Tag Archives: 2016 presidential election

Why I’m on board with Bernie

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders acknowledges the audience's applause at a campaign event in Des Moines

Reuters photo

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waves to his audience at a packed Drake University auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. Sanders has surged in recent New Hampshire polling but still has work to do in Iowa toward winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. 

Americans apparently still are hungry for the hope and change that they ubiquitously were promised back in 2007 and 2008. That, I think, helps to explain why U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is doing better in his quest for the White House than even he ever had anticipated that he would.

Initially written off as a dark-horse candidate at best and a joke at worst (replete with mad-scientist-like flyaway hair), Sanders is in the news lately for polling quite competitively in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a presidential primary election (on February 9), right after Iowa’s caucuses (on February 1).

Sanders (who as of late has had his flyaway hair under remarkable control) reaps not only the allegiance of those of us (including yours truly) who still are waiting for that once-much-promised hope and change, but reaps also the anyone-but-Billary vote, since the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden very apparently aren’t running.

This is no poor reflection upon Sanders; you – or at least I – go with the most-progressive-yet-still-viable presidential candidate, and Sanders fits the bill. And kudos to Sanders for not being too timid to compete against Queen Billary, who deserves a coronation now no more than she did in 2008.

It is to Sanders’ credit that until now, with his presidential run, he has not identified with the Democratic Party, but has been an independent, a self-identified democratic socialist (I’ve seen “democratic” there capitalized by some, but that’s quite incorrect), ever since he joined Congress in 1991.

Not that this is good enough for everyone.

Fellow leftist Chris “Chicken Little” Hedges, with whom I agree on most things but whose frequent hysteria and hyperbole make me look quite tame by comparison, has remarked that Sanders “lacks [Ralph] Nader’s moral fortitude” and that Sanders “will, when it is all done, push his followers into the vampire-like embrace of Hillary Clinton. He is a Pied Piper leading a line of children or rats — take your pick — into political oblivion.”

Wow. Condescending and reductionist. (And again: hyperbolic and hysterical.) I support Sanders now (he’s a Democrat in name only, but in a good way, for once), but I won’t vote for or otherwise support Billary Clinton (who’s a Democrat in name only in a bad way) in any shape, way, manner or form. Sanders is not a gateway drug who will lead me into the Billary camp; he will not lead me, like a mindless child or rat, into “political oblivion,” as I’m quite capable of thinking for myself.

Sanders has stated that he had to decide whether to run for president as an independent, as Ralph Nader* has done, or to run as a Democrat, since it’s much harder for an independent to run for president than it is for someone who is aligned with one of the duopolistic parties. I don’t fault Sanders for deciding to run on the Democratic Party ticket, and while Ralph Nader, as much as we might want to vaunt him (and I do admire Nader quite a lot), never has won elected office**, Sanders has been in the U.S. House of Representatives (from 1991 to 2007) and in the U.S. Senate (from 2007 to present), at least pressing for progressive change (Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus his very first year in Congress and chaired it in its first eight years of existence), albeit with the constriction of being the only self-identified democratic socialist in Congress and more or less being able to caucus only with Democrats.

Chris Hedges proclaims that in November 2016 he most likely will vote for the Green Party presidential candidate, whomever that turns out to be, and that’s fine; that’s Hedges’ choice. I voted for Ralph Nader when he ran on the Green Party ticket in 2000, almost voted for Nader in 2008, and I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in 2012. (In 2004 I voted for John Kerry, as ousting George W. Bush from office was my No. 1 goal, and from the get-go I saw Kerry as the candidate best able to oust the incumbent [and ousting an incumbent president is usually quite difficult], and in 2008 I fell enough for the promises of “hope” and “change” to vote for Barack Obama.)

If Sanders doesn’t win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, there’s a good chance that, like Hedges, in November 2016 I’ll vote for the Green Party presidential candidate, of which I have a history.*** (I know that I won’t vote for Billary, no matter what. No, I never would vote for a Repugnican, but that doesn’t mean that I’d have to vote for Billary, because I don’t and I won’t.)

