Tag Archives: socioeconomic justice

Oh, yeah. Liz is running for prez.

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U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is shown with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the background. Today Warren released an apparent pre-presidential campaign video that lays waste to years of Repugnicans’ lies about her.

Today U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in a rather brilliant video that as of this writing has had more than 1.6 million views, announced the result of a DNA test that shows Native American genes in her lineage.

The video also features snippets of interviews with individuals stating that her ever having indicated that she has Native American blood never was a factor in her hiring to teach at Harvard Law School and at other law schools; besides “President” Pussygrabber repeatedly offensively calling Warren “Pocahontas” (and daring her to get a DNA test), Repugnicans (starting with her 2012 opponent for the U.S. Senate, Scott Brown) for years have claimed that she lied about her background in order to give her an unfair advantage in the workplace.

The “Pocahontas” bullshit already has been dismissed by the majority of the voters of Massachusetts, who in 2012 elected Warren as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate for the state. She beat Brown with 53.7 percent of the vote, pushing him out of the Senate after he’d “served” there for only two years after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and I expect her to do even better in next month’s election.

Therefore, Warren had nothing to prove to the voters of Massachusetts, and so I can’t help but think that Warren, anticipating the “Pocahontas” bullshit as the Repugnicans’ main criticism of her — and it’s pretty fucking lame and fucking juvenile criticism — is running for president in 2020.

I’m already committed to Bernie Sanders should he run again, but if he doesn’t, then Liz is my candidate. I cannot support Joe Biden or Cory Booker or Kamala Harris or anyone else over Bernie or Liz. Just can’t and won’t. Not in the primary season, anyway.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong. For me, anyway, it’s not about Elizabeth Warren’s heritage. I mean, I’m sure that it’s important to her, but I personally don’t care how much Native American blood she has coursing through her veins.

I care that she fights back against the Repugnican liars and traitors among us and does so effectively, something that the Democrats too rarely do. But more than that, I care that Warren truly cares about socioeconomic justice. It’s her No. 1 concern, and it’s long past time that we elect a president who makes socioeconomic justice the centerpiece of his — or her — administration.

Our first female president being the second coming of FDR would be more than just fine with me.

P.S. In Warren’s video, her family members call her Betsy, which is the first I’ve heard of that moniker for her.

And although Pussygrabber said on camera at one of  his KKK rallies in July that he’d give $1 million to Warren’s favorite charity if she took a DNA test “and it shows [that she is] an Indian,” I’m sure that he’ll weasel out of it by saying that she’s not Native American enough. He is, after all, a fucking liar; he even denied today that he ever made that statement, even though it’s on fucking video.

Reportedly the Cherokee Nation isn’t pleased that Warren had the DNA test done, but not only did Pussygrabber dare her to do it and promise to give her $1 million to her favorite charity if she did, but the charity that Warren picked is the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

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Bernie Sanders is still No. 1, and ‘Democratic’ ‘superdelegates’ are an endangered species

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The Democratic National Committee is about to vote on seriously reducing the anti-democratic power of the so-called “superdelegates,” power that even the Repugnican Party’s equivalents do not have. Of course many of the over-privileged “Democratic” “superdelegates” are crying foul.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake periodically updates his top-15 list for the most likely 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Bernie Sanders still tops that list, which Blake last updated on July 6.

Bernie still gives the self-serving, sellout DINO members of the dying Democratic Party establishment heartburn, of course, because his continued popularity and influence threaten their continued abuse of power that always has been at our expense.

A big thing that Bernie has been working on changing, for a great example, is reining in the so-called “superdelegates.”

Remember them? “Superdelegates” are so fucking evil that even the Repugnican Party did away with them a long time ago — that is, because Repugnican “superdelegates” must vote the way that the voters of their states voted, they’re basically, at most, just window dressing, as they should be.

So ironically anti-democratic and craven is the “Democratic” Party establishment, however, that many if not most of the party’s “superdelegates” are fighting to preserve their unfair power to vote against how the people of their states have voted.*

Yup. A recent Politico article quotes several “Democratic” “superdelegates” whining like the petulant, over-privileged children that they are that proposed party rules changes for the 2020 presidential election cycle — the changes wouldn’t allow the “superdelegates” to vote in the first round of voting at the party convention — would make them (much like their Repugnican counterparts) irrelevant.

Um, they have been irrelevant for years. We never needed them, don’t need them, and never will need them, and their insistence on maintaining, against the will of the voters, their undue power and influence is harming, not helping, the party.

(Indeed, because of how the Democratic Party establishment fucked over Bernie and simply coronated Queen Billary, I re-registered as an independent voter about two years ago, and I never, ever give a penny to the Democratic Party or to any of its arms tentacles, but only to Democratic candidates who strike me as actually progressive [that is, more or less actual Democrats].)

Remember how 2016 went down? (It’s etched in my mind.) We were reminded, constantly, even before a single ordinary person had cast a vote at a presidential primary election or at a caucus, that Billary Clinton already had x number of “superdelegates” in her pocket.

Indeed, even before we Californians got to weigh in on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, the date of our presidential primary election, the media were reporting that Billary already was “the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee” because between 500 and 600 “superdelegates” reportedly already had promised to vote for Billary at the convention (no matter how the voters of their states already had voted or later would vote).

“My problem is that the process today has allowed Secretary Clinton to get the support of over 400 superdelegates before any other Democratic candidate [even] was in the race,” Bernie Sanders stated at the time, adding, “It’s like an anointment.”

“Like”? Indeed, the constant reportage of how many more “superdelegates” Billary had than Bernie did very apparently was meant to give her the image of the winner — and thus the momentum — and Bernie the image of the loser, even though “superdelegates” are just over-privileged party insiders.

Back to The Washington Post’s top-15 list: Bernie has topped the list for some time now. The top 10 are:

  1. Bernie Sanders (he was at No. 1 last time)
  2. Elizabeth Warren (she was at No. 2 last time)
  3. Kamala Harris (was at No. 4 last time)
  4. Joe Biden (was at No. 3 last time)
  5. Cory Booker (was at No. 5 last time)
  6. Kirsten Gillibrand (was at No. 6 last time)
  7. Deval Patrick (was at No. 9 last time)
  8. Terry McCauliffe (was at No. 8 last time)
  9. Eric Holder (was at No. 12 last time)
  10. Michael Bloomberg (his first time on the list)

There’s no reason to regurgitate all 15, because pretty much only the top five listed above have a chance, methinks.

