Creating a better world through words and images

Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

When 100,000 wealthy, white Venezuelans march on the streets to protest Maduro’s government, the corporate media splashes images of their marches everywhere. Good for them! Protest is a healthy thing, and the vast majority of these marches have been peaceful, unmarred by violence committed by the protesters or the state.

After all, this isn’t Occupy Wall Street we’re talking about — a peaceful protest movement violently crushed in an illegal, federally-coordinated, 18-city crackdown: they burned our libraries, tore down our encampments, and arrested hundreds — blasting pepper spray in our faces and firing tear gas canisters into protesters at point blank range. I’ve seen the bruises myself, having spent time at several OWS camps.

But when half a million Venezuelans of color protest against the Washington-backed coup, the MSM declines to cover their actions. Few Americans see the images of the Maduro government’s throngs of peaceful supporters, the indigenous and dark-skinned, those of African descent.

The MSM, which feigns outrage at Trump’s racism, has unequivocally sided with the wealthy, white Venezuelans who call themselves “Spaniards” and routinely called dark-skinned, curly-haired Hugo Chavez, the most popular leader in the hemisphere before his untimely demise, “MONKEY.”

In the coup-supporting Western media, the vast majority of Venezuelan people are disappeared, as if they simply don’t exist. That is what this coup is about: erasing two-thirds of Venezuela’s population — the millions lifted out of poverty by Hugo Chavez and his movement — because the Chavistas have stood in the way of the Koch Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and British Petroleum, slavering to get their tentacles on the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

(The Chavistas have had the temerity to channel the profits from their nation’s top resource into social programs that aid the poor. They cut poverty in half, rose literacy to over 90% for men and women, reduced infant mortality, and instituted land reforms that have protected the rights of the indigenous. They also put in place a people’s constitution, ratified by the citizenry, and created an election system that Jimmy Carter has called the best and most transparent in the world.)

I highly recommend Jimmy Dore’s twopart interview with the BBC’s Greg Palast, following his recent visit to Venezuela.

Palast has spent much of his career as a journalist exposing the schemes of white-supremacist conservatives to disenfranchise people of color, stealing one election after another. He covered the GOP’s theft of the 2000 presidential election, which required the purging of tens of thousands of African-Americans from the voter rolls in Florida. More recently, he covered Georgia Republicans’ theft of the governor’s race in 2018, thanks to Brian Kemp’s purging of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans from the voter rolls.

Today, Palast is focused on the Washington-instigated coup in Venezuela — which, if successful, will invalidate the votes of some eight million POC in that country, mestizos who’ve been resisting foreign-supported oppression ever since their movement won power 20 years ago.

You wouldn’t know it from watching CNN, but Bernie Sanders’ highest approval rating has consistently come from African-Americans. Coming in at a close second are Hispanics, followed by Asian-Americans.

(Review the data, if you dare.)

73% of African-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.
68% of Hispanic-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.
62% of Asian-Americans have a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders.

Compare these numbers to the bare 55% of men (vs. 58% of women) and just 52% of white Americans who have a favorable opinion of the country’s most popular politician (white Americans being the most fascism-prone, establishment-content demographic in the good ole’ USA).

And then ask yourself why the corporate media keeps slandering this old civil rights crusader and ally of the vulnerable as someone who “mostly appeals to young white males.”

And then remember that the same corporate media told us in 2008 that then-Senator Obama’s supporters were misogynist “OBAMA BOYS.”

Apparently anyone who doesn’t adore Wall Street neocon Hillary Clinton is a sexist, racist jerk… It couldn’t possibly be that we decry the catastrophic and morally grotesque right-wing policies she’s championed over the years, resulting in the doubling of the U.S. prison population, the 2008 Wall Street crash…and two genocides in Iraq (1990s sanctions and 2003 invasion), a revived slave-trade in Libya, and more genocide in Syria and Yemen (the latter ongoing).

Maybe the ones with the race problem are the same soulless careerists who spend seven days a week pushing propaganda and demonizing foreign leaders, and whipping the American people toward war, war, war, war, war…

Here we go again, with the white-male dominated corporate media telling African-Americans who their favorite politician is: Wall Street favorite and “New Jim Crow” prosecutor, Kamala Harris.