But let’s face it: the Green Party is incredibly politically weak. True, that’s in no small part because the duopolistic parties do their best to kill third parties and independent candidates (which is why the independent Sanders isn’t running for president as an independent or on a third-party ticket), but at the same time, Hedges and his ilk encourage us to tilt at windmills (such as by supporting the Green Party) to the point that it’s abusive.

It strikes me that the Green Party had an opportunity to grow since 2000, but has squandered the opportunity – in no small part, of course, because getting leftists on the same page is like herding cats on crack on a hot tin roof.

Chris Hedges calls for all-out revolution, and while an all-out revolution would be great (indeed, I’m reading Hedges’ current book, Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, right now), it seems to me that we’re still fairly far away from the critical mass that is necessary for one. “Every action we take now must be directed at ripping down the structures of the corporate state. This means refusing to cooperate [such as in the duopolistic electoral process]. It means joining or building radical mass movements,” Hedges proclaims, and again, while I’d love a progressive revolution, and while I suppose that a revolution (a progressive or a regressive one) could erupt in the United States (revolutions often erupt taking everyone by surprise), the fizzle of the Occupy movement leads me to surmise that a progressive revolution isn’t going to happen in the United States soon.

And to paraphrase war criminal Donald Rumsfeld, you go to political war with the army that you have, not with the army that you wish you had. Just as I saw John Kerry as the best “army” to defeat incumbent George W. Bush in 2004, I see Bernie Sanders as the best shot for an actually progressive White House come January 2017.

Hedges, of course, disagrees. “Any further energy invested in these elections, including championing Bernie Sanders’ ill-advised decision to validate the Democratic Party by becoming one of its presidential candidates, is a waste of time,” Hedges, whose columns so often read like fatwas, proclaims, but real-world politics is about getting the most that you can get under the conditions that you actually have while doing your best to improve those conditions. Real-world politics is not about pouting and repeatedly supporting the Green Party candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever winning, which is tantamount to scooping up all of your marbles and storming home in a huff. (And isn’t supporting the Green Party candidate still participating in the system that needs to be overthrown?)

I don’t see that Bernie Sanders is “validating” the Democratic Party by having become one of its presidential candidates, especially when he has identified himself as an independent and a democratic socialist since at least 1991 and clearly has explained why he is running on the Democratic ticket (again, it’s a procedural thing, not his agreement, tacit or otherwise, with the direction in which the Democratic Party has gone). I see that Sanders apparently is trying to change the Democratic Party from within, which is much more likely to succeed than is the national electoral success of a progressive third party. (Again, the Green Party remains weak and will remain weak for some time; only under a parliamentarian system, it seems to me, could the Green Party flourish in the United States.)

Bernie Sanders might not succeed in winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. While he obviously is politically stronger than he has been considered to be (even by himself, apparently) – he seems to have roused a sleepy giant, one that has been disappointed profoundly by Barack Obama – I concede that of course he might not succeed in his quest for the White House.

But it is a worthy quest to at least try to elect the most progressive president that we can, and while that’s still a possibility, I’m on board with Bernie Sanders.

P.S. I found it interesting to read that musician Neil Young, who has a problem with plutocratic jackass Donald Trump having used his song “Rockin’ in the Free World” without permission during his bogus presidential campaign rollout, supports Bernie Sanders…

*Nader ran for president on the Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent in 2004 and 2008.

**That’s not a slam, and perhaps Nader has been most effective fighting from the outside. In any event, the fight can and should be fought from both within and from without the current corrupt system, it seems to me; this either-or, puritanical bullshit doesn’t sit well with me. Politics isn’t pure; it’s a dirty game.

***Having lived in the very blue state of California since 1998, it doesn’t matter whether I vote for the Democratic presidential candidate or not; the Democratic presidential candidate always wins California and all of its electoral votes in the winner-takes-call Electoral College, which needs to be scrapped for a simple popular vote of the U.S. president. (The last time that a Repugnican presidential candidate won California was in 1988.)

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E-mailgate might give Elizabeth Warren an opening

Hillary Clinton Email Servers Home Scandal Private Email Secretary of State

LegalInsurrection.com image

E-mailgate may not be enough to sink the U.S.S. Billary – and create a fabulous opening for the person who should be the next president of the United States, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren – but the scandal does, at the minimum, demonstrate that Billary Clinton has more baggage than does O’Hare International Airport.