And the further down in the rankings you are, you’re probably vice-presidential material, if even that.

Perhaps ironically, to me the most troubling race would be Bernie vs. Elizabeth. For progressives it could be a difficult choice. Both Bernie and Elizabeth are progressives, but a critical distinction between the two of them, to me, is that Bernie has been willing to take on the Democratic Party establishment weasels — just having dared to run against Billary “Crown Me Already” Clinton was very brave of Bernie — whereas Elizabeth hasn’t wanted to rock the boat, but always has played it safe.

The boat needs rocking, much more rocking, so Bernie remains my top choice for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. A leader is willing to ruffle some feathers, and Elizabeth has been too cautious. Way too cautious.

That said, I could accept her as Bernie Sanders’ running mate, although that probably won’t happen, since they are senators from neighboring states (indeed, the two states share a border).

A better pairing probably would be Kamala Harris as Bernie’s running mate.

I’m fine with Harris as vice president (and maybe, after that, president). But just as it was a mistake to send Barack Obama to the White House after he’d been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, it would be a mistake to send Harris to the White House after only four years in the Senate. She needs to learn D.C. a lot more before she takes the top job there; Jesus fucking Christ.

Indeed, I have to surmise that it was because Obama had been in D.C. for only four years before he became president — because of his naiveté and his hubris — that he squandered 2009 and 2010 trying to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress, who obviously never were going to work with him in the first fucking place, and therefore the Democrats lost the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010 and then the U.S. Senate in November 2014.

Indeed, for at least six of his eight years in the White House, Obama was crippled, and his crippling was of his own doing. Again, he didn’t own and use the political capital that he’d earned in November 2008, but instead squandered it spectacularly in 2009 and 2010.

Harris as the 2020 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate would be a nice geographical placement (a president from Vermont and a vice president from California), and as there appear to be two broad wings of the Democratic Party — progressives (those who focus first and foremost on socioeconomic issues) and identity politicians (those who focus first and foremost on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc.) — the pairing should bring the party together as much as it’s possible to bring the party together.**

Personally, while I like Elizabeth Warren, despite her disconcerting lack of courage, I see Team Pussygrabber taking her down rather easily in November 2020, painting her as the weak egghead (the whole “Pocahontas” bullshit entirely aside), so I hope to hell that she doesn’t win the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I’m just being honest about that. I’d very probably vote for her should she actually win the nomination, but I wouldn’t expect her to win the White House. I’d expect her to get Dukakised.

Joe Biden remains a has-been. He’s too aligned with both Billary Clinton and with Barack Obama, and that brand of the Democratic Party — the do-nothing center-right — is dying to the new Democratic Party that is struggling to be born. I cannot and will not and would not support Joe Biden. It would be going backwards.

Cory Booker is a corporate whore and an empty suit who only cynically and superficially would be trying to be the next Barack Obama. I cannot and will not and would not support Cory Booker. I wouldn’t even want him as a vice-presidential candidate.

There’s no reason to even discuss Nos. 6 through 10 because none of them is going to win the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, unless Nos. 1 through 5 die unexpectedly.

Although it’s discussed as though it’s a wide-open field, really, it’s not. I agree with Aaron Blake’s assessment that the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee probably is going to be Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris — maybe Joe Biden, if he runs and if he gets lucky, if he can eke out a win via the dying Democratic Party establishment’s bullying, anti-democratic bullshit. (Even Billary couldn’t do it, so I doubt that Biden could.)

Bernie has run for president before, giving him a big leg up, and not only that, but he won 22 states and 46 percent of the pledged — the actually democratically won — delegates to Billary’s comparatively paltry 54 percent, which was a very strong showing for someone who had pretty much come from nowhere to challenge Queen Billary Herself.

Indeed, had it not been for the rigged, anti-democratic system of “superdelegates” (among other pro-Billary riggings within the Democratic National Committee), it might be Bernie Sanders instead of “President” Pussygrabber sitting in the Oval Office right now.

The Billarybots never will tell you this, but Bernie always polled a lot better against Pussygrabber than Billary ever did (see here and here), and even one of Pussygrabber’s own pollsters said that Bernie would have beaten Pussygrabber had he been the Democratic Party’s nominee.

If you want to blame anyone for “President” Pussygrabber, blame the anti-democratic, self-serving, center-right Democratic Party establishment hacks who still are trying to suppress the will of the people in order to preserve their own undeserved power and over-privilege.

We’re still stuck with “President” Pussygrabber for the time being, but at least you’ll be right — instead of a buffoonish sellout who deserves only derision from those of us who actually live in reality.

P.S. Some more great editorial cartoons about the “Democratic” Party “superdelegates” from 2016:

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*As CNN reported in early July 2016, when they and other media coronated Billary (The Associated Press was most at fault), “They [superdelegates] make up 15 percent of the total delegate universe, which makes it nearly impossible for any Democratic candidate for president to secure the nomination without the support of both pledged delegates and superdelegates.”

**To be clear, the Democratic Party must address both socioeconomic issues and issues of equal human and civil rights, but to me, if we must rank the two, socioeconomic justice is more important for two reasons: One, it affects more people, regardless of their demographics, and two, if you want to win a national election these days, you must make socioeconomic justice your centerpiece, for fuck’s sake.

If you are, for example, a toxic “feminist” (you know, the kind who tosses around terms like “Bernie bro” and “brogressive” [because you’re actually just a misandrist]) or a race hustler who demands that every Democratic president from here on out must be black (because Obama!), then you are going to lose huge swaths of the electorate who (gee!) for some reason don’t share your bitter hatred of them. Case in point: November 2016.

