Tag Archives: war criminals

Death magically makes all of us saints

Editorial cartoon by Ted Rall

Boy, has the biography of the late former President George H. W. Bush thoroughly been whitewashed.

The credible groping allegations that came late in his life pale in comparison to the other harm that he caused to millions of people at home and abroad.

I was a victim of the first George Bush recession of 1990 and 1991 right out of college, and I vividly remember the first George Bush Gulf War of 1990 and 1991, which, along with the recession, was a great way to start out my young adult life: in an environment of unnecessary war* and unnecessary poverty created by the elite for the elite.

Of course, Son of Bush would go on to unnecessarily slaughter even more people in the Middle East and cause even greater economic collapse here at home — not to mention how 9/11 happened even after the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” and how Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 Americans, most of whom were expendable because they were black and/or poor.

So why has George H. W. Bush magically been rehabilitated in death?

For two reasons, that I can see:

One, most people are assholes who fear death, and when they see that someone else has died, they are reminded of their own assholery — and, of course, most paramount, they are reminded of their own mortality. It’s not actually about the person who died; it’s all about them. When they die, they don’t want people telling any ugly truths about them; they want to be whitewashed, too.

Also, of course, compared to “President” Pussygrabber, even the George Bushes seem like Abraham Lincoln — in style, anyway. (In substance, at least under Pussygrabber thus far we haven’t had another bogus war or another economic collapse. [Not that either or both of those things couldn’t still come yet, and yes, Pussygrabber has acted like an acid on what we call our democracy, and the damage from that is difficult if not impossible to calculate.])

Perhaps the ignorant masses conveniently “forget” what an evil asshole George H. W. Bush actually was because it makes them feel a little bit better about the Joffrey Baratheon-like “president” that they allowed to rise to power. (Yes, Joffrey Baratheon — a cruel, crass, wholly unfit and quite illegitimate ruler.)

Also, of course, I’m sure that there are many who think that praising George H. W. somehow hurts Pussygrabber.

And/or maybe they believe that praising George H. W. somehow will inspire Pussygrabber to clean up his act. But look at George H. W.’s act.

I, for one, certainly hope that Pussygrabber doesn’t match the damage that George H. W. Bush so casually inflicted upon so many millions of others.

I do, however, very much hope that just like George H. W., Pussygrabber humiliatingly is booted from the White House after only one term.

And it will be interesting to see how the ignorant masses try to whitewash Pussygrabber after he finally dies and goes to hell.

*The “Highway of Death” that Ted Rall mentions in his editorial cartoon was a war crime.

Good guys don’t commit war crimes. And no, an American never automatically is the “good guy.”

P.S. Here’s a lovely photo from the “Highway of Death” war crime:

In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo.

Also know that the wonderful George H. W. Bush opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he later claimed he regretted, but he then went on to perpetrate the blatantly racist Willie Horton fiasco — and infamously to refer to his own grandchildren as “the little brown ones” — so methinks that he didn’t regret it all that much.

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Live-blogging the 9th Dem debate

160414-clinton-sanders-lede-gty-1160.jpg

Getty photo

Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed tonight in a debate in Brooklyn, New York, that wasn’t as acrimonious as it could have been, but in which the audience members loudly booed Billary at least a few times and repeatedly chanted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” (There were no chants for Billary and no boos for Bernie [no loud ones, anyway].) Something that Billary didn’t respond to at all during the debate was Bernie’s quite-correct assertion that he pulls in a lot more independent voters than she does, and that independent voters are critical for winning the White House (as Democratic die-hards can’t win it alone), and that he long has polled significantly better against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential frontrunners than has Billary.

5:40 p.m. (all times Pacific Time): The ninth Democratic Party presidential debate is scheduled to begin in 20 minutes. I’m streaming it via CNN’s website. I expect the sparks to fly between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton tonight, and I expect Billary to lie as even she has never lied before.

5:55 p.m.: The debate is to begin in five minutes. My intent is to give my impressions as the debate unfolds, not to be a stenographer, so for complete, thorough coverage of the debate, you’d have to watch it and/or read its transcript after it’s posted online.

I tentatively plan to write only about new lines of discussion, but there may not be very many of those, so this might be repetitive of my past live-bloggings of the previous eight debates.

I’m still very much rooting for Bernie Sanders, but these debates have become a bit tiresome; they’ve been going on for six full months now.

6:00 p.m.: National anthem now. Yawn. Bernie came out first, followed by Billary. They had a cursory, not-very-sincere-looking handshake, and once again I’m wondering who the hell dressed Billary. Is that a raincoat? (In any event, anyone as chummy with gay men as she has claimed to be would be dressed a lot better, it seems to me…)

6:02 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that he started off 70 percentage points behind Billary in the nationwide polls but that a few recent nationwide polls have had him slightly ahead of her, and he reminds us that he won eight of the last nine primary-season contests.

