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Grotesque. The Republican Convention Was Utterly Grotesque

That’s what the first night of the republican convention was: grotesque. It was grotesque, even by republican standards and I only made it half way through.

I’m still shell shocked by what I saw, and I’m deeply saddened that Melania Trump is all anyone is going to talk about. She’s a stupid twit. She’s a Slovenian Sarah Palin, but I already knew that. I don’t give two shits about her or her plagiarism. There are more disturbing atrocities to discuss about the republican convention. STOP talking about Melania! It’s a distraction.

Let me start with the tweeked out of his mind guy on crystal meth, adderall or some other upper he was clearly self medicating with. He was a former Navy Seal who was up there to advocate for having the strongest military with the greatest equipment the world has ever seen. At the republican convention. He was at the republican convention to talk about the best equipped military in the world.

“You go to war with the army you have—not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

-Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary Of Defense for President George W Bush

And everyone is cheering him on instead of getting him the help he obviously needs. The man is in eighteen different kinds of pain, and at least eighteen different kinds of drugs to help with that pain, and he’s being treated like an oracle instead of someone who desperately needs help. My heard bleeds for that guy.

Then there was the tragedy porn portion of the republican convention competition. They found about a half a dozen family members of people who died tragically to stand on that stage and exploit their loved ones deaths in the most disgusting way possible.

There was the BEEEENNNNNGGGHHAAAZZZIII mom whose desire to know why her son died didn’t include reading the nine congressional reports on the events of that night. She trotted out every right wing lie that precisely none of those reports found to be true. She really put on a vomit inducing display of ignorance and exploitation.

Then there were the family members of people who were killed by someone who was undocumented. They were there to stand on their family members’ corpses to tell their anecdotal stories so that people wouldn’t notice that what they were saying is completely contradicted by the facts. The fact of the matter is that violent crime among the undocumented community is exponentially lower than violent crime among the citizenry of this country. The fact is that this president has deported more Mexicans than any other president in US history. The fact is that net immigration has been in the negative numbers for the majority of President Obama’s term.

I revile every single one of those craven people who made me sit through their ignorant tragedy porn. Someone made a comment on my Facebook page last night, suggesting that I should respect their pain. No I shouldn’t. When a family member is diagnosed with a fatal or serious disease, you become an expert on that disease. We educate ourselves to the point of having earned half of a medical degree. I had a dear friend who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma many years ago. There is literally nothing I don’t know about glioblastomas, including the fact that she was going to die within three years of the diagnosis. This was a few years after she made me an expert on the endometriosis she had that required she get a full hysterectomy at the age of thirty-six. There are hundreds of millions of people who are experts on breast cancer, Parkinson’s, prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis, and a slew of other medical conditions because someone they love has been diagnosed with one of those diseases. Some of those people make curing those diseases their life’s work. You become an expert on things that are going to, or have killed someone you love.

These fucking people didn’t bother to educate themselves at all. They just seized on the opportunity to stand on their loved ones corpses to make a political point that was the opposite of the truth. I don’t need to respect anyone who doesn’t respect their loved one enough to educate themselves so that they can work to come up with fact-based solutions to the problems that killed someone they claim to love. They were all full of shit, and I’m repulsed by them. Sorry, there will be no respect coming from me

And then there was “blue lives matter”. They apparently matter to the exclusion of all other lives in America. There was cheering for the fact that another cop involved in the Freddie Gray incident was acquitted. Because obviously Freddie Gray nearly decapitated himself, and no cop who was involved did anything wrong. They stopped short of promising that all cops under a Trump presidency will be armed with machine guns and shoulder fired missile launchers, but that was implied.

It was grotesque. It was soul crushingly grotesque. This republican convention was grotesque on a much bigger scale than any before it.

They put the worst of humanity on that stage last night and claimed that was America. No it’s fucking not, and I’m not going to let anyone believe it is for a second.

Anyone who is thinking of getting cute with their vote by Bernie or busting, or Jill-not-Hilling needs to have their heads examined. I’m serious. If you’re thinking about doing either of these things and you haven’t bothered to watch what happened last night, you need to watch it immediately (it’s on CSPAN’s website). I mean it. Watch it now because more information is better than less information. Voting is about making informed decisions. Inform yourselves and then see if you still feel the same way.


STOP Trivializing Misogyny

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Here’s the latest pile of irrational poop that Hillary supporters are putting out there. I saw some variation of this three times yesterday. Twice, my totally respectful comments were deleted (that’s pretty telling). I guess they were too threatened to allow the absurdity of this meme to be pointed out (and yet the meme stayed up in both instances, sans my comment).

I’ll get to the misogyny later, but let me first address the complete and utter ignorance displayed here. When someone takes forty-six percent of the vote in a primary, they make demands. This has been true since the beginning of time. This is how George HW Bush became Reagan’s veep even though by all accounts, the Reagans and the Bushes couldn’t ever stand each other.

On September 11, 2008, Obama came to Bill Clinton’s office (one block from my house) for what was supposed to be an hour long meeting. The Clintons hadn’t yet started campaigning for Obama. Yes Hillary endorsed him a couple of months earlier, but it was clear that the Clintons weren’t really throwing much support behind him. That meeting lasted for over two and a half hours. I know this, because a friend of mine and I were waiting out front to get a glimpse of Obama. When Bill and Barack finally came out, I looked at my friend and said, “Bill got something big out of this”. That was very likely the day that Hillary became Secretary Of State. Less than ten weeks later, Obama announced that she would be his Secretary Of State.

Here’s a picture I took that day:

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Either the women posting this meme have no earthly idea how politics works, or they’re trivializing real misogyny because they have long term thinking deficiency, and believe that this kind of bullshit is going to help their cause right now. But it’s not helping you right now, because lots of people know how unelected officials get their posts. If you don’t know how literally every cabinet level nominee and veep have been chosen since the very first presidential election, it’s best you not post about politics. This is clearly not your thing, and you should stick to what you know. If you’re intentionally shitting on every woman in the world who has been a victim of real misogyny because you think this serves you well right now, it’s best you stop commenting on misogyny because you’re actually hurting women.

You are hurting the victims of GamerGate. You are hurting me, who gets private (I’ve taken to making them public and getting a little public shaming out of the deal) messages calling me a cunt, or telling me to “eat a bullet” (that was from a couple of days ago) simply for voicing my opinions on the internet. You are hurting all of us by trivializing misogyny. And you’re doing it by sounding like a bubble headed ditz who knows nothing about politics. Can you tell that I’m offended to my bitchy core by these idiotic people?

What’s worse than that, you’re advocating for misogyny. The very definition of misogyny, is treating women differently simple because they’re women. You want the guy who got forty-six percent of the democratic primary vote to be the only primary candidate in history to do that well and walk away with nothing? Why? Because Hillary is a woman. That’s what you’re saying. Treat Hillary differently because she’s a woman.

Think. Think before you post. What you’re doing here is eighteen different kinds of inane. And by the way, this looks to me like it has David Brock’s fingerprints all over it. You know David Brock; he’s the guy running Hillary’s social media. You know, he’s the guy who once very effectively labeled Anita Hill “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty”. Yeah, that’s the guy Hillary is working with now( cause she’s an awesome feminist, and you’re helping him by peddling his bullshit.

Perhaps the people posting this meme are just dazed and confused by the fact that Bernie isn’t asking for something that will further his own career. He’s not demanding to be veep, and he’s not demanding the position of Secretary Of State. He’s asking for the democratic party to adopt a more liberal platform. Quell horreur! I would very much like to ask the intellectual powerhouses who have been posting this drivel to explain something to me: which part of Bernie’s ask are you opposed to? Have you even thought about it?

