Monthly Archives: March 2016

Billary should debate before New York primary, and I’m with Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at Colby College in Waterville on Wednesday.

Centralmaine.com photo

Actress and progressive activist Susan Sarandon appears at a Bernie Sanders rally in Maine last month. Sarandon has taken heat from the Billarybots/”liberal” thought police for apparently having stated during an interview on MSNBC that “some people” believe that a Trump presidency would bring about a progressive revolution — and, worse, for having declined to state that she’ll vote for Billary Clinton in November if Billary is the Democratic Party presidential candidate. So much for freedom of speech and freedom of choice; the Billarybots will have none of that. No, they want a very narrow band of possible public political discussion, which must always be pro-Billary, and they expect a veritable pledge of allegiance to Queen Billary. Susan Sarandon doesn’t speak for all of us Berners, of course, but speaks for herself — and it’s her constitutional right to speak her mind, and for the most part I agree with her.

I’ll sound like I’m making a playground taunt, but I still must ask Billary Clinton: What’s the matter? Are you a ’fraidy cat?

See, in early February, Bernie Sanders agreed to an additional presidential debate, this one just before the New Hampshire primary. He didn’t have to agree to it; he was leading Billary handily in the New Hampshire polls, so politically, he certainly didn’t need the debate. (Indeed, he went on to win New Hampshire, garnering 60.4 percent of the vote.)

The Billary campaign had taunted Bernie about participating in the last-minute, added-on February 4 debate in New Hampshire — there already had been a debate in the state on December 19 — and Bernie agreed to the last-minute, added-on debate, as long as three more debates were scheduled in addition to it, bringing the total to 10 debates from the originally planned paltry six debates.

So we’re eight debates down and two to go — only the exact dates of debates Nos. 9 and 10 never were agreed upon; it was only agreed that there would be one debate in April and one in May. Nor were the locations of debates Nos. 9 and 10 ever set; the Democratic National Committee’s website still shows that the two debates will be held sometime in April and in May — somewhere.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign has challenged Billary Clinton’s to hold the April debate somewhere in the state of New York before the state’s primary election on April 19.

Team Billary has resisted this challenge to the point that I’d wondered whether they would honor the agreement to hold an April and a May debate at all. After all, playing “tone” police, they’ve whined that Bernie has been too “negative” — and have appeared poised to use that utterly bullshit excuse to perhaps back out of the remaining two debates entirely.

On BernieSanders.com today was posted an update titled “Sanders Welcomes Clinton Agreement on New York Debate,” but the update notes only that

… After her campaign opposed a New York debate for over a month, Clinton told reporters at a campaign stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin, that she was open to the idea of debating Sanders in Brooklyn.

The Sanders campaign hailed the development as a victory for Democratic voters everywhere and for New York voters in particular.

The Clinton campaign’s earlier position was that the April debate agreed upon by both campaigns should be held after the New York primary. In recent days, one Clinton operative suggested the debate might not happen at all if Sanders did not change his “tone.” …

This sounds like it’s far from an actual “agreement” by Billary to debate Bernie in New York before April 19, and no such debate has been announced by the DNC, so as far as I’m concerned, as I type this sentence it’s not happening yet.

Again, Bernie agreed to the last-minute, added-on February 4 debate in New Hampshire when he was leading there, and Real Clear Politics right now has Billary leading in New York by more than 30 percentage points, so she has zero reason to refuse to debate there before April 19 — except that perhaps she’s chicken. (Yes, I can do the playground taunt from time to time.)

Finally, a word on Susan Sarandon’s recent “controversial” remarks on Donald Trump on MSNBC. First, if you watch the actual clip, you’ll see how much her one short remark has been taken out of context, but her actual words are: “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the [progressive (I presume)] revolution immediately if he gets in, then things will really, you know, explode.”

Her horrified pundit-interviewer, Chris Hayes, asks her, “Don’t you think that’s dangerous?”

She responds that our status quo is dangerous. She states:

“… If you think that it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re not in touch with the status quo. The status quo is not working, and I think that it’s dangerous to think we can continue the way we are, with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights, and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around, because the country is not in good shape. If you’re in the middle class, it’s disappearing. …”

(Indeed. Billary herself, however, proclaims that “America has never stopped being great.” Besides being a Reaganesque propaganda point, of course America has been great for Billary, whose entire political career has consisted of selling us commoners out for her own gain [and her cronies’ gain]. We commoners, however, have had a very different experience of the United States of America, whether it’s popular or “patriotic” to point that fact out or not. [In my book, it’s incredibly patriotic to point out one’s nation’s flaws, with the aim of strengthening the nation by so doing.])

I agree with Sarandon’s analysis of our political predicament, for the most part.

It indeed is possible — probably even probable — that a President Trump would usher in an actual progressive revolution much more quickly than such a revolution ever would occur under a President Billary — whose political role for her corporate sponsors, of course, always has been to forestall such a revolution for as long as possible, after all.

(One tactic in forestalling such a revolution, for example, is to emphasize identity politics and social wedge issues, you see, rather than to discuss income disparity and other socioeconomic issues. Politicos dutifully upholding the socioeconomic status quo must forever keep the attention of the masses diverted as much as is possible.

Donald Trump uses the scapegoat, such as the Mexican and the Muslim, whereas Billary uses other distractions, such as “feminism” and race, pandering to women, to non-whites, to non-heterosexuals, et. al. [Yes, pandering, because in the end Billary cares only about Billary.])

If it comes to it, the choice between Billary Clinton and The Donald, then, it seems to me, if I interpret Sarandon’s words correctly, would be the choice between a progressive revolution that is much more likely to happen under a fascist demagogue like Der Fuehrer Donald than it is under a stay-the-course, status-quo-lovin’ DINO like Billary Clinton, or to suffer under four or even eight more years of another DINO president, in which the nation continues to decline and we commoners continue to languish in this years-long decline facilitated by the Democratic Party as well as the Repugnican Tea Party (a.k.a. the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party).

Do we dare risk significant change coming out of the chaos of a revolution? What if the bad guys win the revolution? A progressive outcome, after all, isn’t guaranteed in an all-out revolution, is it?

So do we risk all-out revolution, with only the possibility of positive change, or do we stick with the known, which is that we keep languishing in a system of (among other things) obscene income inequality and environmental degradation? Do we trade a long and slow — but sure — death for a possible quicker death or an actual return to good health?

It has indeed come to this choice, it seems to me, and at this point, I’m leaning more toward a Trump-inspired revolution than four or eight more years of the same languishing, the same, slow, downhill slide for us commoners under a President Billary, under a Democratic Party establishment that sold us out years ago, no later than in the 1990s, when the first President Clinton was behind the wheel of the ship of state.

A revolution would be like cutting off the gangrenous limb quickly: unpleasant and very painful and very shocking, to be sure, but quite possibly if not probably life-saving.

Not cutting the gangrenous limb off, however, would mean a slow, certain death.

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‘Fringe’ candidate Bernie Sanders takes three more states today, totaling 14

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Wins in Utah and Idaho on Tuesday and wins in Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii today show progressive presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strong in the western as well as the northern states. (Sanders’ wins are noted in green on the map above, while Billary Clinton’s are noted in golden yellow.) Note that the difference between Bernie and Billary in the western state of Nevada was only 5.3 percent — and that Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts and Missouri were even closer, with not even a 0.5 percent difference between the two candidates in two of those states and not even a full 2 percent difference in the other two. (And note that for all intents and purposes I consider Arizona not part of the West, but part of the South, replete with incredible voter suppression; so fucked up was Arizona’s presidential primary election on Tuesday that we’ll probably never know the actual will of the voters of that backasswards state, since we’ll never know how many of them never even were able to cast a ballot, being unable to stand in line for hours.]) The lower right-hand corner of the graphic above indicates that Bernie won the most votes cast by Democrats Abroad

PredictIt.org, a prediction market website, doesn’t have Billary Clinton winning a state until April 19, when she is predicted to win New York state (which she carpetbaggingly represented in the U.S. Senate for eight years last decade).

