A Biden run probably would only help Bernie beat Billary

Is there enough of a political difference between Joe Biden and Billary Clinton for Team Bernie Sanders to worry about Biden jumping into the presidential race at rather the last minute? Methinks not. I see establishmentarian Democrat/“Democrat” Biden drawing more support away from DINO Billary than from Bernie. A perfect alignment of the stars for us progressives would be Biden running and helping Bernie to beat Billary for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Donald Trump running for the White House as an independent, Ross-Perot style, and helping Bernie to win the White House by siphoning votes away from the Repugnican presidential candidate, whichever wingnut that turns out to be.

The big political news now is that Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about entering the 2016 presidential race.

I am unmoved.

I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Joe Biden; I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him, either. I was surprised when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008, as Biden had done so poorly in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary contest that he withdrew on January 3, after having come in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses, with only 1 percent of the vote.

At that time, Biden said that his second run for the presidency (he had run in 1988 also) would be his last. (Biden dropped out of the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary contest after he was damaged by the accusation that he had plagiarized speech material.)

Perhaps Obama didn’t want to be overshadowed by a stronger personality were he to win the presidency, making Joe Biden a Dan-Quayle-like choice for veep. In any event, it apparently has been clear to Biden, with the exception of a “gaffe” or two, that as vice president he very much has been the beta male. No Dick Cheney role for him (at least certainly not publicly).

As vice president Joe Biden has been unremarkable, and since he at least has given the public appearance of being on board with All Things Obama, and since I find Obama’s presidency to have been incredibly disappointing, to put it mildly — as I’ve written a million times, Obama’s biggest mistake was not pushing through a progressive agenda when the Democratic Party held control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010 (and yes, to me, the ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” signified progressivism, not more of the same) — for the most part I view Biden as jut another establishmentarian “Democrat,” along with Obama and Billary Clinton.

Yes, we do get to judge you by the company that you keep.

My support of Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains unswayed and unchanged by the news that Biden might jump in.

I did enjoy, as I wrote at the time, watching Biden thoroughly thrash Paul “Pretty Boy” Ryan in the vice presidential debate of October 2012, which started the hilarious Internet meme that cast Biden as the Hulk and Ryan as the villainous pretty boy Loki, whom in the 2012 hit comic-book movie “The Avengers” the Hulk picks up and smashes to the ground, leaving him in a crater created by his own body.

But of course that doesn’t mean that Biden should be president, and after he dropped out of the presidential race in 1988 due to the plagiarism scandal and after he dropped out after the very first contest of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary season because he’d done so poorly in Iowa, I don’t see Biden as a strong presidential candidate now.

Yes, vice presidents often go on to run for the presidency, but of course they don’t have to. George H.W. Bush and Al Gore did (and both of them won [yes, of course Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election]), but even Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney knew better, and I put Biden’s strength somewhere between those two groups of vice presidents who did run for the presidency and who did not.

The touchy-feely report (which may or not even be true) that it (more or less) was the dying wish of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in late May, that his father run for the presidency in 2016 might be touching for some, but it does not sway me. The presidency is far too important to allow emotional pap like that to decide it. I look at the totality of Joe Biden, and while of course I’d rather have him than uber-DINO Billary Clinton sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, again, I still see him as a member of the Democratic Party establishment.

Bernie Sanders is not. Again, I’m still with Bernie. Whatever Biden does or doesn’t do, it won’t change that.

What I can see Joe Biden doing, however, is helping Bernie Sanders.

I can see Biden and Billary splitting the establishmentarian Democratic Party/DINO vote, which could only help Sanders, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate only as an independent, as a self-described little-“d” democratic socialist. (He is running on the big-“D” Democratic ticket now only because third-party/independent presidential runs are Herculean feats; it’s much easier to run for the White House within the duopolistic party system, as flawed and anti-democratic as it is.)

Sanders has distanced himself from the establishmentarian Democrats his entire political career, so his status as an outsider, which is what so many of us who are left of center want, is solid. (Perhaps you could call him the Donald Trump of the left.*)

The “democratic socialist” label hasn’t been toxic to Sanders, who for a while now has been polling nationally among Democrats and Democratic Party leaners in the double digits, more often than not second to Billary, with Biden more often than not coming in at third place, behind Billary and Bernie, when he is included in these polls.

Indeed, those who have a problem with the word “socialist” never, ever were going to vote for a Democrat for president in the first place. Indeed, even Obama, who has been a moderate at best — I don’t think that it would be inaccurate or unfair to describe Obama as having been center-right on the political spectrum — has been labeled by the lunatic fringe of the right as a “socialist.”

We shouldn’t worry about what the right-wing nut jobs who never are going to vote for a Democrat anyway are going to think. They never were going to be on our team in the first place, thank Goddess.

And young voters love Bernie Sanders.

While the enthusiasm that surrounds Sanders is not the same as that which surrounded Obama in 2008 — every presidential campaign season has its own flavor, and every presidential candidate has his or her own flavor — I’ve seen youthful enthusiasm for Sanders that I haven’t seen for the utterly uninspiring and uncharismatic Billary Clinton.

(Yes, I was one  of the thousands upon thousands of people who attended one of the thousands of Bernie Sanders gatherings across the nation on Wednesday night, and while the gathering that I attended was a good mix of generations, with young, elderly and middle-aged attendees, I’d estimate that at least half of the attendees, of which there were about 30 in total, were enthusiastic Millennials, one of whom identified himself as a Vietraq War veteran who had voted for George W. Bush until after he was sent to Bush’s bogus war in Vietraq.)

So I am perfectly fine with Joe Biden jumping into the race, even though it seems awfully late in the game for him still to be able to do so and to be successful. Not only is it perfectly his democratic right to do so if he wishes, but again, because he has been so closely aligned with the disappointing DINO Barack Obama, as has DINO Billary Clinton, I can see Biden only taking more support from Billary than from Bernie.

P.S. Should Al Gore jump into the race soon, as one Salon.com writer recently wrote he wishes would happen, that would be different. As Al Gore already won the White House in 2000, and as the writer for Salon.com correctly noted that Gore probably could bridge the establishmentarian “Democrats” and progressives (which, in my estimation, Billary can’t do and Biden can’t do much better than Billary can), I could see Gore winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination were he to run, even at this late date. He’d be a powerhouse.

But I doubt that he’ll run.

*While of course I loathe Donald Trump, the success of his presidential campaign thus far — right now he tops the Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls — demonstrates that a sizeable chunk of the American electorate remains displeased with the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (This seems to be fairly unchanged since Ross Perot, who always struck me as a wingnut [he might be labeled as libertarian or leaning libertarian, but the libertarians always have struck me as wingnuts], ran as an independent presidential candidate back in 1992, garnering just short of 19 percent of the popular vote.)

While the poor and the working class who support Trump (and the “tea party”) stupidly support him (and the “tea party”) like chickens stupidly supporting Colonel Sanders — they have the lottery mentality that they can be billionaires, too (of course, they can’t) — cannot identify the real problems of and the real enemies to the nation (the treasonously self-serving plutocrats like Trump, the Koch brothers and the Bush crime family [and yes, the Clinton crime family, too], not labor-union members and “illegals,” are destroying the nation), they at least correctly identify that the duopolistic, corporation- and plutocrat-loving Democratic Party and Repugnican Party stopped representing the majority of Americans’ best interests long ago.

Of course, just as I’d love Joe Biden to jump in and hopefully suck more votes away from Billary Clinton than from Bernie Sanders — which I surmise would be the case — I’d love for Donald Trump to pull a Ross Perot and run as an independent presidential candidate in 2016.

While some argue that Ross Perot’s run didn’t take more votes away from incumbent President George H.W. Bush than from Bill Clinton in 1992, I’ve always surmised that Perot, being right of center, of course siphoned more votes from Bush than from Clinton, thus helping Clinton to win the White House with only a plurality of the votes.

Similarly, I think it is inarguable that were Trump to run for the White House as an independent in 2016, of course he’d take more votes from the Repugnican candidate, whoever that turns out to be, than from the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate turns out to be.

