Tag Archives: Ted Rall

(50 million to) 80 million Americans vanish without a trace!

Generational Leapfrog

An August 2000 editorial cartoon by progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall. (Another, even earlier toon by Rall on this topic is here.)

When I saw a little while ago that the new book The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown, which I (probably stupidly) since bought via amazon.com (I just opened the package today), very apparently pretends that those of us of Generation X don’t even fucking exist, I thought of my fellow progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall and his quite correct labeling of us Xers as victims of “generational leapfrog.”

Prompted by what I had read of The Next America on amazon.com, I was going to blog on my thoughts on my generation’s exclusion from the national discussion as though Winston Smith, working at the Ministry of Truth, had simply erased all mention of us, but now, I see, Rall (thankfully) has written a column on the topic, so, at the risk of violating copyright law, I am posting Rall’s column in full at the end of this post (I don’t think that he would mind), because he echoes my thoughts and feelings.

Not only does the title of this latest book about generations of Americans, which sits at No. 239 on amazon.com as I compose this sentence, exclude my generation entirely, but in the preface of the book — in which the author (shockingly!) identifies himself as a baby boomer — my generation is ignored. In the preface, the baby-boomer author, one Paul Taylor, proclaims:

… This book … pays particular attention to our two outsize generations — the Baby Boomers, fifty- and sixty-somethings having trouble coming to terms with getting old, and the Millennials, twenty-somethings having trouble finding the road map to adulthood. It looks at their competing interests in the big showdown over entitlement reform that our politicians, much as they might try, won’t be able to put off for much longer. …

So why has baby boomer (yeah, I don’t capitalize the term, since that might imply respect, which in this case is undeserved) Taylor disappeared (as Ted Rall accurately put it in his latest column) my entire generation?

And let me first interrupt myself to tell you that my generation actually isn’t all that tiny, with an estimated more than 80 million Americans being Xers, for fuck’s sake, while the figure for the number of baby boomers who were born apparently is around 76 million, and it is estimated that about 80 million Americans are members of Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials).

Yes, there was a baby boom when the boomers were belched from the bowels of hell and into the world from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s (yes, Barack Obama is a [late] baby boomer; we’ve yet to have a Gen-X president [and we very well might not ever have one]), but American population (despite advances in birth control) has climbed steadily since the boomers made their unfortunate entrance, which, I surmise, would explain why all three generations actually have been roughly the same in size, despite Taylor’s assertion that only his generation and the Millennials are worth discussing because they are “outsize.”

(The cover of the book says that it is authored by “Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center.” Wow. You’d think the folks at the Pew Research Center would have caught the mistake or even the lie that we Gen Xers are so tiny a cohort that we’re not worth discussing. Seriously — this “oversight” has harmed Pew Research Center’s reputation, in my mind.)

Back to what I was saying: So why would baby boomer Paul Taylor exclude my generation almost entirely from his book that is supposed to be a part of the national discussion?

Well, of course it’s easier to discuss only two generations instead of three. So yes, some laziness definitely might have been involved.

But the larger part of it, I believe, is that the baby boomers in general — and we very apparently cannot exclude Taylor from that cohort, based not only upon his age but also based upon his brand of inter-generational politics — long have treated us Xers as though we didn’t exist.

Indeed, one of Ted Rall’s most successful books is his 1998 Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, one of the first, if not the first, Gen-X manifesto.

I was born to boomers and I certainly was a latchkey kid. I won’t go into detail that only will make others (especially boomers) accuse me of being a whiner who blames everything on his parents (for the record, I blame much on them, but not everything on them), but yeah, while the boomers were the cherished children of the American men who had survived World War II and come home to inseminate their wives and while the Millennials were the cherished children (largely if not mostly of boomers) replete with “Baby on Board” signs, we X’ers were, to put it mildly, not cherished. There were no “Baby on Board” signs, no car seats for us. Our parents were not, for the very most part, “helicopter parents.” No, they were more like invisible parents. As Rall stated correctly many years ago, we Xers, overall, were latchkey kids. We were largely left to raise ourselves.

I suspect that this is why we are ignored by the dominant generation, the boomers (almost all seats of power in the U.S. still are filled by boomers, who hold on to their seats of power with death grips, like U.S. Supreme Court justices): they always have ignored us, so why begin to acknowledge our inconvenient existence now?

Also, if any of the boomers are actually even capable of feeling anything remotely like guilt, maybe they have at least a dim awareness that they failed us Xers, their children, miserably, that they are the first generation in the history of the United States to have had it better themselves than their children have had it, and therefore, in order to avoid feeling guilty — because boomers were raised by the so-called “greatest generation” to believe that they are entitled to feel only great about themselves all of the fucking time (a “value” that the boomers seemed to have imparted to many if not most of the Millennials) — they do their best not to think about us Xers at all.

All of my legitimate generational grievances aside, there is no way that you can write a responsibly comprehensive book about the problems that loom over the United States of America without discussing an entire generation of Americans. (OK, to be fair, there are some entries for “Generation X” in the index of The Next America, which I have not read because I just opened the package today, but very apparently the book glosses over Gen X for a much more detailed discussion about the boomers and the Millennials.)

We Xers care about, we are affected by and we affect Social Security, Medicare, retirement security, income inequality, climate change, human rights, social justice, politics, overpopulation, etc., etc., and while millions want to simply ignore us (and so do simply ignore us) because to do so fits their own selfish political agendas, we Gen Xers are right fucking here, tens of millions of us — whether the generation that precedes us and the generation that follows us (and, tragically, they have so many characteristics in common) wish to see us or not.

Now: Here is Rall’s column, with my comments inserted in [brackets]:

I’ve been disappeared.

Erased from history.

Dropped down the memory hole.

(bye)

If you were born between 1961 and 1976, you no longer exist. [Exact definitions of Gen X vary. In my book, Gen X begins around 1962 to 1964. 1961 is a bit early, in my book. And I would extend Gen X at least to those born in 1980.]

Generation X has been disappeared.

The Soviets altered photos to excise the images of leaders who had fallen out of favor, but communist censors went after individuals.

America’s corporate media is more ambitious. They’re turning 50 million people into unpersons. [Again, I see figures that put Gen X at least at 80 million, but even only 50 million people, if Rall’s figure indeed is closer to the actual figure, still is a large chunk of the national population of more than 317 million.]

The disappearing of Gen X began about a year ago, when major news outlets began reducing living Americans to two generations: the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) and their children, the Millennials (born approximately 1977-2004).

[I would include 1945, and perhaps also 1944, for the boomers, and I probably wouldn’t start the Millennials earlier than 1980. Again, these generational demarcations vary from person to person. To me, personal characteristics and worldview are important, too, not strictly the year in which one was born, perhaps especially in those generationally cuspy situations. (My husband, for instance, born in 1962, while on the cusp of the boomers and the Xers, has more Xer characteristics than boomer characteristics; otherwise, he wouldn’t be my husband…)]

(Generational birth years are controversial. Many classify the Boom years between 1946 and 1964, but I agree with the demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe’s assessment — and the novelist Douglas Coupland, who defined the term “Generation X” — that people like me, born from ’61 to ’64, called “the most dysfunctional cohort of the century,” identify with the culture and economic fortunes of Xers, not the Boom.)

The unpersoning of X takes full bloom in “Wooing a New Generation of Museum Patrons,” a March 19, 2014, piece in The New York Times about how museums like the Guggenheim are soliciting money from “a select group of young donors already contributing at a high level.”

Take your gum/joint/food out of your mouth before reading further, lest you gag: “Several hundred Millennials mingled under the soaring atrium of the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue one recent frigid February night. Weaving around them were black-clad servers bearing silver trays piled high with doughnuts, while a pixieish D.J. spun Daft Punk remixes.”

According to the Times’ David Gelles (playing the role of Winston Smith): “Across the country, museums large and small are preparing for the eventual passing of the baton from the Baby Boom generation, which for decades has been the lifeblood not only of individual giving but of boardroom leadership. Yet it is far from clear whether the children of Baby Boomers are prepared to replicate the efforts of their parents.”

Gelles’ piece doesn’t contain any reference to Generation X.

Really? Museums don’t give a crap about would-be philanthropists among the millionaires born between 1961 and 1976?

By the way, Xers were into Daft Punk before Millennials were even done being born.

Boomer/Millennial articles that ignore the existence of Xers have become commonplace. Again in The New York TimesEmily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker perform the neat trick of disappearing one-sixth of the country. Their November 30, 2013, op/ed about “Millennial Searchers” for the meaning of life asks about Millennials: “Do we have a lost generation on our hands?”

Substitute “1991” for “2008” and everything Smith and Aaker write could be, and was written about Gen X: “Yet since the Great Recession of 2008, they have been having a hard time. They are facing one of the worst job markets in decades. They are in debt. Many of them are unemployed. The income gap between old and young Americans is widening.”

Even in an essay about humanity’s search for meaning — and about the downward mobility that defines Gen X — there is only room for Boomers and Millennials.

It’s like our crappy economy and low wages and student loan debt never even happened. [Infuckingdeed. As I’ve noted here before, it’s incredibly interesting that our Gen Xers’ crippling student-loan debt and lack of decent jobs never were considered to be newsworthy at all, but that those problems sure the fuck are today, now that they are affecting the precious “Baby-on-Board” crowd.]

“No one’s talkin’ ’bout my generation,” notes columnist M.J. Fine, a Generation Xer. “It’s hard to think of an era in which people ages 34-49 had less social currency.”

Remember the great coming clash over Social Security between Boomers and Xers? We’ve vanished from that narrative too, not just in a thousand words but over the course of a full-length book: The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown.

It’s not just the Times. In Sonya Stinson’s frivolous “What Gen Y Can Teach Boomers About Financial Planning” in Forbes, Gen X neither learns nor teaches. Gen X doesn’t exist.

Poof!

I saved the worst for last. Courtesy of a sharp-eyed reader, check out PBS’ Judy Woodruff, defining the generations for a NewsHour interview with the author of The Next America:

I just want to remind everybody what those age groups are, the Millennials, 18 to 33 years old today, Gen X, 34 to 39 [years old] today, the Boomers, 50 — the big group — 50 to 68 [years old], and the Silent [Generation], 69 to 86 [years old].

In PBS World, Gen X has shrunk. If you’re in your forties, you no longer have a generational home.

Life begins at 40?

[To be fair, I listened to the PBS clip, and in it Woodruff clearly says “Gen X, 34 to 49″ years old. The transcript, however, reads “34 to 39” years old, an apparent typo.]

More like the empty void of generational purgatory, as far as the Boomer-controlled media is concerned.

