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Still not supporting Billary. Nope.

Reuters photo

Billary Clinton celebrates her presidential primary election win in Pennsylvania tonight in Philadelphia. Seeing Bill Clinton in the background fills me with disappointment and depression and disbelief that the Democratic Party has become so unimaginative and so devoid of political talent that we must rehash the 1990s. Indeed, Team Billary played Prince’s “1999” at the celebration in Philadelphia tonight, when in 1999, Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial was held in the U.S. Senate… And Philadelphia’s history is one of opposing dynastic rule…

So Billary Clinton had a good day today, winning four of the five states that held a presidential primary today, including biggie Pennsylvania. (Bernie won, um, Rhode Island…)

Yes, obviously at this point it’s highly unlikely to impossible that Bernie could go into the late-July Democratic Party convention having won more pledged delegates (delegates won in the primary elections and caucuses) than Billary. And, again, unless something big were to happen, I can’t see the super-delegates giving the win to Bernie over Billary, not when he’d won fewer pledged delegates than she.

Nor should Bernie try to win the majority of the super-delegates if he hasn’t won more pledged delegates than has Billary, very probably. You can push the envelope too far, to your own detriment (and to the detriment of your cause).

Why has Bernie very most likely lost this thing?

Well, there are many reasons. Some of them are, not necessarily in this order of importance:

One, people routinely vote against their own best interests. To wit, Billary Clinton has done better than Bernie in states with the most income inequality — even though tackling income inequality has been the fucking centerpiece of his campaign. Bernie has taken some heat for explaining that by proclaiming that poor people don’t vote, and there definitely is more than just a little truth to that, but it’s also the case that lower income means less education, and less education often means voting against your own best interests.

(Less education and more religiosity, for example, which go hand in hand, easily can have you focusing on “morals,” especially others’, while ignoring your own poverty and other problems and shortcomings, and certainly more religiosity can have you more obedient to authority, which would include, of course, our corporate overlords, especially since capitalism and “Christianity” have become so intertwined — even though Jesus was a socialist. [Very conveniently for the capitalists, “Christianity” often teaches that suffering is Godly and that there will be future reward for it.])

Two, the Democratic Party stopped focusing on income inequality and other socioeconomic justice issues many years ago and has become all about identity politics. Many people, even those struggling to make ends meet, appear to care more about knee-jerkedly defending their identity group than in doing anything to arrest, much more reverse, income inequality.

Tribalism is a powerful, visceral force — to the point that many voters care more about having our first female (and “third” “black”) president than they care about anything else, even the fact that Billary is another Repugnican Lite, a multi-millionaire herself (Bernie isn’t a millionaire; he’s not worth even $1 million) who as president is quite unlikely to lift all boats (unless we’re talking about her doing nothing substantive about climate change because her oily corporate sponsors don’t want her to do anything about climate change, which indeed does lift all boats).

And into this environment of toxic identity politics and rank tribalism, here comes Bernie Sanders, yet another old white guy — even though he’s a secular Jew (and, it appears to me, an agnostic or maybe even an atheist) and even though he’s the furthest-left, most progressive contender for the Democratic Party presidential nomination whom we’ve seen in ages — and the fact that superficially he is yet another old white guy shuts down those tribalists who would lump him, quite incorrectly, with all of the other older white guys in American history (and their wrongdoings).

Three, Billary’s hubby was president from January 1993 to January 2001, giving her supreme name-brand recognition, and it was clear when she carpetbaggingly ran for a U.S. Senate seat for New York in 2000 that she was angling for the Oval Office. (It was clear even before then, actually.)

And, of course, Billary already ran for the White House in 2008, and as of late when you come in at No. 2 in your first bid for the White House, there is the widespread belief within your party, then, that next time it’s “your turn.” This was the case with John McCainosaurus, for example, and for Mittens Romney, when they came in second place in 2000 and in 2008 and then became their party’s nominees in 2008 and 2012.

In the end, in a nutshell, we can say that Bernie Sanders just couldn’t overcome the Clinton brand name — but that as a democratic socialist from Vermont, by doing as well as he did, he sure the fuck exposed how weak the Clinton name brand and the Clintonian Democratic Party are right now, and I expect this weakness to linger over Billary Clinton for the remainder of her political career — and I expect the Democratic Party to return to its progressive roots within the next few presidential election cycles.

For the time being, I hope that Bernie Sanders makes good on his promise to campaign at least through June 7, when my home state of California votes. All 50 states deserve the chance to weigh in on Billary vs. Bernie, because weighing in on Billary vs. Bernie also is weighing in on the direction of the Democratic Party: whether it should remain the same-old, same-old, center-right Democratic Party, as it will/would under Billary Clinton, no matter what the fuck she is promising today, or whether it should return to its progressive roots, not just in rhetoric, but in actual actions and in deeds.

Billary is a weak candidate, which is why her bots have been calling for Bernie Sanders to drop out early (every state that he wins is a state that she didn’t — even Rhode Island) and why they have claimed that Bernie has made poor Billary look bad when, of course, the self-serving, corrupt, center-right, flip-flopping, calculating, triangulating, multi-millionaire Billary has needed zero help in that department, and, of course, rather than admit how flawed, politically weak and widely disliked (outside of the Democratic Party hacks, who are a minority of Americans) Billary is, the Billarybots would much rather turn Bernie into their scapegoat.

I just can’t see Billary having a successful presidency — the Repugnican Tea Party will/would be even worse on her than they have been on Barack Obama, I surmise — and/but, truth be told, if the next Democratic Party president must be a failure, I much would rather that it be Billary (and her brand of the Democratic Party) than Bernie (and the progressive movement).

When I receive my vote-by-mail ballot for California’s presidential primary election next month, I will fill in the oval for Bernie Sanders.*

When Billary is president and it’s disastrous, as was so fucking predictable, don’t blame me.

I voted for Bernie.

*In November the Democratic presidential candidate, whichever individual it is, is going to win California and all of its electoral votes anyway, so no, my refusal to support Billary Clinton in the June presidential primary election or in the November general election — not a penny and certainly never my vote — won’t make a fucking difference, so hold your ammo.

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Live-blogging the 9th Dem debate

160414-clinton-sanders-lede-gty-1160.jpg

Getty photo

Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed tonight in a debate in Brooklyn, New York, that wasn’t as acrimonious as it could have been, but in which the audience members loudly booed Billary at least a few times and repeatedly chanted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” (There were no chants for Billary and no boos for Bernie [no loud ones, anyway].) Something that Billary didn’t respond to at all during the debate was Bernie’s quite-correct assertion that he pulls in a lot more independent voters than she does, and that independent voters are critical for winning the White House (as Democratic die-hards can’t win it alone), and that he long has polled significantly better against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential frontrunners than has Billary.

5:40 p.m. (all times Pacific Time): The ninth Democratic Party presidential debate is scheduled to begin in 20 minutes. I’m streaming it via CNN’s website. I expect the sparks to fly between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton tonight, and I expect Billary to lie as even she has never lied before.

5:55 p.m.: The debate is to begin in five minutes. My intent is to give my impressions as the debate unfolds, not to be a stenographer, so for complete, thorough coverage of the debate, you’d have to watch it and/or read its transcript after it’s posted online.

I tentatively plan to write only about new lines of discussion, but there may not be very many of those, so this might be repetitive of my past live-bloggings of the previous eight debates.

I’m still very much rooting for Bernie Sanders, but these debates have become a bit tiresome; they’ve been going on for six full months now.

6:00 p.m.: National anthem now. Yawn. Bernie came out first, followed by Billary. They had a cursory, not-very-sincere-looking handshake, and once again I’m wondering who the hell dressed Billary. Is that a raincoat? (In any event, anyone as chummy with gay men as she has claimed to be would be dressed a lot better, it seems to me…)

6:02 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that he started off 70 percentage points behind Billary in the nationwide polls but that a few recent nationwide polls have had him slightly ahead of her, and he reminds us that he won eight of the last nine primary-season contests.

Bernie rehashed his stump speech, but it seemed fresher tonight than it has in a long time. (Admittedly, it could just be that there was more than a month between the last debate and this one…)

6:04 p.m.: Billary reminds us that she represented New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years. She mentions 9/11 but not the Vietraq War that she voted for in October 2002.

She mentions “diversity” — a play to identity politics, because that’s all that she has left — but she doesn’t mention income inequality. (Perhaps because she’s a multi-millionaire…)

6:06 p.m.: Bernie, asked if Billary is qualified to be president, says yes, but says, “I question her judgment.” He mentions her vote for the Vietraq War and the million$ that she has taken from Wall Street.

6:08 p.m.: Oh, snap! Billary says she was elected as senator for New York twice and was selected by President Hopey-Changey to be his secretary of state. Therefore, her judgment must be swell!

She now claims that Bernie can’t explain how he’d achieve his central goal of breaking up the banks. Actually, I wouldn’t say that breaking up the banks is the central pillar of Bernie’s campaign. It’s only a part of it, one of many parts of it.

6:10 p.m.: Bernie is pretty red in the face while Billary has this self-satisfied, shit-eating grin on her face. She now says that an attack on her is an attack on Obama. She just got booed by the audience for that, appropriately.

Billary has tried to use Obama as a human political shield her entire campaign. It is demonstrative of her character.

6:12 p.m.: Repetitive stuff about breaking up the banks. (Again, this is the ninth debate that I’ve live-blogged…)

6:15 p.m.: Billary’s tactic clearly is to have this shit-eating grin, like she’s just so above it all. I don’t think that this tactic is going to work for her. (It worked for Joe Biden when he debated Paul Ryan, but this isn’t the Biden-Ryan debate.)

The audience tonight is dynamic, reflecting, I think, how the Bernie-Billary fight is coming to a climax.

6:17 p.m.: More repetitive shit, with Billary still trying to argue that although Goldman Sachs — which just paid billions in penalties — gave her shitloads of money for speeches, it has not affected her decision-making at all.

6:19 p.m.: To thunderous applause, Billary is asked why she won’t release those speech transcripts. She isn’t answering the question, but instead is trying to deflect.

6:21 p.m.: The moderator won’t let the question go, and the audience goes wild. Billary deflects again, saying that she has released 30 years of tax returns, but that Bernie hasn’t.

The moderator for a third time asks about those transcripts. Billary again says she’ll release her transcripts when everyone else (on the Repugnican Tea Party side) does and again says that she has released more tax returns than has Bernie. Apples to oranges, but that’s her game.

6:23 p.m.: Bernie promises to release more tax returns soon. He says they promise to be “boring,” as he is “one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.” (This is true. Google it.)

6:24 p.m.: Wolf Blitzer, who should work for Faux “News,” asks how Bernie, with his confrontational style toward corporations, as U.S. president effectively could promote U.S. business. (This is, you see, a U.S. president’s No. 1 job — to make the filthy rich even richer!)

