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Trump is toast

As an American politician or political candidate you can get away with saying all manner of vile, oppressive, even dangerous things in a “nice,” “polite” way, but a sex scandal always can bring you down like a ton of bricks in the hypocritically Victorian U.S. of A. Yesterday, The Washington Post released a video of Donald Trump in 2005 braggadociously reporting that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to “fuck” a married woman although at the time he already was married to his third wife, Melania. Trump, in Yoda-like fashion, also advised that with women whom you want to fuck, if “you’re a star,” you simply “Grab them by the pussy.”

We all already knew that Der Fuhrer Donald Trump is boorish, but the recording of him proclaiming in 2005 that “when you’re a star, they [(attractive) women] let you do … anything,” such as “Grab them by the pussy” just makes that knowledge so real. (The audio-video recording of Trump’s remarks about “do[ing] anything” to women whom you desire “when you’re a star” is here.)

This very most likely is the end of Trump’s campaign for president (although of course he has proclaimed that he won’t drop out; only someone who possesses a modicum of shame would do that).

I generally don’t believe in the public release of private remarks, but I don’t know that you really can call this case an invasion of privacy. I mean, Trump was openly talking to a TV show host and his remarks were picked up by a hot microphone. He wasn’t chatting at home or talking on the telephone.

And just as we needed to know about Clarence Thomas’ character before he incredibly stupidly was put on the U.S. Supreme Court, we need to know about Trump’s before he incredibly stupidly is put in the Oval Office.

Trump already was on a downward trajectory anyway after his shitty first presidential debate performance and the news that he apparently hasn’t paid federal income taxes in many years — fivethirtyeight.com right now puts his chances of winning the White House at only only 18.6 percent to Billary Clinton’s 81.4 percent, and I expect his chances to continue to dwindle — but it’s really over for him now.

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” Repugnican National Committee head Reince Preibus was forced to declare just a month and a day before the presidential election, and 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney similarly proclaimed, “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”

Pretty Boy Paul Ryan, Mittens’ running mate in 2012 and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, called the recording “sickening” and stated, “I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”

In his own “defense,” Trump proclaimed, “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Wow.

“Locker-room banter,” yes, indeed, but Trump wants to be president of the United States of America, and this banter didn’t stay inside of the locker room. And while 2005 was a bit over a decade ago, Trump is 70 years old now, so he was plenty old enough to know better in 2005. His claim that today he is a changed man is incredible; he didn’t make these remarks when he was in his teens or 20s.

I’m sure that we’ve had plenty of lechers in the White House, but, again, we haven’t heard recordings of their lecherous words; their lechery has remained, for the most part, an abstraction.

And when Trump tries to bring in Bill Clinton — who no doubt indeed was one of the former lechers in the White House, replete with semen-stained intern’s dress and all —  Trump reminds me of his opponent Billary Clinton, who frequently tries to throw someone else under the bus or tries to use someone else as a political human shield (Barack Obama, usually) when she is cornered.

It’s no wonder that both Trump and Billary are the most hated U.S. presidential candidates in modern history.

Speaking of Billary, I will note (to be, you know, fair and balanced) that some of the remarks that she reportedly made to Wall Street weasels in her highly paid speeches to them (you know, the transcripts of which she has refused to release) have been leaked by WikiLeaks, and while some of them are unflattering, in terms of political scandals, they’re nothing on the level of Pussygrabgate. (On that note, maybe it’s because I’m gay, but how, exactly, do you grab a woman by the pussy? You can grab a man by his junk, I suppose, especially if he’s gifted in that area, but there’s not much of a woman’s crotch to grab, is there?)

Anyway, let’s see: Billary allegedly stated that “politics is like sausage being made,” adding, that “if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

Like El Trumpo’s presidential proclamation about pussy-grabbing, this statement about sausage-making isn’t exactly shocking coming from Billary. For instance, I’ve always believed that she personally supported same-sex marriage long before she finally publicly came out for it in March 2013 (after Barack Obama finally had done so in May 2012), for fuck’s sake. And when NPR’s Terry Gross grilled Billary on it in June 2014, she reacted in such a hyper-defensive way as to reveal that she indeed has a public face and a private face, that she’s shamelessly two-faced.

Billary also allegedly stated, in the material in the latest WikiLeaks dump, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”

Slate.com notes that “This may thrill the [progressive] editors at Voxbut presumably not white working-class voters in Ohio. Point Trump.”

I would be fine with open trade and “a hemispheric common market” if they were run by us commoners instead of by corporate weasels; my problem with globalization and “free” trade thus far isn’t with the concepts of them, but with the execution of them thus far: by corporate weasels who care only about profiteering and not at all about people and not at all about the planet. The treasonous corporate weasels can and will pervert any good idea on which they can get their greedy little grubbies.

I’m also fine with a significantly more porous border between the United States and Mexico and the rest of Latin America. We Americans have more to gain than we have to lose from such a more open exchange of culture, ideas, goods and services.

But let’s face it: What’s preventing such a more open exchange between the United States and Latin America is that Americans are economically richer, as a whole, than are Latin Americans, and most Americans don’t want that socioeconomic inequity to change any decade soon. This is why even many (if not even most) who identify as Democrats don’t want a significantly more permeable southern border (and a wholly open border is an uber-non-starter for the vast majority of Americans, I’m confident).

Speaking of the southern border, Donald Trump this past week made a comment that I find more offensive and harmful than his frat-boy pussy-grabbing comment from 2005: This past week Trump alleged that the federal government is allowing “illegals” from Mexico to come into the United States to vote for Democrats.

Not only is this a fucking lie — The Washington Post notes that “There’s no evidence … that immigrants (a) come to the country illegally to vote, (b) register to vote illegally and (c) cast votes in federal elections on any substantive scale” and that “There’s essentially no in-person voter fraud in American politics” — but demagogue Der Fuhrer Trump really needs to get his anti-Mexican rhetoric straight:

Do Mexican “illegals” come to the United States to rape, murder, pillage and plunder, as he and his xenophobic, nationalist, fascist, white-supremacist supporters repeatedly have alleged — or do they come here to vote?

Because, you know, when I think of hard-core criminals, I just don’t think of them as being committed voters. (Seriously: For sure, right after a man has raped and murdered and done some drug-running, he wants nothing more than to go vote illegally!)

Trump’s fucking fascist lie that Mexican “illegals” are crossing the border in droves in order to vote illegally is meant to accomplish at least two evil things:

(1) To bolster the fascist wingnuts’ delusion that the majority of us Americans actually agree with their hateful, ignorant, bigoted, demented, basket-of-deplorables worldview, and therefore, when the wingnuts lose elections, it only can mean that the elections were rigged (and therefore, any election results that don’t favor the wingnuts should be disregarded). This mindset is a grave threat to our democracy.

and

(2) To continue, for political and personal gain, to demonize and dehumanize the brown-skinned denizens from south of the border, much how the Nazis demonized and dehumanized Jews (and many, many others) for political and personal gain. We know what happened to the Jews and to the other victims of the Nazis.

Donald Trump is a fascist piece of shit who must never become president, and who, should he actually make it that far (which at this point is highly unlikely but not absolutely impossible, I suppose), must be relieved of the office by whatever means necessary. The republic is more important than is any one individual, especially a fascistic, pussy-grabbing, Latin-American-bashing piece of shit like Donald John Trump.

