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Bernie already won

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Bernie Sanders doesn’t pick easy fights, which makes it easy for the legions of do-nothing, know-nothing dead-enders among us to declare that he’s lost even when he’s actually winning.

“Bernie and his army are losing 2018,” proclaims Politico’s David Siders.

“Bernie Sanders is sputtering,” Siders writes. “Two years after his defeat in the 2016 presidential primary, the Vermont senator has amassed a growing string of losses in races in which he has intervened.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Bernie has been on the national political scene only since 2015, when he informally announced his candidacy for president on April 30 and formally announced on May 26 of that year.

And yes, Bernie came in second place in 2016, but it was a surprisingly strong second to Queen Billary Clinton — he won 22 states and 46 percent of the pledged delegates (delegates that he had to win in primary elections and caucuses). He pretty much came from nowhere to do that, and he never has been given widespread credit for that.

Bernie Sanders successfully is pushing the needle to the left. That in and of itself is a triumph. For years the Democratic Party has been stuck in the center-right, do-nothing, punk-the-people Clintonian-Obamian bullshit, and that’s finally starting to change. It’s getting harder and harder for corporate whores who call themselves Democrats to continue their scams on the people, and that’s a great thing.

No, the job isn’t done, and yes, the Democratic Party could slip back into its corporate whoredom, but for the time being, progress is being made, even if it’s only in baby steps.

I look to Mexico’s next president, democratic socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for inspiration. He ran for president three times (in 2006, 2012 and this year) before he finally won. Had AMLO, as he is widely called, given up because of the naysayers’ negativity, he never would have become Mexico’s president-elect.

Bernie, like AMLO, is one of those rare types who just does it amidst a chorus of mediocre-at-best pieces of shit proclaiming that it can’t be done.

Like AMLO, Bernie lost his initial races. In the 1970s he ran twice for governor of and twice for U.S. senator for Vermont and he lost all four times. He didn’t finally win an election until he lowered his sights a bit and became mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1980.*

Had Bernie given up — and many people would have after having lost four elections in a row — he wouldn’t be in the U.S. Senate right now.

Center-right politics have been stubbornly persistent in the United States of America for decades now, and that dynamic isn’t going to be reversed overnight. But as the more conservative voters finally die, taking their selfish, short-sighted, right-wing bullshit to their graves with them, and our youth — who gravitate toward democratic socialism — more and more take over the reins of power, we are going to see the nation going more and more to the left.

Take a very recent election — yesterday’s special election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Ohio. Right now it’s “President” Pussygrabber-endorsed Repugnican Troy Balderson at 50.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Danny O’Connor’s 49.3 percent, a difference of only 1,754 votes out of 201,394 votes cast, with the results of around 8,300 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still to be officially announced.

Even if Balderson ekes out a win, Pussygrabber won the congressional district by 11 points in November 2016, so in the big picture, the Repugnicans should expect to lose the House of Representatives in November of this year. (Right now, only around 41 percent of those polled say they’ll vote for a Repugnican for the U.S. House in November, while around 48 percent say they’ll vote for a Democrat.)

And because yesterday’s was just a special election, Balderson and O’Connor will run against each other again for a full two-year term in November; even if it turns out that Balderson won yesterday, he will lose the seat in January if O’Connor beats him in November.

Yes, probably most of the vote swing in the Ohio congressional district is due to the revulsion of “President” Pussygrabber, whose nationwide approval ratings remain mired in the low 40s, than to great love for democratic socialism, but the pendulum is swinging back to the left.

It’s not until the end of his piece that Politico’s David Siders more or less eviscerates his own claim that Bernie’s losing, which is a nice and tidy and dramatic — but overall inaccurate — conclusion. Siders quotes two individuals thusly:

“What it is is that most people don’t realize that Bernie Sanders actually won. … What [Sanders] wanted to do [with his 2016 presidential campaign] was mobilize millions of people to get politically involved, and he achieved that in droves. Change is slow. Progress is slow. But it’s inevitable. So, even if we have some devastating losses, we have to stick at it.”

and

“My philosophy — and I think it’s what Bernie was going for — [is that] the Republican Party, years ago when they couldn’t win elections, they did some soul searching and ran people at the local level. Thirty, 40 years later, they control every level of government. … That’s what the Democratic Party needs to do. They need to get some fresh faces, go back to their roots and reorganize.”

Yup. It’s a long, hard slog to the promised land. We can’t give up now. Expect the naysayers, who never are going to contribute anything valuable themselves, to attack and to try to hinder progress.

Ignore them, and keep on doing what they claim can’t be done.