Bernie is talking about how unethical, harmful corporate practices and corporate abuses must be curbed. Bernie indicates that corporations must treat their workers and the environment with respect. And that not all corporations are bad actors.

6:27 p.m.: Bernie speaks of the need to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

6:28 p.m.: Billary has laughed at Bernie at least two or three times. Again, while it worked for Joe Biden against Paul Ryan, it just makes her look arrogant and condescending — especially when most of her answers to these debate questions range from vague to evasive.

6:29 p.m.: Oh, shit. Wolfie reminds us that Billary publicly stood with Andrew Cuomo for New York’s new $15/hour minimum wage but that throughout her campaign, until only very recently, she has supported only a $12/hour federal minimum wage.

Billary now supports the $15/hour minimum wage. Seriously. She is acting like she’s always supported $15/hour. This is a fucking lie.

Wow. Bernie just said that “once again, history has outpaced Senator Clinton.” Absolutely. The audience is going wild.

The members of this audience have done their research and have been paying attention, so Billary’s sudden, magical time-space leap to always having supported a $15/hour federal minimum wage doesn’t fly with them.

6:34 p.m.: Bernie laughs at Billary, as she has been laughing at him, and she says, with her false concern that she displays so often and so readily, “This is not a laughing matter.” (The topic is guns.)

I don’t believe for a nanosecond that multi-millionaire Billary truly cares about any of us commoners, and of course she is well-protected from gun violence herself, but it’s an easy issue on which to jump on board, because who is for gun violence?

6:37 p.m.: Bernie says that the National Rifle Association gives him a “D-” rating on guns. Indeed. This is a non-issue, a red herring that a desperate, pro-plutocratic Billary & Co. created from thin air.

6:40 p.m.: Again the “issue” of whether gun manufacturers should be liable for the misuse of their products. This is another non-issue. If guns are that bad, then they should be made illegal altogether. You can’t blame the manufacturer of a legal product for its misuse. This is mushy-headed liberal insanity.

(I define “liberal” and “progressive” very differently, by the way, but that’s another blog post. In a nutshell, though, Billary is a liberal — she’s a multi-millionaire who pushes social issues and identity politics that, just coinky-dinkily convenient for her and her millionaire and billionaire buddies, for the most part don’t alter or significantly threaten or jeopardize the socioeconomic status quo — and Bernie is a progressive — he wants to change the socioeconomic status quo quite radically.)

Again, the whole gun “issue” is a distraction from Billary’s flaws and shortcomings, and a rather fucktarded one.

6:43 p.m.: Billary is asked if her hubby’s 1994 crime bill was a mistake. She states that portions of the bill improved things but that other portions created new problems. She reminds us that Bernie voted for the crime bill and also has said that portions of it proved to be good and others bad.

Billary says she wants “white people” to recognize systemic racism. I agree with that, but all people are capable of racism, not just white people — let’s please not single out and demonize only white people for the wrong of racism — and again, I am incredibly leery of the Clinton brand of identity politics, which has us commoners doing nothing about our common socioeconomic plight while we fight each other, stirred up by craven politicians who maximize identity politics for their own personal gain.

6:49 p.m.: Bernie is asked how as president he would reduce the number of prisoners within the U.S. when most of the prisoners are state prisoners, not federal prisoners.

Um, federal law trumps state law. Federal laws, including civil rights laws, can tackle the problem of over-incarceration. The red states can whine, but they have to fall in line. We can bring them to heel — again.

6:51 p.m.: On break now. Billary has been booed by this lively audience several times. This audience seems to be more pro-Bernie than pro-Billary. Especially when she tries her typical evasive and deflective bullshit and her lying, the audience boos.

6:55 p.m.: The topic now is energy.

Billary claims that both she and Bernie have taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Bernie says more than 40 lobbyists for the industry maxed out their contributions to Billary.

Both Billary and Bernie apparently agree that climate change is a problem.

Billary says she worked on bringing nations together on battling climate change as secretary of state. She says Bernie wasn’t appreciative enough of the Paris agreement.

Bernie says that we have to go beyond paper agreements and actually work to combat climate change, including banning fracking. Billary supports fracking.

Billary is at length equating Bernie’s criticism of the Paris agreement as not being enough to an attack on Obama — something that she wouldn’t need to do (piggypack on Obama’s popularity) if she weren’t so widely despised herself.

7:02 p.m.: Billary now seems to be backtracking on her historical support for fracking, which she now indicates she always only has envisioned as being temporary. (Riiight!) This is still yet another issue on which history has outpaced her.

7:03 p.m.: Bernie corrects the record, stating how Billary has supported fracking around the world, and he criticizes her incrementalism. Climate change is too serious for incrementalism, he proclaims, adding that we needed to address climate change “yesterday.”

7:05 p.m.: We are on “a suicide course” with climate change, Bernie says. Yup.

Bernie says we have to phase in new sources of sustainable energy and phase out old, unsustainable sources of energy while Billary still has that condescending, smug, shit-eating grin on her face that makes her more unlikeable, not more likeable. Really, she has no one but herself to blame for her upside-down favorability numbers.

7:08 p.m.: Wolfie reminds Billary that Obama says his biggest mistake as president was bungling Libya.*

Billary blathered about Libya. I didn’t listen much, to be honest. Bernie now talks about how “regime change often has unintended consequences,” and he has mentioned Iraq and made a bit of a comparison between U.S. meddling in both nations.

Billary says Bernie in the Senate voted for the Libya intervention. This is all rehashed from the previous debates.

Bernie says that just repeating something doesn’t make it true. Bernie says that he never voted in support of “regime change” in Libya. He says he voted only for “democracy in Libya.”

7:14 p.m.: Bernie points out how much Billary has been relying on Obama as her human shield (I paraphrase) and says that Billary as secretary of state wanted a no-fly zone in Syria that Obama didn’t and still doesn’t want.

7:16 p.m.: The stupid moderator points out to Bernie that both Donald Trump and he state that the United States has to pull too much of the weight within NATO. This is supposed to be a gotcha! question, but so the fuck what?

Although I’d never vote for Der Fuehrer Trump, in the mishmash of his political “offerings” he does present some libertarian leanings, and I do agree with some of the libertarian views, such as an anti-war and anti-war-profiteering sentiment and a fierce respect for and defense of privacy rights. (I disagree with them on pretty much everything else.)

And even a broken clock is right twice a day, so there can be one or two or maybe even three whole things that Trump is actually accidentally right about.

7:21 p.m.: Israel now. Oh, God. Bernie says he is “100 percent pro-Israel,” but “we have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.” Bernie (who is Jewish) says his views on the Palestinians don’t make him “anti-Israel.”

Billary takes her predictable pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stance. After all, it’s AIPAC that gives her the big campaign contributions, not the impoverished Palestinians. Her “right-to-defend-yourself” rhetoric makes her sound like a puppet of wingnutty war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu. (Because she is. His hand is entirely up her ass, moving her mouth and her arms.)

Cool. Bernie says that Billary’s fairly recent speech to AIPAC made no substantive mention of the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people. Of course not! She gave AIPAC the speech that AIPAC paid for!

“You gave a major speech to AIPAC … and you barely mentioned the Palestinians,” Bernie reiterates after Billary tells us how badly poor Bibi Netanyahu has had it, with those “terrorists” in Israel’s midst.

(Israelis have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, but since Israel uses shiny, high-tech, U.S. weapons, that’s not terrorism. Only poor people who don’t have access to such high-tech killing methods can be terrorists, you see. We Americans and Israelis are civilized killers — not terrorists!)

Wow. Bibi Netanyahu, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright — Billary Clinton sure loves a war criminal!

7:34 p.m.: Bernie tiresomely is asked how the nation would pay for his initiatives to improve the socioeconomic status quo, such as health care and higher education.

Bernie says he is “determined” to transfer the money that has gone to the 1 percent back to the working class and middle class.

Billary says we’re at “90 percent” coverage for health care, but we still have for-profit health care, replete with shitty health care plans that bankrupt people with the out-of-pocket-costs anyway.

Bernie reminds us that other major nations guarantee health care for their people at a much lower cost than in the U.S., and that they don’t make their college students slaves to student-loan debt. “Please don’t tell me that we can’t do what many other nations around the world are doing,” he says. Yup.

This is mostly rehashed, but it’s important. There indeed is no good reason, outside of incredible greed and politicians who treasonously sell us commoners out to moneyed interests, that the U.S. doesn’t provide health care and education for all of its people.

7:43 p.m.: Talk of Social Security now. (It’s a complicated topic. Read the transcript of the debate when it’s up.) Billary says that she and Bernie are “in vigorous agreement,” but Bernie indicates that Billary has changed her position on Social Security, as she has on so many other issues. The audience is chanting, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

Billary, under fire, now claims that Bernie isn’t a real Democrat. Wow. But this is how she operates when she is backed into a corner.

7:46 p.m: Bernie and Billary are “in vigorous agreement” on the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court, except that Bernie says he’d pick a nominee who would overturn Citizens United, and apparently that wouldn’t be President Hopey-Changey’s current moderate nominee.

Billary says her Supreme Court nominee would have to overturn Citizens United and uphold Roe vs. Wade, and she goes off onto the topic of abortion and reproductive rights.

Abortion/reproductive rights are important — I always have been and always will be pro-choice, and I believe that birth control, including entirely voluntary sterilization, should be provided to all people free of charge — but abortion and reproductive rights so easily can be used as a hot-button distraction from other issues.

Bernie says his pro-choice voting record is 100 percent, and he adds that he supports the LGBT community, and adds that Vermont led the way on same-sex marriage.

7:50 p.m.: We’re done pandering to identity groups now, thank Goddess. (I’m gay, but I sense when I’m being pandered to, and I hate it.)

Bernie is asked whether or not he’s a real Democrat. He says that he is, and reminds us that he does better among the independents than Billary does, and that the White House only can be won with independents, and can’t be won with Democratic die-hards alone — this is absolutely true, as I’ve written lately — and Bernie reminds us that in match-up polls against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates he does better than Billary does.

Bernie says the “future of the Democratic Party that I want to see” doesn’t rely on big corporate cash.

Billary reminds us that thus far she has received more votes than has Bernie or Donald Trump. She claims she leads a broad coalition. Hmmm. Not really. Not when she doesn’t have the youth vote or the independent vote.

Bernie, who says he’s going to win the nomination, says “Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South.” But, he says, “we’re out of the Deep South now.”

He said he will “obliterate” Trump or whoever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate is.

Billary resists the charge that she’s a darling of the Deep South, but that is indeed her power base. I mean, here is the map of where the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race stands right now:

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Yes, Billary (whose victories are in golden-yellow [Bernie’s are in green]) has won a few states outside of the South (as I’ve noted, I consider Arizona to be part of the South more than part of the West), but without her wins in the South, she wouldn’t be the putative frontrunner right now. (Duh.)

