Tag Archives: Socialism

For too many, their main problem with Bernie Sanders remains that he is white

Updated below (on Monday, November 12, 2018)

Bernie Sanders and Andrew Gillum.

Associated Press photo

Bernie Sanders campaigned relentlessly for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, but for too many, Bernie remains unacceptable as a Democratic Party presidential nominee because he is a white man, whether they’ll come out and say that or not.

The 2020 Democratic Party primary fight has begun, because already it’s being declared yet once again that Bernie Sanders isn’t good enough on black issues.

Before I delve into that, let me make a point: We’ve never had a Latino U.S. president (and Latinos comprise the largest non-white racial group in the United States). Or a Native American president. Or an Asian president. Or an openly non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming president. Or, for fuck’s sake, even a biologically female president. We haven’t even had an openly non-“Christian” U.S. president; claiming to be a Christian, as even Pussygrabber has, always has been a prerequisite to sit in the Oval Office.

Yet many so-called Democratic voters, if the next Democratic Party presidential nominee isn’t black, are going to scoop up their marbles and go home. (Not that that is racist or black supremacist or anything…)

So the latest “controversy” that “proves” that Bernie Sanders actually is a crypto-white supremacist is a recent remark attributed to him by The Daily Beast, which reported three days ago:

Democratic officials woke Wednesday morning searching for answers as to why the party was unable to win several marquee Senate and gubernatorial races the night before.

But for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the explanation was simple. The candidates who under-performed weren’t progressive enough; those who didn’t shy away from progressivism were undone, in part, by “racist” attacks.

“I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders told The Daily Beast, referencing the close contests involving Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia and ads run against the two. “I think next time around, by the way, it will be a lot easier for them to do that.”

Sanders wasn’t speaking as a mere observer but, rather, as someone who had invested time and reputation on many of the midterm contests. The Vermonter, who is potentially considering another bid for the presidency in 2020, mounted an aggressive campaign travel schedule over the past few months and endorsed both Abrams and Gillum. He also has a personal political investment in the notion that unapologetic, authentic progressive populism can be sold throughout the country and not just in states and districts that lean left.

Surveying the victories and the carnage of Tuesday’s results, Sanders framed it as a vindication of that vision. The candidates who performed well even though they lost, he said, offered positive progressive views for the future of their states, including Gillum, Abrams, and Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. Those who were heavily defeated, Sanders said, didn’t galvanize young voters, people of color, and typically non-active voters.

“I think you got to contrast that to the votes of conservative Democrats who did not generate a great deal of excitement within the Democratic Party,” Sanders said, alluding to a host of Senate Democrats who lost re-election on Tuesday night. “[They] did not bring the kind of new people, new energy that they needed and ended up doing quite poorly. In admittedly difficult states. Missouri and Indiana are not easy states, but neither is Florida or Georgia or Texas.” …

Sanders … credited Abrams with a “brilliant campaign” for her efforts to bring non-active Democratic voters into the electoral process. He marveled at O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess, which allowed the Texas Democrat to raise $38 million in the third quarter of this year — the largest of any Senate candidate in history — and earn more than 48 percent of the vote against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). And he noted that Gillum helped generate turnout that led to the successful passing of Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights to 1.5 million convicted felons in Florida. [This is great news that would warrant a blog post on its own, but I can do only so much…]

“I think he’s a fantastic politician in the best sense of the word,” Sanders said of Gillum. “He stuck to his guns in terms of a progressive agenda. I think he ran a great campaign. And he had to take on some of the most blatant and ugly racism that we have seen in many, many years. And yet he came within a whisker of winning.” …

Of course the anti-Berners ignore the second paragraph (and, well, every other paragraph as well) and focus like a laser on the third, which contains the juicy quote, “I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

On the bare face of that, of course I disagree with it. If you are a white voter who feels uncomfortable voting for a candidate primarily or solely because the candidate is not white, then you are racist, whether you’re fully conscious of it or not. Even just an “innocent” belief that elected officials “should” be white because that’s what you are accustomed to is, of course, deeply rooted in racism.

But I don’t know exactly what Bernie meant by his statement, and therefore I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Did Bernie mean that some white Democratic primary voters, knowing how racist their states are, hesitated to vote for black candidates because they figured that they’d only lose in the general election because of the racism in their states? Not wanting to lose an election because of racism doesn’t make you racist yourself, and it seems to me that there is a good chance that this is what Bernie was trying to say, albeit woefully inartfully.

What about white voters in Georgia and Florida who didn’t vote for either Abrams or Gillum primarily because they believe that Abrams and Gillum are “socialist” and they won’t vote for a “socialist”? Or primarily because their political tribalism precludes them from voting for anyone outside of the Repugnican Party (even if they wouldn’t brand Abrams or Gillum a “socialist,” although they probably would)?

“Socialist” Bernie Sanders campaigned for Abrams and Gillum relentlessly, not just in person, but in many, many e-mails (including, of course, fundraising e-mails for them) that I received myself over the course of months. Wouldn’t that be enough to brand Abrams and Gillum “socialist” at least by association?

Is it always simply about race? Always?

It’s also possible, it seems to me, that Bernie Sanders, if he was quoted accurately by The Daily Beast, was trying to be overly diplomatic in trying to win over some white voters who tend to vote only for whites by giving them an out on the charge that they are racist — believing that if you label them as racists, of course they’ll never consider voting for you.