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It’s another summer of race-relations hell, but I believe it is getting better

In this undated photo provided by the Bland family, Sandra Bland poses for a photo. The family of Bland, who was found dead in her Texas jail cell, assert that she would not have taken her own life, but authorities are pointing to mounting evidence that they say shows she hanged herself. (Courtesy of Bland family)

Associated Press image

Sandra Bland (shown in a family photo above) very apparently died for having driven while black in Texas. That conclusion is fairly inescapable. That said, Dear Black People: Hulk Hogan (like Donald Sterling and Paula Deen) is not The Spokesperson for White People. Just putting that out there. (Hogan is photographed below with his daughter, whose relationship with a black man induced him to use “the ‘n-’ word” repeatedly eight years ago on, um, a sex tape…)

Brooke Hogan Defends Dad Hulk with a Poem

Maybe I have a short memory — maybe this comes up every summer, when we have hot temperatures and hot tempers — but this summer seems to be a repeat of last summer, in which race relations were at the fore.

I’m not saying that race relations shouldn’t be discussed nationally — clearly, we in the United States of America have many unresolved, ongoing issues and problems surrounding race (and many other things) that we have to solve, as they won’t simply go away by themselves, as much as we might wish that they would — but at the same time, it seems to me that so many people benefit from the continued interracial strife that they have no real interest in resolution.

White supremacists and black supremacists, for instance, derive their senses of identity, meaning and purpose from continued interracial conflict. I don’t expect them to hold hands for a rousing round of “Kumbaya” any time soon. And, of course, as I’ve noted, race relations aren’t only binary, aren’t only black and white or black vs. white or vice-versa; we see from Donald Trump’s brand of politics that attacking Latinos can pay off politically within the right wing, just as attacking Jews paid off politically in right-wing Nazi Germany.

And, of course, race-based reportage does quite well in the media, and the media corporations that profit from it know that fully well.

This is not to downplay or minimize very real injustices, such as the fate of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. I agree with Matt Taibbi’s assessment that however Sandra Bland died while captive in a Texas jail earlier this month, because she very apparently was pulled over in the first place primarily or only because of racial profiling — and therefore apparently was subjected to race-based harassment by the law-enforcement officer who pulled her over — the Texas law-enforcement and criminal/“criminal” justice/“justice” system officials were responsible for everything that happened to her afterward.

When I say “responsible” I mean morally, ethically and karmically responsible, of course; unless it can be proved conclusively that Bland did not die by self-strangulation, of course no one in Texas will be charged with murder, despite the headline of Taibbi’s piece that proclaims that “Sandra Bland Was Murdered.”

Personally, were a law-enforcement officer to stop me, whether I were on foot or in a car or on a bicycle or whatever, and/or give me any directive and/or request that was not blatantly unreasonable, I probably would comply with his or her order or request. I probably would not argue with him or her. An illegal stop or arrest usually can be sorted out later. The time and place of the stop or arrest probably is not the time and place at which the legality or illegality of it is going to be officially, legally established.

That said, Taibbi notes that “Law-and-order types like to lecture black America about how it can avoid getting killed by ‘respecting authority’ and treating arresting cops like dangerous dogs or [swarms of] bees.” 

I don’t want to come off as one of those kinds of white people, and I do view — for years now I have viewed — the primary role of law-enforcement officers and the criminal/“criminal” justice/“justice” system not as maintaining public safety, the safety of us commoners, but as maintaining the socioeconomic status quo; the taxes of we, the people, fund the cops and the court system, but they function primarily not for our benefit, but primarily to keep the rich — a disproportionate number of them right-wing white people — firmly in power.

And true, of course we shouldn’t have to regard our cops like dangerous animals that might go off on us at any moment, but when the reality, at least for the time being, is that often we do, the safest thing to do then is to regard them as such, it seems to me. You might call that cowardice or caving; I consider it to be survival. You will be less able to celebrate your victory of being right and the cop being wrong when you are in a hospital bed, and you won’t be able to celebrate your victory at all if you’re dead.

The mouthiest that I got with a law-enforcement officer that I can remember is when I was at a pro-labor-union protest at the California state Capitol in late February 2011 and the state police (officers of the California Highway Patrol, especially one of them) were enforcing supposed rules, regulations and ordinances on those of us of the pro-labor crowd while they allowed the anti-labor “tea-party” traitors who were there only to heckle and try to provoke us from across the street to do the same things that we were doing, with complete impunity. I pointed this out to Officer Friendly (and reported his actions later to the CHP).

My sense of that situation is that cops, most of them being right-wing themselves, tend to crack down much harder on left-leaning groups of people than on right-wing groups of people, since they usually agree with the latter.

However, on that day in February 2011 there were many people around, and many if not even most had their “smart”phone or other video-recording devices out, so it’s not like this cop was going to do anything to me for simply having complained to him about his and his cohorts’ unfair treatment.

What happened in the Sandra Bland case, from what I can tell, was that two stubborn people clashed, which often is a recipe for disaster. Sandra Bland probably felt that she had been racially profiled because she probably had been. I’m guessing that her mindset was that she wasn’t going to take it. The cop, conversely, wanted her complete compliance with his commands, which he did not get. Again: It was a recipe for disaster.

While the cop had the right to ask her to step out of her vehicle — the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that it is not a violation of one’s constitutional rights (in and of itself) to be told to get out of a vehicle when stopped by a law-enforcement officer — whether or not the cop who stopped Bland had the right to ask her to put out her cigarette is much grayer.

One retired law-enforcement official interviewed by the Los Angeles Times stated, “No one, including a police officer, wants to get a burning cigarette jammed into their face or eye; it’s basic procedure. The officer asked politely if she would mind putting out her cigarette. The violator then raised her voice, actively resisted multiple lawful directions to get out of the car. The officer requested a backup officer to respond. The officer raised his voice several times in what turned out to be a futile effort to overcome that resistance.” (Consider the source of that loaded quote, of course.)

Why, exactly, the cop asked Bland to put out her cigarette I’m not sure. While a still-burning cigarette could be used as a weapon, it seems to me that most likely the cop just wanted to abuse his authority and control, and perhaps to test his control over Bland.

Of course, he might be someone who is bothered significantly by cigarette smoke that is close by; I am one of those people, and I hate it when people smoke in public and I have to deal with their smoke.

But while Bland was non-compliant, the cop, who, because he had a lot more power in the interaction than did Bland (he had not only a lethal weapon but also the full force of the Texas “justice” system, which he knew always is going to give him the benefit of any doubt, behind him), had that much more responsibility than did Bland to keep the interaction from escalating.

Yet the cop threatened to “light” Bland “up” with his Taser — Tasers are supposed to be used defensively, not threatened to be used as a bargaining chip, as far as I understand — and when Bland, who at this point had been grabbed by the cop by the wrist, proclaimed that she had epilepsy, the cop replied, “Good.”

Only because there was video and audio of this did the cop’s Texan superiors Orwellianly understate that the cop had violated the department’s “courtesy policy.” Otherwise, the cop probably would have lied about the entire interaction (including how wholly professional and polite he had been), and his lies would have been taken as gospel.

As I do, another police expert who was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times correctly puts the onus on the cop:

Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina law professor and former Florida police officer, said Enicinia [the cop’s name is Brian T. Encinia; he is Latino] missed several opportunities to deescalate tension and should have explained in calmer tones what he was doing and why.

“He certainly has the legal authority to get her to step out of the car,” Stoughton said. “But in this case, if he is exercising his authority because she defying his direction to put out the cigarette, then that is more based on his ego than public safety…. Just because it is legal to order her out of the car doesn’t make it a professional approach in modern policing.

“This is a systemic problem with policing,” Stoughton said. “There is emphasis on compliance over cooperation.”

There are no laws that require an officer to order alleged violators to extinguish a cigarette in their car during a traffic stop, he said.

“It was a request, not an order,” he said. “If a person was out of the car, then an officer could determine it poses a safety threat and order it be put out. But it is hard to argue that inside the car.”

Again, Encinia might have a hard time breathing around cigarette smoke, as I do, but again, he had significantly more responsibility than did Bland to prevent the interaction from spinning out of control, but he fairly clearly had little to no interest in doing that, and perhaps he even wanted an ego-boosting fight with her. (I don’t know, since I wasn’t there, and since even if I had been there, I’m pretty intuitive but I am not telepathic.)

