Tag Archives: Wisconsin

From ‘audacity’ to a whimper

President Barack Obama will go down in American history something like this…

I have to agree wholeheartedly with the assessment by Michael Moore (who has been too absent from the public arena during Barack Obama’s presidency) that the American history books will mention only (or at least primarily) that Obama was the nation’s first black president. It’s sad that history will remember Obama more for the color of his skin than for the content of his character, but that’s his fault, not history’s.

In fairness, the history books also probably will mention Obamacare (for good or for ill or fairly neutrally), but what else is there to say of the Obama years?*

Allegedly with great audacity and with the dreams of his father behind him, Obama came in with a bang – “HOPE”! and “CHANGE”! “CHANGE”! and “HOPE”! – but he goes out with a whimper.

It’s ironic that Obama’s opposition to the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War – which only ever was meant for war profiteering (such as by Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) and for Big Oil to retake the oil fields of Iraq – helped him into office in 2008 and that now Obama seems poised to end his second term with another war in Iraq (and possibly in Syria).

Yes, of course this time (further) war in Iraq (and in Syria ) can be justified, I think. The Islamic Slate (a.k.a. ISIL and ISIS) – at least in its current incarnation as a rapidly metastasizing, deadly cancer – needs to be stopped. The mass murder and the oppression of those who disagree with certain fascist, religious nutjobs – be they “Christian” fascist nutjobs, “Jewish” fascist nutjobs, “Hindu” fascist nutjobs, “Muslim” fascist nutjobs, whatever – should be met with opposition.

Credible news reports are that the Sunni Islamic State has been slaughtering and oppressing Shiites and other non-Sunnis in large swaths of Syria and Iraq. (No, the Islamic State did not become a problem only when it beheaded two U.S. citizens in propagandistic snuff videos.) Any such mass slaughter and oppression anywhere in the world should be stopped if at all possible, regardless of the United States ’ many missteps and failures to act in the past. (And it should not be the United States playing World Cop all of the fucking time.)

As far to the left as I consider myself to be, I do not believe in absolute, blind pacifism. I don’t believe that in most cases force or the credible threat of force should be the first resort, but nor do I believe that force or the credible threat of force should be taken off the table altogether. It can be a useful tool, and sometimes, the only effective one. And my gut response to the Islamic State, frankly, is: Pound. Them. Into. The. Sand. (With that said, gut responses do not necessarily make for sound actual foreign policy, as we learned with the debacle that was the unelected reign of the illegitimate Bush regime.)

The problem with the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, again, is that of course it never was meant to “liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil Saddam Hussein (who was a “good” dictator until he stopped taking marching orders from the American elite, which then made him a “bad” dictator) – unless you want to call the more than 100,000 Iraqis who died as a result of the Vietraq War “liberated.” No, it was meant to further enrich the cronies of the BushCheneyCorp.

Such treasonously crying wolf, of course, makes it all the harder to sell the American people on military action in the same region, even when military action actually is called for this time – as President Obama surely knows right about now.

And, of course, while the Repugnican Tea Party traitors (redundant) never met a war that they didn’t love (as long as it’s others who are doing all of the dying, of course), they’ll find ways to criticize and condemn Obama no matter how he conducts things militarily in the Middle East. Because if the president is a white Repugnican guy (even one who got into the White House without even having won the highest number of votes of the American people), then to criticize his military actions abroad at all is nothing short of terrorist-lovin’ treason, you see, whereas if the president is a Democrat, and especially not a white, male Democrat, then to criticize his every fucking move is one’s God-given patriotic duty, you see.

So, of course, Obama can’t win, no matter what he does or does not do, but he should have known this political fact from Day One, and so from Day One he should have pushed through a progressive agenda instead of having tried to persuade the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to join him in “Kumbaya” around the campfire in D.C. (You don’t even bother to try to negotiate with terrorists; they cannot be reasoned with.)

Yes, I do believe that having assertively pushed a progressive agenda in the first two years of his first term would have been a winner for Obama. Had he even tried to have delivered upon his campaign promises, he could have been something like the second coming of FDR. He entered the White House with that kind of support behind him, more or less.

Yes, reportedly a majority of Americans deem Obama’s presidency to have been a failure, but these polls that are unflattering to Obama, it seems to me, widely are interpreted, incorrectly, to mean that the majority of Americans embrace the right-wing worldview. But if a pollster were to ask me (or any other actually progressive American) if Obama’s presidency has been a success or a failure, I (or he or she) would say, without even having to think about it, a failurenot because I at all agree with the right-wing worldview and agenda, but because I believe that Obama utterly squandered his chance, especially in 2009 and 2010, to push through an actually progressive agenda, while both houses of Congress still were held by his own party.**

Whereas the unelected Bush regime spent “political capital” that it never even fucking had (I remember when the Bushies called Bush’s “re”-election by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004 to be a “mandate”), Obama was too timid or too lazy or too stupid (or some combination of these things) to even touch his actual stockpile of political capital in 2009 and 2010, and his failure to have done so will go down in history (history that is thoughtful and critical, anyway) as one of the biggest missed opportunities by a U.S. president to accomplish the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of Americans.

