Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


We’re about to elect Joe Biden, objectively a horrible choice (Jeffrey Dahmer, if we could resurrect him. would be better — “Dahmer: Waste Not Want Not”). Biden will undoubtedly do whatever he can to forestall major change — change that would benefit the vast majority of people.

But he might get pressured into it. It’d be in line with his entire career-trajectory, where he bends with the wind; but he’s not an idiot.

That said, I fear that the corporate Democrats will make the same horrible (perhaps deliberate) mistake they did back in the ’70s, with busing: How the hell did they think people wouldn’t be pissed about that? Their kids going over an hour on a bus one way to go to a shitty school, where they’d likely be bullied? (Of course this happened with black kids the other way round, but to a better school.) Rather than demand what was obviously needed — equal funding per student regardless of district or school — they tried to put it all in terms of race, to take everything out of the hide of the white working class, rather than out of the hide of the rich, and portray the busing atrocity as racists.

If you want to set racially diverse people against each other, this is it: divide and conquer, set it up as as an artificial-scarcity economy, and set it up in racial rather than economic terms.

The “take it out of the hide of the white working class” mindset stems directly from the father of neo-liberalism, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who came up with it: as regards schooling, portray those who didn’t want their kids busing an hour to shitty schools as “racists.” In no way push for equal funding for schools: just posit it in terms of artificial scarcity, where “privileged” whites are fucking over black kids.

Never mind that all kids are being fucked over under the present economic arrangement.

It worked. A lot of white working class people hate black folks as a result (don’t deny it), and consider them a threat. A lot of them voted for Trump.

Now, I hear a jargon term, lot of crap that doesn’t inform and will alienate white working class folks: “white privilege” — as if being a month from losing your home, losing your job, not having health insurance, and not even having $500 to pay for an emergency is “privilege.”

This is simply grotesque. White upper-middle-class guilt. (And, hey, fuck y’all, you PC assholes!)

What’s coming up next, on the part of the economic elite, is an attempt to install “reparations” — god knows how they’d be calculated or how they’d be taken out of us (guaranteed — Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, white working class, out of our hides).

If you really want to look at “reparations,” paying back for people who’ve been fucked over, the inexorable conclusion is that we all deserve “reparations.” We all created the wealth monopolized by the top 1%. (Tell me that my illiterate granddad, who died from silicosis after working in a foundry for 40 years, was “white privileged,” and I’ll tell you how far up your ass to stick it.)

“Reparations” don’t go nearly far enough. Hundreds of generations created our collective wealth.

We deserve to share it equally.

 

 

 

 



MOUNT RUSHMORE, n. An aesthetic disaster in South Dakota. A desecrated mountain bearing the likenesses of four dead politicians chiseled into its flanks–in other words, graffiti tagging taken to its logical extreme. Every year, this unnatural wonder is reverently viewed by hundreds of thousands of camera-toting, polyester-clad Americans, a people who cherish kitsch ugliness as they do the infliction of pain.

(As regards Mr. Tangerine Man’s personality cult, the mass of plague enthusiasts who’ll shortly befoul that formerly beautiful mountain with an orgy of chest-beating and butt-kissing, H.L. Mencken had their number a century ago: “The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.”)

* * *

–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


It’s hard to believe, but there are a few good things coming out of the Coronavirus, economic, and systemic racism crises. The personal and societal tragedies far outweigh these bright spots, but they’re worth mentioning nonetheless. It’s always good to remind oneself that things aren’t quite as bad as they seem.

Here are some of the silver linings. Let’s take the darkest, foulest of “silver linings” — a “silver lining” akin to that you’d get by dropping a scratched-up, stamped-metal spoon into a septic tank, hauling it out two years later, holding it up to the sun, and regarding its glowing, rusty edge alight with filigreed fecal matter: that glowing, tangerine-colored fecal matter being Donald Trump. Here are the relatively good things about him:

  • Donald Trump is a moron, too stupid to understand his own best interests. Yes, Trump’s incompetence, his complete failure to lead during a deadly pandemic, has already cost well over 100,000 lives, and will likely lead to at least twice that. But when he came into office, Trump had a chance to completely destroy what passes for American democracy — that chance supplied by both the outright racist, authoritarian Republican Party and the screw-the-poor, authoritarian, corporate-servant Democrats, such as the Clintons, Obama, Holder, Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi, who all pursued Republican economic and social policies that resulted in an ever-expanding wealth gap, grossly inadequate and unequal healthcare and education, mass incarceration, and the police as uniformed, above-the-law terrorists.

