Saturday, December 10, 2016

CIA Drops Bomb - And Republicans Are Deaf To It


Remember our fathers' generation, when aiding Russian agents was considered the ultimate betrayal of America? Well, apparently that's okay now, according to some Republicans.

A report from the Washington Post, confirmed by other news sources such as CNN, shows that a secret CIA assessment confirmed what we suspected all along - that Russian hackers actively sought to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

The Obama administration knew about this and wanted to break the news to the public back in mid-September. The public, of course, already had its suspicions, and it was no secret that Russia was probably involved, but some Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, said that would be a partisan influence upon the election.

Think about that. A foreign power actively sought to tamper with the United States election process, and McConnell and others actually thought that was a partisan issue? Since when is a violation of our national sovereignty, especially if it involves tampering with the voting process, anything other than an act of war upon the United States?!

Apparently, it's okay to call Obama a socialist while paling around with Ruskies to undermine the vote or mislead the public. What the fuck has happened to America?!

Think about Obama's remarkable restraint. He had this bombshell in hand, and chose to hold onto it. He even convened Republican and Democratic leaders together to release the information as a consensus view. Republicans actually balked in response to this chivalry! And when James Comey dropped his non-news-story mystery box that thwarted Hillary's huge lead, Obama held onto this news story still!

Okay, I know he's a great man for being so honorable, but when you're fighting such dishonorable opponents.... Oh, shit, let's get real. He just plain fucked up!

Damn it, Barry! You're my hero! Why couldn't you play hardball just this once?!

The day this report came out, Rush Limbaugh was decrying the mainstream media for making such an issue about "fake news," saying that the mainstream media IS, in fact, fake news.

Fucking really?

Up is down, black is white, day is night... At this point, the frog has not only been boiled to death, the beaker has boiled over, and the water completely evaporated. What's now left of the frog is now sizzling at the bottom of the glass surface, slowly charring. That might sound like a tasty treat if you happen to be French, but if you're American, it's our national tragedy.

Julian Assange, in a recent TV interview, said that Russia was not the source of his leaks. That would be what legal scholars call a lie. Assange is now not just an enemy of Hillary Clinton. He is an enemy combatant against the United States! He complains about being confined to the embassy of Ecuador in London. Perhaps he should count himself lucky to not be confined to Gitmo.

In my previous blog post, I pointed out that it is conservatives, not liberals, living in a bubble, and we now have the polling data to prove it. Now we've come to realize just how incredibly thick that bubble is, and what indestructible material its made out of.

We can't burst that bubble. We can't even shatter it. It's made of titanium. We have to blowtorch our way in.

And that could take a long, long while.


Eric

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Friday, December 9, 2016

When Skepticism Saved The World


The loser in this year's presidential election was not Hillary Clinton. The loser was the Truth.

A recently published poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Trump supporters live in their own, private reality, just like Trump himself does. They believe, even now, that he's honest and tells it like it is. If by that, they mean he's blunt, they may have a point. But Trump has been caught lying on camera so often that it's stunning that the word "honest" could be applied to him by anyone.

Here's what the poll shows:

40% of Trump supporters believe that he, not Hillary Clinton, actually won the popular vote. 60% of them honestly think that millions voted illegally for Hillary. (If so, why do so in California and not Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida or Wisconin?)

29% of Trump voters think that votes from California shouldn't count. (!) Only 53% think they should count. 11% aren't sure. (How the hell can you not be sure?)

73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying people to protest against Trump. So where's my check, already?

67% of Trump voters actually think the unemployment rate has gone up instead of down during Obama's tenure. Wow! That's one hard rock they're living under!

Think that's bad? 39% of Trump supporters believe the stock market has gone down during Obama's tenure. What the fuuuuuuuuck?!

14% of Trump supporters think that Hillary is connected to a child sex ring out of a Washington D.C. pizzeria. That seems like a low number, until you see that only 54% of them think she isn't. 32% are, incredibly, unsure.

76% of Trump voters view CNN unfavorably. 84% of them view the New York Times unfavorably.

Only 16% of conservatives think that Trump should release his tax returns. A whopping 61% percent think he shouldn't.

So, it's official. When it comes to the truth, Trump supporters don't fucking care. In other words...

THE BUBBLE OF DISCONNECT IS NOT AROUND LIBERALS!

One of the more interesting stories I saw this morning involves an 18 year old boy from Macedonia whose fake news stories have garnered him a tidy fortune. All he has to do is say something favorable about Trump, scandalous about Hillary or negative about Obama and he gets hundreds of thousands of hits.

It's time to face facts. Skepticism is needed in America now more than ever. With one voice, those of us who are actually informed need to take the message out to the countryside billboards and proclaim that we need Truth with a capital "T," that when Truth upsets your entire world, your entire world needs to change, that when Truth comes to you through a news source you dislike, the solution is to accept the Truth and not change your news source.

About a month before election day, I had a conversation with a bartender in which I cited Snopes as debunking a Hillary story he believed. He replied, in all honesty, "Oh, Snopes is a liberal conspiracy web site."

Fucking WHAT?!

In a debate with a softball teammate of mine about global warming, I included a link to NASA's website showing the North Pole arctic ice cap melting away month by month from the 1980's to today. And he said, in all honesty, "Oh, that's just CGI."

FUCKING WHAT?!

It's gotten so bad that people will casually dismiss NASA or Snopes as "liberal," and apparently liberal equates somehow with untrustworthy.

We need to tell people that Truth is Truth. Truth is not whatever agrees with your team colors.

This could be the era in which skepticism saves us. Or it could be the era in which truth is lost forever. Or at least until the advent of the Singularity.

We need a Vulcan moment. In Star Trek, the planet Vulcan was filled with chaos and turmoil until the philosophy of logic saved it through the teachings of Surak. We need a Surak now, one who says in the words of  T'Plana-Hath, matron of Vulcan philosophy, "Logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide."

It's up to us. Spread the word! The Truth must be accepted over ALL our comfortable illusions!


Eric

*

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Who Next For 2020?


Okay, Donald Trump has yet to be sworn in, and if we're lucky, there's still a chance the electoral college will do its job and keep that from happening. But recently there have been indications that Joe Biden wants to run for president in 2020. That forces the issue somewhat. Who do we want for 2020 when the imperative of dislodging Donald Trump gives us a chance to undo the inevitable damage?


Elizabeth Warren
My personal favorite. Elizabeth Warren was everybody's pick for Veep in 2016, but she turned down any opportunity to run. She's 67 now, which means she would be 71 by 2020, but then, Hillary was 70 and that didn't stop her. She's near the top of everyone's list, and #1 on mine.


Corey Booker
Want a likable candidate? How about the guy who once ran into a burning building to save people! Barack Obama with teeth? Sign me up!


Julian Castro
Super smart, successful, and Latino? We couldn't do much better than former HUD Secretary Julian Castro! Come to think of it, his twin brother, Congressman Joachin Castro of San Antonio, Texas, wouldn't be a bad pick, either.


Bernie Sanders
Could he try again? Lots of people think so! Certainly he has a large, devoted following. But he's 75 now, which means he will be 79 then. Will the youth vote flock again to a man who is almost 80? Hard to say. But certainly, the next Democratic Party candidate will need this man's blessing if he or she is to have any chance. He's either the next candidate, or he's the kingmaker.


Al Franken
Who better to follow in the footsteps of a total joke of a president than a former comedian? Saturday Night Live star Al Franken has been using his incredible wit to make people laugh for decades. I can just imagine the Twitter war between this guy and Trump already!


Kirsten Jillibrand
Let's face it, the electorate is shallow. Someone exciting needs to get the public to vote for a woman, and Kirsten Jillibrand might just be the ticket. She's got the expertise, she's got the resume, and let's be honest about it, she's got the looks. If Elizabeth Warren isn't our gal, I think Kirsten is probably our best shot at getting a woman into the Oval Office. And, to be frank, I think we need a second shot at that, seeing as how Hillary was deliberately tripped at the finish line by James Comey.


Tammy Duckworth
Here's a thought: How about an Iraqi war veteran who has served as the Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs before winning seats in Congress and then Senate in Illinois? Illinois produced a hot-shot Senator once before as you may recall, and his name was Barack Obama. And like him, she's of mixed "race," being half Thai-Sino and half Daughter of the American Revolution. I don't know about you, but I think that having the first female president would be only slightly more satisfying than seeing the first president in a wheelchair since FDR.