Have you thought about any aspect of this kind of propaganda? Because from where I sit, there’s nothing intellectually sound or honest here. As a woman with a presence on the internet, I beg you to stop it. You’re not helping me, and you’re not helping your daughters. You’re certainly making zero difference to Hillary and her current situation as the presumptive nominee of the democratic party.

Stop. Just fucking stop.



A Deal For Hillary Supporters

I have a proposition to make to all of the Hillary supporters who follow this blog. To demonstrate that I’m earnest in making this proposal, I’m going to start with a proffer in the form of a decisive statement and then a confession.

First, a decisive statement: Bernie Sanders is not going to be the democratic nominee. It’s just not going to happen, but not for the reasons you think. I know you’ve all been proclaiming he’s done, even as you’ve been watching him win primary after primary over the past month. Your commitment to denying what’s happening before your very eyes is adorable. Bernie isn’t going to be the nominee because neither Bernie nor Hillary are going to get enough pledged delegates to cross the finish line. They’re both going to the convention, and they both have a strong case to make for taking it to the convention.

It is mathematically impossible for Bernie to make up the 244 delegate deficit he has against Hillary at this very moment. He can’t do it. That’s a fact. He would have to win all of the remaining states by a 20 point margin to close that gap. It’s not going to happen. The pledged delegate gap at the end of all of this is going to be between 5% – 7% of the total delegate count, so it’s not going to be a decisive enough win for Hillary to reasonably claim that Bernie shouldn’t go to the convention to fight for the seventeen percent (of the total delegate count) of unpledged (or super) delegates.

Bernie will justifiably go to the convention, and nobody who isn’t completely bias can reasonably claim that he has no right to do so.

Now for my confession: At no point in this election, did I believe that Bernie was going to be the nominee. I’m not going to say that there weren’t a few fleeting moments here and there where I got caught up in the Bernmentum and didn’t think to myself, “he may actually pull this off” but those literally never lasted more than a few minutes at a time. I’m more analytical about politics, than I am emotional. So why have I so fervently supported Bernie? Why didn’t I make this confession to my closest friends until last week? Because getting Bernie as far as possible in this race has been a great thing for all of us. And whether you realize it right at this moment or not, Hillary supporters, you want him to go as far as he can too.

There are some terrible things that Hillary supported, that she can no longer do because of Bernie. She can no longer approve Keystone. She can no longer sign TPP into law. Don’t get too excited though. The fact that Hillary can’t sign TPP into law, probably means that Obama is going to have to do it as he’s walking out the door, like a thief in the night (a la Clinton repealing Glass Steagall). There are just too many corporate interests at stake for TPP not to be inevitable. There are a half a dozen less devastating (to some) bad ideas that Bernie forced Hillary to change her positions on; she no longer supports deporting immigrant kids, she probably won’t be promoting fracking (yes, she toured the world to promote fracking) in the US, she’s will never again claim that a $15 an hour minimum wage is too much to dream of. There are several more policy changes that you can Google for yourself.

My point is that Bernie made Hillary more liberal, and he so effectively cornered her on some issues, that you (Hillary supporter) are happier with her. You are. Don’t lie to yourselves.

You, dear Hillary supporter, agree that money is corrupting our political system. I know that you do, because ten years worth of polling data tells me that over 90% of democrats believe it (70% – 80% of republicans agree). You haven’t forgotten what you know, I’m positive that you haven’t. You’re just taking a little break on the issue. That’s fine, but you want this conversation to continue for as long as possible especially since I’m telling you that there’s no chance that Hillary isn’t going to be the nominee. This conversation will definitely quiet down after the election. It’s in all of our interest to keep it going for as long as we can. You, dear Hillary supporter, want single payer health care. I know you do, because I heard you while Obamacare was being hammered out. I know that for this election, you’ve convinced yourselves that single payer is a pipe dream, but it is in your self interest to keep this conversation alive for as long as possible. You, dear Hillary supporter, want tax payer funded higher education. Those of you in New York and California remember when it was available, and you got San Francisco and Manhattan as a direct result investing in education. Silicon Valley didn’t open up shop in California because they didn’t know that there were states in this country with no corporate income taxes. They opened up shop in California because that’s where they had access to a well educated candidate pool. I know you know this, Hillary supporters.

The most important reason why you (hang in with me for 2 more paragraphs) and I need for Bernie to have a strong argument to make at the convention is superdelegates. No one thinks that superdelegates are in any way, shape, or form democratic. Yes, they may be working in your favor sometimes, but you can’t fundamentally believe that the democratic party should have them. We should all be able to agree than when one candidate wins a state by twelve points, their opponent should not walk away with four more delegates in that state. We can all all agree that’s not democracy, right? I get that a fucked up thing seems slightly less fucked up when it’s working in your favor. I totally get that, but you still know that it’s fucked up. And it will continue to be fucked up long after it stops advancing your immediate goal. Seventeen percent of the total number of delegates can do whatever the fuck they want, regardless of how their constituents or former (many of them are no longer serving in office) constituents voted for. Some of them are lobbyists now. Both Dodd and Frank are lobbyists now. They’re both superdelegates, and they both have interests that aren’t yours.

We need to blow up this superdelegate thing once and for all. Getting Bernie to the convention with the closest margin of pledged delegates that we can will help to seriously damage this anti-democratic system. Let me repeat something I said earlier in this post; neither Bernie nor Hillary are going to get enough pledged delegates to cross the finish line. Superdelegates are going to take Hillary over the finish line. The closer we can get the pledged delegate count, the brighter the light that will be shone on this superdelegate system will be. We all want this. Let me repeat something else I said earlier in this post: Bernie Sanders is not going to be the democratic nominee. There is no chance that superdelegates will make Bernie the nominee. You are going to win this primary election, Hillary supporters. Bernie’s chances are as close to zero as is possible, without taking something completely unforseen (like a sudden and severe illness) into account.

It is in all democrats and liberals self interest to vote for Bernie at this point, especially if you’re on the fence. I know that some of you think that I’m trying to pull the wool over your eyes at this point. I’m not. We’re voting here in New York tomorrow. Bernie is not likely to win. He’s definitely not going to win by anything resembling enough to close the delegate gap by more than a handful of delegates. If he ties Hillary here, he’s going to have to win Pennsylvania and California by nearly 80% to close that delegate gap. It’s just not going to happen. If he loses to Hillary in New York by 5%, he’s going to have to win CA and PA by 83%. It’s not going to happen. He’s not going to be the nominee. But none of us need for him to leave the public stage before the very end.

Bernie Sanders is the first politician since Reagan started his last (of 3) bids for the white house, to reframe the public conversation in liberal terms. Bill Clinton put the final nail in coffin for liberal framing when he said, “The era of big government is over”. That’s when the left was officially shut out of the conversation. We’ve been operating under the right wing premises that taxes and government are bad ever since. Bernie has struck the only significant blow to that fucked up right wing framing that we’ve seen in thirty years. He has irrevocably changed the conversation in a way that both Hillary and Bernie supporters need. Hillary’s platform was initially based on accepting that fucked up framing, and it still is to a large extent. “We can’t afford to have the nice things that the rest of the first world has”. Bernie is literally the only candidate (on either side) who has been asked how he plans to pay for things. Ted Cruz says he wants to increase our fighter jet production by fifty percent, and no one bothers to ask him how he plans to pay for that? Hillary doesn’t have any sweeping reforms in her platform because she seems to have accepted the premise that all government spending is bad and that “big government” is bad, so she’s not going to do anything major or historic.

I know that you don’t believe that government is bad, Hillary supporters. I know you don’t, because see your non-Hillary posts.

So help me keep Bernie in this until July. You have nothing to risk and everything to gain.

I in turn, will do everything I can to get everyone to coalesce around Hillary in the general. Look, I’ve already pissed off and disappointed all of my Bernie peeps by writing this, so you know that I mean what I say.

We don’t have to wait until July to come together. We can all get what we want, and more of it if we come together now.


