Tag Archives: wingnuttery

Bowe Bergdahl persecuted for his political beliefs in the ‘land of the free’

Taliban video shows Bergdahl release

U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl is shown in a still of a video of his handover from the Taliban to the U.S. military in eastern Afghanistan on May 31. Bergdahl, who now is 28 years old and was 23 years old at the time of his capture by the Taliban, has gone from being persecuted by the Taliban to being persecuted by the American Taliban, that is, the members of the American right wing who are strikingly similar to the members of the Taliban except that they call themselves “Christians.”

I find it astonishing (I shouldn’t, I suppose, but I still do) that in the reading that I’ve done thus far over the recovery of U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl, one obvious, overarching fact is not uttered: that his recovery from his five years of captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan is “controversial” and largely nationally uncelebrated because Bergahl apparently has not been the “right” kind of American soldier — the wingnutty kind.

Since his capture by the Taliban in 2009 — which I wrote about at the time — to the present, bits and pieces of Bergdahl’s pre-captive life have slipped out into the public sphere, and overall the portrait of Bergdahl does not exactly look like that of Rambo: Bergdahl’s parents look like hippies. Bergdahl was home-schooled by his hippie-looking mother. Bergdahl never drove a car, but rode a bicycle everywhere. Bergdahl apparently spent time in a Buddhist monastery. Most damning of all, he apparently took ballet classes.

Perhaps even more damning than the ballet classes, Bergdahl reportedly stated in his final e-mail to his parents before he was captured by the Taliban:

… I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools… I am sorry for everything here [in Afghanistan]. These people [the Afghans] need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them… I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting…

Well, yeah, it is disgusting. Fuck the hypocritical wingnuts, who condemn others’ evil while they freely and frequently commit equal or even worse evils of their own, under the lie that by definition, an American (and by the wingnuts’ definition, a real American is only a right-wing, “Christo”fascist American) can do no wrong, and who assert that the United States is morally perfect and is God’s Chosen Nation and therefore can do no wrong. The U.S. in fact can do wrong and does it every fucking day.

See, Bowe Bergdahl just wasn’t the right kind of American soldier. He displayed empathy for the plight of the Afghans when instead he should have been much more like his colleagues who premeditatedly brutally slaughtered Afghan civilians or the Marine who urinated on the bodies of Taliban fighters (just like Jesus Christ Himself would have done) — to give just two of many possible examples of how God’s Chosen Soldiers have behaved in Afghanistan. Even the U.S. Army soldier who raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl probably is held in higher esteem by the American right wing than is Bowe Bergdahl.

My guess, based upon what I know of Bergdahl — such as that the county where Bergdahl was raised “has gained a reputation as a Democratic Party enclave” in the deep-red state of Idaho — is that of course Bergdahl didn’t belong in the U.S. military, where sensitive, empathetic, thoughtful, intelligent individuals (you know, those who actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of just claiming to be God’s Chosen) of course are not welcome.

This is because the U.S. military — which is funded by all of us Americans who have to pay our taxes (myself included, of course), regardless of our own political and religious orientations — is a bastion of right-wing “Christo”fascists.

The “Christo”fascists have taken over our military, and we, the majority of the American people who in the past two presidential elections have soundly rejected the Repugnican Tea Party agenda (which includes jingoism, militarism and the total disregard for the humanity of the peoples of other nations), need to take back our military from the minority right wing.

So vicious — and yes, dangerous — is the American right wing (again, fucking fascists is what they are) that apparently Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey (the seat and the largest city of the aforementioned Blaine County) canceled a scheduled homecoming for Bergdahl later this month for safety reasons, with the primary concern apparently being not potential trouble coming from locals, but from those (i.e., wingnuts) coming from elsewhere to cause trouble, and, of course, Bergdahl’s hippie-looking father has received death threats.

This is what we can expect from the American wingnuts who claim to be followers of the peace-loving and hatred-and-violence-eschewing Jesus Christ. They are fascists (I cannot emphasize that point enough), and it’s just as important to fight the fascists here at home as it has been to fight the fascists abroad.

I do not assert that Bowe Bergdahl is perfect. Whether or not he deserted his unit in Afghanistan neither you nor I know for sure, because neither you nor I was there, and if he is formally accused of desertion, then he is entitled to the due process to which you and I also are entitled. He deserves not to be branded as a deserter without first having had the chance to defend himself in a formal and fair process.

If Bergdahl did desert his unit in Afghanistan, does that change my view of him?

No.

Bergdahl’s biggest “crime,” you see, is that he apparently actually followed the teachings of Jesus Christ — you know, such as to love one another as you love yourself, to love your “enemies,” to practice peace and love instead of war, etc.

To the “Christians” who fill the U.S. military, Bergdahl is a criminal for having refused to be blindly obedient to the anti-Christian, immoral “mission” in Afghanistan of subduing yet another nation of people who have committed the crime of not being just like us Americans.

The only thing that I am aware of for which I perhaps can fault Bergdahl is that he apparently knowingly joined an organization with which he very apparently was incompatible in his temperament, values, worldview and the like.*

But then again, the continued existence of such an evil, anti-Christian, pro-killing-for-plutocracy organization as the U.S. military is our collective fault, not his.

*As I noted in 2009, it’s quite possible that Bergdahl joined the U.S. military (in 2008, apparently) because he didn’t know what else to do with himself and his life.

It’s not like the United States of America has much to offer its young adults, whom for the most part the powers that be (most of them baby boomers or dinosaurs like textbook warhawk John McCainosaurus) don’t care about, except when they can be useful to the powers that be, such as wage slaves in dead-end minimum-wage jobs, the victims of student-loan sharks, and cannon fodder in bogus wars for the plutocrats’ profits (which both the Vietraq War and the way overlong war in Afghanistan have been).

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Arizona and California in the news

Another black eye for Arizona (yes, it’s the thought that counts)

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. The governor must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

An anti-discrimination protester holds up a sign at the Arizona Capitol yesterday. Whackadoodle Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (below) has less than a week to decide whether or not to sign into law the legislation that the state’s legislature just passed that allows business owners to discriminate against non-heterosexuals out of their “religious” beliefs.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2014 file photo, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announces her plan to end the current Child Protective Services agency by executive order during her State of the State address at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. An independent team named by Gov. Brewer to review the state's troubled child welfare agency on Friday Jan. 31, 2014, called for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the department to focus it purely on child safety. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Associated Press photos

The Arizona legislature’s passage of a law that, under the guise of the protection of religious beliefs, allows businesses to discriminate against non-heterosexuals (mostly, to refuse to serve them, and, very apparently, this applies also to those whom the “religious” business owners simply perceive or suspect to be non-heterosexual, and very most likely also would apply, by extension, to the non-gender-conforming), is yet another example of the abject ignorance, bigotry and mean-spiritedness that exists in the backasswards state where I was born and raised and left in 1998, yet to have set foot back there since.

All eyes now are on Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Will she or won’t she sign the discriminatory legislation into law?

Arizona businesses — quite ironically, since the legislation is touted as being for the benefit of business owners — vehemently don’t want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, arguing, correctly, that like Arizona’s past refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day and its more recent unconstitutional discrimination against the brown-skinned perceived to be “illegals,” this legislation, if enacted, would give the pathetic state yet another black eye and result in more boycotts and more lost business.

The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest newspaper, also has come out against the discriminatory legislation. But this is Arizona, you see, and so the Republic’s largest argument is not that even further discrimination against an already historically oppressed minority group is wrong, but is that it’s bad for bidness. (The Republic’s editorial concludes:

… High-tech companies need talented young workers, so they locate in places young people find attractive and welcoming.

Arizona should strive to be one of those places.

This bill is a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation.

That’s not just the wrong side of history; it’s the dumb side of economic development.

We urge the governor to veto this bill as part of her continuing message that Arizona is open for business.)

But the Bible-thumping, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, inbred haters in Arizona (and they are legion), like the wing comprised of the plutocrats and those who love them, also are a huge wing of the Repugnican Tea Party, and they vehemently want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, so what’s poor Brewer to do?

