Tag Archives: socialist

A late-in-the-game Biden run probably would only help Bernie beat Billary

Is there enough of a political difference between Joe Biden and Billary Clinton for Team Bernie Sanders to worry about Biden jumping into the presidential race at rather the last minute? Methinks not. I see establishmentarian Democrat/“Democrat” Biden drawing more support away from DINO Billary than from Bernie. A perfect alignment of the stars for us progressives would be Biden running and helping Bernie to beat Billary for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Donald Trump running for the White House as an independent, Ross-Perot style, and helping Bernie to win the White House by siphoning votes away from the Repugnican presidential candidate, whichever wingnut that turns out to be.

The big political news now is that Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about entering the 2016 presidential race.

I am unmoved.

I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Joe Biden; I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him, either. I was surprised when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008, as Biden had done so poorly in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary contest that he withdrew on January 3, after having come in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses, with only 1 percent of the vote.

At that time, Biden said that his second run for the presidency (he had run in 1988 also) would be his last. (Biden dropped out of the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary contest after he was damaged by the accusation that he had plagiarized speech material.)

Perhaps Obama didn’t want to be overshadowed by a stronger personality were he to win the presidency, making Joe Biden a Dan-Quayle-like choice for veep. In any event, it apparently has been clear to Biden, with the exception of a “gaffe” or two, that as vice president he very much has been the beta male. No Dick Cheney role for him (at least certainly not publicly).

As vice president Joe Biden has been unremarkable, and since he at least has given the public appearance of being on board with All Things Obama, and since I find Obama’s presidency to have been incredibly disappointing, to put it mildly — as I’ve written a million times, Obama’s biggest mistake was not pushing through a progressive agenda when the Democratic Party held control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010 (and yes, to me, the ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” signified progressivism, not more of the same) — for the most part I view Biden as jut another establishmentarian “Democrat,” along with Obama and Billary Clinton.

Yes, we do get to judge you by the company that you keep.

My support of Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains unswayed and unchanged by the news that Biden might jump in.

I did enjoy, as I wrote at the time, watching Biden thoroughly thrash Paul “Pretty Boy” Ryan in the vice presidential debate of October 2012, which started the hilarious Internet meme that cast Biden as the Hulk and Ryan as the villainous pretty boy Loki, whom in the 2012 hit comic-book movie “The Avengers” the Hulk picks up and smashes to the ground, leaving him in a crater created by his own body.

But of course that doesn’t mean that Biden should be president, and after he dropped out of the presidential race in 1988 due to the plagiarism scandal and after he dropped out after the very first contest of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary season because he’d done so poorly in Iowa, I don’t see Biden as a strong presidential candidate now.

Yes, vice presidents often go on to run for the presidency, but of course they don’t have to. George H.W. Bush and Al Gore did (and both of them won [yes, of course Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election]), but even Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney knew better, and I put Biden’s strength somewhere between those two groups of vice presidents who did run for the presidency and who did not.

The touchy-feely report (which may or not even be true) that it (more or less) was the dying wish of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in late May, that his father run for the presidency in 2016 might be touching for some, but it does not sway me. The presidency is far too important to allow emotional pap like that to decide it. I look at the totality of Joe Biden, and while of course I’d rather have him than uber-DINO Billary Clinton sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, again, I still see him as a member of the Democratic Party establishment.

Bernie Sanders is not. Again, I’m still with Bernie. Whatever Biden does or doesn’t do, it won’t change that.

What I can see Joe Biden doing, however, is helping Bernie Sanders.

I can see Biden and Billary splitting the establishmentarian Democratic Party/DINO vote, which could only help Sanders, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate only as an independent, as a self-described little-“d” democratic socialist. (He is running on the big-“D” Democratic ticket now only because third-party/independent presidential runs are Herculean feats; it’s much easier to run for the White House within the duopolistic party system, as flawed and anti-democratic as it is.)

Sanders has distanced himself from the establishmentarian Democrats his entire political career, so his status as an outsider, which is what so many of us who are left of center want, is solid. (Perhaps you could call him the Donald Trump of the left.*)

The “democratic socialist” label hasn’t been toxic to Sanders, who for a while now has been polling nationally among Democrats and Democratic Party leaners in the double digits, more often than not second to Billary, with Biden more often than not coming in at third place, behind Billary and Bernie, when he is included in these polls.

Indeed, those who have a problem with the word “socialist” never, ever were going to vote for a Democrat for president in the first place. Indeed, even Obama, who has been a moderate at best — I don’t think that it would be inaccurate or unfair to describe Obama as having been center-right on the political spectrum — has been labeled by the lunatic fringe of the right as a “socialist.”

We shouldn’t worry about what the right-wing nut jobs who never are going to vote for a Democrat anyway are going to think. They never were going to be on our team in the first place, thank Goddess.

And young voters love Bernie Sanders.

While the enthusiasm that surrounds Sanders is not the same as that which surrounded Obama in 2008 — every presidential campaign season has its own flavor, and every presidential candidate has his or her own flavor — I’ve seen youthful enthusiasm for Sanders that I haven’t seen for the utterly uninspiring and uncharismatic Billary Clinton.

(Yes, I was one  of the thousands upon thousands of people who attended one of the thousands of Bernie Sanders gatherings across the nation on Wednesday night, and while the gathering that I attended was a good mix of generations, with young, elderly and middle-aged attendees, I’d estimate that at least half of the attendees, of which there were about 30 in total, were enthusiastic Millennials, one of whom identified himself as a Vietraq War veteran who had voted for George W. Bush until after he was sent to Bush’s bogus war in Vietraq.)

