Tag Archives: Racism

George Floyd did not die for our sins (but he did die because of them)

Getty Images news photo

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin surrealistically cavalierly and slowly murders George Floyd in cold blood in late May 2020 (above). Below, Chauvin is handcuffed and taken into custody in the Minneapolis courtroom yesterday immediately after having been found by a jury to be guilty of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd.

NBC News image

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to hear that former cop Derek Chauvin most likely will spend many years behind bars after he egregiously murdered George Floyd last year; it’s quite rare that murderous cops ever actually are convicted of murder.

Not to pick on Nancy Pelosi too much — although I think that she should have hung it up years ago — but George Floyd was murdered. Murder is, by definition, involuntary on the part of the victim.

Pelosi, in a speech yesterday, said, “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice.”

Yikes. Dictionary.com says that “to sacrifice,” as Pelosi used the verb, means to “to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.”

As many have pointed out, George Floyd obviously did not willingly hand over his life for “justice” — or for a little speech by an overprivileged politico who should have exited the public stage years ago. He was murdered by a white cop whose police department, according to The New York Times, “[uses] force against black people at seven times the rate of whites.”

Pelosi also said in her speech (still addressing Floyd), “because of you, and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

I hope that the murder of George Floyd ultimately will result in a more just United States of America, but George Floyd did not exist for the rest of us to be able to use his life in any way, probably especially for our own smug self-comfort.

Until and unless we of white America get that — and put to work in the real world that understanding of how too many of us have regarded the lives of black men (and others) — there will be more murders of black men (and others) who did not have to die at the hands of our police.

It’s too late for George Floyd, but it’s not too late for us to do our best to ensure that our cops stop killing unnecessarily.

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We already have an Anglo-Saxon caucus: the Repugnican Party

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Associated Press news photo

This single image alone lays waste to the entire idea of white “supremacy.”

Sadly, it’s not shocking to me that at least two U.S. “representatives,” far-right-wing nut jobs Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (pictured above) and Paul Gosar of Arizona, reportedly are trying to start an “America First Caucus” in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This proposed new caucus widely is being called the “Anglo-Saxon caucus,” since “America First” means white first, of course — even though the first Americans were not white, but were Native American and later, Mexican (indeed, Mexicans don’t cross the southern border; the southern border crossed them).

For the record, I am Anglo-Saxon. I even did DNA testing some years ago that showed my DNA most closely matching the DNA of the predominant populations of Britain and of Germany (not shocking, since more white Americans are of German descent than of any other, closely followed by those of Irish descent and then those of British descent, although the latter are considered to be under-counted).

I am not “proud” to be white any more than I am “proud” to be gay. I am what I am and others are what they are, and that’s all that it is. (To me you can be proud of an accomplishment or an achievement, perhaps, but of your DNA? I don’t fucking think so.)

White “supremacy” always has eluded me, in no small part because those who espouse it, such as Taylor Greene and Gosar, hardly are exemplars of their race. Being “supreme” would necessitate that you’re also not an abject fucktard with apparent mental illness.

And to assert that whites deserve even more representation in Congress is beyond ludicrous, of course.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, non-Latino whites make up 60 percent of the U.S. population — yet per the Pew Research Center, only 23 percent of those in Congress are not white, meaning that whites, at 77 percent of those in Congress, are significantly over-represented in Congress according to their makeup of the U.S. population. Today’s Congress is the most diverse Congress ever, and Congress keeps getting more diverse, per Pew, but whites still are over-represented in it.

Of course, Taylor Greene, Gosar & Co. haven’t broken with their party as much as they are just breaking the Repugnican Party’s long-standing unspoken rule: be racist, of course, but don’t ever openly, publicly admit it.

Indeed, per Pew, “Among today’s [U.S.] senators and representatives, the overwhelming majority of racial and ethnic minority members are Democrats (83%), while 17% are Republicans.”

That statistic alone speaks volumes about how serious the Repugnican Party is about representing non-whites in the halls of power.

An “America First Caucus” or “Anglo-Saxon Caucus” in the House would be pretty fucking redundant. We already have one: they’re called the Repugnicans.

But I wholeheartedly encourage the Repugnicans to continue along these sick and twisted lines; anything to speed up the approaching extinction of the backasswards Repugnican Party is a wonderful fucking thing.

In the meantime, the rest of us need to continue the ongoing work of making the United States of America a more perfect union — which would mean, among many other things, that “America” or “American” doesn’t mean white, but means only the geographic area of the United States or a person residing in or having come from the United States of America.*

E pluribus unum, bitches.

*I’m not big on dividing ourselves by nationality, and/or by citizenship status either, but, you know, baby steps

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Pussygrabber kills again

Officials with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office remove a body from the Gold Spa massage parlor after a shooting on Piedmont Road in Atlanta [Erik S. Lesser/EPA]
European Pressphoto Agency news photo

Officials with a county medical examiner’s office remove a body from one of three Atlanta-area massage parlors where a young white man shot and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, on Tuesday. Former “President” Pussygrabber, seeking to scapegoat Asians for his own stunning failure to effectively deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic, contributed heavily to the anti-Asian sentiment that is taking lives.