Thankfully, while fivethirtyeight.com puts Trump’s chances of becoming president at not even a full one in five, I put it at about one in a hundred (one in fifty would be charitable).

Bloodshed over Der Fuhrer Trump most likely won’t be necessary, but if the fascist traitors who support Der Fuhrer Trump want a rematch of the Civil War, my standing response remains: Bring it, bitches!

P.S. Oh, yeah (duh): The second presidential debate is scheduled for tomorrow night. There is a pretty good chance that I’ll live-blog it. Especially now.

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Robo-Rubio repeats nauseating, vastly overrated talking point ad nauseam

Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made mincemeat of Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio during last night’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, which is ironic, given that Christie very most likely won’t be the party’s nominee but that thus far Rubio, whose retrograde rhetoric greatly appeals to the party’s adherents, has been polling the best against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in general-election match-up polls. 

General-election polls this far out from a presidential election can be only so accurate (that is, probably not all that much), but nonetheless the Repugnican Tea Party traitors probably should be shaken, not stirred, that Chris Christie last night did to Marco Rubio what the Hulk did to Loki in “The Avengers” and what Joe Biden did to Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice-presidential debate.

Rubio, for all of his flaws (such as his complete lack of real substance and his apparently just having stepped out from a time machine from at least as far back as the 1950s), was doing better in the polls against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than was any other Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe.

Real Clear Politics’ average of general-election match-up polls (polls conducted before last night’s debacle) right now puts Rubio at 5 full percentage points above Billary and even 1.5 percentage points above Bernie.

Rubio is the only top-three (Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate whose RCP averages show beating Bernie, in fact; Bernie beats Cruz by 1.5 percent and he beats Trump by a whopping 7.7 percent.

(Billary, on the other hand, not only does worse against Rubio than does Bernie, but she also doesn’t do as well against Trump or Cruz as does Bernie; Cruz beats her by 1 percentage point in RCP’s current average of match-up polls, and she beats Trump by 4 percent to Bernie’s 7.7 percent. Take a look yourself.)

Before Chris Christie, who won’t win his party’s presidential nomination, last night went Hulk on Loki Rubio, Rubio’s shtick of being the next (albeit Latino and Repugnican Tea Party) Barack Obama apparently had been working, given the fact that he had been doing better in the presidential match-up polls than anyone else in his party.

I’m not sure what happened to Rubio last night, and I didn’t watch the debate (having watched all five Democratic debates has been torturous enough, mainly because of the repetition and because of Billary Clinton’s plethora of lies, deflections and triangulations, made with her voice that is like fingernails dragging along a chalkboard), but Rubio widely has been described as having been in last night’s debate like an animatronic feature at Disneyland that, because of a glitch, kept repeating the same line.

The first time he said it, per TIME.com’s transcript of last night’s debate, Rubio said this:

“And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

He immediately added:

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

Then Christie spoke, and among the things he said was this:

“I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We’ve watched it happen [with Obama], everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”

In his response to that, Rubio bizarrely repetitively stated (in part):

“But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America.

“And when I’m elected president, this will become once again the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.”

Christie devastatingly responds (in part): “You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That’s what Washington, D.C., does: The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.

“See, Marco — Marco, the thing is this: When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.

“They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state’s history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done.

“None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s a fine job, I’m glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.”

Quite bizarrely, Rubio responds to Christie a third time with the Obama thing; he says, in part, “Here’s the bottom line: This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Christie immediately responds, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

Unfazed and undeterred, Robo-Rubio goes on for a fourth iteration of the same point: “Well, that’s the — that’s the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done.

“That’s why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he’s done to America is deliberate. This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake. …”

Just: Wow.

Donald Trump later in the debate took issue with Robo-Rubio’s repetitive asssertion that the evil Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing by stating, “I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Two very different views from two individuals who claim the same party.

I agree that Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience to be president. He’d only been a U.S. senator for four years before he ascended to the White House and had never been a governor or even a mayor, of course.

That he spent — squandered — his first two years in the nation’s highest elected office acting as though he were so special (a second coming of Abraham Lincoln or something) that he could unite the two parties in a rousing rendition of “Kumbaya” demonstrated his utter lack of experience in D.C. (and his hubris).

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. never were going to cooperate with Obama, not only because he uses the label of Democrat but also because he’s half-black. In fact, it’s anachronistic of me to write that the “Repugnican Tea Party traitors” in D.C. never were going to cooperate with him, because the “tea party’s” creation, circa 2009, was a reaction to the election of another Democratic and our first non-all-white president.

The “tea party” surge of 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010, and therefore any progressive agenda that Obama might have tried to push through for the next six years was pretty much dead on arrival.

And I blame Obama’s lack of political experience and his pride for that, for his apparent belief that he’s so great that his merely being president would solve all of the nation’s problems (and its wounds, such as its long-standing problems with racism) to the point that he didn’t need to even try to push through a progressive agenda in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital, including both houses of Congress in his party’s control.

But I voted for Obama in November 2008, so I have to own that. It was a shot in the dark, I knew, to put this relative neophyte into the White House, but he ubiquitously and relentlessly was promising “hope” and “change,” and sometimes these things work out well. It was, I’d figured, worth a shot.

I digress, as I so often do, but I will note that while the Repugnican Tea Party’s complaint against Obama is that he has gone too far to the left, my chief complaint against Obama is that he hasn’t gone nearly enough to the left.

But the larger point that I want to make is that so often the style and not the substance (such as it is) of Marco Rubio’s nationally televised appearances is analyzed.

For instance, there was some criticism that the substance of Rubio’s nationally televised response to Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address was overlooked because on live TV he’d grabbed a water bottle and taken a swig from it — as though we couldn’t see him do that on live national television. It was a rather bizarre moment.

“Yes, let’s look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech,” I blogged then, and I concluded that Rubio’s central shtick is to pretend that we’re still living at least as far back in the 1950s, when, as least the mythos goes, anyone could make it in the capitalist United States of America if he or she only tried — so if you’re struggling right now, it’s entirely your own fucking fault as a patently defective individual, because the American socioeconomic system is perfect, is a perfect meritocracy.

This was the origin of my nickname of “Bootstraps” for Rubio, although that might have been supplanted now by “Robo-Rubio.”

Rubio, like his fellow Cuban-American fascist Ted Cruz, mindlessly spouts the antiquated, bullshit rhetoric of the Cuban fascists whom the much more egalitarian Fidel Castro decades ago induced to flee to the United States, where their treasonous, right-wing, fascist, pro-capitalist/pro-exploitation/pro-plutocratic/anti-populist philosophy could thrive.

(I concluded my blog post on Rubio’s response to the 2013 State of the Union address:

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I stand by every word of that.)

If the “substance” of Rubio’s response to the State of the Union address was lost amid the shallow discussion of his on-air parchedness, I’m also not seeing a discussion of the “substance” of the “point” that Rubio thought was so damned clever and so fucking insightful that he kept repeating it over and over and over and over and over again last night, even after Chris Christie had just slammed him for only standing up there and repeating it mindlessly.

