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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 president 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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Will Booker and Harris split the black vote and do voters want an Obama 2.0?

Are Cory Booker and Kamala Harris the best Democrats have for 2020?
Getty Images news photo

Not only will official presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker split the black vote, but are 2020 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters really eager to be punk’d again by a Barack Obama 2.0 promising — but not delivering — “hope” and “change”? (Booker and Harris are shown above during the September 2018 Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, which they used to showboat their presidential aspirations.)

As much as Kamala Harris incorrectly has been painted as a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination over the past several months — it has been the wishful thinking of the identity politicians — the first time that she reached double digits in a nationwide poll of preference of Dem presidential candidate was quite recently: a Morning Consult poll taken January 25 through January 27 put her at a whopping 10 percent.

But that 10 percent came right after she’d announced her candidacy on January 15 (Martin Luther King Day) and had basked in the ensuing media attention. Once her 15 minutes are up, will she sustain double digits, even low double digits?

I doubt it, especially now that Cory Booker officially has jumped into the race. (I’ve already written what I think of Cory Booker [two words: corporate whore], so I won’t regurgitate all of that here.)

Not that Booker is doing great in the polls. In the nationwide polls of Dem presidential preference taken in January*, he averaged only 2.6 percent. (Harris averaged only 6.25 percent in those polls.) But once you’re officially in the race, your poll numbers tend to go up if you’re anything like a viable candidate at all, since voters would rather support an actual candidate over a hypothetical one.

And until today, Harris was the only black candidate in it officially. We’ll see now how much black support Booker does or does not siphon away from her.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders remain the top two front-runners, averaging 27 percent and 15.75 percent in the January polls, respectively.

Right now it’s probably safe to say that Harris is at No. 3 behind Biden and Bernie, but will she keep that place now that Booker has made it official? And right now it’s probably also safe to say that just behind Harris are Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke.

I still don’t expect O’Rourke to gain traction. He apparently thinks that he can jump in the presidential race whenever he wants to and reportedly stopped fund-raising months ago.

For someone who lost his last election, I don’t think that O’Rourke can afford to act like this, and my guess is that he knows that having lost his last election, he can’t win the Dem presidential nomination on the strength of only having been an unremarkable member of the U.S. House of Representatives with a squishy, centrist political philosophy, if you can even say that (much like Cory Booker) he has a political philosophy other than trying to be all things to all people, which means that he probably actually stands for nothing at all.

Warren seems to be in it to win, seems to be taking the long view, and with O’Rourke most likely flaming out and with Harris and Booker probably splitting the black vote, my guess is that Liz will find herself at the No. 3 spot sooner rather than later.

And Joe Biden. Joe. Biden. He’s so uninspiring, such a centrist sellout, with his last act being his sarcastic defense of his love for Repugnicans. This is not at fucking all where the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are at today, Old Joe, but please, please, please keep up your stale act.

Biden is the pick of those who haven’t paid much, if any, attention, to the primary race that’s already under way, and they knee-jerkedly pick the candidate they think most likely can win. He was Barack Obama’s veep, so he’s a shoo-in, right?

If Biden runs, it will turn out like his first two runs for president (in 1988 and in 2008): Once they hear him speak, the voters will be turned off and they’ll reject him.

Biden can’t win on the strength of having early support only from low-information voters, and he won’t generate the enthusiasm that several of the other contenders (you know, those who don’t love Repugnicans) can.

As far as the other candidates and potential candidates go, it’s much easier to say that you’re going to run for president, to tease a presidential run (and to even officially start one), than to actually run for president over the long haul.

Yes, for a long time now we’ve looked at a crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, but once reality hits, I think that we’ll see candidates and potential candidates drop like flies — that is, those who were talked about running will announce that they won’t run after all (like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California billionaire Tom Steyer), and those who prematurely got into the race, like Richard Ojeda, will drop out sooner rather than later, Martin O’Malley-style.

My prediction: Your being a billionaire won’t help you in this election cycle, in which income inequality is taking the spotlight, but will hurt you. Look at the vitriol that Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz quite deservedly has received for talking about being an independent presidential candidate.