Bernie rehashed his stump speech, but it seemed fresher tonight than it has in a long time. (Admittedly, it could just be that there was more than a month between the last debate and this one…)

6:04 p.m.: Billary reminds us that she represented New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years. She mentions 9/11 but not the Vietraq War that she voted for in October 2002.

She mentions “diversity” — a play to identity politics, because that’s all that she has left — but she doesn’t mention income inequality. (Perhaps because she’s a multi-millionaire…)

6:06 p.m.: Bernie, asked if Billary is qualified to be president, says yes, but says, “I question her judgment.” He mentions her vote for the Vietraq War and the million$ that she has taken from Wall Street.

6:08 p.m.: Oh, snap! Billary says she was elected as senator for New York twice and was selected by President Hopey-Changey to be his secretary of state. Therefore, her judgment must be swell!

She now claims that Bernie can’t explain how he’d achieve his central goal of breaking up the banks. Actually, I wouldn’t say that breaking up the banks is the central pillar of Bernie’s campaign. It’s only a part of it, one of many parts of it.

6:10 p.m.: Bernie is pretty red in the face while Billary has this self-satisfied, shit-eating grin on her face. She now says that an attack on her is an attack on Obama. She just got booed by the audience for that, appropriately.

Billary has tried to use Obama as a human political shield her entire campaign. It is demonstrative of her character.

6:12 p.m.: Repetitive stuff about breaking up the banks. (Again, this is the ninth debate that I’ve live-blogged…)

6:15 p.m.: Billary’s tactic clearly is to have this shit-eating grin, like she’s just so above it all. I don’t think that this tactic is going to work for her. (It worked for Joe Biden when he debated Paul Ryan, but this isn’t the Biden-Ryan debate.)

The audience tonight is dynamic, reflecting, I think, how the Bernie-Billary fight is coming to a climax.

6:17 p.m.: More repetitive shit, with Billary still trying to argue that although Goldman Sachs — which just paid billions in penalties — gave her shitloads of money for speeches, it has not affected her decision-making at all.

6:19 p.m.: To thunderous applause, Billary is asked why she won’t release those speech transcripts. She isn’t answering the question, but instead is trying to deflect.

6:21 p.m.: The moderator won’t let the question go, and the audience goes wild. Billary deflects again, saying that she has released 30 years of tax returns, but that Bernie hasn’t.

The moderator for a third time asks about those transcripts. Billary again says she’ll release her transcripts when everyone else (on the Repugnican Tea Party side) does and again says that she has released more tax returns than has Bernie. Apples to oranges, but that’s her game.

6:23 p.m.: Bernie promises to release more tax returns soon. He says they promise to be “boring,” as he is “one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.” (This is true. Google it.)

6:24 p.m.: Wolf Blitzer, who should work for Faux “News,” asks how Bernie, with his confrontational style toward corporations, as U.S. president effectively could promote U.S. business. (This is, you see, a U.S. president’s No. 1 job — to make the filthy rich even richer!)

Bernie is talking about how unethical, harmful corporate practices and corporate abuses must be curbed. Bernie indicates that corporations must treat their workers and the environment with respect. And that not all corporations are bad actors.

6:27 p.m.: Bernie speaks of the need to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

6:28 p.m.: Billary has laughed at Bernie at least two or three times. Again, while it worked for Joe Biden against Paul Ryan, it just makes her look arrogant and condescending — especially when most of her answers to these debate questions range from vague to evasive.

6:29 p.m.: Oh, shit. Wolfie reminds us that Billary publicly stood with Andrew Cuomo for New York’s new $15/hour minimum wage but that throughout her campaign, until only very recently, she has supported only a $12/hour federal minimum wage.

Billary now supports the $15/hour minimum wage. Seriously. She is acting like she’s always supported $15/hour. This is a fucking lie.

Wow. Bernie just said that “once again, history has outpaced Senator Clinton.” Absolutely. The audience is going wild.

The members of this audience have done their research and have been paying attention, so Billary’s sudden, magical time-space leap to always having supported a $15/hour federal minimum wage doesn’t fly with them.

6:34 p.m.: Bernie laughs at Billary, as she has been laughing at him, and she says, with her false concern that she displays so often and so readily, “This is not a laughing matter.” (The topic is guns.)

I don’t believe for a nanosecond that multi-millionaire Billary truly cares about any of us commoners, and of course she is well-protected from gun violence herself, but it’s an easy issue on which to jump on board, because who is for gun violence?

6:37 p.m.: Bernie says that the National Rifle Association gives him a “D-” rating on guns. Indeed. This is a non-issue, a red herring that a desperate, pro-plutocratic Billary & Co. created from thin air.

6:40 p.m.: Again the “issue” of whether gun manufacturers should be liable for the misuse of their products. This is another non-issue. If guns are that bad, then they should be made illegal altogether. You can’t blame the manufacturer of a legal product for its misuse. This is mushy-headed liberal insanity.

(I define “liberal” and “progressive” very differently, by the way, but that’s another blog post. In a nutshell, though, Billary is a liberal — she’s a multi-millionaire who pushes social issues and identity politics that, just coinky-dinkily convenient for her and her millionaire and billionaire buddies, for the most part don’t alter or significantly threaten or jeopardize the socioeconomic status quo — and Bernie is a progressive — he wants to change the socioeconomic status quo quite radically.)