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Live-blogging the 9th Dem debate

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Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed tonight in a debate in Brooklyn, New York, that wasn’t as acrimonious as it could have been, but in which the audience members loudly booed Billary at least a few times and repeatedly chanted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” (There were no chants for Billary and no boos for Bernie [no loud ones, anyway].) Something that Billary didn’t respond to at all during the debate was Bernie’s quite-correct assertion that he pulls in a lot more independent voters than she does, and that independent voters are critical for winning the White House (as Democratic die-hards can’t win it alone), and that he long has polled significantly better against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential frontrunners than has Billary.

5:40 p.m. (all times Pacific Time): The ninth Democratic Party presidential debate is scheduled to begin in 20 minutes. I’m streaming it via CNN’s website. I expect the sparks to fly between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton tonight, and I expect Billary to lie as even she has never lied before.

5:55 p.m.: The debate is to begin in five minutes. My intent is to give my impressions as the debate unfolds, not to be a stenographer, so for complete, thorough coverage of the debate, you’d have to watch it and/or read its transcript after it’s posted online.

I tentatively plan to write only about new lines of discussion, but there may not be very many of those, so this might be repetitive of my past live-bloggings of the previous eight debates.

I’m still very much rooting for Bernie Sanders, but these debates have become a bit tiresome; they’ve been going on for six full months now.

6:00 p.m.: National anthem now. Yawn. Bernie came out first, followed by Billary. They had a cursory, not-very-sincere-looking handshake, and once again I’m wondering who the hell dressed Billary. Is that a raincoat? (In any event, anyone as chummy with gay men as she has claimed to be would be dressed a lot better, it seems to me…)

6:02 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that he started off 70 percentage points behind Billary in the nationwide polls but that a few recent nationwide polls have had him slightly ahead of her, and he reminds us that he won eight of the last nine primary-season contests.

Bernie rehashed his stump speech, but it seemed fresher tonight than it has in a long time. (Admittedly, it could just be that there was more than a month between the last debate and this one…)

6:04 p.m.: Billary reminds us that she represented New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years. She mentions 9/11 but not the Vietraq War that she voted for in October 2002.

She mentions “diversity” — a play to identity politics, because that’s all that she has left — but she doesn’t mention income inequality. (Perhaps because she’s a multi-millionaire…)

6:06 p.m.: Bernie, asked if Billary is qualified to be president, says yes, but says, “I question her judgment.” He mentions her vote for the Vietraq War and the million$ that she has taken from Wall Street.

6:08 p.m.: Oh, snap! Billary says she was elected as senator for New York twice and was selected by President Hopey-Changey to be his secretary of state. Therefore, her judgment must be swell!

She now claims that Bernie can’t explain how he’d achieve his central goal of breaking up the banks. Actually, I wouldn’t say that breaking up the banks is the central pillar of Bernie’s campaign. It’s only a part of it, one of many parts of it.

6:10 p.m.: Bernie is pretty red in the face while Billary has this self-satisfied, shit-eating grin on her face. She now says that an attack on her is an attack on Obama. She just got booed by the audience for that, appropriately.

Billary has tried to use Obama as a human political shield her entire campaign. It is demonstrative of her character.

6:12 p.m.: Repetitive stuff about breaking up the banks. (Again, this is the ninth debate that I’ve live-blogged…)

6:15 p.m.: Billary’s tactic clearly is to have this shit-eating grin, like she’s just so above it all. I don’t think that this tactic is going to work for her. (It worked for Joe Biden when he debated Paul Ryan, but this isn’t the Biden-Ryan debate.)

The audience tonight is dynamic, reflecting, I think, how the Bernie-Billary fight is coming to a climax.

6:17 p.m.: More repetitive shit, with Billary still trying to argue that although Goldman Sachs — which just paid billions in penalties — gave her shitloads of money for speeches, it has not affected her decision-making at all.

6:19 p.m.: To thunderous applause, Billary is asked why she won’t release those speech transcripts. She isn’t answering the question, but instead is trying to deflect.

6:21 p.m.: The moderator won’t let the question go, and the audience goes wild. Billary deflects again, saying that she has released 30 years of tax returns, but that Bernie hasn’t.

The moderator for a third time asks about those transcripts. Billary again says she’ll release her transcripts when everyone else (on the Repugnican Tea Party side) does and again says that she has released more tax returns than has Bernie. Apples to oranges, but that’s her game.

6:23 p.m.: Bernie promises to release more tax returns soon. He says they promise to be “boring,” as he is “one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.” (This is true. Google it.)

6:24 p.m.: Wolf Blitzer, who should work for Faux “News,” asks how Bernie, with his confrontational style toward corporations, as U.S. president effectively could promote U.S. business. (This is, you see, a U.S. president’s No. 1 job — to make the filthy rich even richer!)

Bernie is talking about how unethical, harmful corporate practices and corporate abuses must be curbed. Bernie indicates that corporations must treat their workers and the environment with respect. And that not all corporations are bad actors.

6:27 p.m.: Bernie speaks of the need to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

6:28 p.m.: Billary has laughed at Bernie at least two or three times. Again, while it worked for Joe Biden against Paul Ryan, it just makes her look arrogant and condescending — especially when most of her answers to these debate questions range from vague to evasive.

6:29 p.m.: Oh, shit. Wolfie reminds us that Billary publicly stood with Andrew Cuomo for New York’s new $15/hour minimum wage but that throughout her campaign, until only very recently, she has supported only a $12/hour federal minimum wage.

Billary now supports the $15/hour minimum wage. Seriously. She is acting like she’s always supported $15/hour. This is a fucking lie.

Wow. Bernie just said that “once again, history has outpaced Senator Clinton.” Absolutely. The audience is going wild.

The members of this audience have done their research and have been paying attention, so Billary’s sudden, magical time-space leap to always having supported a $15/hour federal minimum wage doesn’t fly with them.

6:34 p.m.: Bernie laughs at Billary, as she has been laughing at him, and she says, with her false concern that she displays so often and so readily, “This is not a laughing matter.” (The topic is guns.)

I don’t believe for a nanosecond that multi-millionaire Billary truly cares about any of us commoners, and of course she is well-protected from gun violence herself, but it’s an easy issue on which to jump on board, because who is for gun violence?

