Come January 2019, current California state Senate President Kevin de León, pictured left, should join Kamala Harris, pictured right, representing California in the U.S. Senate. Fivethirtyeight.com recently has noted that incumbent “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein “has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time,” which is “a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.”
In 2016, I’d really wanted California to elect a Latino or Latina U.S. senator to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer, but unfortunately, the Latina who ran in 2016 (Loretta Sanchez) is a nut job who, had she been elected, would have embarrassed the state continually.
In the top-two primary-election system of California that pitted two Democrats (well, one Democrat and one “Democrat”) against each other, Kamala Harris clearly was the better choice to represent California in the U.S Senate, and so I voted for her.
Of course, “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein, who has “represented” California in the U.S. Senate since 1992 and who at age 84 is the oldest U.S. senator, refuses to step aside but is seeking a fifth six-year term.*
Feinstein’s old, dead hands of the past have a death grip on her Senate seat, which she and her supporters need to realize doesn’t actually belong to her, but belongs to us, the people of California.
We, the people of California, can and should retire Feinstein at the ballot box.
De León not only is Latino, but is 50 years old and is much more in step with the California of today. He is the fresh, much more representative face that California needs. Out-of-touch multi-millionaire Feinsteindoesn’t need, and should not be allowed, yet another six-year term in the U.S. Senate at the end of which she would be 91 years old.
Huge kudos to de León for having the cajones to face Feinstein in the June 2018 California primary election. Many if not most of California’s so-called Democrats, the establishmentarian zombies, already knee-jerkedly and stupidly have endorsed Feinstein, which is a big fucking mistake before the field is even known.**
The calcified Democratic Party really needs to stop frowning upon primary challenges, such as it did for mega-weak, center-right, widely despised candidate Billary Clinton, and let the voters decide.
Otherwise, the party will continue its slide into irrelevance. If an incumbent candidate is strong, he or she can fucking handle a primary challenger. (Of course, a weak “Democratic” candidate nonetheless will get all of the help possible from the center-right “Democratic” establishment, as Billary did.)
Kevin de León knows how to legislate and how to lead. He served in the California state Assembly for four years, from 2006 to 2010, and then was elected to the state Senate in 2010, and has served there since, having been made the president of the state Senate in 2014.
De León’s legislative accomplishments especially have been in the area of environmentalism and renewable energy; Wikipedia notes that “De León is the author of much of California’s renewable energy and environmental protection regulations, which are regarded by environmental groups as exemplary.”
Gun control is one-trick pony Cryptkeeper’s forte, but de León is strong on that issue, too; Wikipedia notes that “In 2016, de León led the charge in the passage of a package of eleven bills intended to prevent gun violence.”
De León is quite qualified to be a U.S. senator and very probably can do a better job than can the Cryptkeeper.
The predictable cries for “party unity” (How dare de León challenge the Cryptkeeper?) that we’ll hear are meant only to preserve the power and the privilege of center-right, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, anti-populist, self-serving “Democrats” who have plagued us since at least the Clintons in the 1990s. They know fully well that the multi-millionaire, octogenarian Cryptkeeper has their conservative, elitist, plutocratic backs.
These “Democratic” sellouts aren’t going to give up their power.
… Feinstein is feeling the heat [from the California electorate right now] in part because her more liberal constituents are correct in surmising that she is more conservative — relative to the politics of the state she represents — than other Democrats.
Feinstein has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time, according to our Trump score. Ten [Senate] Democrats have voted with Trump more [than she has].
But because California is so liberal — Trump lost there by 30 percentage points in 2016 — we’d expect Feinstein to vote in line with the Trump position just 19 percent of the time. That’s a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.
California just passed legislation to become a “sanctuary state,” a move that has been met with displeasure by the Trump administration. De León seems likely to play up the state’s need to assert itself as a powerful bloc of resistance to Trump.
In recent weeks, local news sources have noted de León’s rebukes of Feinstein, whom he paints as sympathetic to Trump. In August, after Feinstein said Trump “can be a good president” if he were to “learn and change,” de León hit back, saying, “It is the responsibility of Congress to hold him accountable — especially Democrats — not be complicit in his reckless behavior.”
Most recently, de León pushed back against Feinstein’s comments that the recent massacre in Las Vegas couldn’t have been prevented by changes in gun laws because the shooter had passed background checks. …
Feinstein has been able to get away with her center-right, Richie-Rich elitist bullshit in the U.S. Senate for about 25 years now.
The tide finally seems to have turned on Cryptkeeper, however; if it hadn’t, you wouldn’t see such a high-level challenger to her like Kevin de León, whose decision to buck the status quo and not just allow Cryptkeeper to coast to yet another do-nothing Senate term already demonstrates his courage and his leadership.