So I am perfectly fine with Joe Biden jumping into the race, even though it seems awfully late in the game for him still to be able to do so and to be successful. Not only is it perfectly his democratic right to do so if he wishes, but again, because he has been so closely aligned with the disappointing DINO Barack Obama, as has DINO Billary Clinton, I can see Biden only taking more support from Billary than from Bernie.

P.S. Should Al Gore jump into the race soon, as one Salon.com writer recently wrote he wishes would happen, that would be different. As Al Gore already won the White House in 2000, and as the writer for Salon.com correctly noted that Gore probably could bridge the establishmentarian “Democrats” and progressives (which, in my estimation, Billary can’t do and Biden can’t do much better than Billary can), I could see Gore winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination were he to run, even at this late date. He’d be a powerhouse.

But I doubt that he’ll run.

*While of course I loathe Donald Trump, the success of his presidential campaign thus far — right now he tops the Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls — demonstrates that a sizeable chunk of the American electorate remains displeased with the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (This seems to be fairly unchanged since Ross Perot, who always struck me as a wingnut [he might be labeled as libertarian or leaning libertarian, but the libertarians always have struck me as wingnuts], ran as an independent presidential candidate back in 1992, garnering just short of 19 percent of the popular vote.)

While the poor and the working class who support Trump (and the “tea party”) stupidly support him (and the “tea party”) like chickens stupidly supporting Colonel Sanders — they have the lottery mentality that they can be billionaires, too (of course, they can’t) — cannot identify the real problems of and the real enemies to the nation (the treasonously self-serving plutocrats like Trump, the Koch brothers and the Bush crime family [and yes, the Clinton crime family, too], not labor-union members and “illegals,” are destroying the nation), they at least correctly identify that the duopolistic, corporation- and plutocrat-loving Democratic Party and Repugnican Party stopped representing the majority of Americans’ best interests long ago.

Of course, just as I’d love Joe Biden to jump in and hopefully suck more votes away from Billary Clinton than from Bernie Sanders — which I surmise would be the case — I’d love for Donald Trump to pull a Ross Perot and run as an independent presidential candidate in 2016.

While some argue that Ross Perot’s run didn’t take more votes away from incumbent President George H.W. Bush than from Bill Clinton in 1992, I’ve always surmised that Perot, being right of center, of course siphoned more votes from Bush than from Clinton, thus helping Clinton to win the White House with only a plurality of the votes.

Similarly, I think it is inarguable that were Trump to run for the White House as an independent in 2016, of course he’d take more votes from the Repugnican candidate, whoever that turns out to be, than from the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate turns out to be.

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Attacks on Elizabeth Warren demonstrate her strength

Warren listens to Yellen testify on Capitol Hill in Washington

Reuters news photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has the stuff of which U.S. presidents are made, which is why she has plenty of detractors. (And she really rocks purple. Just sayin’: I want eight years of a purple-wearing president.)

Reading Yahoo! political commentator Matt Bai’s recent column on why he believes Vice President Joe Biden should run for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, I was stopped cold by Bai’s casual, cavalier remark that besides Biden, “There’s [Vermont U.S. Sen.] Bernie Sanders, who’s an avowed socialist [as though there were something wrong with that], and Elizabeth Warren, who sounds more like a Jacobin.”

I recalled that the Jacobins were associated with the French Revolution, but I couldn’t recall exactly what they were about, and so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia notes of the Jacobins, in part: “At their height in 1793-94, the [Jacobin Club] leaders were the most radical and egalitarian group in the [French] Revolution. Led by Maximilien de Robespierre (1758–1794), they controlled the government from June 1793 to July 1794, passed a great deal of radical legislation, and hunted down and executed their opponents in the Reign of Terror.”

Wow.

For all of the right wing’s bullshit about “class warfare” — which, conveniently, according to the right wing’s playbook always is waged by the poor against the rich and never vice-versa — Elizabeth Warren actually has not called for a violent revolution.* She has called for a return to socioeconomic fairness and justice, which is more than reasonable, especially given what has happened to the American middle class since at least the 1980s, during the reign of Reagan (another reign of terror from history, not entirely metaphorically speaking). But if you can’t win an argument these days, you just accuse your opponent of being a terrorist (not entirely unlike Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent comparison of Wisconsinites standing up for their livelihoods to the terrorists who comprise ISIS).

Matt Bai makes only one other brief reference to Warren in his screed about why, in his estimation, Biden should run for president for 2016: “Biden’s a middle-class champion who makes the case for economic fairness with more conviction than [Billary] Clinton and less vitriol than Warren .”

I agree that Billary has little to zero credibility on the issue of socioeconomic justice, but if you Google “vitriol” you will see that it means “cruel and bitter criticism.”

Wow. Warren is passionate, absolutely. She’s one of the relatively few passionate and progressive elected officials in D.C., and passion is a normal response to socioeconomic injustice that is deep and widespread. But when has Warren ever been bitter and/or cruel? WTF, Matt Bai?

I’m not the only one who has recognized this. I was pleased to see soon later that Salon.com writer Elias Isquith wrote a column on Bai’s drive-by bashing of Warren and on the establishment’s fear of Warren — fear of Warren because she actually threatens to upend the status quo in Washington, D.C., the status quo that is toxic for the majority of Americans (and much if not most of the rest of the world) but that is working out just fine for the denizens of the halls of power in D.C. (which would include Bai, whom Isquith refers to as “the star pundit-reporter and longtime communicator of whatever the conventional wisdom of the political elite happens to be at any given time”; I would add that Bai is a mansplainer par excellence as well).