If the Republicans had placed in power a capable fascist, who handled the Coronavirus pandemic competently, it’d likely be game over: he’d be immensely popular — and he’d have ushered in outright totalitarianism, which Trump obviously yearns for. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the Republicans installed Donald Trump, an outright idiot, too stupid to understand even the most basic of his own best interests. (We’re talking about a man so stupid he managed to bankrupt several casinos — otherwise known as licenses to print money — who began receiving a $200,000-a-year allowance at age three, who received over $400 million from his dad, and who was so incompetent he’d be much better off today if he’d just put his money into an index fund.) Trump’s self-sabotaging stupidity has given us vitally necessary breathing room.

  • Trump is a bullying sadist who brags about sexually assaulting women and his anti-LGBT Bigotry. Trump’s boasting about his sexual assaults, with over 20 credible accusers, including three who’ve accused him of rape; his utterly creepy comments about how “hot” his daughter is and how he’d like to date her; his condescending and dismissive attitude toward women; and his assaults on women’s reproductive rights have left him massively unpopular with women, and hence headed for defeat. (I’m a guy, and reading about Trump’s assaults on women leaves me wanting to take a shower; I’m sure the reaction is even more visceral for most women.)

Trump has also been pandering to his theo-fascist evangelical base by attacking gay human rights. This is already backfiring, furthering isolating the Republicans from the American mainstream.

  • Trump is an outright racist. Race-baiting has always been Trump’s stock in trade. Starting with the Obama birth certificate bullshit, and followed up by separating families seeking asylum (literally tearing babies out of their mothers’ arms), locking immigrant kids up in cages, and attempting to deport kids who were brought here without documentation and have spent their entire lives here, Trump has made it very plain that one of the most important Republican playing cards, perhaps the most important, is outright racism. Since the supposedly decent Republicans have seen fit to in no wise oppose Trump’s vicious actions, they’ve made it plain that racism is the Republican calling card — as it’s been since passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the consequent Republican Southern Strategy, replete with race baiting and voter suppression. Now, that Republican racism is out in the open (no more need for dog whistles), the Republicans have to own it, and they’re on a demographic suicide course. Trump has accelerated this day of reckoning.
  • Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. For this, we should thank Trump. Clinton was the ultimate, entitled, neo-liberal Washington insider. During the 2016 primary campaign, she rained down fire on Bernie Sanders’ mild, common-sense reforms within capitalism (reforms which he inexplicably labeled a “revolution” — bad branding if there ever was bad branding). Clinton was the ultimate status quo candidate. Had she won, the underlying, festering problems — a grossly unequal distribution of wealth and income, an ever-expanding surveillance state, grossly inadequate healthcare, stagnating wages, staggering student debt, an accelerating climate-change crisis — would have gone unaddressed (especially wealth and income distribution), or barely addressed, the Republicans could have run against her without having any real solutions to anything (as has become obvious), they could well have kept control of both the Senate and the House, and in 2020 they could have run an intelligent fascist who could have completely destroyed our sad farce of a democracy en route to an environmental apocalypse. Clinton, her husband, Biden, Obama, et al., paved the way for a Republican fascist. Thank god the Republicans chose one who’s uniquely loathsome and utterly incompetent.

Trump, with his bargain-basement Mussolini act, has alerted a great many people to the looming threat of fascism, and has provoked a huge progressive backlash. Where it will lead, no one knows, but the backlash against Trump, racism, economic disparity, and Trump’s callous, deliberately cruel policies provides at least some hope. One of those hopes is that the Republican Party will become a rump party influential in only the most religiously, socially, and culturally vicious and benighted parts of the country.

