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Trump is toast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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Cornel West, fresh from Democratic platform committee, endorses Jill Stein

Cornel West, who is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in his presidential run, at a fish fry on Saturday in Charleston, S.C., organized by Representative James E. Clyburn.

New York Times photo

Cornel West, whom Wikipedia describes as “an American philosopher, academic, social activist, author, public intellectual and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America,” recently finished his stint as one of the 15 members of the 2016 Democratic Party platform-drafting committee (he was one of Bernie Sanders’ only-five picks to the committee) — only to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. West, shown above campaigning for Bernie in Charleston, South Carolina, in January, correctly calls Stein “the only progressive woman in the race” for the White House.

Here is Cornel West’s piece for The Guardian, in full (the links are the original links, not mine):

A long and deep legacy of white supremacy has always arrested the development of U.S. democracy. We either hit it head on, or it comes back to haunt us. That’s why a few of us have pressed the president for seven years not to ignore issues of poverty, police abuse and mass unemployment. Barack Obama said it very well, following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, that some communities “have been forgotten by all of us.”

And now – in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and beyond – this legacy has comes back to haunt the whole country.

Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies. Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration it’s been a question of “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality.

I have deep empathy for brothers and sisters who are shot in the police force. I also have profound empathy for people of color who are shot by the police. I have always believed deliberate killing to be a crime against humanity.

Yet, Obama didn’t go to Baton Rouge. He didn’t go to Minneapolis. He flew over their heads to go to Dallas. You can’t do that. His fundamental concern was to speak to the police; that was his priority. When he references the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s to speak to the police. But the people who are struggling have a different perspective.

The very notion that Dallas is the paragon of policing is something that needs to be interrogated. The Dallas mayor said we have done nothing wrong, but look at your history. Ask people in southern Dallas about the police. Ask Clinton Allen, an unarmed black man fatally shot by the Dallas police in 2013. I was with his mother, Collette Flanagan, the founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, last year. Countless people came up and told us about all the struggles black communities are having with the Dallas police.

Unfortunately, Obama thrives on being in the middle. He has no backbone to fight for justice. He likes to be above the fray. But for those us us who are in the fray, there is a different sensibility. You have to choose which side you’re on, and he doesn’t want to do that. Fundamentally, he’s not a love warrior. He’s a polished professional. Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Ella Baker – they were warriors.

Obama’s attitude is that of a neo-liberal, and they rarely have solidarity with poor and working people. Whatever solidarity he does offer is just lip service to suffering, but he never makes it a priority to end that suffering.

Obama has power right now to enact the recommendations made after Ferguson: better training, independent civilian oversight boards, body cameras. But he has not used executive orders to push any of these changes through.

This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between [Donald] Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and [Hillary] Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster. That’s why I am supporting Jill Stein. I am with her – the only progressive woman in the race – because we’ve got to get beyond this lock-jaw situation. I have a deep love for my brother Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him on Hillary Clinton. I don’t think she would be an “outstanding president.” Her militarism makes the world a less safe place.

Clinton policies of the 1990s generated inequality, mass incarceration, privatization of schools and Wall Street domination. There is also a sense that the Clinton policies helped produce the right-wing populism that we’re seeing now in the country. And we think she’s going to come to the rescue? That’s not going to happen.

The American empire is in deep spiritual decline and cultural decay. The levels of wealth inequality and environmental degradation is grotesque. The correct response to this is: tell the truth about what is going on. Bear witness. Be willing to go to jail to fight for justice if need be.

When the system is declining, it can bring despair. That’s why Black Lives Matter – and all other young people of all colors who are mobilizing – is a beautiful thing. We are having a moral and spiritual awakening. It gives us democratic hope. Its not about having hope but being hope. It’s time to move from being spectators, to being actors.

Among his many other points, I share West’s contention that Barack Obama hasn’t done enough for black Americans, irrespective of Obama’s race.

In fact, I’ve long speculated that Obama has done even less for black Americans than would a president of another race even with a similar political ideology — out of Obama’s fear of being accused of doing too much for black Americans because he is a black American himself.

And yes, of course all lives matter and of course Obama is supposed to be every American’s president, but these assertions often if not usually are made to whitewash the fact that black Americans still struggle mightily — by most socioeconomic measures more than any other racial group — in a largely racist, white supremacist nation.

As I’ve noted, I don’t hold it against Bernie that he endorsed Billary. Because he ran as a Democrat, he pretty much had to. But he didn’t have to do so wholeheartedly, and he didn’t do so wholeheartedly. In my view, he did it with a major wink-wink.

And, of course, we Berners are free to vote for whom we wish, and like Brother Cornel (who, again, helped to write the Democratic Party platform, for fuck’s sake), I intend to vote for Jill Stein, who is not only the only progressive woman in the presidential race, but is the only progressive, period, who still is in the race.

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Live-blogging the fourth Dem debate

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. Taunted by Republicans to declare war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W. Bush. President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor’s refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. As Clinton put it, “George W. Bush was right.” And, Sanders visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush’s visit to a Muslim center just days after 9/11. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former U.S. Secretary of State Billary Clinton spar during the first Democratic Party presidential debate in October. Polls right now have Billary with only a 4-point lead over Bernie in Iowa, which caucuses on February 1, and Bernie with a 6-point lead over Billary in New Hampshire, whose presidential primary election is on February 9.

The fourth Democratic Party presidential debate of this cycle is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, via NBC. The debate takes place in South Carolina, which is friendly ground for Billary, who is big in the South, since she isn’t a progressive but is a Repugnican Lite.

I’ll be live-blogging tonight’s debate, using California (Pacific) time (we’re three hours ahead of Eastern Time).

This is the final Dem debate before the Iowa caucuses on February 1, which are 15 days from today.

Right now, Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has Billary Clinton’s national lead at 12.7 percent over Bernie Sanders’, and the Huffington Post’s average of polls has Billary up by 16 percent nationally.

However, the nation won’t vote on one day, but states will vote over the course of several weeks; and the earlier states’ results will affect the subsequent states’ results in a domino effect.