Isquith, too, takes issue with calling Warren a “Jacobin,” and Isquith compares a quotation of an actual Jacobin (the philosophy of whom is that “[the] policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror. … Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs”) to a quotation of Warren (one of my favorites):

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This statement (from August 2011, when Warren was running for the U.S. Senate) is eminently fair and reasonable — I’d call it “common sense” if the wingnutty fascists hadn’t already bastardized that term for all of their harmful ideas and opinions.

Why the establishmentarian attacks on Warren, whose actual words and actual record have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with what her detractors and critics claim about her? Isquith offers a plausible explanation (links are Isquith’s):

… The first and most obvious reason is that Washington is, to put it gently, a swamp of corruption where many influential people live comfortably — thanks to Wall Street. Maybe they’re lobbyists; maybe they work in free-market think tanks; maybe they’re employed by the defense industry, which benefits greatly from Wall Street’s largesse. Or maybe they’re government bureaucrats who find Warren’s opposition to the “revolving door” to be in profound conflict with their future plans.

My second theory is less political and more prosaic. Another reason Bai and his ilk find Warren discomfiting may be her glaring lack of false modesty and her disinterest in keeping her head down and paying her dues. Because despite being the capital of what is nominally the greatest liberal democracy on Earth, Washington is in truth a deeply conformist and hierarchical milieu, one where new arrivals are expected to be neither seen nor heard until they’ve been deemed to have earned their place. And while Warren may want to be seen as a team player, what she cares most about is reining in Wall Street. If she deems it necessary to accomplish her primary goal, she’s willing to step on some toes and lose a few fair-weather friends. …

I would add that patriarchy, sexism and misogyny certainly play a role, too. It might not be conscious in all cases, but I surmise that because every single one of our 44 U.S. presidents thus far have been men, there is an ingrained cultural, even visceral, belief among many, many Americans — even women — that the U.S. president should be a man. Thus, the likes of Matt Bai is rooting for Joe Biden; Bai’s support of Biden apparently stems, in no tiny part, from the fact that Biden is yet another older white man.

The U.S. president should be, in my book, the candidate who both is the most progressive and the most electable, and right now that candidate is Elizabeth Warren. That she happens to be a woman is great, as we are woefully overdue for our first female president.

Presidential preference polls consistently show both Warren and Biden to be Democrats’ second and third choices after Billary Clinton (who, after E-mailgate, might slide in the polls of Democrats and Democratic-leaners; we’ll see).

Joe Biden probably would be an acceptable-enough president – I’d certainly take him over a President Billary – but given his age (he’s 72 years old today and would be 74 were he to be inaugurated as president in January 2017, making him the oldest president at the time of inauguration in U.S. history [even Ronald Reagan was a spry 69-going-on-70 years old when he took office in early 1981]) and given his reputation as a hothead, I don’t know how electable Biden would be.

And while in fairness the vice president doesn’t get to do very much, what has Biden done over the past six years?

Biden’s age doesn’t bother me — if you can be the job, I don’t much care how old you are — but it would become a campaign “issue.” And while perhaps it’s not fair to Biden as an individual, it’s pathetic and sad and deeply disappointing that in our so-called “representative democracy,” our 45th president would be yet another white man, for a string of 44 out of 45 U.S. presidents being white men.

Elizabeth Warren is a twofer: an actually progressive Democrat who is electable as U.S. president, and thus also potentially our first U.S. president who is a woman.

Attacks on Warren by the shameless, worthless, self-serving defenders of the status quo are to be expected; when the voters hear and read what Warren has to say, versus the bullshit that the establishmentarians spew** about her, they will, I believe, put Warren in the White House, where she belongs.

*For the record, I don’t rule out the use of violence in a revolution. Our plutocratic overlords never rule out the use of violence (state violence, usually) against us commoners. Unilateral disarmament is bullshit.

I’d much prefer a bloodless revolution, of course, but again, when the enemy doesn’t rule out violence, you shouldn’t either.

**Similarly, were most Americans actually informed about what democratic socialism actually is all about, they probably would embrace it, which is why it has been so important to the establishmentarians and the wingnuts (really, “wingnut” is too-cuddly a word for right-wing fascists) to lie about what socialism is all about.

Such a dog-whistle word has “socialist” become, indeed, that Matt Bai simply dismisses Bernie Sanders’ entire being in one fell swoop in just one phrase (“an avowed socialist” — gasp!).

Thank you, Matt Bai, for so courageously doing your part to discourage all actual thought in the United States of America!

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Hugo Chavez, rest in peace

File photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez blowing a kiss as he arrives at a rally with supporters in Caracas

Reuters photo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who democratically was elected as his nation’s leader four times in a row, died today of cancer at age 58. (He is pictured above in February 2012.) I fell in love with Chavez some years ago after I watched the excellent documentary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is about the blatantly anti-democratic, treasonous — and, thankfully, short-lived — attempt by fascistic right-wingers in Venezuela to forcibly replace the popularly elected Chavez with an unelected corporatocrat and plutocrat in 2002 — much the way that the fascistic, treasonous right-wingers here at home stole the White House in 2000 against the wishes of the majority of the American voters.

Only plutocrats and fascists have cause to celebrate the death of democratic socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but, unfortunately, most of those in the United States who celebrate his death are poor to middle-class right-wing fucktards who actually would benefit greatly from Chavez-like socioeconomic policies here at home. (No, the corporate-cash-loving-and-corporate-ass-licking U.S. President Barack Obama is no “socialist.”)