There’s one more related, relatively bright spot:

  • Joe Biden is an unprincipled opportunist who’s been in thrall to corporate interests his entire career. He’s made a career of catering to corporate interests (e.g., the bankruptcy bill that made it almost impossible to discharge student debt), advocating mass incarceration (his 1994 crime bill), and supporting Obama’s persecution of patriotic whistle blowers such as Ed Snowden. The good news here is that Biden is an unprincipled opportunist — but a smart one, at least smarter than Trump. He knows which way the wind is blowing, and he’ll probably bend accordingly. He might try to institute at least a few of the desperately needed reforms because he’ll think it’s to his political advantage to do so. I certainly hope so.

We’ll shortly deal with the silver linings of the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse. (And, yes, there are some silver linings there, too.)

 

 


Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature, Pamela Bedore, PhD, presenter, Great Courses, 2019.

reviewed by Zeke Teflon

This is a mixed bag. There are 24 half-hour episodes covering many of the major utopian and dystopian works of the last half millennium, and Bedore does a good job of analyzing those running through the 1970s, at which point things go off the rails.

Just before that point, she rightly and insightfully devotes an episode to Ursula LeGuin (“The Dispossessed” and “The Left Hand of Darkness”), but then heads into the thicket of postmodernism and feminist/LGBTQ fiction to the exclusion of almost everything else except YA books (“Great Works of Literature”?) over the last 40 years. (Ironically, in an earlier episode dealing with Orwell, she approvingly quotes his famous essay, “Politics and English Language,” which posits that political writing should be as clear as “a pane of glass” — and then approvingly quotes postmodernist obscurantists such as Lyotard and Foucault in later episodes.)

In the latter episodes, Bedore skews things so badly that she devotes three full episodes to Octavia Butler — a quite good writer, but hardly deserving of a plurality of the post-1970s episodes — and completely ignores the deeply reactionary and thoroughly debunked assumption underlying what’s probably Butler’s most famous work, the Xenogenesis trilogy, treating those books as a flawed utopia. In fact, Bedore seems entirely oblivious to the entirely dystopic political and social associations and implications of Butler’s underlying assumption.

That assumption is that humans are basically competitive rather than cooperative, and hence are doomed to destroy themselves and the earth. This is merely the flip side of the Social Darwinist coin, and it’s no more progressive than that rationale for sociopathic behavior. (Butler doesn’t even provide a plausible way out of this artificial problem, leaving it up to more enlightened aliens to genetically alter humans to make them cooperative. To treat the Xenogenesis trilogy as a utopia is grotesque; it’s more akin to the disgusting, discredited “Lord of the Flies.”)

At any rate, Bedore wastes a lot of time on Butler, while ignoring or giving short shrift to more important writers, such as Margaret Atwood, Iain M. Banks, and (arguably) Ken Macleod, Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Charles Stross, Rudy Rucker, and Kim Stanley Robinson. She devotes only a woefully superficial half-episode to Atwood’s masterful, extremely complex Maddaddam trilogy. And she totally ignores the premier utopian novels of the last four decades, Banks’ “Culture” novels.

As well, Bedore gives very short shrift to the important eco-catastrophe works of the last several decades. She doesn’t even mention the first, and probably best, climate-change-disaster novel, George Turner’s “Drowning Towers” (1987), which is a literary masterpiece, nor Norman Spinrad’s underrated, nearly ignored master work, “He Walked Among Us” (likely his best book but for, perhaps, “The Iron Dream”) and the only such novel she deals with at any length is Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” whose premise is so absurd (all life on earth extinguished except for humans) that the book should be dismissed out of hand. (Of course, McCarthy is an acclaimed “literary” author, so, at least in academic eyes, he deserves to be taken seriously — as should the postmodernist b.s. artists.)

All in all, Bedore does a good job with the pre-1980 period, but after that, not so much. Of course, the farther back you go the easier it is to make accurate critical judgments, but even so she did a poor job with the post-1970s material.

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature isn’t terrible. But it could have been so much better.

* * *

Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia (large pdf sample here). His latest book is the compilation Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief, published by PM Press, and when the insomnia let’s up and he’s relatively coherent, Zeke is working on the sequel to Free Radicals, an unrelated sci-fi novel, a nonfiction book on the seamier sides of Christianity, and an anarchist compilation for PM.