Joe Biden
Can Uncle Joe do it? I'll bet he wants to! He might be feeling a certain amount of regret over not jumping in back in October of 2015. He certainly has a large following of people who really like him. But perhaps 2016 proved that old blood can never win. And let's not forget, Uncle Joe is so much fun because he constantly says the wrong thing at the wrong time. His foot-in-mouth disease is the main reason he's vice president and not president. Plus, he's 74. Which would make him 78 in 2020. Only a year younger than Bernie? It might as well be Bernie himself then. Or else someone Bernie endorses right out of the gate. Still, Uncle Joe is a real trip! Maybe just the thing we need after four years of Trump.


Kamala Harris
Who's this? Why, she's the new Senator-elect from California, and the first woman ever to be California's Attorney General! She brings a golden resume to the table, and one hell of a mixed heritage, being the daughter of an Indian-American mother and a Jamaican-American father. Of course, genealogy only counts for so much, but when your opponent is Nazi-salute Trumpenstein, it can count for a lot. Fortunately, she would be a top-notch candidate no matter what her ethnicity might be. If you don't recognize her name now, jot it down. You'll probably see it again very soon.


Tim Kaine
He was supposedly the "boring" pick for VP by Hillary, but look what he brings to the table: A stellar record as Virginia's Governor, fluent in Spanish, and sharp, sharp, sharp! He might not look so boring four years from now.


Martin O'Malley
Oh, yeah! Him! That guy that couldn't compete with juggernauts like Hillary and Bernie in 2016, but who set himself up well for a later run by being one of the only other Democrats to score significant percentages against them. He eventually dropped out, but he dented the armor of his opponents a little, and performed superbly in the first debate.

Some other interesting names:

Sherrod Brown - Senator from, yes, Ohio! Any candidate that can deliver Ohio is worth taking seriously.

Cicilia Munoz - Smart and savvy member of Obama's cabinet, Cicilia Munoz has never been a Congresswoman or Senator. Yet that's just what people are looking for these days - qualified, yet an outsider. Plus, she's Latina! The daughter of Bolivian immigrants. Again, genealogy only goes so far, but against Trump...

Lincoln Chafee - Former Governor of Rhode Island who ran in 2016. He might run again.

Jim Webb - Veteran and former Senator from Virginia. He ran in 2016 as well. But if Tammy Duckworth runs, his soldier's resume won't stand a chance.

Lawrence Lessig - Oh yeah! The Harvard Law Professor who said he would enact election reforms, then resign. It was a great publicity stunt, and got people talking about the issue for a change. Unfortunately, Trump.

Do you like my list? Have you picked a favorite? I have. Several, in fact. And I hope you have, too.


Eric

*

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What Obama Needs To Do Before He Leaves


Lots of people are re-hashing the election and pointing to this factor or that factor, blaming one small slice of Democratic voters over another small slice. But I choose to put the bulk of the blame on the 47% of the electorate who voted for Trump. You know, the ones that were blatantly lied to for decades.

Now, some are pointing to fake news on social media as one reason why so many Americans had a complete and total brain-fart on November 8th, but let's be honest: fake news has been around forever, and the conservative propaganda machine has been around since the early 90's. So while Mark Zuckerberg is pondering how to separate the real-news wheat from the fake-news chaff, I think our current president has at least one thing he can do to rectify the situation first.

Bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

For those of you who aren't aware, the Fairness Doctrine was a standard set by the FCC which required broadcasters airing controversial opinions to represent both sides of a contentious issue. This meant that if an editorial was given regarding gun rights, an opinion would have to be given about gun control as well. Or if a pro-life argument was given, the pro-choice side had to have its side too.

Well, in 1988, all that changed. President Ronald Reagan allowed the Fairness Doctrine standard to expire in his final year in office. No input from Congress, no vote taken on the floor. Just a simple whisk of the pen, and any requirement for balance on the radio went out the window.

It was a few years before conservative pundits realized just how much power they had been handed. With religious radio having entire stations at its disposal, the conservative side of any argument already had a head start. Now it could begin to pummel the rural countryside - which still relied primarily on radio for all its news and information - with non-stop conservative propaganda. No equal time would ever be given to the other side again. From now on, all radio op-ed would be lopsided in the wrong direction.

Well, Reagan allowed this crap to happen with the mere flick of his pen. Obama can do the same. He can reinstate the Fairness Doctrine before he leaves office.

And for two glorious months, conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh will have to have their illogic shredded by the superior economic arguments liberals have to offer.

Okay, Donald Trump, assuming the Electoral College ever allows him to take office, will reverse the executive order almost immediately. But he can't do so before the whole world takes notice of the Fairness Doctrine itself, and the importance of what it means.

I think it's well worth it.

I know, I know, the odds of Obama doing this are slim. Hell, during his time in office, he not only didn't bring the Fairness Doctrine back, he strengthened the hold conservatives have over the airwaves; just one more example of the concessions he gave to a Congress who wouldn't give him the respect they gave to their kitchen staff. But if he does do this, it will be one awesome final blow that he can give for truth, for fairness, and for journalistic integrity.

Please Barack? Please?

Requiring broadcasters to be fair shouldn't have to hang on the outcome of Jill Stein's recount efforts.


Eric

*

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Never Drink Miller Again!


When Schlitz Brewing Co. insulted Milwaukee by leaving the city in response to a workers' strike back in the 1970's, Milwaukee made its voice heard. The entire city boycotted the beer for good, and at the next Summerfest, the Schlitz tent was abandoned. The beer was a pariah, and no self-respecting Milwaukeean would touch it again.

Well, times have changed. Schlitz came back to Milwaukee in a sneaky way during the 90's when Latino immigrants began to populate the city's south side in greater numbers. Schlitz was marketed in clever billboards written in Spanish, and sold mostly in 20 ounce bottles. But now Schlitz belongs to the Pabst Brewing empire, and it's welcomed back in Milwaukee again. Well, if you're a college kid who just wants to get drunk on a Monday night, that is.

Now it's time to boycott a beer again. And this time, it's Miller. Yes, the last great Milwaukee brewery to avoid collapse has betrayed America. Pete Coors, the chairman of Miller Coors, not only endorsed Donald Trump, but held numerous fundraisers for him.

Milwaukee needs to send a resounding message that Brew Town will never accept that bullshit! And so, with that, I am now saying two words I never thought I would utter:

Fuck Miller!

This means I am boycotting Miller Coors and all its products. And this is going to hurt! Because Miller Coors encompasses a lot of beverages I like!

Miller Lite
Leinenkugel's
Redd's Apple Ale
Henry's Hard Soda
Crispin
Smith & Forge
Molson
Keystone
Hamm's
Grolsch
Blue Moon

Goodbye to them all.

That means I'll have to find different local breweries to support. Maybe one of the Pabst products will be to my liking. But there's also Lakefront Brewery, which makes Klisch pilsner beer. (And so far as I know, the Klisch brothers did not support Trump.) There's Angry Orchard, Woodchuck Hard Cider and Foxbarrel Pear Cider are pretty good. There's always Strongbow and Corona, but I still have a Milwaukee Brewery pride streak in me. Sprecher is therefore a good choice. They brew a hard Root Beer and a line of really tasty hard sodas. Randy Sprecher posts nothing political on  his Facebook page and employs a lot of African-Americans, so I'm assuming that even if he voted for Trump, he at least wasn't a fundraising dick about it like Pete Coors was.

How pissed off does a Milwaukeean have to be in order to give up his favorite beer? The answer, of course, is unbelievably pissed off! You fundraised for Trump? You're out of my city as far as I'm concerned!

Who would have ever thought that the proper way to support Milwaukee business would be to shun Miller and drink Schlitz again! Next thing you know, the Cubs will have won the World Series, and the Packers would totally suck!

Oh. Yeah.

Trumpsters are doing their own share of boycotting. Due to a recent showing of Hamilton, the cast members decided to hit Mike Pence over the head with a dose of reality, and now Trump is demanding an apology, and Trump supporters are calling for a boycott. Good! More tickets for the rest of us! But there are other products Trump people are boycotting. Make sure to buy them!

