Our Primary And Caucus System Is Just Plain Nuts

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According to Bloomberg’s nifty delegate count tracker,  Hillary Clinton currently has 1223 delegates and Bernie has 920.    With half the states still to be counted, that’s not exactly a huge difference.

Then there are the “superdelegates.”   467 are pledged to Clinton, with only 26 going for Sanders.    Who came up with this nonsense of anointing party insiders as being “super?”   Why are these superdelegates choosing sides before the votes are all in?  Why can’t the Democratic Party adhere to the democratic process and let members of the party decide who gets the delegates?    It makes about as much sense as a movie pitting Superman against Batman, which makes no sense at all.   Is nothing sacred?  Has everbody gone completely nuts?

I’m particularly irritated about  this you see, becacuse for nearly my entire adult life I have been registered as an independent.  I felt that as a mainstream journalist it was my duty not to pick a side in the fight.   At least not publicly.     After moving to Maryland, I had to fall back and regroup because Maryland, has a closed primary.   So you must declare your membership in one party or the other, or you have no vote in the primary.   Well, you can vote, but only for the candidate representing the party of which you are a member.   Which is somewhat….nullifying?

This is idiotic, right?   Maryland, needs to open up its primaries, giving everybody a shot a voting for the candidate of their choice, not just party members.   If an independent or a Green wants to vote for Hillary or Bernie, then why not let them?

Because of this rigid system, I have been forced to declare myself to be a Democrat.   A card-carrying party member.  Harford County, actually sent me a card.  I presume that without it, they won’t let me vote.   But it goes beyond simply being allowed to vote for the candidate of my choice in the primary.

I want to vote for Bernie Sanders, and so I had no choice but to join the Democratic Party, even though I would have preferred to remain an independent.   And so the State of Maryland, is forcing me to promote a two-party system,  even though I’m not all that hot about it.   Meaning, I think, that our primary and caucus systems are really one big mess.    The federal government should come up with one system for all the parties in all the states.   One level playing field for everybody.   Or we can leave it as it is, with those at the top of one party being able to rig the election in one candidate’s favor, which is clearly what Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her cronies are doing for Hillary Clinton?

The Brits, who have been at this a lot longer than us, are into a more proportional federal government, forcing the leaders of their major parties to form coalitions, rather than giving one party all or most of the power, or leaving it up to just two parties to remain deadlocked for years while the nation’s infrastructure crumbles and the bickering continues.

I know both systems have drawbacks, but a parliamentary system would appear to provide greater representation to a higher number of people, while our two-party system seems to be leading us into endless gridlock.   Particularly in Arizona, where, thanks to the death of the Voting Rights Act, some loyal Americans were forced to stand in line for more than five hours before they could cast their votes.

Let’s open up the primaries, doing all we can to end voter supression in states like Arizona and Florida, and while we’re at it, maybe we can expand beyond our old two-party system,  no longer being forced to march proudly forward under a banner that declares “advance to the rear!”

For the time being, I have been coerced into joining the Democratic Party.   I shall though, remain an independent at heart while I continue grousing about the outdated nature of an arcane two-party system that needs to be delivered out of the past and into the present.   If not, the future will surely fail to take care of itself.

None of what I have written here should be construed as a slam on the Democrats.   I’m pretty sure that some of my best friends are members of the Democratic Party.   It wasn’t something I worried about until being confronted by this damned closed primary.   That said, the State of Maryland  deserves kudos for changing its system so that there will now be a paper-trail on all the votes cast rather than leaving it up to the kind of electronic gizmo voting that gave Ohio into so much trouble in 2012.

Building My Bunker Now

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I’ve been watching the cable news channels covering the Brussels bombing and I’m about ready to begin building a bunker in the basement.

With all the military we have permanently in place in the Middle East, there’s no way the threat of attacks on American soil will go away anytime soon and the more news channel coverage I watch, the more it feels like the world is headed for a big blow-out courtesty of the the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld gang, which gave us this mess when they invaded the soverign nation of Iraq without due cause.   Except that Saddam had threatened Dubya’s father.   Which is not good enough.

Democratize the Middle East?   Georgie boy, that may be the dumbest idea you have ever let anyone talk you into.   I’m pretty sure you didn’t come up with it yourself, but if you did, then shame on you.   You and your Neocon cronies have pushed me into building a bunker.