My best guess is that Brewer won’t sign it into law — citing business interests, and not, of course, moral or ethical or even legal concerns — but I’m thinking that it’s only just over 50-50 that she won’t, so I wouldn’t be shocked if she does enact the discriminatory legislation.

However, if Brewer signs the legislation, this could backfire on the haters in Arizona and in the other red states, with whom we of the blue states still are waging a civil war.

Should Brewer sign the law, I have little doubt that a lawsuit would result, and it is quite possible, if not even probable, that because of the Arizona teatards’ attempt to legalize the practice of discriminating against an already historically oppressed minority group while hiding behind the facade of their “religious” “sensibilities,” we will see federal law changed to protect non-heterosexuals among the groups that federal law already protects.

Specifically, Title II of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

This federal law, and the subsequent court rulings regarding it, prohibit most (if not even all) businesses that serve the general public from practicing discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion or national origin (we could add the more generic category of “ethnicity” to that list, I believe). Simply adding sexual orientation to this list of protected groups of individuals would invalidate any state’s law to enshrine discrimination against non-heterosexuals in its statutes or constitution.

(Civics 101 lesson for the teatards: No state’s law, even a law contained within a state’s constitution, may violate federal law, which includes: the mandates of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and, of course, the rulings of the federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.)

No, I wouldn’t, of course, expect the currently-less-than-worthless U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to offer any more historically oppressed minority groups protection from discrimination, since the Repugnican Tea Party is all about discrimination against the “wrong” kinds of Americans, but the House won’t be in the teatards’ control forever.

And while the current U.S. Supreme Court is too timid and too slow to bring all Americans to the level of equality that we are promised by the U.S. Constitution (and other founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence), I wouldn’t rule out the U.S. Supreme Court, or, at least, a lower federal court, ruling Arizona’s legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals to be unconstitutional (since it is), and thus invalid.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about this issue until Brewer had gone one way or the other, but you know, whether Brewer signs the law into effect or not, the majority of the Arizona legislature has passed this deeply anti-American (well, I suppose that, given our nation’s ugly history, you could argue that it’s very American…) legislation, and it’s the thought that counts.

That the state’s legislature would even pass such hate-filled legislation like this tells you volumes about the backasswards state of Arizona.

California will keep its 55 electoral votes, fuck you very much

Much has been written about some bizillionaire’s attempt to get an initiative on California’s ballot that, if the majority of the state’s voters passed, would signify their agreement with his plan to split California up into six states as shown in the graphic above.

Having lived in California for more than 15 years now, I can tell you that California will not be split any century soon.

Not only would a majority of California’s voters never approve splitting the state even into two, but the U.S. Congress, which must approve the creation of any new state, most likely would not approve a plan to create one or more new states from California (or from any other of the already existing 50 states, for that matter).

So let’s not waste time arguing about the viability of the plan, since many proposals to split the state of California have come and gone over the decades and will continue to do so, will continue to go nowhere.

What we should pay attention to, however, is what most discussions of these periodic proposals to split California up miss: the fact that the real agenda behind these proposals is to make it easier for the Repugnican (Tea) Party to win the White House.

Yes, California’s 55 electoral votes — more electoral votes than any other state, since California is the most populous state (even the second-most-populous state, Texas, has only 38 electoral votes) — are just sitting there, in a huge pile, and they are soooo tempting to the wingnuts. (Since the 1992 presidential election, all of California’s electoral votes have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate.)

Divvy up California, especially creating one or more new red states from California’s red(der) regions, and now the Repugnican Tea Party now gets a significant chunk of those 55 electoral votes, making it easier for Repugnican Tea Party traitors and more difficult for the opposition party (as much as we can call the Democratic Party “the opposition party,” anyway) to win the White House.

If it isn’t about that, then how come the very same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who want to divide California don’t advocate that we divide other, populous, red(der) states, such as Texas and Florida? (The third-most-populous state of Florida has 29 electoral votes.)

Um, yeah.

Whenever a wingnut proposes something and claims that it’s for the public good, take a good look behind the curtains and see what the real agenda is.

Nothing good comes from the Repugnican Tea Party traitors.

P.S. The rich proponent of the so-called “six Californias,” a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, claims that he is an “independent,” but my guess is that that is a smokescreen for his pro-plutocratic agenda. In any event, the majority of so-called “independents” lean to the right, and their calling themselves “independents” often (if not usually) is to (try to) sucker in those who have soured on the Repugnican Tea Party; it’s classic bait and switch.

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Repugs bash ‘subhuman,’ ‘naive’ Obama, ask, ‘George W. WHO?’

So stupid white man Ted Nugent recently (fairly redundantly) referred to President Barack Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.” Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus recently remarked of Obama, “This is the most naive president in history.”

Although the likes of Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky and Repugnican Tea Party Texas Gov. Prick Perry were quick to call Nugent’s words inappropriate, McCainosaurus essentially expressed the same sentiment — only in a “nicer” way.

I respect Nugent more than I do McCainosaurus for Nugent’s at least honestly having expressed his thoughts and beliefs, as nauseating as his rank white supremacism/racism is.

McCainosaurus, however, is “nice” and “polite” and “above it all,” you see, so he’ll couch his probably-race-based criticisms of Obama in “statesmanlike” terms.

Obama is a flawed president — no argument there — but every time that a Repugnican (Tea) Party traitor levels any criticism of Obama, I immediately think of the last Repugnican “president” (I use quotation marks, since he never legitimately was elected), George W. Bush, and I do the mental comparison.

So McCainosaurus pronounced that Obama “is the most naive president in history,” adding that “The naivete of Barack Obama and [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry is stunning.”

No, what is stunning is that in November 2008 the American people voted for Barack Obama over John McCainosaurus by 7.2 percent of the popular vote and Obama won a whopping 192 more electoral votes than McCainosaurus won, but Sore Loserman McCainosaurus still is running for president.

Or, at the least, he’s still very bitter that he lost the 2008 presidential election, and thus he feels that he routinely must lecture us “naive” Americans that we made such a huge “mistake” in not putting his old white man ass in the big chair in the Oval Office.

On foreign policy, Obama and Kerry can’t win anyway. They’re Democrats. Obama especially is handicapped among the right wing because he’s black and the vast majority of the wingnuts are white supremacists.

Obama has no desire to revive the Cold War with Russia, as McCainosaurus does, because Obama is not stuck in the distant past like the fossilized McCainosaurus is. (And we, the majority of the American people, also have no desire to revive the Cold War, which is why we voted for Obama and not for McCainosaurus.)

And even if Obama decided to act militarily every time that there were some squirmish in the world — as though every battle around the globe were the United States’ to fight, even though because of the military overextension of the Bush regime, the American empire is rotting from within — the right wing still would find some way criticize whatever he did. Because Obama is a Democrat, and probably even worse, he’s a black man in the White House.

Were Obama actually to send troops to such troubled regions as Syria and/or Ukraine, many if not most of the wingnuts probably suddenly would find themselves to be populists and anti-interventionists and criticize Obama for squandering our resources abroad instead of helping more Americans here at home. (If it were a Repugnican [Tea] Party president launching a military action abroad, however, of course it would be, by definition, a sound presidential decision.)

Again: Obama can’t win. If he doesn’t intervene in another nation’s squirmish, he’s “naive” or “weak” or whatever, yet if he does, the wingnuts will find something about his actions to criticize. I mean, fuck: Since the teatard majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has a history of opposing Obama on everything — because it comes from Obama — do you really think that the House would OK any military action that the Constitution might require Obama to first get from the House (if it were not linked to a mass terrorist attack that already had happened on American soil)? Hell no. But they’ll criticize Obama if he doesn’t act.

As I already have noted recently, the central problem that the stupid white men of the Repugnican Tea Party (and those who support them) have with Barack Obama is that he violates their white supremacist, patriarchal notion that only right-wing white men should be president of the United States.