Indeed, the No. 1 reason that we Gen Xers have been so successfully disappeared is that the boomers have controlled the media, and thus the national discussion, for most of our lives. The powers that be want us to be non-existent, and the powers that be mostly still are boomers and they still mostly control the media, and thus they still mostly monopolize the national discussion.

But actually, as much as I have complained about the unfairness and the insanity of it, I think that I would take my “generational purgatory” (an apt description of Gen X) over the unearned and undeserved attention and rewards that the boomers and the Millennials have received.

Having been left to raise ourselves to such a degree and having been systematically and even institutionally ignored and passed over — and, indeed, having been shit and pissed upon — our entire fucking lives, we Gen Xers have, out of necessity, developed strength, resilience and self-reliance that most members of the pretty fucking awful, overprivileged generations that immediately precede us and immediately follow us never will possess.*

And who wants to be a member of a generation whose collective personality is like that of Nellie Olesen? (OK, the boomers and the Millennials do, but that was a rhetorical question.)

Gen X still rules — not literally, not sociopolitically, but where it really counts — which is why we’re so widely ignored by the two generations that don’t hold a candle to us.

*That said, while the boomers have been a lost fucking cause for a long, long time, and will take their generational assholery with them to their graves and urns, I suppose that the Millennials still have enough time to not become just like their baby-boomer examples.

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Ted Rall is no racist; the Obamabots, on the other hand…

Updated below

Progressive writer and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall has been labeled — and libeled — as a “racist” over at Obamabot Central — er, at the Daily Kos.

It’s sad and pathetic.

I don’t know Rall personally, but I’ve been following his work for more than a decade now, and I can say that he’s no racist.* I have most of his books (I’ve read at least a few of them from cover to cover) and have read many if not most of his columns and editorial cartoons over the past decade-plus, and if I’d ever had a whiff of a hint that he harbors racist beliefs/views, I would have stopped reading his work a long time ago.

The “evidence” of Rall’s “racism”? He draws Barack Obama — poorly! (Um, he draws everyone poorly — I like Rall’s writing more than I like his cartoons, the concepts of which I like better than their artistic execution.) And Rall colors Obama a shade of tan or brown! 

Horrors!

“President” George W. Bush got no better treatment from Rall, who often if not usually portrayed Bush unshaven and in a military dictator’s outfit and with snot (the result of cocaine use, I presume) coming out of his nose:

Rall often drew Bush in what one might deem to be a simian fashion, as Rall has been accused of depicting Obama. (Since we’re all primates, since we all resemble our simian cousins to some degree, charges of the intentional simian-ization of another really need to be grounded. [Depicting one with a tail or with a banana or swinging from a tree, for instance, would be such grounds…])

Anyway, the way that Rall has depicted both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has not been exactly flattering. But Rall is an editorial cartoonist. It’s not his job to flatter, perhaps especially not his job to flatter the most powerful politician in the world, the president of the United States, whoever it is at the time.

I could argue, easily, that President Barack Obama has been even worse than “President” Bush was. I mean, at least with Bush, we knew what we were getting; we knew what to expect. Bush started off by stealing the presidential election of 2000. How, exactly, was it going to get better from there?

President Hopey-Changey, however, started off by winning a presidential election, fairly and squarely — through his ubiquitous, relentless promises of “hope” and “change.”

We progressives weren’t sure what to expect. Might this new political rock star actually deliver?

We took the chance on Obama, and alas, he has not delivered — he hasn’t even substantially tried to deliver — on his campaign promises, and who knows how many young Americans Obama fired up over the political process in 2008 but turned off from politics after his incredibly unremarkable, lackluster-at-best presidency? (The Occupy movement certainly wasn’t about what Obama was doing, but was about what he’d promised to do if he were sent to the White House but once actually was in the White House refused to do.)

How do you gain back that trust? Can you? Ever?

That might be, in the end, Obama’s largest sin: causing the political disengagement of an entire generation of Americans to whom he very apparently fucking lied, repeatedly and over a long time, in order to gain the highest elected office of the land.

Is anyone, perhaps especially if he or she is white — like I am — who actually holds an elected official accountable to his or her own fucking campaign promises — who actually does that before-and-after comparison — a “racist” if he or she points out that the elected official has not fulfilled his or her own campaign promises if that elected official is not white? Is that it?

What is the difference between hating everything that emanates from Obama largely or even primarily because he’s part African and loving everything that emanates from Obama (or, at the very least, excusing everything that emanates from Obama, including not only his inexcusable, utter inaction on such progressive priorities as fighting poverty, reducing the bloated-beyond-belief military-corporate complex and its colossal budget, and stopping environmental degradation, but also even illegal and unconstitutional secret governmental spying upon the masses and slaughter by killer drones) largely or even primarily because he’s part African?

Aren’t both stances steeped in racism? Don’t both stances make Obama’s racial composition the thing about him that matters the most?

Wouldn’t it be racist to expect less of Obama than we would expect of a white president who had campaigned as a progressive? (On that note, as I have rhetorically asked before, wouldn’t an actually progressive white president, perversely ironically, have been much better for black Americans, as a whole, than the do-nothing, center-right Obama has been?)

Ted Rall has been critical of Obama because of Obama’s wrongdoings and Obama’s refusal to be the progressive president that he relentlessly promised the nation he would be — and that he could have been, the Obamabots’ myriad of poor excuses and pathetic apologies notwithstanding.

Rall has not been critical of Obama because of Obama’s race.

Those so-called Democrats or liberals who pillory actual progressives like Ted Rall don’t do themselves or their “cause” any favors.

Obama lost votes from 2008 to 2012, not only in terms of the percentage of the popular vote, but in terms of actual number of votes.** His approval ratings right now hover only in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Had Obama been the president he had promised he would be, he could have, I think, done even better in 2012 than he did in 2008, and his approval ratings would be much better than they are.

Where does the Democratic Party stand right now?

Well, let’s just say that I can see the faux centrist Chris Christie, if he can make it out of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary season alive, fairly easily beating Billary Clinton’s uncharismatic, centrist, pro-corporate ass in November 2016, given how much Obama — and (ironically) Bill Clinton before him — have damaged the Democratic Party by alienating the party’s traditionally progressive base (let me repeat: the party’s base) by dragging the party further and further to the right.

The Democratic Party hacks are fools if (well, they are fools, no ifs, ands or buts) they believe that they can put the wooden, boring Billary in the White House without the support of the party’s traditionally progressive base — and we, the base, aren’t remotely fired up over the center-right Billary Clinton.

The Democratic Party establishment could use all of the support that it can get right now, and calling everyone who dares to criticize President Hopey-Changey (especially while white) a “racist” not only is slimily defamatory, but alienates the support of white progressives that the Democratic Party cannot afford to lose if it wants to remain viable.

*My definition of “racism” — and I think it’s important that we define our terms in our discussions of race and racism — is something like this: the ingrained belief that any one race (usually one’s own) is superior to another race, and the practice of judging others (and perhaps also behaving toward others) based upon this belief.

Some (perhaps especially academics) have posited that it’s impossible for a member of a historically racially discriminated-against minority group to be racist toward a member of a historically oppressive, politically stronger racial group, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

To me, the heart and soul of the definition of “racism” isn’t the race of the individual we are talking about (duh), but is about the individual’s beliefs regarding others of another race (and sometimes the individual’s resultant behaviors toward others of another race).

We cannot maintain both that race shouldn’t matter, but that only principles should matter, and that only white people can be racist because the definition of a racist depends upon the individual’s race.

In a nutshell, if you see an individual’s race before you see another individual, another human being, then you are, in my book, probably racist to at least some degree.

**Obama won more than 3.5 million fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008, and while he won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008, he was down to 51.1 percent in 2012.

As I have noted here before, while I voted for Obama in 2008 (when I walked into my polling place, I had it down to Obama or Ralph Nader, and blackened in the oval next to Obama’s name at rather the last second), I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again in 2012; in 2012 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

The question for Billary should she run for the White House in 2016, I think, is whether or not she can stem the hemorrhaging of the progressive support of the Democratic Party. I can’t see how she can, given that she and Obama are two center-right peas in a pod (indeed, they’re both pod people…).

Update: Lest you believe that Barack Obama’s lackluster-at-best presidency hasn’t harmed his party, you should read this Reuters news article that I just read. An excerpt:

Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every major thing President Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, but they would still vote for him today, according to the results of a Harvard University survey released [today].

The national poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics of more than 2,000 people aged 18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the political views of the youngest U.S. voters. This increasingly influential demographic known as the “millennial generation” has been a traditional base of Obama’s support.

More than 50 percent of respondents in the survey, taken between October 30 and November 11, said they disapproved of how the Democratic president handled key issues in his second term, including Syria, Iran, the economy, healthcare and the federal budget deficit.

Most cited the economy as their top concern.

Still, disapproval ratings were higher for both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. And a plurality of respondents, 46 percent, said they would still vote for Obama for president if they could recast their 2012 ballots, compared with 35 percent who said they would vote for the then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Some 55 percent of the survey respondents who reported casting ballots in the 2012 presidential election said they had voted for Obama, compared with 33 percent for Romney.

Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson said the poll revealed cracks forming in Obama’s base.

“This isn’t a problem for Obama because he’s not coming up for election again,” Grayson said in a conference call with reporters. “But it is a potential problem for any Democratic candidate seeking to mobilize young Americans.” …

I recommend the entire article, which is here.

Note that apparently the youthful poll respondents were asked only whether they would vote for Obama or for Mittens Romney if they could vote again. They apparently were not asked whether they would vote for Obama or for an actually progressive candidate (instead of a center-right sellout) if they had that choice.

It’s telling that almost 10 percent of the respondents indicated that just a year after his re-election, they already regret having voted for Obama last year.

Can the Democrats really afford to lose almost 10 percent of the youthful vote? Or a similarly large chunk of the white progressive vote by calling Obama’s detractors who happen to be white “racist”?

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Billary’s ‘inevitability’ is not inevitable

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	U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responds forcefully to intense questioniing on the September attacks on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 23, 2013.  

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Reuters photos

Billary Clinton appears to be going through the last four of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief as she answers the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ bullshit charges on Benghazi in Washington, D.C., in January — charges that the traitors (including Mittens Romney) couldn’t make stick to President Barack Obama but sure the fuck are trying to make stick to Billary, even though war criminals George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et. al. remain free. I, for one, don’t want to hear even more Benghazi bullshit for months and months to come, and would much rather see another, actually progressive Democrat win the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, male or female. (Go, Elizabeth Warren!) I reject Billary’s “inevitability,” and I hope that she has to go through Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief where the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is concerned.

Too many people were bored over the long holiday weekend, because the “buzz” was over Billary Clinton: Will Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren run in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary?

