Friday, May 27, 2016

Hillary And Benghazi

Ah, yes, the Benghazi scandal. What else but four Americans getting killed on Hillary's watch could possibly fire up such opposition to her in the general election, and even the primary?

Except it wasn't a scandal. And far from Hillary having the blood of four Americans on her hands, her brightest shining moment came in her sworn testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi back in October of 2015, where she took the worst accusations that were possible from the Republicans and not only withstood them, she beat the right-wingers hands down, making them all look stupid. The result was Hillary soaring in the approval polls, and Bernie Sanders was barely a blip on the radar.

My, how times have changed in only several  months.

My defense of Hillary on this is quite simple. The attack on Benghazi was a sucker punch. A sneak attack. A blindside. One doesn't blame FDR for Pearl Harbor, and most reasonable people don't blame George W. Bush for the attacks on September 11, 2001 (certainly no one on the Republican side does!). By the same token, one can't blame Hillary for the attack on the consulate at Benghazi. She doesn't have direct control over the defenses of every consulate, and even if she did, she doesn't have a functioning crystal ball to allow her to see into the future. If she had such a pallantier, she would most certainly have used it.

Blaming Hillary for the attack on the Benghazi consulate is like blaming the turnstile attendant at the Ford Theater for not stopping John Wilkes Booth before Lincoln got shot.

That would be enough of a defense right there. But, as usual, I need to not only score the touchdown but spike the football several thousand times in the end zone before people realize I really did put six points on the goddamned board. So, let me spike on.

The Benghazi incident generally resolves itself into three separate conspiracy theories regarding Hillary Clinton. here they are:

#1) Hillary is responsible for leaving the Benghazi consulate under-defended.

As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, the Secretary of State is not the person who calls the shots regarding the defense of American diplomatic consulates around the globe. That person is the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, who serves as the head of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. At the time of the Benghazi incident, the person serving in that role was Eric J. Boswell. His deputy, a woman named Charlene Lamb, rejected repeated requests from U.S. Security Officer Eric Nordstrom to send additional security to Benghazi. Her thinking at the time was that it was better for the American presence to keep a low profile, and that meant no visible displays of additional soldiers at the embassy.

After the Benghazi incident, Charlene Lamb testified just once at the House Select Committee, and was not summoned further. Lamb had been placed on leave after the Benghazi incident, along with her boss, Eric Boswell, but both were reinstated by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Fucking WHAT?!

That's right, the doofus who left Benghazi under-defended, the name we clearly have in our hot, little hand, Charlene Lamb, was let go without even a slap on the wrist, given her old job back so that she could muck it up even further, and nobody has said anything!

Except Hillary Clinton. On the witness stand. With all the goddamned cameras watching.

She told us pretty much what we already knew. And Republicans still didn't listen. "The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi," she said, "were handled by the security professionals in the [State] Department. I didn't see those requests, I didn't approve them, I didn't deny them."

No. Charlene Lamb did. Or rather, didn't. We should hang her out to dry. We could attack the current Secretary of State John Kerry for reinstating her.

But still, we go after Hillary Clinton.

This is a little bit like blaming Barack Obama for allowing the Bears to lose to the Redskins. But, of course, there are Republicans who do that sort of thing, too. The main reason we aren't sending this particular Lamb to the slaughter is because she's not running for president. And so, believing that they have a bigger fish to fry, they let the guilty party go free, and go after the innocent.

That's right. The "innocent" is really Hillary Clinton. Right? I know! How about that!

#2) Hillary didn't respond quickly enough to the threat to save American lives.

The reason that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team were not rescued right away was because the top CIA officer stationed in Benghazi ordered the security contractors to stand down. Eventually, those men ignored the company man's orders and staged a rescue attempt anyway.

Again, we have a guilty culprit responsible for the delay in the form of the unnamed CIA official. Again it was not Hillary. And again, this individual is ignored in favor of going after Hillary anyway.

But that's not all, say Hillary's critics. As Secretary of State, Hillary had the power to push for a rescue of Americans in Benghazi. She didn't. The Americans were left to fend for themselves without help. Four Americans died as a result.