The Ironically Named “Democratic” Party

For months now, some of us have noticed how thoroughly rigged the democratic presidential primary process has been. Others are too blinded by the fact that the game is rigged in favor of their candidate to notice. I’m going to ask Hillary supporters to set their emotional attachment to Hillary aside and hear me out for about the next five to ten minutes, because I promise you that I have information and empirical evidence of said rigging that will disturb you.

Let’s start with the obvious debate schedule debacle. Here’s a list of both republican and democratic debates (not to be confused with town halls) for this election cycle.

Republican:                                                                      Democratic:

Thursday, August 6th

Wednesday, September 16th

Wednesday, October 28th                                                Tuesday, October 13th

Tuesday, November 10th                                                  Saturday, November 14th

Tuesday, December 15th                                                   Saturday, December 19th (weekend before Christmas)

Thursday, January 14th                                                     Sunday, January 17th (MLK holiday weekend)

Saturday, February 6th                                                      Thursday, February 4th

Saturday, February 13th                                                    Thursday, February 11th

Thursday, February 25th                                                   Sunday, March 6th

Thursday, March 10th                                                        Wednesday, March 9th

Do you notice anything (other than the fact that republicans got to have the national conversation to themselves for nearly 3 months before a single democratic debate happened)? Democrats have only debated on Five nights when a large number of people would actually be watching versus republicans’ eight. There’s a reason why you can’t get into Shondaland on Saturday nights. Larry Wilmore was spot on when he called them “top secret debates”.

Then there’s all the DNC staffers who are moonlighting on Hillary’s campaign, the fact that a lot of Hillary’s campaign headquarters are actually in DNC field offices, and that time when the DNC finance chair got caught throwing a fundraiser for Hillary (thereby breaking DNC rules), and that time back in August when the DNC helped Hillary shore up a huge number of superdelegates before the election had even started. And then there was the data breach. You know, the one where instead of quietly handling it in house, Little Debbie called a press conference to announce that Bernie was a cheater? You know, the one where she never provided the data logs so that we could all see which staffers on both campaigns accessed the two way breach.

That’s all stuff you know, and that some have managed to dismiss. Now for the new information that should infuriate all democrats who value democracy, and feel that voters should pick the party’s presidential nominee.

So apparently back in August, Hillary made deals with thirty-three state parties to create a joint fundraising entity called “The Hillary Victory Fund”.

At this point I have to step back and have a wonky moment, wherein I recap a disastrous 2014 Supreme Court ruling that decimated the few campaign finance laws that were left after Citizen’s United. The case was McCutcheon v FEC. Before the McCutcheon ruling, individuals had an aggregate limit of $123,200 that they could donate. That means that they could give the maximum $2,600 contribution to a number of candidates or federal offices, but the aggregate total of their donations had to be no more than $123,200. There are different caps for different contributions, but those aren’t relevant to this post so you can click on that link if you want that information. The McCutcheon ruling got rid of that aggregate limit, meaning that a rich donor can give the maximum allowable amount to as many candidates, state, and federal parties they want to. So if someone wants to max out their contributions to (say) thirty-three (or fifty) different state democratic party organizations, as well as the DNC, they can do that.

Now back to the The Hillary Victory Fund (although most of you can see where this is going at this point in the post). The legal limit in contributions from an individual to a state democratic party is $10,000 a year. Let’s assume that the thirty three states we know about are the only ones who entered the The Hillary Victory Fund agreement. If each of Hillary’s billionaire donors maxed out their contributions and their spouse’s, that would be $660,000 per year that they contributed to Hillary. The deal was made in 2015, so they have two years worth of caps to max out. That would be 1.3 million dollars from each donor over the course of this primary cycle. By the end of 2015 (4 months after the fund was established), the The Hillary Victory Fund had raised 26 million dollars.

This whole thing is a legal money laundering scheme to funnel money into Hillary’s campaign. According to Counterpunch, the fund is administered by Hillary’s campaign’s COO. She has complete control over the fund and decides how much should go back to the state parties. Since she’s facing a stronger primary challenger than she had originally anticipated, I promise you that most of that money is going into her primary campaign rather than flowing back out to the states. But don’t feel too bad for the state parties that made this pact with her, since she’s going to raise a ton of money for them if she becomes the nominee.

Now at this point, the die hard Hillary supporters are going to assert that I’m practicing a lot of conjecture here. Don’t worry, I’m not done. The Montana Democratic Party entered into this fundraising scheme with Hillary in August of last year. Before the year was up, they had received maximum donations from the creme de la creme of democratic big money donors including: Susie Buell of California, Imaad Zuberi of California, Fred Eychaner of Chicago, Donald Sussman hedgefund manager from New York, Chicago real estate mogul J.B Pritzker, gay rights activist Jon Stryker of NY, NRA and Viacom lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes and entertainment mogul Haim Saban. I checked, and there are no records of contributions from any of these people to the Montana Democratic Party prior to 2015. Coincidentally, many of them donated maximum contributions to the parties for the other thirty-two states involved in The Hillary Victory Fund. That Counterpunch link I posted above goes into many more details about shenanigans in several other states and how they’re playing a shell game with the cash. I highly recommend you read it.

So while Hillary claims to be opposed to Citizen’s United, she’s making deals to reap the benefits of both that ruling and the McCutcheon ruling to rig the primary. Now I understand not wanting to show up to the general election gun fight with a pocket knife, but that’s not what’s happening here. The democratic party apparatchik is deciding for you, who the democratic nominee will be.

When Bernie is asked if he will support down ticket democrats, he’s not being asked so that you have more information. He’s being asked in order to remind the superdelegates and sitting members of congress, where their bread is buttered. I don’t imagine that Bernie has any plans to help blue dog, establishment corporate democrats get elected, nor would I want him to. There have been a few endorsement flips from Hillary to Bernie. Not many, but a few. Hillary doesn’t want to allow a domino effect to happen like it did in 2008, so she needs to use the massive purse strings she holds to reign in anyone who might be thinking about jumping ship.

This whole system stinks and you should agree regardless of who you support. Hillary isn’t going to be running for president forever, so her supporters should be very concerned about who is going to be dished out to them next time.

The most disturbing thing to me about this election cycle, has been watching democrats who used to believe that corporate money is the toxin in our political system, suddenly act like all of  Hillary’s corporate contributions are swell. I imagine that a lot of those people will resume posting articles and memes about the Koch brothers corruption of our politicians after this election is over, and acting like they’ve been on the right side of this issue all along. Or maybe they’re posting them now, alongside their pro Hillary stories, in the most stunning display of cognitive dissonance I’ve even witnessed.  I earnestly don’t understand how that pivot is possible. But honestly, if alarm bells aren’t going off for you over what she’s doing to game the primary, I have no hope for you.

Corporate money in our political system is the number one issue that needs to be addressed. It’s the issue that creates virtually all of the other issues that we have. It’s the reason for climate denial and why we’re so actively participating in the destruction of the planet. It’s the reason for the record breaking income inequality we’re seeing in the US. It’s why we have so many guns with precious little information on who has them. Your kids are literally being gunned down by corporate money in politics. It’s the reason why we have 25% of the world’s prison population. I can go on with a litany of other things, but you get the point. Until we deal with the money issue, we have no hope of dealing with most of the other issues that threaten our lives and livelihoods every single day.

Do I believe a candidate who is exploiting campaign finance laws to legally launder money into her campaign when she says that she wants to get money out of politics? I laugh…… oh how I laugh. I’m not an idiot, and I don’t know why anyone else would be for any candidate. I don’t know what her supporters think they’re going to get from her in exchange for their intelligence, but I hope it’s something good. Maybe a golden unicorn? Make no mistake, you’re going to get what you’ve been getting for decades: guns, prisoners, pollution, and a shrinking paycheck.

