Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


(First off, not all of those who voted for Trump in 2016 fall into the following category, only 75% to 80%. The remaining 20% to 25% were justifiably disgusted with the do-nothing policies of Obama/Biden/the Clintons that had left them totally screwed over economically, and just wanted to shake things up. If you’re among them, please realize that you are not who I’m talking about. I’m talking here about the real true believers, Trump’s personality cultists. There’s no reasoning with them, and it’s time to call them out for what they are.)

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We’ve all seen ’em, assholes driving around in land-raper pickups wearing MAGA hats, flying huge American flags. Using the symbol that’s supposed to stand for individual freedom and equal opportunity as a stand-in for preening jingoism, butt kissing of their glorious leader, and intimidation of those they disagree with.

They’re utter, total phonies. They systematically betray everything America is supposed to stand for.

Let’s look at specifics:

  • Freedom of speech. They beat protesters at Trump rallies, and show up bearing assault weapons at anti-Trump demos to intimidate protesters (as at Charlottesville — and thank god for Redneck Revolt showing up equally well armed to oppose them). On a more mundane level, Trump routinely attacks the press — about the only real check on the misdeeds of the powers that be — as “enemies of the people,” and god help you if you refuse to participate in the mass domination/submission spectacle at the start of ballgames.
  • Equality of Opportunity/Self-reliance. We’re talking about a moron who managed to bankrupt casinos, who had a silver spoon protruding from every orifice at birth, and who started receiving an “allowance” or $200,000 a year at age three — and in all a total of over $400 million from his dad. Trump is the proverbial entitled brat who was born on third base and has been bragging ever since that he hit a triple. And his sycophantic followers admire him for it.
  • Independence. Republicans/Trump supporters (there’s almost no distinguishing between them at this point) are slavish members of a personality cult. Trump famously bragged that he could murder someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his base would continue to support him. He was right, but it’s worse than that. He could strangle a puppy and sodomize its corpse on national TV, and his base would praise him for it, saying how “out of the box,” “what a different kind of president” he was. If sucking up to Dear Leader and excusing every one of his crimes is “independence,” Trump’s supporters would win a gold medal.
  • Mercy. Trump puts children in cages and separates them from their parents. The members of his personality cult applaud this vicious behavior precisely because it is so vicious. All too many of them like to hurt people. They do it vicariously through Trump, and feel self-righteous about it.
  • Your Tired, Your Poor. Somehow the powers that be and their tools have convinced idiot Trumpistas that people even poorer and more powerless than they are are the cause of their misfortunes. These fear-driven dumbasses actually believe that desperate people fleeing horrendous conditions in Central America are somehow threatening them. (Many of the refugees are fleeing Honduras — thank Hillary and Obama for that one with their support of the coup there in 2011, and the installation of the narco Hernández regime)  Trump’s followers concentrate their hate on these powerless scapegoats who just want work and safety for their families, while supporting a billionaire parasite who’s never done a single day’s work in his life.
  • Fairness. Republicans support a system in which the three richest men in the United States own more of the wealth than the bottom 50% of the population combined, and in which unearned income is only taxed at half the rate or earned (through work) income. They support a system that is rigged in favor of the rich. They’re also so deluded that they think that a billionaire con man is somehow on their side, and that he somehow personifies the American spirit. To quote a sign I saw yesterday (carried by a goofball at the corner of First Avenue and Ft. Lowell), “God delivered Trump to us.” If so, the Westboro Baptist Church must be right, and god really must hate America.
  • Loyalty. The orange cancer just capitulated to Turkish Islamist tyrant Erdogan and betrayed America’s only true ally in the Middle East, the Kurds. They lost over 11,000 soldiers fighting ISIS, and Trump just sold them out. As a result, there are already mass civilian casualties, over 100,000 have fled the Turkish invasion/bombardment, ISIS captives have been freed en masse, and America’s reputation is in shreds. Of course, the bootlickers in his personality cult will somehow find a way to praise him for this.
  • Courage. Then there’s Cadet Bonespur’s draft exemption during the Viet Nam War. There were reasons in abundance to avoid involuntary servitude during that imperialistic crime against humanity. Somehow, one suspects, Trump’s draft avoidance had nothing to do with principled reasons. On a more contemporary level, Trump routinely doesn’t even have the guts to take responsibility for his own actions. The latest example is his refusal to take responsibility for betraying the Kurds, insisting, even after his capitulating phone call to the Turkish thug whose tanks then rolled into northern Syria, that he’s somehow not responsible for that, and in fact opposes it. If he’d actually opposed it, he wouldn’t have pulled back US troops and wouldn’t have told Erdogan it was okay to invade Syria. (It’s a very good bet that most Republicans in both the House and Senate are well aware of this and are disgusted by it. But they’ve placed their own political fortunes, currying favor with the Trump cultists, above what’s good for the country. How patriotic.)

