Monthly Archives: April 2011

Team Obama’s response to Dittygate only proves protesters’ point

I was going to write about it right after it happened, but I didn’t, but it’s back in the news again, so now I will.

On Thursday, April 21, the Obama administration was pretty fucking embarrassed when a short video of an incident at a fundraiser in San Francisco leaked out.

Obama wasn’t at the fundraiser to discuss anything controversial. He was there to collect his loot and go.* It was supposed to be a carefully controlled event — like one of “President” George W. Bush’s.** However, his fundraising spiel was interrupted by a group of protesters who started singing a little song about the Obama administration’s inhumane treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of illegally leaking information to WikiLeaks.

Their lyrics conclude thusly: “We paid our dues; where’s our change? We paid our dues; where’s our change?”

Yeah, that’s what millions of us whom the Obama administration has punk’d would love to know.

If you haven’t already watched it, you can watch the short video here.

In the video, Obama obviously is pissed off, but he has come this far in politics by pretending to be cool in all situations, no matter fucking what — he apparently calculated long ago (correctly, probably) that an “angry” black man never could be president of the United States (an angry white man like John McCainosaurus, who nearly had strokes from his fits of rage during his presidential debates with Obama, however, can be president).

Of course, I prefer honestly expressed feelings of anger over insincere bullshit that is a transparent effort to cover up one’s anger, which is what Obama demonstrates in the video. After the protesters sing their little ditty, he says, quite insincerely, “That was a nice song. You guys have much better voices that I have,” and even says “Thank you very much.”

“Thank you very much”?

These protesters infiltrated Obama’s swank fundraiser only to remind him that there are some of us who feel that we paid our dues but have yet to see the promised change. And the short video of the protest song went fairly viral.

The Obama administration’s only saving grace is that this incident didn’t really hit the national news until Friday, April 22, so the story didn’t become the national story that it otherwise would have had the incident happened earlier in the week.

The Obama administration should have let Dittygate go, but instead it apparently chose to start a fight with The San Francisco Chronicle — whose reporter got the video.

Reports The Associated Press:

San Francisco — The White House says a San Francisco Chronicle reporter broke the rules when she put down her pen and picked up a video camera to film a protest. The newspaper says the Obama administration needs to join the 21st century.

The conflict hit the newspaper’s front page [yesterday] with a story about coverage of the protest during President Barack Obama’s speech last week at a private fundraiser.

It highlights the perils that arise when traditional arrangements between news organizations and politicians meet the modern reality that anyone with a smartphone can become a video journalist.

Reporter Carla Marinucci had White House permission to cover the fundraiser as a so-called “pool” reporter, meaning she could attend as long as she shared her notes with the White House to distribute to other reporters. Pool reporting is a common arrangement among media organizations and in-demand politicians to avoid overcrowding of smaller events.

Marinucci was covering the event when about a half-dozen protesters who paid a combined $76,000 to attend the breakfast broke into a song chastising Obama for the government’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst suspected of illegally passing government secrets to the WikiLeaks website.

“We paid our dues; where’s our change?” the protesters sang.

Although a print reporter, Marinucci is seldom seen without a small video recorder while covering politicians. She captured video of the protest, which was posted with her written story in the online edition of the Chronicle and on its politics blog.

White House officials say that breached the terms of her access, which stated Marinucci was to provide a print-only report.

“The San Francisco Chronicle violated the coverage rules that they — and every other media outlet — agreed to as part of joining the press pool for that event,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “If they thought the rules were too restrictive they should have raised that at the beginning.” [Yeah, so their reporter could have been tossed out, right?]

Editor Ward Bushee said in the Chronicle’s story [yesterday] that the paper acted within its rights to cover the newsworthy incident.

He also said White House officials in off-the-record conversations Thursday threatened to bar Marinucci from pool coverage of future presidential appearances. He added that the officials, whom Bushee did not name, threatened to freeze out Chronicle and other Hearst Newspaper chain reporters if they reported on the threat against Marinucci. [Emphasis mine.]

“We expect our reporters to use the reporting tools they have to cover the news, and Carla did,” Bushee said in the Chronicle story. The White House rule against print reporters shooting and posting video is “objectionable and just is not in sync with how reporters are doing their jobs these days,” he said.

After Josh Earnest, another White House spokesman, told the Politico website that officials had not made such threats, Carney said in a statement [yesterday] that “no reporters have been banned from covering future presidential events.”

“The White House of course would have no problem including any reporter who follows the rules in pool-only events,” he said.

The White House should rethink those rules in an era when few reporters limit their coverage to just one medium, and when several other attendees not with the media were taking their own video of the protest, Bushee said. The protesters’ own footage ended up appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

The fundraiser came a day after Obama appeared at the Palo Alto headquarters of Facebook, praising the social media giant for enabling a more open, two-way conversation between citizens and politicians. The president said he was interested in holding the event, billed as a social media town hall, because young people especially were now getting their information through a range of different media. [Emphasis mine.]

Dan Gillmor, a media critic and head of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, said the White House needs to update the rules for its pool reports to match the realities of 21st-century reporting. …

It’s not really that, that Team Obama is composed of a bunch of luddites. It’s that the Chronicle had the audacity to embarrass The Great Obama of Oz. The Chronicle pulled back the curtain to reveal the petty, vindictive, insincere little man behind the curtain. The Chronicle, with the video, showed us something that we never were supposed to see.

A mere written description of the protest at the fundraiser wouldn’t have fully captured it, and while a mere written account of an event can fairly easily be disputed, a videorecorded account cannot so easily be disputed — which is why the “transparent” Team Obama maintains that only written descriptions are allowed: to avoid embarrassment and poor P.R., not because they don’t understand today’s communications technologies, which they fully exploit in their record-level fundraising, for fuck’s sake.

Ironically, in its response to Dittygate, Team Obama has only strengthened the protesters’ charge, “We paid our dues; where’s our change?” Yes, one of the many things that Barack Obama promised but has yet to deliver is a more transparent presidency.

Instead, we’re seeing more of the same, with Team Obama threatening to punish the Chronicle — and indeed, its entire parent company — because one of its employees actually made something transparent. (I believe the Chronicle over Team Obama, hands down, by the way; I believe that Team Obama threatened to exclude the reporter from future events and then threatened to exclude the entire media organization if their threat to the reporter were made public.)

And Team Obama can’t blame the Chronicle for embarrassing Obama.

It’s not the Chronicle’s fault that Obama has reneged on so many of his campaign promises to the point that protesters paid more than $75,000 to crash his exclusive little cash ’n’ carry. The fault for that lies squarely in the lap of Obama.

Barack Obama embarrasses himself.

*I know that this is how it is with the Clintonistas, the DINOs, such as Barack Obama.

Back in the day I coordinated Meetups for John Kerry’s run for the White House. (Howard Dean was the favorite of the “netroots,” but I viewed Kerry as much more likely to be able to deny George W. Bush a second term.) When I coordinated the monthly Meetups for several months, the participants talked about those issues that concerned them. They appreciated having such a forum with like-minded others.

But after it was clear that Kerry, who came back from political death like Lazarus, was going to win the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, a self-serving Democratic Party hack hijacked the Meetups and made them all about fundraising. She was in it for herself, even going so far as to tell the participants that when they donated money to the Kerry campaign, they needed to use a special code to designate the region when, in fact, it designated her as an individual fundraiser.