A writer for the New Republic says yes (or, at least, says probably); the smug, center-right political columnist for Slate.com David Weigel, in response, among other things has proclaimed that “The professional left [an apparent insult, since progressives, myself included, were quite insulted when a mouthpiece of the Obama regime dismissively referred to us as “the professional left,” when the more correct term for us would be “the Democratic Party’s base”] doesn’t know how to win” and asks (rhetorically?) of “the professional left”: “if the Obama experience hasn’t taught them that a dreamy presidential candidate won’t bring about paradise, what will?”

Weigel could have summarized his inevitability-of-Billary screed in two words: Surrender, Dorothy!

It’s fun to pick on “the professional left,” I’m sure. And it’s fun to knock down an argument that your (presumed) opponent never even fucking made. I mean, I know of no progressive who ever has described Elizabeth Warren as a “dreamy” candidate who will usher in “paradise.”

I do believe, in fact, that “the Obama experience” has taught us progressives an important lesson. (If nothing else, Obama has utterly ruined the words “hope” and “change” for all Democratic campaigns to come.) But Weigel, who apparently doesn’t actually associate with any of the progressives whom he so smugly disdains, wouldn’t know that; if he knew that, he wouldn’t need to ask, rhetorically or not.

Weigel’s assertion — not to pick only on Weigel, although he can be a real asshole — essentially seems to be that because “Billary Clinton is more popular than ever,” we might as well just skip the 2016 Democratic primary season and declare her the victor already.

I remember when the Deaniacs were basically, sometimes even literally, saying the same thing about Howard Dean during the 2004 presidential election cycle. Even progressive columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall, with whom I agree more than 90 percent of the time, once actually wrote a column suggesting that states save money by skipping the caucuses and primaries altogether, since Howard Dean undoubtedly was going to win the nomination anyway.

Of course, when people actually voted in the primaries and attended the caucuses that Rall had recommended be scrapped, it turned out very differently: The candidate whom I’d supported all along, John Kerry, like Lazarus, arose from the dead and got the nomination. (Kerry, admittedly, has been a shitty, or at least a disappointing, secretary of state, but I still believe that he did much better against George W. Bush in 2004 than Howard Dean would have done had he won the nomination.)

So I reject similar assertions of Billary Clinton’s inevitability. Will she run for president again in 2016? Very most likely, as she is widely seen, as Mittens Romney apparently was seen in 2012, as her party’s heir apparent for 2016.

But is her primary-season win inevitable?

No. No more so than was Howard Dean’s.

Sure, polls right now show Billary as the undisputed leader for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but doesn’t the fact that the likes of David Weigel basically are telling Americans that Billary Is Inevitable lead a great number of them to believe that Billary is their only real choice?

Elizabeth Warren shows in the top three in the 2016 Democratic presidential field in the latest polling, which suggests to me that she has a real shot.

I’d support Elizabeth Warren or another actually progressive Democratic candidate (female or male) hands down over Billary. I’m fine with a woman as our next president; I’m not fine with that woman being the center-right Billary Clinton.

I require more than the mere possession of the XX chromosomes in a presidential candidate. I wouldn’t want Sarah Palin to be president (or even vice president), either.

Ted Rall, in his forthcoming column on Billary Clinton and how she never should be president, among other things, notes:

… Hillary’s admirers have conflated her impressive list of jobs with actually having gotten things done. When you scratch the surface, however, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the woman has done little more than warm a series of comfy leather desk chairs. How has this career politician changed Americans’ lives? Not in the least.

No doubt, Hillary knows her way around the corridors of power: first lady, senator from New York, presidential candidate, secretary of state. Nice resume, but what did she do with all her jobs? Not much. …

Rall reminds us of Billary’s years in the U.S. Senate:

… After sleazing her way into the Capitol as an out-of-state carpetbagger — New Yorkers still remember — Senator Clinton wiled away the early 2000s as a slacker senator. This, remember, was while Bush was pushing through his radical right agenda: the Patriot Act, wars, coups, drones, torture, renditions and so on.

While Bush was running roughshod, Hillary was meek and acquiescent. …

[Update: Rall’s full column is here.]

Indeed, Obama also accomplished little to nothing during his (four) years in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, perhaps progressives have learned that you look beyond a candidate’s campaign rhetoric and instead look at that candidate’s record, and Billary’s record of accomplishment is no more impressive than was Obama’s when he won the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

“Since 2009 we’ve seen what happens when we elect a president with charisma but minus a resume,” Rall notes. But Billary doesn’t even have the charisma.

And, as Rall notes, “At least with Obama, 2008 voters saw potential. Hillary has had 20 years to shine. If she hasn’t gotten anything accomplished in all that time, with all that power, why should we think she’ll make a great president?”

Yup.

Elizabeth Warren at least has consistently stood up to Wall Street — Warren at least shows potential — while the Clinton machine has made Wall Street its engine.

Would Warren use the hopey-changey bait and switch that Obama did? I doubt it. It wouldn’t be impossible, but I find it unlikely. And it would be difficult to find a lazier president than Obama has been. Recall that when he had both houses of Congress in his party’s control in 2009 and in 2010, he squandered his political capital, something that even the fucktarded George W. Bush never did.

In his column, Rall also correctly points out that although “A woman president is two centuries overdue,” by having ridden her husband’s coattails, Billary is “a terrible role model for women,” and that Billary royally fucked up in October 2002 when, in “the most important vote of her life,” as a U.S. senator she voted to allow the unelected Bush regime to launch its Vietraq War.

While I don’t know that I agree with Rall’s assertion that Billary lost to Obama in 2008 “primarily due to that vote,” it was a significant factor. (The charisma factor was larger, though, I surmise.) I, for one, still hold it against my U.S. senator, the nauseating DINO Dianne Feinstein, for having voted for the Vietraq War in October 2002 (the traitor nonetheless keeps getting re-elected here in California, though; that she’s a millionaire helps, I guess), and I still like my other, for-the-most-part-actually Democratic U.S. senator, Barbara Boxer, in no small part because she voted against it.

But John Kerry also had stupidly voted for the Vietraq War in October 2002 yet still won the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

True, the Vietraq War still raged then, and we didn’t have the hindsight on it that we did when Billary ran in 2008, but here in the United States of Amnesia, I can’t see her vote for the Vietraq War hurting Billary much in a 2016 campaign.

Still, though, her vote for the Vietraq War demonstrates that if she isn’t a self-serving coward who will do what’s politically expedient over what is right, she exhibited, in Rall’s words, breathtakingly “poor political calculus,” which makes her “kind of dumb.” (“Kind of” is generous.)

I’ll offer yet another, perhaps selfish reason to reject the “inevitability” of Billary Clinton: I really, really, really don’t want to keep hearing, for months on end, about Benghazi from the very same right-wing traitors who have had no problem whatsofuckingever with the pointless deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and thus bogus — and thus treasonous — Vietraq War, but who claim to care sooo much about four Americans who died in the Middle East last year.

But then again, perhaps with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors so fucking focused on trying to take down Billary with the Benghazi bullshit, they wouldn’t see someone like Elizabeth Warren coming…

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The handjob-in-a-Bangkok-bathhouse presidential campaign

But this [presidential] campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it’ll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a handjob in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It’s just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate.

Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi, May 7

It’s difficult to write about this year’s presidential race, since it’s so substance-free.

We all know what Repugnican Tea Party candidates Mittens Romney and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan are all about: the continued radical redistribution of wealth, from the very many to the very few. (Right-wingers oppose the redistribution of wealth only when such redistribution benefits the many instead of the few. Then, it’s “communism” or “socialism” or some other “anti-American” “evil.”) And Team Romney/Ryan are about the Orwellian, Randian relabeling of those of us serfs who produce for our plutocratic overlords as “parasites” when it’s the plutocrats who are the parasites on the rest of us — not vice-versa.

Class warfare, indeed.

And we all know that President Barack Obama, the lesser of the two evils, won’t/wouldn’t do much more in a second term than he has(n’t) done thus far. An Obama re-election, while not the hell that a President Romney would mean for us, would mean four more years! of whatever the hell it is that you could call these past three-plus years.

So devoid of substance is this presidential race that the narcissistic, shallow, cold-blooded Paul Ryan’s workout routine is considered “news,” and so coveted has been a shirtless pic of Ryan that the gossip website TMZ has put a watermark on the Paul Ryan shirtless pic from six years ago that it managed to find and present to the world:

0817_paul_ryan_TMZ_03

Thankfully, in TMZ’s online poll, as I type this sentence, 85 percent of the respondents proclaim that the chicken-legged Ryan’s looks will not influence their vote, while only 15 percent say that Ryan’s looks will/would be a factor in their voting decision, and 58 percent of the respondents say that they would not do the nasty with Ryan, while 42 percent say that they would. Seventy-seven percent claim that they would rather get it on with Ryan Gosling than with Paul Ryan, while only 23 percent choose the surnamed Ryan over the first-named Ryan. And asked whether we’ll ever have a President Paul Ryan, 69 percent say no and only 31 percent say yes.

This is what American politics has been reduced to. Just so you know.

This is the result of decades of “infotainment” and celebrity culture and corporately owned and controlled non-journalism poisoning what we still call our “democracy.”

So watered down and insipid all of it has become that we have Mittens Romney proclaiming the obvious as though it were scandalous.

This past week Mittens proclaimed that President Barack Obama is “running [for re-election] just to hang on to power, and I think he would do anything in his power” to remain in office.

Duh.

Most presidents run for a second term, and Mittens has not been running for president since at least 2008 because he wants power?

Yeah, you know, I think that the vast majority of those who run for president want the power of the presidency. (What they would do with that power, of course, is another matter.)

The very definition of “politics” (the broad definition) is the use of power.

Barack Obama is to be shamed for wanting to retain his power, but we are to believe that Mittens doesn’t want the same power? (Or, at least, are we to believe that Mittens actually would use such power for good?)

And what about former “President” George W. Bush? When he ran for a second, unelected term, didn’t he “just [want] to hang on to power”? Or are only Democratic candidates power-mongers?

Such sheer hypocrisy is what it means to be a wingnut or a Mormon, and in multi-millionaire Mittens we have both.

Mittens this past week also proclaimed that Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is driven by “division and attack and hatred.”

Let’s see: The Mormon cult and the Repugnican Tea Party both believe that women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-“Christo”fascists, non-citizens, non-capitalists, et. al., et. al. should be/should remain second- or third-class citizens, and that only right-wing, “Christo”fascist, white, heterosexual, patriarchal, capitalist males should continue to run the show, but somehow that’s not “division” or “hatred” or an “attack” on those of us — who are the majority of the human beings who inhabit the United States of America — who don’t fit those demographics and who disagree that those with those demographics should continue to have an insanely unfair amount of political power in what is supposed to be a representative democracy.