And I judge Obama’s presidency to be a failure because, of course, you judge a politician based upon his or her actual accomplishments in office compared to the campaign promises that he or she made in order to get elected to that office. (Yeah, as cynical as I might be, I’m still not ready to let any politician off the hook for having violated, blatantly, his or her own campaign promises.) Based upon his own relentless campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” of course Obama’s presidency – which has delivered primarily more of the same, not “hope” or “change” – has been a failure.

Of course, pretty much any Repugnican president – John McCainosaurus, Mittens Romney or any other Repugnican – would have done even worse in the Oval Office than Obama has done (except, perhaps, for the 1 percent, for the richest Americans), but that doesn’t let Obama off the hook with me; I judge Obama by actually progressive Democratic (that is, actually Democratic) standards, not by the low bar that has been set by the right wing (probably especially by George W. Bush). And speaking of the devil, of course Obama has been a better president than Gee Dubya was – for starters, Obama actually was democratically elected in the first fucking place, for fuck’s sake – but saying that President X is or was better than was “President” George W. Bush is saying exactly nothing.

And how is Obama poised to end his second and final term? At (further) war in the Middle East, with a new/old enemy this time, the Islamic State. (I write “new/old” because just as the “tea party” is comprised of the same old fascists who were around long before they started to call themselves the “tea party,” the Islamic State apparently is comprised, largely if not mostly, of the same old Islamofascists who were around before Obama ever took office. Of course, it was the Bush regime’s woefully-misguided-to-put-it-mildly Vietraq War, more than anything else, that contributed to the genesis of the Islamic State that we see today.)

I have to wonder if Barack Obama is trying to do Billary Clinton a favor right now, trying to make the Democratic Party look Tough! On! Terrorists! — just in time for the 2016 presidential election. But if more war in the Middle East (and exactly how it should be executed) is going to be the centerpiece of the 2016 presidential election, don’t the chickenhawk Repugnicans play the war card a lot better than do the Dems?

Because of that, how could the Dems expect to win the White House again in 2016 by posing as warhawks, as Billary already appears to be doing?

Didn’t someone once remark that when given the choice of voting for a Repugnican candidate or a “Democratic” candidate who acts like a Repugnican, the typical voter will vote for the genuine Repugnican?

The theofascist Islamic State needs to be checked, for sure, just as would any other insane group of murderers and fascists at home or abroad, but at the same time, potential blowback from military actions that always should be considered aside, Team Obama and Team Billary need to be careful, methinks, not to give the war-drum-beating chickenhawks of the Repugnican Tea Party political validation – and thus political victory – by also beating those tired, old war drums (only less convincingly, in the eyes of the voters, than the chickenhawks do) between now and Election Day in November 2016.

*Obama lost me, forever, after he just fucking sat on his hands while British Petroleum filled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude oil in 2010, and after he failed to visit the state of Wisconsin even once in early 2011, when Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker successfully attacked the right of the workers of the state to collectively bargain.

Candidate Obama had promised in 2007: “Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone’s standing in their corner.”

Again, Obama showed up in Wisconsin not once. In his first term Obama failed to lead on a huge environmental issue and he failed to lead on a huge labor-rights issue, part of a pattern of failure that his presidency has been. (As I have noted, while I [stupidly] voted for Obama in 2008, I did not vote for Obama again in November 2012, but voted for the Green Party candidate instead.)

**Indeed, I’m not the only leftist who deems Obama’s presidency a failure; the Washington Post notes of its own (with ABC News) recent nationwide poll that “Those saying Obama has been a failure include one in four Democrats (25 percent), nearly three in 10 liberals (29 percent) and the vast, vast majority of conservative Republicans (92 percent). Nearly one in five liberals (18 percent) say they feel ‘strongly’ that Obama has been a failure.

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Political future of Repug thug in a suit should be grim

U.S. Representative King and Grimm talk to media after discussing relief fund hold up for Hurricane Sandy victims in Washington in this file photo

Reuters photo

Repugnican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who might want to consider a switch to playing football, is shown in D.C. earlier this month.

The biggest news from last night’s State of the Union address, pathetically, was the post-address thuggery by a Repugnican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, very stupidly on camera, threatened a significantly smaller male TV news reporter who had dared to (try to) ask Grimm about Grimm’s current legal and ethical troubles, especially involving his campaign finances, “If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off the fucking balcony” and “I’ll break you in half like a little boy.”

Pro football player Richard Sherman, as Salon.com’s Joan Walsh has pointed out, recently has been termed a “thug” — the opinion of many is that if you are black (as Sherman is), you are more likely to be called a “thug” than is a white person who has engaged in the equivalent behavior, and that “thug” thus is a coded racist term — and I remember well that the wingnuts routinely called union members “thugs” when union members dared to fight to preserve their rights in the aftermath of Repugnican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on workers’ rights in early 2011.

While “thug” certainly can be used as a thinly veiled racist epithet, the members of the right wing in general, in my observation and experience, deem those who act with assertiveness (physical or not) with whom they disagree as “thugs,” whereas those with whom they agree are almost never “thugs,” no matter what they do.

