Tag Archives: Middle East

Don’t know WTF you’re doing? No problem! Become a ‘war president’!

I’d say that “President” Pussygrabber is focusing on military actions right now because he has no fucking clue as to how to handle domestic affairs.

That’s true, but the larger truth, I think, is even worse than that: War is a great diversion from the fact that our corporate overlords – Pussygrabber & Co. and many others – are continuing to rob us commoners blind, through such means as government deregulation meant to increase obscene profiteering, the continuing privatization of the commons and of governmental functions (including, of course, health care, public schools and prisons), and giving even more tax breaks to the rich while the rest of us continue to pay more than our fair share of taxes.

“I’m a war president,” George W. Bush infamously declared in February 2004. Never mind that the Vietraq War that he launched in March 2003 not only was bogus and immoral, but was illegal; the unelected Bush regime committed war crimes, causing the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq, giving Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad a run for his money where body counts in the Middle East are concerned.

“War President” Gee Dubya went on to destroy the nation’s economy by the time he left office in January 2009, and, of course, not only did the Vietraq War provide war profits for Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton (and for other war profiteers), but it distracted the masses while BushCheneyCorp and friends freely looted the nation. It was great cover.

This is what it’s about these days when the United States of America goes to war.

That and since Pussygrabber is an egomaniacal man-child who would do anything to get his awful favorability numbers up, expect the remainder of whatever time Pussygrabber has left in the White House to include a shitload of saber-rattling.

Finally, of course, the Pussygrabber administration’s new-found supposedly adversarial stance toward Russia (via Syria) strikes me as a transparent, cynical attempt to try to put to rest the months-long chatter about how Team Pussygrabber has been in bed with Russia (perhaps even literally) even before the presidential election.

When the unelected Pussygrabber administration drops a MOAB on Moscow, then maybe we can believe that the supposed, awfully conveniently new hostility between Team Pussygrabber and Team Putin is real.

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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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Indeed, it’s the ‘Christians’ who wage war on the spirit of Christmas

“[Today’s Repugnican Tea Partiers] are most surely at odds with the spirit of Christmas,” concludes the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson, adding, “Walls on the border, religious tests for admission, despising the poor — good thing Joseph and Mary didn’t have to encounter our modern-day defenders of the right as they scrambled from one country to another, desperate to save their son’s life.”

Of Mary and Joseph, Meyerson writes:

They were refugees, fleeing for their lives from one Middle Eastern country to the next.

As Matthew tells the tale, Joseph, fearing that the government had marked his newborn son for death, gathered up his wife and child and stole away by night across the Judean border into Egypt. And just in time: Unsure who, exactly, to kill, that government — a king named Herod, who’d heard some kid would one day become a rival king — proceeded to slaughter every remaining child in Bethlehem under the age of 2.

This isn’t a chapter of the Christmas story that has made it into the general celebration, but it’s there in the gospel, for those who give the gospels credence and for those who don’t.

For both groups, it’s clear that the authors of the New Testament intended to recount (for the believers) or compose (for the nons) a story that echoed the Old Testament’s concern for strangers, foreigners and refugees (“The stranger among you shall be as one born among you,” says Leviticus, “and you shall love him as yourself”), that foreshadowed Jesus’ teachings to care for castaways and the least among us, and that laid the foundation for institutional Christianity’s transnationalism.

Which is, perhaps, a long way of asking the question: Who’s really waging a war against Christmas in 2015? Secular multi-culturalists who, stealthily and nefariously, have somehow rendered Starbucks’ coffee cups a tad less festive? Or the self-proclaimed culture warriors on behalf of traditional values, who demand we leave refugees — even small children, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has made pitilessly clear — at the mercy of the latter-day Herods? Who condemn entire religions? Who fear and loathe strangers? …

Indeed, while I don’t believe the “miracles” in the Bible, such as the virgin birth, Jesus’ raising of the dead and his resurrection, it’s clear that today’s “Christians” don’t follow their own supposed beliefs, as exemplified by their rank xenophobia against Mexicans and others from Latin America (and Latinos in general, except for right-wing Cuban Americans [such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio]) and Muslims and other Middle Easterners, perhaps especially refugees from harsh sociopolitical conditions in the Middle East that the United States’ greedy, military meddling helped to create, and it’s clear that we secular humanists, ironically, are far more Christian in our morals than the “Christians” are.