For example, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi remarked that Trump's victory made some people feel unsafe. Trumpets are now boycotting Pepsi. So drink Pepsi, everybody!

It is literally the drink of the next generation.

PepsiCo also owns Lays, Ruffles, Doritos and Mountain Dew. Netflix, Apple and Dreamworks are also targeted by pro-Trump people for boycott. How about a Netflix party? We'll watch How To Train Your Dragon!

For an assault on Washington.

Is this just one liberal desperately looking to lash out at anything he can for a travesty that embarrasses America? You bet your ass it is! But it's a way for me, and you too, to not take it lying down! You fucked America over? Well, I'll be damned if you get any of my money afterward!

More effective than protest marching, I think.


Eric

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Most Effective Protest You Can Do Is...


Protesting? Good. You should be. This election is an even bigger wake-up call than the attacks of September 11, 2001. But let's make sure that the protests are done right, and most effectively. After all, protesting in front of a federal building or one of Trump's towers is one thing, but the people who need to hear our voices aren't there.

The people who need to hear us are out in the suburbs and the countryside.

What really got Donald Trump elected wasn't merely Hillary's shady past, or young people staying home. They aren't the real problem. The real problem is that 47.3% of people actually found it in their hearts to vote for an unqualified, bluntly racist, chauvinistic lunatic. That didn't happen because Bernie Sanders wasn't the candidate. It happened because they were all lied to! Someone told them it was okay to vote for him, and they actually believed it.

Fucking how?

There is a disconnect between rural America and the truth. It's been happening for years, but there is a blackout curtain drawn across the deep suburban and farming landscape. Perhaps Tom Brokaw said it best when he pointed out that there seems to be a "wall of separation" between the media and rural America. He was talking about how the media misread the polls and the potential likelihood that Donald Trump might win, but if there's a disconnect between the media and the Heartland, it is also true that the Heartland is disconnected from real media. This blackout happened through the takeover of local airwaves and newspapers by major corporations such as ClearChannel and Newscorp, leaving almost no real local reporting in its place. Newspapers came to gradually rely on skeleton crews dedicated only to sports, business and the crime blotter, and little else. Radio stations came to preach nothing but right-wing hatred whenever they weren't covering a major sporting event or a major weather event.

And we let them get away with it.

Social media didn't help. Both sides unfriended people they couldn't agree with, and so the only Facebook friends left were the ones who agreed with us, thus lending the illusion among Trump supporters that everyone else accepted the guy, so why shouldn't we? It never, ever reached them how unspeakably immoral it was to vote for the son-of-a-bitch.

And so now we're protesting. Great, but why protest in Milwaukee? Or Chicago? Why protest where Hillary won? Take your protest out to the countryside! Protest where the red areas are! Protest in Waukesha! Protest in New Berlin! Protest in Oak Creek and Mequon!

Protest out to the farmland!

It's tempting to think that Trump's campaign swam upstream against a riptide of common sense. But if you look at the electoral map, you see that it's only the major population centers that went blue. That's great for the coasts and the Great Lakes transit hubs of Chicago and Milwaukee, but the farmland is untouched. Those are the areas that never hear Rachel Maddow or Bill Maher. They don't have access to MSNBC or even CNN. They don't have time for Stephen Colbert or Saturday Night Live.

So why should we be shocked when the only people who can be adequately informed about our elections are the ones who can afford cable television?

Out in the countryside, or in our nation's suburban workplaces, people stay informed by listening to the only source of news available in a handy way, and that's A.M. talk radio. Yes! Still! They can listen to it in the factories, while driving trucks or tractors, or working at home. Let's face it, even people like me who love NPR are bored to tears at times with its content. And so the A.M. radio outlet is the most convenient way to stay informed. It's not an outmoded media outlet yet!

And it's all right-wing hate, all the time. Over 91% of the talk radio format is ultra-conservative.

The genius of it all is the recognition that A.M. radio is still the number one means that rural Americans access to get and stay informed.

So here are the unbelievable assholes who you should be protesting! You know their names well!

Rush Limbaugh
Sean Hannity
Bill O'Reilly
Laura Ingram
Mark Levin
Ann Coulter
Michael Savage

We should be protesting in front of the Fox News building the most, angrily insisting upon equal time. The names above should be feeling our white-hot rage right now, and not kicking back in their comfy condos! Barack Obama didn't give us the fairness doctrine back, and in spite of my hopes that he will (future blog post on that), I don't expect him to. That means that WE have to be the new fairness doctrine, as perhaps we should have been from the very beginning.

Imagine all the billions of dollars that went into this year's election. Hillary out raised and out spent Trump by leaps and bounds, and yet it did little good, as television ads generally fail. That money was wasted! It would have been better spent buying up radio stations or building new ones, especially in the farm counties in both swing states and red states.

The idea was tried before, but not in a tactically smart way. Air America Radio was launched in the mid-2000's as a counter to right-wing hatred, but its format was merely satellite radio. This had the advantage of being an effective means of side-stepping ClearChannel, but it was also quite expensive. It went under after only a few years, but not before Al Franken and Jeanine Garofolo did great shows.

We can do this again, only better! There are already great talk shows which can be syndicated to local radio stations for free, thanks to the Internet, if only we bothered to buy or build the sticks to broadcast the signals. Jim Hightower is still around. So is Thom Hartmann. And it can be done relatively easily! A.M. radio stations are reasonably cheap. ClearChannel won't sell, so for the most part, we will have to build our own. But all we'll need is a patch of land, a shack, and some steel. These stations can be manned by a skeleton crew, and would-be hosts would do local shows for very small stipends. The trick is making sure they're good. They might prove their worth through podcasting beforehand, and there are more and more podcasts every year. There's a wealth of content! This year's elections prove that we have the money to do it too. Now all we need is the willpower.

It will take time to buy or build all the radio stations we will need. Ratings will be low at first. The brand name must be built up over many years. We'll have to be patient. But for once, the talk radio monopoly will be broken. Remember that conservatives have been blasting their shit for over three decades! That damage won't be undone overnight! A few will listen at first, and then many more. And those who don't listen will and should be met with protests and publicity stunts which descend down from the big cities into the rural countrysides. Imagine a Black Lives Matter rally at a State Fair! (Contrast this with the Wisconsin State Fair over the last several years, when the Democratic Party didn't even have a booth in the pavillion!) Or an anti-Trump flash mob at a rodeo! It can work!

THAT'S how we protest! We come down from our ivory towers and meet the rednecks where they live!

We've spent too much time focusing upon elections, and not enough on the electorate, while conservatives have zeroed in on the electorate like a laser-guided targeting system. That's what got Trump elected, and what led to over 60 million people being infected with the utter insanity of being pro-Trump!

So that's our mission! Go forth and win the red patches on the map! Turn them blue! Build radio stations! Bring in new talk-radio talent!

I want Waukesha!


Eric

*

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Was It A Mistake To Nominate Hillary?


Well, one thing's for certain: we all underestimated how unlikable Hillary Clinton is.

Was it a mistake to nominate her?

I've got a number of friends of mine gloating on social media about how they were right all along about Bernie Sanders being the better candidate. It's hard to look back and not wish we'd done things differently. But if Bernie had been the nominee, would he have won?

I don't know, and neither does anybody else. Whenever I play it out in my mind's eye, I see Bernie getting attacked as an atheist. Even the DNC toyed around with the idea, according to hacked and leaked emails (although nobody followed through on the idea, and the RNC surely would have). True, he's a secular Jew, but the redneck caucus doesn't know the difference. All it would take would be for one reporter to ask, "So, Senator Sanders, when did you last go to Synagogue?" The answer would likely be something along the lines of "not recently," or "my nephew's bar mitzvah last year," and that would have been it. It would have been over. Maybe the stigma against atheists would have been weakened, just as the stigma against socialism was weakened, but that would have been a small victory in the face of stunning defeat. On the other hand, hindsight is 20/20, and because we don't know for certain Bernie would have lost, it's tempting to think that he would have won had he been the nominee instead. Maybe even made atheism cool. The argument has literally nothing to lose.

Do I owe my fellow liberals an apology?