In 2016, the MSM had a similar narrative to peddle, ignoring considerable evidence to the contrary — because the establishment loved Sec. Clinton (far more than black people did) and wanted Bernie Sanders out of her way. But I’ve seen that some of the most significant early pushback against “centrist” Harris is coming from black Americans.

(Deja vu all over again.)

We should view with great skepticism the claim that the Clintons are much beloved by the African-American community.

Because it wasn’t just Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander expressing doubts about the Democratic Party’s pre-selected candidate, back in 2016. Actor/activist Danny Glover, MLK-friend and actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Congresswoman Nina Turner, and other prominent black Americans also saw Bernie Sanders as the clear choice over Sec. “We came, we saw, he died” (ha ha ha) Clinton.

(That was Clinton responding to news of Qaddafi’s brutal rape/murder by terrorists the U.S. supported in the West’s overthrow of Libya’s government. That regime-change operation, pushed aggressively by Sec. Clinton, ended up being President Obama’s greatest regret in office. Clinton’s project from the start, her “greatest moment” as Secretary of State, resulted in a failed state and the return of open-air slave markets in Africa.)

Black voters saw how Sanders had fought, his entire life, for civil rights and equality. And how Bernie allowed BLM activists to speak at his events — to take over the microphone, even — while Sec. Clinton had Black Lives Matter activists forcibly ejected from the room.

I seriously doubt that an overwhelming majority of black voters were fooled by Sec. Clinton in 2016, any more than will be fooled by Sen. Kamala Harris in 2020. Because I don’t think an accurate vote tally happened in Southern states where Clinton supposedly did so well with the African-American community. The outcome was a lie. Just like the narrative that “black folks adore the Clintons” was a lie.

Rapper “Killer Mike” and Dr. Cornel West, along with other black leaders, were having a big effect on the electorate and the black community, rallying people against the right-wing Democrat and toward the progressive Vermont independent. In early 2016, Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” wrote in The Nation that “Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.” And James Rucker, of Color of Change, detailed all of the dirty race-baiting, “Southern Strategy” tactics the Clintons used against then-Senator Obama in 2008 (even resorting to a little “Birther” politics, casting doubt on Obama’s birthplace and Christian religion).

I couldn’t believe then, and don’t now, that black Americans were so taken with serial racist and Wall Street neoconservative, Hillary Clinton. A purely corporate candidate, best known for being inauthentic, corrupt, and untrustworthy.

And I cannot remove from the equation the paperless, unauditable voting machines that likely played a role, possibly even a decisive role, in Clinton “winning” the South. A peer-reviewed Stanford University study in 2016 documented that the exit polls were far, far off from the recorded tallies, particularly in Southern states, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the primary.

For decades, African-American voters have been the savviest demographic in America, consistently anti-war and liberal. So, I doubt that they were as easily fooled into voting against their interests in 2016 as the corporate media would have us believe. The African-American community’s refusal to show up for Clinton in the general — even with Trump her opponent — speaks volumes.

And it’s hardly likely that they’re going to turn out in great numbers for the establishment’s latest Chosen One… particularly with Harris’s egregious record of wrongfully convicting poor people, disproportionately POC, for the profit of corporations and others who would reduce them to near-slavery (Harris’s office argued against early prison release for non-violent offenders, on the basis that they were needed as barely-compensated fire-fighters, risking their lives for $2.00 an hour).

I’ve been enjoying revisiting my original “Batman” story from 2004, rereading my old dialogue, reworking old scenes, adding new touches.

Here’s a taste:

BATMAN:  Arkham Jihad

CONCEPT:  “Arkham Jihad” was born of two emotions, Love and Disappointment: Love, for the excellent Batman stories that restored the power and pathos of an American icon and uplifted the “comic book” genre; and Disappointment, at Hollywood’s refusal to acknowledge the genius of that accomplishment, choosing instead to churn out the next generation of campy dreck — still about the “toys,” whacky villains and their goons, and caped adventure — still aimed at the kiddies, only with a lot more violence and sex… and a lot less campy fun.