Again, the whole gun “issue” is a distraction from Billary’s flaws and shortcomings, and a rather fucktarded one.

6:43 p.m.: Billary is asked if her hubby’s 1994 crime bill was a mistake. She states that portions of the bill improved things but that other portions created new problems. She reminds us that Bernie voted for the crime bill and also has said that portions of it proved to be good and others bad.

Billary says she wants “white people” to recognize systemic racism. I agree with that, but all people are capable of racism, not just white people — let’s please not single out and demonize only white people for the wrong of racism — and again, I am incredibly leery of the Clinton brand of identity politics, which has us commoners doing nothing about our common socioeconomic plight while we fight each other, stirred up by craven politicians who maximize identity politics for their own personal gain.

6:49 p.m.: Bernie is asked how as president he would reduce the number of prisoners within the U.S. when most of the prisoners are state prisoners, not federal prisoners.

Um, federal law trumps state law. Federal laws, including civil rights laws, can tackle the problem of over-incarceration. The red states can whine, but they have to fall in line. We can bring them to heel — again.

6:51 p.m.: On break now. Billary has been booed by this lively audience several times. This audience seems to be more pro-Bernie than pro-Billary. Especially when she tries her typical evasive and deflective bullshit and her lying, the audience boos.

6:55 p.m.: The topic now is energy.

Billary claims that both she and Bernie have taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Bernie says more than 40 lobbyists for the industry maxed out their contributions to Billary.

Both Billary and Bernie apparently agree that climate change is a problem.

Billary says she worked on bringing nations together on battling climate change as secretary of state. She says Bernie wasn’t appreciative enough of the Paris agreement.

Bernie says that we have to go beyond paper agreements and actually work to combat climate change, including banning fracking. Billary supports fracking.

Billary is at length equating Bernie’s criticism of the Paris agreement as not being enough to an attack on Obama — something that she wouldn’t need to do (piggypack on Obama’s popularity) if she weren’t so widely despised herself.

7:02 p.m.: Billary now seems to be backtracking on her historical support for fracking, which she now indicates she always only has envisioned as being temporary. (Riiight!) This is still yet another issue on which history has outpaced her.

7:03 p.m.: Bernie corrects the record, stating how Billary has supported fracking around the world, and he criticizes her incrementalism. Climate change is too serious for incrementalism, he proclaims, adding that we needed to address climate change “yesterday.”

7:05 p.m.: We are on “a suicide course” with climate change, Bernie says. Yup.

Bernie says we have to phase in new sources of sustainable energy and phase out old, unsustainable sources of energy while Billary still has that condescending, smug, shit-eating grin on her face that makes her more unlikeable, not more likeable. Really, she has no one but herself to blame for her upside-down favorability numbers.

7:08 p.m.: Wolfie reminds Billary that Obama says his biggest mistake as president was bungling Libya.*

Billary blathered about Libya. I didn’t listen much, to be honest. Bernie now talks about how “regime change often has unintended consequences,” and he has mentioned Iraq and made a bit of a comparison between U.S. meddling in both nations.

Billary says Bernie in the Senate voted for the Libya intervention. This is all rehashed from the previous debates.

Bernie says that just repeating something doesn’t make it true. Bernie says that he never voted in support of “regime change” in Libya. He says he voted only for “democracy in Libya.”

7:14 p.m.: Bernie points out how much Billary has been relying on Obama as her human shield (I paraphrase) and says that Billary as secretary of state wanted a no-fly zone in Syria that Obama didn’t and still doesn’t want.

7:16 p.m.: The stupid moderator points out to Bernie that both Donald Trump and he state that the United States has to pull too much of the weight within NATO. This is supposed to be a gotcha! question, but so the fuck what?

Although I’d never vote for Der Fuehrer Trump, in the mishmash of his political “offerings” he does present some libertarian leanings, and I do agree with some of the libertarian views, such as an anti-war and anti-war-profiteering sentiment and a fierce respect for and defense of privacy rights. (I disagree with them on pretty much everything else.)

And even a broken clock is right twice a day, so there can be one or two or maybe even three whole things that Trump is actually accidentally right about.

7:21 p.m.: Israel now. Oh, God. Bernie says he is “100 percent pro-Israel,” but “we have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.” Bernie (who is Jewish) says his views on the Palestinians don’t make him “anti-Israel.”

Billary takes her predictable pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stance. After all, it’s AIPAC that gives her the big campaign contributions, not the impoverished Palestinians. Her “right-to-defend-yourself” rhetoric makes her sound like a puppet of wingnutty war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu. (Because she is. His hand is entirely up her ass, moving her mouth and her arms.)

Cool. Bernie says that Billary’s fairly recent speech to AIPAC made no substantive mention of the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people. Of course not! She gave AIPAC the speech that AIPAC paid for!

