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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

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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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My take: Jussie Smollett made it all up

goodmorningsmollett1

Actor Jussie Smollett cried during his first television interview after allegedly having been the victim of a hate crime on January 29. Meh. He very most likely was crying wolf. (He appears to me to be acting — fairly poorly — in that interview, by the way.)

I’ve been quiet on the alleged hate crime against TV show “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on January 29 in Chicago.

My inclination is to believe the victim, or at least to give the alleged victim the benefit of the doubt, anyway, but Smollett’s story was a bit over the top from the get-go: two male attackers, he claimed, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country!” as well as racist and homophobic slurs.

Smollett initially reported that his attackers wore ski masks, but presumably they were white, since allegedly they had perpetrated a race-based hate crime against him and yelled “This is MAGA country!” (Indeed, in the TV interview mentioned above, by elimination he pretty much claims that his attackers were indeed white, which he apparently could see even though they were wearing ski masks.)

The details of the alleged hate crime against Smollett and its subsequent investigation are convoluted and go back and forth, with ample yes-but-no-but-no-but-yes. (You can read them here and here and in many other places on the Internet.) I won’t rehash all of them here.

But CNN reports today:

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.

The men, who are brothers, were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.

“The sources told CNN the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources told CNN there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.

CNN’s attempts Saturday to reach both Smollett’s representative and attorney were unsuccessful.

Smollett identifies as gay and since 2015 has played the gay character of Jamal on the Fox TV drama “Empire.”

According to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the actor told detectives he was attacked by two men near the lower entrance of a Loews hotel in Chicago. Police were told the two men yelled “‘Empire’ fa***t” and “‘Empire’ n***er'” while striking him.

The day after the incident, police released surveillance images that showed two silhouetted individuals walking down a sidewalk, and police said they were wanted for questioning.

The two men were arrested Wednesday. Police on Friday said the men were being viewed as “potential suspects” and that detectives had “probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime.” [Note that that crime was not specified…]

But by Friday night they had been released, Guglielmi said, “due to new evidence as a result of today’s investigations.”

“And detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” he added.

One of the men has appeared on “Empire,” Guglielmi said. A police source also told CNN on Friday night that the men had a previous affiliation with Smollett, but did not provide additional details. …

It was reported that Smollett might have made up the attack because he feared that he was about to be written out of “Empire” — and presumably, the show-runners then would be hesitant to do so after he’d been attacked in a hate crime — but the show-runners have denied that Smollett’s role ever was in jeopardy. (Of course, for public relations reasons — to keep their target audience — they could be lying about that…)

In any event, if I had to put money on it, for whatever reason, I surmise, Smollett indeed made the whole thing up.

Not only was his initial report over the top — it would be rare for hate-crime attackers, who don’t tend to be all that smart or creative, to do all of the things that he alleged — and certainly they would have had to have been stalking him already, since they allegedly came prepared with props (bleach and a noose). And further, somehow they knew exactly when to bring those props with them: when the “Empire” star just happened to be going to Subway for food around 2 a.m.

Really?

Also, would real attackers really call Smollett “‘Empire’ faggot” and “‘Empire’ nigger”? Plain-old “faggot” and/or “nigger” I could see, but I rather doubt that they would mention the show in which he stars. Again: over the top. It’s bad writing because it beggars belief.

If Smollett actually is found to not have made the whole thing up, then I’d be the first to say so (and update this post accordingly) and offer and apology, but yeah, I very much doubt that Smollett’s story, in the end, will be corroborated.

If he lied — and he wouldn’t be the first to have lied about having been the victim of a hate crime — of course he has made it worse for those who come after him who actually are the victims of hate crimes, and of course he should be prosecuted for having lied to the police.

And I’ll come out and say it: the black community hasn’t been big on defending gay people, to put it quite mildly and charitably, so it seems to me that in this case they have responded more to the alleged racist hate crime against Smollett than to the alleged homophobic hate crime against him.

Just sayin’: The Smollett case apparently not only says a lot about Smollett and what apparent bullshit story he believed would fly in this age of toxic identity politics, but says a lot about those who were so quick to claim that he had to be telling the truth — before the details of the investigation ever even came out. It’s been quite the Rorschach test. (See: confirmation bias.)

P.S. Smollett apparently even fooled “President” Pussygrabber, who called that the alleged attack on Smollett “horrible,” adding, “It doesn’t get worse.” Actually, it does get worse, sometimes a lot worse; Smollett had only superficial (self-inflicted?) skin wounds, no broken bones, no damage to any organs, and he’s still very much alive.

On that note, Kamala Harris rather dramatically called Smollett’s account “an attempted modern day lynching.”

Again, two words: confirmation bias. Harris desperately wants that black base, I know, but she might show some, um, presidential caution before commenting next time. There has been no evidence presented thus far that anyone actually was trying to lynch Smollett, for fuck’s sake.

