Let the Bern Go

No offense to Bernie supporters, but politics and democracy are never about being good and pure, they’re about winning for your side and protecting its interests. Hillary takes enough shit from the crazies at FOX, and of course she’s far from perfect, but Trump, seriously, is a bumbling, be-shitted, completely incompetent psychopath. He cannot win, and we Democrats need Bernie supporters to help Hillary win.

No wonder Trump appeals to uneducated white trash in such a high percentage, they are probably half-suicidal and don’t give a fuck anyhow. Working a shitty job, mired in debt, and unable to pay child support for the old baby momma’s retards…it’s GOT to be a shitpile being a white loser these days in the rust belt. The good jobs are gone, you’re too stupid to seek a better one, and life just sucks ass with a—gasp—negro President. It’s hell. Hell! So what a great fuck you vote. The Donald, our saviour. How low we’ve fallen, even our less intelligent fellow citizens have lost their fucking minds. So have we, really, but we still have our reason.

Even Bernie wants the Democrats to win, even though he himself has been one of the lousiest politicians of his generation, really. Too much lofty idealism and churlish sanctimony gets jack shit accomplished in the real world, Bern; no one questions your integrity, but your political acumen sucks, you silly old mensch. The Clintons are covered in slime but they’ve been successful players in politics, and that is why the Right-wing crazies hate them so.

Bill Clinton is the political genius of our age. The fact Hillary lost to Obama tells you only one thing, that her vote to back Bush’s war was the costliest mistake of the Clintons’ political lives and it set them back, even now. Most people still hate Hillary for her smarmy move to the right after 9/11. It may have been the right move for a Democrat Senator from NY in 2001 after 9/11, but the stench still rises from her from that calculated move of hers back then. Up until 2001 most of us backed the Clintons, for the most part, despite their selling out the most basic liberal principles. And why? Because after years of Reagan and Bush, we wanted power back in our party’s hands.

Clinton was a sumbitch—but he was our sumbitch. We didn’t full realize the damage he did until long after he’d left. He just planted the seeds, like being in complicity with right-wing Repubs in gutting Glass-Steagall. In 1999 even our worst fears never matched the crash of 2008. Why? Because in 1999 shit was working economically, we had a national budget surplus, people were working…and no one was watching closely enough to see the potential future damage of this huge bubble we were puffing up with fake money and false hubris—except John Ralston Saul and a few good writers in Harper’s who in about 1998 lamented derivatives and the potential damage they could cause.

The problem in the rural, Jesusland part of America is that these half-witted, barely educated preachers stand on their pulpits and promote delusion and laughably silly ideas to an audience of even bigger fucking turds. And it’s all wrong. Moral purity is not the goal of a democracy. It’s to get shit done equitably, that competing self interests of various classes and ideals compromise some of them to serve the public weal. Abortion, who fucking cares except women deserve the right to have them. Sure, no one loves Mexicans too much, but the motherfuckers do the shit work even blacks and white trash look upon with disdain. These same idiot preachers watched whole industries in their towns, with their great-paying jobs, get pulled out and sent overseas, and did they fight real hard to keep them? Not really. They were too busy protesting at Planned Parenthood to notice that steel mills and assembly plants were disappearing. They weren’t looking out for their flock, they were looking out to take away our rights, we who not even in their fucking flock. Meanwhile their flock went broke and jobless. And found booze and Oxycontin. And more divorce and broken homes than we can count. What a failure of moral leadership.

The problem in America, as opposed to Europe, is that the lower classes no longer know how to best advocate their self interest. In fact they hardly even fight for their own self interest at all. As we can see this year, the doper white racist turds hate Obama (and of course Hillary) and would rather vote against their own self interest out of spite. They think of liberalism—the very mechanism that uplifted their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and most certainly their mothers—as the great satan of their time. WTF? How do you even converse with people so demented and deluded as this? They all just spew the 10-15 main talking points FOX embedded in their inferior brains. Boy do these morons know these talking points, like religious liturgy. Like how we Catholics could recite all that Latin mumbo-jumbo without really knowing what the fuck it meant, yet there we were ever Sunday, babbling that bullshit.

