. I mean, fuck — cue the screeching bald eagle!

Look, if Elián were an American teenager, he’d be lucky to be able to even get into a good university, and if he did, he’d probably graduate with a mountain of debt, because instead of being seen as valuable individuals inherently worthy of educating, our young are seen only as cash cows, such as for the student-loan sharks and the textbook-industry rectal rapists.

Maybe, not being able to afford college and not wishing to take on major student-loan debt, Elián would have joined the crusade in Iraq or Afghanistan for the war profiteers and the oil profiteers — er, I mean, for freeeedom — and he’d have been maimed or killed.

Or maybe he’d just have an exciting career as a wage slave for his capitalist masters ahead of him.

Oh, yeah, it’s sooooo much better here in the United States of Amurica, with our robust economy and freedom in such abundance that it’s oozing out of our asses.

As for the “If Elián had been granted asylum” bullshit, Wikpedia notes that

After Elián was returned to his father’s custody, he remained in the United States while the Miami relatives exhausted their legal options. A three-judge federal panel had ruled that he could not go back to Cuba until he was granted an asylum hearing, but the case turned on the right of the relatives to request that hearing on behalf of the boy.

On June 1, 2000, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Elián was too young to file for asylum; only his father could speak for him, and the relatives lacked legal standing. On June 28, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision. Later the same day, Elián González and his family returned home to Cuba.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene. That’s good enough for me that what was done in Elián’s case was legally proper.

And it’s interesting that a wingnut would trash Cuba as “symbolizing poverty, oppression, authoritarianism and misinformation.”

First of all, since the anti-capitalist Cuban Revolution, the capitalist U.S. government has done everything in its power to cripple Cuba. To try to cripple a much smaller, much weaker nation, and then to criticize it for not being stronger than it is is insane – but of course the wingnuts are, by definition, insane.

Secondly, we have plenty of poverty here at home, and capitalist oppression and exploitation and authoritarianism, too (oppression and exploitation are OK with the wingnuts as long as it’s making someone money), and misinformation?

Oh, please, how about the ominous warnings of the members of the unelected Bush regime about “mushroom clouds” here in the United States if we didn’t nip Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” in the bud?

No, the U.S. government never is guilty of misinforming its citizens. Never.

Oh. And Hurricane Katrina.

And the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors.

And speaking of Cuba – how about that Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp?

I certainly don’t assert that Cuba is perfect. Elián is closely guarded by the Cuban government, the media report, and I find that at least moderately disconcerting, even while, from the Cuban government’s standpoint, it’s understandable.

What I do assert is that Cuba surely isn’t as bad as all of the wingnuts paint it to be, that Cuba would be much worse off than it is now if it were opened up to capitalist exploitation as the American wingnuts want it to be, and that Cuba would be an awful lot better if it hadn’t had to endure the wingnuts’ decades-long effort to make it fail because they disagree with its government’s ideology.

All in all, I tend to believe that Elián Gonzalez is better off where he is.

P.S. I read the above-referenced wingnut’s entire nauseating piece on Elián Gonzalez. The wingnut, who, I was surprised to learn, apparently is a female, a she-wingnut, also wrote these gems: 

As Elian was placed into [his father’s] arms, [his mother’s] death was officially for naught.  Hope for Elian growing up liberated disappeared beneath the cold, murky waters between Cuba and the U.S. like a mother failing to find safe haven for an only child.

Wow. So it wasn’t a child rightfully being returned to his father. It was the child’s mother’s death being “for naught.” And when Cubans (especially the light-skinned, Repugnican-supporting variety) try to get into the nation illegally, it’s for freedom, you see, but when Mexicans and other undesirables (Democratic-supporting, most likely) try to get into the nation illegally, it’s only to freeload. (Please try to keep up!)

Fast-forward 10 years and take a glimpse into Elian’s life as a teenager. Instead of a Miami Dolphins Jersey, “Cuba released photos of one-time exile cause celeb Elian Gonzalez wearing an olive-green military school uniform.” Elian Gonzalez is what youthful subjugation looks like when a boy, a heartbeat from freedom, is deprived [of] liberty…

So all of those graves at Arlington National Cemetery — they died for our freedom to wear football jerseys. And apparently the U.S. military is full of “subjugated,” liberty-deprived youths, since they have to wear those anti-freedom olive-green military uniforms.

