Green Means \”Impeach\”


“B” Is For Bullshit

In an official statement the McCain campaign says: “We’re shaken up by this. It’s sick and disgusting.”

– KDKA.com – 10/23/08

It certainly is! Indeed, everything about the stupid hoax perpetrated by Ashley Todd, a McCain campaign worker from Texas temporarily based in Pennsylvania — in which she claimed that a six-foot-four black man robbed her at an ATM and then, when he saw the McCain sticker on her car, beat her, held her down and carved a “B” into her right cheek — reeks of the hysterical tabloid idiocy so typical of American public discourse whenever race is concerned.

Even more disturbing is the role of the McCain campaign in all this. Instead of keeping Ms. Todd at arm’s length until the facts of the “crime” could be verified, the campaign — and the candidate and his running mate themselves — jumped in feet first. McCain provided the quote above in an official statement, and Palin reportedly called the (apparently mentally ill) young woman herself to commiserate with her on the heinous attack that wasn’t. Neither candidate so much as questioned a tall tale that evoked the most blatantly racist stereotypes of black males as violent, out-of-control thieves and attackers. It makes one wonder if, in the screening room of McCain’s and Palin’s minds, an old D. W. Griffith movie of sweet white flesh assaulted by bestial ex-slaves runs in an endless tape loop.

But it gets better. The McCain campaign’s Pennsylvania Communications Director, Peter Feldman, according to Raw Story, deliberately pitched an “inflammatory” version of Todd’s hoax to reporters that was far worse than the version released by police (who, it turns out, never believed Todd’s story in the first place). According to Feldman, Todd’s mythical attacker told her, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson.” Apparently, the brute was endowed with psychic powers, as he was able to figure out that Todd was a campaign volunteer from the mere fact of her car sporting a McCain sticker. Feldman even claimed that the “B” carved into her face (which she created herself, using a mirror) stood for “Barack” — a claim Todd herself apparently never made. Feldman, of course, was never asked by reporters to explain why the “B” was carved backwards.

This incident ennobles no one. Matt Drudge’s decision to run a “teaser story” about the fictional assault demonstrates yet again his poisonous influence on American Journalism. Although some reporters claim never to have bought into the story, they ran it anyway — so much for the liberal media. The McCain camp, by beieving the story uncritically, has disgraced itself, and will surely be dealing with the foul odor from this scandal from now until Election Day. Even the Obama camp is not untouched. Obama seemed a bit too eager to believe the outrageous story and sent his condolences to the young woman while condemning the “crime.”

Only Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party Presidential candiate, has directly and responsibly addressed the issue of race in this campaign. But her run for the presidency has been completly ignored by a media establishment that would rather print or broadcast false stories that appeal to people’s worst instincts and fears than discuss soberly the relationship of government to race. Details about Cynthia’s positions on race belong to another post. But once again she has risen above the political mire in which the corporate press and both mainstream political parties seem permanently trapped.

A final note: everyone involved might have done well to recall that “Todd” (“tod”), in German, means “dead.” As in “dead presidential campaign” — McCain’s.

Black Friday and the Shame of Wall Street… and Congress

Giving Wall Street $800 Billion in taxpayer’s money — over $2000 for every man, woman and child in America — was supposed to free up credit markets and stabilize the economy, right? Yeah, right!

Perhaps the most shocking political episode in my lifetime has been the completely cynical and corrupt surrender of the Democratically-controlled Congress to the Wall Street speculators (aka, thieves), whose almost unbelievably reckless policies brought this gigantic mess upon us. And the punchline of this sick joke is that this criminal act of base thievery has not brought us economic security as advertised, but utter chaos. An entire country, Iceland, is on the verge of going under! From Britain to Australia, all is turmoil, confusion, FEAR. And everyone is saying or thinking: this can’t go on, the market’s going to bottom out soon… isn’t it?

