Tag Archives: Service Employees International Union

Kevin de León denies Sen. Cryptkeeper state Democratic Party endorsement

Image result for Kevin De Leon Dianne Feinstein

California State Sen. President Kevin de León (pictured above left) yesterday won 54 percent of the vote of the delegates at the annual state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, a crushing blow to Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein (above right), whose name depressingly and oppressively has been on the ballot for the past 25 years. Cryptkeeper won only 37 percent of the delegates’ votes — 485 fewer votes than de León won.

Wow. For a little while I was a little worried about Kevin de León’s bravely insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate seat for California that the ancient, Democrat-in-name-only Dianne Feinstein — whom I lovingly think of as “Cryptkeeper” — has held with a death grip since 1992.

No more.

Not only did de León recently win the endorsement of the nation’s largest state’s largest public-sector union, the Service Employees International Union (for once the Billary-Clinton-loving union to which I belong got a political endorsement right), but yesterday at the annual state Democratic Party convention, de León handily denied Cryptkeeper the state party’s endorsement.

It’s a high bar to win the state party’s endorsement — a vote of at least 60 percent of the delegates to the convention — but not only did de León deny Cryptkeeper that 60 percent, but he blew her out of the water: De León won 54 percent of the delegates’ votes to Cryptkeeper’s 37 percent.

Again: Wow.

The Los Angeles Times calls it “an embarrassing rebuke of” Cryptkeeper and notes that “Though de León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.”

Of course multi-millionaire Cryptkeeper, one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, has more campaign cash in the bank (including at least a cool $5 million that she gave herself) than does de León, and of course because of her name recognition (she has been around longer than has God), Cryptkeeper is polling better right now than is the much-less-known de León, but de León’s big wins — such as winning the majority of the state party delegates’ votes and winning not only SEIU’s endorsement but also the California Nurses Association’s — demonstrate that not only is de León a serious contender, but that plenty of Californians have had it with the plutocratic Cryptkeeper’s center-right bullshit and wish her gone.

I expect de León’s coffers to fill soon, and I expect his poll numbers to climb the more that Californians realize what a winner he is. And I expect more labor unions to endorse him, and without labor unions’ help, I can’t see Cryptkeeper winning. Her big money alone won’t be enough; she’ll have to actually earn enough votes.

The 84-year-old Cryptkeeper could have saved herself this embarrassment and stepped down, but she’s been tone-deaf to her constituency, who is to the left of her on many if not most issues, for years. The only reason that they’ve been re-electing her is that this is the first time that a viable alternative has emerged.

Cryptkeeper is no longer inevitable, and that’s great news not only for the people of California, but for all Americans who are affected by Cryptkeeper’s center-right votes in the U.S. Senate.

P.S. Also yesterday, California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom (who also has been endorsed by SEIU) garnered more votes for a state party endorsement than did any other candidate, with 39 percent.

While DINO Antonio Villaraigosa and Newsom have been in the top two in polling, yesterday Villaraigosa came in at fourth place in the endorsement vote, garnering only 9 percent. (The second-place winner garnered 30 percent and the third-place winner garnered 20 percent, and because there are so many Democratic gubernatorial candidates, it wasn’t expected that any one of them would reach the 60-percent mark necessary for an endorsement from the state party.)

I expect Newsom, who is my imperfect-but-preferred candidate, to become California’s next governor.

Some are saying that these votes for state party endorsements reflect only the wishes of party insiders, but these so-called party insiders are dispersed throughout the state and they are opinion leaders. These state party endorsement votes aren’t meaningless, even though both de León and Newsom fell short of 60 percent (which, in my opinion, should be reduced to anything above 50 percent).

P.P.S. I should note that under California’s top-two primary system, the top-two vote-getters (regardless of party) in the state’s June 5 primary will move on to the November general election, and I expect the top two to be Kevin de León and Cryptkeeper. (In 2016, there were only two Democrats on the ballot for U.S. Senator for California, Kamala Harris and a nut job who didn’t stand a chance against Harris.)

Some have posited that because Cryptkeeper is center-right — that is, Repugnican Lite — the state’s Repugnicans will vote for her, figuring (correctly) that she’s closer to their political orientation than is de León.

But I don’t know about that. I’d have to see a poll or polls of registered Repugnicans that asks whether or not in a de León-vs.-Cryptkeeper race they’d vote for Cryptkeeper or not vote at all. I surmise that most of the state’s Repugs wouldn’t vote for a Dem, not even DINO Cryptkeeper.

In any event, for de León to win, it’s going to take grassroots support. He doesn’t need as much money as Cryptkeeper does, but he does need those of us who are left of center to vote.

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Do most public-sector labor unions DESERVE ‘fair share’?

The largely right-wing U.S. Supreme Court is poised to potentially deal a potentially devastating blow to public-sector labor unions by possibly ruling that it violates the First Amendment rights of those whose jobs are covered by the public-sector unions to have to pay a “fair share” of what it costs the unions to collectively bargain and otherwise do business that benefits the workers the unions cover.

First, let me note that in general I’m pro-union. In the aftermath of the decimation of the middle class since the Reagan era, the worker has no other entity working on his or her side.

That said, so many labor unions, at least public-sector unions, have become less and less about working for the workers and more and more about benefiting those at the top of the unionsà la something right out of Animal Farm.

I have watched my public-sector union, Service Employees International Union, go downhill over the past many years.

