Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hillary's Emails

The emails! Of course, the emails! There’s nothing that shows how corrupt Hillary is than the shoddy way she handled sensitive information while serving as Secretary of State.

Isn’t there?

Well, not quite, because like most Hillary “scandals” it’s nowhere near as bad as the Republicans have lied about and exaggerated. Nor is it as bad as Bernie Sanders supporters believe (although at this point many of them would believe Hillary urinated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then sacrificed a baby to Satan – even and especially if The Drudge Report said she did).

To expedite my defense of Hillary on this, I’ve opted to boil down the main accusations and juxtapose them with the truth, warts and all. Then, the distinction will be highlighted between the truth and the fiction of the matter, and why it’s important. Hopefully, even a cursory skimming of my defense should then convince a few hardened anti-Clinton skeptics.

Also, I’m not going to bother with the emails themselves. The State Department released the last of them way back on February 29. The media have had plenty of time to sift through each and every little word to find if there had been any juicy or scandalous news story and so far, have found nothing scandalous. In fact, they found a woman who was thoughtful, respectful, and quite human. Many anti-Clinton people have been converted into Clinton people just on the strength of reading her emails alone. So I’ll leave the media to sludge through the dross with underpaid bleary-eyed interns. My focus will be on the major points.

So, here we go:

False: Hillary broke the law.

True: Hillary broke the rules.

The distinction: The official line from the Clinton campaign is that the use of a personal email server was “allowed.” While this is legally true, it is false from the State Department's perspective, and deliberately misleading in the view of the general public. State Department “guidelines” stated that a personal email server should not be used. Hillary weighed the cost of breaking an internal rule with no teeth when there was no law prohibiting her, and decided to ignore the guideline. Proper? No. Illegal? Nope, not that either.

False: Hillary is under investigation by the FBI.

True: Hillary’s emails are under investigation by the FBI.

The distinction: This might seem like splitting hairs, but there is no criminal investigation by the FBI – yet. What’s going on now is an investigation as to whether or not any criminal action was done. And so Hillary’s email server is being combed through by FBI cyber-specialists who seek to make certain no classified information was leaked. So far, it seems none has been, because the FBI has had an entire year, and no criminality has yet been found. On the other hand, if such criminality has been found and the FBI is remaining quiet about it, that would be another matter. The FBI however is non-partisan, and has no reason to delay an indictment if any wrongdoing should be found. Again, because no indictment has been forthcoming, it is becoming more and more safe to assume that there was no criminal leaking of classified information.

On the other hand, if the FBI does hand down an indictment, THEN Bernie Sanders will have a decent shot at winning the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. Not before, however.

False: The purpose of her use of a private e-mail server was to hide her personal emails from the government and the press.

True: The purpose of her private email server was the convenience of not needing two separate email accounts.

The distinction: This is one where the claims from the Clinton campaign are probably spot-on. If you’re going to conceal e-mails, a private server is a lousy way to do it. Any email you send to a .gov address gets archived anyway. (This, in fact, is one of Hillary’s arguments.) You could provide security for the server yourself, but if you hire professionals to do it  (as Hillary did), then the company hired could turn over all their materials to the FBI (which they did). Yes, deleting some of your emails from your own server could result in some information being lost, and some was, but unless you can be sure that 100% of all emails sent were deleted on the other end, you can’t be sure of anything being secure.

Hillary had precedent. Three other Secretaries of State served in the era of email: Madeline Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Albright never had an email account, but both Powell and Rice did, and their emails were permanently deleted after their terms of service ended. As such, when Hillary saw the guidelines saying that private servers ought not be used for official State Department business, she must have felt like the younger sister who saw an older sibling receive a privilege to which she was now denied. Of course she would keep her own private server “for convenience.” And who can blame her for being indignant at being so severely investigated when two Republicans did the same thing before her and got off scott-free?

It’s easy to see how a woman in her 60’s would not want to bother with using two email addresses. I have two email addresses, and it sucks. I tend to read the older account and never read the new one, even though the new one is the “official” one. And that’s just me – a man from the next generation down, presumably more tech savvy. Most women from Hillary’s generation struggle with how to set the DVR.

“Convenience?” I buy it.

False: Hillary emailed classified information.

True: Hillary emailed information that was marked as classified by a different agency after the fact.

The distinction: This is another one where the Clinton campaign is dead-on right. The FBI or the CIA might designate something as classified which the State department doesn’t. And information which might not be classified today might become classified tomorrow, or vice-versa. It’s the reason some Cold War documents are being declassified now. It’s also the reason some things which were thought to be casual exchanges even a few years ago might suddenly become classified in light of a sudden shift in the situation at home or abroad. An unclassified message to a Ukranian official might become classified if that official suddenly gets promoted to a higher position. An innocent request from a Kenyan politician might become classified if that dignitary is suddenly arrested for an unknown reason. Many things change in the fluidity of international politics, and designations of what constitutes classified information must change with them.

In short, if Hillary had received or sent information which was not classified at the time, but became classified later on, she would not be guilty of wrongdoing.

False: Her use of a private server made sensitive information more vulnerable to hackers.

True: Having a private server put her email outside the government’s protective firewalls.

The distinction: Think having a private server outside the government is more accessible than one within the government? Not necessarily! The government websites and emails are the constant targets of hackers, and hackers who break the government system receive the most “cred,” which is everything in the hacker world. Because Hillary’s server was off the government reservation, the only hackers targeting it were those few who 1) knew of its existence and 2) felt the need to target it. There weren’t many hackers who met that criteria. In other words, sometimes the safest place is away from the primary target.

But what about this Romanian hacker nicknamed “Guccifer?” Didn’t he hack Hillary’s email server?

Marcel Lehel, a.k.a. “Guccifer,” has indeed been extradited to the United States on hacking related charges involving identity theft, wire fraud and cyberstalking. But his claims at having hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server are probably made up. He is able to offer no proof that he hacked Hillary’s private server, and making a hack claim without being able to back it up is the worst crime a hacker can do. It makes him a “muggle” (a hacker wannabe who fakes it). He is therefore a pariah. Until he presents proof, he’s a hacker’s joke.

So, quick recap:

Did Hillary disregard rules and put her own convenience ahead of the nation with her handling of State email on a private server? You bet your ass, she did!

Did she endanger the nation’s security by passing along sensitive information to those who shouldn’t have received it? Hell, no!

In the end, the official FBI conclusion will likely be that Hillary did not divulge State secrets, but will also give her a severe reprimand. The State department has already effectively done this. She deserves it, and she knows it, which is why she’s issued her apology for it, and not just because she was caught. It stings her, and well it should.

But against Trump, it shouldn’t cost her any votes.

Hillary’s behavior was myopic, technologically na├»ve, somewhat lazy, and even sloppy. But not criminal.

And unless they find an email sent from her server to some lowlife without clearance, it never will be!



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.