Ted Nugent is pretty open and fairly blunt about his white supremacism; with the likes of John McCainosaurus, you have to read between the lines, but it’s still not exactly difficult to get the message. In one of his presidential debates with Obama in 2008, McCainosaurus bizarrely referred to Obama as “that one,” as an object, not as a human being, and in his most recent quote about Obama, he again refers to Obama as though Obama were not a human being, but as though Obama were some kind of anamoly, if not even some kind of object: “This is the most naive president in history.” (At the very least, McCainosaurus refers to Obama as being very deeply other.)

The vast majority of the right wing’s criticisms of Obama start at that point (if they radiate outward or not): their deep-seated, visceral belief that Obama’s supposed illegitimacy for the presidency indeed is coded in his DNA (indeed, he is, according to teatard Nugent, a “subhuman mongrel”).

So: Whenever you hear criticisms of Obama from the wingnuts, think of that, keep all of that in mind, and also think about how wonderful a president George W. Bush was:

George W. Bush was so fucking great on foreign policy and national defense that he allowed terrorists to attack the U.S. on September 11, 2001, slaughtering almost 3,000 people, despite his having received, the month before, a presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, at the time, you see, and so he couldn’t be bothered with it. (Google it.)

George W. Bush was so fucking great on foreign policy and national defense that he pulled a colossal bait and switch, encouraging Americans to support his pre-2000-election desire to invade and occupy the oil-rich nation of Iraq in retaliation for 9/11, even though Iraq had had nothing whatsofuckingever to do with 9/11. More than 4,000 of our troops were slaughtered in the illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and wholly bogus Vietraq War, which all along was meant only to benefit Big Oil. (Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s oil fields were nationalized; since Hussein was toppled, Big Oil has been back in Iraq. [Google it.])

George W. Bush was so fucking great on national security that he just allowed almost 2,000 Americans to die in Hurricane Katrina.

Add it up — almost 3,000 killed on 9/11, more than 4,000 of our troops killed in the bogus Vietraq War, almost 2,000 Americans killed unnecessarily by Hurricane Katrina.

That’s quite a body count, but the traitors who comprise the American right wing so conveniently ignore all of this while they focus like a laser on the deaths of four (4) people in Benghazi, Libya.

Indeed, Obama is “the most naive president in history”! He is in way over his head! He’s clueless! He has no idea what he’s doing!

Yes, let’s talk about keeping Americans safe: Far, far more Americans died unnecessarily when BushCheneyCorp was at the helm than have died while Obama has been behind the wheel.

Yes, let’s talk about foreign policy: George W. Bush made the U.S. even more hated in the Middle East — the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis because of the Vietraq War alone hasn’t made the U.S. more loved in the Middle East — making us more likely, not less likely, to be the targets of future terrorist attacks.

George W. Bush & Co. started a crusade against the Middle East that Barack Obama apparently felt he had to continue, lest he be labeled by the wingnuts and their sympathizers as “weak” or “soft” or “naive” (which was going to happen anyway, no matter what he did or did not d0).

George W. Bush also left the United States of America in far worse shape than it was when he stole office in 2000. He started with Bill Clinton’s record federal budget surplus and ended his eight years of unelected rule with a federal budget deficit — in no small part because the Vietraq War was meant to be a massive giveaway of taxpayers’ dollars to military contractors and to Big Oil. (Indeed, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, which was involved with both military contracting and Big Oil, got to profiteer obscenely in Vietraq without even having to bid for the federal-government contracts.)

So it’s not like George W. Bush even left Barack Obama with the resources necessary to launch more military (mis)adventures, yet here are the Repugnican Tea Party traitors pissing and moaning that Obama isn’t sending troops to every nation where there is a squirmish.

There is so much about Obama that I don’t like, but when the Repugnican Tea Party traitors pretend that they have the solutions to our problems (most of which they created), you only have to think back to the last time that a member of their party was in the White House, and ask yourself if you really want a deja vu of all of that: a stolen presidential election, 9/11, the Vietraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the crashed national economy, etc., etc.

P.S. Before anyone accuses me of unfairly linking Ted Nugent to the Repugnican Tea Party, know that Nugent has made campaign (or other public) appearances with the likes of Sarah Palin, Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (the state’s current attorney general), and many others of the Repugnican Tea Party.

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Shutdown, shmutdown — let it burn!

A sign reading

Associated Press photo

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the national parks that were closed down yesterday in light of the impasse between the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate and the Repugnican Tea Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on passing a federal budget. Blame for this one lies squarely with the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party terrorists, who have made the abolition of “Obamacare” a mandatory requirement for passing a federal budget at all. 

For those whose lives have been affected adversely by the shutdown of the federal government — such as the young man I read about in a news article who stated that he can’t get a replacement Social Security card until after the shutdown is over, and who thus believes that he won’t be able to get a job until the shutdown is over — I do feel sorry, but otherwise: Meh.

D.C. hasn’t done the bidding of the majority of us Americans for years now. Maybe — no, probably — it needs to go to total shit before it ever can get better (that is, before it actually can be representative of the actual interests of the actual majority of us Americans — and not just a big rubber stamp for the plutocrats and their corporations and the military-corporate complex).

Human nature is that people don’t change until and unless a big outside force thrusts that change upon them. Ideally, this shutdown of the federal government will be a long one, and thus will cost the Repugnican Tea Party traitors a significant number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2014 elections.

Thankfully, polls indicate that more Americans thus far blame — correctly — the Repugnican Tea Party majority in the House than blame Barack Obama for the current shutdown drama.

Could this signal the long-overdue death of the myth that both parties always are equally to blame for everything?

Not that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are blameless. Obama (mis)spent his political capital in 2009 and 2010 pointlessly trying to negotiate with the terrorists who call themselves Republicans — instead of pushing through a progressive agenda while both houses of Congress were dominated by his own party.

I surmise that because Obama squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010 in trying to negotiate with terrorists who already amply had demonstrated long previously that they cannot be negotiated with, the Democrats lost majority control of the House in the November 2010 elections and probably won’t regain the House until 2016 at the earliest.

And if the so-called Democrats in D.C. were even half as enthusiastic about doing the most amount of good for the highest number of Americans as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. are enthusiastic about doing evil (including ensuring that the filthy rich only continue to get even richer and the dirt poor only continue to get even poorer), we’d have a much better, much more fair, must more just nation.

Pathetically and tragically, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors long have been quite bold and shameless in committing evil while the so-called Democrats have been too timid to commit much good.

This doesn’t have to remain a permanent condition, however, and I am thrilled to see that thus far in the blinking contest that is the federal government shutdown, the Democrats thus far have stood their ground against the Repugnican Tea Party terrorists. I’m so used to the so-called Democrats caving in to the treasonous, right-wing nut jobs that this comes as an at least mildly pleasant surprise.

There already has been gridlock in D.C. since January 2011 and there most likely will be gridlock until January 2017. At this point we might as well take this gridlock to the extreme, and force the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to suffer the consequences of the shutdown of the federal government that they, more than anyone else, have wanted and are responsible for.

We commoners have little else left to lose in a system that long has been set up against us and in favor of the plutocratic minority, but we have much to gain.

P.S. To be clear, I’m not a huge fan of “Obamacare.” Progressive writer David Sirota writes of “Obamacare” (the links are Sirota’s):

… [Obamacare] most definitely is the legislative manifestation of the insurance industry’s biggest wishes of all, providing massive no-strings-attached subsidies to the industry, and using government power to force citizens to become the industry’s permanent customers.

It also is not what the insurance industry most fears — it is not only not a single-payer system, it doesn’t even include a public option that would allow people to altogether avoid the rapacious private-insurance industry. It also does not prevent insurance companies from employing their typical devil-in-the-details tactics — the kind that provide the patina of health insurance while limiting access to actual health services.

Asking exactly why Obamacare was structured like this is another way to see that the law is really a gift to insurers hidden in the gaudy wrapping of altruism. That’s because the answer to that critical “why” question is simple: the law was written by the insurance industry.

Remember, the primary architect of Obamacare was Liz Fowler — the insurance industry executive who temporarily took a government post to write the new law, and then quickly moved back into health care lobbying.

