Ask Yourself — What Is It Exactly That Conservatives Want To “Conserve”?

I prefer calling myself (and being called) a Progressive because it more accurately describes how I think than the word “liberal” does. “Liberal” comes with tons of baggage, too, since it’s been used at various times, by various people, to describe ways of thinking that aren’t like mine — “liberal” as they may be.

I’m a Progressive because I want to see us all “progress” into the best possible future for as many people as possible. I’m a Progressive because I believe it’s in our collective interest to keep evolving — to answer new challenges with new ways of thinking. And to “think” those new ways of thinking, I think we’re best served by the widest possible brain pool that draws from the widest possible pool.

We know, because it’s there in the name, what Progressives like me want from our representatives, from our government and from our politics. We want progress. We want TO progress.

Okay, that’s our side. On the other side — Conservatives. Just like with us, what Conservatives want when you get right down to it is right there in their name: conservatives want to conserve.

Considering as you can’t conserve the future, that leaves only the present and the past. One can conserve the present — one absolutely can. One can slam on the brakes and insist that, from this day forward, we will not progress in any way, shape or form. We will do things exactly as we’re doing them today and that will be it. We will have conserved the present — which is really a snap shot of the past.

And, as each moment progresses, of course, that present will BE “the past”. Literally. And everyone living inside its rules and regulations, its whole way of thinking, it’s view of the world — is just as literally living in the past. By desire and design. Most conservatives don’t really want to live in the present, of course. They see the present as being too compromised already by the future.

They aspire to conserve what was — from a time when white guys — Christians ones of course — ruled the schoolyard without challenge. Yeah, they want to drag America back to the 50’s — the 1850’s. That’s really what conservatives want to conserve — a time when a good ol’ boy American racist-misogynist-bigot could do what he wanted.

The Paradise from the past that most conservatives dream of would look to the rest of us like a Boschian hellscape.

THAT is what conservatives want to conserve.

Hey, America — There’s A New Boss In Town — It’s The “African-American Vote”

Common wisdom (often more common than wise) has whispered for a while now that African Americans were the core constituency of the Democratic Party. Don’t have them behind you (on a national level)? You aren’t going far.

Yesterday, that bit of common wisdom looked unnaturally wise. Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign went from zero to hero almost entirely on the strength of the African-American vote. As a voting block, African Americans didn’t just flex their muscle, they demonstrated just how powerful a muscle they wield. Now, let’s be clear — African Americans don’t get on the phone with each other to discuss how they’re all going to vote. Jews don’t do it either. Neither do Latinos or any voting block (except Bernie Bros apparently and Republicans). African Americans — though not voting “as a group”, voted as a group of individuals with a common experience: American politics at their expense.

As a group, African Americans have a very particular history. As a group, Jews have a very particular history. That history imprints upon a group in myriad ways, most of them very subtle — but definitive. When you cannot automatically trust the political system you have no choice but to participate in, you approach it a little differently than someone who’s always benefited from that system. White people get to take our system’s inequalities for granted one way. People Of Color get to take them for granted the other way.

African American voters are pragmatic through and through. There’s one thing that, as a group, they’re aspirational towards like no other (because it touches them so completely): social justice. When you’ve never actually gotten to experience what everyone else has taken for granted — the thing that gives them monumental advantages over you — you recognize that before you can have anything else, FIRST, you must have THAT.

You must have social justice in order to have a remote shot at all the other things you deserve — same as everyone else.

Donald Trump has made it clear as can be that one of his biggest missions is to reverse, undo, destroy or shit on EVERYTHING Barack Obama accomplished as president. Trump has billboarded his racism from the get-go. Birtherism should have been the end of Trumpism. We should never have gotten to “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy-grabbing”. A decent Republican Party would have made racist birtherism anathema to them.

They didn’t. Because decency died in them long, long ago. The people now calling themselves “the Republican Party” share philosophy (though not name) with the Dixiecrats. I recommend historian Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” which explains how the Republican Party — at its founding — were a lot more like contemporary Democrats than contemporary Republicans. Names mean a lot less than core philosophy.