Trump’s cultists are the seamy underside of America: they’re the authoritarian 25% or so of the American people who give lip service to American ideals, wrap themselves in the flag, and then betray everything the flag is supposed to stand for. Their motto might as well be “Sieg Heil Y’all.” (with a tip of the hat to the late Molly Ivins, who ages ago came up with that most apt phrase)

 

 

 

 


Some Trump 2016 supporters voted for him out of frustration. They were totally fed up with stagnant wages and both job and home losses during the Great Recession; Obama had betrayed their hopes — he saved the big banks but not them; and the Democrats in 2016 presented them with a Hobson’s choice: an almost equally loathsome candidate who promised more of the same, or Trump, who at least promised to shake things up.

The Democrats thought they could blackmail people into voting for their widely despised candidate, who won via a rigged primary, who openly ridiculed proposals for fundamental economic change and greater fairness, and who was the most disliked Democratic candidate since polls started tracking the matter half a century ago. Trump was even more disliked, so they thought they had the electorate in a hammer lock. It was essentially, “Vote for me suckers, or it’s Trump! What are you gonna do, punks?” Clinton and her accomplices didn’t even attempt to present  a positive agenda. Her message was pure and simple, “It’s me or Trump.”

And, surprise surprise, that message failed to inspire.

The corporate Democrats had argued that Clinton was more electable than Bernie Sanders, who had a far higher popularity rating and who was calling for fundamental (if reformist) change. (Bernie’s calling his proposals a “revolution” is ridiculous — they’re a call for mild reforms within a fundamentally corrupt system. Still, they’re the best thing going on the electoral front).

Today, another longtime Washington insider, corporate Democrat and Obama accomplice, Joe Biden, has taken up the “electability” argument. He has the same do-nothing mantra as Clinton, “It’s me or Trump,” the same lack of proposals for real change, and the same stench of insider politics. (Why has his son Hunter been receiving $50K per month for being on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, a position for which his only qualification is his name? If anything, Biden has behaved honorably there. But the fact remains that his son is trading on the Biden name.)

As well, Biden has been a faithful servant of big pharma and, especially, the big banks and credit card companies, who have royally screwed average people. He was a lobbyist for credit card giant MBNA through 2005, and worked diligently to make it harder for people to file for medical-caused bankruptcy, and all but impossible for students to discharge through bankruptcy student loan debt, which has approximately quadrupled since 2005.

One thing Biden’s supporters conveniently forget to mention in their “electability” argument is that Trump received the votes of only 26% of those eligible to vote, and Clinton roughly 28%, while 5% voted for minor party candidates (almost certainly out of frustration), and a full 41% of those eligible to vote chose not to vote.

If the Democrats have the sense to nominate a candidate calling for real change (especially in healthcare), they’ll almost certainly win. Of Trump’s 2016 supporters, especially those who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, they could likely pick up one in ten. And of the 41% who didn’t vote in 2016, even if they motivated only one in ten to vote, they’d win in a landslide.

The only way they could really fuck this up is by nominating Joe Biden.