I can go down there and lock myself in,  behind the poured concrete walls, coming out only to accept deliveries of the necessities of life.   It must be bad enough for a bunker when a candidate for President of the United States is advocating patrolling the neighborhoods of American Muslims and another wants to close our borders to all foreign Muslims, leaving us just a step away from the internment camps of World War Two, locking up Japanese Americans while their finest young men fought for the red, white and blue on the battlefields of North Africa, Italy and Europe – and maybe a half-step away from the US turning away a shipload of Jewish refugees from American soil, forcing them to return to European shores that were being overtaken by Nazi Germany.

Painting everyone with the same broad bush can be so dangerous.  Scary, too.

FLASH FROM CNN! – “OFFICIAL: TERROR SUSPECTS AT LARGE,  STILL A THREAT”

Yes, and the threat will likely be with us for years to come.   But since it’s “official” I guess they had to put it up there even though melting down and issuing headlines designed to scare the hell out of people won’t make it any better.

One’s bunker mentality is only made worse by correspondents, some of whom speaksofastthatit’sdifficulttounderstandwhat exactlytheyaretryingtosay.   (need to pause here to catch my breath)  There is a terrible trend here in the US, that skews toward fast-talking.  It isn’t so important that your words make any sense or perhaps I should say contain any reason or perspective, so long as you keep talking really, really fast, spitting out words like lead from the barrel of an Uzi.

We’re obviously in one hell of a mess.  It’s the world’s worst ongoing domestic dispute, and like a cop answering a call from worried neighbors, we showed up to try and fix the problem.   Except this isn’t a fight between a husband and wife.   This is a centuries old blood fued that will require a polticial solution among the participants, and not continued military intervention which only creates increased anger toward the United States.   But that kind of reasoning doesn’t garner ratings for the news channels.  No, they have to pump it up, or as a young producer told me over my telex just before I went on the air some years ago, “We’re in a ratings period, so sex it up!”  I was covering John McCain running for president at the time.  He had just sung his swan-song at the Fashion Center in West Hollywood.  It was big news which did not require any “sexing up.”

Like the Brits in World War II, we need to “Keep calm and carry on.”  If we let fear dictate our thinking and our lives, then the terrorists win.  And that, dear friends, is why the ratings-chasing coverage which sometimes borders on hysteria is so terribly irresponsible.

I  think maybe I’ll just turn off the tv for a while and stop watching the same pictures and listening to the same doomsday rhetoric endlessly repeated along with idiotic suggestions from some of those running for president.  That might work and it’ll be much less expensive than building a bunker.

Why I Dumped Bernie And Turned To Trump

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(To be read while the tune “Trump, Trump, Trump the boys are marching!” plays in the background. – Got it in your head?   Okay, then go ahead and read the piece.)

Okay, that’s it.   I’ve had enough.  Otherwise intelligent people who are supporting Donald Trump, have forced me to take a second look at what he has to offer and I’m in.  Donald’s got me.   What a guy.   He’s the bestest, smartest, handsomest man in the whole wide wonderful world.   Just like he says he is.   And he can fix everything.   Just like he says he will.

I give in to all that his supporters are looking forward to, including, but not limited to (because the Donald is liable to change things at any time, which is part of the excitement), a “big beautiful wall” paid for by the Mexican Government.   I don’t know how he’ll get it done, but we need to have a little faith.  Not too much though, or he’ll keep you and everyone you know out of the country under suspicion of being religious nutjobs.

He’s the world’s greatest dealmaker and somehow, he’ll do it.  That, and so much more.  He’s gonna “make America great again.”  Remember when we used to  be great?   Back iin the 50’s and 60’s, when corporate taxes were sky-high and the slave states were still segregated and Russia was threatening to pull the trigger on armageddon while we all did our “duck and cover” drills under our desks in school?  Remember how great that was?   Fantastic!

Donald,  the bestest, smartest man that ever was, says he wants to take us back there once again.   Presuming that’s the “then” he keeps talking about.  He’s never been all that specific.

But more of the dream!

The more than 11-million undocumented persons in America will be rounded up and sent packing.   Those who were born here can stay, but their parents will have to leave.  There will be orphans all over the place and nobody left to pick the  produce and service the hospitality industry but somehow the Donald will make it work.   Because he’s our magic man.