The modern Republican Party is very much the Dixiecrat Party — Nixon’s Southern Strategy come back to life as a ravenous Christo-fascist hate-zombie who knows the demographics bode poorly for white, Christian, male power. Southern-sympathizing white, Christian male power. What African Americans know — we’re still fighting the Civil War. And we’re still fighting the Civil War because we let slavery in the door.

Rather, we didn’t kick it out upon the nation’s founding. We compromised with something you cannot compromise with and maintain your integrity. You cannot say “All men are created equal” while owning other “men”. You can’t.

African Americans have lived and died on the crux of that matter. As a group, they did not ask to be here. Once here, they did not want to BE here. Once that choice was taken away — to have their old lives back — they wanted to survive the inhumanity being inflicted upon them. The stolen labor. The stolen children. The stolen lives and property and dignity and even history.

Poll taxes and voter ID laws are all ways racists try to stop African Americans from voting. On one side of this equation are all those people TRYING to stop people of color from voting. On the other side are people of color who just want to exercise their right to vote. It’s kind of organic that those people of color would therefore — on a regular basis — vote differently than the people trying to suppress their vote. ‘

Back in Lincoln’s day, that would have meant massive turnout for Republicans — the Party of Lincoln.

But the two parties have swapped names — that’s really what’s happened here. The Party of Lincoln has morphed into modern Democrats while the Confederacy has morphed into the Republican Party. When African Americans turn out en masse — as they did yesterday for Joe Biden — it has actual historical significance. While speaking as individuals — with the same righteous indignation in their hearts and the same pragmatism in their heads — also African Americans spoke as a group. They brought Joe Biden’s presidential run back from the dead not because they dislike Bernie Sanders (or anything Bernie stands for) but because 300 years of group experience has taught them that whatever serves social justice best — that is how they must vote.

I say all this as a socialist. I was thrilled to attend Bernie Sanders’ first campaign rally here in LA in 2016. I took my son even (he was 17 — and has, since, become a bit of a Bernie Bro — in his “Bernie Or Bust” thinking). I aspire to everything Bernie aspires to. But, I’m pragmatic, too. And there’s reality. I have to live in it — so must Bernie.

I trust that, should he not win the nomination, Bernie Sanders will do what he said he would and back whoever the Democratic nominee is. But what of the most ardent Bernie followers — the ones ( like my son) who have said they won’t vote if Bernie isn’t atop the Democratic ticket? I hate to say this (son — ya listening?) Taking your ball and going home is such a White Guy thing to do.

For real.

If you really want social justice — and social justice is the foundational idea on which Social Democracy and socialism is based (that and economic justice — but, it’s the social justice that demands the economic justice not the other way around) — then you, at least, have to look at how African American voters voted yesterday. They chose Biden because they see the clearest path toward social justice.

If we make the 2020 Presidential campaign an epic battle between Good — social justice — and Evil — All Things Trump — we will win that battle hands down, going away and by a mile. We have, on our team, a group with a great nose for social justice. They’ve pointed us clearly in one direction.

Hey, White People — let’s start listening for a change.

Our Problem Is We Keep Solving The Wrong Problems

You’re hot. You think: open the window — that will solve my problem. But your house is on fire. Opening the window will solve nothing.

That’s OUR problem. Our house is on fire — the Republican Party is trying to burn it down. And, while the Democrats are desperately trying to put the fire out, the Main Stream News Media either chases the arsonist like he was a cartoon action figure — oblivious of his Russian friend and the can of gasoline HE’S carrying — or they worry about whether or not Democrats are just doing this because they hate Donald Trump. In other words, “because of politics”.

“Both Sides Do It” brand journalism IS part of our problem because, by its nature, it always points at the wrong problem. It sees vague corruption instead of the corruption at hand. The corruption at hand is just “how it is” because “both sides do it” even though it flat out isn’t so: both sides do NOT do it.