Liberalism, of course, failed itself because the college-educate meritocrats who espouse liberal causes treated their less-educated, working-class and poor as children and hardly advocated strongly enough for them. There has been a betrayal by the liberal elite. The Clintons were the masters of this turncoat treachery! The upper-class liberals sucked corporate teat and lost sight of what got them to the higher stratus. Unions no longer mattered as long as Goldman-Sachs and Bank of America were filling the re-election coffers. Fuck the working class, they don’t have retreats in Switzerland or on the beach.

What has made FOX News so brilliant is the fact it so viciously looks out for the self interest of the super wealthy yet brilliantly makes the white peasantry feel part of the fold. The phony and disingenuous calls to patriotism, the racist dog whistles appealing to the ugly underbelly of the white lower classes, and the demonizing of liberalism as a great evil, has really, over the last 30 years, turned our country into a chaotic banana republic.

Yet even FOX News barely embraces—hell, barely stomachs—Trump. FOX lost itself so much in tooting that fucking dog whistle to rile the dopey white peasant mob, then watched this mob, which they thought they controlled, and now didn’t, create the rise of Trump and the humiliating nut-cutting of the GOP elite, despite FOX’s attempt to undercut Trump.

I watched a little of FOX last week during the GOP convention, and this week during the Democratic one, and it’s comical the way they swallow the puke and bile rising in them every time they invoke Trump with any kind of solidarity. Hannity of course can look disingenuously pious like any good Nazi propaganda minister.

In six months the nigger—and I use this word in its most rightful context ever in describing how white trash feels about Obama—they have hated so much will be out of office, and, I wonder, how lovingly will they look at Trump if he wins and he’s a bigger disaster than George W. Bush, which we all know was disastrous and yet FOX hardly ever owned up to it during his reign and even now only reluctantly. But at least Trump will, with a willing and insane Congress, pass massive tax cuts for the rich (and a pittance for everyone else to make them feel “special”), meanwhile the cutting will begin in earnest on any and all programs for the poor and underclasses, even the good ones. And Trump will appoint someone even more vile to the SCOTUS than Scalia, some spawn of Hitler jesus freak white supremacist.

So, yes, Bernie folks, there is a clear choice, you silly fuckwits. Maybe come of you loved living under the Bush regime where his neocon warmongers fucked up the Middle East for 100 years and Bush’s libertarian minions ass fucked our economy, the environment, our education system, and damn near everything else. Trump will make Bush look like FDR. And all you whiny hippies, what do you win by all this grousing? If Hillary loses, so be it, we all deserve Generalissimo Trump and his jesus-freak Nazi Vice President Pence. We will deserve four years of serious what the fuck destruction. Whatever. Right? Whatever.

Barista Darwinism; Survival of the Hippest

HipsterOh, to be a worldly and erudite coffee shop barista!

If you live in a big city and buy coffee at one of the countless cafes contained within, you’re bound to encounter a 20-something, overly-tatted-and-pierced, uber-hipster barista with goofy hair who looks with barely-concealed disdain and contempt upon all the “squares” of humanity. We the customers (and I am totally a square!) are not sure what great crimes we’ve inflicted upon the denizens of hipsterville to get treated so crappily by these mopey little coffee-grinding dopes–even if you tip them like a mafia don in Vegas!–but, really, you just have to laugh it off as a generation gap where you’re on the adult side.

Just wait 20 years and you can bet that this hipster will have children and a mortgage and will be spat upon by the next generation of “cool kidz” who will probably have to amputate arms and legs, pierce their livers and other major organs, and get skinned like the victims in Hellraiser II to look “edgy.”

