Monthly Archives: February 2019

Why the United States should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela

Two peas in a pod, really. Both have disturbing autocratic tendencies, including their mistreatment of the press, and if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wasn’t duly elected, U.S. “President” Pussygrabber certainly wasn’t, either; he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

I like and I respect Mexican-American telejournalist Jorge Ramos of Univision. A passionate advocate for Latin Americans seeking a better life, he has reported on their plight and has written several books about it as well.

I believe Ramos’ report of what happened to him and his crew when he recently tried to report on Venezuela. Ramos wrote for The New York Times:

I was expelled from Venezuela on Tuesday [yesterday] after a contentious interview with Nicolás Maduro, the country’s strongman. He stood up in the middle of our conversation and his security agents confiscated our television cameras, the memory cards and our cellphones. Yes, Mr. Maduro stole the interview so nobody could watch it.

We got the interview the old fashioned way: by making a phone call and requesting it. A producer from Univision — the television network where I’ve worked since 1984 — contacted the government’s communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, and asked if Mr. Maduro wanted to do the interview. The leader said: “Come to Caracas.” And so we did, with official entry papers in hand.

The interview started on Monday evening, three hours late, at the Miraflores Palace. Mr. Maduro had spoken a few minutes before with Tom Llamas of ABC News, and he seemed to be in a good mood. The humanitarian aid that the political opposition — with the help of an international coalition — had tried to get into the country over the Colombian and Brazilian borders had been largely stopped, and Mr. Maduro felt emboldened. This was supposed to be a good day.

But it wasn’t. The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him “Presidente” or “Dictador,” as many Venezuelans do. I confronted him about human rights violations and cases of torture that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, and with the existence of political prisoners. I questioned his claim that he had won the 2013 and the 2018 presidential elections without fraud and, most important, his assurances that Venezuela was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis. That’s when I opened up my iPad.

The day before I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution. That’s when he broke.

About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over. “That’s what dictators do,” I told him. …

I also heard Ramos give this account on NPR. Again, I believe Ramos; he is credible.

I don’t dispute such assertions as that Maduro is an authoritarian (if not technically a dictator, since there was at least the semblance of some election that at least initially put Maduro in power) or that many Venezuelans are so desperate that they’re combing through garbage for sustenance.

These reports are so widespread that I little doubt their veracity, although I’m always leery of the right wing shamelessly lying and exaggerating for political gain.

The problem, though, is how to solve the problems that plague Venezuela and who should solve them.

It should not be the psychopathic, fascist likes of “President” Pussygrabber or “Vice President” Mike Pence — who didn’t win their own fucking election, for fuck’s sake (Billary Clinton won by about 3 more million votes) — to deal with Maduro. (It’s always stupid white men, too; John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton — an abject wingnut who of course is “President” Pussygrabber’s “national security adviser” — also is a Venezuela hawk, of course.)

The people of the sovereign nation of Venezuela should deal with Maduro.

The claims of the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime and its jackbooted supporters that they care so much about Venezuela’s humanitarian problems are beyond laughable.

The Pussygrabber regime and its aiders and abettors don’t give a flying fuck about the American citizens in the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, for fuck’s sake, so for them to claim to care so much about the plight of the Venezuelans is incredibly incredible.

No, the right-wing, unelected Pussygrabber regime and its supporters want two things from Venezuela, not necessarily in this order: (1) its vast oil wealth (like Iraq’s, which was the No. 1 reason for the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) and (2) to install a right-wing government in Venezuela that will do corporate America’s bidding, especially in terms of just handing over the nation’s natural resources like a good Latin American nation should.

Did I mention Venezuela’s vast oil wealth? It has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Venezuela is not a democratic socialist nation. Its current government started off with socialist aspirations, but now it has an autocrat, not a democratic socialist, at the helm. (To be fair, this autocracy began under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but further to be fair, the Venezuelan right wing, with the full support of the unelected, illegitimate, right-wing second Bush regime, did try to overthrow Chavez after his democratic election — spectacularly unsuccessfully — in April 2002, which probably accounts for Chavez’s turn toward autocracy; I mean, you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you!)

It’s easy to criticize the Venezuelan government (the real one, not the fake one that the wingnuts so badly wish to install, as they tried to do in April 2002 [they tried to impose a right-wing oil magnate on the people of Venezuela as their new, wholly unelected “president”]), but look at the United States of America: The only reason that “President” Pussygrabber isn’t acting just like Maduro right now, perhaps especially in regards to the treatment of the press, is that the American system (thus far, anyway) has reined the “president” in.

