Monthly Archives: August 2018

Super-delegate and caucus reforms making the party democratic again

Getty Images photo

The Democratic National Committee voted yesterday to strip the so-called super-delegates of their anti-democratic power. This means that in 2020, should Bernie Sanders decide to run for president again, the deck won’t again be stacked against him from Day One by constant reports of how many super-delegates, the vast majority of them self-serving party hacks, already have promised to vote at the party convention for an establishmentarian, center-right, Repugnican-Lite, pro-corporate, DINO sellout candidate. (Above: Demonstrators urge the DNC to strip super-delegates of their power at the DNC’s summer meeting that just wrapped up in Chicago.)

The best news for the Democratic Party in a long time came yesterday, when the Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly voted to effectively eliminate the power of the so-called super-delegates.

Against the wishes of a minority of dead-ender DNC assholes who had come to savor the fact that their votes for the presidential nominee have counted much, much more than the votes of us mere peasants, the DNC yesterday demonstrated its new-found realization that if the party wants to save itself, it actually needs to be democratic. (Who knew?)

The party is, however, taking baby steps toward reform. “Saturday’s vote officially [bars] the super-delegates from voting on the first ballot to choose the party’s presidential nominee unless a candidate has secured a majority of the convention using only pledged delegates, whose votes are earned during the primary process,” explains CNN. The super-delegates may vote in a second round of voting if no victor emerges with a majority of delegates in the first round, so while their undue influence has been reduced sharply, the petulant, spoiled babies were thrown some pacifier. (The equivalent of super-delegates in the Repugnican Party must vote the way that the people of their respective states voted, so even the Repugnican Party doesn’t have an anti-democratic, aristocratic system of super-delegates.)

And while I’ve written before that presidential caucuses, which are plagued with irregularities (that is, opportunities for cheating), should be dumped altogether and replaced with presidential primary elections, the DNC yesterday also voted to encourage (again, baby steps) states that still hold caucuses to switch to primary elections, and voted to require states that still hold caucuses to allow some form of absentee participation, given that it’s forever been unfair that those who for whatever reason cannot get to a caucus have not been able to participate in the democratic process.

The dead-enders within the DNC (all or the vast majority of them Billarybots) probably view these positive reforms as being for the benefit of Bernie Sanders, and while he did push for these reforms, having been the victim of the corrupt, calcified, anti-democratic DNC himself, these reforms are good for the people and are good for democracy — and thus are good for the party.

On that note, McClatchy reported (in an article titled “Loyal Democratic Donors: We’re Done with the DNC Until They Get Their Act Together”) just a few days ago:

While Democratic donors have eagerly opened their wallets ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, helping Democratic candidates and groups largely outraise their Republican counterparts, one notable exception has stood out: The Democratic National Committee — the party’s signature organization — has posted its worst midterm fund raising totals in more than a decade.

The DNC has so far taken in $116 million before the November midterm elections — $9 million less than it had taken in at this point in 2014 and more than $30 million less than it had taken in at this point in 2010, the last two midterm cycles.

By contrast, the Republican National Committee has nearly doubled the DNC’s haul this cycle, bringing in a total of $227 million. And of the six major federal committees of both parties, the DNC has by far the most debt ($6.7 million) and the least amount in its bank account ($7.8 million).

After 2016’s defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump, many of the group’s most consistent donors are putting their money elsewhere. A McClatchy analysis found that more than 200 donors who had given more than $1,000 to the DNC in each of the past two midterm elections have failed to pony up any cash to the DNC this time around, despite continuing to support other Democratic groups and candidates. …

Indeed, many if not most ordinary (that is, non-super-wealthy) Democratic donors now give through the wildly successful Democratic fundraising website ActBlue, where they — we — can decide ourselves to which Democratic candidates to give money and how much.

I have given almost $4,500 in a series of donations over the past several years through ActBlue (my average donation is $13) because, frankly, I don’t at all trust the center-right, pro-corporate DNC with my money. (The No. 1 recipient of my donations via ActBlue has been Bernie Sanders, to whom I’ve given more than $1,000, and Elizabeth Warren is at No. 3, with almost $250. At No. 2 [$275] is Kevin de León, who I hope unseats DINO U.S. Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein in November.)

“The [DNC’s] poor [fundraising] showing could limit the DNC’s ability to provide support, such as direct financial contributions or get-out-the-vote assistance, to candidates and state parties in November. And it puts them at a disadvantage heading into the 2020 presidential cycle where the committee will play an even larger role,” notes McClatchy, but, again, Democratic candidates are getting money via ActBlue, which is a much more democratic venue anyway. (ActBlue’s home page right now reports that since it began in 2004, it has collected more than $2.5 billion in donations to Democratic candidates and groups.)

With ActBlue, we, the people, decide where to put our money. We can bypass the center-right, pro-corporate, anti-democratic Democratic Party bosses, which is wonderful. And that’s how it should work: If avenues are blocked, then we, the people, must create our own, alternate but equally if not even more effective, routes around the obstacles.

For years and years, the DNC weasels took our support, including our money and our votes, for granted. Where else were we commoners going to go? While the DNC continued to rot in order to preserve the undue power of a relatively few weaselly insiders, we, the people, have been doing our own end runs.

