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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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Walker might walk away with his party’s nod for the White House (Part 2)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker participates in a panel discussion at the American Action Forum in Washington

Reuters photo

Wingnut Scott Walker (photographed above about a week ago in Washington, D.C.) tops recent polls of Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Those traits of his that his party’s base sees as bonuses, however, would be deadly to him in a national race. 

Sure, it’s still just a bit less than a year before the first 2016 presidential primary season contests begin in Iowa and then New Hampshire (Iowa’s caucuses will be on January 18 and New Hampshire’s primary will be on January 26), but Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is maintaining his momentum for his party’s nomination.

In a recent poll of New Hampshire voters, Walker came in at No. 1, with 21 percent, followed at second place by Jeb of the Bush Dynasty, with 14 percent.

After a first-place win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, the front runner’s momentum exponentially snowballs, so Walker must be happy about how he is polling in Iowa and New Hampshire right now (No. 1 in both states).

Prognosticator/god Nate Silver, meanwhile, gives Scott Walker and Jeb Bush each a 25-percent chance of winning the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination.

(Silver also, unfortunately, gives Billary Clinton a 78 percent chance of winning the Democratic Party’s 2016 persidential nomination, with Elizabeth Warren at a distant second place, with a 7-percent chance. [If Warren actually were to announce, I think, we’d see her polling jump.])

Jeb Bush’s challenges, of course, include the fact that the last “President” Bush (I have to use the quotation marks, since George W. Bush never was elected legitimately in the first place) was one of the worst presidents in our nation’s history (we still are recovering from his debacle in Iraq, replete with the resultant blowback that is ISIS, and from the economy that he thoroughly wrecked) and the fact that Jeb is considered to be too liberal by his party’s far-right nut jobs.

Also, Jeb’s been out of elected office for a bit more than eight full years now, adding weight to the argument that he’s running primarily because of his surname.

Walker’s biggest challenge (aside from the fact that he is an evil, heartless, soulless, lying, thieving, colossal asshole bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and other plutocrats) is his lack of charisma; however, none of these qualities that we sane individuals would consider to be negatives (such as being evil, having no charisma and being the plutocrats’ puppet) should harm Walker in the Repugnican Tea Party primary season (where, in fact, these qualities are considered to be bonuses).

Walker tosses around the word “God” enough and mouths enough 1950s-era platitudes about Capitalism, God’s Chosen Economic System (despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary), to keep his party’s deeply fucktarded base of “Christo”fascists, pro-plutocrats and jingoists happy (and, of course, his whiteness appeals to his party’s white supremacists, of which there are many).

And while Walker is despised by many if not even most in Wisconsin, to the majority in his party, even though he’s just yet another stupid white man running for the White House, as a presidential contender he has that fresh-car smell (as Barack Obama might put it).

But can Walker win the White House?

Oh, hell no. Very most likely not.

The fairly-charisma-free Billary Clinton (who, indeed, very most likely will win her party’s 2016 presidential nod if Warren stays out) is a giantess of charisma compared to Walker, and the national electorate as of late has been rejecting right-wing white men, such as John McCainosaurus and Mittens Romney. Those of us who aren’t right-wing white men (and that’s most of us Americans, and a growing number and percentage of us Americans) are sick and fucking tired of these stupid white men running the show. (Which is why it’s necessary for the millionaires and billionaires to buy elections and for the Repugnican Tea Party to pass legislation in the states ensuring that only the “right” people are able to cast a vote.)

Also, the centerpiece of Walker’s politics has been his relentless attacks against the working class and the middle class, to blame them (us) for his state’s (and, presumably, the nation’s) economic ills. He has been able to make this work in Wisconsin, with the help of his billionaire sugar daddies, but in a nation that still is recovering from the economy that the last Repugnican occupant of the White House destroyed, a candidate whose political history has consisted of blaming the victims of our economic problems for our economic problems won’t go over very well on the national level.

And, of course, there is, I believe, a hunger for our first female president. While I wish that our first female president were an actual progressive, and not a sellout DINO-weasel like Billary Clinton, with a Billary Clinton presidency, at the minimum we could say that finally, a woman was in the Oval Office (and not as a secretary or as first lady).

The fact is that our system of “democracy” has become so corrupt, and our collective political imagination has become so fucking bankrupt, that it indeed is fairly easy to predict, a year out, how things are going to pan out in Iowa and New Hampshire in January 2016.

Scott Walker will, I believe, emerge as his party’s 2016 presidential candidate. While Nate Silver gives Walker and Jeb an equal chance, no one, that I can see, has the appetite for a third Bush presidency — except, perhaps, for those whose surname is Bush.

And Billary will, I believe, emerge as her party’s candidate — unless Elizabeth Warren jumps in soon. If she does, she has a fighting chance, but if she doesn’t, it’s all Billary’s, for better or for worse.

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Yes, LET’S look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech

In this frame grab from video, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio takes a sip of water during his Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pool)

Associated Press image

The vast majority of those who claim that crypto-fascist presidential wannabe Marco Rubio didn’t get enough attention to the content of his recent speech on live national television probably haven’t actually listened to or read his entire speech (which you can do here). Having read every word of Rubio’s speech, and having compared it to reality, I can say that he’s damned fucking lucky that the water bottle got all of the attention. 

Associated Press editor Liz Sidoti wrote a column that she (or Yahoo! News) titled “Our Collective Obsession with the Trivial” that is about as original and insightful as was Repugnican Tea Party Sen. Marco Rubio’s speech that she insinuates was overlooked because of the “trivial.”

Every once in a while we pseudo-chastise ourselves about not being serious enough — but then we jump right back into the “trivial” anyway. Let’s face it: We’re never serious about getting serious. And so the vast majority of us who chastise others about not being serious enough, but focusing too much upon the “trivial,” are hypocrites.

Sidoti — who, ironically, is part of the problem that she whines about (the problem of the mass media’s propagation of “trivia”) — begins her column:

Persistently high unemployment. A sluggish economy. Debt. Deficit. Obesity. Fundamental disputes over guns, immigration and the climate. A to-do list that would exhaust even the most vigorous multi-tasker. A meteor in Russia, even.

Yet what created one of the buzziest brouhahas in America last week? Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s inopportune sip of water on live TV.

Enormous challenges pack the nation’s plate, but this country just can’t seem to get enough of the small stuff….

One hopes that we can multi-task, since we’re (even further) fucked if we can’t.

Yes, issues such as unemployment and a sluggish economy, the federal budget deficit (caused in no small part because of runaway so-called “defense” spending by the traitors who comprise the military-industrial-corporate complex), obesity, and global warming persist, although, of course, not all of our so-called “problems” actually are problems; what we so thoughtlessly label (like lemmings) as “progress,” such as indefinite economic expansion — such as the construction of even more strip malls and fast-food chain restaurants and chain stores — often if not usually only contributes to the further degradation of the planet and to the further threats to the future welfare of Homo sapiens and to countless other species and to perhaps even all life on planet Earth. (Indeed, our idea of “economic expansion,” which widely is considered to be “good,” is predicated upon the ideas that the planet has magically infinite resources and that ever-increasing population growth, which slowly is killing us all, is good.)