Also: If the highest level that you achieved was the U.S. House of Representatives or the mayor of a city or an Obama cabinet member, you are toast. You better have had been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state. You very likely won’t replicate “President” Pussygrabber’s feat of having ascended to the Oval Office without first having been at least a U.S. senator or a governor.

And: If you haven’t been a consistent champion of the working class, but have been only a feel-good-platitude-spewing corporate whore, God save you.

On these notes, finally, I’ll go out on a limb and prognosticate that in the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, identity politics probably won’t be the problem that I’ve long thought that it would be. (The fact that Biden and Bernie have been at No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls for a long time now alone indicates this.)

Not only will Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably split the black vote, but thus far neither Harris nor Booker (especially Booker) has offered anything other than generic, feel-good platitudes, refusing to take any courageous, controversial stances (that is, to lead).

Obama really ran with his platitudes of “hope” and “change” and “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States,” but that political pablum won’t fly this time. Obama, an uber-opportunist, took advantage of a political window that was open only around the time he decided to run for president.

And, because Obama didn’t deliver on his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” but was a caretaker president at best, I don’t think that the voters have the appetite to be punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Harris or Booker. I sure the fuck don’t.**

I wasn’t going to talk him up in this piece (honestly), but when you dissect the current political dynamics, as I have done above, it seems to me that the one candidate who benefits the most from those dynamics is Bernie Sanders.

It is, methinks, his time.

P.S. This is a recent quote from Cory Booker, per Politico. The occasion was Martin Luther King Day, but still; this is what I mean when I say “political pablum”:

“King said we can never let someone pull us so low as to hate them. We need each other in this nation. We need people that are gonna put the indivisible back into this one nation under God. We need folks that are gonna mend up wounds and bind us back together.

“We’re not going to be measured by how much we hate someone just because they vote differently than us or think differently than us. No, we will be measured by our defiant love and our ability to pull people together and help them to recognize that the lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us.”

This is rehashed Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, more the latter than the former, and this “Kumbaya” bullshit didn’t work for Obama. How would Obama knock-off Booker have any more success than Obama didn’t?

Repugnicans don’t respond to unity talk; they just ram their right-wing agenda through while clueless, centrist Democrats talk about love and unity and kittens and butterflies and fluffy bunnies as a distraction to try to mask the ugly fact that they are corporate whores. Jesus fucking Christ.

*My methodology: I’m looking at only the January 2019 nationwide polls of 2020 Democratic presidential preference that are reported here on Wikipedia. And of these polls, as I have noted before, I reject and exclude the Emerson College poll taken on January 20 and January 21 because its results differ so wildly from all of the other polls’.

**I voted for Obama in 2008, thinking that he might actually deliver on his promises, but then when it became clear that he was only about style, about being a very presidential president, and not about substance — or, at least, certainly not trying to push through a boldly progressive agenda — I could not vote for him again in 2012.

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For Dems 2020 probably will be 2016 redux (and 2nd chance to get it right)

Image result for bernie biden

Associated Press news photo

No, that’s not Bernie Sanders about to bitch slap Joe Biden, although I hope that happens in 2020 if both of them run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination… (Above is Sen. Sanders being sworn in by then-veep Biden in January 2013 in a re-enactment.)

Salon.com’s Andrew O’Hehir laments that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders thus far are the top two front-runners for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.*

O’Hehir proclaims that

A Sanders-Biden throwdown would rip the scabs off old wounds, inflame entrenched divisions and cast the party in the worst possible light, making clear on a bunch of levels that it doesn’t know who it represents or what principles it stands for. At a moment when Democrats finally seem to be moving toward the future, this would make them appear stuck in the past.

At least O’Hehir correctly identifies the top two front-runners.

Nationwide polls of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters taken over the past month indeed all show Bernie and Biden as the top two front-runners, both of them in the double digits, while some pundits (most of them identity politicians) actually claim that their favored candidates, who can’t even break into the double digits in the nationwide polls (such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and even Beto O’Rourke), actually are in the top tier. (Again, that’s not reporting the facts; that’s trying to get your own candidate into the top tier by lying about the facts.)