Merry Christmas.

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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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With Ireland, yet another pink domino topples; next up, the United States

. Dublin (Ireland), 23/05/2015.- People reacting to results coming in from constituencies around Ireland suggesting an overwhelming majority in favour of the referendum on same-sex marriage, in Dublin, Ireland, 23 May 2015. The first results were declared in Ireland's historic vote on same-sex marriage, with every indication that the Yes side has won, as opponents of the measure conceded defeat. Sligo-North Leitrim in the north-west was the first of 43 constituencies to declare with a 53.6-per-cent vote in favour, followed by Waterford in the south-east with 60.3 per cent voting Yes. (Irlanda) EFE/EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

EFE/EPA/Aidan Crawley photo

People in Dublin celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage in the widely-considered conservative nation of Ireland yesterday by more than 60 percent of the vote. Of course, this isn’t all about the Catholick church; it’s about human rights and freedom.

The news story headline from today “Church reels after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage” made me giddily happy, but the news story misses so much. It begins:

Dublin (AFP) — The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms [today] with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a “new language” with which to speak to people.

As jubilant “Yes” supporters nursed their hangovers after partying late into the night following [yesterday’s] referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

“The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church’s most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city’s St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

“We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.”

He added: “There’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the Church and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the Church.”

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church’s influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation [gotta love the British spelling] and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

During the campaign, bishops spoke against changing the law, while older and rural voters were thought to have accounted for much of the “No” vote.

Final results showed 62 percent in favour and 38 percent against introducing gay marriage in a country where being homosexual was a crime until 1993. …

Many things strike me. Where to begin?

As much as I’d love to celebrate the death of the Catholick church, it’s not dead yet. For decades Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans and others throughout the world have been calling themselves Catholicks but have doing what they want to do anyway. They disagree with the church on many issues, such as birth control, abortion and same-sex relationships, but go about living their lives as they wish to live them anyway, but still giving at least lip service to having some fealty to the Catholick church. They have been living compartmentalized lives, and this doesn’t seem to bother them much, if they even think about it much at all.

This phenomenon of compartmentalization (in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, apparently) is quite old, and while of course Ireland being the first nation in the world to establish same-sex marriage at the ballot box (rather via a legislature or court of law) is a milestone in equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — probably especially because Ireland is considered to be a conservative nation — the Catholick church will continue to sputter on until its eventual demise.

Remember that 10 years ago in the heavily Catholick nation of  Spain, the parliament passed same-sex marriage, which was favored by more than 60 percent of the nation’s people10 years ago. (“The ratification of [same-sex marriage in Spain] was not devoid of conflict, despite support from 66 percent of the population,” notes Wikipedia, adding, “Roman Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed, criticizing what they regarded as the weakening of the meaning of marriage.“)

Spain was the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and was quickly followed by Canada, which became the fourth nation to adopt same-sex marriage.

Since Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and parts of the very heavily Catholic Mexico — Mexico City and the Mexican states of  of Quintana Roo and Coahuila — have followed with same-sex marriage. (And it’s important to note that any same-sex marriage that legally was performed anywhere in Mexico must be recognized throughout the nation’s 31 states.)

And following Mexico with same-sex marriage have been Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland, England, Scotland and Wales, and now, Ireland.

A lot of Catholicks in the Western world live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. Wikipedia, for instance, puts the populations of Ireland, Mexico and Portugal all at more than 80 percent Catholick, Argentina at more than 75 percent, Spain and Luxembourg at around 70 percent, Brazil and France at more than 60 percent, Belgium approaching 60 percent, and Slovenia and Uruguay around 50 percent.

So Ireland’s having joined the same-sex marriage fold yesterday can’t have been a huge shock; it’s not like it was unprecedented.