(First off, apologies to our long-term subscribers who were used to regular posts. Ill health, especially long-time insomnia, made regular posts difficult. I finally thought I had a remedy for this after being diagnosed with severe sleep apnea six weeks ago. Unfortunately, I’m among the approximately 20% of sufferers for whom the usual remedy, a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine, does no good. In fact it made the problem worse. I’ll be returning the machine tomorrow, after a month of near torture trying to make it work.

The following comes after several zero-to-four-hour nights of sleep. Please forgive any lapses in logic. Please, and I mean please, check out any assertions from the following — I might make an occasional slight lapse, but overall I think I’m dead on. I’ve undoubtedly missed a lot of things — if you see anything , please point it out.

  • The first thing we need to face is that approximately 25% of the voting public in the US are evangelical theo-fascists, who simply want to impose their warped “morality” on the rest of us; and they enjoy hurting us — they’re sadists;
  • The second thing is that they’re utter hypocrites. They say they’re pro-family, but they support a thug who breaks families apart and causes irreparable harm to child victims, and death to children;
  • They are NOT patriots. While they wrap themselves in the colors, make a spectacle of their supposed patriotism (as at their role-playing ballgames) they betray every decent thing America is supposed to represent: a welcome to all fleeing persecution; freedom of speech; freedom of opportunity; individual freedom to partake or not partake in “patriotic” spectacles;
  • They’re so brainwashed (thanks Fox/State “News” and the Facebook echo chamber) that they don’t even recognize it;
  • To be blunt, for them a day of exercise consists of an afternoon of repeated knee bends and bending over to kiss (Trump’s ample) butt, followed by an evening of goose-stepping, all to the romantic light of very fine people bearing tiki torches;

Beyond that, there are a lot of ugly truths to confront:

  • Real wages peaked in 1972-1973. Productivity per hour has roughly doubled since then;
  • Corporations have exported jobs overseas for decades as long as they could save 25 or 50 cents an hour;
  • Those savings were made real by tax laws favoring overseas “investments”;
  • Rather than understand this and confront their real oppressors, many racist idiots have attacked even more powerless victims than themselves — victims that their corporate overlords set up as scapegoats;
  • Those scape-goating tools are thugs for the corporations — racists who attack scapegoats, and work to empower their own oppressors;
  • And some continue to proudly ruin the environment with smoke-belching trucks while they deny that blatant problems exist;

Then there’s the unspoken problem:

  • Overpopulation is a major cause of ecological problems. Yes, there are ways to make this problem less severe, but it’s a major problem nonetheless;
  • Why even have overpopulation?
  • There are three interconnected reasons:
  • 1. Patriarchal religions encourage overpopulation as a means of increasing revenue/power/adherents;
  • 2. Patriarchal religions encourage overpopulation as a means of female submission (what else can do they do with dozens of kids but take care of them and then seek solace at church?)
  • 3. Overpopulation makes all the above worse, so it produces more and more desperation, and more and more dependence on the “word of God” (and it’s interpreters) — and more and more adherents and “offerings.”

The conventional “good guys” are not the saviors.

  • Since the 1980s, at least, the Democrats have been the “good guy” in the good-guy/bad-guy mugging of the working class while the parasitocratic 1% picked their pockets;
  • Bill Clinton once said “we’re all Republicans” — referring to his corporatist-subservient agenda;
  • After the Republicans crashed the economy in 2008, Barack Obama rescued the banks, but not the millions upon millions of average Americans who lost their jobs and/or homes;
  • He didn’t do shit for ’em (myself included — lost more than half my income in the following year);
  • He did not prosecute a single one of the criminals responsible for the greatest financial crime in world history — not one;
  • He also had pledged “the most open administration in history” and then delivered the least open in history, with vicious persecution of whistle blowers;

Both Republican, Democratic, and social democratic parties have conspired to suppress real, democratic alternative structures that might have solved the above problems/crises:

  • In the 1900s/1910s/1920s the U.S. and state governments outlawed and then imprisoned on a mass scale members of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) who advocated the takeover and management of industry, and elimination of “moralistic” laws, by self-managed unions. Thousands of IWW members languished in prison for years as a result;
  • In 1918-1921, the Bolsheviks hypocritically advocated and then destroyed the self-managed “soviets” in Russia, followed by mass murder of anarchist and other self-management advocates;
  • In the 1930s, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Spanish Falange, destroyed, along with the active complicity of the authoritarian USSR, the most important real alternative to authoritarian organization of society: the CNT (Confederación Nacional Del Trabajo/Federación Anarquista Ibérica), that lasted over two years on a mass scale — including the self-managed operation of the most heavily industrialized region of Spain, Catalonia;
  • In the early 2010s, the authoritarian Obama regime coordinated the suppression of the Occupy Wall Street encampments that had sprung up nation wide; these were self-managed camps, where for the first time in their lives a hell of a lot of people experienced control over their own lives. And Obama and his minions were so frightened that that “contagion” would spread, that they crushed the encampments.

This just goes to show how frightened they are — and how much power that we potentially have.

We can self-organize the economy. We can self-organize the world. Don’t mourn, organize.

 

 



Death Wins All Wars front coverDeath Wins All Wars: Resisting the Draft in the 1960s, a Memoir, will be available in bookstores within the next week or so, and once the books arrive here at See Sharp Press world headquarters will be available for 50% off through the end of the month on our web site. (The e-book versions — ePub, Mobi, pdf — will be available on September 1.)

So far, two bookstore readings/signings are scheduled for Daniel Holland, the book’s author:

Thur. Sept. 12, 2019
7:00 pm
Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN
612-454-0455
 
 
Wed. Sept 25, 2019
7:00 pm
Boswell Books
2559 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI
414-332-1181

For more information about the book and the author, check out the Death Wins All Wars web site.

Yes, plural: linings, not lining. Let’s begin with the most obvious:

  • Trump has laid bare the racism that is the foundation of the modern Republican Party. Since the 1960s, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the partial demise of the Jim Crow system, the Republican Party has pursued a “Southern Strategy” that appealed to racist whites through both anti-black/anti-Latino actions (e.g., the “war on drugs” and mass incarceration) and scapegoating rhetoric. Until recently, that rhetoric was of the dog-whistle variety, the use of code words (e.g., “illegal aliens,” “food stamps,” “welfare queens,” “tough on crime,” etc.) that GOP leaders could (im)plausibly deny were racist. Now, the GOP’s racial bigotry is overt. With Trump, the festering racism that is the basis of the Republican Party’s strategy has oozed out from under its rock. In a way, it’s refreshing to see racists being racists, rather than hypocritically asserting that they’re not. (Some Republicans still make that pro forma assertion, but you can tell their hearts aren’t in it, and they don’t seem to expect any but the most willfully ignorant to buy it.)
  • One of the primary reasons the GOP got away for so long with its implausible denial that it’s a racist party is that the corporate media allowed it to. For over half a century, corporate outlets virtually always, under the guise of neutrality, balance, allowed Republican politicians and pundits to deny that their code-worded racist terms and rhetoric were in fact racist. (The way “neutrality” works can be exemplified by the following: “Some say the sun rises in the East. Others say it rises in the West. The controversy continues.”) Now, at least some corporate media outfits (e.g., AP, NBC, CNN) are calling the GOP’s racism “racism,” and some are calling Trump’s, and occasionally other GOP leaders’, lies “lies,” rather than “misstatements,” “erroneous statements,” or “untruths.” I don’t expect this to continue past Trump, but it sure is refreshing while it lasts.
  • Trump’s overt racism has laid bare the GOP’s claim to represent all of America, all of the people. By definition, racists do not represent all of the people, but rather one “superior” group. (While Trump claims to “love” his overwhelmingly white supporters, he, and the rest of the GOP. are cynically manipulating his ignorant, gullible, and mean-spirited followers, while systematically screwing them — consider Trump’s tax scam, his opposition to raising the minimum wage, and the GOP’s perpetual campaign to prevent universal healthcare, leaving tens of millions uninsured or under-insured, with tens of thousands resultant unnecessary deaths annually.)
  • Trump’s overt racism has laid bare the GOP claim to be the party of morality. (The same could and should be said about his sewer-rat personal behavior.) What’s moral about racism? What’s moral about supporting racists?
  • Trump’s racism has also exposed the gross hypocrisy of his evangelical base. Evangelicals claim to be the standard bearers of “family values,” yet Trump’s racist immigration policies resulting in deliberate separation of children from parents, children locked in cages, and U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents literally ripping toddlers from their mothers’ arms, seem not to bother them at all. These theofascists vehemently oppose women controlling their own bodies, and they whine endlessly about abortion killing “babies” (“babies” including clumps of cells no bigger than the head of a pin), yet when Trump inflicts grievous harm upon actual babies and their parents, these hypocrites are silent, and continue to support the bullying, racist thug who deliberately hurts children. If you wanted to put the hypocrisy and amorality of the religious right under a magnifying glass, Trump’s racism has supplied that glass.
  • Trump’s racism has also exposed the sheer gutlessness, the utter lack of principles of virtually all Republican “leaders.” Since Trump took office, they’ve aided and abetted him in covering up his many and serious criminal activities, and now they don’t even have the guts to denounce his overtly racist statements and actions. Trump’s racism has shown the craven and contemptible nature of the GOP and its leaders.