Billary says she will win and “unify” the party. She has indicated that her delegate lead is insurmountable.

7:59 p.m.: On break now.

Billary can brag about her delegate lead — she leads by 214 in pledged/democratically earned delegates (1,309 to Bernie’s 1,095), and the “super-delegates” can’t vote until the party convention in late July — until she’s blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that while John Kerry sewed up the nomination in March 2004, Billary is so widely disliked that the race is stretching out, just as it did in 2008, when she finally conceded to Obama in June.

She might win this thing, but she will remain a weak candidate. Nothing substantial has changed since the party’s voters soundly rejected her in 2008.

8:04 p.m.: Closing statements.

Bernie first. He reminds us that his father was a Polish immigrant to Brooklyn.

Millions of Americans can create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, he proclaims.

Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as Billary tries to begin her closing statement.

Billary reminds us that New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate twice and that they experienced 9/11 together. (Geez, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors used 9/11 endlessly for political gain.)

She does not mention her support of the Vietraq War, the most important vote that she had in the U.S. Senate — and that she fucked up royally.

Billary again plays up the “barriers” to different groups, another shout-out for identity politics. She explicitly says that it’s not just income inequality that we have to tackle.

That’s true, but her corporate sugar daddies really, really want her to focus on identity politics rather than on income inequality; they want us commoners too busy fighting each other over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. rather than coming after them for our fair sliver of the pie.

That is the central issue (well, only climate change is a larger issue), which Bernie Sanders identified a long, long time ago.

In closing, tonight’s debate probably helped Bernie more than Billary. There clearly was more love for Bernie than for Billary among the audience members. I don’t recall that Bernie was booed once, whereas Billary was booed at least a few times, or that Billary’s name was chanted once, whereas Bernie’s was at least a few times.

I mean, the overall audiovisual was of one candidate clearly more popular than the other, at least among that audience. How can that be good for Billary?

And Billary’s smiling/smirking and laughing — that was off-putting and probably worked against her rather than for her, as it only could have contributed to her net unlikeability and net unfavorability. Who the fuck advised her to do that?

Probably the same idiot who dressed her…

*A retrospective President Hopey-Changey recently cited his administration’s bungling of a post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya as his No. 1 failure as president, but I quite disagree.

His No. 1 failure as president, hands down, was his failure to use the shitloads of political capital that he had in 2009 and in 201o to push through a progressive agenda, when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

It was a colossal dereliction of duty as well as an unpardonable violation of his campaign promises (thus, I could not in good conscience and therefore did not vote for him again in 2012).

It also led to the rise of the “tea party” in 2009 and 2010 and lost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives for the last six of Obama’s eight years in office — guaranteeing gridlock for the last three-fourths of his presidency.

It was incredible political malpractice, something that a right-winger never would have done. (I mean, George W. Bush exploited political capital that he didn’t even have, whereas Obama refused to spend a fucking penny of the immense amount of political capital that he did have.)

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Robo-Rubio repeats nauseating, vastly overrated talking point ad nauseam

Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made mincemeat of Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio during last night’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, which is ironic, given that Christie very most likely won’t be the party’s nominee but that thus far Rubio, whose retrograde rhetoric greatly appeals to the party’s adherents, has been polling the best against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in general-election match-up polls. 

General-election polls this far out from a presidential election can be only so accurate (that is, probably not all that much), but nonetheless the Repugnican Tea Party traitors probably should be shaken, not stirred, that Chris Christie last night did to Marco Rubio what the Hulk did to Loki in “The Avengers” and what Joe Biden did to Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice-presidential debate.

Rubio, for all of his flaws (such as his complete lack of real substance and his apparently just having stepped out from a time machine from at least as far back as the 1950s), was doing better in the polls against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than was any other Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe.

Real Clear Politics’ average of general-election match-up polls (polls conducted before last night’s debacle) right now puts Rubio at 5 full percentage points above Billary and even 1.5 percentage points above Bernie.

Rubio is the only top-three (Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate whose RCP averages show beating Bernie, in fact; Bernie beats Cruz by 1.5 percent and he beats Trump by a whopping 7.7 percent.

(Billary, on the other hand, not only does worse against Rubio than does Bernie, but she also doesn’t do as well against Trump or Cruz as does Bernie; Cruz beats her by 1 percentage point in RCP’s current average of match-up polls, and she beats Trump by 4 percent to Bernie’s 7.7 percent. Take a look yourself.)

Before Chris Christie, who won’t win his party’s presidential nomination, last night went Hulk on Loki Rubio, Rubio’s shtick of being the next (albeit Latino and Repugnican Tea Party) Barack Obama apparently had been working, given the fact that he had been doing better in the presidential match-up polls than anyone else in his party.

I’m not sure what happened to Rubio last night, and I didn’t watch the debate (having watched all five Democratic debates has been torturous enough, mainly because of the repetition and because of Billary Clinton’s plethora of lies, deflections and triangulations, made with her voice that is like fingernails dragging along a chalkboard), but Rubio widely has been described as having been in last night’s debate like an animatronic feature at Disneyland that, because of a glitch, kept repeating the same line.

The first time he said it, per TIME.com’s transcript of last night’s debate, Rubio said this:

“And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

He immediately added:

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

Then Christie spoke, and among the things he said was this:

“I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We’ve watched it happen [with Obama], everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”

In his response to that, Rubio bizarrely repetitively stated (in part):

“But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America.

“And when I’m elected president, this will become once again the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.”

Christie devastatingly responds (in part): “You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That’s what Washington, D.C., does: The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.

“See, Marco — Marco, the thing is this: When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.

“They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state’s history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done.

“None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s a fine job, I’m glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.”

Quite bizarrely, Rubio responds to Christie a third time with the Obama thing; he says, in part, “Here’s the bottom line: This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Christie immediately responds, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

Unfazed and undeterred, Robo-Rubio goes on for a fourth iteration of the same point: “Well, that’s the — that’s the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done.

“That’s why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he’s done to America is deliberate. This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake. …”

Just: Wow.

Donald Trump later in the debate took issue with Robo-Rubio’s repetitive asssertion that the evil Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing by stating, “I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Two very different views from two individuals who claim the same party.

I agree that Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience to be president. He’d only been a U.S. senator for four years before he ascended to the White House and had never been a governor or even a mayor, of course.

That he spent — squandered — his first two years in the nation’s highest elected office acting as though he were so special (a second coming of Abraham Lincoln or something) that he could unite the two parties in a rousing rendition of “Kumbaya” demonstrated his utter lack of experience in D.C. (and his hubris).

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. never were going to cooperate with Obama, not only because he uses the label of Democrat but also because he’s half-black. In fact, it’s anachronistic of me to write that the “Repugnican Tea Party traitors” in D.C. never were going to cooperate with him, because the “tea party’s” creation, circa 2009, was a reaction to the election of another Democratic and our first non-all-white president.

The “tea party” surge of 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010, and therefore any progressive agenda that Obama might have tried to push through for the next six years was pretty much dead on arrival.

And I blame Obama’s lack of political experience and his pride for that, for his apparent belief that he’s so great that his merely being president would solve all of the nation’s problems (and its wounds, such as its long-standing problems with racism) to the point that he didn’t need to even try to push through a progressive agenda in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital, including both houses of Congress in his party’s control.

But I voted for Obama in November 2008, so I have to own that. It was a shot in the dark, I knew, to put this relative neophyte into the White House, but he ubiquitously and relentlessly was promising “hope” and “change,” and sometimes these things work out well. It was, I’d figured, worth a shot.

I digress, as I so often do, but I will note that while the Repugnican Tea Party’s complaint against Obama is that he has gone too far to the left, my chief complaint against Obama is that he hasn’t gone nearly enough to the left.

But the larger point that I want to make is that so often the style and not the substance (such as it is) of Marco Rubio’s nationally televised appearances is analyzed.

For instance, there was some criticism that the substance of Rubio’s nationally televised response to Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address was overlooked because on live TV he’d grabbed a water bottle and taken a swig from it — as though we couldn’t see him do that on live national television. It was a rather bizarre moment.

“Yes, let’s look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech,” I blogged then, and I concluded that Rubio’s central shtick is to pretend that we’re still living at least as far back in the 1950s, when, as least the mythos goes, anyone could make it in the capitalist United States of America if he or she only tried — so if you’re struggling right now, it’s entirely your own fucking fault as a patently defective individual, because the American socioeconomic system is perfect, is a perfect meritocracy.

This was the origin of my nickname of “Bootstraps” for Rubio, although that might have been supplanted now by “Robo-Rubio.”

Rubio, like his fellow Cuban-American fascist Ted Cruz, mindlessly spouts the antiquated, bullshit rhetoric of the Cuban fascists whom the much more egalitarian Fidel Castro decades ago induced to flee to the United States, where their treasonous, right-wing, fascist, pro-capitalist/pro-exploitation/pro-plutocratic/anti-populist philosophy could thrive.

(I concluded my blog post on Rubio’s response to the 2013 State of the Union address:

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I stand by every word of that.)

If the “substance” of Rubio’s response to the State of the Union address was lost amid the shallow discussion of his on-air parchedness, I’m also not seeing a discussion of the “substance” of the “point” that Rubio thought was so damned clever and so fucking insightful that he kept repeating it over and over and over and over and over again last night, even after Chris Christie had just slammed him for only standing up there and repeating it mindlessly.

So let’s examine Rubio’s first iteration of it:

“… And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

First and foremost, I see in Rubio’s words his constant hearkening at least as far back to the 1950s; anything that Obama or any other president might do that doesn’t keep the United States of America firmly trapped in amber for eternity is bad. It threatens “the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

And those words evoke Robo-Rubio’s second theme, which is that of American “supremacy,” which to me is way too aligned with white American supremacy, but you can get away with alleging American supremacy because that can be cast as patriotism rather than as racism and bigotry.

But Robo-Rubio’s words are awfully loaded: “Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

What Rubio very apparently is evoking, especially within his older, whiter and richer voters, is the specter that their exploitative, exclusive, Elysium-like existence has been threatened!

Americans’ quality of life, in which even most poorer Americans still have it better off than do billions of other human beings around the globe, and which comes at the expense of those billions of other human beings around the globe, might be threatened — by global equality! Global equality! Did you hear me? I said: GLOBAL EQUALITY! HORRORS!

What if our wholly unsustainable, materialistic, overly consumeristic lifestyles were threatened? What if we actually had to live like responsible citizens of the planet? What if we actually had to scale it back so that other human beings and, indeed, the planet itself, could survive?

One shudders to contemplate the consequences of us Americans surrendering even a modicum of our abject selfishness — even when our abject selfishness is to the point that it is threatening even our own continued survival, such as with extreme weather events and the spread of diseases to warming environments, such as the Zika virus.

Rubio’s “vision” for the Unites States of America is fairly clear: “Obamacare” bad. Not because it doesn’t go far enough, not because “Obamacare” contains in it nothing that the wealth-care — er, health-care industry didn’t want in it — which is my criticism of it — but because to help anyone with health care at all is bad.