Hugo Chavez became widely known as a “dictator” after the unelected Bush regime relentlessly repeatedly called him such even though Chavez repeatedly had been democratically elected by clear majorities of the people of Venezuela (who didn’t vote the way that they were supposed to vote, which is the way that a right-wing American would vote, you see).

Ironically, since George W. Bush never was democratically elected — Al Gore won more than a half-million more votes than Bush did in 2000, and it was the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, not the majority of the American voters, who put Bush in the White House — Bush was the actual dictator, one who took power without first having earned the majority of the votes of the people.

Hugo Chavez wasn’t perfect — no leader of a nation is — but “dictator” Chavez’s biggest “crime” was that he actually did his job, which was to look out for the interests of the majority of the people of Venezuela and not for the interests of the plutocratic and corporatocratic few — you know, the way that a “good” Latin American leader “should”: sell out his people for whatever it is that the rich and powerful, especially in the U.S., want him or her to (in this case, oil, especially).

Hugo Chavez is dead, but the revolution in Latin America that he has inspired lives on.

The people’s revolution against their — our — anti-democratic, fascistic, treasonous, plutocratic overlords cannot be about one man or woman anyway.

¡Que viva la revolución!

And let’s hope that the Latin American revolution for the people over the plutocratic few spreads north so that we have a truly democratic nation — a nation governed by those who have the interests of the majority of the people at heart, and not the interests of only the comparatively tiny already-super-rich and already-super-powerful minority — here in the U.S. one day.

May Venezuela be the first domino that topples, spreading democratic socialism to even the notoriously anti-democratic, imperialistic United States of America.

P.S. I know that this is the United States of Amnesia, but Chavez-bashers should remind themselves of history: In April 2002, when the democratically elected and very popular Chavez was briefly overthrown by right-wing traitors, the unelected Bush regime at that time immediately recognized the anti-democratic, right-wing usurpers as the legitimate new government of Venezuela — which was not surprising, given that the members of the treasonous Bush regime had had no problem with the fact that Bush wasn’t elected, either. (The members of the right wing support and respect democracy only when elections go their way, and they feel so absolutely correct and superior in their ideology that they are untroubled with stealing office if they can’t win office legitimately, which they often can’t.)

Moreover, the CIA, at the behest of the White House, has had a long history of deposing left-leaning, pro-their-nation’s-own-people, democratically elected leaders in Latin America — and anti-democratically replacing them with unelected, right-wing usurpers who agree to do anything that the power elite of the U.S. ask them to do.

Chile’s Salvador Allende immediately comes to mind; his usurper was the U.S.-backed mass murderer and true dictator Augosto Pinochet, who should have been executed and not allowed to die a natural death. (It was the Nixon White House, natch, that used the CIA to remove Allende from power and install the murderous dictator Pinochet.)

It is likely that the Bush regime similarly had a hand in the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

Even if the Bush regime didn’t (but it probably did), the fact that the Bush regime wasted no time in recognizing the illegal and unelected “new” “government” of Venezuela by itself was plenty of reason for Hugo Chavez to feel animosity toward the U.S. government at least throughout Bush’s unelected and thus illegitimate tenure.

(And there is a big distinction between the U.S. government and the people of the United States; Chavez’s problem was with the members of the Washington establishment who believe that Latin America exists solely to do the U.S.’s bidding. He never attacked the American people as a whole, although the wingnuts [who still call him a “dictator” after he won four presidential elections in a row with international elections observers present] worked hard to paint Chavez as an enemy of every American, and their propaganda campaign worked to an impressive degree on the bleating American sheeple.)

One of Chavez’s most (in)famous acts was in September 2006, when he remarked of George W. Bush, who had appeared at the same podium before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City the day before: “The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Bush indeed is one of the most evil entities still stalking the planet, a mass-murdering war criminal who still goes wholly unpunished for his crimes against humanity. (Chavez, despite being called a murdering dictator by the wingnuts, wholly unlike Pinochet and other U.S.-backed actual dictators, never had any of his political opponents killed. In fact, I know of not one confirmed murder or even one confirmed case of torture that Chavez as president of Venezuela was responsible for, when Bush was responsible for the confirmed murder and the confirmed torture of thousands and thousands of human beings.)

Chavez said something else at the UN that day in September 2006, something that strikes me as prophetic: “The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind.” (Note that he’s criticizing the idea of empire, of one highly militarized nation calling all of the shots for the entire globe. Also during his September 2006 UN appearance, Chavez correctly stated that the UN headquarters should be moved to another nation. It seems to me that for fairness, UN headquarters should move to different nations around the globe, say, once every decade. It’s fucked up for it to permanently be anchored in the U.S.)

You know, if Hugo Chavez had been just flat-out wrong, I think that Americans would have just ignored him. But they haven’t. A good chunk of them have hated his guts intensely, which, to me, is evidence of two things: (1) that right-wing politicians’ relentless pro-plutocratic propaganda (aided and abetted by the corporately owned and controlled media, the bosses of which certainly disagree with Chavez’s business model of nationalizing the media) can be very effective; and (2) that Chavez’s biggest “crime” was being right and being vocal about it, which certainly are two big no-nos here at home, where telling certain awful (but obvious) truths is considered to be a much larger crime than telling even the biggest lies.

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Raise THIS, baby-boomer bitches!