That said, I think that O’Hehir unfairly lumps Biden and Bernie together. While Biden doesn’t have much (if anything) more than “Vote for me — I was associated with the last popular Democratic president, Barack Obama,” Bernie has written books about who he represents and what principles he stands for. (Granted, books by most presidential politicians are pretty boring, but you cannot factually claim that Bernie hasn’t put his beliefs, values and ideas out there. He has. Repeatedly.)

Even after O’Hehir proclaims that Bernie being in the race would “[make] clear on a bunch of levels that [the Democratic Party] doesn’t know who it represents or what principles it stands for,” he acknowledges that 

[Bernie] is the standard-bearer for the resurgent progressive movement, who galvanized a rising generation and almost single-handedly pushed Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, free college and other issues of economic justice to the forefront of the party’s agenda after 30 years of managerial neoliberalism. 

So Bernie is an actual Democrat.** Horrors!

A Bernie-Biden match-up would, however, I agree, very potentially “rip the scabs off old wounds” and “inflame entrenched divisions.” (As far as “[casting] the party in the worst possible light” is concerned, does O’Hehir actually worry about what the Repugnicans think about the Democratic Party? I sure the fuck don’t. Nor do I much care about what the low-information “swing” voters think, even if we need their votes, truth be told.)

A Bernie-Biden match-up would be, to a large degree, a Round Two of the Bernie-Billary match-up: the progressive (the actual Democrat) against the sellout establishmentarian “Democrat,” the one who, when he or she must, can pay lip service to some progressive ideas but who, once in office, does little to nothing (just like Obama did and just as Billary would have had she won the presidential election).

If the conflict between the progressives and the Democrats in name only persists (and it does) it’s because it’s yet to be settled. Things move slooowly in politics. We Berners are dead-set on taking over the Democratic Party, frankly. We began the work no later than with Howard Dean’s candidacy in the 2004 cycle.***

We’re in it to win and we’re in it for the long run.

O’Hehir and others may lament all they want that Bernie and Biden are the front-runners, but thus far (according to the nationwide polls) they are the people’s choice, and in a democracy, that’s all that matters.

It will be the primary elections and the caucuses that choose the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee, not any pundit or blogger.

O’Hehir and his ilk apparently believe that what excites them personally — making a relatively nationally unknown but (at least relatively) young, non-white and, preferably, female candidate the presidential nominee — will win the 2020 presidential election.

I disagree.

All American voters, not just the identity politicians who align themselves with the Democratic Party, will vote for president in November 2020.

And given the demographics of all American voters — American voters (i.e., those who actually vote) remain older and predominantly white — it’s probably actually the most strategic to run Bernie or even Biden against “President” Pussygrabber.

The percentage of voters who are white is dropping and the percentage of non-white voters is growing over time, and as today’s youth become tomorrow’s older voters, the nation will, I believe, become more and more Democratic (and, hopefully, more and more progressive) over time. (Indeed, the Repugnicans wouldn’t need to cheat blatantly if they were in a strong position.)

But we’re not there yet.

We’ll get there if we work with what we actually have in the national electorate, not with what we wish we already had.

As president Bernie Sanders can and would, I believe, set us in the right direction toward getting to that promised land.

*Salon.com has gone way, way downhill over the years — I now prefer Slate.com — but I still will read O’Hehir, whose writing is decent enough even when I disagree with him. (He used to write film reviews but then moved into writing about politics.)

**Even though he casually lumps Bernie and Biden together, O’Hehir acknowledges:

It might sound ludicrous to say that Joe Biden is a male cognate to Hillary Clinton with fewer (or at least different) electoral negatives, but that’s approximately true. In fact, whatever populist, mid-Atlantic street cred he may possess, Biden is almost certainly less progressive than Clinton on core economic issues, and not much different in terms of hawkish foreign policy.

Biden is the only prominent figure in the prospective 2020 field to flat-out oppose Medicare for All, a.k.a. single-payer health insurance. He is lukewarm at best on other structural and economic reforms favored by progressives, and has long been a supporter of Clintonite 1990s-style financial deregulation and free-trade policies. (He’s from Delaware, a state whose economy is largely driven by quasi-predatory lenders perched in sinister office parks.)

As a matter of dogma and doctrine he is certain to stake out a range of non-confrontational, “moderate” positions aimed at luring in repentant conservatives and not alienating the donor class. I mean, that worked out great for Hillary, so why not?