Nationally, SEIU’s top “leaders” decide on presidential endorsements, giving us rank-and-file members — you know, those of us whose dues pay their salaries no vote whatsofuckingever. (SEIU, without a vote of its rank-and-file members, endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, which I agreed with at that time, but then, again with no vote of the membership, endorsed his re-election in 2012, which I didn’t agree with, as Obama hadn’t delivered on his promises to the labor movement, and for this year, SEIU, yet once again without a vote of its rank-and-file members, has endorsed Billary Clinton, which has outraged me and many, many other SEIU members who want Bernie Sanders, not Democrat in name only Billary.)

Locally, my state’s SEIU “leaders,” after they won re-election in a low-turnout election in May 2015, decided to try to give themselves five- and six-digit raises that they dishonestly have called “stipends.” (Because of the backlash, they have failed — thus far.) Locally, my state’s SEIU is far more about benefiting its president and her cronies than it is about the union members’ best interests.

This has been the case for some years now. When former California Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, starting in 2008, shit and pissed all over SEIU members, such as by imposing first one, then two, then three furlough days (forced days off without pay) a month and illegally eliminating two state holidays, SEIU’s “leadership,” including its current president, who had taken the reins before Baby Daddy’s attacks, were fairly worthless.

Apparently SEIU sued unsuccessfully (apparently bungled its legal action), but SEIU overall was way too quiet in fighting the illegitimate Schwarzenegger administration’s onslaught against its members. When we dues-paying union members really needed our union to fight for us, the union did not fight for us in a meaningful way.

And the union hasn’t improved much, if any, since then. If SEIU here in California seems better now, it’s most likely due mostly or entirely to the fact that the state’s finances rebounded after Democrat Jerry Brown came back to the governorship in January 2011, turning the “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger state budget deficits into state budget surpluses in rather short order.

I acknowledge that in an economic downturn, union leaders feel that they have to be careful not to alienate the populace by refusing to sacrifice anything, but history has demonstrated amply that once something is taken away, it can be very difficult if not impossible to get it back. This is how the right wing operates, and without effective opposition, the right wing gets its way.

What infects SEIU, nationally and, in my case, locally, is what infects so many organizations whose intended creation was to help people: The organizations over time become more and more and more about their well-paid “leaders” and less and less and less about the organizations’ missions and those whom the organizations are supposed to help.

Dissenters are pushed out as the self-serving “leaders” feather their nests, intending on keeping the game — pretending to be doing their jobs when they’re only primarily benefiting themselves — going for as long as they possibly can.

If feathering their own nests means selling their membership out to the powers that be, then the “leaders” of these organizations will do it.

So: When I read that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to perhaps rule that public-sector unions throughout the United States may not collect a “fair share” from any worker who does not want to contribute it, knowing how horribly SEIU has acted over the many past years that it has been “my” union, I can’t say that I’m all that distraught. (And I’d prefer to be distraught, because if SEIU had been doing its job over these past many years, I would be distraught.)

SEIU endorses presidential candidates without giving me a vote on the matter, even though it gladly takes my money every month, and when the local SEIU was tested by “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, it failed miserably — but its “leaders” want to give themselves big raises nonetheless.

What, exactly, do I need SEIU for? Apparently I’ve only been one of its huge herd of cash cows.

If nothing else, let this Supreme Court case, if “fair share” is shot down, be a wake-up call to the many labor unions throughout the United States that have calcified and grown complacent, that have become far more about benefiting the “leadership” than benefiting the membership.

If we don’t see much backlash to a Supreme Court ruling that “fair share” violates the First Amendment — and I predict that we won’t/wouldn’t — in no tiny part it would be because the unions stopped being effective for their members years ago. They — we — have felt about as used, abused and screwed by our own unions as we have been by our corporate overlords.

For now, for years now I’ve been paying full monthly membership dues to SEIU (the dues are taken out of my paycheck automatically), but because SEIU has been making presidential endorsements on my behalf without giving me a vote — yes, that’s just like taxation without representation — I have been considering investigating if I can opt out of contributing to SEIU’s political activity. (I [probably] agree with most of SEIU’s political activity on the state level, but not giving me a vote in the union’s presidential endorsement is unfuckingacceptable.)

If the Supreme Court rules in the not-too-distant future that I don’t have to give SEIU a penny, not even my “fair share,” will I give SEIU a penny?

Right now, I lean toward not.

And that’s SEIU’s fault, not mine. I’m more than happy to pay for a benefit. How the calcified, self-serving, selling-out-its-membership SEIU is benefiting me is harder for me to see with each passing year.

P.S. “Unions fear the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in fees could reduce their power to bargain for higher wages and benefits for teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and other government employees,” notes The Associated Press of the Supreme Court’s possible axing of the “fair share.”

(The Supreme Court case, by the way, originated here in California, apparently by some anti-union wingnut in wingnutty Orange County who opposes the California Teachers Association.)

The AP notes that since Michigan became a so-called “right-to-work” state in 2013, “Membership in the Michigan Education Association has since dropped by 19 percent.” That doesn’t strike me as a devastating drop.

It’s hard to say how much membership in my local SEIU would drop were the “fair share” to be eliminated. I don’t imagine that very many of those now legally required to pay the “fair share” but who don’t want to give a penny to the union will continue to pay the union a penny when/if they no longer have to. (But they’re not union members, so their no longer paying their “fair share” wouldn’t represent a drop in membership.)

And the Supreme Court’s elimination of “fair share” altogether would induce me, I surmise, to give a long, hard look at whether I find enough benefit in SEIU to continue to be a full dues-paying member.

At some point, you really become beyond sick and tired of being a perpetually punk’d and chumped cash cow.

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Memo to the Democrats in name only: Game on and gloves off, bitches!

Note: I will live-blog this evening’s third Democratic Party presidential debate, which begins at 5:00 p.m. my time (Pacific Standard Time).