I think it's a good idea to go back and recount exactly why so many Democrats felt Hillary was the better pick, and to do that, we have to go all the way back to the 2008 elections. Obama won the nomination over Hillary back then, but not until after a bitter and contentious primary that was every bit as divisive as the one that pitted Bernie against Hillary eight years later. There were many Democrats who were saying, "I don't know if I'm even going to vote now," after Hillary lost. There was no email scandal back then, and no Benghazi argument, but even so, there was plenty of baggage and sleaze attacks to be made against Hillary. She was damaged goods, and so the majority picked Barack Obama, pretty much for similar reasons so many flocked to Bernie later on. Plus, there was the immense benefit of having the first African-American president. The Democratic majority went with a black male over a white woman.

So then Obama won, largely thanks to Republicans having thoroughly fucked up the economy. It was happy days, was it not?

Well, not quite. Almost immediately, there was a racist backlash the likes of which we'd never seen before. The dog-whistle racism was becoming an actual whistle, and many heeded the call. The Republicans obstructed literally everything Obama did, regardless of how rational, or even conservative, the proposed legislation was. They brought the national budget on the brink of collapse more than once.

And Barack? He kept extending the hand of friendship. He kept insisting that we can and should work together.

And all the Democrats could do was scream, "Dude! Fight back! Counterpunch! Play hardball! If you want the Republicans to work with you, you have to win your respect!"

But Obama was just plain too nice a guy. It was his greatest virtue, and also his biggest fault. He should have brought back the fairness doctrine Reagan destroyed back in 1988. But instead of bringing it back, he gave orders which strengthened its removal.

So we were justifiably pissed off at the lynching of our first president. To make matters worse, in 2014, under the mismanagement of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic platform ran away from Barack Obama, and the economic successes he achieved in spite of obstruction.

Fight, Barack! Fight! But there was no fight. Barack met his lynching with the stoicism of Socrates.

So, by the time the 2010 election had been lost, we Democrats looked back on the 2008 election with a pang of regret. We wished it could have been Hillary instead, and Obama the vice president, so that her ruthlessness could bring the Republicans to heel, and then pave the way for Obama's nice-guy approach to have tremendous success. In retrospect, that would have worked out much better. But instead, we got Obama first.

Hey, we could get Hillary back for the next eight years, and then really let the Republicans have it!

And so the campaign began, almost as soon as 2010's election was over, to draft Hillary and make her the nominee in 2016. Fundraisers were launched on Facebook and other social media sites. I was one of the ones who supported this. For four solid years, we asked Hillary to run.

This is the part that gets forgotten. From 2012 until late 2014, Hillary gave no indication that she even wanted to run, in spite of countless hordes of her fans begging her to do so. During that time, her popularity soared in the high 70% to low 80%. Even Republicans praised her accolades during unguarded moments. Eventually, she caved in to her demands, and prepared to run.

We drafted her.

And then, in early 2015, when it looked like Hillary might finally announce her bid, the email thing hit.

I don't know how much I can describe how it hurt to see Hillary's numbers go from 80% approval all the way down to the high 20% range in only a few months. But I can say this much: we all - ALL - felt it was a hatchet-job.

And we were right. While it was dangerous for Hillary to set up a private email server, it was not illegal. And we have to remember, the very reason she insisted on having a private server was to prevent Republicans from launching exactly the sort of hatchet job upon her time as secretary of state which they did! Back then, it made perfect sense, if she wanted to run for president again, to have that extra hedge of deniability if she needed it!

And boy, did it backfire!

Those of us who really knew what was going on saw it clearly, and we were going to be damned if we would let Republicans destroy a good woman's name over nothing.

Then, along comes Bernie Sanders. Another nice guy.

"Oh, no!" we thought. "Not again! Four more years of a Mr. Goodbar president getting walked all over? No way!"

But Hillary's old chestnuts kept coming back to haunt her. When you've been a target for decades, you build up a lot of scars. Whitewater, travelgate, the suicide of Vincent Foster... so many bogus and yet effective character assassinations had been levied against her that the entirety of the youth vote rejected her. Democrats who valued positive branding over experience and strength flocked to the Bernie Sanders camp. And, let's be honest, they valued straight-forward liberal honesty instead of measured and guarded remarks that reeked of insincerity.

And ultimately, they may have been right.

But what then followed, you all know. The divide in the Democratic party was close, but a clear majority chose Hillary because of everything I just described above. Those who supported Bernie screamed at us that we were wrong. They began hurling all the Republican attack-points at Hillary in an effort to dislodge her hard-won support. Some of them, such as Lee Camp, even sided with crackpot conspiracy nuts, like Richard Charnin, or Election Justice USA, or even that bogus "Stanford" study. With no consideration whatsoever to the damage it would do to Hillary come November, they lent credence to the Republicans' worst character assassinations.

Do I owe my fellow liberals an apology for backing Hillary after all that? Hell, no!

But I do owe an apology regarding one thing, and that was believing so fervently that it was not possible for Donald Trump to beat Hillary. I was wrong. He had to cheat to do it, and he had to (again!) win by gerrymandering a minority of the vote through the electoral college instead of winning a true majority. But he did it. I underestimated the power of branding, and misjudged how easy it was for Republicans to resurrect old hatreds toward the Clinton legacy. I apologize for that.

I hope my fellow liberals will forgive me, even as I forgive them for attacking Hillary more viciously than Rush Limbaugh ever could. And even for resorting to regurgitating the conspiracy theories of the tin-foil-hat people to do it. I forgive you.

But what I will never, EVER forgive, is the Bernie Bros staying home in disgust! It was bad enough assaulting Hillary's character with Republican false attacks. It was another to fuck over the entire country, and put millions of innocent people in abject terror, by not voting for "the lesser of two evils" as it was so wrongly put. Many of those who stayed home are now feeling the guilt as they march in protests denouncing the Trump presidency.

Fuck. You.

Was it a mistake to nominate Hillary? Ultimately, I have to conclude that yes, it was. But we wanted the first woman president so badly, we could just taste it! We wanted a ruthless fighter so badly, and we needed it! It was really the only conclusion we could come to at the time. Can you really blame us?

No matter which woman we nominate for president (and I believe we will do so again very soon), she will be character-assassinated the way Hillary was by James Comey. Or swift-boated like John Kerry. Or misquoted like Al Gore. So we have to realize that the truth doesn't matter. All that matters is whether it sticks. And if it does, we have to reject that candidate, no matter how qualified or loved. It hurts, but that's how slanted the field is in the Republican's favor right now.

We couldn't elect Lady Titanium. Next time, we need Lady Teflon.

We learned the hard way. We learned that branding is more important than truth. We learned that Old Blood is unacceptable in politics anymore. We learned any Democratic presidential candidate has to be so clean he/she squeaks. And we also learned that we can't count on young people to vote when the choice is unpalatable.

And we also learned that the focus should not be on the elections, or the candidates, but the electorate. Republicans have focused on the electorate for decades, and been allowed to gain a monopoly over the A.M. talk-radio airwaves with no counter-argument from the left to balance them out. And so cities, the only places left with alternative voices, are the only territories left where liberalism thrives. That must stop! The farmers, the coal miners, and the small towns have GOT to hear our message about how to really create jobs, and why abortion really isn't murder, and why racism is unacceptable.

AND we can poison the Republican and conservative brand forever. Trump can and should be the ultimate pariah! The dog whistle became a referee whistle, and now it's a klaxon horn! Republican equals racist! It's now official!

We have two years, assuming Trump doesn't destroy it all by then. Let's get the word out to the countryside and the suburbs as well as the cities.


Eric

*

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hillary Won The Popular Vote! Now It's Up To The E.C.


Here's the latest from CNN: Trump has 59,354,286 votes. Hillary has 59,589,612 votes. That gives Hillary a lead of 235,326, meaning she actually won the election.

But she didn't win the electoral college. The election was gerrymandered!

Now, the totals keep changing. For example, earlier in the morning, the election totals stood with Trump at 59,215,401, and Hillary at 59,391,000. These screen-captures off of CNN.com prove what I mean. The top one is from earlier this morning:




But although the numbers keep changing, they are moving in Hillary's favor. The earlier one shows Hillary with a popular vote lead of 175,599 votes. The totals keep coming in, and the margin for victory for Hillary keeps growing!

This isn't some disputed outcome like the one which happened with Bush v. Gore back in 2000. This is clear-cut, and undisputed, even by the Trump camp.

Holy shit! The election was gerrymandered!