Free Radicals front cover


With the Coronavirus death toll already passing 70,000, and with Trump having royally screwed up the response thus far — where is the testing? where are the contact tracers? where is the PPE? why did Trump sit on his hands for months (January, February, the first half of March) after being warned repeatedly of the grave dangers of the coming pandemic? — one could make a good case that Trump is already guilty of mass negligent homicide. While the virus spread unchecked, Trump did next to nothing; instead, he wasted time downplaying the pandemic, insisting that the virus would “magically” go away. As a result, tens of thousands died. Trump’s inept response to the pandemic is almost certainly the greatest presidential leadership failure in the U.S. over the last half century, perhaps ever. (G.W. Bush’s plot to invade Iraq is a close second.)

In recent weeks, Trump has been undercutting the recommendations of his own Coronavirus task force by touting dangerous quack cures and proven-ineffective treatments. Now, with the virus still raging and another 1,000 to 2,000 Americans dying every day because of it, Trump and his science-denying minions are doing everything they can to ensure that there will be a second, deadly wave of the virus. Trump encourages the thugs, racists, outright Nazis, and deluded corporate tools participating in the astroturf reopening demonstrations, while Republican governors lift stay-at-home restrictions and reopen public gathering places.

These utterly irresponsible words and actions — prematurely opening the economy contrary to the advice of virtually all public health professionals — while the number of cases and deaths continues to rise, and while testing is still severely inadequate, guarantees that there will be a second deadly wave.

Why on earth would Trump want to do this? There are two reasons. The first is that, as is obvious, Trump is a malignant narcissist who cares about no one other than himself and his family. The second reason for this idiotic premature reopening of the economy is that Trump is, in fact, an idiot. It’s entirely possible that he might simply be incapable of understanding the consequences of what he’s are doing.

That’s probably not the case, though. Even though Trump and his minions are refusing to do what’s necessary — massive testing and contact tracing, income support for those who lost their jobs, institution of guaranteed sick leave across the economy, and institution of universal healthcare, while paying for it by taxing the hell out of the rich — there’s almost certainly a darker reason for the Republicans’ irresponsible actions and callous inaction. Trump has quite evidently made the calculation that if the economy recovers quickly and the second wave of infection, suffering, and death sweeps the country after this fall’s election, it’ll improve his prospects of winning a second term. He’s very probably wrong on both counts, but he appears to be dead set on this cold strategy.

Donald Trump and the Republicans have refused to provide anything approaching adequate aid to the tens of millions who have lost their jobs in this time of pandemic. They’ve coerced America’s unemployed workers (at least those who’ll have jobs to go back to) into making a horrible choice: expose yourselves (and your loved ones) to a deadly disease, or lose your homes and starve. As a result, at least tens of thousands more will die unnecessary, cruel deaths.

This isn’t politicking as usual. It’s premeditated mass murder.

 

 


In 2001, Verso published Christopher Hitchens’ book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, overruling Hitchens on the title. Hitch had wanted to title it Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which references the horrifying yet engrossing 1986 film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, based loosely on criminal career of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. (Titles can’t be copyrighted, so Verso could easily have used that very appropriate title; it’s a shame they didn’t have the guts to do so.)


An Open Letter to the president
from Tommy Lee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Fucking Lunatic,
At your recent press conference – more a word salad that had a stroke and fell down stairs, you were CLEARLY so out of your depth you needed scuba gear. Within minutes of going off air your minions were backpedaling faster than Cirque De Soleil acrobats… In India a week ago, i couldn’t get past the bit about your being the most popular visitor in the history of fucking India — a country of a BILLION human souls that’s only 3000 years old, give or take.!!! Trust me – Gandhi pulled CROWDS.. You pulled a cricket stadium and half WALKED out…

Do you know how fucking insane you sound, you off-brand butt plug? That’s like the geopolitical equivalent of “that stripper really likes me” — only 10,000 times crazier and less self aware.

You are fucking exhausting. Every day is a natural experiment in determining how long 300 million people can resist coring out their own assholes with an ice auger. Every time I hear a snippet of your Queens-tinged banshee larynx farts, I want to scream!
We are fucking tired. As bad as we all thought your presidency would be when Putin got you elected, it’s been inestimably worse.

You called a hostile, nuclear-armed head of state “short and fat.” How the fuck does that help?