*Cryptkeeper went to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1992 (then-California U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson became California governor, freeing up the Senate seat) and then had to run for a full six-year Senate term for the first time in 1994, and won that election and the elections of 2000, 2006, and 2012.
**The field could expand beyond de León and Cryptkeeper, which I acknowledge by having written “Thus far, I support Democrat Kevin de León.”
However, I much doubt that anyone who impresses me more than de León does will enter the fray, and so I most likely will be marking my ballot “Kevin de León” in the June 2018 primary election and hopefully also in the November 2018 general election.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the support of 16 Democratic senators for the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that he introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Of course we won’t achieve single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” with the current Congress, but because of Bernie’s vision, persistence, courage and leadership, we are moving in that direction when the likes of Democrats in name only like Billary Clinton still are saying that we commoners have to continue to suffer under the for for-profit “health-care” system because there is no other way.
Anyone who claims that Bernie Sanders isn’t the front runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination must explain why, then, anyone who wants to be the 2020 Dem prez nominee signed on to the single-payer/“Medicare-for-all” health-care bill that Bernie introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday.
Yes, the 16 signatories (all Democrats and no Repugnicans, of course) included Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey. (Even corporate whores who call themselves Democrats are smart enough to know that they don’t want to be said to have not supported single-payer/“Medicare for all” in 2017 if they want to run for the White House for 2020.)
And this is how big changes happen: People with small minds and no vision (and sometimes with a personal stake in the socioeconomic status quo) laugh and scoff at you, they tell you that it can’t be done, but you push and push and push and push, and then it finally gets done, perhaps decades later, and then it becomes the new normal, and in the future people are surprised to hear that it ever was such an uphill battle in the first fucking place; to them, it was a fucking no-brainer.
… The “Overton Window” is a term meant to define the range of acceptable discourse in a certain time and place. In Democratic American politics, circa early 2016, advocating for universal healthcare was not inside the Overton Window — in fact, it was considered a campaign killer.
The fact that it’s not only inside the window today, but that support for it has practically become a requisite for any ambitious Democrat, is entirely the doing of [Bernie] Sanders. His campaign shifted the ideological grounds, and has redefined the party’s platform.
We’re rapidly approaching a point where failing to support the concept of universal health care will be a deal breaker—at this point, 60 percent of Americans favor the idea, and that number is consistently growing with time. …
It’s a simple, popular idea, but it took someone like Sanders with the courage to defy inherited political wisdom and bring it out from under the shadows of history and into the mainstream.
It’s not the only example, but it’s the most prominent right now, and it helps explain why Sanders himself has maintained and grown his personal popularity in the Trump era.
This phenomenon has little to do with Sanders in particular — he has authenticity on his side, but no special charisma. [I disagree that he has no charisma, but no, he doesn’t make his personality and his ego the centerpiece of his politics, which in this day and age is refreshing.]
It’s the strength of his ideas that have persisted and grown. Winning and losing isn’t his primary concern, and his political beliefs are all aimed at the future. And as that future approaches, he’s positioned himself as the most influential leader on the left….
While Bernie Sanders is leading, Billary Clinton is only even further demonstrating exactly what happened — she is now shilling her book that blames everyone except herself for her shitty presidential campaign (which was doomed to fail because it was based upon a shitty human being) and she apparently is trying to keep her brand of obsolete, center-right, pro-corporate, anti-populist, pay-to-play politics alive when it already is in a hospice.
As the writer for Paste also noted:
… Then there’s Hillary Clinton, who remains firmly rooted in the past. She lost the general election to an enormously unpopular candidate, and nearly lost the primary to Bernie Sanders, because she couldn’t rely on the strength of her ideas.
Hers was a personality- and identity-based campaign rather than an ideological one, and it came with the underlying belief that Her Time Had Come.
So it’s no surprise that in the aftermath of an historical loss to Trump, her egocentric rhetoric remains fatally attached to herself, and therefore attached to the past. …
Clinton’s new book, What Happened, is a postmortem that looks for blame everywhere but the proverbial mirror. It is rife with complaints, but woefully short on honest self-analysis. (There’s a comical comparison here to Sanders’ own recently released book, which is a policy-based look at the future of progressivism.) There’s plenty of aspersions to go around, but Bernie Sanders came in for special treatment…
While Sanders stands in the face of the Trump wave, a 76-year-old man fighting tooth and nail and with unprecedented success to bring healthcare to all Americans, Clinton has only emerged from hiding months later to promote a querulous book and sow further divisions on the left.
Their respective actions in the wake of a horrifying election result have proved the point: Sanders cares about the future, while Clinton cares only about herself.
