Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Obama years 7/8 the way through: He’s been our caretaker in chief

Note: I’ll probably be tinkering with this post over the next several days (mostly, adding new thoughts and new points and details). After all, it’s difficult to include everything significant that transpired (or didn’t transpire) in seven years of a presidency.

Obama's executive actions could open a door for successors

Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama is shown above in Washington, D.C., on December 10. Salon.com writer Walker Bragman has deemed Obama “the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years,” and that’s probably an apt short summary of the Obama years, if by that Bragman means that Obama has espoused liberal ideals but has done little to nothing to move the nation forward to ensure greater socioeconomic equity and greater opportunity for all (which is progressivism).

In November 2008, when I went to my polling place, it was going to be Barack Obama or independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader* whose oval I would blacken with my ballpoint pen on my paper ballot to be scanned.

In the end, I voted for Barack Obama. He would win my state of California and all of its electoral votes anyway, and I was happy to be one of the millions of American voters who had the opportunity, for the first time in the nation’s history, to vote for a presidential candidate who is not a (full) white man. That was long past due.

I strongly had supported Obama over Billary Clinton in the primary. I’d donated hundreds of dollars to his campaign to help him knock Billary out of the primary, which he did.

But I didn’t support Obama over Billary because he’s half-white and half-black. I supported him over her because I’d believed his ubiquitous presidential campaign promises of “hope” and “change.” I viewed him as the most progressive yet still viable presidential candidate (as I view Bernie Sanders now). That is why I supported him in the 2008 Democratic primary and why I voted for him in November 2008.

I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her campaign promises, and so when Obama spectacularly squandered his huge amount of political capital in 2009 and 2010 by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress who never were going to cooperate with him in the first place because he’s a Democrat and because he’s half-black, I was incredibly disappointed.

In 2009 and 2010, when both houses of Congress were in the Democrats’ control, Obama could have accomplished a lot more than he actually did. He pushed “bipartisanship,” which always had been a non-starter, instead of pushing a progressive agenda.

And in 2009 and 2010 getting “Obamacare” pushed through Congress took all of the oxygen in the room, and, in the end, “Obamacare,” supposedly Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” apparently contained nothing that the lobbyists for the wealth-care industry didn’t want it to contain. (Indeed, “Obamacare’s” individual mandate requires everyone to have health insurance; what mostly-for-profit industry wouldn’t love such a requirement?**)

Then, in November 2010, the Dems lost control of the House of Representatives, and then, in November 2014, they lost control of the Senate (and lost even more seats in the House).

There are at least a few reasons for those losses, including the incredibly shitty “leadership” of Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but I still believe that had Obama pushed the progressive agenda that he at least indirectly had promised with his “hope” and “change” slogans, the Democrats would have kept the House and the Senate.

Indeed, it primarily was Obama’s dithering in 2009 and 2010 that lost the Dems the House in 2010, I believe, thus crippling any progressive agenda for the remainder of Obama’s two terms, since the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress have held on to the House since January 2011.

Since January 2011, with the House controlled by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the White House controlled by Obama, we’ve had nothing but even more gridlock, and since both houses of Congress fell to Repugnican Tea Party control after the election of November 2014, Obama was guaranteed a final two years of more whimper than bang.

I give Obama faint praise for being the first U.S. president to jump on board with same-sex marriage in 2012, although that was overdue and was coming sooner or later anyway. And as with Billary Clinton, it did take Obama a long time to “evolve” on the issue, even though the U.S. Supreme Court this past June finally ruled that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Something is a constitutional right or it is not; the recognition of a constitutional right might be denied and delayed for even generations, but nonetheless it remains a constitutional right, and further, constitutional rights are not up for a vote or even for a public-opinion poll. Again, same-sex marriage inherently was a constitutional right long before the foot-dragging U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that it is, so yes, Obama fairly led from behind on that issue; history led Obama more than Obama led history.

(That said, I can’t imagine that Obama’s having been the first president to voice his support for same-sex marriage wasn’t a significant factor in the U.S. Supreme Court finally following suit three years later. Wikipedia notes that Obama’s second inaugural address in January 2013 marked “the first time that a president mentioned gay rights or the word ‘gay’ in an inaugural address.”)

I applaud Obama for his work in opening up Cuba after decades. It’s beyond ridiculous that a Latin American nation 90 miles away from the United States should remain locked in a perpetual cold war with the U.S., which is what the right-wing traitors have wanted.

However, as I wrote a year ago, Cubans have much more to lose in closer ties with the United States than vice-versa. (As I wrote, “would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? … Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American ‘freedoms’ as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?”)

Obama’s other notable accomplishments include seating our first Latina or Latino U.S. Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, in 2009, and, with the seating of Elena Kagan in 2010, Obama gave us the first Supreme Court with three female justices (we need at least one or two more of them).

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 also was an accomplishment, even if it again seems that history led and that our politicians finally caught up. Ditto for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. (And it’s hard to say that the abolishment of something hateful and unconstitutional that never should have been instituted in the first place is an “accomplishment,” but we’ll call it one, I suppose.)

Obama hasn’t been able to accomplish enough on climate change, in no small part because his dithering in 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of Congress. And with “Democrats” like the former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Big Oil, with its Big Money to politicians who sell us out to them, combatting climate change remains a political mountain to overcome.

But/and on that note, Obama was stunningly ineffectual in confronting British Petroleum when its underwater oil well belched an estimated 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over almost three months in 2010. It was his first huge test of his campaign promises of environmental protection, and he failed miserably.

Perhaps at least in part because of his failure to deal with the BP oil disaster effectively, Obama did veto the Keystone XL oil pipeline earlier this year, in what Wikipedia calls “his first major veto.” That would be in the “plus” column of Obama’s environmental record, but overall, has Obama done enough in combatting climate change and otherwise protecting the environment? Of course not.

Profound income inequality persists under Obama. It’s yet another critical national problem that became fairly insoluble after the Dems lost control of Congress in the election of 2010, and it’s ironic that the nation’s first (half-)black president has done so little to improve the lot of black Americans (who, for the most part, support him steadfastly nonetheless, apparently more out of identity politics than for his actual accomplishments for them).

Obama hasn’t done a lot more for black Americans for many reasons, that I can tell. One, he’s never wanted to come off as an “angry” black man, knowing that he couldn’t have won the presidency had he done so. (I can’t say that that has been his fault, but that that has been the cards that he has been dealt in this still-racist nation.) Two, Obama was raised by his white mother and her side of the family, so his experience growing up was different than has been the experience of most black Americans. (That’s not some sort of a slam; it’s just the truth as far as I can discern it.) And three, again, after the Dems lost the House in the election of 2010, Obama’s ability to do much for black Americans and other Americans in need was seriously weakened anyway.

On foreign policy, which could be its own blog post — and I think that a heavy focus on foreign policy too often is just a distraction from our disastrous domestic policies — I need only point out, I think (aside from my earlier remarks on Cuba), that while 9/11 happened on the unelected “President” George W. Bush’s watch, the United States has not sustained a large terrorist attack from abroad under Obama’s watch.

So desperate have been the uber-hypocritical Repugnican Tea Party traitors to try to claim that Obama hasn’t kept us safe from the Big Bad Terrorists that they have focused on the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012, while they wholly ignore the fact that almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and that more than 4,000 of our troops died pointlessly in the unelected, treasonous Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and wholly bogus Vietraq War.

Those 7,000 or so deaths on George W. Bush’s watch are nothing, you see, but those four deaths in Benghazi on Obama’s watch are everything. (Indeed, racism is behind this; a white, right-wing president is responsible for thousands of preventable deaths of Americans — almost 2,000 Americans, disproportionately black Americans, died in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so we can add them also to the body count under George W. Bush — and he is excused, yet four deaths under a black president is an inexcusable travesty!)

Obama also received less public praise than George W. Bush would have received had 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden been exterminated by Bush when he still occupied the White House instead of by Obama in 2011. Don’t get me wrong; the whole bin Laden extermination affair remains fishy (pun intended), as bin Laden would have been more valuable alive than dead, and the supposed disposal of his body in the ocean was unnecessary and, dare I say, weird and therefore suspect.

The Middle East remains a mess, of course, and while I always have opposed Obama’s use of killer drones, and the use of killer drones in general (and the United States’ over-militarization in general), the bloodshed in the Middle East on Obama’s watch has been much, much less than it was on George W. Bush’s.

(If you say that Well, 9/11!, then I say that On August 6, 2001, while he was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush had been given a presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Um, yeah. [Similarly, there had been plenty of warning that Hurricane Katrina might hit land and kill scores of people. Bush in effect had been issued a presidential daily briefing titled “Katrina Determined to Strike in US,” but he ignored that warning, too. After all, on the day that Katrina made landfall, he was too busy celebrating John McCainosaurus’ 69th birthday in Arizona.)