How about the “Brooks Brothers riot” in Florida on November 19, 2000?

As Wikipedia recounts, on that date

Hundreds of “paid GOP crusaders” descended upon South Florida to protest the state’s recounts, with at least half a dozen of the demonstrators at Miami-Dade paid by George W. Bush’s recount committee. Several of these protesters were identified as Republican staffers and a number later went on to jobs in the Bush administration.

The “Brooks Brothers” name reinforces the allegation that the protesters, in corporate attire, sporting “Hermès ties” were astroturfing, as opposed to [actually being] local citizens concerned about [vote-]counting practices.

The demonstration was organized by Republican operatives, sometimes referred to as the “Brooks Brothers Brigade,” to oppose the recount of 10,750 ballots during the Florida recount. The canvassers decided to move the counting process to a smaller room and restrict media access to 25 feet away while they continued. At this time, New York Rep. John Sweeney told an aide to “Shut it down.”

The demonstration turned violent, and according to the New York Times, “several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. Sheriff’s deputies restored order.” Democratic National Committee aide Luis Rosero was kicked and punched. Within two hours after the riot died down, the canvassing board unanimously voted to shut down the count, in part due to perceptions that the process wasn’t open or fair, and in part because the court-mandated deadline was impossible to meet. …

Keep in mind that Bush officially “won” Florida, and thus the White House, by only 537 votes.

Would any Repugnican on the planet call the “Brooks Brothers riot” what it was, which was a mob of fucking thugs trying — and apparently at least partially succeeding — to influence the outcome of a presidential fucking election in their favor through the use of intimidation (the threat of harm from physical violence) and actual physical violence?

No, to the Repugnicans, especially those of the “tea-party” ilk, this incident was wholly justifiable, because its goal was to put George W. Bush in the White House even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than Bush had.

Similarly, there is no justifying the shit that the thug Michael Grimm pulled last night.

It’s understandable that Grimm was not pleased to be asked by a TV news reporter about an issue that could threaten Grimm’s political future. And Grimm has claimed that he had been promised by the local TV news outfit that the question would not come up.

But even if that is true, it doesn’t justify his threat to “throw” the reporter “off the fucking balcony” and “break [him] in half like a little boy.” (My understanding is that such verbal threats constitute at least a misdemeanor.)

We can expect such language from football players, I think — I mean, let’s get real; NFL players are essentially modern-day gladiators –but can we excuse such language from so-called statesmen?

Grimm initially apparently refused to apologize, stating, “I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

Well, actually, Grimm just might be the first member of Congress ever to have threatened to throw a reporter “off the fucking balcony” and “break [him] in half like a little boy.” On camera, anyway.

And I find it funny that Grimm, who apparently lacks all self-awareness, should fault anyone else for lacking “a certain level of professionalism and respect,” when he certainly rather graphically displayed such a lack last night. 

My guess is that other members of Grimm’s pathetic party since spoke to him, because the latest statement that Grimm has issued is this:

I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto [the TV news reporter whom Grimm attacked], which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post-[Hurricane] Sandy.

In the end, I suppose, it will be up to the voters of Grimm’s congressional district to decide his fate in November.

If those voters have a brain cell among them, Grimm’s political future indeed is grim, and ironically, his on-camera blow-up probably has done him far more political damage than he would have sustained had he just manned up and answered the fucking question, even evasively and using the usual politico-speak, such as he used in his belated, apparently begrudging apology.

In the meantime: A “thug” is anyone of any race or any political ideology who uses intimidation (the threat of violence) or actual violence to try to obtain his or her objectives. (Admittedly, women rarely are called “thugs,” although I believe in equality of the two sexes, so I see no problem with the designation being made for women.)

So, indeed, if Richard Sherman is a “thug,” then Michael Grimm most certainly is also.

P.S. Of the State of the Union address itself, I don’t have much to say. Barack Obama has a solid history of lofty rhetoric but scant political results. And I still blame him for having squandered his political capital thoroughly in 2009 and 2010, thereby helping the Repugnicans regain control of the U.S. House in November 2010 and thus handicapping his presidency ever since.

I already am looking past Obama and forward to the next president, frankly, as are millions of other Americans, I’m sure.

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Warren-vs.-Walker deathmatch in 2016?

The release of this book yesterday can only fuel speculation that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has presidential aspirations. While I loathe the man (who is a man only in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word), a presidential match-up between progressive Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the pro-plutocratic Walker would, I surmise, be awesome.

Many if not most say that it’s way too early to start speculating about the November 2016 presidential election.

I mostly disagree with that.

Especially if you haven’t been anointed by the D.C. establishment, as, say, Republicrat Billary Clinton has been, you probably need all of the campaigning time that you can get between now and November 2016.

And if Barack Obama had delivered substantively on the “hope” and “change” that he relentlessly and ubiquitously had promised during his campaign for 2008, and if we hadn’t all given up on him already because as president he’s been so fucking lazy and worthless (at best), we (especially us progressives) probably wouldn’t already be looking past Obama and forward to 2016.