Jorge Ramos again is a great example. Then-“presidential” candidate Pussygrabber infamously kicked Ramos out of a news conference in August 2015, telling him to “Go back to Univision” and motioning to one of his thugs to eject Ramos from the room. One of Pussygrabber’s jackbooted thugs (yet another stupid white man, of course) in the hallway to which Ramos had been ejected was more direct; he told Ramos, who is an American citizen, for fuck’s sake, “Get out of my country!”

Americans who act like Pussygrabber — who as I type this sentence is palling around with North Korean dictator (yup, wholly unelected and dynastic) Kim Jong Un, who treats his people far worse than Maduro treats his, replete with gulags — is better at heart than is Maduro are deluded or liars or deluded liars, and they’re huge fucking hypocrites.

Again, Maduro is simply doing what Pussygrabber would do if Pussygrabber could. (Totally unrestrained, my bet is that Pussygrabber would do far worse than anything that Maduro has done thus far.)

Therefore, the United States of America, as long as it remains occupied by the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime, should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela.

The United States of America right now could only make things in Venezuela worse, not better. The “aid” that the wingnuts wish to bring to the people of Venezuela is just a Trojan horse, because the wingnuts’ ultimate aim is the subjugation of Venezuela — not its betterment.

This is obvious to anyone who is honest, sane and who has been paying attention to the ugly history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

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Bernie surges in Morning Consult poll, gains new donors — and more hit jobs


Billary Clinton’s bitter (redundant) supporters, who still refuse to acknowledge what a shitty, widely despised candidate they had in Queen Billary, believe that Bernie Sanders should travel the nation only by stationary bicycle.

Bernie Sanders has surged in Morning Consult’s latest nationwide polling of Democratic presidential preference, now just 2 percentage points behind Joe Biden.

The Morning Consult poll, taken from February 18 through 24 (Bernie officially announced his second run for the presidency on February 19, a week ago today), puts Bernie at 27 percent and Biden at 29 percent.

The poll, with a whopping sample size of more than 15,500 respondents and thus a margin of error of only plus or minus 1 percentage point, puts Kamala Harris at No. 3 behind Bernie and Biden, with only 10 percent (she has been dropping in the Morning Consult polling), and Elizabeth Warren at No. 4, with only 7 percent.

Not only is Bernie climbing in the polling since he’s made it official, but The New York Times reports that in his first week as an official candidate, Bernie has garnered more than $10 million in donations from almost 360,000 donors — and that the e-mail addresses of the donors indicate that about 40 percent of them are new donors, so Bernie very apparently is expanding his base despite the “conventional wisdom” that this time around he would be “the victim of his own success.”

Of course, with soaring success comes blatant hit jobs, such as this one from Politico (apparently, if he wants to call himself a democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders should only walk or maybe bike to his appearances around the nation, and really, what fucking smug ingrates the Team Billary arseholes [redundant] are to have Bernie hold his nose and take an anti-emetic in order to campaign for the despicable Repugnican Lite Queen Billary and then piss and shit all over him after he has done so). But these obvious hit jobs aren’t going to work.

Dipshits are going to continue to vote against their own best interests — and thus vote for a Repugnican or a Democrat in name only/Repugnican Lite (such as Kamala Harris or Joe Biden or one of most of Bernie’s competitors) — and those of us who have at least two brain cells to rub together are going to vote in our own best interests, and we know that Bernie is our best bet, and that the ad hominem and ad nauseam attacks on him only mean that he’s doing something very right.

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Bernie’s No. 1

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake has updated his top-15 Democratic Party presidential nominee rankings, and inexplicably, he puts Kamala Harris (the establishment’s wishful thinking) at No. 1 and Bernie Sanders at No. 2.

Why inexplicably?

Because in reputable nationwide polls* of Democratic presidential preference, Bernie beats Harris by between 5 and 10 percentage points (see here and here), and because in his first 24 hours of fundraising after making his official presidential campaign announcement last week, Bernie garnered around $6 million from more than 225,000 individual donors, whereas in her first 24 hours, Harris raised $1.5 million from only 38,000 donors — that’s one-fourth of the funds and one-sixth of the number of donors.

I know only a few people besides myself who ever give a political candidate a dime, so the fact that Bernie’s first-24-hours fundraising haul was what it was demonstrates that people love him — and that they’re putting their money where their hearts are.

Even CNN, which generally has not been friendly to Bernie, and which employs the beyond-awful political “analyst” Chris Cillizza (whose “analysis” is comprised of his simply pulling shit from his ass), noted that Bernie’s first-24-hours take was “a record-smashing debut that easily outstripped his Democratic rivals.”