Admittedly, when word first started coming out that Asian Americans and others of Asian descent were being victimized in racist attacks within the U.S., I was a bit dubious. In my everyday life I don’t hear anti-Asian sentiment expressed — per the U.S. Census Bureau, 19 percent of those who live in the California city where I live are of Asian descent, compared to only 6 percent of all people nationwide — and the anecdotal stories just didn’t jibe with my own observations.

Of course, I wouldn’t associate with someone who expressed anti-Asian sentiment. We do, over time, cultivate our own personal social environments; it’s kind of like the idiots who claim that of course former “President” Pussygrabber actually won “re”-election in 2020 — because they don’t know anyone who voted for Joe Biden!

Attacks on Asian Americans and others of Asian descent on U.S. soil are quite undeniable now, however. We have video. (In the case of the video that I just linked to, in San Francisco recently, an elderly woman of Asian descent fought back against her 39-year-old white-male accused attacker, who apparently quite karmically actually was taken away in a stretcher.)

And the “woke” war on whitey is ongoing, I know fully well, but know that not all of the attacks on Asian Americans are committed by stupid white men; a 28-year-old black man has been charged with attacking elderly Asian Americans in Oakland’s Chinatown. And also in Oakland, a 26-year-old black man has been charged with the murder of an elderly man of Asian descent; police say that the murder defendant “has a history of victimizing elderly Asian people.”

To my knowledge it hasn’t been determined whether the black men’s immediate motive was race-based hatred or robbery (perhaps seeing elderly Asian individuals as easy pickings).

But racism has to play a role in many if not most (if not almost all) assaults on those of Asian descent; it’s in the background if it’s not also in the foreground.

Robert Aaron Long, 21 years old and white, will live in infamy for having gunned down eight people in three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday. Six of his eight gun-murder victims were women of Asian descent.

Long has claimed that he perpetrated his massacre not out of race-based hatred, but out of the pain and suffering stemming from his “sexual addiction.” (Women always are to blame for heterosexual men’s horniness, aren’t they?)

Clearly, to Long, the lives of women of Asian descent were disposable (or he wouldn’t have disposed of them), and that’s because in the conservative white-male culture, women aren’t full human beings, and Asian women are even less so. Asian women — many of whom are demure and submissive (or who at least are perceived as such) — are here for our use, after all!

In the background of all of this is the fact that former “President” Pussygrabber frequently spouted off racist, xenophobic words that of course his mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging followers (and even just some dull-minded people listening to him) were going to take as carte blanche to attack those of Asian descent.

As I noted on December 31, I tried to watch then-“President” Pussygrabber’s New Year’s address, but I could not, as I immediately was turned off by his sickening use of the phrase “the China virus.” I wrote:

I came across a YouTube video of Pussygrabber’s New Year message. I wanted to know how much of it I could stomach. I mustered up my courage and started to watch the video.

The results of my experiment? I literally couldn’t stomach even a full 15 seconds of it.

By 15 seconds in, Pussygrabber uses the phrase “the China virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

Seriously, after I heard “the China virus,” I’d had more than enough already; I was done, sick to my stomach already, and I clicked out of the video and I don’t intend to ever watch any more of it.

So much is propagandistically packed into those three “little” words: “the China virus.” …

So [the ignorant mangling of the English language to use the noun “China” as an adjective] hits me immediately with “the China virus,” but then, secondly, there is the xenophobia and the racism that “the China virus” is supposed to evoke. That’s some sick fucking shit. Adolf Hitler had his Jews. Coming into the White House, “President” Pussygrabber had Mexican immigrants as his own personal Jews; leaving the White House, Pussygrabber has Asians as his own personal Jews.

Scapegoating is a hallmark of fascism. This is why Pussygrabber makes me sick to my stomach: because fucking fascists make me sick to my stomach.

And, I noted then, “it’s far from definitively scientifically concluded that the novel coronavirus actually originated in China. Maybe it did; maybe it did not.”

Even if it did, however, of course there is no link between the original nation of the novel coronavirus and the people of Asian descent whom you see on the street.

But, of course, those who are going to verbally and physically attack innocent others aren’t known for their intellect.

Still, it’s up to all of us to change the environment in which some people believe it’s OK to attack a person of Asian descent — just for being a person of Asian descent.

I should have registered my December 31 objection to Pussygrabber’s use of “the China virus” (and “the kung flu”) more forcefully, and as a nation, we collectively should have called Pussygrabber out, loudly, back then. Instead, we fairly allowed ourselves to become inured to his casual fascism and racism.*

Shame on Pussygrabber, shame on his fascist, fucktarded followers (redundant), and shame on all of us for not doing more to protect every individual from being attacked because of his or her or their very being.

We’re not a free nation until all of us are free.

*Well, in fairness to all of us, in November we did vote the piece of shit out of office by more than 7 million votes…

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Minneapolis burning

Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis during a third night of protests.
Associated Press news photo

I can’t find it within myself to criticize what the protesters are doing in Minneapolis in reaction to yet another murder of an unarmed black man by a white cop (see example photo above).

Human life is far, far more valuable than is property (and money), and the powers that be are fucking lucky if mere property destruction is all that happens to them after what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday (and after what happens to the perpetually downtrodden people of this “Christian,” capitalist nation every fucking day*).

I mean, we’re way past guillotine time.

George Floyd, who died Monday after being pinned to the ground by an officer who pressed a knee into his neck.

