Tag Archives: E-mailgate

Bernie and Billary agree to four more debates, including one before N.H.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and rival candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speak simultaneously at the NBC News - YouTube Democratic presidential candidates debate in Charleston

Reuters photo

Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are pictured at the Democratic Party presidential debate earlier this month in South Carolina. The two front-runners have agreed to four additional debates, one wedged between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and three more after the New Hampshire primary.

Politico reports today that Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton have agreed to four more debates, which would bring the total number of 2016 Democratic Party presidential debates to 10.

The Democratic National Committee (that is, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) would have to approve the additional debates, however.

The first proposed new debate would be sandwiched between the Iowa caucuses on Monday and the New Hampshire primary on February 9. This additional debate would help Billary, especially if Bernie wins Iowa — something that Nate Silver says is more unlikely than likely to happen yet still is quite possible, given that the two have been neck and neck in Iowa recently but that Billary is up around four points right now and has the support of the establishment, yet if Bernie can get his more-enthusiastic-but-younger supporters to turn out, that could win it for him.

(Right now Real Clear Politics’ average of Iowa polls has Billary at 3.4 percent ahead of Bernie, while the Huffington Post’s average of Iowa polls has Billary up over Bernie at 4 percent right now.)

Indeed, an additional debate sandwiched between Iowa and New Hampshire would do more good for Billary than it would for Bernie, given that Bernie has been leading Billary in New Hampshire by double digits for some time now. (Right now RCP’s average of New Hampshire polls has Bernie at 14.3 percent ahead of Billary, and HuffPo’s average of New Hampshire polls has Bernie beating Billary there by 13 percent.)

Especially if Bernie wins Iowa, another debate before New Hampshire could, I surmise, harm his chances there. Recall that in 2008, Billary came in at third place in Iowa and then turned on the waterworks and won New Hampshire (because The New Feminism is all about attacking others for their sexist or even supposedly sexist stereotypes — but employing blatantly sexist stereotypes oneself when it benefits oneself).

On the balance, though, the addition of three more debates after New Hampshire should help Bernie, because the Democratic National Committee/Debbie Wasserman Schultz thus far has scheduled only two debates after New Hampshire: on February 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and on March 9 in Miami, Florida.

In addition to the debate wedged between Iowa and New Hampshire, the Bernie and Billary camps have agreed to additional debates in March, April and May, Politico reports.

If the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary season is stretched out, like 2008’s was (recall that Billary didn’t finally concede to Barack Obama until June 2008), the three extra debates after New Hampshire, bringing the total post-New-Hampshire debate total to five, would benefit Bernie.

Indeed, scheduling only two debates after New Hampshire apparently was Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s tactic to expose her precious Billary to as few debates as possible after the earliest-voting states.

So while I’m hoping for the four extra debates — even though live-blogging the debates, as I have been doing, can be a bit of a pain in the ass — I’m not holding my breath that the Democratic National Committee/Debbie Wasserman Schultz will say yes to them.

The process has not been very democratic thus far.

P.S. In other news today, the New York Times quite stupidly has endorsed Billary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. (This endorsement comes on the heels of the resurfacing of E-mailgate — news yesterday that Billary’s home-brewed e-mail server contained at least 22 top-secret e-mails. Yeah, it’s really smart to endorse a candidate who might be indicted any day now…)

Can you say “establishment”? The establishmentarian New York Times had endorsed Billary in 2008, too, and we know how well that turned out.

What so many people forget (or ignore) is that the corporately owned and controlled mass media want a corporation-friendly president. Therefore, their endorsements reflect what’s best for them, not what’s best for the majority of the American people.

The Times once again has perceived the most corporation-friendly candidate to be Billary Clinton. Let’s hope that the Times is as right this year as it was in 2008.

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Could it be that Queen Billary’s castle of cards is about to fall spectacularly?

Updated below (on Sunday, January 10, 2016)

Hillary Clinton Email Servers Home Scandal Private Email Secretary of State

LegalInsurrection.com image

E-mailgate might not be over just yet, so let’s hold off on that coronation…

Just when it had looked as though Billary Clinton got off from E-mailgate scot-free, two news items today indicate that that might not be the case, that the game might not be over just yet.

ABC News reports today that in a 2011 e-mail, then-Secretary of State Billary expressed surprise that another State Department employee was using a personal e-mail address for State business – even though she was doing exactly the same thing herself at the time. ABC News reports:

The State Department released 3,007 pages of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail this morning at around 1:30 a.m. ET, bringing the total public production so far to 82 percent of the documents, a court-mandated goal the department failed to reach at the end of last month.

In one document dated February 27, 2011, Clinton sends an e-mail to her top adviser, Jake Sullivan, in which she expressed surprise that a State Department staffer was using a personal e-mail account to discuss official business.