In a nutshell, I suspect that being a black woman with, presumably, an Illinois license plate on her car, Bland was profiled as being a certain type of individual who is not welcome in the deep-red state of Texas and therefore was pulled over — and had that not happened, she very most likely still would be alive.

While what happened to Bland (if she indeed did take her own life) does not match the legal definition of murder, of course, it is difficult to impossible for me not to conclude that she was killed by systemic injustice. She was, in effect, killed for being black (and perhaps also for being from out of state, and from a blue state) in Texas. She was killed by the actions and the inaction of many, many people. And of course black lives matter.

And then there is Hulk Hogan, who this past week was in the news, Donald-Sterling style, for having been recorded repeatedly using the word “nigger” in a sex tape that was made eight years ago and later was leaked. (Apparently Hogan was not pleased that his daughter was in a relationship with a black man. [Donald Sterling, recall, similarly didn’t like his girl-toy associating with black men.])

“This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise,” the Hulkster has proclaimed.

That’s not very credible. It’s not absolutely impossible that Hogan truly has had a change of heart in the past eight years, but as most people develop their belief systems early in life and tend to keep them intact until death, it seems quite unlikely.

That said, Hogan is 61 years old and was born in Georgia and raised in Florida. (His fellow racist Paula Deen is 68 years old and also was born in Georgia, where she has remained.

Let’s please not presume that all (or even most) white people routinely throw around the word “nigger” in private. White racism (as is all racism) is largely a function of one’s age and one’s upbringing, including the region where he or she was raised and the region where he or she has been living for a while now (and how much racism has been prevalent and how much it has been tolerated — or even encouraged — in that region).

Donald Sterling is 81 years old; he was born in Chicago but apparently has lived in the Los Angeles area for the vast majority of his life. I chalk up his racism more as a function of his age than of his geography.

Socioeconomics, including one’s highest level of education and one’s income, also affect one’s level of racism, regardless of his or her race.

The likes of Hulk Hogan, Donald Sterling and Paula Deen are not spokespeople for the entire white race.

Thankfully, younger whites tend to be significantly less racist than older whites — as with homophobia, racism’s eradication probably depends mostly upon older people finally kicking off and taking their bigotry with them to their graves and urns — and again, with racism there are regional differences. There is no region of the U.S. that is entirely free of racism, of course, but some regions inarguably are much worse with racism than are others. (Fuck, I’m a white [albeit gay] guy and truly I would be afraid to drive through Texas. Perhaps especially with California plates.)

And where lovely white people like Donald Sterling and Hulk Hogan are concerned, I do have a problem with violations of privacy, which would include being recorded secretly or having one’s consensual recording (such as a sex tape) taken from his or her possession and then leaked to others.

All of us have a constitutional right to privacy, whether we’re racist or not. Yes, that constitutional right to privacy would include being able to say even the vilest things within the privacy of our own fucking homes, much how the constitutional right to free speech enables us to say even the vilest things. It is at our own peril that we allow the constitutional right to privacy to fall to the wayside by not defending others when their right to privacy is violated. Defending their right to privacy is not the same thing as agreeing with their words.

And I don’t believe for a nanosecond that non-whites, in private, never make any racist or negative, race-based comments about members of other races or similar comments that they wouldn’t want leaked to the public. Again, all of us have the constitutional right to privacy, and it’s quite easy for us to be hypocrites and burn the likes of Donald Sterling and Hulk Hogan at the stake when we certainly wouldn’t want certain utterances of our own to be secretly recorded and publicized (or to be recorded for our own use but then publicized against our wishes).

Finally, it can come as no surprise that, the New York Times reports, Americans right now hold a dim view of race relations. The Times reported this past week:

Seven years ago, in the gauzy afterglow of a stirring election night in Chicago, commentators dared ask whether the United States had finally begun to heal its divisions over race and atone for the original sin of slavery by electing its first black president. It has not. Not even close.

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President [Barack] Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good.

The swings in attitude have been particularly striking among African-Americans. During Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, nearly 60 percent of blacks said race relations were generally bad, but that number was cut in half shortly after he won. It has now soared to 68 percent, the highest level of discontent among blacks during the Obama years and close to the numbers recorded in the aftermath of the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King.

Only a fifth of those surveyed said they thought race relations were improving, while about 40 percent of both blacks and whites said they were staying essentially the same.

Respondents tended to have much sunnier views of race relations in their own communities.

For instance, while only 37 percent said they thought race relations were generally good in the United States, more than twice that share, 77 percent, thought they were good in their communities, a number that has changed little over the past 20 years. …

That 77 percent of the poll’s respondents believe that race relations are pretty good in their own communities but that only 37 percent of the respondents believe that race relations are generally good in the nation as a whole demonstrates two things, I suspect: One, that a lot of Americans probably live in neighborhoods that aren’t very diverse — Americans tend to self-segregate by race (and by other demographics, such as income and age) — and so, surrounded mostly by people like themselves, there isn’t a lot of race-based conflict in the typical American’s daily routine.

And two, having a journalism degree and valuing the First Amendment, I’m not a knee-jerk blame-the-media type, but race-based news/“news” stories, because they get viewers and readers hot and bothered and so they get the media outlets viewers and readers (and thus more money), I surmise would lead us to believe that interracial relations are significantly worse than they actually are.

I don’t at all mean to downplay what happened to Sandra Bland or to Eric Garner or to Walter Scott or to way too many others. Their deaths/murders of course needed to be reported within the news/“news” media. I mean only to point out the simple fact that when interracial relations go smoothly, very rarely is it ever considered to be “newsworthy.” When interracial relations go significantly badly, especially if death or violence or property destruction is involved, all of us hear about it.

And in today’s instantaneous media environment, we hear about it instantaneously. And no media outlet wants to be seen as being outdone by the others, so we have wolf-pack journalism/“journalism,” and so when something is in the news/“news,” we see incessant, relentless coverage of it until it’s taken over by a new outrage or tragedy or debacle.

That we hear primarily only of the bad gives us a skewed view of how horrible things actually are. Your chance of dying in an airplane crash is 1 in 11 million. Your chance of dying in a vehicular crash, however, is 1 in 5,000. But horrific plane crashes that the media cover relentlessly make flying in airplanes seem to be much more dangerous than it really is.

Not too dissimilarly, I believe, the vast majority of interactions between cops and civilians end without injury or death. Most cops actually are not out to harm or to kill anyone (most — of course, no one wants to experience, or should have to experience, the exceptions to that rule).

And Hulk Hogan and his ilk are not representative of all or even of most white people. A sweepingly generalizing sentence that begins with “(All) white people…” is as likely to be as bullshit and as racist as is a sweepingly generalizing sentence that begins with “(All) black people…” And to me it’s just as offensive and just as racist to paint all white people with the same broad brush as it is to paint all members of another racial group with the same broad brush. Respect needs to work both ways for it to work at all.

Of course electing Barack Obama as president in 2008 wasn’t the magic bullet that was going to slay racism in the United States of America once and for all. As the New York Times’ reportage indicates, however, many if not most of us apparently to some degree thought that it was, at least in the “gauzy afterglow” of his initial election.

But since Obama’s arrival in the White House didn’t magically wipe out racism — since racism is much bigger than is any one person, even the president of the United States of America — nor does Obama’s departure from the White House a year and a half from now mean that racism inevitably is going to get even worse than it is now.

It’s quite trite, but it’s quite true: racism’s eradication or its persistence is up to us, to each and to every one of us.

Had I been asked to take the New York Times’ poll, I’d have responded, truthfully, that I believe that race relations in the United States actually are getting better, not worse.

That probably strikes most as counter-intuitive, given what’s in the news/“news” these days, but I say that because although racial relations in the U.S. continue to be quite messy, we’re talking about them.

Not talking about racism perpetuates it. All of us, regardless of our race, need to continue to talk about racism and we need to continue to act to eradicate it.

It’s incredibly messy. It’s awfully ugly. But we must do it nonetheless.