Because the DNC and the party establishment as a whole fell asleep at the wheel years ago, we, the people, took over, such as via ActBlue and by supporting progressive (that is, actually Democratic) candidates whether the center-right, Repugnican-Lite party big-wigs wanted us to or not. (Bernie Sanders, of course, is the largest example of that, but there have been many others.)

It has been a long struggle, and it is not over, but we progressives are taking back the Democratic Party, bit by bit. And when — and if — the DNC can be trusted again, its reputation and thus also its fundraising will improve.

In the meantime, yes, it’s time to look to the 2020 presidential election cycle.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll reported last week puts Bernie Sanders against Pussygrabber in a hypothetical presidential match-up at 44 percent to 32 percent, so anyone who says that Bernie Sanders can’t beat Pussygrabber, as he could have and probably would have in November 2016, is, of course, full of shit; Bernie has a double-digit lead over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling already, just as he had a double-digit lead over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling leading up to the 2016 Democratic Party National Convention.

Joe Biden also beats Pussygrabber by 12 points in the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 43 percent to 31 percent, so 2020, it seems to me, could be a lot like 2016 if both Bernie and Biden run; it would be the progressive champion against the party establishmentarian.

However, as Biden already has run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination and lost twice (in 1987 and in 2007), I don’t see him as strong a candidate as some would assert. He would be the anti-Bernie vote, but I don’t think that that would be enough. Also, Billary Clinton was the holdover from the Clinton-Obama years, and wouldn’t Biden, as the holdover from the Clinton-Obama years, remind a lot of voters of Billary’s colossal failure in 2016?

In the Politico/Morning Consult poll Elizabeth Warren comes in a No. 3, still beating Pussygrabber but by a much smaller margin, only 34 percent to 30 percent, with 36 percent undecided.

Billary Clinton was within only a few percentage points over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling averages for a very long time, all the way up to Election Day, and look how that turned out.

If we want Pussygrabber out, we need to select, as the Democratic Party presidential nominee, the one who polls the best against him; we (well, the Billarybots and other zombies) fucked up big-time in 2016 by passing up Bernie Sanders for the candidate who polled much worse against Pussygrabber than Bernie did.

I’ve noted many times that while I like Liz Warren, and would be fine with her as a vice-presidential candidate, I think that as a presidential candidate she’d be painted as a female Michael Dukakis, another clueless egghead from Massachussetts, and I think that while Billary Clinton did not face much actual sexism, Liz actually would.* (That said, if it’s between Biden and Warren, I pick Warren, who is my No. 2 choice behind Bernie. I still cannot support Biden, not for the primaries.)

Also in the Politico/Morning Consult poll, Pussygrabber beats U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Attorney General Eric Holder and others by 2 percentage points to 10 percentage points, so unless their polling improves drastically, these second- and third-tier candidates are non-starters for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination for me, and we can’t allow craven identity politics to sink us in 2020 like they did in 2016.

(“Bernie bro,” “brogressive” and the like only backfired, as Billary wasn’t a victim of sexism, but only suffered appropriately and deservedly due to her utter unlikeability due to her inherently corrupt nature and shitty character, which enough voters sure sensed if they couldn’t articulate.)

Methinks that 2020 is going to be a bumpy ride, with identity politics vs. electability once again rearing its ugly head, but at least the road is made a bit smoother because the so-called super-delegates have been defanged and because quaint but corruptible caucuses apparently are on their way out.

*I agree with fivethirtyeight.com’s Perry Bacon Jr.’s sentiment when he writes:

… How comfortable should we be, as a society, with discouraging members of traditionally marginalized groups from pursuing political office because other Americans might have a negative view of those potential candidates’ gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics (or some combination of these characteristics)? After all, a candidate can change her ideology if her platform isn’t appealing to voters — but many of these traits are immutable. …

I agree that of course it’s not fair to punish the victim for the voters’ prejudices and biases and bigotry, but when push comes to shove, it does come down to whether or not you want to win the fucking election. In the 2020 presidential election, for a great example, which is more important: booting Pussygrabber from the Oval Office (presuming that he’s still there, of course) or making a point?

And there are plenty of reasons to reject Kamala Harris and Cory Booker that have nothing to do with race, such as their history of coziness with corporations, their lack of leadership and accomplishment in the U.S. Senate, and their lower name recognition and popularity — and thus their lower polling — than the top-three front-runners Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Of the two, I’m more fond of Harris than of Booker, but she has not been in the Senate for even two full years yet, for fuck’s sake. It’s way too early to talk about her being president. As I have noted before, I think I’d be OK with her as the vice-presidential candidate for 2020, but that’s as far as I can go.

In 2016, aside from the copious intra-party rigging that was done in her favor, apparently the idea was to make Billary Clinton the nominee — even she didn’t poll nearly as well against Pussygrabber as Bernie Sanders did — in order to make a point (namely, that the Democrats could nominate a woman [likability and popularity of said woman entirely aside]). How well did that turn out?

If we make that mistake again, we deserve whatever we get.

And I’m no hypocrite; I personally always have disliked DINO Billary Clinton but love Elizabeth Warren, but if it looks like Warren can’t beat Pussygrabber, then we go with the stronger candidate who can. It won’t be enough for me that Warren is a woman.