So let’s examine Rubio’s first iteration of it:

“… And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

First and foremost, I see in Rubio’s words his constant hearkening at least as far back to the 1950s; anything that Obama or any other president might do that doesn’t keep the United States of America firmly trapped in amber for eternity is bad. It threatens “the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

And those words evoke Robo-Rubio’s second theme, which is that of American “supremacy,” which to me is way too aligned with white American supremacy, but you can get away with alleging American supremacy because that can be cast as patriotism rather than as racism and bigotry.

But Robo-Rubio’s words are awfully loaded: “Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

What Rubio very apparently is evoking, especially within his older, whiter and richer voters, is the specter that their exploitative, exclusive, Elysium-like existence has been threatened!

Americans’ quality of life, in which even most poorer Americans still have it better off than do billions of other human beings around the globe, and which comes at the expense of those billions of other human beings around the globe, might be threatened — by global equality! Global equality! Did you hear me? I said: GLOBAL EQUALITY! HORRORS!

What if our wholly unsustainable, materialistic, overly consumeristic lifestyles were threatened? What if we actually had to live like responsible citizens of the planet? What if we actually had to scale it back so that other human beings and, indeed, the planet itself, could survive?

One shudders to contemplate the consequences of us Americans surrendering even a modicum of our abject selfishness — even when our abject selfishness is to the point that it is threatening even our own continued survival, such as with extreme weather events and the spread of diseases to warming environments, such as the Zika virus.

Rubio’s “vision” for the Unites States of America is fairly clear: “Obamacare” bad. Not because it doesn’t go far enough, not because “Obamacare” contains in it nothing that the wealth-care — er, health-care industry didn’t want in it — which is my criticism of it — but because to help anyone with health care at all is bad.

The stimulus — bad, because, as we have just established, helping anyone out (except, of course, the weasels of Wall Street and other corporate weasels) is bad. (Bootstraps! Pick yourself up by them! Oh, you don’t have any boots? That’s because you’re lazy!)

Dodd-Frank, which was just a Band-Aid on the dam that is Wall Street, the dam that regularly bursts, is bad, because the Wall Street weasels should be allowed to do whatever they please. (Why do you hate freedom?)

The deal with Iran — bad, because, a la George Orwell’s 1984, we must always have an enemy. The treasonous rich (the true enemy, within) can continue to rape, pillage and plunder us commoners much more easily if we commoners always have an enemy from without to focus upon.

So, as president, Robo-Rubio would make sure that we commoners don’t get adequate health care — or any assistance at all, because, you know, bootstraps — and he would return Wall Street to the freedom-loving weasels who keep ruining our nation’s economy but whom we keep bailing out nonetheless (bootstraps don’t apply to the Wall Street weasels, you see; I mean, when have you ever seen a weasel wearing boots?). And for our diversion, a President Bootstraps would ensure that we were at war with some other nation at all times.

And the last thing that a President Bootstraps would allow is global equality, a grave evil that only Satan himself could have conjured.

Because Robo-Rubio has vision!

If you think that I’ve misrepresented Robo-Rubio’s “vision,” here is another of his many iterations of the same point last night:

“… I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here, OK? This is a president — this is a president who is trying to change this country. When he talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems.

“Obamacare was not an accident. The undermining of the Second Amendment is not an accident. The gutting of our military is not an accident. The undermining of America on the global stage is not an accident. Barack Obama is, indeed, trying to redefine this country. We better understand what we’re dealing with here, because that’s what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to double down on if they are elected.”

Well, yes, Obama has tried to change the nation, very incrementally, too incrementally (as Billary now proposes to do), but with change you have to ask who benefits from it and who doesn’t. Of course Robo-Rubio’s target audience — the mostly older, richer, whiter set — benefits the most from the status quo. The majority of the rest of us Americans, and the rest of the world, do not.

Again, Obamacare was but a Band-Aid on the severe problem that the United States spends more per capita on health care than does any other nation yet has worse health-care outcomes than do many other nations that spend much less on health care — and this is because health care is so widely for-profit here in the U.S.

Yes, we need to change our health-care system. Obamacare didn’t go nearly far enough, but Bootstraps and his treasonous ilk claim that it went way too far.

The Second Amendment is not endangered. Most Americans still may quite easily purchase a weapon that is far more lethal than anyone thought weapons ever would be when the Second Amendment was adopted.

Our military has not been “gutted.” This graph, titled “Top five countries by military expenditure in 2014. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” is from Wikipedia’s article on global military spending:

If the United States of America halved its military spending, it still would exceed No.-2 China’s by a significant amount.

So when Robo-Rubio claims that “When [Obama] talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems,” who, exactly, is “our”? Because the things that Bootstraps wants to reverse and/or to continue — such as maintaining a bloated-beyond-belief military budget and perpetrating perpetual warfare; refusing to help Americans with health care, even in a token way, such as via Obamacare (while bailing out the Wall Street weasels who should receive prison sentences instead of welfare); and ensuring that gun massacres continue to happen on a regular basis (because Second Amendment!) are things that are harmful to us commoners.

I will, however, agree with one statement that Robo-Rubio made last night: Bernie Sanders, if elected as president, probably would “double down” on trying to create the change that Barack Obama promised but very mostly has not delivered, the kind of change that Bootstraps Rubio and his fascist ilk absolutely abhor: the kind of change that benefits not only the most Americans as possible, but the most human beings on the planet as possible — instead of keeping the relatively tiny few safely atop their treasonous, oligarchic perches of stolen wealth and power and privilege, from where they shit and piss upon the rest of us, the masses, and from where they conspire even to destroy the entire planet itself, because their short-sightedness, selfishness and greed know no bounds.

P.S. I just found this news photo via Yahoo! News:

MR12. Londonderry (Usa), 07/02/2016.- People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's performance at the 06 February Republican debate; outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA, 07 February 2016. The New Hampshire primary will be held on 09 February 2016. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EFE (Spain) photo

Its caption states: “People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s performance at the February 6 Republican debate, outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, [today]. The New Hampshire primary will be held on [Tuesday].”

Yup. Methinks that his debate performance last night is going to harm Robo-Rubio on Tuesday. Right now he’s polling at a distant second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire, but now, I’m thinking, he’ll come in no more than at third place.

Rubio’s chance of winning the nomination suffered a serious blow last night, and he probably was the best presidential candidate his party had in these shallow times, where legions of low-information voters decide so many elections.

Thank you, Chris Christie!

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A late-in-the-game Biden run probably would only help Bernie beat Billary

Is there enough of a political difference between Joe Biden and Billary Clinton for Team Bernie Sanders to worry about Biden jumping into the presidential race at rather the last minute? Methinks not. I see establishmentarian Democrat/“Democrat” Biden drawing more support away from DINO Billary than from Bernie. A perfect alignment of the stars for us progressives would be Biden running and helping Bernie to beat Billary for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Donald Trump running for the White House as an independent, Ross-Perot style, and helping Bernie to win the White House by siphoning votes away from the Repugnican presidential candidate, whichever wingnut that turns out to be.

The big political news now is that Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about entering the 2016 presidential race.

I am unmoved.

I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Joe Biden; I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him, either. I was surprised when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008, as Biden had done so poorly in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary contest that he withdrew on January 3, after having come in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses, with only 1 percent of the vote.

