In the current climate, it was only a matter of time before someone I really have liked and respected was going to be outed as having acted sexually inappropriately in the past. This time, there is photographic evidence:
More disturbing to me than the frat-boy-level photo above is Tweeden’s allegation that Franken, under the guise of rehearsing a skit that he wrote that (rather conveniently) required him to kiss her, kissed her forcefully against her wishes (and gave her tongue, she adds).
Such unwanted contact constitutes sexual battery, in my book, but Franken said that “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”
He immediately added: “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”
So: This contact between Franken and Tweeden happened in 2006, before Franken became a U.S. senator in 2009. (And in Tweeden’s own words, “Franken had written some skits for the [U.S.O.] show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many U.S.O. shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.” That’s some context, and context matters.)
The New York Times reports that “Ms. Tweeden said that no one else witnessed the [alleged forced] kiss, and she did not tell the tour’s organizers [about it].” (Indeed, Tweeden’s own words to this effect are here.)
Franken couldn’t have been convicted of sexual battery at the time even if Tweeden had gone to the authorities, because they apparently have different versions of the same event that no one else witnessed. Legally, it seems to me, that’s pretty much that.
It seems to me that absent a felony conviction, which should disqualify anyone from becoming or remaining a U.S. senator, it’s up to the voters of Minnesota to decide Franken’s fate when he comes up for re-election in 2020, assuming that he decides to run again.
It’s probably safe to say that any hope that Franken might have had about running for president in 2020 is dashed — even though “President” Pussygrabber bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and still became “president” — but I refuse to write Franken’s political obituary today. I believe that he can come out better and stronger for this (and that yes, hell — who knows? — he still might become president one day).
No, I don’t condone sexual harassment of any kind, from non-body-contact sexual harassment, such as making unwanted sexual remarks to taking a photo of yourself pretending to grope someone sexually to exposing yourself to someone who doesn’t want to see your goods, to actual body-contact sexual harassment, such as actual groping or forceful, unwanted kissing.
But nor is it productive to take the stance that we should utterly fucking destroy anyone who has misstepped.
That self-righteous revenge-seeking goes beyond justice and becomes a crime in and of itself; that is, to assert that those who can be redeemed cannot be redeemed, but must be destroyed for the rest of their lives, is to commit yet another type of violence against the human spirit.
Two (which is related to one), what U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama has been accused of, especially the under-aged shit, is much worse than what Franken has been accused of (and was photographed doing), but even for a backasswards, right-wing piece of dog shit like Moore, I would say that absent a felony conviction — that is, he had had his day in court and was found guilty by a jury — it still would be up to the voters of Alabama to decide whether or not to send him to the U.S. Senate. (And then the Senate could, I understand, refuse to seat him, although I’m not sure of all of the legalities on that.)
Update (Friday, November 17, 2017): Leeann Tweeden said this on “Good Morning America” today: “I didn’t do this [publicize Franken’s actions of 2006] to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate. You know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide. I’m not calling for him to step down. That was never my intention.”
She also apparently said of the bullshit comparison of “President” Pussygrabber’s actions to Franken’s, “His [Pussygrabber’s] issues — that’s a whole other thing.”
Sadly, I’ve seen, among others, Slate.com’s otherwise thoughtful and intelligent Mark Joseph Stern and the progressive group Justice Democrats both call for Franken to step down immediately. (And in an e-mail that I received, the Justice Democrats also called for Franken to be replaced with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison by Minnesota’s governor. I admire Ellison and I supported him for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, but he should run for the U.S. Senate if he wants to be a U.S. senator. Denying Franken due process and summarily replacing him with Ellison is not what I’d call justice or democracy, Justice Democrats!)
We all need to take a deep fucking breath and not be even more outraged than the actual victims are and therefore call for even harsher punishments than they are calling for. (And no, let’s not say that part of the victims’ victimization is that they’re just not outraged enough and that they are too forgiving, so we need to “correct” that. Jesus fucking fuck.)
And yes, as both Stern and Justice Democrats and many others have argued, we who are left of center don’t want to be called hypocrites on the subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault and sexual battery.
