Wednesday, March 16, 2016

You don't need me to show the way

Just for the record, there is no way I would support pulling Warren out of the Senate to fill the VP slot, and no way I'd support doing the same with Sanders if Clinton is the nominee. They have more power in the Senate where they can be useful than a Vice President has, and I'm sure there is someone else who can fill that position.

Nearly all the polls said Clinton had Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, although a couple of outliers suggested Sanders could take Missouri and was within breathing distance in Illinois and Ohio, but Clinton took them all. Results in Florida were right in line with polling predictions, coming in at 64.5%-33.3%. Much the same was true in Illinois with 50.5%-48.7%. In North Carolina, the result was exactly the RCP average of 54.6%-40.8%. Same again with Ohio's 56.5%-42.7% and with the razor-thin 49.6%-49.4% in Missouri. Uncanny, isn't it?

The next races on the schedule are Tuesday, 22 March, in American Samoa, Arizona, Utah, and the Idaho. Those will be followed Saturday the 26th by Democratic caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Polling for these so far has been sparse, and Sanders has only looked good in Idaho, but some of these states haven't been polled since January, so we don't have much information yet.

"All Three Networks Ignored Bernie Sanders' Speech Tuesday Night, 'Standing By For Trump'," with the sole exception of C-Span, so you can still watch Bernie stumping.

FULL: CNN Democratic Town Hall, Ohio, March 13, 2016, Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton

"Bernie wins Democrats abroad primary 70% to 30% (bigger margin than Obama in '08): Democrats abroad are 'FeelingTheBern' strongly (nearly) everywhere: Bernie Sanders has won an overwhelming victory in the Democrats abroad primaries conducted in the week from March 1 to March 8. While it will take another week (March 21st) until official results will be released, it seems that Bernie has won an astonishing 70 percent of Democrats' abroad votes, winning the primaries in every country (with the lone exception of Singapore), exceeding Obama's 2008 - then big - margin of victory by another 8 points. Therefore It seems highly likely that Bernie Sanders will win 9 out of 13 pledged delegates, ensuring a 9 to 4 delegate split over Mrs. Clinton, thereby closing the overall delegate gap by 5 delegates."

"Ben Carson: I Didn't Want To Endorse Trump, But He Promised Me A Position." Leaving aside that this is the saddest endorsement ever and pretty embarrassing to have anyone guess at let alone admit in public, it's also kind of illegal: "Federal law expressly prohibits candidates from directly or indirectly promising 'the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy.' The penalty for violations could include fines or a year in jail - two years if the violation was willful. "

"Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally: The plan worked better than they'd ever imagined. Then the trouble began."

Clinton reached too far when trying to find something nice to say about Nancy Reagan. (Or did she? DLC types have been instrumental in rehabilitating Republicans since the 1980s, and sometimes I think they just can't say enough about how much more wonderful Republicans are than those pesky liberals.) So she said something "so profoundly untrue that it's hard not to laugh when you hear it" - and yet, to Amanda Marcotte, this is just evidence that Clinton needs to get better at shading the truth.
* David Atkins: "How Clinton's Reagan-AIDS Gaffe Helps Explain Why Populism Is Rising"
"Dear Hillary, Please Fire Robby Mook and John Podesta [...] And if she keeps up this tactic of trying to smear Sanders' voting record to portray him as a friend of conservative causes, it may have serious consequences for the general election."
* "The shameful Bernie race smear: Hillary supporters have played a dirty, dangerous game: The toxicity -- and falseness -- of the "Bernie so white" narrative is a real stain on Democrats and the left. [...] Relentlessly painting Sanders as only having white supporters will continue a dangerous practice of misinformation and cavalier smearing. It would make it seem that no minority voters like him, or don't believe or accept the actual substance of Sanders' plans, or believe in his policies galvanizing the masses to either make Republicans and 'Republican acting' Democrats vote for those policies or vote them out of office. And it would make it appear as if all minorities are chastising or eagerly humiliating Sanders and his supporters every chance they get, for legitimate or illegitimate reasons."