All of that said, the latest 2016 presidential speculation is that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker might run for his party’s presidential nomination.

The release of Walker’s (probably ghost-written) book — Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge (reminiscent to me of the smug, pseudo-triumphant title of Mittens Romney’s No Apologies) — yesterday should only fuel speculation that he’ll be a 2016 contender.

(Walker reportedly says that “his new book … is not a campaign book [right…] but that he’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 or promising that if re-elected [as Wisconsin governor] next year he’ll serve out his term.”

Walker also reportedly stated recently that the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee must “be an outsider,” adding, “I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor — people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward.”

Walker just coinky-dinkily, in his mind, anyway, matches that description.

So there you go.)

Could Walker win the White House?

My guess is that no, he could not, but the fact that Walker was elected governor in 2010 and survived a gubernatorial recall election in June 2012 in a state whose denizens cast the most number of votes for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since at least 1988 suggests, at least on the face of it, that the smug, heartless, union-busting, Koch-brother-loving/pro-plutocratic Walker might be a stronger 2016 contender than many if not most realize.

I can’t really see Walker doing well in the national forum, as I don’t detect a milligram of charisma in him, but he is a masterful liar, doing the bidding of the billionaires who fund him while pretending that he does everything in the best interests of the commoner.

That is, of course, how the “tea party” operates: excuse the “hard-working” billionaires who have been dismantling the middle class for some decades now — and blame and punish instead the working class and what’s left of the middle class for all of our socioeconomic ills.

Pathetically, that shit actually sells, especially among right-wing and right-leaning stupid (by definition) white men, the Joe the Plumber types, and other similar types (most of them, though, poor, white trash) who think that it’s a great idea for the chickens to support Colonel Sanders, and who apparently are too fucking stupid to realize the simple, basic, obvious fact that they, too, are chickens.

A Elizabeth-Warren-vs.-Scott-Walker 2016 presidential contest would be, to say the least, interesting.

It would be a battle by proxy between us progressives and the “tea-party” dipshits, a battle between us progressives, who fully realize that it’s the Wall Street weasels and other assorted plutocrats and their supporters (like Scott Walker) who have been destroying the nation (many of us found a voice in the Occupy movement), and the teatards, who are too fucking stupid to realize that we of the working class and the middle class are not actually the enemy, but are the victims of our plutocratic overlords.

Such a battle would have my full engagement.

If the uniquely uninspiring and uncharismatic and waaay-overrated Billary Clinton actually got the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, however, you pretty much could count me out.

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Repugnican losers are trying to rig the game

Widespread talk of how the Repugnican Tea Party was going to “reform” itself after two national rejections in a row has been a fucking joke. We have our answer already: Of course the traitors have no interest whatsofuckingever in changing their ways.

Now, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are trying to have the electoral votes in some purple states with Repugnican-Tea-Party-majority state governments changed from winner takes all (which is the case in 48 of the 50 states) to divvying them up (like only Maine and Nebraska do) — but only in those purple states in which this change of the rules would benefit the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, of course.

They’re not talking about divvying up the electoral votes of such deep-red, winner-takes-all states as Texas or Arizona or Georgia. They’re only talking about divvying up the electoral votes of such purple states as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsinstates that Barack Obama just won (and that he won in 2008).

It seems to me that this violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment — at least in spirit, if not in the letter — because it gives the voters in some states a right that voters in other states do not: Namely, to have their votes make a difference in the Electoral College.

I’ll even play devil’s advocate here: The Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ new scheme, if it had been in place in our last presidential election, would have meant that, for instance, someone who voted for Mittens Romney on November 6 in, say, Virginia or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania still would have had his or her vote count in the Electoral College as long as he or she lived in a congressional district that Mittens won, even though Barack Obama won the majority of all of the votes in those states — but someone who voted for Mittens in, say, deep-blue New York or California, would not have had his or her vote count in the Electoral College, because in those winner-takes-all states, Obama would have received all of the states’ electoral votes.

Is that fair — to give voters in some states more say in the Electoral College than the voters in other states? Shouldn’t every voter’s presidential vote count equally?

Of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, being traitors, aren’t about fairness and equality and democracy. They’re about “winning” at all costs — fairness and equality and democracy be damned.

Of course, the best course of action would be to eliminate the Electoral College altogether, to amend the United States Constitution to abolish it and to replace it with a straight-up popular vote for the presidency.

In a so-called democracy, there is no good reason not to choose the president of the United States based on a popular vote. (“But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” is not a valid argument, since it replaces reasoned analysis with mental laziness [a.k.a. “tradition”].)

The winner-takes-all Electoral College method effectively means that those blue voters in red states and those red voters in blue states have no voice at all, but to have one of the two duopolistic political parties pick and choose which states are to be winner-takes-all and which states are to divvy up their electoral votes — only in order to benefit that party’s presidential candidates — is even worse.

It is unfair as it is that even Nebraska and Maine divvy up their electoral votes when the other 48 states do not, but this hasn’t been a huge unfairness problem thus far, since both states together have only nine electoral votes (at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes are necessary to win the White House).