On that note, RCP’s average of Iowa polling right now has Billary at only 4 percent ahead of Bernie. Ditto for HuffPo. Team Billary must be panicking, and I’m expecting Billary to act desperately tonight, because she has to be desperate, and when she’s desperate, as she was against Barack Obama in 2008, she incredibly stupidly attacks her primary opponent from the right, apparently not understanding the Democratic Party primary voter (and caucus-goer).

Also, as Rachel Maddow recently put it when she had Billary on her show, Team Billary as of late has been attacking Bernie, who “doesn’t have an enemy in the world in the Democratic Party.” (Kudos to Maddow for not kowtowing to and cowering before Billary’s Being A Woman!; every legitimate criticism of Billary that a male dares to utter immediately is branded by the Billarybots as “sexism” or “misogyny” or “mansplaining” or the like.)

Recent polls (which I’ll define as reputable nationwide polls taken within the past month) unanimously show that Billary is disliked by more people than she is liked, whereas the opposite is true for Bernie, so yeah, a candidate whose favorability already is upside down attacking his or her opponent whose favorability already is right-side up probably is making a mistake.

But I digress. (That said, I hope that Billary is a raging harpy tonight; it will only harm her further.)

In New Hampshire, RCP right now has Bernie beating Billary by 6.2 percent, and HuffPo has Bernie beating her by 6 percent, so I’d be surprised if Bernie doesn’t win New Hampshire, regardless of the outcome of Iowa.

Again, I rather doubt that Billary could survive losing both Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie.

If Bernie accomplishes that, we will see a nationwide phenomenon in which weak Billary supporters (and there are, I surmise, millions of them) seriously and significantly will reevaluate their choice of Democratic Party presidential candidate.

And, again, if Bernie wins both of the first two states, Billary no doubt will act in ways which will only make even more people dislike her. (Seriously, she’ll act much like Ellie Driver does when she loses her remaining eyeball. That isn’t attractive.)

5:45 p.m. (again, I’m using Pacific Time): The debate is scheduled to begin in 15 minutes.

5:56 p.m.: The talking heads of NBC (including Chuck Todd, whom I’ve never liked) are blathering about Bernie Sanders’ “electability” (specifically, his supposed lack thereof) even though the polls have shown for some time now that Bernie does better overall against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio) in hypothetical match-up polls than does Billary Clinton.

Facts won’t topple the corporately owned and controlled media’s conventional “wisdom.” (And shockingly, the corporately owned and controlled media wouldn’t want a president who calls himself a “democratic socialist.”)

6:02 p.m.: The candidates are on stage now. Billary already has had some water. She must be nervous

6:04 p.m.: The opening statements are largely an obligatory tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. (due to tomorrow being MLK Day and due to the setting of the debate; I prefer spontaneously heartfelt statements to politically obligatory ones…). Bernie kind of went too quickly from MLK to his standard stump speech yet once again. (At least he’s consistent.) The maudlin Martin O’Malley reminds us of the massacre that happened in Charleston in June.

6:07 p.m.: Bernie gives “healthcare for every man, woman and child as a human right,” a $15 minimum wage, and fixing our crumbling infrastructure as the top three priorities of his White House administration were he to be elected.

Billary says she’d make pay parity between men and women one of her top three priorities, as well as renewable energy and infrastructure improvement, and says she’d improve/build on “Obamacare,” but doesn’t go nearly as far as does Sanders on that issue.

O’Malley lists strengthening labor unions among his three top priorities. I like to hear that, but he won’t win. He’s still mired in low single digits.

6:11 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that the National Rifle Association has given him a rating of “D-” for his support of its priorities, and he basically (correctly) calls Billary a liar for claiming otherwise.

6:13 p.m.: Billary retorts that Bernie has voted in favor of the NRA many times. Whether that’s true or not, as this is an awfully new-found “concern” of human weather vane on crack Billary’s, I can’t see it as anything more than politics. People have died from guns so that Billary could use their deaths to try to win the White House. Craven.

Martin O’Malley says both Bernie and Billary have been “inconsistent” on gun legislation.

Gun control is low on my list of priorities. It’s not unimportant, but we have bigger fish to fry, and I see its being raised as a big issue as an attempt by the Democratic establishment and the Billary campaign (which are the same thing, pretty much) to crowd out the more important topic of income inequality, which kills far more people than do guns (just less dramatically).

6:16 p.m.: Now the topic is white cops killing black males. The moderator brought up Walter Scott, who was shot in the back by a white cop in South Carolina as he was fleeing the cop.

Billary says one out of three black men end up incarcerated, and asks us to consider how we’d feel if one out of three white men ended up behind bars.

Bernie echoes this, stating that we disproportionately have black and Latino men behind bars, and that only China has more individuals incarcerated than does the United States.

6:19 p.m.: The moderator (Lester Holt) asks Bernie how he can win when Billary has minority support that bests him by two to one. Bernie says that when the members of the black community become more familiar with him, just as with the general population, his support among them will increase. (I concur, although I acknowledge that there are some who aren’t smart enough to vote in their own best interests, and so they’ll buy Billary’s bullshit that she’d be better for minorities than would Bernie. Never mind her husband’s “welfare reform,” NAFTA, “criminal justice” “reform,” etc., all of which have harmed minorities and which she would continue as president.)

6:23 p.m.: Bernie says that the death of anyone in police custody automatically should be investigated by the federal government. I concur. He also calls for the demilitarization of our police forces and says that the composition of our law-enforcement agencies must reflect the composition of the communities that they serve. Yup.

6:25 p.m.: Discussion on opioid overdoses and the “war on drugs” now. Bernie adds that the pharmaceutical industry shares responsibility for widespread addiction to opioids and adds that we need to improve mental health care services.

6:31 p.m.: Billary says she is committed to universal health care. She calls Obamacare a “path to universal health care.” She again says we need to “defend,” “improve” and “build on” “Obamacare.”

6:32 p.m.: Bernie again asserts that health care is a right to every human being. Twenty-nine million Americans still have no health insurance, he says, adding that the United States pays more per person for health care than does any other nation. (Yeah, that would be because of the profiteering that we see in wealth care — er, health care — here in the United States.)

6:34 p.m.: Billary again defends “Obamacare” and accuses Bernie of recently changing his plan for health care for all. “To tear it up and start over again” is “the wrong direction,” Billary proclaims of “Obamacare.” This is getting heated.