 The e-mail chain shows that a State Department employee named John Godfrey wrote a detailed summary of information about Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that was soon forwarded to Clinton. Jake Sullivan writes to Clinton that it’s “Worth a read. This guy is very thoughtful.”

Clinton responds by asking for whom Godfrey works. “Us,” Sullivan writes back. [I’ll leave it alone, I guess, that Billary didn’t know one of her own underlings.] Clinton replies: “Is he in NEA [Near Eastern Affairs] currently? Or was he in Embassy? I was surprised that he used personal e-mail account if he is at State.”

At best, her critics may find it ironic that she is calling out staffers for using private e-mail. At worst, her rivals may use it against her and suggest she was pointing out some level of impropriety, in which she was also engaged. …

Do you truly have to be a “critic” of Billary Clinton to be able to acknowledge the rank hypocrisy of her having e-mailed the line “I was surprised that he used personal e-mail account if he is at State” when she also used her own personal e-mail account when she was at State? (Indeed, did she use her own personal e-mail account to e-mail those words? It is my understanding that she did.)

Then there’s this in today’s news, from The Associated Press:

A Republican member of the [U.S.] House [of Representatives] Benghazi committee says he is “hopeful” that the Justice Department will indict Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for having classified information on her private e-mail server.

Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas says there is increasing evidence that “an enormous amount of information” on Clinton’s private server is classified.

“It was classified when it was on her server and it was classified when it was sent,” Pompeo told conservative radio host Lars Larson [yesterday].

Pompeo said he is “anxious” for the Justice Department and FBI to make a determination on whether to indict Clinton as quickly as possible.

“I think that there is only one answer that can be reached, and I am hopeful that will be the outcome that the FBI achieves,” Pompeo said.

“These are just facts,” Pompeo added. “We’ve all seen the reports of the classified information on her server. It could not and should not have been lawfully handled in the way that she did it.”

Pompeo’s comments came as the panel interviewed former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta behind closed doors [today]. The remarks are the latest by a congressional Republican suggesting an unfavorable judgment against Clinton before the committee or the FBI concludes their respective investigations.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said last fall that the Benghazi panel could take credit for Clinton’s recent drop in public opinion polls. He later retracted the comment.

Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., said “a big part” of the Benghazi investigation “was designed to go after … Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. …

I have no idea what the chances are that Billary would or could be indicted by the Justice Department for having maintained classified information on her home-brewed e-mail server, but it seems to me that an indictment coming any time between now and November 8, 2016, would be fairly devastating to Billary’s campaign for the White House.

I’ve written before that “Benghazigate” is mostly bullshit and undeniably is yet another Repugnican Tea Party witch hunt, especially in light of how the treasonously illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War, which has been responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 U.S. troops and tens and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, has gone wholly unpunished.

It’s hard to miss that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have wholly dismissed the deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops that were solely for the war profiteering of BushCheneyCorp subsidiary Halliburton (and for other plutocratic profiteering from death, destruction, pain, misery and suffering) yet claim to care so fucking much about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.

Nonetheless, we now very apparently have proof, in her own words, that Billary Clinton knew that using her own personal e-mail at State was, at best, improper. (My understanding is that at the time, it was not technically illegal.) That she would remark about another State employee’s use of the same practice certainly indicates that the rules don’t apply to her, which points, methinks, to her character.

While her use of her personal e-mail address might not have been illegal, not properly protecting classified information apparently is illegal, and if Billary committed a crime for which anyone else would be held to account, the Obama Justice Department should not allow politics to protect Queen Billary.

This is an awfully opportune time to remind you that Bernie Sanders is doing fairly well in match-up polling against the top three Repugnican Tea Party contenders (Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz).

Real Clear Politics’ polling averages right now have Billary doing better against Trump than does Sanders, with Billary at 4.8 percent above Trump to Sanders’ 2 percent above Trump. But Sanders does better than does Billary against both Rubio and Cruz, with Rubio at 1.3 percent above Billary and 1 percent above Sanders, and while Billary ties Cruz, Sanders beats Cruz by 3.3 percent.

As I don’t see Trump being the eventual Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee, but see Rubio as the most likely nominee (followed by Cruz), at this point the supposedly “unelectable” Sanders is doing better in the presidential match-up polling than is Billary, even if only slightly.

And as far as I know, Bernie Sanders hasn’t been using a personal e-mail address (along with his own personal e-mail server) for government business, and to my knowledge there is no possible indictment looming over his head.

I mean, the idea is to keep the White House in the Democrats’ hands, isn’t it?

If so, Queen Billary’s not looking like a sure bet right about now.

Update (Sunday, January 10, 2016): “[Billary] Clinton has repeatedly said she did not handle classified material through her private e-mail account while serving as secretary of state,” notes Reuters today, while McClatchy news reports something quite different today (emphases in bold are mine):

At least 1,340 e-mails that Hillary Clinton sent or received [as U.S. secretary of state via her private e-mail account] contained classified material, according to the State Department’s latest update from its ongoing review of more than 30,000 emails.