You accused a woman — a former friend, no less — of showing up at your resort bleeding from the face and begging to get in. You, you, YOU — the guy who looks like a Christmas haggis inexplicably brought to life by Frosty’s magic hat — yes, you of all people said that.

You attempted — with evident fucking glee — to get 24 million people thrown off their health insurance.

You gave billions away to corporations and the already wealthy while simultaneously telling struggling poor people that you were doing exactly the opposite.

You endorsed a pedophile, praised brutal dictators, and defended LITERAL FUCKING NAZIS!

Ninety-nine percent of everything you say is either false, crazy, incoherent, just plain cruel, or a rancid paella of all four.

Oh, by the way, Puerto Rico is still FUBAR. You got yourself and your family billions in tax breaks for Christmas. What do they get? More paper towels?

Enough, enough, enough, enough! For the love of God and all that is holy, good, and pure, would you please, finally and forever, shut your feculent KFC-hole until you have something valuable — or even marginally civil — to say?

You are a fried dick sandwich with a side of schlongs. If chlamydia and gonorrhea had a son, you’d appoint him HHS secretary. You are a disgraceful, pustulant hot stew full of casuistry, godawful ideas, unintelligible non sequiturs, and malignant rage.

You are the perfect circus orangutan diaper from Plato’s World of Forms.

So fuck you Mr. President. And fuck you forever.

Oh, and Pence, you oleaginous house ferret. Fuck you, too. You’ll be as useful as a chocolate teapot against a medical crisis you Bible thumping cock socket.


(improved billboard by Billboard Liberation Front)


Two Trumpists up in Phoenix — the home to all that is foul, all that is atrocious — decided to take Dear Leader’s advice and ingested  chloroquine, an outdated anti-malaria drug with hideous side effects, to ward off coronavirus.

Better, they took it in its most readily available form, not as a pharmaceutical but as a cheap industrial chemical used for cleaning fish tanks.

Predictably, their adventure in self-medication / following Glorious Leader’s advice didn’t end well.

They both fell ill within a half-hour, and the guy died shortly after being admitted to the hospital.

His wife fell seriously ill, but survived, and . . . .

She says she’ll never again believe anything uttered by the Chosen One.

So . . . . Two down, 62,984,826 to go.


We’ve all heard the cringe-inducing jargon: white privilege, white skin privilege, woke (self-congratulatory term of the day), phallocracy (yes, a real PC term), differently abled, safe space, triggered, Latinx (obviously better than o/a), exceptional (retarded), and the granddaddy of all this awkwardness, “people of,” and  so on.

First: Who the hell came up with these terms? Second: Who the hell uses them? Third: Why? Fourth: What on earth purpose does this serve? Fifth: Who benefits?

1) Well, no one really knows. A decent guess is that well-off, guilt-ridden white PC academics in Ivy League or other $40,000-a-year-tuition universities, and possibly members of authoritarian marxist political parties, came up with this crap;

2) The just-mentioned white academics and holier-than-thou left political activists who don’t give a shit about alienating everyday people — activists (at least in word) who want to signal their virtue, people who have never lived in a ghetto or barrio and are separated by an income gap from those of us stuck here;

3) The surface reason is that they want to “educate” people about “privilege.” A secondary reason is that they don’t understand what four decades ago Audre Lourde called the “hierarchy of oppression,” and don’t give a shit about organizing the unorganized and building solidarity across racial and gender lines.

What better way to appeal to (white and especially male) people barely making the rent, without health insurance, and in fear of job loss than to tell them they’re “privileged,” and (unspoken) should be ashamed of it and themselves? Why on earth wouldn’t they rally to your cause? Why on earth talk to people about the actual hierarchy of oppression and their place in it, when you can use insulting, guilt-inducing terms to gloss over all the many and important gradations, paint the less oppressed as “privileged,” and pat yourselves on the back for how enlightened you are?

4) As mentioned above, the purpose of using such terms is virtue-signalling: letting the world know that you’re “woke.” Not remotely making the world a better place.

5) The only people this serves are right-wing theofascists, such as Trump, who want to paint a grotesque image of those opposed to them as holier-than-thou, out-of-touch elitists. Referring to poor and working class people who aren’t as oppressed as others as “privileged,” rather than “less oppressed,” is both grotesque and insulting. It’s hard to imagine a more effective divide-and-conquer strategy.

