The Widdershins

 

Blood, Sweat & Tears released Spinning Wheel in 1969.  Bernie Sanders climbed up on his painted pony last night and reprised the hit in a stunning redux of BS sans the T.

Have you seen Bernie?

Have you seen Bernie?

Bernie forgets that “revolution” also means spinning round and round in circles.  If, like BS&T, you have the benefit of proper psychedelic assistance, spinning becomes a beautiful thing.  In politics it’s not.

Radical revolution means tipping off your axis – creating havoc, losing your way, falling out of sync with your orbit.  With a well-meaning heart and eyes fully scrunched shut as he dreams of another day, radical spinning seems to be Bernie’s goal.

Bernie’s curmudgeonly naiveté seems hell-bent on destroying the Democratic Party for a generation, but why should he care – he only signed up three minutes ago.  After more than 20 campaigns where he deigned the Democrat label as somehow impugning his credibility, Bernie searched his soul, screwed up his courage, and bravely checked boxes on forms at the Federal Election Commission.  Voila he’s a Democrat.

This conjures several observations:

(1) Is Bernie a progressive or just a pragmatist borrowing a label for the sake of expediency?

(2) Could the pragmatism of checking the “Democrat boxes” on the F.E.C. forms have something to do with access to the DNC voter and contributor rolls for fundraising?

(3) Bernie Sanders’ behavior in demanding debates, their locations, and criticizing the DNC is like inviting a guest to dinner and having that guest criticize the timing, the food, and the place setting?  That is not a guest – that is the dinner party scene from Beetlejuice with someone who is possessed by something other than clear-headed thinking.

Funny, he looked like Larry David...

Funny, he looked like Larry David…

When it comes to the banking fubar, here are a few thoughts.  Bernie’s banking proposal is 4 pages long – a whole three pages more than one page.  Those four pages represent little more than a call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.  Great – that’s something anyone who has read a newspaper in the last seven years can smugly proclaim at a dinner party.

Would Glass-Steagall have stopped the 2008 crash?  No, not in the least.

Without going into detail, the 2008 crash was occasioned by the shadow banks – the money-market funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, and broker-dealers – that are one self-fulfilling panic away from causing another run on the banks.  Bernie’s call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall has not a thing to do with shadow banking.  Hillary’s plan, as endorsed by Paul Krugman and other reform-minded economists, does – it reins them in.

A few thoughts tangentially related to the banks regarding speaking fees.  First, hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech is hard to fathom for those of us who regularly go “change diving” in our sofa cushions.  Second, the egos of Wall Street CEOs, which happen to be slightly larger than Montana, require an ever-escalating competition with one another to land the biggest talking fish for paid speeches.  Don’t ask me why, but it is a weird zipper-less competition of my “speaker” is bigger than yours.

Why is the competition so fierce?  Because the competition doesn’t cost them a thing courtesy of tax loopholes allowing them to deduct every last cent of the fees.Greenspan

And one more thing I want to make crystalline:  I don’t care if I ever again hear Mrs. Alan Greenspan feign breathless, stunned stupefaction about speaking fees.  Someone, I don’t know who it will be, needs to call Andrea Mitchell out on the fact her husband has wallowed at the trough of speaking fees, even grunting and snorting for the shadow bank precipitating the 2008 crash:

Alan Greenspan, $250,000 per speech: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan has been able to bring in the bucks since retiring through giving speeches. Only a week after his retirement, Greenspan spoke at a Lehman Brothers dinner, earning himself $250,000.

Andrea Mitchell – suck it!  Since you drag Bill into every Hillary story as fair game, take your bileful Clinton hate and go crawl into bed with your quarter-million dollar talking prune who, by the way, repeatedly ignored the ever-increasing signs of the 2008 crash during his tenure.

One last thought about last night:  Bernie and his day-care tenders, a Tad Deviant (Tad Devine) and Jeff Weevil (Jeff Weaver) are strategically betting primary voters won’t care about foreign policy and the role of Commander-in-Chief.  No one knows who, or even if, Bernie has talked to anyone about foreign policy.  Even those who are supposedly Bernie’s advisors don’t know how their names got there.

“Apparently I had a conversation with him last August,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution Middle East scholar, after checking her calendar upon hearing that her name was on a list of people the Sanders campaign said he had consulted in recent months. “My vague recollection is that it was about [the Islamic State] but I don’t really remember any of the details.” Wittes added that she backs Clinton.

