Monthly Archives: October 2015

Time to panic, Bernie supporters?

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to supporters during a concert hosted by his campaign Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts to supporters during an appearance in Davenport, Iowa, last week. Reports of Bernie’s political death have been greatly exaggerated; I can see Billary Clinton imploding like Howard Dean and I can see Bernie rising like Lazarus like John Kerry did in 2004. In any event, I have a novel, even revolutionary, idea: Let’s let the people caucus and vote! Let’s let the people decide!

Billary Clinton has had a decent month (at least so we’re told). The corporately owned and controlled media pronounced her the “winner” of the October 13 debate, even though post-debate focus groups and online polls showed Bernie Sanders to be the clear winner.

This month Billary had Katy Perry perform for her, while Bernie Sanders was impersonated by Larry David proclaiming (as Bernie) that he owns only one pair of underwear and not only doesn’t have a superPAC, but doesn’t even have a backpack, and thus has to lug everything around with him (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!).

This month Billary survived her “Benghazigate” inquisitors, which, for some bizarre reason, widely has been seen as some sort of “accomplishment” for her. As “Benghazigate” always has been trumped-up bullshit anyway, what, exactly, did she accomplish?

No matter; when you’re Billary Clinton, you don’t have to have any actual accomplishments; you have the surname, and for many if not even most of those who call themselves “Democrats,” that’s enough.

Bernie Sanders apparently maintains a slim lead over Billary in New Hampshire, but Joe Biden’s belated announcement that he isn’t running still hasn’t taken full effect in the polling. Therefore, I’m not panicking over the polling that gives Billary a wide, double-digit lead over Bernie in Iowa right now. The post-Biden dust still hasn’t settled in the polling. We’re going to have to see.

That said, yes, I’d say that if Bernie doesn’t come in at No. 1 in New Hampshire or in Iowa – if Billary comes in at No. 1 in both states – no, I don’t see Bernie recovering from that.

Should Bernie win Iowa and New Hampshire (I still expect him to win New Hampshire, but I am concerned about how he’s doing in Iowa right now), we could see Billary collapse, but I don’t expect her to give up; I expect her to do what she did against Barack Obama in 2008, which was to keep going for as long as she could (indeed, the 2008 Democratic presidential primary fight ran all the way to June 2008).

In the meantime, to anyone who is predicting Bernie’s loss to Billary already, I say:

  • The first voting (in Iowa on February 1) is still more than three full months away. Billary, apparently way too high on undeserved praise from the corporately owned and controlled mass media punditry, keeps making offensive and untruthful statements (characteristic of her 2008 run for the White House), such as that the odiously homophobic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that her hubby signed into law actually was meant to staunch the bleeding where LGBT rights are concerned, and that Bernie Sanders is sexist! (Women who shamelessly mendaciously play the feminism card for personal and political gain only hurt the feminist movement; Billary should be ashamed of herself, but, as she amply has demonstrated over the many years, she is unburdened by anything remotely resembling a normal human sense of shame.) Also, the FBI is still investigating Billary and those involved in her home-brewed e-mail server. A lot can happen in the political world in three months.
  • Two words: Howard. Dean. Howard Dean for a long time was the “inevitable” 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee. Only he imploded spectacularly in Iowa in early 2004, coming in at third place, behind both first-place winner John Kerry, whose moribund campaign had come back from the dead like Lazarus on crack, and behind second-place winner John Edwards. In the end, the only state that Dean won was his home state of Vermont. (No, that Bernie also is from Vermont doesn’t mean that he’s destined to share Dean’s fate, and yes, I can see Bernie making a John-Kerry-like resurrection after he’s already been written off as politically dead.)
  • Four words: Donald Trump. Ben. Carson. These two “men” have topped the Repugnican Tea Party presidential polling for a while now, yet few who truly know anything about political science and U.S. history really see either of them ultimately gaining the party’s nomination. (Neither has held elected office, and never in my lifetime of more than 45 years has anyone made it to the White House who had not been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state.) Why would it be that Donald Trump and Ben Carson can fall from their lofty perches, but Billary can’t fall from hers?
  • Finally, but certainly not the least importantly: Let the fucking people vote and caucus! Let the people decide! If Bernie Sanders ultimately comes in at No. 2 to Billary Clinton, so be it, but it’s to be decided by those voting and caucusingnot by the punditry. Not even by me (although it should be…).

The only thing that we Bernie Sanders supporters have to fear is fear itself. The Billarybots would love for us to become dispirited and thus disarm (yes, that’s a pun on Team Billary’s lame attempt to make gun control a big issue [funny, it hasn’t been until very recently that Billary ever made gun control a big issue; the timing of her new-found “concern” is awfully interesting]).

The corporately owned and controlled media would benefit much more from long-time corporate whore Billary Clinton sitting in the Oval Office than they would from democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, so when they report that Bernie can’t win, consider the source and ask yourself if the corporately owned and controlled mass media care more about your welfare than they do their own.

We Bernie Sanders supporters must ignore the naysayers, who have a right-of-center agenda of their own, and continue to support him as we have been. I just gave him another donation, for instance, and there’s no way in hell that I’m ever casting a vote for Billary Clinton, no matter what bile and venom spews from the mouths of the Billarybots.

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Billarybots in the corporate media punditry: A ‘God’-less Bernie ATTACKS!

Now that the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination is between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton, of course the attacks on Sanders have intensified. While Barack Obama has been painted as a Muslim, Sanders apparently is being painted as an atheist (gasp!) as well as a socialist (gasp! gasp! gasp!). And because the corporately owned and controlled media love to report on a fight, they’re portraying Sanders’ campaigning — that is, simply distinguishing himself from his main opponent — as “attacks” on poor Billary. Above is a screen grab of Sanders’ recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s television show, in which Kimmel asked Sanders whether he believes in “God” and Sanders did not give a direct “yes” or “no” response to the religious test for the presidency that long-time asshole Kimmel put before him. (Video of that exchange is here.) 

I supported Barack Obama in 2008*, and I remember that whenever he made a reference to “God” when he was running for the nation’s highest office, I cringed.

I didn’t much hold it against him, but held my nose and voted for him anyway. Although there is supposed to be no religious test for the presidency, up to now, anyway, pretty much any presidential candidate who hasn’t claimed to believe in the “Christian” equivalent of Zeus widely has been considered unelectable. Therefore, no presidential candidate has dared not to make such a claim, whether true or not.

Until now, apparently.

Last month I wrote of Bernie Sanders:

… I much would rather see a secular Muslim in the White House than I’d ever want someone like Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz (or Mittens the Mormon millionaire) in the White House. Because the issue isn’t nearly so much the content of the religion that we’re talking about, but how much one who is in power (or wishes to have more power) wishes to impose his or her religious beliefs upon the rest of us.

That is the problem — when theofascists just can’t/won’t keep their hateful, insane, dangerous dogmas to themselves, but wish to shove them down our throats, a la theocrat Kim Davis and those who publicly support her, including theocratic Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.

Where it comes to religion I am equal opportunity; I couldn’t support a right-wing Jew for president, either, because I can’t see a right-wing Jew keeping his or her right-wing religious ideology out of his or her governance.