Until then, PredictIt.org predicts that Bernie Sanders will win Hawaii today (Hawaii has yet to be called, but I’m confident that it will be called for Bernie), after his wins today in Alaska and Washington state (which have been called for him), and then will move on to win Wisconsin on April 5 and Wyoming on April 9.

Then, admittedly, it should look tougher for Bernie after that.

Again, Billary is predicted to win New York on April 19, and then on April 26, five more states weigh in: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Unfortunately, right now PredictIt.org has Billary winning all five of those states, but that’s a full month away from today, which can be a long time in politics, so we’ll see.

In any event, for a “fringe” candidate, Bernie Sanders thus far is kicking ass.

Note that Howard Dean, who was a political rock star 12 years ago, won only one state in the Democratic Party presidential primary race of 2004, his home state of Vermont (he also won the District of Columbia). In that race John Edwards won two states (North Carolina and South Carolina) and Wesley Clark won one (Oklahoma), while John Kerry won every other state.

Compare Vermonters Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders, and you have to admit that Bernie is doing much, much better than Dean did. (And Bernie calls himself a “democratic socialist”!)

That said, Dean did create the progressive wave upon which opportunist Barack Obama rode into the White House, co-opting Dean’s message with his (bullshit-we-know-now) message of “hope” and “change.”

Obama’s centrist/center-right, largely caretaker presidency has been an unfortunate, eight-year detour for the progressive movement, but Bernie Sanders’ remarkable progress thus far demonstrates, I believe, that if we progressives can’t retake the Democratic Party and take the White House this year, we can accomplish that within a decade or so.

As I’ve noted, Barry Goldwater’s run in 1964 paved the way for Ronald Reagan.

P.S. Real Clear Politics shows that right now Billary Clinton has only a single-digit lead over Bernie Sanders here in my home state of California, which offers more pledged delegates than does any other state (a whopping 475 of them) — and which (along with five other states) votes last in the nation, on June 7 (with the exception of the District of Columbia, which votes on June 14).

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Bernie Sanders, the true Democrat in the race, has zero reason to drop out

Updated below

People wait in line to attend a rally for Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I- Vt., Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Scott Sorensen, of Echo Park, sticks his face in a Bernie Sanders sign before at rally for the Democratic presidential candidate, Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Associated Press photos

People line up to see Bernie Sanders today in Los Angeles, above, and a mural of Bernie on a building is shown today in Philadelphia, below. California doesn’t hold its presidential primary election until June 7, and Pennsylvania doesn’t vote until April 26, but the anti-democratic Billarybots want to shut the whole thing down long before then; they’d love for Billary Clinton to be declared the de facto winner of the Democratic Party presidential nomination right now, when 21 states still have yet to vote or caucus and when she is still shy of 1,160 pledged delegates that would bring her to the magic number of 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination.

People walk past a mural of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Philadelphia. Officials say they erred in issuing a violation to the building owner over the mural. Philly.com reports the city Department of Licenses and Inspections said Tuesday that the mural of the Vermont senator is political speech, not an advertisement, so the mural can stay. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Associated Press photo

As it stands right now, Bernie Sanders thus far has won 920 pledged delegates in the 29 states that have held presidential caucuses and presidential primary elections, and Billary Clinton has won 1,223 pledged delegates. That’s Bernie’s 42.9 percent to Billary’s 57.1 percent of pledged/democratically earned delegates.

That’s a difference of 14.2 percent, a sizeable difference but hardly indicative of overwhelming love for Billary within the Democratic Party (Dems and those who lean Dem), and we still have 21 states to go, including my state, California, the nation’s most populous state.

Despite that, many if not most of the Billarybots have been calling for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race already.

You know, it sure would be nice for those of us metaphorically standing in the latter half of the food line not to be told that we’re all out of food, so that we’ll have to go without.

Yet, again, many if not even most of the Billarybots, with incredibly anti-democratic sentiment, would have Bernie Sanders drop out now and just hand the race to Billary, even though you must win 2,383 delegates to sew up the Democratic Party presidential nomination — and Billary is “only” 1,160 (pledged) delegates shy of that magic number.

Yes, there are the so-called “super-delegates,” the Democratic Party bigwigs – 715 of them – who may cast their vote for the candidate of their choice at the party convention in Philadelphia in late July. (They’re also called “unpledged” delegates because they may change their mind after they already have promised one candidate their support. Thus far Billary has 467 unpledged delegates to Bernie’s 26.)

Even the Repugnican Tea Party, which is no fan of a fair democratic process (see Bush vs. Gore, for example), recognizes how deeply undemocratic it would be for its own “super-delegates” to vote against the will of the people; Wikipedia notes that “Republican Party super-delegates are obliged to vote for their state’s popular vote winner.”

Of course, this rule, while wonderfully democratic, makes “super-delegates” pretty unnecessary, from what I can tell; but, of course, “super-delegates” should be eliminated altogether.

Democratic Party “super-delegates” consist mostly of Democratic U.S. representatives, Democratic U.S. senators, Democratic U.S. governors and members of the Democratic National Committee – none of whom should possess the power (at least collectively, anyway), to override the will of the voters in any of the states. (Which, again, apparently is something that even the generally anti-democratic Repugnican Tea Party traitors have recognized.)

Should Bernie Sanders manage to ultimately win more pledged delegates than Billary wins, but then the “super-delegates” give Billary the win anyway at the party convention, the already ossified, obsolete Democratic Party will drive another nail into its own coffin — perhaps the final nail.

A President Billary put into office in such an anti-democratic way would be a politically weak president, not having earned the majority support of us, the people, the party’s base. (Not that she minds; she apparently just wants to be president, no matter how that happens, not entirely unlike was the case for George W. Bush in 2000.)

I’ve heard lots of bullshit rationales for why Bernie Sanders should drop out already, including that his remaining in the race only hurts Billary. Please. Billary hurts Billary, so let’s not turn Bernie Sanders into a scapegoat for Billary’s massive shortcomings.

There are far more reasons for Bernie to stay in the race than to drop out now.

For one, again, neither candidate has reached the magic number of 2,383 delegates to clinch the nomination. That’s a pretty fucking compelling reason not to end the race now.

For another, Bernie Sanders polls much better than Billary Clinton does.

In terms of favorability, Bernie is liked more than he is disliked by all American voters by double digits in recent polls. Billary, on the other hand, is disliked more than she is liked by all American voters – by double digits in most recent polls. (A CBS News/New York Times poll of more than 1,000 registered voters throughout the nation taken within the past week, for example, shows that 52 percent have an unfavorable view of Billary, while only 31 percent have a favorable view of her – a gap of 21 percent.)

That Billary is so widely despised throughout the nation certainly accounts for why Bernie Sanders does better than she does in the match-up polling against the top two Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Real Clear Politics’ averages of the presidential match-up polls as I type this sentence have Billary beating Trump by 11.4 percent – but Bernie beating Trump by 16.2 percent. And RCP’s averages of the match-up polls have Billary beating Cruz by only 2.4 percent – but Bernie beating Cruz by 7.5 percent.

Yet, the Billarybots tell us, we must rally behind Billary because she’s the only one who can ensure that the White House remains in Democratic hands.