The State Department released a new batch of 3,007 pages of Clinton’s e-mails after 1:30 a.m. Friday in response to a court order. Of those, 66 contain classified information.

None of Clinton’s e-mails was marked as classified during her tenure, State Department officials say, but intelligence officials say some material was clearly classified at the time. Her aides also sent and received classified information.

Clinton has been under fire for months for exclusively using personal e-mail routed through a private server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. The FBI launched an inquiry into the handling of sensitive information after classified information was found in some.

In response to a public records lawsuit, the State Department is releasing Clinton’s e-mails at the end of each month after partially or entirely redacting any containing sensitive U.S. or foreign government information. So far, it has released 43,148 pages of e-mails.

But the State Department failed to meet a court-imposed deadline on the number of Clinton’s e-mails to be released in December, so it released another batch this week. It had missed a previous deadline, but had caught up in recent months. The e-mails released Friday also were not fully processed, officials said.

“We are releasing the documents today so as to be responsive to the court’s December 31st goal for posting 82 percent of the Clinton email collection by that date,” according to the State Department. “With today’s production, the State Department will meet the page volume anticipated by last week’s production goal.”

“Now with dozens of additional e-mails found to be classified, we know Hillary Clinton exposed classified material in more than 1,300 messages, including information that was classified at the time it was sent as well at some of the highest levels,” [said] Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of secrecy at the expense of national security was undeniably reckless and shows she cannot be trusted in the White House.”

Priebus called on Clinton to request the State Department commit to a “more open process” and not release the e-mails in the middle of the night or on holidays.

Priebus is an entirely politically motivated pompous prick, of course, but that doesn’t mean that Billary didn’t break the law, and it does appear that the State Department is working to protect her just like the Democratic National Committee (that is, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) is working to protect her by having rigged the debate schedule and having tried to deny the Bernie Sanders campaign access to its own voter data. (Yes, because of the immediate backlash the DNC backed off in short order, but it’s the thought that counts.)

Again, the FBI investigation into whether or not Billary broke the law is ongoing, and even though Billary has joked about it, I don’t think that she and her misguided lemming-supporters will be laughing if she is indicted any time between now and Election Day in November. (One former U.S. attorney states that Billary and others associated with her could be indicted within the next few months.)

Her center-right, flip-flopping, self-serving, Democrat-in-name-only/Repugnican-Lite politics entirely aside, scandal magnet Billary always was way too risky for the Democratic Party to put all (or at least most) of its presidential eggs in her basket.

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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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Time to panic, Bernie supporters?

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to supporters during a concert hosted by his campaign Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts to supporters during an appearance in Davenport, Iowa, last week. Reports of Bernie’s political death have been greatly exaggerated; I can see Billary Clinton imploding like Howard Dean and I can see Bernie rising like Lazarus like John Kerry did in 2004. In any event, I have a novel, even revolutionary, idea: Let’s let the people caucus and vote! Let’s let the people decide!

Billary Clinton has had a decent month (at least so we’re told). The corporately owned and controlled media pronounced her the “winner” of the October 13 debate, even though post-debate focus groups and online polls showed Bernie Sanders to be the clear winner.

This month Billary had Katy Perry perform for her, while Bernie Sanders was impersonated by Larry David proclaiming (as Bernie) that he owns only one pair of underwear and not only doesn’t have a superPAC, but doesn’t even have a backpack, and thus has to lug everything around with him (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!).

This month Billary survived her “Benghazigate” inquisitors, which, for some bizarre reason, widely has been seen as some sort of “accomplishment” for her. As “Benghazigate” always has been trumped-up bullshit anyway, what, exactly, did she accomplish?

No matter; when you’re Billary Clinton, you don’t have to have any actual accomplishments; you have the surname, and for many if not even most of those who call themselves “Democrats,” that’s enough.

Bernie Sanders apparently maintains a slim lead over Billary in New Hampshire, but Joe Biden’s belated announcement that he isn’t running still hasn’t taken full effect in the polling. Therefore, I’m not panicking over the polling that gives Billary a wide, double-digit lead over Bernie in Iowa right now. The post-Biden dust still hasn’t settled in the polling. We’re going to have to see.

That said, yes, I’d say that if Bernie doesn’t come in at No. 1 in New Hampshire or in Iowa – if Billary comes in at No. 1 in both states – no, I don’t see Bernie recovering from that.

Should Bernie win Iowa and New Hampshire (I still expect him to win New Hampshire, but I am concerned about how he’s doing in Iowa right now), we could see Billary collapse, but I don’t expect her to give up; I expect her to do what she did against Barack Obama in 2008, which was to keep going for as long as she could (indeed, the 2008 Democratic presidential primary fight ran all the way to June 2008).