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, speaks at the Democratic National Committee's Womens Leadership Forum Issues Conference in Washington, DC on September 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Under the “leadership” of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee since 2011, the Democrats have hemorrhaged seats in Congress. Her only hope of holding on to power is to try to rig the game for pal Billary Clinton so that she can remain head of the DNC despite her abysmal track record. (It’s not all about you, Debbie! Truly, it isn’t!) The Democratic Party cannot continue to exist under the likes Wasserman Shultz and Billary. This center-right bullshit demonstrably loses the Democrats seats of power. When Howard Dean took a progressive, left-of-center approach as head of the DNC from 2005 to 2009, the Democratic Party won back both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives after years in the wilderness — and the Democratic Party lost both houses of Congress after his departure because the DNC returned to its Clintonian, center-right, sellout bullshit.

Yesterday’s news in the world of presidential politics was awfully interesting.

The Democratic National Committee — that is, Clintonista Debbie Wasserman Schultz — announced that it she indefinitely was withholding voter information from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign because at least one Sanders campaign operative apparently had accessed Billary Clinton campaign information that hadn’t been protected by a negligent IT contractor.

It was a brazen attempt to cripple Sanders’ campaign and by so doing to boost Clinton’s.

After a shitstorm of hostile blowback (including an angry e-mail that yours truly fired off to the DNC, one of very many, I’m sure) — and a lawsuit against the DNC that the Sanders campaign very appropriately filed in federal court — the Sanders’ campaign access to the voter data — its own voter data — was restored by the Wasserman-Schultz DNC.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one dumb cunt. Yes, she fully has earned the “c” word (which to me is just the female equivalent of “dick” or “prick,” so calm your self-righteous self if necessary). She is an incredibly vindictive, venomous and partial slimy piece of shit that needs to be flushed down the toilet once Bernie Sanders is elected president.

Yes, the beyond-shameless Wasserman Schultz is doing Billary Clinton’s bidding because she hopes that a President Billary will keep her on as the head of the DNC.

Wasserman Schultz would need a President Billary’s backing because the Democrats have hemorrhaged seats in Congress since she’s been in charge (more on this later) and because she doesn’t have the support of the Democratic Party base, whom she keeps pissing off, such as by limiting the number of presidential primary debates (only six of them, compared to the 26 of them that were held in 2008) and by holding them on Saturdays (such as this evening’s debate and the last debate), figuring that the less the voters see Billary debating, the better for Billary — and her latest antic of trying to destroy the Sanders campaign by blocking its access to its own fucking voter data.

All of these have been despicable tactics to boost Billary, which is called cheating, rigging the game. It’s entirely anti-democratic. It’s the attempt to shove Billary Clinton down our throats. Whether we, the people, want Billary or not, she and her supporters are trying to force her upon us, as they did in 2008.

Don’t get me wrong; anyone who broke any law regarding any improper access of data should be dealt with, and the Sanders campaign is fully cooperative with that. It already has terminated the staffer who apparently was primarily responsible. (The fired staffer maintains that no information that was accessed was stored, and that information was accessed only to discover the extent of the flaws in the IT vendor’s software. There is no evidence not to believe this.)

In  any event, you punish the individual(s) involved in any wrongdoing — you don’t punish the candidate and the millions of his or her supporters. That’s justice, of which Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Billary Clinton and their sick, craven ilk (who act just like the craven, cheating, election-stealing Repugnicans but who at the same time call themselves “Democrats” and even “feminists”) have no fucking concept and for which they have zero respect.

And it’s awfully ironic that in the very first presidential primary debate, Bernie Sanders basically excused Billary Clinton’s use, as secretary of state, of not only a personal e-mail address, but a home-brewed server at her residence, yet how does the Clinton campaign repay that wholly undeserved act of mercy? By trying to destroy the Sanders campaign by depriving it of its own fucking voter data.

I hope that the craven Clintonistas keep attacking Bernie Sanders like this, though. Billary Clinton, harpy that she is, lashed out more and more against the much more likable Barack Obama as the 2008 Democratic Party primary fight went on and she grew more and more desperate.

It obviously didn’t work, but only made it even clearer to the primary voters and caucus-goers of what a cunt — yes, she has more than earned the title, too — Billary Clinton is. (I mean, seriously — when your favorability already is struggling, acting even more like a major prick or a major cunt probably won’t do your favorability any favors.)

Another irony is that Bernie Sanders just recently (on Thursday) earned the endorsement of the progressive political action group Democracy for America.

Democracy for America grew from Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination; it started out as “Dean for America.” The Nation notes of DFA’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders (emphases in bold are mine):

DFA … [is] a well-regarded grassroots political and issue-advocacy organization with active groups in states across the country and a track record of backing progressive candidates at the local, state and federal levels.

Early in the 2016 race, the group urged Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to seek the Democratic nomination.

This month, it conducted a national poll of members that concluded December 15. Sanders won 87.9 percent of the 271,527 votes cast in a contest where an endorsement could only be secured with a super-majority (66.67 percent or more) of all the votes cast.

Clinton (who is backed by Howard Dean [yes, that is an unfortunate, premature, apparently fear-based mistake of his to have endorsed Billary so early; he apparently imbibed the “inevitability” Kool-Aid]) took 10.3 percent, while 1.1. percent backed Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

The level of support for Sanders was unprecedented. When the 11-year-old group held a similar vote on whether to endorse in the 2008 presidential race, no candidate cleared the super-majority hurdle.

“This is an historic moment for DFA, for the progressive movement, for the Democratic Party, for people-powered politics — and for Bernie supporters who relentlessly rallied over nine intense days to get out the vote and win this pivotal endorsement,” explained Democracy for America’s executive director Charles Chamberlain. [I voted in that poll and encouraged others to, too.]