The video is chilling (another video is here): George Floyd (pictured above), who was 46 years old and whose alleged crime was trying to pass counterfeit currency (which, it seems to me, you could do quite unknowingly), pleads that he cannot breathe as a white thug-cop has his knee planted firmly on Floyd’s neck, pinning Floyd to the ground.

Bystanders are loudly voicing their concern for Floyd’s medical well-being to the cops, but the cops ignore them. (You’d think that the cops had fucking learned something after the 2014 murder of 43-year-old black man Eric Garner, who also pleaded “I can’t breathe” as he was choked to death by a white thug-cop — for allegedly having illegally sold cigarettes on the street.) Before long, Floyd’s body is lifeless and then put on a gurney, and in the video footage it appears to me that perhaps his bladder apparently had emptied itself involuntarily because of the trauma.

Here is a screen grab from the video footage of Floyd’s murder:

Image: Derek Chauvin
Getty Images news image

The murderer, one 44-year-old Derek Chauvin (who certainly puts the Chauvin in chauvinist), who is white (of course), obviously is a bad cop — who was aided and abetted by his cop colleagues who could have prevented Floyd’s murder but who did not and who thus are accessories to his murder.

Look how casual and comfortable Chauvin appears to be as he snuffs the life out of Floyd, and please give me some credible evidence that it’s ever OK for a cop to restrain someone like this, especially when the individual is unarmed and, as the video footage shows, already handcuffed.

Some of the images coming out of Minneapolis in reaction to Floyd’s sickening murder by bad cop are great.

Here is what happened to a police station:

Protesters took over the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday night.
Reuters news photo

And here, cops protect the home of Chauvin, who is the “man” who is the least worth protecting on the entire fucking planet:

Protesters near the home of Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after detaining Mr. Floyd.
New York Times news photo

Look at the resources that the fascist, mostly white and mostly white-supremacist cops (all of them in the photo above appear to be white) will use to protect one of their own, even if he’s a fucking murderer.

So much for “law and order” and “to protect and to serve.” Law and order is something that only we serfs are supposed to respect — the elites and their protectors, including the cops — are exempt from the law and from order, and the cops protect and serve only each other and their plutocratic overlords.

All of the fallout from Floyd’s murder is the fault of corrupt cops who are drunk on their own power, enabled by the elite and even egged on by our fascist, white-supremacist “president” (after all, he thinks that the fascist cops will protect him if he tries to remain in the White House after it’s time for him to fucking leave).

If the cops didn’t routinely murder people, especially unarmed black men who pose no real danger to them, these protests wouldn’t happen. So shut the fuck up about property damage while you don’t give a fuck how many people, mostly people of color and poor people, the cops physically abuse and even murder.

Clearly, previous protests over murders by cops haven’t worked, so don’t claim that the people just need to protest peacefully and things then magically will improve.

No, not until the powers that be finally are rattled to their core — not until they get a big taste of the horrors that they routinely inflict upon others without a second thought — can real, lasting change ever occur.

At this point, there’s really only one thing left to say:

Burn. It. Down.

*The novel coronavirus pandemic has revealed so much about the United States of America, not just how its for-profit health-care wealth-care system is entirely unequipped to deal with a nationwide public-health crisis because it’s only been geared toward profiteering, and how working-class Americans intentionally are kept only one paycheck away from destitution in order to keep us in line, but also how casually Americans are willing to sacrifice the lives of their fellow Americans to the golden calf of capitalism by demanding that we reopen everything and go back to what we call “normal” — the consequences of a potentially lethal virus be damned.

Similarly, look at how so many Americans, most of whom claim to be “Christians,” pathologically see nothing wrong with black men being essentially summarily executed for such relatively minor alleged crimes as passing a counterfeit bill and unlawfully selling cigarettes. This is way beyond sick.

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Say his name: Ahmaud Arbery was lynched in Georgia in February

Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, was lynched in Georgia in February, and we might never have heard of his lynching if some video footage of it had not emerged.

I don’t believe in using inflammatory racial language, such as the word “lynching,” lightly.

For example, in late January 2019 my U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris referred to the then-fresh Jussie Smollett case as “an attempted modern-day lynching.” She might have waited a bit before she made that proclamation, which very apparently turned out to be very much not the case.

There is no other word that I can think of, though, for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old black man who was shot down in the street in broad daylight by a white man and his white son in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, which we apparently are hearing about now only because some video taken by a witness of the incident has emerged.

It is not clear to me which one or if both of the men arrested for the crime, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son Travis McMichael, shot and killed Arbery, but their story, even if true, is bullshit.

The McMichaels’ story is that they believed that Arbery was the suspect in neighborhood burglaries. Therefore, they pursued him, with firearms in their possession.

How the fuck does this story exculpate them in any way?

Even if Arbery were indeed a neighborhood burglar — it is believed that he was simply jogging in the neighborhood, not running away because he was a criminal — you don’t get to chase down someone you believe committed or might have committed a crime (or was about to commit a crime or might do so in the future) and then execute him or her on the fucking spot. You call the fucking police.

Because Arbery was black and very apparently unarmed and had not threatened anyone with any harm, and because he was killed by vigilantes who did not kill him in anything remotely like self-defense, he was killed primary because of his race — he was, in a word, lynched.