This, essentially, is the not-too-subtle message of the Michael Bay film, 13 Hours. For the duration of the siege on the consulate in Benghazi, and on the covert CIA base located nearby, American paramilitary fighters were left to fight on their own against Islamic militants apparently loyal to Daesh (ISIS). And why? Because, say Hillary's critics, the then Secretary of State thought it was more important to respect the sovereignty of Libya than to aid Americans in dire need of help.

Hillary was not named in the 13 Hours movie. She didn't have to be. Michael Bay and many others blame her for abandoning American special forces caught in the line of fire.

But the Secretary of State does not make the calls when it comes to military extractions and/or incursions. That call is made by the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They, in turn, recommend a rescue op to the President, who gives a go or no-go. The most that the Secretary of State can do in such a situation is talk to the SOD or the Joint Chiefs and try to persuade them to do something. By all accounts, that's what Hillary did.

Whether her efforts in that regard did any good, we'll never know. In the end, the timeline passed, and the need for an American incursion into Libyan territory was solved by the burgeoning Libyan government getting the Americans out themselves.

The decision to honor Libyan sovereignty was not popular here at home, but the Libyans loved us for it. In fact, they still do. Libyans love and respect the United States. How many Muslim nations can we say that of?

But let's not blame the CIA, or the Joint Chiefs, or the Secretary of Defense. Let's blame Hillary anyway. Why? Because that's the thing to do, apparently.

#3) Hillary called the incident a "planned attack" in at least two official e-mails before the revelation came about afterward that the attack had been a planned assault and not part of an official protest. The reason Hillary withheld that the attack was a terrorist assault was because she wanted the situation in Libya to be seen as a success for the Obama administration after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

This may be the only conspiracy theory with some plausibility to it. Hillary's response to this line of questioning in 2013 was to lose her cool and say, "What difference does it make?" But in the 2015 hearings to the House Select Committee, she stayed calm and pointed out that it was a fog of war situation, with lots of things happening at once. There were suspicions that the attack had been planned, and certain of her e-mails reflected that suspicion. So when the official press release through the White House Press Secretary was made, it reported that the attack had been part of the protest stemming from an apparent anti-Islamic YouTube video. In fact, that turned out not to be the case, and the official statement was revised according to the known facts on the ground. Representative Jim Jordan, who questioned Hillary in October of 2015, felt strongly that Hillary was deliberately covering up knowledge that the attack had been done on purpose, and not as some spontaneous protest. Hillary rightly countered that drawing such conclusions when the situation was one involving the "fog of war," was irresponsible.

Which side is right? Frankly, Hillary was quite correct the first time. It makes no difference. Even if she covered up the initial truth in an attempt to make Obama's administration look better, it was a temporary reprieve at best, and made Obama look only marginally better, even if such misinformation held over a lengthy period of time. So the accusation that Hillary was deliberately hiding something is ludicrous.

I'm sure that Hillary has covered up a great deal in her political tenure. Just not this time.

So, when it comes to Benghazi, the only scandal is that Republicans still think there is a scandal!

On the other hand, better for your opponents to be fixated on a fake scandal than a real one.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hillary On WalMart's Board?

Here’s one I’ll bet you’ve heard: Hillary Clinton once served on the board of directors for the WalMart Corporation, and while there, she did nothing to advance unions or workers’ rights.

It is indeed true that Hillary once was a board member of WalMart. Sam Walton, the founder of WalMart, was having a growing P.R. problem back in the mid-eighties, as his board had no women on it, and this was seen as typical “good-ol’-boy” misogyny. Furthermore, Sam’s wife Helen was giving him quite an earful over the issue every night at dinner. He finally had to do something.

Well, the logical choice was Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not only was she a top-notch lawyer, she was the wife of the governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, and WalMart was headquartered in Arkansas. This was both good for WalMart and for the Clintons. After all, Arkansas felt about WalMart the same way we in Milwaukee feel about Miller Brewing Co. or Harley Davidson Motorcycles. She served on the board six years between 1986 to 1992 The Clintons got political cred with voters, and WalMart got fem power cred from Hillary.

Well, fine, but what did she do there? Did she defend workers’ rights? To an extent, she did. She used her position to speak out in favor of women’s rights in the workplace, women’s issues as they related to climbing the corporate ladder, and the importance of maintaining a good benefits package. This didn’t do much to sway her fellow board members, but it did give the company a better image, and that’s what she was expected to do.

What about unions?