Where in the Warner Brothers universe, I wondered, is the richly complex psychological portrait of the intense, grim, tortured, obsessive Bruce Wayne — so scarred by the past that he can’t simply accept life as a billionaire and move on?  He barely exists in these films, despite the brilliant template provided by Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and others.  Instead, Warner Brothers’ Batman has more in common with James Bond, complete with a new Bond (OK, Bat-) “Girl” in each new installment:  He goes from Vicki (T)ail to (S&M) Catwoman to (Hot4Bad-Boys) Chase to (Fatal Femme) Ivy to (The Girl Next Door) Rachel, in the best Batman flick yet, “Batman Begins” (which still leaves a lot to be desired).

As with 007, each new Batman film features new gadgets, a new Batmobile, a new costume, and a new villain who, in the end, must be destroyed — Joker dies, Penguin dies (along with Max Shreck), Two-Face (Harvey!) dies, Riddler is mentally destroyed… and so on.

“Batman Begins,” an entertaining film with a far better than average take on the Batman, comes closest, but none of the Warner Brothers films are truly for grown-ups… and as depraved, raunchy, and violent as some of the preceding ones are, they’re not really all that suitable for kids, either!

It was my disappointment with the films, leaving the theater with the unshakable sense that they had gotten it wrong, that led me to wonder, just how had they gotten it wrong?  What was it, precisely, that they had left out?  Each film led me to a separate meditation on the Batman — the Batman who wasn’t in the picture — the Batman I knew from the Graphic Novels.

I know this Batman, I thought; I’ve read all of the great Graphic Novels:  “The Dark Knight Returns” (and “Batman: Year One”), “The Killing Joke,” and the less great (but still cool) “Arkham Asylum. What was it I had learned about Batman in these novels that the films all missed?

What is it, I asked myself, that makes Batman tic?  (And tic he does, make no mistake.)

After many hours contemplating these questions, I decided that the answer to the fundamental question — Who is Batman? — is darker, more compelling, perverse, and epic than anything we have previously seen in any single Batman story, on paper or on the screen (though “The Dark Knight Returns” comes closest).

While the aforementioned graphic novels all provide key insights into the Batman’s character — his background, underlying motivation, and personal challenges — his legend is not entirely complete in any one of them.  Each of these masterworks has something essential to say about the Batman (and, in some cases, his foes) that the others fail to articulate.

Therefore, I had to conclude, the truest, richest, most awesome, inspirational, and gritty Batman — the whole Batman — is, at present, condemned to exist scattered across several different works (masterpieces, yes, but incomplete, in terms of actually comprehending the Caped Crusader… in all of his awesome, twisted, heroic magnificence).

With no disrespect to those who’ve come before, the Batman’s day has not yet come.

Thus, “Arkham Jihad” aspires to incorporate the most significant, mind-blowing insights about the Batman — and his two principal foes, Joker and Two-Face, provided in the following works:

1.  The classic, traditional Batman character — from the time of his first appearance in Bob Kane’s original stories for Detective Comics (DC) to his decades of service in assorted DC comic books and television incarnations (all the way to Warner Brothers’ various renditions of the character in their films of the past few decades:  heroic, driven, moral, intense, and dark…).

2. Frank Miller’s exhilarating “The Dark Knight Returns,” a seminal work, essential to understanding the character of the Batman…  Miller’s Batman is dark (almost suicidal), a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and a hard, cold, very nearly ruthless soldier in the fight against crime.  Miller’s Batman exorcises the cliched ring of the “caped crusader” phrase by reminding the reader what a crusader is:  an uncompromising zealot.  Suffice it to say, his Batman’s campaign does not lend itself to campy “POW!” and “BIFF!” graphics…  I’m also appropriating from “The Dark Knight Returns” an element (of Miller’s invention, I believe) concerning Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Harvey “Two Face” Dent:  Bruce Wayne’s commitment to Harvey’s rehabilitation.  Although “Arkham Jihad” is set chronologically before “The Dark Knight Returns” and precedes the efforts to surgically repair Harvey’s scarred physiognomy, my story does not precede Bruce Wayne’s efforts to sponsor Harvey’s psychological convalescence (financing counseling and treatment beyond what Arkham provides).