The stimulus — bad, because, as we have just established, helping anyone out (except, of course, the weasels of Wall Street and other corporate weasels) is bad. (Bootstraps! Pick yourself up by them! Oh, you don’t have any boots? That’s because you’re lazy!)

Dodd-Frank, which was just a Band-Aid on the dam that is Wall Street, the dam that regularly bursts, is bad, because the Wall Street weasels should be allowed to do whatever they please. (Why do you hate freedom?)

The deal with Iran — bad, because, a la George Orwell’s 1984, we must always have an enemy. The treasonous rich (the true enemy, within) can continue to rape, pillage and plunder us commoners much more easily if we commoners always have an enemy from without to focus upon.

So, as president, Robo-Rubio would make sure that we commoners don’t get adequate health care — or any assistance at all, because, you know, bootstraps — and he would return Wall Street to the freedom-loving weasels who keep ruining our nation’s economy but whom we keep bailing out nonetheless (bootstraps don’t apply to the Wall Street weasels, you see; I mean, when have you ever seen a weasel wearing boots?). And for our diversion, a President Bootstraps would ensure that we were at war with some other nation at all times.

And the last thing that a President Bootstraps would allow is global equality, a grave evil that only Satan himself could have conjured.

Because Robo-Rubio has vision!

If you think that I’ve misrepresented Robo-Rubio’s “vision,” here is another of his many iterations of the same point last night:

“… I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here, OK? This is a president — this is a president who is trying to change this country. When he talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems.

“Obamacare was not an accident. The undermining of the Second Amendment is not an accident. The gutting of our military is not an accident. The undermining of America on the global stage is not an accident. Barack Obama is, indeed, trying to redefine this country. We better understand what we’re dealing with here, because that’s what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to double down on if they are elected.”

Well, yes, Obama has tried to change the nation, very incrementally, too incrementally (as Billary now proposes to do), but with change you have to ask who benefits from it and who doesn’t. Of course Robo-Rubio’s target audience — the mostly older, richer, whiter set — benefits the most from the status quo. The majority of the rest of us Americans, and the rest of the world, do not.

Again, Obamacare was but a Band-Aid on the severe problem that the United States spends more per capita on health care than does any other nation yet has worse health-care outcomes than do many other nations that spend much less on health care — and this is because health care is so widely for-profit here in the U.S.

Yes, we need to change our health-care system. Obamacare didn’t go nearly far enough, but Bootstraps and his treasonous ilk claim that it went way too far.

The Second Amendment is not endangered. Most Americans still may quite easily purchase a weapon that is far more lethal than anyone thought weapons ever would be when the Second Amendment was adopted.

Our military has not been “gutted.” This graph, titled “Top five countries by military expenditure in 2014. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” is from Wikipedia’s article on global military spending:

If the United States of America halved its military spending, it still would exceed No.-2 China’s by a significant amount.

So when Robo-Rubio claims that “When [Obama] talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems,” who, exactly, is “our”? Because the things that Bootstraps wants to reverse and/or to continue — such as maintaining a bloated-beyond-belief military budget and perpetrating perpetual warfare; refusing to help Americans with health care, even in a token way, such as via Obamacare (while bailing out the Wall Street weasels who should receive prison sentences instead of welfare); and ensuring that gun massacres continue to happen on a regular basis (because Second Amendment!) are things that are harmful to us commoners.

I will, however, agree with one statement that Robo-Rubio made last night: Bernie Sanders, if elected as president, probably would “double down” on trying to create the change that Barack Obama promised but very mostly has not delivered, the kind of change that Bootstraps Rubio and his fascist ilk absolutely abhor: the kind of change that benefits not only the most Americans as possible, but the most human beings on the planet as possible — instead of keeping the relatively tiny few safely atop their treasonous, oligarchic perches of stolen wealth and power and privilege, from where they shit and piss upon the rest of us, the masses, and from where they conspire even to destroy the entire planet itself, because their short-sightedness, selfishness and greed know no bounds.

P.S. I just found this news photo via Yahoo! News:

MR12. Londonderry (Usa), 07/02/2016.- People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's performance at the 06 February Republican debate; outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA, 07 February 2016. The New Hampshire primary will be held on 09 February 2016. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EFE (Spain) photo

Its caption states: “People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s performance at the February 6 Republican debate, outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, [today]. The New Hampshire primary will be held on [Tuesday].”

Yup. Methinks that his debate performance last night is going to harm Robo-Rubio on Tuesday. Right now he’s polling at a distant second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire, but now, I’m thinking, he’ll come in no more than at third place.

Rubio’s chance of winning the nomination suffered a serious blow last night, and he probably was the best presidential candidate his party had in these shallow times, where legions of low-information voters decide so many elections.

Thank you, Chris Christie!

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Live-blogging the fourth Dem debate

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. Taunted by Republicans to declare war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W. Bush. President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor’s refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. As Clinton put it, “George W. Bush was right.” And, Sanders visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush’s visit to a Muslim center just days after 9/11. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former U.S. Secretary of State Billary Clinton spar during the first Democratic Party presidential debate in October. Polls right now have Billary with only a 4-point lead over Bernie in Iowa, which caucuses on February 1, and Bernie with a 6-point lead over Billary in New Hampshire, whose presidential primary election is on February 9.

The fourth Democratic Party presidential debate of this cycle is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, via NBC. The debate takes place in South Carolina, which is friendly ground for Billary, who is big in the South, since she isn’t a progressive but is a Repugnican Lite.

I’ll be live-blogging tonight’s debate, using California (Pacific) time (we’re three hours ahead of Eastern Time).

This is the final Dem debate before the Iowa caucuses on February 1, which are 15 days from today.

Right now, Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has Billary Clinton’s national lead at 12.7 percent over Bernie Sanders’, and the Huffington Post’s average of polls has Billary up by 16 percent nationally.

However, the nation won’t vote on one day, but states will vote over the course of several weeks; and the earlier states’ results will affect the subsequent states’ results in a domino effect.

On that note, RCP’s average of Iowa polling right now has Billary at only 4 percent ahead of Bernie. Ditto for HuffPo. Team Billary must be panicking, and I’m expecting Billary to act desperately tonight, because she has to be desperate, and when she’s desperate, as she was against Barack Obama in 2008, she incredibly stupidly attacks her primary opponent from the right, apparently not understanding the Democratic Party primary voter (and caucus-goer).

Also, as Rachel Maddow recently put it when she had Billary on her show, Team Billary as of late has been attacking Bernie, who “doesn’t have an enemy in the world in the Democratic Party.” (Kudos to Maddow for not kowtowing to and cowering before Billary’s Being A Woman!; every legitimate criticism of Billary that a male dares to utter immediately is branded by the Billarybots as “sexism” or “misogyny” or “mansplaining” or the like.)

Recent polls (which I’ll define as reputable nationwide polls taken within the past month) unanimously show that Billary is disliked by more people than she is liked, whereas the opposite is true for Bernie, so yeah, a candidate whose favorability already is upside down attacking his or her opponent whose favorability already is right-side up probably is making a mistake.

But I digress. (That said, I hope that Billary is a raging harpy tonight; it will only harm her further.)

In New Hampshire, RCP right now has Bernie beating Billary by 6.2 percent, and HuffPo has Bernie beating her by 6 percent, so I’d be surprised if Bernie doesn’t win New Hampshire, regardless of the outcome of Iowa.

Again, I rather doubt that Billary could survive losing both Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie.

If Bernie accomplishes that, we will see a nationwide phenomenon in which weak Billary supporters (and there are, I surmise, millions of them) seriously and significantly will reevaluate their choice of Democratic Party presidential candidate.

And, again, if Bernie wins both of the first two states, Billary no doubt will act in ways which will only make even more people dislike her. (Seriously, she’ll act much like Ellie Driver does when she loses her remaining eyeball. That isn’t attractive.)

5:45 p.m. (again, I’m using Pacific Time): The debate is scheduled to begin in 15 minutes.

5:56 p.m.: The talking heads of NBC (including Chuck Todd, whom I’ve never liked) are blathering about Bernie Sanders’ “electability” (specifically, his supposed lack thereof) even though the polls have shown for some time now that Bernie does better overall against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio) in hypothetical match-up polls than does Billary Clinton.

Facts won’t topple the corporately owned and controlled media’s conventional “wisdom.” (And shockingly, the corporately owned and controlled media wouldn’t want a president who calls himself a “democratic socialist.”)

6:02 p.m.: The candidates are on stage now. Billary already has had some water. She must be nervous

6:04 p.m.: The opening statements are largely an obligatory tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. (due to tomorrow being MLK Day and due to the setting of the debate; I prefer spontaneously heartfelt statements to politically obligatory ones…). Bernie kind of went too quickly from MLK to his standard stump speech yet once again. (At least he’s consistent.) The maudlin Martin O’Malley reminds us of the massacre that happened in Charleston in June.

6:07 p.m.: Bernie gives “healthcare for every man, woman and child as a human right,” a $15 minimum wage, and fixing our crumbling infrastructure as the top three priorities of his White House administration were he to be elected.

Billary says she’d make pay parity between men and women one of her top three priorities, as well as renewable energy and infrastructure improvement, and says she’d improve/build on “Obamacare,” but doesn’t go nearly as far as does Sanders on that issue.

O’Malley lists strengthening labor unions among his three top priorities. I like to hear that, but he won’t win. He’s still mired in low single digits.

6:11 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that the National Rifle Association has given him a rating of “D-” for his support of its priorities, and he basically (correctly) calls Billary a liar for claiming otherwise.

6:13 p.m.: Billary retorts that Bernie has voted in favor of the NRA many times. Whether that’s true or not, as this is an awfully new-found “concern” of human weather vane on crack Billary’s, I can’t see it as anything more than politics. People have died from guns so that Billary could use their deaths to try to win the White House. Craven.

Martin O’Malley says both Bernie and Billary have been “inconsistent” on gun legislation.

Gun control is low on my list of priorities. It’s not unimportant, but we have bigger fish to fry, and I see its being raised as a big issue as an attempt by the Democratic establishment and the Billary campaign (which are the same thing, pretty much) to crowd out the more important topic of income inequality, which kills far more people than do guns (just less dramatically).

6:16 p.m.: Now the topic is white cops killing black males. The moderator brought up Walter Scott, who was shot in the back by a white cop in South Carolina as he was fleeing the cop.

Billary says one out of three black men end up incarcerated, and asks us to consider how we’d feel if one out of three white men ended up behind bars.

Bernie echoes this, stating that we disproportionately have black and Latino men behind bars, and that only China has more individuals incarcerated than does the United States.