P.S. I must direct you to this piece on NPR, which ran on June 8 and which pretty much is the antithesis of David Siders’ piece for Politico. It is titled, “Bernie Sanders Is Losing Primary Battles, but Winning a War.” I reproduce it most of it here:

Since most of the congressional candidates that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed this year are losing contested primaries, then Sanders’ political clout must be fading, right?

“That’s a stupid argument,” Sanders told NPR this week. [I love Bernie.]

“You know, he has a much broader look at politics than just elections,” Sanders’ long-time strategist Jeff Weaver said.

That is evident. The 2016 candidate repeatedly questioned the political value of his endorsements, and even expressed some mild indifference to the race-by-race results of the primaries he’s waded into.

Sanders’ broader goal is to get more first-time voters and first-time candidates involved in the political process, and to keep pushing progressive policies like a Medicare-for-all health care plan into the Democratic mainstream.

If that takes more than one election cycle, so be it.

“I hope they [his endorsees] win,” Sanders said. “Maybe they don’t. But if you get 45 percent of the vote now, next time you may well win.” [Emphasis mine.]

In the U.S. House primaries that have happened so far, Sanders has endorsed six candidates in contested races. Only two of his chosen House candidates have won contested primaries, and one was an incumbent: Rep. Nanette Barragán of California.

Even if many of his hand-picked candidates are coming up short, more of the Democrats who are winning are lining up closer to Sanders anyway. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care plan continues to gain support among Democratic candidates, and the $15 minimum wage Sanders made a key part of his presidential campaign has been adopted as a cause by party leaders across the country.

But given his broad success at reshaping the party, the question lingers as to why so many of the candidates bearing Sanders’ personal seal of approval are losing.

This week, another Sanders-endorsed House candidate lost a Democratic primary by a wide margin. Pete D’Alessandro ran Sanders’ Iowa campaign in 2016, which resulted in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. This year, the Vermont senator campaigned alongside him, cut a TV commercial for him and helped him raise money. But D’Alessandro finished in third.

“I could be 100 percent in terms of my endorsements,” Sanders told NPR. “All you’ve got to do is endorse establishment candidates who have a whole lot of money, who are 40 points ahead in the poll. You know what, you’ll come and say, ‘Bernie, you were 100 percent supportive of these candidates, they all won.'”

“The candidates that we support, by and large with few exceptions, are all candidates who are taking on the establishment, and are often outspent,” he added. [Emphasis mine. Indeed, supporting a candidate who clearly already is the front-runner isn’t all that hard, is it? You pick the obvious probable winner and then claim that your support was a factor in the victory. Bullshit.]

Sanders and Weaver argue that a race-by-race accounting isn’t the best way to track what the 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up is doing this year.

“The issue here is not that I think a Bernie Sanders, or frankly the endorsement of anybody else, is some magical potion to get people elected,” Sanders said. “Frankly, between you and me, I’m not sure how much endorsements – how significant they are. Sometimes they help, sometimes not much.” [Emphasis mine.]

Two of the 17 candidates Sanders has backed this year say that, in their minds, there’s no question the endorsement helped.

“It did a lot of good for our campaign,” said Greg Edwards, who ran in a crowded Pennsylvania House primary last month. “It increased my name ID, helped me get volunteers, helped with fundraising, certainly. And we got a lot of media attention out of it. I think we got four or five press hits.”

Still, Edwards also ended up third in his race.

But Edwards centered his campaign around policies many voters now associate with Sanders. “Universal health care, Medicare-for-all, around universal preschool, around debt-free college. Around increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15,” he said.

“Many of these issues were considered fringe issues, and now they are mainstream issues that we take for granted that there, of course, are legions of Democratic candidates running on those platforms,” said Jeff Weaver. “Three or four years ago you would not have seen candidates running on that platform I would have considered to be outside the mainstream.”

When Sanders introduced his latest single-payer health care bill last year, it was quickly endorsed by several of the Senate Democrats mentioned as possible 2020 presidential candidates. …

*It’s a common mistake, I think, for someone to run for a big office, such as governor or U.S. senator, instead of running for a lower office and then working his or her way up.

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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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We’re all Putin’s little bitches now

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In a recent sketch on “Saturday Night Live,” Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) gives Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) a very special elf on the shelf as a Christmas present. It’s a funny sketch, but if “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber indeed has sold his soul — and the United States of America — to fellow gangster Putin, it’s not very fucking funny.

Admittedly, when Team Billary this past summer wanted us to focus on its allegation that Russia leaked the damning Democratic National Committee e-mails to WikiLeaks, I viewed it as the Billarybots’ lame attempt to distract us from the content of the revealing e-mails and instead focus on the source of them. (This is, in fact, a common tactic used on the right: to ignore the message and to shoot the messenger.)