If the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are successful in rigging the entire Electoral College to benefit themselves, however, millions of voters will be disenfranchised.

The good news in all of this is that if the Repugnican Tea Party were strong, it wouldn’t need to cheat in order to “win” presidential elections, as it did in 2000 (and probably in 2004 as well), and as it is trying to do now.

The bad news is that sluggish, complacent, lazy Americans have a way of just allowing the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to get away with their blatantly anti-democratic bullshit, such as stealing presidential elections and launching bogus wars.

I considered the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000 to be the biggest blow to American democracy during my lifetime, but what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are cooking up now, if realized, would make even that seem like child’s play by comparison.

P.S. (Friday, January 25, 2013): My bad: Add Ohio and Michigan to the list of purple states that Obama won in 2008 and in 2012 but that now are controlled by Repugnican Tea Party traitors who have at least talked about divvying up their states’ electoral votes in order to rig future presidential elections for the Repugnican Tea Party.

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I voted for Jill Stein, fuck you very much.

Updated below

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein delivers remarks during a press conference on July 11 in Washington, D.C.

AFP/Getty Images

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, photographed in Washington, D.C., in July

It wasn’t a difficult decision. It felt at least a bit liberating, in fact, to fill in with my black ballpoint pen the oval next to her name on my mail-in ballot, and putting my completed ballot in the U.S. Postal Service mailbox yesterday gave me the at-least-mild satisfaction of having an important task finished.

President Barack Obama is leading Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney by double digits in polling here in California. California and its 55 electoral votes, the nation’s biggest prize, are so not up for grabs that neither candidate is airing any TV commercials here. No mailers, either. Nothing that I have seen, in fact, except what’s on the Internet.

The New York Times’ prognosticator Nate Silver, as I type this sentence, puts Obama’s chances of re-election at just a little below 75 percent and Mittens’ chances of winning the White House at just a little above 25 percent.

Fact is, living in a solidly blue state under the undemocratic, winner-takes-all Electoral College system, my vote for president essentially doesn’t count. I could have voted for Mittens, for fuck’s sake, and the outcome in California wouldn’t have been altered one nano-iota. That Obama would win all of California’s 55 electoral votes on November 6, 2012, was a foregone conclusion long ago.

No, of course I don’t want Mormon multi-millionaire fascist Mittens to win, and of course I recognize that the winner of the election will be Obama or Mittens (and certainly not a third-party candidate), which is why this time around I gave Obama more than $100 in campaign contributions — much less than I gave him in 2008, but, according to an e-mail that the Obama campaign put out earlier this month, only about one in 75 Americans has given Obama one single penny, so hey, even the less than $200 that I’ve given him toward his re-election bid is pretty fucking good, comparatively.

But I almost didn’t vote for Obama in November 2008. When I went to my polling place on Election Day 2008, I had it down to Obama or to independent progressive candidate Ralph Nader, and even when I’d just received my ballot I still had to ponder which candidate to vote for, and at the last minute I went ahead and gave my vote to Mr. Hopey-Changey, knowing that he would carry California whether I voted for him or not, but hoping that he would at least try to deliver the change that he’d promised.

And yes, I also felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to vote for the first non-white president of the nation’s history. It gave me at least a little bit of an uplift to know that I was part of that historical event. (Of course, any Obama-related uplift was blunted by the blow of the passage of Proposition Hate here in California, which happened in large part thanks to the big money and the efforts of Mittens’ Mormon cult and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s Catholick church, which, much like the Taliban, seek to shove their theofascist, ignorant, hateful bullshit down the throats of all of us.)

Four years later, it is clear to me that Barack Obama had only said what he’d figured (correctly) would get him elected. Indeed, his take of the popular vote was bigger than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever got.

I could post a litany of reasons why, in good conscience, I could not cast my vote for Barack Obama again, but here are just three of them:

  • Obama for the most part just sat idly by while British Petroleum assured us that it had its crude-gushing underwater oil well perfectly well under control. Obama’s inaction was a clear signal to the planet-raping corporations: Do (or don’t do) whatever the fuck you want. The Democratic Party is addicted to your campaign contributions and therefore won’t lift a fucking finger to stop you from destroying the planet.
  • Obama had promised before his election that if the right to collectively bargain ever were under threat anywhere in the nation, he’d don a pair of comfortable walking shoes and join the fight himself. Yet when workers in Wisconsin fought for months and months for the survival of their right to collectively bargain, Obama showed his face in Wisconsin not one fucking time. Wisconsinites were on their own, with only very-last-minute support from the national Democratic Party, which was way too little way too late, and resultantly, Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived the gubernatorial recall election against him in June.*
  • The Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning-for-fuck’s-sake Obama loves his civilian-killing drones, which, if you are awake, alert and oriented, you should find spine-chilling. A recent study of drone strikes by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law found that “from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 to 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 to 881 were civilians, including 176 children.” Um, yeah, “they” don’t hate us for “our freedom.” And what’s to stop drones from being used against American civilians here at home at some point in the future?