I acknowledge, of course, that the president of the United States of America can do only so much, that much is beyond his (or her) control, such as congressional gridlock and the separation of powers (which would include a center-right U.S. Supreme Court that has done such things as pick George W. Bush as president even though Al Gore had won the presidential election of 2000 and proclaim that corporations have the First Amendment right to make unlimited monetary contributions to political campaigns [corporations are not people and therefore don’t have First Amendment rights that even actual people don’t even have].)

But given Obama’s limitations of the presidency, I still don’t see that he much tried to deliver very substantially upon his promises of “hope” and “change,” and that would be his fault. He has had some restrictions, we must acknowledge, but has he maximized what he has been able to do around those restrictions? Methinks not.

And yes, of course Obama has been head and shoulders (and torso and legs) above the unelected George W. Bush, but I refuse to allow Bush II to have set the bar for the presidency that low; besides, he never legitimately was elected anyway, so, although death and destruction (including the collapse of the nation’s economy) were the result of his having stolen the 2000 presidential election, I don’t really even count Bush. He never should have happened in the first fucking place.

An aggregate of historians’ (and political scientists’ and political pundits’) rankings of the U.S. presidents puts President Obama at No. 17 out of 43. (Obama is called No. 44, but Grover Cleveland had two non-consecutive terms as president, and thus is called our 22nd and our 24th president, so we’ve actually had only 43 presidents.) Obama ranks in the top half, but for “hope” and “change” I expected much better. (George W. Bush, if you were wondering, ranks at No. 34, in the bottom 10, where he belongs, although I’d put him lower. Ronald Reagan ranks two notches above Obama, with which I disagree, and Bill Clinton ranks three notches below Obama.)

Obama’s race has never mattered to me. While history probably will most remark that he was our first non-all-white president, to me his presidency mostly has represented squandered opportunity; to me he mostly has been, at best, a caretaker in chief. I came to that conclusion no later than the close of 2010, when the Democrats lost the House.

And that is why I could not bring myself to vote for Obama again in November 2012. (I voted instead for the Green Party presidential candidate, which is something that I’d done before and something that I would do again; I owe the Democratic Party nothing.) I’d felt quite punk’d by those ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” and to continue to vote for politicians who don’t follow through on their campaign promises is only to contribute to even more such broken campaign promises. If there is no penalty, how will it stop?

That and I knew that in November 2012 Obama was going to win California and all of its electoral votes anyway. (Yes, many Americans, ignorant of how their own nation and government function, don’t understand the Electoral College, under which if you live in a solidly blue or red state, as I do, your vote for president pretty much doesn’t count; we need a popular vote for the presidency, just as we have for the governorships, for the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and for every other elected office in the nation.)

I still believe that Obama, although overall he has been a rather disappointing, rather lackluster president, more of a caretaking president than a groundbreaking president, has made a better president than Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton would have, and because my principles haven’t changed — among which, I don’t support Democrats in name only, as that doesn’t solve the persistent problem of Democrats in name only — I cannot and will not support DINO Billary Clinton in any way.

(Again, if she wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, she’ll win all of California’s electoral votes in November 2016 anyway, regardless of whether I vote for her or not, so save your misinformed, dead-wrong assertion that if I don’t vote for DINO Billary I have helped whomever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate will be.)

So Barack Obama goes out in his final year not with a bang, but with a whimper. Already we’re looking ahead of him, with incessant media coverage of Donald Trump and to a lesser degree Billary Clinton.

I began with words from Salon.com’s Walker Bragman and I’ll end with more of his wise words:

… If Hillary gets the nomination, and is elected, she will inadequately address the problems this country faces, [problems] that are angering people, by negotiating from the center/right and then moving right as a compromise, to give us mere half-measures or quarter measures. I fear, given her New Democrat background, that she will likely use social programs and financial reform as bargaining chips.

I strongly believe that Hillary will kill the momentum that has been generated over the last eight years by Barack Obama, the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years – and that will do more damage to the Democratic brand than four years of a Republican president would do to the country.

I am not saying that four years of a Republican would not be worse for the country than four years of Hillary in the immediate; I am saying that four years of Hillary will do more long-term damage by prolonging the Democratic realignment. [Absolutely agreed.]

Americans want real change – and they’re looking to the Democrats to provide it. But if we only put a Band-Aid on issues like the wealth gap and financial reform, which is essentially Hillary’s plan, Americans will not be satisfied. As much as politically minded people remind us that change is slow, what Hillary offers is too slow. Her kind of change is weakness.

If the New Deal taught us anything, it’s that unprecedented sweeping government action can happen quickly. FDR achieved significant reforms within the first hundred days of his presidency. Hillary’s supporters have not learned from Obama’s biggest blunder: negotiating from the middle with opponents on the far right. These people insist that we have to just keep making slow progress because all we can hope for are small gains.

They point to the weakness of the Democratic Party since the 1970s as evidence of their position. However, this is a common misunderstanding of history and the lesson of the Democrats’ decline from the 1970s to the 2000s. …

Yup.

FDR is listed as the second-best president on that aggregate of presidential rankings that I mentioned (he’s just behind Abraham Lincoln). Again, Bill Clinton is ranked at No. 20. We don’t need another President Clinton.

We need another FDR, and the closest that we have to that is Bernie Sanders.

*I had voted for Nader when he ran as the Green Party presidential candidate in November 2000, something that I’ve never regretted, and it’s not my fault that Americans just allowed BushCheneyCorp to steal the 2000 presidential election. They should have been rioting in the streets over that treasonously, blatantly stolen election, but they did not. And, of course, Team Gore should have fought much, much harder than it did instead of wanting to appear to be above the fray.

**My general stance on health care is that it is a human right and that no one should have to pay for it (or, minimally, that it should be free of cost to those whose annual income falls below a certain amount) and that health care never should be allowed to be delivered on a for-profit basis. “Obamacare” did nothing, to my knowledge, to solve the overarching problem of health care having fallen victim to profiteering, to greed — and thus having become wealth care.

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Indeed, it’s the ‘Christians’ who wage war on the spirit of Christmas

“[Today’s Repugnican Tea Partiers] are most surely at odds with the spirit of Christmas,” concludes the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson, adding, “Walls on the border, religious tests for admission, despising the poor — good thing Joseph and Mary didn’t have to encounter our modern-day defenders of the right as they scrambled from one country to another, desperate to save their son’s life.”

Of Mary and Joseph, Meyerson writes:

They were refugees, fleeing for their lives from one Middle Eastern country to the next.

As Matthew tells the tale, Joseph, fearing that the government had marked his newborn son for death, gathered up his wife and child and stole away by night across the Judean border into Egypt. And just in time: Unsure who, exactly, to kill, that government — a king named Herod, who’d heard some kid would one day become a rival king — proceeded to slaughter every remaining child in Bethlehem under the age of 2.

This isn’t a chapter of the Christmas story that has made it into the general celebration, but it’s there in the gospel, for those who give the gospels credence and for those who don’t.

For both groups, it’s clear that the authors of the New Testament intended to recount (for the believers) or compose (for the nons) a story that echoed the Old Testament’s concern for strangers, foreigners and refugees (“The stranger among you shall be as one born among you,” says Leviticus, “and you shall love him as yourself”), that foreshadowed Jesus’ teachings to care for castaways and the least among us, and that laid the foundation for institutional Christianity’s transnationalism.

Which is, perhaps, a long way of asking the question: Who’s really waging a war against Christmas in 2015? Secular multi-culturalists who, stealthily and nefariously, have somehow rendered Starbucks’ coffee cups a tad less festive? Or the self-proclaimed culture warriors on behalf of traditional values, who demand we leave refugees — even small children, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has made pitilessly clear — at the mercy of the latter-day Herods? Who condemn entire religions? Who fear and loathe strangers? …

Indeed, while I don’t believe the “miracles” in the Bible, such as the virgin birth, Jesus’ raising of the dead and his resurrection, it’s clear that today’s “Christians” don’t follow their own supposed beliefs, as exemplified by their rank xenophobia against Mexicans and others from Latin America (and Latinos in general, except for right-wing Cuban Americans [such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio]) and Muslims and other Middle Easterners, perhaps especially refugees from harsh sociopolitical conditions in the Middle East that the United States’ greedy, military meddling helped to create, and it’s clear that we secular humanists, ironically, are far more Christian in our morals than the “Christians” are.

Merry Christmas.

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Live-blogging the third Dem debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sanders and O'Malley resume debating with rival Clinton missing from her podium as she failed to return from a break at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester

Reuters photo

Tonight’s third Democratic Party presidential debate resumed for several seconds without Billary Clinton, who hadn’t returned to her center podium on time after a break. Apparently the Force wasn’t with Billary quite enough… Anyway, tonight’s debate may have boosted the on-fire Bernie Sanders a bit, but probably didn’t change the overall dynamics of the race; Bernie and Billary remain the frontrunners, with apparent veep wannabe Martin O’Malley remaining at a distant third.