In the meantime, to anyone who is predicting Bernie’s loss to Billary already, I say:

  • The first voting (in Iowa on February 1) is still more than three full months away. Billary, apparently way too high on undeserved praise from the corporately owned and controlled mass media punditry, keeps making offensive and untruthful statements (characteristic of her 2008 run for the White House), such as that the odiously homophobic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that her hubby signed into law actually was meant to staunch the bleeding where LGBT rights are concerned, and that Bernie Sanders is sexist! (Women who shamelessly mendaciously play the feminism card for personal and political gain only hurt the feminist movement; Billary should be ashamed of herself, but, as she amply has demonstrated over the many years, she is unburdened by anything remotely resembling a normal human sense of shame.) Also, the FBI is still investigating Billary and those involved in her home-brewed e-mail server. A lot can happen in the political world in three months.
  • Two words: Howard. Dean. Howard Dean for a long time was the “inevitable” 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee. Only he imploded spectacularly in Iowa in early 2004, coming in at third place, behind both first-place winner John Kerry, whose moribund campaign had come back from the dead like Lazarus on crack, and behind second-place winner John Edwards. In the end, the only state that Dean won was his home state of Vermont. (No, that Bernie also is from Vermont doesn’t mean that he’s destined to share Dean’s fate, and yes, I can see Bernie making a John-Kerry-like resurrection after he’s already been written off as politically dead.)
  • Four words: Donald Trump. Ben. Carson. These two “men” have topped the Repugnican Tea Party presidential polling for a while now, yet few who truly know anything about political science and U.S. history really see either of them ultimately gaining the party’s nomination. (Neither has held elected office, and never in my lifetime of more than 45 years has anyone made it to the White House who had not been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state.) Why would it be that Donald Trump and Ben Carson can fall from their lofty perches, but Billary can’t fall from hers?
  • Finally, but certainly not the least importantly: Let the fucking people vote and caucus! Let the people decide! If Bernie Sanders ultimately comes in at No. 2 to Billary Clinton, so be it, but it’s to be decided by those voting and caucusingnot by the punditry. Not even by me (although it should be…).

The only thing that we Bernie Sanders supporters have to fear is fear itself. The Billarybots would love for us to become dispirited and thus disarm (yes, that’s a pun on Team Billary’s lame attempt to make gun control a big issue [funny, it hasn’t been until very recently that Billary ever made gun control a big issue; the timing of her new-found “concern” is awfully interesting]).

The corporately owned and controlled media would benefit much more from long-time corporate whore Billary Clinton sitting in the Oval Office than they would from democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, so when they report that Bernie can’t win, consider the source and ask yourself if the corporately owned and controlled mass media care more about your welfare than they do their own.

We Bernie Sanders supporters must ignore the naysayers, who have a right-of-center agenda of their own, and continue to support him as we have been. I just gave him another donation, for instance, and there’s no way in hell that I’m ever casting a vote for Billary Clinton, no matter what bile and venom spews from the mouths of the Billarybots.

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No, Bernie wasn’t trying to save Billary

Bernie Sanders Does Not Care About 'Your Damn Emails,' Hillary Clinton

The sleazy Billary Clinton was only too happy to believe (mistakenly) that Bernie Sanders was dismissing her e-mail scandal altogether — he wasn’t; he was only trying to put it into universal perspective — and Sanders, immersed in the shallow, rapid-fire, infotaining, sound-bite-frenzied environment, apparently was unable to prevent his intent from immediately being twisted into something that it never was. It was, however, his first live-televised debate on the national stage, and she’s a veteran slime-weasel.

The American people’s attention deficit disorder is worse than I’d thought. The buzz after last night’s Democratic Party presidential debate is that Bernie Sanders was defending Billary Clinton in E-mailgate. He wasn’t. Clearly.

It’s that CNN and the rest of the establishment weasels are so quick to bow down before Queen Billary that Sanders’ rather obvious actual point got lost. Immediately. This is the transcript of the exchange (from the Washington Post’s full transcript of the debate):

CLINTON: … But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me say this.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

SANDERS: You know? The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

(APPLAUSE) …

Why were Sanders’ words interpreted as a save for Billary Clinton? For a few reasons. One, given her prematurely enthusiastic response, obviously she welcomed such a “save”; when Billary immediately but incorrectly interpreted Bernie’s words as a more or less full pardon for E-mailgate from her strongest rival, she was downright giddy.

Pretty much every time that a fair criticism of her was brought up in the debate, Billary uttered some attempted deflection like, “But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.” (Something that this American person wants in the next POTUS is that he or she does not run a home-brewed e-mail server from his or her home basement. Um, yeah.)

