The Impeachment Begins

I guess the impeachment began today, or at least the hearings of the investigation to decide whether to have an impeachment or not began, but it’s the same thing. From what I’ve heard, the most exciting event of the day was that a drag queen from New Jersey was in attendance.

That’s O.K. The important thing is that it has begun. There will be hearing every day for a while, and on some of those days things will leak out that will lead to other things that will lead to other things, and on other days there will be a lot of people saying “I don’t recall” 56 times in a row and that doesn’t look very good, either.
And, on some of those days, Trump supporters in the House and Senate will say “That’s it, the bozo crossed the line that time, I’m out” and another pundit will suddenly turn on him, and this will have a cumulative effect because there won’t be any turning the other way.
Of course, it will be the Ukrainian thing highlighted in the hearings, and in the news, for now, and that’s not bad. He’s guilty as sin and the extra added bonus is that it shines a light on Biden’s corruption as well.
There are dozens of other incidents and issues that should be highlighted as well, Ivanka’s exceptions to the tariffs, weekends at Mar a Lago paid for by the taxpayers, the connection between Anthony Kennedy’s resignation and forgiveness of Trump’s debt by Deutschebank, and his taxes, OMG I do hope they eventually get to his taxes.
But I’m not too bothered if it doesn’t happen in a hurry. The best thing that can happen for the Democrats is if they can drag this out until the middle of next summer and the Republicans will be forced to choose between backing someone who might get sacked in disgrace and then thrown in jail on state charges sometime in October, or pick another candidate.

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Support

I find it very unfair that Tulsi Gabbard gets so much criticism because a few right-wingers here and there have endorsed her. David Duke is the most notable of these. It is weird, because she’s not exactly pure white, and I suspect it’s just that she’s physically attractive (or else it’s deliberate shit-stirring on his part) but either way, it does not mean that Tulsi is a right winger, or condones those people.
On the other hand, I have noticed a tendency among Sanders supporters to reject any tainted support. The tl;dr version of this blog is that I think maybe we’re going a bit over the top. I love the purity of Sanders’ message, but politics is, indeed, messy.
Peter Daou is a former Hillary person who is now openly supportive of Bernie, and tweets brilliant tweets. A lot of Sanders supporters have trouble accepting this, and say things like ‘He’s still a piece of shit” which isn’t very nice, and certainly not very productive. If someone shows up late for the party, they should still be welcome to the party, especially if they bring wine.
You still see Sanders supporters talking shit about Sarah Silverman, which is, to use her own word, ridiculous. 2016 is over. This is the 2020 election.
And, I’ve seen plenty of skepticism on the left about Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian’s endorsement of Bernie. Lighten up, people. Watch their show, don’t watch their show, but an endorsement is an endorsement.
Today, in the news, there was a bit that actually came from the Sanders’ campaign. He’d been given a donation by a billionaire, and they (the campaign) sent the check back immediately.
On the one hand, the donation was only for $470 (no idea why she chose that amount), but it’s not the kind of billionaire donation that is an attempt to influence policy. Maybe she’s just a very rich lady who truly thinks Sanders is the best for the job. So, I kind of think the money should have been accepted. Yes, there is a class war going on. That doesn’t mean all billionaires are evil, that we shouldn’t ever try to deal with them as individuals.
Then I saw that she’d also donated to Harris and O’Rourke. O.K., that part I don’t understand, but it still doesn’t mean she expected any quid pro quo.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel Sanders is the best man for the job because he’s the candidate with the most comprehensive plan for saving the planet, with the best plan for creating jobs and eliminating homelessness. He’s the candidate who will work hardest for universal health care, legalize marijuana and close private prisons, clear student debt and make universities free, and much, much more.
And I agree with him that billionaires, by and large, are a blight on society. This is just a slight disagreement about tone and tactics.