“You gave a major speech to AIPAC … and you barely mentioned the Palestinians,” Bernie reiterates after Billary tells us how badly poor Bibi Netanyahu has had it, with those “terrorists” in Israel’s midst.

(Israelis have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, but since Israel uses shiny, high-tech, U.S. weapons, that’s not terrorism. Only poor people who don’t have access to such high-tech killing methods can be terrorists, you see. We Americans and Israelis are civilized killers — not terrorists!)

Wow. Bibi Netanyahu, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright — Billary Clinton sure loves a war criminal!

7:34 p.m.: Bernie tiresomely is asked how the nation would pay for his initiatives to improve the socioeconomic status quo, such as health care and higher education.

Bernie says he is “determined” to transfer the money that has gone to the 1 percent back to the working class and middle class.

Billary says we’re at “90 percent” coverage for health care, but we still have for-profit health care, replete with shitty health care plans that bankrupt people with the out-of-pocket-costs anyway.

Bernie reminds us that other major nations guarantee health care for their people at a much lower cost than in the U.S., and that they don’t make their college students slaves to student-loan debt. “Please don’t tell me that we can’t do what many other nations around the world are doing,” he says. Yup.

This is mostly rehashed, but it’s important. There indeed is no good reason, outside of incredible greed and politicians who treasonously sell us commoners out to moneyed interests, that the U.S. doesn’t provide health care and education for all of its people.

7:43 p.m.: Talk of Social Security now. (It’s a complicated topic. Read the transcript of the debate when it’s up.) Billary says that she and Bernie are “in vigorous agreement,” but Bernie indicates that Billary has changed her position on Social Security, as she has on so many other issues. The audience is chanting, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

Billary, under fire, now claims that Bernie isn’t a real Democrat. Wow. But this is how she operates when she is backed into a corner.

7:46 p.m: Bernie and Billary are “in vigorous agreement” on the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court, except that Bernie says he’d pick a nominee who would overturn Citizens United, and apparently that wouldn’t be President Hopey-Changey’s current moderate nominee.

Billary says her Supreme Court nominee would have to overturn Citizens United and uphold Roe vs. Wade, and she goes off onto the topic of abortion and reproductive rights.

Abortion/reproductive rights are important — I always have been and always will be pro-choice, and I believe that birth control, including entirely voluntary sterilization, should be provided to all people free of charge — but abortion and reproductive rights so easily can be used as a hot-button distraction from other issues.

Bernie says his pro-choice voting record is 100 percent, and he adds that he supports the LGBT community, and adds that Vermont led the way on same-sex marriage.

7:50 p.m.: We’re done pandering to identity groups now, thank Goddess. (I’m gay, but I sense when I’m being pandered to, and I hate it.)

Bernie is asked whether or not he’s a real Democrat. He says that he is, and reminds us that he does better among the independents than Billary does, and that the White House only can be won with independents, and can’t be won with Democratic die-hards alone — this is absolutely true, as I’ve written lately — and Bernie reminds us that in match-up polls against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates he does better than Billary does.

Bernie says the “future of the Democratic Party that I want to see” doesn’t rely on big corporate cash.

Billary reminds us that thus far she has received more votes than has Bernie or Donald Trump. She claims she leads a broad coalition. Hmmm. Not really. Not when she doesn’t have the youth vote or the independent vote.

Bernie, who says he’s going to win the nomination, says “Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South.” But, he says, “we’re out of the Deep South now.”

He said he will “obliterate” Trump or whoever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate is.

Billary resists the charge that she’s a darling of the Deep South, but that is indeed her power base. I mean, here is the map of where the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race stands right now:

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Yes, Billary (whose victories are in golden-yellow [Bernie’s are in green]) has won a few states outside of the South (as I’ve noted, I consider Arizona to be part of the South more than part of the West), but without her wins in the South, she wouldn’t be the putative frontrunner right now. (Duh.)

Billary says she will win and “unify” the party. She has indicated that her delegate lead is insurmountable.

7:59 p.m.: On break now.

Billary can brag about her delegate lead — she leads by 214 in pledged/democratically earned delegates (1,309 to Bernie’s 1,095), and the “super-delegates” can’t vote until the party convention in late July — until she’s blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that while John Kerry sewed up the nomination in March 2004, Billary is so widely disliked that the race is stretching out, just as it did in 2008, when she finally conceded to Obama in June.

She might win this thing, but she will remain a weak candidate. Nothing substantial has changed since the party’s voters soundly rejected her in 2008.

8:04 p.m.: Closing statements.

Bernie first. He reminds us that his father was a Polish immigrant to Brooklyn.

Millions of Americans can create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, he proclaims.

Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as Billary tries to begin her closing statement.

Billary reminds us that New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate twice and that they experienced 9/11 together. (Geez, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors used 9/11 endlessly for political gain.)

She does not mention her support of the Vietraq War, the most important vote that she had in the U.S. Senate — and that she fucked up royally.

Billary again plays up the “barriers” to different groups, another shout-out for identity politics. She explicitly says that it’s not just income inequality that we have to tackle.