“Bernie Sanders is an unyielding populist progressive who decisively won Democracy for America members’ first presidential primary endorsement because of his lifelong commitment to taking on income inequality and the wealthy and powerful interests who are responsible for it.”

Chamberlain explained that “we’ll immediately start organizing on behalf of Bernie in key primary states, from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to nearly a dozen states voting on Super Tuesday. We’ll also be building — as Bernie has called for — a political revolution ready to elect populist progressive candidates nationwide to local school boards, city councils, and state legislatures, and all the way up to the U.S. Senate.”

DFA activists will join Sanders backers from groups such as the Working Families PartyProgressive Democrats of AmericaDemocratic Socialists of America, Friends of the Earth Action, and a pair of key unions: National Nurses United and the American Postal Workers Union.

On the same day that Bernie won DFA’s first-ever presidential endorsement, he also was endorsed by the Communications Workers of America. The Nation reports (emphasis in bold is mine):

Historically, the Communications Workers union might have been expected to join those other large labor organizations in backing [Billary Clinton].

A major presence in states across the country, which represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, media, airlines, higher education, healthcare, public service and manufacturing, the CWA is one of the largest unions in the national AFL-CIO (which has not made an endorsement) and in state and local labor federations.

On Thursday, however, CWA National President Chris Shelton announced that “CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first.

“Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long. CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution — and that is just what Americans need today.”

The CWA endorsement followed a three-month process that included hundreds of meetings with union members in their workplaces and an online endorsement survey that CWA officials say attracted tens of thousands of votes.

As I have noted, my union’s process for having endorsed Billary Clinton was not democratic at all. Service Employees International Union head Mary Kay Henry, who apparently was separated at birth from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is a blindly obedient (and thus anti-democratic and corrupt) Clintonista who very apparently didn’t want to risk allowing us dues-paying pee-ons of SEIU to have a voice in the matter, lest we vote for Bernie Sanders (gasp!).

So she deprived us of a vote at all. My union dues automatically are taken from my paychecks, but I get no voice in SEIU presidential endorsements. It’s very much akin to taxation with zero representation. Mary Kay Henry & Co. use my money for their own self-serving political agenda without my consent or even my ability to have any meaningful input whatsofuckingever.

Note that the Communications Workers of America very apparently had no problem at all involving their rank and file in the union’s presidential endorsement decision, but SEIU would have all kinds of bullshit excuses (“logistical” and otherwise) for why it refused to do that.

Mary Kay Henry and her henchpeople within SIEU all need to be dumped, just as does Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her supporters within the DNC. The Democrats in name only, at all levels, have got to go. (There is a place for them to continue to sell out their fellow Americans; it’s called the Repugnican Tea Party.)

Democracy for America’s resounding endorsement of Bernie Sanders for president is significant for many reasons, but perhaps chief among them is that Howard Dean, who had founded Democracy for America and then went on to head the Democratic National Committee, did a fantastic job as head of the DNC from 2005 to 2009.

Under Howard Dean’s leadership of the DNC, the Democratic Party expanded remarkably. It took back both houses of Congress in the election of 2006 and there was Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2008. (For a half-black man who had been a U.S. senator for only four years, it was historic, even though Obama hasn’t been nearly as progressive a president as he could have been.)

Under Dean’s leadership, in the 2006 election the Democrats took back the the U.S. Senate after the Repugnicans had controlled it for at least 10 of the past 12 years and took back the U.S. House of Representatives after the Repugnicans had controlled it for 12 years — and the Democrats hit 257 members of the House after the 2008 election.

While Tim Kaine was behind the wheel of the DNC from 2009 to 2011, the Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2010 election, and under Wasserman Schultz, who has been in charge of the DNC since 2011, the Dems lost even more House seats — the Dems won only 188 House seats in the 2014 election — and lost the U.S. Senate in the 2014 election after having had control of it since the 2008 election.

The Democratic Party cannot survive with Debbie Wasserman Schultz behind the wheel.

Wasserman Schultz wants to hold on to power even though her track record demands that she be kept as far away from the DNC as possible.

The Clintonistas, including Wasserman Schultz & Co., are terrified of a Bernie Sanders presidency because it would, at long last, restore the Democratic Party to what it is supposed to be: a progressive party that works hard to bring the greatest benefit to the highest possible number of people — not a center-right party that sells its members out to the Repugnican Tea Party and the plutocrats at every fucking opportunity and benefits only those at the top of the party (like Billary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) who claim that they’re working for the people but who are working only for themselves and their cronies.

This is why these Democrats in name only are doing their best to anti-democratically, even treasonously, rig the game for Billary.

In doing so, they only strengthen the resolve of us supporters of Bernie Sanders and of truly progressive, truly democratic and truly Democratic politics, to get him into the White House and to remove their treasonous, sorry asses from power.

To the Clintonistas and other DINOs I and millions of others can say only: Game on and gloves off, bitches!

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Bernie Sanders wins the youth vote (also: SEIU sold its members out)

Updated below (on Monday, November 23,2015)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders takes a selfie with supporters after a campaign rally at the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia

Reuters photo

Two young people take a selfie with democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders after a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, yesterday. Sanders is popular among young Americans, having won Iowa’s student mock election this past week with a majority of the votes, and he leads TIME magazine’s online poll for its 2015 Person of the Year. 

I noted two interesting Bernie Sanders-related items this past week.

First, Bernie Sanders handily won the student mock election held in Iowa this past week. Just under a thousand middle school and high school students participated on the Democratic side of the mock election, sponsored by the state’s secretary of state’s office. The Washington Post reports that 22 of the state’s 99 counties participated in the mock election, but doesn’t indicate whether these 22 counties are more or less representative of the entire state.

