Thursday, March 31, 2016

Washington Caucus delegate apportionment system shows how Democratic Party leaders try to "game" the system in favor of the "entitled one"



For those primary delegate watchers confused about why, despite winning 73 percent of the caucus vote in the state of Washington last week, Bernie Sanders has been allotted only 25 of the 101 delegates up for grabs. As if the issue of the extremely undemocratic “superdelegate” system that the Democratic Party employs isn’t enough, this is another curious anomaly that has no benefit save for the party “favorite.” In fact, the party doesn’t refer to actual “pledged” delegates in these counts, but “soft” pledges, meaning that while for now Sanders might “technically” have 73 delegates, these delegates will not actually be able to make a “hard” pledge until the Democratic Convention in July, by which time they could, of course, switch their vote. Naturally  it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to knw who is supposed to “benefit” from this.

According to website called “thegreenpapers.com,” the procedure went something like this:

The Precinct Caucuses meet at 10am to elect delegates to the legislative district caucuses and county conventions based on presidential preference. After a preliminary tally of presidential support is completed, attendees are then provided a chance to reconsider; and a final tally is taken.

That is where the “logic” of the process ends. After that, how delegates are apportioned is rather difficult to ascertain: “67 district delegates are to be pledged proportionally to presidential contenders based on the will of the caucus participants in each of the State's 10 congressional districts. A mandatory 15 percent threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be pledged National Convention delegates at the congressional district level.”

Sanders should have 73 percent of the delegates, Clinton 27 percent. How mathematically “challenging” is that supposed to be? Well, there are “fine points” to the equation that is equally nebulas:

The 67 National Convention District delegates are pledged according to the preferences expressed at the Precinct Caucuses. The National Convention 22 At-Large and 12 Pledged PLEO delegates are pledged using the preferences of the 67 National Convention District delegates. National Convention Pledged PLEO and At-Large delegates are elected at the State Convention by the State Party Committee according to the results of the Congressional District Caucuses.

You’d think that there would be a “reason” why this “process” is deliberately incomprehensible. Maybe state Democratic Party leaders want to keep “control” over the process, and given the fact that most of the state’s 17 “superdelegates” (the PLEOs, eight of whom are from the Clinton-controlled DNC) have already pledged to Clinton, there must be a “method” to the madness. Oh wait, there’s more: “These 17 delegates and will go to the Democratic National Convention officially "Unpledged." 

So, whether unfairly or not, the “official” delegate tally barely dented Clinton’s lead despite Sanders winning 75 percent of the vote in three states last Saturday. That some news media continues to inflate Clinton’s numbers by including superdelegates “pledged” to her continues to make things look awfully “bleak” to voters who value ethics, principles and moral scruples in their preferred candidate.

But don’t give up hope; even if the Obama Justice Department refuses to open a grand jury investigation into Clinton illegally storing classified information on her personal server, which in this country comes just short of espionage—just as Oliver North’s dealings with Iran were right on the edge of treason—revelations from the FBI’s current investigation of Clinton’s brazenly irresponsible acts may  indeed require a grand jury investigation in which conspiracy to commit perjury by Clinton associates, and Clinton herself, would be the least of her problems: If it can then be proved that the Chinese and other “enemy” hackers culled state secrets from Clinton’s poorly-secured system, then Clinton’s megalomaniacal thirst for power can be curtailed.

But then again, the pro-Clinton news media would have to take an unlikely “interest” in Clinton’s crimes to push federal law enforcement to do the same. Even more unlikely, Clinton’s supporters would have to look beyond gender politics and her claims that it is she who is being “abused,” when it is we who are being abused.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is the Clinton camp and the media under an illusion or a delusion about Sanders supporters?



There seems to b some real “concern” amongst Hillary Clinton supporters about voters energized by the progressive Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign, as well they should be. While it was a “hard” decision for some to choose between making a “personal” choice and one that offered a true break with the status quo, there are those for whom such “minor” details as ethics, credibility and principles in a candidate with the moral courage to stand-toe-to-toe with the forces of reaction and “entitlement” rank utmost in their minds. Despite all the naysayers in the media attempting clear the path for the “Entitled One,”  there is the belief that “change” in the status quo will not occur from a certain candidate’s sham posturing, but if you start with “big” ideas  that are currently derided as “pie-in-the-sky.” Merely being “practical” or “pragmatic” leaves us with more of the same—and in the case of Clinton, that means more cupidity and corruption at the top.