At that time, Biden said that his second run for the presidency (he had run in 1988 also) would be his last. (Biden dropped out of the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary contest after he was damaged by the accusation that he had plagiarized speech material.)

Perhaps Obama didn’t want to be overshadowed by a stronger personality were he to win the presidency, making Joe Biden a Dan-Quayle-like choice for veep. In any event, it apparently has been clear to Biden, with the exception of a “gaffe” or two, that as vice president he very much has been the beta male. No Dick Cheney role for him (at least certainly not publicly).

As vice president Joe Biden has been unremarkable, and since he at least has given the public appearance of being on board with All Things Obama, and since I find Obama’s presidency to have been incredibly disappointing, to put it mildly — as I’ve written a million times, Obama’s biggest mistake was not pushing through a progressive agenda when the Democratic Party held control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010 (and yes, to me, the ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” signified progressivism, not more of the same) — for the most part I view Biden as jut another establishmentarian “Democrat,” along with Obama and Billary Clinton.

Yes, we do get to judge you by the company that you keep.

My support of Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains unswayed and unchanged by the news that Biden might jump in.

I did enjoy, as I wrote at the time, watching Biden thoroughly thrash Paul “Pretty Boy” Ryan in the vice presidential debate of October 2012, which started the hilarious Internet meme that cast Biden as the Hulk and Ryan as the villainous pretty boy Loki, whom in the 2012 hit comic-book movie “The Avengers” the Hulk picks up and smashes to the ground, leaving him in a crater created by his own body.

But of course that doesn’t mean that Biden should be president, and after he dropped out of the presidential race in 1988 due to the plagiarism scandal and after he dropped out after the very first contest of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary season because he’d done so poorly in Iowa, I don’t see Biden as a strong presidential candidate now.

Yes, vice presidents often go on to run for the presidency, but of course they don’t have to. George H.W. Bush and Al Gore did (and both of them won [yes, of course Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election]), but even Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney knew better, and I put Biden’s strength somewhere between those two groups of vice presidents who did run for the presidency and who did not.

The touchy-feely report (which may or not even be true) that it (more or less) was the dying wish of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in late May, that his father run for the presidency in 2016 might be touching for some, but it does not sway me. The presidency is far too important to allow emotional pap like that to decide it. I look at the totality of Joe Biden, and while of course I’d rather have him than uber-DINO Billary Clinton sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, again, I still see him as a member of the Democratic Party establishment.

Bernie Sanders is not. Again, I’m still with Bernie. Whatever Biden does or doesn’t do, it won’t change that.

What I can see Joe Biden doing, however, is helping Bernie Sanders.

I can see Biden and Billary splitting the establishmentarian Democratic Party/DINO vote, which could only help Sanders, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate only as an independent, as a self-described little-“d” democratic socialist. (He is running on the big-“D” Democratic ticket now only because third-party/independent presidential runs are Herculean feats; it’s much easier to run for the White House within the duopolistic party system, as flawed and anti-democratic as it is.)

Sanders has distanced himself from the establishmentarian Democrats his entire political career, so his status as an outsider, which is what so many of us who are left of center want, is solid. (Perhaps you could call him the Donald Trump of the left.*)

The “democratic socialist” label hasn’t been toxic to Sanders, who for a while now has been polling nationally among Democrats and Democratic Party leaners in the double digits, more often than not second to Billary, with Biden more often than not coming in at third place, behind Billary and Bernie, when he is included in these polls.

Indeed, those who have a problem with the word “socialist” never, ever were going to vote for a Democrat for president in the first place. Indeed, even Obama, who has been a moderate at best — I don’t think that it would be inaccurate or unfair to describe Obama as having been center-right on the political spectrum — has been labeled by the lunatic fringe of the right as a “socialist.”

We shouldn’t worry about what the right-wing nut jobs who never are going to vote for a Democrat anyway are going to think. They never were going to be on our team in the first place, thank Goddess.

And young voters love Bernie Sanders.

While the enthusiasm that surrounds Sanders is not the same as that which surrounded Obama in 2008 — every presidential campaign season has its own flavor, and every presidential candidate has his or her own flavor — I’ve seen youthful enthusiasm for Sanders that I haven’t seen for the utterly uninspiring and uncharismatic Billary Clinton.

(Yes, I was one  of the thousands upon thousands of people who attended one of the thousands of Bernie Sanders gatherings across the nation on Wednesday night, and while the gathering that I attended was a good mix of generations, with young, elderly and middle-aged attendees, I’d estimate that at least half of the attendees, of which there were about 30 in total, were enthusiastic Millennials, one of whom identified himself as a Vietraq War veteran who had voted for George W. Bush until after he was sent to Bush’s bogus war in Vietraq.)

So I am perfectly fine with Joe Biden jumping into the race, even though it seems awfully late in the game for him still to be able to do so and to be successful. Not only is it perfectly his democratic right to do so if he wishes, but again, because he has been so closely aligned with the disappointing DINO Barack Obama, as has DINO Billary Clinton, I can see Biden only taking more support from Billary than from Bernie.

P.S. Should Al Gore jump into the race soon, as one Salon.com writer recently wrote he wishes would happen, that would be different. As Al Gore already won the White House in 2000, and as the writer for Salon.com correctly noted that Gore probably could bridge the establishmentarian “Democrats” and progressives (which, in my estimation, Billary can’t do and Biden can’t do much better than Billary can), I could see Gore winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination were he to run, even at this late date. He’d be a powerhouse.

But I doubt that he’ll run.

*While of course I loathe Donald Trump, the success of his presidential campaign thus far — right now he tops the Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls — demonstrates that a sizeable chunk of the American electorate remains displeased with the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (This seems to be fairly unchanged since Ross Perot, who always struck me as a wingnut [he might be labeled as libertarian or leaning libertarian, but the libertarians always have struck me as wingnuts], ran as an independent presidential candidate back in 1992, garnering just short of 19 percent of the popular vote.)

While the poor and the working class who support Trump (and the “tea party”) stupidly support him (and the “tea party”) like chickens stupidly supporting Colonel Sanders — they have the lottery mentality that they can be billionaires, too (of course, they can’t) — cannot identify the real problems of and the real enemies to the nation (the treasonously self-serving plutocrats like Trump, the Koch brothers and the Bush crime family [and yes, the Clinton crime family, too], not labor-union members and “illegals,” are destroying the nation), they at least correctly identify that the duopolistic, corporation- and plutocrat-loving Democratic Party and Repugnican Party stopped representing the majority of Americans’ best interests long ago.

Of course, just as I’d love Joe Biden to jump in and hopefully suck more votes away from Billary Clinton than from Bernie Sanders — which I surmise would be the case — I’d love for Donald Trump to pull a Ross Perot and run as an independent presidential candidate in 2016.

While some argue that Ross Perot’s run didn’t take more votes away from incumbent President George H.W. Bush than from Bill Clinton in 1992, I’ve always surmised that Perot, being right of center, of course siphoned more votes from Bush than from Clinton, thus helping Clinton to win the White House with only a plurality of the votes.

Similarly, I think it is inarguable that were Trump to run for the White House as an independent in 2016, of course he’d take more votes from the Repugnican candidate, whoever that turns out to be, than from the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate turns out to be.