3. Alan Moore’s introduction to Frank Miller’s landmark “The Dark Knight Returns,” noting how the growing sophistication of the mass audience called for revisiting the character, expounding on the essential qualities of the Batman in order to renew and revitalize that which makes him so compelling in the first place (in this case, pathos and grim fortitude).

4. Alan Moore’s incomparably brilliant “Watchmen,” not for any specific reference it makes to the Batman (it makes none), but for its extraordinary contribution to the genre, much of which is relevant to the Batman — especially the character of Rorschach (pathos and grim fortitude in the flesh).  Upon reflection, Moore’s “Watchmen” almost makes “Arkham Jihad” unnecessary — except for one thing:  Batman is exceptional.  An extraordinary, iconic figure like the Batman — rich and complex as he is — deserves more than to be obliquely included in an incidental, if brilliant, deconstruction of the Superhero mentality; he deserves his own story.

5. Alan Moore’s excellent Graphic Novel, “The Killing Joke,” with its compelling Joker “Origin Story” unfolding in the background of an intensely dramatic confrontation between the Joker and the Batman.  Moore’s narrative is enormously illustrative of the villain’s character and motivation; he longs to prove to Batman something along the lines of:  It’s the world that’s sick and cruel, and I’m nothing more than what this world has made of me:  Here (pointing at his chest), but for the caprice of an idiot Universe, goes YOU! Moore’s Joker also seems preoccupied with the similarities between himself and Batman.  Recollecting his own “bad day” (the day that, more than any previous day in his life, set him on the course to become The Joker), he entreats Batman to reflect on his own “bad day,” suggesting that it must have been a dilly, else why the Dracula get up, the extreme lifestyle choice…?  [Having spent many pleasurable hours reading and rereading “The Killing Joke,” I confess I have very little to add to Moore’s characterization of Batman’s arch-foe.  For me, the Joker of “The Killing Joke” is THE Joker…  “Arkham Jihad” merely borrows him, ages him a bit, and gives him some new dialogue — and a new wild hair up his wazoo.]

6. Grant Morrison’s “Arkham Asylum,” from which I’m borrowing two key elements:  a) The general concept of an Arkham chapter involving Joker commandeering the asylum for the purpose of psychoanalyzing Batman — in order to make a point (paraphrased):  I may be sick, but you ain’t exactly the portrait of mental health, my Batty friend; and b) The insertion of the Disney classic “Bambi” into Batman’s “Origin Story” — either instead of the traditional Batman legend’s “Zorro” element or, possibly, as the second of a double feature (I believe Morrison is implying the former)…  In either case, it is during the film Bambi, Morrison suggests, that his father dragged a young Bruce Wayne out of the theater, mortified at his son’s tears (presumably upon seeing Bambi’s mother killed), harshly reproaching his son — just prior to being gunned down himself, along with Brucie’s mother.

Morrison’s contribution to the Batman story is indispensable.  His Bruce Wayne Sr. is foundational to mine:  he is insensitive and mired in the cult of masculinity (that’s not all my Bruce Wayne Sr. is, but it is an important aspect of his character, so far as young Bruce’s development is concerned).  Morrison’s account has Bruce Wayne Sr. issuing an ultimatum to his young son just before the family’s fatal encounter with the “Crime Alley” mugger:  “If you don’t stop crying and act like a grown-up, I’m leaving you right here.”

7. Jim Starlin’s “a Death in the Family,” which features the death of Jason Todd, Dick Grayson’s successor as “Robin, the Boy Wonder.”  I’m borrowing a couple of elements of Starlin’s story for “Arkham Jihad:” 1) the character of Jason Todd as the “Boy Wonder” and 2) the concept of Joker working with a fanatical Middle Eastern element (here, al Qaeda).  The latter aspect is unfortunately relevant to the world in which we live today, with the United States at war with its former mujahedeen.  The former aspect (using the Jason Todd “Robin”) not only works with the original plot I’ve concocted, involving an aging Batman, near retirement, but is also a fun way of dangling before the die-hard Batman fans the possibility — the likelihood? — that this story’s Robin may not survive the day…

[Scene 1]

Our story begins in a fairly modern setting — not quite the present, but virtually yesterday:  April, 2004… Gotham.