But those (like AP editor Liz Sidoti) who claim that we’re ignoring the Big Issues and focusing too much on Marco Rubio’s lying-induced-dehydration-related fucktardation on live national television aren’t seriously looking at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech either.

Rubio’s speech — the Repugnican Party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday — was just more trickle-down bullshit (what’s trickling down on us is the plutocrats’ urine), just more right-wing platitudes, just more feel-good, propagandistic, “Go U-S-A! We’re No. 1!”  pap that is right out of the 1950s or before.

If you don’t believe me, read Rubio’s speech yourself, but know that in his speech the man-serpent Rubio lied through his venom-dripping fangs right out of the fucking gate. Here is the beginning of his speech:

Good evening. I’m Marco Rubio. I’m blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. [Right…] Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers. [Fuck our teachers, nurses and others who work hard every day — it’s only if you’re in the military that your job counts, you see.]

The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance. [Because it’s certainly not that way in the United States today, with a tiny plutocratic minority on top of the socioeconomically struggling masses, is it?]

But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. [Not content with just delivering the “American exceptionalism” propagandistic bullshit, the dim bulb Rubio even felt the need to actually use the adjective “exceptional.”]

Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams. [Gotta love this pro-immigrant rhetoric from the same party that for years now has been attacking brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border, immigrants who have just wanted a better life.]

This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs….*

This is the tired old “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” rhetoric that the right wing just won’t stop spewing. Mom-and-pop businesses for the most part are a thing of the past, having been replaced by the Walmarts with which they just cannot compete long, long ago, yet the Repugnican Tea Party traitors bloviate as though we still live in the days of Mayberry, when, if you wanted to start your own small business and thrive, you could.

In stark contrast to the pretty, red-white-and-blue, Thomas-Kinkade-and-Paul-Harvey-like portrait that right-wing punk Marco Rubio paints of the “exceptional” United States of America, Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just this past weekend posted an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth.”

Whether Stiglitz wrote his piece at least partially in response to the thirsty Rubio’s pack of lies I’m not sure, but in his piece Stiglitz wrote (bold-faced items are my own emphasis, and the links are Stiglitz’s):

Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity. [Rubio and his anti-government ilk actually claim that we should leave it up to the plutocrats to ensure equality of opportunity, because isn’t that what the plutocrats are all about — socioeconomic equality? (It’s always a great idea to put the foxes in charge of the chickens, isn’t it?)]

Perhaps a hundred years ago, America might have rightly claimed to have been the land of opportunity, or at least a land where there was more opportunity than elsewhere. But not for at least a quarter of a century [has that been the case]. Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories were not a deliberate hoax, but given how they’ve lulled us into a sense of complacency, they might as well have been.

It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top. Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in most of Europe and lower than in all of Scandinavia.

Stiglitz also notes that “the life prospects of an American are more dependent on the income and education of his [or her] parents than in almost any other advanced country for which there is data.”

That blows Marco Rubio and his “exceptional,” red-white-and-blue bullshit right out of the fucking water of which he so badly wants a swig, doesn’t it? Where is the punk Marco Rubio’s Nobel Prize in economics?

And it’s not just that Rubio is a pandering fucking liar who long ago decided to parrot the right wing’s feel-good lies for his own personal and political gain.

It’s that these lies are harmful because they induce individuals to believe that if they just can’t make it in this vicious, dog-eat-dog, everyone-for-him-and-herself American economy, in which the insane income gap between the haves and the have-nots rivals the gap that we saw back in the 1920s, then there is something wrong with them.

In the right-wing worldview, it’s always the individual who is at fault — never the fucked-up system, which always gets off scot-free. The Thomas Kinkade landscape, even though it’s wholly made up and captures nothing of reality, is always just fine; it’s always the individual who is the failure.

So yes, there is plenty about the content of Marco Rubio’s speech to not only find fault with, but to find to be fairly terrifying, since the lying, pandering Rubio obviously is an ambitious asshole.

So let’s dispense with the myth that Marco Rubio’s wonderful speech was overlooked by the fact that he bizarrely acted as though he wasn’t on live national television, that he bizarrely acted as though if he just pretended that we couldn’t see him do something on live national TV, then we couldn’t. His apparent mindset of juvenile and magical thinking, in which he creates reality, could be a whole other blog post (and might be one day, but not today).

Marco Rubio, like the other dumb punks in the Repugnican Tea Party who have been hailed as the party’s “future,” such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan (who, like Rubio, was parched during his vice presidential debate with Joe Biden, who kicked his punk ass), is only finding out that his flimsy facade won’t withstand the scrutiny of the national spotlight. That’s his fault, not ours.

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.”

*Again, Rubio’s full speech is here. I find most of it not worth regurging here, as most of it is the same, tired old anti-government, pro-fox-and-anti-chicken and anti-fair-taxation (let’s let the rich and their corporations off from paying a fair share of taxes, since then they’ll just give their tax savings to the rest of us, right?) rhetoric that the right wing has been spewing out for some decades now.

But I do find Rubio’s “solution” to the problem of massive student loan debt interesting. In his little speech he said:

“When I finished school, I owed over $100,000 in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.”

That’s it. That’s his “solution.”

Wow.

Rubio won’t say that treating our college students like cash cows to be milked for decades after they graduate with their often-worthless-in-this-economy degrees is wrong.

He certainly won’t advocate that we, say, divert some of the billions and billions of dollars from the bloated-beyond-belief U.S. military budget — which is just a way for greedy fucking traitors to loot the U.S. treasury under such guises as “national defense” and “national security” — and use it to at least help our college students (say, perhaps, those who earned the better grades in high school) to pay for college.

No — Rubio’s “solution” is to “give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.” Not to save them from the student-loan sharks, you see, but to just tell them about them.

Meanwhile, under Rubio’s “vision,” the student-loan sharks remain free to savage our students, and the student-loan sharks remain the only source of funding that is available to many if not most of those who want to go to college.

This is leadership?

This is what Joseph Stiglitz, on the other hand, has to say about education and student-loan debt in the U.S. in his New York Times piece:

…Probably the most important reason for lack of equality of opportunity is education: both its quantity and quality. After World War II, Europe made a major effort to democratize its education systems. We did, too, with the G.I. Bill, which extended higher education to Americans across the economic spectrum.

But then we changed, in several ways. While racial segregation decreased, economic segregation increased. After 1980, the poor grew poorer, the middle stagnated, and the top did better and better. [Indeed, the current yawning gap between the rich and the rest of us started under Ronald Reagan, due to his pro-rich, right-wing policies.] Disparities widened between those living in poor localities and those living in rich suburbs — or rich enough to send their kids to private schools. A result was a widening gap in educational performance — the achievement gap between rich and poor kids born in 2001 was 30 to 40 percent larger than it was for those born 25 years earlier, the Stanford sociologist Sean F. Reardon found. …

Unless current trends in education are reversed, the situation is likely to get even worse. In some cases it seems as if policy has actually been designed to reduce opportunity: government support for many state schools has been steadily gutted over the last few decades — and especially in the last few years. Meanwhile, students are crushed by giant student loan debts that are almost impossible to discharge, even in bankruptcy. This is happening at the same time that a college education is more important than ever for getting a good job.