Keep in mind that the Democratic National Committee’s threshold for a Democratic presidential candidate making it into the primary debates, which are to begin in June, is based on the candidate’s polling and fundraising success, and Bernie already has qualified.

Here are the blurbs that WaPo’s Blake provided for both Harris and Sanders to “justify” his rankings:

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.): Nobody’s launch has been as impressive as Harris’s, save for Sanders’s fundraising haul. The California senator seems comfortable in her own skin, on-message and sharp, and it has made her a somewhat surprising early favorite in betting markets. The big early question for her, though, is whether her past “tough on crime” stance toward criminal justice fits with today’s Democratic Party.

and

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): The 2016 Democratic runner-up is the latest big entrant in this race (not that there was much question he’d run). And he started off with a bang, raising nearly $6 million in about 24 hours — about four times his nearest competitor. That’s coming from the base he already built, yes, but that’s also kind of the point: 225,000 people gave to his campaign almost immediately, signifying a sizable reassembled base with which to start in a crowded field where assembling such a base won’t be easy.

So, Sanders outpaces Harris on almost every measure — except for, supposedly, the betting markets, even though as I type this sentence, Bernie is slightly ahead of Harris on the betting market PredictIt.org.

And the claim that Harris “seems comfortable in her own skin, on-message and sharp” is rather demolished by this clip in which she very apparently desperately looks around for a lifeline when she (predictably!) is asked by a reporter about her premature tweet, meant to garner her cheap and easy political Brownie points, calling Jussie Smollett’s made-up hate crime against him “an attempted modern-day lynching.”

My view is that Harris actually isn’t ready for prime time (which isn’t a shock, since she’s been in D.C. for a whopping two whole years now), and/but that she gets a pass because she’s a woman of color in an age of toxic identity politics — and because she is establishmentarian: Like was the case with Barack Obama and Billary Clinton, our corporate overlords aren’t terrified of Harris because they know that as president, at most she would apply Band-Aids to our beyond-broken system of runaway capitalism.

Conversely, why does the establishment hate Bernie Sanders so much? Because he freely and repeatedly points out how corrupt the establishment is and because as president it’s clear that he’d actually do something about it — and because he’s so fucking popular because of that fact.

Indeed, of the announced candidates for the Dem presidential nomination, Bernie is No. 1, and if Joe Biden doesn’t jump into the race, Bernie’s competitors very most likely are toast.

But it’s fine for the establishment whores to keep on pretending that Bernie Sanders isn’t as strong and powerful as he is. The more that the establishment whores claim that Bernie is weak, against all actual evidence, the more their dupes will believe that their weak candidates are much stronger than they actually are. And this can only help Bernie.

P.S. Rounding out Blake’s top five are Elizabeth Warren at No. 3, Cory Booker at No. 4 and Joe Biden at No. 5.

I tend to go by the nationwide polling — you know, the measure of what Dem and Dem-leaning voters actually think.

And in the nationwide polling, it’s Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2, Harris at No. 3, Warren at No. 4, Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 and Cory Booker at No. 6. (Again, see here and here.)

The thing is, you’re not in it until you’re in it, so Biden’s and O’Rourke’s polling right now, of course, will mean nothing if they don’t actually run.

But by any measure, Bernie Sanders at least is at No. 2, a strong position in which to be. Again: Bernie haters, please keep underestimating him.

*How do I define a reputable nationwide poll?

First and foremost, it has a big sample size (and thus a smaller margin of error). I love the fact that Morning Consult, for example, will have thousands of respondents when most polling outfits don’t bother to get to even 600 respondents (and thus have sizable margins of error).

Also, a poll that includes someone who very probably isn’t even going to run, such as Billary Clinton or even Michelle Obama, to me is flawed from the get-go because it’s offering its respondents a “choice” that isn’t even an actual choice, contaminating all of the results.

Finally, a poll whose results are striking outliers from other nationwide polls that have large sample sizes — I am suspect of those polls and I usually disregard them as the outliers that they very much appear to be.

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No, Bernie Sanders probably ISN’T ‘a/the victim of his own success’

Updated below (on Wednesday, February 20, 2019)

Image result for bernie sanders copycat

Bernie Sanders started the fire, and his party-hack competitors don’t hold a fucking candle to him.

I’ve read a lot of the Bernie Sanders “news” coverage and “analysis” since he announced his 2020 presidential candidacy this morning, and it’s all the same old, same old.