John Boehner

House Republican Leader Boehner watches U.S. ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Repugnican U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio (photographed above in Washington, D.C., earlier this month), a member of the get-mine-and-get-out generation, wants to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits to age 70 for Americans who have at least 20 years to go before retirement (that would be Generation X’ers and Generation Y’ers and those who follow the Y’ers). Boehner also wants these future Social Security recipients (including yours truly) to have to prove their (our) need for Social Security checks. Don’t worry about the baby boomers, though — they’ll be well taken care of.

Like I needed yet another reason to despise John Boehner, the Repugnican minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Not only is Boehner (pronounced like bay-ner, not like boner, by the way…) a fucking baby boomer and a fucking Repugnican, but his steely-cold reptilian eyes always have given me the fucking creeps.

Boehner’s latest kick is his suggestion that the minimum age for receiving Social Security retirement benefits be raised to age 70 for those Americans who have at least 20 years left until they reach retirement age — and that these future Social Security recipients must prove that they need the Social Security checks before they can get them.

So the baby boomers, the get-mine-and-get-out generation, get it all — they get to collect Social Security retirement benefits as early as at age 62 and they get to collect these benefits even if they’re millionaires.

Under the Boehner plan, we of Generation X, however (and those who follow us), get fucked up the ass by the baby boomers. Like we always do. With ground glass for lube.

But we’re supposed to love the baby boomers. Love them.

I recently visited with my baby-boomer uncle. I always generally have liked him and considered him one of my favorite relatives, but during our recent conversation he referred to himself as a “socialist.” And he meant it; his political philosophy is progressive. He always supported and still supports Barack Obama. (Which is not to say that the labeling of Obama as a “socialist” is anything like accurate, because it is not. Obama is a Clintonista, not a socialist.) 

Yet my uncle the “socialist” is a contractor for the U.S. military, even though he acknowledges that the bloated military-industrial complex is not sustainable, and even though, he also acknowledged, the last necessary war that the U.S. military fought was World War II. He also lives in a gated community among golf courses in Tucson, Arizona — and he acknowledged that this lush community is not sustainable, being in the middle of the fucking desert but using so much water.

My uncle, to my knowledge, has no intention of changing his lifestyle before he dies, acknowledges that his lifestyle is not sustainable, yet calls himself, without any discernible hint of cognitive dissonance, a “socialist.”

And he’s one of the better baby boomers.

I’m so often called — almost exclusively by baby boomers — “angry!” As though that were a bad thing. (My baby-boomer uncle and my baby-boomer aunt both told me during our recent visit that they can’t read my blog because I’m so “angry.” [I wonder if they’ll read this…])

It’s easy for the members of a generation who had just about everything handed to them on a silver fucking platter and who are leaving not a crumb behind on that silver platter for those of us who follow them to criticize us Gen X’ers (and Y’ers) for being so “angry!”

In France, the young people are protesting right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Yes, from 60 to 62.

Reports The Associated Press:

Paris – The front lines of the latest French protest against raising the retirement age revealed a remarkable sight: Not the slightest wrinkle, not a single gray hair.

Brandishing “Save Our Pensions!” banners, students who haven’t even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.

Welcome to France, where workers’ rights are so deeply entwined into the culture that even teenagers are unsettled about plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, which is still among the lowest in Europe. The reform protest brought nearly a million people out into the streets across the country Thursday.

Young people fear they will lose the most from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms, which aim to cut France’s ballooning deficit and make the money-losing pension system break even starting in 2018….

Shit. American young people are too busy texting to stand up against the baby boomers who are destroying their future. It’s pathetic.

Boehner (whose name I wish were pronounced like boner), even while proposing to fuck over royally my generation and the generations that follow mine, accuses the current Democratic “leadership” in Washington of “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.”

Oh, please.

It’s not the Democrats who are snuffing out the nation in which I was born in 1968 and in which I grew up.

It’s the fucking baby boomers who are destroying the nation. (Indeed, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who could be poster children for the baby-boom generation, started the nation’s destruction long before the black guy ever made it to the White House.)

It doesn’t matter whether they’re Repugnicans or Democrats, because even when they call themselves, in all seriousness, socialists, the way that the baby boomers live their lives demonstrates that they don’t give a flying fuck about the fate of those who follow them.

I think the reason that the boomers love to call me “angry” — as though this actually is going to shut me up — is because they’re terrified that anger sometimes leads to action.

What kind of action?

Well, why should we younger Americans just allow the baby boomers to continue to bleed our nation dry?

What if we decided, instead of just passively accepting our unfair and unjust treatment, to nip the baby-boomer problem in the bud?

Yeah, it just might come to that.

I hope that it does.

P.S. The French have so much more than Americans do because they fight the powers that be. The guillotines of the French Revolution, I understand, are always in the backs of the mind of France’s power elite.

Guillotines just might solve the nation’s problem of the baby boomers sucking up all of its resources, leaving future generations fucked.

I am reminded of that great line of Brad Pitt’s in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds.”

To paraphrase: “We’re in the boomer-killin’ bidness! And bidness is a-boomin’!”

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Dumbfuck Nation

The recent “National Tea Party Convention” has inspired me to pick up again Susan Jacoby’s book The Age of American Unreason, which is about the threat that rampant intentional ignorance and anti-intellectualism poses to the continued existence of our democracy and our nation. I started to read Jacoby’s book when it came out in 2008 but then I put it down. I’ve picked it up again, as now it seems timelier than ever.

I liken our national situation to this: A horribly incompetent surgeon seriously botched our surgery. So we pick a new surgeon. However, the damage that the first surgeon caused is so serious that the second surgeon can’t fix it overnight. Impatient and frustrated, we think that it’s a swell idea to return to the first surgeon. After all, a whole year has passed since we last saw him!