Bernie adds that not only are 29 million Americans not insured, but that many are under-insured and can’t afford their co-pays. Yup. Bernie says he has no plan to “tear up” “Obamacare.”

6:36 p.m.: Billary keeps repeating that Bernie wants us to start all over again on health care, and that we can’t do that. Sure, we can. How inspiring is Billary’s mantra, however, that we can’t. Bernie says we need to have “the guts to stand up” to the private health-care insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Yup.

6:39 p.m.: Billary keeps saying we have to beef up “Obamacare.” She rejects Bernie’s plan for “Medicare for all,” saying that we couldn’t achieve that under Barack Obama, so we can’t achieve it now. Bullshit.

6:41 p.m.: Bernie says that the Democrats and Repugnicans can’t get along in Congress is a red herring for the fact that Big Money prevents most of the members of Congress from voting in the people’s best interests. Yup.

6:44 p.m.: The maudlin O’Malley is parroting the canard that we all really can hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” We can’t. We shouldn’t. And we won’t. There are irreconcilable differences between the right and the left. There is no middle ground, for instance, on such issues as same-sex marriage (which is a constitutional right) and women’s constitutional right to control their own reproductive organs. And a “middle ground” on such a universal issue as climate change, which needs action, not even more foot-dragging in the name of “moderation,” will result in misery and death for millions if not billions of human beings around the globe (as well as the continued extinction of species and irreversible adverse planetary changes).

6:47 p.m.: When asked why Bernie has the support of young people by two to one over her, Billary stated that she’ll do her best to appeal to Bernie’s supporters. I’m one of Bernie’s many, many supporters who won’t cast a vote for or give a penny to Billary, no matter what — and that’s because while Obama said “Yes, we can,” she says “No, we can’t.” (She apparently says this for the benefit of her huge campaign contributors.) And, of course, I cannot and will not support her because she’s no progressive. She’s a pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, centrist sellout.

6:48 p.m.: On break now. Twice O’Malley has tried to break in, but moderator Lester Holt won’t let him. Hee hee. I still wish that O’Malley would drop out already, but I don’t expect him to; he needs a job, apparently, and he apparently still is angling for veep.

6:52 p.m.: The topic is Wall Street and the big banks now. Bernie reminds us that he doesn’t take money from the big banks and doesn’t take speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. Bernie says we have to “break up these huge financial institutions” and bring back the Glass-Steagall Act.

6:53 p.m.: Billary now says that Bernie Sanders’ criticism of her having taken money from Wall Street actually impugns Barack Obama, since Obama also has taken money from Wall Street. (The “argument” there, I suppose, is that if someone else has committed the same wrong that you did, then you did not commit a wrong after all.) This is more bullshit Clintonian triangulation. This is classic Billary.

6:55 p.m.: Billary continues her line that Bernie has attacked Obama. Billary is so unpopular herself that she must try to damage Bernie by alleging that Bernie has attacked the much more popular Barack Obama. Pathetic.

6:57 p.m.: O’Malley says that Billary’s proclamation that she’d be tough on Wall Street is “not true.” He says that like Bernie and unlike Billary, he supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, and he totally calls her out on trying to use Barack Obama as a human political shield, just like how in a previous debate she actually tried to use 9/11 as her justification for her coziness with the Wall Street weasels. Wonderful.

7:00 p.m.: Billary tries to deflect from her Wall-Street-boosting corruption yet once again, stating that we should look at the Repugnicans and how they are supporting the Wall Street weasels. Jesus fuck, this woman’s character is abysmal.

7:02 p.m.: Bernie says he has documented how we would pay for his ambitious agenda, including making Wall Street pay its fair share. Billary vows that as president she would not raise taxes on the middle class and also says that she has detailed how she would pay for all of her proposals.

7:04 p.m.: Bernie says that Billary’s criticism of his “Medicare-for-all, single-payer program” is a “Republican” criticism. Well, yeah, she’s a Repugnican (Lite)… Bernie says his health care plan would give Americans a significant net savings by lowering their cost for private health care. Yup. You can pay more in taxes for health care and pay much less (or even zero) for private health care and end up ahead. It’s called math.

7:08 p.m.: Climate change now. Bernie says climate change is settled. Agreed. It’s called science. For future generations we must switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, Bernie says.

O’Malley says we can achieve sustainable energy by 2050. Billary attempted to chime in on this important issue but just got cut off… Break now.

I’m still torn on O’Malley’s continued presence at these debates. It’s great when he calls Billary out, such as for her latest pathetic kick of trying to triangulate among her, Bernie and Obama, since she apparently feels that she has to piggyback on Obama’s popularity, but O’Malley doesn’t poll at even 3 percent nationally.

7:17 p.m.: Iran now. Bernie calls for “normalized relations with Iran.” He states that the agreement that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is a good one, and that we need to move in the direction of better relations with Iran.

Billary says we have to continue to watch Iran, that we have to watch Iran for a longer period of time before we can normalize relations with Iran.

Now Syria. Billary says she opposes American ground forces in Syria. She says she supports supporting existing militaries in the Middle East in combating the problems in Syria and in combating ISIS.

Bernie says he opposes “perpetual warfare” in the Middle East. “As president I would do everything in my power to avoid” such a(n increased) quagmire, he says.

O’Malley says, as Bernie has said, that overall he supports Obama’s current strategy in the Middle East. And he had to get maudlin again, saying that we never should refer to a soldier as “boots on the ground.” Seriously, who advises Martin the Maudlin?

7:24 p.m.: Bernie says the wealthy nations in the Middle East, like Qatar, need to do more in the Middle East to oppose ISIS and other terrorists.

7:26 p.m.: Billary is bragging about her foreign-affairs chops (she was, after all, secretary of state, and spent a lot of time advising the more popular Barack Obama in the Situation Room!).

Bernie says our first priority in the Middle East must be to destroy ISIS, and then to focus on Syria’s dictator.