This is what happened in the “good old days” in the South (and elsewhere within the U.S., but mostly in the South): Whites would accuse a black person, usually a male, of some crime, and then apprehend and publicly kill him. Maybe the individual had committed a crime or not; that didn’t matter. What mattered most was that the victim was black.

Ahmaud Arbery was not hanged from a tree while the white denizens of the Georgia neighborhood enjoyed the display as a form of entertainment, as they did back in the day.

But Arbery was lynched, regardless.

Kamala Harris had it wrong in the Smollett case, but I guess that I stand corrected on her attempt to get federal anti-lynching legislation passed. She started this effort, with Cory Booker and Tim Scott, back in 2018, with the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, and while at the time that struck me as a purely political, identity-politics move — a “solution” looking for a problem that no longer even existed — I am sad to apparently have to stand corrected.

Wikipedia describes the anti-lynching act as “a proposed bill that would classify lynching, defined as bodily injury on the basis of perceived race, color, religion or nationality, a federal hate crime in the United States. The bill, largely symbolic, aims to recognize and apologize for historical governmental failures to prevent lynching in the U.S.”

Yes, but apparently it’s not only symbolic anymore.

Wikipedia also notes that “On February 26, 2020, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, a revised version of the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 410-4.” (This was just three days after the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.)

To my knowledge, this federal anti-lynching legislation remains unpassed by the Senate and not signed into law by the “president.”

This federal law needs to be enacted, and we could call it the Ahmaud Arbery Anti-Lynching Act just as well.

And while I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, I can’t say that the likes of Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael deserve to still draw breath.

The death penalty is an egregious penalty, but lynching — actual lynching, not Jussie Smollett-style “lynching” — is an egregious crime that calls for an egregious punishment.

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There is not, and there should not be, affirmative action for elections

Kamala Harris
Getty Images photo

Your race and your biological sex aren’t qualifications for elected office, whether you were born a white male or a non-white female (or non-white male).

The identity politicians are apoplectic that white men are the front-runners for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Indeed, most nationwide polls of Democratic presidential preference taken over the past two weeks or so show Joe Biden at No. 1, Bernie Sanders at No. 2 and Pete Buttigieg at No. 3.

Kamala Harris, a two-fer for the identity politicians, had been in third place for a long time before she was bumped (perhaps only temporarily — who knows?) by Buttigieg.

Politico reported a few days ago:

Houston — The women of color who packed into a university auditorium here Wednesday for a first-of-its-kind presidential forum delighted in the rhetoric of candidates who vowed to make Donald Trump a one-term president.

But their frustration was just as palpable — over the heavy media attention being paid to white male candidates in the early days of the Democratic primary, and over polling they contended is feeding a misleading narrative that only a white man can defeat Trump.

“With all due respect to the vice president, he hasn’t even announced yet but he’s the front-runner?” Leah Daughtry, a political operative and former Democratic National Committee official who helped organize the “She the People” event, said of Joe Biden [who would go on to officially announce the next day].

“Racism and sexism are part of the fabric and the fiber and the founding of our country,” she added, “and the way that the [Democratic] candidates are being treated, it just reminds you of that. We’re not past it.” …

Thing is, it seems that the identity politicians’ belief is that we, the people (on the Democratic side, anyway), must support, preferably, a non-white female candidate for president (if it must be a male, he must be non-white).

But electoral politics don’t work that way. The people support and vote for whomever they support and vote for (even when they support and vote for appallingly awful candidates such as George W. Bush and Pussygrabber).

There isn’t, and there cannot be, affirmative action in democratic politics, because democratic politics is all about choice — not about having candidates of certain demographics rammed down the throats of the populace.

I understand the frustration and disappointment over the fact that female and non-white candidates are campaigning but aren’t gaining traction. Kamala Harris as of late can’t make it to even 10 percent in most nationwide polls, and Elizabeth Warren can’t do as well as even Harris, and Cory Booker is behind both Harris and Warren.

Beto O’Rourke is polling right around where Warren is — proof, methinks, that merely being a white man isn’t enough.

Harris, Warren, Booker and O’Rourke all, in my book, lack substance and/or charisma. Harris doesn’t have much of either, Warren has a lot of substance but not a lot of charisma, Booker has neither and ditto for O’Rourke, whose laughably contrived “charisma” isn’t charisma at all, because you can’t fake charisma; you have it or you don’t.

Obviously, because every U.S. president except for Barack Obama has been a white male (and Obama is half-white), within the collective American psyche, apparently, is the belief, if even subconscious, that the president should be a white man. Many, many women even hold this belief, even consciously (most of them are Repugnicans, but still…).

Obama overcame this challenge because of his charisma — and also because, as he acknowledged himself, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” (Indeed, upon that blank screen I projected — because of his campaign’s relentless, ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” — that Obama would be a progressive president. Boy, was I punk’d!)

Obama, an astute political opportunist, struck while the iron was hot; his window of political opportunity was rare and unique and it was brief. For Harris or Booker to believe that she or he easily could replicate Obama’s success simply because of his or her race not only is cynical and shallow and superficial, but quite obviously dead wrong.

I support Bernie Sanders not because he’s an old white guy — I loathe “President” Pussygrabber, but not because he’s an old white guy, but because he’s a fascist, treasonous criminal who wasn’t even actually elected — but I support Bernie because of those candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in the top three tiers (which I define as consistently polling at 3 percent or more in nationwide polls), he has the most experience in D.C. and is the most progressive, entirely unlike Creepy Uncle Joe, who is an obsolete Clintonian sellout.