Never mind that studies show Mexicans “leaving the U.S. in droves,” searching out  a better life south of the border.   I recall my amazment when the Los Angeles Times reported that net migration was “close to zero,” while Jan Brewer and her xenophobic, fear-mongering gang  continued complaining about the wave of illegals arriving daily, many of them kids who would be killed if they stayed in Central America.  The kind of refugees the world has always admired us for taking in.

No way!

The Donald says wild-eyed rapists are pouring across the border!  Whole gangs of them!   Rapists!   Not kids.  Mexico, is sending rapists after our mothers, wives and daughters!  Oh, my God!   Baby rapers are coming over the border!

Facts?   We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.  If anybody tries to throw facts in your face, just take care of business and have somebody  carry them out of the building on a stretcher.   The Donald says he’ll pick up your legal fees.  Really.  That’s what he said.

Imagine what a wonderful world it will be when Donald insitutes a new torture mandate for our military and CIA, which will then come up with tons of new intelligence on the Middle East, giving Donald the green light to fill his promise of carpet-bombing the hell out of the area.   And that will be the end of ISIS.   And anybody else who screws around with us.  The Donald will make it happen.   Anybody messes with us, we’ll just kill everyone in sight.   Like we  did in Vietnam.  And Iraq.  Just bomb the hell out of everybody.  Remember how well that worked?

Just think of all the new money that will be around, once our new fearless leader kills or cuts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which the Trumpster has called “wasteful entitlement programs.”  The elderly might have a problem or two, but they can always eat catfood.   Old people don’t need much anyway and all that new money can then be tansferred over to build up our puny military, which is already larger than the next nine developed nations of the world combined.

And thank God,  he’ll end “Obamacare!”   You can be sure that’ll work like a dream.   The insurance industry, finally free from all it’s entanglements and unreasonable restraint, will be able to handle it all, setting the  rates and deciding what’s best for us.   They’re all fair and wonderful people.   They’ll look out for us and do what’s right.   Anyway, it’s better than Communisim, isn’t it?

Damn Commies!   Don’t let any of those pseudo-intellectuals fool you!    A Socialist is a Communist is a Socialist is a Communist is a Socialist!   Get it?   Living on a commune with nothing but potatoes, vodka, a rare can of beans and a cot while you shiver in the cold.  Have you ever been to Vermont?   That’s exactly what it’s like.   No need to worry about the cost of education there.   Your kids will be home-schooled by your hippie neighbors who will also dispense homeopathic cures.  Commies all over the place.

And boy, oh boy, is Trump gonna get China!  And Japan!   And India!  No more of their exporting all their slave-wage, state subsidized stuff to us.   No way, not with the great negotiator at the helm.   He’s gonna give the middle finger to all the world, putting up trade barriers, stopping them from exporting all their crap into the U.S., which will be a profit-killer for the multi-national corporations that currently control the Congress….which will….oh, never mind.   Don’t try and think it through too much, you’ll just get a headache.   The Trumpster will take care of it all.   Have a little faith in the art of the deal.  He’s the smartest man and the best deal maker that ever was, haven’t you heard?  The bestest and the smartest and the handsomest too.  What a guy.

He’s endowed with super-hearing, you know.   It’s a given as he’s the only man in America who heard groups of Arabs cheering when the twin towers came down.

And you can be sure, because  he’s the Donald, that the House and Senate will worship at his golden-toed feet, giving automatic approval to everything and anything he wants.

Take another pill and don’t worry about it, America!   Listen to the siren call of Trump and his Trumpettes, as they carry you away into the land of under-regulated free trade and Wall Street greed….sleep…..sleep.

And so I do hereby surrender to the fantastic, wonderful and magical world of Donald Trump and his followers.    I’m ready to make Amerika great again!    Er,  America, I mean.  To move forward with Mr. Trump’s bold and beautiful vision, whatever that may eventually be.

Oh wait.   Trump has just said that he’s changed his mind.  That he’ll leave Social Scurity and Medicare alone.   See, isn’t this exciting?  So much better than the utter boredom of reality-based politics.

To Be Honest About It…

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To be honest, I wish politicians and pundits alike would stop using the phrase “to be honest.”    Honest to God, I wish they would.  Honestly.   When I hear that phrase my first thought is that the person using it is not going to be honest at all.   That it’s probably coming from someone who might be a pathological liar and is trying to cloak his or her falsehood with a statement of their commitiment to sincerity.