Audio: Bernie Sanders and Latino voters

"Hillary Clinton's backseat driver: The running commentary from one of the stewards of the Obama legacy gets deep under the campaign's skin." It seems lately David Axelrod feels that, as a journalist, he has to call it like he sees it.
* "Hillary will never survive the Trump onslaught: It's not fair, but it makes her a weak nominee [...] And yet: What did Clinton actually do in his eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue? While writing this book, I would periodically ask my liberal friends if they could recall the progressive laws he got passed, the high-minded policies he fought for - you know, the good things Bill Clinton got done while he was president. Why was it, I wondered, that we were supposed to think so highly of him - apart from his obvious personal charm, I mean? It proved difficult for my libs. [...] One of the strangest dramas of the Clinton literature, in retrospect, was the supposed mystery of Bill's developing political identity. Like a searching teenager in a coming-of-age movie, boy president Bill roams hither and yon, trying out this policy and that, until he finally learns to be true to himself and to worship at the shrine of consensus orthodoxy. He campaigned as a populist, he tried to lift the ban on gays in the military, then all of a sudden he's pushing free trade and deregulating telecom. Who was this guy, really? [...] Clinton's wandering political identity absorbed both his admirers and biographers, many of whom chose to explain it as a quest: Bill Clinton had to prove, to himself and the nation, that he was a genuine New Democrat. He had to grow into presidential maturity. And the way he had to do it was by damaging or somehow insulting traditional Democratic groups that represented the party's tradition of egalitarianism. Then we would know that the New Deal was truly dead. Then we could be sure."

Bell Hooks on why she no longer supports Hillary Clinton
* "Dick Cheney heaps praise on Hillary Clinton: Former US vice president Dick Cheney has praised Hillary Clinton as one of the more competent members of President Barack Obama's administration, saying it would be "interesting to speculate" on how she would perform as president."

"Hillary Questioned Bernie's Record on Health Care and The Internet Made an Epic Correction."

Pierce: "Rahm Emanuel's Disastrous Stint as Chicago Mayor Is Officially a Campaign Issue" - Strangely, Charlie left out the part where Rahm seems to played politics with a murder investigation.

This is actually in The New York Times: "Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories [...] Over one 12-year stretch in the House, he passed more amendments by roll call vote than any other member of Congress. In the Senate, he secured money for dairy farmers and community health centers, blocked banks from hiring foreign workers and reined in the Federal Reserve, all through measures attached to larger bills.""
* Oh, but wait, Matt Taibbi says the NYT piece changed in the course of the day: "How the New York Times Sandbagged Bernie Sanders [...] Not so fast! As noted first in this piece on Medium ("Proof That the New York Times Isn't Feeling the Bern"), the paper swiftly made a series of significant corrections online. A new version of the piece came out later the same day, and in my mind, the corrections changed the overall message of the article."

Dave Johnson, "What's The Problem With 'Free Trade'?: "Our country's 'free trade' agreements have followed a framework of trading away our democracy and middle-class prosperity in exchange for letting the biggest corporations dominate. There are those who say any increase in trade is good. But if you close a factory here and lay off the workers, open the factory 'there' to make the same things the factory here used to make, bring those things into the country to sell in the same outlets, you have just 'increased trade' because now those goods cross a border. Supporters of free trade are having a harder and harder time convincing American workers this is good for them." One thing Dave leaves out is that our higher standards also helped push other countries' standards up because we refused to do business with some countries that didn't share those standards. "Free trade" pushed them down again - in our country.
* Ted Rall, "Forget Free Trade"

It seems that Thomas Frank is letting it all hang out in his new book, Listen Liberals, judging from this excerpt in Salon. "Bill Clinton's odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the real history of the '90s [...] Someday we will understand that the punitive hysteria of the mid-1990s was not an accident; it was essential to Clintonism. Taken as a whole with NAFTA, with welfare reform, with his plan for privatizing Social Security and, of course, with Clinton's celebrated lifting of the rules governing banks and telecoms, it all fits perfectly within the new, class-based framework of liberalism. Clinton simply treated different groups of Americans in radically different ways - crushing some in the iron fist of the state, exposing others to ruinous corporate power, while showering the favored stratum with bailouts, deregulation, and a frolicking celebration of Think Different business innovation. Some got bailouts, others got 'zero tolerance.' There was really no contradiction between these things. Lenience and forgiveness and joyous creativity for Wall Street bankers while another group gets a biblical-style beatdown - these things actually fit together quite nicely. Indeed, the ascendance of the first group requires that the second be lowered gradually into hell. When you take Clintonism all together, it makes sense, and the sense it makes has to do with social class. What the poor get is discipline; what the professionals get is endless indulgence."

David Neiwert on waving the bloody shirt and Trump rally violence.

David Dayen, "The Most Important 2016 Issue You Don't Know About: Antitrust regulation may sound dull. It's also the root of our economic evils. We've seen plenty of economic issues discussed in this presidential election: the proper level of financial regulation, the high cost of prescription drugs, the clustering of wealth at the very top. But all of these things, and many more, boil down to one problem: Practically every major American industry has become extremely concentrated, and this creeping monopolization has increased inequality, created economic hazards where they previously didn't exist, and heightened public anxiety. [...] Amazingly, Wednesday's hearing showed that antitrust policy is not a partisan issue. It's even become a point on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have stressed greater antitrust enforcement and breaking up monopolies, and while not specifically talking antitrust, Donald Trump wants to inject competition into the drug industry. But the pressure from Congress is even more encouraging, because it could be all it takes to spur the agencies to do their job. And aggressively enforcing the antitrust laws would be one of the best ways to reinvigorate our economy."