7:29 p.m.: Lester Holt apparently more or less blamed the annexation of Crimea by Russia on Billary’s having been secretary of state. Meh. I don’t want Billary in the Oval Office, but I’ve always viewed Crimea as belonging to Russia, not to Ukraine. Billary has called Vladimir Putin a “bully” whom always must be stood up to.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley is speaking in favor of privacy rights as guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Yup. O’Malley says the government must obtain a warrant to violate our privacy, and that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a privacy violation from the “front door” (that is, a more old-school privacy violation) or from the “back door,” such as via our increasingly more technologically advanced electronic devices. Yup. Yup. Yup.

Bernie says that our public policy hasn’t caught up with our technology, and I agree. We don’t give up our constitutional rights solely because we do things electronically these days. Fucktards who don’t respect others’ constitutional rights have refused to recognize this, so our laws must be updated to fully protect us from those who would violate our constitutional rights.

Billary is cut off again for the break. It does seem to me that all three candidates should have the opportunity to respond to every question, but the NBC moderators are not allowing this.

7:39 p.m.: Billary is given is a chance to address the question, but doesn’t speak in favor of our privacy rights. Hmm…

7:40 p.m.: O’Malley has attacked Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslim Americans, kind of out of nowhere. One of O’Malley’s debating tactics apparently is to try to link anecdotes to issues, but it comes off as more amateurish than anything else.

7:42 p.m.: Billary is asked how much of a role Bill Clinton would have in her economic agenda. She claims that she is undecided, but says she would use him as a “goodwill emissary” around the nation to boost her economic agenda.

7:43 p.m.: Bernie says a White House stacked with Wall Street weasels won’t accomplish much for the nation’s economy. Yup. Bernie says that his Treasury secretary wouldn’t come from Goldman Sachs. Ouch. And yup.

Bernie was baited into talking about Bill Clinton’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Bernie called Bill Clinton’s behavior in that “deplorable,” but emphasized that he didn’t want the discussion to be about Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior. Yup. (Billary, unsurprisingly, agrees…)

The corporately owned and controlled media embarrass themselves, the way that they patently pander to the lowest common denominator.

7:50 p.m.: As the debate draws to a close and the candidates are asked if there are any statements they’d like to make that they haven’t yet made, O’Malley remarks that the debate hasn’t tackled such important issues as immigration reform and the treatment of Puerto Rico by the financial weasels. He now launches into his anodyne closing statement.

Billary says she is “outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan.” She points out that the city’s population, disproportionately poor and black, has been drinking contaminated water, whereas rich denizens of a city would not.

Bernie says the Repugnican Tea Party governor of Michigan should resign.

Bernie says that nothing will improve in the United States of America until Citizens United is reversed, super-PACs are abolished, and there is meaningful campaign-finance reform. Yup. Agreed: The hands of the members of Congress are tied by their Big-Money donors.

Another President Clinton would do little to nothing to solve this overarching problem. It would be more of the same: More promises, yet nothing in our lives actually improves.

7:57 p.m.: The debate is over. Like the previous three debates, I don’t see this debate changing a whole lot. That is, if you were a Billarybot before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Billarybot, and if you were a Berner before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Berner. If I had to declare a winner of this debate, I’d say that it was Bernie, but of course I’ve supported him for months, so take that for what it is.

The NBC commentators are discussing right now how Billary wrapped herself in Obama tonight. Yup. This might come back to haunt her.

Not only was it classic Clintonian triangulation, but Bernie Sanders’ supporters largely if not mostly are those of us who never forgot — and never abandoned — Barack Obama’s ubiquitous but undelivered-upon promises of “hope” and “change.”

We haven’t seen the much-promised change (not enough of it, anyway),  but we haven’t lost all hope; we still believe, after several years of disappointment, that Yes, we can. But here is Billary saying No, we can’t.

I’m not saying that she’s entirely wrong about what is and what is not achievable in D.C., but I do know that if we start off with the motto of No, we can’t, then we probably can’t (or at least we probably won’t).

Which is exactly what Billary Clinton’s Big-Money campaign contributors want us to believe: that no, we can’t. They want us to believe that so that we won’t even try.

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More post-debate thoughts: We all lose when Billary Clinton ‘wins by not losing’

Photo from The Washington Post

Billary Clinton has become Rudy Guiliani in drag. Billary walks, talks and acts like a Repugnican, which means that should she become the “Democratic” presidential candidate in November 2016, a majority of voters probably will just go ahead and vote for the real Repugnican presidential candidate (perhaps especially if that candidate is Marco “Bootstraps” Rubio).

In its post-Democratic-debate analysis, Vox.com (typical of the conventional “wisdom” of the mass media) proclaims of Billary Clinton, “To some degree, Clinton wins by not losing,” adding, “And while she hardly had a perfect night, she definitely didn’t lose.” Vox.com proclaims of Bernie Sanders:

To be somewhat tautological about it, Sanders lost by not winning. The one, narrow path he has to the nomination comes through a surprise win or close loss in Iowa, followed by a big win in New Hampshire — trusting that the momentum from winning early will carry him, much as it did for John Kerry in 2004. Given that Sanders is losing Iowa quite badly at the moment, and he has less than three months to go before the caucuses, he needed something big to happen to get his Iowa numbers rising again.

But while he didn’t do a bad job in the debate, per se, he didn’t have any real marquee moments that would make Iowa caucus-goers stand up and take notice. …

Despite acknowledging that Billary’s “most serious error of the night was implying that she received support from Wall Street, and took Wall Street-friendly policies as senator from New York, because the financial industry was targeted in the September 11 attacks,” adding, “It was a bizarre moment,” Vox.com nonetheless proclaims Billary the “winner.”

(Actually, Vox.com was quite generous in its report of what Billary actually said. This is what she actually said, from CBS’ own transcript:

Oh, wait a minute, senator. (LAUGH) You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, I am very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent. (APPLAUSE) So I — I represented New York. And I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked.

Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy. And it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country. (APPLAUSE)

Again, note Billary’s knee-jerk reversion to playing the feminist/“sexism”/“misogyny” card when she is under attack, even quite legitimately, in this case for her history of taking loads of campaign cash from the weasels of Wall Street.* But claiming that her self-serving, obedient support of Wall Street — which harmed almost all Americans when the economy resultantly cratered in 2007 and 2008 — “was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country” is incredibly craven, even for someone of Billary’s character.