In a nutshell, under the hack’s “leadership,” the Meetups became fundraisers. Her contempt for others is what we see in the DINOs, who regard others only as ATMs.

Speaking of which, in my many months of helping out with Kerry-for-president efforts, I was quite disappointed by the Kerry fundraising events that we of the middle class, which the Democratic Party is supposed to be all about, cannot afford to attend. The Chronicle reports that “high-end” tickets to the Obama fundraiser at “the swank St. Regis Hotel” in San Francisco on April 21 “started at $5,000 and went up to $35,800.”

Another reason, probably, that cameras weren’t allowed…

**And Team Bush was fairly good at making sure that only loyal fans ever made it inside any of Bush’s appearances, but perhaps because he wasn’t on his own home turf, Bush did have, late in his unelected rule, that Iraqi guy throw a pair of shoes at him…

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Stop male genital mutilation

Oh, those moonbatty San Franciscans! They’re trying to get the banning of circumcision in San Franciso on the city ballot.

Horrors! Slicing off an infant’s foreskin is a God-given right!

Except that it isn’t.

It is what it is: male genital mutilation.

There is consensus that female genital mutilation, even for — perhaps especially for — religious reasons should be banned throughout the United States of America, but male genital mutilation widely is considered normal. (I guess that in essence we tell our male newborns: “Man up, you fucking baby!”)

So it (genital mutilation) seems to be a line-drawing game. Involuntarily slicing off a female’s clitoris (and perhaps other portions of the external female genitalia along with it): Bad. Clearly. Duh! Involuntarily slicing off a male’s foreskin: That’s perfectly OK, you moron!

“Opponents say the [San Francisco anti-circumcision] ballot measure would never stand up in court because it violates the freedom of religion clause of the U.S. Constitution,” notes SFGate.com.

Yet parents may not withhold certain medical treatments from their children because of religious beliefs, courts have ruled; the state’s interest in protecting the safety and well-being of the children within the state trumps the parents’ religious beliefs in these cases, the courts have ruled.

So again, this is a matter of degree.

To believe that non-medically necessary circumcision is OK is to say that a little genital mutilation is OK. Just not a lot of genital mutilation. (Non-medically) castrating an infant due to the parents’ religious beliefs, for instance, obviously would be illegal and immoral.

Non-medically necessary circumcision is, at the very least, child cruelty.

There will come a day, if we human beings have not destroyed our species by then, that future generations will regard the dead practice of circumcision as what it is (well, was): a cruel, barbaric, unnecessary practice based on religious custom (that is, based upon ignorance/superstitution).

There is no God. Therefore, there is no God who gives a shit as to whether or not a male still has his foreskin or not.

Most parents who still circumcise their infant sons, I believe, do so primarily because it’s just custom. I don’t believe that it’s a deeply religious thing for them. It’s just what you do: snip it off. (That reminds me of the joke that I tell when eating rings of calamari with friends at a restaurant: that calamari is what they do with the discarded foreskins. And that if they fried them, they could make something a lot like pork rinds…)

My fraternal twin some time ago asked our mother why she had us circumcised. My mother, who never has been religious — never took us to church, never talks about God or Jesus or any other of that hocus-pocus bullshit — answered him that that’s just what parents did.

You just did it; you didn’t think about it.

But we need to take an actual look at what we actually are doing: We are taking a knife to an infant and slicing off a portion of the infant that in the vast majority of cases we don’t need to slice off.

And this has to cause the infant pain. We probably don’t need our earlobes, but few would argue that it’s OK to lop off an infant’s earlobes. (Indeed, what if a parent’s religious beliefs mandated that the infant’s earlobes be chopped off? Would the religious beliefs trump the earlobes?)

Homo sapiens wouldn’t have come this far (I do believe that we are at around 7 billion human beings on the planet) if evolution had fucked up the reproductive function, for fuck’s sake. The foreskin is not the problem that so many claim that it is.

For any actual foreskin-related pediatric medical problems, such as chronic phimosis that does not respond to other treatments, if involuntary circumcision truly is medically necessary, then fine, do it. But to perform the procedure routinely on male infants is child cruelty.

And if it’s a religious thing, why not let the male decide for himself when he turns 18? I realize that the Old Testament prescribes eight days for circumcision, but if one believes in a God that truly gives a shit about foreskin status, wouldn’t God’s attitude on the matter be better late than never? At least an average 18-year-old could decide for himself.

I never got the choice, and neither have millions of other victims of male genital mutilation.

The practice of routine circumcision is backasswards and needs to go. No one has the constitutional right to mutilate, in the name of religion, the genitalia of his or her childeven ” just a little.”

P.S. Take a look at these pictures of a circumcision procedure and tell me that this is not genital mutilation. The author of the website predictably claims HIV/AIDS prevention as a justification for circumcision, but that is FUCKING BULLSHIT.

The real “reason” for the vast majority of circumcisions is: “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” Mindless circumcision mindlessly was performed long before HIV/AIDS ever came on the scene, so HIV/AIDS prevention is a bullshit defense of the child cruelty that is non-medically necessary circumcision.

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Donald Trump, president of pettiness

When I wrote that I hope that Donald Trump runs for president, I didn’t mention that Trump’s “platform” thus far has consisted — solely, as far as I can tell — of questioning where President Barack Obama was born.

I didn’t mention that because (1) Trump couldn’t win the White House anyway, no matter what; (2) Obama’s birth certificate is an uber-non-issue; and (3) my previous post on Trump was about political strategy, not about the fucking birth certificate.

But now that Obama himself has released his full, long-form birth certificate, I’ll finally write about the fucking birth certificate.*

First of all, the die-hard “birthers” aren’t going to accept the full birth certificate or any document that Obama might put forth. They are going to continue with the conspiracy theories with which they have so much of an emotional, irrational investment. They reject Obama with every white supremacist fiber of their being — primarily because he’s half-black — and no document on the fucking planet is going to change that.

This is fine. These conspiracy theorists are a whackjob minority. Minority. Obama didn’t need to release his full birth certificate in order to win re-election. I might argue that in the political long term, the better political strategy might have been for Obama to allow the crackpots to continue to stew, increasing his chances for re-election in 2012.

Those who never would vote for a black person for president never would vote for a black person for president anyway. Those are votes that permanently are lost to the white supremacist/racist Repugnican Tea Party.

It would have been better for Team Obama to continue to allow the “birthers” to turn off the undecideds, it seems to me, since it’s the undecideds (a.k.a. “swing” or “independent” voters) who — as amazing as it is that anyone could even be undecided — who apparently determine presidential elections these days, terrifyingly. (Well, when the radical right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court aren’t deciding the “winners” of our presidential elections, that is, of course.)

And then there is Trump.

“I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue,” Trump trumpeted in response to the release of Obama’s full birth certificate.

Trump already has demonstrated that he’s way too fucking petty to be president of the United States of America.

With the nation’s economy still in shambles — with China expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2016, with the Repugnican Tea Party’s “path to prosperity” being a disastrous plan to allow the rich and the super-rich pay even less in taxes than they already do and to destroy Medicare, and with neither of the duopolistic parties seriously talking about seriously cutting the bloated budget of the military-industrial complex, which would be key to solving the nation’s federal budget deficit — we have had Donald Trump stating that he feels “honored” to have played “such a big role” in the “issue” of where Barack Obama was born.

Identifying the nation’s most pressing problems, and then acting to solve them — isn’t that the main role of the president of the United States of America?

Thus far, all that Trump has done is jumped onto the nutjob bandwagon.