But I’ll take this latest win for love and for freedom, the freedom to live one’s life the way he or she wishes to, as long as he or she does not harm others — and no, violating some tyrannical, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging theofascist’s backasswards beliefs on how we, the rest of us, may and may not live our lives (whether we even believe in a “God” or not) is not harming anyone else. Quite to the contrary, it’s the theofascists who always have been causing the harm (in the names of “God” and “Jesus” and “love”), to which the masses have been waking up and realizing, and thus the march of same-sex marriage rights continues throughout the globe. (A lot of work remains to be done, especially in the African, Middle Eastern, Asian and Muslim nations, as well as in Russia.)

Speaking of which, I find it interesting that it’s reported that the final tally from the vote in Ireland yesterday is expected to exceed 60 percent, since earlier this month the polling organization Gallup reported that a record number of Americans polled — 60 percent — now support same-sex marriage. That’s fairly fast growth, considering that Americans didn’t reach the 50-percent mark in Gallup’s polling on same-sex marriage until 2011.

True, not even a full quarter of Americans call themselves Catholick (thank God), and of course we can’t blame only the Catholicks for their opposition to same-sex marriage in the United States, since there are plenty of other hateful, ignorant, right-wing “Christian” churches in the United States, such as the Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Methodists, and, of course, the Pentacostalists, who probably are the scariest of the theofascist “Christians” (whom I commonly call “Christofascists,” after “Islamofascists,” as though the fundamentalist Muslims had a monopoly on “God”-based fascism).

And, of course, the Catholicks aren’t monolithic; many if not even most of them personally are OK with same-sex marriage, despite the church’s official stance on the matter. Still, though, I can’t understand how anyone can support such an evil, harmful institution, even peripherally, such as by even still calling oneself a “Catholic,” knowing the damage that the Catholick Church has been wreaking upon humanity for centuries. (Ditto for the Protestant churches, too; even the more liberal Protestant churches still push a belief in “God,” which to me is only a Santa Claus on crack. [He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!] The opiate of the masses, indeed.)

Of course, of what the Catholick Church and other “Christian” churches are most terrified is continuing to lose their grip on the masses’ minds, genitalia and wallets and pocketbooks. Virtually all organized religions, small or huge, are all about those in the upper echelons of the hierarchy, be they the petty pastors of puny Pentecostal churches or Il Papa himself.

These theofascist tyrants never have cared about anyone’s true freedom — only about their own power and wealth, the sustenance of which requires that others be enthralled to them through ignorance and fear, via “God,” “Jesus,” “heaven,” “hell,” “sin,” “eternal damnation,” etc.

The gaining of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals is only one front in the continuing throwing off of the theofascists’ centuries-long tyranny. Science, technology (including, of course, the communications revolution that the Internet has been), logic, reason, true democracy (which necessitates secularism) — in a word, modernity — is what poses the largest threat to the continued existence of the infantilezed organized religions that refuse to let go of their desire to infantilize and enthrall all of us.

Next up, I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule next month that no state in the U.S. may prohibit same-sex marriage, as such a prohibition violates the equal human and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The about-40 percent of Americans who still oppose same-sex marriage will, of course, quite predictably whine that a pro-same-sex marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is an anti-democratic fiat by “activists” judges (of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court actually were to rule against same-sex marriage [which I find unlikely], to the wingnuts this would be wholly democratic and the judges would not be “activist” at all, but simply would have done their job to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, you see).

Of course, in the United States we never have had any national referenda, such as Ireland just did on the topic of same-sex marriage. In the U.S. there is no mechanism in place for the entire nation to vote on any matter other than who will be U.S. president and U.S. vice president, and given that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, we Americans, who elect the president and our U.S. senators, of course have some voice in the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, so to call the court’s rulings (the ones that we disagree with, mostly) entirely anti-democratic is, of course, largely if not mostly bullshit.

And I’m quite confident that were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the U.S., it would pass.

Gallup polling this month found 60 percent support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., but a CBS News/New York Times poll taken just before the Gallup poll found 57 percent support, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken right before that one found 58 percent support. A Quinnipiac University poll taken right before that one also found 58 percent support, and an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken at the same time as the Quinnipiac University poll found 61 percent support.

So Gallup’s finding of 60 percent seems to be no more than within a percentage point of two of the actual level of support for same-sex marriage within the United States. (The average of the five nationwide polls cited above, which were taken this month and last month, is 58.8 percent.)