Hillary has given her concession speech, Obama has given his congratulatory phone call. But let me remind you, it isn't over until the fat lady sings, and she doesn't step on stage until the electoral college casts its vote, and that doesn't take place until January 6th of 2017.

So I'm calling upon all 538 members of the electoral college to exercise the power that the Constitution grants you. The electoral college was established for this very purpose and reason: to keep demagogues like Donald Trump out! The founding fathers were afraid that the people might just be stupid enough to pick a buffoon. And now that we know that Hillary won the popular vote, it has become a mandate for the electoral college to work the will of the people, and not the gaming of states and districts. Let the voice of the people be heard!

And I'm calling on all of you, my fellow citizens! Make your voices heard! We're not done yet! We're not defeated yet! Call your congressmen, call your senators! Let them know that they need to enforce the popular vote of the people, which Hillary Clinton clearly won.

I daresay some of you who voted for Donald Trump are now feeling pangs of regret, just as many did in England after the Brexit vote several months ago. Maybe you thought your protest vote wouldn't matter because Hillary would win anyway. Well, now's your chance to undo that damage! Join us!

Don't just call or email your congressmen and senators, pester them! Don't let up with sending them emails, tweets, and most importantly, physical letters written on actual paper and sent by snail-mail! Their staff really takes notice when their desks get buried!

Let the people's true vote be heard! Hell, even if the E.C. votes for Mike Pence or Paul Ryan, I'll take that over Trump! And many of you Republicans out there might agree with me on that!

Let's do this thing! Hell, this election has broken all kinds of precedents, already.

Let's break one more!


Eric

*

Beware What You Wish For


Well, America, you've gone and done it. You've replaced Camelot Black with your own, private Nazi. And I'm going to have to spend the next two to four years scolding you and cleaning up your mess.

The final results are so skewed from expectations that I strongly suspect vote theft. I may never fully accept these results. But in the final analysis, I have to concede that there are enough morons in this country to render it possible. You all spotted an iceberg, and decided it looked pretty, so you elected a captain who would drive the ship right into it.

But enjoy your Pyrrhic victory while you can, conservatives. Cheer while your 401K tanks as the stock market crashes the very same day. Pop the cork on the champagne while it all burns down. Because the backlash against Trump will be fierce! He will be the worst president of all time, and his ineptitude, his cowardice, and his crass disregard for anything good and just will come back to haunt you. Expect a complete flip of House and Senate in 2018, because we're going to make the Tea Party look like, well, an actual tea party.

Beware what you wish for. Because you got it!

Trump may be a presidential victor, but he is also the death of conservatism, of right-wing dominance, but mostly, of Trumpism. Congratulations, I hope you choke on it. But in the meantime, we need to be on our guard to make sure that nobody is rounded up like Jews to Hitler's gas chamber. We need to watch this asshole like a hawk to make certain he doesn't burn down the House of Representatives like the Reichstag. And we need to prepare ourselves to pick up the pieces.

If there are even any pieces left to pick up.


Eric

*

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Help Us, Electoral College!


As I look at the election results with ever increasing horror, I am struck by how exaggerated the results are opposite to expectations. The polls, which gave Hillary a tenuous but clear five-point lead, seem to be off by a factor of ten points or more in the opposite direction. That DOES NOT happen when the breaking news in in her favor. I am truly and completely baffled, unless...

The results are wrong.

That's the only way these results make sense. For so long, Donald Trump complained that the system is rigged. As such, many have apparently taken it upon themselves to rig the system in a way which favors him instead. Either that, or everyone's early ballots have gone missing somehow, which is essentially the same thing.

The only way these bizarre results make sense is if the early voting totals were somehow wiped out. I don't even want to contemplate what that means, but I must.

It's finally happened. Our votes truly don't count, anymore. They've gone from gerrymandering to outright vote theft.

Even if the results are genuine, which I very much doubt, I must now call upon all members of the Electoral College to fulfill their Constitutional responsibility. Demagogues like Donald Trump were exactly the reason the Electoral College was put in place. It exists solely to prevent some two-bit entertainer from duping the American public into destroying the entire system.

And so, I call upon you, every member of the Five Hundred and Thirty Eight, to reject these bogus election results. which have either been skewed, hacked or both. Reject them and install anyone else. I don't care if it's Hillary. Put in Pence. Put in Johnson. For Christ's sake put in Paul Ryan, but keep Trump out!

You are our last line of defense, now.

I'm begging you. Please. Put ANY other Republican in charge.


Eric

*

Monday, November 7, 2016

It Wasn't James Comey!


Well, big shock, James Comey's unopened box has been opened, and it contains - nothing. That's right, nothing against Hillary Clinton at all. And now that this non-story has been exposed as the non-factor I suspected it was from the beginning, the media's line is something as follows:

"FBI Director James Comey says, 'Sorry! My bad! Nothing here!' But the damage may already have been done over nine days in which suspicions over Hillary's emails had been resurrected."

OH NO YOU DON'T!!! You clowns in the media don't get to shirk your responsibilities off on James Comey, as if he were somehow the reason you all lost your journalistic integrity and were falling over yourselves to mis-quote the FBI Director, saying that Hillary's email case was being re-opened, which it wasn't. Comey wasn't the reason you missed Huma Abedin, not Hillary, as the person who was really in trouble. And Comey wasn't the reason you wrongly said that this raised new questions about Hillary's email use, which it clearly didn't! YOU, the collective mainstream media, just plain blew it! And that wasn't James Comey's fault!

If you want to report the truth, report how Donald Trump blames everyone else for his own misdeeds and offensive slurs. After all, it takes one to know one!


Eric

*

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Only Responsible News Story Is...


There is only one responsible news story the media should be covering. If any of it were fair and objective, if it were doing its job at keeping the public informed about what they need to know in order to be responsible citizens, it would report this. From the Left, the Right, and the Center, there is only one responsible news story, and it is this:

"Oh, my god! Donald Trump is completely insane!"

That's the naked truth, and it has needed to be the number one headline for a year and a half. But the media seems to have decided to ignore the fact that Donald Trump is a raving madman.

Why? Because doing so does not appear to be impartial. The truth, this time around, is completely partisan. One of the two major parties has picked a total Loony Tune for a candidate, and saying so looks like taking sides. But the media can't afford to ignore it anymore. The balanced and objective truth must be told.

Donald Trump is mad as a fucking hatter!

It's the story of the century! A madman is the prime candidate of the Republican party! And this little blog has the scoop? No, it really doesn't. We've known it since early 2015. We've known it since Trump led the birther movement, and Jon Stewart's reaction to Trump's candidacy was to thank God Above for providing him with a bevy of jokes. All this little blog has done is pick up the news story all the behemoths have somehow ignored, and run with it.

Donald Trump is as nuts as Howard Beale! (See the movie Network, 1976.)

Donald has proved it yet again, with a complete misrepresentation of what happened when Barack Obama had a pro-Trump protester appear at one of his rallies. Obama handled the Trump-fan with dignity and respect, reminding the crowd that we live in a nation of free speech, and that we shouldn't boo, we should vote.

By contrast, Donald Trump cast this event in a totally inaccurate light. "If I yelled at this protester the way he did, they would call me unhinged," he said. And then, in a bizarre twist, he said, "You have to go back and look and study and see what happened."

So we all did. And Trump IS unhinged!

Donald Trump is fucking insane!

I have something of a retraction to make, and a pivot. I was convinced that the news story from Politico.com about Trump International Tower & Casino going bankrupt would be the story that woke the media up. But what blunted the story, apparently, was the fact that this tower was not owned by Trump himself. As such, the media dropped the ball, in spite of my pestering everyone I possibly could on Twitter about it.

But the actual owner of the Trump tower was a Russian businessman who made his money off Ukranian steel. This should make the story even bigger, because it raises the awful specter, yet again, of Trump's business ties to Russia influencing his decision making should he actually get into the White House.

Donald Trump is a madman, and a Russian Manchurian candidate!

And this is before we get to his consistent misogyny, his abuse of women, his infidelities, his bullying, his hiding of tax returns, and his current status of being on trial for being a sexual predator.

Say what you will about Hillary, but at least her guilt is buried in innuendo and technical jargon. Trump, by contrast, has given us empirical proof by belching his disqualifications into microphone after microphone.