Rooftop.  Nighttime.  Batman is on stakeout.  No telling how long he’s been waiting, but he’s silent as the grave, listening intently at an open vent.  When finally he hears muted noises emanating from below, he reacts immediately, rising to his feet… very quickly and very quietly.  Before he proceeds to the source of the sounds, he checks on something:  his hostage, lying on the rooftop, some 15 feet away.

Batman’s hostage, a young man in his early 20s, with his wrists and ankles bound and a gag in his mouth (apparently torn from his blood-spattered shirt), remains unconscious.  His face is bruised, with blood caked and drying under his nostrils.

Good.

Quickly, Batman affixes a visor to his face and gets to business.

Batman carefully lifts his hostage up, cradling him like a child, and begins to walk slowly, deliberately to the edge of the rooftop.  As he does, a length of cable becomes visible, connecting the man’s ankle-bonds to a customized grappling hook already set in the stone lip of the rooftop.

His hostage begins to regain consciousness just as Batman nears the edge of the rooftop.  Before releasing him, Batman hooks a small device to the man’s belt and depresses a button on the device.  A dull purple light immediately begins to blink — once, twice, three times…

With the ease and confidence of a man who knows what he’s doing, Batman deftly flips the man 180 degrees (facing downward), grasping him by the belt-line of his pants and back collar of his jacket as he speeds toward the edge of the roof.

The man’s eyes grow large with fear as he begins to get his bearings — just in time to be pitched over the edge.

He’d scream if he could…

Just as a smirking Batman releases his victim, smoke begins pouring from the device attached to the man’s belt.

The Caped Crusader doesn’t watch as the cable draws taut and snaps back with a twang, nor does he listen to hear his hostage crash into the window two floors below, landing safely (more or less) inside the building as he completes the arc of his wild ride.

No, Batman is on the move.

He races silently to the other side of the building — where another length of cable rests, attached to a customized grappling hook already set in the stone perimeter of the opposite side of the rooftop.  His stride hardly slowing a step, he grabs the end of the cord, and with a flick of the wrist gets an extra loop of cable around his gloved hand (snatching it into his clutched fist), before leaping (again with a slight smirk) off the building’s edge and into the night.

Two floors below, the room is filling with smoke.  Half a dozen startled gangsters stand, training some serious artillery in the direction of the window — the window that’s just exploded inward, heralding the arrival of their unfortunate, bound and gagged acquaintance (unconscious again, mercifully).

Uzi in hand, one of the thugs moves quickly toward the window, covering his mouth with his free hand (suspecting tear gas, perhaps) as he prepares to fill “the Bat” with lead.

“Just shoot,” he barks.  “C’mon, before the room is so filled with — SHOOT!” Anticipating Batman’s entrance, they begin firing through the broken window as the room grows ever smokier.

In a single fluid motion, Batman swings silently through the already-open window — opposite the just-shattered one — some 35-40 feet away from the chaotic scene unfolding diagonally across the hazy room.

Approaching from behind, he disarms (and disables) the man nearest him before the crook can discern why two other of his compatriots have suddenly let out screams of shock and pain (small, razor sharp, bat-shaped projectiles partially buried in their flesh, seeping a mild (yet painful) paralytic into their bloodstream).

As bodies and weapons rapidly begin dropping to the floor, the remaining thugs discern that their assailant hasn’t entered via the window through which they expected him, and they turn to confront him… as well as their limited visibility allows.  One turns to flee.

With their automatic and semi-automatic weapons, two brave and foolhardy rogues begin firing… somewhat indiscriminately.  But by this time the room is thick with smoke, and they hit nothing.

With his (custom) Night-Vision visor and honed skills, rendering the remaining mobsters harmless, in some cases unconscious, is a matter of child’s play for the Dark Knight.