She was ably assisted by an battalion of her fellow insurance industry cronies, who in 2009 deployed their army of lobbyists to shape the underlying health care legislation. She was also backed up by many other Obama administration officials who worked on the legislation and then immediately headed to the lucrative world of insurance-industry lobbying.

Of course, the fact that the health insurance companies have so much cash lying around to pay a mercenary army is probably the Obamacare cartoon’s most conspicuous smoking gun of all. Indeed, while Obama and Democrats have proudly claimed that the new law finally cracks down on insurance profiteering and attempts to reduce the health insurance industry’s out-sized economic footprint, the financials suggest exactly the opposite is happening. …

So I am not a defender of “Obamacare,” but if “liberals” (a.k.a. “Democrats”) confusedly believe that “Obamacare” does more good for than harm to the average American individual, well, apparently, so do many if not most Repugnican Tea Partiers, such as U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who recently declared of “Obamacare” that “President Obama can’t wait to get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency on more government health care, because once they enroll millions of more individual Americans it, will be virtually impossible for us to pull these benefits back from people.”

The Repugnican Tea Party set, from what I can tell, oppose “Obamacare” not because it’s yet another giveaway to the already-filthy-rich health-care weasels, but because it is perceived as being helpful to the average American and because it has Barack Obama’s name attached to it.

But regardless of where one stands on “Obamacare,” “Obamacare” (a.k.a. the “Affordable Care Act”) was passed by Congress, and if Congress wants to abolish it, it can do so legislatively (not while the Democrats still control the U.S. Senate, though, of course…).

The way to undo legislation that you oppose, however, is not to hold up the federal budget in order to try to achieve that goal in your roundabout way (that is, stripping the funding for a piece of legislation instead of legislatively abolishing that legislation altogether).

That is not legislating; that is, indeed, hostage-taking.

And in most cases, you don’t negotiate with hostage-taking terrorists.

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NBC, CNN should call Rethugnicans’ bluff

Reports The Associated Press:

Washington — The Republican National Committee charged [yesterday] that NBC and CNN are promoting a potential presidential candidacy by Hillary Rodham Clinton, threatening to blackball [the two networks] from future [Republican Party] primary debates if they air upcoming programs on the former secretary of state.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus called a planned NBC mini-series on Clinton and a CNN documentary on the first lady an “extended commercial” for a future Clinton presidential campaign. In separate letters to the networks, he urged them to cancel “this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.”

Clinton has not yet said whether she’ll run for president again in 2016, but her future remains the subject of wide speculation in political circles and beyond. The primary debates typically provide a ratings boost for the networks and are highly coveted as the presidential campaign unfolds.

In making the charge, the RNC was raising a common complaint among Republican activists that news and entertainment industries favor Democratic candidates. Republicans have also used a potential Clinton campaign as a fundraising tool in recent months as both parties begin to assess the crop of candidates to succeed President Barack Obama.

CNN Films is planning a feature-length documentary film on the former first lady, looking at her professional and personal life. It will be led by Oscar-winning director and producer Charles Ferguson and is expected to air in 2014.

NBC has announced a miniseries called “Hillary,” starring actress Diane Lane. No air date has been announced but it is timed to be released before the 2016 presidential election. NBC has said the four-hour miniseries will follow Clinton’s life and career from 1998 to the present. …

The RNC gets to dictate the networks’ programming?

Really?

And it’s hilariously ironic, because it was Repugnican icon Ronald Fucking Reagan who killed the so-called “fairness doctrine” in 1987, allowing CNN and NBC to air programming about Billary Clinton if they so choose.

But when the results of Reagan’s action aren’t favorable to their party, the Rethugnicans cry “foul.”

Love her or hate her — and I don’t much like her myself — but Billary Clinton is a public figure of significant public interest, which makes her an appropriate subject for a documentary or even a mini-series. And the networks have the First-Amendment right to produce such programming if they so fucking choose.

NBC and CNN should tell the blackmailing Rethugnicans to go fuck themselves and proceed with their programming.

Who, after all, really needs whom? 

Billary Clinton thus far is beating all of the potential 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates in nationwide polls, which apparently has Reince Priebus (that’s “major prick” in Greek) & Co. shitting their pants. If she weren’t such a threat, I can’t see them trying to dictate the networks’ programming in the Repugnican Tea Party’s favor.

The AP article linked to above claims that coverage of the the Repugnican Tea Party presidential primaries is ” highly coveted,” but aren’t the votes of the American people in a presidential election also highly coveted? Would the Repugnican Tea Party not shoot itself in the foot by disallowing any of the networks to cover any one of its presidential primary debates?

Are the party’s presidential primary debates not also “political ads,” to use Priebus’ own words?

Again, CNN and NBC should ignore the Rethugnican Party’s pathetic, desperate, anti-democratic blackmail attempt and proceed as they wish.

If the Repugnican Tea Party can’t win the war of ideas, then too fucking bad. It has no fucking right to try to manipulate and rig the marketplace of ideas itself.

P.S. Further on the topic of Billary, while it certainly is possible that “Billary fatigue” might harm her campaign, should she decide to run for president for 2016, unless another high-level Democratic candidate emerges, I still think that the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is Billary’s if she wants it.

It would take someone like, say, Al Gore or Howard Dean, I think, to give Billary a run for her money for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, as Barack Obama did in 2008, and thus far we’ve had no indication that someone on that level has any intention of running for 2016.

Whether or not Billary could win the White House is another story, of course.

Recent nationwide polls put Repugnican Chris Christie from 4 percent to 6 percent behind Billary, a lead that Christie, should he decide to run (and I’m pretty sure that he will), might not have such a hard time erasing, especially if (when?) “Billary fatigue” fully kicks in.

But could the so-called “moderate” Christie make it alive out of the Repugnican presidential primary season, which is much ideologically purer (that is, much more right-wing) than is the presidential election itself? Will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have the sense not to nominate their party’s biggest fascist, but to nominate their party’s candidate who has the best chance of actually winning the White House?

It’s too early for all of this, I hear some readers groaning. My response to that is No, it’s not too early to prevent control of the White House from reverting back to the Rethugnican Party in 2016.

Barack Obama hasn’t done nearly enough to get us out of the abyss that George W. Bush & Co. left us in, but another Repug in the White House will only dig our hole even deeper.

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This isn’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, either

Updated below

TK

No one photograph captures the totality of any one human being. Fucking duh.

A Massachusetts state cop has, apparently without authorization, released images that he took of the capture of the accused Boston Marathon bombing participant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in order to make a political point while blasting Rolling Stone for allegedly having tried to make a political point. (The image above is the image that has gone the most viral.)

“As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image [of Tsarnaev] that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,” Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy huffed and puffed when he gave the images to Boston Magazine, continuing, “The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

I get it that Murphy has a personal and political interest in protecting the authoritarian, law-and-order, “good”-guys-vs.-“bad”-guys, violence-loving, white-male patriarchy of which he is part and parcel, but it was unprofessional (and, hell, for all that I know, also illegal) for Murphy, on his own, to release the images to the media out of his own personal and political passions, and BBC News reports that Murphy apparently has been relieved of duty for having released the images without authorization.

Good!

Murphy is allowed his wingnutty opinions, but, when it comes to whether or not D. Tsarnaev’s attorneys can argue whether or not he can get a fair trial, a fucking Rolling Stone cover probably won’t factor into that argument, but a state cop’s having released photos of Tsarnaev and having called Tsarnaev “evil” and “the real Boston bomber” certainly could. So Murphy’s actions seem to me to be reckless at best, especially if he is interested in actual justice, as he apparently claims he is.

Yes, in his right-wing rant that the apparently right-wing Boston Magazine published, the leaker Murphy also proclaimed: “Photography is very simple, it’s very basic. It brings us back to the cave. An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we [who, exactly, is “we”?] see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

While I agree that “photography is very simple,” that is the fucking problem. Murphy, apparently without any self-awareness of this, is guilty of the flip side of what he accuses Rolling Stone of having done.