No, when Mittens’ Mormon cult — and Paul Ryan’s Catholick church — actively supported Proposition Hate here in my home state of California, that was an attack, a personal attack on my equal human and civil rights guaranteed to me by the constitutions of my nation and my state.

That was a divisive attack based — steeped — in hatred.

Women should not be allowed to control their own uteri; same-sex couples should not be allowed to be married; “illegals” should be deported immediately (or, as Joe the Plumber, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives for Ohio on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket, recently put it, “put a damn fence on the border going with Mexico and start shooting”); the filthy rich should continue to get richer and the rest of us should continue to get poorer; and Hey, let’s start another war in the Middle East! — as John McCainosaurus hilariously sang during the last presidential election cycle, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!”

But the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the members of the Mormon cult are nice people, you see, because they don’t use profanity or salty language (like that evil Joe Biden!), and they smile lovingly while they propose to destroy you with such euphemistically named plans as Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” which is only a blueprint for the continued prosperity of the richest among us at the continued expense of the rest of us.

It’s difficult for Team Romney/Ryan to talk substance when their only goal is to ensure that the richest and the most powerful among us gain even more wealth and more power while the rest of us lose even more wealth and even more power than we’ve lost since at least Ronald Reagan’s reign in the 1980s. When you are concealing your true aims — because your true aims are patently evil — there isn’t much of substance for you to say. Thus, you are reduced to such hypocritical, ludicrously insubstantial charges as that your political opponent — wait… for… it… — wants power!

Not that Barack Obama has much more to run on. He promised us, incessantly, “hope” and “change.” Instead, he has delivered much of the same, and has been one of our nation’s most mediocre, most disappointing presidents.

But even that, sadly, is head and shoulders above what the Romney/Ryan ticket offers, and that is catastrophic for the United States of America.

As Ted Rall concludes in his latest column,

If all Democratic strategists have to do to attract progressive voters is to frighten them with greater-evil Republicans, when will people who care about the working class, who oppose wars of choice, and whose critique of government is that it isn’t in our lives enough ever see their dreams become party platform planks with some chance of being incorporated into legislation?

In recent elections (c.f. Sarah Palin and some old guy versus Barry), liberals are only voting for Democrats out of terror that things will get even worse.

That’s no way to run a party, or a country.

Well, I, for one progressive, have refused to give President Hopey-Changey (a.k.a. President Lesser of Two Evils) a single fucking red cent for his re-election, and come November 6, I probably will cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein or maybe even Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr.

Throwing away my vote, you say?

No. To vote for the pure, raw evil or to vote for the lesser of the two evils — that would be to throw away my vote.

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Yet another massacre from which the sheeple won’t learn a thing

Well, the internet noticed too.

If this guy is elected (or allowed to steal office a la 2000) in November, there will be more massacres. (More Photoshop jobs on this theme here…)

The United States of America is one big dysfuckingfunctional family.

Every once in a while, one of us snaps and kills a lot of people. The rest of us then all act shocked and horrified and say how “senseless” it was (when really we’re primarily just celebrating the fact that we weren’t among the body count), and then we go back to our lives of self-centeredness and greed that will help create the next massacre.

Every time one of these massacres occurs, I write essentially the same blog piece, but fuck it, as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing the same blog piece. So here goes:

James Eagen Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of having blown away 12 people and injuring 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, early this morning, did not — I repeat, DID NOT — develop within a fucking vacuum.

No, I promise you, he developed entirely within a social context.

My guess is that Holmes has some screws loose, but the fact of the matter is that Holmes is just one of millions of young Americans whose nation has failed them beyond miserably.

The Associated Press reports that according to a neighbor of Holmes, “Holmes struggled to find work after graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2010 with a neuroscience degree from the University of California, Riverside.”

Holmes isn’t a drop-out pothead. The AP also reports of Holmes that he “enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, said school officials, who didn’t provide a reason.”

Yes, Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate, one of our brightest young people. Neuroscience, for fuck’s sake. Sounds pretty close to a brain surgeon to me.

My guess is that like millions of his cohorts, and like millions of members of my generation (Gen X), Holmes graduated from college with a mountain of debt but with no good job prospects whatsofuckingever.

I, too, graduated (in 1990 — during the first George-Bush-induced recession) with a worthless bachelor’s degree but with student-loan debt, and I, too, initially returned to school (to get my master’s degree, which I ultimately didn’t get) because there were no jobs out there and I didn’t know what else to do. (At age 44, I still am a member of what my fellow Gen-X foaming-at-the-mouth leftist Ted Rall calls the “overeducated underclass.”)

Since the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan, who couldn’t blow the Wall Street weasels enough, our higher-education system stopped being about preparing students for good jobs. Those jobs, under the vulture capitalism that Mittens Romney and his ilk perpetrate, perpetuate and defend, have been evaporating from the United States these past few decades.*

The American higher-education system now is about, and for some decades now has been about, handing our young over to the student-loan sharks for their feeding frenzies. Our colleges don’t produce young people who are ready for the good jobs that await them — our colleges instead produce young people who start off in life neck-deep in debt to the student-loan sharks, struggling to survive by taking jobs that are way beneath their abilities.

Starting out like this, many if not most of them never even will catch up, but will lag behind for the rest of their days.

We lie to our youth about the importance of going to college and doing well so that they can get fulfilling, well-paying jobs — jobs that don’t fucking exist and haven’t for some decades now.

Our youth are punk’d royally, so of course they become angry and bitter.

True, not all of them shoot up a movie theater. They just become alcoholics and/or druggies and/or go on Big Pharma’s antidepressants and/or abuse those in their lives and/or immerse themselves in materialism and commercialism and/or become sex addicts or some other type of addicts and/or commit suicide.

Everything is connected, whether we want to acknowledge that fact or not. (And for the most part, we don’t. We prefer what we believe is the safety of our own little bubbles, even though are bubbles are not our own safe houses, but are our own fucking caskets.)

Blowhard Rush Limbaugh recently accused filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” the latest “Batman” trilogy, etc.) of, in Nolan’s current “Batman” movie, modeling (or at least naming) Batman’s enemy Bane after Mittens Romney’s vulture capitalism outfit Bain Capital — in order to make a political, anti-Mittens statement.

(Bain, Bane — apparently one-syllable homophones mesmerize great minds like Limbaugh’s.

Of course, the “Batman” comic-book character of Bane was created in 1993, well before Mittens ever decided to run for the White House, but mere facts never stop the likes of Grand Dragon Daddy Limbaugh and his fans.)

It was at a midnight showing of the latest “Batman” installment, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that James Eagen Holmes committed his massacre, and yes, it seems to me, there is a Bain connection here: It is vulture capitalism run amock that created the socioeconomic context within which this latest massacre occurred.

As insane income inequality grows, the pain and suffering of the poor and the middle class and the working class increases, and yes, some of the victims of vulture capitalism do snap and act out.

The only thing that’s shocking is that we don’t see a whole fucking lot more of it.

James Eagen Holmes very apparently snapped under the pressures of the oppressive socioeconomic system that not enough of us fight against. If enough of us did fight against it, our oppression at the hands of the filthy rich, treasonous few would stop.

Instead, way too fucking many of us, such as cops (the taxpayer-funded security guards of the plutocrats, who, of course, pay no taxes themselves) and members of the U.S. military (a.k.a. cannon fodder for Big Oil), and, of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, insanely side with our oppressors instead of with their fellow oppressed.

Better to curry favor with the oppressors, the rich and the powerful, than to be one of their victims, right? Of course, cops and soldiers and “tea party” dipshits are just as much victims as are the rest of us. These fools are the plutocratic oppressors’ tools, whether they realize it or acknowledge it or not.

Of course I don’t advocate massacres in movie theaters — I see a lot of movies myself, including at the Century Theatres in my area** — but it nauseates me to hear the same old predictable bullshit that the American sheeple bleat when massacres (Columbine, 9/11, this morning’s, etc.) are in the news.

We don’t understaaaaaaand, the sheeple bleat.

Yes, the sheeple do understand, at least dimly, at least on some level.

It’s that they don’t fucking care.

If they did, they’d have to change.

And that might even mean — gasp!having to fight.

The sheeple secretly would prefer more massacres of other sheeple.

P.S. Of course the Mittens and President Hopey-Changey campaigns had to weigh in on today’s massacre. They have to pretend to care about us, you see.

Mittens’ statement was:

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 [sic] people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.  We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”

“Senseless” violence. Right. A brilliant young man can’t find decent work in a nation that doesn’t give a flying fuck about him and sees no future for himself and so he snaps. “Senseless.” Makes no sense at all. None whatsofuckingever. Happened just out of the blue. Randomly. Just one of those things that no one possibly could even begin to explain.

Look how quickly Mittens was to pounce upon the idea of “justice” for the perpetrator.

It’s funny, because if those truly responsible for today’s terrible crime actually ever were brought to justice, Mittens and his treasonous, plutocratic ilk would be behind bars, where they belong.

But they can rest easy.

So-called “justice” is meted out only to the 99 percent of us, and almost never to the 1 percent.

If you kill a dozen people, like James Eagen Holmes apparently did today, and are a member of the 99 percent, you at least will go to prison.

But if you are a mass murderer and are among the 1 percent, like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice — or yes, like Barack Obama, who loves assassinations (with and without the use of drones) and who loves keeping the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex happy with billions and billions of our tax dollars that aren’t going to the things that we need, such as job creation, education, health care, environmental protection and infrastructure improvements — you are allowed to run loose.

It’s not just within the arena of the military-industrial complex that mass murderers go free. Corporations’ profits-over-people practices routinely kill scores and scores of innocent people, yet the corporatocrats get off scot-free — even though corporations, according to the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, are “people.”

“Justice.”

Indeed.

Why would, how could, anyone snap in this oh-so-fair-and-just United States of America?

*The No. 1 goal of capitalism is not job creation, as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors among us proclaim. The No. 1 goal of capitalism is profiteering. Fucking duh.

Labor is expensive. Under American capitalism, if you can replace your American workers with machines or with other automated systems and/or outsource their jobs to sweatshops overseas, you do so in order to increase your profits.

The vulture capitalists are not job creators. They are wealth aggregators, as fucking evidenced by the fact that over the past several years the wealthiest have gotten even wealthier while the jobs have dried up and rest of us have gotten poorer.

If these treasonous plutocrats were job creators, there would be jobs.

There aren’t jobs because it isn’t about us. It’s all about them, the 1 percent.

**I will see “The Dark Knight Rises,” by the way. I love Anne Hathaway and the character of Catwoman, Nolan is a good director, and Tom Hardy is a hunk (OK, even though as Bane his face is obscured), so I’m there. I just generally avoid trying to see blockbusters on opening weekend.