No, she did not defend unions. In fact, when her fellow board members went off on the sort of tirades which were all-too-typical for corporate bigwigs, Hillary said nothing.

One quarter of a century later, do we hold Hillary accountable for this?

I argue no. Why? Because unions being a major part of retail labor is a modern-day movement, and one which was simply unheard of in most quarters prior to Y2K. There were some retail stores which were unionized, both then and now. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s for example. But these are high-end stores where higher prices and service are expected. Unionizing a WalMart or a K-Mart was unheard of. For the most part, unions were something for manufacturing labor, specialized trades or the municipal workforce. Speaking out for labor unions at low-end retail stores makes sense in today’s political climate. But in the late 80’s to early 90’s? That was something that was simply not on anybody’s radar!

We might also look at what speaking out in favor of unions would have done back then. It would almost certainly have gotten her kicked off of the board, which would have been politically damaging to her husband, and to herself. It would also have accomplished nothing. The remaining board members would have shaken their heads, clucked their tongues, and said “That silly liberal! Did she really think speaking out would change our minds?” Then they’d go play another round of golf.

What does a corporate board member even do? Well, he or she helps evaluate the performance of the CEO, votes to approve or disapprove quarterly and annual budgets, helps to set the compensation and salaries of management, develops shareholder reports, develops and helps enact broad company policies, and ensures accounting standards. In Hillary’s case, she was one of fifteen board members, and so got a 1/15th vote on all of that.

That’s all the power she had. 1/15th.

Hillary is a pragmatist. It’s her one, big strength as a candidate. And as such, she knew that speaking up for unionizing WalMart was tantamount to throwing herself on her sword for nothing. So she didn’t. How can we blame her? Her position on the board was crucial for helping young women dream that anything was possible; for showing corporate executives that women were just as capable as men at such jobs; for smashing through glass ceilings.

Why, WHY would she throw that away on a tactical error?!

So now here we are, 24 to 30 years later. Some among us are trying to apply modern standards to Hillary’s youthful past. It seems strange that we would even consider judging a 69 year old woman on the standards of her 39 year old self, while applying the standards of 2016 to something that happened in 1986. But ever since John Kerry got swift-boated in 2004, such dirty tricks are apparently kosher with some people.

Well, I think that only Republicans should play so dirty. Democrats should be above such nonsense, especially when dealing with one of their own.



Is Hillary Truly A Goldwater Girl?

One of the more frequent criticisms I hear regarding Hillary Clinton is that she’s a Goldwater Girl; a woman who, in her youth, volunteered on the presidential campaign for one of the most hyper-conservative candidates ever to run for the Oval Office – so conservative, in fact, that he was rejected even by the ultra-restrictive Republican electorate of 1964.

Well, it’s true. Hillary was a young girl in high school when she volunteered for the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign. However, according to her classmates, and the friends she made on the Goldwater campaign trail during this time, she was having serious doubts on some key issues. Some of them were even afraid that the Goldwater campaign might kick her out if they heard some of the things she was saying, especially about women’s rights.

In one of her classes, a teacher made her play the role of Lyndon Johnson in a mock debate, in order to “learn about the issues from the other side.” To her surprise, she found herself sympathizing with much of what Johnson had to say. It forced her to begin to re-evaluate some of her own ideas (Living History, p. 24).

By 1968, she had completely turned her perspective around, volunteering for the anti-war platform of Eugene McCarthy, and even traveling to New Hampshire to do canvassing. She still had a few conservative vestiges, as she worked as a Washington D.C. intern for Gerald Ford, and worked with the unsuccessful Republican primary campaign of Nelson Rockefeller. But by the time she graduated from Yale Law School, she was completely liberal. She also met another young law student there named Bill Clinton. Together they worked on George McGovern’s campaign in Austin, Texas, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Before you harp on Hillary for once supporting a radical republican in high school, ask yourself one thing: What did YOU believe in high school? Is it the same ideology you have now? I’m guessing not. We have all radically changed from our high school days, and for anyone to judge each other based on their high school selves is the ultimate in shallowness.

Besides, Hillary is now 69 years old. She was 17 when she was a Goldwater Girl. Are we really so stupid as to judge her for something she did more than half a century ago?

If we are, we all deserve a good “Trump” – right on the head.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bernie Sanders for DNC Chair!