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time): The debate starts any moment now. It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is being hosted by ABC News.

5:02 p.m.: Pre-debate chatter has included George Stephanopoulos claiming that the San Bernardino massacre is at the top of the voters’ minds. Really? Is it? Or is that the corporately owned and controlled media trying to tell us commoners what to be concerned about? I mean, they wouldn’t want us to be concerned about, oh, say, income inequality, would they?

Anyway, since Stephanopoulos worked in the Clinton White House, how impartial can he be?

5:08 p.m.: Prognosticator Nate Silver just gave a too-short cameo. He stated that whoever wins the Iowa caucuses on February 1 can expect about a seven-point bounce in the polls. Yup. That’s why I very much hope that Bernie Sanders wins Iowa. He’s already leading in New Hampshire, so a win in Iowa for Sanders no doubt would lead to a win in New Hampshire (on February 9), which probably would result in the collapse of Billary Clinton’s campaign.

5:14 p.m.: The talking heads are blathering about the Repugnicans’ presidential race. WTF? I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, as I won’t waste my time on their hate- and lie-fests, but I highly doubt that during the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, the Democrats are discussed.

5:26 p.m.: 5:00 p.m. was widely advertised as the start time of this thing, but apparently 5:30 p.m. is the actual start time…

5:31 p.m.: ABC’s live stream keeps freezing on me, so the times of my comments that you see here might be a bit off… The three candidates are on the stage now. Once again, Bernie Sanders is to the left of Billary Clinton’s left as you look at them. I still love that symbolism.

5:33 p.m.: Billary, who wants to be panderer in chief, speaks first. She mentioned ISIS before she mentioned Americans’ socioeconomic well-being. Typical of her.

5:34 p.m.: Martin O’Malley speaks second. He mentioned ISIS first, too. Creep. Democratic leaders lead the debate; they don’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party’s “lead,” don’t let them set the agenda.

5:36 p.m.: Bernie Sanders speaks now. He mentioned the economy first. That’s called leadership. Bernie also has spoken about climate change. He spoke about ISIS and combatting it and terrorism last, which was in order of our national priorities (well, OK, I’d put climate change first).

5:39 p.m.: Of course “Datagate” has come up. Bernie blames the IT vendor for allowing his campaign staff to have seen Clinton campaign data and states that the one staff member who is known to have looked at Clinton campaign data has been fired. (They just cut away to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose smug face I would love to wipe off of her head.)

Bernie, although prompted, has apologized to Billary for “Datagate.” She has accepted his apology and states that an independent investigation will be done of “Datagate” (“Datagate” is my word [and The Nation’s], not hers) and that we need to move on. Yes, we do.

(Bernie also has reminded us that during the first debate he “pardoned” [my word, not his] Billary for E-mailgate, and he indicated that he’d like “Datagate” not to consume all of the oxygen in the room, either, as the nation has much larger fish to fry. Yup. Martin O’Malley has concurred.)

5:45 p.m.: Now discussion of ISIS. ISIS is not our greatest issue, so I don’t think that I’m going to play along and regurgitate everything about ISIS here.

5:48 p.m.: O’Malley seems earnest, but he polls in the low single digits. Um, yeah.

Bernie reminds us that he voted against the 2003 Vietraq War, and states that he opposes unilateral American military action. He states that he believes that Muslims in the Middle East should lead the war against ISIS. Yup.

5:50 p.m.: Now gun control. I do agree with Billary on this issue, although it’s a new-found “concern” of hers. Billary states that we need to work with Muslims here in the United States to prevent their “radicalization.” Of course we do. (Of course, we need to work with the “Christo”fascists also to prevent their radicalization, since [9/11 aside] they kill many more Americans than do the “Islamofascists.”)

5:52 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that people do have the constitutional right to own guns. Yup. That said, Bernie says, we need “sensible gun safety regulations.” Yup. We need to strengthen background checks and “eliminate the gun-show loophole,” he says, adding that civilians do not need military-grade weaponry. Yup.

5:54 p.m.: O’Malley is acting like he’s in a Repugnican debate and is refusing to play by the rules of the debate. He’s being allowed to talk over the moderator. He’s being an asshole, acting like a candidate whose polling is trapped in the single digits…

5:56 p.m.: Bernie is adamantly defending himself against O’Malley’s attack. Go, Bernie! We need this in our champion. Bernie reminds us that any change in gun laws needs consensus in Congress. Unfortunately, my live streaming is going in and out now and I’m missing much of this discussion… I apologize for that…

6:01 p.m.: Billary just said that Donald Trump, with his Islamophobic demagoguery, “is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” Yup.

Bernie reminds us now that Americans aren’t concerned just about terrorism, but are concerned about their socioeconomic status and their children’s future. Bernie is very animated, talking about how while Donald Trump demagogues that Mexicans and Muslims are our enemy, “the rich get richer.” Yup. And wow. Bernie is on fire!

6:04 p.m.: Moderator Martha Raddatz, whom I’ve always liked (she is firm and stern but fair), just had to check O’Malley, something that the male moderator, whose name I don’t know (he looks like a vapid underwear model who fairly recently became a TV news “talent”) couldn’t do. As I’ve said before, O’Malley seems to be hanging in there only in order to become the vice-presidential candidate.

6:07 p.m.: O’Malley just awkwardly name-dropped the name of an American Muslim friend of his (kind of like saying that you have a black friend or a gay friend) and told a maudlin story about his Muslim American friend’s child asking his father if a President Donald Trump would remove them from their home because they’re Muslim. Jesus fuck, Martin.

6:10 p.m.: The discussion now is on refugees from the Middle East. O’Malley is eager to let us all know that he’s better than his opponents on this issue.

6:11 p.m.: Martha now asks Bernie Sanders why he doesn’t support boots on the ground against ISIS when in the past he has supported boots on the ground against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The U.S. can’t be the world police, he responds. Bernie says the boots on the ground should be Middle Eastern Muslim boots, not American boots. He slams rich Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough to combat ISIS, but squandering their resources elsewhere, such as on hosting the World Cup. Hell, yeah!

6:15 p.m.: Billary states that ISIS wants American troops back in the Middle East (especially in Iraq in Syria), “Americans soldiers on the ground fighting them,” giving them “a great recruiting opportunity.” Wow. I agree with her on this.

But Martha now follows up, reminding us that the small special operations forces that Billary supports against ISIS in the Middle East could end up like Vietnam, which began with small operations forces there… Billary calls that a “false choice.”

6:18 p.m.: O’Malley is talking. Does it matter? Just keeping it real… Well, OK, he has called ISIS a “genocidal threat,” which is fairly accurate. As I have stated before, I want ISIS vanquished, as I would want any mass-murderous theocrats vanquished, but the U.S. is rotting from within here at home, and we can’t return to the days of the unelected Bush regime in which it was All Terror, All The Time, while things here at home continued to disintegrate.

6:21 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he voted against the Vietraq War in October 2002 while Billary voted for it, and he charges that Billary is too much into “regime change.” He stats that “regime change” too often creates a “political vacuum filled by terrorists,” such as happened in Iraq because of the Vietraq War.

Billary fights back, stating that Bernie voted for regime change in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi.*

6:24 p.m.: The topic now is Libya, on which I’m largely ignorant. Billary now states that she opposes having Iranians in Syria, something I don’t know that Bernie Sanders ever advocated, if that is what she was implying.

“The destruction of ISIS” is our primary concern regarding the Middle East right now, since it was ISIS that struck Paris and apparently inspired the San Bernardino mass murderers, Bernie stated. (Again, there has been zero evidence that there was any actual coordination between ISIS and the San Bernardino mass murderers, so to me the comparison of San Bernardino to Paris is a very, very weak one, usually made by those [treasonous right-wingers, that is] who would love an actual attack on the U.S. by ISIS for political gain, such as how 9/11, which the unelected Bush regime had done precious little to nothing to prevent, was great for the Bush regime to use for political gain. [They were able to use it long enough to at least to “win” “re”-election in November 2004.])

6:27 p.m.: Martin O’Malley just got booed by the audience — quite deservedly so — after stating that he wanted to bring a younger generation’s perspective to the issue of the Middle East. Wow. It was an ageist statement, and perhaps the lowest that he has sunk in these debates thus far.

6:30 p.m.: Whew. Finally, a break.

Thus far I believe that O’Malley has harmed himself by having made an ageist comment and having made an asshole of himself by ignoring the underwear model cum moderator (whose name apparently is David) and talking over him.

I don’t see that either Billary or Bernie can be called the “winner” thus far. That is, if you’re a Clintonista, perhaps even a Billarybot, you’ll say that Billary “won” this debate, and if you are a “Berner,” you’ll say that Bernie “won” it. This pretty much was the same dynamic that we saw in the first two debates.