As a “Bernie bro” — that term certainly didn’t make us male supporters of Bernie Sanders want to support Billary any more than we already didn’t, by the way — I didn’t give a rat’s ass as to the source of the DNC e-mails. I was much more interested in what the e-mails revealed about the “neutrality” of the DNC in the race between Billary Clinton and Sanders.

Apparently, though, as craven as they are, the Billarybots were on to something.

The very public stroke jobs that “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber and his fellow gangster Vladimir Putin are giving each other aren’t just creepy, but on Pussygrabber’s part, they’re fucking treasonous.

Love him or hate him, but Barack Obama was the first Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win two terms with a majority of the vote.

So when Obama imposed sanctions on Russia this past week, he had the backing of the majority of the American people — those who put him in the White House in 2008 and who decided to keep him there in 2012. They — we — gave him the power to deal with foreign friends and foes.

So when Pussygrabber sides with enemy-state Russia over the duly-twice-elected Obama administration, he is, quite simply, committing treason.

Reports Reuters today:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for refraining from retaliation in a dispute over spying and cyberattacks, in another sign that the Republican plans to patch up badly frayed relations with Moscow.

Putin earlier on Friday said he would not hit back for the U.S. expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies by President Barack Obama, at least until Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump wrote on Twitter from Florida, where he is on vacation.

Obama on Thursday ordered the expulsion of the Russians and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking political groups in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

“We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement, adding that Russia reserved the right to retaliate.

“Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D. Trump will carry out,” he said.

In a separate development, a code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility, the Washington Post reported on Friday, citing unnamed U.S. officials. …*

No, that’s not a “separate development.” The two are very closely linked. The Cold War is over, but Russia remains an enemy state — it went from a Communist state to a thugocracy — and “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber can’t suck Vladimir Putin’s penis furiously enough.

It is mind-blowing that Putin makes public proclamations to the effect that Repugnican U.S. “President”-“elect” Donald J. Trump already is in his pocket (and vice-versa).

If a Democratic president or president-elect had such a cozy relationship with Russia or any other nation with which the United States historically has had animosity, the Repugnican Teatards would throw a shit fit. But very apparently such treason is A-OK as long as the “president” is a Repugnican.

Many are analyzing the surreal, fascistic bromance between Pussygrabber and Putin, but the reason that they’re so much in love with each other seems to be that both are democracy-hating, power-grabbing thugs. And because for all of their bravado thugs actually are weak pieces of shit, Putin and Pussygrabber apparently need and want each other in order to bolster each other.

I mean, here is El Trumpo, only the third “president”-“elect” in U.S. history who had not first been the governor of a state, a U.S. senator, a U.S. representative, U.S. vice president or a U.S. Army general, so stunningly unprepared and unfit for the job of U.S. president — and entering the White House with an American approval rating of only in the 40s (Obama entered the White House with an approval rating in the 60s) — that he feels the need to lean on the likes of Vladimir Putin.

We’ll see how long the love affair between “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber and Russian Thug in Chief Vladimir Putin lasts and how far Pussygrabber will be able to go with it until we, the American people, finally reel him back in and remind him exactly to whom he is supposed to be loyal.

P.S. I like Matt Taibbi’s take on the whole Putin-Pussygrabber love affair. He writes, in part:

… Did the Russians do it? Very possibly, in which case it should be reported to the max. But the press right now is flying blind. Plowing ahead with credulous accounts is problematic because so many different feasible scenarios are in play.

On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d’etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy.

But this could also just be a cynical ass-covering campaign, by a Democratic Party that has seemed keen to deflect attention from its own electoral failures.

The outgoing Democrats could just be using an over-interpreted intelligence “assessment” to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration and force Trump into an embarrassing political situation: Does he ease up on Russia and look like a patsy, or escalate even further with a nuclear-armed power?

It could also be something in between. Perhaps the FSB didn’t commission the hack, but merely enabled it somehow. Or maybe the Russians did hack the DNC, but the WikiLeaks material actually came from someone else? There is even a published report to that effect, with a former British ambassador as a source, not that it’s any more believable than anything else here.

We just don’t know, which is the problem.

We ought to have learned from the Judith Miller episode. Not only do governments lie, they won’t hesitate to burn news agencies. In a desperate moment, they’ll use any sucker they can find to get a point across.

I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything. And Donald Trump, too, was swine enough during the campaign to publicly hope the Russians would disclose Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. So a lot of this is very believable.

But we’ve been burned before in stories like this, to disastrous effect. Which makes it surprising we’re not trying harder to avoid getting fooled again.