There is the typical, old let’s-fabricate-a-conflict-if-there-isn’t-(much-of)-one trick — Will Bernie do better with black voters? Will Bernie put the allegations of sexual harassment by his staffers behind him, even though we’re completely ignoring the sexual harassment by Kamala Harris’ top staffer that resulted in a $400,000 taxpayer payout? Will Bernie do better with women voters?

I fully had expected this toxic identity politics bullshit, so probably what irks me even more is the trope, repeated endlessly by wolf-pack “journalists” mutually masturbating each other in their echo chamber, that “Bernie is a/the victim of his own success.” (If you think that I’m exaggerating, click here — this link will take you to the Google search results for “Bernie Sanders victim of his own success.”)

The “idea” is that because most of Bernie Sanders’ lesser “Democratic” rivals have co-opted his big and bold progressive ideas, everyone will forget, I suppose, that it was Bernie who originated these ideas, that it was Bernie who fought for them when they were deemed “crazy” and “pie in the sky” and the like, but now (some of them, at least) are considered litmus tests for a Democratic Party presidential nominee. (I’m talking “Medicare for All,” $15 federal minimum wage, free college tuition, getting Big Money out of electoral politics, etc.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t underestimate the ignorance of the low-information voter, but I surmise that there are fewer low-info voters in a presidential primary election or caucus than in a general presidential election, because it’s generally those who pay more attention to electoral politics who participate in primary elections and caucuses.

And most of these voters, I surmise, know fully fucking well that it was Bernie who first pushed these ideas, not one of the cheap knock-offs who are running now. (Maybe we can call them “Me Too 2.0”: Bernie Sanders supports that? Me too!)

Addressing the issue of whether Bernie will be “a/the victim of his own success,” there are two quotes that struck me.

The first, which I’ve already quoted, I’ll quote again, but I’ll quote more fully. Norman Solomon of Truthdig noted a week ago:

With a launch of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign on the near horizon, efforts to block his trajectory to the Democratic presidential nomination are intensifying. The lines of attack are already aggressive — and often contradictory.

One media meme says that Bernie has made so much headway in moving the Democratic Party leftward that he’s no longer anything special. We’re supposed to believe that candidates who’ve adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.

Bloomberg News supplied the typical spin in a February 8 article headlined “Sanders Risks Getting Crowded Out in 2020 Field of Progressives.” The piece laid out the narrative: “Sanders may find himself a victim of his own success in driving the party to the left with his 2016 run. The field of Democratic presidential hopefuls includes at least a half-dozen candidates who’ve adopted in whole or in part the platform that helped Sanders build a loyal following…”

Yet Bernie is also being targeted as too marginal. The same Bloomberg article quoted Howard Dean, a long-ago liberal favorite who has become a hawkish lobbyist and corporate mouthpiece: “There will be hardcore, hard left progressives who will have nobody but Bernie, but there won’t be many.”

So, is Bernie now too much like other Democratic presidential candidates, or is he too much of an outlier? In the mass media, both seem to be true. In the real world, neither are true. …

Indeed, the wolf-pack “journalists,” who are too busy lazily copying each other’s “news” stories and “analyses” to be able to write insightful analysis based in reality, need to get their narratives about Bernie straight; if Bernie is such a has-been loser, then why are his competitors copying him?

I also love this quote from Bernie’s former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver (who reportedly is sitting 2020 out because in our “woke” society of today, white men aren’t allowed to participate in Democratic presidential campaigns anymore):

“People in many ways are rightfully cynical about politics. And the fact that somebody has been consistent, including when it was not easy and including when it was perceived by many in the establishment to be politically disadvantageous to have stood for those issues, I think signals to voters that one is truly committed to those issues and that the person will aggressively pursue those policies and not trade them away when it’s hard.”

Absofuckinglutely. Look at Kamala Harris, who eagerly signed on to Bernie’s “Medicare for All Act of 2017” when she apparently thought that it would boost her presidential ambitions but who apparently recently backed down on a firm, bold stance on that; she apparently actually supports incrementalism, which ensures that the pro-corporate, for-profit status quo remains firmly in place (see also: Obamacare).

As Weaver indicated, how hard are those who just cribbed an actual political leader’s ideas actually going to fight for them once the campaign is over?

That is the question that we, the people, need to ask ourselves — not whether Bernie Sanders is “a/the victim of his own success,” for fucking fuck’s sake.

Update (Wednesday, February 20, 2019): Politico reports today (emphasis in bold is mine):

Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign is off to an impressive start: The Vermont senator crushed other Democratic candidates in his first day of online fundraising, and boasted social media stats that easily outstripped his competition, too.