That said, Bernie has been on fire and has made no flubs or gaffes that I have spotted.

6:37 p.m.: Uh-oh — Billary was late in returning to the stage. They resumed without her. Awkward…

The subject now is the economy. Bernie says that we need “to tell the billionaire class, ‘You cannot have it all.'” He says we need a $15/hour minimum wage, equal pay for women, youth employment, job creation via infrastructure work and tuition-free higher education. Yup.

O’Malley is talking, but he pretty much lost me with his ageist comment. I wish that he would drop out already and stop wasting our time, but I doubt that he will. He really needs a new job, apparently.

6:41 p.m.: Billary states that income inequality is bad for our economy and our democracy. “You’re not going to hear anything about this” from the Repugnican presidential candidates, she stated correctly. She states, among other things, that we need to raise the minimum wage, but she doesn’t tell us that she supports only a $12/hour minimum wage, not a $15/hour minimum wage.

6:43 p.m.: Billary states that the super-wealthy should pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Yup. She talks about helping small businesses, which is a canard frequently used by those of the center-right to support capitalism, even though capitalism stopped being about small businesses decades ago and has been about large to gargantuan corporations for decades now.

6:45 p.m.: Bernie states that while corporate America might love a President Billary, as she just said that they should, as president corporate America will hate him. Go, Bernie! Bernie reminds us that he won’t take campaign contributions from corporations. Greed is destroying our economy and the lives of million of Americans, he just said forcefully. Again, he’s on fire tonight.

6:47 p.m.: O’Malley just stated that the way forward is not through Bernie Sanders’ socialism, “which the rest of the world is moving away from” (let the fact-checkers sort that one out [and O’Malley’s shameless red-baiting is pathetic and is just another symptom of his desperation]) or Billary Clinton’s “crony capitalism.”

Bernie pretty much just ignores the red-bating bullshit and Billary once again tries to deflect, indicating that the Repugnicans are the main enemy. Weak. (She’s used this rather pathetic tactic in the previous debates.)

6:51 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he has no super-PAC and that Billary has taken a lot of money from Wall Street over the years.

6:52 p.m.: The topic now is health care, including “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act). While “Obamacare” has made some improvements in our national health care system, such as no longer penalizing those with pre-existing conditions, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription-drug prices need to be reined in, Billary says. “We need to build on it and fix it,” she says (“it” apparently being “Obamacare”).

6:55 p.m.: Bernie calls for single-payer health care and proclaims that health care should be a right. I agree wholeheartedly. He points out that nations that pay much less for health care have better health-care outcomes than does the U.S. He states that under his plan, the average American family would save thousands of dollars a year on health-care costs.

6:58 p.m.: Bernie is asked how tuition-free college would work. He cites new sports facilities and overpaid college and university administrators as part of the problem of overpriced higher education. Bernie says a “speculation tax on Wall Street” would pay for his plan for tuition-free college.

7:00 p.m.: O’Malley touts “an income-based [student-loan] repayment plan.” I support a no-payment repayment plan — that is, student loans need to be eliminated altogether and we need to make higher education a right, just like health care. (We can afford to educate our people; we need only significantly pare down our bloated-beyond-belief military budget, which exists far more for fat government contracts for greedy traitors than it does for the actual defense of the nation.)

7:02 p.m.: Billary correctly states that the states have defunded their colleges and universities over the past decades and put the money elsewhere, such as prisons (and tax breaks for the wealthy, of course, I would add).

Billary does not support free tuition, however, she states. As I’ve said before, Billary wants a Band-Aid where an emergency surgery is required. She doesn’t go nearly far enough, which is part of her long history of progressive rhetoric but center-right action that preserves the status quo so that she doesn’t step on any toes so that the campaign cash keeps flowing to her coffers.

Billary Clinton and her fellow hypocritical baby boomers should want today’s college students to have it as well as they did when they were of college age, when the “greatest generation” gladly paid for their college education and did not saddle them with crippling student-loan debt.

7:08 p.m.: It just got a little feisty there between Bernie and Billary, but not rancorous, which is to the Democratic Party’s credit, I believe. I’m having live-streaming issues again, so I hope that I’m not missing anything right now…

7:10 p.m.: I guess we’re on break now. Harry Enten and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com are being interviewed now. I like both of the nerds and read them regularly. Silver says Billary’s lead in Iowa “is not that large.” He says Billary still “has vulnerability in Iowa.” He says that Bernie can win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow.

I’m now having live-streaming issues yet once again… I missed what this Clair (spelling?) pundit had to say…

7:15 p.m.: We’re back to the debate. Now the topic is relations between law enforcement officers and civilians. O’Malley indicates that as mayor of Baltimore he inherited a deeply troubled city but that as mayor of the city and then as governor of Maryland he brought down crime and incarceration rates.

Bernie points out that we have 2.2 million, predominantly black and Latino, Americans behind bars. We need to end institutionalized racism and reform the criminal justice system, he says, adding that our law-enforcement officers need to stop shooting unarmed, predominantly black, Americans, and that the “war on drugs” needs to end. Police departments should look like the communities they serve and minimum sentencing must stop. We need more jobs and less incarceration, he said.

Bernie handled that question remarkably better than did Billary, whose repsonse was unremarkable and unmemorable, or O’Malley.

7:22 p.m.: Now the topic is drugs (primarily heroin and other opiates, apparently). Bernie says that addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Yup. He says part of a health-care overhaul must be fast and effective drug-addiction treatment. Yup.

Billary has “a five-point plan” to combat opiate abuse, she says. She advocates for greater availability of the drug Naloxone, which prevents opiate overdose deaths.

O’Malley is name-dropping again; apparently he has known people addicted to opiates. (When you’re unemployed, I guess, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people…) He advocates for a $12 billion federal program to combat opiate addiction.

7:26 p.m.: Martha Raddatz brings the discussion back to Libya. “How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections” in Libya, Martha just asked Billary. Wow.

Billary doesn’t really answer, but claims that things in Libya are getting better now, adding, “this is not easy work.”

That wasn’t good enough for Martha, who never lets you off easily. She repeats the question almost verbatim.

Billary claims that Libyans were not responsive to offers from help after Gadhafi was overthrown. So I guess she blames the Libyans.

“Were mistakes made?” Martha, probably exasperated, asks.

Billary still won’t actually answer the question.

7:30 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that regime change often doesn’t work. Overthrowing a dictator is relatively easy; it’s hard to predict what will happen after regime change, he said.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley seems to share Bernie’s distaste for regime change. Before that, Billary made an odd remark that we need to both be able to support “strong men” in the Middle East and promote democracy. Whut?

7:34 p.m.: I guess this is the last question, and it’s a dumb one; apparently the question is whether or not it’s time to change the role of a president’s spouse, and it seems directed mainly at Bill Clinton, who would be the nation’s first first gentlemen should (shudder) Billary win the White House.

Bernie now is talking of his own wife, adding that she was a foster parent before he married her, and that as first lady of the U.S. she would be a “forceful advocate” for our youth.

O’Malley states that as first lady of Maryland, his wife was an advocate against domestic violence, but that as first lady of the nation she would do or not do whatever she pleased, that it would be up to her. (Why wouldn’t it be, Martin? Anyway, she won’t be first lady of the U.S. unless O’Malley becomes vice president and the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in office, but OK…)

7:39 p.m.: A break now. We’re told there is “much more to come.” Oh, I hope not. This has been enough…

7:40 p.m.: Oh, good. George Stephanopoulos, of whom we’ve seen little tonight, thankfully, has said closing statements are close at hand. George and his ABC News companion are talking about the Repugnicans’ reponse to tonight’s debate thus far. I could give a shit what their response is…

7:44 p.m.: Closing statements now. Bernie first. “On our worst day” he and his two competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have more to offer the American people than the best that the Repugnican presidential contenders can offer the American people, he says. Yup.

Bernie says that he will bring about a “political revolution” in which millions stand up and say “enough is enough,” that “this country belongs to all of us, not to just a handful of billionaires.” (I quasi-paraphrase, but that’s pretty darn close.)

O’Malley now. He says tonight has been “a healthy exchange of ideas.” He says the Repugnican debates are filled with “anger” and “fear,” but not the Democrats’. Yeah. True that. Now O’Malley brings up climate change and reminds us that we live in “divided and polarized times.”

Billary now warns of a Repugnican taking over the White House in January 2017. She’s now pretty much fear-mongering, even though O’Malley just said that the Dems don’t do that…

Not that she’s wrong about what a Repugnican White House administration would do and how bad it would be for the nation, but she’s using the old Clintonian triangulating tactic of “Vote for me, because the Repugnicans are even worse and scarier!”

That lesser-of-two-evils tactic stopped being good enough long ago, if it ever was good enough. Read my lips: I. Will. Not. Vote. For. Billary. Clinton. Ever.