***Full disclosure: I didn’t support Howard Dean in 2004, but supported John Kerry, because I saw Kerry as the best candidate to take on George W. Bush and because Dean’s record and personality suggested to me that he’s a fraud, and his subsequent actions and words over the years have proved me right; for years now he has toed the establishmentarian, not the progressive, line.

He slavishly supported Billary, for instance, and still does.

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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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Repugnicans’ war on women is also a war on justice, decency and democracy

ED'S NOTE, GRAPHIC CONTENT-- A powerful political cartoon depicting the assault of Lady Justice has gone viral in the wake of recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The graphic image, seen here, shows her blindfolded and pinned down as her scales lie beside her, one hand covering her mouth -- an explicit reference to how California professor Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school in 1982.

So very apt.

I am not a blind feminist — I refused to support Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton for the presidency just because she’s a woman, for instance, and being called a “Bernie bro” by so-called “feminists” did not shame me into giving a penny or my vote to a Repugnican Lite female candidate, and, on that note, I oppose rank misandry posing as “feminism” — but I am a feminist in that I believe in equality for women, who continue to be held down by a patriarchal society.

And, of course, as a gay man I am intimately familiar with how our patriarchal society denigrates and oppresses anything and anyone considered to be feminine, and how it blindly obediently vaunts all things “masculine.”

The fight over the nomination of drunkard and sex criminal Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is not just about the allegations of his sex crimes in and of themselves, of course, but is part of the ongoing “culture war” in which the right believes that right-wing, straight, “Christian” white men should continue to subjugate the rest of us with impunity.

So important is it to the right wing that stupid white men continue to rule that even Repugnican women (who universally are afflicted with Stockholm syndrome) are now said to be more fired up to vote in next month’s midterm elections than they were before the Kavanaugh fracas.

This is some sick and twisted shit, of course, but then again the Repugnicans are a fucking sick and twisted lot, a true basket of deplorables (I have to agree with Billary on that, although I find her plenty deplorable her-presidential-nomination-stealing-self).

That said, we must continue to fight against the fascists, which includes voting on November 6. They will vote for evil, as they always do; we must vote for good.

And we can take some solace in the fact that the Repugnicans must cheat in order to “win.”

The Repugnican presidential candidate won the popular vote only once since 1992 (Gee Dubya “won” “re”-election in 2004 by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote; he had lost the popular vote in 2000, and Pussygrabber also lost the popular vote in 2016).

The majority of the American people prefer a Democrat over a Repugnican, which is why the Repugnicans must do everything in their power to subvert democracy and throw elections their way, be it via widespread voter suppression or via such fascist bullshit as Bush v. Gore, in which the Repugnican-appointed “justices” of the Supreme Court, not the American people, picked the U.S. president in 2000.

And look how much the Repugnicans have had to cheat brazenly in order to shove Kavanaugh through. First, they had to pave the way by reducing the confirmation vote for a Supreme Court “justice” in the U.S. Senate from 60 votes to only 51 votes, which they did for Neil Gorsuch — after they had denied President Barack Obama the right to name a replacement for bloated piece of shit Antonin Scalia even though Obama had had almost a full year left of his presidency.

In addition to his white-male privilege, Kavanaugh has benefited not only from the anti-democratic Electoral College that gave us Pussygrabber and from the craven new simple-majority vote requirement for a Supreme Court “justice” in the U.S. Senate, but also from a fucking sham of an FBI “investigation” into his sex crimes, in which the “investigation” was done within only a few days and in which key individuals weren’t interviewed by the FBI at all.

Just as I never will consider George W. Bush nor Pussygrabber to have been legitimate U.S. presidents, I never will consider Gorsuch or Kavanaugh to be legitimate U.S. Supreme Court justices. Never.

How you got there fucking matters.

What we, the people, need to ensure now is that the Repugnican minority no longer can treasonously cheat its way into dominating us, the majority.

The fascist traitors “win” because thus far we have let them. Indeed, they always have counted on us to do so, because while they are shameless, violent and craven, we lean toward conscience, peace and decency.

We already have the majority; the only question is how much we’ll fight for it.