This woman was a prosecutor? Scary…

P.P.S. Cory Booker also called the Smollett account “an attempted modern-day lynching.” Of course. Jesus fuck.

I’m not sure who tweeted that bullshit first, Harris or Booker (tweets are given time stamps, but from which time zone[s]?), but it’s hard to believe that both would use the exact same phrase without knowledge that the other had done so first.

And, again, to stoke interracial strife before the facts of an alleged incident are even established — again, hardly what I would call presidential.

P.P.P.S. It’s being reported that Smollett has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney.

To be abundantly fair, hiring a criminal defense attorney doesn’t necessarily mean that you are guilty of a crime, but, um…

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Politico: Bernie Sanders has made 2020 presidential announcement video

Image result for bat signal

Bernie Sanders apparently is about to put out the official signal.

Politico reports today:

Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot.

It’s the latest sign the independent senator, the runner-up in the 2016 contest for the Democratic nomination, is nearing a presidential announcement.

Another hint that Sanders is getting closer to a launch: As Politico reported this week, the Sanders team has been interviewing people for top staff positions. Chuck Rocha, a political consultant who advised Sanders’ 2016 campaign, is expected to join him again if a second bid materializes.

It is unclear when, or even whether, the Sanders video will be released. It’s possible that Sanders could launch a 2020 campaign with an exploratory committee and then formally declare his candidacy later, a route other presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have taken. …

I long have assumed that Bernie would run again. As I noted recently, he’d be crazy not to.

Bernie didn’t go away after his surprisingly narrow loss to Queen Billary in 2016. He has remained in the spotlight, introducing such progressive legislation as Medicare for All, most notably (most of the top-tier candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination signed on to Bernie’s Medicare for All bill), and he released three books after the November 2016 election and has traveled to numerous states since then.

Bernie remains popular — he remains the most popular elected official in the United States — and takes second place only to Joe Biden in reputable nationwide polling of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference.

If Joe Biden runs, once he starts running his center-right mouth again, the voters will be reminded of why they passed him up on his first two runs for president in 1988 and in 2008, I predict, so Bernie is a strong contender for the nomination.

Not only that, but fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver recently noted that past elections indicate that the more candidates who run in a presidential primary, the more difficult it is for party establishmentarians to ensure that their favorite candidate emerges as the nominee. Silver concludes:

… But the past electoral cycles where the field was nearly as big as this one shouldn’t exactly be comforting to [establishmentarian] Democrats, and it should be particularly worrying for next-in-line candidates such as Biden.

Democratic voters like a lot of their choices and feel optimistic about their chances of beating Trump in 2020. The large field is both a sign that there may not be consensus about the best candidate and a source of unpredictability.

Indeed, 2020 won’t be 2016, in which Bernie and Billary were the only two viable candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Recall that no other high-profile Democrat, including Elizabeth Warren, dared to run against Queen Billary in 2016; Bernie was the only U.S. senator who had the balls to do that.

So while Bernie isn’t polling at No. 1 (yet), again, Joe Biden, with his stale Clintonian pro-corporate centrism, is, in my book, a weak candidate given the Democratic Party base’s ongoing shift to the left. Billary either didn’t see that shift or believed that she safely could ignore it, and instead offered only rehashed Clintonism (always served cold) — and look how that turned out for her.

And (along with what Nate Silver stated) with so many Democratic candidates running, of course Bernie stands to gain from not having to face just one establishmentarian opponent, as he faced only Queen Billary in 2016, but in 2019 and 2020 he faces several establishmentarian opponents who are splintering the establishmentarian vote, including five other sitting U.S. senators.*

And, of course, because Bernie won 22 states and 46 percent of the democratically earned delegates in the 2016 primary battle, he starts off already fairly strong. Indeed, unlike the other, weaker candidates who already have announced, Bernie hasn’t had to jump in yet because he already has a sizable base of support.

Finally, the Democratic National Committee that rigged the game for Billary in 2016 — both Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile have said that the DNC indeed rigged the game for Billary — is not the same DNC of today.

Former DNC chair and Billarybot Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was incredibly corrupt, resigned in disgrace, and new chair Tom Perez is much more decent and fair; Team Bernie got some important DNC reforms, most notably the reining in of the anti-democratic “super-delegates” who helped Billary “win” (by making her appear to be inevitable [like with the Borg, resistance reportedly was futile]) before we peons even got to participate in a primary election or caucus; and Clintonism, for the most part, died when Billary tanked in November 2016.

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.

*Those five senators are Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Booker, Gillibrand and Klobuchar indisputably are establishmentarian party hacks, and Harris, in my book, is just co-opting Bernie’s positions in order to try to siphon off some of his support.