Jesus Christ. Billary just had the very last words of tonight’s debate, which were “May the Force be with you.”

Was that supposed to be funny? Did some nerdy, virginal intern come up with that, telling her it would make her appear to be hip? It was just awkward and a bit weird.

Anyway. The debate is over, thank Goddess. (While I still strongly maintain that it’s bullshit that thanks to Billarybot and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz we have gone from 26 Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008 to six this cycle, I probably won’t complain that I have only three more live-blogging sessions to go. [Twenty-six debates in 2008 was excessive, but we could have gone with at least 10 or 12 this time around. Fuck, at least eight.])

I don’t think that this debate will help O’Malley. We’ll see whether his ageist comment comes back to haunt him or not. (Not that his poll numbers could go much lower…)

“Datagate” probably is pretty much over now — it was a “scandal” that lasted all of two days…

I believe that tonight Bernie Sanders had his best of three-thus-far debate performances. He gets a bit repetitive if you follow him, as I do, but that also is called keeping on message, for which I can’t fault a serious candidate. And I don’t see it as his inability to be flexible, but I see it as his recognition that important issues easily can be sidelined with the corporately owned and controlled “news” media’s scandal du jour, such as the San Bernardino massacre, and that we can’t solve our largest problems if we’re constantly bouncing around from one smaller thing to the next. (The corporations and the plutocrats who own and love them don’t want us to solve our largest problems, of course, since they are our largest problems.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t excite me. Not only am I intimately familiar with her center-right/Repugnican-Lite record, but her rhetoric is so designed to appeal to and not to offend as many people as possible (including the Wall Street weasels who continue to give her campaign cash) that most of it is lifeless and uninspiring.

But that is lost on the Clintonistas, the Billarybots, I know.

Again, I don’t think that the race has changed based upon tonight’s debate. The race remains a two-way race between Bernie and Billary, the real Democrat and the Democrat in name only, respectively. If tonight’s debate helped either of them more than the other, my hunch is that it boosted Bernie a bit more than it did Billary, as for a long time now, I surmise, he’s had significantly more room for growth in support than she has had.

I think it’s telling that the only candidate who got booed tonight was Martin O’Malley, when he prickishly made his ageist comment. Could it be a harbinger of his dropping out? I wish, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

Perhaps tonight’s biggest takeaway message for me is Nate Silver’s statement that of course Bernie Sanders can win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Let us hope that Bernie does — and finally drives that long-overdue stake through the cold and slimy hearts of Billary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the many, many other DINOs everywhere.

*Fact check: Slate.com notes:

… Clinton’s statement that Sanders “voted for regime change” in Libya is questionable, since Congress didn’t vote on the issue, which was part of the whole problem: The Obama administration just announced late in the afternoon one day that it would establish a no-fly zone in Libya. (The Sanders campaign believes Clinton is referring to this nonbinding resolution that basically said Qaddafi is terrible and should go.)

Because the ABC moderators were frequently awful, Sanders never got an opportunity to respond. But he didn’t seem too upset with that, either. Later in the night, when the issue came up again, Sanders again didn’t jump in to defend himself against Clinton’s charge. …

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Memo to the Democrats in name only: Game on and gloves off, bitches!

Note: I will live-blog this evening’s third Democratic Party presidential debate, which begins at 5:00 p.m. my time (Pacific Standard Time).

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, speaks at the Democratic National Committee's Womens Leadership Forum Issues Conference in Washington, DC on September 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Under the “leadership” of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee since 2011, the Democrats have hemorrhaged seats in Congress. Her only hope of holding on to power is to try to rig the game for pal Billary Clinton so that she can remain head of the DNC despite her abysmal track record. (It’s not all about you, Debbie! Truly, it isn’t!) The Democratic Party cannot continue to exist under the likes Wasserman Shultz and Billary. This center-right bullshit demonstrably loses the Democrats seats of power. When Howard Dean took a progressive, left-of-center approach as head of the DNC from 2005 to 2009, the Democratic Party won back both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives after years in the wilderness — and the Democratic Party lost both houses of Congress after his departure because the DNC returned to its Clintonian, center-right, sellout bullshit.

Yesterday’s news in the world of presidential politics was awfully interesting.

The Democratic National Committee — that is, Clintonista Debbie Wasserman Schultz — announced that it she indefinitely was withholding voter information from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign because at least one Sanders campaign operative apparently had accessed Billary Clinton campaign information that hadn’t been protected by a negligent IT contractor.

It was a brazen attempt to cripple Sanders’ campaign and by so doing to boost Clinton’s.

After a shitstorm of hostile blowback (including an angry e-mail that yours truly fired off to the DNC, one of very many, I’m sure) — and a lawsuit against the DNC that the Sanders campaign very appropriately filed in federal court — the Sanders’ campaign access to the voter data — its own voter data — was restored by the Wasserman-Schultz DNC.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one dumb cunt. Yes, she fully has earned the “c” word (which to me is just the female equivalent of “dick” or “prick,” so calm your self-righteous self if necessary). She is an incredibly vindictive, venomous and partial slimy piece of shit that needs to be flushed down the toilet once Bernie Sanders is elected president.

Yes, the beyond-shameless Wasserman Schultz is doing Billary Clinton’s bidding because she hopes that a President Billary will keep her on as the head of the DNC.

Wasserman Schultz would need a President Billary’s backing because the Democrats have hemorrhaged seats in Congress since she’s been in charge (more on this later) and because she doesn’t have the support of the Democratic Party base, whom she keeps pissing off, such as by limiting the number of presidential primary debates (only six of them, compared to the 26 of them that were held in 2008) and by holding them on Saturdays (such as this evening’s debate and the last debate), figuring that the less the voters see Billary debating, the better for Billary — and her latest antic of trying to destroy the Sanders campaign by blocking its access to its own fucking voter data.

All of these have been despicable tactics to boost Billary, which is called cheating, rigging the game. It’s entirely anti-democratic. It’s the attempt to shove Billary Clinton down our throats. Whether we, the people, want Billary or not, she and her supporters are trying to force her upon us, as they did in 2008.

Don’t get me wrong; anyone who broke any law regarding any improper access of data should be dealt with, and the Sanders campaign is fully cooperative with that. It already has terminated the staffer who apparently was primarily responsible. (The fired staffer maintains that no information that was accessed was stored, and that information was accessed only to discover the extent of the flaws in the IT vendor’s software. There is no evidence not to believe this.)

In  any event, you punish the individual(s) involved in any wrongdoing — you don’t punish the candidate and the millions of his or her supporters. That’s justice, of which Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Billary Clinton and their sick, craven ilk (who act just like the craven, cheating, election-stealing Repugnicans but who at the same time call themselves “Democrats” and even “feminists”) have no fucking concept and for which they have zero respect.

And it’s awfully ironic that in the very first presidential primary debate, Bernie Sanders basically excused Billary Clinton’s use, as secretary of state, of not only a personal e-mail address, but a home-brewed server at her residence, yet how does the Clinton campaign repay that wholly undeserved act of mercy? By trying to destroy the Sanders campaign by depriving it of its own fucking voter data.

I hope that the craven Clintonistas keep attacking Bernie Sanders like this, though. Billary Clinton, harpy that she is, lashed out more and more against the much more likable Barack Obama as the 2008 Democratic Party primary fight went on and she grew more and more desperate.

It obviously didn’t work, but only made it even clearer to the primary voters and caucus-goers of what a cunt — yes, she has more than earned the title, too — Billary Clinton is. (I mean, seriously — when your favorability already is struggling, acting even more like a major prick or a major cunt probably won’t do your favorability any favors.)

Another irony is that Bernie Sanders just recently (on Thursday) earned the endorsement of the progressive political action group Democracy for America.

Democracy for America grew from Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination; it started out as “Dean for America.” The Nation notes of DFA’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders (emphases in bold are mine):

DFA … [is] a well-regarded grassroots political and issue-advocacy organization with active groups in states across the country and a track record of backing progressive candidates at the local, state and federal levels.

Early in the 2016 race, the group urged Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to seek the Democratic nomination.

This month, it conducted a national poll of members that concluded December 15. Sanders won 87.9 percent of the 271,527 votes cast in a contest where an endorsement could only be secured with a super-majority (66.67 percent or more) of all the votes cast.

Clinton (who is backed by Howard Dean [yes, that is an unfortunate, premature, apparently fear-based mistake of his to have endorsed Billary so early; he apparently imbibed the “inevitability” Kool-Aid]) took 10.3 percent, while 1.1. percent backed Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

The level of support for Sanders was unprecedented. When the 11-year-old group held a similar vote on whether to endorse in the 2008 presidential race, no candidate cleared the super-majority hurdle.