But we also need to take each case on its own (each case can vary widely in severity) and not lump all of the cases together, or collapse the many different kinds of sexual violations into one big generic sexual violation because we don’t feel like dealing with shades of gray.
And if we claim that we care about justice, then we need to give the accused the chance to explain him- or herself — and/or to be investigated as fairly and impartially as possible — instead of immediately calling for his or her head on a silver fucking platter so that we can try to look cool by keeping ahead of the news cycle.
Nor should our No. 1 concern be what the fucking Repugnicans will think. They never fucking care what we think, which is why they “win” elections even when they lose them, such as “presidents” George W. Bush and Pussygrabber both did.
*To grope someone is to touch him or her with your hands, and while the incident in the photo widely has been described as a groping, to me it appears to be Franken pretending to be groping or pretending to be about to grope the sleeping woman. Not that even pretending to do so is OK, but it’s not as bad as actually groping. There are levels of bad, for fuck’s sake.
I haven’t written much about “President” Pussygrabber, and that’s in no small part because I never have accepted that he legitimately is the president of the United States of America (because he isn’t a legitimate president).
“Trump is toast,” I declared in October 2016, as I truly had believed that no one running for high office could survive having bragged, on tape, about “grabbing” women “by the pussy,” but here we are.
(Hey, again, he did lose the popular vote — substantially, which is why he has lied repeatedly about actually having won the popular vote. The anti-democratic [and anti-Democratic] Electoral College has got to go; we tell people how important it is that they vote, and then the candidate who won the highest number of votes doesn’t even take office, but the fucking loser does.)
Aside from his illegitimacy, Pussygrabber’s abysmal behavior in office disallows me from considering him to be the real president of the United States of America. Just this past week in post-hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, for instance, “President” Pussygrabber (in no certain order):
Because when your nation has been destroyed by a natural disaster, your No. 1 need is paper towels. (And the paper towels that Mad King Pussygrabber so generously deigned to toss to the rabble of Puerto Rico weren’t even the quicker picker-upper, which you would need after a hurricane.)
Seriously, though — look at that Reuters news photo above for a long time and then tell me that I should accept this fucking imbecile as my president, even if he actually had won the fucking presidential election.
Alas, despite the mind-blowing image and the beyond-pathetic information above, I do have hope for the United States of America. “President” Pussygrabber isn’t the first idiot in chief whom we have weathered (even though he does make even George W. Bush look presidential). We probably will survive him.**
Pussygrabber certainly is representative of his narcissistic and rapacious generation, the baby boomers, but not of all Americans. Indeed, Pussygrabber probably represents the last, pathetic gasp of rule by the baby boomers and rule by stupid white males (I can’t call them “men”).
I can’t see our socially conscious young adults of today, when they become presidents in the future, acting anything like Pussygrabber routinely does. No, Pussygrabber is an anomaly, the occasional illegitimate, mad king that we’ve seen throughout history.
He will pass.
Yes, it feels like passing a fucking kidney stone, but it will pass.
And our history books (the honest ones, anyway) will record “President” Pussygrabber as just another bad blip, just another blemish on our history.
Two, if you want to help out the people of Puerto Rico — whom you should want to help whether they are U.S. citizens or not — you can do so by giving what you can afford to give to the Hispanic Federation, as I have, and/or to another reputable aid organization.
*As I have noted, the anti-Latino Pussygrabber is doing to the Repugnican Party on the national level what anti-Latino former Repugnican California Gov. Pete Wilson did to the party here in California (for his own short-term personal and political gain, Wilson planted the seeds that later would decimate his party here in California).
As Latinos are the fastest-growing group of people in the United States, I encourage the Repugnican Party to continue to alienate these voters.
**As far as nukes and nuclear war go, Pussygrabber is an abject idiot, but I don’t think that he’s suicidal. No vampire wants to die, but wants to continue to suck the blood of its victims for as long as possible.