And that’s my honest opinion.   Honestly, It really is.

At this point I should probably say something about the Trump rally and punches thrown, comparing it to Chicago in 68 and whatnot.   It’s a comparison I have a hard time making, as the motivational factors then and now require a high degree of pretzel logic to tie together.    Lennon and McCartney may have summed it up best, providing a rare moment of clarity with the words, “I am the egg man, they are the egg men. I am the walrus, coo coo cachoo.”

Makes perfect sense to me.  To  be honest though, and I try to be as honest as possible,  the whole Trump “phenomenon” is getting to be more than a bit of a bore.  He has only a slice of the elecorate, including but not liited to, swamp dwelling duck hunters in the deep south, survivalists, various white supremacists, truck drivin’, hard drinkin’ urban cowboys and such.

Before long we’ll be at that critical nexis where the many will tell the few who are screaming at one  another and throwing punches to go home and start behaving themselves.   That would be the  general election.   Until then we’ll all have to soldier on together, embarrassed at revealing our  underdeveloped nature to a world community that frequently looks to us to set an example – which Donald Trump has done by turning our political process into his own brand of zany ratings-getter, combining all the best  features of professional wrestling with phony reality show antics.

What the hell?   It’s only entertainment, right?

We should be  so much better than this.  Most of us, I think, are.  Honestly.   Anyway, it’s nothing new.   As Alexander Hamilton said to Thomas Jefferson, “Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!”  

I have seen the beast, and he is us.   At least some of us.  A gang of screamers, who delight in an authoritarian mindset leading them down a path  where history teaches no one should go.  The wild-eyed mob, throwing punches and spewing foam before going back to their corners and waiting for the next Donald Trump to come along, whipping them into another frightening thoughtless frenzy before grace arrives, once again pulling us back from the brink.

Honestly.

Dear Keith Olbermann. All Is Forgiven. Please Come Home.

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Keith Olbermann, where have you gone?    Are you off doing the sports thing again?   What a waste.

I just read a piece by Keith in the Washington Post, announcing that he can’t take it anymore – that he’s moving out of the Trump-owned building he’s called home for the past several years in New York.

The void created by the absence of both Olbermann and Jon Stewart (as well as HST, RIP), is horrendous.   Losing one or the other would be bad enough, but with people like Trump out there spewing venom and the Clinton machine doing God knows what to whom, losing both these beacons of political insight and truth-telling is a blow we may not be able to weather.

Well, we’ll probably get through it.   Somehow.   However,  we’d be  far better off with at least one of these guys providing us with their insights and personal perspective.

Apparently Stewart has had enough and won’t be coming back.  In the simple interest of promoting the truth will somebody please give Keith another show and just let him speak his mind?    Just suck it up and give him a show.  In this age of carefully guarded comments an audience is all but guaranteed.

For the truth.   Remember the truth?

Until then, goodnight and good luck.   We’re gonna need it.

The Clinton Foundation – Out To Buy The Primary?

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I’m still trying to get my head around this one.  It’s not easy.   It appears the Clinton machine is using the Clinton Global Initiative to buy votes in Michigan.   With other people’s money.

It was announced at the very end of last night’s Democratic debate on CNN.   So late in the process that it was almost an afterthought, with no time for discussion,  that a union pension fund had agreed to float a loan of $25 million to Flint, Michigan, to help rebuild that city’s devastated water delivery system.  On the surface it sounded really good, as though the unions were coming through for America after state and federal governments had failed, leaving Flint’s kids ingesting lead-laced water.  However, what they didn’t announce on tv is that the deal between the pension fund and the City of Flint, was, according to CNN, put together by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Just two days before Hillary Clinton faces off with Bernie Sanders in the Michigan Primary.   Imagine that.

What will the Clintons do next?   Turns out they’ve already done it.   Just weeks ago, in February, the Clinton Global Initiative engineered a program making it easier for the people of Detroit to get a home mortgage.

How can you criticize an organization like the Global Initiative for wanting to do something to help Americans who are hurting?  You can’t really,  unless it’s is being used to help Hillary win the prmary, coming in the back door, buying votes under the guise of goodwill.