Both sides don’t because both sides aren’t the same. If you can’t see that simple, empirical fact, then not only can’t you see the problem, you are a big part OF the problem.

When “news broadcasters” get on their “news broadcasts” and report things Trump does or says and then turn to the “news analysts” on set and ask that lazy-assed question “What do YOU make of…?”, what almost always comes back is something that REFUSES to look at the most obvious (though admittedly horrible explanation) — that Donald Trump is a traitor actively betraying every single American in real time.

That answers the question “Why does Trump kowtow to Vladimir Putin?” Find a fact that contradicts it — and good luck with that.

The solution to our problem is Donald Trump gets frog marched out of the White House in irons today. Everyone in Trump’s cabinet gets the same treatment. Ditto every Republican leader in Congress. In fact, until we (in the words of Donald Trump) “figure out what’s going on here”, we should put every Republican member of Congress under “house” arrest until we can accurately assess where their loyalties REALLY lie.

Mind you, all that’s only IF we want to SOLVE our problem.

We won’t do anything of the kind, I bet — and we’ll pay the price.

There ARE voices in the media who DO see the problem and SEE the very hard, very unpleasant but very real solutions demanded. Malcolm Nance just nailed it on a very good AM Joy segment on MSNBC. This does come down to loyalty — to us or to Russia. There’s no middle ground.

And it absolutely is NOT political. It’s moral. It’s human. It’s American. At its core, this whole crisis comes down to a very real question: who are we?

The answer is — A diverse nation struggling to answer and very high ideal. Before we can be that thing however, we need to dispense with the group of people who convinced all the rest of us that THEY were the keeper of that very high ideal. Turns out THEY were full of shit.

Our problem is racism. Our problem is misogyny. Our problem is bigotry. Our problem is religious intolerance — not “of” religious people but BY religious people. Our problem is one segment of America — its shrinking white base — seeing that it’s hold on American Culture and American politics was over and then doing something immoral and illegal to stop from losing their hold.

Our problem isn’t “politics”, it’s one side USING politics for its own ends against not just “the other side” but everyone else. THAT’S our problem.

The Right Wing money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) made an unholy alliance with Russia (and Saudi Arabia). In the case of the Mercers, they even worked hand in glove with the very people attacking the election — Russian intelligence. No one on that side of the equation ever asked themselves “But, is this good for America?” If they did, by “America”, they meant “me”.

The way most of our news media reports the story we’re all living in frustrates the crap out of anyone with an ounce of perspective. There’s plenty of very good reporting — but good reporting without context can become mediocre reporting or even bad reporting. It’s awesome so many journalists are boring into the Trump-Ukraine story in such detail. But if you don’t see either its connections to the Trump-Russia story or you DO see it but fear reporting it is too complicated, then you’ve made yourself part of the problem.

You’ve under-reported the core fact that we WILL eventually get to BECAUSE it’s the core fact: ALL ROADS LEAD TO PUTIN exactly as Nancy Pelosi said. That’s not hyperbolic. It’s a stone cold fact.

We’re living through an active CYBER WAR directed against us. That’s a fact. It’s also a fact that we’re not telling ourselves that we’re under attack in a cyber war. Or, rather, it’s a fact that our news media isn’t REPORTING that fact to its audience. If you don’t report the right story, the audience never realizes its actual problem and they worry about one thing while the other guts them.

The answer is both simple and complex. Pull back the camera as far as you possibly can. Get to the core WHY. “WHY” is this happening? WHO is it most benefiting? Where’s all the MONEY going? Who gets to keep POWER?

The answer also relies on action — on those suddenly woke to DO something about their wokeness. That includes the news media. They’ve confused “neutrality” and “just the facts” with total disconnection. Incorrect. All facts have weight. They don’t all have the same weight. More importantly, lies are NOT facts and should not be treated like facts. When you treat bullshit like facts, you immediately corrupt the “fact pool”. You leave a giant turd floating in it.