Worse than the fact that Billary never even had a -.gov e-mail address during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state, but used a personal e-mail address instead*, is the fact that Billary’s personal e-mails were stored on her own Internet server entirely under her own control. Reports The Associated Press today (emphases are mine):

Washington — The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own e-mail would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton’s secretive e-mail practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free e-mail services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

Most Internet users rely on professional outside companies, such as Google Inc. or their own employers, for the behind-the-scenes complexities of managing their e-mail communications. Government employees generally use servers run by federal agencies where they work.

In most cases, individuals who operate their own e-mail servers are technical experts or users so concerned about issues of privacy and surveillance they take matters into their own hands. It was not immediately clear exactly where Clinton ran that computer system.

Clinton has not described her motivation for using a private e-mail account — hdr22@clintonemail.com, which traced back to her own private e-mail server registered under an apparent pseudonym — for official State Department business.

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any e-mails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an e-mail server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking. 

But homemade e-mail servers are generally not as reliable, secure from hackers or protected from fires or floods as those in commercial data centers. Those professional facilities provide monitoring for viruses or hacking attempts, regulated temperatures, off-site backups, generators in case of power outages, fire-suppression systems and redundant communications lines.

A spokesman for Clinton did not respond to requests seeking comment from the AP [yesterday]. Clinton ignored the issue during a speech [last] night at the 30th anniversary gala of EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights.

It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private e-mail server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches. Hoteham was listed as the customer at Clinton’s $1.7 million home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua in records registering the Internet address for her e-mail server since August 2010.

The Hoteham personality also is associated with a separate e-mail server, presidentclinton.com, and a non-functioning website, wjcoffice.com, all linked to the same residential Internet account as Clinton’s e-mail server. …

E-mailgate indeed speaks to Billary’s respect for transparency, as well as (further) exposes her apparent issues over power and control. I mean, fuck: she eschewed a federal government Internet server for her own Internet server, as though it weren’t about the U.S. government, but were All About Billary.

Further, as fellow left-wing commentator Ted Rall writes (links are Rall’s):

… Under the Federal Records Act of 1950, which has been amended several times, “all government employees and contractors are required by law to make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency.”

During his first full day as president in January 2009, President Obama directed federal agencies to preserve all e-mails relating to government business so that agencies could add them to paper and other non-digital records requested as part of Freedom of Information Act requests, subpoenaed by judges for judicial reasons, and for eventual transfer to the National Archives for study by historians.

Clinton served as Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013. So clearly her e-mails and fell under the purview of the law.

It is difficult to imagine that, as a high-level politician and recent presidential candidate, Clinton was unaware of this requirement. In 2007, the scandal over the Bush administration’s dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys centered around precisely the same issue: the destruction of up to 5 million e-mails authored by Bush administration and Republican Party officials, which were either lost or intentionally deleted because they weren’t sent using government e-mail accounts.

Upon taking charge of the State Department, Clinton made the same exact move as the Bush people caught up in the U.S. attorney scandal two years before. Whereas Bush and Republican party operatives created a private domain, gwb43.com, in order to keep prying Democratic and journalist eyes out of their correspondence, Clinton’s staff registered the domain that she used, clintonemail.com, on January 13, 2009 – one week before Obama’s inauguration, on the day of her confirmation hearings.

Millions of Americans go to work at new jobs where, as part of the standard human resources package, they receive a new company e-mail account. This happens at countless federal, state, and city government agencies as well. For some reason, however, Hillary Clinton not only never used her state.gov e-mail address – she was never issued one. …

Rall later asks in his column, which you should read, “The question isn’t how many e-mails [Billary] has turned over; the question is, where are the rest of them?”

Again, E-mailgate shows us, I think, what Billary is all about: power for power’s sake, and more and more power for herself. (Not that we didn’t already know that.)

Is anyone above Billary? Is she accountable to anyone? I mean, as secretary of state she very apparently violated the directive of her boss, President Barack Obama, regarding the retention of e-mails related to U.S. government business.