There is talk that the DNC and Clinton no longer wishing to stage debates with Sanders. The reason is obvious: pro-Clinton media may try to kid viewers that she “wins” these debates, but the Internet reveals quite a different story, and Clinton’s handlers are not as stupid as the media is. And stupid is the media indeed. The other day actress Susan Sarandon, who is a Sanders supporter, “stunned” pro-Clinton MSNBC’s Chris Hayes with a suggestion that if Clinton was nominated she “probably” would not vote at all, ticking off a number of rationalizations that makes sense to everyone but blind-as-bats Clinton fanatics. The Clinton camp and media seems to have no clue just how much many Sanders supporters despise what the Clintons "stand" for and what motivates them.

But Hayes demonstrated the arrogance of the pro-Clinton media in assuming that voters backing Sanders—particularly “independents”—are just having a temporary lapse in “judgment,” and would return to the “fold” in November. They forget how many voters cringed at the thought of the self-entitled Clinton—with her record of genuflecting before Corporate America, the military-industrial complex added upon her extensive “experience” in corruption, perjury and scandal—occupying the White House in their name in 2008. Why should it be any different now? 

People like The Atlantic Monthly’s Chris Graham are also under such an illusion, if not an outright delusion. He seems to think that since some credibility-challenged polling firm indicates a majority of self-described Democrats supposedly have a favorable opinion if Clinton, that naturally if Clinton winds-up with the nomination after a bitterly fought effort by Sanders, his partisans will ultimately fall in back in line like lemmings to follow Clinton to perdition. That may be true particularly among female voters who quibbled about who they would back, but since self-described Democrats are still a distinct minority of the voting demographic (self-described Republicans are an even smaller group), that leaves a significant segment of the population that is “independent,” and you can bet most of them can be placed in the category of two-thirds of voters who do not have a favorable view of Clinton, and believe her ethics are distinctly substandard. 

The arrogance and conceit of Clinton (who continues to behave as if her nomination is “locked up”) and the pro-Clinton media wildly misjudges the level of passion Sanders supporters have for their candidate, and the continuing lack of serious attention to Sanders and the patronizing treatment of his supporters by the media is more likely to have an alienating effect on them. That effect only becomes greater as the Corporate Media continues to fail in its duty to inform the American people about the truth, both within the “untouchable” halls of power and privilege (not the usual scapegoats—non-white immigrants) and the ethical and moral corruption in the ranks of the “entitled.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Does Trump's mania about immigrants suggests dementia?



As mentioned a few days ago, a Donald Trump spokesperson on CNN  was asked to explain Trump’s repeated juvenile attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, which Cruz reacted with  predictable (but with a tad overblown) indignation.  Naturally, Trump’s stooge waxed outrageous at this attempt by the media to make an issue of the salacious rather than the substantive. But of course it is a legitimate topic of conversation when it comes to Trump. We know from what “insiders” have revealed about Hillary Clinton that her use of abusive and vulgar verbiage is little different than Trump’s, but at least she has so far had the good sense to keep her dark place “private.” That is not the case with Trump. One can legitimately ask if he is suffering from the onset of some form of dementia, the kind where one loses all sense of control over accepted behavior, thoughts and words, often punctuated by grotesque displays of wildly unstable emotions. 

No, Trump’s flunky would rather have us focused on a real “winner” with certain sectors of the public, one where ignorance intersects precisely with bigotry; Americans are getting “killed every day" by illegal immigrants and other such myths expectorated from his pores, mainly the one located in his fundament. When it isn’t a political campaign issue to rile up the racist base, Americans have “accepted” the unspoken “bargain” of an itinerant pool of labor in exchange for them not issuing a peep when their human rights are abused since at least the time when California and the Southwest were “purchased” from Mexico with the “promise” that Mexicans who chose to stay would be given full citizenship rights per the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; but of course this promise was seldom honored. Complaints about “illegal immigration” was always something that sprung up from time-to-time when whites sought convenient targets when the need was felt to strike—either verbally or even physically—at a vulnerable demographic which had no rights anyone who called themselves a “real” American was bound to respect. The media, of course, is as complicit in this as any neo-Nazi.

I can tell you from personal experience that there is no delineation between “legal” and illegal” in the minds of the racist looking for a target to act out their hate on. It is no longer merely “illegal” immigrants that are anathema, but both legal immigrants and U.S. citizens who are not identifiable as “Caucasian.” In fact, that is what this “illegal” immigration always was about at its core, as a convenient excuse to vent hate at a particular group. Any and all people regardless of ideology can be guilty of this, even “progressives.” Some employers have an “unspoken” policy of discrimination against anyone who is deemed Hispanic because of their political belief that only “real” Americans should have “American” jobs. I once worked at a job that didn’t have anyone else there who “looked” like me, and I recall people making sick jokes about “Mexicans.” When I had enough of it, I told someone engaged in this that what he was saying was racist, and he defended himself by saying “nobody else” thought that it was “racist,” to which I responded that “I” thought it was, and that is all that mattered; I never heard anyone make the same racist cracks in my presence again, but it is unlikely that was due to a change of perspective.

