Tag Archives: Missouri

Bernie takes Oregon, Billary (barely) takes another former slave state

Updated below (on Wednesday, May 18, 2016)

With 99.9 percent of its precincts reporting, Billary Clinton won the presidential primary in Kentucky today by only 0.5 percent (46.8 percent to 46.3 percent), while with just over 61 percent of Oregon’s precincts reporting as I type this sentence, it’s Bernie with 53.1 percent to Billary’s 46.9 percent.

Kentucky has been called for Billary and Oregon has been called for Bernie. This brings “fringe” candidate Bernie to 20 states won thus far.

Here’s the updated map, with Bernie’s wins shaded green (Billary’s are in puke yellow and the states that have yet to vote are in gray):

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Note the states that Billary won/“won” by not even 2 percentage points:

  • Iowa: 49.9 percent Billary, 49.6 percent Bernie (0.3 percent difference)
  • Massachusetts: 50.1 percent Billary, 48.7 percent Bernie (1.4 percent difference)
  • Illinois: 50.5 percent Billary, 48.7 percent Bernie (1.8 percent difference)
  • Missouri: 49.6 percent Billary, 49.4 percent Bernie (0.2 percent difference)
  • And now, Kentucky, by a whopping 0.5 percent

The only win within 2 percentage points that was Bernie’s was Michigan, 49.7 percent Bernie to 48.3 percent Billary, a difference of 1.4 percent.

I’m happy that Bernie is staying in the race until every last state has voted. This is what democracy looks like: Giving all of the people a voice.

Whether Bernie wins or loses, at least the people of each state will have had the opportunity to weigh in on the next leader of the nation.

The Billarybots hate this, which tells you volumes about their character, their ethics and their morals.

P.S. Speaking of character, ethics and morals, compare the map above to the map of the states right before the Civil War:

It’s a chilling fact: For the most part, states (and former territories that now are states) that had slavery (like, um, Kentucky) have voted for Billary, and states (and former territories that now are states) that were free (like, um, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, which used to form the Oregon Territory) have voted for Bernie.

The two graphics are worth thousands of words.

Update (Wednesday, May 18, 2016): With 100 percent of its precincts now reporting, Kentucky still sits at only a 0.5 percent difference, and as I type this sentence, Oregon, with 92.6 percent of precincts reporting, stands at Bernie with 55.8 percent and Billary with 44.2 percent, a difference of 11.6 percent.

I expect Bernie to win California on June 7. Yes, that’s a prediction. I don’t predict that he’ll win it by a double-digit margin, as he won the other Left Coast states of Oregon and Washington, but I expect him to win it by at least two or three percentage points.

I make this prediction even though The Huffington Post’s average of polls of California right now has Billary ahead by 9.1 percent and Real Clear Politics’ average of California polls has Billary up by 9.7 percent right now.

I have seen precious little enthusiasm for Billary here in California thus far. If my prediction is wrong and she does win the state, it will be because she’ll get the geriatric vote (seriously) — people who are voting for her but just don’t talk about it (including the fact that they’re not on social media voicing their politics). And also, I suppose, it will be the support of younger people who are just too embarrassed to admit that they’re actually voting for Billary.

If Billary does win California, which I put at less than a 50-percent chance, I expect it to be by less than two or three full percentage points. It might even come as close as Kentucky or Iowa or Missouri (that is, no more than half of one percentage point).

Let me make it clear that while I support Bernie winning every delegate that he possibly can, I expect Billary Clinton to clinch the nomination. The super-delegates pretty much by definition are Democratic Party hacks, and hacks do what they’re told to do, and Billary going into the convention in July with more pledged delegates than Bernie — which is likely to be the case (she still leads him by about 275 pledged delegates, as has been the case for a while now) — will give the super-lemmings delegates the excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway: crown Billary.

I expect the super-delegates to give the win to Billary even though Bernie Sanders is doing two to three times better than she is in the match-up polls against Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics right now has Billary ahead of Trump by only 5.2 percent and Bernie ahead of Trump by 13 percent. Horrifyingly, The Huffington Post’s average of the match-up polls has Billary only 3.3 percent ahead of Trump and Bernie with a much more comfortable margin of 12.1 percent.

With Billary only around 3 percent to 5 percent ahead of Trump in the match-up polls right now — and this is because the nation’s electorate apparently hates Billary just a little less than the nation’s electorate hates Trump — you’d think that the Billarybots would be a lot nicer to us Berners instead of painting pretty much all of us as sexist, misogynist, violent animals who are just like Trump’s supporters.

But no.

The Lemmings for Billary are determined to go right off of that looming cliff that is in plain, clear view.

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Radio silence from Bernie’s campaign thus far today, but I never shut up

Updated below

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

This is how the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary battle looks today, after the primary elections in five states yesterday: like a fungus taking over most of the nation, turning what’s alive and green into what’s dead and golden-yellow. (The green states are those that Bernie Sanders has won, and the golden-yellow states are the states that Billary Clinton has won/“won.”) This rather dismal map is why, I surmise, Bernie’s campaign has been in radio silence, at least in term of its e-mails to its supporters, overnight and thus far today.

Given how Michigan’s primary-election polling right up to election day there eight days ago was showing Billary Clinton winning the state by around 20 percent (Bernie won it by 1.5 percent), I’d figured that Bernie Sanders would sweep the other “Rust Belt” states yesterday.

Illinois, Missouri and Ohio polling all had Billary ahead of Bernie by no more than single digits right up to yesterday’s voting, so, using Michigan as the test case, I’d figured that Bernie probably would win all three of those states, even if only by a rather small margin in one or all three of them.

I had chalked up Michigan’s polling snafu to something like pollsters’ bias for Billary and/or polling techniques that undercounted Bernie’s support and overcounted Billary’s, such as by not contacting enough respondents who have cell phones and no land lines.

I truly believed that this polling error in Michigan, dubbed by the political polling geeks as the biggest polling error in a primary election in modern political history, most likely would apply to the states surrounding Michigan also; Bernie would win at least two of the five states that were contested yesterday — probably three states, but two at the very minimum.

Instead, he fairly hands down lost four of them (Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio, although Illinois was within 2 percentage points) and he probably lost Missouri, too, by only a fraction of 1 percent. (I’ve yet to see Missouri definitively called.)

Politico right now gives these results from yesterday’s Democratic Party presidential primary elections:

  • Florida (99.9 percent reporting): Billary 64.5 percent, Bernie 33.3 percent
  • Illinois (98.8 percent reporting): Billary 50.5 percent, Bernie 48.7 percent
  • Missouri (99.9 percent reporting): Billary 49.6 percent, Bernie 49.4 percent
  • North Carolina (100 percent reporting): Billary 54.6 percent, Bernie 40.8 percent
  • Ohio (100 percent reporting): Billary 56.5 percent, Bernie 42.7 percent

Where to begin?

So note that with the exception of Florida, Bernie garnered somewhere between 40.8 percent and 49.4 percent of the votes that were cast yesterday. A sizeable chunk of the voters in four of the five states that voted yesterday wanted someone other than Billary Clinton to represent them in November.