Bernie Sanders, my chosen 2016 presidential candidate, was born to Jewish parents, but from his biography I gather that he’s quite secular, that he understands how critical is the separation between church and state, so he doesn’t frighten me in the least. I don’t see at all that Sanders has a hidden agenda of imposing Jewish law (which, I guess from my quick Internet research, is called “halakhah”) upon the land once in the Oval Office. …

So this isn’t news, but now that Bernie Sanders unquestionably is the only candidate who still might yet bring down Queen Billary Clinton, the attacks by the corporately owned and controlled media (which play the “God” card, since it’s good for bidness [more than 90 percent of Americans say that they believe in “God”]) — hard and soft attacks, direct and indirect attacks — are starting. (Well, not “starting,” really, but intensifying; the whole “socialist” thing has been anywhere from a sneer to a slam all along.)

Reports the Washington Post yesterday under the headline: “Bernie Sanders: Our First Non-religious President?” (remarks in [brackets] are mine):

Much of the attention paid to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has to do with the s-word: Can a socialist be elected president? How much of a socialist is he? What exactly is socialism? [Red-baiting is fun! It gets clicks! And advertising dollars!]

What many haven’t picked up on is that a Sanders presidency would be a first in a couple other ways. First, Sanders would be our first Jewish president. [Is that meant to scare people or enlighten them?] And second, while Sanders is culturally Jewish, he has said that he’s “not particularly religious” and has been described by some as agnostic [horrors!].

Asked during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show this [past] week whether he believed in God, Sanders demurred.

“I am who I am,” Sanders said. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

Sanders added: “This is not Judasim. This is what Pope Francis is talking about — that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

In political terms, this is what’s known as a dodge. It’s an economic and cultural vision that Sanders attempts to shoehorn into a religious conversation by noting that religious people like Pope Francis feel the same way. It’s basically saying, “I’d rather talk about poor people than God.” …

Just: Wow. (Again, that’s the Washington Post.) I’d add, of course, that Jesus Christ talked an awful lot about poor people, something that most of today’s American “Christians” simply ignore because they don’t want to help out the poor. (Most of them, in fact, haven’t actually read the New Testament, and those who have, have retained very little of it.)

How about we put Bernie Sanders in a huge tank of water with huge rocks tied to him? If he sinks, then he doesn’t believe in God! — and he’ll receive his just punishment!

That would be the spirit of the mob mentality of a “Bernie-Sanders-doesn’t-believe-in-God!” meme, if it metastasizes.

I don’t much give a fuck whether Bernie Sanders believes in “God” or not. I mean, I would hope that the person who has access to the nuclear codes, to paraphrase Jeb! Bush, is not actually so insane as to believe in a non-existent Zeus-like deity who, he believes, wants him to do this or that, as though he were fucking Moses (as at least half of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants claim — that “God” has communicated to them personally that he wants them to be president).

But since Bernie just doesn’t talk about religion (thank “God”!), and since his record and his history make it pretty clear that as president he would preside secularly, I’m fine with him.

The thugs, murderers and rapists who comprise ISIS claim that they believe in “God.” (To be fair, within the U.S. military we’ve long had plenty of “Christian” thugs, murderers and rapists of our own.) The Israelis, who have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, claim that they believe in “God” — indeed, they claim that they slaughter for “God,” as do their Palestinian adversaries (for whom I have much more sympathy than the Israelis, since far more of them die and since the Israelis long have had far more assistance from the United States than have the impoverished Palestinians [Israel apparently is the third-richest nation in the Middle East, behind Qatar and Kuwait; Palestine is the second-poorest nation in the Middle East, behind Yemen]).

George W. Bush, who, among other things, blatantly treasonously stole a presidential election in 2000; treasonously failed to protect Americans from “God”-driven terrorists on September 11, 2001 (on which almost 3,000 Americans were killed); treasonously started a wholly illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust, bogus war in Iraq in 2003 (in which more than 4,000 of our troops died for his lies and for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s war profiteering, and in which many, many more Iraqis were killed); and treasonously just allowed around 2,000 Americans to be killed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, claimed to be a huge believer in “God,” and look how much his belief in “God” benefited the nation and the world.

Billary Clinton claims to believe in “God,” but look at her record. She’s a war hawk (as the first [arguably viable] female president wannabe, she doesn’t want to appear to be weak on “defense”) — as long as she’s never put in harm’s way, it’s A-OK (she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War in October 2002, knowing fully well that her precious ass never would be at risk). And while she claims now to be a populist, she’s always done Wall Street’s bidding, and the Wall Street weasels who give her mountains of campaign cash aren’t bothered by her populist rhetoric because, with a wink, they understand that it’s only rhetoric.

Not just to pick on Billary. Obama claims that he’s a “Christian” who believes in “God,” yet he very apparently is wholly untroubled by the hundreds of civilians whom his precious drones have slaughtered, and while he has talked about the struggling middle class, what, as president, has he done about the insane income inequality that began no later than during the presidency of Ronald Reagan? (Oh, that’s right: He’s always been too busy talking up Reagan as having been one of our greatest presidents ever.)

Jesus Christ proclaimed, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” and Jesus obviously was an anti-capitalist socialist. The Bible’s anti-capitalist, socialist stance long predates Jesus; I long have taken the story of the golden calf to be at least as much about the evil that is capitalism (specifically, greed, selfishness and materialism) as it is about “idolatry”; it wasn’t just the form of the calf that was being worshiped, but it also, of course, was the gold out of which it was made.

I applaud Bernie Sanders for not publicly proclaiming that he believes in “God.” Again, whether he actually believes in “God” or not isn’t nearly as important to me as is the fact that nothing in his political career (he was a mayor, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now is in his second term in the U.S. Senate) suggests that he thinks it’s OK to shove his own religious beliefs down others’ throats. He is no theocrat.

My observation long has been that on the whole, agnostics and atheists are significantly more moral than are those who call themselves “Christians,” especially the right-wing nut jobs who proclaim themselves already “saved.” Once you’re already “saved,” you can do as you please, and you can find a way to claim that you’re just doing “God’s” bidding, whatever it is that you’re doing — even mass slaughter, such as George W. Bush did with his war crimes and his crimes against humanity (as well as with his treasonous, anti-democratic theft of the 2000 presidential election, in which he received more than a half-million fewer votes than did Al Gore).

Untold evil has been done in the name of “God” over the centuries, so to slam Bernie Sanders for possibly not believing in “God” is insane — and quite possibly evil, when we use “God” to justify our evil.

I support Bernie Sanders to the possibly-bitter end, but I’m acutely aware that it’s quite possible, if not even probable, that Bernie Sanders is way too evolved and advanced for the American people, who still dwell in their caves, knuckles dragging and mouths perpetually open, blathering about “God” and how important it is that everyone else believe in this “God.”

I’ve seen the Internet meme that Bernie Sanders is “not the president that we deserve, but the president that we need.”

That increasingly appears to be the case.

P.S. The corporately owned and controlled media, who profiteer from reporting conflict to the point that they’ll fabricate it if it doesn’t actually exist, and who of course want to take down the “socialist!” Bernie Sanders (capitalism must not be threatened!), now are reporting that he is “attacking” poor, poor Billary Clinton.

“Bernie Sanders Goes on the Attack at Iowa Democratic Dinner,” Politico reports, without actually substantiating the headline in the “news” story that’s right under it. The Washington Post takes a bit more sober approach, with “After a Long Stretch for Clinton, Sanders Turns More Aggressive,” but that headline doesn’t support the “news” story under it, either.

Read the two “news” stories yourself. You’ll see that Bernie Sanders and his campaign team simply are talking about his record and his beliefs and where his record and his beliefs differ from Clinton’s. That’s called campaigning. It’s what you’re supposed to fucking do: Tell the voter why she or he should vote for you instead of for your opponent or opponents. Duh.

I’ve seen nothing that Bernie Sanders has done or said that accurately could be deemed an “attack” on Billary — but, of course, it’s much more sensationalist to claim that “Bernie ATTACKS!”