Trump is a madman, Russian Manchurian candidate, misogynistic sexual predator and tax dodger. Where. Is. The. Media?! 

And now, the FBI has a faction which has essentially declared war upon Hillary Clinton. They have given out a mystery box which contains nothing, and the media has fallen over themselves covering it as though it were a Malaysian airliner downed in the Indian Ocean. This is much more than a media failure. It is what amounts to a military coup, with the FBI and James Comey assuming the role of a Praetorian Guard!

Trump is killing democracy! Where. Is. The. Media?!

The balanced opinion is, and must be, partisan in favor of the democrats. But the media doesn't want to appear partisan, because they've mistaken being partisan for being biased. And so they have not only dropped the ball, they have stomped on it, kicking it full of holes with their cleats until it is deflated, and then standing on it saying, "There's no ball, here."

And because the media has done this, the madness has spread. Regardless of the outcome, Trumpism must be defeated long afterward. And it's their fault.

Yes, we get it. Clear-cut winners in elections are bad for ratings. But cutting it this close is playing chicken with the survival of our democracy. And once we lose power to a demagogue like Trump, we will never get it back!

It's all on the verge of collapsing if people are dumb enough to support Trump. Yes, there has been hyperbole about men like Mitt Romney and John McCain in the past, but they were at least honorable men who would have respected the rule of law. Not so with Trump. It's gone beyond the ability for hyperbole to exaggerate how dire the situation will be if he wins. This is not fearmongering - it is FEAR! And this time, no exaggeration, and NO JOKE!

Where. Is. The. Media?!


Eric

*

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trump's November Suprise Just Broke!


Like a cat chasing the red dot of a laser pointer, the media has been doggedly over-covering the James Comey letter to congress. And, like a laser pointer's dot, there just isn't anything substantive there for the media to grab on to. But they just can't stop trying.

Well, now there's a nice fat mouse for kitty to chase instead. According to several sources, including Politico.com, the Trump Tower Hotel and Casino in Toronto, Canada has just gone bankrupt! That's right, five days before election day, Trump's utter failure as a businessman has just been made front and center.

We knew it had to happen sooner or later. We probably thought Trump would say something bad on the campaign trail, but so far, he's managed to stick to the usual lies. We might have even thought there would be another tape, perhaps akin to the devastating Access Hollywood video which brought him down to record lows, but so far, that hasn't been forthcoming.

Now we have it! The story that the media should be over-covering day and night, if it is at all capable of doing its job. Trump's only resume item, his prowess as a businessman, just got handed a big, fat "F" on its report card. Once again, Trump's ineptitude at handling money is front and center.

You can bet your ass that the Hillary camp will clamp its teeth around this one and not let go! And that means the media will have to cover it, even reluctantly. The Trump Train has been derailed!

And this is actually the second such Trump scandal that reveals him to be an utter failure as a businessman. As the chances of Trump being elected have improved, the stock market has tanked! This, as reported recently by NPR. This is because the free market recognizes that Trump is a liability to everyone's pocketbook. His unpredictability, his poor temperament, and frankly his bat-shit-craziness are portents of doom for nearly everyone's portfolio.

It's just the sort of caffeine we need to wake the fuck up. The Comey email thing was an unopened box full of nothing, and even if it contains anything at all, only Huma Abedin is on the hook for it, as I pointed out on the blog earlier. So the media can finally stop pretending it was ever a big deal in the first place.

And maybe, just maybe, I can stop trying to do their job for them.

Sing it loud! Sing it long! Trump's bankruptcy should be everyone's song!


Eric

*

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I Know How Hillary Can Win!


Everyone in the Hillary camp is frantically looking for a way to shift the debate away from the non-existant, non-scandal that James Comey broke the law to foist upon the American public. And, like a cat chasing a laser-pointer, the media is jumping all over that little red dot, even though there's nothing there to get their claws into. How can Hillary shift everything back to the state when she practically had it in the bag, and the debate was not whether Hillary would win, but whether she would take the House with her?

I know how.

She needs to go to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and stand with the Sioux who are protesting there.

This does much more than force the media to give this stand-off the coverage it deserves. It forces Donald Trump to say something about it. And there's almost no chance he will say something that isn't violently offensive.

Up until now, Hillary's support of the Sioux and Standing Rock has been tepid at best. But a firm commitment from her on this issue does much. It completely erases her gaff over the Keystone XL pipeline. It fires up the liberal base. It makes sure the debate is about protecting people and not corporations.

Everything shifts back towards Hillary again, the vote becomes a referendum against Donald Trump, Hillary wins, and takes the House with her.

Play it out in your mind's eye, and you'll see I'm right.

And then ask yourself why Alex Jones has a TV show, and I don't.


Eric

*

Monday, October 31, 2016

Huma Abedin, Not Hillary, Is The One In Trouble


I sometimes wonder how every media outlet can get it so terribly wrong. How, for example, did every news outlet overlook the fact that Charlene Lamb, not Hillary Clinton, was the State Department official who refused to send additional manpower to Benghazi? How did they manage to overlook the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline for so long?

And how do they manage to miss the fact that James Comey's letter has put Huma Abedin, not Hillary Clinton, in trouble?

You see, here's how it works: Worst case scenario is that Hillary sent one or more emails to her aide, Huma Abedin, who had clearance to see them. Huma Abedin then accessed said emails from a computer shared with her literal-dick husband, Anthony Weiner. He was not cleared to see classified information. We already know with certainty that it is Weiner's computer which the FBI is focusing on.

That means the person leaking the documents to a non-secure individual is Huma Abedin, not Hillary Clinton.

You see, it's the person who actually leaked the documents, not the person who's running for president, who is culpable. (Duh!) The source of the classified email doesn't matter, so long as the email was handled properly to begin with. And James Comey already dealt with that back in July.

Huma Abedin is in a world of trouble. She might step forward, confess that she mishandled classified documents sent to her by her boss, and then count on the potential of a presidential pardon to save her. In my opinion, that's just what she should do. A.) because she's guilty, and B.) because it's the right thing to do. Whether she deserves Hillary's pardon after the election is another debate.

And where is the press on this one? It's so basic, simple, obvious Law-101-type stuff that I just can't believe everyone except me has missed it! What, is everybody fucking asleep?

[Crickets chirping.]

Well, that answers that question.

How about the fact that James Comey has essentially provided nothing more than a closed box? We can't see what's in the box, so we can't tell if it contains anything damaging to Hillary or not. Now, I've just proved it doesn't by my above argument, but just for shiggles, let's play along and say that it might. It would be one thing if the box were labeled, "Proof of Hillary's Guilt." But it doesn't even say that. It only says, "Potential Proof of Hillary's Guilt." Those on the Trump side say that they can't see inside the box, therefore it must contain Hillary's inevitable smoking gun. Those on the Clinton side say that the reason we can't see inside must be due to the fact that there is no proof whatsoever. Both sides, for once, agree on the need to provide more information.

Both sides are wrong, because it's Huma Abedin's ass on the line instead of Hillary's.

Has anybody considered the fact that an unopened box is proof of nothing except the presence of an unopened box? At least until after it is opened?

And Comey violated the Hatch Act for this? How violently unprofessional!

If there's any justice at all, Schrodinger's FBI Director will be fired over this. I've received several email petitions from friends of mine calling for him to either step down or be fired.

I'd rather sign a petition calling for him to provide all the information available.

Hey Comey! Open the damned box!


Eric

*

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dakota Pipeline vs. Bundy Gang Acquittal


Repeatedly on social media, I'm seeing the juxtaposition of the acquittal of the Bundy Brothers and their five fellow terrorists with the protest of the Dakota Pipeline by the collective tribes of the Lakota Sioux and others. It is quite rightly pointed out that the Bundys have been declared not guilty of a flagrant crime while the Sioux, wishing only to protect their water supply (and ours!) are being arrested. The unarmed Sioux and their masses of allies, are being assaulted with guard dogs, with armored vehicles, with tear gas, and with the National Guard. The heavily armed Bundy Gang faced off against a U.S. government which took no violent action against them whatsoever. In other words, the armed rebellion went unpunished, while the unarmed and peaceful protesters get assaulted.