If I believed that Hillary was going to make getting corporate money out of politics a top priority, I assure you that I would be supporting her. But that’s simply not the case. Why would you want to fuck with the system that got you in the white house? Especially when you have two generations of your offspring to set up for their time in the white house.

I’m sorry, but I like democracy too much to fall for this shit. I wish that everyone did because other than amending the constitution, Bernie is our last chance to keep the focus on this issue which makes him our last hope of changing it. Fortunately, Bernie has greatly expanded a movement that will outlive him and this election. It is a movement built on the backs of the generation who has been fucked the most by thirty years of corporate rule of government. This is the first, but not the last generation who will make less o money than their parents made. This is a generation whose kids are going to be more fucked than they are, if things don’t change. This is not a generation that’s going to shut up and take it.

The degree to which my generation (Gen X for those who are wondering) got fucked by the corporate takeover of our government is, and should be, the limit of what can be tolerated. The millennials have gotten fucked much harder than even we were. They have every right to fight back, and I’m delighted to see that they’ve correctly identified the problem. They know that Hillary is not a “friendly”.

And after the information contained in this piece, you should too.


The Merrick Garland Disaster

It’s impossible for me to feel more bitchy about this nominee.

I’m not going to take a deep dive into his record because I’m positive that if you’re reading this blog, you’ve already done that. I will say that his record on criminal justice is abysmal, especially if you’re a president who has been talking about criminal justice reform. He’s a former prosecutor so he’s prone to seeing every defendant as a criminal that needs punishing. And he has, in virtually every criminal justice case he’s ruled on. He’s the guy that always dissents from more liberal judges on these issues.

Here’s what ScotusBlog said about him (in 2010) in regard to his rulings on constitutional issues;

“In various other contexts, Judge Garland has in a few cases rejected assertions of constitutional rights, disagreeing with his more-liberal colleagues.  I am not aware of counterexamples in which he has staked out a more liberal position.”

He seems okay on civil rights issues, but we really don’t have very many civil rights rulings from him to look at.

Like Roberts, Garland has never met a corporation he hasn’t agreed with. YAY!

We don’t have really anything from him on the issues of campaign finance (my biggest issue) or women’s reproductive rights.

Here’s the bottom line: there isn’t much evidence to demonstrate that he’s liberal so at best, he’s a complete centrist.

We know that republicans love him. Right wing whackadoodle senator Orrin Hatch said this about Garland;

“Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.

Mega whackadoodle senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions said;

“He has a high position with the Department of Justice and, by all accounts, does a good job there. There will be a number of judgeship vacancies in the D.C. trial judges. He has been a trial lawyer. He would be a good person to fill one of those. I would feel comfortable supporting him for another judgeship.”

Former republican senator from Arizona, Jon Kyle said;

“I believe Mr. Garland is well qualified for the court of appeals. He earned degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice Brennan on the Supreme Court and, since 1993, he has worked for the Department of Justice. So there is no question, he is qualified to serve on the court.”

Remember, Jon Kyle is the lunatic who proclaimed (on the senate floor) that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. When he was called on it, his office released a statement saying, “that was not intended to be a factual statement”. Wow, you must be awesome to get that guy’s praise.

It gets better. Here are Strom Thurmond’s thoughts on Garland;

“I have no reservations about Mr. Garland’s qualifications or character to serve in this capacity. He had an excellent academic record at both Harvard College and Harvard Law School before serving as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, he has served in distinguished positions in private law practice and with the Department of Justice. Moreover, I have no doubt that Mr. Garland is a man of character and integrity.”

This is not a person that a “liberal” president should be nominating to the Supreme Court. Wanna know how I can tell? Because when republicans get their turn, they nominate and fight for people like Clarence fucking Thomas, Sam Alito, and Antonin Scalia.

I love it when republicans talk about preserving the balance of the court. You mean like when you guys replaced Thurgood Marshall with pervy, right wing mute, Clarence Thomas? Preserve the balance like that?

“Preserving the balance” of the court is only an issue when a democrat occupies the white house. When a republican occupies the white house, they get to go for the fringiest of the right wing fringe nominee they can find. But democrats don’t ever get their turn at nominating anyone who is anything resembling left of center. Or left of center right. And democratic voters are happy with this. It’s like they suffer from some kind of fucked up Stockholm Syndrome, where they can’t even conceive of going for a nominee in the model of Earl Warren.

So to recap; republicans get to assemble their right wing dream team when given the opportunity, but democrats are perfectly content with someone who “isn’t as bad as Scalia”. I have some news for you; comparing a nominee to the worst of the worst isn’t a good calibration of your good nominee barometer. That’s like comparing a president to George W Bush. Why not aim a little higher with your comparisons?

Now let me get to the heart of the Stockholm sufferers’ argument. Obama is actually playing three dimensional chess by nominating someone republicans like, and forcing their hand on a nomination. And by refusing to hold hearings on a “friendly” nominee, he’s exposing republican obstructionism.

Let me pick this argument apart. First off, republicans have already done that when they proclaimed that they wouldn’t consider anyone Obama nominates. That already happened. Republicans have already exposed their own obstructionism. Check. Polls taken days after that announcement show that republican senators prospects for reelection had been damaged by that stance. Three republican senators are in big trouble in terms of their prospects of being reelected if the republicans refuse to confirm anyone. That’s without knowing who the nominee even is. Americans are fundamentally fair. Yes, there are partisan hacks on both sides but that’s not the majority of Americans who approved of Bill Clinton to the tune of 68% after republicans tried to impeach him over a private affair. You don’t get to 68% without the support of a significant number of people who call themselves republicans.

The idea that Obama is forcing their hand by nominating someone they like, and thereby furthering that perception of their obstructionism is predicated on the idea that the American people pay attention to the background of a Supreme Court nominee. That’s nonsense, and there isn’t a shred of evidence that’s true. In fact, the evidence points the other way. Two thirds of Americans can’t name a single sitting Supreme Court justice. That’s right, two thirds of Americans can’t come up with a single name. A whopping 20% can manage to come up with the Chief Justice’s name. Wow, that’s impressive. The percentages go down after naming Roberts:

  • John Roberts — 20%
  • Antonin Scalia — 16%
  • Clarence Thomas — 16%
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg — 13%
  • Sonia Sotomayor — 13%
  • Anthony Kennedy — 10%
  • Samuel Alito — 5%
  • Elena Kagan — 4%
  • Stephen Breyer — 3%

Trust me when I tell you that Americans give almost no shits about the background of a Supreme Court nominee. Not only is there no upside in nominating a centrist, but the huge downside is that it perpetuates the current reality that democrats can’t ever nominate a liberal. This is a terrible long term strategy. Obama should have nominated Thom Hartmann or the ghost of George Carlin. The further left, the better. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders would also be excellent choices.

There’s another factor that hasn’t been considered by democrats who think that Obama is being “brilliant” with this move: Trump. Democrats are convincing themselves that this is a brilliant move because republicans are never going to confirm this guy. I believe they’re wrong. Right now, republican operatives are trying to figure out what to do about the Trump problem. They really only have two choices:

  • Let him be the nominee, which jeopardize all of the down ticket candidates. They’re justifiably afraid that an anti-establishment nominee hurts down ticket establishment senators and congress candidates. In order to save the senate, they’re effectively going to have to run against their own presidential nominee. They’re already talking about sacrificing the presidency to save the senate.
  • Pull a fast one at the convention and pick another nominee. This poses a risk of revolution within the republican party and also hurts down ticket candidates, since it makes the establishment look even slimier than they look now.

That’s it. There are no other options for the GOP. Trust me when I tell you that, given these two options republicans are going to try and save the senate seats. Saving the senate means not doing anything to jeopardize a single senator who’s up for reelection.