I’m convinced that this has happened because the Left doesn’t exist in America as a political force. Progressive people meeting, talking, demonstrating, writing blogs (like this one)… all that means nothing. All the talk and good intentions of good people can be cancelled literally at the stroke of Bush’s pen, or at the whim of the utterly cynical Nancy Pelosi, whose only thought is not, “How can we public servants help the people?” but “How can we political hacks avoid damage and gain power?” The only reason the bailout took a week to get through Congress was because of the resistance of wingnut Ayn Rand Republicans! The Democratic leadership were completely okay with giving away the people’s money to their buddies in the financial services industry. The Party that refused to impeach the sociopath George Bush and the truly evil Dick Cheney, ostensibly on the grounds that they were lame ducks and couldn’t do any more harm, have now allowed those two criminals to start one last war: the war against the  American taxpayer!

Have Bush/Pelosi gone too far? Will the American people stand for this? I was coming home on the subway tonight and all I saw around me were people napping, reading bad newspapers, nodding out… oblivious. Yet the events of the past few weeks might ultimately cause more misery — more starvation, more homelessness, more hopelessness — than America has seen since the Great Depression. 

Who wins the election almost doesn’t matter. (Yes, McCain/Palin might attack Iran, and that does matter.) President Obama is not going to pull us out of this mess. (Somebody has rightly written that, if Barack wins, his new slogan might well be, “No, we can’t,” as in “no, we can’t have any more social services because there’s no more money.”) President McCain definitely won’t pull us out of it. Only We the People can pull us out of this.

If Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party gets 5% of the national vote, that would at least be a beginning, because it would raise the Greens to major party status and give Progressives a voice in government. But whether McKinney succeeds or not, it’s up to the people to get mad and fight back, by doing direct action, by organizing strikes, by never letting our lying, traitorous “representatives” off the hook. As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young once sang, “We’re finally on our own.”

The Juno Factor 2 – What If It Were Obama’s Kid Who Got Pregant?

In my last post, I pointed out that when teen pregnancy (or some other problematical social phenomenon) happens to others — particularly minorities — Republicans invariably consider it to be a moral plague, caused not by out-of-control hormones, but by out-of-their-minds liberals and their damnable liberal policies. However, when such a thing happens to one of their own — like Bristol Palin, the “Juno from Juneau” — then, of course, it becomes, using the same catchphrases of those same hated liberals, a “private matter” and “a family affair.” In this case, it may even be (glory hallelluia!) a cause for religious pride, due to the mother-to-be’s rejection of abortion and embrace of the venerable tradition of the shotgun wedding. (Never mind that, by any sane standard, neither Bristol nor her beau are anywhere near ready for Holy Matrimony.)

But let’s flip the script. Obama’s daughters are a tad too young to make Bristol’s mistake (they are about ten and seven, respectively). But what if they weren’t? I have a feeling that the Obama household keep a much tighter rein on their daughters than the Palins did. Yet these things occur in the best of families. So what would happen next?

The headlines would scream, “Obama’s daughter pregnant!” The news would sweep like wildfire through the blogosphere. Pundits would pontificate about this terrible blow to the campaign of the first black presidential nominee from a mainstream party, while hypocritically insisting that, of course, it shouldn’t matter. But of course it would matter, to white (and some black) voters of both parties. A pregnant Obama child would conjure up, in the imaginations of white people, images of countless black and Hispanic welfare mothers, parasitically draining the public treasury by their callous lack of self-control (though most welfare recipients, in fact, are white). Obama’s poll numbers would plummet approximately five times as fast as Bush’s did. McCain would publicly deplore the brouhaha, pretend to maintain focus on the “issues,” and swagger easily, smirking all the way, into the White House in January.

Why is this nightmare vision plausible? Because Americans, more even than most people around the world, tend to feel much more than they think — and feeling is essentially irrational. Symbol, myth and gesture, more than good sense —  or even common sense — rule our politics.

Americans might well take caution from a famous historical case of emotional prejudice triumphing over reason, to the detriment of all. In 19th Century Ireland, the parliamentarian Charles Stewart Parnell, through his tremendous political gifts and sheer charisma, became tremendously effective, far more than any Irish politican before or since, in bringing England around to the idea of respecting the Irish — and giving them a bit of freedom into the bargain. He was smeared by numerous scandals, including one which linked his name (through forged letters) to the infamous Phoenix Park murders, in which terrorists murdered two officials in that famous park in Dublin. Parnell survived all these tribulations and became in fact what he was commonly called by all: “the uncrowned king of Ireland.”