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Attacking their allies isn’t a winning strategy for black-rights activists

As dozens protesters shout, Tia Oso of the National Coordinator for Black Immigration Network, center, walks up on stage interrupting Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, as moderator Jose Vargas watches at left, during the Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Associated Press photo

Black-rights activists commandeered a progressive forum in Phoenix on Saturday, even taking the microphone from the frustrated moderator, left, while Democratic presidential aspirant Martin O’Malley, right, who had been trying to speak, looks on. This was a bad political move. Those gathered at the event weren’t there to have an outside group take over the event, and those gathered at the progressive forum aren’t the enemy. It was a safe target for a hostile takeover, however, since the attendees at the progressive event didn’t really need the lesson.

So if I understand the “#BernieSoBlack” meme correctly, democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t black.

Wow.

Of the five-thus-far announced candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination (all of them white), a President Sanders probably would be the best booster of black Americans – probably even better than Barack Obama has been (which isn’t saying all that much, I know [I mean, Obama is great with the rhetoric…]) – but Sanders is to be derided because he isn’t of the “right” race. (Not that that’s racist or anything…)

As I’ve noted, yes, it would be nice if the most progressive presidential candidate weren’t another older white man, as we’ve had more than our fill of older white men in the White House and in other positions of power, but the bottom line with Bernie Sanders is that he is the most progressive presidential candidate that we have today.

It’s not Sanders’ fault that no black (or Latino or Asian or…) American is running for president on the Democratic Party ticket (but hey, black Americans have Ben Carson!), and the demographics of Sanders’ home state of Vermont aren’t exactly his fault, either. (Vermont was about 94 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate.)

Thus far there isn’t a “#BillarySoBlack” meme because, I suppose, Billary Clinton is seen as an extension of Bill Clinton, whom black American writer Toni Morrison in 1998 billed as “the first black president,” even though his “welfare reform,” his support of NAFTA, and his other right-wing, pro-plutocratic and pro-corporate policies harmed, not helped, black Americans as well as Americans in general.

The Clintons are great at saying that they’re on your side; actually acting in your best interests, however, is much more challenging for them (as it has been for Obama).

But, I believe, I get it: Barack Obama is in office for only another year and a half. Statistically speaking, while the door has been at least cracked opened, we probably won’t see another black president any decade soon. If the Repugnicans take back the White House in November 2016, of course Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be replaced, and if the Democrats keep the White House, she may or may not be kept on (I’d like to see her kept on).

Black Americans very apparently are concerned, and rightfully so, that the work that Obama’s Justice Department has started on civil rights won’t be continued after he leaves office. If the Repugnicans regain the White House, of course that work will stop. If the Democrats keep the White House, black Americans want to ensure that they don’t drop the ball.

It’s a big ball to drop. Unarmed black Americans are more than twice as likely to be slaughtered by a cop than are unarmed white Americans, and in 2009 almost 5 percent of black Americans were incarcerated, compared to fewer than 1 percent of white Americans. Black Americans have the lowest median household income of all of the races in the U.S. (Latinos have the second-lowest, while Asian Americans have the highest and white Americans have the second-highest).

I could give many more such statistics. Black Americans, by almost every measure, indeed struggle more than the members of any other racial group, and of course institutionalized racism is the largest factor in that. And of course symbolic actions alone, like banning the Confederate flag (while that’s a necessary step), aren’t going to reverse these grim statistics.

As much as these statistics capture the real suffering of real human beings, it disturbs me that mindless, knee-jerk political correctness has driven us to the point that it widely is considered to be quite unseemly to assert these days that all lives matter. Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley now know this after both of them made the political mistake of recently publicly asserting that “all lives matter,” which very apparently is interpreted by many if not most within the black American community and the black American community’s uber-politically correct supporters to mean that black Americans’ concerns are being minimized by the blithe pronouncement that “all lives matter.”

All lives do matter, of course, but of course it’s critically important to note that not all Americans have it the same, that the average white American and the average Asian American, for instance, have it much better than do the average black American and the average Latino American.

I know – I’m not supposed to mention Latinos and Asians, because so many of us are addicted to the binary view of race relations, the view that race relations really are only black and white (and black vs. white and vice-versa).

But that’s just not the reality of the United States of America.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2013 are that 62.6 percent of Americans were white only, 17.1 percent were Latino only, 13.2 percent black only, and 5.3 percent Asian only, with the rest being of another race (such as Native American) or of more than one race. The pie graph looks like this:

(The lettering of this pie graph, which I found online, is small, so, if it helps, the blue area represents whites, the reddish-pinkish area represents Latinos, the green area represents blacks, the purplish area represents Asians, the turquoise represents those of more than one race, and the orange-ish represents Native Americans.)

Seeing it graphically helps to give us some perspective, I think. We are a diverse nation, but we also are supposed to be (in my book) a fairly proportionately representative democracy, albeit one that still protects minorities’ equal human and civil rights.

To those who think it’s just awful that Bernie Sanders was born white (as a Jewish American, however, he is a minority [Wikipedia notes that Sanders’ “father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland whose family was killed in the Holocaust, while his mother was born to Jewish parents in New York”]), I’d point out that a solid majority of Americans are white. (And, of course, Jewish Americans weren’t always considered to be white in the United States. And we’ve yet to have a Jewish U.S. president.)

I state this obvious fact (that most Americans still are white) because “Black Lives Matter” so often off-puttingly, offensively comes off as “Only Black Lives Matter” – especially since you get into trouble for asserting that “all lives matter” or even that “black and all lives matter.” Again, black Americans inarguably have it worse, as a racial group, than does any other racial group in the U.S., but black Americans, at 13 percent of the U.S. population, don’t comprise even one in five of all Americans (Latinos, whose numbers in the U.S. overtook blacks’ around 2000, are reaching that point, however).

For such a relatively small piece of the American pie to be demanding political power that is much greater than its actual numbers – such as the apparent demand that Barack Obama be followed only by another black president (even though the only black American who is running for president right now is the unelectable wingnut Ben Carson) – is not only unseemly and undemocratic, but it’s a shitty political tactic.

I can think of no better way to sink your own minority cause than to act like your minority cause is the only cause, or at least, the most important cause.

As a gay man, I’ve long recognized that without the help of our heterosexual allies, we of the non-heterosexual minority never would have achieved same-sex marriage (we still have a long way to go toward full equality, of course).* I’ve never advocated that we non-heterosexuals kiss heterosexual ass or beg for crumbs from the heterosexuals’ table, but at the same time, some political tactics that alienate one’s supporters or would-be supporters – such, as, oh, say, interrupting presidential candidates who are trying to speak to the members of a progressive group, even commandeering the microphonearen’t smart.

These tactics make you feel good about yourself – you rebel, you! – but they run counter to your own stated objectives. People who already are on your side or who could (have) be(en) on your side now have less respect for you; you have shown that you have no concerns outside of your own immediate concerns for yourself and your own group, and those toxically narrow identity politics don’t work anymore (if they ever did).

And when justifiably aggrieved blacks attack a progressive like Bernie Sanders, isn’t that just because they know that he won’t respond in a vicious, violent way? I mean, are these same people going to even try to similarly crash right-wing events? I much doubt it. So why attack those who already are on your side? Just because you can?

I hope that the “Black Lives Matter” movement continues. It’s vital to keep the issue of police brutality against blacks in the national spotlight. If it’s not, the deaths – the (negligent) homicides and the murders – of black Americans at the hands of the police will continue unabated.

But if the “Black Lives Matter” movement wants to succeed in the long term, it’s going to have to stop attacking allies (because they probably won’t fight back, being allies), and it’s going to have to realize that blacks comprise a minority of Americans, and that there are other oppressed minorities of Americans – and that yes, all lives do matter.

To acknowledge that simple fact is not to dismiss the living hell that the United States of America is for so many of its denizens, a disproportionate number of them black and Latino (and otherwise non-white). To acknowledge that fact is to gain and to keep allies on your side, because as powerful as you think you are, you can’t do it alone. You do need allies in this fight, and that means taking an interest in others’ interests and concerns, too.

Echo chambers are an awful lot of fun, but they don’t bring about a lot of lasting political change.