The polling says something entirely otherwise, and it says it loudly and clearly: More American voters don’t like Billary than do like Billary – by a double-digit margin – while the reverse is true for Bernie. And Bernie blows both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz out of the water, whereas I could see Ted Cruz beating Billary – and perhaps Donald Trump, too, especially if yet another Clinton scandal and/or an indictment of Billary emerges during the general-election campaign. Having Billary be the party’s standard-bearer in November is a substantial risk to take.

If the goal is to ensure that a Democrat retains the White House come January 2017, the argument that Billary Clinton is the strongest candidate to accomplish that goal isn’t supported by that inconvenient thing called reality.

Billary Clinton apparently is beloved by Democratic Party hacks, who apparently account for the only 31 percent or so of Americans who report that they like her, but she isn’t even liked, much more loved, by the rest of us.

Finally, I’ve seen Internet commentary that some take issue with the pointing out of the simple fact that Billary has done best in the South, which isn’t exactly a Democratic bastion.

It’s fair game to point this out. First of all, it’s just the truth. Second of all, a Democrat in a deep-red state usually is center-right. (I know this; I lived in the very red, very backasswards state of Arizona the first three decades of my life.) The politics and the ideology of a typical self-identified Democrat in a solidly red state usually is the equivalent of what we’d call a moderate Repugnican elsewhere.

And what about on the other side? What if a Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate in a presidential primary race did well primarily in the blue states and more poorly in the red states? What would the members of the party think and say of this candidate? They’d say that he or she obviously was not a true conservative, or he or she would do much better in the conservative states.

So why can’t we point out the simple fact that Billary does best in conservative, not progressive, states whose Democrats, for the most part, are center-right? And that she does best in states that almost never elect Democrats to the White House?*

Oh, yeah: Because we’re supposed to protect her. Because she’s the best candidate because she’s the strongest candidate.

Yes, she’s so strong that we must dutifully protect her (because, you see, she’s vulnerable).

And we’re to dutifully bend over for the members of the Democratic Party establishment in perpetuity, no matter how much they continue to sell us out to our plutocratic/corporatocratic overlords and continue to drag the party to the right to the point that ours now essentially is a one-party “democracy.”

We’re to support the Democratic Party establishment even when it appears poised to give Billary Clinton the presidential nomination (with the “super-delegates”) even if a majority of those who vote and caucus in the primary season elect Bernie Sanders over her.

Fuck. That. Shit. I, for one, am way beyond done with the “lesser”-of-two-evils, “Who-are-you-going-to-vote-for,-the-Republican?” bullshit.

It’s Bernie or bust, bitches.

I steadfastly refuse to follow the Billarybots off of the cliff toward which they’re headed.

In the June 7 California presidential primary, I’m voting for Bernie Sanders, even if he has dropped out of the race by then (his name still will appear on the ballot, since it will have been too late to have removed it from the ballot). 

And on November 8, if Bernie Sanders’ name does not appear on my ballot for the office of U.S. president, I’ll write his name in, or perhaps I’ll vote for the Green Party candidate. 

But I won’t vote for Billary Clinton.

Let her remain the darlin’ of the South.

*Here are the histories of the results of the presidential elections from 2000 to 2012 in each of the states thus far contested in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race, with R indicating that the Repugnican presidential candidate won for that year, and D indicating that the Democratic presidential candidate won for that year. (Source is here.)

States won thus far by Billary Clinton:

  • Alabama: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Arizona: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Arkansas: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Florida: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Georgia: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Illinois: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Louisiana: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Massachusetts: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Mississippi: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Nevada: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • North Carolina: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: R
  • Ohio: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • South Carolina: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Tennessee: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Texas: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Virginia: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D

States won thus far by Bernie Sanders:    

  • Colorado: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Idaho: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Kansas: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Maine: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Michigan: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Minnesota: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Nebraska: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • New Hampshire: 2000: R; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Oklahoma: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Utah: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R
  • Vermont: 2000: D; 2004: D; 2008: D; 2012: D

Virtual ties (states with less than a 0.5 percent difference between the two candidates, although both states have been declared as “wins” for Billary):

  • Iowa: 2000: D; 2004: R; 2008: D; 2012: D
  • Missouri: 2000: R; 2004: R; 2008: R; 2012: R

Note that 10 of the 18 states that Billary has won/“won” (including Iowa and Missouri) were won by the Repugnican presidential candidate in all four elections from 2000 to 2012, while only two states that she has won were won by the Democratic presidential candidate in all four elections from 2000 to 2012.

Compare that to Bernie’s performance, in which four of the 11 states that he has won were won by the Democratic presidential candidate in all four elections from 2000 to 2012.

(If you want to do the R/D ratio [counting all of the Rs and Ds that you see above], you’ll see that for Billary it is 52 Rs to 20 Ds and that for Bernie it’s 23 Rs to 21 Ds.)

Keep in mind that while Billary does great in the states where they consistently elect Repugnican presidential candidates, these are the very same states that won’t vote for Billary (or for Bernie) in November.

And here’s what the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race map looks like thus far (Bernie’s wins are in green and Billary’s wins/“wins” are in golden-yellow):

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Thus far it looks an awful lot like this map:

Yes, that is significant.

This is a Democratic Party presidential primary race, after all.

Update: I see that Camille Paglia, writing for Salon.com, thinks much like I do. In a piece that’s mostly about the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates (for whom I don’t share her analytic interest), she writes:

… The now widespread claims that Sanders voters will automatically vote for Hillary in the general election [if she wins the nomination] aren’t true in my case: I will never cast my vote for a corrupt and incompetent candidate whose every policy is poll-tested in advance.

If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I will write in Sanders or vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, as I did in 2012 as a protest against Obama’s unethical use of drones and the racially divisive tone of his administration. [I also voted for Stein in 2012, as I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Obama again, not after his relentlessly, ubiquitously promised “hope” and “change” never materialized. (However, I wouldn’t accuse Obama of having had a “racially divisive tone,” as I don’t see that to be the truth.)]

Voters have a tremendous opportunity this year to smash the tyrannical, money-mad machinery of both parties. A vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote for the future, while a vote for Hillary Clinton is a reward to the Democratic National Committee for its shameless manipulation and racketeering. A primary vote for Donald Trump is a rebuke to the arrogantly insular GOP establishment, which if he wins the nomination will lose its power and influence overnight.

But a Trump-Hillary death match will be a national nightmare, a race to the bottom for both parties, as Democratic and Republican operatives compete to dig up the most lurid and salacious dirt on both flawed candidates. We’ll be sadistically trapped in an endless film noir, with Trump as Citizen Kane, Don Corleone and Scarface and Hillary as Norma Desmond, Mommie Dearest and the Wicked Witch of the West.

However, there is one way out to ensure a rational, future-oriented, issues-centered presidential campaign: Democrats, vote for Bernie Sanders!

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88 years for a U.S. president to travel 90 miles; Cubans still have more to lose

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (Cubadebate/Ismael Francisco via AP)

Associated Press photo

The caption for the AP news photo above reads: “President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, [today]. Obama’s trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro’s ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries.”

The caption for the AP news photo below reads: “A poster features portraits of Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama and reads in Spanish, ‘Welcome to Cuba’ outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, [on Thursday]. Obama is scheduled to travel to the island [today], the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years.”

Steps Obama has taken to ease US restrictions on Cuba

Associated Press photo

If I can’t say much that’s positive about the Obama years — and I can’t* we at least can note that today Barack Obama historically became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit our island neighbor of Cuba. (Before today, Calvin Coolidge last visited Cuba, in 1928...)

It is pathetic that the United States remains so largely inimical to a nation only 90 miles away from it, but the history of Cuba and the United States (and Spain, too) is, um, complicated.

In its report on Cuba for 2015, Human Rights Watch noted:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

There are elections in Cuba, in which those 16 years and older may vote, but as only the Communist Party is allowed to exist, these elections are fairly bullshit; Cubans are allowed to chose only from those who pay fealty to the Communist Party (again, the only party that there is).