The three dimensional chess theory is dependent on republicans refusing to confirm this guy. I think that the odds are that they will because they have to. Certainly given the Trump factor, the odds are better than they will confirm, than they won’t.

As I said, I don’t see anything good about this nomination. For a democrat to think this is a good thing, you would have to employ some magical thinking that combines the acceptance that we’re in a perpetual hostage situation, blind ignorance to the position that republicans are in with their inevitable nominee, and assumptions that are completely supported by a shred of evidence.

I don’t suffer from Stockholm Syndrome so I’m experiencing some acute bitchiness this morning.



Hillary’s Bubble

By now you know that Hillary spectacularly stepped in it a couple of days ago when she praised Nancy Reagan for “starting a national conversation” about AIDS. Here are her exact words,

“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particular Mrs. Reagan — we started a national conversation. When before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it, and that too is something that I really appreciate with her very effective, low key advocacy but it penetrated the public conscious and people began to say, ‘Hey, we have to do something about this too.'”

If you already didn’t know it, you know now that what Hillary said is literally the opposite of the truth. Not only did the Reagans ignore the suffering and death of the nameless, faceless masses who were dying, but their cruelty also extended to their personal circle of friends. Rock Hudson, who was a personal friend sent a plea for help to Nancy in his final days. She refused him. The Reagans were not nice people. They were not compassionate people, and they were not intelligent people. No intelligent person would assume that this disease that’s plaguing the dreaded gays who are “getting what they deserve”, would think that the spread would be limited to those they deem to be the dregs of society. They were stupid, stupid, loathsome people.

So why did Hillary say what she said? Before I get to that, I want to share a statement she put out last night,

Yesterday, at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, I said something inaccurate when speaking about the Reagans’ record on HIV and AIDS. Since then, I’ve heard from countless people who were devastated by the loss of friends and loved ones, and hurt and disappointed by what I said. As someone who has also lost friends and loved ones to AIDS, I understand why. I made a mistake, plain and simple.

I want to use this opportunity to talk not only about where we’ve come from, but where we must go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS. That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day.

The AIDS crisis in America began as a quiet, deadly epidemic. Because of discrimination and disregard, it remained that way for far too long. When many in positions of power turned a blind eye, it was groups like ACT UP, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and others that came forward to shatter the silence — because as they reminded us again and again, Silence = Death. They organized and marched, held die-ins on the steps of city halls and vigils in the streets. They fought alongside a few courageous voices in Washington, like U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, who spoke out from the floor of Congress.

Then there were all the people whose names we don’t often hear today — the unsung heroes who fought on the front lines of the crisis, from hospital wards and bedsides, some with their last breath. Slowly, too slowly, ignorance was crowded out by information. People who had once closed their eyes opened their hearts.

If not for those advocates, activists, and ordinary, heroic people, we would not be where we are in preventing and treating HIV and AIDS. Their courage — and their refusal to accept silence as the status quo — saved lives.

We’ve come a long way. But we still have work to do to eradicate this disease for good and to erase the stigma that is an echo of a shameful and painful period in our country’s history.
This issue matters to me deeply. And I’ve always tried to do my part in the fight against this disease, and the stigma and pain that accompanies it. At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, when my husband accepted the nomination for president, we marked a break with the past by having two HIV-positive speakers — the first time that ever happened at a national convention. As First Lady, I brought together world leaders to strategize and coordinate efforts to take on HIV and AIDS around the world. In the Senate, I put forward legislation to expand global AIDS research and assistance and to increase prevention and education, and I proudly voted for the creation of PEPFAR and to defend and protect the Ryan White Act. And as secretary of state, I launched a campaign to usher in an AIDS-free generation through prevention and treatment, targeting the populations at greatest risk of contracting HIV.

The AIDS crisis looks very different today. There are more options for treatment and prevention than ever before. More people with HIV are leading full and happy lives. But HIV and AIDS are still with us. They continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, transgender people, young people and gay and bisexual men. There are still 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States today, with about 50,000 people newly diagnosed each year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 60 percent of people with HIV are women and girls. Even though the tools exist to end this epidemic once and for all, there are still far too many people dying today.

That is absolutely inexcusable.

I believe there’s even more we can — and must — do together. For starters, let’s continue to increase HIV and AIDS research and invest in the promising innovations that research is producing. Medications like PrEP are proving effective in preventing HIV infection; we should expand access to that drug for everyone, including at-risk populations. We should call on Republican governors to put people’s health and well-being ahead of politics and extend Medicaid, which would provide health care to those with HIV and AIDS.

We should call on states to reform outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws. We should increase global funding for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. And we should cap out-of-pocket expenses and drug costs—and hold companies like Turing and Valeant accountable when they attempt to gouge patients by jacking up the price of lifesaving medications.

We’re still surrounded by memories of loved ones lost and lives cut short. But we’re also surrounded by survivors who are fighting harder than ever. We owe it to them and to future generations to continue that fight together. For the first time, an AIDS-free generation is in sight. As president, I promise you that I will not let up until we reach that goal. We will not leave anyone behind.

That was a good apology. She unequivocally took responsibility for fucking up. “I made a mistake, plain and simple” is the kind of apology that we need to hear more often. I’m of the opinion that when someone apologizes for something in earnest, you accept the apology and move on. Not accepting this type of apology discourages people from making honest apologies. If you want good behavior from people, you have to applaud it when it happens. If there’s no positive reinforcement for good behavior, you’re just encouraging bad behavior. Moving on entails not holding this against her anymore, but it does not entail forgetting about it.

So why did she say it? She’s running for president against an insurgent candidate who is turning out to be a much bigger threat than she had ever anticipated, so why would she say something so stupid and blatantly untrue? Because she believed it when she said it. I read once that our memories are 78% inaccurate or flat out lies. You can see that’s probably true when you read multiple witness statements to a crime. People don’t see the same thing while something is happening. And then our memories take over to further embellish and rewrite what we saw differently from the guy next to us in the first place. That 78% statistic doesn’t seem unbelievable to me.

Hillary believes that Nancy Reagan was a better person than she really was because everyone who knows a terrible person believes they’re better than they really are. We’re all guilty of this. All of us. No, you’re not exempt. Trust me, you’ve done it too and so have I. These are bubbles we all live in. Hillary’s bubble is made up of politicos, lobbyists, and corporate executives so she definitely knows more terrible people than the average bear.

This bubble is what made Hillary think that bringing up Henry Kissinger at a democratic debate was a good idea. Do some of you think that Bernie brought it up first? Well, that memory would fall into that 78% statistic I cited earlier. Hillary was the first to mention Kissinger,

“I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time. So I have an idea about what it’s going to take to make our government work more efficiently.”

Bernie didn’t actually throw that back in her face until the next debate. Being flattered at Henry Kissinger’s high opinion of you and then bragging about it to a democratic debate audience is as bubblicious as it gets. In her mind, Kissinger is beloved and respected because he’s someone she knows well. She and Bill used to spend winter vacations with the Kissingers and Oscar de la Renta.

Her opinion of Henry Kissinger, and the magnitude to which that opinion is divorced from reality is a function of the bubble. You can’t despise very many people that you routinely socialize with, and that run in your circles. Again, this isn’t a Hillary issue. This is something we all do. Just talk to the family members of any cop who shot an unarmed person. They’re all really good people who made one mistake or worse yet, didn’t make a mistake at all because they’re just that righteous. I digress.

Hillary’s bubble is full of people who have done terrible things to the middle class and the poor. That’s just par for the course when you’ve lived Hillary Clinton’s life. She didn’t choose to surround herself with terrible people. They chose her because of her position. Lloyd Blankfein, Henry Kissinger, and Nancy Reagan just come with the job. Respecting, admiring, supporting, and sharing the values of those people is just a function of human nature. It’s not a failing on Hillary’s part and I don’t blame her for it.