Again: It strikes me as probably true that we need Bernie but don’t deserve him, that we deserve a President Billary or a President Rubio or yes, even a President Trump, if enough of us Americans don’t remove our heads from our rectums and finally vote in our own best interests — which necessitates that we see attacks on the democratic socialist and apparently agnostic-to-even-atheist Bernie Sanders by the corporately owned and controlled media punditry as what they are: desperate attempts to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, in which the vast majority of us Americans remain serfs to our corporate overlords.

*I supported and voted for him in 2008, but I didn’t vote for him in 2012 (I voted for the Green Party candidate instead), since the “change” that he’d promised never materialized — indeed, he spectacularly squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010, which gave rise to the “tea party” and the loss of the U.S. House of Representatives to these fascists, which made me lose all of that hope.

Um, yeah: I, for one, actually hold someone to his or her campaign promises.

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And then there were three…

Democratic presidential candidates Sanders, Clinton and O'Malley react to the crowd before the start of the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas

Reuters photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Secretary of State Billary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (pictured above at last week’s first primary-season debate) are the three remaining candidates for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. While the Democratic presidential field has narrowed, the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field remains a train wreck in which neither of the top-two candidates ever has held elected office. 

So the field of Democratic presidential aspirants has shrunk dramatically since last week’s first Democratic Party presidential primary-season debate.

Out of the running are Jim Webb (he dropped out on Tuesday) and Lincoln Chafee (he dropped out today), who, I easily had predicted while I live-blogged the debate, would drop out soon. And, of course, non-candidate Joe Biden announced the day before yesterday that he indeed is a non-candidate.

As I’ve written, Martin O’Malley appears to intend to hold on for a while longer, to, perhaps, at least get a vice-presidential bid out of it.

So we won’t have Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee to kick around at the second Dem debate, which is on Saturday, November 14, in Des Moines, Iowa. (The full Dem debate schedule is here.)

Billary Clinton’s performance yesterday before her “Benghazigate” inquisitors has been widely portrayed by the media as a win for her. I don’t know that that will increase her poll numbers, however; in fact, I doubt that it will.

As I’ve noted, it seems to me that the vast majority of voters know Billary well already and thus know already whether or not they support her. Therefore, I could have seen her performance yesterday harming her in the polls had she made any great stumble or stumbles, but, as others have noted, all that she really needed to do was not erupt like a volcano. This was the case probably especially in the wake of dipshit Repugnican Tea Party Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s on-air admission that the whole thing is a Repugnican Tea Party political witch hunt in the first place, which we’d all known all along anyway (well, those of us who have a grasp on reality have known all along, anyway).

So, again, I don’t see Billary having survived yesterday’s hearing giving her a significant increase in her polling, as well before yesterday most voters already knew whether or not they’re supporting her.

Again, what I’m waiting for now is to see how the polls shake out in the coming weeks with only Bernie Sanders, Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley left in the running. Mostly, I’m interested in seeing how Joe Biden no longer being listed as a polling choice affects the polling between top-two contenders Bernie and Billary.

As I’ve noted, for some time now Biden consistently has come in at third place in nationwide presidential preference polls of Democrats and Democratic leaners (and in polls of Iowans and New Hampshirites). While he didn’t have a shot at winning the nomination – which is why, I’m confident, he ultimately decided not to run – at third place he’d been polling around 17 percent nationally (and also around 17 percent in Iowa and around 12 percent in New Hampshire), most of which now will be divvied between Bernie and Billary.

While the Democratic presidential race has settled to two main candidates, the Repugnican Tea Party presidential race remains a train wreck.

Donald Trump, who wasn’t supposed to last this long (he was supposed to be just a summertime fling – remember?), still leads the nationwide presidential-preference polling for his chosen party. Real Clear Politics (as I type this sentence) shows him around 27 percent among Repugnicans and Repugnican leaners, with Ben Carson in second place at 21.4 percent, Marco Rubio a distant third with 9.2 percent, and Ted Cruz at fourth with 7.8 percent.

Jeb! Bush is in fifth place nationally, with 7.2 percent (and reportedly, Jeb! today ordered his campaign to “cut payroll costs by 40 percent, downsize its Miami headquarters by more than 50 percent, reduce travel costs by 20 percent and cut 45 percent of spending on things other than media and voter contact”).

The members of the Repugnican Party establishment must be shitting their pants, with the presidentially unelectable Trump and Carson, who never have held any elected office before, having held on to the top two spots in the nationwide, Iowa and New Hampshire polls for a while now. (Carson now tops Trump in Iowa polling by four points, and Trump trumps Carson by 12 points in New Hampshire.)

Iowans caucus on February 1, and the New Hampshire primary is on February 9, so there are only about 14 weeks left before Iowa weighs in. Can the struggling campaigns of Jeb! Bush and Ted Cruz hold on that long? Maybe Cruz’s campaign can – I understand that he’s doing OK on money – but can Jeb!’s?

My money still is on Marco Rubio emerging as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate – a candidate who is acceptable enough to both the establishmentarian Repugnicans and the “tea-party” nut jobs – but again, we have only 14 weeks to go, and Rubio’s nationwide polling – and his polling in Iowa and in New Hampshire – aren’t even at double digits, and Trump and Carson show no signs of slipping from their top-two perches. So if it’s going to be Rubio, the party’s establishmentarians have a lot of work to do over the next three months.

In the meantime, I still support Bernie Sanders, as I believe he’d be the best (that is, the most progressive) president of all of the viable presidential candidates.

The prediction markets favor Billary, the corporate punditry’s choice, over Bernie, but I stand behind Bernie, win or lose.

Minimally, Bernie’s candidacy has shifted the Democratic Party to the left, where it belongs.

Not that that would last all that long at all with a President Billary.

It was just on September 10 that Billary declared while campaigning in Ohio: “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.”

During the October 13 Democratic debate, Billary claimed, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

I have little doubt that as far to the left Bernie could push Billary’s current campaign rhetoric, as president she’d actually deliver to us the same old corporate-ass-kissing, center-right bullshit that her husband did in the 1990s.

If Billary wins the White House – which, yes, I could see her losing to Marco Rubio (current polling match-ups have Clinton leading Rubio by not even two percentage points) – the best that we could say of Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, hopefully (even if he wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but loses the White House), would be that he was to the Democratic Party in 2016 what Barry Goldwater was to the Republican Party in 1964: He set the stage for his party’s later resurgence.

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Coy Joe finally lets us know; Dem prez race has needed tightening anyway

Joe Biden says he is ‘out of time’ to run for president in livestream

Reuters photo

Vice President Joe Biden, flanked by President Barack Obama and by his wife Jill, announces today that he will not seek the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Even though he never announced, Biden consistently has been polling in third place, behind Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in nationwide presidential-preference polls of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Now, we have a two-way race between Bernie and Billary. (Jim Webb wisely dropped out yesterday, ex-Repugnican Lincoln Chafee has almost zero chance, and no, Martin O’Malley isn’t going to surge into the top two, but will remain at No. 3.)

With oh-so-coy Veep Joe Biden finally making it official today that he won’t seek the White House, it will be interesting to see how the Democratic presidential polling reshuffles in the wake of the news.

For some months now, polls of Democrats and Democratic leaners have included Biden, even though he never announced himself as a presidential candidate, and for weeks if not at least a few months now, he consistently has been polling at third place nationally. (Which, it seems to me, probably contributed to his ultimate decision not to run…)

As I type this sentence, for instance, Real Clear Politics shows recent nationwide polling averages of 47.8 percent for Billary Clinton, 25.7 percent for Bernie Sanders, 16.8 percent for Biden, and 1.2 percent for Jim Webb, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential race yesterday, since he apparently had been confused about which party his center-right-wing ideology most matches. (D’oh!)