6:37 p.m.: Bernie says that the National Rifle Association gives him a “D-” rating on guns. Indeed. This is a non-issue, a red herring that a desperate, pro-plutocratic Billary & Co. created from thin air.

6:40 p.m.: Again the “issue” of whether gun manufacturers should be liable for the misuse of their products. This is another non-issue. If guns are that bad, then they should be made illegal altogether. You can’t blame the manufacturer of a legal product for its misuse. This is mushy-headed liberal insanity.

(I define “liberal” and “progressive” very differently, by the way, but that’s another blog post. In a nutshell, though, Billary is a liberal — she’s a multi-millionaire who pushes social issues and identity politics that, just coinky-dinkily convenient for her and her millionaire and billionaire buddies, for the most part don’t alter or significantly threaten or jeopardize the socioeconomic status quo — and Bernie is a progressive — he wants to change the socioeconomic status quo quite radically.)

Again, the whole gun “issue” is a distraction from Billary’s flaws and shortcomings, and a rather fucktarded one.

6:43 p.m.: Billary is asked if her hubby’s 1994 crime bill was a mistake. She states that portions of the bill improved things but that other portions created new problems. She reminds us that Bernie voted for the crime bill and also has said that portions of it proved to be good and others bad.

Billary says she wants “white people” to recognize systemic racism. I agree with that, but all people are capable of racism, not just white people — let’s please not single out and demonize only white people for the wrong of racism — and again, I am incredibly leery of the Clinton brand of identity politics, which has us commoners doing nothing about our common socioeconomic plight while we fight each other, stirred up by craven politicians who maximize identity politics for their own personal gain.

6:49 p.m.: Bernie is asked how as president he would reduce the number of prisoners within the U.S. when most of the prisoners are state prisoners, not federal prisoners.

Um, federal law trumps state law. Federal laws, including civil rights laws, can tackle the problem of over-incarceration. The red states can whine, but they have to fall in line. We can bring them to heel — again.

6:51 p.m.: On break now. Billary has been booed by this lively audience several times. This audience seems to be more pro-Bernie than pro-Billary. Especially when she tries her typical evasive and deflective bullshit and her lying, the audience boos.

6:55 p.m.: The topic now is energy.

Billary claims that both she and Bernie have taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Bernie says more than 40 lobbyists for the industry maxed out their contributions to Billary.

Both Billary and Bernie apparently agree that climate change is a problem.

Billary says she worked on bringing nations together on battling climate change as secretary of state. She says Bernie wasn’t appreciative enough of the Paris agreement.

Bernie says that we have to go beyond paper agreements and actually work to combat climate change, including banning fracking. Billary supports fracking.

Billary is at length equating Bernie’s criticism of the Paris agreement as not being enough to an attack on Obama — something that she wouldn’t need to do (piggypack on Obama’s popularity) if she weren’t so widely despised herself.

7:02 p.m.: Billary now seems to be backtracking on her historical support for fracking, which she now indicates she always only has envisioned as being temporary. (Riiight!) This is still yet another issue on which history has outpaced her.

7:03 p.m.: Bernie corrects the record, stating how Billary has supported fracking around the world, and he criticizes her incrementalism. Climate change is too serious for incrementalism, he proclaims, adding that we needed to address climate change “yesterday.”

7:05 p.m.: We are on “a suicide course” with climate change, Bernie says. Yup.

Bernie says we have to phase in new sources of sustainable energy and phase out old, unsustainable sources of energy while Billary still has that condescending, smug, shit-eating grin on her face that makes her more unlikeable, not more likeable. Really, she has no one but herself to blame for her upside-down favorability numbers.

7:08 p.m.: Wolfie reminds Billary that Obama says his biggest mistake as president was bungling Libya.*

Billary blathered about Libya. I didn’t listen much, to be honest. Bernie now talks about how “regime change often has unintended consequences,” and he has mentioned Iraq and made a bit of a comparison between U.S. meddling in both nations.

Billary says Bernie in the Senate voted for the Libya intervention. This is all rehashed from the previous debates.

Bernie says that just repeating something doesn’t make it true. Bernie says that he never voted in support of “regime change” in Libya. He says he voted only for “democracy in Libya.”

7:14 p.m.: Bernie points out how much Billary has been relying on Obama as her human shield (I paraphrase) and says that Billary as secretary of state wanted a no-fly zone in Syria that Obama didn’t and still doesn’t want.

7:16 p.m.: The stupid moderator points out to Bernie that both Donald Trump and he state that the United States has to pull too much of the weight within NATO. This is supposed to be a gotcha! question, but so the fuck what?

Although I’d never vote for Der Fuehrer Trump, in the mishmash of his political “offerings” he does present some libertarian leanings, and I do agree with some of the libertarian views, such as an anti-war and anti-war-profiteering sentiment and a fierce respect for and defense of privacy rights. (I disagree with them on pretty much everything else.)

And even a broken clock is right twice a day, so there can be one or two or maybe even three whole things that Trump is actually accidentally right about.

7:21 p.m.: Israel now. Oh, God. Bernie says he is “100 percent pro-Israel,” but “we have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.” Bernie (who is Jewish) says his views on the Palestinians don’t make him “anti-Israel.”

Billary takes her predictable pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stance. After all, it’s AIPAC that gives her the big campaign contributions, not the impoverished Palestinians. Her “right-to-defend-yourself” rhetoric makes her sound like a puppet of wingnutty war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu. (Because she is. His hand is entirely up her ass, moving her mouth and her arms.)

Cool. Bernie says that Billary’s fairly recent speech to AIPAC made no substantive mention of the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people. Of course not! She gave AIPAC the speech that AIPAC paid for!

“You gave a major speech to AIPAC … and you barely mentioned the Palestinians,” Bernie reiterates after Billary tells us how badly poor Bibi Netanyahu has had it, with those “terrorists” in Israel’s midst.

(Israelis have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, but since Israel uses shiny, high-tech, U.S. weapons, that’s not terrorism. Only poor people who don’t have access to such high-tech killing methods can be terrorists, you see. We Americans and Israelis are civilized killers — not terrorists!)