“I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations who says he spoke to Sanders once or twice about the Iran nuclear deal at Sanders’ request in mid-2015.

Vampire Squid (1)This is something of which I’m sure – Karl Rove, the Brothers Koch, and dozens of other billionaires funding the Right’s vampire squid of dark-monied creations do care about foreign policy.  Have no doubt; they are paying close attention to this primary.

Last night wasn’t about revolution.  It was about spinning the wheels deeper and deeper into the mud of political gridlock. Bernie’s angry outbursts will feed the dark-monied vampire squid through the fall election.  Be assured, we will hear his outbursts again.  But why would Bernie care – he won’t have to defend against them.  Hillary will.

 

Have a great Friday.  Feel free to take this conversation in any direction you might deem appropriate.  And if appropriateness doesn’t do it for you, just have fun.

 

Here are eight things I learned Monday evening.Iowa caucus 3

  1. People who are not Democrats love them some Bernie Sanders. Bernie won over two-thirds of Independents participating in the Iowa caucus.  Interestingly, he lost Democrats by a rather resounding 56% to 39%.  As a prelude to coming attractions:  Guess who cast over half the votes in the 2008 New Hampshire primary?  That’s right – Independents and ever-helpful Republicans who, as good Samaritans, want to assist their Democratic friends by selecting the most unelectable candidate.
  1. Forty-three percent (43%) of Iowa Democrats consider themselves to be Socialists. This statistic supports the rather unique proposition that Iowa is truly representative of what a non-representative cross-section of the Democratic Party looks like.  Accordingly, only 47% of all Americans (that’s Ds, Rs, Is, and everyone else) would even consider voting for a self-described Socialist candidate.  So much for the Socialist Republic of Iowa.
  1. Channeling Walter Mondale’s “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you.  I just did,” is not usually considered a masterful political stratagem.  Bernie’s braggadocio about raising everyone’s taxes isn’t a purity test.  It is dumb.  It reinforces every liberal stereotype.  It answers the prayers of Republicans.  Bernie is painting with a broad brush and he is smearing all Democrats with this meshugas.  It needs to stop.Bernie Sanders
  1. Hell hath no fury like an Obamabot scorned. It seems as if a vast majority of Berniebots are merely Obamabots whose warranty ran out.  It is amazing to watch the contortions, without anything resembling logic, these Berniebros put themselves through in order to try and square the circle of their support for Obama before he became the “Disappointer in Chief”.  A perfect example is Van Jones, a paid CNN talker, who is massively over-employed in a role where logic couldn’t have been a prerequisite for hiring.
  1. In yet another example of the idiocy in allowing Iowa to play the inaugural role in selecting nominees, minorities comprise only 9% of Iowa voters. Conversely, in the Democratic primaries as a whole, minorities will represent four in ten voters.  Unlike Independents, minority voters aren’t feeling the Bern.  In fact, Hillary won three-fifths of minority voters in Iowa while Bernie attracted less than a third.  Nationally, Hillary polls even better than this among minorities and in the delegate rich environment of larger states, minorities will play a much more important Hillary-friendly role.
  1. Marco Rubio seems to have studied the lessons of Dubya being appointed President. After months of polling in third place, clad in his ego-boosting boots and his overbite, Rubio marched out and declared himself to have overcome all the odds by securing – third place.  The originating genius of the “expectation mirage” is James A. Baker, who was tasked with being Dubya’s “manny and minder” during the 2000 election.  Baker declared Dubya President and began assembling a Cabinet.  He was also behind the great Brooks Brothers Riot in Dade County.  Rubio, or more likely someone babysitting Rubio, learned the lesson of expectations management quite well.
  1. Poor Jebra Bush ended up spending about $2,800 per vote. That’s a record and doesn’t count Super-Pac spending.Hillary in front of the flag
  1. And this is probably the most important lesson for Hillary supporters. When is a win not a win?  Answer:  When Hillary is the winner.  These were some of the headlines on Tuesday:

The New York Times: “Hillary Clinton Campaign, Unnerved by Iowa, Braces for New Hampshire”

The Washington Post: “Photo finish reveals shortcomings of candidate who once seemed invincible”

Politico: “How Iowa went wrong for Hillary Clinton”

CNN: “Did Hillary Clinton really win the Iowa caucuses?”

No one in the press seemed to remember, other than Dana Milbank, that the margin of victory for Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney was a scant 34 votes.  Rick Santorum and his sweater vest were treated as conquering heroes in the press.