Young people from families of modest means face a Catch-22: without a college education, they are condemned to a life of poor prospects; with a college education, they may be condemned to a lifetime of living at the brink. And increasingly even a college degree isn’t enough; one needs either a graduate degree or a series of (often unpaid) internships.

Those at the top have the connections and social capital to get those opportunities. Those in the middle and bottom don’t. The point is that no one makes it on his or her own. And those at the top get more help from their families than do those lower down on the ladder. Government should help to level the playing field.

Americans are coming to realize that their cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth. Grand deceptions of this magnitude are hard to maintain for long — and the country has already been through a couple of decades of self-deception.

Without substantial policy changes, our self-image, and the image we project to the world, will diminish — and so will our economic standing and stability. Inequality of outcomes and inequality of opportunity reinforce each other — and contribute to economic weakness, as Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economist and the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has emphasized. We have an economic, and not only moral, interest in saving the American dream. …

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Yet another massacre from which the sheeple won’t learn a thing

Well, the internet noticed too.

If this guy is elected (or allowed to steal office a la 2000) in November, there will be more massacres. (More Photoshop jobs on this theme here…)

The United States of America is one big dysfuckingfunctional family.

Every once in a while, one of us snaps and kills a lot of people. The rest of us then all act shocked and horrified and say how “senseless” it was (when really we’re primarily just celebrating the fact that we weren’t among the body count), and then we go back to our lives of self-centeredness and greed that will help create the next massacre.

Every time one of these massacres occurs, I write essentially the same blog piece, but fuck it, as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing the same blog piece. So here goes:

James Eagen Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of having blown away 12 people and injuring 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, early this morning, did not — I repeat, DID NOT — develop within a fucking vacuum.

No, I promise you, he developed entirely within a social context.

My guess is that Holmes has some screws loose, but the fact of the matter is that Holmes is just one of millions of young Americans whose nation has failed them beyond miserably.

The Associated Press reports that according to a neighbor of Holmes, “Holmes struggled to find work after graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2010 with a neuroscience degree from the University of California, Riverside.”

Holmes isn’t a drop-out pothead. The AP also reports of Holmes that he “enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, said school officials, who didn’t provide a reason.”

Yes, Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate, one of our brightest young people. Neuroscience, for fuck’s sake. Sounds pretty close to a brain surgeon to me.

My guess is that like millions of his cohorts, and like millions of members of my generation (Gen X), Holmes graduated from college with a mountain of debt but with no good job prospects whatsofuckingever.

I, too, graduated (in 1990 — during the first George-Bush-induced recession) with a worthless bachelor’s degree but with student-loan debt, and I, too, initially returned to school (to get my master’s degree, which I ultimately didn’t get) because there were no jobs out there and I didn’t know what else to do. (At age 44, I still am a member of what my fellow Gen-X foaming-at-the-mouth leftist Ted Rall calls the “overeducated underclass.”)

Since the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan, who couldn’t blow the Wall Street weasels enough, our higher-education system stopped being about preparing students for good jobs. Those jobs, under the vulture capitalism that Mittens Romney and his ilk perpetrate, perpetuate and defend, have been evaporating from the United States these past few decades.*

The American higher-education system now is about, and for some decades now has been about, handing our young over to the student-loan sharks for their feeding frenzies. Our colleges don’t produce young people who are ready for the good jobs that await them — our colleges instead produce young people who start off in life neck-deep in debt to the student-loan sharks, struggling to survive by taking jobs that are way beneath their abilities.

Starting out like this, many if not most of them never even will catch up, but will lag behind for the rest of their days.

We lie to our youth about the importance of going to college and doing well so that they can get fulfilling, well-paying jobs — jobs that don’t fucking exist and haven’t for some decades now.

Our youth are punk’d royally, so of course they become angry and bitter.

True, not all of them shoot up a movie theater. They just become alcoholics and/or druggies and/or go on Big Pharma’s antidepressants and/or abuse those in their lives and/or immerse themselves in materialism and commercialism and/or become sex addicts or some other type of addicts and/or commit suicide.

Everything is connected, whether we want to acknowledge that fact or not. (And for the most part, we don’t. We prefer what we believe is the safety of our own little bubbles, even though are bubbles are not our own safe houses, but are our own fucking caskets.)

Blowhard Rush Limbaugh recently accused filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” the latest “Batman” trilogy, etc.) of, in Nolan’s current “Batman” movie, modeling (or at least naming) Batman’s enemy Bane after Mittens Romney’s vulture capitalism outfit Bain Capital — in order to make a political, anti-Mittens statement.

(Bain, Bane — apparently one-syllable homophones mesmerize great minds like Limbaugh’s.

Of course, the “Batman” comic-book character of Bane was created in 1993, well before Mittens ever decided to run for the White House, but mere facts never stop the likes of Grand Dragon Daddy Limbaugh and his fans.)

It was at a midnight showing of the latest “Batman” installment, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that James Eagen Holmes committed his massacre, and yes, it seems to me, there is a Bain connection here: It is vulture capitalism run amock that created the socioeconomic context within which this latest massacre occurred.

As insane income inequality grows, the pain and suffering of the poor and the middle class and the working class increases, and yes, some of the victims of vulture capitalism do snap and act out.

The only thing that’s shocking is that we don’t see a whole fucking lot more of it.

James Eagen Holmes very apparently snapped under the pressures of the oppressive socioeconomic system that not enough of us fight against. If enough of us did fight against it, our oppression at the hands of the filthy rich, treasonous few would stop.

Instead, way too fucking many of us, such as cops (the taxpayer-funded security guards of the plutocrats, who, of course, pay no taxes themselves) and members of the U.S. military (a.k.a. cannon fodder for Big Oil), and, of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, insanely side with our oppressors instead of with their fellow oppressed.

Better to curry favor with the oppressors, the rich and the powerful, than to be one of their victims, right? Of course, cops and soldiers and “tea party” dipshits are just as much victims as are the rest of us. These fools are the plutocratic oppressors’ tools, whether they realize it or acknowledge it or not.

Of course I don’t advocate massacres in movie theaters — I see a lot of movies myself, including at the Century Theatres in my area** — but it nauseates me to hear the same old predictable bullshit that the American sheeple bleat when massacres (Columbine, 9/11, this morning’s, etc.) are in the news.

We don’t understaaaaaaand, the sheeple bleat.

Yes, the sheeple do understand, at least dimly, at least on some level.

It’s that they don’t fucking care.

If they did, they’d have to change.

And that might even mean — gasp!having to fight.

The sheeple secretly would prefer more massacres of other sheeple.

P.S. Of course the Mittens and President Hopey-Changey campaigns had to weigh in on today’s massacre. They have to pretend to care about us, you see.