Clearly, having made Billary the deplorable the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee was a huge fucking mistake. And at that time Bernie Sanders, being new to most Americans, just couldn’t overcome the corrupt Democratic National Committee that was doing its best to coronate Billary.
But the DNC has been exposed now (and at least partially purged of the Billarybots), and in hindsight Bernie looks even better now than he did in 2020. (Indeed, I love this meme:
On the topic of single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care, of course I agree that health care is a human right. Every human being has the right to good health care.
I’m not an expert on health care, but I’m clear on the fact that the largest obstacles to universal health care in the United States are political. There are too many selfish pieces of shit out there who are profiteering obscenely from health care, since health care is a necessity of human life. These selfish traitors, who don’t at all mind harming others for their own excessive, undeserved gain, don’t want their gravy train derailed, and so of course they’re going to continue to fight for their incredibly unfair advantage.*
We probably can’t wipe out for-profit “health care” overnight, and I am OK with allowing public/universal health care and private health care to co-exist at least for a time. (We do, after all, have both public schools and private schools, and no child is unable to attend school because his or her family cannot pay for it.)
But my hope would be that public health care (single-payer/“Medicare for all”/universal health care) turns out to be so successful — including delivering significantly better outcomes at significantly less expense — that the private wealth-care weasels just cannot compete and deservedly go the way of the dinosaurs.
In the future, I suspect, history will show that Bernie Sanders was the father of universal health care, that he transcended not just the for-profit “health-care” system, but that he did what the namby-pamby Obamacare, which kept the for-profit “health-care” system intact, did not do: ensure good health care for everyone.
And history will show, I suspect, that Bernie Sanders finally rescued the Democratic Party from the Clintonistas (who, in fairness, include Saint Barack, of course).
*In the for-profit “health-care” system lots of people profiteer at others’ expense, and it’s not only the owners of the for-profit “health-care” companies, but stockholders, too, and those craven politicians to whom the wealth-care weasels give a lot of campaign cash in order to keep their treasonous scam going.
**Other nations whose citizens have longer life expectancy than do Americans but that spend less on health care per capita and have universal health care include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. See here and here.
(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])
So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.
(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)
And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])
So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.
What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.
But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.
I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”
Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.
But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.
(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)
If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothing — no thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”
Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)
I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”
I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”
Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”
That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.
Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.
I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.
For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.
If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.
No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).
And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.
Really, I need say no more.
P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.
One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.
True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.
But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.
That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.
The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.
And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?
No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”
You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.
As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.
Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.
This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.
Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:
Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.
Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?
The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)
The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”
And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …
Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this* —
Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.
Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.
At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.
That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.
The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]
Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.
Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.
Donald Trump supporters made their big cultural statement in 2016 by electing to the presidency a white-collar executive who’s never seen a day of hard work yet presents himself as the champion of blue-collar people. Now, as a result, America is on pause.
We have now been under the rule of Donald Trump for more than 170 days and nothing of substance has happened — other than multiple attempts to undo everything that had been accomplished by the previous administration, like Barack Obama’s special immigration program for foreign entrepreneurs, providing heating aid for some of our most vulnerable citizens, the defrosting of relations with Cuba and, of course, the GOP’s constant obsession — Obamacare.
Anything Obama touched in his eight years in office, from Planned Parenthood to climate change, has to go, apparently. What’s worse, many of these Obama undos are being under-reported overall, because Trump’s crass tweets and his campaign’s collection of Russia scandals makes for better TV. …
Agreed that while we’re all focused on Russia and “President” Pussygrabber’s latest outrageous tweet, the unelected Pussygrabber regime is dismantling everything good and, like a virus, is altering the main function of the federal government to that of making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.
But it’s not like Obama was a progressive champion; he was not. He was a moderate, a centrist who far preferred working with the status quo than trying anything even remotely approaching radically progressive. Even his “signature” “achievement,” Obamacare, kept health care a for-profit enterprise (indeed, if you didn’tbuy health insurance, you were — well, are — penalized).
As I have noted many times, Obama had an opportunity, in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital behind him and before the House of Representatives reverted to the Repugnicans in November 2010, to push through a boldly progressive agenda. But he spectacularly squandered that one and only opportunity during his eight years in the White House.
I am happy that toward the end of his time in office Obama moved to open relations between the United States and Cuba — with the caveat that I really, really hope that Cuba doesn’t become the capitalist playground that capitalist exploiters had made it before the Castro revolution — but all in all, the Obama years were eight years that were mostly squandered, and after the eight disastrous years under “President” George W. Bush (and the many disastrous years before his, going back at least to Ronald Reagan), we couldn’t afford to squander yet another eight years.