P.S. I see that long-time Billary Clinton stooge Joan Walsh of Salon.com predictably used the Phoenix incident to try to bash Bernie Sanders and boost Billary (even though Billary, like her hubby, always has been all words and promises but little action), as though Sanders needs a lecture from the DINO-loving Walsh, but vox.com notes that “Hillary Clinton was invited [to speak to the progressive group (Netroots Nation) in Phoenix on Saturday], but declined the invitation.”

At least Bernie showed up. You can’t fuck something up if you can’t even be bothered to be there, can you? No, Queen Billary prefers much more controlled, stage-managed “events.”

And of course Walsh won’t point out that it’s pretty shitty to interrupt and commandeer someone else’s event, no matter how just your cause might be, and that it’s pretty pointless to attack those who already support you — um, how about crashing a police officers’ convention when your main grievance is police brutality? — because that doesn’t fit in with her little narrative.

Some have posited that Billary was behind the crashing of the Netroots Nation in order to try to make her challengers look bad. That doesn’t strike me as impossible.

But after Bill Clinton’s record, anyone who believes that Billary Clinton would be “the first female black president” needs his or her head examined.

Finally, I note that not to be outdone by “Black Lives Matter” in alienating allies based upon toxic identity politics, Joan Walsh gleefully indirectly but surely calls Bernie Sanders’ white-male supporters “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives” — because to be a white male by definition is shameful and bad, you see — even though about a third of Americans are white males, a group that’s too large for progressives to be able to afford to alienate entirely.

All white males should support Walsh’s DINO candidate, Billary Clinton, you see, simply because Billary is a woman who calls herself a Democrat, or they’re — we’re — to be demeaned as “bro-cialists” and “bro-gressives.” (Har har!)

You know, some might call Joan Walsh a “femi-Nazi.” Not I, of course, but some!

*On that note, on the day that I cast my vote for Barack Obama for president in November 2008 – happy to be able to vote for the first non-white president in U.S. history – 70 percent of California’s black voters voted for Proposition H8, which banned same-sex marriage (which the U.S. Supreme Court just last month ruled is unconstitutional).

It was, to put it mildly, a slap in the face to have had the black community’s back but to be betrayed by the black community like that.

Barack Obama didn’t come on board with same-sex marriage until 2012; he had to “evolve,” he said. Bernie Sanders already had publicly “evolved” on same-sex marriage before both Obama and Billary Clinton finally did, and arguably, Sanders publicly was supporting same-sex marriage way back in the 1970s.

There are plenty of pseudo-progressives — DINOs like Billary Clinton and Barack Obama — whom one can attack as being pseudo-progressives, as not really having oppressed minorities’ interests in mind or at heart.

Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them.

If all that matters is that our next president is black, then by all means, let’s elect Ben Carson, right-wing lunatic that he is.

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Donald Trump is a hypocritical dick, but John McCain indeed is no war hero

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1973, file phot, John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a

Associated Press photo

An ambitious John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain shakes the hand of President Richard Nixon in 1973, not too long after his having been held as a POW in Vietnam. The warhawk McCain shamelessly has used his POW status for political and personal gain ever since, and there probably isn’t a nation on the globe he thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t bomb.

Repugnican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona indeed is no war hero, but not for the reason that Repugnican presidential aspirant Donald “The Mouth” Trump infamously recently cited.

At an event in Iowa yesterday, Trump declared of McCain: “”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The left-leaning Margaret Cho similarly quipped in 2008, when McCain was running for the White House: “I am not voting for McCain. I hope that is obvious. I am sick of everyone saying, ‘He was a good soldier. He was a good soldier.’ Um, yeah. He was captured. So he was not that good!”

(I don’t recall Cho’s comment as having created a shit storm then. Of course, she wasn’t running for president…)

To me, if the war was unjust, as the Vietnam War was, it’s difficult to call anyone who participated in it on the American side a “war hero.” How does something just and heroic emerge from something that was inherently unjust and unheroic?

Only perhaps if someone was drafted — forced into — fighting in an unjust war that he or she had recognized as unjust (which was not the case with McCain in the Vietnam War) might we be able to call his or her brave actions during that war “heroic,” but the war itself still remains unjust.

But with John McCain, it goes further than that. I lived in Arizona from my birth in 1968 to my overdue departure from the state in 1998, and I recall McCain’s television ads for his U.S. Senate bids. It was POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. It was POW 24/7, all POW, all the time. (McCain, whose U.S. Navy plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, was captured and kept as a POW for five years.)

Clearly, the message was that you were to vote for McCain — or you hate POWs. (You hate freedom! You love Commies!)

I was shocked that McCain didn’t exploit the POW thing much, much more than he did when he ran for the White House in 2008. Maybe he wanted to and his advisers advised him to cool it, since it is unseemly to exploit one’s POW status for political and personal gain.

Those who are rushing to defend McCain against Trump right now are simply sheeple who can’t worship the U.S. military enough, despite the fact that the bloated-bey0nd-belief military-corporate complex has sucked up our national resources and is killing us like stage-four cancer and has caused untold suffering to millions and millions of innocent people abroad.

(Um, yeah, the U.S. military exists primarily to enforce the existing global socioeconomic status quo, in which Americans continue to enjoy a quality of life that is crazy-better than the quality of life of the planet’s average human inhabitant, and that comes at the average human inhabitants’ expense. “Spreading democracy” — riiiiggghhhht!)

That said, of course baby boomer Trump, who, like his fellow Repugnican baby-boomer chickenhawks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and many others of that demographic), avoided the Vietnam War, so for him to be criticizing McCain’s performance in the Vietnam War is beyond hypocritical.

But I still say that McCain is no war hero, as not only was the war he voluntarily fought in unjust — Vietnam never had posed a real threat to the United States, and estimates of the number of people who died because of the war (the vast majority of them Vietnamese, of course) range from 1.5 million to 3.6 million, of which the hundreds of Vietnamese civilians slaughtered by mass-murderous U.S. troops in the My Lai Massacre of 1968 were only a tiny fraction — but also as that true war heroes don’t boast about their (supposed) war heroism for personal and political gain.

John McCain, whose almost-30-year Senate record has been unremarkable, for years has benefited from the fact that it’s taboo to openly disagree with or to show anything other than worshipfulness for a former POW. Had McCain never been a POW (which obviously was no accomplishment) and then shamelessly exploited it, I seriously doubt that he’d be where he is now. That’s some sick shit.

Still, it’s great to watch the infighting within the Repugnican Tea Party. “Clown car” is overused but it’s quite an apt description.

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Nate Silver: Bernie Sanders would be ‘losing’ even when he is winning

silver-datalab-bernieland

Nate Silver provides this chart to support his argument that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders — hailing from the state with the highest percentage of white liberals — could win the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary yet still lose the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. If the 50 states all voted and caucused on the same day, Silver would have a solid point, but as the states will caucus and vote over a bit more than a five-month period, Silver’s argument misses the factor of momentum (or, as I might put it, the movement of the lemmings from one candidate to another) over time. Silver’s argument demonstrates, however, that Bernie Sanders is an uber-underdog.

Far be it for me to question Prognosticator King Nate Silver (Prognosticator Queen? Like I am, he is gay…), but a recent post of his on his website fivethirtyeight.com bears this headline: “Bernie Sanders Could Win Iowa and New Hampshire. Then Lose Everywhere Else.”

The emphasis there, I think, I hope, is on the word “could.” Lots of different scenarios could play out from this early point in the game, but I find it unlikely that Sanders would win both Iowa and New Hampshire and yet not win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

The crux of Silver’s argument apparently is that “Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa and Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire are really liberal and really white, and that’s the core of Sanders’ support.”

The chart above is posted with Silver’s article, and assuming that its statistics are correct, yes, it’s no shock that Bernie Sanders is polling well right now in Iowa and in New Hampshire, the first two states to pick their 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, in early February.

Silver notes that “Sanders has so far made very little traction with non-white Democrats,” suggesting that this could cost Sanders the eventual win.

I don’t know about that.

I do know that Billary Clinton, for whatever reason or reasons, is big here in California, so I couldn’t see Sanders winning California — if California voted early. But California isn’t voting early in 2016; in 2016, California’s presidential primary election will be in June.