Mittens’ statement was:

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 [sic] people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.  We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”

“Senseless” violence. Right. A brilliant young man can’t find decent work in a nation that doesn’t give a flying fuck about him and sees no future for himself and so he snaps. “Senseless.” Makes no sense at all. None whatsofuckingever. Happened just out of the blue. Randomly. Just one of those things that no one possibly could even begin to explain.

Look how quickly Mittens was to pounce upon the idea of “justice” for the perpetrator.

It’s funny, because if those truly responsible for today’s terrible crime actually ever were brought to justice, Mittens and his treasonous, plutocratic ilk would be behind bars, where they belong.

But they can rest easy.

So-called “justice” is meted out only to the 99 percent of us, and almost never to the 1 percent.

If you kill a dozen people, like James Eagen Holmes apparently did today, and are a member of the 99 percent, you at least will go to prison.

But if you are a mass murderer and are among the 1 percent, like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice — or yes, like Barack Obama, who loves assassinations (with and without the use of drones) and who loves keeping the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex happy with billions and billions of our tax dollars that aren’t going to the things that we need, such as job creation, education, health care, environmental protection and infrastructure improvements — you are allowed to run loose.

It’s not just within the arena of the military-industrial complex that mass murderers go free. Corporations’ profits-over-people practices routinely kill scores and scores of innocent people, yet the corporatocrats get off scot-free — even though corporations, according to the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, are “people.”

“Justice.”

Indeed.

Why would, how could, anyone snap in this oh-so-fair-and-just United States of America?

*The No. 1 goal of capitalism is not job creation, as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors among us proclaim. The No. 1 goal of capitalism is profiteering. Fucking duh.

Labor is expensive. Under American capitalism, if you can replace your American workers with machines or with other automated systems and/or outsource their jobs to sweatshops overseas, you do so in order to increase your profits.

The vulture capitalists are not job creators. They are wealth aggregators, as fucking evidenced by the fact that over the past several years the wealthiest have gotten even wealthier while the jobs have dried up and rest of us have gotten poorer.

If these treasonous plutocrats were job creators, there would be jobs.

There aren’t jobs because it isn’t about us. It’s all about them, the 1 percent.

**I will see “The Dark Knight Rises,” by the way. I love Anne Hathaway and the character of Catwoman, Nolan is a good director, and Tom Hardy is a hunk (OK, even though as Bane his face is obscured), so I’m there. I just generally avoid trying to see blockbusters on opening weekend.

You are much more likely to be killed in a car accident, or killed by a car while crossing the street, that you are to be shot dead in a movie theater.

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It’s NOT the economy? STUPID!

I had thought that we would hear about nothing except for the economy and jobs and the supposed miracle of capitalism from now until Election Day in November.

Nope.

The issue du jour is contraception.

Contraception because Prick Santorum, a Catholick, is Pope Palpatine’s puppet, obviously. Concerns that John F. Kennedy would take marching orders from the Vatican were way overblown, but in the case of Santorum, they very apparently are not. And Pope Palpatine is the pope who believes that the slightly more liberal reforms of the Vatican II should be rolled back. Since the Vatican II took place between 1962 and 1965, that means that Pope Palpatine wants to drag us at least back to the 1950s, if not to the good old days of the Dark Ages themselves.

The wingnuts can get a chunk of Americans on board with their anti-abortion stance, but even then, polls show that no more than a quarter of Americans believe that all abortions should be prohibited and that a solid majority of Americans believe that abortion always should be allowed or should be allowed in most cases.

On their anti-contraception stance the wingnuts also have only minority support.

Even a Faux “News” poll taken this month that asked, “The new Obama health care law requires that employer health plans provide birth control coverage as part of preventive services for women. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women?” found that 61 percent said they approved, 34 percent disapproved, and 5 percent said they weren’t sure.

But what was supposed to have been a war on unemployment and economic stagnation this presidential election season instead has become, under the “leadership” of the Repugnican Tea Party “Christo”fascists, a war on women and on gays.

Prick Santorum believes that women should not serve in combat roles in the U.S. military. Not that that is sexist or anything.

Initially Prick proclaimed that women shouldn’t be in combat because of “the types of emotions involved.” When there was a backlash because he apparently had asserted that women are too emotional to be able to serve in combat roles, he backtracked, and said no, he didn’t mean that — he meant that the effectiveness of the men in combat would be diminished because they’d be too worried about the safety of their weak female comrades.

(“So my concern is [that] being in combat in that situation [the situation of women serving alongside men in combat roles], instead of being focused on the mission, they [male soldiers] may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position,” Santorum said.)

Great “save,” there, Prick: It’s not that women are too emotional — it’s that men are too emotional about women’s inherit weakness.

Not content with putting just one foot in his mouth, Santorum’s mouth sucked in his entire body as though his mouth were a powerful black hole. He also declared:

“Women have served and do serve and do wonderful things within the military and … they do have opportunities to serve in very dangerous positions…. And I certainly understand that and respect that and admire women for doing so, but I think on the front line of combat is not the best place and it’s not maximizing what they can bring to the table.”

Because you see, what Prick Santorum believes is that contraception should be illegal and that women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles in the U.S. military. They should be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, and what he means by “what they can bring to the table,” apparently, is dinner.

Not to be outdone by Prick Santorum, Mitt Romney — whose Mormon cult, along with Santorum’s Catholick church, funded Proposition H8, which federal judges last week ruled was an unconstitutional assault of the hateful and bigoted majority on a minority group — declared at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that by prohibiting same-sex couples from other states from getting married in Massachusetts, “On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage,” adding, “When I am president, I will defend the Defense of Marriage Act and I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Yes, Mitt Romney is proud that as governor of Massachusetts he made damn sure that no one could come there for their equal human and civil rights, that he limited the evil of equal human and civil rights to Massachusetts only, and as president he would write the hatred of and the unconstitutional, unjust and immoral discrimination against a minority group into the U.S. Constitution if he ever got his mitts on the Oval Office, and indeed, during his CPAC speech on Friday he declared, “I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington.”

Gee, I can’t wait, either.

It is clear what the Repugnican Tea Party “vision” for the United States of America is. Just look at their remaining four presidential candidates: all four of them are right-wing, patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, racist white men (yes, even the anti-choice Ron Paul, who is no liberal or progressive).

There is no place in the Repugnican Tea Party worldview for those of us who do not wish to continue to kowtow to stupid white men, despite the ugly U.S. history of stupid white men oppressing the rest of us.

There is no place in the Repugnican Tea Party worldview for intelligent and self-respecting women, for those of us who are not white (although we are a little more acceptable if we want to be white), for those of us who are not right-wing “Christians” (“Christo”fascists), for those of us who are not heterosexual, for those of us who are not gender- and gender-role-conforming,  for those of us who do not worship the golden calf that is unbridled capitalism.

And together, we, the historically oppressed by stupid white men, are the majority of Americans.

Given that only about a quarter — certainly no more than about a third — of Americans agree with Prick Santorum’s and Mitt Romney’s hard-right-wing worldview, what this means is that under a President Romney or a President Santorum, we would have a tyranny of the minority.

And we already had that under George W. Bush, since he never was elected by a majority of the American people in the first place.