Even without those three things, this one thing is more than enough reason not to vote for Punker in Chief Barack Obama again: Obama’s best opportunity to push through a progressive agenda was in 2009 and 2010, when his party controlled not only the White House but also the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Instead of even fucking trying to deliver upon his promises of hope and change for his base, however, Obama in 2009 and 2010 was too busy trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress whose only mission was to make sure that the nation’s first non-white president failed. (They even openly had stated that this was their mission from Day One.)

You don’t negotiate with terrorists. You crush them. Which is what Obama should have done.

Obama’s role model, he repeatedly essentially has told us, was Ronald Fucking Reagan, who, in my book, ranks with Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush as the worst three presidents of my lifetime (I was born in 1968).

Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” the so-called “Obamacare,” contains little to nothing that the wealth-care industry didn’t rubber stamp, and even while proclaiming his support of same-sex marriage, Obama still maintains that each state nonetheless should be allowed to decide whether or not same-sex couples’ constitutional guarantee of equality should be honored or denied.

All of this, yet Barack Obama is on our side?

After the 2008 election, Obama and his surrogates called us progressives — the Democratic Party’s (disappearing?) base — “sanctimonious” members of the “professional left.”

I, for one, don’t forget such slights — I helped put you where you are, and then you turn and shit and piss all over me? Really? — and the Obama administration’s incredibly stupid practice of base-bashing is a large reason why I voted for Jill Stein.

Again, of course I hope that Mittens Romney doesn’t win, but if he does, you can’t blame me.

Blame Barack Obama, who promised hope and change but who has delivered only sweet-sounding rhetoric and even base-bashing, and who has presided over the nation as a Ronald-Reagan-loving Repugnican Lite.

And blame the Obamabots — the blind, mindless, amoral Democratic Party hacks — who to this day have refused to hold the center-right Barack Obama accountable for anyfuckingthing only because he wears the brand-name label of “Democrat,” and who continue to actually buy the Democratic Party’s pandering bullshit that the Democratic Party of today actually gives a flying fuck about us, against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Update: I’d wanted to keep my bullet-pointed list of Obama’s fuck-ups to only three items, but Barack Obama has been such a fuck-up that I found it fairly impossible to list only three of his fuck-ups, so I ended up listing other fuck-ups of his elsewhere in my post, and I want to add a fourth bullet point, a point that I’m surprised that I forgot to include in my original post:

  • Early on, Obama appointed Wall Street weasels like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers as his economic advisers, and in 2008, Obama took more money from Wall Street weasels than even John McCainosaurus did — which is probably why Obama rejected the advice of progressive economists, like the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman, who warned that Obama’s “stimulus” wasn’t nearly enough to restore the nation’s economy. All of this while Obama claims to care sooooo much about the working class and the middle class. Again: Whose side, exactly, is Barack “Talk One Way, Walk Another” Obama on?

*A judge in Wisconsin last month struck down Walker’s union-killing legislation, which was a victory for labor, but a victory that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party had a hand in. And the state is appealing the judge’s ruling, so the fight isn’t quite over quite yet.

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Team Blast to the Past proclaims: ‘Arbeit macht frei!’

Getty Images photo

Romney/Ryan 2012! Because right-wing white males have been sorely underrepresented throughout the history of the United States of America! (Helpful household tip!: If you or a loved one has swallowed some poison and you have no ipecac in the house, just use the nausea-inducing image above!)

If Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney was going to pick a significantly younger running mate to try to appeal cynically to the youthful vote, I’d figured that it would be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who would (have) be(en) a two-fer — a cynical appeal to the youthful vote and a cynical appeal to the increasingly important Latino vote. (Actually, I suppose, a three-fer — Marco is from the Mittens-must-win swing state of Florida.)

Instead, Romney picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — the man of whom Jon Stewart, I can never forget, once quipped that Eddie Munster grew up and became a J.C. Penney catalog model. The left-leaning MoveOn.org remarked in an e-mail to its members today that “Paul Ryan isn’t just a extremist — he’s young, smart and charming. The media constantly describe him as looking like ‘the boy next door.’ He’s the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Yup. Ted Bundy also looked like “the boy next door.” That was how he gained his victims’ trust.

I’m a little surprised that Team Mittens chose Paul Ryan, who strikes me as maybe one notch above Dan Quayle. No doubt Team Mittens wanted Ryan’s telegenic appeal, but Ryan is only a U.S. representative — and U.S. representatives are lower on the totem pole than those who usually are on presidential tickets (current or former governors or U.S. senators, for the most part) — and Team Mittens flushed the concept of diversity right down the toilet by picking neither a woman nor a non-white for the Repugnican Tea Party’s 2012 presidential ticket, but by picking another right-wing white man, a younger version of Mittens, kind of like Batman and Robin, only fighting for evil instead of for good.

Wow.

Is this, the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential ticket, the angry white man’s last stand?

Paul Ryan is most known for being to social Darwinism was Charles Darwin was to Darwinism. Ryan wants to annihilate what precious little is left of our social safety net, including, of course, Medicare, and the rhetoric of the Romney/Ryan team — the evil dynamic duo — in the coming several weeks is easy to predict.