The Vermont senator brought in more than $5.9 million from more than 220,000 donors in the 24 hours since he announced his presidential candidacy, according to his campaign. He easily eclipsed other announced 2020 candidates’ first-day fundraising figures — as well as his own in 2015, when he he raked in more than $1.5 million online in the first 24 hours.

Sanders broke small-dollar fundraising records in that campaign, and his staff has worked to amass an online media empire, posting more than 1,000 videos on his Facebook and Twitter pages over the past two years.

Another show of his digital strength: The Vermont senator’s announcement video racked up nearly 5.4 million views on Twitter in the first day, more than any other 2020 contender’s formal announcement or exploratory committee video, most of which have been online for weeks.

The rest of the field is playing catch-up with Sanders, currently the only candidate in the Democratic primary who begins on the foundation of a full-blown presidential campaign. But the numbers show that many of his followers are on board with his repeat bid for the White House, at least at this early stage of the campaign.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign said it raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her January 21 launch, and her announcement video has received almost 4.3 million views on Twitter. Sen. Cory Booker, who kicked off his bid on February 1, has seen his announcement video garner nearly 4 million views on the site.

On the day she revealed her exploratory committee on December 31, Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised more than $299,00 online. Her exploratory announcement video has gotten more than 3.8 million views. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who launched her campaign on February 10, raised more than $1 million in her first 48 hours, according to her team, and her announcement video received 150,000 views.

I stand by what I asserted four days ago:

My guess is that once Bernie’s second presidential bid is official, not only will his poll numbers go up and Biden’s and (most) everyone else’s will go down, but his pre-existing army of supporters from 2016 will flood his campaign coffers with individual donations (I sure will!).

We Berners aren’t dead; we are diehards and we’ve just been waiting for Bernie’s bat signal, and once it is illuminating the sky, it’s on.

It is on, indeed. (That said, it’s going to take at least a few days, maybe a week or so, to see the effect of Bernie’s official announcement on the nationwide polling of Democratic presidential preference.)

And the “Bernie Sanders is a/the victim of his own success” bullshit officially is dead and buried. Anyone who asserts that now is lying blatantly.

Another prediction: Joe Biden, if he officially announces, won’t do as well in the metrics as Bernie already has.

The people love Bernie, as evidenced by the fact that more than 220K of them gave him a donation in 24 hours, and by the fact that his online success also beats his competitors’.

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Oh, hell yeah: Bernie Sanders makes 2020 presidential run official

Image result for bernie sanders 2020

What a wonderful start to the day. NPR reports this morning (my comments are in brackets and passages in bold are my emphasis):

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is giving it another go, launching a second campaign for the White House four years after surprising Democrats with a strong bid for the party’s 2016 nomination.

“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward,” the independent senator told Vermont Public Radio in an interview airing [this] morning.

But this 2020 bid will undoubtedly be a very different presidential campaign than his quest for the Democratic nomination as an underdog in 2016. Sanders enters the race as a top contender who, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, tops most early polls, far outpacing other Democratic candidates in support and name identification.

It’s a sharp contrast from when Sanders seemingly came out of nowhere to surprise the political class — and at times himself — by winning several key primaries against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Buoyed by a big early win in New Hampshire, Sanders fought Clinton for the Democratic nomination through the final June contests, drawing tens of thousands of supporters to rallies in the process. [In 2016 Bernie won 22 states in the primary elections and caucuses and 46 percent of the pledged/democratically earned delegates.]

In the years since his loss to Clinton, Sanders has remained a national leader of the Democratic Party, though he still refuses to join. [So fucking what? That’s to his credit. I changed my registration from Democratic to independent after the Democratic National Committee fucked Bernie over royally in 2016.]

“I think we have had real success in moving the ideology of the Democratic Party to be a pro-worker party, to stand up to the billionaire class,” Sanders told NPR during the 2018 midterms. “We’ve got a long way to go.”

Many of the issues he’s promoted for years — most notably a Medicare-for-all national health care plan and a $15 minimum wage — have shifted from the party’s fringe to its mainstream, and are now seen as effective litmus tests for presidential candidates.

Indeed, Sanders’ most recent Medicare-for-all bill was cosponsored by fellow presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren. The Senate’s one other presidential candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, co-sponsored Sanders’ most recent $15 minimum wage bill, in addition to the other four.

Sanders pointed to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift as a reason for a second run. “It turns out that many of the ideas that I talked about — that health care is a right, not a privilege, and that we’ve got to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system: very, very popular. The idea that we have got to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” he told Vermont Public Radio.