I easily could argue that Bernie is the only true Democrat in the race, which is ironic, given how often he is criticized for not actually being a Democrat.

My second choice probably would be Warren, even though her campaigning has been tone deaf and even though it does bother me at least a bit that as recently as the 1990s she was a Repugnican.

The reason I’m not giving Warren money or otherwise actively supporting her is because the polls of those within her own party clearly show that she isn’t exciting them, and I don’t and won’t squander my money, time, energy and emotional investment on a candidate who can’t excite even his or her own base.

My third choice probably would be Buttigieg, but I’m still gun shy from Obama. Even though Obama was an unknown, I put my support behind him, hoping for that change, and I was bitterly disappointed to see that we didn’t get change, but for the most part got only more of the same. Obama was a caretaker president at best.

So I can’t dive in and blindly support Buttigieg, as I did Obama.

Plus, Buttigieg isn’t ready to be president. He’s precocious and ambitious, to be sure, but I don’t think that it’s time to turn over the Oval Office to him. I’d love him to run for governor or for the U.S. Senate — and win (and then do a good job in the office) — first.

And, unlike how the craven identity politicians would support (probably exclusively) only someone who shares their own demographics, I’m not going to support Buttigieg primarily or even solely because he’s a gay white man like I am. It’s not enough that he and I both happen to white, male, and not heterosexual. This isn’t junior fucking high school.

Again, if it’s indeed the case that most American voters believe that the president should or even must be a white man, that’s sad, but, in a democracy, in which the voters are free to elect whomever they wish to elect, whether you or I agree with their choices or not, what, exactly, can be done about that?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: qualified candidates who aren’t male and who aren’t white should continue to run for office, from local office to the presidency. Over time, their candidacies, successful or not, will change the national psyche. I know of no other democratic way.

Finally, it also should be pointed out that Biden and Bernie have run for president before, which is a huge reason that they are at No 1 and No. 2. On the national political stage they are fairly known quantities, unlike the likes of Harris and O’Rourke and Buttigieg. (Sadly, the problem with candidates such as Booker and Warren apparently is that they are known quantities…)

Ironically, at least for now, anyway, it seems to be Buttigieg who is filling the “hope” and “change” spot — that is, he is the bright and shiny newcomer on whom many voters seem willing to take the chance. (It had looked like that spot would be filled be O’Rourke, but he has turned out to be the flash in the pan that it was pretty clear he was going to be.)

And I’m sure that many black Americans, who tend to be homophobic, are pretty incensed that a gay white man apparently has displaced Kamala Harris, who “deserves” the presidential nomination because she’s a black woman, you see; the way that she was born are her “qualifications,” which is ironic, given that we’ve established that merely having been born a white male aren’t qualifications.

What I’m hoping is that young progressive politicians now, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Katie Porter and Rashida Tlaib (and Buttigieg!), get more and more electoral and governance experience under their belts and give us the diverse bench of qualified presidential candidates that we don’t really have now.

That, to me, seems to be the best solution — not to piss and moan ad infinitum that the American people apparently still prefer presidential candidates who are white men.

Whining incessantly about “sexism” and “misogyny” — while ignoring her glaring flaws and shortcomings as a presidential candidate — didn’t help Billary Clinton the last go-around.

Further such whining isn’t ever going to work in the future.

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My take: Jussie Smollett made it all up

goodmorningsmollett1

Actor Jussie Smollett cried during his first television interview after allegedly having been the victim of a hate crime on January 29. Meh. He very most likely was crying wolf. (He appears to me to be acting — fairly poorly — in that interview, by the way.)

I’ve been quiet on the alleged hate crime against TV show “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on January 29 in Chicago.

My inclination is to believe the victim, or at least to give the alleged victim the benefit of the doubt, anyway, but Smollett’s story was a bit over the top from the get-go: two male attackers, he claimed, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country!” as well as racist and homophobic slurs.

Smollett initially reported that his attackers wore ski masks, but presumably they were white, since allegedly they had perpetrated a race-based hate crime against him and yelled “This is MAGA country!” (Indeed, in the TV interview mentioned above, by elimination he pretty much claims that his attackers were indeed white, which he apparently could see even though they were wearing ski masks.)

The details of the alleged hate crime against Smollett and its subsequent investigation are convoluted and go back and forth, with ample yes-but-no-but-no-but-yes. (You can read them here and here and in many other places on the Internet.) I won’t rehash all of them here.

But CNN reports today:

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.

The men, who are brothers, were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.

“The sources told CNN the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources told CNN there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.

CNN’s attempts Saturday to reach both Smollett’s representative and attorney were unsuccessful.

Smollett identifies as gay and since 2015 has played the gay character of Jamal on the Fox TV drama “Empire.”

According to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the actor told detectives he was attacked by two men near the lower entrance of a Loews hotel in Chicago. Police were told the two men yelled “‘Empire’ fa***t” and “‘Empire’ n***er'” while striking him.

The day after the incident, police released surveillance images that showed two silhouetted individuals walking down a sidewalk, and police said they were wanted for questioning.