I don’t think that, based upon the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary and caucus results thus far, we accurately can call Billary an overwhelmingly beloved candidate, except in the South. (I mean, the South…)

Bernie Sanders the frumpy (small-“d”!) democratic socialist with that hair never was supposed to do even this well.

Billary Clinton has had the Democratic establishment blindly obediently behind her from Day One, including her bosom buddy Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the national party, making all of the presidential-race decisions (including keeping the anti-democratic system of the “super-delegates,” who are expected to fall in line with the party establishment, and tightly controlling the debate schedule), as well as disproportionately favorable media coverage (Google it — Billary has been covered much more than Bernie has been covered, but of course The Grand Spectacle that is Der Fuehrer Donald has trumped both of them in terms of media coverage, which is not shocking, given the nexus among our corporately owned and controlled “news” media and the corporatocracy/kleptocracy that is our “democracy” and Der Fuehrer Trump — yes, we are skipping along the yellow brick road to The Fantastical Land of Fascism).

Anyway, the Bernie Sanders campaign normally sends out a billion e-mails a day (seriously, at least three or four a day, even five or six, I do believe, on some days, especially since the primary elections and caucuses began), but I’ve yet to receive a single e-mail from the campaign since last night’s devastation.

Again, Bernie got a lot of votes last night, and delegates, too (it helps Bernie that all 50 states on the Democratic side allocate the number of pledged delegates proportionally, that there are no winner-takes-all states in the Dem presidential primary), but again, it’s the perception and the spin that matter, and our “news” media, which have only our commoners’ best interests at heart, of course, aren’t going to report that “Populist Bernie Sanders, for an outsider, sure garnered an impressive amount of votes and delegates yesterday.” No, they’re reporting that Billary Clinton Won All Five States in a Devastating Blowout!, even though the difference in Missouri right now stands at 0.2 percent.

There is no room for nuance in the United States of America, so even 0.2 percent is a part of A yuuuuuge win!

So I’m guessing that the reason for the radio silence from the Bernie Sanders campaign today (at least overnight and thus far this morning) is that they’re still assessing what message they can and should put out there after Bernie didn’t win even two states yesterday. (I’m guessing that Billary will maintain her razor-thin lead in Missouri [I heard on NPR talk of a possible recount of the state], meaning that history will record that Bernie won no state yesterday.)

Maybe Bernie is even taking a time-out to consider whether or not he is going to continue his campaign. I’ll still support him if he does, but the path to the nomination for him at this point looks grim to impossible.

What I know for sure is that I can’t support Billary Clinton.

No, it’s not that I’m being obstinate or a sore loser. And no, Billarybots, it’s not that I’m a misogynist, fuck you (and your toxic, blind and stupid identity politics) very much.

I had very much wanted progressive U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run, but she did not.

When Warren talks about standing up for us commoners, her record supports that; she is quite credible. The exact opposite is true of Billary. Bernie was the most progressive and most viable candidate who did run, and thus I have supported him.

(According to your “logic” and sense of “justice,” Billarybots, I should have supported the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 because Sarah Palin is a woman.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t do it for me. Aside from how much her demeanor, dripping with insincerity and cold calculation, turns me off, I cannot get past her pathetic pathological lying for personal political gain, which we saw in the 2008 cycle and have seen in this cycle, especially recently, when Bernie peaked and she felt desperate, and I know way too much about her past of pretending to care so very, very much about the disadvantaged and downtrodden but then taking millions and millions of dollars from the bad actors who are harming all of us.

Billary says whatever she perceives is the most politically advantageous thing to say in the  moment, and in the United States of Amnesia, it works.

To give one example that’s near and dear to me, she didn’t support same-sex marriage (publicly, at least) until March 18, 2013, for fuck’s sake, just a little more than two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that to deny same-sex marriage anywhere within the nation is to violate the U.S. Constitution.

Billary is hardly significantly ahead of the curve, and what we need in a president or other leader is someone who is significantly ahead of the curve.

A leader helps make change, a leader nudges the herd in the right direction (even if to do so is politically risky); a leader doesn’t jump on board only once it’s clear that the herd already is going in a certain, different direction.

And a leader doesn’t flip-flop, because the truth doesn’t flip-flop; it remains fixed. Politifact says of Billary, “Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage in [March] 2013 after more than a decade of opposing it.”

And Billary’s latest act was proclaiming on television how great Nancy Reagan and her husband were on raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the 1980s, when the fact is that Ronald Reagan didn’t give a speech on the topic until May 1987, after more than 25,000 Americans, most of them gay men, already had died in the plague.

Billary is more like the Reagans than an actual Democrat — she always comes to the game quite late, after others who are far more brave and hard-working than she ever will be already have done all of the hardest work, and then pretends that she was on board with the right side the whole time. That’s not leadership. That’s craven opportunism.

Billary’s bullshit works, however, with millions of people — to a large degree she has the LGBT community in her pantsuit pocket because its politically and historically ignorant members actually buy her bullshit (ditto for the black community and other groups of historically oppressed individuals whose majorities support Billary); she says the right things, and that’s enough for the low-information voter.

This chicken, for one, won’t support Colonel Sanders, no matter how much sweet talk he spews forth or how much he tells me that the guy who owns Chick-fil-A is even worse than he is.

So in a Bernie-free/post-Bernie presidential campaign season, I’d pay attention to the news of the ongoing political race, but would I feel that I have a real stake in it? No. Neither Billary Clinton nor whoever the Repugnican Tea Party candidate will be (Donald Trump, most likely, but perhaps Ted Cruz) has my best interests at heart, and I’m quite clear on that fact.

Without Bernie in the race, I don’t have a horse that I can bring myself to root for.

That said, I still think that I would rather that Bernie not win the party’s presidential nomination than to go on to the general election in November and lose by a considerable margin (not that he would; I’m just speaking of such a big loss in a hypothetical sense). Because such a big loss would put Bernie, in the conventional “wisdom,” into the category of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis (the presidential candidate who was unelectable because he was too far too the left) and thus probably would shut out progressivism within the Democratic Party for some time to come. (Progressivism already has been shut out from the party since the Clintonistas took over the party in the 1990s.)

What might actually help progressivism the most in the long term, actually, would be for Billary Clinton to go on to the November general election and then lose.

That should be, at long last, the stake in the hearts of the “Democrats” who sold out the party to big-money interests long ago, at least as far back in the 1990s (but actually really starting in the mid-1980s), when Bill Clinton and his wife and the right-wing, now-defunct-thank-Goddess “Democratic” “Leadership” Council coldly calculated that the best way to beat the Repugnicans was to become just like the Repugnicans.

Again for the record: I don’t relish a President Trump and of course I never would vote for someone like he. Don’t get me wrong. (But my best guess is that President Trump would be impeached and removed from office before he actually could destroy the planet in World War III.)

But a President Trump might, ironically, at long last save the Democratic Party from itself and return it to its progressive roots. Der Fuehrer Donald’s election just might make the Democrats realize how incredibly fucking stupid they were by picking Billary over Bernie.