Of course, being wealthy himself, and with his future being fairly secure, why should he care about what the rest of us care about — the nation’s economy and the security of our future (including, of course, protecting Medicare from the raping, plundering and pillaging of the profiteering privateers)?

Donald Trump has the luxury of being able to focus on petty political myths.

The rest of us have much, much bigger fish to fry.

The one glaring hole in all of the Obama conspiracy theories — I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again — is to actually believe that after the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars that both Billary Clinton and John McCainosaurus had at their disposal to conduct opposition research on Obama in their own quests to win the White House in 2008, there was something damaging about him — and something pretty big — that their investigators/researchers failed to find. This is rather unfuckinglikely.

Obama’s die-hard haters are going to remain his haters. He needs to write them off if he hasn’t already.

Instead of trying to appease the haters who never are going to cast a vote for him anyway, Obama should be groveling on his hands and knees for the forgiveness of and for the support of members of the “professional left” like me who don’t plan to vote for him in November 2012 or to give him a fucking penny toward his re-election — not because we are wrapped up in racism-inspired conspiracy theories, but because we’re still waiting for that “hope” and “change” that he promised us back in 2007 and 2008.

P.S. This is a gem. The Associated Press reports that:

In a statement after Obama spoke [about the release of his long-form birth certificate], Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the issue a distraction — and yet blamed Obama for playing campaign politics by addressing it.

“The president ought to spend his time getting serious about repairing our economy,” Priebus said. “Unfortunately, his campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our number one priority — our economy.”

I’m often not sure if Priebus and his ilk are liars or are insane.

Clearly, Donald Trump — not Obama — has been making Obama’s birth certificate into an “issue.”

To blame Obama for responding to the “issue” is to blame the victim, which seems to be the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ favorite pastime, such as how they blame the working class and the middle class for the nation’s economic collapse instead of the treasonous Wall Street crooks who still remain free.

And the assertion that the Repugnican Tea Party — which especially during the eight, long, nightmarish years of unelected rule by the BushCheneyCorp allowed the Wall Street weasels to loot the treasury — truly cares about our economic recovery is like the assertion that the incompetent surgeon who seriously botched your surgery really cares about your health. (And to assert that handing Medicare over to the profiteering private wealth care weasels and that to reduce the taxes for the rich and the super-rich even more is going to help the economy is like having that incompetent surgeon who amputated your wrong leg “fix” the problem by amputating all of your limbs.)

*If you are interested in background on the birth certificate brouhaha, The Associated Press gives this fairly good backgrounder:

The short-form [birth] certificate [that] Obama’s campaign released in 2008 is a legally recognized document, the one Hawaii residents receive when they request proof of their birth. Anyone who wants a copy of the more detailed, long form document must submit a waiver request, and have that request approved by Hawaii’s health department.

Obama submitted his waiver request last week, asking for two certified copies. His personal counsel, Judith Corley, also submitted a letter on Obama’s behalf, saying the president was asking for a waiver so he could make the certificate publicly available and relieve the burden on the health department by the numerous requests it receives for records of his birth.

Hawaii’s health director, Loretta Fuddy, responded with a letter of own dated April 25, approving the waiver request. Corley traveled to Hawaii to pick up the documents and carried them back to Washington on a plane. The documents arrived at the White House around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The White House has released copies of each of the letters.

The newly released [long-form] certificate is signed by the delivery doctor, Obama’s mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.

The form says [that] Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital, within the city limits of Honolulu.

There’s no mention of religion. It says his father, Barack Hussein Obama, age 25, was African and born in Kenya and his mother was Caucasian and born in Wichita, Kan. Obama’s mother and the doctor signed the certificate on Aug. 7 and 8.

Hawaii’s registrar certified the new photocopy of the document provided to the White House on April 25, 2011.

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Wazzup in Wisconsin? (Part 2)

I don’t live in Wisconsin (I live in the great state of California), but I’m paying fairly close attention to what’s going on in the Badger State (which has become the nation’s No. 1 laboratory of democracy and where, except for the rather extreme cold, I could see myself living). Here are three news items that have caught my attention:

(1) Progressive JoAnne Kloppenburg yesterday requested a recount of the April 5 election results for the race for the seat on the state’s Supreme Court, since the official results put her at less than 0.5 percent behind her right-wing opponent David Prosser. Prosser has an official 7,316-vote lead out of about 1.5 million votes cast, but ever since the surprise announcement of thousands of more votes that materialized in Repugnican Tea Party-dominated Waukesha County after Kloppenburg initially had been given a preliminary 204-vote lead, doubt has been cast as to the integrity of the election results at least for that county.    

Kloppenburg not only asked for a statewide recount, but she asked the state to appoint a special investigator to look into the “actions and words” of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, whose suprise announcment of more than 14,000 votes to be added to the preliminary vote count put Prosser up by more than 7,000 votes.

“With a margin this small — less than one-half of 1 percent — the importance of every vote is magnified and doubts about each vote are magnified as well,” Kloppenburg said in announcing her request for a recount, the first statewide recount in more than two decades in Wisconsin but to which Wisconsin state law entitles Kloppenburg. “If there are problems, we need to identify them and fix them. If there is doubt, we need to remove it. If there was misconduct, we must hold those who perpetrated it accountable.”

Team Prosser is criticizing Kloppenburg for having requested the recount, even though state law entitles her to it.

Unless the members of Team Prosser are afraid that fraud might be found, I don’t know why they would criticize Kloppenburg’s decision to utilize the democratic process that the right-wing nutjobs apparently like only when it delivers to them what they want. On that note, I have little doubt that if Kloppenburg were up over Prosser by less than 0.5 percent — the threshold for a candidate to request a statewide recount free of cost to the candidate — then Team Prosser would request a recount, just as Kloppenburg has.

Even if Prosser is declared the eventual winner of the election for the seat that he holds on the state’s Supreme Court, at least the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin have been put on notice that they are being watched for any attempts at committing election fraud.

(2) The media report that while recall-election petitions have been filed against three Democratic Wisconsin state senators, recall petitions already have been filed against five Repugnican Tea Party state senators. Eight Democratic and eight Repugnican Tea Party state senators, by state law, have been subject to recall efforts that anyone might have chosen to launch.

If the Democrats can maintain their current number of seats in the state Senate and flip three state Senate seats from the Repugnican Tea Party to the Dem Party, they will take control of the state Senate, greatly politically weakening Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker.

(3) Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people on the planet.* Shouldn’t he be listed as one of People magazine’s most beautiful people instead? I mean, here is the photo of Dreamboat Ryan that Time used:

Time.com photo

Damn, he looks so harmless, doesn’t he? Cuddly, even!

Anyway, as if Ryan’s inclusion in Time’s top 100 most influential weren’t bad enough, who composed the little write-up for Ryan? None other than Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker.

Here is “Dead Man” Walker’s ode to Ryan:

Paul Ryan, 41, came of age down the road from me. Although we didn’t know each other at the time, it’s clear now that growing up in south-central Wisconsin during the Reagan years had a lasting impact on both our political philosophies. Like our 40th president, Paul has always stuck to his core beliefs: in limited, effective government; individual liberty; and making the hard decisions so our children will inherit a country at least as great as the one we did. Overnight, his economic plan has redefined the nation’s conversation about public spending.

It has been said that there are two types of people in politics: those who want to be somebody great and those who want to do something great. Paul Ryan is the latter, and our country is better off because of that.