That said, here in the United States of America we have elections, but since the corporations give most of our elected officials obscene amounts of campaign cash and other monetary rewards to do their bidding instead of to act in the public good, and since this treasonous bullshit has been going on at least since the first (and hopefully the last) President Clinton, our corporately owned and controlled parties have become pretty indistinguishable — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party, I think of them lovingly — and so our so-called democracy is pretty fucking hollow, too.

For all intents and purposes, we Americans pretty much have one-party rule, as do the Cubans.

How else to explain that the lives of us American commoners never get better? If we had an actual democracy — a socialist democracy — instead of a corporatocracy/kleptocracy, our lives would actually improve.

Wingnuts, who want to turn Cuba into a wage-slave capitalist nation like the United States is (and who also, of course, want to turn Cuba into an island resort for wealthier Americans, as it used to be), routinely uber-hyperbolically claim that the Castro regime routinely executes its political opponents, but I see no mention in the Human Rights Watch report on Cuba linked to above that executions continue there.

(And, of course, our buddy Saudi Arabia continues to execute people — by public beheading, no less — and we Americans are perfectly fine with that, because we want fuel for our gas-guzzlers.

Also, I should add, the Cuban government since 2001 has had a moratorium on capital punishment, from which it made one exception in 2003, when it executed three people. The United States executed 22 people alone in 2015. [Texas is the most bloodthirsty state, having executed more than 525 people since 1976, whereas since 1976, 16 states have executed fewer than eight people each.])

Wikipedia does report that in the early years of the Castro regime there apparently were executions, with estimates ranging from around 220 executions from 1959 to 1987 (per Amnesty International) to many thousands (most of these latter accusers are anti-Castro wingnuts with an ax to grind, I surmise).

Wikipedia notes that

The Cuban government justified such measures on the grounds that the application of the death penalty in Cuba against war criminals and others followed the same procedure as that seen in the trials by the Allies in the Nuremberg trials.

Some Cuban scholars maintain that had the government not applied severe legislation against the torturers, terrorists, and other criminals employed by the Batista regime, the people themselves would have taken justice into their own hands.

and that

The vast majority of those executed following the 1959 [Castro] revolution were policemen, politicians and informers of the [Fulgencio] Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.

Scholars generally agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused, but that the trials did not follow due process.

Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictator whom Fidel Castro and crew overthrew in 1959, is credited with having executed anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of his political opponents, but because he was right-wing, the right wing doesn’t talk about that.

Besides, to the wingnuts, right-wing dictators aren’t really dictators, since they are right-wing — as long as they obey American capitalists, that is (usually, this means handing over their nations’ natural resources [and human resources, in terms of very cheap labor] to American corporations for their profiteering, no matter how much this harms the host [“host” as in the victim of a parasite] nations) — and surely the left-wing rabble whom right-wing dictators have slaughtered had it coming.

So Cuba has a long way to go in terms of human rights — it must move to allow freer speech and political dissent, including allowing the existence of opposition parties and holding real, meaningful elections — but I understand, I believe, why the Cuban government is so closed off and so authoritarian: It knows that if the capitalists from the north can get their greedy fingers on the island and turn it into a wage-slave nation in which only a few prosper while the working-poor masses suffer from the obscene profiteering of the few, they will.

For this reason, as I have written**, while I welcome at least some opening up of Cuba (where I’d like to visit one day), I fear for the people of Cuba, too, lest the virulent pestilence that is anti-democratic wage-slave capitalism (masquerading as “democracy” and “freedom”) infect their sovereign island nation from the north.

The Cuban people would fare worse as wage slaves to American (and other) corporations than they fare now. 

Capitalistic oppression is no better, in terms of what it does to the human spirit, than is (big-“C”) Communist oppression.

*As I’ve noted here a million times, he had the opportunity and the political capital in 2009 and 2010 to push through a progressive agenda, and he spectacularly declined to do so, and once the Repugnican Tea Party traitors took back the House in 2010, that meant gridlock for the remainder of Obama’s presidency (and “Obamacare,” his “signature” “achievement,” contains virtually nothing that the for-profit health-insurance industry didn’t want it to contain).

**I wrote back in December 2014:

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’tbe an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, 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? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) 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?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.

I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins.

In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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Radio silence from Bernie’s campaign thus far today, but I never shut up

Updated below

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

This is how the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary battle looks today, after the primary elections in five states yesterday: like a fungus taking over most of the nation, turning what’s alive and green into what’s dead and golden-yellow. (The green states are those that Bernie Sanders has won, and the golden-yellow states are the states that Billary Clinton has won/“won.”) This rather dismal map is why, I surmise, Bernie’s campaign has been in radio silence, at least in term of its e-mails to its supporters, overnight and thus far today.

Given how Michigan’s primary-election polling right up to election day there eight days ago was showing Billary Clinton winning the state by around 20 percent (Bernie won it by 1.5 percent), I’d figured that Bernie Sanders would sweep the other “Rust Belt” states yesterday.

Illinois, Missouri and Ohio polling all had Billary ahead of Bernie by no more than single digits right up to yesterday’s voting, so, using Michigan as the test case, I’d figured that Bernie probably would win all three of those states, even if only by a rather small margin in one or all three of them.

I had chalked up Michigan’s polling snafu to something like pollsters’ bias for Billary and/or polling techniques that undercounted Bernie’s support and overcounted Billary’s, such as by not contacting enough respondents who have cell phones and no land lines.

I truly believed that this polling error in Michigan, dubbed by the political polling geeks as the biggest polling error in a primary election in modern political history, most likely would apply to the states surrounding Michigan also; Bernie would win at least two of the five states that were contested yesterday — probably three states, but two at the very minimum.

Instead, he fairly hands down lost four of them (Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio, although Illinois was within 2 percentage points) and he probably lost Missouri, too, by only a fraction of 1 percent. (I’ve yet to see Missouri definitively called.)

Politico right now gives these results from yesterday’s Democratic Party presidential primary elections:

  • Florida (99.9 percent reporting): Billary 64.5 percent, Bernie 33.3 percent
  • Illinois (98.8 percent reporting): Billary 50.5 percent, Bernie 48.7 percent
  • Missouri (99.9 percent reporting): Billary 49.6 percent, Bernie 49.4 percent
  • North Carolina (100 percent reporting): Billary 54.6 percent, Bernie 40.8 percent
  • Ohio (100 percent reporting): Billary 56.5 percent, Bernie 42.7 percent

Where to begin?

So note that with the exception of Florida, Bernie garnered somewhere between 40.8 percent and 49.4 percent of the votes that were cast yesterday. A sizeable chunk of the voters in four of the five states that voted yesterday wanted someone other than Billary Clinton to represent them in November.

I don’t think that, based upon the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary and caucus results thus far, we accurately can call Billary an overwhelmingly beloved candidate, except in the South. (I mean, the South…)

Bernie Sanders the frumpy (small-“d”!) democratic socialist with that hair never was supposed to do even this well.

Billary Clinton has had the Democratic establishment blindly obediently behind her from Day One, including her bosom buddy Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the national party, making all of the presidential-race decisions (including keeping the anti-democratic system of the “super-delegates,” who are expected to fall in line with the party establishment, and tightly controlling the debate schedule), as well as disproportionately favorable media coverage (Google it — Billary has been covered much more than Bernie has been covered, but of course The Grand Spectacle that is Der Fuehrer Donald has trumped both of them in terms of media coverage, which is not shocking, given the nexus among our corporately owned and controlled “news” media and the corporatocracy/kleptocracy that is our “democracy” and Der Fuehrer Trump — yes, we are skipping along the yellow brick road to The Fantastical Land of Fascism).