No, it’s not that Billary is just another corrupt politician who’s on the take; no, by giving the Wall Street weasels everything that they wanted, she wanted to “rebuke the terrorists”! [As Joe Biden once put it: A noun, a verb and 9/11!])

This bias — to the point of proclaiming that Billary “won” the debate last night even though she uttered the most cringe-worthy lines (including, yes, her refusal to support more than a $12/hour federal minimum wage while everyone else is calling for a $15/hour federal minimum wage) — demonstrates what Bernie Sanders has been up against.

Bernie has been laboring in D.C. even longer than Billary has — he became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1990, while Billary didn’t become first lady until a couple of years later — but he hasn’t had the fame (or, luckily, the notoriety) that Billary has.

As I’ve stated, Billary has been running for president at least since her 2000 run for the U.S. Senate, and since she ran for the White House in 2008 but lost, she widely is considered by the limousine-liberal intelligentsia (such as the folks at Vox.com) as “having earned it,” as “it’s her turn.”

Therefore, all that Billary has to do to “win” a debate is not have an emotional breakdown or an episode of Tourette’s on stage, apparently. (And even then, were you to dare to say anything about it, it would be cast by the Billarybots that you hate women!)

Martin O’Malley during the debate last night referred to Billary and/or one of her policy prescriptions as “weak tea.” Yup. As I wrote last night as I live-blogged the debate, she would prescribe only a lukewarm glass of water for a raging house fire. On almost every issue, be it raising the minimum wage to a living wage, reining in the gross abuses of the Wall Street weasels, the legalization of marijuana, and even “her” “signature” issue of health-care reform, she proposes doing as little as is humanly possible.

When you start off asking for/demanding so little, in the negotiating process in D.C. you’ll end up with even less.

During last night’s debate Billary surreally praised Barack Obama’s “record” of “accomplishment” (my words, not hers), which is telling, since the hopey-changey President Obama has done little to nothing. I, for one, can’t say that I’m much better off in year seven of Obama’s presidency than I was when George W. Bush was still president, and that’s because Obama has barely touched the status quo; he’s been barely a caretaker president, much more a leader. If he’s Billary’s role model, we know that with President Billary we’d get four more years of the same.

Despite Billary’s staunch refusal to stand up for the common American instead of for her millionaire and billionaire campaign contributors — and for the older, more right-wing voters to whom she appeals — she does, alas, lead in the polls.

Vox.com is correct: Bernie lags by double digits in Iowa, the state that goes first when it caucuses on February 1. On February 9 it’s the New Hampshire primary, where, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average, Billary is ahead of Bernie by three percentage points, but where, according to Huffington Post’s polling average, Bernie is ahead of Billary by eight percentage points.

I agree with Vox.com’s analysis that if Bernie loses Iowa, it needs to be close; he needs to come in at a close No. 2 if he can’t pull out a first-place win. (And then, he really needs to win New Hampshire; he can’t afford even a close second there, I believe. If he doesn’t come in at No. 1 at least in Iowa or in New Hampshire, I don’t see him recovering from that.)

All of that said, before we write Bernie Sanders off it’s important to remember that John Kerry came back from the dead to beat Howard Dean in Iowa in January 2004. Wikipedia notes of the 2004 Iowa caucuses:

The Iowa caucuses revived the once moribund campaign of Kerry, who proceeded to the New Hampshire primary as one of the front runners, and [he] ultimately captured the Democratic nomination. …

The results were a blow to Dean, who had for weeks been expected to win the caucuses. He planned afterward to quickly move to New Hampshire, where he expected to do well and regain momentum. At the time, he had far more money than any other candidate and did not spend much of it in Iowa. Dean’s aggressive post-caucus speech to his supporters, culminating with a hoarse scream that came to be known as the “Dean Scream,” was widely shown and mocked on television, although the effect on his campaign was unclear. …

What do John Kerry and Bernie Sanders have in common? Tad Devine as a senior adviser.

Could Bernie Sanders pull a John Kerry in Iowa?

Yes, I think so, which is why I refuse to write Bernie Sanders’ political obituary, even though, as Vox.com points out, Sanders has not even three full months before Iowa.

I wouldn’t call Sanders’ campaign thus far to be “moribund,” either. It’s true that in nationwide polls he lags by double digits — 33.5 percent to Billary’s 54.5 percent, per RCP, and 33.2 percent to Billary’s 56.5 percent, per HuffPo — but put into perspective, Bernie’s not doing badly for a relative unknown, a dark horse, who fairly came from nowhere to challenge the “inevitable” coronation of Billary Clinton.

And, as I’ve noted before, the entire nation isn’t voting on the same day, but over the course of several months (even though the race is likely to be wrapped up over the course of several weeks [I don’t expect the race to go past the end of March, by which time more than 30 states will have weighed in).

Therefore, if Bernie scores early wins, it could give him the momentum that it gave the once-“moribund” Kerry campaign. (The once-“moribund” Kerry went on to win all but a handful of states.) This snowball effect makes the nationwide polling a poor predictor of the final outcome of a presidential primary race — because, again, the entire nation doesn’t vote on one day.

I’ve never supported Bernie Sanders merely to push Billary Clinton to the left. This line of thought presumes that Billary was going to be coronated from the get-go, and that any opponent to her would be only for show.

I recognize, of course, that Bernie Sanders might not win the primary race; it remains an uphill battle. (As Bernie tells us repeatedly, unlike Billary Clinton and the other Repugnican presidential candidates [yes, to me Billary might as well be running as a Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate, as a “moderate” Repugnican], he’s not funded by the billionaires). But once it was clear that Elizabeth Warren was sitting this one out, I’ve always seen Sanders as the candidate best suited to be president.

Nor do I have any confidence — none whatsofuckingever — that merely pushing Billary’s campaign rhetoric to the left during the primary race actually would result in any actual progressive action on her part should she actually become president.

Billary’s history is one of lying, of switching her political positions like a human weather vane on crack. We can’t trust any of her promises. Barack Obama, at least, was an unknown; when he relentlessly promised “hope” and “change” in advance of November 2008, I thought that he might actually at least try to deliver on these campaign promises. With Billary, I know that she won’t.