(After all, in the match-up polling right now, Billary beats Trump by 6.3 percent, whereas Bernie beats Trump by 10 percent. Further, in the match-up polling right now Ted Cruz actually beats Billary by almost 1 percent, whereas Bernie beats Cruz by almost 10 percent.

And more Americans of all political persuasions like Bernie more than they dislike him by double digits, whereas recent polls show that anywhere from 6 percent to 21 percent more Americans of all political persuasions dislike Billary than like her.)

If President Trump doesn’t cause World War III and inadvertently saves the Democratic Party, then I’d say that his presidency would have been worth it.

Update (Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:50 a.m. Pacific Time): OK, so finally an e-mail from the Bernie campaign, which I received at 10:36 a.m. It reads:

When we started our campaign 10 months ago, Robert, I don’t think you could find a single person who would believe you if you said Bernie Sanders would win nine states by this point in the campaign.

Last night we beat all the polls in almost every state. We earned a significant number of delegates, and are on track for the nomination. Here’s why:

What you will not hear from the political and media establishment is that, based on the primary and caucus schedule for the rest of the race, this is the high water mark for the Clinton campaign. Starting today, the map now shifts dramatically in our favor.

Arizona, Idaho and Utah are up next Tuesday. Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state caucus the Saturday after. Then it’s Wisconsin’s turn to vote.

That means we have an extremely good chance to win nearly every state that votes in the next month. If we continue to stand together, we’re just getting started for our political revolution….

No one said a political revolution would be easy. We are up against a billionaire class and super-PACs that are determined to see us lose.

The fact remains that Hillary Clinton’s lead will never be as large as it is right now. From here on out we keep chipping away until we take the lead. But that can only happen if we keep fighting, and that’s why your $3 contribution to our campaign is so important.

The whole country will be watching to see how we respond in this moment. Let’s send a message that millions of Americans are just as ready to fight for an economy that works for everyone as we were when this campaign started 10 months ago.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I’m glad that Bernie is still in it. I’m perfectly fine with him remaining in the race until he or Billary has clinched the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination. If nothing else, if Billary were to be unchallenged from the left from now to the convention, I think that she’d revert right back to her center-right bullshit, figuring that she already had everything wrapped up and so that it were safe to do so.

(No, I don’t believe, even for a nanosecond, that, as some have stupidly asserted, Bernie is permanently moving Billary to the left. Just her rhetoric has shifted leftward — temporarily. [It was just in September that she publicly proclaimed herself to be a moderate and a centrist.] She remains a dyed-in-the-wool [you know, her sheep’s clothing] Repugnican Lite/Democrat in name only.)

All of that said, yesterday’s election results were a considerable blow to Bernie’s campaign, with not a single state yet called for him. Again, in the end it all comes down to the numbers of delegates, but perception in politics is everything. The perception that you’re losing can make you lose and the perception that you’re winning can make you win.

After his stunning losses yesterday, or at least after the perception of them, I feel much less confident about Bernie’s chances today than I did yesterday.

But given the coming shit show, with a fascist leading the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field and a fascist lite leading the Democratic Party presidential field, from the ashes just might emerge a new, truly reformed, actually progressive Democratic Party.

Update (Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time): U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who is running to replace Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate for Florida (Rubio gave up his Senate seat to run for the presidency — d’oh!), recently wrote a pretty good piece for The Huffington Post.

In his piece he maintains that there is

…the second Democratic presidential primary: Democratic Presidential Primary 2.0. It runs from March 16 through June 7. It includes none of the “Old South” states, because they all will have already voted. It includes all of the Pacific states, and all of the “Mountain” states except Colorado and Nevada (which already voted). The biggest prizes are California (545 delegates), New York (291) and Pennsylvania (210).

Democratic presidential primary 2.0 elects a total of 2,033 pledged delegates. If Bernie Sanders wins those races (and delegates) by the same 60-40 margin that he has amassed in primaries and caucuses outside the “Old South” to date, then that will give him an advantage of 407 pledged delegates. That is more — far more — than the current Clinton margin of 223. [Note: Grayson wrote his piece before yesterday’s elections. Billary now has 314 more pledged delegates than Bernie has.]

Almost 700 pledged delegates are chosen on June 7 alone. It seems unlikely that either candidate will accumulate a margin of 700 pledged delegates before then. So this one may come down to the wire.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Again, I’m all for Bernie Sanders going until either he or Billary has hit the magic number of necessary delegates (2,383). There is no reason for him to stop before that has happened.

As I type this sentence, Billary has 1,139 pledged (earned in primary elections and caucuses) delegates and Bernie has 825. Including the “super-delegates,” who may change their minds as to which candidate to support, Billary has 1,606 delegates in all, and Bernie has 851.

If Billary wants the nomination, she needs to earn all 2,383 necessary delegates, in my book. There is no reason for Bernie to walk away now, and I’m in it for him as long as he is in it.

And, of course, as many have pointed out, including the man himself (many times), it’s not about Bernie; it’s about the cause of progressivism, which will continue, regardless of the outcome of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race.

P.S. In a recent Democratic presidential candidate “town hall” (I haven’t watched the “town halls,” but I have watched all of the Dem debates), Bernie Sanders stated that he decided to run as a Democratic candidate instead of as an independent because it’s too difficult to run for the presidency as an independent.

This was nothing new — Bernie had said it before — but it was spun by the pro-Billary media as Bernie “using” (even “hijacking”) the Democratic Party to get to the White House.

Bitches, please.

Bernie Sanders never abandoned the Democratic Party; quite the contrary: the Democratic Party abandoned us progressives, long ago.

The Democratic Party has shriveled and calcified into a pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic shell of its former self, “led” by self-serving assholes (like the Clintons and yes, Barack Obama, too) who have claimed that the traditional Democratic values were lacking and defective and that the Democrats should be more like the Repugnicans — fuck that “opposition party” bullshit! Gotta join ’em to beat em!

All that this has done is to demoralize the party’s traditional base, who with each passing year find it harder and harder to support “Democratic” candidates. They just can’t work up the enthusiasm, and many if not most of them can’t put their finger on why, but many if not most of them still more or less remain loyal to the label, the brand name, anyway, even though it never does them any good, even though their lives never improve.

This pathetic, deteriorating condition can last for only so long; Billary has been hoping that it lasts at least long enough to put her over-privileged baby-boomer ass into the White House. (The baby boomer’s credo is “Get mine [and yours, too!] and get out.”)

Bernie Sanders has done much more for the moribund party than the party ever has done for him; he has injected some life into it. If it weren’t for Bernie, we’d have only Billary; we’d have no cause for hope or enthusiasm in this presidential election cycle whatsofuckingever.

That so many “Democrats” would claim that the progressive Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them demonstrates how far the party has fallen. Bernie should be a corporate whore just like Billary Clinton is, you see; then he would be a “good” “Democrat”!