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How many more whacks can the Pussygrabber piñata sustain?

A woman hits a pinata of Donald Trump during a protest in Mexico City, on October 12, 2016 (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)

AFP photo

A woman takes a hit at an effigial piñata of Pussygrabber during a protest in Mexico City in October 2016, before our long national nightmare officially began in January 2017.

For better or for worse — now, for worse — the United States presidency was built to be durable. The president, whether actually elected by the majority of the voters or not (tellingly, neither of our last two Repugnican “presidents” were), gets a fairly long term of four years, plenty of time with which to do plenty of damage, and it’s incredibly difficult to remove a sitting president.

Unless the president obviously, unarguably is incapacitated, such as through coma or death, he gets to remain in office, and sure, you can impeach him with a simple majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives, but to actually remove him from office then would take at least 67 votes in the U.S. Senate. That’s never happened in our nation’s history. (I generally am against super-majorities, especially super-majorities of two-thirds. If we must have a super-majority, to me it shouldn’t have to be higher than 60 percent.*)

When we have a shitty president, our options aren’t many. Ensuring that his party doesn’t control both houses of Congress helps, and I am confident that the Democrats will take back the House in November. (Fivethirtyeight.com right now gives them a 78.2 percent chance of doing so.) That will be yet another significant blow to the Pussygrabber piñata, which has taken many hits so far.

Not that Pussygrabber would flinch all that much (at least publicly) after losing the House; he’s never understood or respected the U.S. Constitution, so he’ll still try to be a dictator. He’ll try; he’ll be slapped down by the checks and balances that the nation’s founders wisely and presciently built into our system of governance.

But, as I have noted before, Pussygrabber does make the cockroach jealous in terms of his ability to survive what should have killed him.

The pussy-grabbing tape publicly revealed in October 2016, for fuck’s sake, should have ended him.

And it’s been nothing but a parade of books about the Pussygrabber White House, first Michael Wolff’s best-selling Fire and Fury, then White House insider Omarosa Manigalt Newman’s Unhinged (which, whatever we think of her, still sits at No. 60 on Amazon.com’s top-100 selling books list as I type this sentence), and now, Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White Housewhich because of pre-orders right now is No. 1 on Amazon.com’s best-seller list (it officially come outs on Tuesday, which is September 11…).

When people independently are reporting the same things, um, yeah…

There have been plenty of other whacks on the Pussygrabber piñata, of course, including the indictments and convictions and guilty pleas of Pussygrabber associates, most notably of former Pussygrabber “presidential” campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Pussygrabber personal attorney Michael Cohen (which didn’t happen even a full month ago), and plenty of wholly self-inflicted hits, such as Pussygrabber’s disastrous meeting with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin in Finland in July, during which he surreally casually treasonously threw the United States of America under the bus.

Old-school Repugnican John McCain got in a postmortem dig by barring Pussygrabber from attending his recent funeral, which was attended by Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as by Joe Biden and former U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Gary Hart and current U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, all Democrats.

The New York Times last week released that interesting, anonymously-penned op-ed titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” and tag-lined “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

The op-ed didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, wasn’t much new, except that it purportedly was written by someone still working within the Pussygrabber regime (my best guess is that it was lodestar-loving Mike Pence, who would personally benefit immediately upon Pussygrabber’s exit), and of course Pussygrabber made the situation even worse by tweeting:

Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

Wow. Let’s unpack that: Saying or reporting anything that “President” Pussygrabber doesn’t want you to is tantamount to threatening “National Security.” Wow. No First-Amendment or whistle-blowing protections for us peasants where it comes to Mad King George!

To equate yourself with the nation (and your ego with the nation’s security) itself is beyond insane. Pussygrabber is not the United States of America; he is an aberration and an abomination. We know this now; indeed, we have known this for some time now, and we don’t need to wait for the historians inevitably to record his “presidency” as such.

And The New York Times is not “failing.” In fact, this never has been true during Pussygrabber’s “presidency,” and Pussygrabber will lie pathologically about anything, will spew even lies that easily are thoroughly debunked.