Let’s be clear: Ronald Reagan sucked. His pro-plutocratic, social Darwinist policies, including his union-busting and his “trickle-down” bullshit (the rich only “trickle down” on us to piss all over us), began our national economic collapse — including the largest gap between the rich and the poor seen since the Gilded Age.

And yes, putting forth a so-called “path to prosperity” that has the rich and the super-rich paying even less in taxes than they are paying now and that destroys Medicare as we know it sure has “redefined the nation’s conversation about public spending,” just as how if I were to put forth a proposal that every fucking baby boomer be exterminated at age 65 (which is pretty fucking generous, as in “Logan’s Run” the age of extermination is 30) — an actual path to prosperity, but never mind that — it would redefine the nation’s conversation about retirement.

And to claim that Paul Ryan, who wants to destroy Medicare, is “making the  hard decisions so our children will inherit a country at least as great as the one we did,” is a great big fucking joke, since one, my generation, Generation X (to which, unfortunately, both Ryan and Walker also belong), inherited a nation in much worse shape than it was when the baby boomers first got their greedy grubbies on it, and two, Ryan’s plan for dismantling Medicare grandfathers those who right now are 55 or older but screws the rest of us — including, of course, “our children.”

Today’s old farts vote, you see, but the Repugnican Tea Party traitors very apparently believe that they can fuck over the rest of us without a fight.

Maybe Ryan doesn’t spend enough time in his home state of Wisconsin. Otherwise, he would know that we, the people, are in a fucking fighting mood.

*Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota also made Time’s top 100 list (Archie Bunker-like blowhard Rush Limbaugh wrote the little piece for her, beginning it, “I don’t mind telling you that I’m a great admirer of Michele Bachmann’s,” which of course suggests that he at least somewhat does mind telling us that) — and so did androgynous teen-girl heartthrob Justin Bieber — so it’s not like it’s a Nobel prize or anything, but still…

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Run, Donald, run!

File photo of property magnate and reality TV ...

Right-wing billionaire Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., in February (above) and speaks at a Repugnican Tea Party rally in Boca Raton, Florida, earlier this month (below). It’s pretty clear, I think, that Trump, if he is running for the White House, isn’t running as a centrist.

File photo of property magnate and reality TV ...

Reuters photos

I’ve seen some attacks on billionaire fuckwad Donald Trump from those who are (or at least claim to be) left of center, but I think it’s probably most politically strategic for those of us (who actually are) on the left to keep mum on Trump’s possible run for the presidency.

There’s no way that Trump could win the presidency in any event — either as a Ross Perot-like independent (his most likely path, if he does run for the White House) or as the Repugnican Tea Party nominee (which is highly unlikely to happen; I can’t see the Repugnican Party establishment allowing that to happen) — so I can see Trump, in an independent bid, most likely only peeling votes away from the Repugnican Tea Party nominee (who most likely will be Mitt Romney).

And this would be a good thing if you want to see Barack Obama elected to a second term.*

Although many argue that Texas billionaire Ross Perot didn’t boost Bill Clinton to the presidency in 1992, I disagree. I believe that most Perot voters otherwise would have voted for George H. W. Bush. (In 1992, Perot garnered 19 percent of the popular vote, quite a lot for an independent candidate, while Clinton got 43 percent and Bush got 37.5 percent.)

There are several reasons to conclude that an independent Trump candidacy would bleed more votes from the Repugnican Tea Party candidate than from presumed Democratic nominee Obama:

I don’t see that Trump is trying to appeal to the centrists, those whom Obama prizes much more highly than (the remnants of) his own fucking base, although, admittedly, most of those who call themselves “centrists” (or “independents” or “libertarians” or the like) actually definitely lean to the right.

Trump fairly clearly wants the wingnut vote.

Therefore, I hope that he runs, that the talk of a 2012 presidential run isn’t just talk.

A Trump candidacy, in terms of Obama’s re-election chances, probably would make up for Obama’s having shat and pissed all over his base for the past two years. My guess is that Obama welcomes a Trump candidacy, too.

*I do not — I’d rather have a real Democratic president — but Obama most likely will not face a strong primary challenger and most likely will win re-election, I believe. 

**Admittedly, CPAC has been becoming libertarian, with libertarian nutjob Ron Paul winning CPAC’s straw poll this year and last (Mitt Romney won in 2007, 2008 and 2009), but the libertarians are wingnuts, so I make little distinction between conservatives and libertarians.

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Boycott WIN! (And chimp FAIL!)

Obama greets Brewer after stepping off Air Force ...

Reuters photo

Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer claims that she doesn’t want to see President Barack Obama’s circumcision certificate. (Of course, even if he did make it public, the wingnuts would call it a fake…)

Boycotts work. That’s why boycotts — even though they exemplify both free speech and the so-called “free market” — so often are criticized.

Take Arizona (I prefer to leave it. I did, actually, in 1998, after three decades there…): Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer yesterday vetoed a bill that would have required any individuals appearing on the state’s ballot for U.S. president to provide his or her birth certificate to the state’s top elections official, its secretary of state. Brewer wrote in her veto letter:

I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their “early baptismal or circumcision certificates,” among other records, to the Arizona Secretary of State. This is a bridge too far.

I don’t believe for a nanosecond that that is the real reason that Brewer vetoed the bill. I have precious little doubt that she vetoed the bill primarily or even solely because the tourism-heavy state already is reeling from lost revenue from the political fallout (including, of course, the resultant boycott of the state) from S.B. 1070, the state legislation passed a year ago making it a crime to breathe while brown in Arizona whose key provisions the federal courts won’t allow the state to implement because they violate the U.S. Constitution.

With Arizona already known around the world as the South Africa of the American Southwest, no doubt Brewer thought it imprudent to sign a bill that targets one black man, Barack Obama, no matter how much the bill’s supporters, most of them stupid white men, lie to the contrary.

It’s a sign of how far gone Arizona is, however, that a (if not the) main problem of the bill that Brewer picked out is that one of the documents that the bill mentions as establishing citizenship is a circumcision certificate. Oooo! It’s penis-related! Can’t have that! Must! Veto! Anything! Related! To! The! Penis!

Brewer doesn’t want to alienate her base of white supremacists and xenophobes, so of course in her veto letter she didn’t say anything about racism or xenophobia or the probable unconstitutionality of yet another mean-spirited, white supremacist, racist bill passed by the Arizona Legislature. She didn’t even mention (not directly, anyway) how damaging to the state’s tourism industry (and its economy in general) its blatant white supremacism and racism have been.

Gay is the new black, however, and while the Repugnican Tea Party traitors use code words for “nigger” — such as “socialist,” “Muslim,” “Barack Hussein Obama” and “He wasn’t born here” — because blatantly open racism and white supremacism are taboo even in backasswards red states like Arizona, it’s still wide open fucking season on us non-heterosexuals.

While Brewer vetoed the so-called “birther bill,” yesterday she did sign a bigoted, homophobic, probably unconstitutional bill mandating that married heterosexual couples be given priority consideration when state agencies are placing children for adoption or foster care. So her hordes of red-state haters did get some red meat this week.