Anyway, the Bernie Sanders campaign normally sends out a billion e-mails a day (seriously, at least three or four a day, even five or six, I do believe, on some days, especially since the primary elections and caucuses began), but I’ve yet to receive a single e-mail from the campaign since last night’s devastation.

Again, Bernie got a lot of votes last night, and delegates, too (it helps Bernie that all 50 states on the Democratic side allocate the number of pledged delegates proportionally, that there are no winner-takes-all states in the Dem presidential primary), but again, it’s the perception and the spin that matter, and our “news” media, which have only our commoners’ best interests at heart, of course, aren’t going to report that “Populist Bernie Sanders, for an outsider, sure garnered an impressive amount of votes and delegates yesterday.” No, they’re reporting that Billary Clinton Won All Five States in a Devastating Blowout!, even though the difference in Missouri right now stands at 0.2 percent.

There is no room for nuance in the United States of America, so even 0.2 percent is a part of A yuuuuuge win!

So I’m guessing that the reason for the radio silence from the Bernie Sanders campaign today (at least overnight and thus far this morning) is that they’re still assessing what message they can and should put out there after Bernie didn’t win even two states yesterday. (I’m guessing that Billary will maintain her razor-thin lead in Missouri [I heard on NPR talk of a possible recount of the state], meaning that history will record that Bernie won no state yesterday.)

Maybe Bernie is even taking a time-out to consider whether or not he is going to continue his campaign. I’ll still support him if he does, but the path to the nomination for him at this point looks grim to impossible.

What I know for sure is that I can’t support Billary Clinton.

No, it’s not that I’m being obstinate or a sore loser. And no, Billarybots, it’s not that I’m a misogynist, fuck you (and your toxic, blind and stupid identity politics) very much.

I had very much wanted progressive U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run, but she did not.

When Warren talks about standing up for us commoners, her record supports that; she is quite credible. The exact opposite is true of Billary. Bernie was the most progressive and most viable candidate who did run, and thus I have supported him.

(According to your “logic” and sense of “justice,” Billarybots, I should have supported the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 because Sarah Palin is a woman.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t do it for me. Aside from how much her demeanor, dripping with insincerity and cold calculation, turns me off, I cannot get past her pathetic pathological lying for personal political gain, which we saw in the 2008 cycle and have seen in this cycle, especially recently, when Bernie peaked and she felt desperate, and I know way too much about her past of pretending to care so very, very much about the disadvantaged and downtrodden but then taking millions and millions of dollars from the bad actors who are harming all of us.

Billary says whatever she perceives is the most politically advantageous thing to say in the  moment, and in the United States of Amnesia, it works.

To give one example that’s near and dear to me, she didn’t support same-sex marriage (publicly, at least) until March 18, 2013, for fuck’s sake, just a little more than two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that to deny same-sex marriage anywhere within the nation is to violate the U.S. Constitution.

Billary is hardly significantly ahead of the curve, and what we need in a president or other leader is someone who is significantly ahead of the curve.

A leader helps make change, a leader nudges the herd in the right direction (even if to do so is politically risky); a leader doesn’t jump on board only once it’s clear that the herd already is going in a certain, different direction.

And a leader doesn’t flip-flop, because the truth doesn’t flip-flop; it remains fixed. Politifact says of Billary, “Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage in [March] 2013 after more than a decade of opposing it.”

And Billary’s latest act was proclaiming on television how great Nancy Reagan and her husband were on raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the 1980s, when the fact is that Ronald Reagan didn’t give a speech on the topic until May 1987, after more than 25,000 Americans, most of them gay men, already had died in the plague.

Billary is more like the Reagans than an actual Democrat — she always comes to the game quite late, after others who are far more brave and hard-working than she ever will be already have done all of the hardest work, and then pretends that she was on board with the right side the whole time. That’s not leadership. That’s craven opportunism.

Billary’s bullshit works, however, with millions of people — to a large degree she has the LGBT community in her pantsuit pocket because its politically and historically ignorant members actually buy her bullshit (ditto for the black community and other groups of historically oppressed individuals whose majorities support Billary); she says the right things, and that’s enough for the low-information voter.

This chicken, for one, won’t support Colonel Sanders, no matter how much sweet talk he spews forth or how much he tells me that the guy who owns Chick-fil-A is even worse than he is.

So in a Bernie-free/post-Bernie presidential campaign season, I’d pay attention to the news of the ongoing political race, but would I feel that I have a real stake in it? No. Neither Billary Clinton nor whoever the Repugnican Tea Party candidate will be (Donald Trump, most likely, but perhaps Ted Cruz) has my best interests at heart, and I’m quite clear on that fact.

Without Bernie in the race, I don’t have a horse that I can bring myself to root for.

That said, I still think that I would rather that Bernie not win the party’s presidential nomination than to go on to the general election in November and lose by a considerable margin (not that he would; I’m just speaking of such a big loss in a hypothetical sense). Because such a big loss would put Bernie, in the conventional “wisdom,” into the category of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis (the presidential candidate who was unelectable because he was too far too the left) and thus probably would shut out progressivism within the Democratic Party for some time to come. (Progressivism already has been shut out from the party since the Clintonistas took over the party in the 1990s.)

What might actually help progressivism the most in the long term, actually, would be for Billary Clinton to go on to the November general election and then lose.

That should be, at long last, the stake in the hearts of the “Democrats” who sold out the party to big-money interests long ago, at least as far back in the 1990s (but actually really starting in the mid-1980s), when Bill Clinton and his wife and the right-wing, now-defunct-thank-Goddess “Democratic” “Leadership” Council coldly calculated that the best way to beat the Repugnicans was to become just like the Repugnicans.

Again for the record: I don’t relish a President Trump and of course I never would vote for someone like he. Don’t get me wrong. (But my best guess is that President Trump would be impeached and removed from office before he actually could destroy the planet in World War III.)

But a President Trump might, ironically, at long last save the Democratic Party from itself and return it to its progressive roots. Der Fuehrer Donald’s election just might make the Democrats realize how incredibly fucking stupid they were by picking Billary over Bernie.

(After all, in the match-up polling right now, Billary beats Trump by 6.3 percent, whereas Bernie beats Trump by 10 percent. Further, in the match-up polling right now Ted Cruz actually beats Billary by almost 1 percent, whereas Bernie beats Cruz by almost 10 percent.

And more Americans of all political persuasions like Bernie more than they dislike him by double digits, whereas recent polls show that anywhere from 6 percent to 21 percent more Americans of all political persuasions dislike Billary than like her.)

If President Trump doesn’t cause World War III and inadvertently saves the Democratic Party, then I’d say that his presidency would have been worth it.

Update (Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:50 a.m. Pacific Time): OK, so finally an e-mail from the Bernie campaign, which I received at 10:36 a.m. It reads:

When we started our campaign 10 months ago, Robert, I don’t think you could find a single person who would believe you if you said Bernie Sanders would win nine states by this point in the campaign.

Last night we beat all the polls in almost every state. We earned a significant number of delegates, and are on track for the nomination. Here’s why:

What you will not hear from the political and media establishment is that, based on the primary and caucus schedule for the rest of the race, this is the high water mark for the Clinton campaign. Starting today, the map now shifts dramatically in our favor.

Arizona, Idaho and Utah are up next Tuesday. Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state caucus the Saturday after. Then it’s Wisconsin’s turn to vote.

That means we have an extremely good chance to win nearly every state that votes in the next month. If we continue to stand together, we’re just getting started for our political revolution….

No one said a political revolution would be easy. We are up against a billionaire class and super-PACs that are determined to see us lose.