Again, were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the United States of America, it would pass. It’s safe for the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging haters to argue otherwise, since we never have national referenda here in the U.S., but the timid, behind-the-curve, right-of-center U.S. Supreme Court (which did, after all, decide the 2000 presidential election even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than did George W. Bush and decide that bazillionaires may have unlimited spending in elections) would not rule in favor of same-sex marriage if it weren’t confident that a solid majority of Americans are on board with it.

Because a solid majority of Americans are on board with same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps further emboldened by the latest example of Ireland, most likely will rule in favor of same-sex marriage throughout the land.

And the land will not erupt in chaos and violent upheaval, as the theofascist terrorists warn us will happen (it’s just yet another terrorist threat meant to get them their way over the majority, even though they are in the solid minority), because where same-sex marriage is concerned, the U.S. democracy, such as it is, and as slow as it always has been to bring about equal human and civil rights for all, at least in the area of the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, is working.

Not quickly enough, but it is working, and next month we truly freedom-loving and love-loving Americans most likely will be celebrating in the streets like they have been celebrating in the streets of Ireland this weekend.

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From ‘audacity’ to a whimper

President Barack Obama will go down in American history something like this…

I have to agree wholeheartedly with the assessment by Michael Moore (who has been too absent from the public arena during Barack Obama’s presidency) that the American history books will mention only (or at least primarily) that Obama was the nation’s first black president. It’s sad that history will remember Obama more for the color of his skin than for the content of his character, but that’s his fault, not history’s.

In fairness, the history books also probably will mention Obamacare (for good or for ill or fairly neutrally), but what else is there to say of the Obama years?*

Allegedly with great audacity and with the dreams of his father behind him, Obama came in with a bang – “HOPE”! and “CHANGE”! “CHANGE”! and “HOPE”! – but he goes out with a whimper.

It’s ironic that Obama’s opposition to the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War – which only ever was meant for war profiteering (such as by Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) and for Big Oil to retake the oil fields of Iraq – helped him into office in 2008 and that now Obama seems poised to end his second term with another war in Iraq (and possibly in Syria).

Yes, of course this time (further) war in Iraq (and in Syria ) can be justified, I think. The Islamic Slate (a.k.a. ISIL and ISIS) – at least in its current incarnation as a rapidly metastasizing, deadly cancer – needs to be stopped. The mass murder and the oppression of those who disagree with certain fascist, religious nutjobs – be they “Christian” fascist nutjobs, “Jewish” fascist nutjobs, “Hindu” fascist nutjobs, “Muslim” fascist nutjobs, whatever – should be met with opposition.

Credible news reports are that the Sunni Islamic State has been slaughtering and oppressing Shiites and other non-Sunnis in large swaths of Syria and Iraq. (No, the Islamic State did not become a problem only when it beheaded two U.S. citizens in propagandistic snuff videos.) Any such mass slaughter and oppression anywhere in the world should be stopped if at all possible, regardless of the United States ’ many missteps and failures to act in the past. (And it should not be the United States playing World Cop all of the fucking time.)

As far to the left as I consider myself to be, I do not believe in absolute, blind pacifism. I don’t believe that in most cases force or the credible threat of force should be the first resort, but nor do I believe that force or the credible threat of force should be taken off the table altogether. It can be a useful tool, and sometimes, the only effective one. And my gut response to the Islamic State, frankly, is: Pound. Them. Into. The. Sand. (With that said, gut responses do not necessarily make for sound actual foreign policy, as we learned with the debacle that was the unelected reign of the illegitimate Bush regime.)

The problem with the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, again, is that of course it never was meant to “liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil Saddam Hussein (who was a “good” dictator until he stopped taking marching orders from the American elite, which then made him a “bad” dictator) – unless you want to call the more than 100,000 Iraqis who died as a result of the Vietraq War “liberated.” No, it was meant to further enrich the cronies of the BushCheneyCorp.

Such treasonously crying wolf, of course, makes it all the harder to sell the American people on military action in the same region, even when military action actually is called for this time – as President Obama surely knows right about now.