For the first-in-the-nation-to-weigh-in state of Iowa, Real Clear Politics right now gives recent polling averages of 38.7 percent for Billary, 27 percent for Bernie, 17 percent for Biden, 2.7 percent for Martin O’Malley and 1.7 percent for Webb.

For the second-in-the-nation-to-weigh-in state of New Hampshire, Real Clear Politics right now gives recent polling averages of 36.4 percent for Billary, 36.2 percent for Bernie, 12 percent for Biden, 1.8 percent for Webb, and 1.4 percent for O’Malley.

(Lincoln Chafee doesn’t pull in even 1 percent nationally or in Iowa or in New Hampshire, and I expect him to drop out any time now. O’Malley, perhaps angling for a vice-presidential nod, might stay in longer.)

So, again, it will be interesting to see the presidential polling in the coming weeks, now that Biden at long last has removed all mystery as to his intentions for 2016.

I’ve seen suppositions and arguments on the Internet that Billary will benefit the most from Biden’s non-candidacy, as most Biden lovers want an establishmentarian candidate such as he is and thus will support the establishmentarian Billary in his stead, and that no, Bernie will benefit the most from Biden’s non-candidacy, as most Biden lovers don’t want Billary and thus will go to Bernie’s camp.

We shall see whether Billary or Bernie gets more of Biden’s supporters who have been holding out for him thus far.

I expect most of Webb’s supporters, of whom there aren’t that many, to go to Billary, since, like Webb, she is center-right, and if he drops out soon, I expect most of O’Malley’s supporters, of whom there also aren’t that many, to go to Bernie, since, like Bernie, O’Malley is left of center and has had an anti-Billary aura about him, as has Bernie, even though Bernie hasn’t been attacking Billary and has promised that he never will. (For better or for worse, he has reiterated that his is a campaign of our most pressing issues, not of attacks upon his rivals.)

But it’s Biden’s erstwhile supporters, of course, who significantly could help Bernie or Billary in the coming weeks and months.

I’m not as worried about Bernie’s national polling as I’m focused on his polling in Iowa and in New Hampshire. He needs to come in at first place in at least one of those two states, it seems to me, for his candidacy to survive past early February (when those two states caucus and vote, on February 1 and on February 9, respectively).

For a while Bernie was tied with Billary in Iowa polling, but she apparently has pulled significantly ahead of him there now, and for a while Bernie was leading Billary significantly in New Hampshire polling, but apparently they’re about tied there now.

Again, if Bernie doesn’t come in at No. 1 at least in Iowa or in New Hampshire, I think that it would be insurmountable for him – as I suspect that it would be insurmountable for Team Billary if Sanders were to come in at No. 1 both in Iowa and in New Hampshire. Were Bernie Sanders to win both of those states, it would, I surmise, collapse Billary in short order.

As I’ve written, yes, mathematically (in terms of the delegate count) Billary still could survive not winning at least Iowa or New Hampshire, but it’s not about the math; it’s about the political dynamics, such as the importance placed upon winning Iowa and/or New Hampshire to the point that not winning at least Iowa or New Hampshire most likely would suck her into a Mega-Vortex of Widespread Doubt About Her Candidacy from Which She Probably Could Not Recover.

So, in the short term, what I hope to see is that Biden’s non-candidacy will benefit Bernie more than Billary in Iowa and in New Hampshire.

And hell, I’m sure that Team Bernie will welcome Webb’s, O’Malley’s and even Chafee’s supporters, too.

P.S. Of the four remaining announced Democratic candidates, my preferences, in this order, are: Sanders, O’Malley, Chafee, Billary.

Yup. I’m not being facetious; I’d rather have a President Chafee than a President Billary. Chafee never will be president, of course, as neither party wants him now that he jumped from Repugnican to Democrat in 2007, but still. Among other things, he had the sense to vote against the never-elected Bush regime’s Vietraq War in October 2002, unlike Billary, who incredibly stupidly and unwisely voted for it.

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False equivalence, even in ‘comedy,’ isn’t funny; it is dangerous

Bernie Sanders Reacts to Larry David's 'Saturday Night Live' Impersonation

Larry David admittedly does a pretty good Bernie Sanders impersonation, especially vocally, but I, for one, find corporately sponsored take-downs of Sanders to be chilling because there is a dark agenda of corporate self-preservation behind them. (By “self” I don’t mean to imply that corporations are people. They most certainly are not…)

It’s easy to laugh when a politician whom you despise is spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” or elsewhere. This was the case for me with parodies of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey won an Emmy for that portrayal) and yes, of Billary Clinton (both Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon have done a pretty good job of portraying Her Highness).

It’s a little more difficult when the politician who’s being lampooned is your favorite, such as, in my case, Bernie Sanders.

Don’t get me wrong; Larry David overall did a great job as Bernie Sanders on last night’s “SNL.” He has Bernie’s voice down pat, and it’s OK, I suppose, for David or anyone else to portray Bernie as a bit of a crank, a curmudgeon (as David did). Long live free speech. (Did you detect my enthusiasm there?)

It’s that, of course, NBC is a mega-corporation, and so of course pro-corporate bias is going to seep even into a “comedy” show like “SNL.”

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders’ opening statement in “SNL’s” mock Democratic Party presidential debate of last night, for instance, includes: “We’re doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! And we’ve got to do something! And we’ve got to do it now!” He then pauses for a moment and then, waving his hand dismissively, declares: “Nah!”

David’s Bernie also declares, in his closing statement, that he’ll end up being Billary’s running mate, which is right in line with the corporate punditry’s “conventional wisdom” that Bernie can’t win. (He can, actually, but, of course, the corporatocrats and the corporate whores who love them will do what they can to ensure that Bernie doesn’t.)

Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s important for us not to take everything too seriously, or at least to be able to laugh now and then, but the danger, it seems to me, of spoofing Bernie Sanders like this is that it’s meant to negate pretty much his entire message — which is awfully convenient, of course, not only for a corporation like NBC but for the entire elite establishment that benefits from the status quo, which hinges on corporations continuing to drain the life blood of working-class Americans and even destroying the planet itself in the process of profiteering obscenely.

It’s not really funny shit, and to laugh at it as though it were — Hey, if “SNL” is spoofing it, how serious can it be? — serves to enable us to continue to ignore it at our own collective peril.

Not that Bernie Sanders was the only one lampooned last night; the first words spoken by Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton in “SNL’s” mock Democratic debate are: “Oh, hello. Thank you for having me. I think you’re really going to like the Hillary Clinton that my team and I have created for this debate.” Ouch. (Because it’s so true.)

But while Billary Clinton indeed keeps rebranding herself like a human weather vane spinning around in a tornado (just very recently she went from being a proud “moderate” to being a “progressive”), Bernie Sanders isn’t a Chicken Little. The problems that he repeatedly talks about — such as climate change and insane income disparity — are severe and persistent, and it’s not difficult to foresee the future if we wave them all off like a joke, like Larry David’s Bernie Sanders does.

Another problem with spoofing presidential candidates and politicians in general is that there so often is the concern of the writers to give the appearance that everyone is being spoofed equally and that all sides of any political debate are presented as being equal. (This is meant to accomplish at least a few things, such as to avoid allegations of bias [probably especially by right-wing nut jobs] and to keep the money flowing [money might not keep on flowing if you have stepped on some toes].)