Other such deflections by Billary from one of her other top flaws — that she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War in 2002 — were that she’d already covered this topic in the 2008 primary debates and that Barack Obama had chosen her as his secretary of state, so how poor could her judgment be? (Um, she was chosen as SOS primarily for political reasons, I’m confident. I mean, I’ve had a problem with Obama’s past apparent comparisons of himself to Abraham Lincoln, but Lincoln did apparently believe in keeping his enemies/frenemies close.)

So Billary needed and wanted a save from E-mailgate, and when Bernie prefaced his point with “let me say something that may not be great politics,” the desperate Billary, as did pretty much the entire punditry and the rest of the nation, took it as Bernie throwing her a life preserver.

Bernie then said, turning to Billary, “I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

I’m pretty sure that Billary orgasmed at that moment, and that moment immediately was interpreted, quite incorrectly, as Bernie having dismissed E-mailgate altogether. But that fairly obviously not only was not what he actually said, but was not his point, because he then immediately followed that with:

You know? The middle class — Anderson [Cooper, the moderator], and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

But Americans don’t want to talk about the real issues. The real issues are boring. They require research. And thought. And once we’re fully aware of a big problem, we then have the moral obligation to try to solve it. And that’s work. And work is hard. And usually not fun.

Bernie wasn’t saying that E-mailgate is not a problem whatsoever. He was putting it into perspective: “[The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

After the debate, Bernie was interviewed live by CNN at the locale of the debate and he stated that his one (or largest, anyway) regret about the debate is that the topic of income inequality didn’t get enough play.

Bernie apparently is just sick and tired that relatively minor issues like Billary’s e-mail habits are discussed instead of much bigger problems, such as climate change and the income inequality that has only grown since the Reagan years.

However, because Americans, including, of course, the punditry class (who personally benefit from continued income inequality), don’t want to talk about these huge problems, the narrative became that Bernie saved Billary from her e-mail scandal. Even my fellow leftist Ted Rall, with whom I usually agree, wrote of last night’s debate:

… It’s fun to watch rivals making nice. Party unity is swell. Who knows, maybe Bernie really does think Emailgate is no big deal. But I think it was a mistake.

First and foremost, the investigation has just begun. It isn’t wise to defend someone before all the facts are in, especially when that person’s resume is punctuated by multiple scandals.

Also, I take offense at the argument that, because the American people don’t care about an issue, that it ought not to be discussed (assuming that it is true that voters are tiring of the coverage, which may or may not be the case). Americans don’t care much about drones, the NSA, or turning Libya into a failed state (which Hillary helped do), or Guantánamo. Should we ignore those issues? Leadership is in large part about pointing to a problem and convincing people why they should care and what we should do to fix it.

For me, and I suspect many other non-Republicans, Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls. She knew, in 2009 when she began as secretary of state, that she would soon run for president. Given that the GOP always targets her, it’s crazy that she didn’t play everything by the book. Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency and, as such, should not have prompted a full-throated defense from her chief rival.

Again, Bernie never stated that “E-mailgate is no big deal.” He only tried to put it into perspective — a bit inartfully. He had started to talk about the media, and had he fleshed that thought out, he’d have pointed out that the media love to report on juicy scandals, such as home-brewed e-mail servers, especially when they involve someone like perpetual scandal magnet Queen Billary Clinton, and that reportage on this partisan bickering (such as with E-mailgate and “Benghazigate”) eclipses our much larger problems, such as climate change and income inequality, both of which continue to worsen even as I type this sentence.

I agree wholeheartedly with Rall that “Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls” and that “Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency.”

But for Rall to characterize Sanders’ words as “a full-throated defense” of Billary’s e-mail habits contradicts the words that Bernie actually spoke.

It’s that at a forum that was very deferential to Queen Billary (as Jim Webb complained, she was allowed to speak far more than was anyone else), a forum sponsored by the Clinton-friendly CNN before a largely Clinton-friendly live audience, and in a fast-moving, fairly shallow discussion meant much more to evoke more sound bites for an insatiably starving, zombified corporately owned and controlled mass media than to evoke anything remotely resembling actual thought, Bernie’s intent immediately got lost in the shuffle and then conveniently was corporately repackaged into something that it apparently never was intended to be: “a full-throated defense” of Billary against E-mailgate.

Rall notes that Sanders “clearly was off balance,” and it’s true that Sanders didn’t bring up everything that he could and should have in the debate, as Rall notes in his thoughtful-as-usual commentary. If I had helped Bernie prep for the debate, for instance, in response to Billary’s predictable criticism of him not being good enough on gun control, I’d have encouraged him to point out that his home state of Vermont, which he has represented in Congress since the early 1990s, has fewer gun murders per capita than does any other state except New Hampshire. (Vermont has 1.1 gun murders per 100,000 residents. New Hampshire has 1 per 100,000 residents.)