In short, Trump’s racism has shattered the facade of normalcy in America. It’s pulled back the curtain on many ugly truths. Decent people are repelled by the racism and viciousness of Trump and his followers, and that racism and viciousness have shown how necessary it is to oppose Trump’s “very fine people” in the streets and to crush them at the ballot box next year.

 


The British analytical group, More in Common (“founded in memory of [British MP] Jo Cox [murdered by a neo-Nazi]”), reports that the vast majority of Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture.

The study has design problems, such as considering no political positions to the left of “progressive activists,” and defining “PC culture” only in terms of language. (Obviously, it goes far beyond this.)

Still, the study has some value. Among other things, it reveals that a full 80% of Americans (including 75% of Afro-Americans and 88% of Native Americans) “dislike” PC language and consider it a problem. As well, the single group most likely to view PC jargon favorably — though only a third do so — is “progressive activists,” 8% of the total population, who are overwhelmingly white, earn over $100K per year, and are most likely to hold advanced degrees.

In other words, “the liberal elite,” those most likely to control “progressive” media outlets (such as, to fairly single them out, Alternet), and to indulge in the use of PC terminology.

And PC terminology is to all appearances not intended to unite the oppressed against the common ultra-rich enemy, but to give its users a warm feeling of self-congratulation on being enlightened, morally superior, above the rest of us. It’s in-group, self-identifying, and self-congratulatory jargon.

Think about it for a moment. How many people do you know who use terms like “woke,” “people of color,” “white privilege,” “privileged”? I’ve lived for nearly 30 years in a barrio where maybe 25% of the people are white, and I have never heard any of my Mexican or black neighbors, or my poor white neighbors, use these or similar terms. Never. Over damn near 30 years. Never.

“Progressive activists” are not speaking the language of the people. They may want to shame people into using their jargon, but they are not speaking the language of the people.

It’s time for the “progressive” left to stop patting themselves on the back. It’s time for them to stop using jargon that alienates people. (Try telling someone who’s making minimum wage, spending 50% of their income on rent, has no health insurance, and can’t come up with $500 cash to cover an emergency, that they’re “privileged” because of the color of their skin — see how far that gets you; see how far that goes in building coalitions to build solidarity, to improve life for all.)

The PC left is a curse, navel-gazers intent on proving to themselves how virtuous they are in comparison to us unenlightened plebes, especially through use of their in-group jargon. They’re an ongoing disaster.

If the left is ever to make real progress in this country, to make concrete policies to benefit all, it won’t be through using bizarre jargon that plays into the hands of Trump’s “very fine people.” It’ll be through talking about economic policies that benefit all of us.