We know – we have known for some time now – all that we need to know about Billary Clinton. If we let her into the White House, we’ll get the president that we deserve.

*Here is the New York Times reportage from Monday that brought E-mailgate to light: (emphases are mine):

Washington — Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal e-mail account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Clinton did not have a government e-mail address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal e-mails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal e-mails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of e-mails were given to the department. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

A spokesman for Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal e-mail account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Under federal law, however, letters and e-mails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.

Clinton is not the first government official — or first secretary of state — to use a personal e-mail account on which to conduct official business. But her exclusive use of her private e-mail, for all of her work, appears unusual, Baron said. The use of private e-mail accounts is supposed to be limited to emergencies, experts said, such as when an agency’s computer server is not working.

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal e-mail account for the transaction of government business,” said Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.

Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any e-mails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records. But Clinton and her aides failed to do so.

How many e-mails were in Clinton’s account is not clear, and neither is the process her advisers used to determine which ones related to her work at the State Department before turning them over.

“It’s a shame it didn’t take place automatically when she was secretary of state as it should have,” said Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a group based at George Washington University that advocates government transparency. “Someone in the State Department deserves credit for taking the initiative to ask for the records back. Most of the time it takes the threat of litigation and embarrassment.”

Blanton said high-level officials should operate as President Obama does, e-mailing from a secure government account, with every record preserved for historical purposes. “Personal e-mails are not secure,” he said. “Senior officials should not be using them.”

Penalties for not complying with federal record-keeping requirements are rare, because the National Archives has few enforcement abilities.

Merrill, the spokesman for Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account. He said that because Clinton had been sending e-mails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” He did not address e-mails that Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.

The revelation about the private e-mail account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.

And others who, like Clinton, are eyeing a candidacy for the White House are stressing a very different approach. Jeb Bush, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, released a trove of e-mails in December from his eight years as governor of Florida.

It is not clear whether Clinton’s private e-mail account included encryption or other security measures, given the sensitivity of her diplomatic activity. 

Clinton’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry, has used a government e-mail account since taking over the role, and his correspondence is being preserved contemporaneously as part of State Department records, according to his aides.

The existence of Clinton’s personal e-mail account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Clinton and her aides about the attack. …

As I’ve written before, Benghazigate is bullshit – the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who wish to make the deaths of four Americans in Libya into a huge issue have, puzzlingly, had no problem whatsofuckingever with the deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War – but it was skeezy of Clinton to use personal e-mail for her public office’s business and then decide which personal e-mails – which very apparently are in her sole possession (with the exception of the recipients of those e-mails) – to ultimately turn over for the record or for any other legitimate purpose.

I am a huge advocate of privacy, and in general I oppose anyone reading anyone else’s e-mails, but most of us never were or ever will be U.S. secretary of state. And Billary apparently did break the law, which apparently her successor John Kerry has not had a problem following.

It’s too early, it seems to me, to know whether or not E-mailgate will grow legs, but for the time being, it seems to me that if E-mailgate is Billary’s biggest scandal between now and 2016 presidential primary season, she probably will be OK in her quest for the White House if she presses on with that quest, as E-mailgate isn’t exactly very sexy. But E-mailgate does demonstrate that Billary is so embattled and so controversial that she might never get to the White House.

And I hope that she doesn’t, of course.

Even if I have to pick between Billary and a Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate on November 8, 2016, at this point – with the Democratic Party having sold out at least since Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office – I can’t see myself ever casting a vote for Billary. I most likely would vote for the Green Party candidate, whoever that is, if my Democratic Party choice for president in November 2016 is Billary.

(Let me remind you that the U.S. president is not chosen by popular vote, but by the Electoral College, and that if Billary is on the November 2016 ballot for U.S. president, she’ll win California and all of its 55 electoral votes, whether I vote or not. [Billary won California over Barack Obama in their protracted fight for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Billary is a DINO sellout, but she wins in California, coasting on her surname.])

I still don’t believe that President Billary is Inevitable. Widespread Billary Fatigue, should Billary win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, just might win the Repugnicans the White House next presidential election, it seems to me, so Repugnican attacks on Billary might backfire on them if Billary doesn’t run after all, if she begins to run but then drops out, or runs but actually is beaten by a challenger, as she was by Obama in 2008.