In the space of a couple of minutes he is the only man left standing in the room.  His quarry lay on the floor, none remotely posing a threat.  Several have sustained injuries that will require a considerable stay in Gotham General.

The conscious ones moan.

A small smile touches the corners of Batman’s mouth.

[Scene 2]

Batman emerges from the building carrying two of the criminals he’s just subdued:  one over his shoulder (his former hostage), the other he drags by his back collar.  The former is still unconscious.  The latter lets out a little whimper at each stair he’s dragged across (his broken leg apparently causing him some distress).

At the foot of the stairs that mark the entrance to the abandoned tenement, the other five thugs lie in a heap (where, in the preceding moments, the vigilante had deposited them).

Just as he’s exiting the building, two police cars pull up to the building and come to an abrupt halt.

Apparently expecting them, Batman is unperturbed by their arrival.  Commissioner James Gordon immediately disembarks from the driver’s side of the lead car and trots over to the Batman as he begins to descend the stairs.

Batman is poised to greet his longtime ally when he sees the passenger door of Gordon’s car swing open and his civilian passenger — as well as the civilian passenger delivered by the second car — begin to file out…  The first, an attractive young woman, is smartly dressed and carries a microphone.  The second, a disheveled young man with a beard, has a camera.

Press!

“Jim,” Batman says through gritted teeth (mostly to himself).

As Gordon nears him, he expresses his displeasure:  “Why, Jim?”

Gordon, his voice low, apologizes:  “Sorry, Batman — I owed Ms. Pryor there a favor… and the truth is, I catch some hell, y’know, when you stay behind the scenes for too long.  People want to see your face every once in a while; humanizes you… makes you seem less a rogue actor, more like a police partner, y’know?  Not a vigil—-”

“Let’s just get this over with,” Batman grouses in resignation, before roughly depositing the thug he’s been dragging by his collar onto the heap with the rest of his partners in crime.

Ms. Pryor approaches just as Batman is about to unburden himself of the seventh and final crook, his former hostage (bruised face still bleeding somewhat, especially from fresh wounds acquired during his crash through the upstairs window).

“No, wait,” she says, “Can we keep him like that—-slung over your shoulder, just like that?  That’s perfect: The hero and his captured quarry!

“Gerry, wherethe-F are you with the camera!”

(A look of disapprobation/discomfort passes between between Batman and the Commissioner.)

“Right here, Sheila,” (Gerry, defends himself), “give me a break.  Here, just a sec — Okay… ready to go!”

“Fine!  Good.  Okay, Commissioner, we’ll get you in the shot, too… Gotham’s top cop still sharing the load with our Caped Defender.  You can tell the people how you coordinated with the Batman to, you know, capture the bad guys… the… I’m sorry, I know you went over this in the car…”

“Addington gang,” Gordon responds. “They’ve pulled off two nighttime bank robberies and a jewelry heist, just in the last—-”

“Right:  Addington.  Got it.”

“Do you—-” Batman begins, before trailing off.

“What’s that, Batman?” the reporter queries, but the Batman, no longer in his element, reconsiders: “Nothing.  Sorry.  Just… just go on with — go right ahead.”

“You got it, Caped Crusader.  Gerry, we set?”

“What did I say a minute ago?”

“Fine, okay:  Here we go…

“Good morning, Gotham!  I’m Sheila Pryor, and I’m here in the wee hours of the morning in Gotham’s old Hutchison-Goss district with Commissioner James Gordon and Gotham’s long-time defender, not to mention the nation’s, the Batman.  Tonight, they’ve caught up to the Lew Addington gang and put a stop to their run of robberies — How many is it Commissioner?”

“Six in the past eight days.”

“Well, they were on a regular spree!  And they’re a very professional, experienced gang of hardened criminals, the Addington gang, very slick, originally from the Chicago area, is that right?”

“Yes, that’s right…”

“And how did you learn the location of their meeting place here, uh… Batman?”

“Well, Commissioner Gordon, uh, introduced me to—-this…” (Lip curling a bit in disgust, he nods his head laterally, indicating the bundle on his right shoulder… which begins to stir.)