Agreed, we shouldn’t froth too much at the mouth over Russia, but “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s many statements and actions apparently protecting Russia (and his own ties to Russia) certainly give the appearance that he has something to hide.

If Pussygrabber was so sure that he won the Rust Belt states fairly and squarely, then why did his team try to block the recount effort in those states? Why does Pussygrabber think that he can pull a Jedi mindfuck on the American people, proclaiming of the allegations of Russian interference in U.S. operations that are tantamount to a declaration of war, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things”?

Most of all, why are Pussygrabber and Putin so publicly supportive of each other, including both of them ganging up on the twice-duly-elected president of the United States of America?

“On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d’etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy,” Taibbi notes.

The safest thing to do for American security is to assume that America indeed has been the victim of such a coup de’etat by Putin and Pussygrabber.

If we turn out to be wrong about that, then we turn out to be wrong about that.

But if our minds are so far open that our brains fall out, and the Pussygrabber-Putin coup de’etat indeed is as real as it appears to be now, we jeopardize our nation by waiting until we have overwhelming evidence that the unthinkable — that we “elected” a real-life Manchurian candidate — indeed has taken place.

*More of the Reuters article:

… The Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, the officials told the Post, but penetration of the nation’s electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability.

Trump has repeatedly praised Putin and nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, but it is unclear whether he would seek to roll back Obama’s actions, which mark a post-Cold War low in U.S.-Russian ties.

Trump has brushed aside allegations from the CIA and other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the cyber attacks. “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said on Thursday, though he said he would meet with intelligence officials next week.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia was behind hacks into Democratic Party organizations and operatives before the presidential election. Moscow denies this. U.S. intelligence officials say the Russian cyber attacks aimed to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Russian officials have portrayed the sanctions as a last act of a lame-duck president and suggested Trump could reverse them when he takes over from Obama, a Democrat.

A senior U.S. official on Thursday said that Trump could reverse Obama’s executive order, but doing so would be inadvisable.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the Obama administration “a group of embittered and dimwitted foreign policy losers.”

Should Trump seek to heal the rift with Russia, he might encounter opposition in Congress, including from fellow Republicans.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Friday that Russia must face a penalty for the cyber attacks.

“When you attack a country, it’s an act of war,” McCain said in an interview with the Ukrainian TV channel “1+1” while on a visit to Kiev.

“And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay, so that we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop these kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy,” added McCain, who has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on foreign cyber threats.

Other senior Republicans, as well as Democrats, have urged a tough response to Moscow. …

Trump will find it very difficult to reverse the expulsions and lift the sanctions given that they were based on a unanimous conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies, said Eugene Rumer, who was the top U.S. intelligence analyst for Russia from 2010 until 2014. …

Obama had promised consequences after U.S. intelligence officials blamed Russia for hacks intended to influence the 2016 election. Officials accused Putin of personally directing the efforts and primarily targeting Democrats. …

I never thought that there ever would be a use for the likes of the dynamic duo of John McCain and Lindsay Ladybird Graham, but the Cold Warriors just might actually remove the stench of Moscow from D.C.

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Live-blogging the 9th Dem debate

160414-clinton-sanders-lede-gty-1160.jpg

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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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‘Fringe’ candidate Bernie Sanders takes three more states today, totaling 14

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Wins in Utah and Idaho on Tuesday and wins in Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii today show progressive presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strong in the western as well as the northern states. (Sanders’ wins are noted in green on the map above, while Billary Clinton’s are noted in golden yellow.) Note that the difference between Bernie and Billary in the western state of Nevada was only 5.3 percent — and that Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts and Missouri were even closer, with not even a 0.5 percent difference between the two candidates in two of those states and not even a full 2 percent difference in the other two. (And note that for all intents and purposes I consider Arizona not part of the West, but part of the South, replete with incredible voter suppression; so fucked up was Arizona’s presidential primary election on Tuesday that we’ll probably never know the actual will of the voters of that backasswards state, since we’ll never know how many of them never even were able to cast a ballot, being unable to stand in line for hours.]) The lower right-hand corner of the graphic above indicates that Bernie won the most votes cast by Democrats Abroad

PredictIt.org, a prediction market website, doesn’t have Billary Clinton winning a state until April 19, when she is predicted to win New York state (which she carpetbaggingly represented in the U.S. Senate for eight years last decade).

Until then, PredictIt.org predicts that Bernie Sanders will win Hawaii today (Hawaii has yet to be called, but I’m confident that it will be called for Bernie), after his wins today in Alaska and Washington state (which have been called for him), and then will move on to win Wisconsin on April 5 and Wyoming on April 9.

Then, admittedly, it should look tougher for Bernie after that.