If a candidate who is stronger than Billary – like, oh, say, Elizabeth Warren (who doesn’t have nearly the amount of baggage and who, entirely unlike Billary, is credible on the issue of boosting the middle class and the working class and tackling the obscene income inequality in the United States) – ultimately is the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, the Repugnicans easily could lose the White House that they could have won had it been Billary on the ballot.

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Run, Liz, run!

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, after Senate Democrats voted on leadership positions for the 114th Congress. From left are, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Warren, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., last month. Warren has the support for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination of Democracy for America and MoveOn.org, the latter of which has just created Run Warren Run, a campaign to draft Warren to run for the White House. Below is a bumper sticker produced by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an apparent take-off from Howard Dean’s proclamation that he represented “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” (Which, apparently, Dean borrowed from the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone.)

Progressive political activist groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America (the latter of which grew from Howard Dean’s campaign for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination) have thrown their political weight behind U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

In online voting last month, Warren was the choice of 42 percent of Democracy for America’s membership (myself included), with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at No. 2 (with 24 percent) and Billary Clinton at No. 3 (with 23 percent). After 81 percent of MoveOn.org’s membership (myself included) recently voted that MoveOn should encourage Warren to run for president, MoveOn launched the Run Warren Run campaign, which is at runwarrenrun.org.

In response to MoveOn’s move, Democracy for America today began another online survey of its membership, simply asking, “Should DFA draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president?” The survey closes on Tuesday. (DFA’s website indicates that if enough DFA members vote yes on drafting Warren, DFA would have its own draft-Warren effort, but it seems to me that DFA and MoveOn [and other progressive groups] could and probably should work together instead of in parallel, duplicating efforts.)

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s home page right now prominently features an article on and an image of Elizabeth Warren and offers for sale in its store (via its home page) a T-shirt that reads “I’m from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.” (When you click through to buy the T-shirt, however, you see an image of the T-shirt that reads “I’m from the Elizabeth Warren wing of American politics.” I’ve sent the PCCC an e-mail to find out, I hope, which of those two not-so-subtly different messages the T-shirt [and the bumper sticker that you also can buy] actually convey.) I see no Billary gear (or gear for any other politician) offered up on the PCCC’s website.

The Clintonistas and other assorted unimaginative and dismissive types blow this stuff off, no doubt, but remind yourself that your Democratic Party primary voters and caucus goers are significantly further to the left — that is, progressive — than are your general election voters among whom Billary might not do too terribly (should she get that far).

And recall that Billary “Crown Me Already” Clinton came in at third place in the 2008 first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, behind the No. 1 Barack Obama and the No. 2 John Edwards, a stunning blow from which she never recovered, eventually losing, of course, to Obama.

Given that Billary is not the choice of the majority of MoveOn’s and Democracy for America ’s membership of progressives (nor, of course, is she the choice of the PCCC), how well can she do in Iowa in 2016 (and in the following 2016 primary-season contests) if she has a viable, more progressive (well, just an actually progressive) challenger?

But Elizabeth Warren won’t run, you protest.

It’s true that in the end she might not run – it remains, after all, her choice – but it sure would be easier for Warren to run with these outside progressive groups clamoring for her to run, wouldn’t it?

Warren truthfully could point to popular demand as having compelled her to jump into the race.

Such popular demand would give her at least some degree of political cover from the anti-democratic “Democrats” who believe that anyone who dares to challenge Queen Billary’s Claim to the Throne in the Oval Office should be excommunicated from the Democratic Party (if not executed altogether; yes, Billary would make a great decapitation-happy Red Queen).

If Warren does indeed run after all and the Clintonistas are too shrill in their anti-democratic attacks that no one should oppose Billary the Great for the party’s presidential nomination, they will look like the anti-democratic fascists that they are.

Even if Warren ran for the 2016 nomination but lost, surely she’d come in no lower than at second place, positioning her well for future presidential contests.

I can’t see Warren politically losing, really, from running for the White House right now.