Having said that, if some wise-ass kid did this to me at a friggin’ Starbucks, I’d demand to see the manager immediately and start threatening to sue if he or she doesn’t fire the prick who did this. Because, really, wanting to slap a little creep like this barista would probably be charged as aggravated assault, as these effete, tubby, pasty-faced kids today would crap themselves at even the hint of getting beaten, let alone any actual act of violence coming their way.

We’re too civilized for that kind of response anyhow, right? I’ve been tempted mightily to give an old-fashioned back-handed slap to many of the a-holish, rude idiots out there, but then I realize I’m better than that, more civilized and gracious than they are, and I set a better example by being gracious and magnanimous even when it pains me to hold back my worst instincts.

My father, who was a giant of a man at 6’4″ and full of muscles, and who’d been raised to be hardened like titanium in the South Side Chicago ghetto during the Great Depression, moreover who survived the madness of World War II, always treated any kind of rudeness he faced with a smile and grace, no matter how ugly the other person became. Dad’s charm was that he could usually win over even the biggest assholes (perhaps aided by the fact he was a big man). In the past I may have not followed the old man’s methods, but as I grow older I have definitely learned to be more like him in these situations. Some jerk sneers at me or almost runs me over, I just smile and move on; they are not worth my pulse racing over their idiotic behavior.

My Grandfather’s Autobiography

Pepe Bernat

 

Autobiography of Jean Bernat

 

The Lofty Lads of Leicester City FC

leicesterOn the weekend of the USA’s hyper-opulent sporting event, the NFL Super Bowl, something magical is happening in English football that is, without a doubt, the #1 sports story in the world.

Professional soccer leagues in Europe are typically dominated by the “titan” clubs of the sport, like Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bayern Munich in Germany, and in England the super-rich clubs with huge fan bases from London, Liverpool, and Manchester. Not this year. The top club in the English Premiere League is poor, little, relatively unknown Leicester City FC, who just earned a spot in the EPL in 2014 after being relegated, and falling, two leagues down the rung nearly 10 years ago and had to fight mightily the last three years to return to the elite English league.

Today Leicester FC totally dominated rich and mighty Manchester City on City’s home turf to take a commanding 5-point lead over the second-place team in the EPL standings. Leicester’s payroll (48 million British Pounds for 25 players) could only pay the wages of Man City’s top five players, (Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, 48 million British Pounds), and yet, somehow, this scrappy club wins with vastly inferior talent in every position than most of the EPL. It has been breathtaking to watch this humble little club beat the big boys, even my beloved Arsenal FC, one of the super-rich, London-based titans.

Seriously, it’s as if a beer league softball team suddenly rose to the top of Major League Baseball. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but still. All the titans should take notice: spending hundreds of millions to hoard top players isn’t necessarily the best way to win. Suddenly heart, grit, effort, and exceptional coaching are back in vogue after years of a spending war between the titans that sucked all the talent from small clubs like Leicester and placed the best players in the biggest, richest clubs. Take notice, titans. You can win without all those high-priced divas.

And I’m searching online for a Leicester City FC jersey. I’m a convert!

Bad Fiction is Bad Fiction

Firstly I consider myself an avid reader of “literary” fiction, secondly I’m an admitted intellectual elitist, and thirdly I was a huge fan of David Foster Wallace’s essays published in Harper’s and Esquire before he had his novel Infinite Jest published in 1996, for which at the time I was excited to shell out 30 bucks to buy. Having said that, I found Infinite Jest to be a massive, unreadable, incoherent pile of crap. I couldn’t finish it, moreover I don’t know anyone personally who did even though they too are comprised of the above three qualities I listed.

This NYT 20-year anniversary retrospective about Infinite Jest is such piffle and proves what I’ve thought since I began writing and submitting my work in the late 80s to magazines and publishers, that university “Lit Crit” and Creative Writing departments wouldn’t know good fiction writing if it bit them on their pretentious asses.

