Monday, November 12, 2018

A Short History of the Republican Party

As I  recall it, the Republican party grew out of the Whig party (whatever that was) as a party opposed to slavery. This led to the Civil War, won by anti-slavery forces. After the war, reconstructing the nation began well but ended with Rutherford B. Hayes, who traded away the civil rights of men of color in exchange for the Presidency.  Jim Crow began and lasted for nearly 100 years.

During the Great Depression the Democratic party won the loyalty of a majority of voters by trying to help them.  The Democrats included both America's main progressive elements and the most racist voters. About 60 years ago, the Republicans realized that one way to return to power would be to hint that they were now the genuine home of racists. That would split off some of the Democrats' voters.

  So the Republicans began to hint that they might support a little more racism. This was the dog whistle tactic used by Nixon and Reagan. Soon Southern racists began to shift their loyalties. With more racists voting in Republican primaries, candidates began to compete, seeking racist votes more openly. The most obviously racist candidates began to win primaries. 

To stand out among so many racists, some Republican leaders  began to add that women were forgetting their place, which was pregnant, barefoot and in kitchens. Abortions should not be tolerated by men. Now armed with two issues, white supremacy and male supremacy, the Republicans began to attract fringe elements like the KKK.  Soon the KKK and Nazis were voting in Republican primaries. Instead of nominating Wilkie, Dewey or Eisenhower, the Republicans were nominating Nixon (paranoid), Reagan (senile) and Trump (nuts). Each election the Republicans slid deeper into a concentration of America's worst muck, until, today, the old-style Republicans are leaving the degenerating party in disgust. (This summary omits the Wall Street factors and attempts to repeal social security, Medicare, Obamacare, etc.)


Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Captain of the Titanic

This is the captain of the Titanic. We just crushed a major iceberg. We won bigger than I said--I said we would win huge. The North Atlantic loves me. It always has. It loves me. People tell me there's never been a bigger victory in the history of  ships. That's right. People know I have a big brain, really big, and the best words. Lots of the best words. These icebergs are small, little things, but cold. Fine. I can be colder than they are. Everyone is telling me I am the coldest. Icebergs are losers.  They're ugly and low I.Q, somewhere in the mid-30s. You ever see an iceberg? They don't know what they're doing.

Friday, November 9, 2018

In the Land of the Fraud

Probably you've seen or heard that the White House distributed a fake video clip yesterday. This fiction showed (supposedly) a respected reporter pushing around a young female intern at a press conference. 

We live in a tech age of faked data used to manipulate ignorant voters. 

Politics has always been rife with lying. Lies were told for and against President Washington. More recent political leaders have often presented absurd travesties of the truth. Johnson lied about Vietnam. Richard Nixon was paranoid. Reagan was senile in office.  Bill Clinton perjured himself chasing young women. George W. Bush started a war with the wrong country, killing hundreds of thousands (by mistake?).

This increasingly steep downhill slide has produced today a rich President who is mentally blighted, emotionally warped, vulgar in the worst ways, cruel and utterly incompetent. He's a lout a dog couldn't love. Trump is unbearably ugly inside and out, but nearly half the nation worships him.  That's what our system has come to. We need to change something.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Outcome

I'm trying to come to terms with Tuesday's outcomes. On the positive side, I still live in the Republic of California, which has deep flaws (including politicians groveling to real estate corporations)-- but the state rejects the mad Trumplets who ate and excreted the Republican party. In the larger nation, I am grateful to the many ignored but decisive organizations like Indivisible that organized and brought out women candidates and encouraged the votes of the women and young people. Independent volunteers won the House of Representatives. They did for the Democratic party what the party remained too backward, too Bill Clinton-enfeebled to do for itself.

The last Republican congressmen from L.A. county is packing his bags. The Republicans lost Statin Island and the last Republican congressman from New York City.

On the negative side, 45% of the voters still approve of the zombie, our vulgar, misogynist, openly racist and brain-dead President Spank-My-Buttocks. White-Wingers prevailed in the South 150 years after the end of the Civil War. We lost, at least for now, three promising leaders to the nasty lunacy of racism. That's hard to accept. When I was young I once stood within a few feet of  MLK, and now that I'm old, this? 