Billary beat Barack Obama here in California in 2008, but that year the presidential primary was held here in February, on “Super Tuesday.” It was a big chunk of delegates early on for Billary, but Obama still eventually beat her and won the nomination, of course.

Given that California doesn’t weigh in until June 2016, when it most likely will be (but might not be) a moot point anyway, yes, Billary could still win California’s primary, even if Bernie already had sewn up the party’s presidential nomination (and Billary had conceded), I suppose, but at the same time, in the world of presidential politics, June 2016 is a long, long time away, and so of course it’s possible that Sanders could win California’s primary in June 2016, especially if he already had swept most of the states in the earlier voting.

Not just California, but many other states, probably especially red and purple states, might remain steadfastly loyal to Billary in 2016, even to the bitter end, but as this was not an insurmountable obstacle for Obama in 2008, I don’t see that it would be an insurmountable obstacle for Sanders in 2016.

As I have intimated above, perhaps the biggest flaw in Nate Silvers’ argument is that to me his chart of the states and their makeup of white liberals seems to suggest that all of these states are going to be voting close together, when, in fact, the 2016 presidential primary elections and caucuses stretch from February 1 through June 7 (yes, California is the last to vote, along with four other states on that date.)

If all 50 states held their primary elections and caucuses on one day, or even within one month or maybe even two, then yes, I’d probably expect Billary to win, but that won’t be the case; that won’t be how the game is played. (But nor do I see the 2016 contest being drawn out until June, as it anomalously was in 2008. My best guess is that it will be done by April at the latest. [John Kerry wrapped up his 2004 win in March, and Al Gore also had wrapped up his 2000 win in March.])

All of that said, no one really knows what might happen if Bernie Sanders were to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. It seems to me that Billary probably would implode spectacularly. Yes, it is true that only two states aren’t representative of the entire nation, but coming in at first place in Iowa gives a candidate a huge boost, as it did for Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008. All three of those candidates, of course, went on to win their party’s presidential nomination. (The last time that the Democratic first-place winner of Iowa didn’t go on to win the party’s presidential nomination was Tom Harkin back in 1992.)

Yet we’re so sure that for some reason or reasons it would be different for Bernie Sanders were he to win first place in Iowa. (He is nothing if not an underdog.)

I could see an Iowa win giving Sanders such momentum that of course he wins New Hampshire, and from there it easily might be All She Wrote for Billary. Billary can come back from losing Iowa — her husband did in 1992, after all (and while she lost Iowa to Obama in 2008, she did win the popular vote in the 2008 New Hampshire primary [but tied with Obama for the delegate count]) — but were she to lose New Hampshire in February, too, um, yeah…

Of course, as many have noted, the better that Bernie were to perform in February, the more that the panicked Clintonistas (who pretty much are synonymous with the center-right Democratic Party establishment) would attack him. It is an unknown as to whether the Clinton Machine could destroy Sanders. It certainly didn’t destroy the upstart Barack Obama during the long, drawn-out presidential primary season of 2008 (again, Billary didn’t finally concede to Obama until June 2008).

And you never know how an attack is going to play out for you. It might work and you might win; or, it might generate sympathy for your victim and hurt you, either giving your victim the win or giving you a very tarnished win, a pyrrhic victory.

I mean, Bernie Sanders comes across as the humble, rumpled college professor whom you like, the professor who at first appears to be fairly eccentric but whom, once you listen to what he has to say, is quite sane and quite wise and quite big-hearted, you realize. Sanders also (probably wisely) fairly steadfastly sticks to his philosophy of not savaging his political rivals, but of sticking to the issues.

By attacking Bernie, Billary can’t come out of it not looking like an even bigger harpy with a dynastic, coronate-me-already mindset than she already does. So Team Billary savaging Bernie is far from an assured winning strategy.

And again, I’m quite surprised that in his piece, Nate Silver doesn’t talk about what I might call The Lemming Effect of Iowa and New Hampshire. It wasn’t that long ago that John Kerry rose from the political dead in early 2004, beating Howard Dean to win Iowa and New Hampshire, shocking pretty much Everyone in the Political Universe, even his long-time supporters (such as myself), and once he won Iowa and New Hamsphire, the vast majority of the rest of the primary and caucus states quickly fell to him like dominoes. (Howard Dean won only his home state of Vermont. John Edwards, who would go on to be Kerry’s running mate, won only two states.)

Again, it speaks to Bernie Sanders’ status as the uber-underdog, methinks, that one might posit that while the rest of the states fell like dominoes after John Kerry won both Iowa and New Hampshire in 2004, this wouldn’t happen for Bernie Sanders.

And look at where John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts sits on Silver’s chart: It is listed at No. 4, but apparently tying with Iowa as the third-most white and liberal state. By Silver’s own argument, it seems to me, John Kerry, because he came from such a white and such a liberal state, shouldn’t have done nearly as well as he actually did.

I’m not especially picking on Silver, and I think that the moral of the story is that presidential politics can be much like a Plinko game: the chip, once dropped, can fall in one of many directions, and predicting where it finally will land can be very difficult. Especially before the chip has even been dropped — before Iowans have caucused and New Hampshirites have voted — we can only speculate what might happen. Only after the chip has dropped and gained momentum will prognosticating be easier and more accurate.

Still, I find it fun to discuss what might happen. Again, my best guess is that if Bernie Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s all over for Billary Clinton. She probably would win significantly more states’ primaries and caucuses in 2016 than did, say, John Edwards in 2004, but losing both Iowa and New Hampshire would be, I believe, such a blow to her right out of the gate that she’d never be able to recover.

I just don’t see that Billary has the charisma to recover from something like that. Few Billary supporters will admit it, but most of them don’t actually like her all that much, don’t find her to be warm and fuzzy and likable. (Certainly, those voters in three important swing states find Billary to be neither honest nor trustworthy, and almost 60 percent of all Americans don’t find Billary to be honest or trustworthy, and when Obama famously once remarked to Billary during a 2008 primary season debate, “You’re likable enough,” he was being quite charitable.)

No, most of Billary’s supporters support her because they delusionally believe that a candidate whose unfavorability ratings consistently exceed her favorability ratings in national polls is a strong candidate. They delusionally believe that as unlikable as Billary is, she’s the only Democratic candidate who can keep the White House in the party’s hands come November 2016.

But how strong can Billary be when so many of her so-called supporters have to hold their noses in order to support her, and support her primarily or even only because they believe that she’s the only candidate who can prevent the Repugnicans from taking back the White House?

That’s not a very strong base of support, and so were Bernie to win Iowa and New Hampshire, again, I think that most likely we’d see a sea change; we’d see the Lemmings for Billary rush to Team Bernie. After all, Billary never exactly excited them anyway; at best, they found Billary likable enough. Or at least that’s what they told themselves and/or others.

P.S. Again, let me be clear: I could see Bernie Sanders winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but losing the 2016 presidential election, as the American electorate can be stunningly anti-intellectual and pro-dipshit, as we saw with how Americans just allowed the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging George W. Bush to blatantly steal the 2000 presidential election. (Al Gore, widely perceived in an anti-intellectual nation as a wooden egghead, didn’t inspire the in-the-streets revolution that a stolen presidential election should have.)

One could argue, I suppose, that New Englanders, being whiter and more liberal than the nation as a whole, or at least being perceived as such, tend to do poorly in presidential elections, and point to Michael Dukakis’ loss in 1988 and John Kerry’s loss in 2004. (Both are from Massachusetts, of course, as is U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom I’d most likely be supporting right now if she were a presidential candidate.)

But Bernie Sanders is well positioned to win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, it seems to me, and I’d be willing to risk losing the 2016 presidential election with Sanders as the Democratic Party’s candidate, as the Democratic Party’s long slide to the right (first under Bill Clinton and then under Barack Obama) has to be reversed (and not continued and worsened under a President Billary).

As I’ve noted, if Bernie Sanders ends up being something like the Barry Goldwater of the left, that’s perfectly fine by me. Better to win the long game than to lose the long game, and a President Billary would mean losing the long game.