“When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free and lowering student debt, that was another issue that people said was too radical. Well, that’s also happening around the country.”

But running in 2020, Sanders could be a victim of his own success. [Wow. What a wholly nonsensical and groundless assertion, but Bernie-bashing is popular, even at NPR — you know, to be “fair and balanced.”]

While Sanders provided liberal Democratic primary voters with a sharp contrast to Clinton’s political pragmatism in 2016, progressives will have no shortage of candidates to choose from in the increasingly broad and diverse 2020 field.

Most declared Democrats support Sanders’ vision of nationalized health care, more robust federal programs and policies, all funded by higher taxes on top income earners.

And in a party that has placed an increasing premium on being more representative of the broader electorate and country in recent years, many other candidates will offer voters the 77-year-old’s platform — with the added benefit of youth and diversity.

[I love this quote about Bernie from Norman Solomon, writing for Truthdig: “We’re supposed to believe that candidates who’ve adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.”

Indeed: We are to pass over the visionary leader and instead support a talentless follower and party hack who simply has co-opted his ideas. Right!]

“My question is, does he provide added value in this campaign for 2020? Or are there a lot of people who sort of carry very similar messages? Does it have to be him? I don’t think it does, and I admire him,” New Hampshire radio host Arnie Arnesen, a 2016 Sanders supporter, recently told NPR. “I think it’s time for us to start creating a new bench. And the new bench isn’t old, it shouldn’t be white, and it probably shouldn’t be male.”

[About a third of Americans are white males, yet the war on white males continues within the supposedly “woke” Democratic Party, which then wonders why it struggles to win presidential and so many other elections…]

Asked by Vermont Public Radio how he will pitch his candidacy in such a diverse and progressive field, Sanders argued, “We have got to look at candidates not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or gender, and not by their age. I think we have got to try to move us toward a nondiscriminatory society that looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for.”

[Absofuckinglutely! While diversity is invaluable and needs to be propagated everywhere, discrimination against men and white people is discrimination; it’s not “justice.” It’s bigotry and it’s prejudice and it’s judging people based upon their genetics, not upon their character and their abilities — which we are told is wrong to do, unless we’re talking about a white man. Then, it’s perfectly fine!]

There have been hurdles as Sanders prepared to run again in 2020. His campaign has had to answer to charges of sexism and harassment by staffers in 2016, with his former campaign manager acknowledging “a failure.” Sanders also had to clarify comments about the role of racism in the 2018 campaign, addressing the losses of gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

[No presidential candidate can personally supervise everyone who works within his or her campaign — and let’s talk about the top aide to Kamala Harris who she kept on board as a U.S. senator even after the state of California had paid out a $400,000 settlement for his sexual harassment of a female employee (sexual harassment that happened under her watch as California’s attorney general) — and the only reason that “racism” is brought up in the same sentence with Bernie Sanders is that he’s a white man, so it’s assumed that of course he couldn’t possibly get it, and any statement that he makes that is short of denouncing his own race and/or his own biological sex is deemed by the toxic identity politicians as “racist” and/or “sexist.”]

Sanders took several steps to maintain his national political profile and strengthen his presidential prospects in recent years, including his support for Democratic candidates in 2018. …

At any rate, the Bernie-bashing will continue, even by left-of-center media outlets that don’t want to be accused of being too fawning over him. That’s politics. (That’s toxic identity politics.) The vast majority of the criticisms leveled at Bernie easily can be batted down with facts and logic, but rank tribalism, which is behind most of the attacks on him, doesn’t respond to facts and logic.

It’s going to be a bumpy fucking ride, but we Berners are up for it.

Bernie Sanders already has earned the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination — as evidenced by all of the Bernie copycats who also are running for the nomination on his platform, if by nothing else.

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Kamala Harris, like other ‘Democrats,’ eschews democratic socialism

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders stand at podium at an event announcing the ‘Medicare for All Act of 2017’ in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Kamala Harris and other “Democratic” presidential aspirants sure were quick to sign on to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All Act of 2017” (above), but they cowardly run from democratic socialism.

This was predictable: Faux “News” asked Kamala Harris in New Hampshire today, “Senator Harris, one of the most popular Democrats in America right now is the guy who won here in 2016, Bernie Sanders, [who] describes himself as a democratic socialist. To compete in New Hampshire, do you have to — in the Democratic primary — do you have to move more toward the democratic socialist part of the party?” And Harris replied:

“Well, the people of New Hampshire will tell me what’s required to compete in New Hampshire, but I will tell you I am not a democratic socialist.