I've been floating this idea out there now with various friends on Facebook, and getting a little bit of negative feedback about it. But that negative feedback is making me examine the idea in closer detail, and the more I look at it, the more I like it. Here's my idea, and I'm thinking it's nothing short of 100% brilliant:

Bernie Sanders for DNC Chairman!

But no! You might say, I want Bernie for president!

Well, no, that's simply not going to happen. Bernie would need 90.5% of the remaining delegates just to tie Hillary. Leave out the superdelegates, and Bernie needs 68% of all remaining pledge delegates. You've already read my quantitative analysis posts (if you're currently reading this, that is), so you know I've run the numbers. If the metric we use is Bernie garnering the needed target percentage to catch up with Hillary's lead, then Bernie has lost twelve states in a row (not including Wisconsin, where he missed the target percentage by only 1%). Plus, Hillary's poll numbers are up in California and New Jersey. The fracas in Nevada and Bernie's "sorry, not sorry" response to it have hurt his brand, causing his poll numbers to begin to decline. True, it's only a slight decline, but when you need to go full-throttle forward, and immediately, even a slight step backward is as good as running in the opposite direction.

If I may go off on a slight tangent, is it possible that Bernie has gotten a little power-drunk? Well, it's certainly hard to argue against that observation, isn't it? Never before has this Senator from relatively quiet Vermont ever known popularity like this. He doesn't seem to have anyone around him who isn't a yes-man, or who has the courage to speak truth to power. Yes, he's had one hell of a run, and it must be so very hard for him to admit to himself that the ride is finally over. Hell, I wouldn't want to admit it either, if I were him! He's continuously held aloft by the loud cheering of his adoring fans, and he can no more remove himself from it than a ping pong ball can extract itself from the air of an upturned hair dryer. He's trapped by his own fame, and he will likely not see it until June 7.

If that.

So, now we have a problem. What do we do with this huge constituency that he's built up? How do we mollify such a large and rabid minority - yes, minority, albeit a significant percentage - when they are threatening "nuclear option?" That is, voting for Sanders as an Independent?

Let me go off on another tangent, here. Sanders can't run as an independent. There are "sore loser" laws on many state law books. And although they probably don't apply to presidential candidates, this has never been fully contested in court. That may well happen someday. But even if not, the deadline for a third-party or independent run has passed for Bernie. Why? Because of the requirements for independent or write-in candidates. A candidate may win as a write-in, but those votes only count if the candidate has registered beforehand with the proper paperwork. By the time the Democratic National Convention is over, five states will have their deadlines passed and another fourteen will be past deadline by the following Tuesday. And there's just no way anyone can raise the number of signatures needed in those states in so short a time. Furthermore, Texas, the third largest state, has had its deadline already passed. It was May 6th. So Texas is out. North Carolina's deadline is April 9th, two days after Hillary will officially cruise to her easy victory in California. So North Carolina's Out. That's 8% of Bernie's vote already struck down before we even begin to consider a "nuclear option." If Bernie waits until the Democratic National Convention to announce an independent run, he will find another 8 states have already missed the deadline. Another three states after that have their deadline on August 1st, only two days after the convention, including California. No, a 3rd party run won't work. Even if he declares now, it's too late.

In other words, my beloved Bernie fans, you have no "nuclear option." Except to be a needless spoiler in aid of Trump.

So, back to my original suggestion. Bernie for DNC Chair. Good idea?

I think so! Look at all the problems it solves: First, it gets rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Some say she's done a decent job as DNC Chair. Others say she's awful. Personally, I don't know enough about her to really tell. But she did run away from Barack Obama's winning record in 2014, which was a tactical blunder of epic proportions. That weighs big with me, and I still hold her responsible for that. On those grounds alone, I would say that it's time to replace her. Certainly many in the Democratic Party hate her, and that can be grounds enough to make a change. In all honesty, she's little more than a placeholder to my mind. I may just change my mind later after I research her record, but for now, that's the way I see it. And even if she isn't, she'd have to be quite outstanding in order for me to decide that she's too valuable for Bernie Sanders to replace her.

Second, it brings the Bernie camp totally and completely in. Every Bernie supporter will back the Democratic presidential nominee and everyone else down-ticket 100%. There will be no more bickering about Bernie getting shoved out. After all, he will have not only been invited in, but given the most powerful party leadership position, second only the presidency. The revolution will have arrived, and it will be the Democratic party's alone.