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Bad news cycle? Hey, look at the ‘illegal alien’ who killed a white woman!

At least one member of slain 20-year-old University of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts’ family has proclaimed that she doesn’t want Tibbetts’ tragic death to be politicized and to sow further racial division and xenophobia. Tibbetts’ aunt wrote on Facebook:

Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color. Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

But that kind of message isn’t useful for the unelected, illegitimate, craven — and yes, treasonous — Pussygrabber regime, which, after yesterday’s bam-bam-bam news (of former Pussygrabber campaign chairman Paul Manafort being convicted of multiple finance-related felonies; of former Pussygrabber personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleading guilty to multiple felonies, including campaign-finance-related felonies; and of current Repugnican U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, the second supporter of Pussygrabber’s “presidential” campaign in the House, being indicted for financial fraud [Pussygrabber’s first supporter in the House, Rep. Chris Collins, also has been indicted for financial fraud]), truly needed a diversion.

Team Pussygrabber was, I am certain, delighted to learn that the accused killer of Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared on July 18, is a 24-year-old apparently undocumented immigrant from Mexico named Cristhian Bahena Rivera. Here is his booking photo:

Missing_Student_Iowa_59201

Rivera’s employer, a dairy farm, reported that he was a good employee for years who never was suspected of being capable of something like murder.

But that’s not a politically useful narrative, either, so the occupied White House tweeted this today:

For 34 days, investigators searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. Yesterday, an illegal alien, now charged with first-degree murder, led police to the cornfield where her body was found. The Tibbetts family has been permanently separated. They are not alone.

The nauseatingly shameless tweet — only further tarnishing the name of the White House and the office of the presidency — is accompanied by a lovely, even more nauseatingly shameless video in which all white people claim that their loved ones were killed by “illegal aliens,” causing them to be “permanently separated” from them. Subtle!

This Goebbels-level propaganda accomplishes several things at once. There is the offensive, dehumanizing use of the hateful term “illegal alien.” No one is “illegal” and no one is an “alien.” You are a human being or you are not a human being. You may or may not have broken a law, but you are not “illegal” or “an illegal,” and only to a xenophobe and/or a white supremacist are you an “alien.”

Then there is the sick attempt, in one fell swoop, to try to wholly discount the detrimental affect that inhumanely — and, per our federal court system, illegallyseparating families at the border has had on thousands of human beings by pointing out that the relative handful of those white American citizens who have had family members killed (unintentionally or intentionally) by undocumented immigrants are “permanently separated” from their family members (Oh, snap!).

It’s comparing apples to oranges (picked only by “illegal aliens,” of course), but it’s not like Pussygrabber’s mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, MAGA-cap-wearing, Tiki-torch-carrying followers make such distinctions.

Most of all, of course, is the blatant, hit-you-in-the-face-like-with-a-fucking-shovel appeal to white supremacism and racism.

How about Chris Watts, the white American citizen in Colorado who is accused of just having killed his pregnant wife and his two young daughters and disposing of their bodies rather unceremoniously, as Rivera is accused of having done with Tibbetts’ body? Is the Pussygrabber regime going to emphasize this crime and tragedy?

Of course not — because an “illegal alien” (of the brown-skinned type, of course) wasn’t accused of having committed it, and it’s perfectly OK to murder even your entire family — if you’re a white guy and a U.S. citizen. (Well, at least we won’t draw any attention to it, but will ignore it until it goes away…)

The Washington Post today notes:

Immigrants do not commit violent crimes at a higher rate than native-born Americans, according to federal and state crime statistics. A study published in February by the libertarian Cato Institute examining 2015 criminal data in Texas found native-born residents were much more likely to be convicted of a crime than immigrants in the country legally or illegally.

More information (you know, actual facts to counter the “alternative facts”) on this topic was posted by Vox.com as well.

So, you (a U.S. citizen) are much more likely ever to be killed by a fellow U.S. citizen than by a non-citizen, but, again, that’s not convenient to the fascist Pussygrabber regime’s Nazi-like message that the “illegal aliens” are the new Jews.

Mollie Tibbetts’ murder is tragic. Her family must be reeling, and it’s spine-chilling to imagine what she went through in her last moments of life, and it’s a supreme injustice that anyone should have his or her life taken from him or her, perhaps especially when that young.

But for a bunch of neo-Nazis to cravenly use the occasion of Tibbetts’ death as an opportunity to try to score more Brownie points with their base of white-supremacist Neanderthals only adds to the tragedy all around.

Thankfully, just as has happened here in California, where Repugnicans are an endangered species in no tiny part because of their sustained racist and xenophobic attacks upon Latinos, we can expect to see this effect grow on the nationwide level in the years to come as more and more Latinos exercise their right to vote — and they don’t tend to vote for the Repugnicans who savage them as an entire group of human beings because the Repugnicans need an endless supply of convenient scapegoats for their own endless crimes.

Good riddance to the MAGA-cap-wearing Neanderthals. Evolve or disappear.

We — those of us who reject your hatred, your racism, your xenophobia, your bigotry, your ignorance, your selfish divisiveness — will replace you. We already are replacing you.