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Affirmative action: Two wrongs don’t make a right (and yes, Paul Ryan is racist)

Updated below (on Monday, March 17, 2014)

The Sneetches are out in force with the warming weather.

Ah, springtime approaches, which means that it’s time for all of us to emerge from hibernation — and engage in more race wars!

The topic of affirmative action is rearing its ugly head again here in California, and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan is in some trouble (rightfully so) for a blatantly racist remark that he recently made.

In 1996, California’s voters approved Proposition 209, which made affirmative action by the state government, including at the state’s universities, illegal, by writing this prohibition into the state’s Constitution. Of course legal challenges followed, but the courts have upheld the constitutionality of Prop 209, whose language remains in the California Constitution today (if often ignored by those who still practice affirmative action, illegally, in California anyway).

Affirmative action is, I think, for the most part well-intended: to right the wrongs of the past, especially where adverse racial discrimination is concerned.

But, like Communism, affirmative action has looked much better on paper than it has in practicality. Did it ever achieve the equality that it promised it would? Um, yeah, no.

Practicing affirmative action now doesn’t help those who were harmed by racial discrimination in the past. It only creates even more racial discrimination in the present. Only it’s “nice,” “good” or “beneficial” racial discrimination, you see.

Bullshit, in my book. In my book, racial discrimination, whether intended to harm or to benefit someone, is wrong.

And of course the plutocratic powers that be love it when we commoners are fighting each other based upon our race, just like Dr. Seuss’ star-bellied (and plain-bellied) Sneetches. Because when we commoners are fighting each other (perhaps especially over something as superficial as our race), we’re divided, we’re not united in fighting the plutocratic powers that be.

The problem in California is that there are more who want to go to a state college or to a university than there are resources for those individuals. When scarcity arises, people want to start making cuts, but cuts based upon race is not the way to go.

If we truly want to be a post-racial society, then race has to stop mattering. (It will stop mattering — at some vague point in the distant future, the proponents of affirmative action argue. Um, yeah, no. The only time is right now.)

Asian students, for instance, are significantly over-represented in California’s state universities based on the Asian population in the state as a whole. And many if not most Californian Asians oppose the re-legalization of affirmative action in California because a return to a race-based quota system — and that’s what affirmative action creates, no matter what its short-sighted proponents may claim otherwise — would cut their admission numbers drastically. And, of course, many if not most (mostly non-Asian, of course) Californians view these Asian Californians as assholes for appearing to wish to perpetuate their “unfair” advantage.

What, exactly, is their “unfair” advantage? That they are Asian or that they are academically gifted — or that they are academically gifted while Asian? If they are academically gifted, why must they be penalized for that fact if they happen to be Asian?

I don’t see that it’s any more fair to shut out Asians than it is to shut out any other racial group. Racial discrimination is racial discrimination.

True fairness and justice have to come on a one-on-one, case-by-case basis, not based upon one’s racial group.

And like Communism was (let me emphasize that I’m talking about big-“C” communism and not about democratic socialism, which I support), affirmative action has been another failed attempt at social engineering. Human beings aren’t lab rats; they, we, are human beings, not some fucking lab experiment.

All Californians who have demonstrated the aptitude for college-level work should have the opportunity to go to college or to a university, regardless of their race. If the problem is that there aren’t enough resources for all of those individuals who wish to do so — and that is the problem here in California — then the solution is to expand that opportunity for everyone of all races by demanding that it be expanded, demanding that our tax dollars stop going towards things like the bloated-beyond-belief military-corporate complex and start going toward actual human needs, not to obscene human greed.

(And, of course, if part of the problem is that our public elementary and high schools are failing too many of our students, and I understand that they are, then we need to tackle that problem, too. [No, for-profit/charter schools are not the answer. Whenever profiteering is the No. 1 goal of any enterprise, that enterprise always will suffer, since profiteering is its main reason for existing at all.] And let’s not blame it all on our public schools; we lazy, selfish Americans are failing our young people as a whole, and it’s not fair for us to blame that on our public schools and their underpaid employees to the degree that we do!)

The solution to the scarcity of spots in California’s state universities is not the Procrustean bed of insisting that the racial composition of state university enrollment strictly matches the racial composition of the state at large.

This “solution” superficially seems fair, but it’s deeply unfair to many, many individuals, unfair to too many individuals for us to be able to deem it “fair” overall.

Two-thirds of the California Senate not long ago voted to put the repeal of Prop 209 on the statewide ballot. The state Assembly also would have to vote by a two-thirds margin to put the repeal of Prop 209 on the ballot for the state’s voters to decide whether to reinstate legalized affirmative action, but the state Assembly has yet to take the matter up. (Hopefully, it never will.)

Should the repeal of Prop 209 it make it to the ballot, I will vote against it and otherwise fight it. Affirmative action is a poorly thought-out practice that takes us further from, not closer to, a truly post-racial society (an ideal that, quite admittedly, we human beings might never meet before we annihilate ourselves).

And then there is former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Repugnican Tea Party U.S. representative from Wisconsin, who recently remarked that here in the United States we have a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”

Reuters reports that

[U.S. Rep.] Barbara Lee of California, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.

I agree with Lee — not just because Ryan is a Repugnican Tea Partier and I abhor the Repugnican Tea Party and its adherents, but because Ryan’s remark was meant to convey two false ideas:

(1) That certain individuals, based upon their race, inherently, even genetically, are lazy, do not want to work (while others, of course [like Ryan, of course], inherently, even genetically, are industrious); and

(2) That if someone does not want to slave in a minimum-wage job on which he or she cannot even live — and this is the only kind of job that the vast majority of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want the vast majority of us Americans to be able to have (the Repugnicans and their allies always have opposed even modest increases in the minimum wage, and they vehemently oppose a living wage) — then this means that he or she is “lazy.”

No, this means that he or she simply wishes to be paid the fair value of his or her work, and not be a fucking wage slave in perpetuity.

That’s what this means.

This is how the plutocrats long have defended their theft of our wealth: by calling us, the victims of their theft, “lazy.” Should we commoners point out the simple fact that the plutocrats have been robbing us blind forfuckingever now, the plutocratic traitors among us then accuse us commoners of waging a “class war,” when, in fact, they have been waging a class war forfuckingever in order to maintain their unfair lofty, gilded status. In fact, there is no other way for them to maintain their 1-percent status other than by waging their class war against the rest of us. And they wage this class war against us in a thousand fucking ways every fucking day.

So Paul Ryan told a dual lie: he insinuated that the members of certain races (and while Barbara Lee apparently was looking out for her own racial group, I don’t believe that Ryan was referring only to black Americans) inherently are lazy (a blatantly racist belief, a textbook, dictionary-definition example of a racist belief), when, in fact, because of institutionalized racism and white supremacy since the nation’s inception, some if not many members of the historically-socioeconomically-oppressed-by-the-white-majority groups have to a large degree just given up on chasing the so-called “American dream,” which, should they pursue it, they institutionally are set up by our plutocratic overlords to fail to catch. (And, to be fair, this trap catches most white Americans, too. Too much discussion of race presumes that most white Americans are wealthy when that is not the case, and the national discussion of class has long suffered at least in part because it has been so overshadowed by the national discussion of race.)