But I don’t like it, and I don’t like what it means for a Hillary Clinton presidency. That’s just me. When “democrats” like Diane Feinstein, Claire McCaskill, and Chris Dodd endorse Hillary, I’m moved in the opposite direction because that’s the bubble that has kept wages flat for the past 30 years. This is not a bubble that I revere or respect. This is the bubble I’m very much interested in bursting.

To be fair, Bernie doesn’t have a bubble but he does sometimes suffer from tunnel vision. He’s so focused on the macro issue of government corruption and the income inequality it’s caused, that he missed a lot of the micro (they’re not micro, but you get what I’m trying to say) issues like the concerns of black lives matter and the issues that are important to the families of mass murder victims. He understands that the corporate corruption of our politicians is the cause of the vast majority of our issues (military spending, climate change, guns, corporate tax evasion, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc), but he’s so focused on that, that he forgets that these issues need to be addressed not just from the top, but all way down to the actual victims. He gets that taking money out of politics will help to level out income inequality, which will greatly help the black community, but he can’t see the immediate issues that need addressing for that community. In his defense, he does seem to be listening and learning.

I’m much more comfortable with Bernie’s tunnel vision than I am with Hillary’s bubble. That’s just me.

Anyway, that was my very long way to say, don’t demonize Hillary for the Reagan comment. It wasn’t malicious and it wasn’t an attempt to propagandize. It was purely a product of the bubble. And she apologized, so let’s move on from attacking her for it.


Michigan Berned

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’ve been looking at the primaries in the context of what the results mean for the general election. My concern has been what every democratic voter’s concern should be: Which democratic candidate has the best chances to beat Trump in the primary?

If you need a recap, I laid most of it out here. I laid out my thoughts on the relevance of Michigan here (you’re going to want to read those for context to understand this post). Well, the massive upset that Bernie pulled off in Michigan has seriously amped up my anxiety level over the thought of Hillary becoming the nominee.

Hillary’s general election prospects are not looking awesome. That’s just a fact. When I posted my March 1st blog, with the mountain of evidence to support my thoughts, one Facebook commenter (a Hillary supporter) actually told me to “have faith”. Why? Why the hell would I rely on faith when I have freaking numbers? Should I have faith that the climate isn’t changing too?

I don’t want to ever have to utter the words “President Trump”. That is my primary objective here. Supporting my candidate at all cost is not. I earnestly don’t understand people who don’t share that objective. I’m completely flummoxed by this thinking, and I sincerely need someone to help me out by explaining this to me.

My concerns aren’t based on subjective flaws of Hillary. My concerns aren’t even based on bullshit fortune telling like, “she could be indicted by the FBI any minute now”, or “Ted Cruz’s wife is definitely in the position to leak Hillary’s speeches to Goldman Sachs when the time comes” (she actually is, and I would be a fool not to think they’re coming when it’s the right time). I haven’t done any of that.

My concerns are based on the data that is available to me today. There isn’t a single poll that shows Hillary beating Trump by a higher margin than Bernie does. Not one. The aggregate of all the polls puts Hillary at a 2.8 point margin of victory, while Bernie’s is a 6 point margin. Wanna know what another Hillary supporter said in response to this? He posted a poll that has Hillary beating Trump by 8 points. One poll against my aggregate of polls. Wanna know what that same poll, in that same article he posted said? That Bernie beats Trump by a twelve point margin. Wow, that was some clear headed thinking on that commenter’s part. I do not understand emotional voting. Emotional voting results in people turning stupid and doing what that commenter did: made an ass of himself.

In that earlier post, I placed a lot of importance in Michigan because it’s a swing state. Hillary isn’t winning swing states. She’s winning southern states that she can’t win in the general. When I was positive that Hillary was going to win Michigan, I said that winning it by 20 points would allay some of my fears about her chances against Trump in the general. Well not only did she not win by 20 points, but the polls were turned on their heads when Bernie took it by nearly 2 points.

This is a disastrous sign for Hillary’s viability against Trump in the general. My concerns are compounded by the fact that Michigan had the highest voter turnout in a primary election since 1972. People were turning out in huge numbers to vote in both the republican and the democratic elections. Trump is getting people out to vote in swing states. That should put the fear of God into anyone who also vomits at the thought of a President Trump scenario. Since Michigan is an open primary and they had record turnout and Bernie won instead of losing by the 20 points he was supposed to lose by, we can reasonably conclude that he’s also bringing voters out.

Remember, 42% of voters self identify as independents. 26% self identify as democrats, and 23% self identify as republicans. Bernie will always do better in open primaries. 77% of independents voted for Bernie. Wanna know who can vote in the general with no restrictions? Independents.

If Trump is bringing out right wing independents and first time voters, democrats better be damned well sure to select the candidate who is doing really well with independents. That’s clearly not Hillary.

I’m sorry Hillary supporters, but it’s time to care about who controls the white house next year and to leave your emotional attachment to your candidate behind. The numbers here aren’t ambiguous about the general. And so far, every primary that has already happened should have you as concerned as I am.

The next two states to keep an eye on are Florida and Ohio – both swing states. Hillary is currently leading by a large margin in both states. Florida has a closed primary, meaning that registered independents can’t vote in the democratic primary. Ohio has an open primary. I’m going to say this to Hillary supporters: winning Florida and losing Ohio would completely support my assertion that Hillary isn’t our best chance in the general.

I know that no other media outlet is going to lay this out for you the way I have, so it’s easy to dismiss what I have to say but look at past posts for accuracy before dismissing my analysis. I left the door wide open for myself make the case that Hillary is viable by spelling out exactly what would have made her viable in Michigan. She didn’t make the threshold that would have had me writing a very different post today. Let me be very clear on this: if Hillary loses Ohio, you would be a fool to vote for her in any primary moving forward.

Yes, Florida matters. Yes, Florida is a swing state. But Florida won’t help you make any sort of reasonable calculation about the general since Bernie’s strongest voting block is independents who can’t vote in the Florida primary. Let me repeat: those independents will be voting in November. Ohio and its open primary is where you should be looking to decide if a Hillary nomination could lead to a President Trump.

Hillary needs to win Ohio to demonstrate her viability in the general. Once again Hillary supporters, I am laying out the parameters upon which her general election viability looks better. I’m not making a “Bernie is awesome sauce in all scenarios” argument. I’m telling you how you and I can tell if voting for her is a good idea in the long term. I’m also telling you that if she loses Ohio, any Florida victory she may (or may not) have means significantly less.

Independents are the key in this election cycle. It’s not millenials, it’s not all about the older black vote, it’s about the independents because that’s who Trump is bringing into this election. Hillary can’t win the general if independents are so apathetic that they can’t be fucked to go out and vote in November.

Six more days. That’s when the next test of whether I’m an idiot or not will happen. And believe me, my hands are yuuuuuge….oh wait…….I got confused…. I meant to say believe me, I will not be back peddling on anything I’ve said here today if Hillary wins both Ohio and Florida. If that happens, I will be doing what any critical thinker should be doing: reassessing.


Super Tuesday 2016 Edition

I’ll admit that there were a couple of surprises for me last night, but nothing too significant in terms of delegates.

Let me start with the republican primaries. There were almost no surprises there. Minnesota was a surprise, but there was very little data to rely on since it’s a caucus state. Caucus states are always going to be difficult to pin down because they’re hard to poll so most polling firms won’t try. We had one poll this year (conducted 2 weeks ago), showing Rubio up by 2 points. So: a) that’s one poll (we all know how I feel about putting much weight into a single poll) and b) the spread was within the margin of error. So I was surprised that he won, but I was not at all surprised that he was Mr. Third Place in most of the rest of the primaries.

Trump remains the inevitable nominee.

In any other election, Rubio would be announcing that he’s suspending his campaign today. But he’s not going to do it because he won a whole state!