Wow. Bibi Netanyahu, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright — Billary Clinton sure loves a war criminal!

7:34 p.m.: Bernie tiresomely is asked how the nation would pay for his initiatives to improve the socioeconomic status quo, such as health care and higher education.

Bernie says he is “determined” to transfer the money that has gone to the 1 percent back to the working class and middle class.

Billary says we’re at “90 percent” coverage for health care, but we still have for-profit health care, replete with shitty health care plans that bankrupt people with the out-of-pocket-costs anyway.

Bernie reminds us that other major nations guarantee health care for their people at a much lower cost than in the U.S., and that they don’t make their college students slaves to student-loan debt. “Please don’t tell me that we can’t do what many other nations around the world are doing,” he says. Yup.

This is mostly rehashed, but it’s important. There indeed is no good reason, outside of incredible greed and politicians who treasonously sell us commoners out to moneyed interests, that the U.S. doesn’t provide health care and education for all of its people.

7:43 p.m.: Talk of Social Security now. (It’s a complicated topic. Read the transcript of the debate when it’s up.) Billary says that she and Bernie are “in vigorous agreement,” but Bernie indicates that Billary has changed her position on Social Security, as she has on so many other issues. The audience is chanting, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

Billary, under fire, now claims that Bernie isn’t a real Democrat. Wow. But this is how she operates when she is backed into a corner.

7:46 p.m: Bernie and Billary are “in vigorous agreement” on the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court, except that Bernie says he’d pick a nominee who would overturn Citizens United, and apparently that wouldn’t be President Hopey-Changey’s current moderate nominee.

Billary says her Supreme Court nominee would have to overturn Citizens United and uphold Roe vs. Wade, and she goes off onto the topic of abortion and reproductive rights.

Abortion/reproductive rights are important — I always have been and always will be pro-choice, and I believe that birth control, including entirely voluntary sterilization, should be provided to all people free of charge — but abortion and reproductive rights so easily can be used as a hot-button distraction from other issues.

Bernie says his pro-choice voting record is 100 percent, and he adds that he supports the LGBT community, and adds that Vermont led the way on same-sex marriage.

7:50 p.m.: We’re done pandering to identity groups now, thank Goddess. (I’m gay, but I sense when I’m being pandered to, and I hate it.)

Bernie is asked whether or not he’s a real Democrat. He says that he is, and reminds us that he does better among the independents than Billary does, and that the White House only can be won with independents, and can’t be won with Democratic die-hards alone — this is absolutely true, as I’ve written lately — and Bernie reminds us that in match-up polls against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates he does better than Billary does.

Bernie says the “future of the Democratic Party that I want to see” doesn’t rely on big corporate cash.

Billary reminds us that thus far she has received more votes than has Bernie or Donald Trump. She claims she leads a broad coalition. Hmmm. Not really. Not when she doesn’t have the youth vote or the independent vote.

Bernie, who says he’s going to win the nomination, says “Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South.” But, he says, “we’re out of the Deep South now.”

He said he will “obliterate” Trump or whoever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate is.

Billary resists the charge that she’s a darling of the Deep South, but that is indeed her power base. I mean, here is the map of where the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race stands right now:

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Yes, Billary (whose victories are in golden-yellow [Bernie’s are in green]) has won a few states outside of the South (as I’ve noted, I consider Arizona to be part of the South more than part of the West), but without her wins in the South, she wouldn’t be the putative frontrunner right now. (Duh.)

Billary says she will win and “unify” the party. She has indicated that her delegate lead is insurmountable.

7:59 p.m.: On break now.

Billary can brag about her delegate lead — she leads by 214 in pledged/democratically earned delegates (1,309 to Bernie’s 1,095), and the “super-delegates” can’t vote until the party convention in late July — until she’s blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that while John Kerry sewed up the nomination in March 2004, Billary is so widely disliked that the race is stretching out, just as it did in 2008, when she finally conceded to Obama in June.

She might win this thing, but she will remain a weak candidate. Nothing substantial has changed since the party’s voters soundly rejected her in 2008.

8:04 p.m.: Closing statements.

Bernie first. He reminds us that his father was a Polish immigrant to Brooklyn.

Millions of Americans can create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, he proclaims.

Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as Billary tries to begin her closing statement.

Billary reminds us that New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate twice and that they experienced 9/11 together. (Geez, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors used 9/11 endlessly for political gain.)

She does not mention her support of the Vietraq War, the most important vote that she had in the U.S. Senate — and that she fucked up royally.

Billary again plays up the “barriers” to different groups, another shout-out for identity politics. She explicitly says that it’s not just income inequality that we have to tackle.

That’s true, but her corporate sugar daddies really, really want her to focus on identity politics rather than on income inequality; they want us commoners too busy fighting each other over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. rather than coming after them for our fair sliver of the pie.

That is the central issue (well, only climate change is a larger issue), which Bernie Sanders identified a long, long time ago.

In closing, tonight’s debate probably helped Bernie more than Billary. There clearly was more love for Bernie than for Billary among the audience members. I don’t recall that Bernie was booed once, whereas Billary was booed at least a few times, or that Billary’s name was chanted once, whereas Bernie’s was at least a few times.

I mean, the overall audiovisual was of one candidate clearly more popular than the other, at least among that audience. How can that be good for Billary?

And Billary’s smiling/smirking and laughing — that was off-putting and probably worked against her rather than for her, as it only could have contributed to her net unlikeability and net unfavorability. Who the fuck advised her to do that?

Probably the same idiot who dressed her…

*A retrospective President Hopey-Changey recently cited his administration’s bungling of a post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya as his No. 1 failure as president, but I quite disagree.

His No. 1 failure as president, hands down, was his failure to use the shitloads of political capital that he had in 2009 and in 201o to push through a progressive agenda, when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

It was a colossal dereliction of duty as well as an unpardonable violation of his campaign promises (thus, I could not in good conscience and therefore did not vote for him again in 2012).

It also led to the rise of the “tea party” in 2009 and 2010 and lost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives for the last six of Obama’s eight years in office — guaranteeing gridlock for the last three-fourths of his presidency.