Oh yes, I realize that having guns means that the authorities will pause before going in. But there are more key differences which the geniuses in the social media world seem to have largely missed. Let me highlight some of them before I go on:

One difference is property. The Bundy Gang seized property owned by the U.S. government. The Sioux, by contrast, are protesting a pipeline which does not cross into the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. So that's a clear-cut violation on both sides, right? Well, wrong. Because water does not respect property lines. It flows across borders and doesn't give a damn about the pollution that's been put into it first. So once the water upstream has been contaminated, everyone downstream suffers. So the Sioux are obeying the only property line that matters: the water line. The proposed pipeline goes beneath not only the Missouri River, but Lake Oahe, the tribe's main water source. What could possibly go wrong? (See photo above, and the red box highlighting the key area in the lower-right. Thanks to Vox for the photo.)

Some issue has been raised as to the bulldozing of sacred Indian sites. How, you may be wondering, could sacred sites be bulldozed when the pipeline does not cross Indian reservation land? The answer is simple: These sites have been recently discovered. In a perfect world, these sites would then be designated for protection and carefully excavated by tribal leaders and specialized scientists. Instead, the oil companies moved swiftly to bulldoze them first before any action could be taken. To my mind, they might as well have burned a stack of history books.

The Bundy Gang, by contrast, outright seized property that wasn't theirs instead of merely protesting upon it. And they much more than a federally owned wildlife sanctuary. They were ranging their cattle over federally owned land without paying compensation for it as required by law, depleting the vegetation and leaving less grazing land for legitimate cattle ranchers who had paid the government their legal fee for doing so. They therefore robbed their fellow cattlemen, and not merely Uncle Sam. And even if somehow it had been Uncle Sam exclusively, these champions of the political right were taking by force the Republican-hated government welfare that the poor have been freely and legally given.

Go figure.

I'm not certain why the Bundy Gang was acquitted. I'm sure that breakdowns will appear in the media in due time, possibly tonight on Rachel Maddow or NPR's All Things Considered. But until then, I can only speculate that this was a classic case of jury nullification - something which used to be common when twelve white jurors were seen to acquit KKK members in the South for lynching a black man. I hope I'm wrong, but if I am, I'm puzzled as to what else could have possibly happened.

Meanwhile, the growing popularity of the uprising over the Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming an increasing problem for the oil companies involved. The Sioux, and indeed everyone downstream along the Missouri River who depends upon that particular water source, several million citizens, I'm told, are threatened by this pipeline project. The Bundy's fought only for themselves, and were the darlings of the right only because they stood in opposition to the federal government. The Dakota Sioux are fighting for all of us.

And in spite of the fiercest of opposition, they're winning!

More celebrities are getting involved. Jill Stein is protesting as well, and may be charged. (I'll say this for Jill, she may be a stumblebum of a candidate, but she's a pretty damn good activist!) People are flooding to North Dakota in droves, and for the first time, South Dakota is jealous of it's northern neighbor's tourism! Any illusions of this protest going away should be set aside by today's robber barons.

So, to those wealth-mongers in power, I offer the following formula:

A.) Add up the costs of rerouting the pipeline further north of the Black Rock Reservation and keeping the pipeline above the river where any potential leaks, should there be any, can be fitted with multiple safeguards, and be immediately accessible to be repaired swiftly and cheaply if needed.

B.) Subtract from this the total amount in continued delays, budgetary overruns and additional miscellaneous expenses caused by this never-ending standoff with countless peaceful protesters.

C.) If B is greater than A (and I suspect that it already is!) then you idiots are better off backing down and rerouting the pipeline properly!

It's the only course of action that makes sense, environmentally and pragmatically.

Best of all, the Bundys will hate it.


Eric

*

Friday, October 21, 2016

How To Empathize With Trump Supporters


Empathizing with Trump supporters is hard. I mean, how can people be so blind? Who could ever find it in their hearts to vote for this two-bit sleazeball? What could possibly motivate otherwise nice people to support the modern-day Mussolini?

Well, perhaps I'm being too harsh. After all, how would we feel if the tables were turned, and the Republican was the sensible choice while the Democrat was the mean-spirited demagogue? But what would that situation look like? How can we visualize it?

We need some names and faces to bring this thought-experiment to life. First, the Republican side. We would need to find a hypothetical candidate who embodies Hillary's qualifications while being conservative instead of liberal. She would have to be a woman, highly qualified, a resume as impressive as it is long, and a number of highly touchy scandals for which she is not legally culpable. That's a tough bill to fill, but one name comes to mind: Condoleezza Rice. She's eminently qualified, sensible, has a long track record of competent public service, and even fits Hillary's resume right down to being a former Secretary of State with her own email scandal. Perfect!

Now, the Democrat side, and this one's much tougher. We need to find a liberal demagogue, and that's not easy. The very act of being a liberal means that one is anti-demagogue, and so finding the leftist anti-thesis to Donald Trump is like finding a four-leafed clover in a desert. Plus, there are other things. This person would have to have no political experience, would come from an entertainment and/or real estate background, and spew insane babble from time to time. I don't know about you, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with a candidate like that who might sneak in as the Democratic nominee with twelve other names watering down the opposition. But I can think of one person who might fit the bill: Charlie Sheen. TV show? Check. Liberal? Check. Demagogue? Surely! He even has a track record of being abusive towards women. Double check!

So there's our scenario: Instead of Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, we make it Condoleezza Rice vs. Charlie Sheen. And now that the shoe is on the other foot, we can pointedly ask the question among fellow liberals, could we do it? Could we really vote for an incompetent nincompoop over a highly qualified former Secretary of State, even when that particular woman happens to disagree with everything we believe, and will probably tilt the Supreme Court towards the conservative side for the next 30 years?

I'll be honest, folks, even with a candidate as horrible as Sheen, and a Republican as wonderful as Condy, I'd balk! I mean, with the stakes so high, even a liberal who was complete shit might be better for us in the long run. And there's also the possibility that Sheen would get himself impeached right away with his insanity, thus leaving the vice presidential pick as the new president. If we leave the vice presidential picks the same as before, that would mean Tim Kaine would be the new president, and he's not a bad pick. I don't doubt there are some conservatives out there who anticipate that Mike Pence will be sworn in as president in only a few to several months after Donald Trump is sworn in.

Yet I have to look at the bigger picture. If Condy were sworn in as president, the liberal movement would galvinize in a way never seen before. We would not be as scorched-earth as Republicans have been with Barack Obama, and so we would actually get things done when the time came, but we would dig in our heels over the important stuff. And then we would secure nice majorities in the house and Senate during the midterms, as opposition parties always do, while flipping many, possibly even most, conservative states. Furthermore, we will have a president we are not embarrassed by. We would have a person who would make a good president. And isn't that an important standard?

And so, with a heavy heart, I would hold my nose and vote for Condy. Oh yes, I'd prefer a liberal, but if that liberal were potentially the death of liberalism as a movement, I would have to avoid that at all costs. I would also be sickened at a primary system which handed me such an asshole when the majority among my party wanted someone else. (And WHERE, I ask, are the Republicans who should be loudly voicing that concern?) I think most of my fellow liberals would agree with me on this.

Now, we can really turn things around. If we liberals would be unwilling to support a candidate who stinks on ice, and would vote for the person we vehemently disagree with in order to preserve our nation's pride and integrity...

What excuse do you Trump supporters have left?

Okay, Trumpsters, I get it now. It's a tough thing to vote against your values, even when your candidate is a living train-wreck. But now that I've proven that liberals would vote for the opposition candidate if their own candidate were as bad as Trump, aren't you now obligated to prove yourselves to be at least the moral equals of liberals?

Aren't you now obligated to vote for Hillary?


Eric

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trump Says, 'The Election Is Rigged.' He's Right!


For once, Donald Trump has spoken the truth. He says the election is rigged, and he's 100% correct.

It's rigged for the Republican Party.

In hundreds of congressional districts all over the nation, the election is rigged through gerrymandering - which is vote theft done by drawing the districts in a way which carefully carves up liberal districts into little pieces while watering down their vote with conservative suburbs. Take for example Austin, Texas, one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. You would think this city would get at least one Democrat to represent them. Instead, they get six republicans. The district map looks like a wagon wheel with Austin at its hub, as Republican state legislators sought to dilute the liberal impact of Austin. Or sometimes, the district maps are drawn in such a way as to sequester all the liberal vote into one area, leaving other districts completely to the Republicans. Take for example Milwaukee, WI. That city used to be represented by two Democrats, one on the north side and one on the south side. Now, only one Democrat represents Milwaukee's central city, while Republicans gave themselves an entire additional seat in congress, bolstered by hyper-conservative Waukesha, and therefore unassailable by the moderate majority.