That’s certainly not a tack that I would take, but if that’s what Bernie was trying to do (not likely but not impossible, from what I can tell), was it unforgivable? No. I’d call it rather stupid and inadvisable, as well as unnecessary (I don’t believe in coddling racists, or that it’s politically necessary to do so), but not evil. 

Full disclosure: I am a gay white male progressive and I have given both Abrams and Gillum campaign contributions ($30 each, if you must know; how much did you give to either of them?), and I hope that they ultimately win; Florida started a recount of its gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and some other races yesterday, and in Georgia, if the finalized vote count puts Abrams’ despicable Repugnican opponent below 50.0 percent, then there will be a runoff election early next month.

I gave to Abrams and Gillum in part because they’re black in that I believe in a truly representative democracy. How soul-crushing it must be to live in Georgia, for instance, which is about a third black, and never see yourself represented in the governor’s mansion or in the U.S. Senate for your state. That’s some fucked-up shit.

But I wouldn’t have given a penny to Gillum or Abrams if they were Repugnicans (I judge you by the company that you keep!) or if they didn’t espouse progressivism but instead espoused the stand-for-nothing, do-nothing, pro-corporate centrism that the likes of DINO Claire McCaskill still espouses even though her sorry arse just got tossed from the U.S. Senate for being a worthless, milquetoast piece of shit.

I have supported Abrams and Gillum primarily because they are progressive; that they have stood a chance of making our democracy (what’s left of it, anyway) more representative of all of the people has been the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.

That’s why I find it disturbing that so many so-called Democrats don’t care how progressive a (so-called) Democratic candidate is or is not; all that they care about is that he or she is black and calls him- or herself a Democrat.

I don’t support Kamala Harris for the White House for 2020 because as attorney general of California she was rather unremarkable and because she hasn’t been in the U.S. Senate for even two full years yet. Her getting cheeky in some Senate hearings, while laudable (and at least somewhat entertaining or at least gratifying if not entertaining), is not enough to vote for her for president in 2020.

And Cory “I Am Spartacus” Booker is just another corporate whore. As one black commentator put it early last year:

… The Democrats leading the charge against Trump must meet exacting qualifications. They have to be loyal servants of the one-percenters, of banksters, hedge funds, charter school sugar daddies and privatizers of all kinds. They must be dependable supporters of apartheid Israel, of military contractors, drone warfare and U.S. military interventions of all kinds around the world.

To boost their party’s fortunes in this new era, Democratic party spokespeople need to be gifted hypocrites willing to pose as advocates of immigrants and champions of civil liberties going forward, even though they unflinchingly supported the biggest deportation and mass surveillance regimes in history implemented by the Democrat who just left the White House. They must focus narrowly on the handful of issues on which corporate Dems actually disagree with Republicans like abortion rights, and not stray to areas which might indict their own party along with Republicans.

And they must absolve their party of responsibility for running an incompetent campaign by blaming the Russians. Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.

Cory Booker is a great fit. …

Yup. We were punk’d by Barack Obama, who barely lifted a finger to push through a progressive agenda and who accomplished little outside of some spiffy speeches. He was dignified, sure, but he actually did next to nothing. Shame on us if we’re punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Cory Booker and probably such as Kamala Harris.

On that note, The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake is out with his quasi-quarterly rankings of the competitors for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates. Here are his top five now, from one to five: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker.

I find Harris’ spot at No. 3 inexplicable. She hasn’t even been well known here in my home state of California, so how she could win a presidential election eludes me entirely. I did vote in November 2016 to send her to the U.S. Senate, but she hasn’t proven herself there, as it hasn’t even been two fucking years yet.

Obama had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years of his first six-year term before he ascended to the White House (his naivete of the “Game of Thrones”-like workings of D.C. was glaring) and that was a huge mistake, one in which I won’t participate again.

For a long time, if not always, Aaron Blake had put Bernie Sanders at No. 1, so Bernie’s slippage to No. 2 on Blake’s rankings to me indicates that perhaps Warren is seen by the Beltway establishment as the perfect fusion/hybrid of an establishment candidate like Billary Clinton and a populist candidate like Bernie Sanders; she’s to be a parting gift for us Berners. But that’s the coward’s way out.

I can support Warren if she fairly and democratically emerges as the presidential nominee, as she is my second choice behind Bernie, but I still have serious concerns about her ability to win a presidential election. I’ve said it a million times before, but I’ll say it again: I would expect her to get labeled as just another weak egghead from Massachusetts; I would expect her to get Michael Dukakis’d or John Kerry’d. (You heard it here, perhaps first.)

In the meantime, I expect Bernie Sanders to continue to be attacked as not good enough for blacks, even though as president the black front runners Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably would do no more for black Americans than Obama did, but would be, like Obama was, mostly just symbolic — and even though it would be great, if we must apply affirmative action to our electoral politics, that we don’t demand only a white or a black president and continue to shut out all of the other groups that never have been represented in the White House.

And I expect Bernie’s continued support for black progressives like Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum to be dismissed cynically as just Bernie’s dishonest attempt to shore up his pro-black bona fides — this from actual racists and racial supremacists whose main problem with Bernie Sanders, today as it was the case in 2016, is that he is white (and of Jewish heritage).

These hypocrites must continue to call Bernie Sanders a racist in order to try to obscure their own racism and racial supremacism and their own rank, racist political motivations.