The Billarybots celebrate Bernie’s demise at their own peril; once the enthusiasm that he has generated is gone, how well would the woefully charismatically challenged Billary fare in November? How many voters could she get to the polls to vote for her? (No, the anti-Trump vote probably wouldn’t be enough for her; the anti-George-W.-Bush vote wasn’t good enough for John Kerry in 2004. That and the voters are, I think, pretty fucking exhausted from being able to cast only anti-votes in this sick and fucking twisted system that we call “democracy.”)

And no, as Salon.com’s Andrew O’Hehir has just written and as I have written, we “Bernie bros” will not go to the dark side and vote for Donald Fucking Trump. That’s a false accusation fully meant to shame us into voting for Billary against our conscience.

But we don’t have to vote for Billary Clinton.

We can vote for someone else — I very well might vote for the Green Party presidential candidate if Billary is the Democratic Party presidential candidate — or we can not vote for president at all. We can and we may do as our conscience dictates, no matter what the Billarybots, who are unencumbered by a conscience, think about it or think about us.

And as Bernie garners the independent vote a lot better than does Billary (more info on that fact at this link, too), how well could she do in a general presidential election, the results of which which the independent voters (not just the minority of voters who are Democratic Party hacks) determine these days?

I sure didn’t predict yesterday’s election results well at all, but you probably can take this prediction to the bank: This Billary Bubble — in which Dem Party hacks stupidly believe that the nation as a whole likes Billary Clinton as much as they do — is going to pop.

Spectacularly.

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Prognosticating for Tuesday: Bernie will win at least three states out of five

Updated below (on Tuesday, March 15, 2016)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders clasps hands with Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard at the start of a campaign rally in Raleigh

Above, Bernie Sanders joins hands with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who last month resigned her position of vice chair of the corrupt Democratic National Committee and endorsed Bernie, at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, and below, he hugs former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, today. Bernie, I surmise, needs to win at least three of the five states that vote on Tuesday in order to maintain his momentum and quite possibly become the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders embraces former state senator for Ohio's 25th district Nina Turner during a rally at the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Reuters photos

So I stand by my recent prediction that Bernie Sanders will win at least three out of five states on Tuesday, and that those three states will come out of the four states of Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. (I still see Florida as a considerably unlikely win for Bernie, but should he actually win Florida, then, it seems to me, Billary is toast.)

Real Clear Politics’ averages of the polling in Tuesday’s states are:

  • Florida: Billary up by 30.9 percent
  • Illinois: Billary up by 13.7 percent
  • Missouri: Billary up by 7 percent
  • North Carolina: Billary up by 21.5 percent
  • Ohio: Billary up by 17.8 percent

Now, Missouri isn’t even an average of two or more polls — it’s one poll, taken last week, but it’s the only recent poll of Missouri that I’m aware of. (It’s not a good idea to go on one poll, but it’s all that I have to work with.)

Keep in mind, again, that RCP’s average of Michigan polls right before Bernie won Michigan last week was Billary with a 21.4 percent lead over Bernie, yet he won the state (by a small margin, but he still won).

Therefore, I see Bernie probably winning Missouri and lllinois, since RCP gives Billary a lead of only 7 percent and 13.7 percent in those two states, respectively.

Also, Missouri and Illinois nestle in nicely with the states that Bernie already has won (his wins are in green and Billary’s are in gold):

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic (link)

I mean, clearly, Bernie and Billary have regional appeal, with Bernie taking the Northern states and Billary taking the Southern. (Again, note that Iowa was a virtual tie, and that Billary won Massachusetts by 1.4 percent, which is why you see those two Northern states in gold. Also, Billary won/“won” those two states before Bernie could gather momentum. Were those two states to vote again today, I think that Bernie would win both of them.)

And the backlash against Der Fuehrer Donald Trump (trying to) bringing his fascism to the diverse campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday will, I believe, help the Bernie Sanders campaign in Illinois on Tuesday.

I mean, you had Bernie supporters, not Billary supporters, being vocal in the diverse group of protesters who shut down the KKK/neo-Nazi/Trump rally. It was symbolic of the Berners taking on — and shutting down — Der Fuehrer Trump while the Billarybots were nowhere to be seen (or at least they weren’t heard). I think that pretty much blows away the myth that Team Billary is so fucking great on the issue of diversity.

The fact that the Berners were prominent but that the Billarybots were missing in action on Friday in Chicago will, I have to surmise, resonate with the voters of Illinois (and elsewhere) on Tuesday.

Bernie might win North Carolina, since he won Michigan when Billary supposedly had a 21.4 percent lead there, but as North Carolina is in the South, Queen Billary’s fortress, I can see Bernie losing North Carolina.

And it would take a miracle, I think, for Bernie to win Florida. He could, of course, but I think it’s unlikely.

If we guess, from the recent example of Michigan, as I do, that Bernie could take a state on Tuesday even if polls show Billary leading him there by around 20 points, then I can see him taking Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, but then there is North Carolina right on that edge of around 20 percent, but I just can’t see Bernie taking Florida when RCP’s polling average for that state is Billary up by 30.9 percent.

In case you don’t trust Real Clear Politics (most pundits do and they cite RCP frequently), here is the Huffington Post’s averages of Tuesday state polling:

Again, note that Missouri isn’t an average of polls, but is just one poll taken recently in that state.

RCP and HuffPo are pretty much on the same page, with the rather stunning difference in the state of Illinois, which HuffPo has Bernie winning.

So if I had to whittle it down to just two states that I see Bernie winning on Tuesday, it would be Illinois and Missouri, since he is polling best in those states (even though there unfortunately is only one recent poll in Missouri from which I can prognosticate). Adding a third state to Bernie’s column, my bet is on Ohio.

North Carolina voters might surprise us and go for Bernie, but if Billary wins North Carolina I won’t be surprised at all.

And, again, should Bernie manage to pull out a win in Florida — which I see as very unlikely, but not impossible — then Billary probably can wrap it up.

I mean, it seems to me that if Bernie manages to win Florida, then he’ll probably have won at least four of the five states on Tuesday, and I don’t see Billary recovering from such a blow.

Out of her desperation she’d act like an even bigger harpy, and she would even ramp up her pathological lying (the Koch brothers love Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders supported the “Minutemen,” Bernie Sanders has supported the human rights violations in Cuba, Bernie Sanders opposed rescuing the automobile manufacturing industry, etc., etc.).

As a result of that, Billary’s unlikeability (her favorability ratings already are under water) would increase and Bernie’s likeability (his favorability ratings already are on the plus side by double digits) would increase.

Big wins for Bernie on Tuesday (his winning at least three states*) would harm Billary not because of the delegate math, but because of how she reacts when she’s losing or widely perceived as losing (something like this), as we saw in 2008.

P.S. I have just seen a mention of another poll of Missouri, this one taken last week, and it gives Billary a lead of only 4 percent. So indeed, Missouri appears to be the closest state (with the possible exception of Illinois, of course; I’m not sure why there is the considerable discrepancy between RCP and HuffPo on Illinois).