You are much more likely to be killed in a car accident, or killed by a car while crossing the street, that you are to be shot dead in a movie theater.

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Why I don’t blog for the baby boomers

Infanticide suddenly seems like a good thing…

Most people who read blogs probably assume that most bloggers want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible — and therefore, never to (gasp!) offend anybody.

Not me.

I don’t think that I’ve ever come out and said it, but for these past almost 10 years of blogging, I’ve been writing primarily for those in my age group (Generation X) and younger.

If some baby boomers or even older folks read my blog, fine, but if they don’t, perhaps that’s even better, since I don’t write for them. I long ago stopped looking to the baby boomers (generally identified as those born between 1946 and 1964, but to me the cohort really spans from about 1944 to 1960) to be agents of positive change, and I look to those in my age group and younger instead.

Most of my critics turn out to be (I see from their blog avatars) baby boomers. Before I take their criticism to heart, I look at their mugshot avatars. Chances are, they’re boomers (who apparently think that an Internet presence makes them young again [it doesn’t], and who of course have to plaster their faces on their blogs, being spotlight hogs). If they have a bio, I read that, too. Chances are, from their bios I surmise that they’re people I wouldn’t like in person, so it comes as no shock that I’ve written something that (gasp!) offends their delicate sensibilities. (People who act as though they have the fucking right never to be offended in the least bit — they’re interesting. [Psychiatrically, I mean.])

I could write a book on the fucking baby boomers, but I’ll try to keep this to a blog post, albeit a long one.

George W. Bush (born in 1946) could be the poster boy for the baby-boom generation.

He accomplished nothing on his own, but coasted on his family name. If George Sr. hadn’t been president first, there’s no way in hell that George Jr. would have been governor of Texas and then the second president named George Bush.

Not only that, but George Jr. in 2000 stole office (with the help of his brother Jeb, who then was the governor of Florida, the critical state that George Jr. “won”; with the help of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who infamously disenfranchised voters by deeming them felons when they were not; and with the help of the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, which stopped the recounting process in Florida). George Jr. didn’t even win the presidency outright.

Then, once in the Oval Office, George W. thoroughly trashed the nation, among other things allowing 9/11 to happen (remember the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”?), allowing Hurricane Katrina to kill hundreds of Americans, taking the nation to a bogus war for the no-bid federal-government contracts for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other oily subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp, and giving giant tax breaks to the filthy rich. George W. Bush had received the nation in good shape from Bill Clinton and the prosperous 1990s, and delivered it to Barack Obama in January 2009 on the brink of collapse.

That, in a nutshell, is the baby-boomer modus operandi: inherit your power and your wealth from your parents, squander it selfishly and recklessly, and leave nothing behind for those who follow you, not even the polar ice caps.

Baby boomers unabashedly display a bumper sticker that reads “I’m Spending My Children’s Inheritance.” (I’ve seen this bumper sticker on cars driven by boomers several times.)

This is supposed to be funny. Ha ha.

Except that the baby boomers’ parents, the members of the so-called “greatest generation,” didn’t spend their children’s inheritance. They gave their children — the baby boomers — their inheritance.

Not so with the baby-boom generation, the first generation in the history of the United States of America that did not care in the fucking least about at least trying to leave things in better shape for those who must follow them.

The baby boomers, endlessly doted upon by their parents, had no problems going to college and getting good jobs. Hell, they didn’t even have to go to college to live well. (Neither of my baby-boomer parents has a four-year college degree, but neither of them during their young to middle adulthood ever struggled with buying homes and cars. My four-year degree, on the other hand, which I worked hard for, was worthless when I received it — along with considerable student-loan debt — in 1990 during the first George Bush recession, and I gave up on having a paid job that allows me to make good use of my skills [without doing evil and without completely being exploited by some talentless plutocrats] and I gave up on home ownership long, long ago.) If the boomers put just a minimal effort into attaining a college degree, a good job, a home, a nice car, these things were theirs for the taking. The members of the “greatest generation” made sure of that.

But do the baby boomers today give a rat’s ass about our young people of today?

Hell fucking no.

This is from The Associated Press today:

The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. …

Again, when this Gen X’er received his worthless bachelor’s degree in 1990 — a journalism degree, which in the face of mass newspaper layoffs at the time was worthless (and still would be mostly worthless today, although as a blogger it gives me a leg up) — there were not, to his recollection, any news stories about the fact that in the face of the recession, college degrees were worthless, and newly minted college graduates had to take jobs that greatly underutilized their talents and abilities — and struggle with student loans they couldn’t afford to repay. (Massive student loan debt was something that the boomers did not experience when they were of college age and young adults because their parents saw them as young people to be fostered — not as cash cows to be milked dry.) 

It would have been nice to get the media attention then that today’s struggling young college grads are getting today — in my day, for instance, crushing student-loan debt wasn’t seen as any problem whatsofuckingever, since my generation always has been viewed by the boomer majority as wholly disposable, but today, both the Democratic and the Repugnican candidates for president are promising to work on the suddenly-now-obvious problem of crushing student-loan debt — but, I suppose, better late than never. (And ah, well, as my fellow Gen X’er Ted Rall has noted, we X’ers indeed are the “leapfrog generation,” the generation [between the boomers and Generation Y] that has been passed over entirely.)

Why have Gen-X and younger college grads struggled so much in the job market since at least the First Great Bush Recession (circa 1990)?

It’s not just the economy, although the greedy, get-mine-and-get-out boomers fucked that up, too.

It’s the boomers’ sheer numbers — 76 million of them, according to Wikipedia — that alone would create at least some amount of scarcity in the American job market (and indeed, the majority of the plum jobs have been taken by the boomers for decades now), but their sheer numbers are coupled with the fact that, unlike the generations before them, they refuse to leave the fucking stage when their act has long been over. The boomers view their jobs just like the U.S. Supreme Court “justices” view theirs: We’ll have to pry their cold, dead fingers from their desks.

Other generations of Americans knew when it was time to hand over the reins. And they handed them over. Not the boomers.

Witness baby boomer Madonna (born 1958), whose latest big video has her playing a high-school cheerleader. She’s fiftyfuckingthree. It apparently kills her to fucking pass the torch already. And she’s typical of her generation, thinking that she’s some hot shit acting and trying to look decades younger than she is, when in fact, she’s just fucking pathetic, refusing, like Peter Pan, to grow the fuck up already.

With the baby boomers we have and will continue to have a nation full of old people, but not old and wise people.

Baby boomers whine that they can’t retire because they can’t afford to retire. Bullshit. Most of them can afford to retire — it’s that they want to live in excess and opulence (“enough” isn’t in their vocabulary) and it’s also that, whether they will admit it or not, out of their egotism they must believe that we younger folk can’t get along without them.

As Wikipedia notes of the boomers (emphasis mine):

One feature of boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about ….

Yes, indeed, all of that rhetoric from the boomers in the 1960s about changing the world, and boy, have they. They fought against the Vietnam War, only to create the Vietraq War themselves. (Apparently the only reason that they opposed the Vietnam War was to save their own skins. They were perfectly OK, however, with bogus warfare in Iraq. After all, it was someone else doing the dying for the baby boomers’ profits.) The American empire, which is being sucked dry by the vampires who comprise the corporate-military-prison-industrial complex (the majority of them boomers, of course), is on the brink of death, and even the North Pole is melting. The baby boomers ushered in change, indeed.

The baby boomers are the first generation of Americans in the nation’s history who are leaving things much worse off for the generations that follow them.

Before the boomers it always had been the American ideal that the current generation in power leaves things in better shape, not in worse shape, for the generations that follow them. And congratulations, boomers; your generation very apparently is the one that, history probably will record, destroyed the American empire. You fucked it all up on your watch.

Point out these obvious truths, and the boomers almost invariably will tell you (the post-boomer) how “Angry!” you are, as though you’re defective for being angry about obvious injustices.

No, when you are being raped in the ass with ground grass for lube, you have every fucking right to be ANGRY!

The boomers are taking everything with them, shamelessly — and even bragging about it in their “funny” bumper stickers.

Here’s another cheery story from The Associated Press today (emphases mine):

Social Security is rushing even faster toward insolvency, driven by retiring baby boomers, a weak economy and politicians’ reluctance to take painful action to fix the huge retirement and disability program.

The trust funds that support Social Security will run dry in 2033 — three years earlier than previously projected — the government said [today].

There was no change in the year that Medicare’s hospital insurance fund is projected to run out of money. It’s still 2024. …

At age 44, I’ve been paying into Social Security and Medicare since I began working when I was a teenager, but I don’t expect to see a fucking penny of either. The baby boomers are poised to blatantly steal my money — and slam me for being “so angry!” while they do it.

The boomers are leaving those of us who follow them with less than nothing, but we’re supposed to think that they’re great fucking people nonetheless. (Or, at least, we’re supposed to keep our fucking mouths shut while the boomers screw us over like no other generation in U.S. history has screwed over the next generation ever before.)

That’s part of the baby boomers’ mass narcissistic sociopathology — they are a “special” generation, indeed — and the reason that I put the “greatest generation” in quotation marks is that I don’t see how you can assert that the parents who created the most spoiled generation in the nation’s history comprise the “greatest generation.” No, in producing the baby boomers, the members of the “greatest generation” fucked up big-time. It’s almost impossible to overstate what awful parents the members of the “greatest generation” were. Regardless of what their intentions might have been, the results of their parenting have been catastrophic for the nation — and for the world.

And the boomers’ bumper sticker sums up their credo, their manifesto, indeed, their raison d’être, neatly: “I’m Spending My Children’s Inheritance.”

Yes, I got that long, long ago. Consequently, I stopped looking to the boomers long ago. The ones who created the colossal mess aren’t the ones to fix it. The boomers exist to cause problems, not to solve problems, and to consume, not to produce. They are the problem, not the solution. They are, essentially, dead to me. That’s why I could give a flying fuck if a single baby boomer ever reads a single blog post of mine.

I look not to the boomers, but to my fellow members of Gen X and to those poor souls who have to follow us. (I’d thought that my generation had it bad, but today’s young people are even more screwed, apparently, than has been my generation. They do have one thing that my generation didn’t have, however, and that’s a national conversation about how badly today’s young people have it.)

We, the post-boomers, are the clean-up crew. It’s not a job that we wanted. It’s a job that the boomers have forced upon us.

What the baby boomers probably should do while those of us who have had to follow them perform the incredibly difficult work of cleaning up after their decades-long wholesale trashing of the nation is shut the fuck up and be very thankful that the national conversation has not yet turned to the elephant in the room, to the root of our nation’s problems: the baby boomers and the increasing burden on the nation that they are. And that we post-boomers have not yet begun to seriously discuss a much, much better use for the baby boomers: something along the lines of Soylent Green.