There were more surprises for me on the democratic side. They weren’t so much surprises for me, as they were interesting since they mostly happened in states I deemed to be toss ups.

I’m not going to lie: not winning Massachusetts hurt Bernie. His path to the nomination did narrow last night. It wasn’t a resounding loss, so there’s that, but he should have won. The fact that Hillary eked it it out isn’t good for Bernie. The fact that Bill pulled this slightly desperate move in order to help his wife, isn’t awesome for Hillary, but she won nonetheless. By “won”, I mean purely from a numbers perspective. Every time Bill and Hillary pull moves like this, they become a little more untrustworthy so I’m not sure this is really a “win”.

On the upside for Bernie, he took every other state that was in play. Yesterday morning, I said that if Bernie pulls off MA, plus CO and MN, he would have pulled off an epic ass kicking. He lost MA, but he won both CO and MN which appeared too close to predict. Neither were even a little close. That fact does mitigate the loss in MA, but not entirely. Oklahoma was too close to call for me because there was only one poll. That poll had Bernie up by 5 points but again, I don’t put too much weight in one poll so I didn’t expect that he would win. He took it by 10 points. Again, not even a little close.

Here’s the thing: remember my post from yesterday regarding my anxiety over the general election? Well, that anxiety has grown slightly. With the exception of MA and VA, Hillary only won states that Trump will resoundingly win in the general. Virginia is a swing state, so that’s the only glimmer of hope. MA will always go blue in the general so that victory does nothing to calm my anxiety. I would feel better about the Virginia win if so many Virginia voters didn’t work in DC. But she did win, and and that does give me a little hope for her in the general. No other state that she won last night gives me any more hope about her chances in the general.

Bernie kicked major ass in Colorado, which is another swing state. Every swing state that Hillary doesn’t win (decisively), makes me more and more concerned about the general, especially since Trump is the only candidate who seems to be bringing in new voters.

The next measure of my anxiety over the general will be next Tuesday in Michigan, which is another swing state. The aggregate of eleven polls has Hillary winning by a nineteen point margin but, those polls were taken over a seven month period. She needs to beat Bernie by a twenty point margin in Michigan for me to feel a little better about her prospects against Trump in the general.

After Michigan, the next two tests for general election viability happen in Florida and North Carolina (also swing states) on the 15th.

It’s going to be an anxiety riddled couple of weeks for me, but I’m going to keep my eye on the general election prize.


I’m Worried About The General Election

I haven’t been all that concerned with how the presidential election is going to turn out until this week. I had no doubt that whether it’s Hillary or Bernie on the democratic side, no republican candidate was going to pose a threat.

I can now see Trump’s path to the presidency. Let’s be clear: Trump is going to be the republican nominee. Unless the RNC pulls a seriously unseemly maneuver to stop him, I don’t see how Trump can be stopped.

When Trump announced, I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance in hell that he was going to be the nominee. I was wrong. When Trump’s numbers were at around 24% of republican voters, I didn’t think that it was possible for his numbers to go up because they held steady at about 24% for months. I was wrong. When his poll numbers moved into the 30s, I thought that the republican party apparatchik were going to strategize over who they needed to get to drop out in order to consolidate the “establishment” vote. I was wrong.

So now Trump is almost certainly going to be the nominee. He steamrolled the entire republican party establishment and outbullied the bullies who like most bullies, were so scared when confronted, they were literally stunned and unable to act.

Donald Trump is the populist candidate on the republican side. He doesn’t have a platform other than his hatred for all things not white, and his seeming disdain for politicians and the establishment. He’s unpolished, unscripted, unconventional, and completely unconcerned with what politicos have to say about him. When you mix those qualities with the factphobia that republicans have contracted from their exposure to nearly twenty years of Fox News propaganda, you have an unstoppable force.

The disdain for the establishment isn’t sequestered within the republican party. Bernie is our populist. Despite a main stream media blackout until the day after the Iowa caucus, despite the (as Larry Wilmore puts it) top secret democratic debates that were all scheduled when television viewership is at its lowest, despite massively handicapping himself by refusing to have a superPAC, Bernie has managed to draw the biggest crowds we’ve seen at any political rally in this election cycle. He’s managed to keep up with Hillary in fundraising. Liberals aren’t any happier with corporatist, establishment candidates than republicans are.

Here’s where my worry lies: if Hillary is the nominee, we’re putting up a corporatist, establishment candidate against a populist. Ugh. That’s not a bet I feel good about. Head to head polls consistently show Bernie beating Trump by a larger margin than Hillary does. If you average all the polling, you get Hillary beating Trump by 2.8 points, while Bernie beats him by 6 points.

Why? Because it’s populist versus populist. More importantly, it’s a populist who has nothing but fear and hate to offer you, versus a populist who wants to give you back what the rich looted from you. I’m a sunny optimist so I don’t believe that Americans are more hateful than they are hopeful.

I feel great about putting a liberal populist up against a right wing populist. I feel great about putting a liberal corporatist up against a republican corporatist. I do not feel good about putting up any establishment corporatist against any populist in this climate.

I especially don’t feel good about it given the polling we have on Hillary versus Trump and Bernie versus Trump. I know what a lot of people are going to say at this point; “polls this early out are meaningless“. To which I say, no information is ever meaningless so stop dismissing information you don’t like. You never get the luxury of hindsight voting before an election happens. This information is the best information you have right now, and objective decisions are made by examining the information you have before you at the time that you have to make a decision. So unless you have other information to contradict this information, please spare me your efforts at dismissing information. This isn’t one, two, or five polls. This is information based on seven months of polling. At no point does Hillary ever do better against Trump than Bernie does. There are no outliers on this in any of the polling. You can’t logically dismiss this.

Let me address something else that is being said about democratic voter turnout. It’s true that democrats almost always have a voter turnout problem, but there is a cyclical element to primary election turnout that no one is talking about. Historically, the party who hasn’t held the white house for eight years are more fired up to vote in the primaries. That’s just a fact. Republicans were always going to be more fired up this primary season than democrats, just like democrats were more fired up after being Bushwhacked for eight years. Yes, president Obama had a lot to do with the numbers we saw in 2008, but that cyclical component was also a factor. The “problem” isn’t an issue with Bernie’s base not showing up to vote. The problem is that the cyclical voting patterns aren’t being taken into consideration here, and this election is being compared to a historic and anomalous election when Obama ran.

I don’t believe that millennial apathy is Bernie’s biggest issue in this primary.

I believe that Bernie’s biggest issue is that independents can’t vote in a lot of democratic primaries. More people refer to themselves as independents now, than in the past two decades. Do I really believe these people are “independent” and regularly vote across party lines? No. But I do believe that referring to ones self as an “independent” is a pretty good indication of how that person feels about establishment politics. Today, 39% of the electorate calls themselves independents. 32% call themselves democrats, and 23% refer to themselves as republicans. Yes, you read that correctly: the biggest block of the electorate refer to themselves as independents.

Here are some responses from a Quinnipiac poll of independents done in December:

  • Shares our values  – Clinton 33%, Sanders 47%
  • Cares about the needs of people like me – Clinton 40%, Sanders 59%
  • Honest and Trustworthy – Clinton 26%, Sanders 64%
Sanders leads Clinton among independents by a range of 20 – 50 points, depending on which poll you read. I could only find three polls of independents by credible polling firms. I don’t normally put too much weight in a mere three polls, but the results I’m seeing would explain how Bernie has a wider margin over Trump than Hillary does. More “independents” would have to be supporting Bernie than Trump. Populist versus populist.

I’m not as comfortable with a 2.8 point lead over Trump, as I am with a 6 point lead. If just one San Bernadino style event happens in the next eight months, that 2.8 points could evaporate. If you look at the polls, San Bernadino is what increased Trump’s support from the mid 20s (where he had been for a couple of months) into the low 30s.