On the topic of the Repugnican Tea Party, don’t let me pick on Arizona where racism and white supremacism are concerned. An Orange County (California) Repugnican Tea Party official made the news this week for having sent out an e-mail portraying Barack Obama as a young chimpanzee with his chimp parents (thus explaining his supposed lack of a birth certificate, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!). In a statement, the incredibly fucktarded Repugnican Tea Party official, Marilyn Davenport, wrote:

I’m sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth. [How does portraying Obama as a chimpanzee relate to his “character”? And “all the questions surrounding his origin of birth”? “Questions” only in the minds ofracist/white supremacist crackpots, but whatev…] In no way did I even consider the fact he’s half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race. We all know a double standard applies regarding this president. I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn’t particularly like, yet there was no “cry” in the media about them.*

Not to defend a Repugnican Tea Party traitor, but “President” George W. Bush was routinely compared to the chimpanzee. (Go to images.google.com and type “bush chimp” in the search field and you’ll see plenty of hits.) I seem to remember having engaged in such a comparison myself, and there was (still is?), if memory serves, even a whole website dedicated to comparing Bush (and sometimes his kin) to chimps.

However, this was a clear statement about Bush’s level of intelligence, not a statement about his race.

Context is everything, and thus there is a difference between comparing a white person to an ape and comparing a black person to an ape. Comparing a black person to an ape hearkens to the days of slavery (and afterward…), when blacks were treated like animals. While comparing Bush to a chimp is a fairly clear statement as to his intelligence, comparing Obama to a chimp at least raises the possibility that the individual making the comparison is making a statement as to the fullness of Obama’s humanity and/or the inferiority or superiority of certain races.

And that’s a fucking problem, because once you relegate an individual or even a whole class or race of individuals to sub-humanhood or even animalhood, you then can justify the perpetration of all kinds of evils upon him or her or them.

Aside from the rather obvious racist/white supremacist overtones of it, if you are going to compare Obama to a chimp — if you must do it — shit, at least do it well.

The image that Davenport used in her e-mail —

— not only is utterly unfunny, but it’s a piss-poor PhotoShop job.

And that is almost as unforgiveable as is blatant white supremacism and racism. (Almost.)

With the upcoming release of “Planet of the Apes” prequel “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” brace yourself for even more Obama-chimp comparisons. Hopefully they at least will be technically well done, but of course they won’t be, since the Repugnican Tea Party fucktards aren’t funny, creative, intelligent or technically masterful. They’re not even intelligent enough to reflect upon the fact that all of us humankind rose from the apes, since they incredibly stupidly still believe in hocus-pocus flat-earther creationism instead of evolution.

Which makes you wonder who the real chimpanzees are…

That’s not to bash our primate first cousins, for whom I have much more respect than I do the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, who, because of evolution, have no fucking excuse…

*And true to wingnut form, Davenport tried to make the leaking of her e-mail the story instead of the e-mail itself — even though she talks of Obama’s “character.” Reports The Los Angeles Times:

County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh has called for the resignation of … Davenport, an elected member of the party central committee who sent the e-mail to some committee members and others last week. Baugh said he received it Friday afternoon and quickly responded with an e-mail telling Davenport it was “dripping with racism and is in very poor taste.” He said the issue should be referred to the Orange County GOP’s ethics committee.

According to an e-mail Baugh sent to committee members Saturday, Davenport described the Obama photo as a “joke” and wanted to know who had leaked the email to the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley, who broke the story. She called the leak “cowardly” and wrote, “Anyone brave enough to come forward?”

Hmmm. If the e-mail were innocent, then why would its having been leaked be any problem?

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Eddie Munster vants to suck our blood

Putting yourself in the public spotlight is risky. You might succeed spectacularly. Or you might have Jon Stewart remarking of you on his show that he didn’t know that “Eddie Munster grew up to be a J.C. Penney catalog model.”

Indeed, Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, with his widow’s peak, indeed resembles the little Munster —

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— which at least one individual pointed out as early as January.

But worse than being compared to Eddie Munster would be being compared to vampiress Sarah Palin, and I have the feeling that Paul Ryan is going the way of Sarah Palin: an individual in his or her 40s with presidential aspirations who isn’t all that bad on the eye but whose wingnutty policies are for shit and who just isn’t ready for political prime time.

As I have noted, very apparently the Repugnican Tea Party thought that they could put Paul Ryan’s pretty face on their wet dream of privatizing (and thus destroying) Medicare and ensuring that the rich and the super-rich never pay their fair share of taxes again — and that Paul Ryan alone was enough lipstick to put on that monster pig.

But thus far, the majority of Americans apparently would prefer to keep Medicare intact and to make the rich and the super-rich pay up rather than to gush all over Paul “He Works Out, You Know!” Ryan.

But Rep. Ryan apparently thinks that he’s some hot shit, taking on the president.

In case Ryan didn’t notice, his Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker-like tactics aren’t going over very well in his own home state right now, so why does he believe he has a strong political base from which to take on Barack Obama?

The uber-cocky Ryan has accused Obama of being a “campaigner-in-chief” for publicly having taken exception to Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare and to make the rich richer, and indeed, Ryan is brazenly denouncing everyone who doesn’t embrace his so-called “path to prosperity” that gives the rich and the super-rich even more tax breaks while soaking the working class, the middle class and the poor even more than they have been soaked over the past several decades. (So it is a “path to prosperity” — just not our prosperity!)

And it’s ludicrous to hear Ryan accuse Obama of being political, when of course Ryan is being at least as political, and, as they are both politicians engaging in politics, of course they’re being political. (Of course, the charge that the other side is being “political” isn’t meant to denote that the other side is engaged in the struggle for power, which is the very definition of engaging in politics, but is meant to connote that the other side is being unreasonable, that of course the other side would agree with your very reasonable proposal(s) if he or she would just be reasonable instead of “playing politics.”)

On the heels of calling Obama political (in a bad way), Paul “I’m Rubber and You’re Glue” Ryan announced that Obama’s denunciation of his plan to destroy Medicare and further enrich the rich has only strengthened the Repugnican Tea Party’s support of Ryan’s plan in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Oh, please. The stupid white men who comprise the majority of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the House of Representatives support Paul Ryan over Barack Obama? Shocker!

Paul Ryan’s idea of destroying Medicare and enriching the rich isn’t “bold” or the like. It’s a colossally shitty idea is what it is. Not only is it horrible public policy (and, I will add, anti-Christian) to allow the wealth care profiteers to shamelessly profit even further from Americans’ pain and suffering via the bloated wealth care-industrial complex, but to attack Medicare is as politically smart as it was for George W. Bush to attack Social Security.

Nor is it OK to assure current oldsters that they’ll be OK, but that the rest of us are fucked where Medicare and/or Social Security is/are concerned. I’m 43 years old and I’ve been paying into Social Security and Medicare since my teens, and I want both benefits, fuck you very much, Mr. Ryan; you’re not going to fuck me up the ass — no matter how much you look like a J.C. Penney catalog model.

Cutting the bloated-beyond-belief budget of the military-industrial complex and making the rich and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes, as I have noted, will keep afloat Medicare, Social Security and other government programs that benefit the majority of the American people instead of further enrich the rich.

So of course Ryan’s “path to prosperity” — his own prosperity and that of his right-wing ilk, not yours and mine — does not include cutting the “defense” budget or making the rich and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes.

Which demonstrates that he’s not serious about resolving the federal budget deficit. He’s serious about making the rich richer and the poor poorer. He’s a radical-right-wing ideologue, not a problem solver, especially since his proposed “solutions” would make the problems worse, not better.

Unfortunately, Ryan seems to represent a reliably red congressional district. He won his seven two-year House terms with an average of 64 percent of the vote, so he probably would be very difficult to unseat, even in Wisconsin, in which the Repugnican Tea Party is under fire right now.