Wallace was a talented and brilliant guy, but Infinite Jest was a terrible work of fiction piled beneath about 500,000 too many words and an incomprehensible tendency to babble endlessly with words that are laughably way more complex than what needs to make sense even to a word snob like me. Wallace tried too hard to be clever and didn’t try, you know, to write like a good novelist and actually tell a real story with compelling characters, and he didn’t write prose that was clear, meaningful, and unpretentious enough to entice anyone to want to read it other than the douchemongers in academia (or who hail from it and moved on to the publishing or literary criticism side of journalism) who promote this incomprehensible “post-modern” fiction-writing style by such boring and pretentious dopes like Don DeLillo, John Updike, or John Cheever, et al.

For my money, Elmore Leonard was a vastly superior fiction writer than these boring poops, because, first and foremost, he wrote books I actually wanted to finish. I was forced to read Updike and Cheever in college and my scathing criticism of their work typically included words like “boring,” “pretentious,” and “mind-numbingly who gives a damn about some self-loathing Lit Crit professor who’s continually drunk and schtupping some fat ugly neighbor wife of another boring university professor.” Seriously. The only people who loved this crap were other Lit Crit professors who aspired to be the “next great American novelist.” Elmore Leonard, who wrote brilliant, funny, absolutely real pulp crime novels, sold millions of more books and will be remembered as a greater writer than these boring schlubs.

Wallace killed himself many years ago, which is sad. He left behind a few brilliant essays that were published in magazines, and a couple of books that compiled this work, but his fiction novels were not great. I love to read almost as much as I love to breathe, but I couldn’t finish Infinite Jest because it was just awful, both excessively wordy and incomprehensible, and he tried way too hard to sound clever and brilliant; in the end the novel was a gigantic waste of time to read, so I don’t finish it. I have no idea what book this NYT reviewer was reading that compelled him to write such specious and, to me, wholly disingenuous praise for such an unforgettable work by a writer I thought had so much more promise, but, in the end, failed as a writer of good fiction in my opinion.

Hillary for President 2016

HillaryAs much as I adore what Bernie Sanders is fighting hard to promote in his Social-Democrat stance, ethos, and governing positions, all of which are extremely congruent with my own belief system, what I, a lifelong Democrat, want more than anything is people in power who reflect my core beliefs and who can lead; President Obama brought executive power back to my party and it will be hard for my party to lose it if Hillary can step up and campaign well. I have often disagreed with Hillary, and I think she lacks the political acumen of Obama and her husband, but this brilliant, strong, motivated woman can lead and govern better than the rest of the clown-car buffoons running in the GOP, and, painful as this is going to be to express, better than Bernie, for whom I have been a huge fan for two decades as a statesman and Senator, but who I feel won’t have the political consensus Hillary can garner with her more centrist views.

However, I do want Bernie’s campaign to challenge Hillary and move her closer to the left of middle than to the right or along it. I think Bernie reminds all Democrats that the core beliefs we hold closest to our hearts require Social-Democratic solutions instead of the dog-eat-dog, ridiculously nihilistic libertarian dung heap promoted by the far right. We don’t see the masses of poor as parasites, we see them as the victims of a massive failure of our elites to lead our citizens and uplift them all. We have failed the poor if we allow the huge gap between rich and poor to continue. Blaming the poor for being poor is the domain of ignorant, mean, petty, and vicious barbarians. So I applaud Bernie’s position on this and hope he can bring Hillary’s campaign home to roost on this and other vital, necessary, Liberal social issues and political positions.

Hillary has been the subject of vicious, nasty, largely unwarranted right-wing witch hunts (Whitewater, Benghazi, email-gate, blah, blah, blah) since she first promoted universal health care when Bill was President, and yet, always, she’s handled it all with grace and class. She is not perfect and I freely admit I supported Obama over her in 2008, but in 2016, given the field of candidates we have, Hillary is far and above the only one I believe can be our next President and not lead the country to ruin and chaotic, divisive madness. She, like Obama, will face a Congress largely peopled with lunatic fringe morons who will adamantly vanquish any attempts she makes to govern through legislation, but she, like Obama, will check the power of these idiots to do our country great harm with their legislative power. Check and balance met, the true brilliance of democracy in action.