Immigrants of all stripes are attacked for “depressing” wages, but this would be no different if only “real” Americans were hired. NAFTA has received a disgraceful amount of bad publicity (admittedly from the Sanders camp as well), when the U.S.’ trade imbalance with our own neighbors in our own hemisphere isn’t even a fraction that with Pacific Rim and European countries; the U.S.’ trade imbalance with China is by a factor of 10 to 1. So why is China, which is a potential enemy to this country in “superpower” terms, hardly mentioned as a reason for the lack of electronic and  apparel manufacturing jobs? Because people here are bullies and cowards? 

And why are we not placing additional blame where it belongs—on the obscene distribution of wealth where a corporate executive sitting in his or her cushy chair “earns” 1,000 times or more what a laborer doing the “dirty work” makes? But no, all of blame and the hate is aimed at those at the very bottom of the social and economic scale. 

We are of course seeing what fascism looks like. It may be in its embryonic form compared to that of Nazi Germany, but the outlines are all there: Extreme nationalism, contempt for democratic principles, and arousing divisions in the population, particularly along racial lines. These things are always present, but rise from the sewers when given a “mainstream” media forum in which all “moral” authority abdicates all responsibility. Both the corporate media and the Republican Party have so used the hate of the extremist to advance their particular agendas that they have neither the credibility nor the power to stop it. Even law enforcement which looks the other way at violence perpetrated by Trump-inspired thugs have twisted the line between “lawmaking” and lawbreaking. Only the voters can stop it, and one wonders if even they can rise above it.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sanders wins by landslides on Saturday, but it’s business as usual with the media and Clinton’s gender fanatics



If there is anything that Bernie Sanders’ resounding primary victory in the state of Washington proved, it is that among politically left constituencies, Sanders stimulates anticipation of something great. This was, of course, the same phenomenon that propelled Barack Obama past Clinton in 2008, when the media also questioned his “electability.” The sole caveat to the comparison being that Sanders is not black or young, and  many black voters feel that they “owe” Hillary for having switched their support to Obama—just like Obama “owed” Clinton a post that she had no particular qualification for, that of Secretary of State, which was demonstrated by the fact that her tenure would have been completely devoid of note save for the fact of Benghazi and the email scandal; the latter continues to supply more and more reasons to justify criminal charges against Clinton, since every new revelation makes it increasingly clear that Clinton committed blatant and willful perjury in her testimony before Congress. We want someone like that in the White House, someone who has such contempt for the American people that nothing that comes out of her mouth can be believed?

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reported that Sanders supporters are calling for the state’s superdelegates to fall in line with the 73 percent who voted for Sanders. While there are the Hillary supporters who wailed at the “outdated” caucus system, far more “outdated” is the Democratic Party’s use of superdelegates, who have bloated the numbers that CNN insists on tallying in order to give a false notion of popular support for Clinton. Naturally there is the belief among party “regulars” that they must decide the primary in favor of Clinton because it is an “electability” thing, yet this is utter hogwash; the many motivated voters that Sanders has brought into the process are not dissimilar to those who carried Obama to a resounding 2008 victory. 

There is no evidence that these voters who despise Clinton’s Janus-faced poseur can bring themselves to vote for her this November. Sanders’ authenticity and uncompromising principles for the good of all sound pretty damn good in the face of Donald Trump’s belief that all Americans “hate” the people he hates, but for many misguided people, his brand of “authenticity” sounds “better” than Clinton’s self-serving mendacity, and this will be the “choice” for voters if Clinton is nominated. I have voted Democrat my whole life, but this year it is Sanders, or no one.

What was CNN’s take on Sanders’ huge victories in Washington, Hawaii and Alaska Saturday night? Eight hours of Hillary’s “inevitable” nomination this summer? On Sunday morning it was a panel featuring a Trump spokesperson who was asked to address the latest repulsive act of Trump, who instead slid the “discussion” to maniacal hatred of Hispanics; Americans die every day from immigration, he salivated like a rabid dog. Immigrants (and of course they are of the Hispanic variety) are the cause of every ill thing with this country, he insinuated. But there was an attempt to bring the “discussion” back to the “real” issue, and that started a loud, vulgar argument about what was or wasn’t “sexism” and who was “guilty” of it. 