Fishing out the turd will solve one problem. It will not solve THE problem you created because now the pool has to be drained. If you don’t, you’ll be left wondering why everyone who swims gets sick. The answer? Because you never solved THE PROBLEM.

YOU solve something else instead…

Wine Review: Trump Wines Aren’t Bad — If You Like How Treason Tastes

When you put your name on something, you damned well better stand by it. I hope the Trumps are ready to stand by what’s in that bottle with their name on it.

The Trump doesn’t so much have a “nose ” as an unpatriotic pong with acrid notes of corruption and nepotism.

When swirled, the Trump wine didn’t. Swirl. It sat there and insisted it WAS swirling. Strange, I thought, that a wine would lie about something so easily disproven.

There are hints of money laundering and fraud (that are all backed up later). If anything, the nose is Adultery Forward.

The first taste is offputting. Where you expect fruit, you get bullshit – and lots of it. Then fecklessness. Then waves of racism, bigotry and genetic ignorance.

Then one’s taste buds go completely numb. Mine haven’t come back yet. I fear it’s because everything Trump touches dies — including one’s taste buds.

The finish is all treason.

Good thing you get to spit this shit out.

For what it’s worth – Here’s an actual review of Trump wines. They weren’t as bad as colored lighter fluid — but not by much.

https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/we-tried-some-bottles-from-donald-trumps-virginia-winery/

Dear Conservatives — Your Problem Is: No One (Except YOU) Wants To Conserve What YOU Want To Conserve

Want to know what a conservative wants? Look no further than their name: “CONSERVATIVE”. Conservatives want to “conserve“.

Now — ask the next logical question — “WHAT do conservatives want to CONSERVE?”

Do conservatives want to conserve the future? Of course not — you can’t conserve what doesn’t exist. Do conservatives want to conserve the present? That’s a little closer to the mark.

Yes — conservatives want to conserve what “is” — because what “is” still reflects a large measure of what “was” — and “what was” is exactly what conservatives want to conserve: WHAT WAS.

Now — ask the NEXT logical question: “What was it in the past that conservatives want to conserve?”

In America, it’s the quaint notion that America was ever a white person’s country. Yes, white people may have been the country’s political founders — but even as they crafted the country’s foundational documents, the truth about the country they were founding sat in a cultural blind spot. White men saw only their contributions, ignoring the considerable contributions coming from every other part of America’s already diverse and diversifying population.

Remember — aside from America’s native peoples — who were wiped out more by the Europeans pathogens than anything else — the real estate on which America sits belonged to no other “tribe”. By contrast, the real estate that became France or Spain or England had gone through a millennium at least of tribes slowly evolving from, say, Gauls or Visagoths or Celts into French people, Germans & British.

Just because you control the history doesn’t mean you control the Truth.

Conservative (Christian) thinking insisted that since slavery was “in the bible” it must be morally okay. What they really meant was paying fair wages to the people picking their cotton or cutting down their sugar cane would make profitability really hard. What those conservatives wanted to conserve in this case was as much money as possible.

In this instance, what conservatives wanted to “conserve” was their greedy hold on their part of America’s economy. And we made that deal. We gave slavery and slavers outsized political control over people who hated the idea of slavery.

That’s conservatism’s real problem. They’re a minority proposition in America. When more Americans vote, they vote Democratic. They vote for more progressive candidates & policies. They vote for progress & NOT conservatism.

That’s why Republicans work so hard to minimize Democracy. That’s why they suppress votes and demand voter ID laws. If Republicans thought the great mass of Americans would vote FOR them, they’d make walk-up voting as normal as breathing. But that’s not the case — so they don’t.

Moscow Mitch McConnell — whose whole mandate was to install permanent minority rule — has raised conservative corruption to a high art. Refusing to even give Merrick Garland a hearing wasn’t just another example of Mitch being a clever, cynical politician (which he absolutely is), it was Mitch asserting that only conservative goals matter — the harm done to who and what we are being utterly irrelevant.