If Billary Clinton wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, however, we all lose — whether she wins the general presidential election in November 2016 or not.

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Cry of the Clintonistas: ‘Surrender, Dorothy!’

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Liz’s new gig: Being the only real Democrat in the room

U.S. Senator Warren stands behind Senate Majority Leader Reid after leadership elections for the Congress in Washington

Reuters photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts listens to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada as he announces the Democratic Senate leadership lineup for the two-year congressional session that begins in January.

We may never know exactly how or why it came to be that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been given a Democratic Senate leadership position created just for her. ABC News has described the position as “liaison to liberal groups to ensure they have a voice in leadership meetings and discussions, according to a source familiar with the role.

The Huffington Post reported this reaction to the news:

“A liaison to liberals? I’ve never heard of such a thing,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), throwing his hands in the air. “I asked her about it and she said she was some kind of adviser. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what that all means.”

I’ll help Tommy Boy out:

With “Democrats” like, say, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who apparently believes that the predictably environmentally disastrous and good-only-for-the-plutocrats Keystone XL oil pipeline should be shoved down our throats in order to help her win re-election that she very apparently cannot win anyway, um, yeah, it’s time for the Democratic Party to finally fucking return to its progressive roots, from which it strayed no later than during Bill Clinton’s presidency, in which he repeatedly sold out the American people for his own political convenience (“welfare reform,” NAFTA, DOMA, etc.).

Undoubtedly, a President Billary would sell us out just as her hubby did, and we’ll see how much the Clintonian Barack Obama will sell us out during his remaining two years in office.

It is long past time for what remains of the Democratic Party to come together and proclaim:

If you are a politician in a backasswards (redundant) red state (such as Landrieu is), then become a Repugnican already. Just do it. Don’t fucking call yourself a “Democrat.” Because if you are espousing right-wing causes (such as the construction of an oil pipeline that is only meant to make a few filthy rich people even richer, the environment be damned), then you are a treasonous wingnut, and your place is within the Repugnican Tea Party. Stop further tarnishing the Democratic Party brand name with your right-wing bullshit and join the enemy already.

I only hope that Elizabeth Warren, despite her assertion that “Nobody’s clipping my wings,” didn’t strike a deal with the devil – namely, such as with the Billary Clinton camp (perhaps even with The Horned One Herself); and specifically, a deal to not run against Billary in 2016 in exchange for the newly created Senate leadership position.

In any event, Warren apparently rejects her job description as a liaison to the liberals. Huff Po again:

“[Soon-to-be Democratic Senate Minority Leader] Harry [Reid] asked me to be a strategic policy adviser, because that’s what I talk about, I talk about policy — college affordability and minimum wage and Social Security,” [Warren] said. “And that’s what I’m supposed to do and that’s what I will do. That’s my portfolio.”

You say potato, I say potato.

The gargantuan problem of income inequality mostly has been ignored by the Democratic Party during Obama’s tenure (as it was during Bill Clinton’s), and while I think of the striving toward socioeconomic equality and socioeconomic justice as progressivism rather than as “liberalism” (really, “liberals” – DINOs – like the Clintons have given the word “liberal” a bad name), yes, indeed, the Democratic Party has come off the rails to the extent that it sorely needs to be put back on track.

So while I personally eschew the word “liberal” because many if not most of those who call themselves “liberal” aren’t at all progressive (they want to be selfish, evil assholes, but they also don’t want the stigma of calling themselves Republicans, since Republicans are so widely reviled, so they call themselves “liberals”), Warren’s new job description – in her own words – does indeed sound like she’ll be a liaison to progressives (at least in part).

Every Democrat in D.C. should be a liaison to progressives, but, I suppose, it’s better to have one than none.

(Well, we have some progressives in D.C., such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but, interestingly, Wikipedia’s entry on the Congressional Progressive Caucus states that while 68 House members are part of the caucus, the entry lists only Sanders as the sole U.S. senator on the caucus. That’s way beyond fucked up. [Sanders, recall, calls himself a democratic socialist – and he’s the only such one in the U.S. Senate. He caucuses with the Democrats but does not call himself one, although he has considered running for the 2016 presidency on the Democratic Party ticket.])