Referring accurately to all of the oppressed as oppressed leads to solidarity. On the other, referring to the less oppressed as “privileged” is not only inaccurate, it leads to warfare within the poor and working classes. Divide and conquer.

Condescending, reductionistic PC terminology plays into Trump’s and the other ruling-class theofascists’ hands.

How utterly disgusting.


The primary argument against Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders is, that even though they’re right about the most important issues (healthcare, climate change, decent treatment of immigrants), they’re “unelectable.” This is pure b.s. as the the following list of “electable” Democratic nominees shows. All of these candidates were “electable” centrists, except Obama, who ran as a progressive, but then screwed the people who elected him, leading in large part to the red wave election in 2010 and today’s political catastrophe.

Here are the list of centrist “electable” Democratic nominees over the last four decades. Please think about how well this all turned out, before hitting the panic button and voting for “electable” Joe Biden. The Democratic Party has done nothing but nominate centrist corporate Democrats since Reagan took office. Here they are:

  • 1980, Jimmy Carter
  • 1984, Walter Mondale
  • 1988, Mike Dukakis
  • 1992, Bill Clinton
  • 1996, Bill Clinton
  • 2000, Al Gore
  • 2004, John Kerry
  • 2008, Barack Obama
  • 2012, Barack Obama
  • 2016, Hillary Clinton

Despite his progressive rhetoric, in 1992 and 1996 it was quite apparent that Bill Clinton was just another Republican-lite corporate tool. He won anyway, while the economy was good. In 2008 and 2016, Obama won while running as a populist. He was a phony, but he won anyway. And in 2016, Hillary Clinton, running against the most grotesque, personally disgusting authoritarian the Republicans have ever nominated (Nixon included), managed to lose an election that was hers for the taking.

Why? 1) She had exceptionally high unfavorability ratings, but the establishment powers-that-be thought they could cram her down our throats because the Republican nominee was even more unpalatable; 2) She offered nothing positive, no real change, didn’t give people a single reason to vote for her other than that she wasn’t Trump — and Bernie was too far left and “unelectable” (despite him beating her in the primaries in almost all of the potential swing states).

Her campaign slogan, “I’m with her,” pretty much says it all: “I want it, I’m entitled to it, I’m going to do nothing for you, and what are you gonna do about it, vote for Trump?”

Well, that wasn’t good enough. Hillary, the “electable” candidate, lost. And only 59% of eligible voters bothered to vote. She got 28% of the popular vote (of eligible voters), Trump got 26% (but won the electoral college by about 70,000 voters in swing states), roughly 5% voted for third-party candidates. And a full 41% of those eligible didn’t even bother to vote. If only 10% of those 41% (overwhelmingly black, latino, and poor) voters felt inspired to vote, it would have been a landslide. But why didn’t they vote?

In all probability, it was because they saw no reason to, no reason to choose between a mad-dog, obvious phony Republican, who promised to shake things up, and a Republican-lite candidate who offered more of the same old same old, without even attempting to disguise it.

Over the last four decades, the Democrats have nominated eight “electable” centrist corporate Democrats. Six of them lost, and the last one who won, Obama, ran as a progressive. He didn’t win because he was a centrist, corporatist tool and was honest about it, he won because he lied to his supporters. If he’d run on what he actually was going to deliver, the only reason he’d have been elected was because of the 2008 economic meltdown, pure voter desperation, and the desire for anything different. In other words, if he’d been honest about delivering more of the same old same old (which is what he did), he might not have won.

Today, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg all offer a “return to normalcy” — a return to business as usual as the top 1% rape the rest of us, without all that nasty culture-war b.s. of the Trumpies.

The “lesser of two evils” strategy failed in seven of the last ten presidential elections. (The 2008 election was an anomaly, as Obama ran as something better, and then didn’t deliver.)

Why on earth would you think it would work any better now? Why on earth would you vote for a loser such as Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, or Klobuchar?

For once, vote for a candidate who gives you a positive reason to vote for them. Odds are that a lot of previous nonvoters will join you.


Of late, the slavish sycophancy of a certain American con man’s followers has become a national scandal. Please consider the following, the doggerel of the day if you will, written by an American “poet,” and then take the very short quiz beneath it.