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Cryptkeeper won’t debate Kevin de León (or at least not more than once)

Times of San Diego photo

Supporters of new blood Kevin de León and the crusty Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein appear at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego in February, where De León fell just short of winning the state party’s endorsement over Cryptkeeper, beating her 54 percent to 37 percent (a super-majority of 60 percent was necessary for the endorsement). De León later finally won the state party’s endorsement last month, beating Cryptkeeper by a vote of 65 percent to 7 percent. It should be more than enough that the state party wants to boot the incumbent Cryptkeeper, but California’s voters haven’t realized that they’ve even had another choice for the past 25 years. 

California state Sen. Kevin de León has challenged the crusty U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has held on to “her” U.S. Senate seat since 1992, to a series of three televised debates ahead of the November election, but we, the peasants of California, will be lucky if Queen Cryptkeeper deigns to “allow” us to have one.

As De León pointed out, the last time that Cryptkeeper was on a debate stage for “her” U.S. Senate seat was on “Oct. 27, 2000 … and we haven’t seen her there since.’’

Yup. Back then, Cryptkeeper faced only Repugnican challengers, and she apparently politically calculated, apparently correctly, that in a deep-blue state she could afford to refuse to participate in any debates.

Times have changed, however. Now, under California’s “top-two” or “jungle” primary system, the top two vote-getters in the primary face off in the November general election, and this time Cryptkeeper’s opponent is another Democrat, not a Repugnican.*

Thus far, Cryptkeeper’s pathetic, laughable excuse for having avoided committing to any debates with De León is that she’ll be too busy in D.C. trying to prevent Brett Kavanaugh from becoming the next U.S. Supreme Court “justice,” something that she’ll probably fail miserably to do anyway, given not only the D.C. Democrats’ failures in a whole host of battles, but also given that the Repugnicans last year cravenly reduced the vote threshold for U.S. Supreme Court confirmation in the U.S. Senate from 60 votes to only a bare majority vote.

The fact is that the addled 85-year-old Cryptkeeper and her handlers know fully well that her ever appearing on a debate stage with the 51-year-old, nimble De León offers more risks than potential rewards.

I’m confident that Cryptkeeper will agree to no debates or only one at the most, perhaps calculating that one debate couldn’t be that damaging (and maybe even calculating that refusing to participate in any debates at all could be damaging).

What might give De León at least a bit of a boost, in addition to Cryptkeeper’s refusal to debate at all or to do poorly in a debate, is that he’s listed first in the statewide voter information guide that will be mailed to every voting household in California, and that the first sentence of his candidate statement is, “I am honored to be the California Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate.”

Yup. Sleepwalking voters inclined automatically to vote for Cryptkeeper again should ask themselves why the state Democratic Party didn’t endorse Cryptkeeper for another six-year term, but instead endorsed De León.

De León is quite correct when he says that “Here in California, we hold elections — not coronations” and that “it’s profoundly disrespectful not to debate before the voters of California,” as Cryptkeeper has done for almost two decades now.

Indeed, the anti-democratic, anti-Democratic and entitled DINO Cryptkeeper reminds me much of the miserably failed DINO Billary “Coronate Me Already” Clinton, who had committed to debate Bernie Sanders (and any other Democratic challengers) 10 times but then casually reneged to debate a final time, as she had promised to do, because she politically calculated that she could get away with it.

I certainly hope that that brazenly broken promise contributed to Billary’s loss. She fucking deserved it.**

And I hope that come November, DINO Cryptkeeper will go the way of DINO Billary: consigned to the dustbin of history, where she belonged many years ago.

*Before California’s voters voted in the “top-two” primary system (known as 2010’s Proposition 14), which was championed by then-Repugnican Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, the Repugnicans were guaranteed a spot on the California ballot for the U.S. Senate. No more.

(I’m sure that many don’t remember the history of this and stupidly mistakenly believe that the Democrats engineered shutting Repugnicans from the general-election ballot, when, in fact, it was Repugnican Baby Daddy who pushed for the change.)

**I wouldn’t have voted for or given a penny to DINO Billary anyway, but I believe in holding politicians accountable (call me old-fashioned!), and in my book, reneging on a debate that a candidate already had committed to is a direct reflection of his or her character, and is reason enough not to vote for him or her.

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No, Pussygrabber’s use of ‘the “n”-word’ won’t actually guarantee the Dems a win

Associated Press photo

We already know that “President” Pussygrabber, among many other things, is racist, such as by saving his “low-IQ” and similar slams primarily if not only for black people, so how would proof of his ever having uttered “the ‘n’-word” actually change a fucking thing?

I find it pathetic and juvenile that after all that “President” Pussygrabber has done and said — including having savaged Mexicans in his “presidential” campaign announcement and having bragged about having “grab[bed]” women “by the pussy,” and then “won” the presidential election with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, and then having issued unconstitutional executive orders, including a ban on Muslims from entering the country and the defunding of “sanctuary cities,” before January 2017 was even over — millions of Americans apparently view as the one silver bullet that would or at least should finally take Pussygrabber down is that if a recording of him having uttered the word “nigger” ever emerges.

We’re worried about a single word, which, if ever dare uttered (by a non-black person, that is), should be the end of one’s life; it should be very much like death (I mean, at least social death if, hell, not even physical death as well). I live in a nation of fucking imbeciles. This is Dark-Ages-level bullshit, replete with magic no-no words.