This incredibly unfair double standard was never more evident than when Hillary made her statement and the talking heads immediately faulted her for claiming victory.  This criticism frothed while they admitted, “She didn’t explicitly say she had won.”  CDS has risen to new heights of illogical hallucinations.

This also brings me to this learning – something is “bad wrong” when watching MSNBC makes one want to turn the channel to Fox for less biased commentary.  MSNBC is again infected by and has surrendered to CDS.  Monday night MSNBC was Fox-lite when it came to Hillary prejudice and Bernie-gasma.

Unfortunately, these conditions are not going to get better in the short-term.  It will take another three weeks for things to right themselves.  Nevada’s Democratic primary is set for February 20th and South Carolina’s is set for one week later on February 27th.

Until then Widdershins – mind these lessons.  Enjoy your Wednesday and take this conversation in any direction you might like to explore.

 

 

Gooooood Monday, all! Can you believe it – the first votes of 2016 are FINALLY going to be cast today. This day has been 9 years in the making, Widdershins, and oh, how thankful I am that you’ve all been here with me, helping us all deal with the incessant ups, downs,Despite being on a plane half the day and working the other half (plus,) I will somehow make the time to obsessively check the results approximately 1,002,748 times, right along with all of you. Unfortunately, for those of us not in the Hawkeye state, it’s all we can do.

Or, maybe not! Here’s a list of things to do while waiting for the results of the caucus. Perhaps one of them will ease the ever-present anxiety prior to the publishing of the final tally.

  1. Read the latest polls. Most of us like the site 538, so here’s how things are shaping up today based on the most historically accurate poll in Iowa: Hillary wins by 3%. Der Trumperer wins by 5%. Yay, and ewwwwwww!
  2. Binge-watch that show you’ve been saving up for just such an emergency.  After hubby and I finished watching “The Wire” (Just. WOW!), we started on “The Blacklist.” The first season was $19.99 on Amazon, which equates to about $1/episode. 22 hours of insanely delightful “WTF” in delicious 48-minute bits.
  3. Try to understand what a caucus actually is. Perhaps you have grown up with the caucusing process, but as a woman who’s only lived in primary states, it doesn’t make all that much sense to me. If you are still a bit fuzzy on the details, here are a few pointers.
  4. Read this hopeful and fascinating article about feminism in the Washington Post. Long story short: feminism isn’t dead – it’s evolving, strengthening, and expanding.
  5. Google “Iowa” and watch/read random things about it, like this.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV7ZcVFSWWU
  6. Stop by TW and gnaw your nails here until things settle down.

However you choose to spend your time, I think today is going to work out the way we want it to – at least on the Democratic side. So I’m hopeful too, like Chatblu. May we all be celebrating tonight!

This is an open thread.

Good Saturday, Widdershins!  The Iowa caucus begins on Monday, thus beginning the dash to the nomination.   With any luck, we’ll get through the next four months or so and have a candidate we have waited for for eight long years.  We can hope, anyway.

With that I mind, I’ve created this post to honor songs of hope.  There are not a lot with “hope” in the title, but there are an abundance of great tunes that are hopeful in spirit, and I for one can use such a lift right now.  So post whichever songs fill you with hope, wonderment, or any other such feeling that will get you through the next three days, and onward to Iowa we go.

This is an otherwise open thread.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.  Emily Dickinson.

This is an open thread.  Chatblu.

(1) Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

(2) Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow – Fleetwood Mac

(3) I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

(4) Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

(5) Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows  – Leslie Gore

 

Good Friday morning Widdershins.Hillary Blue background

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust,

People are scared,

The GOP’s gone bust.

This was the prayer of commitment delivered as we watched the Republican Party cannibalize itself last night.  There is little wonder why the alarm bells are ringing in the ever diminishing circle of thinkers in this country.  People are finally realizing no matter who the Republicans nominate from this Rogues Gallery of Know-nothings, the result is the same – a future navigated through a rearview mirror.

The alarm is being sounded in editorials like the one in The Washington Post excoriating Bernie Sanders.  Here are just a few sentences:

Sen. Sanders is a politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it…Mr. Sanders is a lot like many other politicians. Strong ideological preferences guide his thinking, except when politics does…When reality is ideologically or politically inconvenient, he and his campaign talk around it. Mr. Sanders’s success so far does not show that the country is ready for a political revolution. It merely proves that many progressives like being told everything they want to hear.