That is how bright it is for us to turn the reins of power back to the Repugnican Party, which “Tea Party” Queen Sarah Palin-Quayle tells us we should do. (It’s funny how she states that the “tea party” isn’t about any one person, when clearly she would love to be their leader.)

I understand that people are frustrated, angry and confused. But it is precisely when we are frustrated, angry and confused that we need to think, and to not act stupidly — because acting stupidly in a time of crisis will only worsen our crisis.

This excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article on the recent “tea party” convention in Nashville, Tenn., sums up the “tea party” crowd pretty well, I think:

Ask Gail Hathaway, a warm 61-year-old retired nurse from Vonore, Tenn., what she wants out of the “tea party” movement, and she returns the quizzical look of someone worried she’s been asked a trick question.

“What do I want? Well, I want it all to stop,” she said late Thursday night from the floor of the National Tea Party Convention, an event billed as the first major conference for the conservative movement currently reshaping America’s political landscape. “Our way of life is under attack. I truly believe they are trying to destroy this country. It’s just hard to say who ‘they’ is.”

That is it, in a nutshell: The world is changing rapidly, and the “tea party” crowd wants it to stop. The United States as a whole no longer resembles the cozy little lily-white town of Mayberry, N.C. (if it ever really did), and the “tea party” crowd wants to bring Mayberry back.

Only you can’t bring Mayberry back, even if doing so were a good idea (which it isn’t), and no one is “trying to destroy this country.” Not even the “Islamofascists,” who just want the United States to get the fuck out of the Middle East and who want to be left the fuck alone, which sounds fairly reasonable to me, as we wouldn’t want a Middle Eastern military presence in our nation, would we?

Not even the home-grown wingnuts — with the exception of the rapturous “end-timers,” I suppose, who want World War III to occur because they are “saved” — are “trying to destroy this country.” It is true that the wingnuts’ fucktardation, unchecked, would result in the destruction of the nation — already the wingnuts’ fucktardation has brought the United States to the brink of extinction, when their usurper “war” “president” ran the show for eight endless years — but do I think that they want to destroy the nation?

Probably not, although it seems clear that Sarah Palin-Quayle wants WW III to happen. She suggested today that President Barack Obama could win re-election in 2012 if he were to declare war on Iran. (Hey, she was the running mate of John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCainosaurus, after all.)

Now, never mind that just yesterday at the Wingnut Super Bowl in Nashville, Palin-Quayle accused the Obama administration of “generational theft” by running the federal budget deficit up even more than the BushCheneyCorp did; today, Palin-Quayle suggests that we launch a war on Iran.

Because that would not be “generational theft,” to launch another major war in the Middle East when you are still reeling from the record federal budget deficit that the previous Repugnican “president” left you and when things have been crumbling here at home for some years now.

As I’ve said before, the wingnuts are fine with running up a deficit as long as we are using that money to kill innocent people in the Middle East in their “Christian” crusade against Islam; but if we want to spend any money on Americans here at home, that is “socialist” “generational theft.”

How would Jesus budget? Would he prioritize things like health care? Education? Food? Shelter? Environmental protection? 

No! He would launch a war on Iran!

“Our way of life is under attack. I truly believe they are trying to destroy this country,” the “tea bagger” told the L.A. Times, admitting that she couldn’t even identify “they.”

No, it’s that things are changing. Rapidly. Science and the Internet, the free flow of information, haven’t been very kind to the ignorant and fear-based “Christianity,” the brand of “Christianity” that the wingnuts follow.

Because the wingnuts feel like they are under attack doesn’t mean that anyone is actually attacking them. It’s what you call “paranoia.”

Millions and millions of other Americans don’t look, believe and act just like the wingnuts do. In their insecurity, if everyone is not on the same page with them, the wingnuts become unhinged and unglued. Rather than examine their own ignorance and their own misguided beliefs, the wingnuts lash out at those others who aren’t carbon copies of themselves. And rather than change with the times, the wingnuts would rather destroy those whose differ from them, and that is a long hit list: non-whites, feminists, non-“Christians,” non-heterosexuals, non-right-wingers, foreigners, et. al., et. al.

If I want to marry my boyfriend of two-plus years here in Northern California, it’s because I want to marry my boyfriend. (I take the American principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and “liberty and justice for all” seriously, you see, and unlike the wingnuts believe, I don’t believe that these things are for only those who look like me and who agree with me.)

If I want to marry my boyfriend, it’s not because I am “attacking” the “way of life” of some “tea-bagging” “Christo”fascist wingnut in Idaho who opposes same-sex marriage. If I want to marry my boyfriend, it has nothing to do with the wingnuts, whom history is leaving behind. (Funny that they should rally around a wingnutty book series called Left Behind when they are the ones who are being left behind, like the dinosaurs that they don’t believe in were left behind.)

The root of fear is ignorance, but the wingnuts embrace their ignorance.

In her rant at the Wingnut Super Bowl yesterday, “Tea Party” Queen Sarah Palin-Quayle said that “we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.”

That “clever” line is to meant to glorify stupidity and brute force and to denigrate intelligence. George W. “Mission Accomplished” Bush was a great commander in chief? Yeah, I want a dumbfuck in charge of the nuclear codes. I want my nation’s leader to be as dumb as humanly possible.

Palin-Quayle panders to the dumbfucks. She assures them that their dumbfuckery is not only OK, but that their dumbfuckery is a sign that they’re great Christians and that they’re great patriots. She has the “tea party” set worshipping a fucktarded golden calf.