The fact remains that Hillary Clinton’s lead will never be as large as it is right now. From here on out we keep chipping away until we take the lead. But that can only happen if we keep fighting, and that’s why your $3 contribution to our campaign is so important.

The whole country will be watching to see how we respond in this moment. Let’s send a message that millions of Americans are just as ready to fight for an economy that works for everyone as we were when this campaign started 10 months ago.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I’m glad that Bernie is still in it. I’m perfectly fine with him remaining in the race until he or Billary has clinched the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination. If nothing else, if Billary were to be unchallenged from the left from now to the convention, I think that she’d revert right back to her center-right bullshit, figuring that she already had everything wrapped up and so that it were safe to do so.

(No, I don’t believe, even for a nanosecond, that, as some have stupidly asserted, Bernie is permanently moving Billary to the left. Just her rhetoric has shifted leftward — temporarily. [It was just in September that she publicly proclaimed herself to be a moderate and a centrist.] She remains a dyed-in-the-wool [you know, her sheep’s clothing] Repugnican Lite/Democrat in name only.)

All of that said, yesterday’s election results were a considerable blow to Bernie’s campaign, with not a single state yet called for him. Again, in the end it all comes down to the numbers of delegates, but perception in politics is everything. The perception that you’re losing can make you lose and the perception that you’re winning can make you win.

After his stunning losses yesterday, or at least after the perception of them, I feel much less confident about Bernie’s chances today than I did yesterday.

But given the coming shit show, with a fascist leading the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field and a fascist lite leading the Democratic Party presidential field, from the ashes just might emerge a new, truly reformed, actually progressive Democratic Party.

Update (Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time): U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who is running to replace Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate for Florida (Rubio gave up his Senate seat to run for the presidency — d’oh!), recently wrote a pretty good piece for The Huffington Post.

In his piece he maintains that there is

…the second Democratic presidential primary: Democratic Presidential Primary 2.0. It runs from March 16 through June 7. It includes none of the “Old South” states, because they all will have already voted. It includes all of the Pacific states, and all of the “Mountain” states except Colorado and Nevada (which already voted). The biggest prizes are California (545 delegates), New York (291) and Pennsylvania (210).

Democratic presidential primary 2.0 elects a total of 2,033 pledged delegates. If Bernie Sanders wins those races (and delegates) by the same 60-40 margin that he has amassed in primaries and caucuses outside the “Old South” to date, then that will give him an advantage of 407 pledged delegates. That is more — far more — than the current Clinton margin of 223. [Note: Grayson wrote his piece before yesterday’s elections. Billary now has 314 more pledged delegates than Bernie has.]

Almost 700 pledged delegates are chosen on June 7 alone. It seems unlikely that either candidate will accumulate a margin of 700 pledged delegates before then. So this one may come down to the wire.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Again, I’m all for Bernie Sanders going until either he or Billary has hit the magic number of necessary delegates (2,383). There is no reason for him to stop before that has happened.

As I type this sentence, Billary has 1,139 pledged (earned in primary elections and caucuses) delegates and Bernie has 825. Including the “super-delegates,” who may change their minds as to which candidate to support, Billary has 1,606 delegates in all, and Bernie has 851.

If Billary wants the nomination, she needs to earn all 2,383 necessary delegates, in my book. There is no reason for Bernie to walk away now, and I’m in it for him as long as he is in it.

And, of course, as many have pointed out, including the man himself (many times), it’s not about Bernie; it’s about the cause of progressivism, which will continue, regardless of the outcome of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race.

P.S. In a recent Democratic presidential candidate “town hall” (I haven’t watched the “town halls,” but I have watched all of the Dem debates), Bernie Sanders stated that he decided to run as a Democratic candidate instead of as an independent because it’s too difficult to run for the presidency as an independent.

This was nothing new — Bernie had said it before — but it was spun by the pro-Billary media as Bernie “using” (even “hijacking”) the Democratic Party to get to the White House.

Bitches, please.

Bernie Sanders never abandoned the Democratic Party; quite the contrary: the Democratic Party abandoned us progressives, long ago.

The Democratic Party has shriveled and calcified into a pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic shell of its former self, “led” by self-serving assholes (like the Clintons and yes, Barack Obama, too) who have claimed that the traditional Democratic values were lacking and defective and that the Democrats should be more like the Repugnicans — fuck that “opposition party” bullshit! Gotta join ’em to beat em!

All that this has done is to demoralize the party’s traditional base, who with each passing year find it harder and harder to support “Democratic” candidates. They just can’t work up the enthusiasm, and many if not most of them can’t put their finger on why, but many if not most of them still more or less remain loyal to the label, the brand name, anyway, even though it never does them any good, even though their lives never improve.

This pathetic, deteriorating condition can last for only so long; Billary has been hoping that it lasts at least long enough to put her over-privileged baby-boomer ass into the White House. (The baby boomer’s credo is “Get mine [and yours, too!] and get out.”)

Bernie Sanders has done much more for the moribund party than the party ever has done for him; he has injected some life into it. If it weren’t for Bernie, we’d have only Billary; we’d have no cause for hope or enthusiasm in this presidential election cycle whatsofuckingever.

That so many “Democrats” would claim that the progressive Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them demonstrates how far the party has fallen. Bernie should be a corporate whore just like Billary Clinton is, you see; then he would be a “good” “Democrat”!

The Billarybots celebrate Bernie’s demise at their own peril; once the enthusiasm that he has generated is gone, how well would the woefully charismatically challenged Billary fare in November? How many voters could she get to the polls to vote for her? (No, the anti-Trump vote probably wouldn’t be enough for her; the anti-George-W.-Bush vote wasn’t good enough for John Kerry in 2004. That and the voters are, I think, pretty fucking exhausted from being able to cast only anti-votes in this sick and fucking twisted system that we call “democracy.”)

And no, as Salon.com’s Andrew O’Hehir has just written and as I have written, we “Bernie bros” will not go to the dark side and vote for Donald Fucking Trump. That’s a false accusation fully meant to shame us into voting for Billary against our conscience.

But we don’t have to vote for Billary Clinton.

We can vote for someone else — I very well might vote for the Green Party presidential candidate if Billary is the Democratic Party presidential candidate — or we can not vote for president at all. We can and we may do as our conscience dictates, no matter what the Billarybots, who are unencumbered by a conscience, think about it or think about us.

And as Bernie garners the independent vote a lot better than does Billary (more info on that fact at this link, too), how well could she do in a general presidential election, the results of which which the independent voters (not just the minority of voters who are Democratic Party hacks) determine these days?

I sure didn’t predict yesterday’s election results well at all, but you probably can take this prediction to the bank: This Billary Bubble — in which Dem Party hacks stupidly believe that the nation as a whole likes Billary Clinton as much as they do — is going to pop.

Spectacularly.

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Is this the end for Bernie? (If so, at least the epithet ‘Bernie bro’ will go, too…)

The media have called Ohio, one of the five states that held their presidential primary elections today, for Billary Clinton. Delegate counts aside, I think that in order to maintain his post-Michigan momentum, Bernie pretty much needed to win at least three of the five states that held presidential primary elections today.

(The media had already called Florida and North Carolina for Billary before they called Ohio for her too. [She already had been expected to win Florida and probably North Carolina as well.] As I type this sentence, Illinois and Missouri remain to be called.)

There has been a lot of blather lately, led perhaps most prominently by Bill Maher, about a supposed “Bernie or bust” “movement” — that is, Bernie supporters who are staunch in their refusal to support Billary if she, and not Bernie, wins the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Don’t get me wrong; there is “Bernie or bust” sentiment, and it’s probably pretty widespread — I am a “Bernie or buster” — but I wouldn’t call it a “movement.” (Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t see a hashtag as a “movement.”)