P.S. This is interesting: The Washington Post reports that just more than 2,000 voters (Democrats, Repugnicans and independents) in 69 battleground U.S. House districts were polled on November 5 and 6, and that those who reported that they supported a Democratic candidate (33 percent of the total number of those polled) were asked to give their preferences for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

The poll found that Joe Biden was their No. 1 choice, with 35 percent; Bernie Sanders was at No. 2, with 15 percent; Kamala Harris at No. 3, with 12 percent; Elizabeth Warren at No. 4, with 10 percent; and Cory Booker at No. 5, with 7 percent.

I don’t see Cory Booker winning (the vice presidential slot maybe), that’s for sure, and while I think that Aaron Blake probably accurately captured the top five candidates, I don’t agree with the order in which he ranked them.

For instance, while he put Warren at No. 1, the poll put her at No. 4.

Also, while Biden looks strong in the poll, what really matters to me, it seems, is which candidate, Biden or Bernie, if both of them run, inherits most of the support of the other candidates who drop out over time. For instance, if Warren were to drop out while Bernie and Biden were still in the running, I do believe that Bernie would inherit most of her supporters.

Also, of course, if Biden doesn’t run and Bernie does, I have to wonder how much of Biden’s support Bernie would get. (My best guess is that most of Biden’s support would go to the other much more establishmentarian candidates rather than to Bernie.)

All of that said, I’m not sure if polling voters in certain battleground districts is reflective of the field of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters as a whole, but, again, I do believe that with a high degree of accuracy, we can state that the top five contenders for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination (alphabetically) are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

I am a little tempted by such dark-horse candidates as California U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell or lawyer Michael Avenatti, but if you haven’t been at least a governor or a U.S. senator, you’re probably never going to make it to the White House. I can’t say that I want to support a presidential candidate who has little to no chance of winning.

Bernie Sanders, as long as he runs, of course, remains and probably will remain my No. 1 choice until the final nominee emerges.

And yes, while I could not bring myself to vote for Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton in 2016, I’m most likely to vote for the Democratic nominee, even if it is not Bernie, over Pussygrabber in November 2020.

P.P.S. OK, I just stumbled upon a CNN poll taken early last month. The poll of Dems and Dem leaners put Biden at 33 percent, Bernie at 13 percent, and Harris at 9 percent. (Warren comes in just behind Harris, with 8 percent, and behind Warren comes Cory Booker, tied with John Kerry at 5 percent.)

I’m thinking that it’s probably safe to say that the top three are Biden, Bernie and Harris.

Biden, methinks, would represent the old-guard/establishmentarian vote (as well as a good chunk of the Obama-by-association/black vote, from which Billary benefited in 2016), Bernie would represent the progressive-regardless-of-race-or-sex vote, and Harris mostly would represent the non-white/identity-politics vote, and it might also help her that she’s a woman (speaking of identity politics, as taboo as that might be [rank tribalism over ideology in electoral politics is a fact]).

I don’t put Warren in the top three. In the top five, yes, but not in the top three. I think that the Beltway pundits overestimate her popularity among actual Dems and Dem leaners, many of whom, myself included, like her enough as an individual but just don’t see her beating Pussygrabber in 2020.

Update (Monday, November 12, 2018): I don’t want to do another P.S., so here’s some more discussion on this topic:

CNN inexplicably puts Kamala Harris at the front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, as though Beltway wishful thinking were fact (maybe there is something to that “fake news” charge…).

Seriously, though, here is CNN’s Beltway-wishful-thinking-filled ranking, in this order: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar(!), Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders (at No. 6!), et. al.

Right.

The polls — you know, surveys of the voters who actually will decide this thing (not CNN’s “analysts”) — show something quite different. Another poll, this one from Politico/Morning Consult of 733 Dem and Dem-leaning registered voters taken from Wednesday through Friday, shows Joe Biden with 26 percent, Bernie with 19 percent, Beto O’Rourke with 8 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 5 percent, Kamala Harris with only 4 percent, and Cory Booker with only 3 percent.

So while CNN dreams of Kamala Harris — its “analysts” fantasize that the “2018 election convinced us that Harris seems to be exactly what Democratic voters are telling the party and its politicians they want representing them going forward,” Politico reports something else:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) enter the 2020 election cycle as the leaders for the Democratic presidential nomination to take on President Donald Trump, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of last week’s midterms.

More than a quarter of Democratic voters, 26 percent, say Biden is their first choice to be the Democratic nominee. Another one-in-five, 19 percent, would pick Sanders, the runner-up for the nomination in 2016.

The two septuagenarians — Biden will be 77 on Election Day, 2020, and Sanders will be 79 — are the only two prospective candidates to garner double-digit support. The third-place candidate is Rep. Beto O’Rourke (R-Texas), who built national name-recognition through his losing Senate bid last week, with 8 percent. …

I surmise that O’Rourke will flame out as a presidential contender for 2020, and that he came in at third place in the poll only because of the immediacy of the midterm election (and he did do well for Texas), but all (or at least almost all) of the reputable recent nationwide polls consistently put Biden at No. 1 and Bernie at No. 2.

Because CNN puts Bernie at a laughable No. 6, I surmise that we can expect CNN to attack Bernie throughout the entire process, because CNN’s “woke” “analysts” don’t want Bernie to win. 

Don’t get me wrong; I certainly right now don’t count Kamala Harris out (I pretty much count Booker out, and I’m on the verge of counting Warren out if her polling doesn’t improve), but, again, the polls of Dem and Dem-leaning voters thus far show that the top two front-runners are Biden and Bernie, whether the identity politicians like it or not.