6:19 p.m.: The moderator (Lester Holt) asks Bernie how he can win when Billary has minority support that bests him by two to one. Bernie says that when the members of the black community become more familiar with him, just as with the general population, his support among them will increase. (I concur, although I acknowledge that there are some who aren’t smart enough to vote in their own best interests, and so they’ll buy Billary’s bullshit that she’d be better for minorities than would Bernie. Never mind her husband’s “welfare reform,” NAFTA, “criminal justice” “reform,” etc., all of which have harmed minorities and which she would continue as president.)

6:23 p.m.: Bernie says that the death of anyone in police custody automatically should be investigated by the federal government. I concur. He also calls for the demilitarization of our police forces and says that the composition of our law-enforcement agencies must reflect the composition of the communities that they serve. Yup.

6:25 p.m.: Discussion on opioid overdoses and the “war on drugs” now. Bernie adds that the pharmaceutical industry shares responsibility for widespread addiction to opioids and adds that we need to improve mental health care services.

6:31 p.m.: Billary says she is committed to universal health care. She calls Obamacare a “path to universal health care.” She again says we need to “defend,” “improve” and “build on” “Obamacare.”

6:32 p.m.: Bernie again asserts that health care is a right to every human being. Twenty-nine million Americans still have no health insurance, he says, adding that the United States pays more per person for health care than does any other nation. (Yeah, that would be because of the profiteering that we see in wealth care — er, health care — here in the United States.)

6:34 p.m.: Billary again defends “Obamacare” and accuses Bernie of recently changing his plan for health care for all. “To tear it up and start over again” is “the wrong direction,” Billary proclaims of “Obamacare.” This is getting heated.

Bernie adds that not only are 29 million Americans not insured, but that many are under-insured and can’t afford their co-pays. Yup. Bernie says he has no plan to “tear up” “Obamacare.”

6:36 p.m.: Billary keeps repeating that Bernie wants us to start all over again on health care, and that we can’t do that. Sure, we can. How inspiring is Billary’s mantra, however, that we can’t. Bernie says we need to have “the guts to stand up” to the private health-care insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Yup.

6:39 p.m.: Billary keeps saying we have to beef up “Obamacare.” She rejects Bernie’s plan for “Medicare for all,” saying that we couldn’t achieve that under Barack Obama, so we can’t achieve it now. Bullshit.

6:41 p.m.: Bernie says that the Democrats and Repugnicans can’t get along in Congress is a red herring for the fact that Big Money prevents most of the members of Congress from voting in the people’s best interests. Yup.

6:44 p.m.: The maudlin O’Malley is parroting the canard that we all really can hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” We can’t. We shouldn’t. And we won’t. There are irreconcilable differences between the right and the left. There is no middle ground, for instance, on such issues as same-sex marriage (which is a constitutional right) and women’s constitutional right to control their own reproductive organs. And a “middle ground” on such a universal issue as climate change, which needs action, not even more foot-dragging in the name of “moderation,” will result in misery and death for millions if not billions of human beings around the globe (as well as the continued extinction of species and irreversible adverse planetary changes).

6:47 p.m.: When asked why Bernie has the support of young people by two to one over her, Billary stated that she’ll do her best to appeal to Bernie’s supporters. I’m one of Bernie’s many, many supporters who won’t cast a vote for or give a penny to Billary, no matter what — and that’s because while Obama said “Yes, we can,” she says “No, we can’t.” (She apparently says this for the benefit of her huge campaign contributors.) And, of course, I cannot and will not support her because she’s no progressive. She’s a pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, centrist sellout.

6:48 p.m.: On break now. Twice O’Malley has tried to break in, but moderator Lester Holt won’t let him. Hee hee. I still wish that O’Malley would drop out already, but I don’t expect him to; he needs a job, apparently, and he apparently still is angling for veep.

6:52 p.m.: The topic is Wall Street and the big banks now. Bernie reminds us that he doesn’t take money from the big banks and doesn’t take speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. Bernie says we have to “break up these huge financial institutions” and bring back the Glass-Steagall Act.

6:53 p.m.: Billary now says that Bernie Sanders’ criticism of her having taken money from Wall Street actually impugns Barack Obama, since Obama also has taken money from Wall Street. (The “argument” there, I suppose, is that if someone else has committed the same wrong that you did, then you did not commit a wrong after all.) This is more bullshit Clintonian triangulation. This is classic Billary.

6:55 p.m.: Billary continues her line that Bernie has attacked Obama. Billary is so unpopular herself that she must try to damage Bernie by alleging that Bernie has attacked the much more popular Barack Obama. Pathetic.

6:57 p.m.: O’Malley says that Billary’s proclamation that she’d be tough on Wall Street is “not true.” He says that like Bernie and unlike Billary, he supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, and he totally calls her out on trying to use Barack Obama as a human political shield, just like how in a previous debate she actually tried to use 9/11 as her justification for her coziness with the Wall Street weasels. Wonderful.

7:00 p.m.: Billary tries to deflect from her Wall-Street-boosting corruption yet once again, stating that we should look at the Repugnicans and how they are supporting the Wall Street weasels. Jesus fuck, this woman’s character is abysmal.

7:02 p.m.: Bernie says he has documented how we would pay for his ambitious agenda, including making Wall Street pay its fair share. Billary vows that as president she would not raise taxes on the middle class and also says that she has detailed how she would pay for all of her proposals.

7:04 p.m.: Bernie says that Billary’s criticism of his “Medicare-for-all, single-payer program” is a “Republican” criticism. Well, yeah, she’s a Repugnican (Lite)… Bernie says his health care plan would give Americans a significant net savings by lowering their cost for private health care. Yup. You can pay more in taxes for health care and pay much less (or even zero) for private health care and end up ahead. It’s called math.

7:08 p.m.: Climate change now. Bernie says climate change is settled. Agreed. It’s called science. For future generations we must switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, Bernie says.

O’Malley says we can achieve sustainable energy by 2050. Billary attempted to chime in on this important issue but just got cut off… Break now.

I’m still torn on O’Malley’s continued presence at these debates. It’s great when he calls Billary out, such as for her latest pathetic kick of trying to triangulate among her, Bernie and Obama, since she apparently feels that she has to piggyback on Obama’s popularity, but O’Malley doesn’t poll at even 3 percent nationally.

7:17 p.m.: Iran now. Bernie calls for “normalized relations with Iran.” He states that the agreement that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is a good one, and that we need to move in the direction of better relations with Iran.

Billary says we have to continue to watch Iran, that we have to watch Iran for a longer period of time before we can normalize relations with Iran.

Now Syria. Billary says she opposes American ground forces in Syria. She says she supports supporting existing militaries in the Middle East in combating the problems in Syria and in combating ISIS.

Bernie says he opposes “perpetual warfare” in the Middle East. “As president I would do everything in my power to avoid” such a(n increased) quagmire, he says.

O’Malley says, as Bernie has said, that overall he supports Obama’s current strategy in the Middle East. And he had to get maudlin again, saying that we never should refer to a soldier as “boots on the ground.” Seriously, who advises Martin the Maudlin?

7:24 p.m.: Bernie says the wealthy nations in the Middle East, like Qatar, need to do more in the Middle East to oppose ISIS and other terrorists.

7:26 p.m.: Billary is bragging about her foreign-affairs chops (she was, after all, secretary of state, and spent a lot of time advising the more popular Barack Obama in the Situation Room!).

Bernie says our first priority in the Middle East must be to destroy ISIS, and then to focus on Syria’s dictator.

7:29 p.m.: Lester Holt apparently more or less blamed the annexation of Crimea by Russia on Billary’s having been secretary of state. Meh. I don’t want Billary in the Oval Office, but I’ve always viewed Crimea as belonging to Russia, not to Ukraine. Billary has called Vladimir Putin a “bully” whom always must be stood up to.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley is speaking in favor of privacy rights as guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Yup. O’Malley says the government must obtain a warrant to violate our privacy, and that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a privacy violation from the “front door” (that is, a more old-school privacy violation) or from the “back door,” such as via our increasingly more technologically advanced electronic devices. Yup. Yup. Yup.

Bernie says that our public policy hasn’t caught up with our technology, and I agree. We don’t give up our constitutional rights solely because we do things electronically these days. Fucktards who don’t respect others’ constitutional rights have refused to recognize this, so our laws must be updated to fully protect us from those who would violate our constitutional rights.

Billary is cut off again for the break. It does seem to me that all three candidates should have the opportunity to respond to every question, but the NBC moderators are not allowing this.

7:39 p.m.: Billary is given is a chance to address the question, but doesn’t speak in favor of our privacy rights. Hmm…

7:40 p.m.: O’Malley has attacked Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslim Americans, kind of out of nowhere. One of O’Malley’s debating tactics apparently is to try to link anecdotes to issues, but it comes off as more amateurish than anything else.

7:42 p.m.: Billary is asked how much of a role Bill Clinton would have in her economic agenda. She claims that she is undecided, but says she would use him as a “goodwill emissary” around the nation to boost her economic agenda.

7:43 p.m.: Bernie says a White House stacked with Wall Street weasels won’t accomplish much for the nation’s economy. Yup. Bernie says that his Treasury secretary wouldn’t come from Goldman Sachs. Ouch. And yup.

Bernie was baited into talking about Bill Clinton’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Bernie called Bill Clinton’s behavior in that “deplorable,” but emphasized that he didn’t want the discussion to be about Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior. Yup. (Billary, unsurprisingly, agrees…)

The corporately owned and controlled media embarrass themselves, the way that they patently pander to the lowest common denominator.

7:50 p.m.: As the debate draws to a close and the candidates are asked if there are any statements they’d like to make that they haven’t yet made, O’Malley remarks that the debate hasn’t tackled such important issues as immigration reform and the treatment of Puerto Rico by the financial weasels. He now launches into his anodyne closing statement.

Billary says she is “outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan.” She points out that the city’s population, disproportionately poor and black, has been drinking contaminated water, whereas rich denizens of a city would not.

Bernie says the Repugnican Tea Party governor of Michigan should resign.

Bernie says that nothing will improve in the United States of America until Citizens United is reversed, super-PACs are abolished, and there is meaningful campaign-finance reform. Yup. Agreed: The hands of the members of Congress are tied by their Big-Money donors.

Another President Clinton would do little to nothing to solve this overarching problem. It would be more of the same: More promises, yet nothing in our lives actually improves.

7:57 p.m.: The debate is over. Like the previous three debates, I don’t see this debate changing a whole lot. That is, if you were a Billarybot before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Billarybot, and if you were a Berner before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Berner. If I had to declare a winner of this debate, I’d say that it was Bernie, but of course I’ve supported him for months, so take that for what it is.

The NBC commentators are discussing right now how Billary wrapped herself in Obama tonight. Yup. This might come back to haunt her.

Not only was it classic Clintonian triangulation, but Bernie Sanders’ supporters largely if not mostly are those of us who never forgot — and never abandoned — Barack Obama’s ubiquitous but undelivered-upon promises of “hope” and “change.”