Third, it erases all the negatives that those opposed to Sanders hate most. They say he's gone narcissistic, only cares about his own ticket and not the Democratic Party as a whole, and threatens to divide the party. But put him at the head of that party, and all that changes. There won't be a single democrat who can say he doesn't care, because suddenly it will be in his best interest to care. It will be both his job, and his sworn duty.

But will Bernie do a good job? I dare say he will! He would primarily be put in charge of raising money and applying national strategy for taking back the House and Senate. He would back candidates that are even further to the left than are currently in place, and he might even foolishly back some candidates who are sufficiently leftist but have no chance to win in a Republican district or a typical election season. But this is NOT a typical election season! The presence of Trump and the endorsements of Sanders will help ensure many formerly Republican districts fall. As far as raising money goes, he would certainly tell all the super-pacs and federal lobbyists to go shove it. Would that hurt the Democratic platform financially? Maybe, but I think that might be off-set by a powerful X-factor, and that's Bernie's incredible money-making powers. He's exceeded everyone's expectations.

What else would he do? Well, he would probably push for getting rid of the superdelegate system. Hell, he might even push to eliminate caucuses. But if that's the price we pay for party unity, and safeguarding our nation for the next four to sixteen years, so fucking what?

"But he's an outsider!" some would say. "He's not even a real Democrat!"

No, but he's certainly a real progressive. And isn't that what really matters?

I know it might make some people nervous, making a loose cannon like Sanders the standard-bearer. But hell, he's a loose cannon anyway! There isn't anything he would damage in the party as its Chairman that he wouldn't damage ten times more as an outsider. So if he's going to be a bull in a china shop, let's make sure he's our bull, and that it's their china! And so, though it might be one hell of a gamble, I believe it would pay off handsomely.

And in an election where Donald-fucking-Trump is actually the opposition's choice, we can afford to be a little-bit "gung-ho."

Bernie for DNC Chairman! It's a good idea!



Monday, May 9, 2016

Trump: Yet Another Quantitative Analysis

Why were the nut-balls right this time?

Why did the GOP get stuck with Donald Trump, a man who is universally agreed upon by the left, the center, and even a good chunk of those on the right as completely off his rocker? Well, there are many reasons, two of the most primary being the ending of the Fairness Doctrine by Ronald Reagan (with no vote from Congress whatsoever), and the other being the deregulation of the radio airwaves under Bill Clinton. Both these changes allowed the consolidation and corporatization of all the radio stations until only three corporations owned most of the airwaves, and nearly all the talk radio stations were owned by just one, namely Newscorp, a.k.a. Clearchannel. Day and night they spewed nothing but hate rhetoric, and now the hate rhetoric candidate has won.

But that's just the fall of free media. There's also the math. I'm going to tell you about the math.

Trump insists the people chose him. But did they really? He points out that more people voted for him than ever voted for Romney in the primaries, and he's right - by a long shot. The Trump factor got people out to vote in a voting season where most people usually stay home. Primary season is rerun season, and your average voter, at least in elections of the past, has not bothered to really notice. Until now.

But even then, most registered Republicans voted against him. Here are the numbers:

Donald Trump did not outright win any states in the first 34 contests. In fact, in each of the 21 of those early states where he "won," he only scored more than the other guys with an average of only 33.1% of the vote. That's normally not enough to get you elected to a school board, much less a presidency.

But it gets worse. The Republican system awarded Trump with more delegates, even when he didn't secure a 50% majority of votes. In Florida, for example, he only got 45.7% of the votes, but took all the delegates. The majority of Floridians voted for someone else, but Trump took the entire state. Does that seem fair?

Trump finally won a state with a 50% majority with New York. He hasn't lost one below 50% since. Yet even then, that's only seven states out of the 41 which have voted so far. In the earlier states, people voted overwhelmingly for someone other than Trump, and the only reason they lost was because that vote was so divided.

In all, 10,654,918 Republicans have voted for Trump. And 15,909,112 have voted against him and for someone else. That's a 67% margin of registered republicans who would rather have had another candidate!