“I see… So this fellow here was able to lead you to his partners in crime?”

“Yes, in a manner of…”

“Did he give you much trouble,” she asks, indicating, in an attempt at levity, the bleeding wreck of a young man slung over Batman’s shoulder.

“Well…”

Gordon jumps in:  “Actually, this gang — Addington’s crew — they’re a very hard lot.  I mean, I know this man doesn’t look like much of a threat now, but he and his partners were — are — a very bad bunch of… I mean, real thugs — automatic weapons, not afraid to use them… Long record…”

“I see…”

“They’ve got a number of outstanding murder charges, as well,” Gordon interjects. “–in addition to the robberies.”

“Oh, I don’t doubt it, Commissioner.  I mean, if you had to involve the Batman, I’m sure these weren’t exactly your garden variety crooks—-”

“Urrr-uuhhh…Whats’at light…?” (mutters the bundle on Batman’s shoulder).

“Ooh, he’s starting to wake up!”

“Cripes are you — oh, oww, owww… oh, hell!” Various pains settle in on him, before he realizes… “Hey, am I on… T-Veee…?”

“Shut up, scum!” Batman growls in a low voice, barely more than a whisper.

“Hey… Heyyyyy! I remember what you did to me… YOU mother—-

Swiftly, Batman’s free fist delivers an extraordinarily violent punch to the young man’s face, knocking him unconscious again, breaking his zygomatic.  He falls limp, blood dripping from his face.

(A moment of silence passes.  Now it’s Commissioner Gordon who looks uncomfortable.)

“FCC…” Batman volunteers, covering.  “I wouldn’t want to see your station fined…”

(after a pause)

“Of course…”

Kamala Harris is “tough on crime” when supporting the New Jim Crow, prison labor, police/prosecutorial misconduct, the War on Drugs, and the death penalty. And she’s an innovator, when it comes to jailing parents of truant children, disproportionately poor POC.

And let’s not forget that she “fought to uphold… wrongfully secured convictions.”

Stay incarcerated, you wrongfully convicted poor people! We need more prisoners to fight fires and serve as corporate America’s captive workforce for pennies an hour!

But in 2008, CA’s ambitious Attorney General, Ms. Harris, had a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for Trump’s future Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin — a Wall Street executive guilty of several thousand crimes, per Harris’s own investigators.

But Mnuchin was also a major donor to her campaign — $$$ !!!

So, she shut down the Mnuchin investigation, even as her investigators were telling her that they expected to find evidence of “many thousands more” crimes committed by the Wall Street executive — thereby putting herself on the national political career path and Mnuchin on the path to becoming a Cabinet Secretary!

(Crime pays! At least, for the elite.)

Today, Wall Street adores Harris, as do Clinton’s donors, who’ve clearly decided to anoint her as their candidate in 2020. And with the DNC making it even easier to rig the primary this time around (after the 2016 farce), she probably will be the Democratic Party’s nominee.

A losing bet, for sure.

And here’s why: The best way to win elections is to excite your base. Already, it’s clear that Harris turns off the Democratic Party’s base — just as Clinton did in 2016.

After years of “centrist” Democrat betrayals, POC largely failed to come out for Sec. Clinton in 2016 — giving Trump the edge he needed. Today, African-Americans are the most vocal demographic arguing against Harris’s nomination… just because she laughs and laughs when asked about incarcerating poor people, disproportionately people of color.

(Wait, I get it… No, sorry, I still don’t. What’s so funny about jailing poor people because they can’t keep their kids in school? …Senator?)

Predictably enough, Harris’s critics are already being called “misogynists” — despite the fact that most of us prefer HI-Dem, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an actual progressive… and a woman.

(I guess the Democrats really want another four years of Trump in the White House.)