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¡Viva AMLO!

AMLO

Reuters photo

Mexicans are poised to elect democratic socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador as their new president by double digits today. This is excellent news for freedom, democracy, fairness and justice.

I’ve been meaning to write about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is expected to be elected as the next president of Mexico today. I’m not too late, as his victory has yet to be announced. As Politico reports today:

Mexico City — Mexicans [today] appear likely to elect a left-wing populist president who has campaigned on standing up to President Donald Trump, potentially ushering in a more confrontational era of U.S.-Mexico relations on everything from immigration policy to trade.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who styles himself as a champion for rural Mexico, has enjoyed a double-digit lead over the other top candidates from the country’s major parties for months.

His vows to eradicate violence and official corruption — long unaddressed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling PRI party — have played a major role in lifting him to the head of the pack. But his pledge to defend Mexicans from Trump, coupled with his nationalistic rhetoric, has also bolstered his standing with Mexican voters.

López Obrador traveled through the U.S. after Trump was elected to advocate for Mexican immigrants living in the states and even published a book called Oye, Trump (Listen Up, Trump) that condemns Trump’s plans to build a border wall and “his attempts to persecute migrant workers.”

Mexico “will never be the piñata of any foreign government,” López Obrador, 64, told more than 90,000 supporters at a rally here to close out his campaign on Wednesday.

The election of López Obrador — like Trump, known for his impulsive and nationalistic tendencies — could further strain U.S-Mexico relations. The candidate, nicknamed AMLO, says illegal migration to the U.S. should be addressed with economic development programs, not a border wall.

And while he supports continued talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, he’s also been a critic of free trade in the past, arguing that Mexico needs to be more self-sufficient.

“AMLO won’t hold back the way Peña Nieto has,” said Mark Feierstein, former senior director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council. “Peña Nieto has been very passive toward Trump and toward the United States.” …

Not that the U.S. government won’t do everything in its power to try to cripple the democratically elected López Obrador. The “freedom-loving” U.S. government has a long history of tyrannically violently overthrowing left-wing presidents whom the people of their nations elect to office, including in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile. Historically, Latin American nations had better elect right-wing candidates who promise to do the bidding of the rich oligarchs in the United States of America, even if this make them fucking traitors to their own people, you see.

However, I don’t see a weakened United States (weakened by years of bogus warfare in the Middle East and weakened by our dumbest “president” ever [George W. Bush is fucking Einstein compared to Pussygrabber]) being able to overthrow López Obrador. Mexico isn’t Guatemala or Nicaragua or Panama or El Salvador or Honduras or the Dominican Republic or some other smaller Latin-American nation that the U.S. government found fairly easy to bully.

Mexico is the big enchilada, not only the most populous Latin-American nation by far, but also, more than 11 percent of Americans are Mexican-American, and Mexican Americans make up almost two-thirds of Latinos in the United States. That and they have their legions of non-Latino supporters, such as yours truly.

If you scoff at that, look at how quickly the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime backed down after the majority of the nation, Mexican-American or otherwise Latino and not, was outraged at the fascist’s regime treatment of “illegal aliens” — outrage that continues, and that won’t allow simply exchanging separating and locking up families for simply locking up the families together.

I wish AMLO the best as president of Mexico, and if “my” government tries to cripple his presidency, as is so predictable, I am on Mexico’s side, the side of democracy; the side of the people who have expressed their wishes through their votes; the side of a nation’s sovereignty to democratically guide itself, free from interference from imperialist nations that have only their own greedy interests in mind; and the side of right over wrong, the side of good over evil.

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Thank Goddess for the ‘alt-left’

What Is Antifa? Anti-Fascist Protesters Draw Attention After Charlottesville

Getty Images news photo

Anti-fascists showed up on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter the neo-Nazis who ostensibly wanted to protest the removal of a statue of traitor Robert E. Lee but who in reality are just domestic terrorists. I love these guys, whose hearts are in the right place if I don’t always agree with their tactics.

Today “President” Pussygrabber, doubling down on his false equivalence between the neo-Nazis who are part of his base and the anti-fascists/anti-neo-Nazis, coined the term “alt-left.”

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’ [in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday]? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Pussygrabber said at an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, Politico reports.

Part of me might recommend that we on the left embrace the term “alt-left,” except that the neo-Nazis already have come to give “alt-” the connotation if not the denotation of white supremacism and white nationalism, and thus have pretty much ruined the prefix “alt-.”

And, of course, usually it’s best not to allow your enemy to name you, but to name yourself. (On that note, Pussygrabber said, “as you say, the ‘alt-right,’” but “alt-right” is the name that the fucking neo-Nazis have given themselves.)

And the “alt-left” already has named itself: Antifa, for anti-fascist, and it doesn’t need a new name.

And I say thank Goddess for the Antifa.

No, I don’t condone every action and every word that everyone who might call him- or herself a member of Antifa might commit, but on the whole, I’m quite happy that there is an active opposition to the neo-Nazis. (As I have written, I reject the term “alt-right” as unnecessary because we already have the term neo-Nazi.)

Fact is, as so many have observed and reported, the police often do little to nothing when there are clashes between the neo-Nazis and the Antifa (and/or other anti-neo-Nazis). That’s because many if not most cops are right-wingers (if not also actually white nationalists/white supremacists) themselves, I surmise, and therefore they aren’t all that enthusiastic about protecting us, the people, from the neo-Nazis. To a large degree, we have to do it ourselves.