***Don’t get me wrong; as I’ve written here a million times, it was a colossal fucking mistake for the (so-called) Democrats to make Billary Clinton, (with Pussygrabber) one of the most unpopular candidates for U.S. president in history, their presidential nominee. (As I have noted, I am not a registered Democrat and will not register with the Democratic Party again until and unless it becomes the progressive party that it once was.)
With their heads planted firmly in their rectums, the “Democrats” all pretended that Billary isn’t the widely despised, corrupt harpy that she is, and we have them to thank in no tiny part for “President” Pussygrabber.
The so-called Democrats had a winning candidate in Bernie Sanders, but they decided to coronate Repugnican Lite Billary instead because it was “her turn,” you see.
We’ll see if they learned their lesson. I much doubt that they have.
Indeed, Billary projects much when she claims, as she has in her pathetic new book (horribly titled What Happened, it’s due out on Tuesday), that Bernie Sanders ran for president only “to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
Billary blasts Bernie for “disrupt[ing] the Democratic Party,” but it’s far more important to baby boomer Billary to continue to profiteer from her sad, pathetic, overlong political career than it is for her to step aside for the good of the Democratic Party that sorely needs to pick itself up off of the ground, dust itself off and learn how to walk again after what her center-right, sellout brand of “Democratic” politics did to it — including giving us “President” Pussygrabber, since it was so hard for the voters to decide in November which presidential candidate they despised less (I mean that literally and seriously).
Bernie Sanders, whose nationwide approval rating long has been in the black by double digits while Billary’s long has been in the red by double digits, is the future of the Democratic Party. That is, even if he doesn’t run for president again himself — and I hope that he does — his unabashedly progressive, anti-corporate, truly populist platform is the winning platform. If Bernie doesn’t become president with that platform, then someone else of his ilk will.
It doesn’t fucking matter that while Billary uses the label “Democrat,” Bernie doesn’t, something that Billary tried to make into an issue both when she was battling Bernie in the primary season and in her bullshit new book.*
Only when and if the Democratic Party once again becomes what it should be — a truly progressive, truly populist party — will I be able to register as a Democrat again. And that’s Billary’s fucking fault (and Barack Obama’s too, and definitely Bill Clinton’s, and probably even Jimmy Carter’s, too — the party started drifting to the right under Carter, but then that rightward drift was solidified by Billy Boy and was only perpetuated by Caretaker in Chief Obama).
Billary Clinton uses the label “Democrat” but isn’t a Democrat, while Bernie eschews the label but perversely ironically is more of a Democrat than Billary ever has been or ever will be, if we define a Democrat as a progressive instead of a center-right sellout, a Repugican-Lite asshole.
Yes, it is torture to have to continue to hear from loser-harpy Billary — like nails dragging along a chalkboard — but again, she’s a baby boomer, and among other things, boomers refuse to leave the stage even when the strong majority of the audience clearly is tired of them.
Billary’s refusal to leave the spotlight even though she is so despised might actually work some unintended good, however; her continued presence — her cluelessly and shamelessly perpetually waving her cold, dead hands of the past in our faces — might serve as a continual reminder that the Democratic Party sorely needs to continue to go left and to jettison Clintonism if it ever wants to win the White House again.
A huge chunk of us voters didn’t find Billary to be the actual Democrat in the race. Fuck Billary.
**The Green Party had a chance at being a decent, respectable third party after Ralph Nader ran on its ticket in 2000, I think, but it pretty much blew it.
Admittedly, I voted for Jill Stein both in November 2008 and in November 2012, as I couldn’t stomach voting for Obama again or for Billary, but admittedly, if she’s the best that the Green Party can do…
So when Nazi elf Jeff Sessions, apparently cowardly chosen to announce the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA, proclaimed yesterday that “This does not mean [that] they [DACA participants] are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way,” his words rang rather hollow.
After all, Sessions had decided to be an early, ardent supporter of Pussygrabber, who had uttered the incredibly ugly words in the first paragraph above more than two years ago.
Obviously anti-brown-skinned-immigrant animus is involved here; if it’s not on the personal part of every member of the Pussygrabber regime, then the attack on DACA definitely is for the unelected regime’s perceived political gain from Pussygrabber’s base of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging brown-skinned-immigrant haters.