Hillary in 2016.

[Commenters, if you want to express your views, do it on your own damn online forums. I’m not going to tolerate a bunch of babbling on mine. This is my space, and if you want to babble your political views contrary to mine, do it on your own blog or Facebook our whatever. I’m not really up for a debate with people for whom I largely don’t give a damn what they think. Everyone has a right to his or her opinion, and I have the right to not give too much care what all those opinions are, especially if they are expressed ineloquently and without a shard of factual proof or logical and reasonable thought.]

Murder Machines Strike Again

This time I’ll let my President speak for me.

PopeLollapolooza 2015 in Philadelphia

Our reporter at Logan CircleI’m among the hundreds of thousands on Philadelphia’s JFK Parkway near Logan Circle, watching on a jumbotron as pope Francis, at Philly’s Independence Hall—standing at the very same lecturn as Abe Lincoln used to make the Gettysburg Address—addresses the millions of Americans watching in person and at home on TV.

To paraphrase his speech, I think Francis just said to Donald Trump and all the idiots who follow him: SUCK IT! The theme is immigration and religious freedom, and Francis is very succinctly rebuking the current Trumpesque sentiment of vile immigrant bashing. It’s a nice speech. You have to know Spanish to follow in real time as the English subtitles are minutes behind Francis, which has the non-Hispanic folk scratching their heads while all the Spanish speakers in the crowd, tens, hell, maybe hundreds of thousands of of them, are wildly clapping and screaming joyfully. Sarah Palin is probably pissed he was’t speaking American. I’ve clapped loudly at several of his main points.

My take on this pope:

The man has tremendous charisma and a quiet, beautiful manner that made many around me turn to tears as he spoke. A hispanic woman near me shouted in Spanish, “He’s so CUTE!” He seems genuine and not much of a political actor, moreover he wisely avoided making any radical statements that would set off the American right wing. I came to this not knowing anything about Francis and left thinking he’s a great man who says some beautiful things, inspiring things, though I am not a member of his religion nor do I particularly agree with much of its doctrine. But his words were powerful and moving. If, of course, you understand Spanish, and I do understand enough to have gotten the gist of what he said.

Francis is a pinko socialist like me on many social issues, not against capitalism as much as for a more regulated form that lessens the wide gap between rich and poor. His call for noblesse oblige, in other words the well-to-do among us reaching out to the poor and helping them, was inspiring. Then he called out specifically to Hispanics: Do not be afraid to assert your language and culture! THAT was inspiring, and all the Hispanics around me were crying out his name, or “Si, Papa!” There was a massive flood of Latino tears in Philly today.

I think he’s a good man leading a church that may not agree with his left-leaning ideals; there are too many who don’t agree with Francis in the halls of the Vatican and certainly the more right-leaning Catholic USA. While he won’t change the conservative orthodoxy and doctrine of the church he leads (you know, like the fact women are still second-class members of a church ruled by old, celibate men), I do think he’s making lots of people think, including skeptical me, the pinko socialist side of me, that is; on religion I remain steadfastly atheist, the very core of my intellectual belief system and something that will not budge, ever.

Francis does stand for peace, freedom, saving the environment, and equality, with the exception of the equality of women within his own male-dominated church. Most of my life, with usual bevy of priests, bishops, cardinals, and previous popes, I’ve largely ignored their fairly repugnant social views, and have been horrified by their treatment of women, plus I completely tuned out their religious dogma; after all, I quit being a Catholic long ago because, simply, I didn’t believe any of it, especially the part about there being a god.