Update (Tuesday, March 15, 2016): Real Clear Politics today shows a considerably tightened race in the “Rust Belt” states of Illinois and Ohio. Right now RCP’s average of polls is showing:

  • Illinois: Billary up by 2.3 percent
  • Ohio: Billary up by 8 percent
  • North Carolina: Billary up by 24 percent
  • Florida: Billary up by 28.9 percent

RCP reports two Missouri polls, one giving Bernie a lead of 1 percent and another giving Billary a lead of 7 percent. And I’ve seen another Missouri poll giving Billary a lead of 4 percent, so my best guess is that Billary has averaged around a 3-percent to 4-percent lead in Missouri.

So I surmise I’ll be up late tonight, watching the results roll in.

Again, I think that Bernie needs to win Illinois, Missouri and Ohio in order to maintain his momentum. Wins in North Carolina and Florida apparently can be expected for Billary, which is in line with her being the Queen of the South.

Bernie could win North Carolina, but I doubt that he will, and I’d be incredibly shocked were he to win Florida. (My understanding is that in these past few to several days Bernie Sanders hasn’t even visited Florida; my guess is that he deemed it as unwinnable and thus decided to strategically spend his time elsewhere, where he can win).

*Conversely, should Bernie win only two states on Tuesday, that probably would be a real blow to his momentum. (Again, his actually winning four states would be great and most likely is the best that he can be expected to do.)

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Did Bernie take Michigan today? (Update: YES, HE DID!)

Wow. With 58.1 percent of precincts reporting, Politico right now (at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time) reports that thus far Bernie Sanders is beating Billary Clinton in Michigan’s presidential primary election, 50.6 percent to 47.6 percent.

Billary handily won Mississippi today, of course — again, she’s the Queen of the South — and if Bernie ends up winning Michigan (as I type this sentence, Michigan hasn’t been called yet), today’s results will be in line with the trend that we’ve seen thus far: Bernie winning the Northern, actually Democratic states, and Billary winning the backasswards, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Southern states — you know, the states where Barack Obama is loathed the most and Donald Trump is loved the most.

This is what the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race (from Wikipedia) looks like right now:

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Again, the green states are the states that Bernie has won and the gold states are Billary’s victories.

As I type this sentence Michigan remains shaded in gray, but hopefully the graphic will be updated soon to show it in green.

A victory in Michigan will, I believe, give Bernie momentum going into Illinois, Missouri and Ohio a week from today. Florida also weighs in a week from today, but I expect it to go to Billary, with the rest of the backasswards South. However, should Bernie actually manage to win Florida, then yeah

Update (7:40 p.m. Pacific Time): With 67 percent reporting, per Politico, Bernie maintains a lead of 3.1 percent. If he ends up winning Michigan by around 3 percent, sure, it won’t be a huge win, but it still will be a win. Recall that Billary “won” Iowa by a whopping 0.3 percent and Massachusetts by 1.4 percent, so if we’re going to say that Billary won those states, then we’re going to say that Bernie won Michigan if he beats Billary there by at least that much.

That said, the pro-Billary corporately owned and controlled mass “news” media will widely report, repeatedly, I’m sure, how close Michigan was.

Update (7:55 p.m.): With 72.2 percent reporting, Bernie’s lead is 3.9 percent. My best guess is that he’s going to end up with at least a 3-percent win.

Wow.

Again, this is the guy who long has been “unelectable.” When he hasn’t been slammed, he has been widely ignored, yet thus far he has won nine states, including his presumptive win of Michigan today, to Billary’s 12 (which includes her win today in Mississippi, that bastion of Democratic Party/progressive values and beliefs). And again, Billary “won” Iowa by 0.3 percent, making it pretty much a tie, and she won Massachusetts by only 1.4 percent.

Billary long has been the corporately owned and controlled establishment’s preferred candidate, to be sure, but it’s interesting what can happen once we, the people, actually start to caucus and vote — the way that we want to, not the way that we’re told we “should.” Democracy sometimes can be very disappointing to the powers that be. This is true for both the establishment Democratic and the Repugnican Tea parties this presidential election cycle.

Update (8:10 p.m.): With 80.7 percent reporting, Politico reports that Bernie is up by 2.6 percent. Again, a win for Bernie in Michigan (which I hope he can keep around 3 percent at the least) should be great for his momentum.

Take a look at the results from this Democratic Party presidential primary season thus far and you’ll see that most of the states that Bernie won he won by double digits and that the same goes for most of the states that Billary won.

This indicates to me a bit of a civil war within the Democratic Party. I mean, all of these double-digit differences in most of the states that have voted and caucused thus far are, I think, revealing.

And in this civil war, again, Bernie Sanders very obviously represents the North and its values and beliefs. And again, Billary is the Queen of the South — something of which to be very proud.

Update (8:30 p.m.): Fuck. I’d wanted to be able to go to bed early tonight, but right now Politico reports Bernie at 49.9 percent to Billary’s 48.1 percent, a difference of only 1.8 percent.

Update (8:35 p.m.): Whew. Bernie is back at 50.4 percent to Billary’s 47.6 percent, with 89 percent reporting. I’m kind of attached to Bernie beating Billary in Michigan by at least 2.5 to 3 percent.

Update (8:37 p.m.): They have called Michigan for Bernie. This is great.

Update (8:45 pm.): The maintainers of Wikipedia are fast. Michigan is now showing in green on the map. With 91.6 percent of Michigan’s precincts reporting, we’re standing at Bernie with 50.1 percent to Billary with 48.0 percent right now. Again, I hope that the final tally is closer to a difference of 3 percent.

Update (8:55 p.m.): This is my final update for tonight. It’s enough for now that Bernie Sanders won Michigan!

Of the states that have caucused and voted in the Democratic Party presidential primary season thus far, Michigan has offered the highest number of pledged delegates, after Texas.

It’s true that Bernie and Billary are fairly evenly splitting Michigan’s pledged delegates, but, again, winning Michigan today — having those bragging rights — should give Bernie a significant boost going into Illinois, Missouri and Ohio next week. (I’m confident that he’ll win Ohio and probably Illinois; I’m not as confident about Missouri. I’m most confident about Ohio.)

As I prep for bed, right now Politico reports that with 92.6 percent reporting, we’re at 50.1 percent for Bernie to 48.0 percent for Billary.

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Billary is inevitable? So was Dean! (And Bernie Sanders is NOT Ron Paul)

Associated Press photo

Howard Dean has an emotional moment, including the “Dean scream,” in Iowa in January 2004, after he devastatingly came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses (behind John Kerry and John Edwards), the first contest of the presidential primary season. Howard Dean widely was considered the inevitable victor of the contest for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, but once individuals actually started participating in the caucuses and primary elections, it was clear that they had dated Dean but decided to marry Kerry. Billary Clinton, like Howard Dean did, came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 (behind Barack Obama and John Edwards). And like Dean in 2004, Billary in 2008 never recovered from her stumble in Iowa. Billary is a stunningly weak candidate, yet the lemmings have lined up behind her, just as they did for Howard Dean.