That’s true, but her corporate sugar daddies really, really want her to focus on identity politics rather than on income inequality; they want us commoners too busy fighting each other over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. rather than coming after them for our fair sliver of the pie.

That is the central issue (well, only climate change is a larger issue), which Bernie Sanders identified a long, long time ago.

In closing, tonight’s debate probably helped Bernie more than Billary. There clearly was more love for Bernie than for Billary among the audience members. I don’t recall that Bernie was booed once, whereas Billary was booed at least a few times, or that Billary’s name was chanted once, whereas Bernie’s was at least a few times.

I mean, the overall audiovisual was of one candidate clearly more popular than the other, at least among that audience. How can that be good for Billary?

And Billary’s smiling/smirking and laughing — that was off-putting and probably worked against her rather than for her, as it only could have contributed to her net unlikeability and net unfavorability. Who the fuck advised her to do that?

Probably the same idiot who dressed her…

*A retrospective President Hopey-Changey recently cited his administration’s bungling of a post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya as his No. 1 failure as president, but I quite disagree.

His No. 1 failure as president, hands down, was his failure to use the shitloads of political capital that he had in 2009 and in 201o to push through a progressive agenda, when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

It was a colossal dereliction of duty as well as an unpardonable violation of his campaign promises (thus, I could not in good conscience and therefore did not vote for him again in 2012).

It also led to the rise of the “tea party” in 2009 and 2010 and lost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives for the last six of Obama’s eight years in office — guaranteeing gridlock for the last three-fourths of his presidency.

It was incredible political malpractice, something that a right-winger never would have done. (I mean, George W. Bush exploited political capital that he didn’t even have, whereas Obama refused to spend a fucking penny of the immense amount of political capital that he did have.)

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On Robert Gates, I told you so

Um, yeah, this was as avoidable as it was predictable…

So former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has written a book in which he has said some unflattering things about President Obama, probably primarily, or even only, to try to sell his new book. (Why be secretary of defense if you can’t get a book deal out of it?)

Reminds me of the old frog and scorpion tale.

I wrote these things about Robert Gates back in the day:

From September 2009:

… [Robert] Gates should go. The American people elected a Democratic president and here is a Repugnican “president’s” secretary of defense held over from the unelected Bush regime’s bogus wars. I think that President Obama retained Gates primarily in order to try to prove that Obama isn’t a pussified commander in chief. Ironically, though, Obama’s retention of Gates proves exactly that Obama is a pussified commander in chief, that he puts what some fucktards think above doing the right thing, which is to dump Bush regime holdover Gates. …

From February 2010:

… Obama never should have kept on Gates, who was defense secretary under George W. Bush. Obama probably did that to look “bipartisan” and/or not “soft on terror” or the like, but it was a mistake. …

From January 2013:

… [Barack Obama] is poised to name Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense, reinforcing the meme that Democrats are shitty on defense, and doing something that a Repugnican president never would do (i.e., appoint a Democrat to his cabinet, perhaps especially for defense) …

Not that Hagel would represent the first time that Obama sold out those who voted for him where it comes to his selection of the U.S. secretary of defense. Recall that Obama, at the start of Round One, lazily, cowardly and stupidly kept on Robert Gates, who under George W. Bush had replaced war criminal Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in November 2006. Gates stayed on the job as defense secretary under Obama until he retired on July 1, 2011.

My biggest problem with Hagel is that again, a Republican president of today never would put a Democrat on his cabinet (yes, I use “his” because a female Republican president is pretty much an oxymoron), and DINO Obama has sold out the Democratic Party enough as it is. …

I stand by my assertion that Obama’s having chosen Repugnicans as two of his three secretaries of defense has only given the impression that the members of his own party are clueless on defense, and that this thus obviously has not helped Obama’s party.

It wasn’t “smart” “bipartisanship”* on Obama’s part to keep Gates on as secretary of defense and then, after Democrat Leon Panetta held the seat for less than two years after Gates, to replace Panetta with Hagel. It wasn’t a stroke of brilliance, a la Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals.”

It was as brilliant as was the frog who agreed to give the scorpion a ride on his back across the pond.

P.S. The assertions in Gates’ book that have been leaked/reported thus far aren’t all that earth-shattering, which is why I haven’t bothered to expound upon them, but perhaps the most interesting one is Gates’ reported assertion that Barack Obama, while supportive enough of U.S. troops, never was enthusiastic enough about the war in Afghanistan.

What the fuck?

Why should Obama ever have been enthusiastic about the war in Afghanistan — which is not called the “graveyard of empires” for nothing — that the war criminals of the unelected, treasonous Bush regime began (belatedly, after they illegally, immorally, unjustly and unprovokedly invaded Iraq) and that Obama inherited?

*“Bi-” means “two,” and in the term “bipartisanship” it connotes “both ways,” and no Repugnican president has ever selected a Democrat as his secretary of defense. Ever.