Heed not those alien, rabble foes,
That tear and rend our land,
Our land was built by Patriots,
Who by their country stand.

And you, today, are your land’s hope
Its savior whom traitors fear;
In you the glowing flame leaps high
That once stirred Paul Revere.

Now, name the object of this piece of poesy (bonus points for naming its author):

  1. Benito Mussolini
  2. V.I. Lenin
  3. Fidel Castro
  4. Francisco Franco
  5. Donald Trump
  6. Adolf Hitler
  7. Nicolas Maduro
  8. Josef Stalin

Scroll down to find the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, but you (probably) missed the Glorious Leader the “poet” was slavering over: the answer is contestant #6, Hitler.

I’m also sorry that you missed out on the bonus points. The “poet” was Hannah Cushman Howe. (I’d never heard of her, either.)

She was a member of the nose-up-the-butt/nose-in-the-air brigade, and the only unequivocal reference I could find to her with a brief search was in the 1912 edition of Social Register of New York.

She was an early member of the “very fine people” so famously referenced by the current occupant of the White House. In her note to the Dear Leader, accompanying the poem, Cushman Howe said, in part, “. . . America’s enemies . . . I saw them. Jews from Russia, Poland, Italy, and Germany too.”

Just goes to show how similar goose-steppers are in all times and places.

Thanks to BoingBoing’s Love Letters to Hitler for the above-quoted “poem.”

 


The Democratic debate last night was a good reality check: given how openly authoritarian Trump-TV (Fox “News”) is — a combination of butt kissing (e.g., Jeanine Pirro calling Trump “almost superhuman”), goose-stepping “patriotism” that trashes almost everything America is supposed to stand for, and punching down (encouraging knuckle-draggers to blame immigrants — people even poorer and more powerless than they are — for their misfortunes), it’s easy to give CNN a pass, as CNN is at least openly hostile to Trump.

Last night provided a timely reminder that CNN, though not as awful as Fox, is still pretty damn bad. The moderators spent most of their time trying to provoke fights between the candidates, the low point being moderator Abby Phillip — after Bernie Sanders, in a he-said-she-said denied saying that a woman could never win the presidency, and offering corroborating evidence going back decades — immediately asking Warren, “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” As if that was a fact, not a dispute about what was said in a conversation between two people, with no witnesses.

To call Philip’s question/accusation grossly unprofessional is an understatement. CNN should have fired her on the spot.

Beyond that, the moderators appeared entirely unconcerned with military spending taking up 53% of discretionary spending, and with the U.S. spending as much on “defense” (largely on weapons and overseas bases, not even counting military-incurred debt servicing) than the next eight countries combined. Nope. They were concerned with the cost of “Medicare for all” — universal healthcare coverage.

The moderators’ questions all concerned the cost of such coverage. Never mind that the U.S. is supposedly the richest country on the face of the Earth, that every other industrialized country already has universal, free healthcare, that 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, that the U.S. has worse healthcare outcomes (e.g., infant mortality) than all of those other industrialized countries, and that U.S. per-capita spending on healthcare is at minimum twice what the other industrialized countries spend, sometimes considerably more.

No. The moderators’ concern was with the “cost” — never mind the potential savings to average Americans nor what the astronomical cost is now.

They didn’t ask a single question about how much average Americans would save under Medicare for all. Not one.

Nor did they ask what possible advantage there is in having a parasitic middle man (the insurance industry) that drains off $100 billion a year in profits, and that incurs vast administrative expenses for providers in dealing with the nightmarish tangle of private insurance coverage. (Tellingly, one of the questions was about what would happen to the “workers” in the “insurance town” of Des Moines if a single-payer plan eliminated their entirely parasitic jobs.)

As for CNN, the disgraceful performance of its moderators points toward this great advice: “Follow the money.” CNN is a corporate entity designed to maximize corporate profits. While there are some good reporters and editors at CNN, it’s utterly unrealistic to expect the network to act as anything other than a corporate tool designed to preserve the economic status quo and corporate profits.


“At the moment when I saw our beloved father, Stalin, I lost consciousness.”

–Delegate to a 1930s Soviet Communist Party conference