Really, everyone in the U.S. military should be wearing football jerseys — which we now should call freedom jerseys.

In Cuba, Elian is a hero. Yearly, Fidel approved celebrations marking Gonzalez’s birthday because Elian epitomizes the height of Cuban triumph over America. Lest we forget, America willingly acquiesced in the battle to grant a defenseless child freedom, choosing instead to don riot gear and send a terrified child back under Castro-inflicted bondage.

Really? Elián says he wanted to go back to his father in Cuba. And the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene… And again, it wasn’t about reuniting a child with his fatherno, it was a big, bad-ass “battle to grant a defenseless child freedom” (even though the child wanted to go back home to Cuba…).

There was a “Cuban triumph” over the United States back in 2000? Really? I missed that in the news… I’d thought that Cuba was a rather small, rather defenseless nation…

And the “riot gear” — well, as the family of Elián’s mother refused to release him to the custody of his father, and as the officials who came to get Elián (only because his mother’s relatives were illegally holding him) had been threatened with violence by the family spokeswoman should they attempt to enter the home, and indeed they were pelted with rocks and bottles, it seems to me that the “riot gear” was appropriate protection and not some sign of “liberal” “fascism.”

Also, from what I can tell, contributing to the fact that the feds went to get Elián is that the local law enforcement officials, apparently in a gross dereliction of duty, had refused to do so. (Of course, as Elián was not in the United States legally and was a citizen of another nation, it became an immigration, and thus a federal, matter, and maybe it would have been illegal for local officials to get involved in taking him from his kidnappers.)

Sure Elián was scared when they came to get him — but it was his stupid fucking relatives (and those who aided and abetted them) who made that scene necessary, and I blame them, not the federal authorities who had to resort to what they had to resort to. 

As Barack Obama emulates Fidel Castro’s health care system and ferries a reluctant nation toward socialism, the scenario is reminiscent of a frightened Elian Gonzalez being wrested from the arms of liberty by an out of control federal government dictated to by a liberal American president.

Free people should take a good, long look at Elian Gonzalez and observe what our nation has the potential to become 10 years down the line if, instead of moving in the opposite direction, America’s rowboat continues to inch closer to Cuba’s shores.

Actually, “Obamacare” is much, much closer to Repugnican Mitt Romney’s health care for Massachusetts than it is anything like Castro’s health care, and how in the hell do we go from Elián Gonzalez to Obama and health care and “Obamacare”? (And hasn’t the fucktarded charge of  “socialism” been so overused to the point that it’s rather meaningless now?)

The bottom line: The Elián Gonzalez case was just another example of Repugnican meddling in a private family matter in Florida for perverse political gain – just like the Terri Schiavo case was in 2005. Just as the Repugnicans in Washington passed legislation specific to Terri Schiavo (in order to get her case kicked up to the U.S. Supreme Court — which promptly refused to hear it!), the Repugnicans in D.C. tried to pass legislation specific to Elián Gonzalez to make him a U.S. citizen – because, after all, Florida is a swing state and Florida has a lot of Cuban-American voters, and the majority of them vote Repugnican because the Repugnicans hate Fidel Castro, too.

(Passing legislation for just one person is illegal, by the way. It’s called a “bill of attainder.” Check it. Not that the Repugnicans give a flying fuck about what’s legal and what’s illegal.)

And again, it wasn’t an  “out-of-control-federal government dictated to by a liberal American president” that returned Elián Gonzalez to his father — it essentially was the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to intervene on behalf of Elián’s mother’s family, just as it would later refuse to intervene in the Schiavo case — because the U.S. Supreme Court, while it picked our “president” for us in late 2000, generally refuses to get involved in family law, leaving it to the courts below it that handle family law.

But the wingnuts are No. 1 in cheesy rhetoric — to the wingnuts, Elián wasn’t returned to his father, whom he wanted to be with, but was “wrested from the arms of liberty” (try not to choke on your own vomit there), and surely it’s clear from just reading my blog that “America’s rowboat continues to inch closer to Cuba’s shores.”

I mean, shit! To paraphrase Sarah Palin-Quayle, I can see Havana from my house!

Comments Off on A decade later, Elián is still a pawn

Filed under Uncategorized