P.P.S. As I’ve noted many times before, I always go for the most progressive presidential candidate possible, regardless of his or her demographics. Being a Californian, I also highly value diversity — note that Nate Silver’s chart puts white liberals like me at only about a quarter of California’s population in 2008 — and so it would be great if Bernie Sanders weren’t yet another older white man and if he came from a more diverse state (Vermont is in the top few whitest states in the nation, if it isn’t at No. 1).

But Bernie’s demographics are his demographics. His being an actual progressive trumps Billary’s being a woman but being a Democrat in name only who no doubt as president would continue to kiss plutocratic ass and sell out the working class and the remnants of the middle class, as her triangulating husband did in the 1990s.

And, of course, our first non-white president has done little to nothing to significantly socioeconomically boost non-white Americans.

A white-male progressive certainly could do, and probably would do, more good for more people than would a DINO president who is not white or who is a woman.

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Billary is inevitable? So was Dean! (And Bernie Sanders is NOT Ron Paul)

Associated Press photo

Howard Dean has an emotional moment, including the “Dean scream,” in Iowa in January 2004, after he devastatingly came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses (behind John Kerry and John Edwards), the first contest of the presidential primary season. Howard Dean widely was considered the inevitable victor of the contest for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, but once individuals actually started participating in the caucuses and primary elections, it was clear that they had dated Dean but decided to marry Kerry. Billary Clinton, like Howard Dean did, came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 (behind Barack Obama and John Edwards). And like Dean in 2004, Billary in 2008 never recovered from her stumble in Iowa. Billary is a stunningly weak candidate, yet the lemmings have lined up behind her, just as they did for Howard Dean.

I certainly hope that Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie was not “inspired” by “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri when he recently sloppily compared presidential aspirant U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to former Repugnican/Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Democrat in name only McCaskill, who is on Team Billary, recently bloviated that Sanders “is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president” and dismissed the large crowds that Sanders attracts at his campaign events by stating that Ron Paul “got the same-size crowds. [Former Repugnican Party presidential aspirant] Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”

As many have noted (such as this writer for Salon.com), a majority of Americans actually quite agree with Sanders’ so-called “extreme” message. Democracy sure sucks when it doesn’t go your way, when your center-right claptrap (like McCaskill’s) actually isn’t in line with the majority.

And leave it to a member of the pro-dynastic, anti-populist, Democratic-in-name-only Team Billary to try to make your popularity with the people into a bad thing.

I get it that McCaskill lives in what I’d certainly classify as a red state: Mittens Romney won Missouri in 2012. (The last “Democratic” presidential candidate who won Missouri was Bill Clinton in 1996.) Missouri has a Democratic governor and one “Democratic” U.S. senator (McClaskill), but both houses of its state legislature overwhelmingly are Repugnican, and its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is six Repugnicans to two Democrats.

So to survive politically in a state as red as is Missouri, McClaskill has to pander to the right and the center-right. I get that.

But is the entire Democratic Party to shift even further right so as to further please DINOs like McClaskill in the red states, as former “Democratic” Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (good riddance!) expected it to?

What about those of us in California, for instance? We’re the most populous state in the nation. Our governor and both houses of our state legislature are in Democratic control, both of our U.S. senators are Democrats (well, plutocrat Dianne Feinstein is a DINO), the majority of our U.S. representatives are Democrats, and a Repugnican presidential candidate hasn’t won California since 1988.

But we’re to stifle our values and ourselves for the likes of Landrieu and McCaskill? I have a much better solution: red-state DINOs (like McClaskill) just call themselves Repugnicans already and be done with it. They need to join the party with which their political philosophy and worldview is most aligned instead of trying to get the rest of us actual Democrats/progressives to convert to their version of what the Democratic Party “should” be.

Their tent is just way too damned fucking big. When you stand for everything, you ultimately stand for nothing.

Even Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie, most of whose writing I find insightful and wise, even though he acknowledges that “At 10,000 people, [Sanders’] crowd [in Madison, Wisconsin, last week] was the largest* of any candidate in the presidential race so far,” joins the conventional-“wisdom” herd and proclaims that “visibility isn’t viability, and there’s almost no chance Sanders will become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, even if he sustains his momentum into next year.”

Bouie adds: “Sanders is a fascinating candidate with a vital, underrepresented message in American politics. But the same qualities that make him unique — relative independence from the Democratic Party, a foundational critique of American politics — make him unsuited for a major party nomination, much less the Democratic one.”

Bouie concludes his unfortunate screed on Sanders:

Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be important. Here, it’s useful to think of Ron Paul, the former Republican representative who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012. Paul drew large crowds and raised huge sums for his campaign but couldn’t translate that success into votes. Nonetheless, his splash mattered. He helped bridge the divide between libertarians and the Republican right, and he inspired a new group of conservative and libertarian activists who have made a mark in the GOP through Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

If Sanders can sustain and capture the left-wing enthusiasm for his campaign, he could do the same for progressives. He could bring their issues onto a presidential debate stage and into the Democratic mainstream, and bring them into the process itself. No, Democrats won’t change overnight, but with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit.

Hey, I have an extremely radical idea, perhaps even more extreme and radical than any idea that even Bernie Sanders has put forth: How about we, the people, actually get to vote in the primaries and participate in the caucuses in order to determine who ultimately emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate?

How about we allow Bernie Sanders to run his campaign for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominationthe first caucus and the first primary election aren’t until February, seven months from now – instead of declaring Billary Clinton the winner now and giving Sanders the lovely parting gift (like Rice-A-Roni) of the warmth of knowing that his candidacy helped to melt the cold, right-wing hearts of those who call themselves Democrats but who actually are a bunch of Repugnican Lites?

Crazy, huh?

But seriously: How about we, the people, and not DINOs like Claire McClaskill and not media pundits who are steeped in the conventional “wisdom” of wolf-pack “journalism,” decide, through actually participating in the actual democratic process, whether or not we deem Bernie Sanders to be an acceptable presidential candidate to put forth in November 2016?

Jamelle Bouie educates us silly Sanders supporters:

Despite the polls and the voting, presidential primaries aren’t popularity contests. Instead, they’re closer to negotiations, where interests and individuals work to choose a leader and representative for the entire group. That person has to appeal to everyone, from ideological factions and political power centers to wealthy donors and ordinary voters and activists. The candidate also has to show that he or she can do the work of a national campaign, from winning debates to raising money.

Oh, I agree, for the most part, probably. But then Bouie continues: “Clinton has done this. She came close to winning the 2008 nomination and spent the next seven years — right up to the present — building her stature in Democratic politics. …”

Yeah, 2008 was close but no cigar, and Bouie apparently essentially advocates that because Billary has been working at this since 2008, we should acknowledge that and coronate her as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate already; Bouie’s conventional “wisdom” apparently can be reduced to telling us Sanders supporters: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

But I recall clearly that this was what the “Deaniacs” essentially were saying to the rest of us Democrats and progressives in 2004: That former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was So Self-Evidently Inevitable that everyone should just accept that fact and get on board with Team Dean already. (I still recall that one of my favorite fellow leftists, Ted Rall, at the time a Deaniac, even went so far as to write a blatantly anti-democratic column in which he suggested in all seriousness that the Democratic primaries and caucuses just be canceled in order to save money, since Dean’s victory was assured anyway.)

I supported John Kerry as the 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate from the get-go (as I saw him as the candidate who best could unseat the incumbent “President” George W. Bush), but I was told then by the Deaniacs: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Except that in early 2004, when the voters actually had their say at the primaries and caucuses – which is all that actually counts, in the end – Howard Dean imploded spectacularly, and John Kerry spectacularly rose from the dead and won the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Interestingly, campaign adviser Tad Devine, who was instrumental in Kerry’s spectacular rise from the dead like Lazarus on crack, right now is a senior adviser for Bernie Sanders.

So yeah, those who smugly write Bernie Sanders off (those would be Billary supporters, mostly), methinks, could be in for a big shock in early 2016, much as the smug Deaniacs were in early 2004 when underdog John Kerry, who had been left for dead, and not Howard Dean The Inevitable, won the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Not only does Bernie have John Kerry resurrector Tad Devine on his team, but what does it say of Billary that she lost to Barack Obama in 2008? She had been first lady for eight years in the 1990s and a (carpetbagging) U.S. senator for New York for eight years, yet upstart Obama, who had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full term, beat Billary, which wasn’t “supposed” to happen.