The two men were arrested Wednesday. Police on Friday said the men were being viewed as “potential suspects” and that detectives had “probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime.” [Note that that crime was not specified…]

But by Friday night they had been released, Guglielmi said, “due to new evidence as a result of today’s investigations.”

“And detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” he added.

One of the men has appeared on “Empire,” Guglielmi said. A police source also told CNN on Friday night that the men had a previous affiliation with Smollett, but did not provide additional details. …

It was reported that Smollett might have made up the attack because he feared that he was about to be written out of “Empire” — and presumably, the show-runners then would be hesitant to do so after he’d been attacked in a hate crime — but the show-runners have denied that Smollett’s role ever was in jeopardy. (Of course, for public relations reasons — to keep their target audience — they could be lying about that…)

In any event, if I had to put money on it, for whatever reason, I surmise, Smollett indeed made the whole thing up.

Not only was his initial report over the top — it would be rare for hate-crime attackers, who don’t tend to be all that smart or creative, to do all of the things that he alleged — and certainly they would have had to have been stalking him already, since they allegedly came prepared with props (bleach and a noose). And further, somehow they knew exactly when to bring those props with them: when the “Empire” star just happened to be going to Subway for food around 2 a.m.

Really?

Also, would real attackers really call Smollett “‘Empire’ faggot” and “‘Empire’ nigger”? Plain-old “faggot” and/or “nigger” I could see, but I rather doubt that they would mention the show in which he stars. Again: over the top. It’s bad writing because it beggars belief.

If Smollett actually is found to not have made the whole thing up, then I’d be the first to say so (and update this post accordingly) and offer and apology, but yeah, I very much doubt that Smollett’s story, in the end, will be corroborated.

If he lied — and he wouldn’t be the first to have lied about having been the victim of a hate crime — of course he has made it worse for those who come after him who actually are the victims of hate crimes, and of course he should be prosecuted for having lied to the police.

And I’ll come out and say it: the black community hasn’t been big on defending gay people, to put it quite mildly and charitably, so it seems to me that in this case they have responded more to the alleged racist hate crime against Smollett than to the alleged homophobic hate crime against him.

Just sayin’: The Smollett case apparently not only says a lot about Smollett and what apparent bullshit story he believed would fly in this age of toxic identity politics, but says a lot about those who were so quick to claim that he had to be telling the truth — before the details of the investigation ever even came out. It’s been quite the Rorschach test. (See: confirmation bias.)

P.S. Smollett apparently even fooled “President” Pussygrabber, who called that the alleged attack on Smollett “horrible,” adding, “It doesn’t get worse.” Actually, it does get worse, sometimes a lot worse; Smollett had only superficial (self-inflicted?) skin wounds, no broken bones, no damage to any organs, and he’s still very much alive.

On that note, Kamala Harris rather dramatically called Smollett’s account “an attempted modern day lynching.”

Again, two words: confirmation bias. Harris desperately wants that black base, I know, but she might show some, um, presidential caution before commenting next time. There has been no evidence presented thus far that anyone actually was trying to lynch Smollett, for fuck’s sake.

This woman was a prosecutor? Scary…

P.P.S. Cory Booker also called the Smollett account “an attempted modern-day lynching.” Of course. Jesus fuck.

I’m not sure who tweeted that bullshit first, Harris or Booker (tweets are given time stamps, but from which time zone[s]?), but it’s hard to believe that both would use the exact same phrase without knowledge that the other had done so first.

And, again, to stoke interracial strife before the facts of an alleged incident are even established — again, hardly what I would call presidential.

P.P.P.S. It’s being reported that Smollett has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney.

To be abundantly fair, hiring a criminal defense attorney doesn’t necessarily mean that you are guilty of a crime, but, um…

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The ugly (and yes, supremely punchable) face of white privilege

This is the face of a punk-ass prick that only a mother wouldn’t want to punch (maybe…).

The viral incident that happened in Washington, D.C., on Friday, is sad: A “Make America Great Again”-hat wearing young white punk smugly and aggressively smiling in front of a Native American elder (it’s widely reported that he’s also a Vietnam veteran, although I’m not sure how important that is, frankly; I’m not into veteran worship, but I do respect Native Americans).

Slate.com gives a fairly tidy account of what happened:

Nathan Phillips, the Native American elder who was mocked and harassed by teenagers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats in Washington on Friday [where he was attending the Indigenous Peoples March], says the whole thing started when he tried to defuse an escalating argument.

Phillips told the Detroit Free Press the teenagers, who appear to be from Covington Catholic High School [which is in Kentucky, apparently], got upset by four people who were with a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. The group of Catholic students kept growing and they made the displeasure at what they were hearing, which, at least according to videos posted online, included some disgusting homophobic rhetoric, very evident.

“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this. … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”

Phillips acknowledges some of the members of the Black Hebrew Israelites group were also “saying some harsh things” and one even spit in the direction of the students. “So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place,” he said.

Phillips said he quickly realized the situation was much more tense than he had anticipated. “There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

Speaking to The Washington Post, Phillips said he realized he needed to get out. “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’” Phillips said. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”

Phillips spoke as some tried to change the narrative, sharing longer videos of the incident to somehow say that Phillips elder was deliberately trying to provoke the teenagers.

In an e-mail to a local network, a student says they were simply cheering “to pass time” while they were waiting for their ride. “In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips with Phillips beating his drum,” the student wrote.