Hard ChoicesThat last sentence, “[P]rogressives like being told everything they want to hear,” should send a shock wave to the subterranean crowd of keyboard jockeys.  If the tune sounds familiar, we last heard it in 2008 from the “hope and change” chorus as they lip-synced it to every song in the top 100.

The only discordant voice in that choir was Hillary’s.  She dared to be realistic.  She challenged that hopey/changey thinking with the words:

The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.  Maybe I’ve just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be.  You are not going to wave a magic wand to make special interests disappear.

Even now, Obama is conceding Hillary was right in 2008:

Obama, for all his political optimism, is on Clinton’s side of this debate. He doesn’t just seem frustrated by Sanders’s theory of political revolution — he seems, at times, regretful about the high expectations he created for liberals in 2008, and the fury with which his campaign assailed Clinton for the narrowness of her political vision.

So now the same organizations, run by the same young men swilling Red Bull, who maraud over the internet throwing keyboard tantrums, are again preaching pie-in-the-sky.  Doing the same thing over and over again doesn’t seem to indicate insanity to them, it is their only playbook.I'm on my way

To this I say, “Reality is the price you pay when the propofol runs out.”  We can ill-afford to be huffing fantasy juice when at least three seats on the Supreme Court are at risk.

Let’s do a quick reality check:  Where were the hopey/changey boyz in the 2010 or 2014 mid-terms?  This lack of attention, lack of enthusiasm, and laziness toward the hard work of politics has resulted in Republican control of the House.  This is due to gerrymandering courtesy of 32 Republican governors and 25 state legislatures fully controlled by Republicans.

There are 211 safe Republican House seats, just 7 short of a working majority.  Of these safe seats, only 16 were won by fewer than 10 percentage points.  Toss-up seats are an endangered species.

Hillary Campaign SignsWhat this means is simple – these safe Republicans don’t fear general elections — they only fear primaries!  The fear is that someone will run farther to their right and out “conservative” them in the primary.

When you place this lens on Bernie’s call for a political revolution, ask this one question:  Just how many Republicans are going to proclaim in a primary their new-found love for turning the nation into the United States of Sweden?

For those believing that force of personality can incite a political revolution, there is detox waiting.  This was the same stuff the Obamabots were trafficking in 2008.  Political reality had a little something to say about that.

Opinion leaders are beginning to understand what most of us around these parts have known for a decade or more:  While pragmatism doesn’t lend itself to fancy four-color stylized “Hope” posters, realistic pragmatism does have a concrete goal and a plan to get there.  As Hillary said to BLM activists:Bumper Sticker

I don’t believe you change hearts.  I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.

Hillary is the only person on both sides of this race who understands superior knowledge and diligence can be tools of power.  She is the only person certified in the operation of such power tools.  We would be fortunate to benefit from her craftsmanship.

Take this conversation in any direction you might like.  Enjoy your Friday.

 

 

 

 

Dear Bernie-bros:

These thoughts are my own.  I speak for no one else other than myself.  If these comments cause you to loosen your man buns, climb upon your trusty hoverboards, and descend upon us with your keyboards blazing, I apologize to our regular readers for the inconvenience.

My dude-a-licious friends, just let me know where I can go and I’ll gladly follow you to a more suitable environment for my gravatar water-boarding.  With that said…Camaro

1968 was a very good year.  There was the first generation Camaro.  There was the release of the song America on Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends album.  And there was a great northern migration of about 36,000 hippies to Vermont.

Bernie Sanders arrived in Vermont in 1968.  He’s currently using America in a very moving ad.  And if he was a car, he would be a Camaro.

The Camaro was a muscle concept car designed to appeal to a young, male demographic.  The Camaro had an allure kindling a lifelong attachment between car and owner.  That cachet was legendary until 2002 when Camaro production ceased.

Production resumed in 2010 and suddenly, for a whole new generation, the car was new again; and thus, an exemplar of Bernie Sanders.

Just as the Camaro, through some testosterone-fueled anthropomorphism, spoke to young men symbolizing their ideals, the brogressives are hearing an old idealized message being made new and shiny again through the Bernie megaphone.

Graphic on IncomeLet there be no doubt, it is a wonderful message – if, and only if, bitcoins grew like dandelions after a spring rain, insurance companies employed people with hearts, and all university admissions officers were trained unicorns.