Romney and Ryan will talk about the virtue of hard work, and will implicitly, if not explicitly, proclaim that if you’re not filthy rich, it’s because you’re a lazy piece of shit.

This line of perennial propaganda is the plutocrats’ chief weapon in trying to prevent the masses from rising up against them with torches and pitchforks: telling the masses that their poverty is their own fucking fault.

It’s not that Americans (well, Americans who aren’t right-wing white males, I mean, of course [and can we really even call such people “Americans”?]) are lazy. It’s that the No. 1 goal of capitalism is to maximize profits, and a huge part of maximizing profits is to pay your employees as little as you possibly can. Therefore, at least tens of millions of Americans don’t even earn a living wage.

Mittens’ recent rhetoric that welfare recipients should work perhaps sounds reasonable, but let’s reflect upon the fact that the plutocrats who receive corporate welfare, such as the $700 billion bailout for the Wall Street weasels, certainly didn’t perform any work in return for their welfare, and let’s get fucking real about the kind of work that is available to the “welfare queens”/“welfare cheats.”

Let’s suppose that you have a single mother who is a “welfare queen.” Even if she has only one child, if she has only a high-school diploma (or maybe not even that) and doesn’t have a remarkable skills set (hell, maybe she’s really not that great at anything at all, in terms of what can earn her money in the marketplace), what kind of job can she get to satisfy the Mittenses and the Eddie-Munsters-cum-J.C.-Penney-catalog-models of the world?

She can get, very most likely, a job that pays only minimum wage or maybe just a bit above minimum wage — she can become a wage slave. Maybe she’ll get decent benefits, but most likely not; good employee benefits cut into the plutocrats’ precious profit margins, you see, as does paying an employee even a dime over minimum wage.

After you take out what having her minimum-wage job costs her, such as in child-care costs (which can be quite considerable) and in transportation costs, how much money will she have left? After she pays her rent (or house payment, if she can afford to be living in a house, but she probably cannot), how much money will she have left?

What if she or her child gets seriously ill and she has no health-care coverage, or only shoddy health-care coverage, because her money-grubbing employer doles out no or only shitty benefits?

Is the amount of money that she will have left after she has been forced to work because privileged right-wing white males likes Mittens Romney and Paul Ryan believe that she should be forced to work in order to increase their fellow plutocrats’ profits be worth her inability to be with and care for her child during most of the child’s waking hours?

What if our “welfare queen” decides to pick herself up by her bootstraps and go to college? What then? She’ll still have child-care issues, and perhaps transportation-cost issues, and she still will have less time to spend with and care for her child, and will she be expected to work on top of attending her classes and studying?

Will her college education be paid for, or will she find herself like so many millions of our young people now, who graduate from college with worthless degrees (worthless because there are no fucking decent jobs), and with a shitload of debt owed to the student-loan sharks?

You know, though, Mittens’ recent rhetoric has given me a great idea, an idea that struck me when I read this quote of Mittens in a recent Los Angeles Times news article:

“People who receive payments from the government are going to be required to do work, not as a punitive measure but as a gift. Work is enhancing; work is elevating.” (Emphasis mine.)

This work-related rhetoric reminded me of something that I’d heard before…

And then I remembered the Nazi slogan “Work sets you free.”

The German of that is “Arbeit macht frei,” and this chilling German slogan was posted at the entrances of Nazi death — er, work — camps, such as that of Auschwitz:

Seriously, though, regarding the problem of the cost of child care and transportation for the “welfare queens” and other “welfare cheats” that I mentioned above, I have a modest proposal: If we forcibly put them into “work” camps — and if we make their lazy, free-loading children work, too — then problem solved!

After all:

Work!

Sets!

You!

Free!

Romney/Ryan 2012, I am here to advise you!

Let me be your Goebbels!

Vee must take back zee Vaterland!

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Wade Michael Page and the two Americas

 Wade Michael Page is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group "End Apathy"

Wade Michael Page (shown in some news images above), who was 40 years old when he was killed yesterday as he was committing a heinous hate crime, didn’t look so different from the way that I look.

He was and I am a brown-haired white man in his 40s with a shaved head and a goatee. His eyes appear to have been hazel or green and mine are blue, and I have no tattoos, but still, just looking at us, just from appearances, you might assume that he was and I am on the same page.

But he was and I am not even in the same library.

Page, who yesterday gunned to death six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before he was gunned to death by a police officer, held a very different vision of what the United States of America should be than do I.

Page reportedly was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1998 for “patterns of misconduct” and was “ineligible for re-enlistment.” He also was a white supremacist. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and individuals who are involved in hate groups:

Wade Michael Page was a member of two racist skinhead [musical] bands – End Apathy and Definite Hate, a band whose album “Violent Victory” featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face. In the drawing, the fist is tattooed with the letters “HFFH,” the acronym for the phrase “Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins.”

The Hammerskins is a nationwide skinhead organization with regional factions and chapters that once dominated the racist skinhead movement in the United States.