Obviously, Romney and Santorum right now are trying to out-wingnut each other for the primary season (it’s safe to write off Ron Paul, and very most likely Newt Gingrich, too), and we would expect either eventual victor to moderate his message for the general election.

But how do you forget such patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic proclamations as they are making now?

I see precious little difference between putting the Mormon cult or the Catholick church in the White House than putting the Taliban in the White House.

What all three groups agree upon is that men should rule, that women should be wholly subservient to and obedient to men, that there should be perpetual warfare, and that gay men and lesbians and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, as well as non-believers, should be oppressed, certainly, but ideally, exterminated.

What I predict, however, is that the Repugnican Tea Party’s focus on social issues is going to boost Barack Obama’s re-election chances.

As much as the “swing voters” should care about the rights of women and non-whites and and non-heterosexuals and other historically oppressed minority groups, what the majority of them care about is their wallets and pocketbooks.

The U.S. economy seems to be improving, but not fast enough for the Repugnican Tea Party to ignore the economy and to instead focus instead on whom to hate and to oppress. The haters already hate. Preaching to the white-pointy-hatted choir isn’t going to sway the “swing voters,” who just want to be able to pay their bills. And, regardless of what I think about them, it’s the “swing voters,” not those of us who are committed to the far right or to the far left, who decide presidential elections these days.

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Cry us a river, Barry!

US President Barack Obama turns away from the podium

AFP photo

President Hopey-Changey’s apparent response to Occupy Wall Street is that we should feel sorry for him and stick with him, even though he allied himself with the Wall Street weasels years ago.

Predictably, after having pissed and shat all over his base since January 2009, and seeing that in response to his utter presidential ineffectiveness the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown long, long legs, President Hopey-Changey is acting contrite these days. (Contrite for him, anyway.)

Obama has whined to ABC News: “I guarantee it’s going to be a close election because the economy is not where it wants to be, and even though I believe all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones, we’re still going through difficult circumstances. That means people who may be sympathetic to my point of view still kind of feel like, yeah, but it still hasn’t gotten done yet.”

And it’s never going to get done. Not under Barack Obama.

It’s too late for Obama to change course. Against the advice of progressive economists like the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman, Obama early in his presidency allied himself with the Wall Street weasels, and there is no going back from that. And any actually progressive, substantial economic policy changes that he might enact now — but he would never do that — would still take many, many months, at the minimum, to improve the nation’s economy.

Obama had his chance to push through a progressive agenda in 2009 and 2010, when he had the nation’s good will and both houses of Congress controlled by his party — and when he got to decide what his national economic policy would be.

Obama blew it. Big time. And it’s too late now.

There are no do-overs for the U.S. presidency. You get one shot to get it right. And the rare alignment of the Oval Office and both houses of Congress being held by your party is an opportunity that you don’t fucking squander.

Barack Obama — who is arrogant, not audacious — has given us progressives absolutely no reason to believe that his second term would be a substantial improvement over his first.

So cocky is Obama that I surmise that he truly believes that despite his do-nothing presidency, he is so fucking charming that he is going to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement. We progressives have broken up with him, and because he is naught but a rock obstructing the stream, we are flowing around him — witness the Occupy Wall Street movement but he refuses to acknowledge those facts.

Even if Obama’s current contrition were heartfelt — it isn’t; it’s purely political — it isn’t nearly enough. Obama’s displays of contrition don’t make up for the fact that over the past three years average Americans — 53 percent of whom voted for President Hopey-Changey — have continued to lose economic ground, not gain it, while the rich and the super-rich have been doing just fine.

The only kind of person I can see voting for Barack Obama in 2012 is the type of person who believes that his or her alcoholic, abusive mate is going to turn things around! Really this time! And that his or her alcoholic, abusive mate is the best that he or she can do, and that staying with his or her abusive, alcoholic mate is better than being alone.

The rest of us, who have some fucking self-respect, prefer our solitude over our continued abuse at the hands of the “Democratic” Party establishment elites, who, instead of actually doing anything for us, only offer us excuses for their ineffectiveness and more empty promises that they’ll do better in the future if only we continue to support them.

The spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that of the person who finally has left his or her abusive partner. He or she doesn’t know what the future holds, but he or she knows that it has to be better than more of the fucking same.

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Notes on the nationwide occupations

Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrators hold placards Zuccotti Park

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator stands in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator holds a sign in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York

Reuters photos

These are my kind of people: The powers that be won’t admit it, but prolonged anti-plutocratic protests in our nation’s cities like these (the photos above were taken today in New York City) embarrass our nation’s plutocrats in the eyes of the world. That is why sustained protests are effective, although an all-out second American revolution would be the ideal.

I have yet to get my ass down to Sacramento’s Occupy Wall Street effort, Occupy Sacramento, but I support the participants and the protesters 100 percent, and I hope soon to support them more than just in spirit, but to support them practically. They don’t appear to be going away soon — they even have a website with a calendar of events — and their website has listed things that they need to have donated to them, including the basics, such as food, water and toiletries. I can do that much, if I can’t join them for long periods of time, since I work full time.

As Ted Rall points out in his book The Anti-American Manifesto, there are levels of support of revolutionaries. Even if you are able to support the participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement only in spirit, that’s still much better than opposing them.*

Many of us, I think, myself included, have been watching and waiting to see how all of this is going to pan out, and thus far it seems that it’s panning out to be the true people’s movement that the “tea party” traitors only pretended to be.

And I say that from direct observation. In February, at the California State Capitol here in Sacramento, I attended a pro-labor, pro-working-class rally in solidarity with the public-sector unions that were (and that remain) under attack in Wisconsin, and across the street from us was a much-smaller contingent of uninvited, treasonous “tea party” counterprotesters, many of them with videocameras, obnoxiously voicing their opposition to labor unions, very apparently wanting to provoke a physical response from us so that they then could post to the Internet their selectively edited video clips of “unprovoked” labor-union “thuggery.” (I wrote about the event here.)

The vision of those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class is that everyone should have a living wage, good benefits and good working conditions. The apparent “vision” of the “tea party” traitors is that almost everyone should be without these things and should be miserable. Those of us who are pro-labor and pro-working-class want to raise all boats; the “tea party” traitors don’t want us to own even viable boats. They want only a handful of us to own yachts while the rest of us sink or swim.

Labor unions, seriously weakened over the past several decades already, probably are the last barrier between bad and even worse, the last barrier — short of all-out bloody revolution — preventing all of us from becoming serfs to our corporate feudal overlords.

Yet the “tea party” traitors gladly would destroy that barrier. They claim that they follow in the footsteps of the early American revolutionaries who opposed the oppressive British monarchy, which profited obscenely from the early Americans’ labors, yet today’s “tea party” traitors do not oppose, but aid and abet, the oppressive corporatocrats and plutocrats, who are today’s monarchs, as stupidly as chickens aiding and abetting Colonel Sanders. Which is why I call them traitors: because they are. They support the status quo, they support the powers that be over their fellow Americans. Under their “vision” things only can get much, much worse.