Who’s to say the Global Initiative wouldn’t have done all these things for Flint and Detroit, even if Hillary Clinton weren’t running for president?   What do you think?

I think that if my union wrote a huge check from my pension fund to a city that was going bust, I’d be livid.   Particularly so, at a time when Republicans in the Congress are blocking an effort to get federal dollars out to the people of Flint.

The “Party of No” continues it’s dirty deeds, turning Flint into Katrina II, outdone only by the Clinton political machine which, it appears,  is using its foundation to try and buy a primary.

Did The Media Torpedo Bernie Sander’s Campaign?

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The various media mavens continue to imply or state directly that there is no way Bernie Sanders can possibly win the Democratic nomination.   But what if he does?  Or is there a point at which media proclamations become self-fulfilling prophecies making a Sander’s win all but impossible?

If the  race is eventually narrowed down to Trump v. Clinton, who will have made it happen?

To what degree has the media’s love affair with Donald Trump, because Mr. Trump garners ratings, boosted his bid for the Republican nomination, and to what degree has the media’s ongoing insitence that Bernie Sanders has been and continues to be nothing but a joke, torpedoed his campaign?

As objective journalism has been replaced by punditry and campaign “surrogates,” who really decides these elections and what if anything should be done about it?

Bernie Sanders is the candidate who first voiced concern that the political process has been bought off and totally corrupted by big-money interests, which may be at the heart of the question of why the American political process is so badly broken.  It’s a question that should be the one overriding issue for this election because, as Sanders has argued, until we get the big money out of politics, poilitics will be dominated by big money.   The oligarchs, will have succeeded.  American democracy will be dead.

That probably won’t happen though.  The problem of whether America has been turned into an oligarchy will probably just fade away with Bernie Sanders, who, according to the mainstream media, has no chance  at all of winning.

Back in the day when newspapers mattered it was axiomatic that “you don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.”   The new truth might be “don’t even think about running unless the electronic media thinks you can  win.”   Even if they’re wrong.

Don’t give up on Bernie, though.   Not unless you are willing to give in to those who would destroy our democracy in favor of minority rule by a handful of billionaires and multi-national corporations.   Which is pretty much where we now are.

Hats, Caps, Podiums And The Donald’s Tiny Hands

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This is no big thing.   Not about the Donald’s hands really.  I just put that in the title to attract more readers although there is a connection to last night’s Republican debate.   Which I did not watch.   Couldn’t handle it.  Instead, I read about it this morning.   Some of what I read referred to the candidates heading “to their podiums. ”   I think not.

Merriam Webster defines “podium” as “a raised platform for a speaker, performer, or the leader of an orchestra.”   Ergo, the candidates were heading up to the podium where they each had a lectern.   The dictionary tells us that the lecterns is, “a stand that holds a book, notes, etc., for someone who is reading, speaking, or teaching.” 

The candidates were heading up to their lecterns on the podium.  And again, it’s no big thing.   I’m just really tired of reporters getting this wrong.

While I’m grousing, those are not “hats” that the Donald is throwing out into the crowd, they are “caps.”   They used to be anyway, before our new lexicon-lazy culture destroyed the distinction between hats and what used to be called “baseball caps.” Because that’s what they are.   They are not hats.   They are baseball caps.  Or caps.

Taking a deep breath now and diving deep into the waters of political incorrectness, did anyone else out there get the irony in Mitt Romney saying that the Donald “gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a  lousy hat?”   Mormon Freudian slip?  Ooops?

If you don’t get it, the Mormon faith has some very heavy hat history which Mr. Romney would have avoided altogether if only he had called a cap, a cap.   See how this usage stuff can sneak up on you?

It probably doesn’t matter.  I know my “old school” is showing and I admit to  being far from perfect but perhaps an old school is better than no school?

The Stupification Of Chris Christie And Why Hillary Keeps Grinning From Ear To Ear

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A couple of thoughts on Stupor Tuesday.   Chris Christie, was clearly stupified, apparently having an out-of-body experience as he stood behind the Donald, staring blindly into space, deer in the headlights style,  possibly wondering what in the world he had done with his endorsement for Trump as the Republican Party continued to come apart at the seams and the Donald continued blathering on.