However, Ryan’s deceptively titled “path to prosperity” can be relegated to the dustbin of U.S. history, where it belongs, and hopefully, he’ll never rise any higher than the U.S. House of Representatives, where he essentially is just a saner-seeming version of Michele Bachmann.

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Obama’s move to the middle takes us off a cliff

Glenn Greenwald has posted a good analysis of what the fuck it is that Team Obama is doing, and I have to agree with Glenn.

Greenwald argues that it isn’t that Team Obama wants to defeat the Repugnican Tea Party’s agenda but just doesn’t know how. Greenwald argues (or at least I interpret his argument to be) that Team Obama, for its own political benefit, wants to c0-opt the Repugnican Tea Party as much as possible — even if that means hurting millions of Americans.

Greenwald writes:

Conventional D.C. wisdom — that which Obama vowed to subvert but has done as much as any president to bolster — has held for decades that Democratic presidents succeed politically by being as “centrist” or even as conservative as possible. That attracts independents, diffuses GOP enthusiasm, casts the president as a triangulating conciliator, and generates raves from the D.C. press corps — all while keeping more than enough Democrats and progressives in line through a combination of anti-GOP fear-mongering and partisan loyalty.

Isn’t that exactly the winning combination that will maximize the president’s re-election chances? Just consider the polling data on last week’s budget cuts, which most liberal commentators scorned. Americans support the “compromise” by a margin of 58 percent to 38 percent; that support includes a majority of independents, substantial GOP factions, and two-thirds of Democrats.

Why would Democrats overwhelmingly support domestic budget cuts that burden the poor? Because, as [Matthew] Yglesias correctly observed, “just about anything Barack Obama does will be met with approval by most Democrats.” In other words, once Obama lends his support to a policy — no matter how much of a departure it is from ostensible Democratic beliefs — then most self-identified Democrats will support it because Obama supports it, because it then becomes the “Democratic policy,” by definition.

Adopting “centrist” or even right-wing policies will always produce the same combination — approval of independents, dilution of GOP anger, media raves, and continued Democratic voter loyalty — that is ideal for the president’s re-election prospects.

Sadly, I can’t argue against most of Greenwald’s points. Most “Democrats” very apparently have just picked a team — and operate not out of a set of shared basic, non-negotiable principles and values, but simple-mindedly rally behind their team flag with the big blue “D” on it, no matter who is carrying it.

That’s fine. (I mean, it isn’t fine, but it is what it is.) But that a majority of so-called “Democrats” are unprincipled, easily led sellouts doesn’t mean that I have to join their ranks. (Besides, I’m registered with the Green Party, and I don’t much mind being on the outside looking in, especially if being on the inside means that I have to sell my soul.)

To give one of many possible examples of how Team Obama could operate differently, what should happen with our federal budget is plain and simple: The rich and the super-rich should pay their fair share of taxes — after all, their wealth comes largely from the infrastructure that other taxpayers’ dollars provide (public schools, highways, etc.) — and so the BushCheneyCorp-era tax breaks for the wealthiest never should have been extended like Team Obama allowed them to be in December. And the bloated budget of the bloated military-industrial complex sorely needs to be cut down to size. The U.S. spent more than $685 billion on its military in 2010, while next largest military in the world, China’s, gobbled up less than $115 billion in 2010. At numbers three and four in military spending are France and Britain, each of which in 2010 spent less than one-tenth of what the U.S. spent, as did No. 5 Russia. Here is what that looks like on a graph:

Cutting the insanely bloated budget of the insanely bloated military-industrial complex should be able to keep Medicare and Social Security afloat — but the right-wing traitors, aside from wanting to continue their looting of the U.S. Treasury via the military-industrial complex, want to privatize everything. “President” George W. Bush’s idea to privatize Social Security went over like a lead balloon, so now the right-wing traitors want to get their greedy grubbies on Medicare. But make no mistake: “privatization” means the theft of public dollars by unscrupulous fraudsters whose No. 1 goal is not to provide quality goods or quality services, but to profiteer — to take the money and run, just like the Wall Street crooks just did.

At the barest fucking minimum, U.S. military spending should be cut at the same proportion that any domestic spending is cut, yet the bloated budget of the bloated military-industrial complex, year after year after year after year after year, remains untouched — while the treasonous right wing tells us that we just can’t afford to spend the people’s money on the people.

It’s like the head of a household spending a huge chunk of the household’s income on a home arsenal instead of on things like food, rent or the mortage payment, clothing, and health care, and when the household’s income really tightens, the home-aresenal spending remains intact (or even increases), but the rest of the home’s budget (food, clothing, utilities usage, etc.) has to take cuts. It’s not just grossly irresponsible, but it’s insane. (And it’s soooo United States of America.)

Team Obama could make this strong case. Leadership is about leading. Sometimes leading means being unpopular at first, leading the people (kicking and screaming, sometimes) where they initially might not want to go. Disrupting the long-standing dysfunctional national narrative, including the sub-narrative that we need to spend as much as we do on “defense,” takes leadership. It’s hard work, not the path of least resistance, which is the path that Team Obama is taking. (Indeed, if the winguts have their “path to prosperity,” in which blatant thievery from the majority of the people for the further benefit of the already rich and super-rich few is redefined as “prosperity,” then Team Obama’s path is the path of least resistance.)

I get it that Team Obama is trying to appeal to the mushy middle, those who don’t understand politics and who thus believe that “centrism” — standing for nothing, so that you don’t have to bother to learn anything or to fight for anything — is the way to go. I get that.

The two problems that I have with this “strategy,” however, are that:

(1) The members of the mushy middle are unlikely to contribute significantly to presidential campaigns, so it seems to me that if he is going to raise as much money for his re-election bid as he raised in 2008, Obama is going to have to take much more from the corporatocrats than he did in 2008, since he has burned his base beyond belief and cannot realistically expect their level of support to be repeated. (I, for one, gave him hundreds of dollars but will never give him another fucking penny.)

and

(2) More importantly, I see no reason why the “independent”/“swing” voters should vote for any Democratic presidential candidate when the Democratic Party, first under Bill Clinton and now under Obama, continues to resemble, more and more, the Repugnican Tea Party. Why go for second-class conservatism when in the Repugnican Tea Party you can have the best? 

When we quite predictably will have both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney saying pretty much the same thing in their battle for the White House, I don’t know why the members of the mushy middle whom Team Obama loves so fucking much — over the disposable remnants of his base (you know, us suckers who got him into office in the first place) — should bother to vote for Obama when they’ll get the same thing from Mitt.

I know that for myself, when I see Obama and Romney singing the same old song and dance, I see no reason to continue to support the dog and pony show with my money or my vote, when I believe that the show just needs to be shut down. 

I want real hope and real change. And that won’t come through continuing to support Barack Obama or the so-called Democratic Party even though they see no reason to support me.

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Mitt Romney: The next Bob Dole

In honor of Mitt Romney officially announcing his 2012 presidential bid today, I am reposting the following piece, which I originally posted on March 6.

I have little to add — and the poll numbers remain pretty much the same — except that it’s clear that Romney, especially in comparison to such whackjobs as Michele Bachmann, is going to emerge as the most electable (that is, the most inoffensive) candidate to the old school Repugnican Party establishment, which pretty much means that the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party nomination is all his.