Which is why the “tea party” already is pretty much dead: The insanity of “revolutionaries” fighting on behalf of our corporate oppressors is evident to even the dullest among us.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, on the other hand, feels like something else. It’s not a bunch of treasonous troglodytes in tri-corner hats pretending to have the monopoly on patriotism and Americanism. It’s a bunch of normal, working-class Americans, many if not most of whom now have nothing else to lose. At rope’s end, they now find themselves out in the streets.

Our young people especially have nothing to look forward to unless the current system of inequity, built up over decades (starting, most notably, with Ronald Reagan, whom President Hopey-Changey fucking worships, unsurprisingly) to benefit a select few at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of us,  is not reformed/“reformed,” but is replaced.

And people who have nothing to lose are, let me tell you, dangerous to the status quo.

That, I think, is why the “tea party” traitors never felt like much more than a national irritant: the “tea party” traitors, for the most part, aren’t desperate people, aren’t people with nothing else to lose. They’re just a bunch of tools who are trying to prop up the crumbling system of rule by the stupid white man, who incredibly stupidly believe that the way to improve things is to continue to do what you’ve been doing all along — only with even more force and fervor.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, however, feels like an incipient hurricane, one that, if it grows to its full potential, can — will — alter the national sociopolitical landscape forever.

The Occupy Wall Street movement might seem to have come out of nowhere, but that’s not the case. While we Americans have been focused on differences such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ethnicity, etc., what almost all of us (indeed, 99 percent of us, the protesters say) have in common is that over at least the past several decades, those in power, gradually and behind the scenes, have been stacking the deck increasingly in their favor and against ours.

To name just a few of their deck-stacking victories, they have the U.S. Supreme Court, which has deemed corporations to be people, on their side; they have most of the members of the U.S. Congress in their pockets in a system in which paying off legislators isn’t called what it is — bribery — but is called “campaign finance”; they own and operate even President Hopey-Changey, who can’t make enough of them his economic advisers; and because of all of this, the functions of our nation’s laws and our nation’s law enforcement (and our nation’s military, too, of course), over decades, have been grossly contorted from benefitting and protecting us, the people, to delivering even more of our commonwealth into the hands of the super-rich few.

It’s much like how a virus hijacks a cell and changes the cell’s normal functions over to the replication of more viruses, benefiting the virus but eventually destroying the cell.

And our presidential elections under the political duopoly of the increasingly indistinguishable Coke Party and Pepsi Party have become such a fucking national joke to the point that about the only people who can become excited about them are the rich and the super-rich who have poured their millions and millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of the money-whores who, once in the White House, would sell us out the most.

Again, this isn’t a system that you can “reform.” This is a system that you can only raze. And then you start over again.

Anyway, here are more thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which at this point we can call a movement:

It’s fine that everything isn’t hammered out yet. Probably the No. 1 way to try to kill an individual’s or a group of individuals’ enthusiasm for creating something new — and thus to preserve the status quo, even though the status quo even literally is killing all of us — is to point out that he or she or the group doesn’t have every future move choreographed yet.

So fucking what? Getting there is more than half of the fun, and things do happen organically, if we just let them unfold and don’t panic that we don’t have a clear roadmap yet.

The early American revolutionaries surely didn’t have everything all mapped out, and to a huge degree their efforts were a shot in the dark (sometimes even literally). Yet it was their hunger for freedom from their oppression that kept them going, even against the fear of not knowing what the future would hold for them, including potential retaliation from their oppressors, including even their execution.

It’s perfectly OK to employ corporately produced and delivered goods and services in our fight against corporate oppression. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s pretty unfuckingavoidable. Early into the Occupy Wall Street movement, the “tea party” traitors and/or their sympathizers put this “clever”  image out there:

down with evil corporations

Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s so fucking funny!

OK, yes, in a capitalistic system such as ours, by definition corporations/capitalists own and control the means of production. Therefore, most of the products and services in such an economic system would have been produced and delivered by corporations/capitalists. Duh.

But this is the problem: Those relative few who own and control the means of the production of goods and the delivery of services are slowly killing the rest of us (global warming is just one example, but probably the most [literally] glaring one), and they have taken over so much of the people’s business and so many of the people’s natural interests that it has left us, the people, fairly powerless, and has put us at their mercy. (The massive British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on the sidelines of which the U.S. government sat fucking helpless, is a stark example of this.)

We, the people, need to own and control the means of the production of essential goods and the delivery of vital services and/or, at the very, very least, exercise meaningful, substantial, democratic oversight of capitalist production and practices to ensure that the net effect of this capitalist activity is not to our common detriment, but is to our common benefit. It’s a fucking lie that the corporations are going to police themselves. They’re not. Their only concern is ever-increasing profiteering. They don’t give a flying fuck about what happens to the rest of us as the result of that.

But the “humorous” image above does apparently unintentionally illustrate the degree to which corporations have infiltrated our lives. Of course, the image apparently assumes that corporations (the majority of them, anyway) are benevolent and that the Occupy Wall Street protesters just don’t know how great they have it. In order to try to prevent the slaves from revolting, the masters always tell the slaves how much the slaves need them, don’t they?

Anyway, it’s perfectly fine — and, as I said, fairly unfuckingavoidable — to use the goods and services produced or delivered by corporations in the fight against against corporate greed, in our fight against the ongoing corporate feudalization of the United States of America. This isn’t “Avatar” where we’re the natives and we can use only what we find in nature, for fuck’s sake. (Besides, if we did that, they’d only criticize us for our bongos and for our loincloths…)

Speaking of which, um, what’s wrong with bongo drums? Anyone who doesn’t mimic the consumeristic clones portrayed in corporate advertising isn’t a human being worthy of dignity and respect? It seems to me that the point of a revolution is freedom — which of course includes the freedom to be the way that one wants to be and the freedom to do what what wants to do as long as he or she isn’t harming anyone else.

The system won’t be changed from within, won’t be changed by cooperating with it. (Try to cooperate with it, and it will only co-opt you.) The protesters should keep their bongos and wholeheartedly reject the idea that the way to win this budding revolution is to don a three-piece-fucking-suit and act just like the assholes whom they want to overthrow.

The corporate media prostitutes who with straight faces call themselves “reporters” and “journalists” are owned and controlled by their corporate pimps, so it’s not like they’re ever going to be on our side anyway. Let them find the colorful members of Code Pink and the one person in the crowd who brought his or her bongo drums and put that kind of stereotypically negative image out there. (I love Code Pink, by the way. The members of Code Pink have balls, which is why they are so widely hated by cowardly, corporation-obeying sheeple.) Once the people’s revolution were complete, there would be no more treasonous corporate media anyway — which is why the self-preserving, self-interested corporate media portray in a negative light anything that threatens their continued parasitical existence.

The use of violence should never be taken off of the table. “Peaceful” this, “nonviolent” that — that kind of wussy talk makes me want to vomit. When did the so-called 1 percent ever rule out the use of violence against the rest of us? Indeed, when they’re not using actual violence against us, such as with police brutality or even just threatening to sic the National Guard on us, they are employing socioeconomic violence against us every fucking day (yes, Americans die every day because they do not have access to adequate health care, shelter, food, clothing and other basic necessities, almost all of which are controlled by our loving corporations).