However, last night it seemed at least that Mr. Trump was making an attempt to appear less authoritarian and downright childish, and more presidential.  Somebody must have told him that he won’t be able to carry the general election with nothing more than bigots whose heads are stuck in the 1940’s.   Or maybe he can, in which case we have an even bigger problem than the possible election of Donald Trump.

Hillary, is getting to be downright scary.   She frightens me, wearing those suits that make her look like a palace guard for the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz.  All she needs is a big fur hat.  And good God, I wish she would stop  shouting.   Somebody needs to tell her about the advantages of microphones and electronic amplification.

There’s also the fact, for anyone who cares to look at it objectively, that HRC hijacked Bernie Sanders platform.   Positions Bernie has held for years, Hillary Clinton has just recently adopted as her own.   Clever move by the Clinton machine.   How can Bernie atttack an opponent who has adopted (stolen) his long-held policy positions?   Not that we should expect them to stick and be carried forward if Clinton wins the election.   It’s all about winning, don’t you know?

Then there are the ongoing analyses from people supposedly in the know who say that despite four wins and a near-tie in Mass on Stupor Tuesday, Bernie Sanders can’t possibly win the Democratic nomination because the so-called “superdelegates” are in Hillary’s corner, and it is numerically impossible for Sanders to pull this thing out with all those anointed and appointed superdelegates standing in his way.

Okay, if that’s true, and if the DNC has stacked the deck in Hillary’s favor (which it appears they have, although listening to the analysts is at times like watching the prosecution trying to explain the DNA evidence at the OJ trial) and there’s no way Bernie can win in spite of the delegates he picks up in the states, then the process is a lie.

The fix is in.  Just one more fix in a system that is increasingly fixed in favor of a few insiders and against the American people and Democracy.    And why Hillary Clinton keeps grinning ear to ear.   She has a lock on the primary thanks to her friends at the top of the DNC.

The Democratic Party is a lie and the Republican Party is fractionated, possibly beyond repair.   And the water in Flint, is still undrinkable.   And that’s the way it is here in the land of Oz.

The Misguided African American Vote

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David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has endorsed Donald Trump for president.   In a live, Sunday morning interview, Trump refused to disavow the endorsement, or the support of the KKK.   He said he doesn’t know enough about Duke to make a decision.   He refused to answer the question of whether he would accept the support of the KKK.   Rather than provide an answer, he talked around the question, a techinique he often uses.  What utter nonsense.

At the same time, older black Americans continue to support Hillary Clinton at the polls.   There are indications that Trump has a good chance of beating Clinton in the general election.   Some of those same polls indicate Bernie Sanders can easily beat Trump.   A poll just released by CNN shows “Trump and Clinton pulling away.”

It is perhaps one of the ultimate ironies, that in their support for Hillary Clinton, African Americans may be shoring up the presidency of Donald Trump, a man who has openly refused to deny the support of the Ku Klux Klan.

And The Winner Is…

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For those of you keeping score,  Academy Award winning producer/director, Spike Lee, has joined the list of prominent African-Americans endorsing Bernie Sanders.   National Medal of Arts recipient and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte has also endorsed Sanders.   So has actor,  political activist and recipient of multiple NAACP Image awards, Danny Glover, along with former NAACP President,  Ben Jealous, and former MLK “lieutenant,” Rev. Harold Middlebrook.        

NBA hall of fame great, Kareem Abdul-Jubbar has thrown his sizeable persona behind Bernie Sanders run, as has rap atist, “Killer Mike.”

The candidate acknowledges that he has a lack of identity problem in the black community.   One wonders how much impact these endorsements will have, or more importantly for Sanders, if there is enough time left in the primary cycle for word of these high-profile endorsements to get out with a media, which for months, regarded Hillary Clinton as a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination and treated Sanders like a joke.

Watching some of the pundits one continues to be left with the feeling that they are pulling for HRC, possibly to fulfill an ego-driven need to convince themselves that they were right all along, even while the Sanders/Clinton contest grew closer.

I was shocked at how little was made of the endorsement by Mr. Belafonte,  for example.   A living legend, who was mentioned and then quickly forgotten by the pundits who went on for days about HRC’s endorsement by  Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.   Yes, he too is a living legend.   But so is Belafonte.   And Spike Lee, for that matter.