Billary is significantly flawed – or she wouldn’t have lost to Obama, who came from nowhere in 2008 to snatch – democratically – the crown away from her.

And let’s face it: The uber-scandalous, slimy Billary is just one leaked e-mail or one leaked secretly-recorded video away from implosion.

Do we want Billary’s implosion to happen before the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate is actually elected by the primary-election voters and the caucus-goers, or do we want to risk that Billary’s implosion happens after we stupidly just allow the high-risk Billary to have the party’s presidential nomination (you know, because she wants it so badly and because she has been “working” for it for so long now!) but before the November 2016 presidential election?

I, for one, not only cannot in good conscience support DINO Billary Clinton – whose vote for the Vietraq War in October 2002 when she was in the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders voted against it when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives) alone makes her unfit for the Oval Office** – but I wouldn’t take the risk of gambling everything away in November 2016 with her, with such a flawed, risky candidate.

I wisely resisted running with the Lemmings for Dean in 2004; I similarly am resisting running with the Lemmings for Billary in 2016.

For me, it’s Bernie or bust.***

*Bouie further notes:

Hillary Clinton drew 5,500 people to her [formal announcement] speech on Roosevelt Island in New York City, while Jeb Bush drew just 3,000 people to his announcement event at Miami Dade College in Florida. (Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to 11,000 students at Liberty University, but they had to be there — Cruz announced at the school’s convocation, which is mandatory for students living on campus.) Before Madison, Sanders spoke to a packed auditorium of 700 people in Iowa, and before that, he spoke to 5,000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

**Gee, I wonder if Billary felt any pang of guilt or even remorse when, on this past Fourth of July during a parade in Podunk, New Hampshire (at which Queen Billary’s henchpeople employed ropes to keep the rabble safely at bay), she told a 40-year-old man whom the Vietraq War — the war for which as U.S. senator she voted — put into a wheelchair, “Thank you for your sacrifice.”

I mean, it’s not that common that the results of a soulless, self-serving politician’s wrongdoing so starkly stare him or her in the face.

***On that note, if we are going to compare Bernie to anyone on the right, in the end, when all is said and done, history just might record him to be much more like the late arch-conservative Barry Goldwater than like Ron Paul.

Not only is there the fact that in modern history members of the House of Representatives (like former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul) never go straight from the House to the White House, but must have been a U.S. senator or a governor first (Bernie meets that qualification but Ron Paul never did), but I can see Bernie winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but unfortunately losing the 2016 presidential election, as Repugnican U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona lost the presidential election of 1964.

However, while Goldwater lost in 1964 (badly), he is widely credited with having fathered the “Reagan revolution” and the success of the right that we’ve seen for the past several decades. (The right’s success is evidenced not only by the worsening income inequality of the past several decades, but also by how far to the right it has spooked the Democratic Party into moving, especially under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)

I could see Bernie Sanders doing for the left what Barry Goldwater did for the right. But the comparison of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to the much more fringy former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is lazy and sloppy at best.

So I agree with Bouie that “with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit,” but Bouie and I don’t get to that point of agreement by the same route.

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To plutocratic traitor Trump and his racist ilk, Latinos are the new Jews

A Mexican client who lives in the U.S., looks at a pinata depicting U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hanging outside a workshop in Reynosa

Reuters photo

A pinata of racist scumbag and Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Donald Trump hangs in front of a pinata shop in Reynosa, Mexico, last month, in response to Trump’s recent derogatory statements about Mexicans who come to the United States. Can’t we string up and beat the holy living shit out of the real thing?

Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirant Donald Trump infamously said this in his big presidential campaign announcement speech last month:

… The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. [Applause from his audience, which apparently included individuals who were paid $50 a piece to hoot and holler and cheer. There’s nothing that money can’t buy, including “grass-roots” “supporters.”] Thank you. It’s true… When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … [“You,” I presume, would be (mostly if not entirely) white people who are “good” because they support Trump (or are willing to be paid to “support” Trump).] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems [with them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. …

You know, asserting that “some … are good people” doesn’t make up for the fact that you essentially just called an entire class of people drug dealers, criminals and rapists. (And of course Mexico isn’t “send[ing] its people” to the United States; they are coming here on their own.)

Of course Donald Trump speaks for the majority of the white-supremacist Repugnican Tea Party set, who view Mexicans and others from Latin America (whom they usually just lump all together as “Mexicans”) as The Brown Menace from South of the Border.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here in California, one of four states that share the border with Mexico, not only are there more Latinos (citizens and non-citizens) than there are in any other state in the nation (Texas comes in at a distant second place and Florida at an even more distant third place), but recently the number of Latinos has surpassed the number of whites in California, by about 14.99 million Latinos to about 14.92 million whites.

Yet here in California, we — the majority of us of all races — don’t believe that we have a “Latino problem.” If any state could claim to have such a “problem,” it would be California, but again, to us it’s not a “problem.”

Of course with the sheer number of Latinos in California, some, a minority of them, are going to commit some crimes — just as all members of all races in California commit crimes. So it is unfortunate that so soon after Trump’s racist, anti-Mexican comments, a 45-year-old man from Mexico who had been deported from the United States five times, reportedly, on Wednesday bizarrely shot and killed a 32-year-old white woman at a popular tourist spot in San Francisco in broad daylight for no apparent reason other than that he wanted to kill someone.

As was predictable, Trump yesterday shamelessly used this rare, bizarre incident to retroactively justify his anti-Mexican comments of last month. He added that “The American people deserve a wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico, so that, presumably, the United States would be like One Huge Gated Community, which the white supremacists among us would love.

However, having lived in northern California since 1998, I can tell you that we do not have an epidemic of undocumented (or documented) Mexicans (or other Latinos) shooting to death our precious young white women (in broad daylight or under the cover of darkness). Or raping them, either.

Quite presumably the 45-year-old Mexican man is mentally ill, and a sufficiently mentally ill person of any demographic can kill someone. You don’t point to one incident as “proof” that an entire race of people are guilty as you have charged.

I mean, certainly, because white-supremacist punk-ass Dylann Storm Roof premeditatedly gunned down nine black Americans in their own church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, that doesn’t mean that all white men are cold-blooded mass murderers — does it?

No, to racists and white supremacists like Donald Trump and his ilk and those who love and support them, it’s always members of other races who are the “criminals” and the “rapists” and the “drug dealers.”

But I get it: The treasonous plutocrats’ and corporatocrats’ worst nightmare is that the American masses finally wake up, realize that our true enemies are the plutocrats and corporatocrats among us — the mostly-hidden-from-view 1 percent (which includes, of course, billionaire Trump) who treasonously have been decimating the American middle class and the working class for decades now — and that we will come for them.

So these plutocratic traitors like Trump must demonize relatively powerless minority groups as the “true” “enemy,” the “truly” “evil” “other.” We saw this dynamic in Nazi Germany. (More recently, we saw it with the unelected George W. Bush regime’s demonization of Middle Easterners [as well as of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, who also were a target of the Nazis, of course].)

And that’s why I stand up for my Latino brothers and sisters when they are bashed: I won’t let them become the neo-Nazis’ next Jews.

The vast majority of Latinos in the United States of America are law-abiding, hard-working, productive individuals (citizens or not) without whom the United States would be in deep shit.

The United States of America’s biggest problems — including climate change; gross income inequality that further shrinks what’s left of the middle class day by day; plutocracy (including, of course, elections that are bought and paid for by the billionaires [like Trump]); unaffordable, for-profit health care; unaffordable, for-profit higher education; and a crumbling infrastructure (due in no small part because the plutocrats treasonouly refuse to pay their fair share of taxes) — aren’t caused by the impoverished peoples who come from south of the border seeking better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

No, the lion’s share of our nation’s problems are caused by the greedy, treasonous, mostly white, filthy-rich fucks from within — like Donald Trump — who have been bleeding us dry for decades. If we’re going to build protective walls, let’s build such walls entirely around them to protect ourselves from them.

A better idea, of course, comes from Mexico: stringing the treasonous plutocrats up like pinatas and beating them until their brains spill out on the ground like pieces of candy.

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