In the past, a racist lunatic like Trump would have gone away if the media had simply ignored him, but as much as it tries to “expose him,” all it has done is give him valuable airtime—the same thing that mass shooters crave. But listening to these “discussions,” there seems to be little “pushback” on the racist stereotypes that underpin Trump’s rhetoric (mainly because there are no one to speak from the Hispanic point-of-view, “ironic” since Hispanics are such a “hot topic” in the media), while the increasingly dreary and self-serving topics of gender and “sexism” continue to be used against Trump (and to a lesser extent, Sanders’ supporters) and to the “benefit” of Clinton, or so it is hoped.

Back on the ground, Clinton supporters refused to accept defeat, combining the “gender” card with the “guilt” card in order to “persuade” undecided female voters. If Sanders wasn’t in the race, the decision would have been easy, because gender “history” is the only “qualification” Clinton offers that is “authentic” (her “experience” has always been a sham—unless we consider her “experience” in corruption). But Sanders offers something powerful that Clinton completely lacks (or Obama, for that matter): Credibility. What he says now is something he has been saying for 50 years, and now for the first time people are being given the opportunity to hear him. He is no “weakling” like George McGovern, but an ideologue capable of standing toe-to-toe with the likes of Trump and “trump” him on issues, and being a true black-and-white alternative. Clinton merely comes across as a sarcastic annoyance. Can you imagine what a “debate” between Trump and Clinton would sound like? On one side is Punch and on the other, Dame Van Winkle.

Meanwhile, the pro-Clinton media continues to play the game of “Why,” and Sanders’s supporters ask “Why not?” Julian Zelizer of CNN tells us that it is “good” that Sanders is in the race, even as a kind of political Don Quixote: “Thanks to Sanders, economic issues are now front and center in this campaign. While Sanders may be a single-issue candidate focused on inequality, it's a really big issue that he has dealt with. And it's one which, as the campaign in both parties has revealed, really resonates at this moment in history. Americans are tired of, and scared by, the growing economic divisions in our society as well as the insecurity that faces middle-class families.”

Was that what Clinton was telling us before Sanders became a serious threat to her “entitlement”?  No, she was too busy “preparing” for her “inevitable” coronation to bother with actual policy statements. But that doesn’t stop this blind bat: “In response to Sanders, Clinton has taken a stronger stand on these economic issues and worked harder to demonstrate her commitment to addressing these challenges if she should be elected president. Sanders has created room for Clinton, who has been a centrist Democrat, to be more unabashedly liberal in response to this problem, and this will help her.”

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see about that from Hillary “Super Predator” Clinton.

Having advanced degrees doesn’t seem to be impediment to illogical and pathological thinking. Take for instance Brittany L. Stalsburg, PhD: “The truth is there are many reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton, and gender is one of them. Beyond the  historical marker of equality that her election to the U.S. presidency would signify, empirical research has demonstrated that on average, women leaders behave differently than men: they are more likely to build consensus, compromise, and collaborate—leadership qualities that would represent a welcome change to a Washington paralyzed by gridlock… Women political leaders are also more likely to get things done and are 31 percent more effective than men at advancing legislation.”

You are quite kidding, right? Clinton couldn’t even work with a Democrat-controlled Congress in 1993 to be taken seriously on health care reform, mainly because of her irritating and condescending personality, and because of that little thing called not actually having a “plan.” How did Sen. Clinton work with fellow senators? Well, they let her name a post office. As Secretary of State, she did log in all those travel miles and take in some of the local cuisine, all on the tax payer dime; at least she didn’t actually have to talk to anyone on serious matters—at least not in a way that “mattered.”

Then there is feminist Gail Sheehy (I wish these people would just go away): “Many fiercely loyal Hillary-ists appreciate her lifelong commitment to empowering women and girls. As secretary of state, she worked that issue into the portfolio of future secretaries. A gynecologist who is exactly Mrs. Clinton’s age represents legions of women adamant about saving reproductive freedom: “I’m not voting for any politician who has inordinate interest in what goes on in my vagina.” Good god. First of all, Hillary is not really a “feminist.” She is too egomaniacal for that. She uses anyone who can help gain power and riches, and her feminist “allies” had nothing to do with it. Clinton “success” is almost entirely dependent on the personal popularity of her husband, and the “good old boy” networks that Hillary road his coattails on. She would have never gotten this far on her own; more likely she would still be someone people disliked both personally and to work with—she might even have found herself in jail, like many of her associates.