Bernie is a certified dude-whisperer.  Forget economics.  Ignore reality.  Deride incrementalism.  Preach revolution.  Neglect politics.  Pray Republicans will be struck mute by the gods after an Asgard toga party.

What is the magic of this Sanderscology?  It’s a “creeper whistle” primarily perceptible only to young, white, affluent, men.  Not people of color.  Not people of need.  Not single-parents.  Not minimum wage workers.  Not ordinary Joe and Jane Lunchbuckets.

One aspect of this “playa magic” is that Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa are the win, place, and show states for liberalism in America.

Another aspect of this prog-prestiditation is that a large portion of Bernie’s support is solidly middle-class earning between $50k and $150k.  It strikes me as peculiar being lectured on America’s obligations from a group immunized from the stark realities of need.  Conversely, a mainstay of Hillary’s support comes from those making $25K or less — folks who understand need firsthand.Liberal Chart

For any of this Sanders wish list to materialize, nothing short of a revolution would have to occur.  Democrats would have to hold each and every seat they currently have in the House, win a majority of the remaining toss-up districts, and then pick up at least two-dozen Republican-leaning districts.  Bernie acknowledges this is impossible – something that just doesn’t seem to compute with the bro-homie brigade.

All this raises a basic issue the Bernbros avoid like Chlamydia brochures at the free clinic:  Most of these people were Obamabots in 2008.  Their support promptly soured.  They voted in higher percentages for Romney than Obama in 2012.  As former Obamabots, they are vocally critical of the lack of progressive wins put on the board by Obama.  All this leads to the question:  Why should anyone listen to the newest fascination of these fanboys and take their recommendation?

Simply put, the Obama idolatry of 2008 has morphed into a feverish avidity for the showroom shininess of Sanders.  Such fickleness is the stuff of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes – not candidates for the Oval Office.

One last 30,000 foot observation:  No matter how much the bros hate incrementalism, our system of government is built upon deliberative processes.  Two legislative bodies and an executive must agree in compromise without intervention by the Supreme Court for government to work.

What Obama didn’t understand and this cohort of brogressives fails to appreciate is that leadership is inextricably intertwined with teaching.  Educating and reeducating the electorate on policy is the leitmotif of politics.

Progress, whether in incremental steps or in one fell swoop, must always be preceded by instruction in the importance and logic of proposals.  True policy gains are only realized through battle-hardened perseverance – a characteristic exemplified by Hillary over the last twenty-five years.

Bernie in 1968The guttural growl of the Camaro has a mesmerizing quality.  The seductive nature of the growl promises performance even though it is loudest when the car is standing still in neutral.  Regrettably, any perceived power is ultimately checked by speed limits and speed bumps.  Such truisms are never explained on the showroom floor.  The same is true for politics.

Enjoy your Wednesday and take this conversation in any direction you might like.

 

 

Are we all excited for Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond? (Click here for the full schedule.) I know I am. Here’s how things are looking right now:

National GOP – It’s all Trump right now…but I still maintain he will not be the nominee. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the RNC cannot allow themselves to continue to be perceived as being the party of the pissed-off, xenophobic, sexist white male, even though they clearly are exactly that. They want to win another Presidential election sometime in the next 40 years, and in order to do so, they cannot embrace the sociopathic Trump/Cruz base any more. They will run another candidate if they can’t get rid of Trump any other way, and force him to run on a third-party ticket. They’ll lose the election, but live to fight another day, finally throwing the racists and the religiously insane out for good.

The same strategy would be put into place if Ted Cruz wins the primaries. Forgive me for being brutally honest, but, The Evil One has nothing at all to recommend him as a national candidate. Think of him as a younger, less mechanical Dick Cheney. Cruz lacks the credibility to challenge Hillary’s credentials and experience, and is far too right-wing to beat her on policy grounds. As an alternative to Trump, the situation doesn’t get any better: He doesn’t have Trump’s dubious star power, his billions of PAC-free dollars, or his ability to play the media like a fiddle. There’s just no way the RNC is that dumb.

It’s the best possible outcome for a national Party that has imploded  so spectacularly, and frankly, it’s the best thing for our country. Let the crazoids be relegated to the fringes where they belong. I wish President Hillary could deport them all the way they want to deport all the Mexicans, or Canadians, or anchor babies, or whatevah the f*ck they’re talking about. Honestly, I can’t even follow the thread of their arguments. I start feeling like that robot on Star Trek whose circuits are blown out by a series of logical impossibilities.

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