Romney will bore the voters to death (like wooden Repugnican presidential candidate Bob Dole did in 1996), and Barack Obama will win re-election. You have to be pretty fucking boring to make Barack Obama seem exciting again.

(I would love for Obama to have a strong primary challenge — and by “strong” I don’t mean just giving him a little scare, but making his loss of the nomination a very real possibility — but the old school Democratic Party establishment will turn anyone who dares to oppose Obama [who more and more resembles the wizard of Oz, all talk and no substance, and never mind what’s behind that curtain over there!] into a political pariah, so I don’t expect a strong primary challenge to Obama. I expect nothing of the Democratic Party these days except continual cave-ins to the Repugnican Tea Party in the name of “compromise” and “bipartisanship.”)  

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Associated Press photos

Above: Repugnican Mitt Romney pontificates at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., [in February]. Below: Failed 1996 Repugnican presidential candidate Bob Dole appears at a rally for Repugnican Tea Party nutjob Sarah Palin in Raleigh, N.C., in November 2008.

Bob Dole - Sarah Palin Campaigns In Raleigh Three Days Before Election

Getty Images

Repugnican Mitt Romney will be the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate. And he will lose to Barack Obama in November 2012.

Romney consistently appears in the top three favorites of Repugnican Tea Party members for the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination in recent nationwide polls. He usually ranks under Mike Huckabee but above Sarah Palin.

A Feb. 24-Feb. 28 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, for instance, put Huckabee at 25 percent, Romney at 21 percent, has-been Newt Gingrich at 13 percent, and Palin at a measly 12 percent.

A Feb. 19-Feb. 20 Gallup poll put Huckabee at 18 percent, Romney at 16 percent, Palin also at 16 percent, and Gingrich at 9 percent.

Finally, a Feb. 12-Feb. 15 Newsweek/Daily Beast poll put Romney at 19 percent, Huckabee at 18 percent, and Palin at 10 percent.

It’s a safe bet, I think, to write off Palin and Gingrich (and anyone else) and to narrow it down to Romney and Huckabee.

Huckabee is doing only slightly better than is Romney in most polls, and the closer that we get to November 2012, the more the crotchety Huckabee will remind Repugnican Tea Party voters of 2008 presidential loser John McCainosaurus, I believe. Their angry, bitter, old white guy lost in November 2008 to the much younger (gasp!) black guy by 7 percent of the popular vote, and they don’t want a repeat of that, I’m sure.*

Huckabee’s latest trips are asserting falsely that Barack Obama grew up in his father’s homeland of Kenya (Obama actually grew up in Hawaii and in Indonesia [mostly in Hawaii] – doesn’t Huckabee pay attention to the birthers?) and that recent best-actress winner Natalie Portman is awful for being an unwed pregnant woman, quite reminiscent of Repugnican retard (that’s redundant…) Dan Quayle’s remark way back in 1992 that the fictitious television character of Murphy Brown, who on the TV show had had a child out of wedlock, was a horrible example for others.

Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister, is living in the distant past. The majority of Americans no longer give a shit whether a woman chooses to have a baby inside or outside of marriage. The majority of Americans correctly believe it to be the woman’s business and no one fucking else’s. (And they know that Barack Obama was not raised in Kenya.)

Romney, on the other hand, is expected to avoid social/culture-war issues in his quest for the White House and to emphasize the nation’s economic woes. After all, for him to emphasize social/culture-war issues would only emphasize the fact that he is a Mormon, which is troublesome not only for anti-theocratic progressives like me (I’m a gay progressive, so there’s no way in hell that I’d ever vote for an active Mormon), but for Huckabee’s base of non-Mormon “Christo”fascists, the majority of whom believe that Mormonism isn’t Christian.

Already Romney has coined his “Obama Misery Index,” which is predicated on convincing the majority of the American voters that we went right from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama – that the eight, long, nightmarish years of rule by the unelected BushCheneyCorp regime never fucking happened. (George W. Bush inherited a federal budget surplus from Bill Clinton but ended his two unelected terms with a record federal budget deficit.)

Romney also is parroting Repugnican icon Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down” economics (even more tax breaks for the corporations will result in more jobs for Americans, Romney is lying), which never worked and which never will.

While Romney is launching a campaign of blatant fucking lies that the national economy was just fine until Barack Obama came along and that Romney has the solutions for our nation’s economic ills, Romney at least is focusing on what the majority of the 2012 voters care about: their pocketbooks (and not, say, Natalie Portman’s Murphy-Brown-like pregnancy).

And let’s face it: Romney is a lot more telegenic than is the wall-eyed Huckabee, too. In presidential (hell, in almost all) politics today, how you look matters. It should not, but it does.

Further, Romney inexplicably became governor of the blue state of Massachusetts (for one four-year term from 2003 to 2007), so he presumedly has more experience appealing to “swing voters” than does Huckabee, who was governor of the red state of Arkansas for more than two four-year terms (as the state’s lieutenant governor he had assumed a portion of the previous governor’s term in 1996 and then was elected as the state’s governor in 1998 and re-elected in 2002).

Huckabee, unlike Romney, never has had to play to an audience of voters who actually have two brain cells to rub together, and what plays well in Arkansas (cue the banjo) doesn’t play well nationwide, which Huckabee is going to discover.

There are other factors in Romney’s presidential loss in 2012 as well, such as the fact that it’s unlikely for an incumbent president running for re-election to lose his bid. Jimmy Carter’s loss in his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and George H.W. Bush’s loss in his 1992 re-election bid to Bill Clinton were some exceptions, not the rule. Even George W. Bush eked out a second term in 2004, with 50.7 percent of the popular vote. (Had Hurricane Katrina happened before the 2004 election, instead of the following year, I have no doubt that Gee Dubya would have been only a one-term president.)

Losing a presidential election much more often than not is the end of a politician’s presidential aspirations. Richard Nixon lost in 1960 to John F. Kennedy but then won the White House in 1968, but in my lifetime (I was born in 1968), this was the rare exception, not the rule. Since 1964, presidential election losers Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCainosaurus did not, have not or (probably) never will run for president again.

So you would think that members of the Repugnican (Tea) Party would prefer to sit 2012 out, given the uphill battle, but Romney and Huckabee have been out of elected office for a while now, and they probably don’t want to risk becoming more obscure over the course of another four more years, only to possibly be replaced in popularity in 2016 by an upstart (say, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels or maybe even Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is termed out in 2012).

And, I suppose, the lure of the White House is just too appealing to too many egomaniacs, even if it’s a quixotic quest — even if, as in Mitt Romney’s case, rather than being the next Ronald Reagan (a title already claimed by Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker), he’s much more likely to end up like the stiff and yawn-inducing Bob Dole did in 1996, losing to Bill Clinton by 8.5 percent of the popular vote.**

*While Romney is a deceptively youthful-looking [64 years old] and Huckabee actually is younger than Romney, at 55 years old, to me and to most other people, I surmise, Romney appears to be the younger of the two.

**Although, to be fair and balanced, I think it’s possible that Romney will lose to Obama in 2012 by a smaller margin than McCainosaurus did in 2008.

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Wazzup in Wisconsin?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photo

Katherine Harris wannabe (?) Kathy Nickolaus (shown at top, above an image of the actual Katherine Harris), a Repugnican Tea Party county clerk in a Repugnican Tea Party-leaning county in Wisconsin, announces on Thursday that she’d overlooked 14,000 votes in her initial report of her county’s vote tally in the state’s Supreme Court election on Tuesday. Her “human error,” she claimed, put the Repugnican Tea Party incumbent “Justice” David Prosser more than 7,500 votes ahead of his progressive opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg. Nickolaus has a scandalous history, and her claims are being investigated.