Yes, besides his racist lie about one’s level of industriousness being inherent (that is, race-based), Ryan retold the long-running lie that the United States of America is a meritocracy (and not a plutocracy), a system where your hard work actually will get you somewhere.

We commoners are acutely aware of the value of our hard work — our hard work indeed is so valuable that the plutocrats like Ryan and his ilk institutionally/systematically steal the value of our work from us, leaving us only crumbs. (This blatant thievery is called “capitalism,” which is deemed to be “good” — so “good,” and so inherently and intrinsically and self-evidently “good,” in fact, that we commoners may not even discuss the goodness or the lack of goodness of capitalism.) The plutocrats’ historical, blatant theft of the value of our commoners’ hard work demonstrates that they value hard work, too — our hard work, of course.

And, of course, when the far-right likes of Paul Ryan talk about “the value of work,” I cannot help but remember the signs that the Nazis erected above the entrances to their concentration camps: “Arbeit macht frei” — German for “Work makes you free.”

In Nazi Germany, it was the members of the Nazi Party telling their concentration-camp victims that work would set them free.

Today in the U.S., it’s the members of the Repugnican Tea Party assuring their victims that work will set us free.

Of course, it’s never the Nazis or the Repugnican Tea Partiers who are doing the hard work, is it?

And under their thumbs, no matter how hard we should work, we’ll never be free.

Update (Monday, March 17, 2014): California Assembly Speaker John Perez has announced that he will not allow the repeal of Prop 209 to come up for a vote in the state Assembly now, so that the repeal of Prop 209 will not appear on the November statewide ballot.

Three state senators who previously had been among the two-thirds of the state Senate to vote for putting the repeal of Prop 209 on the ballot reversed their positions and asked Perez not to proceed with issue in the Assembly, where Perez apparently wouldn’t have been able to muster the necessary two-thirds vote anyway.

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Chris Christie has become the Repugnicans’ bridge to nowhere

The George Washington Bridge toll booths are pictured in Fort Lee, New Jersey

Reuters photo

An aide to Repugnican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie very apparently orchestrated lanes of the George Washington Bridge, pictured above, to be closed in order to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for not having endorsed Christie’s gubernatorial re-election. The bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York City via Fort Lee, is one of the busiest in the world.

Any Repugnican, including the teatards, who celebrates the probable political downfall of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a moron. (Well, they’re all morons, but still.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want Chris Christie or any other Repugnican, teatard or not, anywhere near the White House, but recent nationwide polls have suggested that Christie is the only member of his party who can beat Billary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, in November 2016.

A CNN/ORC poll taken last month had Christie beating Billary by two percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent. No big deal, you say, but Billary garnered anywhere from 52 percent to 58 percent against all of the other Repugnican candidates in the poll, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Prick Perry, Marco Rubio, Pretty Boy Paul Ryan and yes, Prick Santorum.

A Quinnipiac University poll also taken last month showed Christie beating Billary by one percentage point, 42 percent to 41 percent. No big deal, you might say again, but in that poll, Billary beat every other Repugnican — Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — by 7 percent to 13 percent.

A McClatchy-Marist poll also taken last month showed Billary actually beating Christie by 3 percent, 48 percent to 45 percent, but in that poll, too, Christie fared much better against Billary than did any other Repugnican, all of whom lost to Billary by 10 percent to 23 percent (true, it was Sarah Palin who lost to Billary by 23 percent, and Palin very most likely won’t be running in 2016, but still…).

True, Christie would have had to overcome the right-wing extremists — well, they’re nutjobs; even “right-wing extremist” doesn’t capture their depravity, and even “nutjobs” doesn’t capture how dangerous they are (there are plenty of harmless nutjobs), so probably “fascists” and “‘Christo’fascists” are the best terms for these Orc-like “people” — to win his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I think that he could have done that.

Before now.

Before the news that, as The Associated Press has put it, “e-mails and text messages suggest that one of Christie’s top aides engineered traffic jams in the New Jersey town [of Fort Lee] last September to punish its Democratic mayor.” The AP adds:

… The messages do not directly implicate Christie, but they appear to contradict his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.

The messages were obtained by The Associated Press and other news organizations amid a statehouse investigation into whether the lane closings that led to the tie-ups were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last fall.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a[n e-mail] message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

[Reuters reports that Wildstein’s e-mail reply was: “Got it.”]

A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily-traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.

Beyond the specifics of the lane closures, critics suggest the incident reflects a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency. …

“This completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge,” Christie has proclaimed, adding, “People will be held responsible for their actions.”

While I find it very difficult to believe that any of Christie’s staffers would have been so brazenly bold as to orchestrate something so large without Christie’s knowledge, if not also his consent, at the bare minimum, even if Christie is telling the truth, which I very much doubt, Bridgegate seriously calls into question Christie’s ability to keep his own flying monkeys in check.

Gee, what would President Christie do if he failed to get someone’s endorsement for his re-election? Send a killer drone after him or her?

I agree with the AP’s assessment that a criticism that could be made of Christie is that Bridgegate reveals “a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency.” Indeed, he reminds me of the revengeful Richard Nixon.

All of this said, while I can’t stand Billary, and while I doubt that as president she’d be significantly more effective or progressive than Barack Obama has been — and so I still hope that she faces a strong, actually progressive challenger for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — of course I’d rather see Billary in the White House, if that is unavoidable, than Chris Christie.

And Chris Christie was his party’s best path to recapturing the White House.

But now, he has become his party’s bridge to nowhere.

P.S. Yes, Christie’s probable political ruin perhaps might help the likes of presidential wannabe Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whom I despise probably even more than I despise Christie, but Walker is fairly unknown outside of Wisconsin, and could he beat Billary? I doubt it. I could see him winning his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I can’t see him winning the White House.

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It’s (probably) Billary’s if she wants it

FILE - In this April 2, 2013, file photo Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are seen in Washington. Clinton, whose popularity is high when out of public office and who carries the scars of being seen as inevitable in 2008, is trying to strike the right careful balance between staying out of the daily political maelstrom and setting herself up for a possible second presidential run. Her fans and foes are making that difficult. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Associated Press photo

Recent polls put Billary Clinton (photographed above with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., in April) at 50 (yes, fifty) or more percentage points ahead of Biden for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, and show her beating her toughest potential Repugnican Tea Party challenger, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an average of 6 percentage points in the November 2016 presidential election. If Billary runs for president in 2016, she most likely will be our nation’s first female president, so it’s too fucking bad that her record indicates that as president she’d be little to no more progressive than the dismally disappointing Barack Obama has been…

Admittedly, I have wondered if Billary Clinton would have been a better president that President Hopey Changey has turned out to be. In 2017 and the following years, most likely, we’ll find out.

Smug individuals point out that Barack Obama for 2008 campaigned as a moderate and that thus the way that his presidency has unfolded could have come as a surprise to no one. My response to that, in a word, is: bullshit.

It’s true that Obama did not campaign as a radical. Crucial to his 2008 victory, I think, was the fact that he didn’t come off as “threatening” to too many white voters, as though once in the Oval Office he’d orchestrate the violent overthrow of the white ruling class by blacks, a revolution that many whiteys, at least in the back of their minds, still fear even today (they’re still talking about the New Black Panthers non-scandal, for fuck’s sake), a revolution that never could be successful any year soon, given the fact that the 2010 U.S. Census put whites at 72.4 percent of the American population and blacks at only 12.6 percent (not to mention the giant gap in wealth and power between white Americans and black Americans as groups).