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Democrats

We are at a peculiar corner in history where one of our two major political parties has collapsed into white-winged, radical-right nihilism. There is one relatively rational major party left on the field, the Democratic party. As an independent democratic socialist, my view is that it is up to the Democrats now to represent a spectrum of voters ranging from Bernie Sanders to Ronald Reagan, from FDR to Eisenhower. Responsible people have no place else to go.

Voters have the options of supporting third parties or not voting at all, but they won't restore sanity to our governance system. 

The Democrats have been claiming for decades to be a big tent party. At this point we need an absurdly big tent party, and we may have one. I see surviving Reaganites on television asking people to vote for Democrats. They are trying to save what little exists of a representative system already stacked against women, the working poor and people of color. Republicans and Democrats had better hang together on Tuesday or we will, as Thomas Paine wrote, all hang separately.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Who Is White?

The definition of  the white race depends on which culture you dwell in. Below I reproduce the official position of American white nationalists (Trump). It's from a website called STORMFRONT.  According to nationalist guidelines, my wife, children, grandchild and son-in-law are not white.

What follows below is a quote from a leader in the movement. By his definition, which is reminiscent of the old "one drop" rule, white-wingers are a minority group.


So in response to the question, "Who's White?" we answer: "Non-Jewish people of wholly European descent. No exceptions."

What comprises "European?" Those areas north of the Mediterranean and west of the Urals corresponding roughly to what was formerly known as European Christendom.

Note the word "wholly" -- "of wholly European descent." Sometimes a person might volunteer that he is some small part non-White, like 1/64th or 1/128th, and then ask if we still consider him White. The answer is that if a person identifies with his non-White part so much that he is concerned about it and feels compelled to tell us about it, then we consider him to be non-White.

If someone were to say that they (sic) were 12.5% Amerindian then, as far as we're concerned, that's what they are, 1/8th non-White. This is something about which we can't compromise. You're either White or you aren't.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Prepare to Squat," a True Story

In our first war against Mexico (1846), which trained the military leaders of the Civil War (Grant, Lee),  one outfit was led by a general named Doniphan. Maybe he was a colonel.  

Anyway, Doniphan soon faced an enemy army at the Battle of Brazito (Little Arm). Both sides loaded their muskets and lined up to exchange volleys. At this point Doniphan, like many a good Irishman before him, was struck by an idea. He turned to his troops and uttered the first command he had ever given in combat. "Prepare to squat!"

Doniphan squatted his men as the Mexican army fired its volley, which passed overhead, wounding only a few traditionalists who had rejected the new order. He then stood his men up, and they fired a volley into the ranks of the confused and possibly indignant Mexicans, killing many and winning the day.  

This is today's small piece of history. 

Fort Bragg

Civil War General Braxton Bragg was responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, starting with Shiloh, one of many battles he lost for the Confederacy. Anyone familiar with the Civil War knows that Bragg was mightily disliked by many soldiers and generals of the Confederacy, including James Longstreet. Bragg was sustained by the high regard of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but nearly everyone else considered Bragg a toxic loser. 

Recently I read the republished diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, DOWN THE SANTA FE TRAIL AND INTO MEXICO, in which this 18-year-old woman, newly married, records her journey into Chihuahua in the middle of the Mexican War. Her portrait of life on the road in 1846 is compelling; this is what she says about Bragg, then a major. "The Maj. is called a great disciplinarian, drilling his men twice a day much to their dissatisfaction, they a few nights since placed a shell (under his cot) with a slow match, intending to kill him, but fortunately tho' it exploded about 11 O'clock shattering the roof of his tent, his trunk, part of his cott and even piercing the bed-clothing, he was unhurt."

This was one of two attempts the men made to kill Bragg during a short and unwarranted war. 

I mention this because there's a town in California named Fort Bragg. It's located a few miles west of Fort Benedict Arnold.    

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Technology-Enabled Savagery

In The New Yorker  John Cassidy wrote about America:

"Despite a rising tide of gun violence and political extremism, it has repeatedly failed to adapt its institutions and its laws—particularly those relating to guns and the online spread of hate speech—to an age of technology-enabled savagery." Cassidy's point is that our country is malfunctioning.

I'll add this. We are now down to one political party, and  it is out of power.