So let's everyone quit bitching about superdelegates supporting the Democratic candidate who is legitimately leading her rival by 2 million 700 thousand votes, shall we? It's the Republicans who have truly mastered vote theft. And we haven't even discussed the gerrymandering of Congress.

I am reminded of how democracy self-destructed in Egypt back in 2012. They won themselves a democratic revolution, then blew it in the elections. Why? Because the liberal majority could not coalesce around a single party, and so their field was flooded with dozens of candidates who fractured the vote. The Muslim extremist candidate, Mohammed Morsi, ended up winning. An American dignitary who visited Egypt around that time cautioned many Egyptian politicians about exactly that sort of thing happening. She warned them that unless they could forge political alliances and be pragmatic, that they would fracture and spoil the vote, thus allowing an extremist candidate to win, and forcing the Egyptian military to step in and institute a Junta.

In the end, that's just what happened. Oh, and that American dignitary? You guessed it: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Republicans got stuck with Trump because they couldn't compromise politically, and got stuck with the worst guy who could bully the most votes. Let's not make the same mistake on the Democratic Party side, and thus allow Trump to win the whole thing. Let's not ignore Hillary the way the Egyptians did.

Hell, we've been at this democracy thing far longer than they have. So you'd think we'd know better.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What Now For Bernie?

Bernie Sanders has won.

No, not the election last night, not even if you include Rhode Island. And no, not the Democratic Party nomination. There’s no realistic chance of him ever winning that (as you’ll see by my number crunching in a moment). No, he’s won a movement. He’s won a constituency. He’s won a large block of the progressive base, and he will never lose it.

Now the question is, what does he do with it?

First, let’s all face a hard reality check. Bernie can’t win the Democratic nomination. That ship has not only sailed, but has been set on fire like the Viking funerals of old. How dead is his candidacy? Let’s look at the hard numbers:

Bernie has, according to CNN, 1359 pledge delegates. Excluding all remaining super delegates, there are 1021 delegates remaining. Add those two together and you get 2380. It takes 2383 to win the nomination outright. Bernie is three short! In other words, Bernie Sanders is mathematically locked out from being able to win the nomination outright! Even if he won 100% of everything left, he would not win!

It gets worse. Hillary’s lead over Bernie in pledge delegates has ballooned up to 307. To catch up to that number, Bernie now needs to win 65.03% of all remaining pledge delegates. Essentially, he needs to win 2/3rds of everything left, just to have a remote chance – and that only leads to a contested convention.

Hillary’s grand total of delegates now, super delegates included, is 2168. She needs 2383. That means she only needs 216 more delegates. That’s tiny! It’s only 21.16% of the remaining 1021 pledge delegates remaining! If you include the remaining 175 super delegates which are still out there, she only needs to win 18.06% of them! She could get her ass completely and thoroughly kicked from here to the convention and still cruise to an easy  nomination victory!

Bernie would not only need to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, he would have to crawl past those jaws, down defeat’s esophagus and pull victory out from the gallbladder.

Now, the Bernie camp will be quick to point out that in order for Hillary to avoid a “contested convention” by winning enough pledge delegates to reach 2383 without any super delegates, she would need to win 70% of the remaining vote. (70.225%, by my calculation.) But if we are extra generous with Bernie, and speculate that Hillary wins only half of the pledge delegates that remain, she would only need 29% of the super delegates to finish Bernie off. Bernie would have to convert 71% of the pledge delegates into coming over to his side, and she already has 502 of them, and she already has 70% (69.82%) firmly committed to her! Plus, as we already know, that just won’t happen. The press will have looked at the numbers above and concluded the same thing. They will know that Bernie is done for, as will the electorate from here on out. People like to vote for a winner, and so Hillary is guaranteed a greater than 50% margin in the remaining states. Oregon may be a stubborn holdout. Maybe West Virginia will go for Bernie. But it won’t matter. Hillary could well have the nomination sewn up before California even votes on June 7th, and if that happens, Bernie’s percentages will go through the floor. Hillary will get her 70% of delegates, and then some. There will be no “contested convention,” and even if there were, Hillary would win that easily, too.
It’s over for Bernie. Anybody who says otherwise is delusional.

Okay, so Bernie’s birdie is now a lame duck. So what? What happens now?