“This is an historic moment for DFA, for the progressive movement, for the Democratic Party, for people-powered politics — and for Bernie supporters who relentlessly rallied over nine intense days to get out the vote and win this pivotal endorsement,” explained Democracy for America’s executive director Charles Chamberlain. [I voted in that poll and encouraged others to, too.]

“Bernie Sanders is an unyielding populist progressive who decisively won Democracy for America members’ first presidential primary endorsement because of his lifelong commitment to taking on income inequality and the wealthy and powerful interests who are responsible for it.”

Chamberlain explained that “we’ll immediately start organizing on behalf of Bernie in key primary states, from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to nearly a dozen states voting on Super Tuesday. We’ll also be building — as Bernie has called for — a political revolution ready to elect populist progressive candidates nationwide to local school boards, city councils, and state legislatures, and all the way up to the U.S. Senate.”

DFA activists will join Sanders backers from groups such as the Working Families PartyProgressive Democrats of AmericaDemocratic Socialists of America, Friends of the Earth Action, and a pair of key unions: National Nurses United and the American Postal Workers Union.

On the same day that Bernie won DFA’s first-ever presidential endorsement, he also was endorsed by the Communications Workers of America. The Nation reports (emphasis in bold is mine):

Historically, the Communications Workers union might have been expected to join those other large labor organizations in backing [Billary Clinton].

A major presence in states across the country, which represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, media, airlines, higher education, healthcare, public service and manufacturing, the CWA is one of the largest unions in the national AFL-CIO (which has not made an endorsement) and in state and local labor federations.

On Thursday, however, CWA National President Chris Shelton announced that “CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first.

“Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long. CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution — and that is just what Americans need today.”

The CWA endorsement followed a three-month process that included hundreds of meetings with union members in their workplaces and an online endorsement survey that CWA officials say attracted tens of thousands of votes.

As I have noted, my union’s process for having endorsed Billary Clinton was not democratic at all. Service Employees International Union head Mary Kay Henry, who apparently was separated at birth from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is a blindly obedient (and thus anti-democratic and corrupt) Clintonista who very apparently didn’t want to risk allowing us dues-paying pee-ons of SEIU to have a voice in the matter, lest we vote for Bernie Sanders (gasp!).

So she deprived us of a vote at all. My union dues automatically are taken from my paychecks, but I get no voice in SEIU presidential endorsements. It’s very much akin to taxation with zero representation. Mary Kay Henry & Co. use my money for their own self-serving political agenda without my consent or even my ability to have any meaningful input whatsofuckingever.

Note that the Communications Workers of America very apparently had no problem at all involving their rank and file in the union’s presidential endorsement decision, but SEIU would have all kinds of bullshit excuses (“logistical” and otherwise) for why it refused to do that.

Mary Kay Henry and her henchpeople within SIEU all need to be dumped, just as does Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her supporters within the DNC. The Democrats in name only, at all levels, have got to go. (There is a place for them to continue to sell out their fellow Americans; it’s called the Repugnican Tea Party.)

Democracy for America’s resounding endorsement of Bernie Sanders for president is significant for many reasons, but perhaps chief among them is that Howard Dean, who had founded Democracy for America and then went on to head the Democratic National Committee, did a fantastic job as head of the DNC from 2005 to 2009.

Under Howard Dean’s leadership of the DNC, the Democratic Party expanded remarkably. It took back both houses of Congress in the election of 2006 and there was Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2008. (For a half-black man who had been a U.S. senator for only four years, it was historic, even though Obama hasn’t been nearly as progressive a president as he could have been.)

Under Dean’s leadership, in the 2006 election the Democrats took back the the U.S. Senate after the Repugnicans had controlled it for at least 10 of the past 12 years and took back the U.S. House of Representatives after the Repugnicans had controlled it for 12 years — and the Democrats hit 257 members of the House after the 2008 election.

While Tim Kaine was behind the wheel of the DNC from 2009 to 2011, the Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2010 election, and under Wasserman Schultz, who has been in charge of the DNC since 2011, the Dems lost even more House seats — the Dems won only 188 House seats in the 2014 election — and lost the U.S. Senate in the 2014 election after having had control of it since the 2008 election.

The Democratic Party cannot survive with Debbie Wasserman Schultz behind the wheel.

Wasserman Schultz wants to hold on to power even though her track record demands that she be kept as far away from the DNC as possible.

The Clintonistas, including Wasserman Schultz & Co., are terrified of a Bernie Sanders presidency because it would, at long last, restore the Democratic Party to what it is supposed to be: a progressive party that works hard to bring the greatest benefit to the highest possible number of people — not a center-right party that sells its members out to the Repugnican Tea Party and the plutocrats at every fucking opportunity and benefits only those at the top of the party (like Billary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) who claim that they’re working for the people but who are working only for themselves and their cronies.

This is why these Democrats in name only are doing their best to anti-democratically, even treasonously, rig the game for Billary.

In doing so, they only strengthen the resolve of us supporters of Bernie Sanders and of truly progressive, truly democratic and truly Democratic politics, to get him into the White House and to remove their treasonous, sorry asses from power.

To the Clintonistas and other DINOs I and millions of others can say only: Game on and gloves off, bitches!

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Bernie Sanders soars under the radar

Updated below (on Saturday, December 12, 2015)

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a concert hosted by his campaign in Davenport, Iowa. For Sanders, victory in Iowa’s kickoff presidential caucuses hinges on a simple proposition: that his message of political revolution will inspire people who typically stay home on that deep-winter night. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Associated Press photo

Bernie Sanders addresses a crowd in Davenport, Iowa, in October. Despite the myth that Sanders is “unelectable,” he is doing better against the top Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates in match-up polling than is Billary Clinton. As I type this sentence, Real Clear Politics’ averages of match-up polling show Billary beating Donald Trump by 3.3 percent, whereas Sanders beats Trump by 8 percent. Sanders beats Ted Cruz by 5.6 percent, whereas Billary bests Cruz by only 2.5 percent. Neither Sanders nor Clinton beats Marco Rubio — who is, as I have said, the Repugnican Tea Party candidate to take down (Trump is just an incredibly loud distraction) — but while Rubio beats Bernie by only 0.7 percent, he beats Billary by 1.6 percent. Billary Clinton is so disliked by the electorate as a whole that the comparatively unknown Bernie Sanders does better than she does against the top-tier Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.

A few items encouraging to us Bernie Sanders supporters have caught my eye over the past few days.

There are plenty of naysaying pieces on Sanders on the Internet that amount to screaming to us Sanders supporters, “Surrender, Dorothy! But in reality, we have no reason to give up.

First, as I’ve noted, Bernie Sanders is polling significantly better than is Billary Clinton against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders (Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) in match-up polling. (Again, I’m quite confident that Ben Carson will not emerge as the Repugnican Tea Party’s presidential nominee.)

As El Trumpo himself might say, that’s yuuuuuge. It annihilates the “argument,” the conventional “wisdom,” that only Billary can win the White House. In Reality Land, there is a good chance that she cannot.

But then there’s also this (from refinery29.com):

Though there’s no way to know exactly how Americans will vote in the 2016 elections, one university has a perfect record when it comes to predicting presidential outcomes.

Western Illinois University has correctly prognosticated each president since 1975, and it’s got some ideas about next year’s contest, too. According to the university’s mock election, the 45th president of the United States will be Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s running as a Democrat in 2016. The university also predicted that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will be Sanders’ vice president.

So how did the university reach its conclusion about Sanders? While his main opponent in the Democratic field, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is leading in many polls, Sanders has managed to raise support from small donors at an unprecedented pace. The senator has supporters from a variety of demographics, explains Liberal America, which makes him a highly electable candidate. And a recent Quinnipiac poll found that Sanders is polling better than all of the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

In WIU’s mock presidential election, Sanders garnered more than 400 Electoral College votes. A proposed Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio ticket, meanwhile, earned just 114 Electoral College votes in the mock election. As for the popular vote in WIU’s mock election, Sanders beat Clinton in 22 out of 26 primary states there, too.

Thousands of students at the university simulated the election process, including Iowa caucuses, state primaries, nominating conventions, and the Electoral College vote, from October 20 to November 2, in order to determine the results.

I find it interesting and encouraging that the university that correctly has predicted the next U.S. president since 1975 has predicted that Bernie Sanders will be our next president. (I’m not wild about Martin O’Malley as Bernie’s running mate, but O’Malley is better than is Billary, who wouldn’t deign to be Sanders’ running mate. But Sanders shouldn’t ask her, as her center-right political record and philosophy are contradictory to his left-of-center record and philosophy.)

There’s this, too, from Matthew Yglesias for Vox.com (emphases in bold are mine):

Donald Trump, as you have probably heard, is dominating national polls of Republicans who want to lead their party in the 2016 presidential election. As you have likewise probably heard, Hillary Clinton is currently crushing left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders in national polls of Democrats.