That said, Bernie Sanders won the mock election with almost 53 percent of the vote, followed by Martin O’Malley, with 24 percent, and coming in dead last was Billary Clinton, with a paltry 15 percent.

Had these been elementary school students, I would feel at least a little bit better about these results. Why? I surmise that younger students primarily would have voted the way their parents had influenced them to vote, and thus the mock election results would be reflective of how the students’ parents intend to caucus in Iowa on February 1.

But because these are middle school and high school students who voted, I surmise, the students voted more independently of their parents than younger students would have. And since most of these high school students won’t be 18 years old as of February 1, Bernie Sanders’ having garnered a majority of the vote in Iowa’s student mock election won’t translate to much help to him when Iowa caucuses on February 1.

The Huffington Post’s polling analysis right now puts Sanders at 32.5 percent in Iowa, to Billary Clinton’s 54.4 percent. Real Clear Politics’ polling analysis right now puts Billary at 53.8 percent to Bernie’s 29.8 percent in the first-to-weigh-in state of Iowa.

What accounts for such differences in the preference for Bernie or for Billary? Age, apparently; the younger you are, the more likely you are to support Bernie Sanders, and the older you are, the more likely you are to support Billary Clinton.

This is good for Billary and her center-right ilk in the short term, since our elections still will be skewed to the older, whiter and more conservative voters for several more cycles to come, since the older, whiter and more conservative you are, the more likely it is that you consistently vote in elections.

But Bernie’s — and democratic socialism’s — popularity among young people now, if it holds as they grow older, spells doom for the Clintonesque sellout of the Democratic Party to the point that the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Billary Clinton, is quite Repugnican Lite.

(Indeed, as I have noted, much of her campaign rhetoric sounds like Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Marco Rubio’s, and given the too-similar campaign rhetoric, are voters going to vote for the younger, fresher Rubio — or for Billary? [Yes, my money still is on Marco Rubio emerging as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee.])

It’s quite possible that Bernie Sanders won’t eke out a win in the current Democratic Party presidential primary race, and that history will show him to have been a transitional political figure, the presidential candidate who helped return the Democratic Party to its progressive roots but who couldn’t win the White House himself.

That said, I still won’t write Bernie’s political obituary; at this point he still could win Iowa, like John Kerry did in 2004 (after he had been written off as politically dead), and then, like Kerry did, win the New Hampshire primary and take the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The numbers indicate that it’s not incredibly likely that Bernie will do so, but it’s still possible that he will.

In any event, Bernie Sanders has been influential, whether he wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination or not, and, truth be told, I’d rather that Billary Clinton lose in November 2016 than Bernie Sanders.

Why? Because if Billary wins the party’s presidential nomination but loses the presidential election in November 2016 — a decent likelihood, given how Billary, whom a majority of Americans do not like, is not polling very strongly against most of the Repugnican presidential contenders in polling match-ups — it most likely will be the death of her center-right, Democratic-in-name-only, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic brand name of politics; it will be, at long last, the stake driven through the vampire’s cold heart.

Bernie Sanders’ loss in November 2016 widely would be interpreted as a repudiation of democratic socialism. I’d much rather that November 2016 be viewed as the DINOs’ loss, not democratic socialism’s.

Again, win or lose, Bernie Sanders already has been consequential. The second item that I noted this past week is that Sanders leads handily in TIME magazine’s online poll* of who should be its Person of the Year.

As I type this sentence, in TIME’s online poll Sanders stands at 63 percent voting that he should be a contender for the 2015 Person of the year, with only 37 percent (primarily the Billarybots and the Repugnican Tea Party set, I presume) voting that he shouldn’t be.

Right now the only other candidates for Person of the Year who even approach Sanders’ level are Malala Yousafzi (the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both with 58 percent. At number three are “Refugees,” from Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as a group, with 54 percent of the vote.

Pope Smiley Face — er, Francis — right now comes in at fourth place, with 51 percent, and no other person or group of persons breaks 50 percent in the online polling thus far.

How does Billary Clinton fare in TIME’s online poll as I type this sentence? A whopping 24 percent say that she deserves consideration as Person of the Year, while 76 percent say that she does not. (I’d have voted “Oh, hell no!” had that been an option. A Facebook or Twitter account is necessary to vote, by the way, which should cut down at least somewhat on the same individuals voting multiple times.)

The racehorse American Pharoah (his owner apparently misspelled the word “pharaoh”) right now fares better than does Billary, with 26 percent voting that the horse should be considered as Person of the Year.

(In case you’re wondering, of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants, Donald Trump fares the best in the online poll for Person of the Year, with only 15 percent; behind him is Ben Carson, with 13 percent. And Barack Obama right now has 39 percent, making him more popular than Billary but not as popular as Bernie.

In case you were wondering even further — and you probably weren’t — my own top three choices for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2015 would be [not necessarily in any certain order] Bernie Sanders, “Refugees,” and Latino journalist Jorge Ramos, who has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of immigrants from south of the border, even before he took on Donald Trump’s chillingly fascistic, jackbooted, nationalist/jingoist and racist — and thus dangerous — anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric.)

Why is Bernie Sanders doing so well in TIME’s online poll?

Well, I surmise, it comes down again to youth: Younger people are more likely to be online and thus are more likely to participate in online polls.

In old, actual votes that actually make or break presidential candidates in the actual caucuses and the primary elections, Billary Clinton, the old, dead hand of the past, no doubt will get scads of actual votes from center-right old fucks.