Billary also clearly wants to be president only for her rapacious baby-boomer cohort. It’s clear that she wants to keep things just as they are, until after the baby boomers all finally die off, and leave us Gen X’ers, Millennials and those who follow us X’ers and Millennials holding the bag, with not even the short end of the stick, but no stick left at all. (Clintonista Paul Begala once called the baby boomers “a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland.” Yup.)

Leadership is about vision and having an eye to the future. Bernie Sanders has shown that vision, that far-sighted wisdom. Billary, like her Wall Street buddies, views only what she can get in this quarter.

As I’ve stated before, Bernie Sanders might be like Barry Goldwater was in 1964: Goldwater didn’t become president, but he is credited with having started the “Reagan revolution” that came after him.

Similarly, probably especially if Billary Clinton wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but then loses in November 2016 to, say, Marco Rubio (since she’s using his and other Repugnican Tea Party talking points, why wouldn’t the voters go ahead and vote for him or for another Repugnican Tea Party candidate?) and Billary’s losing in November 2016 easily could happen, given that the majority of Americans do not like her — perhaps the Democratic Party finally will wake the fuck up and rid itself of the virulent center-right stain that the self-serving Clintons put on it in the 1990s. (I just now thought of that infamously stained blue dress, but that wasn’t actually meant as a pun…)

Even if Bernie doesn’t win, at the minimum he is breaking ground for another actually progressive candidate, such as Elizabeth Warren, to not only win the White House but to finally take back the Democratic Party, to return it to its rightful progressive roots.

And that would be a huge win.

In that event, you might even say that Bernie won even while “losing.”

*Rolling Stone notes:

Over the course of her career, four of [Clinton’s] top five donors have been Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Someone has to be the moron, and if it’s not the rich guys whose jobs are buying things that advance their self-interest, then it’s the people at home buying a new regulatory zeal from someone who’s never much evinced an inclination toward it before.

It gets better. Much like I have noted, Rolling Stone’s Jeb Lund continues:

Clinton’s response took the form of a vaporous appeal to identity politics, followed by an invocation of September 11 crass enough to make Rudy Giuliani’s cheeks redden in either shame or envy. Addressing Sanders’ comments above, as well as the number of small donors to his campaign, Clinton said:

“You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, and I’m very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent… I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

This rancid bucket of word scrofula does a lot of coldly profitable hand-waving and at best only creates more questions than it answers. Clinton’s disclosure forms reveal reams of high-dollar Wall Street contributors, so what does a majority of women donors signify that obviates the former in any material way? Would significant Wall Street backing disappear as an issue for a gay candidate who said, “60 percent of my donors are gay”? Does all of Cory Booker’s “love money” from hedge fund ghouls get less problematic if he hits a threshold of black donors?

And, after 14 years of every opportunist creep in a blue suit and red tie exhuming the corpses of the World Trade Center dead to festoon themselves with sanctified victimhood, it’s amazing that there are still new ways to be forced to ask the question What the fuck does September 11 have to do with any of this shit, asshole? Would Hillary Clinton become a card-carrying Communist if the CPUSA headquarters had been hit by a plane? Would her donor lists be full of members of Supertramp, Fairport Convention and Oingo Boingo if Al Qaeda had attacked the A&M Records building? What possible causal relationship exists here? And how does attending to Wall Street’s fortunes rebuke the terrorists? …

Lund does proclaim that “despite flogging the nation’s honored dead for the billionth beshitted time this century, Hillary Clinton won the debate handily,” by which I take it that he means, from that link (which is his, not mine) that most Democrats think that Clinton won the debate handily.

Sure; I buy that. As I’ve recently noted, most self-proclaimed Democrats seem poised to go right over that cliff with Billary on November 8, 2016. That doesn’t mean that Billary actually “won” the debate — not if we define winning a debate as actually being truthful in the debate and not resorting to such sleazy, slimy, weaselly tactics as exploiting identity politics and using a noun + a verb + 9/11.

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False equivalence, even in ‘comedy,’ isn’t funny; it is dangerous

Bernie Sanders Reacts to Larry David's 'Saturday Night Live' Impersonation

Larry David admittedly does a pretty good Bernie Sanders impersonation, especially vocally, but I, for one, find corporately sponsored take-downs of Sanders to be chilling because there is a dark agenda of corporate self-preservation behind them. (By “self” I don’t mean to imply that corporations are people. They most certainly are not…)

It’s easy to laugh when a politician whom you despise is spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” or elsewhere. This was the case for me with parodies of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey won an Emmy for that portrayal) and yes, of Billary Clinton (both Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon have done a pretty good job of portraying Her Highness).

It’s a little more difficult when the politician who’s being lampooned is your favorite, such as, in my case, Bernie Sanders.

Don’t get me wrong; Larry David overall did a great job as Bernie Sanders on last night’s “SNL.” He has Bernie’s voice down pat, and it’s OK, I suppose, for David or anyone else to portray Bernie as a bit of a crank, a curmudgeon (as David did). Long live free speech. (Did you detect my enthusiasm there?)

It’s that, of course, NBC is a mega-corporation, and so of course pro-corporate bias is going to seep even into a “comedy” show like “SNL.”

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders’ opening statement in “SNL’s” mock Democratic Party presidential debate of last night, for instance, includes: “We’re doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! And we’ve got to do something! And we’ve got to do it now!” He then pauses for a moment and then, waving his hand dismissively, declares: “Nah!”

David’s Bernie also declares, in his closing statement, that he’ll end up being Billary’s running mate, which is right in line with the corporate punditry’s “conventional wisdom” that Bernie can’t win. (He can, actually, but, of course, the corporatocrats and the corporate whores who love them will do what they can to ensure that Bernie doesn’t.)

Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s important for us not to take everything too seriously, or at least to be able to laugh now and then, but the danger, it seems to me, of spoofing Bernie Sanders like this is that it’s meant to negate pretty much his entire message — which is awfully convenient, of course, not only for a corporation like NBC but for the entire elite establishment that benefits from the status quo, which hinges on corporations continuing to drain the life blood of working-class Americans and even destroying the planet itself in the process of profiteering obscenely.

It’s not really funny shit, and to laugh at it as though it were — Hey, if “SNL” is spoofing it, how serious can it be? — serves to enable us to continue to ignore it at our own collective peril.