We sane Americans underestimate, I believe, how dangerous individuals like Sarah Palin-Quayle and her “tea-partying” ilk are. In the last decade alone, they stole at least one presidential election, oversaw the largest terrorist attack ever on our nation’s soil, launched at least one bogus war, just allowed one of the nation’s worst natural disasters ever to kill thousands of Americans, and in all of this created a record federal budget deficit — but they blame the current state of the nation on Barack Hussein Obama.

The “tea party” “movement’s” Cult of Dumbfuckery appeals to the millions of Americans who never read books (except perhaps for Glenn Beck’s) and who get their “news” from FOX. The “tea party” “movement” tells people that it’s not only OK to be ignorant, but that it’s good to be ignorant.

This is some pretty fucking scary shit, folks.

If anyone bothered to read books anymore, they might recall the ruling totalitarian party’s credo in George Orwell’s chilling novel 1984:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

That is Sarah Palin-Quayle’s and the “tea party” “movement’s” “vision” statement in a nutshell.

If we allow their “vision” to rule the nation again, we won’t have a nation any longer.

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Forgo the Christmas sweater and see Zemeckis’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

Film review (with gratuitous political commentary)

Charles Dickens character Scrooge played by Jim Carrey is shown ...

In this film publicity image released by Disney, from left, ...

In stills from Robert Zemeckis’ version of “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge, voiced by Jim Carrey, is confronted by the tortured ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and is shown by the Ghost of Christmas Past the love that he gave up for the pursuit of money.

God bless Robert Zemeckis for bringing us “A Christmas Carol” at the same time that Glenn Beck (assuming that he really writes all of the books that are released under his name) has released his children’s picture book The Christmas Sweater (yes, I know, it’s frightening, a children’s book by the likes of Glenn Beck; if it is not a sign of the coming Apocalypse, then I don’t know what is).

Full admission: I would never purchase one of Glenn Beck’s books. I would never financially support a stupid white man, a dry drunk who claims that he is all about traditional values. Yes, Glenn Beck wants to drag all of us, kicking and screaming, back to the good old days — you know, the days when stupid white men like he, drunk on power, had complete control of everything, and we uppity women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals and non-Christians knew our place. (Um, yeah, that’s why if I had a child, I wouldn’t allow him or her to possess a copy of anything by Glenn Beck. Because I truly care about family values, and white supremacism, racism, misogyny, homphobia, xenophobia and “Christo”fascism are not family values.)

Anyway, although I’d never read anything by Beck, amazon.com does give this description of The Christmas Sweater (the full “novel” that the children’s picture book, released a year after the “novel” was released, is based upon) :

In Beck’s debut novel, the conservative radio and TV host makes a weak attempt at a holiday classic in the vein of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Despite his single mother’s financial hardships, 12-year-old Eddie is certain this Christmas he will receive his much-desired Huffy bike. To his dismay, what he finds under the tree is “a stupid, handmade, ugly sweater” that his mother carefully modeled after those she can’t afford at Sears (one of four places she keeps part-time jobs).

Eddie tosses the sweater and insults his mother before the two go visit his grandparents at their farmouse. On the drive home, though, Eddie’s exhausted mother falls asleep at the wheel and crashes, dying instantly. Sent to live with his grandparents, an increasingly bitter and angry Eddie lashes out at his accommodating guardians, engages in typical teenage angst and grapples with belief in God.

For all his focus on traditional family virtues like respect, love and forgiveness, Beck’s lightweight parable cruises on predictability, repetition and sentimentality.

That’s priceless: A materialistic baby boomer like Glenn Beck is going to lecture our kiddies hypocritically that they shouldn’t want stuff. Like the likes of Beck would pick the homemade sweater over the Huffy bike. And it’s incredibly and sickly ironic that Beck and his Fox “News” fully support the system of wage slavery in which a single mother would have to work more than one job, yet here is Beck writing about the tragedy of a single mother who has to work more than one job.

And what kind of kid’s book has the protagonist’s mother dying in a car wreck? Beck is one sick and twisted piece of shit, and I wouldn’t want my kids reading something by a sick and twisted piece of shit.

But I digress.

There is egomaniac Glenn Beck, who likens himself to Thomas Paine — yes, he actually released a book actually titled Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine — and then there is the real deal, Charles Dickens.

Wikipedia notes that Dickens, who lived from 1812 to 1870, “was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era and one of the most popular of all time. He created some of literature’s most memorable characters. His novels and short stories have never gone out of print. A concern with what he saw as the pressing need for social reform is a theme that runs throughout his work.”

Yup. While Beck writes a story about a boy who must feel awfully guilty that he wanted a bicycle over the sweater made for him by his mother, who works in sweat shops that Beck and Fox “News” support and who then dies in a grisly car wreck, Dickens was about doing something about the sweat shops.

Dickens was not about lecturing the downtrodden to just shut the fuck up and thank God for whatever they do have, which, from what I can tell, is the central message of The Christmas Sweater, a message that the plutocrats and corporatocrats are only too happy to have their Darth Vader in Glenn Beck deliver to our impressionable kiddies. (Further, why do the corporatists like Beck incessantly advertise their products and then criticize anyone for actually wanting one of their products, like a Huffy bike? They can’t fucking have it both ways.)

“A Christmas Carol” is, let’s face it, socialist.