Don’t get me wrong; I oppose hate speech. No one in the workplace or in public should have to deal with a hateful epithet hurled his or her way. Such epithets are a level of terrorism; they are meant to frighten and to disempower their targets, which is why they should not be tolerated.

But let’s get fucking real. I have a black co-worker now who not long ago enough used the word “cracker” in anger and in hatred (not against me, but I was offended to have had to hear the racist epithet in my workplace nonetheless), and I didn’t bother to report it because I knew that with her constant pre-emptive bogus claims of racial victimhood meant to scare “management” from ever disciplining her meaningfully for anything, nothing would have been done had I reported it. (Indeed, I would have been branded as a “troublemaker,” I am confident.)

This same co-worker, when I once asserted that gay rights are civil rights too, responded, “You can’t compare race to sin.” Lovely. (This same co-worker also, when she wasn’t repeatedly equating homosexuality to pedophilia, repeatedly incredibly judgmentally and incorrectly referred to being gay as a “lifestyle choice” [that it’s the “wrong” “choice” is understood, you see]. It’s interesting to see which “nice” words “nice” people can use to express viciously hateful sentiments.)

In another job, a black co-worker used the word “faggot” (in hatred) in my presence, and that’s another case where had I reported it, nothing would have been done, and when I was on a public bus once and simply asked two young black punks who were blocking the aisle to move so that I could get past them and exit the bus, one of them felt the need to call me a “queer.”

A black client once hatefully and angrily called me “white boy” when I refused a request of hers that could have gotten me fired from my job.

A leader within the black community with whom I once corresponded years ago actually wrote in her response to me that being gay might be a “birth defect.”

I’ve never called a black person a “nigger.”

So this notion that blacks only ever are victims, that they are incapable of uttering hate speech or committing hate crimes themselves, demonstrably is bullshit, and their bogus claims of this only harms their credibility even further.

Let me point you to two recent examples of blacks blatantly committing hate crimes: the 30-year-old black woman arrested in Los Angeles for having savagely attacked a 91-year-old Mexican man with a piece of concrete block, reportedly telling him to “go back to [his] country,” and the 18-year-old black man arrested in Manteca, California, for having savagely knocked down, kicked and spat on a 71-year-old Sikh man. Both elderly victims were taken to the hospital; the 91-year-old sustained fractures.

Guess what? These actually are worse crimes than merely uttering the word “nigger”! (Who knew?)

And, as I already have indicated, there are words that individually are innocent enough, but when strung together are just as ugly as is — or even uglier than is — “nigger.” It’s just that, individually, they’re not taboo words. So in this juvenile nation of simpletons, you may express any hateful notion that you please, as long as you don’t use certain magical no-no words, first and foremost among them “the ‘n’-word,” which is so taboo that we must call it “the ‘n’-word.”

Take Faux “News” “talent” Laura Ingraham’s recent on-air rant:

In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country has changed. Now much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.

I could argue that this racist, xenophobic rant is even worse than the word “nigger” because it apparently scoops up even more groups of already-long-oppressed people in its wide net of hatred.

(While I’m quoting she-Nazi Ingraham, I must note that demographic changes are not “foisted” upon anyone. For the very most part, they just naturally happen. [Well, of course, the Native Americans could argue persuasively that “massive demographic changes have been foisted” upon them...] And how, exactly, would we “vote” on demographic change? Would we vote certain groups of people off of the island? Would we kill brown-skinned babies, a la King Herod? And do we not get to vote for the federal and state lawmakers who make our laws, including immigration law? Do we not get our say that way?)

Again, to be clear, I oppose hate speech in the workplace or in public spaces. I believe that at work and in public, we have the right not to have bigoted, hateful, ignorant invective hurled at us for our real or perceived sex or gender expression, race (yes, even if we are — gasp! — white), sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, etc. Such invective is meant to disempower us, and we deserve an environment in which we are not disempowered, but are free to do as well as we can do and, to borrow a cheesy line from the U.S. Army, be all that we can be, as long as we do not harm others.

What is said in private, however, is a different matter. I’m still a staunch defender of privacy rights. (See my August 2014 piece on the infamous Donald Sterling case, titled “Privacy Rights Scrapped for One Old Racist’s Scalp.”) In their own homes and in other private settings (settings in which they have a reasonable expectation of privacy), people should be able to think and say as they please.

Often people need to work shit out in private, even if that includes language that they wouldn’t use in public or at work. And there probably literally is not one American adult who would be OK with anything and everything that he or she ever said in private being revealed to the entire American public, so those who are fucking hypocrites on this point need to shut the fuck up and check themselves.

Perhaps the larger issue, however, is that there apparently is this widespread magical belief that if it’s definitively revealed that “President” Pussygrabber ever uttered the single word “nigger” (in any setting, private or public), then it’s all over for him. Everything else that he has done, including his having trashed the United States of America with a smirking Russian dictator Vladimir Putin standing right next to him, isn’t going to remove him from the Oval Office, but his ever having uttered the single word “nigger” would.

Just: Wow. I live in a nation of fucking infants.