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Michele, we hardly knew ye (and other notes on the horse race)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announces the end of her presidential campaign in West Des Moines

Reuters photo

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann announces today that her sixth-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucuses has induced her to quit her quest for the White House.  

We won’t have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore. At least not for a while.

Bachmann dropped out of the Repugnican Tea Party horse race after garnering only 5 percent — sixth place — in the Iowa caucuses yesterday. 

Yahoo! News quotes Bachmann’s communications director as having told reporters of Bachmann, “She doesn’t see where she made mistakes. None of us, you know, see where there were mistakes made.”

Gee, maybe that was their primary problem: their inability to recognize their mistakes. 

I remember when “President” George W. Bush, on at least one occasion before a television camera, struggled to come up with any mistakes that he’d made as “president” when a reporter had asked him to list any.

The inability to enumerate any of one’s mistakes is a pretty fucking serious pathology.

Speaking of Gee Dubya, it is interesting that his name rarely comes up in the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential horse race when he was his party’s last occupant of the White House, for a full eight years.

It is as though extraterrestrials shoved memory-erasing probes up our collective national rectum, completely wiping out our collective memory of the years 2001 through 2008, idn’t it? Indeed, we went right from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, did we not?

Speaking further of Gee Dubya, about the only time He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned has come up this quadrennial go-around is when people have asked if we really want another governor of Texas ascending to the Oval Office.

Speaking of Texas governors, unlike even Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Prick Perry can’t take a hint. Despite coming in at fifth place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (with only 10 percent of the vote), Perry has proclaimed that he will compete in the January 21 South Carolina primary, where, he remarked, “real” Repugnican Tea Partiers will vote, as opposed to those “quirky” Iowans.

Iowans indeed are quirky, although “quirky” sounds like a dangerously minimizing euphemism for “bat-shit-crazy theofascist.” 

However, Perry should have done better in Iowa, with its plethora of “Christo”fascists to whom he is trying to appeal. If he doesn’t appeal to the “quirky” Iowans, it’s difficult to see him appealing to the Repugnican Tea Party nationally.

The Associated Press reports that Perry today “said voters in South Carolina share his values and that he feels confident he will do well there.”

Share his values? Is that code for Texas and South Carolina both being bastions of white supremacists who long for the “good old days” of the Confederacy? (“Quirky” Iowa, of course, never was part of the treasonous Confederacy, but both Texas and South Carolina seceded from the Union before President-Elect Abraham Lincoln even took office in 1861.) 

Prick Perry had an uphill battle as it was, joining the horse race relatively late and reminding everyone of the last governor of Texas who went to the White House — the “president” who was so shitty that the members of his own party pretend as though his two terms hadn’t even happened — but Perry blew it by acting like a drunken Alzheimer’s patient in the nationally televised debates and in other public appearances.

He might do fairly well in fellow secessionist state South Carolina, but only 11 states formed the Confederacy, and Perry would have to do much better than that to win his party’s nomination.

Perry has only himself to blame for his failure, not “quirky” Iowa or anyone or anything else (with the possible exception of Gee Dubya, of course, for having soured the nation, even his own party, on governors from Texas).

Hopefully, though, Perry will do horribly in South Carolina and we’ll be done with him then.

Ditto for Rick Santorum.

However, at least one pundit posits that Santorum, because he trailed permacandidate Mitt Romney, the party establishment’s choice (indeed, 2008 party presidential candidate John McCainosaurus just endorsed Romney), by only eight (yes, 8) votes yesterday in the Iowa caucuses, might make it even beyond “Super Tuesday” on March 6.

I can’t see Santorum winning the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party nomination. Do the Repugnican Tea Partiers really want to front against President Barack Obama a candidate who lost his last election (his 2006 re-election bid to the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania) to his Democratic challenger by 18 percent, which Wikipedia calls “the largest margin of defeat for any incumbent senator since 1980 and the largest margin of any incumbent Republican senator ever”?

And how can Santorum, whose fundraising and organization lag woefully behind permacandidate Romney’s, catch up now, even if he does get the lion’s share of Newt Gingrich’s and Bachmann’s and Perry’s supporters? (Gingrich came in at fourth place in Iowa yesterday, by the way, which I’d find more encouraging if McCainosaurus also hadn’t come in at fourth place in Iowa in 2008 yet still won his party’s nomination.)

But I can see Santorum dragging the whole mess out, although hopefully not nearly as long as Obama and Billary Clinton dragged out the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential primary season (in which Obama didn’t emerge victorious until June 2008).

Oh, well.

It will, I suppose, provide more blogging fodder, and a prolonged fight between the establishmentarian Repugnicans, represented by Romney, and their “tea party” wing, represented, for the moment, by Santorum, might only swing even more “swing voters” Obama’s way in November 2012.

Obama sucks* and does not deserve to be re-elected, but push come to shove — and you’d have to push and shove me pretty hard — I suppose that I’d prefer his re-election over another Repugnican in the White House. I, for one, have not forgotten the eight long years of unelected rule by George W. Bush.

P.S. How could I forget Ron Paul? He did, after all, come in third place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (at 21 percent, just behind Romney and Santorum, who were tied at 25 percent), and anyone who makes the top three in Iowa generally is considered to be a viable candidate for his or her party’s presidential nomination.

Well, let’s face it: Paul has a few positions that even progressives like me agree with, and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald is correct that Paul, while wrong on many if not most issues, has brought up some critically important issues that neither the Coke Party nor the Pepsi Party wants brought up in a presidential campaign. But the bottom line is that Paul isn’t taken seriously even by his own party, so what progressives think of Paul is a fairly moot point.

Ron Paul is treated like his party’s crazy old uncle, and having attained only to the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul never really had a chance anyway. (This was unfortunately true for Democratic Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is treated like his party’s crazy uncle [he was my ideological favorite for 2004, but his nationally presidential unelectability was clear, and so I supported John Kerry, whom I viewed as much more electable] — and fortunately true also for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.)

If Ron Paul wants to run as an independent/third-party candidate, he has my blessing, though. Although many if not most Democrats deny it, it seems to me that the third-party presidential bid of billionaire H. Ross Perot (yet another Texas special) largely was a reason that Bill Clinton denied the first George Bush a second term in 1992.

*The Obamabots have easily toppled “defenses” of President Hopey-Changey — you should read Ted Rall’s recent column titled “How to Talk to an Obama Voter (If You Must)” for a list of a few of these “defenses” and why they’re bullshit. Here, I think, is the money shot:

Obamabot Talking Point: If I don’t vote for Obama, the Even Worse Republicans win.

Answer: So vote for Obama. Or don’t vote. It makes no difference either way. Voting is like praying to God. It doesn’t hurt. Nor does it do any good. As with religion, the harm comes from the self-delusion of thinking you’re actually doing something. You’re not. Wanna save the world? Or just yourself? That, you’ll have to do outside, in the street.

But perhaps Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi delivers the most scathing criticism of President Hopey-Changey that I’ve seen (at least in a long time) in his recent piece titled “Iowa: The Meaningless Sideshow Begins.” The money shot of the piece, I think, is this (the links are all Taibbi’s and the emphases are mine):

… But the ugly reality, as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.

That damning statistic just confirms what everyone who spends any time on the campaign trail knows, which is that the presidential race is not at all about ideas, but entirely about raising money.

The auctioned election process is designed to reduce the field to two candidates who will each receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from the same pool of donors. Just take a look at the lists of top donors for Obama and McCain from the last election in 2008.

Obama’s top 20 list included:

 McCain’s list, meanwhile, included (drum roll please):

Obama’s list included all the major banks and bailout recipients, plus a smattering of high-dollar defense lawyers from firms like WilmerHale and Skadden Arps who make their money representing those same banks. McCain’s list included exactly the same banks and a similar list of law firms, the minor difference being that it was Gibson Dunn instead of WilmerHale, etc.

The numbers show remarkable consistency, as Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup all gave roughly twice or just over twice as much to Obama as they did to McCain, almost perfectly matching the overall donations profile for both candidates: overall, Obama raised just over twice as much ($730 million) as McCain did ($333 million).

Those numbers tell us that both parties rely upon the same core of major donors among the top law firms, the Wall Street companies, and business leaders – basically, the 1%. Those one-percenters always give generously to both parties and both presidential candidates, although they sometimes will hedge their bets significantly when they think one side or the other has a lopsided chance at victory. That’s clearly what happened in 2008, when Wall Street correctly called Obama as a 2-1 (or maybe a 7-3) favorite to beat McCain.

The 1% donors are remarkably tolerant. They’ll give to just about anyone who polls well, provided they fall within certain parameters. What they won’t do is give to anyone who is even a remote threat to make significant structural changes, i.e. a Dennis Kucinich, an Elizabeth Warren, or a Ron Paul (hell will freeze over before Wall Street gives heavily to a candidate in favor of abolishing their piggy bank, the Fed). So basically what that means is that voters are free to choose anyone they want, provided it isn’t Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul, or some other such unacceptable personage.

If the voters insist on supporting such a person in defiance of these donors – this might even happen tonight, with a Paul win in Iowa – what you inevitably end up seeing is a monstrous amount of money quickly dumped into the cause of derailing that candidate. This takes overt forms, like giving heavily to his primary opponents, and more covert forms, like manufacturing opinions through donor-subsidized think tanks and the heavy use of lapdog media figures to push establishment complaints. …

President Hopey-Changey can’t even pretend to be on the side of the 99 percent when it’s the 1 percent — the Wall Street weasels and their allies — who gave him many more millions than they gave even to McCainosaurus in 2008.

And it’s the numbers next to the bullet points above that explain why I refer to the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party: the two are fairly indistinguishable. (I am, by the way, a registered member of the Green Party, and proudly so.)

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Stormtroopers gone wild!

Updated below (on Saturday, November 19, 2011)

To anyone who believes that I’ve been hysterical in my last few posts, I offer this photo from The Associated Press:

A police officer uses pepper spray on an Occupy Portland protestor at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland Ore., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen)

Associated Press photo

The photo’s caption reads: “A police officer uses pepper spray on an Occupy Portland protestor at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.”

Yes, that’s not water — that’s pepper spray. And clearly the young woman is such a dire threat to the jackbooted thugs who serve and protect the 1 percent that spraying her directly in the face with a massive amount of pepper spray was necessary for the stormtroopers’ safety.

Where is Barack Obama speaking out against these outrages?

Oh, right — he puts Wall Street weasels on his cabinet and makes them his advisers. He’s on the side of the 1 percent.

Face it, folks, if you haven’t already: Barack Obama just isn’t that into you. He’s not on the side of the 99 percent. He wants your money and your vote — it got him into the White House, after all — but expect only empty promises from President Hopey-Changey in return.