This pope at least has me listening to his more enlightened social views with which I heartily agree. Now if he can show the same enlightened thinking with how his church treats women. THAT would be monumental.

The pope in Philly

The pope in Philly insanity begins in a week on September 25 and 26, 2015. Here’s a map of the security perimeter that Philly is erecting to “protect” the pope. Included in this perimeter are my home and neighborhood, where all traffic will be cut off and people have to pass through security checkpoints to enter the perimeter.

pope

I will be a prisoner in my own home next weekend when the pope arrives in Philly. All traffic in my neighborhood will be blocked, security will be tighter than in most prisons, and a gigantic jumbotron will be posted on Broad Street near my building so all the pope worshipers can watch his journey through Philly’s streets. We’re expecting 2-3 million people will be lining our streets, about as many as who celebrated the Phillies 2008 World Series victory.

Personally I am indifferent to the whole silliness; as an atheist and ardent believer in Democracy (notice the capital ‘D’), I have little use for unelected (by the people) theocratic leaders, especially this relic from our (European-Americans) barbaric, feudal past when we were harshly and unjustly ruled by kings, princes, bishops, lords, and other vile, unelected scum. I refuse to capitalize his title and could care less about him or his church, one to which I was forced to belong as a child and adamantly refused to believe in its religious dogma or god since I was intellectually conscious as a child. Sorry, folks, I’m just not wired for religious belief and I hold zero reverence for religious leaders.

I find all this a huge waste of resources and taxpayer money. All this pageantry and grandeur for a foreign potentate in a city, Philadelphia, that is the birthplace of democracy, where we demanded, and fought for with our blood, our freedom from these asshole kings, princes, and bishops from Europe’s Ancien Régime; the irony is not lost on me. The USA was created on the idea that all men and women are equal and we bow to no one in servitude as subjects, that no religion or church will ever hold power in our governance as free citizens. I choose freedom and enlightenment.

Scenes of Our Kafkaesque Dystopian Culture

James Blake is a fabulously wealthy (net worth: $8 million) former star tennis player who attended Harvard and has been known far and wide as one of the finest, most decent gentleman to play the game. Yet, a few days ago, to a NYPD officer he was just another “perp” who was guilty before he’d done anything, just another “scumbag” on this overly-aggressive cop’s radar in a case of “mistaken identity.” So the cop used excessive violence to “take down” another “scumbag.” Except one thing: James Blake is nothing of the sort, had done nothing wrong, and furthermore offered zero resistance.
 
We must ask ourselves a simple question: Is that what we citizens of this country are today, guilty until proven innocent to our police and at any moment can be subjected to violently excessive force? The cop was going after suspects for credit card fraud, hardly a crime of violence where such violent force is required to apprehend the perp. Furthermore, this cop, in plain clothes and not in uniform, bum-rushed and violently tackled Blake, who had done nothing wrong and offered zero resistance.
 
Take race out of this for a second, and this still rankles me as a citizen to see our police treat citizens with such disrespectful contempt. There was no need to tackle Blake had he been guilty! The fact he was an innocent victim makes this incident even more of an outrage.
 
Had this been done to some regular guy and not a well-known celebrity like Mr. Blake, we’d never know about it. He would just be another innocent citizen of this country violently treated by an overly-aggressive cop overstepping his mandate to “protect and serve.” The NYPD must fire this police officer to send a message to its rank and file: you need to treat your fellow citizens like fellow citizens. You are not judge and jury. Moreover, simple common sense says that this kind of force isn’t necessary for a crime like credit card fraud to apprehend a suspect you are pursuing, especially if they don’t seem to be the least bit resistant, as was the case with Mr. Blake in this video.

Update: “But of course” department. According to the New York Times, the officer who manhandled James Blake has a history of excessive force complaints. You think?

Blake, ever the gentleman that he has been his whole public life as a star athlete, has, since this happened, publicly handled himself with an amazing amount of grace and class.