So when Bernie asserted during the debate last night that gun control is more of an issue for urban areas than for largely rural areas like Vermont, he was correct. Billary was, in her criticism of him, quite wrong, as she so often is on topics that matter.

I’d say that Bernie was a little off balance last night. He made no huge, Prick-Perry-level debate blunder, but he did make a few minor stumbles. But, um, it was his very first nationally televised debate. Billary Clinton is a highly polished liar. She’s been lying, minimizing, deflecting, flip-flopping, triangulating (like her hubby), blaming others, playing the feminism card, playing the victim card, etc., etc., on the national stage at least since the early 1990s. She’s a mega-ultra-slimebag/weasel, whereas Bernie Sanders is a bit of a wonky nerd.*

And Bernie can try to save us from ourselves, but in the end, we have to want to save ourselves.

That Bernie’s admonishment that we pay so much attention to things such as E-mailgate at the expense of larger issues such as “massive wealth and income inequality” and “whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United” fell flat because we’d much rather talk about how “Bernie saved Billary last night at the debate” isn’t Bernie’s fault. It’s ours.**

P.S. In the end, although Bernie prefaced his remarks by saying that they “may not be great politics,” I don’t think that it hurt Bernie, politically, to demonstrate that he wasn’t going to pile upon Billary, which is what I believe he meant to say that so many believe is “great politics.”

Not only could Bernie use a chunk of Billary’s supporters to switch to his team — which he won’t accomplish by alienating them too much — but Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee (and, to a lesser extent, Jim Webb) did plenty of piling upon Billary, which was wholly deserved, but which also made them look desperate because they’re losing (because they are — look at their polling) and which made them look like typical — not visionary — politicians.

I have questioned Bernie’s tactic of remaining above typically dirty politics, but it has gotten him this far, and he never was supposed to have gotten this far.

*I agree with Sanders wholeheartedly that the United States can match the level of socioeconomic success that some European nations have, and that it’s only a capitalism that has eaten itself that has prevented the U.S. from matching those nations’ success, but Team Bernie perhaps does need to think about how it comes off for him to so often rattle off such phrases as “countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway,” as he did last night.

Both moderator Anderson Cooper and Billary Clinton (like snarky junior-high-school students) quickly criticized Sanders’ mention of Denmark — as Stephen Colbert did during a chat with Sanders not long ago (Colbert was much funnier when he did it, but I still found his joke to be a bit disappointing, coming from him) — and while Sanders is correct on this issue, in politics (if you want to win elections) you sometimes have to bow to political realities, such as that Americans are xenophobic and jingoistic and anti-intellectual, and so they don’t want to hear about Denmark…

If Sanders insists on continuing to bring up Denmark — and I suspect that he does and that he will — that won’t sway me away from him one iota, but again, for the most part he’s not dealing with his intellectual equals, and that’s the political reality that he needs to work with.

**We can blame the media only so much. After all, not only do we allow the corporately owned and controlled media weasels to do as they please, but we don’t even fight the problem of corporately owned and controlled media having a monopoly on so-called “free” speech.

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Billary probably can’t survive losing both Iowa and New Hampshire

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes a question during a news conference

Reuters photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, appears at a news conference in Washington, D.C., today. A new poll for the first time shows him beating Billary Clinton in the pivotal early state of Iowa, albeit within the poll’s margin of error. He wasn’t supposed to ever do even that well against the “inevitable” Billary, on whom he has been maintaining a solid lead in the also-pivotal early state of New Hampshire already.

For the first time, Bernie Sanders has taken a lead over Billary Clinton on the first-in-the-nation-to-weigh-in state of Iowa (the Iowa caucuses are on February 1). True, his lead is within the margin of error – he polled at 41 percent to Billary’s 40 percent – but still, it is the strongest that he has polled thus far in Iowa. A series of recent polls already has him leading Billary well outside of the margin of error in the second-to-weigh-in state of New Hampshire (the New Hampshire primary is on February 9).

Team Billary is under the assumption – or at least wants the rest of us to believe – that Billary can lose both Iowa and New Hampshire yet still win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Can she?

Probably not.

The only Democrat who won the party’s presidential nomination without having won, that is, come in at No. 1 in at least Iowa or New Hampshire, was Bill Clinton, in 1992. Since the Democratic Party went to its current system of selecting its presidential candidate in 1976, the he-Clinton remains the only candidate who did not win Iowa or New Hampshire yet still won the party’s presidential nomination.

Bill Clinton had come in at third place in Iowa and second place in New Hampshire in 1992, so his eventual win of the nomination perhaps was a statistical outlier, but it was not shocking.

Can Billary – if she doesn’t come in at first place in Iowa or New Hampshire in February – repeat her hubby’s 1992 performance?

Methinks not.

In 1992, the Clintons were unknown to the majority of the nation. Bill Clinton was fresh back then. Since then, The Mountain of Clinton Baggage has only grown, and Billary Clinton never has been as popular as has been her spouse. She’s always only ever been a cheaper knock-off of him.