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The Lithium War

I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions – Bernie Sanders

I agree totally, except that where Bernie says ‘appears to be a coup,’ he is being diplomatic. The Bolivian military forced Morales – the legally elected, left leaning president of Bolivia – to step down. That’s beyond ‘appears to be a coup.’ That’s a coup.
It’s depressing. It seems to be a done deal and there’s little anyone can do about it, although they say there will be another election. If it’s a fair one, it’s quite likely that Morales, or someone very like him, would win again, but the chances of it being fair are slight, if it even happens.
The reason for the coup, it seems, is lithium. Lithium ion batteries are used in mobile phones, and electric cars, and lithium is also used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. It’s fairly rare, and therefore expensive, and apparently Bolivia has a lot of it. Morales wanted to nationalize the industry, just like Mohammed Mosadegh wanted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry in 1953. The CIA sponsored coup against him then has led to all of the problems between the U.S. and Iran to this day.
Nationalization means that foreign corporations won’t get any of that money, and they aren’t standing still for that.
One person commenting on Facebook said “Are we actually going to have to kill all the rich people before we get justice in this world?” Unfortunately, it’s sure looking that way.

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One Weak Answer

I was a bit worried about Warren for a while. Kamala Harris’s campaign imploded as soon as Tulsi Gabbard put a spotlight on her atrocious record as California’s attorney general, and Biden says so much stupid stuff he’s like the DNC’s own version of Trump. But Warren has been gaining in the polls, and I’ve seen a lot of people I thought were progressive saying things like “well, maybe she’s not so bad” and, despite the fact that I consider her speaking style and her exaggerated gestures to be scripted and phony, clearly a lot of other people don’t view her that way.
So, I was getting nervous. Then, there was her answer to Amy Goodman’s question today at an ‘Environmental Justice Forum’ in South Carolina. The question was (and I’m not trying for exact words here) “Do you think because the first two states in the race are Iowa and New Hampshire, which are whiter than marshmallows in a snowstorm, and then you come down here to South Carolina, which is not, that the schedule should be changed.”
First, she interrupted the question with a joke, saying “You’re not going to try to make me criticize Iowa and New Hampshire, are you?” but when she tries to tell jokes, it reminds me of Hillary Clinton trying to tell jokes, and that is not a good thing.
Then, she said “You know, I’m just a player in the game, but I will say I’m very glad to be in South Carolina!”
Admittedly, I don’t particularly think the order is unfair, or a really big deal, but this was a softball question. Warren could have pivoted to the electoral college, which her base hates worse than Russians, and for the same reasons. Or she could have delivered a very noble speech about how white people and black people both need health care, about how parents in Iowa and in South Carolina want their children to go to better schools. Or she could have said “I don’t have an opinion on that. I’m more focused on policies than on politics. Blah blah blah, one person, one vote, 50 state campaign, and so on…” That would have been an O.K. answer, too.
But “I’m just a player in the game…” That would be lame even for an athlete in a post-game interview. Basically, she didn’t answer the question.
Of course, I don’t think this little Q and A spells the end for her campaign. I’ve seen it on Twitter, and on several Bernie pages, but it wasn’t a big deal unless you’re majorly partisan and it may not get picked up by the mainstream press at all.
But it does prove to me that she’s a lightweight, not adept enough as either politician or performer to pull this off.