“I believe that what voters do want is, they want to know that whoever is going to lead understands that in America today, not everyone has equal opportunity to, and access to, a path to success, and that has been building up over the decades, and we’ve got to correct course.

“When we have an America where almost half of American families cannot afford a $400 emergency, we have to we know that we’ve got to do some course correction, When we have an America where [in] 99 percent of the counties in the United States of America, if you’re a minimum-wage worker working full-time, you can’t afford market rate for a one-bedroom apartment, we need to course-correct.

“And those are my commitments in terms of being able to be in a position where one, I see it, but also I intend to do something about it.”

Harris wasn’t directly asked if she considers herself to be a democratic socialist, but she immediately backed away from it nonetheless.

No doubt Harris wants no controversy and refuses — as is characteristic of her — to take any stance that might spook any centrist (or even center-right) voter.

What Harris prescribes, as does Elizabeth Warren (who also rejects the label of democratic socialist and calls herself a capitalist), is a mere tweaking of the capitalist status quo, but what we most likely would get under a President Harris (or even a President Warren) is what we got under President Barack Obama: more of the same, old capitalist status quo, where the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer, only maybe a bit more slowly than under a Repugnican in the White House.

Capitalism is so deeply entrenched and so corrupt that we’re way beyond Band-Aids. We need a total overhaul of our socioeconomic system, and tepid attempts at reform aren’t going to cut it.

In politics, you always demand more than you’re probably going to get. Demanding only Band-Aids means you probably won’t even get Band-Aids. Aim much, much higher than for Band-Aids, and really push for it, and you might even surprise yourself at what you actually gain.

Of course, a huge factor in the “socialism” debate is that there are different definitions of “socialism.” The low-information definition — pushed by the plutocratic right wing, of course, since it serves their treasonous agenda of fucking over their fellow Americans — is that socialism is big-“C” “Communism”: totalitarianism, government ownership and control of everything, tyranny/oppression by the government, etc.

No, democratic socialism — which, by definition, must be democratically adopted by a majority of the people*, not forced upon them like Communism has been forced on those who have lived under it — is just the opposite of sociopathy: Its roots are a concern for other human beings, who are viewed as one’s fellows who are not to be exploited for craven personal gain. Sociopathy, on the other hand, views others as existing only for one’s own craven personal gain. And that’s also called capitalism.

It’s Orwellian that in the supposedly “free” United States of America, we’re not allowed to even discuss a socioeconomic alternative to capitalism (indeed, we’re not even supposed to think about it). We are to bow down to that golden calf, and if we have any thoughts that maybe the selfish, short-sighted pursuit of wealth for oneself that causes harm to others and to the entire planet isn’t such a great thing after all, we’re supposed to keep those “heretical” thoughts to ourselves or risk ostracism (or even worse).

Capitalism survives only because we let it, because we, the people, allow our capitalist masters — including cowardly and/or corrupt candidates for president who call themselves capitalist — to shame us from even thinking that a different, more fair and just socioeconomic system is even possible.

If you can’t even think that things could be better significantly and meaningfully, then they never will get better meaningfully and significantly.

Leaders fucking lead. They lead us toward that which will benefit the highest possible number of us, not toward what will continue to benefit the minority at the majority’s expense.

Leaders aren’t cowards and they don’t care what others, even if it’s a majority of others, think about them.** They press on anyway. They’re not trying to win a fucking popularity contest; they are trying to build a better world.

That is my litmus test for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate.

Kamala Harris doesn’t cut it. Nor does Elizabeth Warren. Nor Joe Biden. Nor Cory Booker or Beto O’Rourke or the vast majority of the other “Democrats” who promise us that things would get better if they were president when no, if they president, things would stay the fucking same.

I don’t want yet another Democratic Party hack in the White House. I want a democratic socialist in the White House.

*Because it has to be democratically adopted, if the majority of the people under democratic socialism want a mixture of public and private ownership, then that’s what the people would get.

I’m fine with a mixed system in which human beings’ necessities (food, shelter, clothing, education, etc.) are provided by commonly owned production, whereas non-essentials and luxuries are provided by privately owned production.

**I find it funny that Bernie Sanders is so frequently criticized for not calling himself a Democrat, but an independent and a democratic (small-“d”!) socialist.

Faux “News” incorrectly called Sanders a “Democrat” in its statement/question to Harris today, but because Sanders always has caucused with the Democrats in Congress, he certainly is closer to being a Democrat than to being a Repugnican.

Sanders is the longest-serving independent in Congress in history, and it takes courage not to join the pack, but to stand outside of the pack, perhaps even all by yourself.