But the future, apparently, belongs to democratic socialism.

P.S. I’ll take a moment here to note that while the nation’s second-largest labor union, SEIU (Service Employees International Union, which has a membership of around 2 million workers), this past week endorsed Billary Clinton as president, none of us union members at the bottom got any say whatsofuckingever in the matter.

I’ve paid my monthly dues to SEIU for years now (they come out of my paycheck automatically), but the union’s decision to endorse Billary was not made by us dues-paying pee-ons, but only by SEIU’s upper echelon.

We dues-paying pee-ons (that’s not a misspelling; we are urinated upon) had zero opportunity to weigh in on the endorsement, either by snail mail or even electronically.

I have to suspect that the ineffective, self-serving SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who should have been dumped by now, supports Billary primarily (or even only) because Billary is a fellow woman and because this is what “feminism” has come to mean these days: supporting a woman over a man no matter what the woman stands for or does not stand for.

I mean, fuck: One of SEIU’s stated central priorities is the $15/hour minimum wage for every worker in the United States of America, but Billary Clinton won’t support a federal minimum wage of more than $12/hour. Bernie Sanders supports the $15/hour minimum wage.

SEIU is anti-democratic and cowardly — and apparently misandrist — and stopped representing its members’ best interests years ago.

The nation’s largest nurses’ union, National Nurses United, and the American Postal Workers Union had the brains and the courage to endorse Sanders.

Update (Monday, November 23, 2015): I just saw this tidbit in a piece posted today by prognosticator god Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com (the link is Silver’s):

…[E]xit polls like this one have historically asked voters in Iowa and New Hampshire when they made their final decision on how to vote. These exit polls find that voters take their sweet time.

In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters [caucus-goers] had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had. [Emphasis mine.]

(Why is the fraction lower in New Hampshire than in Iowa? Probably because voters there are waiting for the Iowa results before locking in their choice. In fact, about half of New Hampshire voters make up their minds in the final week of the campaign.) …

This puts the current poll numbers for Iowa and New Hampshire (for both of the duopolistic political parties) into better perspective, methinks.

The title of Silver’s aforementioned piece is “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls,” and in the piece Silver makes the case that based upon historical trends in the election and the election polling cycle, Trump hardly is a shue-in for his party’s presidential nomination. I don’t see why this advice doesn’t apply equally to Billary Clinton.

As I wrote, I still can see Bernie Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire, just as John Kerry dramatically came from behind in 2004 to take both Iowa and New Hampshire when Howard Dean had been coronated already, much as Billary Clinton already has been coronated…

*TIME proclaims:

TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say. Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. … Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on December 4, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on December 7. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced December 9.

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SEIU sells us out

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one the nation’s largest labor unions. 

I am a dues-paying member (almost $50 a month) of Service Employees International Union, better known as SEIU.

I’m very pro-labor. Pro-SEIU? Um, not so much.

On Thursday I received an e-mail from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry with the probably hyperbolic subject line “The fight of our lives.”

The e-mail reads, in part:

Dear Robert,

You’ll probably hear about it on the news very soon, but I want you to be the first to know.

Today, with great pride and a sense of purpose, the 2.1 million members of the Service Employees International Union have endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election.

President Obama is the only candidate for president who shares our vision of America as a land of opportunity for everyone. We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.

Please join us in returning President Obama to the White House so he can keep fighting for more jobs and less nonsense.

You’ve probably seen how hard it is to get the concerns of working people taken seriously in our political process. Here’s why:

Our economy and democracy have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent.

These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …

We know what’s really important. We know that after a decade of tax breaks for the rich and out-of-control gambling on Wall Street, things have gotten much harder for working Americans. We know that if these problems aren’t taken care of now, the next generation will have it even worse. …

President Obama is working to turn things around, but he needs help from all of us to be heard over his wealthy opponents, people who seem to believe that the only thing wrong with the economy is that they have to share it.

From now until Election Day next November, we need to dedicate ourselves to this goal. We will knock on doors, we will talk to our friends and neighbors and co-workers, and we will fight shoulder-to-shoulder alongside working families across this nation to show the one percent that they aren’t the only ones willing to fight for America’s future. …

In solidarity,
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union

I’m a dues-paying member of SEIU, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to help President Hopey-Changey continue to punk those of us who put him in office. I will give Obama not one red fucking cent (I gave him hundreds of dollars for his 2008 bid) and I will not give him my vote again. Nor could I, with a straight face and a good conscience, try to convince others that they should support Barack Obama’s re-election, as SEIU would have me do.

Mysteriously missing in Henry’s propagandistic e-mail is the promise that Barack Obama made to labor on the campaign trail in November 2007 (here is video of it): “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Where were Obama’s “comfortable shoes” when the state of Wisconsin this year was a battleground for labor, for the rights of the middle class and the working class against the greedy, thieving plutocrats, represented by Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker & Co.?

Obama didn’t show his face in Wisconsin once and could be bothered to make no more than one or two weak, vague statements in support of Wisconsin. Wisconsinites have been doing it on their own.

Where is Obama speaking out against the police brutality that we are seeing against non-threatening citizens who want to voice their grievances in a meaningful way, and not in the toothless, politically ineffectual way that our treasonous and oppressive plutocratic overlords have proscribed for us (the meaningless, politically ineffectual way that Obama himself no doubt endorses)?

Mary Kay Henry’s proclamations in her propagandistic e-mail are outright lies or delusions or some combination thereof.