It gets worse. The UK The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti is another one of those feminist commentators for whom gender is the end all, be all—and goddam the rest of you misogynists: “And so it seems strange that at a time when the country has the opportunity to elect the first female president, the idea that gender might be a factor is considered shallow in some circles. Only in a sexist society would women be told that caring about representation at the highest levels of government is wrong. Only in a sexist society would women believe it…There has been an extraordinary amount of scorn – both from the right and from Bernie Sanders supporters – around the notion that Hillary Clinton and women planning on voting for her are playing the “gender card”. The criticism comes in part from Clinton’s unabashed embrace of women’s issues as a central part of her presidential campaign, and in part – let’s be frank – simply because Clinton is a woman.”

In the usual nonsensical way of commentators of this sort, it seems that what Valenti is saying first is that voting for Clinton solely for the reason that she is female is not a “bad” thing, and to argue that this isn’t a good enough reason to vote for someone for the highest office in the land is “sexist.” But then makes a sharp turn and claims that it is also “sexist” that women are being made to believe that they are voting for Clinton for gender reasons, without exactly explaining what other reason there could be.

Of course, not everyone wants to play the Clinton game. The New York Times Maureen Dowd, meanwhile, was never a Hillary fan, and one of the few voices in mainstream media who isn’t. She is unimpressed with Clinton’s claims to “entitlement” to the presidency. While Sanders tells us that in unequivocal terms that “The game is rigged and we have to take the country back from the privileged few and make it work for everyone. Hillary has an “I” message: I have been abused and misunderstood and it’s my turn. It’s a victim mind-set that is exhausting, especially because the Clintons’ messes are of their own making.”

Dowd expounds on this statements, pointing out the hypocrisy of Hillary and her “older” feminist supporters—especially Madeline “Burn in Hell” Albright and Gloria “Hormones” Steinem:

The interesting thing about the spectacle of older women trying to shame younger ones on behalf of Hillary is that Hillary and Bill killed the integrity of institutional feminism back in the ’90s — with the help of Albright and Steinem. Instead of just admitting that he had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky and taking his lumps, Bill lied and hid behind the skirts of his wife and female cabinet members, who had to go out before the cameras and vouch for his veracity, even when it was apparent he was lying.

Seeing Albright, the first female secretary of state, give cover to President Clinton was a low point in women’s rights. As was the New York Times op-ed by Steinem, arguing that Lewinsky’s will was not violated, so no feminist principles were violated. Hillary knew that she could count on the complicity of feminist leaders and Democratic women in Congress who liked Bill’s progressive policies on women. And that’s always the ugly Faustian bargain with the Clintons, not only on the sex cover-ups but the money grabs: You can have our bright public service side as long as you accept our dark sketchy side.

We could go on and on with this. We can “discuss” whether feminists caused as much harm as good to the (white) women’s rights movement, but I’ve already discussed that from the minority perspective (interestingly, Warren Buffett’s sons have supposedly established a $90 million fund to help minority women—which doesn’t do negatively-stereotyped minority men a lot of “good”). The problem for Clinton is that they don’t any real policy “plans” to oppose Sanders’ own, just a lot of clich├ęs and standard talking points that we’ve heard forever to no effect, no matter how “commandingly” they are intoned. So what to do? Back in 2008, Obama felt compelled to soft-pedal criticism of Clinton, so as not to “offend” Clinton’s female supporters and be accused of “sexism.” 

The same dynamic is being used against Sanders. You can’t talk about the issues with any degree of substance, because Clinton can’t compete on those terms, so you are just being “bully.” You don’t believe me? Just go back to the Washington Post’s Janell Ross’ absurd accusation about Sanders pointing his finger to make a point during a debate as being genderly “insensitive.” Words like “integrity” and “principle” just don’t resonate with Clinton supporters; they are anathema to the discussion, so just attack Sanders with old “reliable.” 

Labeling Sanders’ supporters as “misogynist” merely for failing to fall in line, and for pointing out her 40-year record of unethical and corrupt behavior (starting in 1974, when she was fired as a congressional aid for fabricating a legal brief which attempted to deny Richard Nixon the right to counsel). You point out Clinton’s laundry list of corruption that dates from then right up to today, and it isn’t even a topic of discussion in the media? Why should anyone be forced to vote for someone who so devoid of principle? Well, we know what that is. If Clinton was a male with her record and a “centrist” to boot before Sanders “forced” her to sound “left,” she would have been gone long ago.