We Americans still sorely need a new New Deal, which Obama at least quasi-promised but never delivered.

And without real Democrats/progressives like Elizabeth Warren – and Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (whose “Inequality for All” you should watch if you haven’t already) – pushing for a new New Deal, with our help,  it won’t materialize, because the establishmentarian “Democrats” are too fat, lazy and comfortable feeding from the corporate trough to lift a fucking finger for the American people (except, perhaps, to extend their middle fingers to the American people) – which is why, I believe, they lose elections.

Maybe, just maybe, the elevation of Elizabeth Warren to a leadership post is at least the dim recognition of the Democratic Party hacks that without the party’s base on board, the party is weaker and is going to continue to flounder, at least in midterm elections.

What we progressives cannot allow Warren’s promotion to be is a substitute for the actual progressivism that the Democratic Party abandoned some time ago.

We allow DINO Billary Clinton into the White House at our own peril.

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Chris Christie has become the Repugnicans’ bridge to nowhere

The George Washington Bridge toll booths are pictured in Fort Lee, New Jersey

Reuters photo

An aide to Repugnican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie very apparently orchestrated lanes of the George Washington Bridge, pictured above, to be closed in order to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for not having endorsed Christie’s gubernatorial re-election. The bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York City via Fort Lee, is one of the busiest in the world.

Any Repugnican, including the teatards, who celebrates the probable political downfall of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a moron. (Well, they’re all morons, but still.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want Chris Christie or any other Repugnican, teatard or not, anywhere near the White House, but recent nationwide polls have suggested that Christie is the only member of his party who can beat Billary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, in November 2016.

A CNN/ORC poll taken last month had Christie beating Billary by two percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent. No big deal, you say, but Billary garnered anywhere from 52 percent to 58 percent against all of the other Repugnican candidates in the poll, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Prick Perry, Marco Rubio, Pretty Boy Paul Ryan and yes, Prick Santorum.

A Quinnipiac University poll also taken last month showed Christie beating Billary by one percentage point, 42 percent to 41 percent. No big deal, you might say again, but in that poll, Billary beat every other Repugnican — Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — by 7 percent to 13 percent.

A McClatchy-Marist poll also taken last month showed Billary actually beating Christie by 3 percent, 48 percent to 45 percent, but in that poll, too, Christie fared much better against Billary than did any other Repugnican, all of whom lost to Billary by 10 percent to 23 percent (true, it was Sarah Palin who lost to Billary by 23 percent, and Palin very most likely won’t be running in 2016, but still…).

True, Christie would have had to overcome the right-wing extremists — well, they’re nutjobs; even “right-wing extremist” doesn’t capture their depravity, and even “nutjobs” doesn’t capture how dangerous they are (there are plenty of harmless nutjobs), so probably “fascists” and “‘Christo’fascists” are the best terms for these Orc-like “people” — to win his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I think that he could have done that.

Before now.

Before the news that, as The Associated Press has put it, “e-mails and text messages suggest that one of Christie’s top aides engineered traffic jams in the New Jersey town [of Fort Lee] last September to punish its Democratic mayor.” The AP adds:

… The messages do not directly implicate Christie, but they appear to contradict his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.

The messages were obtained by The Associated Press and other news organizations amid a statehouse investigation into whether the lane closings that led to the tie-ups were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last fall.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a[n e-mail] message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

[Reuters reports that Wildstein’s e-mail reply was: “Got it.”]

A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily-traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.

Beyond the specifics of the lane closures, critics suggest the incident reflects a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency. …

“This completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge,” Christie has proclaimed, adding, “People will be held responsible for their actions.”

While I find it very difficult to believe that any of Christie’s staffers would have been so brazenly bold as to orchestrate something so large without Christie’s knowledge, if not also his consent, at the bare minimum, even if Christie is telling the truth, which I very much doubt, Bridgegate seriously calls into question Christie’s ability to keep his own flying monkeys in check.

Gee, what would President Christie do if he failed to get someone’s endorsement for his re-election? Send a killer drone after him or her?