Indeed “We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.” That leader is not President Hopey-Changey, however. At best, Barack Obama is the lesser of two evils, and for millions of us, that isn’t good enough anymore — thus, the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And Henry shouldn’t even have gone here: “These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …”

As Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald points out in his recent column that is critical of SEIU’s shameless and pathetic attempt to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement such as by using its signature phrases “1 percent” and “99 percent,” Barack Obama has done nothing but coddle the Wall Street weasels. You should read Greenwald’s entire column, but here, in my opinion, is the money shot:

… But whatever else is true, the notion — advanced by SEIU — that it’s the Democratic Party and the Obama White House working to bring about these changes and implant these values of the 99 percent is so self-evidently false as to be insulting. …

… [D]oes SEIU think that people will just ignore these key political facts? How does anyone think these protesters will be convinced that it’s exclusively the GOP — and not the Democratic Party and the Obama White House — who “protect the rich” when: Wall Street funded the Democrats far more than the GOP in the 2008 election; the Democrats’ key money man, Charles Schumer, is one of the most devoted Wall Street servants in the country; Obama empowered in key positions Wall Street servants such as Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Bill Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and an endless roster of former Goldman officials; JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been dubbed “Obama’s favorite banker” after Obama publicly defended his post-bailout $17 million bonus; the president named the CEO of GE to head his jobs panel; the DCCC and DSCC exist to ensure the nomination of corporatist candidates and Blue Dogs whose political worldview is servitude to the lobbyist class; the Democratic president, after vocally urging an Age of Austerity, tried very hard to usher in cuts to Social Security and an increase in the age for Medicare eligibility; and the Obama administration has not only ensured virtually no accountability for the rampant Wall Street fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis, but is actively pressuring New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others to agree to a woefully inadequate settlement to forever shield banks from the consequences of their pervasive mortgage fraud.

That’s just a fraction of the facts one could list to document the actual factions to which the Democratic Party has devoted itself. If one wants to argue that the GOP is more opposed to progressive economic policies than Democrats, that’s certainly reasonable. If one wants to argue that, on balance, voting for Democrats is more likely to bring about marginally more of those policies than abstaining, I think that, too, is reasonable.

But to try to cast the Democratic Party and the Obama administration as the vessel for the values and objectives of the Occupy movement is just dishonest in the extreme: in fact, it’s so extreme that it’s very unlikely to work. Those who believe that further empowerment of the Democratic Party is what is most urgently needed can make their case and should pursue that goal — they should try to generate as much citizen enthusiasm as possible behind them — but they should stop trying to depict and exploit the Occupy movement as an instrument for their agenda.

Exactly. As Greenwald claims, “SEIU officials have long been among Obama’s closest and most loyal allies in Washington.”

This is why I stopped financially supporting the Human Rights Campaign: Clearly the HRC elites are much more interested in hobnobbing with Washington, D.C.’s elites than to actually fight for the rights of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals. It was clear to me where money that is donated to HRC goes: to its elites so that they can be socialites in D.C.

HRC gives Barack Obama a full pass on the fact that he still claims that he is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage, even though in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state Senate, he responded to a campaign questionnaire that he supports same-sex marriage. (“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” he wrote. Of course, as president he has fought efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage as much as he has put on his “comfortable shoes” to fight for labor.)

But the if the HRC elites were to actually challenge Obama on the fact that he’s a fucking liar who sells his supporters out, then the HRC elites wouldn’t get to rub shoulders with the elites in D.C. anymore.

Go ahead and give money to the HRC if you want to, but know that HRC won’t use your money to actually fight for your rights.

Similarly, I can tell you that as a dues-paying member of SEIU, I never got a voice or a vote in the union’s endorsement of Barack Obama’s re-election (which I didn’t even know was coming). Apparently only the union’s elites and insiders got such a voice. The rest of us, who got no fucking voice, are too busy actually working — so that we can pay the SEIU elites’ salaries with our dues, so that they can then sell us out.

I am pro-labor, but SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should resign. She should do something that she’s actually good at — perhaps she should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one of the nation’s largest labor unions.

P.S. I e-mailed Mary Kay Henry that she should resign. If I get a response, I’ll share it, but I doubt that I will. To the SEIU elites I’m only good for my dues, which the SEIU elites use to sell me out.

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The art of protest is dead

Well, apparently not in Wisconsin, and very apparently not in the Middle East, but here in Sacramento, California, and throughout much if not most of the rest of the nation, I surmise, it is.

Last night I attended the solidarity-with-the-workers-of-Wisconsin gathering at the California state Capitol here in Sacramento. It was a great turnout, especially given that the gathering was in support of the working people several states away and was not about anything that immediately is occurring here in California.

The Sacramento Bee put the turnout at 2,500, but, while I’m no expert at estimating crowd size, I would estimate that there were at least 4,000 people at the peak of the turnout.

The turnout was impressive, but the organization of the protest (which barely can be called a “protest,” since it was so tame) was sad.

The organizers had had at least a few days to organize, but the sound system was for shit. It sounded like they were using technology along the lines of Mr. Microphone. Unless you were within maybe a dozen yards of the individual speaking at the moment, you couldn’t hear anything but muffled sounds.

Old labor-movement songs (from the 1930s, I believe they were) were sung. So old that few there knew the lyrics. Hell, why not use some old protest ditties in Latin? The labor movement sorely needs to update itself. The history of the labor movement is important, but when you are singing decades-old songs, it makes you appear to those who are unfamiliar with labor-movement history (which is the majority of Americans) to be, um, irrelevant…

Once the organizers of last night’s “protest” got the crowd that they wanted to get, they apparently didn’t know what to do with it. There was no coordinated march, the chants and the singing were weak (in no small part because of the practically non-existent sound system), and, although the event was billed as a “candlelight vigil” for the embattled workers of Wisconsin, what appeared to be portable stadium lights brightly lit up the protest area the whole time and never were dimmed, making an actual candlelight vigil impossible.