The more “sane” conservatives will insist that conservatives don’t want to stop progress, they just want to “slow it down”.

The technical term for that is “bullshit”. Conservatives don’t want to slow America’s future down — they want to stop it dead in its tracks and reverse it. Conservatives want to live in a “golden past” that only ever existed in their own racist, misogynist, bigoted, ignorant minds.

So — the next time a conservative sits a little straighter while insisting they want what’s best for America? Be sure to laugh long and loudly at them. The America THEY think is best looks a hell of a lot like your average Antebellum cotton plantation.

Slavery epitomizes conservative values. That is what conservatives REALLY want to conserve.

The Difference Between Bullshit & Horse Shit — And, Yes, There IS A Difference…

I think of “now” as A Golden Age Of Bullshit. And we are the mountaineers bravely climbing Bullshit’s highest peak — the Trump White House.

Humanity has invented and lived through countless Ages of Nonsense, Lies, Rubbish & Self-Delusion. Pick a religion. Add a little dogma. Bam! You have bullshit on your hands now. The Golden Ages are when religionistas take up arms against each other — killing on a grand scale in order to prove that their imaginary friend can kick the other guy’s imaginary friend’s ass.

Bullshit can kill people. Climate deniers use bullshit to justify doing nothing as if “doing nothing” would prove climate change isn’t real. But climate change will happen and destroy human lives regardless of what humans think. Only what humans “DO” can effect or even, hopefully, slow what we humans have done to our own freaking habitat.

We all know bullshit when we see it, smell it, hear it, right? It’s like they used to define pornography. We can’t say quite what it is (it covers so much territory), but we know it when we “experience” it. It’s that distinctive.

Horse shit, by comparison, is milder stuff. Horse shit is your idiot RW uncle at Thanksgiving “Yeah, but”-ing every argument, because he still thinks blaming the Clintons works.

Horse shit is your kid missing curfew and swearing they were caught in traffic.

Horse shit is 60% of all Cable News talking head panels. It’s rubbish — mostly harmless, masturbatory navel gazing done by second tier talent who keep getting air time because there’s so little first tier talent. The other panels are 10% worthwhile conversations (mostly via Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline White House) and 20% outright bullshit.

There are certain regular guests on some of these shows who are especially good at pointing out the dividing line between horse shit & bullshit. Dr. Jason Johnson is always good at laser-lighting it. Elie Mystal is amazing. So’s Zina Maxwell and Anand Giridharadas. Dr. Eddie Glaude articulates the dividing line beautifully. So does Maria Hinojosa.

Hmmmmm… Do ya suppose it’s a coincidence that those most skilled at seeing the difference between horse shit and bullshit have been most beaten up by bullshit? Slavery was/is bullshit. Racism is bullshit. All bigotry is bullshit. All misogyny is bullshit. I’m biased. I’d say pretty much all conservative thinking is bullshit (whereas people thinking conservatives and progressives could ever work together again — that’s just horse shit).

America’s RW Is Treating Guns The Exact Same Way They Once Treated Cannabis — As The Basis For Their RACISM

I sure hope this isn’t up for debate: America’s war on drugs, especially its war on cannabis, was always about RACISM and nothing but.

I refer you to an excellent series (okay — I wrote it — I’m biased) called Blunt Truths over at Weedmaps News. Blunt Truths points out (with receipts) how at no time in the process of “illegalizing” cannabis did anyone creating or crafting the legislation ever ask “But, is it bad for anyone?” They specifically avoided that question because they knew for a fact the answer would be “We don’t think so — in fact, we see a multitude of ways it’s actually good for people”. That would have been the American Medical Association speaking.back in the day (before they were a political racket first and foremost). But, what did they know…?

Here’s some irony — because this story is built of irony — the very first anti-marijuana law was crafted in 1915 in California — by a group of Pharmacists. But, even as pharmacists, the law they crafted doesn’t bother with what marijuana did to anyone (they had no idea — no research existed whatsoever), what really worried them was WHO was smoking it.