There are really only two choices: Bernie could use his power to consolidate the Democratic party base. He could use his power to help his fellow liberals. He could, through endorsement and campaigning, win over a huge swath of House and Senate seats. He could actually bring about the “revolution” this way! Together, a Hillary and Bernie coalition would be an unstoppable force!

Or he could fracture the liberal base, be a sore loser, and disenfranchise an entire segment of the populace to the political process. He might even run as a third-party independent. After all, he’s done that before with tremendous success in Vermont. But in so doing, he could hand the presidency over to the fascist Trump. Even if he doesn’t break away, his rejection of Hillary could become a boon for the Green Party and possibly even the Libertarian Party, but most definitely it would be a gift to the Republican party, who could end up winning, even with a candidate who stinks on ice as badly as Donald Trump does.

Believe it or not, I’m actually encountering fellow liberals, some of whom I’ve known for years, actually advocating this! I think they may be unaware of the conservative Facebook ghosts masquerading as liberals on various feeds who are deliberately stoking the fires of hatred towards Hillary. But even if they are, they seem not to care. They would rather burn the house to the ground than see it go to another insider.

As if the word “insider” were somehow a guarantee such a person would not be a reformer.

The health of democracy is tied irrevocably to the health of democracy in the United States, and the economic health of the world is permanently tied to the dollar. If we advocate tearing it all down, we bring down democracy’s pinnacle, and the dollar with it. With the fall of the dollar would go the Yuen, the Yen, the Rubel and the Euro. We would literally take the entire world down with us. Some Bernie-backers are actually calling for this right now, determined to never let their “Bernie or bust” dream die. But all I can hear when I listen to such irrational rhetoric are the cries of the impoverished children in America who will know no real future because the republic decided to self-destruct instead of self-improve. I hear the shrieks of the starving third-world children who will die because American food aid dried up in the ensuing chaos. I see the cries of families in nations like Haiti and Mozambique who were actually beginning to turn things around thanks to foreign aid, and who will be able to do nothing except watch it all come crashing down around them because Europe and America will be unable to care for themselves, much less other nations. I see a resurgence of the Trump faction who will take advantage of the chaos to transform America into a Christianized version of the Taliban, where abortion is universally outlawed, and religious freedom taken away from Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Shintos, atheists and agnostics. I see this condition becoming permanent, as the age of super-surveillance transforms America into George Orwell’s 1984. And all the victims who are permanently trapped by this outcome will turn to our generation and ask, “Why!? Why, when you had the chance to unite, and win things for the good of all, did you not do so? Why did you let all humanity become enslaved?”

I want a better answer to give them than, “We didn’t want a political insider.”

Bernie lost the nomination. But he won his following. He is now a political movement. He may have lost the war, but now he has the power, and the responsibility, to win the peace. Now is the time to do so.

And if he doesn’t, we know the kind of man he truly is.



Friday, April 22, 2016

Is Hillary Cheating?

I hear it from Facebook debaters all the time, insisting that Bernie's string of victories leading up to New York must have won him enough ground to catch up to Hillary, and because he didn't, that the system must somehow be rigged.

Well, in a nutshell, bullshit. Once again I've crunched the numbers, and put everything together in a neatly organized, easy-to-understand graph. Even the Republicans who are pretending to be Democrats bashing Hillary on Facebook will understand this one. Observe below:

These totals focus on pledge delegates, leaving out the super delegates altogether. Observe how Hillary's winning totals, shown in blue, are largest in the largest states, and how Bernie's wins, shown in green, tend to cluster around the smallest states. Pending elections are shown in grey. See it now? Bernie's greenest totals are in some pretty tiny states near the bottom of this rather top-heavy totem pole.

Bernie's recent winning streak consisted of Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. As you can see, Wyoming, whown by the tiny space at the bottom, is hardly worth mentioning, as are Idaho, Hawaii and Alaska. Utah, is only slightly larger, and still not much of a mouthful. Only Washington and Wisconsin are noteworthy, and they are rather mediocre.

Now look at Hillary's wins. The real eye-poppers are Texas and Florida, which together comprise roughly 75% of her winning margin so far. See the difference?

So Hillary's commanding leads come from her winning strategy - she goes where the people are. Bernie, while winning lots of real estate, cannot win that way.

Because it's not how much land you conquer, it's how many people vote for you. One person, one vote, not one square mile, one vote.