And, of course, while the Repugnican Tea Party traitors (redundant) never met a war that they didn’t love (as long as it’s others who are doing all of the dying, of course), they’ll find ways to criticize and condemn Obama no matter how he conducts things militarily in the Middle East. Because if the president is a white Repugnican guy (even one who got into the White House without even having won the highest number of votes of the American people), then to criticize his military actions abroad at all is nothing short of terrorist-lovin’ treason, you see, whereas if the president is a Democrat, and especially not a white, male Democrat, then to criticize his every fucking move is one’s God-given patriotic duty, you see.

So, of course, Obama can’t win, no matter what he does or does not do, but he should have known this political fact from Day One, and so from Day One he should have pushed through a progressive agenda instead of having tried to persuade the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to join him in “Kumbaya” around the campfire in D.C. (You don’t even bother to try to negotiate with terrorists; they cannot be reasoned with.)

Yes, I do believe that having assertively pushed a progressive agenda in the first two years of his first term would have been a winner for Obama. Had he even tried to have delivered upon his campaign promises, he could have been something like the second coming of FDR. He entered the White House with that kind of support behind him, more or less.

Yes, reportedly a majority of Americans deem Obama’s presidency to have been a failure, but these polls that are unflattering to Obama, it seems to me, widely are interpreted, incorrectly, to mean that the majority of Americans embrace the right-wing worldview. But if a pollster were to ask me (or any other actually progressive American) if Obama’s presidency has been a success or a failure, I (or he or she) would say, without even having to think about it, a failurenot because I at all agree with the right-wing worldview and agenda, but because I believe that Obama utterly squandered his chance, especially in 2009 and 2010, to push through an actually progressive agenda, while both houses of Congress still were held by his own party.**

Whereas the unelected Bush regime spent “political capital” that it never even fucking had (I remember when the Bushies called Bush’s “re”-election by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004 to be a “mandate”), Obama was too timid or too lazy or too stupid (or some combination of these things) to even touch his actual stockpile of political capital in 2009 and 2010, and his failure to have done so will go down in history (history that is thoughtful and critical, anyway) as one of the biggest missed opportunities by a U.S. president to accomplish the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of Americans.

And I judge Obama’s presidency to be a failure because, of course, you judge a politician based upon his or her actual accomplishments in office compared to the campaign promises that he or she made in order to get elected to that office. (Yeah, as cynical as I might be, I’m still not ready to let any politician off the hook for having violated, blatantly, his or her own campaign promises.) Based upon his own relentless campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” of course Obama’s presidency – which has delivered primarily more of the same, not “hope” or “change” – has been a failure.

Of course, pretty much any Repugnican president – John McCainosaurus, Mittens Romney or any other Repugnican – would have done even worse in the Oval Office than Obama has done (except, perhaps, for the 1 percent, for the richest Americans), but that doesn’t let Obama off the hook with me; I judge Obama by actually progressive Democratic (that is, actually Democratic) standards, not by the low bar that has been set by the right wing (probably especially by George W. Bush). And speaking of the devil, of course Obama has been a better president than Gee Dubya was – for starters, Obama actually was democratically elected in the first fucking place, for fuck’s sake – but saying that President X is or was better than was “President” George W. Bush is saying exactly nothing.

And how is Obama poised to end his second and final term? At (further) war in the Middle East, with a new/old enemy this time, the Islamic State. (I write “new/old” because just as the “tea party” is comprised of the same old fascists who were around long before they started to call themselves the “tea party,” the Islamic State apparently is comprised, largely if not mostly, of the same old Islamofascists who were around before Obama ever took office. Of course, it was the Bush regime’s woefully-misguided-to-put-it-mildly Vietraq War, more than anything else, that contributed to the genesis of the Islamic State that we see today.)

I have to wonder if Barack Obama is trying to do Billary Clinton a favor right now, trying to make the Democratic Party look Tough! On! Terrorists! — just in time for the 2016 presidential election. But if more war in the Middle East (and exactly how it should be executed) is going to be the centerpiece of the 2016 presidential election, don’t the chickenhawk Repugnicans play the war card a lot better than do the Dems?

Because of that, how could the Dems expect to win the White House again in 2016 by posing as warhawks, as Billary already appears to be doing?