Then a fellow Irish MP named Captain O’Shea divorced his wife, Katherine O’Shea — and had the tactlessness to name Parnell as correspondent. Parnell, he claimed, had been his wife’s lover for years. Many assumed (and no doubt hoped) that this was just another smear. Unfortunately for Ireland, it wasn’t: its “king” was an adulterer. It didn’t matter a jot that he and Mrs. O’Shea were not casual sex partners (like so many of his fellow MPs and their mistresses), but hopelessly, devotedly and passionately in love; nor that she had been separated from Captain O’Shea even before she met Parnell; nor that, after her divorce became final, he did the honorable thing and married the lady immediately. The church hierarchy were furious, scandalized! And so were many humble and pious Catholic citizens — even some who owed their livelihoods to Parnell’s reforms.

From king, Parnell descended to renegade. Former allies now became bitter enemies. Ill but undaunted, our hero fought to bring himself and his cause back into his countrymen’s good graces. At one campaign stop, an enemy threw quicklime in his face. Manfully, he continued to make speeches, a bandana covering his injured eye, looking for all the world like a pirate. At last his body gave out. He died of pneumonia, age 45, and his cause died with him. It has been claimed that almost all Ireland’s political troubles for the next hundred years or so were caused directly or indirectly from the tragedy of Parnell’s fall — because the Irish preferred their puritanical morality to freedom.

Obama is no Parnell, of course. He is not a visionary (despite his visionary rhetoric), but a very clever and skillful politician, promising change with a militarist program that makes true change impossible. You should definitely vote against him, but not for the wrong reasons, particularly reasons of race — the issue which, when mixed with sex, is the real third rail of American politics. Nor for that matter, should you vote against McCain/Palin just because the daughter of the latter is in the family way. You should vote against them for their smugness, their hypocrisy, their double standard, their lack of humanity. That leaves only the third parties. If you’re a right-wing guy/gal, you should look into Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party. And if you’re a left-wing guy/gal, check out either Ralph Nader, running on the Independent Party line, or Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party. (Obviously, I’m biased toward the latter!)

The Juno Factor

Isn’t it ASTOUNDING how, as soon as the Republicans are themselves caught displaying the frailities and foibles — like drug addiction or sexual excess — that they constantly condemn in others, they suddenly become raving liberals?

Why Is This Girl Smiling?

Why Is This Girl Smiling?

Why should we care when an utterly unqualified Vice Presidential candidate suddenly and proudly presents us with her knocked-up teen daughter as an anti-abortion and pro-abstinence (!) role model?
Why Is *This* Girl Smiling?

Why Is *This* Girl Smiling?

The case for ignoring this whole mess is perhaps best put by Brian Alexander of MNSBC:
War in Iraq, economy imploding, energy transformation finally on America’s agenda, income disparity threatening the social order, cynicism infecting every corner of American life, a tectonic shift to a multi-polar world, a collapsing educational system, and you want to make the pregnancy of a 17-year-old a political issue?
Well… yes! Because the Republican Party — led by the fascist wing of Pat Buchanan and others like him — made, over the past two decades, their savage culture war on everyone private morality the defining aspect of contemporary politics, from Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress to  Elliot Spitzer’s blazing crash and burn. Their cries of pseudo-moral outrage overwhelm the sustained and sober thought necessary for Americans to deal rationally with any of the problems enumerated above — or to realize that the Repugs themselves, least of all Sarah Palin, haven’t a clue about how to solve any of it.
The tragedy behind this farce is that there really is a qualified candidate for President who does have ideas about what to do about our problems, but because of a total media blackout, you may not even have heard of her. She is Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party and she is the perfect embodiment of the Ten Key Values the Greens espouse:
  • Grassroots Democracy
  • Social Justice
  • Ecological Wisdom
  • Non-violence
  • Decentralization
  • Community-based Economics
  • Feminism
  • Diversity
  • Responsibility
  • Future Focus
(We apologize to the Christian Right that “Chastity” is not among them.)
Please check out Cynthia’s website. Go sane! Vote Green!