“They forced their way into the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.”

The student also improbably claims that the white student who stood in front of Phillips with a smug look on his face was simply standing “where he was, smiling and enjoying the experience.” A mother of one of the students reportedly wrote an e-mail to Heavy.com, saying they had been harassed by “black Muslims.”

It’s clear just from the facial expressions of everyone captured in the screen grab above that the MAGA-cap-wearing punk-ass was not “smiling and enjoying the experience,” but was trying to impress his fellow white fascists by being a colossal prick to a Native American elder.

His behavior was aggressive and courted violence, and yes, he and anyone and everyone else who participated probably should be expelled from the Catholic high school.

And yes, the Catholics sorely need to get their shit together.

I’ll never forget or forgive them for their hateful, ignorant, fascist support of 2008’s Proposition Hate. (They lost that war, of course; same-sex marriage is now the law of the land throughout the United States.)

The whole rampant Catholic sexual abuse of minors thing aside, now we have Catholic punks wearing MAGA caps in public (they might as well wear fucking swastikas), and it’s interesting that they should be at a “pro-life” (“March for Life”) rally when clearly, the only lives they truly give a shit are their own white, over-privileged, fascist lives.

Part of me says don’t expel these punks, but try to rehabilitate them, because expulsion might make them even worse; we already have more than enough white, right-wing domestic terrorists. (As Vox.com noted in October 2017, “Since [“President” Pussygrabber] took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.”)

But can these young, white-supremacist punks be rehabilitated? They get their ignorance, hatred and bigotry from their families and friends — and from the Catholic church, which apparently is A-OK with them wearing MAGA caps in public to represent the Catholic church.

How likely is it that these young fascists are going to reject the sick and twisted worldview — pure evil masquerading as “Christianity” — that has been shoved down their throats by their social support system?

In the meantime, public naming and shaming might be our best weapons against these budding domestic terrorists (yes, even if they are minors — perhaps especially if they are minors).

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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.

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Mississippi is still burning

AFP/Getty Images news photo

“President” Pussygrabber appears with appointed Repugnican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith at a rally in Mississippi in October. He stands behind her not only literally but also figuratively.

Some who have read my rants against identity politics might conclude that I don’t take racism and sexism (and other bad -isms) seriously. I do, which is why I have a problem with identity politics, which too often devolves into anti-white racism and misandry, but right now we’re talking about white racism.

We’re talking about Repugnican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who on Tuesday will vie in a run-off election in Mississippi to finish out the U.S. Senate term of Repugnican Thad Cochran, who retired on April 1, citing health issues, and whose unfinished term ends in January 2021.

Upon Cochran’s resignation Hyde-Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Mississippi’s Repugnican governor in April, but she had to face the voters earlier this month in order to keep the seat until it comes up for election again in November 2020. Because no candidate won more than 50 percent in this month’s election, the run-off is on Tuesday.

First, Hyde-Smith drew attention to herself when she said of a political supporter, on video, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Mississippi had more lynchings than any other state, according to the NAACP, which puts Georgia at No. 2 and Texas at No. 3. Yet Hyde-Smith claimed that “this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me.” It’s interesting how quickly wingnuts turn from casual victimizers to “the victimized.”

Then came the revelation from the Jackson Free Press, a Mississippi newspaper, that as a high-schooler Hyde-Smith had attended an all-white “segregation academy” whose yearbook was called The Rebel.

The newspaper reports:

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith attended and graduated from a segregation academy that was set up so that white parents could avoid having to send their children to schools with black students, a yearbook reveals.

A group photo in the 1975 edition of The Rebel — the Lawrence County Academy yearbook — illustrates the point. High-school cheerleaders smile at the camera as they lie on the ground in front of their pom-poms, fists supporting their heads. In the center, the mascot, dressed in what appears to be an outfit designed to mimic that of a Confederate general, offers a salute as she holds up a large Confederate flag.

[Here is the yearbook photo the newspaper published:

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith appears third from the right in a 1975 yearbook photo of cheerleaders at Lawrence County Academy. The mascot appears in the middle dressed as a Confederate colonel holding a rebel flag.

Apparently the high-schoolers called themselves “the rebels.” Nice.]

Third from the right on the ground is a sophomore girl with short hair, identified in the caption as Cindy Hyde.

The photo, and the recently appointed Republican senator’s attendance at one of the many private schools that was set up to bypass integration, adds historic context to comments she made in recent weeks about a “public hanging” that drew condemnations from across the political spectrum.

Lawrence County Academy opened in the small town of Monticello, Miss., about 60 miles south of Jackson, in 1970. That same year, another segregation school, Brookhaven Academy, opened in nearby Lincoln County. Years later, Hyde-Smith would send her daughter, Anna-Michael, to that academy.

Hyde-Smith graduated from Lawrence County Academy in 1977, meaning she would have already been in school elsewhere at the time the academy opened.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ordered public schools to desegregate in 1954 and again in 1955 to do so with “all deliberate speed,” Mississippi slow-walked the integration of its schools as long as possible, trying a variety of “school choice” schemes, state legislation and court cases to stop full integration, including arguing that white kids should not go to school with so-called “genetically inferior” black students. …

The [Lawrence County Academy] yearbook, provided to the Jackson Free Press by a former student who asked not to be named, is one of very few pieces of evidence still available that identify the segregation academy as the recently appointed senator’s alma mater.