However, four Democratic presidents — Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — each appointed a Repugnican as his secretary of defense for at least a portion of his presidency.

This is what “bipartisanship” means in the United States: the Repugnicans give the Democrats not an inch, but the Democrats give the Repugnicans a mile.

And this is yet another factor, but probably the largest factor, that makes it so difficult to have any respect for the Democrats: their utter lack of respect for themselves (and, by extension, their constituents).

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Giving this here Tweety thing a try!

I never wanted to be a grumpy old man, especially at only age 45, but, after having resisted* for a long time now, yesterday I sent my very first “Tweet” out to the Universe, probably only to be, as Hedwig put it, “internationally ignored.”

My first Tweet yesterday was this:

I’d MUCH rather that my tax dollars pay for Chelsea Manning’s sex change than for another bogus war in the Middle East!

Today, this:

Wingnuts have savaged Chelsea Manning, who killed no one, but find a way to forgive Robert Bales, who murdered 16 Afghan civilians. Sick!

The first Tweet was easy, but the second was more difficult, because I had a little more to say, and so I had to condense it into Twitter’s 140-character maximum, for which — it is true — there is no forgiveness. (I am tempted to change my Twitter username to Procrustes, but I’m sure that it’s already taken…)

Anyway, I frequently leave comments on news items and other postings on the Internet, and some of them are pretty short, so I should be able to do the Twitter thing.

Whether or not I’ll have any following is another matter, but since I’ve been blogging since 2002, I haven’t lost too much sleep over how much of a readership I do or do not have, so it probably won’t be any different with Twitter.

Oh: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, in case you haven’t heard, slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians inside of their homes in cold blood in March 2012. Today he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

I’ve seen wingnuts offer all kinds of defenses for him in the comments sections of news stories.

As I Tweeted, it’s sick: Chelsea Manning, who has not killed anyone or even demonstrably caused the death of anyone, is shown no mercy even by many (if not even most) of those who call themselves liberals, no doubt in very large part because of Manning’s gender issues, yet if you’re a “macho,” presumably heterosexual and gender-conforming white guy, especially a soldier or a cop, in the eyes of public opinion, anyway, you can get away with murder — with mass murder, even.

White male over-privilege is, in my estimation, staggering.

The only “defense”that I can offer for Bales is that it’s grossly inequitable that he’ll have to spend the rest of his life in prison for his having committed mass murder while the much, much worse mass murderers — George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, yes, Barack Obama, et. al., et. al. — not only won’t spend a minute in a jail cell, but most of them will enjoy cushy retirement benefits at our expense.

Anyway, if you truly can’t get enough of me here, I’m at Twitter at @robertdcrook.

*My main point of resistance to Twitter has been my concern that in a society that already is dumbed down enough, discussing important topics in 140 characters or fewer is going to make the American collective intelligence even worse.

However, Twitter hasn’t yet overtaken all other forms of communication, and to me seems more to supplement than to supplant public discourse.

And we all love a good zinger, something that, hopefully, I’ll get better at composing…

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On Chelsea Manning

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am female."

The former Bradley Manning (right) is shown at left in a photo (for some reason released by the U.S. Army) in makeup and a wig. Manning says that she now is a woman whose name is Chelsea. That’s perfectly fine with me; it’s no skin off my ass, although it’s difficult for me, admittedly, to get the pronouns straight, because I’m used to Manning being discussed as a male…

I haven’t written much on Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, and maybe that’s because like the former Bradley apparently was waiting until after his trial and sentencing were over before he announced to the world that he is now a woman named Chelsea, I was waiting until after his trial and sentencing to commit a post entirely to her.

Manning — whom I will (do my best to) refer to now as a woman, since that is her wish — is a bit of an enigma. In Manning we see two hot topics, that of whistle-blowing and that of transgenderism. It’s probably unfortunate that because of the Manning case both topics are going to be conflated in the minds of the mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers, but, I suppose, that’s the way that it goes.

First and foremost to me, the 25-year-old Manning doesn’t deserve to sit in prison for 35 years, as she was recently sentenced to do.

Clearly, we have two different systems of “justice,” one for the little guys and little gals, like whistle-blowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, and one for the plutocratic elite, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. (Ironically, perhaps, Glenn Greenwald’s last book, titled With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, tackles this very subject.)

Bush and Cheney (and others, including Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice) should be executed for the traitors and war criminals that they are. That’s not hyperbole; I mean every word of that. They are responsible for the wholly unnecessary deaths of more than 4,000 members of the U.S. military and tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the Middle East. I generally am against the death penalty, but when it comes to mass murder, perhaps especially war crimes and crimes against humanity, you don’t deserve to continue to draw breath.

(Point of comparison: Most of or all of the 10 Nazis who were hanged at the conclusion of the Nuremberg trials had not killed another human being with his own hands, but were found guilty of having caused the deaths of others. If we applied the same standards of justice to the war criminals who comprised the unelected, treasonous Bush regime, they would hang, too. [Although I’d go with the more humane lethal injection, of course.])