And we can’t afford to squander these years that we are squandering under Pussygrabber (and under Mike Pence, if he ends up completing Pussygrabber’s term) — and it’s much worse than squandering, actually. To squander something is to fail to take good advantage of it; again, what Pussygrabber & Co. are doing now is dismantling everything that doesn’t immediately profit themselves and their super-rich cronies and converting it into a profiteering machine for themselves.
Enter, methinks, Bernie Sanders.
The Democratic Party establishment has shown little leadership during the Pussygrabber regime thus far because the establishment Democrats are funded by many if not most of the very same corporations that fund the Repugnicans. And these corporate funders are paying for an extension of the sociopoliticoeconomic status quo (which is the most that they will allow).
The Democratic establishment will try to front an Obama-esque fresh face for 2020, will try to punk us again. It could be corporate whore Cory Booker or it could be newbie Kamala Harris, who has been in the U.S. Senate for such a short period of time that I have to wonder if she has had time to discover where the women’s restroom is yet.
I voted for Harris, both for California’s U.S. senator to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer and when she was California’s attorney general, but it’s way too soon to be talking about President Harris. Let’s let her accomplish something before we give her that huge promotion.
True, Obama was in the U.S. Senate for only four years — not even for one full (six-year) term — before he ran for president, but that’s my point; we don’t need, in Kamala Harris, a female Barack Obama (who hadn’t accomplished anything in the Senate before he became president).
Amid a swirl of speculation about Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and practically everyone else under the sun as potential Democratic presidential contenders, most of the political class is ignoring the elephant in the room.
Bernie Sanders is, by some measures the most popular politician in America, by far Democrats’ most in-demand public speaker, and the most prolific grassroots fundraiser in American history.
But make no mistake: Sanders is the real 2020 Democratic front-runner.
He’s doing exactly what a candidate who fell short needs to do to run a second time. He’s established a national political organization, he’s improved his ties with colleagues on Capitol Hill, he’s maintained a heavy presence in national media, and he’s traveling the country talking about issues.
In subtle ways he’s shifted his policy commitments to the center, making himself a more broadly acceptable figure in the party. At the same time, he’s held on to a couple of signature issues — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college — that give him exactly the kind of clear-cut and broadly accessible agenda that mainstream Democrats lack.
Of course, if he were to run and win, he’d be 78 years old, the oldest president on record by some margin. And maybe he won’t run. But his recent moves suggest that he is both interested in the nomination and very much the candidate to beat for it. …
Yup. It’s fine if the Democratic establishment wishes to ignore Bernie (who, I surmise, hasn’t moved to the center nearly as much as he has moved the center point further to his side). We, the people, are the ones who will participate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses. And it will be significantly harder for the Democratic National Committee to fuck over Bernie this time because we’re all well aware of how the Billarybots of the DNC fucked Bernie over last time.
In the rather meandering discussion, Silver (whose opinion at fivethirtyeight.com that I value the most) proclaims, “I say YES.”
Silver qualifies: “A ‘front-runner’ is the horse that jumps out to the front of the pack and dictates the action behind him.” He adds: “Bernie got 13 million votes in 2016. Isn’t he next in line for the Democratic nomination?”
And on that note, while Warren declined to run in 2016 — I still surmise that she was too cowardly to step on Queen Billary’s royal cape — Bernie went ahead and ran against Billary instead of allowing her to coast to a coronation, as did all of the cowards who comprise the Democratic Party establishment.
I admire that Bernie fucking did that. It showed leadership and it showed gigantic balls. He knew what he was up against — the corrupt, anti-democratic and anti-Democratic Billary juggernaut — but he did it anyway.
To me it is. And I’m in good company with Silver and Yglesias.
Will his age (75) harm Bernie? I don’t think so. As long as he remains active and alert on the campaign trail, as he did in 2015 and 2016, he should be fine. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is 84 years old and is expected to run for re-election in 2018 — and is expected win handily (unfortunately; she really needs to go). And to me she has shown a lot more signs of advanced age than has Bernie, including mental fogginess.
Only those who never would have supported democratic socialist Bernie anyway will give the “scandal” any credence, and at any rate, the “scandal” doesn’t involve Bernie (he hasn’t been shown to have done anything illegal or even unethical), and anyone with two brain cells to rub together will consider the source: “President” Pussygrabber’s campaign chairman for Vermont.
Um, yeah. It’s an obvious smear campaign, and I might argue that the smear campaign is a good sign, because you don’t smear those who are weak, but those who pose a threat.
The 2020 cycle is better for Bernie than was 2016 in many ways. Queen Billary is out of the picture (finally), and in the wake of Billary’s loss in November 2016, the brand of “Democratic” Party that the center-right, sellout Clintons started and that Obama perpetuated is weakened.