I certainly hope that Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie was not “inspired” by “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri when he recently sloppily compared presidential aspirant U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to former Repugnican/Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Democrat in name only McCaskill, who is on Team Billary, recently bloviated that Sanders “is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president” and dismissed the large crowds that Sanders attracts at his campaign events by stating that Ron Paul “got the same-size crowds. [Former Repugnican Party presidential aspirant] Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”

As many have noted (such as this writer for Salon.com), a majority of Americans actually quite agree with Sanders’ so-called “extreme” message. Democracy sure sucks when it doesn’t go your way, when your center-right claptrap (like McCaskill’s) actually isn’t in line with the majority.

And leave it to a member of the pro-dynastic, anti-populist, Democratic-in-name-only Team Billary to try to make your popularity with the people into a bad thing.

I get it that McCaskill lives in what I’d certainly classify as a red state: Mittens Romney won Missouri in 2012. (The last “Democratic” presidential candidate who won Missouri was Bill Clinton in 1996.) Missouri has a Democratic governor and one “Democratic” U.S. senator (McClaskill), but both houses of its state legislature overwhelmingly are Repugnican, and its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is six Repugnicans to two Democrats.

So to survive politically in a state as red as is Missouri, McClaskill has to pander to the right and the center-right. I get that.

But is the entire Democratic Party to shift even further right so as to further please DINOs like McClaskill in the red states, as former “Democratic” Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (good riddance!) expected it to?

What about those of us in California, for instance? We’re the most populous state in the nation. Our governor and both houses of our state legislature are in Democratic control, both of our U.S. senators are Democrats (well, plutocrat Dianne Feinstein is a DINO), the majority of our U.S. representatives are Democrats, and a Repugnican presidential candidate hasn’t won California since 1988.

But we’re to stifle our values and ourselves for the likes of Landrieu and McCaskill? I have a much better solution: red-state DINOs (like McClaskill) just call themselves Repugnicans already and be done with it. They need to join the party with which their political philosophy and worldview is most aligned instead of trying to get the rest of us actual Democrats/progressives to convert to their version of what the Democratic Party “should” be.

Their tent is just way too damned fucking big. When you stand for everything, you ultimately stand for nothing.

Even Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie, most of whose writing I find insightful and wise, even though he acknowledges that “At 10,000 people, [Sanders’] crowd [in Madison, Wisconsin, last week] was the largest* of any candidate in the presidential race so far,” joins the conventional-“wisdom” herd and proclaims that “visibility isn’t viability, and there’s almost no chance Sanders will become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, even if he sustains his momentum into next year.”

Bouie adds: “Sanders is a fascinating candidate with a vital, underrepresented message in American politics. But the same qualities that make him unique — relative independence from the Democratic Party, a foundational critique of American politics — make him unsuited for a major party nomination, much less the Democratic one.”

Bouie concludes his unfortunate screed on Sanders:

Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be important. Here, it’s useful to think of Ron Paul, the former Republican representative who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012. Paul drew large crowds and raised huge sums for his campaign but couldn’t translate that success into votes. Nonetheless, his splash mattered. He helped bridge the divide between libertarians and the Republican right, and he inspired a new group of conservative and libertarian activists who have made a mark in the GOP through Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

If Sanders can sustain and capture the left-wing enthusiasm for his campaign, he could do the same for progressives. He could bring their issues onto a presidential debate stage and into the Democratic mainstream, and bring them into the process itself. No, Democrats won’t change overnight, but with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit.

Hey, I have an extremely radical idea, perhaps even more extreme and radical than any idea that even Bernie Sanders has put forth: How about we, the people, actually get to vote in the primaries and participate in the caucuses in order to determine who ultimately emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate?

How about we allow Bernie Sanders to run his campaign for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominationthe first caucus and the first primary election aren’t until February, seven months from now – instead of declaring Billary Clinton the winner now and giving Sanders the lovely parting gift (like Rice-A-Roni) of the warmth of knowing that his candidacy helped to melt the cold, right-wing hearts of those who call themselves Democrats but who actually are a bunch of Repugnican Lites?

Crazy, huh?

But seriously: How about we, the people, and not DINOs like Claire McClaskill and not media pundits who are steeped in the conventional “wisdom” of wolf-pack “journalism,” decide, through actually participating in the actual democratic process, whether or not we deem Bernie Sanders to be an acceptable presidential candidate to put forth in November 2016?

Jamelle Bouie educates us silly Sanders supporters:

Despite the polls and the voting, presidential primaries aren’t popularity contests. Instead, they’re closer to negotiations, where interests and individuals work to choose a leader and representative for the entire group. That person has to appeal to everyone, from ideological factions and political power centers to wealthy donors and ordinary voters and activists. The candidate also has to show that he or she can do the work of a national campaign, from winning debates to raising money.

Oh, I agree, for the most part, probably. But then Bouie continues: “Clinton has done this. She came close to winning the 2008 nomination and spent the next seven years — right up to the present — building her stature in Democratic politics. …”

Yeah, 2008 was close but no cigar, and Bouie apparently essentially advocates that because Billary has been working at this since 2008, we should acknowledge that and coronate her as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate already; Bouie’s conventional “wisdom” apparently can be reduced to telling us Sanders supporters: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

But I recall clearly that this was what the “Deaniacs” essentially were saying to the rest of us Democrats and progressives in 2004: That former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was So Self-Evidently Inevitable that everyone should just accept that fact and get on board with Team Dean already. (I still recall that one of my favorite fellow leftists, Ted Rall, at the time a Deaniac, even went so far as to write a blatantly anti-democratic column in which he suggested in all seriousness that the Democratic primaries and caucuses just be canceled in order to save money, since Dean’s victory was assured anyway.)

I supported John Kerry as the 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate from the get-go (as I saw him as the candidate who best could unseat the incumbent “President” George W. Bush), but I was told then by the Deaniacs: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Except that in early 2004, when the voters actually had their say at the primaries and caucuses – which is all that actually counts, in the end – Howard Dean imploded spectacularly, and John Kerry spectacularly rose from the dead and won the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Interestingly, campaign adviser Tad Devine, who was instrumental in Kerry’s spectacular rise from the dead like Lazarus on crack, right now is a senior adviser for Bernie Sanders.

So yeah, those who smugly write Bernie Sanders off (those would be Billary supporters, mostly), methinks, could be in for a big shock in early 2016, much as the smug Deaniacs were in early 2004 when underdog John Kerry, who had been left for dead, and not Howard Dean The Inevitable, won the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Not only does Bernie have John Kerry resurrector Tad Devine on his team, but what does it say of Billary that she lost to Barack Obama in 2008? She had been first lady for eight years in the 1990s and a (carpetbagging) U.S. senator for New York for eight years, yet upstart Obama, who had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full term, beat Billary, which wasn’t “supposed” to happen.

Billary is significantly flawed – or she wouldn’t have lost to Obama, who came from nowhere in 2008 to snatch – democratically – the crown away from her.

And let’s face it: The uber-scandalous, slimy Billary is just one leaked e-mail or one leaked secretly-recorded video away from implosion.