Of course I don’t advocate wanton, willy-nilly violence in the street that is for the amusement of the perpetrators rather than for the greater cause. But I can think of no major world revolutions that did not take place without at least the credible threat of violence. The treasonous plutocrats aren’t just going to give us back what they stole from us over decades because we nicely ask them to do so. (Ted Rall and I are in agreement on this, and if you haven’t read his Anti-American Manifesto yet, you should — and you can get it for less than $10 on amazon.com [which, yes, is a corporation that for now is an/the avenue for most of us to most cheaply purchase books].)

Speaking of violence, whose side are the cops on? Increasing incidents of police brutality raise this question. (Didn’t the actions of the cops during Hurricane Katrina demonstrate to us whose side they are on?) Let’s fucking face it: Most cops are just paid security guards for the rich and the super-rich. And to add insult to injury, we, the people, pay the salaries of these security guards who work not for us, but who work for the rich and the super-rich.

Let me just say this: When the shit really hits the fan, those cops (and yes, members of the military, too) who still are trying to protect our oppressors instead of protecting us will be identified by the masses for who they are: agents of the oppressors. The cops might have some weaponry and some skill in using it, but we, the people, can get weapons, too, and we vastly outnumber the cops.

(I fully support the Second Amendment, because you never know when/if you will need to defend yourself, but I believe in the judicious use of firearms and other methods of force. I’m not one of the ignorant, fearful gun nuts who believes that the best way to solve virtually every conflict or threat or to get what you want is with a gun, but at the other extreme, “judicious” doesn’t mean that you rule out the use of force in every single conceivable situation, and thus a belief in blanket nonviolence is bullshit.)

Buckle up! Any budding revolution could fizzle, I suppose, but the Occupy Wall Street movement seems different. It seems like it’s here to stay for at least the foreseeable future.

Minimally, the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be striking fear into the cold hearts of those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and “liberals” who had thought that they could shit and piss upon their base indefinitely. Maximally, the Occupy Wall Street movement will result in the second American revolution that we have needed for a long, long time — a revolution that will be only as bloody as the treasonous plutocrats and their supporters (who include the “tea party” traitors and those cops and members of the military who attack the American people in defense of the plutocratic traitors) necessitate.

Those sellouts who call themselves “Democrats” and even “liberals” don’t dare openly criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement, since the Occupy Wall Street movement consists of the millions and millions of us who are pretty fucking pissed off that we were promised “hope” and “change” but have seen only the gap between the rich and the poor widen since President Hopey-Changey took office in January 2009.

Wall-Street-weasel-coddler-in-chief Barack Obama has not a shred of credibility left, so I don’t see Team Obama successfully co-opting the Occupy Wall Street movement for Obama’s re-election campaign. Obama can’t now openly oppose Wall Street without only drawing even more attention to the fact that he’s been in bed with the Wall Street weasels since before he took office.

It’s safe to assert, I think, that the audaciously arrogant Obama and his henchpeople never saw the deeply politically embarrassing Occupy Wall Street movement coming, and that they’re still scrambling to figure out how to respond to it. (They will, I surmise, do their best to pretend that the new movement doesn’t even exist, since it wasn’t in their 2012 re-election playbook, and they will continue to pretend that we’re still in 2008, when “hope” and “change” weren’t just empty campaign slogans. The best slogan that they could come up with for 2012 would be something like “Really This Time!” — but how many would buy it?)

Defeating faux progressives like Obama & Co., I might argue, is even more of a coup for us actual progressives than is defeating blatant right-wingers, because if even phony progressives won’t be tolerated any longer, how could blatant right-wingers be tolerated any longer?

Finally, support your local revolutionaries! It seems to me that unless they can do something grandiose, many if not most people don’t do anything at all. The net result of this is that no one does anything. There are plenty of things that you can do that don’t cost (much) money. If it’s not feasible for you to camp out at one of the occupation sites across the nation, as it isn’t for me, you still can talk to your friends, family members and associates in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. You can blog in support of the movement and otherwise assert your support for the movement on the Internet.

If the movement isn’t perfect, at least it’s Americans getting off of their asses and into the streets in order to redress their grievances, which is loooong overdue.

When you hear some assbite defend the corporations, such as with the “funny” graphic above, you can call him or her on his or her shit.

If you can give money or other necessary resources to the occupiers, why not? While writing this longer-than-usual blog post I gave $25 to Occupy Sacramento (my name is on their donors’ page, which is kind of cool). I’d rather be camping out with them, but giving them a donation is better than doing nothing at all.

At the bare minimum, if you don’t want to help to create a better world, if you are too fearful and cowardly and/or too lazy and/or too self-interested and/or too uncreative and untalented to help to alter the status quo, then the least that you can do is to stay out of the fucking way of those of us who are trying to make a difference.

P.S. As many have noted, one of the simple ways that you can fight back is to withdraw every penny that you have in any bank and to use only credit unions, not banks. I’ve used only credit unions for more than a decade now, and I’m quite happy with credit unions’ service.

*Occupy Sacramento’s donations page first lists this as the kind of support that it is seeking:

Spiritual

It’s not all about money; you can also support us by sharing the movement with your friends and family. Make a post on Facebook letting us know that you have our backs. Call the mayor and let [his office] know you support this movement.

I am pleased that Occupy Sacramento lists spiritual support first. It is a statement of faith that from spiritual support, material support naturally follows. And that’s not just faith; that’s observable fact.

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Dinner with President Hopey-Changey? No thanks

Democrat president Barack Obama preparing for a meal out

Associated Press photo

Robert — I need to ask you one last thing before tonight’s midnight deadline:

If you know you’re going to donate to this campaign eventually, what’s stopping you from doing it right now?

You were one of the people who got this movement off the ground. In fact, you were a part of all this before I was.

If you’re going to be a part of history in 2012, it’s time to get off the sidelines.

So, before midnight, will you chip in what you can and say you’re in?

This has never been about Barack and me.

We’re just two guys. It’s folks like you out there who will decide this election.

And what you’re capable of is incredible — if you decide to do it.

https://donate.barackobama.com/Friday-Deadline

Thank you,

Joe

P.S. — That deadline also applies to the dinner Barack is having with four supporters. Donate today and you’ll be automatically entered for the chance to be there.

That’s the fundraising e-mail that I received today under the signature of Vice President Joe Biden, since I haven’t donated a penny to Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, since I haven’t jumped at the chance to have dinner with Obama, his latest apparently desperate fundraising gig.

(Obama would not want to do dinner with me, and since he has taken to assassinating American citizens as of late, in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution [but for which the Obamabots, as always, forgive him, no doubt], for me it might be a fatal mistake to dine with the man, since if I were in his presence I couldn’t see myself mincing words.)

Speaking of Joe Biden, he has been in the news today for having said in a Florida radio interview yesterday that the Obama re-election campaign will have to suck it up even though the Obama administration inherited the economic mess from the unelected Bush regime (“unelected Bush regime” is my term, not his — the spineless Dems would never talk like that, since it’s the truth, since it’s strong language, and since they are horrified of the possibility of offending those who would never vote for a Democrat anyway).