Didn’t someone once remark that when given the choice of voting for a Repugnican candidate or a “Democratic” candidate who acts like a Repugnican, the typical voter will vote for the genuine Repugnican?

The theofascist Islamic State needs to be checked, for sure, just as would any other insane group of murderers and fascists at home or abroad, but at the same time, potential blowback from military actions that always should be considered aside, Team Obama and Team Billary need to be careful, methinks, not to give the war-drum-beating chickenhawks of the Repugnican Tea Party political validation – and thus political victory – by also beating those tired, old war drums (only less convincingly, in the eyes of the voters, than the chickenhawks do) between now and Election Day in November 2016.

*Obama lost me, forever, after he just fucking sat on his hands while British Petroleum filled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude oil in 2010, and after he failed to visit the state of Wisconsin even once in early 2011, when Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker successfully attacked the right of the workers of the state to collectively bargain.

Candidate Obama had promised in 2007: “Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone’s standing in their corner.”

Again, Obama showed up in Wisconsin not once. In his first term Obama failed to lead on a huge environmental issue and he failed to lead on a huge labor-rights issue, part of a pattern of failure that his presidency has been. (As I have noted, while I [stupidly] voted for Obama in 2008, I did not vote for Obama again in November 2012, but voted for the Green Party candidate instead.)

**Indeed, I’m not the only leftist who deems Obama’s presidency a failure; the Washington Post notes of its own (with ABC News) recent nationwide poll that “Those saying Obama has been a failure include one in four Democrats (25 percent), nearly three in 10 liberals (29 percent) and the vast, vast majority of conservative Republicans (92 percent). Nearly one in five liberals (18 percent) say they feel ‘strongly’ that Obama has been a failure.

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Party hacks are giving Obama his bogus war on Syria

It was inevitable, I suppose, that the Middle Eastern nation of Syria was going to be proclaimed a “national security threat,” and the Obama regime has obliged us.

This “national security threat” is even more risible than was the “national security threat” that the members of the Bush regime claimed Iraq posed in their run-up to their Vietraq War.

At least the treasonous war criminals of the Bush regime lied to us that Iraq itself posed the “national security threat.” The war criminals and would-be war criminals of the Obama regime are lying to us that Syria is a “national security threat” by proxy — that is, if we don’t lob some missiles at Syria for no other apparent reason than to spook Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and to flex our military muscles again in the Middle East, other nations, especially Iran and North Korea (with Iraq, the other two members of the Bush regime’s “axis of evil”), might — gasp! — feel emboldened!

So, quite Orwellianly, a “national security threat” no longer means that another nation is actually poised to actually strike the United States — a “national security threat” now has been redefined to mean that it’s a “national security threat” should the U.S. maybe appear to be weak or irresolute or some other synonymous adjective in the eyes of any other “bad” nation.

Wow.

This is even worse than the Bush regime’s “pre-emptive strike” bullshit. Again, at least the Bush regime lied that the U.S. had to strike Iraq before Iraq could strike the U.S. (Iraq, of course, never had any such capability, which we all knew before the Bush regime launched its Vietraq War); we now have the Obama regime lying that we have to strike Syria so that other nations don’t strike the U.S.

What the fucking fuck?

Perhaps even more pathetic than this, though, is that very apparently whether or not the typical American supports a particular war depends upon his or her party affiliation and the party affiliation of the current occupant of the White House.

Most Democrats in D.C., if they’re not happy about the Obama regime’s plan to attack Syria just to attack Syria, don’t have the balls to stand up to the Obama regime, so they’ll keep their mouths shut. (Even my own Democratic/“Democratic” U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, I am deeply sorry to report, was one of the 10 “yes” votes on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s 10-7 vote on Wednesday to allow the Obama regime to use military force against Syria.* Et tu, Babs?)

And many (if not most) Americans who voted for Obama, primarily only because they voted for him, won’t oppose the Syria misadventure like they opposed the Iraq misadventure.

I opposed the Vietraq War because it was an unprovoked, unjust, immoral and illegal U.S.-led war upon another sovereign nation, but apparently the primary or even only reason that many if not even most so-called Democrats opposed the Vietraq War was that it was the Bush regime’s war.