Slate.com even ran a lengthy piece titled “If He Said It: How the Country Would React, Day by Day, if a Trump N-word Tape Came to Light.” The time-line piece, which apparently is partly serious and partly comedic, ends thusly (spoiler alert!): “November 2020: Trump wins re-election with the support of 0 percent of black voters and 60 percent of the white electorate.”

That sounds about right. I mean, that’s along the lines of what would happen if we make his ever having uttered “the ‘n’-word” the one and only true absolutely unpardonable crime that Pussygrabber ever committed.

Most Americans, I surmise, already assume that of course Pussygrabber has uttered “the ‘n’-word” at some place at some time, and that there may or may not be a recording of this.

If the Democrats think that simple-minded, playground-level identity politics can save them in 2020 like it didn’t in 2016, then 2020 indeed will be a repeat of 2016.

P.S. I recommend Ted Rall’s piece in which he compares Pussygrabber to Kaposi’s sarcoma — that is, just as Kaposi’s sarcoma is a symptom of the underlying, much worse disease of AIDS, Pussygrabber is a symptom of the underlying, much worse disease that grips the American “democracy.”

Just as removing one Kaposi’s sarcoma (or even all of them) wouldn’t save the life of someone with AIDS, removing Pussygrabber from office — while a laudable goal — would not cure the underlying disease, for which all of us, to some degree, are responsible.

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‘BlacKkKlansman’ violated my trust

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Adam Driver, left, and John David Washington, right, play cops who infiltrate the KKK in Colorado Springs in the 1970s in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.” Unfortunately, the movie creates entire characters and critical plot points from thin air, apparently because the actual history wasn’t propagandistic enough.

As I watched “BlacKkKlansman” on Sunday, I knew that it was a biased story, in which a good number of whites are evil, an equal number (or so) of them are just indifferent, and blacks by definition are good because they’re perpetual victims.

Still, “BlacKkKlansman” has some good acting and some great scenes and at many points, especially when references were made to the Pussygrabber regime’s thinly veiled racism and white supremacism, I laughed out loud.

But I was deeply dismayed to later read Slate.com’s article “What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in BlacKkKlansman” and find out that, among other things:

  • The real-life Colorado Springs Police Department black cop Ron Stallworth’s partner who physically infiltrated the KKK (because Stallworth obviously could not) “is white and not Jewish,” so the whole anti-Semitism subplot was made of thin air. (Was the script written for Adam Driver, with his darker features? As I watched the movie, I found it hard to believe that the KKK would have accepted someone who looks like Driver [that is, non-Aryan] — and that’s because the KKK did not.)
  • The real-life Stallworth did not date the president of, or even a member of, the black student union, yet the conflict between Stallworth’s being a cop and his girlfriend’s work for black liberation is central to the movie.
  • The incredibly racist, despicable and vile white cop who badgers Stallworth throughout the film (when he isn’t shooting innocent black men or sexually assaulting innocent black women) “appears to have been largely invented for the movie as well,” Slate.com notes.
  • That climactic phone call at the end of the movie in which Stallworth finally reveals to David Duke that he’s black? Oh, that phone call never took place.
  • That climactic bombing at the end of the movie? Apparently that never happened, either. “No planned attack on the Black Student Union is described in [Stallworth’s] memoir,” notes Slate.com, adding, “Stallworth does write, however, that the Klan was planning to firebomb gay bars in Colorado Springs, in addition to [perpetrating] cross burnings. As in the movie, all the Klan’s plans for domestic terrorism are thwarted by Stallworth and the CSPD.”
  • The climactic arrest of the evil, perpetually sneering white supremacist cop for his past crimes at the end of the movie? You guessed it: never happened, either.

I’m glad that no bomb actually went off in real life, but why do most of the inventions in “BlacKkKlansman” apparently serve to make whitey look even worse? Spike Lee & Co. have an agenda — I get it — but at the beginning of the movie is a note that it’s based on a true story, and I (stupidly, in retrospect) trusted that.

I don’t expect a little subtitle or the like to notify me every time the screenplay has diverged from history, but Spike Lee & Co. had my trust but then lost it after I read the Slate.com article. Apparently they didn’t believe that the core story — a black police officer infiltrating the KKK with the help of a white comrade — was interesting enough without very liberal embellishments. Or damaging enough to white people.

I think that it’s easy to overstate how dangerous many if not most of the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, basement-dwelling white supremacists — whose pathetic example constantly negates the entire concept of white “supremacy” — are today.

Any actual danger that they pose shouldn’t be ignored, of course, but it also serves no good purpose to exaggerate their influence or their danger. Reuters, for instance, reported that Sunday’s white-supremacist rally in Washington, D.C., “drew two dozen [white-supremacist] demonstrators and thousands of chanting counter-protesters on … the one-year anniversary of racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.” (Footage from the Charlottesville incident is shown at the end of “BlacKkKlansman.”)

Yes, individual actors, like the crazy white-supremacist asshole who murdered Heather Heyer last year in Charlottesville, can be a danger, but can’t they always be? A mentally ill lone wolf can strike anywhere at any time if he is smart enough to plan and keep his mouth shut about his plan.

I don’t think that we are seeing anything like a real resurgence of the KKK. (I mean, fuck — tiki torches…) We’ll have the KKK wannabes with us for some time to come, but as a group, the KKK and other white-supremacist groups are pretty toothless. For the most part, they have their little white-supremacist-nerd circle jerks and they know better than to commit any serious crimes, less they put their circle jerks and their freedom in jeopardy.