I agree that one emo-looking image of D. Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone certainly doesn’t tell the whole story about the young man, but neither does one image (or even several images) of a sniper’s red-laser dot on Tsarnaev’s forehead tell the whole story about him.

Each of us is a complex human being who cannot be summed up in one fucking photograph.

And neither can even someone like D. Tsarnaev tidily and neatly be summed up in the single word “evil,” as Murphy so helpfully has done for us, and, of course, the difference between people like Murphy — authoritarian, self-righteous, patriarchy-promoting-and-protecting, hypocritically-violent-themselves types — and the rest of us is that while Murphy would deny that he contains any evil within himself at all, the rest of us acknowledge that we do.

And it’s those who deny that they have any evil within themselves at all who, in my book, are the most dangerous of all, which is perhaps why our plutocratic overlords love to have these sociopathic types in the U.S. military and in U.S. law enforcement (and, let’s face it, most of the time “our” laws apply only to us commoners, and not to our plutocratic overlords).

Update: Via Slate.com, this is a clarification of what has happened with Sgt. Sean Murphy:

Though he’s been relieved of duty, Murphy has not been fired. The status of his duty is to be reviewed next week. Two lieutenants in an unmarked cruiser and a sergeant in a marked cruiser arrived at Murphy’s home about 7:40 [last night] and, during about 20 minutes at his home, took the following: his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest, cameras, police ID, license to fire arms, pepper spray, cellphone and computer. Murphy was also ordered not to speak to the press or discuss the capture of Tsarnaev with anyone else.

My guess is that he’ll get a slap on the wrist. At the bare minimum, in my book, he no longer should be allowed to photograph police activity.

Also, the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote a good piece defending Rolling Stone. Sure, you might say, of course he’s going to defend his employer, but nonetheless, he makes some good points, such as these:

… I think, on the whole, the people leveling these criticisms must not read the magazine, which is understandable. It would be beyond unreasonable to expect everyone in the country to be regularly familiar with the articles in Rolling Stone. On the other hand, pretty much everyone has heard of Rolling Stone, which is where the problem lay, in this gap between the popular image of the magazine and the reality of its reporting.

If indeed we were just a celebrity/gossip mag that covered nothing but rock stars and pop-culture icons, and we decided to boost sales and dabble in hard news by way of putting a Jim Morrison-esque depiction of a mass murderer on our cover, that really would suck and we would deserve all of this criticism.

But Rolling Stone has actually been in the hard news/investigative reporting business since its inception, from Hunter S. Thompson to Carl Bernstein to Bill Greider back in the day to Tim Dickinson, Michael Hastings, Mark Boal, Janet Reitman and myself in recent years.

One could even go so far as to say that in recent years, when investigative journalism has been so dramatically de-emphasized at the major newspapers and at the big television news networks, Rolling Stone’s role as a source of hard-news reporting has been  magnified. In other words, we’re more than ever a hard news outlet in a business where long-form reporting is becoming more scarce. …

If the Rolling Stone editors had brought Tsarnaev in to its offices near Rockefeller center, wined and dined him, and then posed him for that Jim Morrison shot, then yes, that would be reprehensible.

But that’s not what the magazine did. They used an existing photo, one already used by other organizations. The New York Times, in fact, used exactly the same photo on the cover of their May 5 issue.

But there was no backlash against the Times, because everyone knows the Times is a news organization. Not everyone knows that about Rolling Stone. So that’s your entire controversy right there – it’s OK for the Times, not OK for Rolling Stone, because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication. …

[Regarding] the idea that the cover photo showed Tsarnaev to be too nice-looking, too much like a sweet  little boy[,] I  can understand why this might upset some  people. But the jarringly non-threatening image of Tsarnaev is exactly the point of the whole story. If any of those who are up in arms about this cover had read Janet’s piece, they would see that the lesson of this story is that there are no warning signs for terrorism, that even nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids can end up packing pressure-cookers full of shrapnel and tossing them into crowds of strangers.

Thus the cover picture is not intended to glamorize Tsarnaev. Just the opposite, I believe it’s supposed to frighten. …

I recommend Taibbi’s piece in its entirety.

It was clear to me immediately that Rolling Stone had repurposed an existing image of Tsarnaev for its cover. I have to wonder if Sean Murphy is so stupid as to not have realized that, or if he realized that but intentionally wanted to mislead others in his personal crusade against Rolling Stone, which his own words — his description of the image of Tsarnaev that RS used as “someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine” — suggest.

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Patriot Ed Snowden evokes Nuremberg in his ongoing fight for freedom

Snowden wants Russia asylum, lawmaker says

Associated Press image

American patriot Edward Snowden during a press conference at a Moscow airport today stated that he has been following “the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.'” Amen. The U.S. government does not own us. We own it. Ultimately, all of us, every single human being, is a citizen of the world — and not the property of any one nation. (The full transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today are below; I recommend that you read every word.)

I was just asking to be rescued from the ocean of freedom in which I’m drowning (U-S-A! U-S-A!), but I’m still drowning in all of that freedom!

Very apparently, the elites in D.C., who stopped representing our interests long, long ago, believe that they have the right to restrict our right to travel freely.

To me, the right to travel freely — until and unless one has been demonstrated in a fair trial in a court of law to pose an actual (and not a hypothetical) threat to others — is a universal human right, and if we bash certain other nations for restricting their citizens’ right to travel freely (and we do), then we’re fucking hypocrites (as usual) when we do the same.

To wit: The Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives — and remember, these very same wingnuts claim that they’re all about “freedom” — apparently want to put further restrictions on American citizens’ right to travel to Cuba.

The pro-capitalist/pro-feudalism wingnuts hate the anti-capitalist Cuba, you see, and they want the continued monetary support of Cuban Americans, the majority of whom (like Florida’s Marco Rubio and Texas’ Ted Cruz) are wingnuts, so, to keep the tiny minority of Americans who are of Cuban descent happy and to keep their campaign contributions (well, their bribes) flowing, the wingnuts want to tell us Americans which nations we may visit and which nations we may not.

Where Cuba is concerned, this is for purely political/ideological reasons, and therefore it is a blatant violation of our human rights. We Americans essentially are to be political prisoners of the right wing. Yes, to me, restricting someone’s free travel is in same league as false imprisonment: You are unjustly restricting someone’s freedom of movement from one place to another.

This isn’t just a Repugnican Tea Party thing.

American patriot Edward Snowden’s latest pronouncement (which he made during a press conference in Russia today) is that (as we already knew) the U.S. government is doing its damnedest to keep him virtually imprisoned in Russia. Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia while he figures out how to travel to one of the Latin American nations, including Venezuela, that have offered him permanent asylum.

Snowden should be able to travel anywhere on the planet, but the U.S. government, the biggest bully on the planet, has been strong-arming weaker nations into preventing Snowden from flying over their airspace; these weakers nations fear that if they don’t succumb tot he U.S. government’s demands, the U.S. government will retaliate against them.

That’s called bullying, and bullying comes from a space of cowardice, not of strength. A strong nation doesn’t need to violate a single individual’s human rights. We say this all the time of individuals: If you have nothing to hide, then what are you worried about? I say the same thing to the treasonous elites of the U.S. government: If you have no wrongdoing to hide, then why the hell are you working so hard to persecute Edward Snowden?

It’s obvious that Snowden can’t get a fair trial in the U.S., not when the American “justice” system is controlled by the same treasonous elites who want his head on a silver platter. Therefore, because he is the victim of political persecution, his application for political asylum in another nation is apt.

While the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor,” they’re still doing what they can to snare him, and if we allow them to persecute him, then we are enabling them to expand their net until one day, sooner rather than later, any of us commoners who have embarrassed and/or pissed off the treasonous elites can be branded as “traitors” — not because we actually harmed the nation in any way, of course, but only because we dared to cross our overlords.

Of course, perhaps the reason that the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor” — aside from the fact that such pronouncements have demonstrated already that he cannot get a fair trial in the U.S. — is that Snowden’s status as a “traitor” is the minority view.