We haven’t seen the much-promised change (not enough of it, anyway),  but we haven’t lost all hope; we still believe, after several years of disappointment, that Yes, we can. But here is Billary saying No, we can’t.

I’m not saying that she’s entirely wrong about what is and what is not achievable in D.C., but I do know that if we start off with the motto of No, we can’t, then we probably can’t (or at least we probably won’t).

Which is exactly what Billary Clinton’s Big-Money campaign contributors want us to believe: that no, we can’t. They want us to believe that so that we won’t even try.

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Live-blogging the third Dem debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sanders and O'Malley resume debating with rival Clinton missing from her podium as she failed to return from a break at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester

Reuters photo

Tonight’s third Democratic Party presidential debate resumed for several seconds without Billary Clinton, who hadn’t returned to her center podium on time after a break. Apparently the Force wasn’t with Billary quite enough… Anyway, tonight’s debate may have boosted the on-fire Bernie Sanders a bit, but probably didn’t change the overall dynamics of the race; Bernie and Billary remain the frontrunners, with apparent veep wannabe Martin O’Malley remaining at a distant third.

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time): The debate starts any moment now. It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is being hosted by ABC News.

5:02 p.m.: Pre-debate chatter has included George Stephanopoulos claiming that the San Bernardino massacre is at the top of the voters’ minds. Really? Is it? Or is that the corporately owned and controlled media trying to tell us commoners what to be concerned about? I mean, they wouldn’t want us to be concerned about, oh, say, income inequality, would they?

Anyway, since Stephanopoulos worked in the Clinton White House, how impartial can he be?

5:08 p.m.: Prognosticator Nate Silver just gave a too-short cameo. He stated that whoever wins the Iowa caucuses on February 1 can expect about a seven-point bounce in the polls. Yup. That’s why I very much hope that Bernie Sanders wins Iowa. He’s already leading in New Hampshire, so a win in Iowa for Sanders no doubt would lead to a win in New Hampshire (on February 9), which probably would result in the collapse of Billary Clinton’s campaign.

5:14 p.m.: The talking heads are blathering about the Repugnicans’ presidential race. WTF? I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, as I won’t waste my time on their hate- and lie-fests, but I highly doubt that during the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, the Democrats are discussed.

5:26 p.m.: 5:00 p.m. was widely advertised as the start time of this thing, but apparently 5:30 p.m. is the actual start time…

5:31 p.m.: ABC’s live stream keeps freezing on me, so the times of my comments that you see here might be a bit off… The three candidates are on the stage now. Once again, Bernie Sanders is to the left of Billary Clinton’s left as you look at them. I still love that symbolism.

5:33 p.m.: Billary, who wants to be panderer in chief, speaks first. She mentioned ISIS before she mentioned Americans’ socioeconomic well-being. Typical of her.

5:34 p.m.: Martin O’Malley speaks second. He mentioned ISIS first, too. Creep. Democratic leaders lead the debate; they don’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party’s “lead,” don’t let them set the agenda.

5:36 p.m.: Bernie Sanders speaks now. He mentioned the economy first. That’s called leadership. Bernie also has spoken about climate change. He spoke about ISIS and combatting it and terrorism last, which was in order of our national priorities (well, OK, I’d put climate change first).

5:39 p.m.: Of course “Datagate” has come up. Bernie blames the IT vendor for allowing his campaign staff to have seen Clinton campaign data and states that the one staff member who is known to have looked at Clinton campaign data has been fired. (They just cut away to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose smug face I would love to wipe off of her head.)

Bernie, although prompted, has apologized to Billary for “Datagate.” She has accepted his apology and states that an independent investigation will be done of “Datagate” (“Datagate” is my word [and The Nation’s], not hers) and that we need to move on. Yes, we do.

(Bernie also has reminded us that during the first debate he “pardoned” [my word, not his] Billary for E-mailgate, and he indicated that he’d like “Datagate” not to consume all of the oxygen in the room, either, as the nation has much larger fish to fry. Yup. Martin O’Malley has concurred.)

5:45 p.m.: Now discussion of ISIS. ISIS is not our greatest issue, so I don’t think that I’m going to play along and regurgitate everything about ISIS here.

5:48 p.m.: O’Malley seems earnest, but he polls in the low single digits. Um, yeah.

Bernie reminds us that he voted against the 2003 Vietraq War, and states that he opposes unilateral American military action. He states that he believes that Muslims in the Middle East should lead the war against ISIS. Yup.

5:50 p.m.: Now gun control. I do agree with Billary on this issue, although it’s a new-found “concern” of hers. Billary states that we need to work with Muslims here in the United States to prevent their “radicalization.” Of course we do. (Of course, we need to work with the “Christo”fascists also to prevent their radicalization, since [9/11 aside] they kill many more Americans than do the “Islamofascists.”)

5:52 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that people do have the constitutional right to own guns. Yup. That said, Bernie says, we need “sensible gun safety regulations.” Yup. We need to strengthen background checks and “eliminate the gun-show loophole,” he says, adding that civilians do not need military-grade weaponry. Yup.

5:54 p.m.: O’Malley is acting like he’s in a Repugnican debate and is refusing to play by the rules of the debate. He’s being allowed to talk over the moderator. He’s being an asshole, acting like a candidate whose polling is trapped in the single digits…

5:56 p.m.: Bernie is adamantly defending himself against O’Malley’s attack. Go, Bernie! We need this in our champion. Bernie reminds us that any change in gun laws needs consensus in Congress. Unfortunately, my live streaming is going in and out now and I’m missing much of this discussion… I apologize for that…

6:01 p.m.: Billary just said that Donald Trump, with his Islamophobic demagoguery, “is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” Yup.

Bernie reminds us now that Americans aren’t concerned just about terrorism, but are concerned about their socioeconomic status and their children’s future. Bernie is very animated, talking about how while Donald Trump demagogues that Mexicans and Muslims are our enemy, “the rich get richer.” Yup. And wow. Bernie is on fire!

6:04 p.m.: Moderator Martha Raddatz, whom I’ve always liked (she is firm and stern but fair), just had to check O’Malley, something that the male moderator, whose name I don’t know (he looks like a vapid underwear model who fairly recently became a TV news “talent”) couldn’t do. As I’ve said before, O’Malley seems to be hanging in there only in order to become the vice-presidential candidate.

6:07 p.m.: O’Malley just awkwardly name-dropped the name of an American Muslim friend of his (kind of like saying that you have a black friend or a gay friend) and told a maudlin story about his Muslim American friend’s child asking his father if a President Donald Trump would remove them from their home because they’re Muslim. Jesus fuck, Martin.

6:10 p.m.: The discussion now is on refugees from the Middle East. O’Malley is eager to let us all know that he’s better than his opponents on this issue.

6:11 p.m.: Martha now asks Bernie Sanders why he doesn’t support boots on the ground against ISIS when in the past he has supported boots on the ground against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The U.S. can’t be the world police, he responds. Bernie says the boots on the ground should be Middle Eastern Muslim boots, not American boots. He slams rich Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough to combat ISIS, but squandering their resources elsewhere, such as on hosting the World Cup. Hell, yeah!

6:15 p.m.: Billary states that ISIS wants American troops back in the Middle East (especially in Iraq in Syria), “Americans soldiers on the ground fighting them,” giving them “a great recruiting opportunity.” Wow. I agree with her on this.

But Martha now follows up, reminding us that the small special operations forces that Billary supports against ISIS in the Middle East could end up like Vietnam, which began with small operations forces there… Billary calls that a “false choice.”

6:18 p.m.: O’Malley is talking. Does it matter? Just keeping it real… Well, OK, he has called ISIS a “genocidal threat,” which is fairly accurate. As I have stated before, I want ISIS vanquished, as I would want any mass-murderous theocrats vanquished, but the U.S. is rotting from within here at home, and we can’t return to the days of the unelected Bush regime in which it was All Terror, All The Time, while things here at home continued to disintegrate.

6:21 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he voted against the Vietraq War in October 2002 while Billary voted for it, and he charges that Billary is too much into “regime change.” He stats that “regime change” too often creates a “political vacuum filled by terrorists,” such as happened in Iraq because of the Vietraq War.

Billary fights back, stating that Bernie voted for regime change in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi.*

6:24 p.m.: The topic now is Libya, on which I’m largely ignorant. Billary now states that she opposes having Iranians in Syria, something I don’t know that Bernie Sanders ever advocated, if that is what she was implying.

“The destruction of ISIS” is our primary concern regarding the Middle East right now, since it was ISIS that struck Paris and apparently inspired the San Bernardino mass murderers, Bernie stated. (Again, there has been zero evidence that there was any actual coordination between ISIS and the San Bernardino mass murderers, so to me the comparison of San Bernardino to Paris is a very, very weak one, usually made by those [treasonous right-wingers, that is] who would love an actual attack on the U.S. by ISIS for political gain, such as how 9/11, which the unelected Bush regime had done precious little to nothing to prevent, was great for the Bush regime to use for political gain. [They were able to use it long enough to at least to “win” “re”-election in November 2004.])

6:27 p.m.: Martin O’Malley just got booed by the audience — quite deservedly so — after stating that he wanted to bring a younger generation’s perspective to the issue of the Middle East. Wow. It was an ageist statement, and perhaps the lowest that he has sunk in these debates thus far.

6:30 p.m.: Whew. Finally, a break.

Thus far I believe that O’Malley has harmed himself by having made an ageist comment and having made an asshole of himself by ignoring the underwear model cum moderator (whose name apparently is David) and talking over him.

I don’t see that either Billary or Bernie can be called the “winner” thus far. That is, if you’re a Clintonista, perhaps even a Billarybot, you’ll say that Billary “won” this debate, and if you are a “Berner,” you’ll say that Bernie “won” it. This pretty much was the same dynamic that we saw in the first two debates.

That said, Bernie has been on fire and has made no flubs or gaffes that I have spotted.

6:37 p.m.: Uh-oh — Billary was late in returning to the stage. They resumed without her. Awkward…

The subject now is the economy. Bernie says that we need “to tell the billionaire class, ‘You cannot have it all.'” He says we need a $15/hour minimum wage, equal pay for women, youth employment, job creation via infrastructure work and tuition-free higher education. Yup.

O’Malley is talking, but he pretty much lost me with his ageist comment. I wish that he would drop out already and stop wasting our time, but I doubt that he will. He really needs a new job, apparently.

6:41 p.m.: Billary states that income inequality is bad for our economy and our democracy. “You’re not going to hear anything about this” from the Repugnican presidential candidates, she stated correctly. She states, among other things, that we need to raise the minimum wage, but she doesn’t tell us that she supports only a $12/hour minimum wage, not a $15/hour minimum wage.

6:43 p.m.: Billary states that the super-wealthy should pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Yup. She talks about helping small businesses, which is a canard frequently used by those of the center-right to support capitalism, even though capitalism stopped being about small businesses decades ago and has been about large to gargantuan corporations for decades now.