Do we want Billary’s implosion to happen before the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate is actually elected by the primary-election voters and the caucus-goers, or do we want to risk that Billary’s implosion happens after we stupidly just allow the high-risk Billary to have the party’s presidential nomination (you know, because she wants it so badly and because she has been “working” for it for so long now!) but before the November 2016 presidential election?

I, for one, not only cannot in good conscience support DINO Billary Clinton – whose vote for the Vietraq War in October 2002 when she was in the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders voted against it when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives) alone makes her unfit for the Oval Office** – but I wouldn’t take the risk of gambling everything away in November 2016 with her, with such a flawed, risky candidate.

I wisely resisted running with the Lemmings for Dean in 2004; I similarly am resisting running with the Lemmings for Billary in 2016.

For me, it’s Bernie or bust.***

*Bouie further notes:

Hillary Clinton drew 5,500 people to her [formal announcement] speech on Roosevelt Island in New York City, while Jeb Bush drew just 3,000 people to his announcement event at Miami Dade College in Florida. (Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to 11,000 students at Liberty University, but they had to be there — Cruz announced at the school’s convocation, which is mandatory for students living on campus.) Before Madison, Sanders spoke to a packed auditorium of 700 people in Iowa, and before that, he spoke to 5,000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

**Gee, I wonder if Billary felt any pang of guilt or even remorse when, on this past Fourth of July during a parade in Podunk, New Hampshire (at which Queen Billary’s henchpeople employed ropes to keep the rabble safely at bay), she told a 40-year-old man whom the Vietraq War — the war for which as U.S. senator she voted — put into a wheelchair, “Thank you for your sacrifice.”

I mean, it’s not that common that the results of a soulless, self-serving politician’s wrongdoing so starkly stare him or her in the face.

***On that note, if we are going to compare Bernie to anyone on the right, in the end, when all is said and done, history just might record him to be much more like the late arch-conservative Barry Goldwater than like Ron Paul.

Not only is there the fact that in modern history members of the House of Representatives (like former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul) never go straight from the House to the White House, but must have been a U.S. senator or a governor first (Bernie meets that qualification but Ron Paul never did), but I can see Bernie winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but unfortunately losing the 2016 presidential election, as Repugnican U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona lost the presidential election of 1964.

However, while Goldwater lost in 1964 (badly), he is widely credited with having fathered the “Reagan revolution” and the success of the right that we’ve seen for the past several decades. (The right’s success is evidenced not only by the worsening income inequality of the past several decades, but also by how far to the right it has spooked the Democratic Party into moving, especially under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)

I could see Bernie Sanders doing for the left what Barry Goldwater did for the right. But the comparison of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to the much more fringy former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is lazy and sloppy at best.

So I agree with Bouie that “with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit,” but Bouie and I don’t get to that point of agreement by the same route.

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Cop in Garner death should be tried for homicide

This is a grab from a video showing thuggish New York cop Daniel Pantaleo putting a forbidden chokehold on Eric Garner in New York City in July, causing Garner’s death, according to both a medical examiner and a forensic pathologist. Yet Pantaelo’s “punishment” thus far has been only desk duty.

While there isn’t enough evidence — just conflicting testimony — in the August death by cop of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to ascertain whether the state grand jury got it right or not, a New York grand jury’s failure to indict New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July death of Eric Garner is fucking mind-blowing.

On July 17, Pantaleo put the 43-year-old Garner in a chokehold, reportedly for Garner’s resistance to being arrested for having illegally sold cigarettes. However, Garner’s resistance to being arrested, if there was such resistance, apparently was only verbal, not physical, and nor did he try to flee the scene.

Therefore, Pantaleo’s chokehold appears to be a textbook case of police brutality.

A bystander’s video of the interaction between Garner and cops that went viral shows several cops holding Garner down on the ground (including Pantaleo, holding Garner’s head down to the pavement), while Garner repeatedly pleads, “I can’t breathe!”

Garner, who reportedly had asthma, died — perhaps of asphyxia from status asthmaticus, which could be caused not only from a chokehold, but from the physical and emotional shock of suddenly being manhandled and dog-piled upon like he was.

In any event, while Pantaleo’s shameless fucking defenders blame Garner’s pre-existing health condition for his death — a textbook example of blaming the victim — a medical examiner and a forensic pathologist both concluded that Garner’s cause of death was homicide (death caused by another human being, in this case, by Pantaleo).

Video of Garner’s chokehold takedown went viral, and, as The Associated Press notes, “A second video surfaced that showed police and paramedics appearing to make no effort to revive Garner while he lay motionless on the ground. He later died at a hospital.”

“I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves,” Pantaleo reportedly stated in a written statement. “It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner.”

Regardless of what Pantaleo’s intention was, his unnecessary, thuggish chokehold predictably could have caused harm or even death, and therefore, in my book, he at least is guilty of negligent homicide or manslaughter. Chokeholds, after all, are banned by New York police policy. Pantaleo clearly violated the establish standards and norms for his job –– we have the video proof of that fact — and because of that, someone died.

Pantaleo should have to pay the price for that, and his merely being put on desk duty is nowhere near justice in this case. Those paramedics and police who also failed to do their duty to Garner also should be punished. Minimally, their fitness to remain in their jobs should be ascertained.

I hope that Garner’s survivors sue the holy living shit out of Pantaleo, and I hope that the feds bring about the justice that the New York grand jury did not.

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Notes on the mess in Ferguson

robberystrongarmedrobbery2.jpg

A screen grab (above) from a video apparently showing Michael Brown roughing up a convenience store clerk on the date of Brown’s shooting death by a white police officer apparently belies the idea of Brown having been a gentle giant, at least on the day of his death, but of course the unarmed Brown didn’t deserve to die for allegedly having stolen cigarillos. And law enforcement officers need to adopt non-lethal means of subduing subjects they deem dangerous or possibly dangerous, and of course we have way too many white cops shooting unarmed black men. All of that said, though, shit like torching police cars, as was done in Ferguson, Mo., last night (see news photo below), accomplishes exactly nothing.

A man runs from a police car that is set on fire after a group of protesters vandalize the vehicle after the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Associated Press photo

I’ve yet to write about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., for several reasons, including the fact that I wanted to wait for things to play out and the fact, to be honest, that I’ve been Fergusoned out, much like I’ve been Benghazi’d out. Not to compare the two (one is an event that is a symptom of our broad and deep societal ills, and the other a comparative non-event drummed up by the right wing), but because the sensationalist media have beaten both into the ground.

First: Let’s acknowledge, as taboo as it is to do so (on the left, anyway), that Michael Brown apparently was no angel. There very apparently is surveillance video, for fuck’s sake, of the 6-foot-4-inch, almost 300-pound 18-year-old (whose nickname apparently was “Big Mike”) very apparently roughing up a convenience store clerk on the day that he later was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson (that day was August 9), and Wilson has claimed that when he encountered Brown, Brown had a handful of cigarillos that he’d apparently stolen from the convenience store.