While the results of the Quinnipiac University poll of more than 2,000 registered voters nationwide that was taken from June 28 through July 8 admittedly are a bit schizophrenic, the answer to at least one of the questions seems fairly clear. That question was “Do you regard Edward Snowden — the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone-scanning program [that’s not exactly all of it, but whatever ] — as more of a traitor, or more of a whistleblower?”

Only 34 percent of the poll respondents were willing to brand Snowden a “traitor,” while 55 percent deemed him a “whistleblower,” and 11 percent (for some reason) were “unsure.”

So entrapped are they in their Big Bubble of Privilege that the treasonous elites in D.C. from both of the duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate parties casually pronounced Snowden a “traitor,” when only about a third of the Americans whose interests these elites actually claim to represent agree with that assessment, while more than half of them — of us — disagree with that assessment. (Can you say “Out of fucking touch”?)

It seems to me that the elites in D.C. need to tread with caution. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are waking up to the fact that it’s our over-privileged overlords, and not young patriots like Edward Snowden, who are the real traitors who are doing the real damage to this nation and to the rest of the world.

P.S. Thus far Edward Snowden’s legal defense fund through the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised more than $37,000. I’ve given $30 thus far; if you wish, you can contribute here (be sure to give to the “PCCC Strategic Fund”).

Here is the transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today:

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance.

While the U.S. Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.

The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the [United Nations] asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee.

These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum.

As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

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The Supremes give me reverse November 2008 déjà vu

Updated below (last on Friday, June 28, 2013)

For this progressive Californian, this week feels like an uncanny reversal of Election Day 2008: In November 2008, we Californians saw our nation’s first non-all-white president* elected, a historical milestone — but with the narrow (52-48) passage of Proposition H8, which wrote homophobia into the California state Constitution by banning same-sex marriage, we non-heterosexual Californians were stripped of our constitutionally guaranteed right to marry, which the California Supreme Court earlier that year had ruled was ours.**

Yesterday, in a typically 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, claiming that the act’s provisions were too outdated, despite the fact that Congress had renewed it overwhelmingly in 2006, which wasn’t all that fucking long ago.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nailed it on the head when she remarked, “Throwing out [U.S. Justice Department] pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes [to voting laws] is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

While I surmise that Congress will restore the Voting Rights Act in the future, that won’t happen, of course, with the current wingnut-dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, media reports are that the fascists of the red states, in light of this new U.S. Supreme Court decision, are working fast and furiously to reinstate their voter suppression laws (previously shot down by the Justice Department) just in time for the 2014 midterm elections.

I have to wonder, of course, if that was the goal of the wingnuts on the high court: To help the struggling Repugnican Tea Party in the next national elections. Hey, they’ve certainly involved themselves in election-fixing before, which even former U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan and who, with four other like-minded “justices,” put George W. Bush in office, has expressed a potential problem with.

Yesterday was a giant leap backwards for the equal human and civil rights of non-whites, and was yet another stain on our nation caused by yet another 5-4 vote by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, right up there with the court’s 5-4 coronation of George W. Bush as president in late 2000 even though he’d lost the election by more than a half-million popular votes and even though the pivotal state of Florida clearly had been stolen as a “victory” for Bush and with the court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, which reinforced the bogus concept that corporations are just like individual people, and that just like individual people, corporations have First Amendment rights.

It’s mind-blowing to ponder the fact that the voting rights for which so many Americans fought and even died were eliminated at the stroke of the poisoned pen of just one right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Yet at the same time I suppose that it’s a little encouraging to know that it was only a 5-4 vote, that only one “justice” made the difference.)

I hope that the backlash against the right wing’s ongoing attempt to suppress voters is considerable. Generally speaking, the right-wing traitors among us win little battles here and there, but over time, they continue to lose the war. They stymie and delay progress as much as they can, but progress still marches on, and the haters go down in history as the haters that they are or were.

But today, unlike in November 2008, there was good news for us non-heterosexuals when the US. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 (of course), that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed in 1996, is unconstitutional, as it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws (duh).

This ruling means that no same-sex couple that has been married in a state with legalized same-sex marriage may be denied any of the federal benefits of marriage that are enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

However, this also means that same-sex couples in most states will not have the same rights as do same-sex couples in other states (those states that have adopted legalized same-sex marriage), which, of course, is a patently unfair and thus an untenable situation.

Yes, the nation’s high court, while it struck down DOMA, by yet another 5-4 vote refused to touch Prop H8, ruling that, as Reuters puts it, “supporters of [Prop H8] did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck the law down.” Thus, the court apparently very intentionally avoided directly ruling on whether or not any state may constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage, leaving same-sex marriage, for now, as an untenable issue of “states’ rights.”

Because the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn’t touch Prop H8, the lower federal courts’ rulings that Prop H8 is unconstitutional (because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment) stand, and my understanding is that this means that California will have same-sex marriage again, as it did briefly in 2008 (between the effective date of the California Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage and the effective date of the same-sex-marriage-nixing Prop H8) — but, I understand, there’s more legal wrangling ahead as to what, exactly, the Supremes’ refusal to touch Prop H8 means for California.

It was cowardly, irresponsible and short-sighted of the court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment but to then refuse to rule that accordingly, no state may outlaw same-sex marriage on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment, but apparently today’s rulings were, pathetically, the best that we could get from this right-wing court.

Of course it would have been nice if either or both of today’s high-court rulings on DOMA and Prop H8 (the court’s cowardly refusal to issue a ruling on Prop H8 was the court’s “ruling” on Prop H8) had been 6-3 or even 7-2 (or hell, even 8-1 or 9-0), but the right-wing homo-haters have no credibility in (predictably) calling the 5-4 decisions the “tyranny” of the U.S. Supreme Court against the American majority when a series of recent nationwide polls clearly show that a clear majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage.

And those fascistic haters who claim that to overturn Prop H8 is to overturn the will of California’s voters conveniently ignore the two facts that (1) any ballot measure passed by a majority of any state’s voters can be overturned by a federal court if that court deems it to be unconstitutional (Civics 101 — duh) and that (2) while Prop H8 passed in November 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, polls show now that around 60 percent of Californians support same-sex marriage; were Californians to vote again on the issue again today, same-sex marriage would pass by a decisive margin. Prop H8 no longer is the will of the majority of California’s voters.

So: Today we can celebrate a significant although incomplete victory for same-sex couples who desire legalized marriage and the rights (and, yes, the responsibilities) that come with legalized marriage.

But we need to fight like hell to regain the ground that we just lost where voting rights are concerned, and we need to fight like hell to gain full marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states.

The U.S. Constitution’s demands for fairness and equality demand that we do so.

*True, Barack Obama (whom I don’t really consider “black” but consider to be of mixed race) turned out to be a huge disappointment, a George W. Bush Lite, but I did cast my vote for him in November 2008 before I knew how his presidency was going to unfold. I voted for him in 2008 at least in part because I thought that it was great to be able to vote for the first non-all-white president in U.S. history. (In 2012 I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again; I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.)

**And this was no radically left-wing California Supreme Court; when it ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008, most of its justices at that time had been appointed by Repugnican, not by Democratic, governors.

Update (Wednesday, June 26, 2013): Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown has instructed the California Department of Public Health, which comes under his authority, to direct all of California’s 58 counties to begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses as soon as is legally possible, which might take a month or so.

Update (Friday, June 28, 2013): The homo-hating wingnuts here in California (and elsewhere) are going apoplectic over this (from The Associated Press today):

The four plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot [today], just hours after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the San Francisco City Hall wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, who married at Los Angeles City Hall 90 minutes later with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presiding. …

Although the couples fought for the right to wed for years, their weddings came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order [this] afternoon dissolving, “effective immediately,” a stay it had imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.

Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, called the appeals court’s swift action “outrageous.” Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask the high court to rehear the case, and Proposition 8’s backers had not yet announced whether they would do so. …

Call the homo-haters a waaaaaambulance! Anyway, the AP story continues:

The [U.S.] Supreme Court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 case until after the 25-day period, which ends July 21. But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who joined the two couples in the lawsuit, said [today] that the Ninth Circuit panel had the power to lift the stay it imposed.