Again, Billary is predicted to win New York on April 19, and then on April 26, five more states weigh in: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Unfortunately, right now PredictIt.org has Billary winning all five of those states, but that’s a full month away from today, which can be a long time in politics, so we’ll see.

In any event, for a “fringe” candidate, Bernie Sanders thus far is kicking ass.

Note that Howard Dean, who was a political rock star 12 years ago, won only one state in the Democratic Party presidential primary race of 2004, his home state of Vermont (he also won the District of Columbia). In that race John Edwards won two states (North Carolina and South Carolina) and Wesley Clark won one (Oklahoma), while John Kerry won every other state.

Compare Vermonters Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders, and you have to admit that Bernie is doing much, much better than Dean did. (And Bernie calls himself a “democratic socialist”!)

That said, Dean did create the progressive wave upon which opportunist Barack Obama rode into the White House, co-opting Dean’s message with his (bullshit-we-know-now) message of “hope” and “change.”

Obama’s centrist/center-right, largely caretaker presidency has been an unfortunate, eight-year detour for the progressive movement, but Bernie Sanders’ remarkable progress thus far demonstrates, I believe, that if we progressives can’t retake the Democratic Party and take the White House this year, we can accomplish that within a decade or so.

As I’ve noted, Barry Goldwater’s run in 1964 paved the way for Ronald Reagan.

P.S. Real Clear Politics shows that right now Billary Clinton has only a single-digit lead over Bernie Sanders here in my home state of California, which offers more pledged delegates than does any other state (a whopping 475 of them) — and which (along with five other states) votes last in the nation, on June 7 (with the exception of the District of Columbia, which votes on June 14).

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Still Bernie or bust for me (also: Live-blogging the 7th Dem debate tomorrow)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is hugged as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan

Reuters photo

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a progressive U.S. senator for Vermont, is hugged before a rally today in Warren, Michigan. Today Bernie handily won the caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, while Billary Clinton picked up yet another state of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging denizens in the South (Louisiana). Tomorrow night Bernie debates Billary Clinton in Flint, Michigan. Michigan holds its primary election on Tuesday; if Bernie takes the state, gone (at least until Billary’s next win) should be the bullshit talk of Billary’s “inevitability.”

Today Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party presidential caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, and Billary Clinton, in keeping with her popularity in the South, won the backasswards red state of Louisiana.

Thus far the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race (this one from Wikipedia) looks like this, with Bernie’s wins in green and Billary’s in gold:

Note that Iowa was a tie, with Billary “beating” Bernie by a whopping 0.3 percent. Also close was Massachusetts, which Billary won by 1.4 percent. (It apparently helped her to at least to some degree that Bill Clinton apparently was electioneering for Billary at polling places in Massachusetts on “Super Tuesday.” [His mere presence at a polling place, even if he didn’t speak a word, was electioneering, in my book, given how well he is known as a former president and since his wife appeared on the ballot at the polling places that he visited (only to “thank the poll workers,” he claimed). Of course, the Clintons are royalty, and members of royalty are above the law.])

Nevada wasn’t a blowout win for Billary, either; she won that state’s caucuses by 5.3 percent.

Billary’s wins in the Southern states have been in the double digits, which speaks volumes to me. The South is another fucking country, as far as I’m concerned.

Bernie’s double-digit wins in states like Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Vermont (and his almost-wins in Iowa and Massachusetts) indicate to me that he represents the real Americayou know, the portion of the United States that didn’t practice slavery and wasn’t part of the Confederacy.

Queen Billary says that she’s the real Democrat in the race, yet why is her power base in the South — which is not exactly a bastion of the values and beliefs of the modern Democratic Party?

At any rate, although Billary once again stupidly was declared “inevitable” after “Super Tuesday” this past week (she won seven states [all of them, except for Massachusetts, in the South] to Bernie’s four), this remains a race.

(As many have noted, if a clear majority of the voters and caucus-goers pick Bernie over Billary, the so-called “super-delegates” will be pressured not to subvert democracy, but to go with the popular will and to therefore go with Bernie — if the Democratic Party is to survive.*)

Next up is Maine, which caucuses tomorrow, and then on Tuesday, Michigan and Mississippi hold their primary elections.

I expect Bernie to win Maine, and of course Billary will take the backasswards red state of Mississippi. I’m hoping that Bernie takes Michigan; that would be a real coup for him.

In any event, tomorrow night is the seventh Democratic Party presidential debate. It will be held in Flint, Michigan, and is to be carried by CNN at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific.

I plan to live-blog it, but I might do it differently this time; truth be told, after having live-blogged the first six Democratic debates, I can tell you that these debates get repetitive. Tomorrow night I might decide to live-blog only new material and the more interesting exchanges, and let the repetitive crap go.