While Hyde-Smith regularly touts her subsequent education at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, her high school has been conspicuously absent from the senator’s official statements, speeches and public biographies. Even her Facebook account suggests her education began with community college. …

Lawrence County Academy shut down in the late 1980s due to dwindling attendance — one of the now-defunct early [segregated] schools that sprang up in response to integration. Among those that survived, though, was Brookhaven Academy, where Hyde-Smith chose to send her daughter, Anna-Michael. …

As many have pointed out, Hyde-Smith might not have had a choice if her parents sent her to the segregation academy, but Hyde-Smith certainly knew what she was doing when she sent her daughter to a segregation academy.

And if there were no shame about having attended the segregation academy, then why does Hyde-Smith never divulge where she went to high school?

Tomorrow, “President” Pussygrabber, who has campaigned for Hyde-Smith before, is to headline two rallies for her in Mississippi.

Andd the Repugnicans complain that their party is so unfairly painted as racist and white supremacist.

No, it simply is that we judge you by the company that you keep.

One of the many reasons that I never vote for a Repugnican is that the party is the party of the former slave states that committed treason when they seceded after the election of Abraham Lincoln (my favorite U.S. president, I’ll add).

Of course, treason wasn’t the slave states’ largest crime; what they did to the black slaves — awful crimes against humanity — was their largest crime.

Any political candidate who associates himself or herself with the Repugnican Party cannot credibly dissociate himself or herself from the stances that the party has taken, which include white racism and white supremacism, anti-labor unionism and pro-plutocracy, misogyny and patriarchy, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-environmentalism, etc., etc.

The Civil War never really ended, obviously, and we Northerners (literal and philosophical Northerners) must continue to fight it.

In the meantime, on Tuesday Hyde-Smith faces former Democrat Mike Espy, who is a black, and the Mississippi Clarion Ledger notes:

… National Democratic fundraising groups and leaders believe [that Espy] has a chance, especially after recent comments by Hyde-Smith talking about voter suppression and attending a “public hanging.”

They are pumping last-minute cash into the race, as prominent names such as Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker visited to drum up excitement for the former U.S. representative and U.S. agriculture secretary.

The last time a Democrat from Mississippi was elected to the Senate was 1982; the last time a black senator represented Mississippi was shortly after the Civil War.

An Espy win won’t give Democrats control in the Senate, but it could signal a larger political shift in the historically conservative South. Yet Espy often downplays the historic nature of his run.

“I’m proud of that but I’m not dwelling on it,” he said in another recent interview. “I want to be a senator for everyone. I’m trying to get votes from everyone, regardless of race, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability — or even party. I’m going to Republicans and Democrats talking about the issues that concern them.”

Despite a long-shot bid for any Democrat — Trump won Mississippi by 18 points in 2016 and has endorsed Hyde-Smith — Espy has generated several bursts of national attention and excitement on the campaign trail in recent weeks. Sometimes, they have been thanks to his opponent’s mistakes. …

Yes, but we’re still dealing with the South. In Florida, the purplest of the Southern states, Repugnican Ron DeSantis, running for governor against Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is black, infamously warned the state’s voters not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum, and DeSantis still won (“won”?).

This Civil War has been a long, hard slog.

P.S. Peter Berkowitz is on the right, but I do agree with this take of his on identity politics (you knew that I couldn’t resist):

… Identity politics … directs students [and everyone else, I’d argue] to think of themselves as members of a race, class, or gender first and primarily, and then to define their virtue in terms of the degree of oppression that they believe the group with which they identify has suffered.

It demotes the individual rights shared equally by all that undergird American constitutional government, while distributing group rights based on its self-proclaimed hierarchy of grievances. It imperiously pronounces collective guilt and summarily rejects appeals. It nurtures a sense of victimhood in those it purports to protect and empower.

In the guise of fighting domination, it aims to impose its will on all. In these ways and more, identity politics trains students [and, again, everyone else] to turn up the heat of the tribalism that threatens to engulf the nation. …

The sister doctrine of intersectionality adds that all crimes and sins committed by the unjustly privileged oppressors — typically white men — are indissolubly connected while righteousness inheres exclusively in the oppressed, comprising people of color and women. … [I]dentity politics affirms that victims are neatly distinguishable from, morally superior to, and entitled to greater political power than, the villains. …

None of this is to minimize what historically oppressed groups — including mine (gay men) — have suffered throughout way-too-often-ugly American history. And I agree with only some of what Berkowitz has to say in his column to which I linked (his advocacy for home-schooling and for charter schools, for instance, I disagree with); and even though I agree with some of his points, which are logical and which jibe with my own observations and experiences, I do question his overall motives, frankly.

But this is to point out that it’s very, very easy, if we let them, for the victims (and the “victims” — that is, those who aren’t actually victimized today but who nonetheless cravenly falsely claim victimization for personal and political gain) to become the victimizers.

When we say that human beings shouldn’t be treated based upon their race or biological sex (or upon other demographics/traits), but upon the content of their character, we mean it or we don’t.

If we oppose oppression only when it’s our own group that’s being oppressed, then we are in the grip of toxic identity politics. And that is worlds apart from the true spirits of diversity and of liberty and justice for all.

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