(Whether this is true or whether Wilson was lying in an attempt to retroactively “justify” his shooting of Brown by trying to link Brown to a crime that Wilson has claimed he had been aware of is quite in dispute. [It seems to me that it’s quite possible that Wilson had had no knowledge of the convenience-store robbery before he encountered Brown on that fateful day in August, and if memory serves, early news reports [such as this one] indeed were that Wilson had not known about the convenience-store robbery when he encountered Brown.])

I’m no angel myself, but the exact number of times that I’ve roughed up a convenience store clerk while stealing from him is, um, zero. As there not only is surveillance video, but as Michael Brown’s companion on that fateful day, Dorian Johnson, apparently also has testified that Brown committed the convenience-store robbery (to Johnson’s surprise), that Brown committed the crime is, methinks, fairly indisputable, and it is not “character assassination” to divulge unflattering facts about Brown’s unflattering actions on that day, as Brown’s defenders have alleged. Brown’s character, at least as it was on that particular day, it seems to me, rather speaks for itself. On that day, anyway, very apparently, Brown was no gentle giant.

But: Did Michael Brown deserve to get capped, even if he had committed a crime? Brown was unarmed, and photos of Darren Wilson’s “injuries” allegedly caused by Brown show only some red marks (maybe one light facial bruise) that appear as though they even could have been pre-existing. (Wilson, by the way, is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs around 210 pounds and is 28 years old.)

The fact that it’s verging on the year 2015 and despite all of our technological advances we still have no widely used non-lethal way of effectively subduing those whom law enforcement officers deem need to be subdued is testament to what degree life (especially non-white life) is considered to be cheap here in the United States of America.

Sure, we have Tasers, but those are good for only a limited range, and whenever cops claim, correctly or incorrectly, truthfully or untruthfully, that they feared for their lives, they don’t use Tasers or the like, but they use live rounds. With all of our technological advances, why do we allow this beyond-sorry state of affairs to continue? Why don’t we care enough to force the cops to change their tactics?

And, of course, it’s inarguable that black men are treated as automatically guilty by many if not even most white cops, who often act as judge, jury and even executioner, and that cops disproportionately are white males, like Darren Wilson.

It’s also inarguable that Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg. The main function of cops is to protect the socioeconomic interests of the plutocrats, the ruling elite. Cops serve and protect, all right, but whom do they serve and protect? Cops are tools of the elite, whether the cops know this or not, and whether the cops even care if they do know this.

So there is that dynamic that’s baked into the socioeconomic dynamics of the United States, as well as is the dynamic of institutionalized racism.

That said, while institutionalized racism rages on, we still must view every incident as an incident, with its unique details and factors and with its unique, individual actors, and we have to be careful not to allow individuals to become standard-bearers or stand-ins for our own views on race.

Just as Michael Brown apparently was no angel, I’m sure that Darren Wilson is no angel, either, and so to see black Americans portray Brown as what he apparently wasn’t (an innocent angel) and to see white Americans portray Wilson as what he probably isn’t (a “hero” who was just doing his job and protecting himself from a dangerous thug) has been disappointing, to put it mildly, because this is much more about sticking up for one’s own race than it is about any respect for the truth.

Indeed, the Ferguson case has been turned into a race war, in which Brown has been the proxy for black Americans and Wilson the proxy for white Americans – to the point that the grand jury’s decision, to many if not most Americans, apparently was supposed to go far, far beyond the very specific events surrounding Wilson’s shooting of Brown on August 9 in Ferguson, and was supposed to be a decision, a judgment, on whether or not American cops (most of them white) on the whole treat black American males unjustly, or even, more broadly, on whether or not the United States still has problems with racism.

That’s an understandable misunderstanding, I suppose, but it is a huge misunderstanding of the purpose of the grand jury nonetheless.

There was or there was not enough evidence to show that Wilson, in his capacity as a law enforcement officer, probably illegally shot Brown. (If the laws governing this question are fucked, that’s something else, and if the laws are fucked [and they are], then we need to change the laws.) That, however, was what the grand jury was to have decided: whether or not Wilson probably violated the letter of the law. That was the only job of the grand jury, and it was a narrow job.

And neither you nor I was there when Wilson shot Brown, which is another reason that I’ve yet to write about Ferguson until now: Most of us have an opinion on an event that we didn’t even witness, and for which we have only significantly different claims from different parties as to what did (and did not) transpire. Lacking that specific information, we fill the vacuum with our own opinions and prejudices and our biases that stem primarily from our own racial-group identity. Which is a sort of mob mentality.

Speaking of which, lobbing rocks and bricks and bottles and Molotov cocktails and smashing store-front windows and setting cars and buildings ablaze, while perhaps loads of fun for the participants, doesn’t do anything, that I can tell, to even begin to change the entrenched socioeconomic ills that plague the nation, the socioeconomic ills that are behind Michael Brown’s death.

I’m not staunchly against the use of violence as a political tactic – the plutocrats, our overlords, certainly never rule out the use of violence against us commoners, so we commoners never should rule out the use of violence against our plutocratic overlords, either – but violence, if used, should be strategic and it should get results. I don’t see that vandalizing store fronts and blocking roads and even setting businesses and other buildings and cars, including cop cars, ablaze do anything to even begin to change our corrupt system.

While the sources of the rage that induce individuals to take it to the streets are entirely understandable – those sources include institutionalized racism, ridiculous socioeconomic inequality from an economic system (capitalism) that is all about screwing others over for one’s own selfish gain, and the police state that we live under that protects and preserves this ridiculous socioeconomic inequality and institutionalized racism – again, I don’t see that the tactics that most of the enraged use on the streets actually are effective in bringing about real change.

Our fascistic, plutocratic overlords don’t exactly quake in their jackboots at the specter of small businesses having their front windows smashed out, and of course if a police car is torched, it is we, the taxpayers (which doesn’t include the tax-evading plutocrats), who will pay to replace that police car, of course. What do the plutocrats lose in these cases?

The plutocrats are perfectly willing to sacrifice a small, token amount in periodic property damage in order to perpetuate their ongoing socioeconomic rape, pillage and plunder of the masses and of the planet itself. (And it goes without saying, of course, that our plutocratic overlords are entirely untroubled by the periodic shootings of black men by white cops. After all, thus far the responses to these shootings, while they gain plenty of media coverage, haven’t threatened in any serious way the plutocrats’ iron grip on wealth and power.)

Finally, we Americans need to recognize that it wasn’t only Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown. Almost all of us killed Michael Brown. (Ditto for Trayvon Martin, as I have stated, and for many others.) Because we have continued to allow the inexcusable bullshit to continue, and as long as we continue to do so, as long as we continue to refuse to dive more deeply than the surface (such as by looking primarily or even solely at race and not nearly enough at class, and by failing to effectively hold accountable the plutocratic puppet masters who always are hiding behind the scenes and thus always get away scot-free), and as long as we continue to refuse to do the long, hard, sustained work of making – of forcing, if necessary – significant systemic changes (yes, including up to true revolution [“reform” always leaves the power structure intact, doesn’t it?]), there will be plenty of more Michael Browns and Darren Wilsons.

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