The Debate Continues

I hate to write about the same thing three blogs in a row but everybody’s still talking about it. And deservedly so.
Sure, it’s not as important an issue as global warming, or raising the minimum wage, or ending college and medical debt, or giving everybody free health care and free college, or closing all the private prisons, or legalizing marijuana, or creating jobs, or getting big money out of politics, but all of those things will be affected by the outcome of this controversy, so there you go.
I saw comments from a few people today to the effect that we should just put this behind us, that we are being divisive and all our arguing only hurts the progressive cause. But, apparently, this has not yet been argued out, and without a resolution, it will hover over the nomination process like a dark cloud, like a malignant wart, like a shameful secret that everybody knows about but no one wants to say.
Elizabeth Warren said the things she said, and we need to talk about it until things are resolved, preferably by her withdrawing her name from candidacy. An apology would be good, too, but unless it’s accompanied by her dropping out of the race, we could be pretty certain of its insincerity.

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Warren Digs Deeper

I was as surprised as anybody to find out that there was audio of what was said between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders after the debate. I figured if we didn’t hear it at the time, it means the microphones were turned off so nobody was close enough to hear the conversation except Elizabeth, Bernie, and Tom Steyer, who was trying to hang with the cool kids. Which is generally an acceptable thing to do, when you have billions of dollars.

But no, now there is audio of the infamous conversation, the confrontation when Elizabeth Warren refused to shake Bernie’s hand, and we don’t just have to guess about their body language and try to read their lips.
“I believe you just called me a liar on National TV” she said.
“Let’s not talk about this right now,” Bernie said. “You called ME a liar. But never mind. I’m outta here.”
At that point Tom Steyer stepped in, just to say hello to Bernie and shake his hand, and Elizabeth walked away.
Looking at the comments sections under the various articles and tweets, there are several people questioning the veracity of the tape, but I can’t take that very seriously. You hear a spliced tape, it sounds like Stephen Hawking. Either technology has taken a giant leap forward and nobody’s told us about it (possible -think of the explosions that brought down building 7) or it’s real. Occam’s Razor says real. A knowledge of both candidates personalities says it’s real. Reality matches their body language.
There are also lots of people blaming CNN for starting and perpetuating the feud, and maybe they aren’t completely wrong, but Warren has not, despite what she said, tried to de-escalate. That post debate confrontation was no more de-escalating than Pearl Harbor. With or without audio.
There are also Warren supporters, saying “I believe Warren” and not much else, so it’s a soundbite, with zero evidence, and comes from women who believe you should always believe the woman, because men do harass women and sexism and rape both exist. I can understand why these women distrust and hate all men, but they are completely wrong. Of all the candidates on that stage, Bernie was by far the most feminist.
Like so many events in current politics, this will be spun in a dozen different ways and people will choose the way that best suits them and go with it.
My take:
Bernie will survive, and goes into Iowa with a great deal of momentum.
Elizabeth Warren is finished, but may limp along even until Super Tuesday.
Although Bernie sounded kind of dismissive, Tom Steyer may have just got himself a cabinet position

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The Missing Handshake

The usual disclaimer: Did not stay up until 3 in the morning to watch the debate. This blog is just based on news accounts of the debate

Two big losers from last night’s debate, as I see it, and that’s not counting CNN, who I didn’t really have any expectations of fairness from. Elizabeth Warren, of course. If it comes down to a he said/she said (and it does), then Bernie, with his impeccable record of honesty and consistency as well as his long and noteworthy record of fighting for equal rights for women, wins. Elizabeth Warren, deserved or not, is noted for dishonesty and inconsistency.
But the capper was her refusal to shake his hand. That was just plain rude.
The other big loser, IMO, was Trevor Noah. I was just coming around to liking him. After all, he’s a comedian, he’s expected to make jokes. And when he’s telling stories of his life I find him very human and relatable. So, I’d kind of forgiven him for his earlier attacks on Bernie. O.K., he was a bit obsessive about the old man jokes, but they were jokes. Right? Well, now I’m back to thinking he’s a slimy, corporate owned attack comedian. Laughing like crazy about the ‘low energy’ of a video of Bernie backing out of his driveway. Admittedly, not the greatest Bern video ever, those show him saying beautiful things to huge crowds of adoring people, but it did show two things: Bernie lives in a normal house, and drives a normal car.
Then, he jokes about how you can’t believe the video of him saying a woman could be elected president was really from 1989 because he looks the same. Oh, that joke never gets old. (I am being sarcastic. That joke is so old it smells bad)
Last night’s big winner? Of course I’m going to say Sanders. I clicked on a couple of online polls this morning, which are, admittedly, not reliable polls, but…the DailyKos poll, which tends to go for centrist candidates, had Bernie with over 50%. And another one, Heavy.com, showed Bernie at near 80%. Obviously, I thought, this is from a Bernie group. But I read the accompanying article, and the winner of their poll last month was Andrew Yang. The takeaway? Eventually, Bernie’s going to wind up inheriting almost all of Yang’s support.