It was incredible political malpractice, something that a right-winger never would have done. (I mean, George W. Bush exploited political capital that he didn’t even have, whereas Obama refused to spend a fucking penny of the immense amount of political capital that he did have.)

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On minimum wage alone, Billary Clinton deserves to lose NY and CA

Today the states of California and New York, the most populous and the fourth-most-populous states respectively, enacted legislation to raise, gradually, their minimum wage to $15 an hour, the highest minimum wage in the nation.

(The federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour. As of today, 39 states’ minimum wage is less than $9 an hour, and 11 states’ minimum wage ranges from $9 to $10; and 21 states’ minimum wage is $7.25 or even less.)

I am glad — and proud — to be a Californian!

Of course business owners and those who love them — cold-hearted, greedy, treasonously selfish motherfuckers who never would be remotely content to live on as little as $15 an hour themselves — have cried DOOM! for the two states’ economies because of their minimum-wage increases to $15.

Bullshit. If you truly cannot pay your employees a livable wage, then your business isn’t viable — and it should go under. (Of course, most business owners well can afford to pay their workers significantly more; they just lie that they cannot so that they can keep buying those expensive cars and yachts and other toys and bigger and bigger mansions and otherwise hoard our nation’s wealth while income inequality only continues to worsen.)

The Democratic governors of both populous blue states, Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo, today signed the $15-an-hour-minimum-wage pieces of legislation for their states.

Interestingly, an Associated Press news story today notes that “[Billary] Clinton joined … Cuomo as he signed the law that will gradually boost that state’s pay rate and she predicted the [$15-an-hour-minimum-wage] movement will ‘sweep our country.'”

Yet there is no mention at all in the AP news story that Queen Billary all along in her latest campaign for the White House has supported only a $12-an-hour federal minimum wage, whereas Bernie Sanders all along has supported a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage.

Yet here is Billary appearing with Cuomo in New York City today, taking credit by association for New York’s minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, claiming “victory for New York families”:

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

New York Daily News photo

Fucking shameless. Way beyond shameless.

But it’s how Billary operates: She jumps on board only after others already have done the hard work — and pretends that she was on board all along.

Billary leads from behind, whereas Bernie Sanders always proves to have been ahead of the curve.

Leaders lead the herd. They don’t follow the herd.

Billary deserves to lose the New York primary on April 19 and the California primary on June 7, on this issue and her craven, self-serving, flip-flopping posturing on it alone.

(Billary is worth around $25 million, by the way, whereas Bernie is worth around $500,000. I’d love to see Her Highness Billary be forced to live on $12 an hour! No doubt it’s because of her fat-cat campaign contributors that she has supported no more than $12 an hour for us commoners. She must do their bidding — if she wants the millionaires’ and billionaires’ money to continue to flow to her and her family and her cronies.)

Thankfully, Real Clear Politics right now has Billary at only 11 percent ahead of Bernie in New York and only 9 percent ahead of him in California (The Huffington Post right now similarly has Billary at 10.4 percent ahead of Bernie in New York and 8.8 percent ahead of him in California), and Bernie has enough time to catch up to and overtake Billary in both states.

Of course Billary could lose both California and New York to Bernie and still win the presidential nomination by garnering more delegates than he, but the optics of Billary Clinton losing the two most populous blue states would be incredible.

It would demonstrate further how weak she is within her own fucking party, and how weak she would be going into the White House — should she actually manage to win it with her favorability ratings (among all American voters, not just Democratic Party hacks) that are upside down — by double digits.

And let’s not get it twisted: Billary Clinton inherently is a weak “Democratic” presidential candidate because she is craven and corrupt. Let’s not blame Bernie Sanders for her remarkable shortcomings and for her wrongdoings; she has harmed herself, and neither she nor her Billarybots correctly can blame Bernie or anyone else for weakening or harming her second campaign for the nation’s highest elected office.

We should thank Bernie Sanders for shining the spotlight on the cockroach that is Billary Clinton, and fuck us if we choose to ignore what we see in that spotlight, believing that willful ignorance is bliss; the consequences of our own such fucktardation would be entirely on us.

Update/possible correction (April 5, 2016): The Associated Press news story that I linked to above, in its last paragraph, now states:

Sanders has made the $15 wage a foundation block of his candidacy, while Clinton backs Senate legislation that would enact a federal minimum wage of $12 an hour, with the ability of individual cities and states to set a higher threshold.

The AP routinely updates/revises its news stories, and so I’m not sure whether I missed that last paragraph (I rather doubt that I did, but it’s not impossible that I did) or whether AP updated the news story after I first linked to it.

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Attacks on Elizabeth Warren demonstrate her strength

Warren listens to Yellen testify on Capitol Hill in Washington

Reuters news photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has the stuff of which U.S. presidents are made, which is why she has plenty of detractors. (And she really rocks purple. Just sayin’: I want eight years of a purple-wearing president.)

Reading Yahoo! political commentator Matt Bai’s recent column on why he believes Vice President Joe Biden should run for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, I was stopped cold by Bai’s casual, cavalier remark that besides Biden, “There’s [Vermont U.S. Sen.] Bernie Sanders, who’s an avowed socialist [as though there were something wrong with that], and Elizabeth Warren, who sounds more like a Jacobin.”

I recalled that the Jacobins were associated with the French Revolution, but I couldn’t recall exactly what they were about, and so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia notes of the Jacobins, in part: “At their height in 1793-94, the [Jacobin Club] leaders were the most radical and egalitarian group in the [French] Revolution. Led by Maximilien de Robespierre (1758–1794), they controlled the government from June 1793 to July 1794, passed a great deal of radical legislation, and hunted down and executed their opponents in the Reign of Terror.”

Wow.

For all of the right wing’s bullshit about “class warfare” — which, conveniently, according to the right wing’s playbook always is waged by the poor against the rich and never vice-versa — Elizabeth Warren actually has not called for a violent revolution.* She has called for a return to socioeconomic fairness and justice, which is more than reasonable, especially given what has happened to the American middle class since at least the 1980s, during the reign of Reagan (another reign of terror from history, not entirely metaphorically speaking). But if you can’t win an argument these days, you just accuse your opponent of being a terrorist (not entirely unlike Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent comparison of Wisconsinites standing up for their livelihoods to the terrorists who comprise ISIS).