In the meantime, there is a lot of racial reconciliation to do, and grossly misrepresenting history as “BlacKkKlansman” does does not help in this at all.

How many millions of people will see this movie and take it as historical fact, not knowing that there was no climactic bombing, that the black cop’s partner wasn’t Jewish, that the black cop didn’t actually have to deal with a beyond-awful white supremacist on the police force, that his girlfriend wasn’t a member of the black student union, etc., etc., etc.?

Yes, of course, Spike Lee & Co. are allowed a certain amount of creative license, but with “BlacKkKlansman” I just feel punk’d.

Before I read the Slate.com article, I had considered “BlacKkKlansman” flawed (probably especially at the end it goes overboard with the agitprop) but with some merit and worth seeing.

But knowing now what the movie’s creators very apparently just fucking made up for convenience and drama and apparently to “win” a racially charged political argument — in this age of “truthiness,” where objective truth is on fucking life support, and where nasty racial divisions persist — it’s hard for me to see “BlacKkKlansman” as much more than a dishonest propaganda piece that causes more harm than good, or that at least cancels out what good it otherwise possesses* with its unnecessary, mostly racially inflammatory fabrications.

*The story of the lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, in 1916, which “BlacKkKlansman” recounts, is one of many that we never should forget, but at the same time, we don’t have lynchings anymore. Yes, there still is violence against black men — even some black cops sometimes lose it and beat black men — and while some would love to liken some of today’s violence against black men to lynchings, we don’t have actual lynchings anymore.

So we must never forget, but what does it say about our intentions and our honesty when we are reaching all the way back to 1916 — 102 years ago — to make a point today? Just asking.

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Bernie already won

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Bernie Sanders doesn’t pick easy fights, which makes it easy for the legions of do-nothing, know-nothing dead-enders among us to declare that he’s lost even when he’s actually winning.

“Bernie and his army are losing 2018,” proclaims Politico’s David Siders.

“Bernie Sanders is sputtering,” Siders writes. “Two years after his defeat in the 2016 presidential primary, the Vermont senator has amassed a growing string of losses in races in which he has intervened.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Bernie has been on the national political scene only since 2015, when he informally announced his candidacy for president on April 30 and formally announced on May 26 of that year.

And yes, Bernie came in second place in 2016, but it was a surprisingly strong second to Queen Billary Clinton — he won 22 states and 46 percent of the pledged delegates (delegates that he had to win in primary elections and caucuses). He pretty much came from nowhere to do that, and he never has been given widespread credit for that.

Bernie Sanders successfully is pushing the needle to the left. That in and of itself is a triumph. For years the Democratic Party has been stuck in the center-right, do-nothing, punk-the-people Clintonian-Obamian bullshit, and that’s finally starting to change. It’s getting harder and harder for corporate whores who call themselves Democrats to continue their scams on the people, and that’s a great thing.

No, the job isn’t done, and yes, the Democratic Party could slip back into its corporate whoredom, but for the time being, progress is being made, even if it’s only in baby steps.

I look to Mexico’s next president, democratic socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for inspiration. He ran for president three times (in 2006, 2012 and this year) before he finally won. Had AMLO, as he is widely called, given up because of the naysayers’ negativity, he never would have become Mexico’s president-elect.

Bernie, like AMLO, is one of those rare types who just does it amidst a chorus of mediocre-at-best pieces of shit proclaiming that it can’t be done.

Like AMLO, Bernie lost his initial races. In the 1970s he ran twice for governor of and twice for U.S. senator for Vermont and he lost all four times. He didn’t finally win an election until he lowered his sights a bit and became mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1980.*

Had Bernie given up — and many people would have after having lost four elections in a row — he wouldn’t be in the U.S. Senate right now.

Center-right politics have been stubbornly persistent in the United States of America for decades now, and that dynamic isn’t going to be reversed overnight. But as the more conservative voters finally die, taking their selfish, short-sighted, right-wing bullshit to their graves with them, and our youth — who gravitate toward democratic socialism — more and more take over the reins of power, we are going to see the nation going more and more to the left.

Take a very recent election — yesterday’s special election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Ohio. Right now it’s “President” Pussygrabber-endorsed Repugnican Troy Balderson at 50.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Danny O’Connor’s 49.3 percent, a difference of only 1,754 votes out of 201,394 votes cast, with the results of around 8,300 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still to be officially announced.

Even if Balderson ekes out a win, Pussygrabber won the congressional district by 11 points in November 2016, so in the big picture, the Repugnicans should expect to lose the House of Representatives in November of this year. (Right now, only around 41 percent of those polled say they’ll vote for a Repugnican for the U.S. House in November, while around 48 percent say they’ll vote for a Democrat.)

And because yesterday’s was just a special election, Balderson and O’Connor will run against each other again for a full two-year term in November; even if it turns out that Balderson won yesterday, he will lose the seat in January if O’Connor beats him in November.

Yes, probably most of the vote swing in the Ohio congressional district is due to the revulsion of “President” Pussygrabber, whose nationwide approval ratings remain mired in the low 40s, than to great love for democratic socialism, but the pendulum is swinging back to the left.