What you have probably not heard as much about is that Trump and Sanders have approximately equal levels of public support. …

Trump right now is a few percentage points ahead of Sanders in terms of the number of Republicans backing him versus the number of Democrats backing Sanders. But because there are more Democrats than Republicans in America, Philip Bump of the Washington Post reckons that there are actually slightly more Sanders supporters in America than Trump supporters.

Nonetheless, Trump has dominated media coverage of the 2016 campaign while Sanders has largely been a non-factor in coverage since Clinton started handing in solid debate performances.

The reasons for this are not exactly mysterious – Trump is ahead in the polls and might win the GOP nomination, while Sanders is losing badly and clearly won’t be the Democratic candidate.

But while the media’s priorities are comprehensible, the horse race fact that mainstream Democrats have consolidated around a single champion while the non-Trump Republicans remain badly divided is creating a distorted picture of the real state of the country. Wall-to-wall Trump coverage is, for example, helping boost morale at white supremacist groups, which are now benefiting from a newfound sense of momentum.

But while there is clearly significance in the fact that a large minority of Republicans are willing to flock to Trump’s banner and the cause of ethnic chauvinism, the reality that an equal number of people are flocking to Sanders’s banner and the vision of an expansive Nordic welfare state is equally significant.

Indeed, in terms of analyzing broad trends in American life, the Sanders phenomenon is probably more significant than Trumpism. Trump’s supporters, after all, are older than the average Republican, while Sanders’s are younger than the average Democrat. The Trump movement is benefiting from an exceptionally chaotic situation among mainstream Republicans, while Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.

In the short term, that all means that Trump is more relevant to 2016. But the values that Sanders reflects are likely to grow stronger in future cycles, while Trumpism is likely to grow weaker.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ll take the word of the students of Western Illinois University over Yglesias’ where it comes to Bernie Sanders’ chances of winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination (and then the White House). But I like (and agree with) Yglesias’ conclusion that the future belongs to us Sandersistas, not to the Trumpites.

And, as I’ve noted before, if Sanders’ 2016 run ends up like Barry Goldwater’s run in 1964 – if in retrospect it’s clear that Sanders rescued the Democratic Party from the death grip of the center-right Clintons – then we can count Sanders’ 2016 run as a win, whether he becomes our next president or not.

Speaking of which, it’s true that Billary’s lead in nationwide polls have her far ahead of Bernie – 55.4 percent to 30.8 percent, per Real Clear Politics’ average of polls, and 55 percent to 31 percent, per the Huffington Post’s average of polls. So it seems safe to conclude that right now, nationwide, Billary does beat Bernie by more than 20 percentage points in the polls.

But the nation won’t be voting and caucusing for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee as a whole on one day, but states will be voting and caucusing over the course of many weeks. And wins in early states often (if not usually) snowball into wins in successive states.

First to vote (caucus) will be Iowa, on February 1.

Yes, Billary is leading Bernie by double digits in Iowa polling right now – by about 14 percentage points, per RCP, and by 19 percent, per HuffPo – but, as prognosticator god Nate Silver pointed out recently, since 2004, “In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had.”

That leaves plenty of room for Bernie to win Iowa, as we have more than a month and a half before Iowans caucus.

And Bernie Sanders leads Billary in New Hampshire, which votes on February 9. RCP has him 4 percent ahead of Billary there, while HuffPo has him 1 percent ahead of her there.

Should Sanders pull out a first-place finish in Iowa – which we were taught is not an impossibility when, in 2004, the “inevitable” Howard Dean came in at third place in Iowa after the moribund John Kerry came back from the dead like Lazarus on crack and came in at No. 1 in Iowa and then went on to win the nomination (due to the aforementioned snowball effect) – Sanders no doubt would win New Hampshire, too.

And I don’t see Billary recovering from Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire.

It’s true that Donald Trump has been sucking most of the oxygen from the room, and that the pundits (like Yglesias) have coronated Billary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee already.

But the pundits and the corporately owned and controlled media whores won’t be caucusing and voting in Iowa and New Hampshire (well, the vast majority of them don’t live in those two states, anyway).

I suspect that in February we will see, rather jarringly, that there are two parallel “realities” in the United States of America: (1) our corporately mediated “reality” that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like Trump and Billary and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders, since truly populist candidates like Sanders aren’t great for the corporations and the plutocracy; and (2) actual reality, which consists of individuals voting and caucusing the way that they want to, not the way that they’re told to by our corporate/plutocratic overlords.

I suspect that for some time now, Bernie Sanders, in actual reality, has been soaring under the radar of our corporately mediated “reality.”

While we might compare Sanders to the tortoise in the parable of the tortoise and the hare, I think that I’d rather liken him to the bald eagle that had to put Donald Trump in his place.

P.S. I get it that way too many “superdelegates” have jumped the gun, voicing their support for Billlary before we, the people, have weighed in on our choice between Billary and Bernie, but how would these “superdelegates” proceed if Bernie pummels Billary in the caucuses and primary elections?

Many if not most of these “superdelegates” are, after all, accountable to the voters. And they aren’t bound to supporting Billary; they may flip their support to Bernie instead.

Update (Saturday, December 12, 2015): I find it interesting that within 24 hours of my having written that there exists a “corporately mediated ‘reality’ that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like [Donald] Trump and Billary [Clinton] and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders,” the Sanders campaign put out an e-mail that reads:

I’ve always been interested in media and have always been concerned that corporate media doesn’t really educate people in this country. They refuse to talk about the serious issues facing our country.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I saw this headline: “Report: ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes to Trump, One Minute to Sanders.”

It’s no shock to me that big networks, which are controlled by a handful of large corporations, have barely discussed our campaign and the important issues we are bringing up. They’re just too busy covering Donald Trump.

We can’t allow the corporate media to set the agenda. We have got to get the real issues out there. And that’s why I’m asking you to join me in a major petition to the big networks.

Add your name to our petition to tell ABC, NBC and CBS to cover our campaign — and more importantly to cover the issues we are bringing up.

This is what the corporate media is all about: more Americans support our campaign than Trump’s according to recent polls, but still ABC’s news program has spent 81 minutes on Trump and only 20 seconds talking about us. NBC Nightly News only spent 2.9 minutes covering our campaign. CBS? They spent six minutes.

The point is: our political revolution certainly will not be televised. It’s more important than ever for us to hold the large corporations that control the media accountable.

Please sign our petition to tell the big networks to put aside their corporate interests and allow for a free and fair debate in this presidential campaign.

I know we can win this fight if we all work to get the message out there.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I encourage you to sign the petition.

The corporately owned and controlled mass media give more time not only to Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders, but also to the many Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes, like Jeb! Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and even Lindsey Graham, who aren’t polling at even 4 percent within their own party and who don’t have nearly the chance of securing their party’s presidential nomination that Bernie Sanders does of securing his.

As Matthew Yglesias points out in his piece above, “Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.” Given that fact, Bernie Sanders is, again, soaring — albeit under the radar of the corporately mediated “reality” in which we live.

P.S. Sanders’ e-mail correctly notes, as I noted yesterday, that Donald Trump is sucking all of the oxygen from the room, but the media are covering El Trumpo not only because he is, as he has been called, a carnival barker (on crack, I would add), but also because the plutocrats who own and control our corporate media would much rather that their media outlets cover The Donald’s latest “gaffe” than cover issues that might actually threaten treasonous corporate/plutocratic profiteering, such as:

Income inequality (including, of course, the need to pay every worker a living wage, the necessity of forcing the rich and the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes, and the need to whack the Wall Street weasels), climate change (our No. 1 problem, even though it might not be evident to us on an everyday basis, because it’s a slow, ongoing progressive problem), the unaffordability of health care (including, of course, treasonously priced pharmaceuticals) and of higher education (student loans have got to go — we must foster our youth, not treat them as cash cows), our crumbling-from-neglect infrastructure, and the waste of billions and billions and billions of our tax dollars on the treasonous war profiteering of the military-corporate complex.

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TIME screwed Bernie, not The Donald

Bernie Sanders Time Magazine Cover

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made the cover of TIME magazine’s September 28 issue, but was snubbed for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2015, despite his having been the people’s clear choice for the designation.

Donald Trump claims that he got screwed out of TIME magazine’s Person of the Year designation, but the real screwee is presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders.

TIME picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who gives me the heebie-jeebies) as its 2015 Person of the Year, but, as TIME.com reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has won the online readers’ poll for TIME Person of the Year, topping some of the world’s best-known politicians, activists and cultural figures as the most influential person of 2015 among those who voted.

The Vermont senator won with a little more than 10% of the vote when the poll closed Sunday [December 6] at midnight. That’s well ahead of Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was in second place at 5.2%, and Pope Francis, TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year, who finished third with 3.7%.