And the message is clear: The 1 percent decide where and when and how the rest of us can protest and demonstrate. They make sure that our protests and demonstrations are so restricted that they can be toothless at best. Our plutocratic overlords even have established so-called “free-speech zones,” for fuck’s sake. If we step outside of these rigidly, plutocratically proscribed “free-speech” lines, we will be pepper-sprayed — or worse.

Look at the news photo above and reflect upon the fact that this is the blue state of Oregon that we’re talking about. If this is what the plutocratic-protecting pigs are doing on the Left Coast, what’s next? Can concentration camps for anti-plutocratic, anti-corporate dissenters be far behind?

Update (Saturday, November 19, 2011):

If you are wondering about the young woman who took the blast of pepper spray to the face, The Oregonian yesterday posted a piece on her. The Oregonian identifies the woman as Liz Nichols, a “soft-spoken 20-year-old who’s only about 5 feet tall,” and reports of her:

Raised in Mountain Home, Ark., a town of about 1,600, she plans to stay in Portland as long as the Occupy movement is alive. She’s motivated to protest by the plight of her parents. Her mother has multiple sclerosis and her father was disabled by a back injury. They’re both surviving on his Social Security disability checks.

 The Oregonian reports of the pepper-spray incident caught by a photographer:

A police van blared a warning, telling people they risked arrest if they ventured into the street. Nichols and others stayed on the sidewalk. Laura Seeton,  a 31-year-old Portlander who locked arms with Nichols, said they had nowhere to go as people in back pushed and the riot police in front shoved back.

“It was terrifying,” Seeton said.

Nichols said a policewoman jabbed her in the ribs with a baton and pressed it against her throat. That made her angry.

She yelled at the officer, saying she was being mistreated. That’s when another officer shot her with pepper spray. A photo by The Oregonian’s Randy L. Rasmussen, which flashed across social media websites, shows Nichols was sprayed from a few feet away.

“It felt like my face, ears and hands were on fire,” she said.

She dropped to the ground, and police yanked her into their ranks.

“She was dragged away by her hair and disappeared into the black of their uniforms,” Seeton said.

Why in the fuck are our so-called “police officers” not only pepper-spraying non-threatening citizens, but also actually dragging women by their hair? This kind of police brutality is different from that practiced by dictators’ thugs how?

I also thought that I would share this cartoon on the topic of nonviolence by Ted Rall:

Ted Rall

That’s pretty much it, in a nutshell, but also worth reading is Rall’s recent column on the topic, titled “The Occupier’s Choice: Violence or Failure.” And if you haven’t read his book The Anti-American Manifesto yet, what the fuck is the matter with you?

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Notes on the nationwide occupations

Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrators hold placards Zuccotti Park

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator stands in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator holds a sign in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

Reuters photos

These are my kind of people: The powers that be won’t admit it, but prolonged anti-plutocratic protests in our nation’s cities like these (the photos above were taken today in New York City) embarrass our nation’s plutocrats in the eyes of the world. That is why sustained protests are effective, although an all-out second American revolution would be the ideal.

I have yet to get my ass down to Sacramento’s Occupy Wall Street effort, Occupy Sacramento, but I support the participants and the protesters 100 percent, and I hope soon to support them more than just in spirit, but to support them practically. They don’t appear to be going away soon — they even have a website with a calendar of events — and their website has listed things that they need to have donated to them, including the basics, such as food, water and toiletries. I can do that much, if I can’t join them for long periods of time, since I work full time.

As Ted Rall points out in his book The Anti-American Manifesto, there are levels of support of revolutionaries. Even if you are able to support the participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement only in spirit, that’s still much better than opposing them.*

Many of us, I think, myself included, have been watching and waiting to see how all of this is going to pan out, and thus far it seems that it’s panning out to be the true people’s movement that the “tea party” traitors only pretended to be.

And I say that from direct observation. In February, at the California State Capitol here in Sacramento, I attended a pro-labor, pro-working-class rally in solidarity with the public-sector unions that were (and that remain) under attack in Wisconsin, and across the street from us was a much-smaller contingent of uninvited, treasonous “tea party” counterprotesters, many of them with videocameras, obnoxiously voicing their opposition to labor unions, very apparently wanting to provoke a physical response from us so that they then could post to the Internet their selectively edited video clips of “unprovoked” labor-union “thuggery.” (I wrote about the event here.)

The vision of those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class is that everyone should have a living wage, good benefits and good working conditions. The apparent “vision” of the “tea party” traitors is that almost everyone should be without these things and should be miserable. Those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class want to raise all boats; the “tea party” traitors don’t want us to own even viable boats. They want only a handful of us to own yachts while the rest of us sink or swim.

Labor unions, seriously weakened over the past several decades already, probably are the last barrier between bad and even worse, the last barrier — short of all-out bloody revolution — preventing all of us from becoming serfs to our corporate feudal overlords.

Yet the “tea party” traitors gladly would destroy that barrier. They claim that they follow in the footsteps of the early American revolutionaries who opposed the oppressive British monarchy, which profited obscenely from the early Americans’ labors, yet today’s “tea party” traitors do not oppose, but aid and abet, the oppressive corporatocrats and plutocrats, who are today’s monarchs, as stupidly as chickens aiding and abetting Colonel Sanders. Which is why I call them traitors: because they are. They support the status quo, they support the powers that be over their fellow Americans. Under their “vision” things only can get much, much worse.

Which is why the “tea party” already is pretty much dead: The insanity of “revolutionaries” fighting on behalf of our corporate oppressors is evident to even the dullest among us.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, on the other hand, feels like something else. It’s not a bunch of treasonous troglodytes in tri-corner hats pretending to have the monopoly on patriotism and Americanism. It’s a bunch of normal, working-class Americans, many if not most of whom now have nothing else to lose. At rope’s end, they now find themselves out in the streets.

Our young people especially have nothing to look forward to unless the current system of inequity, built up over decades (starting, most notably, with Ronald Reagan, whom President Hopey-Changey fucking worships, unsurprisingly) to benefit a select few at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of us,  is not reformed/“reformed,” but is replaced.

And people who have nothing to lose are, let me tell you, dangerous to the status quo.

That, I think, is why the “tea party” traitors never felt like much more than a national irritant: the “tea party” traitors, for the most part, aren’t desperate people, aren’t people with nothing else to lose. They’re just a bunch of tools who are trying to prop up the crumbling system of rule by the stupid white man, who incredibly stupidly believe that the way to improve things is to continue to do what you’ve been doing all along — only with even more force and fervor.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, however, feels like an incipient hurricane, one that, if it grows to its full potential, can — will — alter the national sociopolitical landscape forever.

The Occupy Wall Street movement might seem to have come out of nowhere, but that’s not the case. While we Americans have been focused on differences such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ethnicity, etc., what almost all of us (indeed, 99 percent of us, the protesters say) have in common is that over at least the past several decades, those in power, gradually and behind the scenes, have been stacking the deck increasingly in their favor and against ours.

To name just a few of their deck-stacking victories, they have the U.S. Supreme Court, which has deemed corporations to be people, on their side; they have most of the members of the U.S. Congress in their pockets in a system in which paying off legislators isn’t called what it is — bribery — but is called “campaign finance”; they own and operate even President Hopey-Changey, who can’t make enough of them his economic advisers; and because of all of this, the functions of our nation’s laws and our nation’s law enforcement (and our nation’s military, too, of course), over decades, have been grossly contorted from benefitting and protecting us, the people, to delivering even more of our commonwealth into the hands of the super-rich few.

It’s much like how a virus hijacks a cell and changes the cell’s normal functions over to the replication of more viruses, benefiting the virus but eventually destroying the cell.

And our presidential elections under the political duopoly of the increasingly indistinguishable Coke Party and Pepsi Party have become such a fucking national joke to the point that about the only people who can become excited about them are the rich and the super-rich who have poured their millions and millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of the money-whores who, once in the White House, would sell us out the most.

Again, this isn’t a system that you can “reform.” This is a system that you can only raze. And then you start over again.

Anyway, here are more thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which at this point we can call a movement:

It’s fine that everything isn’t hammered out yet. Probably the No. 1 way to try to kill an individual’s or a group of individuals’ enthusiasm for creating something new — and thus to preserve the status quo, even though the status quo even literally is killing all of us — is to point out that he or she or the group doesn’t have every future move choreographed yet.

So fucking what? Getting there is more than half of the fun, and things do happen organically, if we just let them unfold and don’t panic that we don’t have a clear roadmap yet.

The early American revolutionaries surely didn’t have everything all mapped out, and to a huge degree their efforts were a shot in the dark (sometimes even literally). Yet it was their hunger for freedom from their oppression that kept them going, even against the fear of not knowing what the future would hold for them, including potential retaliation from their oppressors, including even their execution.

It’s perfectly OK to employ corporately produced and delivered goods and services in our fight against corporate oppression. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s pretty unfuckingavoidable. Early into the Occupy Wall Street movement, the “tea party” traitors and/or their sympathizers put this “clever”  image out there:

down with evil corporations

Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s so fucking funny!

OK, yes, in a capitalistic system such as ours, by definition corporations/capitalists own and control the means of production. Therefore, most of the products and services in such an economic system would have been produced and delivered by corporations/capitalists. Duh.

But this is the problem: Those relative few who own and control the means of the production of goods and the delivery of services are slowly killing the rest of us (global warming is just one example, but probably the most [literally] glaring one), and they have taken over so much of the people’s business and so many of the people’s natural interests that it has left us, the people, fairly powerless, and has put us at their mercy. (The massive British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on the sidelines of which the U.S. government sat fucking helpless, is a stark example of this.)

We, the people, need to own and control the means of the production of essential goods and the delivery of vital services and/or, at the very, very least, exercise meaningful, substantial, democratic oversight of capitalist production and practices to ensure that the net effect of this capitalist activity is not to our common detriment, but is to our common benefit. It’s a fucking lie that the corporations are going to police themselves. They’re not. Their only concern is ever-increasing profiteering. They don’t give a flying fuck about what happens to the rest of us as the result of that.

But the “humorous” image above does apparently unintentionally illustrate the degree to which corporations have infiltrated our lives. Of course, the image apparently assumes that corporations (the majority of them, anyway) are benevolent and that the Occupy Wall Street protesters just don’t know how great they have it. In order to try to prevent the slaves from revolting, the masters always tell the slaves how much the slaves need them, don’t they?