So much was made of a statement by John Lewis, that he didn’t remember seeing Bernie Sanders in the south back in the 60’s.   Why would he?   Sanders was a student at the University of Chicago, where he was arrested in the battle for civil rights.   Sanders, has a significant record in the fight for civil rights.   Congressman Lewis needs to learn more about it.

The mainstream media is coming around but I continue to have an uneasy feeling of anti-Sanders bias.    It could be that he’s an admitted “Democratic Socialist.”   The feeling that anyone who admits to believing in anything that relates to our “common good”  or “general welfare” has the ring of being somehow incorrect to those who have no idea what exactly it means, apart from being far too “European” for the United States.   As though we, with our well-known American exceptionalism could possibly have anything to learn from the Europeans?

Are there lessons for us in the ruins of the Roman Forum and the once-occupied streets of Paris or the cultural values of the Scandinavians?   Even the suggestion brings down a chorus of condemnation from those with narrow minds and limited perspective filled with a fear of change.  Many of those same voices that oppose subsidized higher education, universal healthcare and improved relations with Iran.

Betting On Hillary Beating Trump? You Might Get Burned

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An argument can be made (and it is) for Donald Trump having a more difficult time beating Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton.  There are Hillary’s ties to Wall Street, her traditionally more centrist-Republican-like positions (before she stole much of Sander’s platform), and even Trump’s contribution to her fund.  Or her husband’s fund?  Whose fund is it?  It has her name on it, right?

In May the Daily Mail reported, “Bill and Hillary Clinton have personally tried to shake Donald Trump’s money tree for large donations to their family foundation, according to the real estate billionaire.  He told Daily Mail Online on Thursday during a New Hampshire campaign swing that he has given a six-figure total to the controversial philanthropy over the years, in response to the former first couple pestering him for contributions.  Trump said that unlike foreign governments and companies at the center of a Clinton scandal, he never received any special government favors for his money and was never promised anything.  ‘No,’ he said. ‘No. But they do kiss my *ss.'”

Thank that’ll be a problem?

Some are pulling for Trump to get the Republican nomination, because they think he’s so far out there, that he’ll get clobbered in the general election.  Maybe not.  Not if the Dems choose HRC as their candidate.   If you’re pulling for Trump to win the  nomination because you think he’s too wacky to win, then you’d better back Bernie, or you might really get burned.    This is a particularly discouraging possibility for me, as I see the DNC doing all it can to block Bernie, be it through their original stonewalling on the number of debates to limit Sander’s exposure, or their “superdelegates,” who will have the power to throw the election to HRC, if the delegate count is close once the polling stops.

 

Isn’t it the least bit peculiar that the DNC apparently stands in opposition to the democratic process?  Would love to hear Wasserman Schultz explain that one away.    David Gergen, has argued that some kind of “peer review” can be helpful or even necessary for the process.  I couldn’t disagree more.   Either you have a democratic process or you don’t.   Right now, the Democratic Party, does not.  And it’s shameful.  There’s nothing super about “superdelegates.”   Come on Democrats, clean up your act.

The Feds Can’t Crack An iPhone?

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And now comes the big iPhone hacking controversy.   I find it terribly curious and even funny that the FBI and presumably even the recently formed NSA can’t get into an iPhone without Apple’s help.   It would be funny, except that – according to our newest unimpeachable source, Wikipedia – the monolithic National Securty Agency, which that brilliant tactician and critical thinker, George W. Bush put together in his big push for smaller government,  has an estimated annual budget of $10.8 billion.

And they can’t get into an iPhone?    Or maybe they’re unhappy with the FBI and just don’t want to share their resources?   Or maybe hacking into terrorist’s cellphones isn’t their thing?   Or pherhaps Apple is just that good and the federal government is really that bad?

If the United States Government can’t get into an iPhone,  if their radar-equipped blimps, which apparently don’t work anyway despite costing billions,  float away and need to be shot down by local law enforcement before they crash into houses, just how safe are we?

According to one report, local cops used shotguns to bring down the wayward JLENS blimp before it floated away and did any more damage.   How analogue is that?    The Baltimore Sun reports that “After 17 years of research and $2.7 billion in funding, the system has been hobbled by defective software, poor reliability and vulnerability to bad weather.”