There is a lot to unpack here, not just the obvious racism and anti-(especially-browned-skinned)immigrant sentiment that is behind opposition to DACA, but also the fact that the federal government loses its credibility when one president issues an important policy affecting thousands and thousands of Americans and then another comes behind him and reverses it.
If you are transgender and are in the U.S. military, having been told that you are good to go, you shouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out of the military now because there is a new, albeit unelected, “president” in the White House who wants to throw some red meat to his base of Orcs by demonstrating even more hatred for an already historically oppressed minority group.
If you were accepted into DACA, you should remain in DACA as long as you follow the requirements that were laid out for you when you were accepted into it. The federal government always should follow through on its promises unless there is a clear and compelling reason (such as foreseeable death and destruction) for it not to.
The Pussygrabber regime bullshittingly is arguing that DACA is unconstitutional, as it was created by President Barack Obama’s executive order, but the federal court system has had plenty of time since DACA’s inception in June 2012 to declare it unconstitutional if it is.
(Speaking of Obama, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA of course isn’t just anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant red meat to throw to its base of deplorables, but also is anti-Obama red meat to throw to them because it attempts to reverse yet something else that Obama accomplished.*)
I, a white, native-born American man, welcome Hispanic immigrants. Yes, of course, as with any immigrant, a serious criminal history and/or demonstrated ties to a criminal and/or terrorist group should bar your entrance into the U.S., but the vast majority of the Latinos in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants from Latin America, are hard-working, law-abiding people whose presence by far gives the U.S. a net benefit, not only economically, but culturally, too.
On that note, I’m fine with a fusion of the white American culture and the Latino culture. I mean, that fusion already is happening (I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish for about two years now, for example), but I’m fine with it happening even more quickly. The two cultures can strengthen each other, and it would be great for the U.S. to be a bilingual nation. (It has been shameful, I think, that we haven’t been a bilingual nation all along.)
All of this talk about syncretism scares the hell out of Pussygrabber’s base of white supremacists and white nationalists, but to me, it’s an exciting expansion of what it means to be a human being (a human being first, and then second, an American). It’s not at all a diminishment; quite to the contrary.
Finally, the Pussygrabber regime’s attack on DACA is yet just another attack on the largest and fastest-growing non-white racial group in the United States — Latinos — and, as I noted just recently, over the long term this is political suicide for the Repugnican Party.
I feel sorry for those under DACA and those who love them who now have even more stressfully uncertain lives, and I hope that the issue is resolved soon in their favor. Again, DACA has been around since 2012 and therefore its promises should be fulfilled, not abandoned for the cheap, quick and dirty political gain of the unelected and thus illegitimate Pussygrabber regime.
But the longer view is more optimistic than is the short view; the longer view should mean that the Repugnican Party will lose more and more power over the coming many years.
For that, ironically, we have “President” Pussygrabber to thank.
*To be clear, I do agree with Ted Rall’s assertion that DACA (some form of it, anyway) should have been something that Obama pushed through Congress when the Dems controlled both houses in 2009 and 2010. It shouldn’t have been an executive order, since an executive order can be criticized as unconstitutional presidential overreach.
… As Barack Obama said [yesterday] after [Jeff] Sessions’ statement: “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”
Totally true words.
And, coming from the man who set the stage for Trump’s xenophobic and racist policies with plenty of his own, totally empty.
Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform, including legal protection for the DREAMers, during his 2008 campaign. As president, however, he never tried to make it happen — even in 2009 and 2010, when his Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
Republicans went obstructionist on all things Obama after 2010, so a frustrated Obama farted out DACA as an unconstitutional executive order in 2012. [Again, I don’t know whether DACA is 100 percent constitutional or not, but, again, I do know that the federal courts have had years to shoot it down as unconstitutional if it is, and they have not.]
Anti-fascists showed up on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter the neo-Nazis who ostensibly wanted to protest the removal of a statue of traitor Robert E. Lee but who in reality are just domestic terrorists. I love these guys, whose hearts are in the right place if I don’t always agree with their tactics.