I’m sure that there are some who fairly fairly could be called thugs among those who call themselves Antifa — that is, some individuals who are looking for a fight at least as much as they care about a sociopolitical cause. Of course, there probably are far more such individuals among the neo-Nazis.

While both groups routinely show up with weaponry (homegrown and professional) when they expect a confrontation, when there are casualties, they usually are on the left, not on the right, such as the case of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a neo-Nazi cowardly ran her down in his car.

And to my knowledge, Heyer was not a member of the Antifa (or, to Pussygrabber, the “alt-left”), but was just a citizen who had shown up to demonstrate her opposition to neo-Nazism, which she had the right to do (even though I question, for safety reasons, the wisdom of showing up anywhere where there are neo-Nazis).

While I have no personal interest in having a physical confrontation with a neo-Nazi, not seeing what ultimate good it would do, and while I hate to think of any good-hearted (if misguided) member of Antifa (or anyone else) being harmed or even killed by a neo-Nazi, I just can’t bring myself to condemn the Antifa, because I don’t know how far the neo-Nazis would take it if they knew that they faced no opposition in our streets.

The neo-Nazis need to know that should they get too big for their khakis (and thanks for ruining khakis for the rest of us, assholes!) and start harming people on the streets, they’re going to face pushback.

As a gay man, an atheist and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one day I just might need protection from neo-Nazis myself, and so I’m not going to condemn the Antifa and the overall important sociopolitical role that they play in these, um, interesting times.

I would only ask the members of Antifa and all of those who oppose the neo-Nazis, as I do, to pick their battles and to put their personal safety first.

The pathetic neo-Nazi losers aren’t worth it.

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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

Image result for fidel castro

Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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88 years for a U.S. president to travel 90 miles; Cubans still have more to lose

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (Cubadebate/Ismael Francisco via AP)

Associated Press photo

The caption for the AP news photo above reads: “President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, [today]. Obama’s trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro’s ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries.”

The caption for the AP news photo below reads: “A poster features portraits of Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama and reads in Spanish, ‘Welcome to Cuba’ outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, [on Thursday]. Obama is scheduled to travel to the island [today], the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years.”

Steps Obama has taken to ease US restrictions on Cuba

Associated Press photo

If I can’t say much that’s positive about the Obama years — and I can’t* we at least can note that today Barack Obama historically became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit our island neighbor of Cuba. (Before today, Calvin Coolidge last visited Cuba, in 1928...)

It is pathetic that the United States remains so largely inimical to a nation only 90 miles away from it, but the history of Cuba and the United States (and Spain, too) is, um, complicated.

In its report on Cuba for 2015, Human Rights Watch noted:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

There are elections in Cuba, in which those 16 years and older may vote, but as only the Communist Party is allowed to exist, these elections are fairly bullshit; Cubans are allowed to chose only from those who pay fealty to the Communist Party (again, the only party that there is).

That said, here in the United States of America we have elections, but since the corporations give most of our elected officials obscene amounts of campaign cash and other monetary rewards to do their bidding instead of to act in the public good, and since this treasonous bullshit has been going on at least since the first (and hopefully the last) President Clinton, our corporately owned and controlled parties have become pretty indistinguishable — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party, I think of them lovingly — and so our so-called democracy is pretty fucking hollow, too.

For all intents and purposes, we Americans pretty much have one-party rule, as do the Cubans.

How else to explain that the lives of us American commoners never get better? If we had an actual democracy — a socialist democracy — instead of a corporatocracy/kleptocracy, our lives would actually improve.

Wingnuts, who want to turn Cuba into a wage-slave capitalist nation like the United States is (and who also, of course, want to turn Cuba into an island resort for wealthier Americans, as it used to be), routinely uber-hyperbolically claim that the Castro regime routinely executes its political opponents, but I see no mention in the Human Rights Watch report on Cuba linked to above that executions continue there.

(And, of course, our buddy Saudi Arabia continues to execute people — by public beheading, no less — and we Americans are perfectly fine with that, because we want fuel for our gas-guzzlers.

Also, I should add, the Cuban government since 2001 has had a moratorium on capital punishment, from which it made one exception in 2003, when it executed three people. The United States executed 22 people alone in 2015. [Texas is the most bloodthirsty state, having executed more than 525 people since 1976, whereas since 1976, 16 states have executed fewer than eight people each.])

Wikipedia does report that in the early years of the Castro regime there apparently were executions, with estimates ranging from around 220 executions from 1959 to 1987 (per Amnesty International) to many thousands (most of these latter accusers are anti-Castro wingnuts with an ax to grind, I surmise).

Wikipedia notes that

The Cuban government justified such measures on the grounds that the application of the death penalty in Cuba against war criminals and others followed the same procedure as that seen in the trials by the Allies in the Nuremberg trials.

Some Cuban scholars maintain that had the government not applied severe legislation against the torturers, terrorists, and other criminals employed by the Batista regime, the people themselves would have taken justice into their own hands.

and that

The vast majority of those executed following the 1959 [Castro] revolution were policemen, politicians and informers of the [Fulgencio] Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.

Scholars generally agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused, but that the trials did not follow due process.

Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictator whom Fidel Castro and crew overthrew in 1959, is credited with having executed anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of his political opponents, but because he was right-wing, the right wing doesn’t talk about that.