Matt Bai makes only one other brief reference to Warren in his screed about why, in his estimation, Biden should run for president for 2016: “Biden’s a middle-class champion who makes the case for economic fairness with more conviction than [Billary] Clinton and less vitriol than Warren .”

I agree that Billary has little to zero credibility on the issue of socioeconomic justice, but if you Google “vitriol” you will see that it means “cruel and bitter criticism.”

Wow. Warren is passionate, absolutely. She’s one of the relatively few passionate and progressive elected officials in D.C., and passion is a normal response to socioeconomic injustice that is deep and widespread. But when has Warren ever been bitter and/or cruel? WTF, Matt Bai?

I’m not the only one who has recognized this. I was pleased to see soon later that Salon.com writer Elias Isquith wrote a column on Bai’s drive-by bashing of Warren and on the establishment’s fear of Warren — fear of Warren because she actually threatens to upend the status quo in Washington, D.C., the status quo that is toxic for the majority of Americans (and much if not most of the rest of the world) but that is working out just fine for the denizens of the halls of power in D.C. (which would include Bai, whom Isquith refers to as “the star pundit-reporter and longtime communicator of whatever the conventional wisdom of the political elite happens to be at any given time”; I would add that Bai is a mansplainer par excellence as well).

Isquith, too, takes issue with calling Warren a “Jacobin,” and Isquith compares a quotation of an actual Jacobin (the philosophy of whom is that “[the] policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror. … Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs”) to a quotation of Warren (one of my favorites):

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This statement (from August 2011, when Warren was running for the U.S. Senate) is eminently fair and reasonable — I’d call it “common sense” if the wingnutty fascists hadn’t already bastardized that term for all of their harmful ideas and opinions.

Why the establishmentarian attacks on Warren, whose actual words and actual record have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with what her detractors and critics claim about her? Isquith offers a plausible explanation (links are Isquith’s):

… The first and most obvious reason is that Washington is, to put it gently, a swamp of corruption where many influential people live comfortably — thanks to Wall Street. Maybe they’re lobbyists; maybe they work in free-market think tanks; maybe they’re employed by the defense industry, which benefits greatly from Wall Street’s largesse. Or maybe they’re government bureaucrats who find Warren’s opposition to the “revolving door” to be in profound conflict with their future plans.

My second theory is less political and more prosaic. Another reason Bai and his ilk find Warren discomfiting may be her glaring lack of false modesty and her disinterest in keeping her head down and paying her dues. Because despite being the capital of what is nominally the greatest liberal democracy on Earth, Washington is in truth a deeply conformist and hierarchical milieu, one where new arrivals are expected to be neither seen nor heard until they’ve been deemed to have earned their place. And while Warren may want to be seen as a team player, what she cares most about is reining in Wall Street. If she deems it necessary to accomplish her primary goal, she’s willing to step on some toes and lose a few fair-weather friends. …

I would add that patriarchy, sexism and misogyny certainly play a role, too. It might not be conscious in all cases, but I surmise that because every single one of our 44 U.S. presidents thus far have been men, there is an ingrained cultural, even visceral, belief among many, many Americans — even women — that the U.S. president should be a man. Thus, the likes of Matt Bai is rooting for Joe Biden; Bai’s support of Biden apparently stems, in no tiny part, from the fact that Biden is yet another older white man.

The U.S. president should be, in my book, the candidate who both is the most progressive and the most electable, and right now that candidate is Elizabeth Warren. That she happens to be a woman is great, as we are woefully overdue for our first female president.

Presidential preference polls consistently show both Warren and Biden to be Democrats’ second and third choices after Billary Clinton (who, after E-mailgate, might slide in the polls of Democrats and Democratic-leaners; we’ll see).

Joe Biden probably would be an acceptable-enough president – I’d certainly take him over a President Billary – but given his age (he’s 72 years old today and would be 74 were he to be inaugurated as president in January 2017, making him the oldest president at the time of inauguration in U.S. history [even Ronald Reagan was a spry 69-going-on-70 years old when he took office in early 1981]) and given his reputation as a hothead, I don’t know how electable Biden would be.

And while in fairness the vice president doesn’t get to do very much, what has Biden done over the past six years?

Biden’s age doesn’t bother me — if you can be the job, I don’t much care how old you are — but it would become a campaign “issue.” And while perhaps it’s not fair to Biden as an individual, it’s pathetic and sad and deeply disappointing that in our so-called “representative democracy,” our 45th president would be yet another white man, for a string of 44 out of 45 U.S. presidents being white men.

Elizabeth Warren is a twofer: an actually progressive Democrat who is electable as U.S. president, and thus also potentially our first U.S. president who is a woman.

Attacks on Warren by the shameless, worthless, self-serving defenders of the status quo are to be expected; when the voters hear and read what Warren has to say, versus the bullshit that the establishmentarians spew** about her, they will, I believe, put Warren in the White House, where she belongs.

*For the record, I don’t rule out the use of violence in a revolution. Our plutocratic overlords never rule out the use of violence (state violence, usually) against us commoners. Unilateral disarmament is bullshit.

I’d much prefer a bloodless revolution, of course, but again, when the enemy doesn’t rule out violence, you shouldn’t either.

**Similarly, were most Americans actually informed about what democratic socialism actually is all about, they probably would embrace it, which is why it has been so important to the establishmentarians and the wingnuts (really, “wingnut” is too-cuddly a word for right-wing fascists) to lie about what socialism is all about.

Such a dog-whistle word has “socialist” become, indeed, that Matt Bai simply dismisses Bernie Sanders’ entire being in one fell swoop in just one phrase (“an avowed socialist” — gasp!).

Thank you, Matt Bai, for so courageously doing your part to discourage all actual thought in the United States of America!

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Adieu, Landrieu; it’s long past time for Democrats to stop kissing red-state ass

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in New Orleans. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Associated Press photo

Gee, maybe her very own country-Western song would have saved “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana from being denied a fourth term in the Deep-South state. A campaign appearance by Billary Clinton (who does have her very own country-Western song) apparently wasn’t enough.

“Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie,” proclaims the headline of a column by a Michael Tomasky (whom I’d never heard of until today) that will be interpreted as fairly sound advice for the Democratic Party or, perhaps, as a false-flag attempt to give Dems poor advice meant to harm them (the column does appear, after all, on the center-right website The Daily Beast). But probably, it’s more of the former than of the latter.

The occasion of the column is the double-digit defeat of Democrat-in-name-only U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to her Repugnican Tea Party opponent this past weekend. Landrieu was the last remaining “Democratic” U.S. senator of the Deep South. (Wikipedia defines the “Deep South” as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina – and sometimes at least portions of Texas and Florida, too. These seven states, Wikipedia notes, were the first to secede from the Union.)

The advice that Tomasky gives to the Democratic Party – to “dump Dixie” – seems to be the advice that the party perhaps already has taken to heart; well before this past weekend’s election in Louisiana, the national party wisely decided to stop funneling campaign cash to Landrieu and to let her languish, dry up and blow away.

Tomasky concludes his column by proclaiming that “the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying [to win congressional seats in the Deep South ]. If they [the Dems] get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.” (The link there is my own, of course, not Tomasky’s.)

Absolutely.

The likes of Repugnican Lite Landrieu – whose last-ditch, self-serving, desperate attempt to shove the Keystone XL oil pipeline down Americans’ throats for the deep pockets of the fat cats of Big Oil in order to save her Senate seat was incredibly pathetic (as was her defense of Big Oil even as British Petroleum was filling the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of crude oil) – have only harmed, not helped, the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to the right, which started no later than during Bill Clinton’s reign (Wikipedia also notes that the Clintons’ home state of Arkansas sometimes also is included in the list of the states that make up the Deep South) and has continued during Barack Obama’s, doesn’t capture nearly as many Repugnican-leaning voters (who most often simply vote Repugnican instead of Repugnican Lite) as it turns off the Democratic Party’s base. And a party that stands for everything, that tries to please all people, in the end, stands for nothing.

Obama squandered too much of his presidency trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. He tried to negotiate with these terrorists, but you don’t negotiate with terrorists. Obama instead should have taken care of his base and not given a flying fuck what the enemy thought, since politically, he didn’t really have to. Had he done that, I surmise, he wouldn’t be spending his last two years in the Oval Office with both houses of Congress controlled by the enemy. Obama started off in 2009 with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, and, had he played his cards right – instead of having wasted his political capital in trying to placate the implacable wingnuts – he could have maintained that political advantage to this day.

It’s long past time for the Democratic Party to start tending to its base. Obama’s failed experiment of “bipartisanship”* should have made this abundantly clear by now, but waiting in the wings, of course, is Billary Clinton, whose jaw-droppingly awful proxy country-Western music video on You Tube titled “Stand with Hillary” makes you wonder whether Billary approves of the video or not.

The New York Times’ Frank Bruni notes that “The video wasn’t produced by Clinton or her aides. But the people who did put it together [a “super-PAC” called, of course, “Stand with Hillary”] clearly followed the cues that they felt they were getting, and they read her intentions right.” I more or less concur, from what we know of Billary and the way she rolls.

I mean, the country-Western style of the video definitely seems to be geared toward the same shit-kicking voters to whom Billary apparently was trying to appeal when, as her 2008 effort to best Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination grew more and more desperate, Billary (right along with the John McCainosaurus campaign) denounced Obama as “elitist and out of touch with the values and the lives of millions of Americans” for having accurately described the mindset of rednecks (who, Obama correctly had asserted, “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”**).

Because Billary wants to be Queen of the Rednecks, you see. But the majority of the rednecks don’t and won’t buy that a Democrat – especially one of the caliber of Billary Clinton – is truly One of Them (replete with her own country-Western anthem!), and true Democrats are put off by those who (like Billary) call themselves Democrats but who court rednecks more than they court the members of the traditional Democratic Party base (who simply are taken for granted, year after year after year).

I should note that the guy in cowboy garb in the “Stand with Hillary” video, who was lip-synching someone else’s vocals, calls himself apolitical and says that the video was just another paying gig, that he may or may not vote for Billary for president should she be on the ballot in November 2016.

Is it that Team Billary could find only someone who would be pro-Billary for pay? At any rate, that the guy in the video is a fake cowboy, a fake country-Western singer and a fake Billary supporter speaks volumes about Team Billary, methinks, including how insubstantial the candidate is herself.

I don’t assert that the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign should not be populist. Of course it should be. The party hasn’t done nearly enough for what remains of the middle class and the working class for many years now and desperately needs to return to its roots of socioeconomic equality and justice. Therefore, I’d love to see the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. But wasting resources trying to convert those who never are going to support you anyway (as the desperate Billary tried to do in the spring of 2008, as the White House was slipping from her talons) is – well, a waste of limited resources.

The cultural stuff – such as country-Western music (for fuck’s sake), God, guns and gays – can, and should, take a back seat this next Democratic presidential cycle, in which populism should be the centerpiece, but should be limited to the discussion of socioeconomic issues that affect the common American, regardless of where he or she lives (and regardless of whether he or she likes country-western music or supports same-sex marriage).

If Billary indeed is on a trajectory to act, once again, like she’s Queen of the Rednecks, and the Democrats actually let this pass and allow her to become the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, then, it will be, I think, just as Harry S. Truman warned us: “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

We just saw the wisdom of Truman’s words in action this past weekend in Louisiana. We don’t have to see the truth of his words again in November 2016.

*In the speech that made Obama a political rock star at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama proclaimed that “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Really? One people? Even those who say that he shouldn’t be allowed to give the State of the Union address?

I mean, does Obama, six years into his presidency, still believe his feel-good, fluffy words from 2004?

**To be fair, this infamous comment of Obama’s should be taken within its larger context of his preceding remarks, which you can find here.

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Notes on the mess in Ferguson

robberystrongarmedrobbery2.jpg

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

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

Associated Press photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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