It’s true that in his first presidential campaign Obama’s mantra was so-called “bipartisanship,” and that his stated goal was that he basically wanted to induce all of us to hold hands around the national campfire and sing rounds of “Kumbaya” until we all dropped of exhaustion.

It’s true that I cringed when Obama repeatedly publicly evoked the name of Ronald Fucking Reagan as A Model President, as though a Repugnican president would publicly praise Bill Clinton or even Jimmy Carter. (The last Democratic president that any of the Repugnican Party set have viewed as remotely OK to praise publicly is John F. Kennedy, probably because he’s dead and because the way that he died made him a bit of a martyr.)

But Obama in his first campaign for the White House also promised “hope” and “change” — ubiquitously and relentlessly — and promised to turn the nation around, promised to undo the damage of the eight long years of the unelected Bush regime.

The word “change” means something, and it does not mean “status quo.” Obama had talked and written about the “audacity of hope.” We were to bravely dare to hope. Just like he claimed he did.

And while Obama never promised to be a left-wing radical, we progressives understood that, politically, he probably couldn’t afford to do so, not if he wanted to actually win the White House, but while Obama was campaigning at least as a progressive lite, Billary Clinton, as her quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination became more and more desperate, acted as though she weren’t a limousine liberal.

After Obama had taken some heat for having stated during a private fundraiser in San Francisco (!) in April 2008 that some Americans “cling” to their “guns or religion” (which is, um, true*) — audio of which was leaked to the public (probably by the Clintonistas)  the desperate Billary saw an opportunity and so she took some shots: an actual shot of whiskey to show what a bad-ass redneck she actually is, and a shot at Obama, calling him “elitist and out of touch” and remarking, “I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America.”

Jesus fuck, I thought at the time (and still think). Which party’s presidential nomination is it that she wants?

Seriously: Billary was using the same rhetoric that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors were using against her own party. (Well, OK, this was in 2008, before the rise and fall of the so-called “tea party,” but still…) Billary painted Obama as an “out-of-touch” “elitist,” as though she weren’t a carpetbagging Beltway hack herself, and as though the state she had dragged her carpetbag to, New York, were a red state (indeed, New York is bluer than is Obama’s Illinois).

Given Billary’s mad dash to the right as she became more and more desperate in her losing quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, given her vote for the unelected Bush regime’s obviously bogus Vietraq War in October 2002, and given her husband’s destruction of the Democratic Party through the now-thank-Goddess-defunct “Democratic Leadership Council,” which dragged the party to the right to the point that the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Tea Party now pretty much are the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — two plutocrat-and-corporation-loving parties that, like Coke and Pepsi, are hard for many if not most of us to differentiate — Barack Obama to me was the obvious choice in 2008.

But now, five years later, admittedly, I have to wonder if Billary would have been a better president than Obama has been.

It wouldn’t have taken much for Billary to have done a better job as president than Obama has, given that as president Obama has done little, that he squandered his best opportunity to push through an actually progressive agenda (which was in 2009 and 2010), that instead of tackling the nation’s in-its-death-throes economy head on, he spent all of his initial political capital on “Obamacare” (I have to wonder if he had wanted to accomplish what Billary had tried but failed to accomplish when she was first lady — to reform health care), and that because Obama squandered his initial wealth of political capital, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors regained the House of Representatives in late 2010 and probably will retain it after the November 2014 election, thus ensuring that Obama will have no legacy other than the dubious “legacy” of “Obamacare.”

Would Billary Clinton as president have spectacularly squandered the political opportunity of 2009 and 2010 like Obama, with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, did?

Sure, you might say, she would have tried again with health-care reform, and perhaps she would have, but at the same time, her husband’s mantra for his 1992 presidential run was the James-Carville-credited “It’s the economy, stupid!”

My guess — and, admittedly, it’s just a guess, just a hunch — is that as president, Billary would have worked to fix the economy first, and then focused on health-care reform later (if she ever took it up at all).

Consequently, my further guess is that had Billary been elected as president in 2008, the Democrats would have kept the House of Representatives after the November 2010 elections, allowing Billary to continue pushing for an actually progressive agenda beyond her first two years in office.

Barack Obama has been such a fucking failure and such a dismal disappointment, and already is a lame duck so early into his second term that already the 2016 presidential speculation has heated up; all of us already are looking to what comes after him, knowing that the rest of his second term will be, at best, a wash.

I mean, Billary Clinton is getting her own fucking miniseries on NBC, for fuck’s sake.

Yes, today.com reports:

Betting on Hillary Clinton’s second candidacy for president, NBC has ordered a four-hour miniseries based on the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state’s life.

“Hillary,” starring Diane Lane [as Billary], will recount Clinton’s life from 1998 to the present and will be written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Courtney Hunt (“Frozen River”). NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the miniseries [yesterday] at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“I think she’s one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world,” Greenblatt [said]. “And on the precipice of what we all assume will be her running for president, we think it’s an interesting story to tell with classy producers and a great star.”

The script, which has not been written, will begin with Clinton living in the White House during her husband’s second term and will likely include her second run at becoming the nation’s first female president. It is not based on a book and Clinton is not involved with the project, Greenblatt said. Lane was already attached to the mini-series when NBC bought it, Greenblatt said. …

The miniseries would likely air before Clinton would announce her candidacy if she decides to pursue the nation’s highest office. …

Since Bill Clinton was impeached by the Repugnican-controlled House of Representatives over the (literally…) messy Monica Lewinsky scandal in December 1998 (and was acquitted in February 1999 by the Repugnican-controlled Senate, which could not muster the 67 votes necessary to remove a president from office), presumably the miniseries will begin with the bullshit, uber-partisan Lewinsky affair, but I expect the miniseries to get it over with fairly quickly.

Anyway, I get it that the NBC bigwig is shilling the show, but how, exactly, is Billary Clinton “one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world”?

What, exactly, has this whiskey-guzzling, supposedly “elitist”-hating, carpetbagging, Vietraq-War-rubber-stamping woman accomplished? Does not pretty much everything that she has “accomplished” stem from the fact that she has been married to William Jefferson Clinton?

Would the voters of New York have elected her as their U.S. senator in 2000 had she not first been first lady? Or, like almost anyone else would have been, would she have been rejected by New York’s voters as the shameless carpetbagger that she was?

How is gaining success via your spouse “fascinating”? Or inspiring? And what, exactly, does it do for feminism?

I’m more than ready for our First Female President, but I can’t say that I’m ready for President Billary Clinton.

I’m much more impressed by a woman who made it without having ridden her husband’s coattails. How about my own Sen. Barbara Boxer for president?

I have much more respect for her than I do for Billary. Not only did Boxer have the brains and the balls to vote against the Vietraq War in October 2002, but in January 2005 she had the balls to be the only U.S. senator to stand with U.S. representatives in their objection to the certification of Ohio’s Electoral College votes in light of the serious problems at Ohio’s polls. (Like Florida was crucial to George W. Bush’s “win” in 2000, Ohio was crucial to Bush’s “re”-election in 2004, and like Florida’s chief elections officer in 2000 [Katherine Harris] was openly supporting Bush’s campaign [no conflict of interest there!], so was Ohio’s chief elections officer in 2004 [Kenneth Blackwell].)