Besides, to the wingnuts, right-wing dictators aren’t really dictators, since they are right-wing — as long as they obey American capitalists, that is (usually, this means handing over their nations’ natural resources [and human resources, in terms of very cheap labor] to American corporations for their profiteering, no matter how much this harms the host [“host” as in the victim of a parasite] nations) — and surely the left-wing rabble whom right-wing dictators have slaughtered had it coming.

So Cuba has a long way to go in terms of human rights — it must move to allow freer speech and political dissent, including allowing the existence of opposition parties and holding real, meaningful elections — but I understand, I believe, why the Cuban government is so closed off and so authoritarian: It knows that if the capitalists from the north can get their greedy fingers on the island and turn it into a wage-slave nation in which only a few prosper while the working-poor masses suffer from the obscene profiteering of the few, they will.

For this reason, as I have written**, while I welcome at least some opening up of Cuba (where I’d like to visit one day), I fear for the people of Cuba, too, lest the virulent pestilence that is anti-democratic wage-slave capitalism (masquerading as “democracy” and “freedom”) infect their sovereign island nation from the north.

The Cuban people would fare worse as wage slaves to American (and other) corporations than they fare now. 

Capitalistic oppression is no better, in terms of what it does to the human spirit, than is (big-“C”) Communist oppression.

*As I’ve noted here a million times, he had the opportunity and the political capital in 2009 and 2010 to push through a progressive agenda, and he spectacularly declined to do so, and once the Repugnican Tea Party traitors took back the House in 2010, that meant gridlock for the remainder of Obama’s presidency (and “Obamacare,” his “signature” “achievement,” contains virtually nothing that the for-profit health-insurance industry didn’t want it to contain).

**I wrote back in December 2014:

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’tbe an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American “freedoms” as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.

I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins.

In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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Michael Moore’s new film on socialism* opens across the nation tomorrow

Where-to-Invade-Next_poster_goldposter_com_3

Michael Moore’s new film “Where to Invade Next,” which interestingly coincides with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, starts tomorrow. You can see if it’s playing near you by visiting the film’s website (click or tap here) and clicking or tapping on “screenings.”

In my fifth decade of life, not much excites me anymore, but I’m still excited by a new Michael Moore movie.

I saw Moore’s breakthrough film, “Bowling for Columbine,” here in Sacramento at one of our historical art houses when it came out — and Moore himself made an appearance inside of the movie theater and spoke for a while during the showing, which was a great treat.

(“Columbine” went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary for 2002. “Sicko” was nominated for Best Documentary for 2007, and Wikipedia notes that “Fahrenheit 9/11, at the time the highest-grossing documentary film in movie history, was ruled ineligible [for an Oscar nomination] because Moore had opted to have it played on television prior to the 2004 election.”)

While Bernie Sanders has stopped mentioning Denmark in his public appearances (Sanders does take feedback and he fairly rapidly adjusts accordingly), Moore’s newest film, “Where to Invade Next,” at least on its face seems to be an ad for Bernie, as in the film Moore apparently doesn’t travel to Denmark but does travel to Finland, Iceland and Norway (and to Germany, Italy, Portugal and France and other nations) and points out the areas in which these other nations do a much better job of taking care of their peoples than the United States does of taking care of its own.

The popularity of “Fahrenheit 9/11” didn’t prevent “President” George W. Bush from getting a second term, but in November 2004, Bush “won”** with a “mandate” of a whopping 50.7 percent of the popular vote.

(“Fahrenheit 9/11” helped to keep Bush’s margin of “victory” quite slim, I surmise — recall that in 2004 the “war on terror” was still fresh enough for the right wing to use fear tactics with the voters quite effectively and that the Repugnicans in 2004 also used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue and scare tactic — but despite its having been the top-grossing documentary of all time at that point, “Fahrenheit” wasn’t enough to boot an incumbent president, which is difficult to do.)

We’ll see how much of an effect “Where to Invade Next” has on the current presidential election cycle. I expect it to boost Bernie, whom Michael Moore has endorsed, of course.

I plan to see “Where to Invade Next” tomorrow, its opening day — at the same theater where I saw Michael Moore discuss “Bowling for Columbine” all of those years ago — and I plan to post a review of it no later than on Saturday or Sunday (probably Saturday).***

Yes, if I don’t like it, I’ll say so. Some of Moore’s films are better than his others. I rank his bigger films thusly, from my most favorite to less favorite: “Fahrenheit 9/11” (2004), “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), “Capitalism: A Love Story” (2009), “Sicko” (2007) and “Roger & Me” (1989).

*We shouldn’t run away from the “s”-word. If the United State of America were so fucking free, then why do we commoners not have the freedom to discuss alternative socioeconomic models?

And if capitalism were so inherently and self-evidently great, and since it preaches competition, why can’t the capitalists handle any competition in the marketplace of ideas?

**I put “won” in quotation marks since you can’t win re-election if you never legitimately were elected in the first place (Al Gore won in November 2000 by more than a half-million votes, and Florida’s electoral votes were stolen blatantly) and because in 2004 there was plenty of electoral fishiness in the important swing state of Ohio, whose then-secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, was a Repugnican operative, much how swing state Florida’s former secretary of state, Katherine Harris, was a Repugnican operative in 2000 who delivered the state to Gee Dubya, with help from his then-governor brother Jeb! and the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, among others.

***Some time ago I used to post movie reviews regularly, but I’ve really dropped off from that, out of lack of time and out of my inability to see new movies as quickly as I’d like to sometimes. But I have to review a new Michael Moore movie…

 

 

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Billarybots in the corporate media punditry: A ‘God’-less Bernie ATTACKS!