I agree with the AP’s assessment that a criticism that could be made of Christie is that Bridgegate reveals “a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency.” Indeed, he reminds me of the revengeful Richard Nixon.

All of this said, while I can’t stand Billary, and while I doubt that as president she’d be significantly more effective or progressive than Barack Obama has been — and so I still hope that she faces a strong, actually progressive challenger for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — of course I’d rather see Billary in the White House, if that is unavoidable, than Chris Christie.

And Chris Christie was his party’s best path to recapturing the White House.

But now, he has become his party’s bridge to nowhere.

P.S. Yes, Christie’s probable political ruin perhaps might help the likes of presidential wannabe Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whom I despise probably even more than I despise Christie, but Walker is fairly unknown outside of Wisconsin, and could he beat Billary? I doubt it. I could see him winning his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I can’t see him winning the White House.

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Warren-vs.-Walker deathmatch in 2016?

The release of this book yesterday can only fuel speculation that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has presidential aspirations. While I loathe the man (who is a man only in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word), a presidential match-up between progressive Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the pro-plutocratic Walker would, I surmise, be awesome.

Many if not most say that it’s way too early to start speculating about the November 2016 presidential election.

I mostly disagree with that.

Especially if you haven’t been anointed by the D.C. establishment, as, say, Republicrat Billary Clinton has been, you probably need all of the campaigning time that you can get between now and November 2016.

And if Barack Obama had delivered substantively on the “hope” and “change” that he relentlessly and ubiquitously had promised during his campaign for 2008, and if we hadn’t all given up on him already because as president he’s been so fucking lazy and worthless (at best), we (especially us progressives) probably wouldn’t already be looking past Obama and forward to 2016.

All of that said, the latest 2016 presidential speculation is that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker might run for his party’s presidential nomination.

The release of Walker’s (probably ghost-written) book — Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge (reminiscent to me of the smug, pseudo-triumphant title of Mittens Romney’s No Apologies) — yesterday should only fuel speculation that he’ll be a 2016 contender.

(Walker reportedly says that “his new book … is not a campaign book [right…] but that he’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 or promising that if re-elected [as Wisconsin governor] next year he’ll serve out his term.”

Walker also reportedly stated recently that the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee must “be an outsider,” adding, “I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor — people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward.”

Walker just coinky-dinkily, in his mind, anyway, matches that description.

So there you go.)

Could Walker win the White House?

My guess is that no, he could not, but the fact that Walker was elected governor in 2010 and survived a gubernatorial recall election in June 2012 in a state whose denizens cast the most number of votes for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since at least 1988 suggests, at least on the face of it, that the smug, heartless, union-busting, Koch-brother-loving/pro-plutocratic Walker might be a stronger 2016 contender than many if not most realize.

I can’t really see Walker doing well in the national forum, as I don’t detect a milligram of charisma in him, but he is a masterful liar, doing the bidding of the billionaires who fund him while pretending that he does everything in the best interests of the commoner.

That is, of course, how the “tea party” operates: excuse the “hard-working” billionaires who have been dismantling the middle class for some decades now — and blame and punish instead the working class and what’s left of the middle class for all of our socioeconomic ills.

Pathetically, that shit actually sells, especially among right-wing and right-leaning stupid (by definition) white men, the Joe the Plumber types, and other similar types (most of them, though, poor, white trash) who think that it’s a great idea for the chickens to support Colonel Sanders, and who apparently are too fucking stupid to realize the simple, basic, obvious fact that they, too, are chickens.

A Elizabeth-Warren-vs.-Scott-Walker 2016 presidential contest would be, to say the least, interesting.

It would be a battle by proxy between us progressives and the “tea-party” dipshits, a battle between us progressives, who fully realize that it’s the Wall Street weasels and other assorted plutocrats and their supporters (like Scott Walker) who have been destroying the nation (many of us found a voice in the Occupy movement), and the teatards, who are too fucking stupid to realize that we of the working class and the middle class are not actually the enemy, but are the victims of our plutocratic overlords.

Such a battle would have my full engagement.

If the uniquely uninspiring and uncharismatic and waaay-overrated Billary Clinton actually got the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, however, you pretty much could count me out.

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