But that blatantly false equivalence so widely communicated within the corporately owned and controlled media, probably especially in the “news” media, inevitably infects our general discourse to the point that many if not most Americans cannot effectively and accurately analyze politics and politicians. They cannot discriminate between truth and bullshit and they often even (often enthusiastically) support politicians whose political practices harm them while only helping those who already are filthy rich.

The “tea-party” dipshits, whose darling right now apparently is billionaire Donald Trump, are experts at this, experts at being chickens supporting Colonel Sanders (who is not to be confused with Bernie Sanders).

How stupid is it to vote against your own best interests?

But millions of Americans do it every election, such as even with their blind support of Billary Clinton. (Well, Wall Street supports Billary, as it does Jeb! Bush, the Wall Street weasels’ top two beneficiaries, so their support of corporate whores like Clinton and Bush certainly makes selfish and greedy political sense for them, but the vast majority of us voters aren’t Wall Street weasels who will benefit directly from another Bush or Clinton presidency.)

Equal spoofing is bullshit because everything isn’t equal. To assert that it is is its own form of nihilism that, only in our own minds, lets us off of the hook of our duty, as the citizens and denizens of this nation, to ensure that our descendants, that all of the other species of life and the planet itself don’t continue to suffer degradation (or even extinction) in the future because of our selfishness, laziness and greediness in the present.

It’s not just “SNL”; take also 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” for instance. In that movie, which overall is pretty funny (with some truly hilarious scenes) and was a pretty good response to the hyper-jingoism that followed 9/11, the “South Park” creators make leftists from Hollywood (including Alec Baldwin [who played Jim Webb in “SNL’s” mock debate last night], Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon) and, of course, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, into villains, apparently only or primarily for the purpose of not being accused of taking a political side, of being an equal-opportunity offender.*

But, again, not all political sides are equal. Sarah Palin, for instance, is not the equivalent of even Billary Clinton, and Billary Clinton, while she calls herself a “Democrat” and even “a progressive” (“a progressive who likes to get things done”!), is not the equivalent of Bernie Sanders.

In a nation whose denizens can barely analyze political matters and politicians as it is (if they haven’t already given up the effort entirely for sports, celebrity gossip, consumerism and/or other forms of entertainment and/or distraction) — and who consequently, again, thus routinely actually vote against their own best interests (when/if they vote at all) — this false-equivalence-as-comedy shit just isn’t very fucking funny.

*It’s perfectly OK to take down limousine liberals, who by definition don’t walk their own talk, but that doesn’t seem to have been the “South Park” creators’ main intent with “Team America.”

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No, Bernie wasn’t trying to save Billary

Bernie Sanders Does Not Care About 'Your Damn Emails,' Hillary Clinton

The sleazy Billary Clinton was only too happy to believe (mistakenly) that Bernie Sanders was dismissing her e-mail scandal altogether — he wasn’t; he was only trying to put it into universal perspective — and Sanders, immersed in the shallow, rapid-fire, infotaining, sound-bite-frenzied environment, apparently was unable to prevent his intent from immediately being twisted into something that it never was. It was, however, his first live-televised debate on the national stage, and she’s a veteran slime-weasel.

The American people’s attention deficit disorder is worse than I’d thought. The buzz after last night’s Democratic Party presidential debate is that Bernie Sanders was defending Billary Clinton in E-mailgate. He wasn’t. Clearly.

It’s that CNN and the rest of the establishment weasels are so quick to bow down before Queen Billary that Sanders’ rather obvious actual point got lost. Immediately. This is the transcript of the exchange (from the Washington Post’s full transcript of the debate):

CLINTON: … But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me say this.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

SANDERS: You know? The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

(APPLAUSE) …

Why were Sanders’ words interpreted as a save for Billary Clinton? For a few reasons. One, given her prematurely enthusiastic response, obviously she welcomed such a “save”; when Billary immediately but incorrectly interpreted Bernie’s words as a more or less full pardon for E-mailgate from her strongest rival, she was downright giddy.

Pretty much every time that a fair criticism of her was brought up in the debate, Billary uttered some attempted deflection like, “But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.” (Something that this American person wants in the next POTUS is that he or she does not run a home-brewed e-mail server from his or her home basement. Um, yeah.)

Other such deflections by Billary from one of her other top flaws — that she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War in 2002 — were that she’d already covered this topic in the 2008 primary debates and that Barack Obama had chosen her as his secretary of state, so how poor could her judgment be? (Um, she was chosen as SOS primarily for political reasons, I’m confident. I mean, I’ve had a problem with Obama’s past apparent comparisons of himself to Abraham Lincoln, but Lincoln did apparently believe in keeping his enemies/frenemies close.)

So Billary needed and wanted a save from E-mailgate, and when Bernie prefaced his point with “let me say something that may not be great politics,” the desperate Billary, as did pretty much the entire punditry and the rest of the nation, took it as Bernie throwing her a life preserver.

Bernie then said, turning to Billary, “I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

I’m pretty sure that Billary orgasmed at that moment, and that moment immediately was interpreted, quite incorrectly, as Bernie having dismissed E-mailgate altogether. But that fairly obviously not only was not what he actually said, but was not his point, because he then immediately followed that with:

You know? The middle class — Anderson [Cooper, the moderator], and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

But Americans don’t want to talk about the real issues. The real issues are boring. They require research. And thought. And once we’re fully aware of a big problem, we then have the moral obligation to try to solve it. And that’s work. And work is hard. And usually not fun.

Bernie wasn’t saying that E-mailgate is not a problem whatsoever. He was putting it into perspective: “[The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

After the debate, Bernie was interviewed live by CNN at the locale of the debate and he stated that his one (or largest, anyway) regret about the debate is that the topic of income inequality didn’t get enough play.

Bernie apparently is just sick and tired that relatively minor issues like Billary’s e-mail habits are discussed instead of much bigger problems, such as climate change and the income inequality that has only grown since the Reagan years.

However, because Americans, including, of course, the punditry class (who personally benefit from continued income inequality), don’t want to talk about these huge problems, the narrative became that Bernie saved Billary from her e-mail scandal. Even my fellow leftist Ted Rall, with whom I usually agree, wrote of last night’s debate:

… It’s fun to watch rivals making nice. Party unity is swell. Who knows, maybe Bernie really does think Emailgate is no big deal. But I think it was a mistake.

First and foremost, the investigation has just begun. It isn’t wise to defend someone before all the facts are in, especially when that person’s resume is punctuated by multiple scandals.

Also, I take offense at the argument that, because the American people don’t care about an issue, that it ought not to be discussed (assuming that it is true that voters are tiring of the coverage, which may or may not be the case). Americans don’t care much about drones, the NSA, or turning Libya into a failed state (which Hillary helped do), or Guantánamo. Should we ignore those issues? Leadership is in large part about pointing to a problem and convincing people why they should care and what we should do to fix it.

For me, and I suspect many other non-Republicans, Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls. She knew, in 2009 when she began as secretary of state, that she would soon run for president. Given that the GOP always targets her, it’s crazy that she didn’t play everything by the book. Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency and, as such, should not have prompted a full-throated defense from her chief rival.

Again, Bernie never stated that “E-mailgate is no big deal.” He only tried to put it into perspective — a bit inartfully. He had started to talk about the media, and had he fleshed that thought out, he’d have pointed out that the media love to report on juicy scandals, such as home-brewed e-mail servers, especially when they involve someone like perpetual scandal magnet Queen Billary Clinton, and that reportage on this partisan bickering (such as with E-mailgate and “Benghazigate”) eclipses our much larger problems, such as climate change and income inequality, both of which continue to worsen even as I type this sentence.