From Briahna Joy Gray’s excellent article:

“She’s running for president as a progressive, but as attorney general of California, she criminalized truancy — making it a crime for kids to be late for school and dragging into the criminal justice system even more disproportionately low-income, predominantly black and Latino families. She’s overlooked the misconduct of her prosecutors and fought to uphold their wrongfully secured convictions. She defended California’s choice to deny gender reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate, and in 2014, she appealed a federal judge’s holding that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

“The list goes on and on. But in some ways, the details don’t matter. The problem isn’t that Harris was an especially bad prosecutor. She made positive contributions as well, encouraging education and re-entry programs for ex-offenders, for instance. The problem, more precisely, is that she was ever a prosecutor at all.

“To become a prosecutor is to make a choice to align oneself with a powerful and fundamentally biased system. As Paul Butler, former prosecutor and author of ‘Chokehold: Policing Black Men,’ told The Guardian, ‘as a lawyer who went to law school with a goal of helping black people and using my legal skills to make things better, the realization that the law itself was a mechanism to keep African-American people down was frightening.’”

(Not to Kamala Harris it wasn’t. Keeping African-American people down simply looked like a good career path to her. That, and sparing the top criminals of the 1%.)

My strategy for defeating DJT is about putting pressure on the Democratic Party to shift to the left and offer policies demanded by considerable majorities of Americans — POPULISM (minus the racist demagoguery of Trump and the GOP): Medicare-for-All, a $15 minimum wage, free public university, justice reform, gun control, and a Green New Deal, including the modernization of our infrastructure… for starters.

“Hold their feet to the fire!”

The only way we can do that is if we get the Democratic Party’s most progressive members — Justice Democrats, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (the largest caucus in Congress for many years, now, far larger than the Tea Party), the Congressional Black Caucus, and even AOC — to defect, en masse, to a party with an actual progressive platform, and which promises to help the ACLU, SPLC, EFF, Sierra Club, NARAL, Color of Change, Human Rights Watch, and a host of other progressive outfits advance their respective agendas.

These Democrats could defect to the Green Party, which has a bold progressive platform that most Americans would embrace. But the Democratic Socialists of America also seems worthy. And I like what Nick Brana’s been doing with his “People’s Party” organization, giving labor a voice again…

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter *which* progressive party these nominal lefties declare for. Mass-defections would force corporate Democrats to either shift to the left for real or admit that they are the Republicans they’ve been acting like over the last few decades.

(Any honest examination of the last few decades of policy reveals that Democrats have been far more successful at advancing the right-wing/corporate/MIC agenda than their GOP counterparts. They are literally the all-time champs of the far-right’s agenda — not the “lesser,” but the more effective evil, as Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford has asserted… Their rightward lurch explains how Democrats lost the working class and independents.)

The best thing about my strategy is that THE LEFT DOESN’T HARM ITSELF IN THE LEAST if these progressive defectors jump ship but continue caucusing with the Democrats against the GOP.

This hypothetical, principled left — a “Blue” coalition including a number of genuine progressives — would retain its majority in the House.

It’s also a reasonable expectation that the Green Party/DSA/third parties, generally, would get back into the presidential and congressional debates — taking the conversation in an anti-establishment, leftward direction — following a generation of lurching to the right after the Anheuser-Busch Corporation took the debates away from The League of Women Voters.

(We could again conduct an actual conversation, instead of a corporation-programmed “debate” farce: Trump vs. Clinton, reality TV at its worst!)

Infiltration, #DemEnter, has proven a spectacular failure. The Dems keep shifting rightward, making no concessions to the party’s base. If the last two years tell us anything, it’s that #DemEnter has literally no hope of getting the policies that liberals and progressives, both (and a bare majority of conservatives), want advanced. The Democrats are still — more than ever — pledged to the Corporatocracy, permanent war, and fossil fuels.

And “PayGo” guarantees that none of the progressive agenda can pass.

It’s time to stop the wishful thinking — “Next time Hope & Change will be real” — without ever holding the Democrats accountable for the way they tack further and further to the right. It’s time to actually hold the Democrats’ “feet to the fire.”

America desperately needs a strategy for pressuring corporate Democrats to move the party leftward and reform it — while also strengthening the progressive alternatives.

I’ve laid out mine.

(If you’ve got a better strategy for reviving the left in the Age of Trumpism, I’d love to hear it.)