It cannot be demonstrated that either Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden has been responsible for the death of even one human being, but it’s incontrovertible historical fact that Bush and Cheney are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands. Yet Manning is behind bars and Snowden is D.C.’s Public Enemy No. 1 — he had to seek freedom in Russia, of all places, since the United States stopped being about actual freedom long, long ago — while mass murderers Bush and Cheney, because of their status among the plutocratic elite, still roam free among us.

This is nothing like justice, and certainly there is no “liberty and justice for all” in the United States of America. Anyone who asserts otherwise is a fucking liar or a fucking coward or is incredibly fucking stupid or is some combination thereof.

While my philosophy tends to be that Everything Is Connected, I don’t see Manning’s whistle-blowing and transgenderism as fitting together like hand in glove. (Maybe if Edward Snowden announces that he now is a woman, I’ll start to suspect that there is some link…)

Perhaps if Manning was persecuted in the uber-macho military environment for not being macho enough, as she reportedly was, she was more likely to release classified information than if she had been treated well, but even then, it was her mistreatment at the hands of bigoted ignoramuses, not her transgenderism, that was the problem. Let’s not keep blaming the victims and letting the victimizers off scot-fucking-free, as we so much love to do.

As far as whistle-blowing goes: Does any portion of or any individual within the federal government (or of a state or local government) deserve to be shielded from the consequences of his or her or its misdeeds?

Absofuckinglutely not. If you commit crimes or misdeeds with public funds (if nothing else, if you are a government worker, your salary comes from public funds), you can have no expectation to be shielded from the public’s eventually being informed about your crimes or misdeeds, and you cannot hide behind “security” or “state secrets” or some other bullshit for your illegal or unethical behavior.

And as emerging whistle-blower statutes and case law are finding, we’re long past the time when it’s OK to persecute and even prosecute the whistle-blowers while the criminals and wrongdoers go free.

More than anything else, Chelsea Manning is a political prisoner. Her “crime” is that she exposed the war crimes for which the D.C. elite ultimately are responsible.

Manning reportedly is going to ask President Hopey-Changey for a pardon, but of course President Hopey-Changey, whose prime directives are to show the world what a fucking bad-ass he is and to protect the D.C. aristocracy, never would be so bold and so interested in actual justice as to do something like that.

I expect Manning to spend several years in prison, as yet another example of how in the United States of America, there are liberty and justice for only some.

P.S. Reuters reports that Manning said in a statement:

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning; I am a female. Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”

Reuters adds: “An Army spokeswoman said the Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-change surgery.”

Fuck the backasswards, patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic U.S. Army!

If mental health professionals deem it necessary to a prisoner’s well-being, then such treatment should be provided. And our tax dollars should not fund a military that actively discriminates against anyone, including prisoners, whose punishment is the deprivation of their freedom, and not that they must endure discrimination or other unjust or cruel or unusual punishment at the hands of the fucktarded fascists who run — and ruin — our “justice” and “correctional” systems.

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Obama’s Round Two already shaping up to look just like Round One

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Obama (D-IL) shares laugh with Senator Hagel (R-NE) at Amman Citadel in Amman

Reuters photo

Then-U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel yuk it up in Amman, Jordan, in July 2008. Obama is expected to nominate the Repugnican former senator as his secretary of defense any day now, because “bipartisanship,” you see, means that a so-called Democrat does things that no Repugnican Tea Party traitor ever would do in kind.

 Let’s see:

“Democratic” President Barack Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated for his second term, and already he:

  • Threw U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice under the bus when she came under attack from the white supremacists and patriarchs, who rather would see U.S. Sen. John Kerry in the position of U.S. secretary of state, since a white male Democrat is better than any other kind of Democrat
  • Capitulated on the Bush-regime-era tax cuts for the rich, having promised over and over and over again to increase taxes on inviduals earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000, but actually having agreed to increase taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000  
  • Is poised to sell us out on Social Security and/or Medicare in the deferred so-called “fiscal cliff” fight over the federal budget (after all, he and his family are set for life)
  • Is poised to name Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense, reinforcing the meme that Democrats are shitty on defense, and doing something that a Repugnican president never would do (i.e., appoint a Democrat to his cabinet, perhaps especially for defense)

Have I forgotten anything? And again, Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated yet for Round Two.

Your vote for Barack Obama on November 6 was significantly different from what Mittens Romney was offering how?

The most immediate next fight in D.C. apparently will be over Hagel, whose nomination might be announced as early as tomorrow, according to Reuters.

Not that Hagel would represent the first time that Obama sold out those who voted for him where it comes to his selection of the U.S. secretary of defense. Recall that Obama, at the start of Round One, lazily, cowardly and stupidly kept on Robert Gates, who under George W. Bush had replaced war criminal Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in November 2006. Gates stayed on the job as defense secretary under Obama until he retired on July 1, 2011.

My biggest problem with Hagel is that again, a Republican president of today never would put a Democrat on his cabinet (yes, I use “his” because a female Republican president is pretty much an oxymoron), and DINO Obama has sold out the Democratic Party enough as it is.