“The fact of the matter is the only thing holding up the weddings was the stay that the Ninth Circuit had in place,” Herrera said. “The fact that there is a separate 25-day period allowing the petition to go for a rehearing is separate and apart from that stay.”

[California Gov. Jerry] Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately after the appeals court’s order. A memo from the Department of Public Health said “same-sex marriage is again legal in California” and ordered county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. …

Anyway: Wow. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s handed-down decision on Wednesday not to touch the Prop H8 case, we Californians had figured that there would be a wait of at least around a month for same-sex marriages to resume in California; we didn’t expect them to resume this quickly.

I misspoke above, by the way: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday did not uphold both federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision that Prop H8 violated the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in February 2012 to uphold Walker’s original ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the circuit court’s ruling, which then reverted the matter of Prop H8 to Walker’s original 2010 ruling.

Frankly, Vaughn Walker, who is now retired, is a hero to me. Yes, he is a gay man, and yes, the homo-haters tried (but failed) to have his 2010 pro-same-sex-marriage ruling invalidated because he’s gay (apparently only [presumedly] straight white men can be fair and impartial judges, you see), but Walker is no left-wing radical: He was nominated as a federal judge first by Ronald Reagan and then by George H. W. Bush, and apparently his political leanings are conservative-libertarian.

I consider Walker’s ruling to be a landmark document in U.S. gay, lesbian and bisexual history. You can read it, if you want, here.

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Why ‘Benghazigate’ never will catch fire

Updated below

Apparently we’re actually supposed to believe that the members of the Repugnican Tea Party are very, very concerned about preventing the preventable deaths of Americans in the Middle East. The preventable death of even one American in the Middle East is absolutely unfuckingacceptable, right?

After all, “Benghazigate,” in which four Americans (including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens) were killed in Libya in September when the American consulate in Benghazi was stormed by militants — even though Mittens Romney failed comically miserably to make political hay out of it during the presidential debates — like Freddy or Jason, just won’t go the fuck away.

Today the do-nothing, sleazy and slimy, Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives held yet another so-called “hearing” in D.C. on “Benghazigate” because the party just doesn’t want you to forget about “Benghazigate.”

But the same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who have expressed no real problem whatsofuckingever over the wholly unnecessary and wholly preventable deaths of more than 4,ooo U.S. military personnel in the unelected Bush regime’s wholly bogus Vietraq War have zero fucking credibility when they cry, incessantly, that we have to get to the bottom! of “Benghazigate.”

They don’t care about American deaths in the Middle East, of course. If they did, they wouldn’t have supported the Vietraq War. But the Vietraq War was launched by a white Repugnican president, you see, and that fact alone makes it all A-OK.

“Benghazigate” is all politics — and if it had happened under a Repugnican president, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors of course would lecture us about how you shouldn’t shamelessly politicize a tragedy like this — and “Benghazigate” is meant to give the Repugnican Tea Party traitors a twofer: an attack upon Democratic President Barack Obama and an attack upon former Secretary of State Billary Clinton, who probably will run for the presidency in 2016.

I don’t allege that the September attack on Benghazi was unpreventable. I don’t allege that there wasn’t any negligence where security was concerned. There might have been. I wasn’t there, wasn’t in the situation.

But preventing another incident like the one in Benghazi in September isn’t the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ main goal. That should be what comes out of the incident, but what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want, more than anything else, is control of the White House, and if they can shamelessly politicize the deaths of four Americans in Libya (while they have ignored the deaths of more than a thousand times that number of Americans in Iraq) to help them achieve that, they will do so.

But “Benghazigate” never will be the “scandal” that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have wanted it to be. The reason that Mittens couldn’t turn “Benghazigate” into an Obama-damaging scandal last fall in order to help his presidential bid is that enough American voters know that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are fucking chickenhawks who don’t actually give a flying fuck about the deaths of Americans abroad. Enough Americans know that Mittens and his ilk are sociopaths who are lying through their fangs when they claim to care so fucking much about the lives of even just a handful of Americans in the Middle East.

Enough Americans recall how cavalierly the unelected Bush regime sent thousands of our troops to their pointless deaths in Vietraq for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s war profiteering to be able to buy for a nanosecond that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors now are being sincere when they claim to care so much about the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi. And enough Americans identify how sick and fucking twisted it is for these sociopathic hypocrites to be using the violent deaths of others for their own political gain.

That’s why “Benghazigate” hasn’t caught fire outside of the right-wing echo chamber and why it never will. It fizzled out in the fall, when Mittens’ sad and pathetic attempt to use it for his own political gain fell flat, but the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still are huffing and puffing on those long-spent ashes that they delusionally believe still actually are embers.

All of this isn’t to say that Barack Obama has been a great president. He has not. His continued slaughter of civilians with his killer drones in Pakistan and in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East only ensures more anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, which makes us Americans less safe, not safer.

Apparently afraid of being branded “soft” or “weak” on “terror,” Obama repeatedly has trounced all over the law, both international and domestic, in order to demonstrate what a bad-ass he is (even though no matter what he does, the wingnuts still are going to call him “soft” or “weak” on “terror”).

Yes, even the Obama administration’s assassination — its extrajudicial execution — of Osama bin Laden on another sovereign nation’s (Pakistan’s) soil without that sovereign nation’s knowledge or approval was a violation of international law, and we know that at least three U.S. citizens (one of them a 16-year-old) thus far have been killed by one of Obama’s drones and that at least four U.S. citizens have been killed altogether by drone strikes in the so-called “war on terror.”

(And before you cry, “Yeah, the war on terror!” I will pronounce right now that the “war on terror” is as bullshit now as it was when the unelected Bush regime declared the “war on terror.” A war is only a conflict between two nations, and the United States of America is not at war with another nation.)

As much as President Hopey-Changey has not delivered upon his promises of (positive) change and has not given us much, if any, reason to hope for a better future — which is why I could not vote for him again in November — one thing that we cannot say about him is that overall he has not kept Americans safe.

We’re five years into the Obama presidency and we have yet to see anything like the almost 3,000 who were killed on September 11, 2001, or the almost 2,000 who were killed in late August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Even if we give George W. Bush a pass on 9/11 — despite the August 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” — there is no excuse for the fact that with at least two or three days’ warning that the approaching Hurricane Katrina could be catastrophic to New Orleans and the surrounding areas, the unelected Bush regime basically allowed hundreds of (predominantly black) Americans to drown.

So for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to act now like their party actually is the party with the actual track record of keeping Americans safe is way beyond ludicrous.

As incredibly fucking stupid as Americans can be, not nearly enough of them are stupid enough to believe, after the catastrophic George W. Bush years and the comparatively very peaceful Obama years, that the best thing that we could do for our own safety is to put another Repugnican in the White House.

So keep it up, Repugnican Tea Party traitors. Your repeatedly bringing up the issue of national security can only remind everyone of the facts of recent U.S. history, and those facts, to put it mildly, do not favor you.

Update: In a pretty good piece on Salon.com about how fucktarded it is to compare everything to Watergate, I followed a link to a piece on the wingnutty website townhall.com. In the piece, written by apparently fairly well-known wingnut Neal Boortz, Boortz proclaims that this is the reason why Benghazi isn’t a Watergate (this is a copy and paste; my comments are in brackets):

… Let me tell you what the American people are concerned with right now – and we’re talking about those who aren’t gunched up with 24/7 discussions about college football recruiting and gay NBA players. In a nutshell (and thank goodness for the few exceptions we DO have) the majority of the American people are more worried right now about acquiring and keeping their monthly checks from the government than they are about 0bama’s [sic — apparently the uber-patriotic Boortz and/or townhall.com refuse to capitalize the name of the duly elected president of the United States of America] lies or foreign policy failures. [“The majority of the American people” are preoccupied with their handouts from the government. So we’re beyond a mere “47 percent” now, apparently.] They think a Benghazi is a small yappy dog.