To be sure, that the regime that first had stolen the White House in 2000 because enough Americans just allowed them to then went on to launch a bogus war in March 2003 (because enough Americans just allowed them to) was and remains a problem for me — the crimes of the stolen presidential election and the resultant illegitimate regime’s bogus war still have not been punished or nationally atoned for, and therefore they remain open wounds on the nation — but the Vietraq War would have been just as fucked up and wrong had it been waged by a “Democratic” president like Obama.

But progressive columnist David Sirota notes in his latest column:

… So what happened to [the anti-war] movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship.

That’s the conclusion that emerges from a recent study by professors at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Evaluating surveys of more than 5,300 anti-war protestors from 2007 to 2009, the researchers discovered that the many protestors who self-identified as Democrats “withdrew from anti-war protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success” in the 2008 presidential election.

Had there been legitimate reason to conclude that Obama’s presidency was synonymous with the anti-war cause, this withdrawal might have been understandable. But that’s not what happened — the withdrawal occurred even as Obama was escalating the war in Afghanistan and intensifying drone wars in places like Pakistan and Yemen.

The researchers thus conclude that during the Bush years, many Democrats were not necessarily motivated to participate in the anti-war movement because they oppose militarism and war — they were instead “motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments.”

Not surprisingly, this hyper-partisan outlook and the lack of a more robust anti-war movement explain why political calculations rather than moral questions are at the forefront of the Washington debate over a war with Syria. …

This is red-versus-blue tribalism in its most murderous form. It suggests that the party affiliation of a particular president should determine whether or not we want that president to kill other human beings. It further suggests that we should all look at war not as a life-and-death issue, but instead as a sporting event in which we blindly root for a preferred political team. …

That’s just some fucked-up shit.

I mean, as much as I detest Repugnican U.S. senators John McCainosaurus and closet case Lindsey Graham, for instance, at least they consistently are pro-war. There isn’t a war that they wouldn’t support. (Canada? Hey, they’re too close for comfort! Sweden? Their “pacifism” is just a facade, a ruse!) McCainosaurus wants to look tough and bad-ass and so does Graham, apparently trying to overcompensate for his very apparent homosexuality by trying to create the persona of an uber-macho war hawk (it’s not working, girlfriend!).

Love them or hate them — and I hate them — but at least we know what to expect from the likes of McCainosaurus and Graham.

What can we expect from the “Democrats”? Oh, it depends upon the party affiliation of the current president!

That only a minority of Democrats in D.C. truly embody the spirit of being anti-war — which is that you don’t take the nation to war unless it really, really, really is necessary, because war is a gravely serious thing — is a testament to the extent of the moral decay of the so-called Democratic Party of today.

And don’t kid yourself; there is no fucking guarantee that lobbing missiles at Syria will remain a “limited” military operation, as the liars who comprise the Obama regime would have you believe.

The Middle East is an oil-soaked tinderbox, and you cannot drop a match anywhere there and guarantee that you’ll scorch only a “limited” patch of it.

Perhaps direct comparisons of Syria and Iraq can’t be made, but at least one disturbing similarity between the Vietraq War and what’s happening now is that over time we saw the treasonous members of the Bush regime making increasingly hysterical and hyperbolic claims about the “national security threat” that Iraq posed to the U.S. (such as the “smoking gun” coming in the form of a “mushroom cloud”), and now we are seeing the members of the Obama regime (I am regretting that I once supported John Kerry, since he now is shilling for Obama’s bogus war on Syria) making increasingly hysterical and hyperbolic claims about the “national security threat” posed to the U.S. by Syria — such as that if we don’t attack Syria, we can expect attacks from other nations, like Iran and North Korea.

The more that the war hawks ratchet up their ridiculous rhetoric, the more you know that their casus belli is for shit.

*Tellingly, of the seven U.S. senators on the committee who voted “no” on Obama’s desire to attack Syria, only two are Democrats and the rest of them are Repugnicans. Of the 1o who voted “yes,” seven are “Democrats” and three are Repugs. Newly minted Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who should have voted “no” if he calls himself a progressive, voted “present.”

Obviously, partisanship trumps morality in D.C.

Again: This is some sick fucking shit.

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