As I’ve noted before, not only did Bernie win 46 percent of the pledged delegates to Billary’s 54 percent, but in February we saw that familiar 46-54 split in the election of the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, with Clinton-Obama establishmentarian Democrat (“Democrat”?) Tom Perez garnering 54 percent of the vote to Bernie-backed progressive Keith Ellison’s 46 percent.
We progressives — we true Democrats — are within striking distance of taking over the party. It’s clear that the “Democratic” Party establishment under Perez, et. al. still doesn’t have a clue or a plan (other than, as I noted in April, watching the “Pussygrabber” regime destroy itself).
Not being Pussygrabberwon’tbe enough for the Dems in 2018 or in 2020.
And had Bernie become president in November 2016, he probably would have faced a Repugnican-controlled Senate and a Repugnican-controlled House in January 2017. He would have been able to get nothing done, very most likely, and this Repugnican obstructionism unfairly and untruthfully would have been attributed to the inherent failure of his brand of politics.
Bernie’s chance of having at least one of the two houses of Congress controlled by the Democrats in January 2021 is pretty good, given that colossal failure “President” Pussygrabber in most polls can’t maintain an approval rating of even 40 percent, and if both houses were controlled by the Dems in 2021 under a President Sanders, you can be sure that President Sanderswouldn’t waste his political capital trying to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with the treasonous Repugnicans in Congress, as President Obama incredibly stupidly did in 2009 and 2010, when both houses of Congress last were held by the Dems.
We indeed are a nation on pause — at best — and to make up for that lost precious time, we need someone who is boldly progressive, someone who very actively will make up for that lost time by pushing through a sane, unabashedly progressive agenda — someone who will do what Obama failed to do in 2009 and in 2010 — and that someone is Bernie Sanders.
P.S. Matthew Yglesias mentioned Joe Biden and Kirsten Gillibrand as potential 2020 presidential candidates.
Yeah, um, no way in hell can I support has-been Joe Biden, who is too aligned with the Clinton-Obama brand of the party. Plus, if he were so fucking popular, why didn’t Biden become president by now? (Or at least the Democratic Party presidential candidate in a general presidential election by now?)
And Gillibrand — what is her appeal, other than her XX chromosomes? I have nothing particularly against her, as for the most part I know very little about her, but what’s so special about her, other than that she was elected to Billary’s U.S. Senate seat for New York after Billary became Obama’s secretary of state? Is she supposed to be Billary’s mini-me? (That was rhetorical, but the answer is yes.)
Biden, Gillibrand, Booker, Harris — all are candidates for those who have no vision and no imagination, but who think that the bullshit of the past is going to work in the future. They have learned nothing from Billary’s failure in November.
A Bloomberg poll released [today] shows that eight months after November’s election and nearly half a year into the new administration, Hillary Clinton is a touch less popular than Donald Trump. From Bloomberg:
Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival is viewed favorably by just 39 percent of Americans in the latest Bloomberg National Poll, two points lower than the president. It’s the second-lowest score for Clinton since the poll started tracking her in September 2009.
The former secretary of state has always been a polarizing figure, but this survey shows she’s even lost popularity among those who voted for her in November.
According to Bloomberg, more than a fifth of Clinton voters now say they view her unfavorably compared with only 8 percent of likely Clinton voters saying the same in Bloomberg’s last poll before the election.
Bloomberg’s John McCormick writes that interviews with some of those polled suggest that the decline has less to do with Clinton losing than it does with the Democratic Party’s identity crisis.
“Many said they wished Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had won the Democratic nomination,” he writes, “or that they never liked Clinton and only voted for her because she was the lesser of two bad choices.” [Emphasis mine.]
This is (more) vindication, not only of the fact that even those who voted for Billary in November didn’t like her, but also of the fact that it was a colossal fuck-up for the Dems to have allowed Billary & Co. to steal the nomination from the much more popular and much more liked Bernie.
It is also more evidence of the fact that Clintonism is done and that we can stick a big ol’ fork in it.
“The number of Democratic members of Congress saying they will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday has increased to 26,” the BBC reports today, the highest count that I’ve seen thus far, but the BBC doesn’t list them all. (Yahoo! News apparently lists all or most of the boycotters here.)
The boycott apparently was jump-started* by Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ correct pronouncement this past week that Donald J. Trump is an illegitimate president (which of course drew the very predictable, very immature El Trumpo’s return fire on the very presidential platform that is Twitter).
Of course the Repugnican Teatards aren’t at all concerned that Pussygrabber lost the popular vote by almost 3 million, aren’t concerned that the loser “won.” They weren’t concerned when this happened in 2000, either, because the Repugnicans are fascists, and fascists never care whether or not they actually win the most votes; they care only about taking power, with or without the consent of the majority of the American people.