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OK, OK Boomer

Very often on Facebook, particularly on the Bernie sites I frequent, you get somebody who takes it upon themselves to be the hall monitor, and they tell everybody “we should be nice to this group, or that group, and not say things like ‘you’re an ignorant fucking pile of shit, why don’t you go die in a fire’ and I can see their point. I even try to abide by it, generally, and I’m down to less than one or two ‘fuck you, asshole’ s per day, but it’s a struggle.
Just 2 minutes ago, somebody was admonishing everybody in Bernie world not to say “OK Boomer” because this would cause old people not to vote for Bernie because they would all be so insulted by the insidious ageist slur that they’ll probably go out and vote for Trump because they will be so hurt and alienated.
As a 65 year old man, right solid in the middle of the boomer generation, I can assure you, it’s really not that big a deal. We’re not likely to get shot by the police, so there’s no need for a ‘Boomers Lives Matter’ movement.
Boomer, by itself, isn’t even a derogatory term. It’s the name given to the generation born in the 20 years or so after WWII.
Also, it’s really hard to deny that this generation, my generation, has left the world in a pretty messed up state. I doubt we’re actually any worse, morally, than previous generations. Whatever generation the Spanish Inquisition was in, they were pretty bad, too. But, we’ve been a fuck-up generation with lots of powerful technology, to the point where we’ve endangered the species.
But, mostly: It’s just a joke. A meme. A funny slang phrase that’s going around. Nobody’s going to change their vote over it. Lighten up.

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The Limits of Money

The results of the off year election continue to trickle in, and are encouraging indeed. Kshama Sawant, who was behind in the polls, now seems destined to hang on to her Seattle City Council seat.
If this were just a left/right issue (she is very much on the left, an open socialist) I would still be happy, but since it is emblematic of a greater issue, I am ecstatic.
Her win means that money isn’t everything in politics. It has its limits.
Jeff Bezos, richest man in the world, worth nearly 200 billion dollars, really, really wanted to bring her down. He spent over a million dollars to support her opponent. Now, ‘over a million dollars’ may not sound like a lot, and to somebody like Jeff Bezos it is, indeed, pocket change. But for a city council seat election, it is a massive amount of money.
Bezos was not happy with Seattle raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because they’d like to pay their employees a lot less, and he was double unhappy with a per head employee tax of $275 (i.e. for every employee you have, you have to pay $275), which was meant to subsidize affordable housing.
Since I’m in favor of big corporations being taxed all over the place, until they’ve funded a utopian, green paradise where everybody lives happily ever after, I’m obviously on Kshama’s side.
But the real reason I am overjoyed with her win is that it shows there is a limit. If billionaires throw too much money into a campaign, at some point it becomes obvious and people start saying “Hey, wait a minute. Why are these evil, rich bastards spending so much money on this candidate, or this issue, or this party?”
And they’ll vote the other way. That is a beautiful thing.

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Bloomberg?

So, now they are talking about Michael Bloomberg entering the race on the Democratic side, which is a little bit ridiculous. When you start with approximately 30 candidates, and it’s whittled down to about 12 or so, it’s kind of ridiculous for anybody to jump in at that point. Technically legal, I suppose, but sneaky and unsportsmanlike. If he’s attended the earlier debates, he might have felt the wrath of Tulsi Gabbard, or had some scandals in his past exposed. Or, at any rate, his ideas would have been up for scrutiny.
What are his ideas, anyway? I’m not sure. He was mayor of New York City for a while, which gives him the experience and the credibility for the job, but he wasn’t a totally awesome and beloved mayor like Bernie Sanders. To be fair, I don’t think he was as universally hated by the black people of New York as Buttigieg is by the black people of South Bend, but I don’t know. I’m sure New Yorkers will weigh in with their opinions if he gets into the race.
The fact that he’s a billionaire doesn’t distinguish him. Even though Beto O’Rourke is out of the race, Tom Steyer is still in, so billionaire is not a unique qualification, and most Democratic voters don’t even see it as a plus.
The reason he’s considering a run is obvious. With Biden and Harris falling by the wayside, and Mayor Pete failing to pick up the slack, he probably figures there is room in the race for a “centrist” (i.e. conservative) Democrat. He is wrong.
The reason Biden and Harris and Buttigieg have failed, and the reason Liz Warren will eventually as well, is simply that they are not Bernie. Bloomberg isn’t Bernie either. Even though most Bernie supporters love Tulsi Gabbard as well, she is also not Bernie.
Nobody is Bernie except for Bernie, and Bernie is the one the people want.

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