Not that Bernie Sanders was the only one lampooned last night; the first words spoken by Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton in “SNL’s” mock Democratic debate are: “Oh, hello. Thank you for having me. I think you’re really going to like the Hillary Clinton that my team and I have created for this debate.” Ouch. (Because it’s so true.)

But while Billary Clinton indeed keeps rebranding herself like a human weather vane spinning around in a tornado (just very recently she went from being a proud “moderate” to being a “progressive”), Bernie Sanders isn’t a Chicken Little. The problems that he repeatedly talks about — such as climate change and insane income disparity — are severe and persistent, and it’s not difficult to foresee the future if we wave them all off like a joke, like Larry David’s Bernie Sanders does.

Another problem with spoofing presidential candidates and politicians in general is that there so often is the concern of the writers to give the appearance that everyone is being spoofed equally and that all sides of any political debate are presented as being equal. (This is meant to accomplish at least a few things, such as to avoid allegations of bias [probably especially by right-wing nut jobs] and to keep the money flowing [money might not keep on flowing if you have stepped on some toes].)

But that blatantly false equivalence so widely communicated within the corporately owned and controlled media, probably especially in the “news” media, inevitably infects our general discourse to the point that many if not most Americans cannot effectively and accurately analyze politics and politicians. They cannot discriminate between truth and bullshit and they often even (often enthusiastically) support politicians whose political practices harm them while only helping those who already are filthy rich.

The “tea-party” dipshits, whose darling right now apparently is billionaire Donald Trump, are experts at this, experts at being chickens supporting Colonel Sanders (who is not to be confused with Bernie Sanders).

How stupid is it to vote against your own best interests?

But millions of Americans do it every election, such as even with their blind support of Billary Clinton. (Well, Wall Street supports Billary, as it does Jeb! Bush, the Wall Street weasels’ top two beneficiaries, so their support of corporate whores like Clinton and Bush certainly makes selfish and greedy political sense for them, but the vast majority of us voters aren’t Wall Street weasels who will benefit directly from another Bush or Clinton presidency.)

Equal spoofing is bullshit because everything isn’t equal. To assert that it is is its own form of nihilism that, only in our own minds, lets us off of the hook of our duty, as the citizens and denizens of this nation, to ensure that our descendants, that all of the other species of life and the planet itself don’t continue to suffer degradation (or even extinction) in the future because of our selfishness, laziness and greediness in the present.

It’s not just “SNL”; take also 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” for instance. In that movie, which overall is pretty funny (with some truly hilarious scenes) and was a pretty good response to the hyper-jingoism that followed 9/11, the “South Park” creators make leftists from Hollywood (including Alec Baldwin [who played Jim Webb in “SNL’s” mock debate last night], Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon) and, of course, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, into villains, apparently only or primarily for the purpose of not being accused of taking a political side, of being an equal-opportunity offender.*

But, again, not all political sides are equal. Sarah Palin, for instance, is not the equivalent of even Billary Clinton, and Billary Clinton, while she calls herself a “Democrat” and even “a progressive” (“a progressive who likes to get things done”!), is not the equivalent of Bernie Sanders.

In a nation whose denizens can barely analyze political matters and politicians as it is (if they haven’t already given up the effort entirely for sports, celebrity gossip, consumerism and/or other forms of entertainment and/or distraction) — and who consequently, again, thus routinely actually vote against their own best interests (when/if they vote at all) — this false-equivalence-as-comedy shit just isn’t very fucking funny.

*It’s perfectly OK to take down limousine liberals, who by definition don’t walk their own talk, but that doesn’t seem to have been the “South Park” creators’ main intent with “Team America.”

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Bernie Sanders for President 2016 (thus far, anyway)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, joined by Congressional Democrats, and others, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, calling for an amendment to the Constitution aimed at curbing special interests' financial clout in elections. From left are, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, Margery F. Baker, executive vice president for policy and program at People for the American Way, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Sanders, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives return to Capitol Hill today after a five-week vacation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Associated Press photo

Progressive U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, probable 2016 presidential candidate, speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month geared toward overturning the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, which declared that corporations are people and as such have the “First-Amendment” right to spend lavishly on political candidates who will do their bidding.

Independent/democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the sole individual on the planet who thus far has raised the prospect of running as an actually progressive presidential candidate against pseudo-progressive/Democrat in name only Billary Clinton. (It’s not about Billary, he has claimed, but oh, methinks, ’tis.)

“A, I don’t know if Hillary Clinton is running, and B, I don’t know what she is running on,” Sanders said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. “But this is what I do know: I know the middle class in this country is collapsing. I know the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider. I know there is profound anger at the greed on Wall Street, anger at corporate America, anger at the political establishment — and anger, by the way, at the media establishment. The American people want real change, and I’ve been taking on the big-money interests and special interests all of my political life.

“The issue,” Sanders added, “is not Hillary Clinton.” But since Sanders’ actually progressive agenda is antithetical to Billary’s actual agenda – whether she’ll cop to possessing her actual center-right, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate, pro-Wall-Street-weasel, pro-military-industrial-complex agenda or not – it is about Billary.

I’m fine with having our first female president, but I don’t want just any female president, just so that we can say that we finally have had our first female president. We’ve been there, done that with our first black president, haven’t we?

I want a progressive president. The other demographics – skin tone, the possession of ovaries or testes, age, religion, etc. – I don’t much give a flying fuck about. I’m a gay man, and sure, from a purely selfish, tribalistic standpoint I suppose that it would be great to have our first openly gay male president (and if he is married, perhaps our first First Husband in the White House, too), but if he were a wingnut or even a so-called “centrist” or “moderate” (translation: sellout), no thanks; give me the actually progressive heterosexual president instead, hands down.

I’d be fine with Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Masschusetts as our first female president, but although she put a book out not long ago, she seems unlikely, to me, to run against Billary in 2016.

That’s because the unspoken but very understood rule within the Democratic Party establishment is that you don’t run against Billary, even though she has zero charisma, zero accomplishments, and her unlikeability (under which falls her apparent inability to generate an iota of actual human warmth) means that she’d be a risky candidate to put up against the Repugnican Tea Party not only in 2016, but in any presidential election year. (Besides, as I have noted, Billary acts like a Repugnican Lite, and why would the voters choose Repugnican Lite when they can vote for an actual, full-bodied Repugnican?)