Yes, I have a real problem with Hagel having referred to former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel in 1998 as “openly, aggressively gay” — we gay men should keep our sexuality strictly and entirely in the closet, just like straight men always do, you see (since when has equality been an American value?) — but I do like Hagel’s reportedly made comments about the “bloated” defense department budget (our national “defense” budget is bloated beyond belief, and mostly represents only the perpetual looting of the U.S. Treasury by treasonous war profiteers) and the insanely disproportionate amount of power and influence that the “Jewish lobby” (I call them the “Israel-first lobby,” because of course not every Jewish American is an Israel firster) has in D.C.

Admittedly, it is unusual for a Repugnican to attack the sacred cows of the military-industrial-corporate complex and the Israel-first lobby, even though both of those sacred cows are milking us dry. And Hagel, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, also apparently wasn’t enough of a cheerleader for the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War — which also is unusual for a Repugnican.

But are there no qualified Democrats whom Obama could nominate as defense secretary?

What’s Obama’s logic here? That as long as his nominee as defense secretary uses the Republican label, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the U.S. Senate will be OK with it?

“This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham– who, along with Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus, was instrumental in Obama’s caving in on the nomination of Susan Rice — already has declared of Hagel’s nomination.

Not that the likes of wingnutty closet case and chickenhawk Lindsey Graham would approve of any of Obama’s nominees, but why the fuck can’t Obama at least respect those who voted for him by ceasing to kiss the ass of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, who never return the favor in the fucking slightest?

Oh, well.

As I watch Barack Obama for the next four years continue to sell out those who voted for him — and continue, just like Bill Clinton did, to make the Democratic Party more and more indistinguishable from the Repugnican Party (I lovingly think of the two corporation-loving and individual-hating parties as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party) — at least I won’t feel nearly as punk’d this time as I did during Obama’s first term, because while I stupidly voted for Obama the first time, on November 6 I cast my vote for the Green Party candidate for president.

As George W. Bush once so wisely declared: Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again!

See you around, fools.

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Obama already relegated to mediocrity

At a time when our public-school teachers are getting pink slips, our “representative” government in Washington has given the war profiteers about $1 billion thus far via the Obama administration’s bullshit U.S. military action in Libya.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who I would support over Barack Obama in 2012, according to The Associated Press “said he would offer an amendment to the next budget resolution that would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to fund U.S. military operations in Libya.”

The AP notes that “His effort could gain significant congressional support, including the backing of tea partiers, if the U.S. military operation is going full-bore when lawmakers return from their recess next week.”

“We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires,” the AP reports Kucinich wrote his colleagues. “Now, the president is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford.”

If the “tea partiers” are on board with reining in the continued looting of the U.S. Treasury via the bloated military-industrial complex, especially during a time when we’re told that we can’t afford to attend to actual human needs, then, while I diametrically disagree with them on the majority of the issues, I certainly can partner with them in that.

And I agree wholeheartedly that the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Obama ridiculously early in 2009 should be revoked. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, and others have made the call to take the ill-awarded prize back.

Ralph Nader’s statement — and Kucinich’s, too — that Obama’s having launched a military attack on Libya without the consent of the U.S. Congress is unconstitutional and impeachable is spot-on. While I don’t expect Obama to be impeached — yet — the fact that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other war criminals and traitors remain at large instead of being excecuted for their treason and their crimes against humanity, including mass murder, doesn’t mean that the arrogant Obama — who excels only at breaking campaign promises — gets to continue the imperial, unaccountable, above-the-law presidency that the unelected Bush regime began.

Having shit and pissed upon his base for the past two years, it will be interesting to see the change in the percentage of Obama’s campaign contributions that have come from individuals versus corporations from his 2008 presidential campaign to his 2012 re-election campaign.

While Yahoo! News reports that “Obama raised $59 million for his presidential campaign during the first half of 2007,” and that “Obama’s prospective GOP challengers would have to raise $590,000 a day between now and June 30 to match that pace during this campaign,” this seems to assume that the same level of enthusiasm for Obama that existed in 2007 exists now.

Corporations might be enthusiastic about Obama, but progressive individuals like me? I surmise that millions of us progressives who gave him campaign contributions for his 2008 run — based upon his blatantly false promises of “hope” and “change” — won’t give him a fucking rent cent for his 2012 campaign. I certainly won’t. So I surmise that the only way that he’ll be able to match his 2008 take is if he is able to make up for the loss in his base through getting bribes — er, campaign contributions — from his biggest benefactors, the corporations.

Realistically, Obama probably will be elected to a second lackluster presidential term. I could see an impeachment attempt against him in the future, probably a Bill-Clinton-like bullshit impeachment attempt by the right, but perhaps, just perhaps, even a justified impeachment attempt from the left.

What opportunity Obama had — but squandered. With popular opinion on his side and both houses of Congress controlled by his party for two years, Obama did diddly squat.

He could have been a great president. Instead, he already has joined the pantheon of mediocre U.S. presidents.

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