"Campaign Donations Could Keep 'Carried Interest' Tax Loophole Open: New York legislators announced Monday they're introducing a bill to end a perk that lets financial executives pay a significantly lower tax rate than most Americans. Eliminating the so-called 'carried interest' loophole could generate $3.7 billion a year in revenue for the state of New York - but if the financial industry has its say, the movement there and similar measures in other states will face as tough a battle as it has in the nation's capital."

Dean Baker: "Raising Wages: What's Wrong With Ending Protection for Those on Top?

"Cashing in on Kids: 172 ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015: Despite widespread public opposition to the corporate-driven education privatization agenda, at least 172 measures reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bills were introduced in 42 states in 2015, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of and"

"The Mass-Market Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird Is Dead: Harper Lee's estate will no longer allow publication of the inexpensive paperback edition that was popular with schools."

"Cambridge university college cancels Jules Verne party as 'it may cause offence': Students from a Cambridge University college have cancelled a party themed on the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days because wearing costumes in the style of another culture may cause offence."

I finally got around to reading the Mother Jones profile of Bernie Sanders that contains, among other things, his so-called "rape" essay from 1972. I was actually expecting him to have said something embarrassing in it, but he didn't, really. It's not about rape, or really even about rape fantasy - although his jump-off is that many people have rape fantasies (which is absolutely true) - so much as gender roles in which men are expected to dominate and women expected to submit (which he's clearly against). He basically says sexism robs both women and men of genuine love and knowledge of each other. Bearing in mind that at the time, pretty much no one had any analysis of bdsm, Bernie made a pretty game try. His language is unsophisticated, but the truth is that even today many feminists make the same equation between bdsm fantasy and gender roles (with more high-falutin' language). Nothing to be ashamed of, there, although I don't think the relationship between dominance fantasies and male roles, and submission fantasies and female roles, is as direct as many people assume.

If you can stand Facebook, this is one of those moments when Facebook lifts your heart.

Baby Elephants Who Want To Be Lap Dogs

Awkward Metal Band Photos

Russian media report on Fred Phelps' death. A couple of years old, of course, but I just saw it, and found it entertaining.

"My Back Pages" performed by diverse hands for Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary, featuring vocals by Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Dylan, and George Harrison.

Candi Staton "You Got The Love" live, 2008

Martha and the Vandellas, "You've Been In Love Too Long"

George Martin and The Beatles: The Making Of "Please Please Me"


  1. The figures for votes for Bernie Over There are amazing. Glad to know the Bern is with you.

  2. LOVE the Bernie and Liz American Gothic. Wish I'd thought of it. If it wasn't geographically unfeasible, that would be a great ticket. I can perfectly imagine a Hillary/Blankfein ticket at the convention.

    At any rate, on the home front: The kitten is just to get your attention.

    1. Just curious: Do folks know that the woman in "American Gothic" is supposed to be the man's daughter, not his wife?

  3. How bad Bill Clinton's administration was for the country didn't really become obvious for some time after he left the White House. Unemployment dropped during his administration to under 4% by 2000. That meant workers had more security, bargaining power, and opportunity to move elsewhere. That's very, very big for most people. From the news, it wasn't obvious that ghastly military adventures were going on. The media certainly presented the U.S. stance as too uninvolved in foreign countries (we sat by while genocide occurred in Rwanda; therefore, we have to bomb in Bosnia!) Remember the question, "What didn't you like about Clinton? The peace or the prosperity?" Meanwhile, Clinton was an extraordinarily good politician, and he ran a very competent administration -- no "Heckuva job, Brownie" on his watch.

    It was before a robust internet, so there wasn't much way for people who saw what was really going on to get the word out easily. As problems did develop, there was always the promise that this is a transitional difficulty that will be overcome -- "Lost your job because of NAFTA? Here are training courses that will get you another, better job." With hindsight and the info we have now, we can see how odious the Clinton presidency was, but it really wasn't clear at the time. Following Iran-contra Reagan and sandwiched between the self-serving Bush muckers, Clinton looked damned good.

  4. "I don't think the relationship between dominance fantasies and male roles, and submission fantasies and female roles, is as direct as many people assume."

    Especially not when there are so many male subs and femdoms around. :-)