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Warren Fucks Up Big Time

Once upon a time a person’s political career could be damaged, even ended, by the simplest of things; misspelling a common vegetable, looking at your watch during a debate, a stray tear after an emotional question, a roar of enthusiasm that came across sounding a bit dorky…
Not any more, apparently. Now, you can call your constituents fat and tell them they should vote for somebody else, you can totally make up endorsements, you can vote against everything your constituents want and nothing happens.
So, I don’t expect Elizabeth Warren’s latest examples of fake outrage and an outright lie to push her out of the race. On the other hand, since she’s slipping in the polls anyway, this isn’t going to help her any.
Especially since it was two incidents in one day. First, she took umbrage at the perceived fact that Bernie’s canvassers in Iowa were instructed to say “I like Warren, she’s my second choice, but since all her voters are white and college educated she brings no one new into the party.” On the one hand, I don’t see what’s so bad about saying that because it’s true.
On the other and far more important hand the whole story turned out not to be true. One canvasser posted something like that to a Bernie site and it was taken down almost immediately. So, she grabbed at something without any substance, and even that something was non-existent.

An embarrassing screw-up, but nothing totally disqualifying, I suppose.

Then, a story came out – from unnamed ‘sources’ but they were Warren staffers, that Bernie had told Warren (a couple of years ago) that he didn’t think a woman could get elected president. That is bad. That is not the kind of thing Bernie would say at all, and he says he didn’t.
So, while Warren can just say she wasn’t the source of the story, she was involved in the conversation and could admit it never happened and apologize on behalf of her overzealous staffers. Or not, because she’s desperate for anything that will help her do well in Iowa.
I hope this backfires on her big time. But I’m not holding my breath.

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"Agressive" Tactics

This is a bit tangential to my main point, but this morning I was starting to get a bit paranoid as every time I typed Bernie Sanders into Google, I kept getting the most anti-Bernie sites popping up, like the Wall St. Journal and Fox News and shit, so I tried DuckDuckGo and I think it was a bit of an improvement.
Admittedly, the experiment is not terribly scientific, less than a day old, and subject to some level of confirmation bias, but I’ll try it for a while and see how it goes.

Now to my main subject. I’ve seen a few articles saying “Bernie has a new strategy,” and “the gloves are off” which I kind of like because it sounds feisty and all and I’m all about negativity when it comes to candidates I don’t like, but it’s not really happening like that.
Bernie is still focusing on his own, very positive message and even when he lists all the bad things Joe Biden has ever voted for and says that Trump will eat his lunch, he prefaces his comments with “I like Joe, I really do, he’s a friend of mine.” It’s never a personal attack and it’s not Bernie’s fault if Biden’s record is atrocious. It’s not Bernie’s fault that Liz Warren is a corporatist tool who has financial relations/family ties with the for-profit health industry. It’s not Bernie’s fault if Pete Buttigieg has no political experience other than being the racist mayor of a mid-sized Indiana town.
Bernie tries to keep friendly with all of them. Even Andrew Yang, whose views are actually closer to Rand Paul’s than they are to anybody in the Democratic Party. Bernie said to him “I’m glad you’re in the primary, you bring some good ideas.”
Bernie is a stand up guy. He has always run a fair and decent campaign, and he is continuing to do so.

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Harry and Meghan. So?

Much has been made about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from the spotlight a bit, maybe hide out somewhere in North America for a while, and try to not be so royal. Some people are calling it Megxit. Much has been made of it by the Queen, for sure, who’s summoned a big family meeting about how they’re going to deal with this going forward. She’s a bit hacked off, reportedly, that they made the announcement on social media first.
I don’t really care what the royals do. (which may seem a bit ironic, because I’m writing a blog about how much I don’t care about this issue, but there you have it) I don’t care what the royals do, but that was maybe a bit much. It’s like announcing online that you’ve got a new job, or are moving house, or are really sick of your mother breathing down your neck all the time, and then she reads it and gets all mad because you didn’t talk to her first, but really she’s just mad because you are a heartless son who doesn’t care about her at all.
But, really, it’s no big deal. They did say they’d always support the Queen, and charitable causes, and England and such. And Harry is nowhere near succession to the throne. I think he’s like 5th or 6th in line.
So, go forth into the real world, Harry and Meghan. Have a good time. I wish you all the luck in the world.

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AOC to DCCC: Fuck Off

Just read an article from the National Review (dot com) about how Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is refusing to pay her ‘dues’ to the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) which they say amounts to $250,000.
Where is this $250,000 supposed to come from? Out of her congressional salary which is 174,000 per year? That would be a bit harsh. Is every congressperson expected to pay the same dues? If so, that would be well over 50 million dollars. Do governors, and state congresspeople have to pay dues? Must add up to a hell of a war chest, which the DCCC could just sit on until the general election, instead of trying to support one Democratic candidate over another, and we’d all be better off.
The answers to these, and many other questions, are not in the National Review article, which is just interested in ‘Democratic Leadership and AOC hate each other,’ which is what drives readership. Everybody loves to watch a fight.
My greatest question is why do the DCCC (and the DNC) insist on getting involved in the primaries, which are theoretically made up of Democratic candidates vying with each other to see who would be the best candidate to run in the general election. And the best way to choose the strongest candidate is to have an open, fair election.
The DCCC should just shut up and, perhaps, cease to exist. For the good of the party.

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