This is the deal: Billary Clinton is Repugnican Lite, a Democrat in name only. She lost to Barack Obama in 2008 for a reason. The Democratic Party establishment has held those of us who are left of center as political hostages for many years now. “Who else are you going to vote for? The Republicans?” has been their shtick. As long as we, the people, keep falling for that lesser-of-two-evils bullshit, as long as we keep making it work for the “Democratic” sellouts, they will keep using it against us.

Thus, Bernie or bust.

We true progressives don’t have an unreasonable, petulant “purity test” that the poor, means-well Billary Clinton just can’t pass. That is a gross, intentional mischaracterization of our central complaint. Our central complaint is that we’re beyond sick and fucking tired of being promised “hope” and “change” by a Democratic Party that only delivers even more of the same, that thinks that pandering to certain groups of Americans is the same thing as actually improving the quality of life of the average American. We’re beyond fucking sick and tired of having sweet nothings whispered into our ears by our “Democratic” suitors who only then sell us down the river to our corporate overlords.

This also is the deal: I live in California. If Billary wins the Democratic Party presidential nomination, as she very much appears to be on track to do, in November she will win California and all of its electoral votes, so it won’t fucking matter that I won’t vote for her in November if she’s on the ballot.

(Seriously, people — take a civics class. Or at least educate yourself on the fact that the selection of the U.S. president is determined by the Electoral College, not by the popular vote, so no, in a very blue state like California, I wouldn’t be helping Donald Trump or whichever other demon emerges as the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate by not voting for Billary in November. In November the Democratic presidential candidate will win the highest number of popular votes in California and thus will take all of California’s 55 electoral votes; California effectively already has gone to the Democratic presidential candidate, whether it’s Billary or actually Bernie.)

If you live in a purple or “swing” state, however, and you feel that you must prevent a President Trump, then go ahead and vote for Billary if she’s the “Democratic” presidential candidate in November, even if you don’t like her. Vote your conscience. Just don’t tell me how I must vote, because voting for Billary is against my conscience.

And let me say that as a gay white man, Billary has turned me off from her forever. She and her campaign cravenly have tried to paint Bernie Sanders — who is guilty of being (gasp!) a white man! — as a racist and a misogynist, which is beyond bullshit. (Yes, as I’ve noted before, Bernie Sanders is another white [albeit ethnically Jewish] man, but he also is the most progressive candidate running for the White House, and I always go for the most progressive [but at least minimally viable] presidential candidate.)

And Billary’s recent casual claim that Nancy Reagan (with her husband Ronnie) was just so great on the issue of HIV and AIDS revealed so much about her, about how she always has pandered to minority groups, to the historically oppressed. She wants our money, and she has the Human Rights Campaign licking her labia, so her insincere, pandering tactics sure work to a large degree, but she doesn’t even know the basics of our gay men’s history.

And that’s because she’s just another self-serving plutocrat who doesn’t give a flying fuck about us. She just wants our money and our votes. And she knows that we’re pretty easy to screw out of both. Just say the right focus-grouped things, raise the spectre of the Repugnican bogeyman winning the election, and we lemmings fall into line and fall right over the cliff.

Finally, I must address the term “Bernie bro” (I’ve also seen “brogressive,” although that one never really took off).

Here’s the deal: At least part of the reason that Donald Trump is doing so well is that in the United States of America to a large degree it has become open fucking season on all white men. I have especially seen this here in California, which is, overall, a pretty kick-ass, fairly progressive state, but political correctness can run amok, “victims” can and do become the victimizers (using their supposed personal victimhood as their sword and their shield), and feminism and racial justice do not actually mean that you shit and piss on and punch and kick every white man whom you see, because there is inherent guilt in being a white male.

Feminism grew out of the mistreatment of human beings because of their biological sex. To mistreat males because of their biological sex is wrong, too. Ditto for racism. To mistreat or to disfavor others because they aren’t white is wrong — and it’s wrong to mistreat or to disfavor others because they are white. Similarly, favoring members of your own race over other human beings is racist — regardless of your race. That your racial preference is benefitting rather than harming someone doesn’t make it less racist, and your racially preferential treatment of some probably does harm others, at least in some situations.

(And Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to measure each other based upon the content of our character, not the color of our skin. He didn’t put an asterisk on that that read “*Except for white people.”)

We of the left watch the Repugnican Tea Party sink like the Titanic with Captain Donald at the helm, but toxic identity politics can destroy the Democratic Party, too.

About a third of Americans remain white men. We progressives need good white men in the good fight. They — we — aren’t actually expendable (at least not yet). Not every man is a misogynist and not every white person is a racist. But treat every man like he’s a misogynist and treat every non-white person like he or she is a racist, and you just might succeed in creating an actual misogynist or racist (which very apparently is exactly what you want to do, so that you can keep your poisonous game of toxic identity politics going).

We are a wounded nation, and historically white men have indeed caused much if not most of this pain, but many if not most of the white males alive today are largely if not almost wholly innocent of the ugliness of the past. Let’s not try to keep the pain of the past alive by trying to wound the white males of today for the wrongs done by other white males in the past.

That said, we must continue to stoke diversity and proportional representation, by which I mean that in positions of leadership, from the local level to the global level, we should see different groups represented at least roughly according to their percentage of the population, and we have a long way to go on that. (To give just a few of way too many possible examples, we have only three women on the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court [well, eight-member, for now]; in Congress only one in five members is a woman and only about one in five is non-white; and apparently only four of our sitting state governors aren’t white and only six of our sitting state governors are women [two of whom also are on the list of sitting non-white governors]. And, of course, we’ve yet to have our first female president or our first openly gay male president or our first openly lesbian president or our first Latino president or our first Asian president or…)

White men who run roughshod over others due to a sense of white-male entitlement absolutely need to be called to the carpet, but to make every white man pay the price of other white men’s wrongs is not justice.

And as far as a supposed “Bernie bro” is concerned, I’ve never met one. Seriously. Not one.

The overwhelming percentage of white men who act like “Bernie bros” are said to act — boorishly, thuggishly, bigotedly, etc. — support the Repugnican Tea Party, not the Democratic Party. Donald Trump is their man, not Bernie Sanders. Duh. (Uh-oh — does the use of “duh” make me a “Bernie bro”?)

And if we of the left of center see Der Fuehrer Donald as a problem — and he is, a serious one — then let’s not add to his ranks by pushing even more white males to his side by treating them like they’re already on his side when actually all along they have been on ours.

P.S. Whether or not he wins the Democratic Party presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders has succeeded in shining a spotlight on the walking, talking fraud that is Billary Clinton. And I give him kudos for daring to run against Queen Billary when no other viable left-of-center candidate would do so. (As I’ve noted, Elizabeth Warren didn’t dare to step on Queen Billary’s red cape; though as of late she has been disappointing with her silence, I hope that Warren runs for president in the future.)

The Democratic Party either will become much more like the party that Bernie Sanders has envisioned it to become — much less pro-corporate and much less pro-plutocratic and much more truly populist and truly democratic (with no more rigged presidential selection processes, including the anti-democratic “super-delegates” bullshit) — or it will join the Repugnican Tea Party in the dustbin of U.S. history.

P.P.S. Still waiting for Illinois and Missouri to be called; right now it’s 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Thus far Politico’s live results webpage has Billary at 51.8 percent and Bernie at 47.3 percent in Illinois, with 50.9 percent reporting, and Bernie at 50.2 percent and Billary at 48.4 percent in Missouri, with 44 percent reporting.

Really bad news for Bernie would be winning only one state (most likely Missouri, apparently), I think. Again, delegates aside, it’s a perception issue; perception fuels momentum or the lack thereof.