Prior to 1910 — when the Mexican Revolution sent a wave of Mexican refugees fleeing north — Americans had never heard of marijuana. A few perhaps read Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s accounts of being a hashish eater but that was one white man’s experience of the “colored man’s” exotica. The Mexicans fleeing revolution brought marijuana with them because it had become part of their culture; they enjoyed it and its benefits.

Cannabis brings euphoria and happiness. It makes you laugh. Imagine how terrifying the sight of happy, laughing Latinos must have been to those poor, frightened white people — lots of alcohol already in their veins as they fearfully pounded down some more.

Marijuana spread to New Orleans in the early 20’s while jazz was being born. African American jazz musicians liked reefer because, unlike with alcohol which stifles creativity because it fogs one’s thinking, cannabis works the opposite way in our brains. Sativas especially bring mental energy and focus. The musicians took to cannabis because they could work with it in their systems and kick back with it in their systems. It was that multi-faceted a product. That was & is the truth about cannabis.

When Harry Anslinger took over as the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ first ever Commissioner in 1930, he didn’t give cannabis a second’s thought. He testified before Congress that it wasn’t a problem. And yet — by 1934, Anslinger’s tune had changed. “Marihuana” (Anslinger’s spelling) had become a demon weed capable of motivating its users to madness and mayhem. What changed exactly? White people were now using it.

When the jazz musicians were kicked out of New Orleans, they headed north, following the Mississippi at first. They landed in Memphis and Nashville. They landed in Chicago. And everywhere they landed, marihuana landed with them — where white people, intrigued by the music, were sampling the black man’s inspiration. And liking it.

THAT — right there — is why Harry Anslinger changed his mind about cannabis being a danger to the public. Anslinger’s problem was there was nothing in the Constitution justifying marijuana prohibition. Anslinger had to create a crime (he went for tax evasion — if you didn’t pay the onerous tax each time you bought or sold marijuana — and get the stamp showing you’d paid the taxes — the stamp being unavailable — you became a tax cheat) in order to institutionalize his racism but Anslinger was a dedicated racist and a top notch bureaucrat.

You know how that ended up, right?

Our gun control debate flows from the same dark wellspring of racism. Look at the people arguing most vociferously to hold onto every last weapon they can till said weapons are pried from their cold, dead fingers (per former leader Charlton Heston). Notice anything about them? Like they’re almost entirely white? There’s a reason for that.

The same people will insist with a straight face that they’re fighting the good fight on our behalf — being the militia standing up against a hostile federal government. Yeah… except that’s not what the 2nd Amendment actually says (regardless of how the gun lobby rewrote it in our heads; it STILL puts all the decision-making about gun possession (“keep” and “bear” not “own) into the hands of a “WELL REGULATED MILITIA”.

The Second Amendment is a GUN CONTROL amendment that the gun manufacturers successfully reimagined as a “have all the guns ya want” freeforall. Some day — soon, I think — we’ll toss the bullshit revisionism and go back to the amendment as written.

The RW — always racist to the marrow in their bones — insist that they’re standing up against the potential of a federal government run amok. They don’t say that when the federal government raises, pays for and deploys AN ARMY. But, in the abstract? It terrifies them. Maybe they don’t really mean “Hostile Federal Government”. Maybe what they really mean is “people of color”.

American gun lovers — in their own minds — aren’t standing up against any “government”, they’re standing up against people they perceive the government has empowered — black people. “Arm yourself because black people now have political power and probably will use it.” That is literally what they’re saying and thinking.

Just for shits n giggles — imagine how those very same people would think about guns and people arming themselves to the teeth if the majority of those arming themselves were African Americans or Latinos. Do you really think all those terrified white people could tolerate all those guns going to all those non-whites? If you do, can I borrow some money interest free forever?

Lift the veil on virtually any topic in American politics and you’ll find racism of one kind or another sitting around waiting for the call to come out and play. American racism is always happy to oblige.

Look at all the experience on our CV…