Perhaps it goes back, at least in part, to the fact that before Billary, no former first lady ever had sought the White House herself; perhaps this is considered (fairly or unfairly) by some if not even most Americans to be an unseemly thing to do.

But the No. 1 factor that is harming Billary is Billary. She is unlikeable. She comes across as wooden and insincere, as cold and calculating – because she very apparently is – and whether it’s “fair” or not, superficial factors harm her, such as her voice, which aptly has been compared to the sounds of fingernails on a chalkboard. Unlike Elizabeth Warren, for example, who comes across as wise and reassuring (the strong, good mother archetype – an actual pit bull with lipstick), Billary comes across as shrill and self-serving (the shrieking harpy, the bad mother archetype).

As far as her record is concerned, human (well, we think she’s human) weather vane Billary’s politically (mis)calculated October 2002 vote for the Vietraq War in the U.S. Senate (Sanders wisely voted against the war in the U.S. House of Representatives) is reason enough to keep her from ever occupying the Oval Office.

Team Billary’s plan, the media have reported, is to be able to lose Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders but then come back resoundingly on “Super Tuesday,” which is March 1, when a dozen states will hold caucuses and primary elections. (Only four states hold primaries and causes in February: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, in that chronological order.)

This “comeback plan” assumes that E-mailgate won’t continue to take its toll on Billary between now and “Super Tuesday,” but expect unflattering Billary-related news to roll in over the coming months – the Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled Congress really wants to talk to the man whom Billary paid to set up her home-brewed e-mail server, and Billary is scheduled to testify again before Congress regarding Benghazi next month, for instance – and expect this news to remind us of what it means to have a scandal/“scandal”-magnet Clinton in the White House.

Don’t get me entirely wrong; Benghazigate is mostly bullshit, and it’s interesting that the same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who never have cared about the more than 4,000 of our troops killed in the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War suddenly care so much about the lives of four Americans in the Middle East, but nonetheless, what Billary faces now that her husband did not face in 1992, when he eked out a victory in the Democratic Party presidential primary season, was Clinton Fatigue.

Will the Democratic and left-leaning primary-season voters still be able to surmount Clinton Fatigue and make Billary the nominee if she doesn’t win Iowa or New Hampshire?

Or will Billary implode if she doesn’t win Iowa or New Hampshire? Will she bleed out fatally, as voters suddenly finally realize how weak a presidential candidate she truly, actually is?

My money would be on the latter.

And as I’ve noted, it’s awfully interesting that the conventional-“wisdom” pundits and the Clintonistas assert, when winning Iowa alone gives a big boost to a candidate — the last time that the Democratic winner of Iowa didn’t go on to become the party’s presidential nominee was in 1992 (which was an odd year for the Democratic presidential race in general) — that Bernie Sanders might win both Iowa and New Hampshire yet still not win the nomination.

In the meantime, my dream ticket for 2016 would be Bernie Sanders and his fellow U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The No. 2 spot would position Warren nicely to be president of the United States of America after President Sanders.

We’re long overdue for our first female president, but our first female president should not be the dynastic, center-right, Democrat-in-name-only Billary Clinton.

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Sanders surges while naysayers blather

Bernie Sanders

A supporter holds a sign during a rally for democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Los Angeles Times and Associated Press photos

Presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders is doing quite well, bringing in massive crowds, polling well, and recently having been endorsed by the nation’s largest nurses’ union, yet some still persist with the worn-out “wisdom” that he can’t win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination and/or that if he does, he can’t win the White House. (Perhaps especially if billionaire jackass Donald Trump does run as an independent, Ross-Perot style, Sanders can win the White House.) Sanders supporters are shown above at a gathering for him at a sports arena in Los Angeles on Monday.

Bernie Sanders is surging.

For the first time, a poll has him beating Billary Clinton in the critical state of New Hampshire beyond the margin of error, and New Hampshire is a purple state, only leaning Democratic a bit. So much for the “democratic socialism” thing being an insurmountable barrier.

Indeed, the conventional “wisdom” about Sanders being unable to win within our rigged political system is bullshit. While the corporately owned and controlled pundits continue to announce that he can’t do it, Bernie just keeps chugging along, doing it.

And as to Sanders’ electability, that should be up to those who actually cast ballots and participate in the caucuses beginning in February, not to the mediocre, soulless pundits whose paychecks depend upon their continuing to act as propagandistic guardians of the status quo.

Among other things, Sanders’ crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger. Again, Billary Clinton has yet to reach a crowd of 6K – and that was at her kick-off in New York – but within the past week, Sanders hit around 28K in both Portland, Oregon, and in Los Angeles.