The system is rigged through voter ID laws, which are a deliberate means of making minority voters jump through extra hoops in order to have their vote cast. Apparently Republicans are more concerned with the rare occurrence of someone voting for a dead person or voting twice than they are about something like gerrymandering - which steals millions of votes at a single stroke. Rigging the system is apparently all right - if it's for the conservative side.

The system is rigged because the removal of the fairness doctrine in 1988 by Ronald Reagan and the deregulation of the airwaves by Bill Clinton in 1996 has destroyed the balance and objectivity of the media. Now, nearly all the A.M. airwaves are owned by Newscorp. All the AM, FM, television and cable network stations are owned by three behemoths: Newscorp again, Spectrum (Time Warner) and Comcast. These Sauropods regularly stomp on freedom of the press, dominating everything that gets prioritized. And so when A.M. flagship stations, like WTMJ in Milwaukee, are not covering a major sporting event or weather emergency, they are belching non-stop right-wing propaganda designed to foster hatred at the liberal left. Fox News then exacerbates the problem by providing a news outlet which tells conservatives only the news they want to hear - and they inevitably want to hear stuff that makes them even angrier. MSNBC provides a similar outlet for those on the left, and CNN sensationalizes whatever is left in the middle.

Somewhere along the way, these three major media providers realized that the more they divided America, and the more gasoline they threw on the political fire, the more money they could haul in every two to four years. Because all that campaigning money doesn't go down a deep, dark hole. It goes into advertising! Which goes into the pockets of Newscorp. Spectrum, and Comcast! Each election, it gets worse, and more money is purportedly needed to stop the extremism of the other side. More money, to feed the ever-hungry monster of political advertising, for which the networks charge over-inflated rates.

And this downward spiral has been going on for over two decades, now. Nearly thirty if one includes the period from 88 to 96 when the conservative media moguls didn't yet fully realize the power Reagan had handed them through executive order, no input from Congress. This is why the cult of liberal-bashing has led to the cult-of-personality known as Trumpism.

The system has literally rigged some people's brains. Which is why Trump isn't losing in every state, which is the way it would be if the media were capable of doing its job.

The system was rigged to make Trump the Republican candidate in the first place. Because Trump, for all his faults, is exactly what he boasted himself to be back in 2015: a "ratings machine." So the news media accidentally promoted Trump, reporting about him at every turn as though the Republican primary were the new TV reality show. With only few brave exceptions such as Megyn Kelly, they went soft on covering Trump. Then, after nearly a year and a half of handling the man with kid gloves, the news media had a crisis of conscience and began covering him like the human train wreck he really was. A "Trumpster fire," if you will.

I don't blame Donald for griping about how the media is against him now, and claiming that the media is now part of a "rigged system" against him. He has a legitimate point at least in the sense that the media has changed the rules towards the end of the game. But the system was rigged in his favor before, and the reality is that he's complaining now because it's finally being fair. How dare the media report the truth about him!

Finally, the system was rigged to ensure that the Republican base would elect a primary candidate that would not be moderate. It was rigged with "winner take all" states that gave more delegates to someone who did not win that high a percentage of the vote. So, for example, Trump won only 32.5% of South Carolina's vote, yet got all 50 delegates. He won 32.7% of the vote in Vermont, and got all the delegates. He won 45.7% of the vote in Florida, yet received all 99 of its delegates. Does this sound fair to you? Of course it doesn't! It doesn't because that's what we call a rigged system! It was rigged in favor of demagogues like Donald Trump!

Now he's upset because the general election isn't tilted in his favor in the same way. So the system must be "rigged." Boo fucking hoo, poor baby.

Up to now, at every turn, any rigging of the system has been in favor of the Republicans and/or Donald Trump. And yet, in spite of all this cheating, in spite of all the vote-stealing through gerrymandering, in spite of all the roadblocks put in place to hamper minorities from voting through voter ID laws...

Trump is STILL losing!

How incompetent do you have to be to be on the brink of losing even the gerrymandered congressional districts, and then somehow complain that the system is rigged against you?!

The answer is, too incompetent to work as a greeter at WalMart, much less be president.


Eric

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Hey Russ! Bring Back The Funny!


I'm supporting Russ Feingold for Senate this year. I mean, why not? When his opponent is Mr. Smith & Wesson goes to Washington, and one of the 47 lemmings who followed Trey Gowdy off a cliff with a treasonous letter to Iran, anyone else would do.

But this is Russ Feingold we're talking about here. This is the man who stands up to Washington bullshit and communicates his principled stance to his constituents with wit, wisdom and humor. It's what gives him the one quality Washington insiders lack: a backbone.

So where is this quality this year? Where is the witty? Where is the wisdom?

Where is the funny?

Russ charmed his way into Wisconsin's heart by being a clever fellow with college-humor political ads. But this election cycle, those ads have been replaced with cookie-cutter ads that repeat mind-numbingly boring talking points about "tax cuts for companies that move jobs overseas." This sound byte has not only been debunked, it's outdated. It was a relevant point when John Kerry ran against George W. Bush, but not so much anymore. So why is Russ sticking to this one issue like glue?

Who kidnapped Russ Feingold and replaced him with this adobe-brick golem?

There's a conspiracy theory going around that when Hillary Clinton was sick with pneumonia, she actually died and has now been replaced with a body double. But I think it's more likely that Russ Feingold has been co-opted by a doppelgänger.

Don't get me wrong, a washed-up xerox of Feingold is still ten times better than anything the Republicans can put up, much less the Trump-supporting Ron Johnson. But it's time to mince up another sacred cow for the brat-festival, my friends: Russ is simply off his game.

Come on, Russ! Bring back the funny!

It's your greatest campaigning strength.


Eric

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Vote Early! Vote Early!


Early voting is great! It allows voters who are restricted by job schedule, hampered by voter ID laws, or just plain discouraged by long lines to be able to vote with relative ease. You can go pick up your laundry, vote, and be back in time to watch Timeless.

I first tried voting early back in 2012. I experienced no hangups, there was a short line, and I was done inside of ten minutes! That's ten minutes including commute time!

Yes, there are problems with voter ID laws this time around (probably). But the good news is, there's even more places to go vote besides City Hall now. Sure, you can still go to City Hall (830 N. Market St.) if that's more convenient, or you could go to Midtown Center at 56th and Capital! Or you could go to Forest Home Library, at 14th and Forest Home Ave.!

Not so much of a bottleneck anymore!

And here's where the real advantage for Democrats comes into play. It's usually been the case that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a considerable amount, but Republicans give a damn about voting. As such, Democrats tend to win during general elections, but lose during midterms when the excitement factor isn't there as much.

Well, those days may be over! Because for the third straight election cycle, early voting is a major thing! Yes, we need to make voting even easier for a hard-working general public, but this is a major step in the right direction. We should take full advantage of it!

As I blogged about in 2014, early voting threatens to tip the balance towards the Democratic ticket forever. Because if Democrats actually voted in the midterms, no Republican could win! Well, not unless he seriously abandoned the crazy shit on his ticket (and isn't that the point?). It's time to make that powerful X-factor FELT! And felt permanently!

The polls are showing this current election to be tighter than it should be. Hillary is back to a comfortable 5-point lead, but aren't we all amazed that the lead isn't much, much larger? Well, if we get huge voter turnout, it will be! Why? Because polls are only reporting likely voters. And that estimate has been skewed the wrong way ever since early voting came to be. As of yet, early voting has not truly been felt, and yet the last two election cycles showed that more voters turned up than expected. No, it's not yet enough, but this year it can be! The gates are wide open to us! All we have to do is walk through!

Early voting is on! From now until November 8, you can cast your vote early, at your convenience, whenever you can find time in your busy schedule to do it. And if you do so, and find some silly voter ID law, some lack of registration, or some other nonsense blocking your way, you have weeks to deal with it!

So make your vote count! Make sure it's heard early!

The revolution is not just about Bernie Sanders. It's not just about who you vote for. It's also about when you vote!


Eric

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