This is why I also call these fascists traitors. They aren’t individuals who act in good faith with whom I simply disagree on politics, ethics and morality; they are actively anti-democratic and as such they are the enemy to all of us who actually value democracy, who believe that merely paying lip service to democracy isn’t nearly enough.
To attend “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s inauguration ceremony on Friday is to give him, at least tacitly, legitimacy that he does not have, and to give the dint of legitimacy to an unelected, treasonous fascist like Pussygrabber is to work against the nation’s best interests, whether one intends to do so or not.
(Those who argue that they are attending the inauguration ceremony in order to honor the office of the presidency rather than to endorse, by their presence, the specific individual who is taking over the Oval Office on Friday are trying to have it both ways — but they cannot. Their presence indeed will give Der Fuhrer Trump the appearance of legitimacy that he does not have and indeed will serve only to further normalize the infantilism, fascism and treason that are El Trumpo’s most prominent traits.)
To boycott All Things Pussygrabber isn’t to be a sore loser, since Pussygrabber didn’t actually win,but actually lost the election. To boycott Der Fuhrer Trump, then, is to be a sore winner.
Just as I never considered George W. Bush to be the legitimate president of the United States of America, I never will consider Donald J. Trump to be the legitimate president.
If the majority of the American voters had actually selected these inept fascists, perhaps I could get over it, but both inept fascists lost the popular vote and both had significant, extra-democratic help from others.
Bush Jr. had help from his brother Jeb!, who was then governor of the pivotal Electoral College state of Florida that Bush Jr. “won” also with the help of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who just coinky-dinkily also had been on the committee to see Bush Jr. elected in Florida (no conflict of interest there!).
And, of course, the coup de grâce was when the “justices” of the U.S. Supreme Court who had been appointed by Repugnican presidents voted to stop the recount in Florida — by so doing to install Bush Jr. into the White House, the wishes of the majority of the American voters be damned.
All of this brazen corruption and these extra-democratic political machinations, yet we commoners were expected to accept George W. Bush as the legitimate president of the United States of America.
Ditto for Donald J. Trump, even when it’s evident that probably for the first time in our nation’s history, another nation — and historically (and presently) an enemy nation — probably was instrumental in helping their chosen Manchurian candidate “win.”
This is treason, and those who cooperate with “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber in any way are complicit in this treason.
No true patriot could support Donald J. Trump in any way, even by “just” attending his inauguration.
P.S. I have e-mailed my two California U.S. senators and my U.S. representative and asked all of them to boycott Friday’s inauguration ceremony. I encourage you to do the same, even if you think there’s no way in hell that any of your representatives to D.C. will do so.
While it’s most likely that none of my three D.C. representatives will boycott the inauguration, the most likely to do so, it seems to me, is the newly minted Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who has been pretty good on civil rights. (Harris already has said that she will vote against Alabama U.S. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for U.S. attorney general.)
My other U.S. senator, “Democrat” Dianne Feinstein, is fairly worthless, and I expect little to nothing from her.
My U.S representative isn’t much better than is Feinstein, and I’d be shocked if she were to boycott, because that would be way too bold and courageous for her, as it would be for Feinstein.
I am glad and proud to see, however, that several U.S. representatives from California are joining the boycott.
Update (Monday, January 16, 2017, 9:20 p.m. PST):Slate.com now reports that 35 members of Congress won’t attend the inauguration on Friday, and lists them all.
I am pleased to see that new to the growing list of boycotters is Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, whom I still support for the new chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Still no U.S. senator has said that she or he won’t attend the inauguration, and while 11 U.S. representatives on Slate.com’s list of 35 boycotters are from my home state of California, where Billary Clinton on November 8 beat Pussygrabber by about two to one, my U.S. representative (Doris Matsui) isn’t on Slate.com’s list….
Update (Wednesday, January 18, 2017): Now more than 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are boycotting Friday’s inauguration ceremony. No U.S. senator thus far has had the cajones to do the right thing and boycott. (The senators are D.C. elites, you see.)
Speaking of D.C. elites, as was entirely predictable, my lame U.S. representative, “Democrat” Doris Matsui, has chosen retaining her status as a D.C. elite over doing the right thing, and of course she will attend the inauguration.
“I love my country,” Matsui said lamely, like a junior high school student. “And our country is so important and critical in the world. I thought that my personal feelings about Trump should not prevent me from showing support for our democracy.”
No, she’s just showing up to show her support for election theft, treason and fascism. Because she loves her country.