Now that the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination is between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton, of course the attacks on Sanders have intensified. While Barack Obama has been painted as a Muslim, Sanders apparently is being painted as an atheist (gasp!) as well as a socialist (gasp! gasp! gasp!). And because the corporately owned and controlled media love to report on a fight, they’re portraying Sanders’ campaigning — that is, simply distinguishing himself from his main opponent — as “attacks” on poor Billary. Above is a screen grab of Sanders’ recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s television show, in which Kimmel asked Sanders whether he believes in “God” and Sanders did not give a direct “yes” or “no” response to the religious test for the presidency that long-time asshole Kimmel put before him. (Video of that exchange is here.) 

I supported Barack Obama in 2008*, and I remember that whenever he made a reference to “God” when he was running for the nation’s highest office, I cringed.

I didn’t much hold it against him, but held my nose and voted for him anyway. Although there is supposed to be no religious test for the presidency, up to now, anyway, pretty much any presidential candidate who hasn’t claimed to believe in the “Christian” equivalent of Zeus widely has been considered unelectable. Therefore, no presidential candidate has dared not to make such a claim, whether true or not.

Until now, apparently.

Last month I wrote of Bernie Sanders:

… I much would rather see a secular Muslim in the White House than I’d ever want someone like Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz (or Mittens the Mormon millionaire) in the White House. Because the issue isn’t nearly so much the content of the religion that we’re talking about, but how much one who is in power (or wishes to have more power) wishes to impose his or her religious beliefs upon the rest of us.

That is the problem — when theofascists just can’t/won’t keep their hateful, insane, dangerous dogmas to themselves, but wish to shove them down our throats, a la theocrat Kim Davis and those who publicly support her, including theocratic Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.

Where it comes to religion I am equal opportunity; I couldn’t support a right-wing Jew for president, either, because I can’t see a right-wing Jew keeping his or her right-wing religious ideology out of his or her governance.

Bernie Sanders, my chosen 2016 presidential candidate, was born to Jewish parents, but from his biography I gather that he’s quite secular, that he understands how critical is the separation between church and state, so he doesn’t frighten me in the least. I don’t see at all that Sanders has a hidden agenda of imposing Jewish law (which, I guess from my quick Internet research, is called “halakhah”) upon the land once in the Oval Office. …

So this isn’t news, but now that Bernie Sanders unquestionably is the only candidate who still might yet bring down Queen Billary Clinton, the attacks by the corporately owned and controlled media (which play the “God” card, since it’s good for bidness [more than 90 percent of Americans say that they believe in “God”]) — hard and soft attacks, direct and indirect attacks — are starting. (Well, not “starting,” really, but intensifying; the whole “socialist” thing has been anywhere from a sneer to a slam all along.)

Reports the Washington Post yesterday under the headline: “Bernie Sanders: Our First Non-religious President?” (remarks in [brackets] are mine):

Much of the attention paid to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has to do with the s-word: Can a socialist be elected president? How much of a socialist is he? What exactly is socialism? [Red-baiting is fun! It gets clicks! And advertising dollars!]

What many haven’t picked up on is that a Sanders presidency would be a first in a couple other ways. First, Sanders would be our first Jewish president. [Is that meant to scare people or enlighten them?] And second, while Sanders is culturally Jewish, he has said that he’s “not particularly religious” and has been described by some as agnostic [horrors!].

Asked during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show this [past] week whether he believed in God, Sanders demurred.

“I am who I am,” Sanders said. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

Sanders added: “This is not Judasim. This is what Pope Francis is talking about — that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

In political terms, this is what’s known as a dodge. It’s an economic and cultural vision that Sanders attempts to shoehorn into a religious conversation by noting that religious people like Pope Francis feel the same way. It’s basically saying, “I’d rather talk about poor people than God.” …

Just: Wow. (Again, that’s the Washington Post.) I’d add, of course, that Jesus Christ talked an awful lot about poor people, something that most of today’s American “Christians” simply ignore because they don’t want to help out the poor. (Most of them, in fact, haven’t actually read the New Testament, and those who have, have retained very little of it.)

How about we put Bernie Sanders in a huge tank of water with huge rocks tied to him? If he sinks, then he doesn’t believe in God! — and he’ll receive his just punishment!

That would be the spirit of the mob mentality of a “Bernie-Sanders-doesn’t-believe-in-God!” meme, if it metastasizes.

I don’t much give a fuck whether Bernie Sanders believes in “God” or not. I mean, I would hope that the person who has access to the nuclear codes, to paraphrase Jeb! Bush, is not actually so insane as to believe in a non-existent Zeus-like deity who, he believes, wants him to do this or that, as though he were fucking Moses (as at least half of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants claim — that “God” has communicated to them personally that he wants them to be president).

But since Bernie just doesn’t talk about religion (thank “God”!), and since his record and his history make it pretty clear that as president he would preside secularly, I’m fine with him.

The thugs, murderers and rapists who comprise ISIS claim that they believe in “God.” (To be fair, within the U.S. military we’ve long had plenty of “Christian” thugs, murderers and rapists of our own.) The Israelis, who have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, claim that they believe in “God” — indeed, they claim that they slaughter for “God,” as do their Palestinian adversaries (for whom I have much more sympathy than the Israelis, since far more of them die and since the Israelis long have had far more assistance from the United States than have the impoverished Palestinians [Israel apparently is the third-richest nation in the Middle East, behind Qatar and Kuwait; Palestine is the second-poorest nation in the Middle East, behind Yemen]).