After seeing Barack Obama’s ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” crash and burn, my bet is that the voters are hungry, starving, for an actually progressive Democratic — that is, real Democratic — presidential candidate right about now.

For millions of actual progressives like me, if we’re going to just coronate Queen Billary already, there is no reason whatsoever for me to pay attention or to become involved in the 2016 presidential race in any way (except, of course, to blog about how awful Billary is). That “At least Billary isn’t a Repugnican!” isn’t an effective talking point for the Democrats anymore, because she essentially is a Repugnican. She ran to the right of Obama in 2008 and she’s running to the right of him again — and he’s already right of center.

And I truly want a truly progressive candidate to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. No, I don’t just want Billary to be forced by a progressive/actually Democratic challenger, during the upcoming presidential primary season, to pretend to be the populist that she never has been and never will be, only to go on to the White House to govern like her husband did or like Obama has: as a Democrat in name only, driving yet another nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party. I want Billary “Crown Me Already!” Clinton to be denied the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2016 just as she was in 2008. I want her pathetic, sorry, right-wing, self-serving, pro-plutocratic ass to be defeated once again. (Again, though, should she emerge as the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, I can see the Repugnican candidate beating her.)

Bernie Sanders stated yesterday that he’s still considering which course of action would be better for him, should he decide to run for president for 2016 (and it sounds to me like he already has decided that he will): to run on the Democratic Party ticket (although he isn’t a Democrat, as an independent/democratic socialist he always has caucused with the Democrats in D.C. [what other choice has he really had?]) or to run on an independent ticket, a la Ralph Nader.

Given the uphill battle of running as an independent presidential candidate in all 50 states, it seems to me that Sanders would run as a Democrat.

Either way, if it comes down to Bernie or Billary, I’m going with Bernie.

No way in hell am I going to hold my nose and suppress my gag reflex while I cast a vote for Billary Clinton. I want to feel good (not guilty and dirty) about my vote, and I would feel great voting for Bernie Sanders — hell, if for no other reason than that for a long time now, it has looked as though no one else left of center would have the cajones to challenge Queen Billary in 2016, with the conventional thinking being that because she came in at second place in 2008, 2016 automatically is rightfully all hers.

A run for the White House by Sanders — especially as a Democrat, but again, I would support him as an independent — would represent to me a glimmer of hope, the possibility that the teeny-tiny ember that is all that is left of what the Democratic Party used to be still, even at this late hour, even after what Bill Clinton (with Billary) and what Barack Obama have done to the party, can be stoked to its once-flaming glory.

P.S. A Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren or Warren-Sanders ticket would, I think, be my dream ticket for 2016. And I’d still entertain a return to the presidential arena by Howard Dean, although that seems unlikely.

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Warren-vs.-Walker deathmatch in 2016?

The release of this book yesterday can only fuel speculation that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has presidential aspirations. While I loathe the man (who is a man only in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word), a presidential match-up between progressive Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the pro-plutocratic Walker would, I surmise, be awesome.

Many if not most say that it’s way too early to start speculating about the November 2016 presidential election.

I mostly disagree with that.

Especially if you haven’t been anointed by the D.C. establishment, as, say, Republicrat Billary Clinton has been, you probably need all of the campaigning time that you can get between now and November 2016.

And if Barack Obama had delivered substantively on the “hope” and “change” that he relentlessly and ubiquitously had promised during his campaign for 2008, and if we hadn’t all given up on him already because as president he’s been so fucking lazy and worthless (at best), we (especially us progressives) probably wouldn’t already be looking past Obama and forward to 2016.

All of that said, the latest 2016 presidential speculation is that Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker might run for his party’s presidential nomination.

The release of Walker’s (probably ghost-written) book — Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge (reminiscent to me of the smug, pseudo-triumphant title of Mittens Romney’s No Apologies) — yesterday should only fuel speculation that he’ll be a 2016 contender.

(Walker reportedly says that “his new book … is not a campaign book [right…] but that he’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 or promising that if re-elected [as Wisconsin governor] next year he’ll serve out his term.”

Walker also reportedly stated recently that the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee must “be an outsider,” adding, “I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor — people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward.”

Walker just coinky-dinkily, in his mind, anyway, matches that description.

So there you go.)

Could Walker win the White House?

My guess is that no, he could not, but the fact that Walker was elected governor in 2010 and survived a gubernatorial recall election in June 2012 in a state whose denizens cast the most number of votes for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since at least 1988 suggests, at least on the face of it, that the smug, heartless, union-busting, Koch-brother-loving/pro-plutocratic Walker might be a stronger 2016 contender than many if not most realize.

I can’t really see Walker doing well in the national forum, as I don’t detect a milligram of charisma in him, but he is a masterful liar, doing the bidding of the billionaires who fund him while pretending that he does everything in the best interests of the commoner.

That is, of course, how the “tea party” operates: excuse the “hard-working” billionaires who have been dismantling the middle class for some decades now — and blame and punish instead the working class and what’s left of the middle class for all of our socioeconomic ills.

Pathetically, that shit actually sells, especially among right-wing and right-leaning stupid (by definition) white men, the Joe the Plumber types, and other similar types (most of them, though, poor, white trash) who think that it’s a great idea for the chickens to support Colonel Sanders, and who apparently are too fucking stupid to realize the simple, basic, obvious fact that they, too, are chickens.

A Elizabeth-Warren-vs.-Scott-Walker 2016 presidential contest would be, to say the least, interesting.

It would be a battle by proxy between us progressives and the “tea-party” dipshits, a battle between us progressives, who fully realize that it’s the Wall Street weasels and other assorted plutocrats and their supporters (like Scott Walker) who have been destroying the nation (many of us found a voice in the Occupy movement), and the teatards, who are too fucking stupid to realize that we of the working class and the middle class are not actually the enemy, but are the victims of our plutocratic overlords.

Such a battle would have my full engagement.

If the uniquely uninspiring and uncharismatic and waaay-overrated Billary Clinton actually got the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, however, you pretty much could count me out.

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