Reuters reports that Biden stated, “Even though 50-some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant. Right now we are the ones in charge and it’s gotten better but it hasn’t gotten good enough…” and “Understandably, totally legitimately, this is a referendum on Obama and Biden, the nature and the state of the economy.”

Biden’s remarks have been considered “controversial” by the Obamabots, but Biden was just telling the truth.

Blaming the BushCheneyCorp for the economy won’t win Obama re-election, even though the BushCheneyCorp is the No. 1 reason that the economy is in the toilet. Politics isn’t fair.

However, while we can’t blame Obama for the mess that he inherited, we can blame him for how he has handled it.

How has Obama handled Wall Street after the Wall Street weasels (redundant) tanked our economy through blatant fraud?

He has given the Wall Street weasels billions and billions in bailouts, he has appointed Wall Street weasels as his economic advisers, and his justice department hasn’t put a single Wall Street weasel behind bars.

Obama has ignored the good advice of such progressive economists as the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman and Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary), who were unanimous in declaring early in Obama’s presidency that Obama wasn’t doing nearly enough for economic recovery.

Obama hasn’t been supportive of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Warren, who, entirely unlike Obama, has had the balls to take on the Wall Street weasels.

I gave Elizabeth Warren a donation of $25 today for her bid for the U.S. Senate for Massachusetts.

I haven’t given Obama even the bargain-basement amount of $3 that he has been requesting for the chance to have din-din with him.

The Obamabots, I suppose, would say that I and other white liberals no longer support Obama because he’s black. They find this race-baiting lie to be comforting, although this lie and its repetition can only hurt Obama’s re-election chances, which right now already are looking like a snowball’s in Hades as it is.

The fact is that I give my money and my votes to those who do more than pay lip service to progressive principles, regardless of their race or gender.

Elizabeth Warren has been fighting the Wall Street weasels. Obama has been putting them in his Cabinet.

I see my money and my vote as an investment in my own future. Elizabeth Warren appears to be a good investment, and I donated hundreds of dollars to the efforts in Wisconsin to preserve its public-sector labor unions, since Obama couldn’t be bothered to lift a fucking finger to help the working people of Wisconsin in their battle against the union-busting far-right wing, and I consider that to have been an investment in my own future, too.

As an investment, Barack Obama, on the other hand, is a junk bond. He promised, promised, promised, but he hasn’t delivered. He punk’d me once. (In the 2008 cycle I gave him hundreds of dollars and my vote.) Never again.

Speaking of Wall Street, young people whose futures President Hopey-Changey has compromised by fiddling while Rome burns for the third week now occupy Wall Street in protest of its abuses that Obama hasn’t been much bothered about.

Instead of asking people to pay for the chance to dine with him, perhaps President Hopey-Changey might buy dinner for some of the young protesters who now occupy Wall Street.

It’s the least that he could do.

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You have to be brain-damaged to celebrate what they’ve just done to you

In this image from House Television, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., center, appears on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise. (AP Photo/House Television)

Associated Press image

Your future is being dismantled, chunk by chunk, by the partisan duopoly in D.C. — but hey, look! There’s Gabrielle Giffords!

No offense, but what does it say that a literally brain-damaged congressperson voted “yes” on your legislation?

But seriously, apparently the “feel-good” “news” story of the day is that Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was capped in the head by yet another white male psychopath/sociopath in Tucson in January, returned to the U.S. House of Representatives just in time in order to give her thumbs-up to the Capitulator in Chief’s latest selling out of yet another huge chunk of the store to the plutocratic and pro-plutocratic right wing.

Reports The Associated Press tonight:

Washington, D.C. — Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the [U.S.] House [of Representatives tonight], breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.

The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.

A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.

“If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions.

After months of fierce struggle, the House’s top Republican and Democratic leaders swung behind the bill, ratifying a deal sealed Sunday night with a phone call from House Speaker John Boehner to President Barack Obama.

Many Republicans contended the bill still would cut too little from federal spending; many Democrats said much too much. Still, Republican lawmakers supported the compromise, 174-66, while Democrats split, 95-95.

“The legislation will solve this debt crisis and help get the American people back to work,” Boehner said at a news conference a few hours before the vote.

The Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was far less effusive. “I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments in it. That’s why I’m voting for it.”

So, too, many of the first-term Republicans whose election in 2010 handed the GOP control of the House and set the federal government on a new, more conservative course.

“It’s about time that Congress come together and figure out a way to live within our means,” said one of them, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. “This bill is going to start that process although it doesn’t go far enough.”

The measure would cut federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion over a decade — and possibly considerably moreand would not require tax increases. [Emphasis mine.] The U.S. debt limit would rise by at least $2.1 trillion, tiding the Treasury over through the 2012 elections. …

I’m happy that Giffords is doing better these days, but does that fucking erase the fact that, chunk by chunk, my future as a forty-something, as a member of the crew that has to follow with shovels the elephants in the parade that are the fucking baby boomers, is being destroyed by the overwhelmingly self-serving, legacy-ignoring baby-boomer “leaders” in Washington? And that Capitulator in Chief Barack Obama is happily helping them in the name of “bipartisanship”?

Oh, we’re seeing a lot of “change,” all right — the decimation of Social Security and Medicare, which I’ve been paying into since I was a teenager, and other public benefits sure the fuck is a change, just not the change that I’d hoped for, and certainly not the change that President Hopey-Changey Obama had promised us.

But I suppose that I’m a heartless ogre if I am not mindlessly distracted by the “feel-good” fact that Gabrielle Giffords was there to vote “yes” on the further destruction of my nation, to endorse the further widening of the gulf between the rich and the poor in the rapidly crumbling United States of America.

I haven’t blogged on the “debt ceiling crisis” until now for many reasons:

One, I’ve come to expect Barack Obama to sell us out. He consistently and predictably sells us out. He is committed to selling us out. (He always has wanted to be the next Ronald Reagan, remember. He is succeeding spectacularly.)

Two, I’ve always figured that “at the last minute” they (the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, well, don’t feel badly, because most of the rest of us can’t, either) would announce some “breakthrough” “deal,” thus “miraculously” averting “economic Armageddon!”

Three, I’ve always figured that this has been bullshit all along, that this always has been just an elephant-and-donkey show, that the Democrats and the Repugnicans are in bed together and that a “last-minute deal” always was in the script, that the fear-mongering was meant to create the illusion among the masses that there’s actually some struggle for the soul of the nation going on in D.C. — and not, say, the collusion of, for and by two duopolistic parties that don’t give a flying fuck about you or me that’s actually going on.*

Fuck, they even threw The Return of Gabrielle Giffords into the script.

If I wasn’t a conspiracy theorist before (and I wasn’t), I think that I am now.

*No, this statement is not an endorsement of “Americans Elect.” “Americans Elect” is evil. The Wall Street weasels who have caused our economic collapse are not the ones to turn to for solutions.

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