These people are more concerned about next Winter’s [sic — you don’t capitalize the seasons] home heating assistance checks than they are about dead ambassadors. They’re worrying about getting more federal dollars for child care to help them take care of the next tricycle motor they’re fixin’ to download without the benefit of a husband. [A “tricyle motor,” apparently, is a baby, and while the members of the right wing say that women can’t have abortions or even contraception, at the same time they’re going to slam the wrong women for giving birth. (And “wrong,” of course, means non-white, non-conservative, non-“Christian” and/or poor and/or the like.)] They’re wondering who is going to pay their medical bills, and how they can get their hands on one of those great Section 8 housing vouchers. Some are looking to upgrade their 0bamaPhones.

How many people do we have on Social Security disability right now? The figure is nearing 12 million Americans. These 12 million are principally worried about how to keep those checks coming, while another 12 million (at least) are wondering how to get on this bandwagon as well. After all, their backs hurt and you surely can’t expect them to get out there and work for a living, can you? (Apologies to those of you with actual disabilities, but we could probably cram every one of you into a Jai Alai Fronton somewhere in Miami if we had to.)

Then there’s millions more who’s [sic — why can’t wingnuts get basic fucking English correct? It’s “whose,” not “who’s”] main concern is making sure their unemployment benefits don’t run out (Me? Get a job?) and others who are waiting for 0bama to make their boss pay them more than they’re actually worth on their jobs. …

There you have it. The “small yappy dog” joke is funny, admittedly, but what we have here is a restatement of Mittens Romney’s “47 percent” rhetoric: More Americans don’t care about Benghazi than the number of Americans who actually do because these lazy Americans care only about getting their next handout from the guvmint.

Wow. Seriously. The “47 percent” bullshit hasn’t been working out for the wingnuts very well, but they only are going to continue it? Your stock response to those who disagree with your politics is to claim that they’re living off of the guvmint even when most of them quite demonstrably are not?

True, many if not most Americans are more concerned about their personal economic situations than they are about what happens abroad. Benghazi might indeed, to them, be a “small yappy dog.” But did we not have a pretty good economy under Bill Clinton, only to see George W. Bush destroy it with his Vietraq War, which has cost us trillions of dollars (it’s a huge chunk of our federal budget deficit), and with his tax cuts for the super-filthy-rich (which also is a huge reason for our federal budget deficit)? Does the Repugnican Party have no responsibility for the fact that Americans might be more concerned about their personal economic situations right now than they do about foreign affairs?

And might Americans be quite understandably numb to the bloodshed that they — we — witnessed (and some of us were touched by personally) during the eight very long Bush years?

I mean, fuck: Almost 3,000 dead from 9/11. More than 4,000 dead in the bogus Vietraq War. Almost 2,000 dead from Hurricane Katrina.

After you serially are assaulted with shit like this, are you really supposed to be all fucking bent out of shape over the deaths of four Americans? Really?

It’s interesting, though, I think, to compare my answer to the question of why Benghazi never will be Benghazigate with Boortz’s “answer” to the question.

It wasn’t long ago enough that the wingnuts falsely accused those of us on the left of “hating Americans.”

Being that the wingnuts, probably first and foremost, are fucking hypocrites, I guess that it doesn’t come as a huge shock to see that now it’s fairly apparent that it’s the wingnuts who actually hate Americans — “the majority” of whom, you know, care only about their guvmint handouts. (Ironically, as I have noted, it’s the red states, not the Obama-loving blue states [whose denizens love Obama so much that they actually capitalize his name], that are the welfare states. Of course.)

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Our national Rorschach test results

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NorthJersey.com image

We didn’t have just a bombing in Boston yesterday, did we? We had a national Rorschach test, didn’t we? We have seen what we have been predisposed to see, haven’t we?

The folks at Westboro Baptist Church say that yesterday’s terrorist attack in Boston was God’s punishment for Massachusetts’ having instituted same-sex marriage. I guess that would be God’s very delayed reaction, since Massachusetts instituted same-sex marriage way back in 2004.

Sadly and pathetically, police have questioned a 20-year-old man from Saudi Arabia attending school in Boston apparently primarily because he was At the Boston Marathon While Arab. Reportedly a bystander who had appointed himself a modern-day Paul Revere tackled the Arab man, who apparently looked suspicious! because he was an Arab-looking man running away from the blasts — go figure! I mean, the normal human response would be to run toward the blasts, into harm’s way, right? And what was an Arab man doing at the Boston Marathon anyway?

(The young Arab man’s roommate says that he’s very most likely innocent. I have to agree. This very most likely is a case of racial profiling, it seems to me. I hope that the Paul Revere who tackled the Arab man is brought to justice — that he at least is sued by the Arab man, if not also criminally prosecuted for the apparent assault and battery.)

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (another paranoid, right-leaning white man) has posited that the U.S. government perpetrated the bombings in order to discredit and oppress the members of the so-called “tea party” and like-minded individuals.

Never mind that such a so-called “false-flag” operation would be incredibly difficult to pull off. Who would be willing to perpetrate it, knowing that he (or she) might be caught and prosecuted one day? And who would order it to be done, knowing that he or she also might be caught and prosecuted one day? Think of the number of people who would have to cooperate in such an operation. How would you ensure that none of them ever talked?

And never mind that the “tea party” peaked a long time ago and today is a but a shadow of its former self. You would go that far to try to weaken or destroy the “tea party” or any other political group only if it actually had a lot of power and influence.

That the wingnuts pre-emptively claim that yesterday’s terrorist attack is only being blamed on the wingnuts in order to discredit the wingnuts does not mean, of course, that homegrown wingnuts did not perpetrate the crime.

Taken all together, it sure looks like homegrown wingnutty terrorism to me.

Besides being Tax Day, yesterday also was Patriots’ Day, a day that is obscure here in California but that is big in Massachusetts and in Maine. (Indeed, the Boston Marathon is held in conjunction with Patriots’ Day.)

Patriots’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in April. It was on Patriots’ Day in 1995 that homegrown wingnutty terrorist Timothy McVeigh, a disaffected young white man (if we want to do any racial profiling…), bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

So: Tax Day. Patriots’ Day (Timothy McVeigh’s chosen day for his act of domestic terrorism, in which 168 people were killed). The city of Boston’s symbolism of revolution against oppressive taxation and an oppressive government (McVeigh believed that he was crusading against an oppressive federal government). Massachusetts being a dark-blue state, a bastion of liberalism. (My guess is that a homegrown wingnutty terrorist most likely would attack a real or perceived liberal population rather than a conservative one or even a mixed one.)

Again, I can’t see the “Islamofascists” having perpetrated yesterday’s terrorist attack in Boston. This looks like an inside job to me, and by “inside job” I don’t mean by the Obama administration or by any part of the U.S. government (as much as a fan of the center-right Obama administration and the center-right U.S. government that I am not).

A professional “Islamofascist” terrorist organization would have killed more than just three people, it seems to me. This seems like a much more amateurish terrorist job.

The only real question that remains in my mind is how many people perpetrated yesterday’s terrorist attack.

My guess is that at least two or three people were involved, but I suppose that we can’t rule out a “lone wolf” like then-32-year-old Norweigan right-wing nutjob Anders Behring Breivik, who in July 2011 slaughtered 77 people whom he considered the enemy because he perceived them (correctly or not) as liberal.

Ironically, Breivik hates Muslims, as do his Islamophobic cohorts here at home, yet it seems to me that as a gay man and a left-winger, I’m more likely to be killed by one of these domestic “Christo”fascists that I’m ever likely to be snuffed out by an “Islamofascist.” I am much more concerned about our wonderful homegrown terrorists than I am about terrorists from abroad.

These are the results of my own Rorschach test, but my test results, I wager, are much more likely to be shown to be the actual case than are the other results that I’ve been reading about.

Update: My bad: Apparently Timothy McVeigh picked the date of April 19, 1995, to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building because that date marked the second anniversary of the siege in Waco, Texas, in 1993. April 17, not April 19, was Patriots’ Day in 1995. (Patriots’ Day was on April 19 in 1993, however.)

McVeigh may not even have been aware of Patriots’ Day, it seems to me.

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