(“It’s a serious occasion, the peaceful transference of power,” Matsui said of the inauguration ceremony, as though she were teaching civics to kindergarteners. “The rest of the world is watching, too. I think it’s important for us to look as unified as we can because we have to look forward.”
Just: Wow. “Looking” “unified” is the most important consideration here? No, cooperating with fascism is cooperating with fascism. This is why the “Democrats” lose: they continually sell out their base to the right in the name of high-mindedness while the Repugnican Tea Party never returns that favor. “Opposition party” isn’t in the DINOs’ vocabulary.
I didn’t vote for Matsui in November because of her blindly obedient, elitist support for her fellow DINO Billary Clinton, who obviously was the wrong presidential candidate to put forth in 2016, and I don’t see myself casting a vote for the Trump-loving, simple-minded, D.C. elitist, sellout Matsui ever again.
There are 194 Democrats in the House of Representatives, so 60 of them boycotting means that 31 percent of the House Dems are boycotting. And 60 representatives is 14 percent of the full House of Representatives, which has 435 members in all.
*The BBC reports that the first member of U.S. Congress to announce his or her boycott of Pussygrabber’s inauguration was Illinois U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, last month, but apparently the boycott didn’t catch fire until Rep. Lewis announced that he also would boycott.
Kudos to Rep. Gutierrez for having gone first in doing the right thing! I wish that he were my U.S. representative!
Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas (he looks like such a nice guy, doesn’t he?) recently took time out from his important task of treasonously sending letters to the leaders of other nations meant to undercut the foreign policy of the twice-democratically-elected U.S. President Barack Obama to essentially tell us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans that we should sit down and shut the fuck up already and just be grateful that we aren’t executed, like non-heterosexuals are in Iran, and that speaking of which, A nuclear-armed Iran! is all that we Americans should be thinking about anyway! After all, we need to get our priorities in order!
So, of course, the heterosexist and homophobic “Christo”fascists are agog and apoplectic.
Losing the battle of same-sex marriage — for which I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for all 50 states this summer (arguments in the matter of the constitutionality of denying same-sex marriage are to begin in the court late this month) — the wingnutty haters now are focused on trying to legally allow businesses that serve the public to deny service to non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals on the basis that the business owners’ religious belief is, in a nutshell, that God hates fags. And surely the most important rightthat we Americans possess is the right to hate and to discriminate against certain groups of people. It’s apple pie, man!
I’m not a lawyer (I probably should have been), but, as I have noted, my reading of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that businesses serving the general public legally may not refuse to serve customers based upon those customers’ race, color, religion or national origin, is that the act does not expressly prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender expression, because those minority statuses are not listed in the act as protected classes. (Indeed, in 1964, which was more than 50 years ago, non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals were considered so lowly, so subhuman, that their protection by the Civil Rights Act was not even a possibility.)
While it’s beyond pathetic that an historically oppressed minority group should have to be listed expressly on a do-not-discriminate list in order to be treated with dignity, respect and equality — you know, as Jesus Christ taught that we should treat everyone else — federal law does need to be updated in order to add non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals to the list of protected classes. (That won’t happen as long as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors control both houses of Congress, but they won’t be in control forever.)
The “Christo”fascists also are losing the battle (at least in the court of national public opinion, if not in the courts of law) to enable businesses serving the general public to discriminate against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, but never fear, “Christo”fascists! We have Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas on the front lines of the battle!
Apparently the new “argument” against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals in the United States of America is that everything up to the point of their execution for their “crime” of not being heterosexual and gender-conforming should be tolerated.*
After all, Tom Cotton, a U.S. senator, defending states’ “right” to enact “religious-freedom” laws that are meant to allow business owners to discriminate against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, proclaimed on CNN on Wednesday:
“I think it’s important that we have a sense of perspective about our priorities. In Iran, they hang you for the crime of being gay. They’re currently imprisoning an American preacher for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Iran. We should focus on the most important priorities that our country faces right now.”
Cotton went on to say that “a nuclear-armed Iran” is “the most important thing that we be focused on.”
There is a lot in there, so let’s unpack it:
We Americans have priorities, and we have to have a sense of perspective about our priorities. Equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — equal human and civil rights for all Americans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — is not one of our priorities. (Duh!) We have to have perspective!
After all, it’s a crime to be non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming, and in Iran, they hang you for that crime! Non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans should sit down and shut the fuck up already, and just bethankful that here in the U.S., we’re not executing them for their crime of being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming (yet)!
Besides, an American preacher is imprisoned in Iran, and his rights are far more important than are the “rights” of all of the millions of sodomites in the United States of America combined! (We have, after all, established that they are criminals!)
And besides all of that, a nuclear-armed Iran is all that we really should be focused on anyway!For the love of God, why are you just sitting there, reading this? Why aren’t you doing something right now to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran?