The main character of “A Christmas Carol” is the Dick-Cheney-like Ebenezer Scrooge, who, when he sees the damage that his miserliness has caused others, does a 180 and decides to stop stealing other people’s money from them via the legalized thievery that is called “capitalism” (a.k.a. “just business”) and decides to give their rightful wealth back to them instead.

That’s hardly the Christmas message that the likes of “Fox” News’ Glenn Beck want to put out there, that the plutocrats should share the wealth that they have stolen and thus ease the suffering of the many around them. Why, that’s — socialist!

(Of course, Jesus Christ himself preached, over and over again, in black and white in the New Testament, about the evils of the rich [my favorite being his declaration that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven] and the virtue of helping the less fortunate, so Jesus must have been a socialist, too. And doesn’t Christmas come from Jesus Christ?)

But we can’t have a socialist/“socialist” — that is, a truly Christian — Christmas message put out there, so it’s the likes of Beck, with his fucking Christmas sweater, who are to save the day for the ultra-super-rich.

OK, my political commentary is over, so let me dive into Robert Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol.” I just wanted to put it into some sociopolitical context first.

Zemeckis, who brought us the “Back to the Future” trilogy and “Forrest Gump,” lately has been giving us computer-aided fare, with “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf” and now “A Christmas Carol.”

I’ve seen all three of those films, and, like Roger Ebert declared that he would do in his review of Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol,” I won’t regurgitate the plot of “A Christmas Carol,” which everyone already knows, but I will talk about the technological aspects of Zemeckis’ latest.

Zemeckis’ craftspeople are getting better at capturing realistic human expressions (especially human eyes), but they’re not fully there yet. I found the creepy unnaturalness of the characters’ CGI eyes in “The Polar Express” to be too much to even be able to get into the film (which, if memory serves, I saw at an IMAX theater, so it was even bigger and even more unintentionally scary).

“Beowulf” was an improvement on the CGI technology that Zemeckis uses these days, but “Beowulf” suffers from a poor storyline (isn’t Beowulf what high schoolers dread they’ll have to read?) and a poor screenplay (as well as from testosterone overload, a la “300”). Of all of the stories that Zemeckis could have adapted, why Beowulf?

No, we didn’t need another “A Christmas Carol,” either. You’re right. We didn’t. Except that we probably did. In these BushCheneyCorp-induced times of economic collapse and the subsequent national environment of fear and uncertainty that that collapse has caused, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the fact that the reason that there is so much poverty and suffering around us is that there are so many Ebenezer Scrooges around us.

Of course, Dickens’ story relies on four spirits to induce Ebenezer Scrooge to change his ways. In our case, we can’t count on spirits preventing the plutocrats from completely destroying our nation (although I must wonder if the ghost of Ronald Reagan would replace the spirit of Dickens’ Jacob Marley were a ghost to appear before the Scrooges of today). We, the people, might have to take matters into our own hands — the threat of which is why we have such things as “Fox” News and its henchmen like Glenn Beck.

(There I go again…)

Anyway, Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol” has the eye thing down, at least where it comes to the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. Zemeckis’ CGI Scrooge is quite humanlike, but it’s the other characters, especially the extras in the streets, on whom the CGI technicians presumedly spent less time and effort, that have that unnatural, not-quite-human look that we have seen in “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf.”

Zemeckis makes the burly Ghost of Christmas Present surprisingly hunky, replete with a copious amount of apparently proudly displayed strawberry-blond chest hair (although apparently Zemeckis was fairly faithful to the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Present as he appeared in Dickens’ original novel), and Zemeckis interprets the Ghost of Christmas Past interestingly — as a human-candle hybrid, with the head of the ghost being the flame of a white candle that occasionally flickers as the ghost speaks (which I, like Ebert did, found to be an interesting special effect).

Much of Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol” is like a roller-coaster ride, with the latter three spirits zipping Ebenezer here and there, over rooftops and landscapes, in order to show him where he fucked up his life in the past, how his miserliness has harmed others in the present, and how his miserliness will affect him in the future if he doesn’t change his ways drastically.

The greatest liberty that Zemeckis took with “A Christmas Carol” is the segment in which he has Scrooge shrink to the size of a mouse during his time with the Ghost of Christmas Future. At first I took umbrage with this liberty — Dickens never shrunk Scrooge! — and other reviewers have said that they didn’t like it, but Zemeckis at least ultimately makes it work, especially when the mini-Scrooge finds himself in the home of his impoverished maid, who is talking to her husband about Scrooge after his death.  

Jim Carrey (who also gave us the live-action Grinch, recall) did an excellent job voicing Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. (Well, OK, he is credited with being the voice of the grim-reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Future, but I don’t recall that that ghost says a word…) Why Carrey has taken so much shit from reviewers, proclaiming in their sheep-like unison that One Jim Carrey is enough!, I don’t know. Jealousy over Carrey’s talents, maybe?

“A Christmas Carol,” although fully titled “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” (shudder — that a corporation would co-opt the anti-corporate Dickens is sickening), probably isn’t for small children. I found the slack-jawed ghost of Jacob Marley to be at least moderately disturbing, so I can’t imagine that most small children wouldn’t find it to be even more disturbing.

But most older children and adults — except for the plutocrats and corporatocrats and their supporters, of course, who equate the easing of poverty with “socialism” and who would regard Ebenezer Scrooge as a Great American Capitalist Hero — will enjoy Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol,” not only for its technological achievements (and you must see it in 3-D if it’s playing near you in 3-D), but also for the fact that it remains faithful to the spirit of Dickens’ short novel — which is the true spirit of Christmas.

Fuck Glenn Beck and his fucking Christmas sweater.

My grade: A

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