One piece of good news tonight is that failing to win his home state of Florida today, Marco “Bootstraps” Rubio has dropped out of the race. I’ve long viewed him as the one Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate most likely to beat the Democratic presidential candidate in November, and the match-up polls back me up on that at least somewhat: Real Clear Politics’ averages of match-up polls right now have Rubio beating Billary by 4 percent and Bernie beating Rubio by only 3.3 percent.

John Kasich is the only other Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate who does even better than Rubio does in the match-up polling (he beats Billary by 7.4 percent and Bernie beats him by only 0.5 percent), but I really don’t see Kasich winning his party’s nomination, even though he won his home state of Ohio today (his first and thus far only state won).

Rubio pretty much was the Latino Barack Obama until he went Stepford wife at that one debate in which he bizarrely kept repeating himself. It was, I believe, his Rick-Perry-like, campaign-killing “Oops” moment.

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Prognosticating for Tuesday: Bernie will win at least three states out of five

Updated below (on Tuesday, March 15, 2016)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders clasps hands with Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard at the start of a campaign rally in Raleigh

Above, Bernie Sanders joins hands with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who last month resigned her position of vice chair of the corrupt Democratic National Committee and endorsed Bernie, at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, and below, he hugs former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, today. Bernie, I surmise, needs to win at least three of the five states that vote on Tuesday in order to maintain his momentum and quite possibly become the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders embraces former state senator for Ohio's 25th district Nina Turner during a rally at the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Reuters photos

So I stand by my recent prediction that Bernie Sanders will win at least three out of five states on Tuesday, and that those three states will come out of the four states of Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. (I still see Florida as a considerably unlikely win for Bernie, but should he actually win Florida, then, it seems to me, Billary is toast.)

Real Clear Politics’ averages of the polling in Tuesday’s states are:

  • Florida: Billary up by 30.9 percent
  • Illinois: Billary up by 13.7 percent
  • Missouri: Billary up by 7 percent
  • North Carolina: Billary up by 21.5 percent
  • Ohio: Billary up by 17.8 percent

Now, Missouri isn’t even an average of two or more polls — it’s one poll, taken last week, but it’s the only recent poll of Missouri that I’m aware of. (It’s not a good idea to go on one poll, but it’s all that I have to work with.)

Keep in mind, again, that RCP’s average of Michigan polls right before Bernie won Michigan last week was Billary with a 21.4 percent lead over Bernie, yet he won the state (by a small margin, but he still won).

Therefore, I see Bernie probably winning Missouri and lllinois, since RCP gives Billary a lead of only 7 percent and 13.7 percent in those two states, respectively.

Also, Missouri and Illinois nestle in nicely with the states that Bernie already has won (his wins are in green and Billary’s are in gold):

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic (link)

I mean, clearly, Bernie and Billary have regional appeal, with Bernie taking the Northern states and Billary taking the Southern. (Again, note that Iowa was a virtual tie, and that Billary won Massachusetts by 1.4 percent, which is why you see those two Northern states in gold. Also, Billary won/“won” those two states before Bernie could gather momentum. Were those two states to vote again today, I think that Bernie would win both of them.)

And the backlash against Der Fuehrer Donald Trump (trying to) bringing his fascism to the diverse campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday will, I believe, help the Bernie Sanders campaign in Illinois on Tuesday.

I mean, you had Bernie supporters, not Billary supporters, being vocal in the diverse group of protesters who shut down the KKK/neo-Nazi/Trump rally. It was symbolic of the Berners taking on — and shutting down — Der Fuehrer Trump while the Billarybots were nowhere to be seen (or at least they weren’t heard). I think that pretty much blows away the myth that Team Billary is so fucking great on the issue of diversity.

The fact that the Berners were prominent but that the Billarybots were missing in action on Friday in Chicago will, I have to surmise, resonate with the voters of Illinois (and elsewhere) on Tuesday.

Bernie might win North Carolina, since he won Michigan when Billary supposedly had a 21.4 percent lead there, but as North Carolina is in the South, Queen Billary’s fortress, I can see Bernie losing North Carolina.

And it would take a miracle, I think, for Bernie to win Florida. He could, of course, but I think it’s unlikely.

If we guess, from the recent example of Michigan, as I do, that Bernie could take a state on Tuesday even if polls show Billary leading him there by around 20 points, then I can see him taking Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, but then there is North Carolina right on that edge of around 20 percent, but I just can’t see Bernie taking Florida when RCP’s polling average for that state is Billary up by 30.9 percent.

In case you don’t trust Real Clear Politics (most pundits do and they cite RCP frequently), here is the Huffington Post’s averages of Tuesday state polling:

Again, note that Missouri isn’t an average of polls, but is just one poll taken recently in that state.

RCP and HuffPo are pretty much on the same page, with the rather stunning difference in the state of Illinois, which HuffPo has Bernie winning.

So if I had to whittle it down to just two states that I see Bernie winning on Tuesday, it would be Illinois and Missouri, since he is polling best in those states (even though there unfortunately is only one recent poll in Missouri from which I can prognosticate). Adding a third state to Bernie’s column, my bet is on Ohio.

North Carolina voters might surprise us and go for Bernie, but if Billary wins North Carolina I won’t be surprised at all.

And, again, should Bernie manage to pull out a win in Florida — which I see as very unlikely, but not impossible — then Billary probably can wrap it up.

I mean, it seems to me that if Bernie manages to win Florida, then he’ll probably have won at least four of the five states on Tuesday, and I don’t see Billary recovering from such a blow.

Out of her desperation she’d act like an even bigger harpy, and she would even ramp up her pathological lying (the Koch brothers love Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders supported the “Minutemen,” Bernie Sanders has supported the human rights violations in Cuba, Bernie Sanders opposed rescuing the automobile manufacturing industry, etc., etc.).

As a result of that, Billary’s unlikeability (her favorability ratings already are under water) would increase and Bernie’s likeability (his favorability ratings already are on the plus side by double digits) would increase.

Big wins for Bernie on Tuesday (his winning at least three states*) would harm Billary not because of the delegate math, but because of how she reacts when she’s losing or widely perceived as losing (something like this), as we saw in 2008.

P.S. I have just seen a mention of another poll of Missouri, this one taken last week, and it gives Billary a lead of only 4 percent. So indeed, Missouri appears to be the closest state (with the possible exception of Illinois, of course; I’m not sure why there is the considerable discrepancy between RCP and HuffPo on Illinois).

Update (Tuesday, March 15, 2016): Real Clear Politics today shows a considerably tightened race in the “Rust Belt” states of Illinois and Ohio. Right now RCP’s average of polls is showing:

  • Illinois: Billary up by 2.3 percent
  • Ohio: Billary up by 8 percent
  • North Carolina: Billary up by 24 percent
  • Florida: Billary up by 28.9 percent

RCP reports two Missouri polls, one giving Bernie a lead of 1 percent and another giving Billary a lead of 7 percent. And I’ve seen another Missouri poll giving Billary a lead of 4 percent, so my best guess is that Billary has averaged around a 3-percent to 4-percent lead in Missouri.

So I surmise I’ll be up late tonight, watching the results roll in.

Again, I think that Bernie needs to win Illinois, Missouri and Ohio in order to maintain his momentum. Wins in North Carolina and Florida apparently can be expected for Billary, which is in line with her being the Queen of the South.

Bernie could win North Carolina, but I doubt that he will, and I’d be incredibly shocked were he to win Florida. (My understanding is that in these past few to several days Bernie Sanders hasn’t even visited Florida; my guess is that he deemed it as unwinnable and thus decided to strategically spend his time elsewhere, where he can win).

*Conversely, should Bernie win only two states on Tuesday, that probably would be a real blow to his momentum. (Again, his actually winning four states would be great and most likely is the best that he can be expected to do.)

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