I agree wholeheartedly with Rall that “Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls” and that “Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency.”

But for Rall to characterize Sanders’ words as “a full-throated defense” of Billary’s e-mail habits contradicts the words that Bernie actually spoke.

It’s that at a forum that was very deferential to Queen Billary (as Jim Webb complained, she was allowed to speak far more than was anyone else), a forum sponsored by the Clinton-friendly CNN before a largely Clinton-friendly live audience, and in a fast-moving, fairly shallow discussion meant much more to evoke more sound bites for an insatiably starving, zombified corporately owned and controlled mass media than to evoke anything remotely resembling actual thought, Bernie’s intent immediately got lost in the shuffle and then conveniently was corporately repackaged into something that it apparently never was intended to be: “a full-throated defense” of Billary against E-mailgate.

Rall notes that Sanders “clearly was off balance,” and it’s true that Sanders didn’t bring up everything that he could and should have in the debate, as Rall notes in his thoughtful-as-usual commentary. If I had helped Bernie prep for the debate, for instance, in response to Billary’s predictable criticism of him not being good enough on gun control, I’d have encouraged him to point out that his home state of Vermont, which he has represented in Congress since the early 1990s, has fewer gun murders per capita than does any other state except New Hampshire. (Vermont has 1.1 gun murders per 100,000 residents. New Hampshire has 1 per 100,000 residents.)

So when Bernie asserted during the debate last night that gun control is more of an issue for urban areas than for largely rural areas like Vermont, he was correct. Billary was, in her criticism of him, quite wrong, as she so often is on topics that matter.

I’d say that Bernie was a little off balance last night. He made no huge, Prick-Perry-level debate blunder, but he did make a few minor stumbles. But, um, it was his very first nationally televised debate. Billary Clinton is a highly polished liar. She’s been lying, minimizing, deflecting, flip-flopping, triangulating (like her hubby), blaming others, playing the feminism card, playing the victim card, etc., etc., on the national stage at least since the early 1990s. She’s a mega-ultra-slimebag/weasel, whereas Bernie Sanders is a bit of a wonky nerd.*

And Bernie can try to save us from ourselves, but in the end, we have to want to save ourselves.

That Bernie’s admonishment that we pay so much attention to things such as E-mailgate at the expense of larger issues such as “massive wealth and income inequality” and “whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United” fell flat because we’d much rather talk about how “Bernie saved Billary last night at the debate” isn’t Bernie’s fault. It’s ours.**

P.S. In the end, although Bernie prefaced his remarks by saying that they “may not be great politics,” I don’t think that it hurt Bernie, politically, to demonstrate that he wasn’t going to pile upon Billary, which is what I believe he meant to say that so many believe is “great politics.”

Not only could Bernie use a chunk of Billary’s supporters to switch to his team — which he won’t accomplish by alienating them too much — but Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee (and, to a lesser extent, Jim Webb) did plenty of piling upon Billary, which was wholly deserved, but which also made them look desperate because they’re losing (because they are — look at their polling) and which made them look like typical — not visionary — politicians.

I have questioned Bernie’s tactic of remaining above typically dirty politics, but it has gotten him this far, and he never was supposed to have gotten this far.

*I agree with Sanders wholeheartedly that the United States can match the level of socioeconomic success that some European nations have, and that it’s only a capitalism that has eaten itself that has prevented the U.S. from matching those nations’ success, but Team Bernie perhaps does need to think about how it comes off for him to so often rattle off such phrases as “countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway,” as he did last night.

Both moderator Anderson Cooper and Billary Clinton (like snarky junior-high-school students) quickly criticized Sanders’ mention of Denmark — as Stephen Colbert did during a chat with Sanders not long ago (Colbert was much funnier when he did it, but I still found his joke to be a bit disappointing, coming from him) — and while Sanders is correct on this issue, in politics (if you want to win elections) you sometimes have to bow to political realities, such as that Americans are xenophobic and jingoistic and anti-intellectual, and so they don’t want to hear about Denmark…

If Sanders insists on continuing to bring up Denmark — and I suspect that he does and that he will — that won’t sway me away from him one iota, but again, for the most part he’s not dealing with his intellectual equals, and that’s the political reality that he needs to work with.

**We can blame the media only so much. After all, not only do we allow the corporately owned and controlled media weasels to do as they please, but we don’t even fight the problem of corporately owned and controlled media having a monopoly on so-called “free” speech.

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Live-blogging the first Dem debate

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, speaks as Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Associated Press photos

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during tonight’s first Democratic Party presidential primary debate as Billary Clinton looks on (above), and they yuk it up at perhaps the best moment of the debate (below). Tonight’s debate didn’t change the dynamics of the race; Sanders and Billary remain the top two in the race and are likely to remain the top two for a time to come.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont,, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

5:33 p.m.: All times Pacific Standard Time. I’m live-blogging from California, where it’s now 5:34 p.m., and the debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, sponsored by CNN, begins shortly.

5:38: The infotaining CNN intro reminds us of Billary Clinton’s already-tarnished campaign and Bernie Sanders’ unexpected strength.

5:42: Sheryl Crow’s singing of the national anthem — um, yeah, we didn’t need that… Bernie looks nicely groomed — none of that fly-away hair that he’s so well-known for; he could pass for a Repugnican… I don’t like Billary’s outfit.

I probably won’t be saying much about the other three candidates, as none of them polls more than 1 percent nationally right now

5:49: I dig Anderson Cooper’s purple tie. Men don’t wear purple enough. I like the symbolism of Sanders standing to Billary’s left as we look at the five candidates on the debate stage.

5:50: Lincoln Chafee is talking. He used to be a Repugnican. I have a problem with that. He was, however, the only Repugnican U.S. senator who in October 2002 voted against the Vietraq War. I admire him for that, but again, he polls at no more than 1 percent.

5:52: Jim Webb is now talking. I have no huge problem with him that I can think of right now — he’s more centrist than I like them, but he probably would make a decent president. Too bad that he polls at no more than 1 percent…

5:54: Now Martin O’Malley, my second choice of the five current candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, after Bernie Sanders. O’Malley probably has a shot at vice president, it seems to me, as perhaps Webb does, but his low polling at this point doesn’t bode well for him.

5:56: Now my man Bernie, reminding us how most of the nation’s wealth has gone to the top 1-percent richest and how “millionaires and billionaires are pouring unbelievable amounts of money into the political process.” He also brought up climate change and sustainable energy so that we can “leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren.” He stated that we have more incarcerated people than any other nation on earth. We should put money into education and jobs instead of into incarceration, he just stated. We need to take our government back from the handful of billionaires and create the “vibrant democracy” that we can have and should have, he said.

5:58: Billary is blathering now. She has mentioned infrastructure and profit sharing and closing tax loopholes and cutting taxes for middle-class families. She has hit on children, family and women’s issues. She has brought up income inequality and racial inequality and hit on feminism, although she didn’t overdo it.

6:02: First question is to Billary. It ended: “Will you say anything to get elected?” Ouch. Billary is now explaining herself, such as her apparent change on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. Billary says she has a “range” of views and that she’s progressive and moderate, if I understand her bullshit correctly. Billary now says that she is a “progressive,” but “a progressive who likes to get things done.”