It’s not until the end of his piece that Politico’s David Siders more or less eviscerates his own claim that Bernie’s losing, which is a nice and tidy and dramatic — but overall inaccurate — conclusion. Siders quotes two individuals thusly:

“What it is is that most people don’t realize that Bernie Sanders actually won. … What [Sanders] wanted to do [with his 2016 presidential campaign] was mobilize millions of people to get politically involved, and he achieved that in droves. Change is slow. Progress is slow. But it’s inevitable. So, even if we have some devastating losses, we have to stick at it.”

and

“My philosophy — and I think it’s what Bernie was going for — [is that] the Republican Party, years ago when they couldn’t win elections, they did some soul searching and ran people at the local level. Thirty, 40 years later, they control every level of government. … That’s what the Democratic Party needs to do. They need to get some fresh faces, go back to their roots and reorganize.”

Yup. It’s a long, hard slog to the promised land. We can’t give up now. Expect the naysayers, who never are going to contribute anything valuable themselves, to attack and to try to hinder progress.

Ignore them, and keep on doing what they claim can’t be done.

P.S. I must direct you to this piece on NPR, which ran on June 8 and which pretty much is the antithesis of David Siders’ piece for Politico. It is titled, “Bernie Sanders Is Losing Primary Battles, but Winning a War.” I reproduce it most of it here:

Since most of the congressional candidates that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed this year are losing contested primaries, then Sanders’ political clout must be fading, right?

“That’s a stupid argument,” Sanders told NPR this week. [I love Bernie.]

“You know, he has a much broader look at politics than just elections,” Sanders’ long-time strategist Jeff Weaver said.

That is evident. The 2016 candidate repeatedly questioned the political value of his endorsements, and even expressed some mild indifference to the race-by-race results of the primaries he’s waded into.

Sanders’ broader goal is to get more first-time voters and first-time candidates involved in the political process, and to keep pushing progressive policies like a Medicare-for-all health care plan into the Democratic mainstream.

If that takes more than one election cycle, so be it.

“I hope they [his endorsees] win,” Sanders said. “Maybe they don’t. But if you get 45 percent of the vote now, next time you may well win.” [Emphasis mine.]

In the U.S. House primaries that have happened so far, Sanders has endorsed six candidates in contested races. Only two of his chosen House candidates have won contested primaries, and one was an incumbent: Rep. Nanette Barragán of California.

Even if many of his hand-picked candidates are coming up short, more of the Democrats who are winning are lining up closer to Sanders anyway. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care plan continues to gain support among Democratic candidates, and the $15 minimum wage Sanders made a key part of his presidential campaign has been adopted as a cause by party leaders across the country.

But given his broad success at reshaping the party, the question lingers as to why so many of the candidates bearing Sanders’ personal seal of approval are losing.

This week, another Sanders-endorsed House candidate lost a Democratic primary by a wide margin. Pete D’Alessandro ran Sanders’ Iowa campaign in 2016, which resulted in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. This year, the Vermont senator campaigned alongside him, cut a TV commercial for him and helped him raise money. But D’Alessandro finished in third.

“I could be 100 percent in terms of my endorsements,” Sanders told NPR. “All you’ve got to do is endorse establishment candidates who have a whole lot of money, who are 40 points ahead in the poll. You know what, you’ll come and say, ‘Bernie, you were 100 percent supportive of these candidates, they all won.'”

“The candidates that we support, by and large with few exceptions, are all candidates who are taking on the establishment, and are often outspent,” he added. [Emphasis mine. Indeed, supporting a candidate who clearly already is the front-runner isn’t all that hard, is it? You pick the obvious probable winner and then claim that your support was a factor in the victory. Bullshit.]

Sanders and Weaver argue that a race-by-race accounting isn’t the best way to track what the 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up is doing this year.

“The issue here is not that I think a Bernie Sanders, or frankly the endorsement of anybody else, is some magical potion to get people elected,” Sanders said. “Frankly, between you and me, I’m not sure how much endorsements – how significant they are. Sometimes they help, sometimes not much.” [Emphasis mine.]

Two of the 17 candidates Sanders has backed this year say that, in their minds, there’s no question the endorsement helped.

“It did a lot of good for our campaign,” said Greg Edwards, who ran in a crowded Pennsylvania House primary last month. “It increased my name ID, helped me get volunteers, helped with fundraising, certainly. And we got a lot of media attention out of it. I think we got four or five press hits.”

Still, Edwards also ended up third in his race.

But Edwards centered his campaign around policies many voters now associate with Sanders. “Universal health care, Medicare-for-all, around universal preschool, around debt-free college. Around increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15,” he said.

“Many of these issues were considered fringe issues, and now they are mainstream issues that we take for granted that there, of course, are legions of Democratic candidates running on those platforms,” said Jeff Weaver. “Three or four years ago you would not have seen candidates running on that platform I would have considered to be outside the mainstream.”

When Sanders introduced his latest single-payer health care bill last year, it was quickly endorsed by several of the Senate Democrats mentioned as possible 2020 presidential candidates. …

*It’s a common mistake, I think, for someone to run for a big office, such as governor or U.S. senator, instead of running for a lower office and then working his or her way up.

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