It seems strange that with all the technology at our command, be it satellites and ground-based or naval radar, the best our government can do to protect the east coast from incoming threats is to revert to putting blimps in the air, a defense technique that dates back to at least 1908?   A system that failed to detect a protester flying into DC airspace on a gyrocopter?

Is it possible that some things simply cannot be anticipated and therefore defended against, unless we all go live in a cave?

The problem now you see, is that the government had better get those blimps back up in the air, because if they don’t, and if there’s another attack on the east coast, those who supported the program will surely condemn those who did not, and will cry out loudly that “if only we had our blimps up there this woudn’t have happened!” 

So go ahead honorable members of Congress, cover your  backsides and  provide more funding for the failed blimps.   While you’re at it, maybe you can come up with enough money to build a better biplane?

Going For The Whole Political Pie

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It’s interesting to watch the foreign press try and explain away American  politics.    The Guardian today is running two pieces that caught my attention, one entitled “The phony In American politics – How voters turn into suckers.”   The other is “Bernie Sanders / 10 reasons why voters are turning to the Democratic candidate.”

Yes, our campaign seasons are far too long.   Yes, something must be done to control campaign contributions.   And yes, much of our public is poorly informed.  If we have a common failure, it’s that many of us seem to vote with our hearts instead of our heads, that more than ever before we tend to read and listen to those who  agree with our personal biases, which is bad.  No question about it.  But there’s something else.

In the U.S.,  it isn’t enough to go for the whole pie or even one slice.   Here, you have to go after the whole damn bakery.   If you do, you might end up getting a fraction of a slice.    Maybe an eighth of a slice if you’re lucky.   Or possibly nothing at all.

Consider President Obama, elected for eight years but getting only two for effective governance before being stonewalled by an increasingly intransigent and hopelessly deadlocked Neocon-influenced and shrinking but well financed Republican Party as the ineffectivness of our two party system becomes ever more apparent while the government is bought out from under our very feet.

If someone has a solution to that one, I’d love to hear it.   Oh wait.   Fixing that very problem is at the heart of Bernie Sanders platform, isn’t it?   Another of Bernie’s positions HRC recently adpoted in an attempt to make her campaign seem more progressive  than it really is.  Never mind.  (With thanks to Emily Litella)

Bernie Sanders – The Little Engine That Could

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Hillary Clinton, should have blown Bernie Sander’s campaign train right off the tracks.   Didn’t happen.  Instead, she beat herself up trying to win the state of Iowa, and ended up in a virtual tie with a candidate who just months ago was down more than 30 points.

According to “Politico,” Sanders drew 84% of the vote of caucus-goers under the age of 30.   If that holds, and if the kids, many of them motivated by the crushing cost of higher education and an absence of decent jobs once they earn their degrees, turn out in significant numbers, then this is going to be very interesting – beyond the hills, hollers and evangelical backwoods vote of South Carolina and those who put their trust in emotionally-charged blind faith rather than the issue-oriented reality of what actually is.

Wasn’t it wonderful to see the cable news channels obessing about something other than ISIS, Boko Haram and the gospel of fear?    Some months ago,  a friend posted a note on Facebook, claiming that any American is more likely to die from being hit by a falling branch, than at the hands of a terrorist.  He’s a solid journalist, so I think it’s probably true.  Of course, that kind of balanced thinking wouldn’t drive the ratings like fear-based rhetoric does.   What a relief to have the political process wash away all that fear, if only for a while.

As for the Donald, I’m no David Brooks fan, but Mr. Brooks wrote a wonderfu piece in today’s NY Times, reminding his readers of Trump’s background in professional wrestling.  Brooks’ contention is that Trump has simply taken the verbal abuse technique used by wrestlers and applied it to the political arena.  He may be right.  He also contends, that “Donald Trump, isn’t real.”  He may be right about that too.

The thing about Bernie Sanders, is that he’s the real deal.   The genuine article, who came from so far back in the pack that he was barely even visible on the horizon.    And now he’s nose-to-nose with the Clinton Machine and her good friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

After being discounted for months by both the Democratic Party and the pundits, Bernie Sanders has arrived, and he’s sounding more and more like FDR.  I see it as cause for hope.   A shot at a new day for America, trending towards egalitarianism and away from the neo-feudalism the Republican heirarchy so badly wants.

The more America gets to know Bernie Sanders, the more his support is likely to grow.  At the very least, it is going to be a very interesting contest.