I have lived in California for more than 20 years now, and Harris never has been a remarkable progressive. She never has taken a position that wasn’t politically safe for her. (She publicly opposes such things as lynching — as though that were a bold, controversial stance, as though a majority of Americans support lynchings and as though lynchings still were commonplace. [Next, she’ll boldly come out against slavery!])

And Elizabeth Warren — I’m falling out of love with her. Not only is she not campaigning well, including the “Pocahontas” stuff, but she was too much of a party hack to oppose Billary in 2016 and she won’t call herself a democratic socialist, but either truly believes that capitalism can be reformed (it cannot be) or is just too fucking cowardly to embrace democratic socialism, as she was too cowardly to face Billary in 2016.

Liz Warren is more of an establishmentarian Democrat than anything else. (Also, of course, she used to be a Repugnican as late as the 1990s. Oh, yeah.)

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My prediction: Biden or Bernie and probably Harris; Liz probably out

Updated below (on Wednesday, February 13, 2019)

It’s just one poll, but a nationwide Morning Consult poll of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference taken February 4 through February 10 shows Joe Biden with 29 percent, Bernie Sanders with 22 percent, Kamala Harris with 13 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 8 percent and Beto O’Rourke with 7 percent.

It’s just one poll, but the poll’s sample size is a whopping 11,500-plus, so its margin of error is only plus or minus 1 percent.*

If I had to bet right now on what the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket will look like, I’d bet that it’s Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, and Kamala Harris or Beto O’Rourke as the veep candidate.

Why?

Because both Bernie and Biden would want a younger running mate to cancel out the (real or perceived) age issue, and because Biden and Bernie, both being from New England, would want to balance the ticket out geographically, and Harris from California or O’Rourke from Texas would accomplish that.

That said, would Biden or Bernie want to put another white guy on the ticket? Biden maybe wouldn’t care, but Bernie, I think, would pick Harris over O’Rourke.

And maybe Biden’s advisers would steer him away from making another white man his running mate (if he were going in that direction), so I think that Harris has a pretty good shot at the veep spot (a better shot than does O’Rourke), whether it’s Biden or Bernie at the top of the ticket.

We’ll see, but if the nationwide polling continues in this vein, with Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2 and Harris at No. 3, I think that my prognostication might just come to pass. And it seems to me that while yes, it’s early (although the Iowa caucuses are less than a year away), the field is winnowing sooner than most might have assumed.

I don’t see room for Elizabeth Warren in this if Biden or Bernie becomes the presidential nominee. Not only is Warren still polling within only single digits, but she’s also from New England and she’s also older (she’s 69; Biden is 76 and Bernie is 77), so she wouldn’t balance out the ticket in terms of age or geography.

Liz apparently very much wants to be president, and I think that she’d do a good job, but the stars don’t seem to be lining up for her.

We’ll see, but at this point I don’t see her appearing on the 2020 ticket at all.

Update (Wednesday, February 13, 2019): I probably should apply for a job with fivethirtyeight.com. This morning the website posted “Our Very First 2020 Vice Presidential Draft,” and fivethirtyeight’s head honcho Nate Silver’s top two picks are Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris (in that order, from what I can tell).

Cory “Love and Unity” Booker’s name was kicked around in fivethirtyeight’s discussion, but the fact that he’s a saccharine fakey-fake, shitty Obama knock-off aside, he isn’t polling as well as Harris or even O’Rourke, and I think that if the presidential nominee is Biden or Bernie (the most likely case), there will be political pressure to pick a female running mate over a non-white male running mate.

So I stick with Kamala Harris as my No. 1 veep prediction and Beto O’Rourke as my No. 2, not because I want him as veep, but because he’s a shiny bright new object that the eventual presidential nominee just might fall for (especially if it’s a female nominee). That O’Rourke lost his last election, though, should prevent him from being anywhere on the ticket, in my book.

Finally, my calculus is pretty much the same as Silver’s, which he lays out thusly:

My suppositions are that (1) there will not be two women on the ticket; (2) there will not be two people of color on the ticket; and (3) there will not be two white men on the ticket.

But you could have a white man and a non-white man, e.g. Biden and Booker. [Possibly, but, again, I think that there will/would be internal and/or external pressure on Biden or Bernie to pick a woman, not a man, as his running mate.]

Or a white man and a white woman, e.g. Beto and Klobuchar. [I just don’t see O’Rourke getting the nomination, and I think that Elizabeth Warren has a better chance at the veep spot in this scenario than does Klobuchar.]

*There was another poll taken February 9 through February 11, but its sample size was only 500, putting its margin of error at plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, and its findings differ drastically from other recent polls’ — Biden comes in at only 12 percent and Sanders at only 9 percent in that poll, for example — so I discount it, frankly. Plus, the pollster is “Bold Blue Campaigns,” which I’ve never heard of.

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