The attitude that an historically oppressed minority group’s equal human and civil rights aren’t at all one of our national “priorities” is the slippery slope that leads to slapping inverted pink triangles (or the yellow Star of David) on us and putting us into concentration camps. And even executing us, because it’s well-established fact that God hates fags (as well as Jews).
When Cotton referred to “the crime of being gay” on CNN, I don’t believe that he was referring only to the Iranian perspective that being non-heterosexual is a crime. I believe that Tom Cotton and his ilk — being as theofascist as any Iranian could be — also hold that being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming is a crime (indeed, for years and years it was — you know, in the good old days), and I’d call Cotton’s wording on CNN a dog whistle to his fellow “Christo”fascists except that every mammal could hear his message loudly and clearly.
Besides trying to advance the “Christo”fascist agenda, which includes the persecution of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals (because that’s what God wants), Tom Cotton, whose letter to Iranian leaders of last month already has demonstrated that he is an anti-democratic traitor (the majority of the American people twice elected Barack Obama,not Tom Cotton, to represent us and our interests on the world stage), also is trying to advance the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party’s tactic of having Americans so terrified over Iran that the Repugnican Tea Party can do whatever it wishes, just like the good old days when the unelected, treasonous regime of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney used 9/11 and Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (replete with the “threat” of “mushroom clouds” here at home) as political cover with which to ram their treasonous, right-wing agenda down distracted, terrified Americans’ throats.
It’s classic George Orwell: The fascistic oligarchy always has an enemy nation with which to terrify and distract the masses. The designated enemy nation sure changes a lot over time (such as, here in the U.S., first Russia, then Iraq, now Iran), but that’s not the point; the point is that there perpetually is an enemy nation that (we, the masses, are told by the oligarchs) threatens the very existence of our home nation. This is critical to the oligarchic fascists’ grip on power.
And it’s funny that the likes of Tom Cotton (who, pathetically, very well might be a closet case himself) should try to spook us Americans with the bogeymen of the Iranians, when Cotton and his Repugnican Tea Party ilk are just jealous that they can’t get away with executing non-heterosexuals for the “crime” of being non-heterosexual.
Iran? No, I’m much more concerned about the enemies here at home, such as the “Christo”fascists who comprise the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party. They’re a far bigger threat to our national security than those evil Iranians ever could dream of being.
*Not to pick on just Tom Cotton, of course, it’s important to note that the intention of the proponent of the widely-reported-upon “Sodomite Suppression Act” of California, on which I blogged here, also might have been (at least in part) to raise the specter of the mass execution of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals because once that specter has been injected into the public consciousness, then anything else short of execution that is done to non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals will seem, by comparison, to be no big deal at all. (After all, we have to have our priorities!)
And I want to provide this update on the “Sodomite Suppression Act”:
Last month California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a superior court to kill the “Sodomite Suppression Act” by relieving her of the obligation to issue it a title and summary, after which the proponent of the “act,” a right-wing, bat-shit insane and evil lawyer who should be disbarred, could begin to gather the signatures of registered California voters who want the proposition to appear on the ballot. (I rather doubt that the proponent ever has had any actual intention to significantly try to gather the required amount of signatures [365,880 of them], by the way.)
“As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society. Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the ‘Sodomite Suppression Act.’ If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.”
The state has an affirmative duty to defend and enforce this law as written, and every member of the public has standing to seek its enforcement and obtain reimbursement for all costs and attorney’s fees in so doing, and further, should the state persist in inaction over 1 year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability.
Again, the lawyer who explicitly wrote in a ballot proposition that the extrajudicial execution of an already oppressed group of persons in Californiashould be allowed should be disbarred. Not only has the lawyer, a Matthew McLaughlin, advocated for the patently unconstitutional and thus patently illegal (and, indeed, reprehensible) execution of a whole class of persons, but he has advocated for extrajudicial actions (a.k.a. vigilantism), demonstrating his contempt for the legal system of California and of the nation. (Yes, the U.S. Constitution prohibits vigilantism/extrajudicial “remedies.”)
McLaughlin has demonstrated that he has no place within the legal system of the state of California — or, indeed, of any state in the nation. He doesn’t get to hide behind “free speech.” Lawyers are admitted to the bar only on the condition that they uphold the respectability of the legal profession as well as the state constitution and federal constitution under which they practice law.
You can, and if you haven’t yet you should, sign the petition to the California State Bar to disbar McLaughlin here.
History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”
An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:
No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.
Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”
The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”
Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.
Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.
Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.
Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).
There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).
And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)
But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.
Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).
True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).
But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?
Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.
Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.
Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.
I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.
**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”
So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.