Cowards bunch in packs, so that you call yourself a Democrat to me means that you’re probably a fucking coward who only can feel safe in numbers. You can’t/won’t stand on your own, and you can’t/won’t think for yourself. Oh, bully for you!

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On Presidents’ Day, the ‘president’ is dead to me

Memes, Pussy, and 🤖: CALIGULAI
 THE SAGA OF PRESIDENT
 PUSSY GRABBER
 ingflip.com

It’s fitting to reflect upon “President” Pussygrabber on Presidents’ Day.

On Friday on my way into work I listened, live, to much of Pussygrabber’s little shit show in the Rose Garden. I noted his stream-of-consciousness rambling, his ample bragging and his pathological lying, China, China, China, The Wall, The Wall, The Wall, Americans killed by “illegals” (replete with their survivors as human political props [and no mention, of course, of the far more American citizens who are killed by their fellow citizens than by non-citizens]), his interesting suggestion that we end the drug problem by simply executing drug dealers, etc. (How about execution for collusion with foreign adversaries like Russia? That’s much worse than drug-dealing; that’s fucking treason.)

But Pussygrabber can’t surprise me anymore. Nothing he does or says is really new. It’s just a continuation of the long Dumpster fire that he had lit even before he said this in June 2015:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

I mean, that’s how he officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign, but even before then, in 2010 (colluding with the National Enquirer), Pussygrabber had begun to engage in “birtherism” — propagating the racist, xenophobic lie that twice-actually-democratically-elected President Barack Obama (duly elected by the popular vote, entirely unlike the “president” before him and the “president” after him) wasn’t qualified to be U.S. president because he hadn’t been born on U.S. soil.

In November 2015, Pussygrabber mocked a disabled reporter at one of his KKK rallies in the South.

And even before then was the “Access Hollywood” tape, recorded in 2005. Here is a partial transcript of that (the whole thing is here):

Unknown [Billy Bush? That’s my guess]: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture — I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!

[Crosstalk]

Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.

[Crosstalk]

Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.

[Silence]

Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.

Trump: Oh, it looks good.

Bush: Come on, shorty.

Trump: Ooh, nice legs, huh?

Bush: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.

Trump: It’s always good if you don’t fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford, remember?

Bush: Down below, pull the handle.

Trump: Hello, how are you? Hi!

Arianne Zucker: Hi, Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.

Trump: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?

Bush: Hello, nice to see you. How you doing, Arianne?

Zucker: Doing very well, thank you. Are you ready to be a soap star?

Trump: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.

Bush: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.

Zucker: Would you like a little hug, darling?

Trump: O.K., absolutely. Melania said this was OK. …

As I noted at the time, this (the revelation of the “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016) really should have been the end of Pussygrabber’s presidential campaign, but he is nothing if not a cockroach, albeit a tackily gilded cockroach.

I’d call Pussygrabber nauseating, but I’m beyond nausea. I’m numb. His shtick is beyond old. He has become what he has never wanted to be the most: boring.

Pussygrabber has caused plenty of damage — just when Obama (for the most part, anyway) rescued the office of the presidency after eight long years of “President” Gee Dubya (replete with the blatantly stolen 2000 election, the possibly preventable 9/11, the wholly preventable and unnecessary Vietraq War, the wholly preventable Hurricane Katrina deaths and the wholly preventable national economic meltdown, in that order), along comes Pussygrabber to shit and piss all over the presidency again.

That said, Gee Dubya caused much more damage to the nation than Pussygrabber has thus far. Pussygrabber is vulgar and revolting and is not only a national embarrassment but is our real national emergency, but he doesn’t have the attention span to cause the damage that your run-of-the-mill despot (who usually possesses an attention span) usually causes.

Stylistically, Pussygrabber is worse than Gee Dubya was (Gee Dubya was/is just fucking dumb, but most of the time he did apparently restrain himself from being too crass), but when you look at the actual damage — body counts and dollar losses, for example — you can’t say that Pussygrabber is worse than Gee Dubya was.

That said, for the past two years for me it’s like we haven’t had a president at all. Not just because Pussygrabber lost the popular vote by millions of votes and thus (like Gee Dubya) always has been illegitimate, but because Pussygrabber is such an insubstantial “human being” that it’s like he doesn’t even exist at all.

He’s like a poltergeist that haunts the White House and that, if he isn’t exorcised by the electorate in November 2020, will be banished from the White House in January 2025 at the latest.

Hopefully, Presidents’ Day in February 2021 will be a holiday to celebrate:

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