Both of Page’s bands played with a revolving lineup of musicians, and their music was at one time featured on the Hammerskin Nation record label. In 2010, Page and his band mates – including Brent Rackley, a member of a Confederate Hammerskins chapter in North Carolina — played at a racist music festival called Independent Artist Uprise in Baltimore. Other bands featured at the show were Blue Eyed Devils and Max Resist, both influential mainstays on the hate music scene.

“Blue-eyed devil.” As one who possesses blue eyes, I never want to be mistaken for a white supremacist.

I don’t believe that the United States of America should be a white-majority nation, either in numbers or in political power. (Even when whites have only a plurality in terms of their population in a certain area, they still tend to wield majority political power in that area.)

I don’t believe that the racial makeup of the United States of America matters. An American, to me, is anyone who lives here. (I’m not even concerned about his or her citizenship status.) I am not disturbed that racial demographics in the U.S. are shifting, so that whites increasingly are becoming a minority in the nation as a whole. (Whites already are a minority in many regions of the nation.)

I don’t believe in an American monoculture, which is what Page and his ilk apparently have wanted: a culture of white, patriarchal, usually theocratic so-called “Christians” who believe that those who are different — those whose race or beliefs or language or customs or sexual orientation or gender identification differ from the white monoculture’s or from what the white monoculture dictates these things “should” be — should be relegated to ghettoes, driven out of the U.S. and/or even exterminated.

A monoculture of any type is dangerous. Biologists will tell you that when a species does not allow in some genetic diversity, that species’ genetic defects, which are not washed out, then, so to speak, will then threaten the species.

Ditto for culture. The closed-off white monoculture envisioned by Page and his ilk is a recipe for ruin because it lets in nothing different and new, making adaptability to a changing environment difficult to impossible.

Only by allowing in diversity can the United States of America adapt to a rapidly changing world. Others possess what the white monoculture does not possess — and what it needs. (And yes, even the white monoculture has some valuable things to offer other cultures.)

Far from the white supremacist viewpoint, mine is much like that of the late Mexican philosopher, politician and writer José Vasconcelos, who in his long essay “La Raza Cósmica” (“The Cosmic Race”)* urged the intentional mixing of all of the races in order to maximize the gifts that the various peoples of the world possess.

It’s a Utopian vision, I know. Indeed, Vasconcelos even calls the achievement of such a society “Universópolis.” You don’t get much more Utopian-sounding than that.

But is this vision really any different from the vision statement that is printed on our nation’s seal and on our currency: “E pluribus unum,” Latin for “out of many, one”?

I hold that this vision, however Utopian, is a much higher vision than that of Wade Michael Page, who was just one of millions of white American men (and women) whose vision, whether they openly admit it or not, is that of continued white supremacy — a right-wing, racist vision akin to that of Nazi Germany.

I hold that the vision of “E pluribus unum” is the true American vision, although the history of the United States of America is one big violation of this vision after another. Indeed, the American ideals were violated even as they were created. But because the vision repeatedly has been violated by those who have yet to rise up to it is no reflection upon the validity and the strength of the vision itself.

Speaking further of the truly American vision, I take the words associated with the Statue of Liberty quite seriously:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …”

Therefore, I see anti-immigrant sentiment as deeply un-American. Anti-immigrant sentiment is as American as apple pie, you might argue, and I would agree with you that yes, in what we have seen throughout U.S. history to this present day, it sure is, but in terms of the vision, of the ideal, it is quite un-American. 

The six Sikhs whom Wade Michael Page gunned down in cold blood — five men and one woman who ranged in age from 39 to 84 — they, I am guessing, were among the “masses yearning to breathe free.” They, I am guessing, responded to the promise that the United States of America had made to them that it wanted them, that it would embrace them, that it would grant them some freedom, or at least some opportunity.

They met a white supremacist coward’s bullets instead.

They met his bullets because he very apparently considered them to be a threat to his continued survival and that of the group(s) to which he perceived himself to belong.

I consider them and others whose culture is so different from mine not to be a threat, but to be an opportunity — an opportunity to learn more, to discover more, to grow, to expand my concept, and theirs, of what it is to be a human being on planet Earth in this cosmos.

Rather than spray Sikhs with bullets, or even with rubber bands, I’d much rather spray them with questions. I’d rather compare notes.

That doesn’t mean that I’d ever become a Sikh or a Muslim or a Hindu (yes, white supremacists, they’re all different) or that I’d learn a foreign language that is incredibly difficult for someone whose first language was English to learn, such as Mandarin or Cantonese or Japanese or one of the Russian dialects.

But it means that I’m not afraid to share the same space with people who significantly are different from me, and it means that I’m willing to engage in cultural exchange that benefits everyone.

Although they might look the same on the surface, there truly are two United States of Americas.

One of them is represented by the likes of Wade Michael Page.

I am proud to represent the other one.

*Written in 1925, the essay contains some sentences that seem racist or at least stereotypical today, so I don’t endorse every word that Vasconcelos put down in his essay, but I do endorse his overarching ideas, and it does seem to me that, as Vasconcelos posited those many decades ago, Latin America might offer the United States its best hope for salvation, which is ironic, given the United States’ historic oppression of Latin America.

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