And a candlelight vigil implies that you’re going to be there for at least two or three hours, but by around 6:45 p.m., only 45 minutes after the event began, it was over and the crowd started to disperse. Shit. The protesters in Wisconsin have been at it for more than a week now; we couldn’t do a full hour last night?

Predictably, a small group of “Tea Party” traitors — most of them old and white and just mean (one of them had a sign advising us unionized workers to “man up,” when what the traitors really want us to do is to bend over) — were across the street from us last night. I estimate that there were no more than 20 of them there at a time. (The Bee put their number at 35. My guess is that the mainstream/corporately owned and controlled media don’t mind underestimating the size of crowds of those of us who are left of center, but that they are much more generous when estimating the number of wingnuts, since they don’t want the wingnuts harassing them that they were undercounted.*)

I hate “Tea Party” traitors. To give you an idea of what utter incorrigible asswipes these people (and I use the word “people” very loosely) are, the Sacramento Bee has reported that a local “Tea Party” ringleader named Mark Williams had planned to have “Tea Party” traitors wear labor-union shirts (specifically, the purple shirts of the state’s largest and most powerful labor union, Service Employees International Union [to which I belong]) and to act in ways to shed a falsely negative light on us pro-labor-union protesters.

The Bee reports that Williams had blogged (in part) about his plan to infiltrate last night’s protest:

Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.

See, just as the members of the right wing have no problem with such things as stolen presidential elections and bogus wars, truth doesn’t matter to them — just the appearance of truth, or, as Williams put it, the “defacto [sic] truth.” (Faux wingnut Stephen Colbert calls this “truthiness.”)

If we labor-union members truly inherently are so “greedy” and “goonish,” then why would “Tea Party” traitors need to don labor-union garb and act like greedy goons? Wouldn’t our greedinees and our goonishness be self-evident? Why would our supposed greediness and goonishness need a boost?

Anyway, word of Williams’ dirty plot leaked out, and SEIU warned its members of it via Facebook (and maybe Twitter, too), which apparently explains why I saw not a single purple T-shirt there (which at the time I found strange, since at that time I wasn’t aware of Williams’ plot; it was only after I got home from the gathering last night that I read about it).

As I have established, I loathe the “Tea Party” traitors, and as the “protest” was dispersing last night, from across the street I yelled at the “Tea Party” traitors who were there to counter-protest something like this: “Tea Party traitors! The ‘founding father’ you follow is Benedict Arnold! You fight against the working class and you support the rich!”

Immediately a thuggish white male member of the California Highway Patrol (California’s state police, who have jurisdiction over the Capitol grounds) and an apparent “security” team member (also a thuggish young white male) for one of the unions that had “organized” the “protest” who looked and acted like a fucking bouncer both tried to shut me up, trying to use their imposing presences, the threat of violence, to intimidate me into silence.

Sadly and pathetically, I had to remind both of them (who apparently spend much more time in the gym than reviewing the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution) that I simply was exercising my First Amendment rights, to which they had no coherent response.

I was across the street from the “Tea Party” traitors and I had made no movement toward them. I had not threatened them with violence. I had not tried to pelt them with rocks or anything like that. I simply had shouted at them what I thought of them. From across the street.

(That violence might ensue from spoken words at what is supposed to be a “protest,” for fuck’s sake, does not mean that it’s legal to infringe upon a citizen’s First Amendment rights.)

But so cowed have we Americans become that apparently even at a “protest” you aren’t to — gasp! offend anyone! You are to stand obediently like cattle in your designated “protest zone” (which our police state actually has instituted in many of our cities) and be nice. Definitely no shouting at the opposition! (Especially if you aren’t a wingnut, to whom much more latitude is given, since wingnuts are professional “victims.”)

So: Only as long as “protests” are rather ineffective and inoffensive, they are allowed.

What’s the fucking point of “protests,” then?

And why do cops and soldiers and other authoritarian types think that they’re such hot shit when testosterone-fueled tools for the powers that be is all that they actually are? They’re exploited just like the rest of us are, yet they apparently believe that they’re superior. They need to ask themselves — and we need to ask ourselves — for whom they really, ultimately are “keeping the peace.”

From my experience last night and from other “protests” at the California state Capitol and elsewhere in Sacramento, I surmise that the (vast) majority of Americans today have no real idea of how to protest. Having been divided and conquered and trained from diaperhood to look out only for our own interests (capitalism, after all, encourages the screwing over of others for the enrichment of oneself [survival of the fittest, you know!]), most of us are at a fairly total loss as to how to come together to effect change.

Even at a public “protest,” we think that we must be “polite.”

And if we dare to be “impolite,” a member of the police state, official or self-appointed, like the sellout sheep-herding dog that he or she is, quickly will intimidate us to get back in line with the other sheeple.

Thing is, when you don’t allow the people a viable, meaningful means of expression, it seems to me that you are asking for it. You are asking for the pressure to build and build and build — until the volcano blows.

At which point the sheeple will scratch their heads and ponder aloud about “senseless,” “incomprehensible,” “unpredictable” acts of violence that, given the police state that we inhabit, which inhibits anything even remotely threatening to the status quo, actually were pretty fucking comprehensible and fucking predictable.

*Similarly, the Bee gave the news story of the event only seven paragraphs, two of which it devoted to the vastly outnumbered “Tea Party” traitors (you know, to be “fair and balanced”). Had it been a “Tea Party”-sponsored protest of even a third of the same size, instead of a labor-union protest of the size that last night’s was, I’m confident that the Bee’s coverage would have been more thorough.

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