6:04: Bernie was asked the “socialist” question right off. He is explaining democratic socialism right now, once again talking about Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Anderson Cooper redirects the question, saying “it’s a question of electability.” (Funny how “electability” is to be determined by the corporately owned and controlled mass media, not by those of us who actually cast ballots…)

6:06: Bernie, when asked if he is a capitalist, basically stated that he disagrees with evil capitalism. Billary is now saying that “we’re not Denmark” (you know that some staffer or intern came up with that “zinger”) and is bringing up the old trope, so oft used by Repugnicans defending capitalism, that capitalism means small businesses, despite the fact that mega-corporations have taken over our planet (including having destroyed small businesses and made it nearly impossible for new small business to succeed), and that they did so decades ago.

6:08: Lincoln Chafee says of the Repugnican Party that it left him. He stated that he has changed parties, but not his views. O’Malley is taking heat now for his record in Baltimore, the locale of rioting over race relations earlier this year after a young black man died while in police custody.

6:12: Jim Webb is now taking heat for having stated in the past that he opposes affirmative action. He clarifies/”clarifies” that he supports affirmative action for blacks only. Hmmm. I am not a huge fan of affirmative action, as in some cases it can be used to practice reverse discrimination (yes, that exists, that is a thing, a bad thing), but I do support it in regions/areas of the nation where any group historically has been kept down/oppressed/discriminated against. I don’t support blanket affirmative action, but support it in specific areas/regions where it truly is justice for past wrongs that persist to this day. (Similarly, the now-gutted Voting Rights Act’s pre-clearance requirement did not cover every jurisdiction within the nation, but covered those jurisdictions with historical voting rights violations.)

6:15: Sanders is now talking about mental health and gun control. Billary now says that we lose 90 people a day to gun violence and that Sanders isn’t strong enough on gun control. Billary fairly clearly wants to make gun control a wedge issue between her and Bernie. She will have limited success with that tack, I believe.

6:18: O’Malley has been talking about the importance of passing “comprehensive gun safety legislation.” Sanders reminds the audience that he comes from a rural state (Vermont) and states that while O’Malley and Billary were elected to represent and govern urban areas, the need for gun control is different in rural areas. This strikes me as plausible, and, in fact, Vermont is second only to New Hampshire in terms of having the fewest murders by gun per capita than any other state.

6:20: Jim Webb defends the Second Amendment and citizens’ ability to protect their families. He’s definitely more to the right than the other four on the stage.

6:21: Chafee says we can work with the gun lobby and find “common ground” on the issue of gun violence. Riiiiighhhhht….

6:23: Billary says we have to “stand up to [Vladimir Putin’s] bullying” and states that it’s “unacceptable” for Russia to be in Syria. Sanders calls Syria “a quagmire within a quagmire.” Bernie reminds us of his knowledge of “the cost of war” from having worked on veterans’ issues in the U.S. Senate.

6:24: In talking about Billary, Lincoln Chafee reiterates that Sanders just remarked that the Vietraq War was the worst mistake in our (military/foreign-policy) history, and that Billary made that mistake when she voted for it in the U.S. Senate in October 2002.

6:26: Billary’s bullshit “deflection” on her stupendous Vietraq blunder is that Barack Obama picked her as her secretary of state because of her great judgment. Riiiiight. What a non-answer.

6:28: Sanders states he supports international coalitions rather than unilateral U.S. military actions when military action is necessary. O’Malley is now piling on Billary for her vote for the Vietraq War, if indirectly. O’Malley says that, unlike Billary, he opposes no-fly zones over Syria, as Sanders does.

6:30: Billary reminded us that O’Malley supported her in 2008. So what?

6:32: Webb now (indirectly) piling on Billary for the Vietraq War, citing it as one of the reasons why we have problems in Syria and elsewhere within the Middle East right now. Webb says we need to focus now on China and its “unelected, authoritarian government.”

6:34: Benghazi now. Billary defending her decisions in Benghazi. She actually looks OK tonight. I guess her outfit is OK… She states “there is always the potential for danger and risk” to diplomats. Probably true. As I’ve written many times, “Benghazigate” is, from what I can tell, mostly bullshit.

6:38: A shitty question to Webb (a Vietnam vet): Should Sanders, a conscientious objector during the Vietnam era, be allowed to be commander in chief? Sanders emphasized his work for veterans and his opposition, as a young man, to the Vietnam War. “I am not a pacifist,” Sanders just stated. He states he has supported some military actions, but that “war should be the last resort.”

6:41: While everyone else listed another country or a region or nukes, Bernie Sanders just named climate change as the greatest security threat to us Americans. I agree; he had the best answer to that question. A leader sees the bigger picture. Military squabbles mean nothing in light of a planet that won’t support human life at some point in the not-distant-enough future.

6:45: We’re at commercial break now. I don’t see a huge “winner” or “loser” of this debate thus far. I don’t see this debate helping Chafee or Webb by any big margin. Just sayin’. It might help O’Malley a little bit. Billary is being Billary — slippery and smooth. Who doesn’t know her and her bullshit already? I don’t see this debate helping or hurting her. Bernie is doing OK thus far. A few minor flubs, but couldn’t I argue that he has had the most to gain from this debate, from the increased exposure to him?

6:47: Moderator Anderson Cooper now has reminded us that later this month Billary is to testify before the “Benghazigate” committee in the Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled Congress. She’s trying to deflect, saying that we should talk about other, more important issues, and is reminding us that the committee is a Repugnican Tea Party witch hunt. She said she doesn’t want to talk about her e-mails tonight, but other things.

6:49: Whoa. “Enough of the e-mails!” Bernie just pronounced, stating that the real issue is whether or not we’re going to have a continued “oligarchy” or a democracy. This act and these words of Bernie have gotten the biggest applause thus far. O’Malley is now mimicking Bernie’s words. But Bernie got there first.

6:52: For some reason, CNN’s Don Lemon was assigned to ask the question about race relations. It’s the only question that he’s asked thus far… Anderson Cooper has asked all of the others. The five candidates have been asked to answer the question, “Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?” Hey, “Black Lives Matter” got into the debate.

Thus far, only Bernie Sanders has answered the question directly, with “Black lives matter.” Was it a rhetorical question? I took it as an actual, literal question…

Jim Webb says that “every life matters.” I agree with that, as I agree that “black lives matter,” but if Webb wants to go anywhere in this race, he’d better learn to say that “black lives matter”…

6:56: The discussion on race relations was disappointingly short and shallow. Now it’s Bernie talking about the economy and the disappearing middle class, his forte.

6:57: Wow. Anderson Cooper just reminded us that the Clintons are part of the 1 percent, so, he asked Billary, how can they understand and help the middle class? Billary responds that she has a “five-point economic plan,” which reminds me of something from “Kill Bill.”

6:59: O’Malley just said that he was happy to support Billary in 2008, but that “something happened in between” then and now. (Zing!) O’Malley says he supports the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, which Billary opposes and which Bernie Sanders also supports.

7:01: Bernie Sanders says “fraud is the business model” of Wall Street, and that the Clinton administration deregulated the big banks in the 1990s, and that he fought that deregulation in Congress at that time.

Billary says that she went to Wall Street and told them to “cut it out.” Wow. That incredibly cheesy line sounded like a “Saturday Night Live” parody of Sarah Palin, such as “I can see Russia from my house.” I can see it coming back to haunt her.

7:03: O’Malley is reminding us of Billary’s “reversals,” such as the Keystone Pipeline, and O’Malley reminds us that he supports the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act while Billary opposes it. Billary denies that she flip-flopped on Keystone.

7:06: Webb complains that he hasn’t really been able to get a word in edgewise. His carping, whether he has a legitimate complaint or not, probably isn’t helping him. Isn’t leadership about getting yourself into the fray?