Finally, if you are a regular reader of mine you will know this already, but I’ll say it again: For me it’s still Bernie or bust.

I will not support Billary Clinton, Queen of the South, in any way. Not a penny and certainly not my vote, not in California’s primary election in June or in the general presidential election in November.

Billary Clinton does not represent the United States of America or the Democratic Party to me.

My world is a progressive one, and she is from another planet.

P.S. Speaking of other planets, as far as Donald Trump is concerned: I’m sorry that he has gotten this far. It’s a sad statement on the sorry state of sociopolitical affairs in the nation that he has.

Donald Trump does not represent all white male Americans. Let me say that. He represents some of them. (White males are around 31 percent of all Americans, and Trump has the support of about 36 percent of Repugnicans, men and women, and around 39 percent of Americans identify as Repugnican or leaning Repugnican, while around 43 percent of Americans identify as Democratic or leaning Democratic. So Trump has the support of around 36 percent of around 39 percent of Americans, including women, so let’s please not say that he’s representative of most white American men. He is not. He is representative of a loud and obnoxious minority of them who share perhaps three brain cells among themselves.)

Donald Trump to me is evil not so much in that he has all of these definite evil plans for the groups of people whom he definitely would persecute, like his forebears the Nazi Germans did, but in that because he has no moral compass and no apparent conscience, but is pure ego, he would go in whatever direction he would perceive to be politically beneficial to himself, regardless of its harm to many others. He sociopathically lacks all empathy, very apparently.

Sure, that also pretty much describes corporate-ass-licker Billary Clinton’s entire political career, but would another Nazi Germany arise under Billary Clinton? Probably not. Under Donald Trump? It certainly could.

That said, I still think that I prefer the overt fascism of Donald Trump to the “friendly” fascism of Billary Clinton; I still think that I’d rather deal with the obvious wolf than with the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

On that note, both the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party establishments — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — need to go.

Yes, the thought that the establishment parties’ demise could be replaced by something akin to Germany’s Nazism (that is, nationalism, far-right-wing ideology/fascism, white supremacism, etc.) is a frightening thought, but there is an alternative to that: the progressive, inclusive, democratic socialism that real Democrat Bernie Sanders promotes.

*While I don’t share Salon.com writer Andrew O’Hehir’s assessment of Billary’s chances of emerging as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee — I think that he overstates her chances (for one thing, she remains underwater in her favorability polling of all voters by double digits — while Bernie’s favorability polling of all voters still has him liked more than disliked by double digits) — I do agree with O’Hehir’s assessment that there is a civil war within the Democratic Party just as there is within the Repugnican Tea Party.

It’s just that the Democrats are “nicer” about it, and it hasn’t blown up (yet).

Whether Billary emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee or not, the fact remains that her center-right brand of Democrat is sorely out of date, is unsustainable and needs to go, and it will go; it’s only a question of for how much longer the Clintonistas can keep the Democrat-in-name-only game going.

If we Berners — progressives — can’t take back our party this year, we will take it back in the near future.

Billary Clinton is not in a good place politically, not in the long term.

Why?

Well, if Bernie beats her, it will be seen as a victory for progressives. (Of course, if Bernie beats her but then goes on to lose in November, he’ll be lumped in with the likes of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, which probably would be damaging for the progressive brand and seen as vindicating the Clintonistas’ brand of the Democratic Party, of course. [This wouldn’t last forever, but would last for some time, I surmise.])

But if Billary wins the nomination but then loses in November, it most definitely will be the final stake in the cold, stupid hearts of the Clintonistas. The members of the party will look for a new direction, and we progressives are quite ready to supply that direction.

But even if Billary wins both the party’s presidential nomination and the White House, she’ll have a very rough go of it.

She will be attacked relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, and if you look at who her supporters are now, it appears as though as president she’ll have the support of the Democrats in the South — Democrats who are fairly powerless within their own states.

The rest of us — us Northerners, mostly — aren’t at all thrilled about Billary Clinton now, so she probably can’t count on much political support from us should she actually become president.

And that’s her fault, not ours.

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No, Bernie wasn’t trying to save Billary

Bernie Sanders Does Not Care About 'Your Damn Emails,' Hillary Clinton

The sleazy Billary Clinton was only too happy to believe (mistakenly) that Bernie Sanders was dismissing her e-mail scandal altogether — he wasn’t; he was only trying to put it into universal perspective — and Sanders, immersed in the shallow, rapid-fire, infotaining, sound-bite-frenzied environment, apparently was unable to prevent his intent from immediately being twisted into something that it never was. It was, however, his first live-televised debate on the national stage, and she’s a veteran slime-weasel.