Sanders also placed far ahead [of] President Obama (3.5%) and ahead [of] other 2016 candidates, including Republican Donald Trump (1.8%) and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton (1.4%).

Sanders has helped define the presidential race, calling for big-ticket progressive items from single-payer healthcare to tuition-free public universities. He has mobilized the Democratic Party’s liberal base and inspired massive campaign rallies across the country. …

Trump didn’t garner even 2 percent, so if he was screwed, I suppose that Bernie, with a bit more than 10 percent of the vote, was screwed five times as much. (And it’s funny that Billary didn’t do as well as El Trumpo did.)

TIME apparently justifies its snubbing of Bernie thusly: “No presidential candidate has been named Person of the Year prior to the end of the campaign, though a slew of presidential victors from Franklin Delano Roosevelt in (1932, 1934, and 1941), Ronald Reagan (1980, 1984) and Barack Obama (2008, 2012) have earned the distinction.”

Well, even the folks over at TIME could think outside of the box if they wanted to.

Not only did Bernie beat Billary (and The Donald) in TIME’s Person of the Year commoners’ poll, but Bernie does better in match-up polls than does Billary against the three Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants who are polling the best nationally: Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, in that order (according to Real Clear Politics’ polling averages as they stand as I type this sentence).*

According to Real Clear Politics’ polling averages, right now Sanders beats Trump by 8.0 percent, whereas Billary beats Trump by 3.3 percent; Sanders beats Cruz by 5.6 percent while Billary beats Cruz by 2.5 percent; and while Rubio beats Clinton by 1.6 percent, Rubio beats Sanders by just 0.7 percent.

So talk of Billary being “more electable” than Bernie and/or Bernie being “unelectable” quite demonstrably is complete and utter bullshit.

Bernie Sanders’ doing better than Billary is doing against the top-three Repugnican Tea Party presidential challengers sure qualifies him as the Person of the Year for 2015 in my book. I mean, Billary has been running for the White House at least since 2000, when she became a carpetbagging U.S. senator for New York.

If the Democrats wake the fuck up and realize before it’s too late that Bernie is a stronger presidential candidate than is Billary, perhaps we’ll have a President Bernie, and the pundits at TIME will see fit to make Bernie their Person of the Year for 2016.

That said, as I wrote recently, Marco Rubio is the Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe to take down; indeed, he beats both Billary and Bernie in the polling match-ups right now (albeit only barely for Bernie).

Marco Rubio is no less evil than is Donald Trump, but he comes across as nicer and saner, which makes him perhaps even more dangerous than is Trump, who wears his fascism on his sleeve for all to see, while Rubio keeps his fascistic tendencies hidden to the point that they are fairly invisible to the untrained eye.

*Ben Carson comes in at fourth place, but I think it’s safe to write him off as politically dead at this point.

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Happy holidays, ‘Christo’fascists!

 

Oh, does that hurt? Too bad!

Recently my mother had sent me a package with Christmas* gifts, and I wrote her an e-mail to thank her for it.

“Happy holidays!” I concluded my e-mail. I immediately added: “Or, as you say in Arizona, merry Christmas! 😉

(I am a proud Northern Californian; I believe that California probably overall is the best state in the nation, although not perhaps to the extent that Texans believe that theirs is the supreme state. [To me, the only remarkable thing about Texas is that it’s a state that we can say is even worse than is Arizona. Probably.])

I was being cheeky in my e-mail to Mom, but, because there is truth to the joke, I guess that it was at least somewhat provocative.

My mother responded: “Hope you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS (I don’t care whose toes I step on – [it’s] our tradition and I like to say MERRY CHRISTMAS, but don’t get me started on this).”

I was joking (for the most part), but I don’t think that she was.

So Mom has inspired this blog piece; consider it her CHRISTMAS gift to you.

The use of the greeting “Happy holidays” does not mean that you don’t get to celebrate Christmas if you so wish to do so. There is no “war” on Christmas.

Many years ago, when I first encountered “Happy holidays,” I just assumed that it meant to have a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and that it just saved a lot of words. (I mean, really, in a sense, there are four holidays in there: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.)

It seems to me that “Happy holidays” still can mean that; after all, the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas Day and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day a week later.

“Happy holidays” also means, or perhaps has come to mean, that you’re not sure whether or not the person to whom you’re speaking recognizes/celebrates Christmas, and so you’re trying to be sensitive to his or her religious beliefs.

What, exactly, is wrong with being sensitive to the fact that someone whom you don’t know might not share your religious beliefs, including your holidays?

Indeed, there is no “war” on Christmas, but there is a war on anyone having religious beliefs and holidays that aren’t in line with the majority of Americans’ (about 70 percent of Americans identify as “Christian”).

Indeed, so hostile have “good” “Christians” “defending” Christmas become that very often “Merry Christmas!” is said not with love in the utterer’s heart, but is said with hostile defiance, perhaps even as a warning to its target: This is Christian territory!

Needless to say, this is not the spirit of peace and goodwill toward all humankind that Jesus Christ espoused, in black in white, in the gospels.

And how strong are “Christians” in their “faith” if it’s not good enough for them that “only” about 70 percent of Americans are on their team?

Christianity is supposed to be about love, but in most American “Christians” we see only fear, including the fear that if 100 percent of the nation’s population isn’t on board, marching in lockstep, then Christianity is “threatened.”

As someone who identifies more as an atheist than as anything else — I do gravitate toward Buddhism, which is more of a philosophy than a religion, as Buddha (presuming that a historical Buddha did indeed exist), strictly speaking, was not a deity and he rejected deism) — to me, more than anything else, “Happy holidays” is a reference to the winter solstice, probably especially here in the northern hemisphere.

As Wikipedia notes of the winter solstice, “Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the northern hemisphere in December and for the southern hemisphere in June.”

Scholars almost universally agree that if there was a historical Jesus (my best guess is that there was, but I don’t know whether there was or not, and neither do you), he very most likely was not born on December 25 or even in the few days surrounding it.

As Livescience.com puts it: “Researchers believe the Roman Catholic Church settled on December 25 for many reasons, such as that date’s ties to the winter solstice and Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to the Roman deity Saturn. By choosing this day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, the church could co-opt the popular pagan festival, as well as the winter celebrations of other pagan religions.”

Christmas was ripped off from the pagans, and in any event, even the pagans were observing (and still today observe) the astronomical phenomenon of the shortest day and the longest night of the year. (Astronomical phenomena are objective and universal. We have different cultures, including different religions, to suit individual and tribal tastes, but we don’t have different astronomical phenomena to suit individual and tribal tastes.)

The winter solstice, to me, is the holiday, so if you say to me, “Happy holidays,” to me it means the winter solstice and probably New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, too (having picked January 1 as the start of the new year is incorrect, too – or, at the least, quite arbitrary – but that’s another blog post).

The bottom line: Feel perfectly, wondrously free to say “Merry Christmas” to those whom you know celebrate Christmas if you wish to do so; knock your jolly old soul out.

But if you don’t know whether or not the person to whom you’re speaking celebrates/recognizes Christmas, then why in the holy fuck would you want to say “Merry Christmas” to him or to her?

And to say “Merry Christmas” in order to shove your own fucking religious beliefs down others’ throats, because you’re so fucking sure that your religion is The One and Only True Religion to the extent that you believe that everyone else also should subscribe to it just makes you a fucking asshole (and therefore, I suppose, a likely Donald Trump voter [I haven’t yet asked Mom if she supports The Donald, because I don’t think that I want to know the answer…]).

To shove “Merry Christmas” and your other religious beliefs down others’ throats makes you no different, in spirit, from the assholes of ISIS who believe that they should shove their religious beliefs down others’ throats. You’re just not killing people (yet).

Happy holidays.

P.S. I recognize that “Happy holidays” might be offensive to some atheists and perhaps even to some agnostics, since “holiday” means “holy day,” but again, to me the wintertime “holiday” is the winter solstice, an annual astronomical event (and that’s scientific, not “holy,” if by “holy” we mean the involvement of a deity), and when coupled with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, it becomes “the holidays.” Thus, “Happy holidays.”

*I accept that Christmas is a wintertime holiday celebrated by most Americans. That’s what “Christmas” means to me. (“Christmas” to me does not mean the magically virginal birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ on December 25 or on any other date of the year.)

Even though I’m an atheist or at least atheisty, I use the term “Christmas” myself, such as in “Christmas gifts” (which I give every year) and “Christmas tree,” but I don’t say “Merry Christmas” to those who might not celebrate/recognize the holiday.

Because I try not to be an asshole.

(No, pushing back against the “Christo”fascists, as I have done here, is not to be an asshole myself. Intolerance of intolerance is a good thing, not a bad thing. Jesus fuck.)

And, while we’re talking about fascism, “Christian” or otherwise, Donald Trump is a dangerous fascist who, if he actually became president, probably would require a Second-Amendment remedy.

Again: Happy holidays!

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