George W. Bush, who, among other things, blatantly treasonously stole a presidential election in 2000; treasonously failed to protect Americans from “God”-driven terrorists on September 11, 2001 (on which almost 3,000 Americans were killed); treasonously started a wholly illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust, bogus war in Iraq in 2003 (in which more than 4,000 of our troops died for his lies and for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s war profiteering, and in which many, many more Iraqis were killed); and treasonously just allowed around 2,000 Americans to be killed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, claimed to be a huge believer in “God,” and look how much his belief in “God” benefited the nation and the world.

Billary Clinton claims to believe in “God,” but look at her record. She’s a war hawk (as the first [arguably viable] female president wannabe, she doesn’t want to appear to be weak on “defense”) — as long as she’s never put in harm’s way, it’s A-OK (she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War in October 2002, knowing fully well that her precious ass never would be at risk). And while she claims now to be a populist, she’s always done Wall Street’s bidding, and the Wall Street weasels who give her mountains of campaign cash aren’t bothered by her populist rhetoric because, with a wink, they understand that it’s only rhetoric.

Not just to pick on Billary. Obama claims that he’s a “Christian” who believes in “God,” yet he very apparently is wholly untroubled by the hundreds of civilians whom his precious drones have slaughtered, and while he has talked about the struggling middle class, what, as president, has he done about the insane income inequality that began no later than during the presidency of Ronald Reagan? (Oh, that’s right: He’s always been too busy talking up Reagan as having been one of our greatest presidents ever.)

Jesus Christ proclaimed, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” and Jesus obviously was an anti-capitalist socialist. The Bible’s anti-capitalist, socialist stance long predates Jesus; I long have taken the story of the golden calf to be at least as much about the evil that is capitalism (specifically, greed, selfishness and materialism) as it is about “idolatry”; it wasn’t just the form of the calf that was being worshiped, but it also, of course, was the gold out of which it was made.

I applaud Bernie Sanders for not publicly proclaiming that he believes in “God.” Again, whether he actually believes in “God” or not isn’t nearly as important to me as is the fact that nothing in his political career (he was a mayor, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now is in his second term in the U.S. Senate) suggests that he thinks it’s OK to shove his own religious beliefs down others’ throats. He is no theocrat.

My observation long has been that on the whole, agnostics and atheists are significantly more moral than are those who call themselves “Christians,” especially the right-wing nut jobs who proclaim themselves already “saved.” Once you’re already “saved,” you can do as you please, and you can find a way to claim that you’re just doing “God’s” bidding, whatever it is that you’re doing — even mass slaughter, such as George W. Bush did with his war crimes and his crimes against humanity (as well as with his treasonous, anti-democratic theft of the 2000 presidential election, in which he received more than a half-million fewer votes than did Al Gore).

Untold evil has been done in the name of “God” over the centuries, so to slam Bernie Sanders for possibly not believing in “God” is insane — and quite possibly evil, when we use “God” to justify our evil.

I support Bernie Sanders to the possibly-bitter end, but I’m acutely aware that it’s quite possible, if not even probable, that Bernie Sanders is way too evolved and advanced for the American people, who still dwell in their caves, knuckles dragging and mouths perpetually open, blathering about “God” and how important it is that everyone else believe in this “God.”

I’ve seen the Internet meme that Bernie Sanders is “not the president that we deserve, but the president that we need.”

That increasingly appears to be the case.

P.S. The corporately owned and controlled media, who profiteer from reporting conflict to the point that they’ll fabricate it if it doesn’t actually exist, and who of course want to take down the “socialist!” Bernie Sanders (capitalism must not be threatened!), now are reporting that he is “attacking” poor, poor Billary Clinton.

“Bernie Sanders Goes on the Attack at Iowa Democratic Dinner,” Politico reports, without actually substantiating the headline in the “news” story that’s right under it. The Washington Post takes a bit more sober approach, with “After a Long Stretch for Clinton, Sanders Turns More Aggressive,” but that headline doesn’t support the “news” story under it, either.

Read the two “news” stories yourself. You’ll see that Bernie Sanders and his campaign team simply are talking about his record and his beliefs and where his record and his beliefs differ from Clinton’s. That’s called campaigning. It’s what you’re supposed to fucking do: Tell the voter why she or he should vote for you instead of for your opponent or opponents. Duh.

I’ve seen nothing that Bernie Sanders has done or said that accurately could be deemed an “attack” on Billary — but, of course, it’s much more sensationalist to claim that “Bernie ATTACKS!”

Again: It strikes me as probably true that we need Bernie but don’t deserve him, that we deserve a President Billary or a President Rubio or yes, even a President Trump, if enough of us Americans don’t remove our heads from our rectums and finally vote in our own best interests — which necessitates that we see attacks on the democratic socialist and apparently agnostic-to-even-atheist Bernie Sanders by the corporately owned and controlled media punditry as what they are: desperate attempts to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, in which the vast majority of us Americans remain serfs to our corporate overlords.

*I supported and voted for him in 2008, but I didn’t vote for him in 2012 (I voted for the Green Party candidate instead), since the “change” that he’d promised never materialized — indeed, he spectacularly squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010, which gave rise to the “tea party” and the loss of the U.S. House of Representatives to these fascists, which made me lose all of that hope.

Um, yeah: I, for one, actually hold someone to his or her campaign promises.

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