Forbes reported back in July 2017 of the Times that “the paper enjoys 2.3 million paid digital subscriptions, up 63.4 percent from a year earlier. Its stock is currently trading at a nine-year high, hovering around $20 per share and giving the company a market capitalization of about $3.2 billion.”**

Forbes added: “Like most traditional media organizations, the Times has weathered setbacks thank to falling print subscriptions and ad revenues. But Trump’s presidency appears to have breathed new life into the organization. Since the election, the Times has made itself a must-read, trading political scoops with The Washington Post on an almost daily basis.”

The Times reported 2.9 million online subscriptions last month and published this graphic:

Indeed, I renewed my online subscription to the Times after years of dormancy because I value the Times’ and The Washington Post’s fairly relentless coverage of “our” illegitimate, dangerous “president” (I subscribe to both online, and yes, their current success has a lot to do with the unelected maniac in the Oval Office).

But back to that “presidential” tweet: Most chilling about it, of course, is Pussygrabber’s dictatorial assertion that “the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her [the writer of the anonymous op-ed] over to government at once!”

Who the fuck does Pussygrabber think he is — Vladimir Putin? (That was [mostly] rhetorical, but feel free to answer it literally.) Although Pussygrabber has done his best to be a human wrecking ball of our republic, in the end, although sometimes slow, such as the Mueller investigation, in the United States of America the rule of law still applies.***

The Times legally does not have to divulge its sources, and the specious “National Security” argument won’t work. Further, at least one federal former prosecutor says that the author of the anonymous op-ed has broken no law at all, either by having provided the piece for publication or by having admitted to any illegal activity within the piece itself.

Another whack to the Pussygrabber piñata is planned to come later this month, when Michael Moore releases his new film on the unelected Pussygrabber regime, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” a twist on the title of his 2004 film about the unelected Bush regime, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

Here is the poster for “Fahrenheit 11/9”:

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

Pussygrabber’s “win” of the White House was announced on November 9, 2016, and thus “Fahrenheit 11/9.”

True, “Fahrenheit 9/11” was meant to help to deny “President” Bush a second term in the 2004 presidential election and failed to do so, but I’ll take just about any new movie by Moore, and, again, it should be yet another whack on the Pussygrabber  piñata, followed by the Repugnicans’ loss of the U.S. House of Representatives later this fall.

And, of course, Pussygrabber’s approval ratings remain stubbornly stuck around the low 40s, which not only doesn’t bode well for the mid-term elections in November — widely considered to be a referendum on Pussygrabber — but doesn’t bode well for his “re”-“election.”

Pussygrabber’s average approval ratings have been historically low, which is like a constant hitting of the Pussygrabber piñata, weakening it even further and further, if only slowly.

Will there be a final, spectacular, perhaps inevitable blow to the Pussygrabber piñata? And who will strike it? Robert Mueller at any time? The Democratic-controlled House finding its spine and impeaching him? Bernie Sanders beating him in November 2020?

We’ll see, but in the meantime, this will, methinks, remain a fairly slow-moving train wreck.

We’ll probably finally see that piñata spew its contents all over the ground one day, but by the time that comes, we might be too exhausted from our long national nightmare to be able to derive all that much pleasure from it.

*On that note, the threshold for a new U.S. Supreme Court “justice” to be put on the bench used to be a vote of 60 or more in the U.S. Senate, until Yertle McConnell changed the Senate rules in 2017 to require only a simple-majority vote for Supreme Court “justices” in order to get Pussygrabber’s picks seated on the court.

The only way for loser Pussygrabber to “win,” once again, was to cheat.

**Forbes does note that maybe Pussygrabber, who is no wordsmith, means that The New York Times is “failing” in its coverage of him and his “presidency,” but most often when Pussygrabber criticizes a company, his criticism is that it is not doing well financially, even though he’s had six bankruptcies.

***It is because there are so many competing different interests within the United States, I surmise, that no one group of people can have power indefinitely, as it is the case in the thugocracy of Russia, which Pussygrabber wants to replicate here in the U.S.

(In March, Pussygrabber remarked that it’s great that China now has a president for life, and that maybe the U.S. will have that too someday. Maybe Pussygrabber was joking, but “jokes” like that aren’t funny. It wasn’t funny when George W. Bush “quipped” in December 2000, “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”)

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