The American people’s attention deficit disorder is worse than I’d thought. The buzz after last night’s Democratic Party presidential debate is that Bernie Sanders was defending Billary Clinton in E-mailgate. He wasn’t. Clearly.

It’s that CNN and the rest of the establishment weasels are so quick to bow down before Queen Billary that Sanders’ rather obvious actual point got lost. Immediately. This is the transcript of the exchange (from the Washington Post’s full transcript of the debate):

CLINTON: … But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me say this.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

SANDERS: You know? The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

(APPLAUSE) …

Why were Sanders’ words interpreted as a save for Billary Clinton? For a few reasons. One, given her prematurely enthusiastic response, obviously she welcomed such a “save”; when Billary immediately but incorrectly interpreted Bernie’s words as a more or less full pardon for E-mailgate from her strongest rival, she was downright giddy.

Pretty much every time that a fair criticism of her was brought up in the debate, Billary uttered some attempted deflection like, “But tonight, I want to talk not about my e-mails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States.” (Something that this American person wants in the next POTUS is that he or she does not run a home-brewed e-mail server from his or her home basement. Um, yeah.)

Other such deflections by Billary from one of her other top flaws — that she voted for the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War in 2002 — were that she’d already covered this topic in the 2008 primary debates and that Barack Obama had chosen her as his secretary of state, so how poor could her judgment be? (Um, she was chosen as SOS primarily for political reasons, I’m confident. I mean, I’ve had a problem with Obama’s past apparent comparisons of himself to Abraham Lincoln, but Lincoln did apparently believe in keeping his enemies/frenemies close.)

So Billary needed and wanted a save from E-mailgate, and when Bernie prefaced his point with “let me say something that may not be great politics,” the desperate Billary, as did pretty much the entire punditry and the rest of the nation, took it as Bernie throwing her a life preserver.

Bernie then said, turning to Billary, “I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

I’m pretty sure that Billary orgasmed at that moment, and that moment immediately was interpreted, quite incorrectly, as Bernie having dismissed E-mailgate altogether. But that fairly obviously not only was not what he actually said, but was not his point, because he then immediately followed that with:

You know? The middle class — Anderson [Cooper, the moderator], and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, [I] talk to a whole lot of people. [The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.

But Americans don’t want to talk about the real issues. The real issues are boring. They require research. And thought. And once we’re fully aware of a big problem, we then have the moral obligation to try to solve it. And that’s work. And work is hard. And usually not fun.

Bernie wasn’t saying that E-mailgate is not a problem whatsoever. He was putting it into perspective: “[The] middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

After the debate, Bernie was interviewed live by CNN at the locale of the debate and he stated that his one (or largest, anyway) regret about the debate is that the topic of income inequality didn’t get enough play.

Bernie apparently is just sick and tired that relatively minor issues like Billary’s e-mail habits are discussed instead of much bigger problems, such as climate change and the income inequality that has only grown since the Reagan years.

However, because Americans, including, of course, the punditry class (who personally benefit from continued income inequality), don’t want to talk about these huge problems, the narrative became that Bernie saved Billary from her e-mail scandal. Even my fellow leftist Ted Rall, with whom I usually agree, wrote of last night’s debate:

… It’s fun to watch rivals making nice. Party unity is swell. Who knows, maybe Bernie really does think Emailgate is no big deal. But I think it was a mistake.

First and foremost, the investigation has just begun. It isn’t wise to defend someone before all the facts are in, especially when that person’s resume is punctuated by multiple scandals.

Also, I take offense at the argument that, because the American people don’t care about an issue, that it ought not to be discussed (assuming that it is true that voters are tiring of the coverage, which may or may not be the case). Americans don’t care much about drones, the NSA, or turning Libya into a failed state (which Hillary helped do), or Guantánamo. Should we ignore those issues? Leadership is in large part about pointing to a problem and convincing people why they should care and what we should do to fix it.

For me, and I suspect many other non-Republicans, Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls. She knew, in 2009 when she began as secretary of state, that she would soon run for president. Given that the GOP always targets her, it’s crazy that she didn’t play everything by the book. Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency and, as such, should not have prompted a full-throated defense from her chief rival.

Again, Bernie never stated that “E-mailgate is no big deal.” He only tried to put it into perspective — a bit inartfully. He had started to talk about the media, and had he fleshed that thought out, he’d have pointed out that the media love to report on juicy scandals, such as home-brewed e-mail servers, especially when they involve someone like perpetual scandal magnet Queen Billary Clinton, and that reportage on this partisan bickering (such as with E-mailgate and “Benghazigate”) eclipses our much larger problems, such as climate change and income inequality, both of which continue to worsen even as I type this sentence.