6:45 p.m.: Bernie states that while corporate America might love a President Billary, as she just said that they should, as president corporate America will hate him. Go, Bernie! Bernie reminds us that he won’t take campaign contributions from corporations. Greed is destroying our economy and the lives of million of Americans, he just said forcefully. Again, he’s on fire tonight.

6:47 p.m.: O’Malley just stated that the way forward is not through Bernie Sanders’ socialism, “which the rest of the world is moving away from” (let the fact-checkers sort that one out [and O’Malley’s shameless red-baiting is pathetic and is just another symptom of his desperation]) or Billary Clinton’s “crony capitalism.”

Bernie pretty much just ignores the red-bating bullshit and Billary once again tries to deflect, indicating that the Repugnicans are the main enemy. Weak. (She’s used this rather pathetic tactic in the previous debates.)

6:51 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he has no super-PAC and that Billary has taken a lot of money from Wall Street over the years.

6:52 p.m.: The topic now is health care, including “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act). While “Obamacare” has made some improvements in our national health care system, such as no longer penalizing those with pre-existing conditions, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription-drug prices need to be reined in, Billary says. “We need to build on it and fix it,” she says (“it” apparently being “Obamacare”).

6:55 p.m.: Bernie calls for single-payer health care and proclaims that health care should be a right. I agree wholeheartedly. He points out that nations that pay much less for health care have better health-care outcomes than does the U.S. He states that under his plan, the average American family would save thousands of dollars a year on health-care costs.

6:58 p.m.: Bernie is asked how tuition-free college would work. He cites new sports facilities and overpaid college and university administrators as part of the problem of overpriced higher education. Bernie says a “speculation tax on Wall Street” would pay for his plan for tuition-free college.

7:00 p.m.: O’Malley touts “an income-based [student-loan] repayment plan.” I support a no-payment repayment plan — that is, student loans need to be eliminated altogether and we need to make higher education a right, just like health care. (We can afford to educate our people; we need only significantly pare down our bloated-beyond-belief military budget, which exists far more for fat government contracts for greedy traitors than it does for the actual defense of the nation.)

7:02 p.m.: Billary correctly states that the states have defunded their colleges and universities over the past decades and put the money elsewhere, such as prisons (and tax breaks for the wealthy, of course, I would add).

Billary does not support free tuition, however, she states. As I’ve said before, Billary wants a Band-Aid where an emergency surgery is required. She doesn’t go nearly far enough, which is part of her long history of progressive rhetoric but center-right action that preserves the status quo so that she doesn’t step on any toes so that the campaign cash keeps flowing to her coffers.

Billary Clinton and her fellow hypocritical baby boomers should want today’s college students to have it as well as they did when they were of college age, when the “greatest generation” gladly paid for their college education and did not saddle them with crippling student-loan debt.

7:08 p.m.: It just got a little feisty there between Bernie and Billary, but not rancorous, which is to the Democratic Party’s credit, I believe. I’m having live-streaming issues again, so I hope that I’m not missing anything right now…

7:10 p.m.: I guess we’re on break now. Harry Enten and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com are being interviewed now. I like both of the nerds and read them regularly. Silver says Billary’s lead in Iowa “is not that large.” He says Billary still “has vulnerability in Iowa.” He says that Bernie can win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow.

I’m now having live-streaming issues yet once again… I missed what this Clair (spelling?) pundit had to say…

7:15 p.m.: We’re back to the debate. Now the topic is relations between law enforcement officers and civilians. O’Malley indicates that as mayor of Baltimore he inherited a deeply troubled city but that as mayor of the city and then as governor of Maryland he brought down crime and incarceration rates.

Bernie points out that we have 2.2 million, predominantly black and Latino, Americans behind bars. We need to end institutionalized racism and reform the criminal justice system, he says, adding that our law-enforcement officers need to stop shooting unarmed, predominantly black, Americans, and that the “war on drugs” needs to end. Police departments should look like the communities they serve and minimum sentencing must stop. We need more jobs and less incarceration, he said.

Bernie handled that question remarkably better than did Billary, whose repsonse was unremarkable and unmemorable, or O’Malley.

7:22 p.m.: Now the topic is drugs (primarily heroin and other opiates, apparently). Bernie says that addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Yup. He says part of a health-care overhaul must be fast and effective drug-addiction treatment. Yup.

Billary has “a five-point plan” to combat opiate abuse, she says. She advocates for greater availability of the drug Naloxone, which prevents opiate overdose deaths.

O’Malley is name-dropping again; apparently he has known people addicted to opiates. (When you’re unemployed, I guess, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people…) He advocates for a $12 billion federal program to combat opiate addiction.

7:26 p.m.: Martha Raddatz brings the discussion back to Libya. “How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections” in Libya, Martha just asked Billary. Wow.

Billary doesn’t really answer, but claims that things in Libya are getting better now, adding, “this is not easy work.”

That wasn’t good enough for Martha, who never lets you off easily. She repeats the question almost verbatim.

Billary claims that Libyans were not responsive to offers from help after Gadhafi was overthrown. So I guess she blames the Libyans.

“Were mistakes made?” Martha, probably exasperated, asks.

Billary still won’t actually answer the question.

7:30 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that regime change often doesn’t work. Overthrowing a dictator is relatively easy; it’s hard to predict what will happen after regime change, he said.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley seems to share Bernie’s distaste for regime change. Before that, Billary made an odd remark that we need to both be able to support “strong men” in the Middle East and promote democracy. Whut?

7:34 p.m.: I guess this is the last question, and it’s a dumb one; apparently the question is whether or not it’s time to change the role of a president’s spouse, and it seems directed mainly at Bill Clinton, who would be the nation’s first first gentlemen should (shudder) Billary win the White House.

Bernie now is talking of his own wife, adding that she was a foster parent before he married her, and that as first lady of the U.S. she would be a “forceful advocate” for our youth.

O’Malley states that as first lady of Maryland, his wife was an advocate against domestic violence, but that as first lady of the nation she would do or not do whatever she pleased, that it would be up to her. (Why wouldn’t it be, Martin? Anyway, she won’t be first lady of the U.S. unless O’Malley becomes vice president and the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in office, but OK…)

7:39 p.m.: A break now. We’re told there is “much more to come.” Oh, I hope not. This has been enough…

7:40 p.m.: Oh, good. George Stephanopoulos, of whom we’ve seen little tonight, thankfully, has said closing statements are close at hand. George and his ABC News companion are talking about the Repugnicans’ reponse to tonight’s debate thus far. I could give a shit what their response is…

7:44 p.m.: Closing statements now. Bernie first. “On our worst day” he and his two competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have more to offer the American people than the best that the Repugnican presidential contenders can offer the American people, he says. Yup.

Bernie says that he will bring about a “political revolution” in which millions stand up and say “enough is enough,” that “this country belongs to all of us, not to just a handful of billionaires.” (I quasi-paraphrase, but that’s pretty darn close.)

O’Malley now. He says tonight has been “a healthy exchange of ideas.” He says the Repugnican debates are filled with “anger” and “fear,” but not the Democrats’. Yeah. True that. Now O’Malley brings up climate change and reminds us that we live in “divided and polarized times.”

Billary now warns of a Repugnican taking over the White House in January 2017. She’s now pretty much fear-mongering, even though O’Malley just said that the Dems don’t do that…

Not that she’s wrong about what a Repugnican White House administration would do and how bad it would be for the nation, but she’s using the old Clintonian triangulating tactic of “Vote for me, because the Repugnicans are even worse and scarier!”

That lesser-of-two-evils tactic stopped being good enough long ago, if it ever was good enough. Read my lips: I. Will. Not. Vote. For. Billary. Clinton. Ever.

Jesus Christ. Billary just had the very last words of tonight’s debate, which were “May the Force be with you.”

Was that supposed to be funny? Did some nerdy, virginal intern come up with that, telling her it would make her appear to be hip? It was just awkward and a bit weird.

Anyway. The debate is over, thank Goddess. (While I still strongly maintain that it’s bullshit that thanks to Billarybot and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz we have gone from 26 Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008 to six this cycle, I probably won’t complain that I have only three more live-blogging sessions to go. [Twenty-six debates in 2008 was excessive, but we could have gone with at least 10 or 12 this time around. Fuck, at least eight.])

I don’t think that this debate will help O’Malley. We’ll see whether his ageist comment comes back to haunt him or not. (Not that his poll numbers could go much lower…)

“Datagate” probably is pretty much over now — it was a “scandal” that lasted all of two days…

I believe that tonight Bernie Sanders had his best of three-thus-far debate performances. He gets a bit repetitive if you follow him, as I do, but that also is called keeping on message, for which I can’t fault a serious candidate. And I don’t see it as his inability to be flexible, but I see it as his recognition that important issues easily can be sidelined with the corporately owned and controlled “news” media’s scandal du jour, such as the San Bernardino massacre, and that we can’t solve our largest problems if we’re constantly bouncing around from one smaller thing to the next. (The corporations and the plutocrats who own and love them don’t want us to solve our largest problems, of course, since they are our largest problems.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t excite me. Not only am I intimately familiar with her center-right/Repugnican-Lite record, but her rhetoric is so designed to appeal to and not to offend as many people as possible (including the Wall Street weasels who continue to give her campaign cash) that most of it is lifeless and uninspiring.

But that is lost on the Clintonistas, the Billarybots, I know.

Again, I don’t think that the race has changed based upon tonight’s debate. The race remains a two-way race between Bernie and Billary, the real Democrat and the Democrat in name only, respectively. If tonight’s debate helped either of them more than the other, my hunch is that it boosted Bernie a bit more than it did Billary, as for a long time now, I surmise, he’s had significantly more room for growth in support than she has had.

I think it’s telling that the only candidate who got booed tonight was Martin O’Malley, when he prickishly made his ageist comment. Could it be a harbinger of his dropping out? I wish, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

Perhaps tonight’s biggest takeaway message for me is Nate Silver’s statement that of course Bernie Sanders can win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Let us hope that Bernie does — and finally drives that long-overdue stake through the cold and slimy hearts of Billary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the many, many other DINOs everywhere.

*Fact check: Slate.com notes:

… Clinton’s statement that Sanders “voted for regime change” in Libya is questionable, since Congress didn’t vote on the issue, which was part of the whole problem: The Obama administration just announced late in the afternoon one day that it would establish a no-fly zone in Libya. (The Sanders campaign believes Clinton is referring to this nonbinding resolution that basically said Qaddafi is terrible and should go.)