Anyway, it’s perfectly fine — and, as I said, fairly unfuckingavoidable — to use the goods and services produced or delivered by corporations in the fight against against corporate greed, in our fight against the ongoing corporate feudalization of the United States of America. This isn’t “Avatar” where we’re the natives and we can use only what we find in nature, for fuck’s sake. (Besides, if we did that, they’d only criticize us for our bongos and for our loincloths…)

Speaking of which, um, what’s wrong with bongo drums? Anyone who doesn’t mimic the consumeristic clones portrayed in corporate advertising isn’t a human being worthy of dignity and respect? It seems to me that the point of a revolution is freedom — which of course includes the freedom to be the way that one wants to be and the freedom to do what what wants to do as long as he or she isn’t harming anyone else.

The system won’t be changed from within, won’t be changed by cooperating with it. (Try to cooperate with it, and it will only co-opt you.) The protesters should keep their bongos and wholeheartedly reject the idea that the way to win this budding revolution is to don a three-piece-fucking-suit and act just like the assholes whom they want to overthrow.

The corporate media prostitutes who with straight faces call themselves “reporters” and “journalists” are owned and controlled by their corporate pimps, so it’s not like they’re ever going to be on our side anyway. Let them find the colorful members of Code Pink and the one person in the crowd who brought his or her bongo drums and put that kind of stereotypically negative image out there. (I love Code Pink, by the way. The members of Code Pink have balls, which is why they are so widely hated by cowardly, corporation-obeying sheeple.) Once the people’s revolution were complete, there would be no more treasonous corporate media anyway — which is why the self-preserving, self-interested corporate media portray in a negative light anything that threatens their continued parasitical existence.

The use of violence should never be taken off of the table. “Peaceful” this, “nonviolent” that — that kind of wussy talk makes me want to vomit. When did the so-called 1 percent ever rule out the use of violence against the rest of us? Indeed, when they’re not using actual violence against us, such as with police brutality or even just threatening to sic the National Guard on us, they are employing socioeconomic violence against us every fucking day (yes, Americans die every day because they do not have access to adequate health care, shelter, food, clothing and other basic necessities, almost all of which are controlled by our loving corporations).

Of course I don’t advocate wanton, willy-nilly violence in the street that is for the amusement of the perpetrators rather than for the greater cause. But I can think of no major world revolutions that did not take place without at least the credible threat of violence. The treasonous plutocrats aren’t just going to give us back what they stole from us over decades because we nicely ask them to do so. (Ted Rall and I are in agreement on this, and if you haven’t read his Anti-American Manifesto yet, you should — and you can get it for less than $10 on amazon.com [which, yes, is a corporation that for now is an/the avenue for most of us to most cheaply purchase books].)

Speaking of violence, whose side are the cops on? Increasing incidents of police brutality raise this question. (Didn’t the actions of the cops during Hurricane Katrina demonstrate to us whose side they are on?) Let’s fucking face it: Most cops are just paid security guards for the rich and the super-rich. And to add insult to injury, we, the people, pay the salaries of these security guards who work not for us, but who work for the rich and the super-rich.

Let me just say this: When the shit really hits the fan, those cops (and yes, members of the military, too) who still are trying to protect our oppressors instead of protecting us will be identified by the masses for who they are: agents of the oppressors. The cops might have some weaponry and some skill in using it, but we, the people, can get weapons, too, and we vastly outnumber the cops.

(I fully support the Second Amendment, because you never know when/if you will need to defend yourself, but I believe in the judicious use of firearms and other methods of force. I’m not one of the ignorant, fearful gun nuts who believes that the best way to solve virtually every conflict or threat or to get what you want is with a gun, but at the other extreme, “judicious” doesn’t mean that you rule out the use of force in every single conceivable situation, and thus a belief in blanket nonviolence is bullshit.)

Buckle up! Any budding revolution could fizzle, I suppose, but the Occupy Wall Street movement seems different. It seems like it’s here to stay for at least the foreseeable future.

Minimally, the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be striking fear into the cold hearts of those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and “liberals” who had thought that they could shit and piss upon their base indefinitely. Maximally, the Occupy Wall Street movement will result in the second American revolution that we have needed for a long, long time — a revolution that will be only as bloody as the treasonous plutocrats and their supporters (who include the “tea party” traitors and those cops and members of the military who attack the American people in defense of the plutocratic traitors) necessitate.

Those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and even “liberals” don’t dare openly criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement, since the Occupy Wall Street movement consists of the millions and millions of us who are pretty fucking pissed off that we were promised “hope” and “change” but have seen only the gap between the rich and the poor widen since President Hopey-Changey took office in January 2009.

Wall-Street-weasel-coddler-in-chief Barack Obama has not a shred of credibility left, so I don’t see Team Obama successfully co-opting the Occupy Wall Street movement for Obama’s re-election campaign. Obama can’t now openly oppose Wall Street without only drawing even more attention to the fact that he’s been in bed with the Wall Street weasels since before he took office.

It’s safe to assert, I think, that the audaciously arrogant Obama and his henchpeople never saw the deeply politically embarrassing Occupy Wall Street movement coming, and that they’re still scrambling to figure out how to respond to it. (They will, I surmise, do their best to pretend that the new movement doesn’t even exist, since it wasn’t in their 2012 re-election playbook, and they will continue to pretend that we’re still in 2008, when “hope” and “change” weren’t just empty campaign slogans. The best slogan that they could come up with for 2012 would be something like “Really This Time!” — but how many would buy it?)

Defeating faux progressives like Obama & Co., I might argue, is even more of a coup for us actual progressives than is defeating blatant right-wingers, because if even phony progressives won’t be tolerated any longer, how could blatant right-wingers be tolerated any longer?

Finally, support your local revolutionaries! It seems to me that unless they can do something grandiose, many if not most people don’t do anything at all. The net result of this is that no one does anything. There are plenty of things that you can do that don’t cost (much) money. If it’s not feasible for you to camp out at one of the occupation sites across the nation, as it isn’t for me, you still can talk to your friends, family members and associates in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. You can blog in support of the movement and otherwise assert your support for the movement on the Internet.

If the movement isn’t perfect, at least it’s Americans getting off of their asses and into the streets in order to redress their grievances, which is loooong overdue.

When you hear some assbite defend the corporations, such as with the “funny” graphic above, you can call him or her on his or her shit.

If you can give money or other necessary resources to the occupiers, why not? While writing this longer-than-usual blog post I gave $25 to Occupy Sacramento (my name is on their donors’ page, which is kind of cool). I’d rather be camping out with them, but giving them a donation is better than doing nothing at all.

At the bare minimum, if you don’t want to help to create a better world, if you are too fearful and cowardly and/or too lazy and/or too self-interested and/or too uncreative and untalented to help to alter the status quo, then the least that you can do is to stay out of the fucking way of those of us who are trying to make a difference.

P.S. As many have noted, one of the simple ways that you can fight back is to withdraw every penny that you have in any bank and to use only credit unions, not banks. I’ve used only credit unions for more than a decade now, and I’m quite happy with credit unions’ service.

*Occupy Sacramento’s donations page first lists this as the kind of support that it is seeking:

Spiritual

It’s not all about money; you can also support us by sharing the movement with your friends and family. Make a post on Facebook letting us know that you have our backs. Call the mayor and let [his office] know you support this movement.

I am pleased that Occupy Sacramento lists spiritual support first. It is a statement of faith that from spiritual support, material support naturally follows. And that’s not just faith; that’s observable fact.

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Wake me up on September 12

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AFP/Getty Images photo

The owner of an investment and public relations firm stumbles away from the stricken World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. While we are seeing plenty of images like this one these days, we certainly aren’t seeing images like this one, an Iraqi girl whose parents were blown away by American stormtroopers in 2005 (you know, because of 9/11) —

Chris Hondros/Getty Images photo

— or, of course, one of the many wonderful images that came out of Abu Ghraib (which I think is Arabic for “a few bad apples”) prison in Vietraq, like this unforgettable gem, circa 2004:

File:Abu-ghraib-leash.jpg

Seriously, though, no nation does rank hypocrisy and self-righteousness like the “Christian” United States of America does rank hypocrisy and self-righteousness. We! Are! Number! One!

So the 9/11 decennial already has begun, with cheesy (redundant…) 9/11-related retrospective pieces already having been appearing in the mainstream media, but the worst of it should come next week, as the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

As Ted Rall points out, we Americans have learned virtually nothing from 9/11, and this is evident from the woe-is-us fest that we’re seeing now.

And as Glenn Greenwald (also) points out, of course part of the self-serving, mawkish 9/11 commemoration that we won’t see is any official mention of the fact that the U.S. government first supported (and armed) the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before it declared them enemies or any official mention of the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis whom the United States slaughtered in the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War, which the unelected Bush regime launched in March 2003 using 9/11 as a pretext, even though not a single one of the 19 9/11 hijackers was an Iraqi (15 of them, in fact, were from Saudi Arabia, as was Osama bin Laden, but the U.S. power elites and the Saudi power elites remain great oily buddies).

Greenwald concludes his piece by noting that

… the fact that victims of American violence over the last two decades have easily outweighed, and continue to outweigh, those of the Dictators and Terrorists whom we so vocally despise is nonetheless an extremely important fact that should shape our understanding of 9/11. But as usual, that’s another fact that will be “left unsaid” [in the 9/11 decennial commemorations].

What 9/11 signifies most for me is nothing like American victimhood, since the United States hardly can claim to be a victimized nation (9/11 was only blowback for longstanding U.S. oppression in the Middle East), or “patriotism” (which is just jingoism or fascistic nationalism), but it marks the lost decade of 2000 through 2009.

That decade started out swimmingly, with the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000. What possibly could have gone wrong by just allowing a bunch of right-wing, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate chickenhawks to steal the White House?

Then there was 9/11, then there was the Vietraq War, then there was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 — which the unelected Bush regime was prepared for as well as it had been prepared for 9/11 (recall the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, and forecasters had predicted Katrina’s landfall at least two days in advance) — and then there was Barack Obama promising “hope” and “change” to a weary, Bush-whacked nation in 2008.

In 2009, with the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate all in Democratic/“Democratic” hands — his best opportunity to push through a progressive agenda — what did President Hopey-Changey accomplish? Jack fucking squat. And in 2010? Ditto.

And now we are in 2011 and where are we? We are pretty much right back where we were back in 2000: the Repugnican (Tea) Party presidential frontrunner is the Big-Oil-ass-lickin’, “Christo”fascist-lovin’, dipshit governor of Texas, and the Democratic presidential candidate will be a reportedly intellectual (“elitist” in “tea party”-speak) but rather uncharismatic guy who has been in Washington for a little while now.

And yes, I can see another Texas governor going to the White House in January 2013, whether he steals it and Americans just fucking let him, a la 2000, or whether he actually wins the 2012 presidential election fairly and squarely.  Americans are that fucking stupid.

But can they — we — survive two lost decades in a row?

Fuck. Maybe I should have titled this “Wake me up in 2021.”

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