Today “President” Pussygrabber, doubling down on his false equivalence between the neo-Nazis who are part of his base and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis, coined the term “alt-left.”
“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’ [in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday]? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Pussygrabber said at an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, Politico reports.
Part of me might recommend that we on the left embrace the term “alt-left,” except that the neo-Nazis already have come to give “alt-” the connotation if not the denotation of white supremacism and white nationalism, and thus have pretty much ruined the prefix “alt-.”
And, of course, usually it’s best not to allow your enemy to name you, but to name yourself. (On that note, Pussygrabber said, “as you say, the ‘alt-right,’” but “alt-right” is the name that the fucking neo-Nazis have given themselves.)
And the “alt-left” already has named itself: Antifa, for anti-fascist, and it doesn’t need a new name.
And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.
No, I don’t condone every action and every word that everyone who might call him- or herself a member of Antifa might commit, but on the whole, I’m quite happy that there is an active opposition to the neo-Nazis. (As I have written, I reject the term “alt-right” as unnecessary because we already have the term neo-Nazi.)
Fact is, as so many have observed and reported, the police often do little to nothing when there are clashes between the neo-Nazis and the Antifa (and/or other anti-neo-Nazis). That’s because many if not most cops are right-wingers (if not also actually white nationalists/white supremacists) themselves, I surmise, and therefore they aren’t all that enthusiastic about protecting us, the people, from the neo-Nazis. To a large degree, we have to do it ourselves.
I’m sure that there are some who fairly fairly could be called thugs among those who call themselves Antifa — that is, some individuals who are looking for a fight at least as much as they care about a sociopolitical cause. Of course, there probably are far more such individuals among the neo-Nazis.
While both groups routinely show up with weaponry (homegrown and professional) when they expect a confrontation, when there are casualties, they usually are on the left, not on the right, such as the case of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a neo-Nazi cowardly ran her down in his car.
And to my knowledge, Heyer was not a member of the Antifa (or, to Pussygrabber, the “alt-left”), but was just a citizen who had shown up to demonstrate her opposition to neo-Nazism, which she had the right to do (even though I question, for safety reasons, the wisdom of showing up anywhere where there are neo-Nazis).
While I have no personal interest in having a physical confrontation with a neo-Nazi, not seeing what ultimate good it would do, and while I hate to think of any good-hearted (if misguided) member of Antifa (or anyone else) being harmed or even killed by a neo-Nazi, I just can’t bring myself to condemn the Antifa, because I don’t know how far the neo-Nazis would take it if they knew that they faced no opposition in our streets.
The neo-Nazis need to know that should they get too big for their khakis (and thanks for ruining khakis for the rest of us, assholes!) and start harming people on the streets, they’re going to face pushback.
As a gay man, an atheist and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one day I just might need protection from neo-Nazis myself, and so I’m not going to condemn the Antifa and the overall important sociopolitical role that they play in these, um, interesting times.
I would only ask the members of Antifa and all of those who oppose the neo-Nazis, as I do, to pick their battles and to put their personal safety first.
“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”
Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.
“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressedoutside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.
“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”
The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:
Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.
Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.
For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …
The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.
Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.
Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.
“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”
We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.
We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!
All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.
And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.
Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.
But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.
What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?
Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.
But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.
And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.
P.S.The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.
Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.
Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.
The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.
Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.
UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]
He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.
Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.
(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)
To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.
We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.
… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.
Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.
Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …
***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.
But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.
I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.
(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])
So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.
(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)
And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])
So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.
What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.
But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.
I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”
Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.
But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.
(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)
If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothing — no thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”
Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)
I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”
I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”
Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”
That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.
Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.
I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.
For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.
If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.
No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).
And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.
Really, I need say no more.
P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.
One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.
True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.
But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.
That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.
The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.
And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?
No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”
You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.
As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.
Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.
This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.
Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:
Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.
Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?
The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)
The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”
And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …
Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this* —
Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.
Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.
At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.
That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.
The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]
Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.
Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.