It’s been a rocky week in Wisconsin. First, progressive Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg was named the preliminary winner of the election for the seat in the state’s Supreme Court currently held by stupid white man and Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker ally David Prosser — by only 204 votes out of about 1.5 million votes cast.

Then, a Repugnican Tea Party county clerk, Kathy Nickolaus of Waukesha County, on Thursday announced that oopsie — in her initial report of her county’s vote tallies, she’d overlooked some 14,000 votes, which, she later discovered, actually put Prosser ahead of Kloppenburg by more than 7,500 votes.

Nickolaus has a scandalous, partisan history, so at the time I took — and I still take — her announcement of an “oopsie” with a fucking grain of salt. The 2000 presidential election — and the 2004 presidential election, too, as well as other elections, such as the election for the U.S. Senate in Alaska in November — have demonstrated amply that Repugnican Tea Party candidates and operatives have no problem stealing elections.

Thankfully, apparently Nickolaus isn’t going to get away with the world just taking her word for it; investigation of her claims is under way, and the election won’t be certified until the investigation is finished.

Reports The Christian Science Monitor:

Questions are being raised in Wisconsin regarding the party ties of a local county clerk whose discovery of about 14,000 unrecorded votes is assuring a victory for the Republican incumbent in last week’s election for state Supreme Court. A federal investigation into the matter was requested late Friday night.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus became the center of the controversy Thursday when she announced she failed to record the votes of Brookfield, a city located outside Milwaukee that typically leans Republican.

Her actions turned the tables of the election, which was being tracked as an informal referendum on the policies of Gov. Scott Walker (R).

For nearly two months, Wisconsin has been in the national spotlight regarding a bill Gov. Walker introduced that erodes union power in the state.

Late last month, a circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order barring the bill from becoming law, saying more time was needed to review the procedure Senate Republicans took to push the bill through in order to make it law. …

The case will likely end up being decided by the state’s Supreme Court, which brought unprecedented attention on last Tuesday’s election, pitting incumbent Justice David Prosser, backed by Republicans, and Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, favored by Democrats.

Before Nickolaus announced her mistake, Kloppenburg seemed headed for victory. She had a 204-vote lead out of 1.5 million votes cast and a recount was in the works.

The unrecorded ballots discovered Thursday favor Prosser, putting him ahead by 7,500 votes. Nickolaus told reporters that her mistake was “human error” and she apologized.

Nickolaus is now under scrutiny for her ties to the state’s Republican party. She worked as a data analyst and computer specialist for the state’s Republican caucus for 13 years, a time window that included Prosser’s brief tenure as Assembly speaker in 1995 and 1996.

A 2002 corruption probe investigating state employees working on campaigns on state time led to indictments of five legislative leaders, but Nickolaus received immunity from prosecutors and resigned that same year.

As circuit clerk of the Waukesha County Board, she was criticized for not being cooperative with the county’s director of administration, resulting in an audit following the 2010 election that showed she failed to follow proper security and backup procedures and would not share passwords with her superiors. [Emphasis mine.]

But wait; the’re more:

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of Wisconsin is asking US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a federal investigation into the handling of votes in Waukesha County. In a letter sent Friday night, Rep. Baldwin [stated that she] wants the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which investigates election crime, to see if votes were mishandled following Tuesday’s election.

“Numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one,” she wrote. “They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.” [Emphasis mine.]

State Democrat leaders are also calling for investigations into the matter and Kloppenburg announced she would raise money for a recount. State Rep. Peter Barca told the Green Bay Post-Gazette Friday that Nickolaus’ actions “doesn’t instill confidence in her competence or integrity.”

Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a non-partisan and non-profit advocacy group, said in a statement that his state “deserves elections that are fair, clean and transparent” and that “there is a history of secrecy and partisanship surrounding [Nickolaus] and there remain unanswered questions.”

Election night numbers are not yet verified in the election as 12 of the state’s 72 counties have not yet finalized the canvass process, which is expected to take place late next week. Once that is complete, candidates have three days to file a request for a recount.

Prosser told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he “met [Nickolaus] a number of times in the last few months” but did not remember whether or not she worked for him during his time as Assembly speaker.

“I can’t say it didn’t happen, but I don’t remember,” he said.

Why Prosser met (with?) Nickolaus “a number of times in the last few months” is interesting; what business a state Supreme Court “justice” would have meeting (with?) a county’s top elections official escapes me.

There also is a Reuters news story that reports that the Wisconsin Supreme Court election results won’t be certified until a state investigation into Nickolaus’ alleged “oopsie” is completed:

The [state] agency overseeing Wisconsin elections will not certify results of Tuesday’s state Supreme Court race until it concludes a probe into how a county clerk misplaced and then found some 14,000 votes that upended the contest.

Michael Haas, Government Accountability Board staff attorney, told Reuters on Friday the watchdog agency was looking into vote tabulation errors in Republican-leaning Waukesha County which gave the conservative incumbent a net gain of more than 7,000 votes — a lead his union-backed challenger seems unlikely to surmount.

“We’re going to do a review of the procedures and the records in Waukesha before we certify the statewide results,” Haas said. “It’s not that we necessarily expect to find anything criminal. But we want to make sure the public has confidence in the results.” [Emphasis mine.]

Unofficial returns in the statewide race had given the challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, a narrow 204 vote statewide lead over David Prosser, a former Republican legislator.

But late Thursday, the top vote counter in Waukesha County said votes she had failed to report in earlier totals resulted in a net gain of 7,582 votes for Prosser in the county.

News of the uncounted votes came as officials throughout Wisconsin were conducting county canvasses, a final review of voting records that allows the state to certify this week’s bitterly contested elections.

The Supreme Court contest was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker and the curbs on collective bargaining he and his allies passed in the legislature. …

If Prosser wins, Kloppenburg has the right to ask for a recount — though based on the current tally, Wisconsin law may require she pay for it herself.

In a statement, Kloppenburg said her campaign had filed an open records requests “for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the county.”

Under Wisconsin law, county clerks have until Friday, April 15, to complete the canvass and report the results to the GAB. Once results from all 72 counties are in, a three-day period begins for candidates to request a recount. If there are no delays connected to a recount, the board’s deadline for certifying the results is May 15.

It’s possible that Nickolaus is just incompetent, but given her scandalous history and her history of activism within the Repugnican Tea Party, I’m happy that multiple parties — not just Kloppenburg, but also U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board — are looking into what happened in her county and aren’t just taking her word for it.

If indeed Nickolaus is found guilty of election fraud, I hope that she’s thrown into prison for many, many years. Election fraud by an elections official isn’t just felonious; it’s a fucking treasonous betrayal of the people’s interests and confidence.

Even if Nickolaus is cleared of wrongdoing, if the certified results of the election declare Prosser the winner and fall within the margin for a recount by Wisconsin state law — up to a 0.5 percent vote-tally difference between Kloppenburg and Prosser for a free recount, and from a 0.5 percent to a 2.0 percent difference for a candidate-funded recount (with the candidate requesting the recount the one who has to pay for it) — I hope that Kloppenburg pursues a recount effort to the full extent of Wisconsin state law. It’s been too fucking fishy for her not to, and if she needs any money to pay for the recount, I’ll be more than happy to chip in.

One Katherine Harris was bad enough.

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