I agree with this commentator’s view that it’s the Internet and social media that are behind Sanders’ surge. We, the sociopolitically disgruntled, are bypassing the gatekeepers of the corporately owned and controlled “news” media and are communicating to each other – by the millions. This explains why Bernie is actually doing what the corporate-whore mouthpieces are saying he can’t do.

I do credit much of the groundswell of support for Bernie to his fellow Vermonter Howard Dean, who pioneered the use of the Internet and social media to propel political candidates. Unfortunately for Dean, the wave that he created wasn’t large enough to propel him into the White House, but the disappointing, mostly milquetoast Barack Obama, by ubiquitously promising “hope” and “change,” certainly rode the wave that Dean created right on into the Oval Office.

But the Deaniacs never went away, and many if not most of those of us who weren’t with them at the time (myself included; in 2003 I supported John Kerry early on and I kept on supporting him all the way to the November 2004 presidential election) are with them now.

And because Obama punk’d us by apparently only pretending to be a progressive doesn’t mean that the values and desires of those of us on the left just went away. No, they just went latent, and Sanders has reawakened them.

Billary doesn’t excite a majority of Democrats because even the dullest Democrats and Democrats in name only recognize that Billary represents (at best) only more of the same. Only 35 percent of the Democrats in the New Hampshire poll that puts Bernie ahead of her said that they are “excited” about Billary, and I surmise that a sizeable chunk of those poll respondents were lying (or perhaps kidding themselves).

Vice President Joe Biden also apparently represents only more of the same to Democratic primary voters; he came in at third place in the New Hampshire poll, with 9 percent (to Sanders’ 44 percent and Billary’s 37 percent).

Bernie not only is drawing the massive crowds and is polling better than anyone had thought he would (perhaps even himself), but he also is proving himself amply able to adapt quickly to the demands of the campaign.

He has hired Symone Sanders (no relation to him), a black woman who has been a blacks-rights activist, as his press secretary – a hire that was in the works before “Black Lives Matters” idiots selfishly and aggressively refused to allow him to speak this past weekend at a scheduled event on the topics of Social Security and Medicare in Seattle.

Some would call the hiring of Symone Sanders pandering, but those very same people would criticize Sanders if he didn’t have any black American on his campaign staff, so with those people – who are haters and malcontents – Sanders can’t win anyway (usually because he’s white, because he’s not of the “right” race).

We progressives need to ignore these haters and malcontents (many if not most of whom, ironically, are much more racist than they accuse others of being); we progressives have a presidential election to win, and we cannot afford to waste our time and energy on these dead-enders.

Sanders also recently released his platform on racial justice, which also apparently was in the works before the “Black Lives Matter” morons commandeered his first of two appearances in Seattle this past weekend.

This isn’t pandering, either (and again, if he didn’t have it in his platform, he’d be criticized for not having it in his platform); this is responding to the demands of the campaign, and this demonstrates (or at least strongly indicates) that as president, Sanders would respond effectively to the demands of the nation’s highest elected office, which includes serving the interests of many different groups of people.

Bernie Sanders, to our knowledge, is heterosexual, but as a gay man, I have full confidence that as president he would represent the interests of and would fight for the rights of us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals.

Why some apparently can’t imagine that Sanders would have their backs even if he’s not within their particular demographic eludes me. (Well, not really: it’s the result of an utter lack of sociological imagination and of empathy and it’s the result of of toxic identity politics, including misandry posing as feminism and anti-white racism posing as racial justice.)

Bernie Sanders could, I suppose, ultimately flame out, but because he has called himself a democratic socialist and because his fellow Vermonter Howard Dean flamed out doesn’t mean that Sanders will.

Nor is Sanders destined to be another George McGovern, the late darling of the left who, like Bernie Sanders is, was a U.S. representative and then a U.S. senator, and who then went on to lose the 1972 presidential election to Richard M. Nixon in a landslide. (Yes, the American voters sure got that one right, didn’t they?) That was then; this is now.

Little in politics is certain, but something that is fairly certain is that we progressives can’t win with Sanders if we don’t give it a serious effort.

The corporately owned and controlled pundit-whores and their conventional, “Surrender,-Dorothy!-And-crown-Billary-already!” “wisdom” don’t dissuade me from doing what I can do to ensure that the most progressive candidate (regardless of his or her demographics) emerges as the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate.

That candidate, hands down, is Bernie Sanders.

He isn’t concerned about the naysayers, and the rest of us shouldn’t be, either.

He is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.

So should we.

P.S. E-mailgate is getting even worse for Billary Clinton. Apparently, “top-secret” information was exchanged via Billary’s home-brewed e-mail server when she was secretary of state. See this and this.

As much as some bash Bernie, I can’t see Billary going into the November 2016 presidential election from a position of strength. If the Democrats stupidly make her their nominee, she’ll be a considerably tarnished and weakened general-election candidate at best.

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