Boxer also in early 2005 famously took on then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza “You Know She’s Lying When Her Lips Are Moving” Rice during a hearing in D.C., stating, “I personally believe – this is my personal view – that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.” Hell yeah!

When did Billary Clinton ever do anything as courageous as these things?

Much like Barack Obama used to be, Billary to a large degree still is a political rock star, even though, like Obama, she has accomplished little to nothing in D.C. and thus doesn’t deserve the status.

But, just like in a high-school student-council election, it’s popularity, not accomplishment, that gets you into the White House. (Well, unless you’re George W. Bush; when, like Gee Dubya, you don’t have enough popularity, you have swing states’ chief elections officials who are of your party and the right-wing members of the U.S. Supreme Court and your governor brother help you out…)

And while Billary Clinton has little to no actual accomplishment, she does have popularity aplenty.

Billary shows a whopping 50 (yes, a five-oh)-point lead above Vice President Joe Biden in recent polls of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate preference. Biden consistently comes in at second place in only the low double digits. Yes, Billary consistently is hitting more than 60 percent in these polls.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors, on the hand, have no clear front runner for the White House for 2016, with not one member of the possible field of Chris Christie, Pretty Boy Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Prick Perry, Prick Santorum and yes, Jeb Bush, able to reach even 20 percent in recent partisan 2016 presidential-preference polls.

And in recent hypothetical matches against Repugnican Tea Party traitors for the 2016 presidential election, Billary handily beats them all. She beats even her thus-far most formidable opponent, Chris Christie, by an average of 6 points. (Recent polls, by contrast, have Biden losing not only to Christie but even to the likes of Jeb Bush…)

In a Bloomberg poll taken not too terribly long ago (May 31-June 3), 40 percent of those polled said they “probably” or “definitely” would vote for Billary if she were the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, while only 34 percent said they “definitely” would not vote for her. Twenty-three percent said they “might” vote for her and 3 percent said that they were “unsure,” so if you give her the support of only half of those individuals (which is 13 percent), that’s 53 percent before she’s even declared her candidacy.

Fifty-three percent is not bad. (And it’s what Obama got in 2008 — 52.9 percent of the popular vote.)

So, while I never have been and never will be enthusiastic about Billary Clinton, whom I consider to be just another Democrat in name only, just another Repugnican Lite, the numbers very apparently are behind her.

Add to this the probability that Billary’s mere official announcement of her candidacy probably would effectively or perhaps even literally, totally clear the Democratic field, saving her a primary fight and thus allowing her to focus her time, energy and money on the November 2016 election, while we’ll probably see another crowded Repugnican Tea Party primary field, as we did in 2012.

Not only will these Repugnican Tea Party candidates have to focus on the presidential primary elections (and caucuses) and the presidential general election, but if they have a particularly nasty primary season, the eventual winner could come out of the process fairly bruised, battered and tarnished.

And my guess is that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ “Benghazigate” bullshit** has been helping Billary more than it has been hurting her, in that those (34 percent or so) who already solidly hate her already solidly hate her, and in that if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors attack Billary viciously and frequently enough, they could induce even unenthusiastic-about-Billary people like me to support her.***

And that’s a feat that only morons of the magnitude of those who comprise the Repugnican Tea Party could accomplish.

*The fuller quote is:

“… You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are [going to] regenerate, and they have not.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. …”

Again, there is a word for these remarks: the truth.

Indeed, the “tea party’s” best accomplishment is blaming the wrong people for the nation’s problems (feminists, immigrants, non-heterosexuals, progressives [a.k.a. “socialists” or “Commies”], labor unionists [also a.k.a. “socialists” or “Commies”], Muslims, et. al.) while those who actually are responsible for the nation’s problems (the plutocrats, corporatocrats [Wall Street weasels and many, many others] and militarists, mostly) get off scot-fucking-free.

**Statistician god Nate Silver, who I hope writes about the 2016 presidential election despite the fact that he soon is leaving the New York Times for ESPN, wrote this about “Benghazigate” and Billary’s popularity back on May 31:

… So, are Americans carefully parsing through the details of the Benghazi attack — and finding Mrs. Clinton more culpable than Mr. Obama?

Probably not. Instead, the decline in her ratings was likely just a matter of time — and if the Benghazi hearings had not triggered it, something else would have.

… It’s easy to be popular when nobody is criticizing you — and there was a long period, from the closing stages of the 2008 campaign through most of her tenure as secretary of state, when Republicans had little interest in attacking Mrs. Clinton directly. Now that Republicans have chosen to engage her again, her numbers are coming down. … This is what happens when a politician returns to being in the partisan fray after having drifted above it for some time.

But if Mrs. Clinton were to run for president in 2016, Republicans would undoubtedly have found any number of other ways to criticize her — from her policy proposals, to concerns about her age or health, to gaffes that she might make on the campaign trail, to controversies recycled from her tenure as secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton, if she runs in 2016, is highly unlikely to win by the double-digit margins that some polls have given her over prospective Republican opponents. But the same would have been true regardless of Benghazi. The main circumstances in which a presidential candidate wins by double digits are when that candidate is an incumbent running in a time of exceptional economic growth, or when the other party’s incumbent is viewed as having performed terribly. Or, every now and then, the opposing candidate might be viewed as extreme or incompetent, and swing voters will feel as though they have no real choice. …

I expect Billary, if she runs for president in 2016 (and I put it at more than a 75-percent chance that she will), to do about as well as Obama did in 2008 and in 2012 (Obama in 2008 beat John McCainosaurus 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent and in 2012 beat Mittens Romney 51.1 percent to 47.2 percent).

In fact, again, Billary’s polling against the most-popular-thus-far potential 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate, Chris Christie, has her, on average, 6 percentage points ahead of him, and Obama’s average popular-vote victory over his Repugnican opponents in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections was 5.55 percent, which to me suggests that we’re seeing about a 6-percent gap between those Americans who prefer a Democratic president and those who prefer a Repugnican Tea Party president.

This to me appears to be a demographic (and not a situational) gap that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors cannot close, which would explain why they want to further rig our future elections, such as through even further voter suppression (especially in the name of preventing “voter fraud”) to the greatest extent that they humanly possibly can.

***That said, about the only way that I could see myself casting a vote for Billary for president in November 2016 would be if her Repugnican Tea Party opponent, whoever it is, actually were close to winning California and its huge chunk of electoral votes, which is quite unlikely, given that Billary beat even Barack Obama in California’s 2008 Democratic presidential primary election, 51.5 percent to 43.2 percent. She’s quite popular here in California.

However, were Billary’s campaign actually struggling nationally and her Repugnican Tea Party opponent actually within range of winning the White House in November 2016, I cannot, as I type this sentence, rule out holding my nose and giving her campaign some money…

As much as I’m not a fan of Billary, of course, when push comes to shove, I’d prefer her in the White House over any Repugnican Tea Party traitor.

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

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

Associated Press image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

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

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

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

That’s it. That’s his “solution.”

Wow.

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

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

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

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

This is leadership?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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