Because the ABC moderators were frequently awful, Sanders never got an opportunity to respond. But he didn’t seem too upset with that, either. Later in the night, when the issue came up again, Sanders again didn’t jump in to defend himself against Clinton’s charge. …

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False equivalence, even in ‘comedy,’ isn’t funny; it is dangerous

Bernie Sanders Reacts to Larry David's 'Saturday Night Live' Impersonation

Larry David admittedly does a pretty good Bernie Sanders impersonation, especially vocally, but I, for one, find corporately sponsored take-downs of Sanders to be chilling because there is a dark agenda of corporate self-preservation behind them. (By “self” I don’t mean to imply that corporations are people. They most certainly are not…)

It’s easy to laugh when a politician whom you despise is spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” or elsewhere. This was the case for me with parodies of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey won an Emmy for that portrayal) and yes, of Billary Clinton (both Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon have done a pretty good job of portraying Her Highness).

It’s a little more difficult when the politician who’s being lampooned is your favorite, such as, in my case, Bernie Sanders.

Don’t get me wrong; Larry David overall did a great job as Bernie Sanders on last night’s “SNL.” He has Bernie’s voice down pat, and it’s OK, I suppose, for David or anyone else to portray Bernie as a bit of a crank, a curmudgeon (as David did). Long live free speech. (Did you detect my enthusiasm there?)

It’s that, of course, NBC is a mega-corporation, and so of course pro-corporate bias is going to seep even into a “comedy” show like “SNL.”

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders’ opening statement in “SNL’s” mock Democratic Party presidential debate of last night, for instance, includes: “We’re doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! And we’ve got to do something! And we’ve got to do it now!” He then pauses for a moment and then, waving his hand dismissively, declares: “Nah!”

David’s Bernie also declares, in his closing statement, that he’ll end up being Billary’s running mate, which is right in line with the corporate punditry’s “conventional wisdom” that Bernie can’t win. (He can, actually, but, of course, the corporatocrats and the corporate whores who love them will do what they can to ensure that Bernie doesn’t.)

Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s important for us not to take everything too seriously, or at least to be able to laugh now and then, but the danger, it seems to me, of spoofing Bernie Sanders like this is that it’s meant to negate pretty much his entire message — which is awfully convenient, of course, not only for a corporation like NBC but for the entire elite establishment that benefits from the status quo, which hinges on corporations continuing to drain the life blood of working-class Americans and even destroying the planet itself in the process of profiteering obscenely.

It’s not really funny shit, and to laugh at it as though it were — Hey, if “SNL” is spoofing it, how serious can it be? — serves to enable us to continue to ignore it at our own collective peril.

Not that Bernie Sanders was the only one lampooned last night; the first words spoken by Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton in “SNL’s” mock Democratic debate are: “Oh, hello. Thank you for having me. I think you’re really going to like the Hillary Clinton that my team and I have created for this debate.” Ouch. (Because it’s so true.)

But while Billary Clinton indeed keeps rebranding herself like a human weather vane spinning around in a tornado (just very recently she went from being a proud “moderate” to being a “progressive”), Bernie Sanders isn’t a Chicken Little. The problems that he repeatedly talks about — such as climate change and insane income disparity — are severe and persistent, and it’s not difficult to foresee the future if we wave them all off like a joke, like Larry David’s Bernie Sanders does.

Another problem with spoofing presidential candidates and politicians in general is that there so often is the concern of the writers to give the appearance that everyone is being spoofed equally and that all sides of any political debate are presented as being equal. (This is meant to accomplish at least a few things, such as to avoid allegations of bias [probably especially by right-wing nut jobs] and to keep the money flowing [money might not keep on flowing if you have stepped on some toes].)

But that blatantly false equivalence so widely communicated within the corporately owned and controlled media, probably especially in the “news” media, inevitably infects our general discourse to the point that many if not most Americans cannot effectively and accurately analyze politics and politicians. They cannot discriminate between truth and bullshit and they often even (often enthusiastically) support politicians whose political practices harm them while only helping those who already are filthy rich.

The “tea-party” dipshits, whose darling right now apparently is billionaire Donald Trump, are experts at this, experts at being chickens supporting Colonel Sanders (who is not to be confused with Bernie Sanders).

How stupid is it to vote against your own best interests?

But millions of Americans do it every election, such as even with their blind support of Billary Clinton. (Well, Wall Street supports Billary, as it does Jeb! Bush, the Wall Street weasels’ top two beneficiaries, so their support of corporate whores like Clinton and Bush certainly makes selfish and greedy political sense for them, but the vast majority of us voters aren’t Wall Street weasels who will benefit directly from another Bush or Clinton presidency.)

Equal spoofing is bullshit because everything isn’t equal. To assert that it is is its own form of nihilism that, only in our own minds, lets us off of the hook of our duty, as the citizens and denizens of this nation, to ensure that our descendants, that all of the other species of life and the planet itself don’t continue to suffer degradation (or even extinction) in the future because of our selfishness, laziness and greediness in the present.

It’s not just “SNL”; take also 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” for instance. In that movie, which overall is pretty funny (with some truly hilarious scenes) and was a pretty good response to the hyper-jingoism that followed 9/11, the “South Park” creators make leftists from Hollywood (including Alec Baldwin [who played Jim Webb in “SNL’s” mock debate last night], Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon) and, of course, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, into villains, apparently only or primarily for the purpose of not being accused of taking a political side, of being an equal-opportunity offender.*

But, again, not all political sides are equal. Sarah Palin, for instance, is not the equivalent of even Billary Clinton, and Billary Clinton, while she calls herself a “Democrat” and even “a progressive” (“a progressive who likes to get things done”!), is not the equivalent of Bernie Sanders.

In a nation whose denizens can barely analyze political matters and politicians as it is (if they haven’t already given up the effort entirely for sports, celebrity gossip, consumerism and/or other forms of entertainment and/or distraction) — and who consequently, again, thus routinely actually vote against their own best interests (when/if they vote at all) — this false-equivalence-as-comedy shit just isn’t very fucking funny.

*It’s perfectly OK to take down limousine liberals, who by definition don’t walk their own talk, but that doesn’t seem to have been the “South Park” creators’ main intent with “Team America.”

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To plutocratic traitor Trump and his racist ilk, Latinos are the new Jews

A Mexican client who lives in the U.S., looks at a pinata depicting U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hanging outside a workshop in Reynosa

Reuters photo

A pinata of racist scumbag and Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Donald Trump hangs in front of a pinata shop in Reynosa, Mexico, last month, in response to Trump’s recent derogatory statements about Mexicans who come to the United States. Can’t we string up and beat the holy living shit out of the real thing?

Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirant Donald Trump infamously said this in his big presidential campaign announcement speech last month:

… The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. [Applause from his audience, which apparently included individuals who were paid $50 a piece to hoot and holler and cheer. There’s nothing that money can’t buy, including “grass-roots” “supporters.”] Thank you. It’s true… When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … [“You,” I presume, would be (mostly if not entirely) white people who are “good” because they support Trump (or are willing to be paid to “support” Trump).] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems [with them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. …

You know, asserting that “some … are good people” doesn’t make up for the fact that you essentially just called an entire class of people drug dealers, criminals and rapists. (And of course Mexico isn’t “send[ing] its people” to the United States; they are coming here on their own.)

Of course Donald Trump speaks for the majority of the white-supremacist Repugnican Tea Party set, who view Mexicans and others from Latin America (whom they usually just lump all together as “Mexicans”) as The Brown Menace from South of the Border.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here in California, one of four states that share the border with Mexico, not only are there more Latinos (citizens and non-citizens) than there are in any other state in the nation (Texas comes in at a distant second place and Florida at an even more distant third place), but recently the number of Latinos has surpassed the number of whites in California, by about 14.99 million Latinos to about 14.92 million whites.

Yet here in California, we — the majority of us of all races — don’t believe that we have a “Latino problem.” If any state could claim to have such a “problem,” it would be California, but again, to us it’s not a “problem.”

Of course with the sheer number of Latinos in California, some, a minority of them, are going to commit some crimes — just as all members of all races in California commit crimes. So it is unfortunate that so soon after Trump’s racist, anti-Mexican comments, a 45-year-old man from Mexico who had been deported from the United States five times, reportedly, on Wednesday bizarrely shot and killed a 32-year-old white woman at a popular tourist spot in San Francisco in broad daylight for no apparent reason other than that he wanted to kill someone.

As was predictable, Trump yesterday shamelessly used this rare, bizarre incident to retroactively justify his anti-Mexican comments of last month. He added that “The American people deserve a wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico, so that, presumably, the United States would be like One Huge Gated Community, which the white supremacists among us would love.

However, having lived in northern California since 1998, I can tell you that we do not have an epidemic of undocumented (or documented) Mexicans (or other Latinos) shooting to death our precious young white women (in broad daylight or under the cover of darkness). Or raping them, either.

Quite presumably the 45-year-old Mexican man is mentally ill, and a sufficiently mentally ill person of any demographic can kill someone. You don’t point to one incident as “proof” that an entire race of people are guilty as you have charged.

I mean, certainly, because white-supremacist punk-ass Dylann Storm Roof premeditatedly gunned down nine black Americans in their own church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, that doesn’t mean that all white men are cold-blooded mass murderers — does it?

No, to racists and white supremacists like Donald Trump and his ilk and those who love and support them, it’s always members of other races who are the “criminals” and the “rapists” and the “drug dealers.”

But I get it: The treasonous plutocrats’ and corporatocrats’ worst nightmare is that the American masses finally wake up, realize that our true enemies are the plutocrats and corporatocrats among us — the mostly-hidden-from-view 1 percent (which includes, of course, billionaire Trump) who treasonously have been decimating the American middle class and the working class for decades now — and that we will come for them.

So these plutocratic traitors like Trump must demonize relatively powerless minority groups as the “true” “enemy,” the “truly” “evil” “other.” We saw this dynamic in Nazi Germany. (More recently, we saw it with the unelected George W. Bush regime’s demonization of Middle Easterners [as well as of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, who also were a target of the Nazis, of course].)

And that’s why I stand up for my Latino brothers and sisters when they are bashed: I won’t let them become the neo-Nazis’ next Jews.

The vast majority of Latinos in the United States of America are law-abiding, hard-working, productive individuals (citizens or not) without whom the United States would be in deep shit.

The United States of America’s biggest problems — including climate change; gross income inequality that further shrinks what’s left of the middle class day by day; plutocracy (including, of course, elections that are bought and paid for by the billionaires [like Trump]); unaffordable, for-profit health care; unaffordable, for-profit higher education; and a crumbling infrastructure (due in no small part because the plutocrats treasonouly refuse to pay their fair share of taxes) — aren’t caused by the impoverished peoples who come from south of the border seeking better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

No, the lion’s share of our nation’s problems are caused by the greedy, treasonous, mostly white, filthy-rich fucks from within — like Donald Trump — who have been bleeding us dry for decades. If we’re going to build protective walls, let’s build such walls entirely around them to protect ourselves from them.

A better idea, of course, comes from Mexico: stringing the treasonous plutocrats up like pinatas and beating them until their brains spill out on the ground like pieces of candy.

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