I agree wholeheartedly with Rall that “Emailgate points to a problem with Hillary Clinton’s ability to make judgment calls” and that “Examined along with her vote in favor of invading Iraq — another bad political decision since it was obvious to everyone intelligent that the war would go badly for the U.S. — it raises serious questions about Clinton’s fitness for the presidency.”

But for Rall to characterize Sanders’ words as “a full-throated defense” of Billary’s e-mail habits contradicts the words that Bernie actually spoke.

It’s that at a forum that was very deferential to Queen Billary (as Jim Webb complained, she was allowed to speak far more than was anyone else), a forum sponsored by the Clinton-friendly CNN before a largely Clinton-friendly live audience, and in a fast-moving, fairly shallow discussion meant much more to evoke more sound bites for an insatiably starving, zombified corporately owned and controlled mass media than to evoke anything remotely resembling actual thought, Bernie’s intent immediately got lost in the shuffle and then conveniently was corporately repackaged into something that it apparently never was intended to be: “a full-throated defense” of Billary against E-mailgate.

Rall notes that Sanders “clearly was off balance,” and it’s true that Sanders didn’t bring up everything that he could and should have in the debate, as Rall notes in his thoughtful-as-usual commentary. If I had helped Bernie prep for the debate, for instance, in response to Billary’s predictable criticism of him not being good enough on gun control, I’d have encouraged him to point out that his home state of Vermont, which he has represented in Congress since the early 1990s, has fewer gun murders per capita than does any other state except New Hampshire. (Vermont has 1.1 gun murders per 100,000 residents. New Hampshire has 1 per 100,000 residents.)

So when Bernie asserted during the debate last night that gun control is more of an issue for urban areas than for largely rural areas like Vermont, he was correct. Billary was, in her criticism of him, quite wrong, as she so often is on topics that matter.

I’d say that Bernie was a little off balance last night. He made no huge, Prick-Perry-level debate blunder, but he did make a few minor stumbles. But, um, it was his very first nationally televised debate. Billary Clinton is a highly polished liar. She’s been lying, minimizing, deflecting, flip-flopping, triangulating (like her hubby), blaming others, playing the feminism card, playing the victim card, etc., etc., on the national stage at least since the early 1990s. She’s a mega-ultra-slimebag/weasel, whereas Bernie Sanders is a bit of a wonky nerd.*

And Bernie can try to save us from ourselves, but in the end, we have to want to save ourselves.

That Bernie’s admonishment that we pay so much attention to things such as E-mailgate at the expense of larger issues such as “massive wealth and income inequality” and “whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United” fell flat because we’d much rather talk about how “Bernie saved Billary last night at the debate” isn’t Bernie’s fault. It’s ours.**

P.S. In the end, although Bernie prefaced his remarks by saying that they “may not be great politics,” I don’t think that it hurt Bernie, politically, to demonstrate that he wasn’t going to pile upon Billary, which is what I believe he meant to say that so many believe is “great politics.”

Not only could Bernie use a chunk of Billary’s supporters to switch to his team — which he won’t accomplish by alienating them too much — but Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee (and, to a lesser extent, Jim Webb) did plenty of piling upon Billary, which was wholly deserved, but which also made them look desperate because they’re losing (because they are — look at their polling) and which made them look like typical — not visionary — politicians.

I have questioned Bernie’s tactic of remaining above typically dirty politics, but it has gotten him this far, and he never was supposed to have gotten this far.

*I agree with Sanders wholeheartedly that the United States can match the level of socioeconomic success that some European nations have, and that it’s only a capitalism that has eaten itself that has prevented the U.S. from matching those nations’ success, but Team Bernie perhaps does need to think about how it comes off for him to so often rattle off such phrases as “countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway,” as he did last night.

Both moderator Anderson Cooper and Billary Clinton (like snarky junior-high-school students) quickly criticized Sanders’ mention of Denmark — as Stephen Colbert did during a chat with Sanders not long ago (Colbert was much funnier when he did it, but I still found his joke to be a bit disappointing, coming from him) — and while Sanders is correct on this issue, in politics (if you want to win elections) you sometimes have to bow to political realities, such as that Americans are xenophobic and jingoistic and anti-intellectual, and so they don’t want to hear about Denmark…

If Sanders insists on continuing to bring up Denmark — and I suspect that he does and that he will — that won’t sway me away from him one iota, but again, for the most part he’s not dealing with his intellectual equals, and that’s the political reality that he needs to work with.

**We can blame the media only so much. After all, not only do we allow the corporately owned and controlled media weasels to do as they please, but we don’t even fight the problem of corporately owned and controlled media having a monopoly on so-called “free” speech.

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