7:08: Chafee says that in the U.S. Senate he voted to kill Glass-Steagall (that vote, which led to the economic collapse at the end of George W. Bush’s second disastrous term, was in 1999, with the support of then-President Bill Clinton) but that he didn’t really know what he was voting on, as he’d just gotten to the Senate and was still green. That got him one of the worst, if not the worst, reactions from the audience. Ouch. It was over for Chafee before tonight’s debate, but it’s really over for him now.

7:10: Bernie Sanders is talking about how every American’s college education should be paid for, and that a tax on Wall Street speculation could accomplish that. Billary says she has a plan for college affordability, but she’s talking about the refinancing of current student loan debt. Wow. That’s thinking outside of the box! She states she wants college students to work at least 10 hours a week. Because work sets you free.

It’s fairly clear that the pro-Wall-Street, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate Billary prefers Band-Aids when the dying, bled-to-near-death nation needs a blood transfusion.

7:14: Ah, finally: Immigration reform. Sanders calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” and “a path to citizenship.” Billary is talking about her support for health care for the children of undocumented immigrants. O’Malley reminds us that “we are a nation of immigrants” and that he also supports “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Webb states that his wife is an immigrant from Vietnam and states “I wouldn’t have a problem with that” when asked about his support for health care for undocumented (child?) immigrants as though he’d never thought of it before.

Billary interrupted Webb to remind everyone that the Democrats are much better on immigration than are the Repugnicans.

7:19: O’Malley just called Donald Trump a “carnival barker.” Yup.

7:20: Sanders reminding us of his record on veterans’ issues again.

7:21: Billary says she doesn’t regret her vote on the PATRIOT Act, states that the Bush regime subverted it. (She’s always blaming someone else.) We are reminded that Bernie Sanders voted against the PATRIOT Act.

7:23: Billary essentially says that Edward Snowden should “face the music,” that is, be criminally prosecuted. She states that instead of having fled the country, he could have been a well-received whistle blower, which is as bullshit as her assertion that capitalism is all about mom ‘n’ pop businesses. Sanders acknowledges that Snowden broke the law, but is much easier on Snowden than was Billary.

7:26: Billary reminds us that she’d be the nation’s first female president. She won’t criticize the Obama administration, but will say only that as president she would “go further.” Sanders says that the one way his presidency would not be like a third term of the Obama administration is that he would inspire a “revolution” among Americans to take the nation back from the billionaires.

Webb pooh-poohs that, of course. There won’t be any “revolution,” he glibly states, adding that we can’t pay for Sanders’ ideas. (We can’t, but the treasonous plutocrats who have stolen our wealth for some decades now sure can after we recover it from them.) Meh. We need visionaries, not naysaying centrists like Webb. I can’t support Webb. He doesn’t personally repulse me, but I don’t see that he’s visionary or inspiring enough to lead the nation, and what played well enough for him to be a U.S. senator for Virginia isn’t going to win him the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

We’re in another commercial break now, but it’s safe to say that Chafee and Webb are not going to advance in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary fight. O’Malley might survive for a while longer, but those two probably won’t be in this race much longer.

7:34: Some audience applause when Anderson Cooper states that some allege that the presidency isn’t a “crown” to be handed among members of the same family. Billary says that as a woman she’d be an “outsider.” Oh, please. That’s overplaying the feminism card a tad. 

O’Malley says that “our country needs new leadership to move forward.” Billary insists, “I’m not campaigning to be president because my last name is Clinton,” but because she is uniquely qualified to lead the nation now.

Bernie Sanders reminds us that he doesn’t have a superPAC, which is indeed something that he can brag about, because getting big money out of politics means walking your talk.

7:38: Webb, being from a coal state, apparently is the weakest of the five candidates on the stage where climate change is concerned. He’s attacking China again, apparently deflecting the problem of climate change onto China.

7:40: Sanders calls climate change a “moral issue” and reminds us that big coal and big oil and their big money to politicians perpetuates the problem of climate change.

7:42: Billary talks about her support for working mothers, including paid family leave nationally. I support this, of course. Billary reminds us that the Repugnicans are “fine with big government” controlling women’s reproductive choices, but that they oppose governmental programs that will help women. The wealthy will pay for aid to women and families, Billary said. I agree with her wholeheartedly, and again, it’s not the plutocrats’ wealth; it’s our wealth, which they stole from us.

7:45: Sanders states he supports the nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana, if I understand his answer correctly. Billary states she supports medical marijuana but apparently supports a “states’ rights” approach on the legalization of recreational marijuana: that is, allow the states to legalize it if they wish, but no nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana now. That’s another Billary wuss-out, the refusal to take a strong stand.

7:50: Another commercial break now. Again, I expect Webb or Chafee to drop out first. Webb can’t utter “China” as the answer to every question, and he can’t win the Democratic Party presidential primary by being so far to the right. Chafee won’t be able to shake his having left the Repugnican Party in September 2007, which wasn’t long ago enough.

7:55: Chafee in his closing statement says he’s proud that he’s the only Repugnican U.S. senator who voted against the Vietraq War, and he reminds us that his political career has been clean and scandal-free. I applaud his Vietraq War vote, but again, he can’t win this race.

7:57: Again, Webb seems like a nice guy, but I don’t see him winning this thing. Too military, too much to the right.

7:58: O’Malley’s closing statement is pretty good. I like him more after tonight. He strikes me as pretty smart and probably sincere. “We need to speak to the goodness within our country,” in contrast to the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ use of hatred and fear for political gain, he concluded. Yup. This debate has helped O’Malley, methinks.

7:59: Sanders in his closing statement states that until and unless we “stand up to the billionaire class,” we cannot succeed, and he reminds us that his superPAC-free campaign is averaging donations of “$30 a piece.”

8:01: Billary asks us, in her closing statement, “who [of the five candidates on stage] has the [best] vision to change the lives of the American people”? Um, from tonight’s debate, I’d answer Bernie Sanders, first, and Martin O’Malley, second.

Billary’s closing statement sounded like it was written by an advertising firm. Little that she says sounds heartfelt and unrehearsed.

That said, if I had to predict how the poll numbers of these five candidates will look in the coming weeks, again, I see Chafee and Webb dropping out fairly soon. They’re not going to catch fire. I expect O’Malley to remain in the game for a while. He might end up as the vice-presidential candidate.

I expect Bernie Sanders’ numbers to go up a bit — if for no other reason than that this debate his given him more exposure, and the more exposure he gets, the higher his poll numbers go. I don’t see Billary’s numbers going up (or down) much as a result of this debate, frankly. Who doesn’t already know her pretty well by now? Who, by now, doesn’t already support her or oppose her?

I suppose that if you actually support Billary Clinton, you’ll believe that she “won,” and that if you support Bernie Sanders, as I do, you’ll believe that he “won.”

I mean, Billary was more polished, having been a fakey fake for many, many years now, but if sincerity is your measure, she didn’t win. If authenticity is your measure, Bernie won, in my book, and I’ll always take the substance over the varnish.

The race for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton. Tonight’s first of the too-few-thanks-to-pro-Billary-DINO-Debbie-Wasserman-Schultz debates didn’t change that. Tonight’s debate didn’t make me think differently of Billary or Bernie, but did make me think differently of Webb and Chafee (especially Webb, whose debate performance sadly was lacking, even his too-far-right views entirely aside [seriously — I’d hoped that he’d do better than he did]).

Tonight was, I think, a pretty good night for Martin O’Malley. I don’t see him moving up to the top two, on which Sanders and Billary have the lock, but he has cemented his place at No. 3, methinks.

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