I’m starting to see Trump’s path to the presidency, and it’s terrifying. Why did I highlight all of the ways I was wrong in the beginning of this post? Three reasons;

  • I can admit when I’m wrong so that
  • I can learn from my past mistakes and
  • Never underestimate Trump again
The “electability” argument that Hillary and her supporters have been making until now has been completely turned around on her by Trump. That’s the reality based on the information that we have today. Since I’m neither clairvoyant, nor am I prone to dismiss information just to make myself feel better about the opinion I started off with, I’m very worried about the general election.
This would be a change in my position from four months ago, that we had nothing to worry about from any republican nominee. That change in opinion is based on information that I didn’t have four months ago.

The Most Important Election Of Your Lifetime

We always hear that. Every single election is “the most important election of your lifetime”. That’s almost always hyperbole, but not this time. This time, we’re voting for a four or eight year term for the next president and a twenty to thirty year term for the next Supreme Court Justice. This really is the most important election of your lifetime because the balance of the Supreme Court is in play.

Now that Antonin Scalia has moved on to the big Klan meeting in the sky, we have the opportunity to move the court from the far right to the center. I’m going to pause my train of thought for a moment to articulate that Klan comment I just made. I meant it, and I’m sick of people trotting out the old “respect for the dead” line today. I believe that you die as you lived. Here’s how Antonin Scalia lived (these are all direct quotes).

On equality:

“Of course it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings. But I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible—murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals—and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct[.] It’s true that people generally disapprove of murder, but there’s more going on in laws banning murder than mere disfavor—the rights of the person being murdered, for example.”

“[The Texas anti-sodomy statute] undoubtedly imposes constraints on liberty. So do laws prohibiting prostitution, recreational use of heroin, and, for that matter, working more than 60 hours per week in a bakery. State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity,” along with any other law “based on moral choices,” are now “called into question” by the court’s decision.”

“This Court has no business imposing upon all Americans the resolution favored by the elite class from which the Members of this institution are selected, pronouncing that “animosity” toward homosexuality is evil. I vigorously dissent…Coloradans are, as I say, entitled to be hostile toward homosexual conduct, the fact is that the degree of hostility reflected by Amendment 2 is the smallest conceivable”

On the second amendment:

“It doesn’t apply to cannons—but I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.”

On a woman’s right to choose:

“The right to abort, we are told, inheres in “liberty” because it is among “a person’s most basic decisions,”…it involves a “most intimate and personal choic[e],”; it is “central to personal dignity and autonomy,”; it “originate[s] within the zone of conscience and belief,”; it is “too intimate and personal” for state interference; it reflects “intimate views” of a “deep, personal character,”; it involves “intimate relationships,” and notions of “personal autonomy and bodily integrity,”; and it concerns a particularly “important decision”. But it is obvious to anyone applying “reasoned judgment” that the same adjectives can be applied to many forms of conduct that this Court has held are not entitled to constitutional protection–because, like abortion, they are forms of conduct that have long been criminalized in American society. Those adjectives might be applied, for example, to homosexual sodomy, polygamy, adult incest, and suicide, all of which are equally “intimate” and “deep[ly] personal” decisions involving “personal autonomy and bodily integrity,” and all of which can constitutionally be proscribed because it is our unquestionable constitutional tradition that they are proscribable. (citations omitted)”

“I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court’s abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, has no basis in the Constitution.”

On equal protection:

“Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”

And finally, Scalia’s blatant racism:

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

“Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there’s a good reason for it.

That’s the — that’s the concern that those of us who — who have some questions about this statute have. It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now. And even the Virginia Senators, they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.”

I won’t even go into his disdain for democracy with Bush v Gore, Citizens United or McKutcheon. Anton Scalia does not deserve any respect from me, and he won’t get it.

Back to my point. This really is the most important election of your lifetime. I’m talking to you, democrats. I know that the primaries aren’t over yet, but you all need to start wrapping your minds around embracing whoever the democratic nominee is going to be. I know, I know….you can’t ever see yourself voting for Bernie or Hillary. Well guess what? It’s time to get your vision checked so that you can see it.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m on team Bernie. But I’ve also made it very clear that I will go out and vote for Hillary if she’s the nominee. I’ve defended (you should click on that link) Hillary when she’s been falsely accused, and I’ve stood up for Bernie when he speaks the objective truth. I have also criticized both when they’re wrong. Politics isn’t emotional for me, and it shouldn’t be for you.

You need to start focusing on your own self interest. That self interest is stopping a lunatic republican from putting a young, spry Scalia clone on the Supreme Court.

Republicans in the senate are going to do their damnedest to make sure that President Obama doesn’t make this Supreme Court appointment, as is his right per our constitution. That means they’re going to punt this nomination until after inauguration day. That also means that their biggest donors are about to pick who the republican nominee is. They’re going to have to coalesce around one candidate. And they’re going to throw every smear they can on Hillary and Bernie.

You shouldn’t help them.

At this point, I would like to get into the difference between a smear and an objective truth. Here are some examples to help illustrate:

“Hillary broke the law when she used her private email server to orchestrate an attack on Benghazi.”

That would be a smear, since using her private server broke no laws, and investigation after investigation has found nothing untoward in regard to Hillary’s actions pertaining to Benghazi.

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are completely corrupt.”

That would also be a smear, since no one in the history of our country have been more investigated than the Clintons. Those investigations have resulted in finding precisely no illegal activity.

“The financial industry are among Hillary’s top donors, and they’re expecting a return on their investment.”

That would be an objective truth, and over 80% of us agree that corporate money is corrupting our politics. That would also be an objective truth that you won’t be hearing in the general election, should Hillary become the nominee because her opponent will be significantly more guilty of participating in this particular form of legalized corruption than she has been.

“Hillary is much more qualified to be president than Bernie.”

That would also be an objective truth, which I laid out in the post I linked to above. Bernie is pretty weak on foreign policy. That’s just a fact, but so was President Obama. Getting corporate money out of politics is my primary policy concern, so Bernie is my candidate. That doesn’t mean that I have to retool this particular objective truth in order to make the choice I’ve made.

“Bernie has taken money from Wall Street too.”

That would be a smear. Bernie has received a tiny fraction of his total fundraising efforts from the democratic party apparatchik over the course of his career. Some (or most) of that money may have come from Wall Street. This is not the same as accepting donations from Wall Street, who clearly despise him. If you want to use this smear, you’re going to have to start talking about Elizabeth Warren’s Wall Street contributions too. It’s just not an intellectually honest point.

“[Bernie] [Hillary] can’t win the general election.”

That one is not a smear, but it’s also objectively false. This one is simply projection. We have a mountain of polls demonstrating that either Hillary or Bernie can resoundingly beat any republican who may end up being the nominee if we all support our nominee.

That’s precisely what we all have to do. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t support your chosen candidate in the primary. We all should, and I’m with Bernie for as long as Bernie is in the race. But I am saying that you need to start getting used to the idea of supporting whoever the democratic nominee is going to be.

So maybe, instead of putting up posts against either Bernie or Hillary, we can focus on posting for the one we support? We can support our chosen candidate without tearing down the one we’re not voting for in the primary. I know that’s hard, and I know that some people are so emotionally invested in this election that they can’t see the difference between posting an objective truth and a smear.

So let’s make a deal: how about we all agree to post an 80/20 ratio of positive posts supporting our candidate? And how about we use the same ratio for our comments? Why am I proposing this? Because I believe that focusing on the positive will make it easier for everyone to do what needs to be done in the general election. If you’re constantly making vitriolic comments about a candidate, your emotions are more likely to get in the way of your pragmatism.

Let’s all try and advocate our primary positions with more positivity than what’s been happening on our side of the primary so far. The next thirty years worth of Supreme Court decisions is dependent on decisions that democrats make over the next nine months. Let’s make smart choices that are in our own self interest.