Nate Silver is Right – Democrats Are Lying To Themselves

 

It’s probably the case that every human being has experienced recurring nightmares and for some political observers this election is shaping up to be yet another disaster, for Democrats. One might think all Americans were aware that polling and election outcome predictions are not reliable, especially after the past two or three election cycles where Democrats were crushed in congressional and state-level races even after outrageous reporting that Republican governors, legislators and state representatives were destroyed by this or that Democrat leading up to voting day. This nightmare scenario is raising its ugly head and it appears that only Nate Silver is aware that Democrats are lying to themselves if they think Donald Trump can’t defeat Hillary Clinton.

Democrats know Nate Silver and yet it appears they have little regard for an “ominous warning” he recently issued:

There’s still a lot of denial among Democrats about how tight the race has become, despite evidence from high-quality polls.”

One of the big problems, and it is huge, is that although many voters claim they don’t support Trump and are highly-unlikely to vote for him in public, when queried anonymously, they do support the television celebrity and will be ticking a box with his name next to it in November. But, one might say, the polls show Hillary crushing Trump and pundits keep claiming the Republican Party is all but destroyed. However, according to experts like Thomas Edsall, some Trump voters are lying to the pollsters. In a prescient, but ignored op-ed a couple of months back, Mr. Edsall asked, “How Many People Support Trump but Don’t Want to Admit It?” The answer is probably a lot, and a lot means a Clinton win is not nearly as likely as Democrats want to believe.

There is something known amongst pollsters as “social desirability bias; the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment.” Some voters refuse to tell a live interviewer that they support a candidate like Trump because he is offensive and outrageous. But like most establishment Republicans publicly rejecting Trump and claiming to support Hillary Clinton, once they’re in the privacy of the voting booth on November 8, they will, without hesitation, cast their secret ballot for every Republican up and down the ballot; including the Republican candidate for president.

According to real experts, in matchups between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump does much better in polls that are conducted online where a respondent, in the privacy of their computer screen, can tick a box next to Trump’s name sans embarrassment. In fact, it is a completely different story when they are faced with responding to a human being’s voice in person-to-person polls by landline and cellphone surveys.

To make the point clearer, Real Clear Politics aggregated 10 separate telephone polls giving Hillary Clinton a respectable nine point national advantage over Trump. However, the combined results of two online surveys conducted by YouGov and Morning Consult, Clinton’s lead fell to only four points. It’s why Nate Silver is right in saying Democrats are in denial if they think Donald Trump can’t win in November.

To re-emphasize the point, Nate Silver ran a national presidential poll about two weeks ago and to say the results are shocking is an understatement. In telephone calls where a live person asks a respondent to “disclose their preference to a living person,” Hillary Clinton polls at a very strong 86 percent. However, in Silver’s online and “robo” polls conducted over the Internet and in private, Clinton polls a whopping 15 percent lower, coming in at only 71 percent.

Where Democrats and liberal pundits alike have to start being honest is admitting that no matter how offensive and dangerous Donald Trump may be, and he certainly is both, he is the Republican Party standard bearer. That he is a racist, bigot, misogynist and inept at everything just endears him a bit more to the preponderance of ignorant Americans who will flock to the polls to vote for a celebrity they’ve watched on their televisions.

Americans are also memory challenged besides ignorant and all of the offensive and hateful remarks by Trump, even targeting Veterans and women, are already long-forgotten by many prospective voters. Remember, that even after shutting down the government six months before the 2014 midterms, Republicans who pundits claimed were finished easily won their races.

Democrats can never assume the voters are dependable according to their responses in polls and surveys, but they can, and damn well should assume that when they hit the voting booth in November the preponderance of racists, religious, and bigoted Republicans and their independent or first-time voting brethren will pull the lever or tick the box for the Republican. That his name is Donald Trump is of no consequence; he will have an “R” beside his name and he promised to protect their Christian heritage and make America great again. It is meaningless to informed Americans, but it cements the deal for conservatives.

 

This article was originally set for publication Sept. 15, 2016

Trump’s Sexual Assault Talk Epitomizes Why Rape Culture Thrives

 

One of the benefits of a nation that welcomes people from around the world is that there are many diverse cultures that make up what it means to be an American. It is a sad fact of life, though, that there is one specifically prevalent culture in America that targets one major demographic and because Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the presidency, rape culture is now front and center if the media would make it a national issue.

In its most basic form described by a very simple definition, “rape culture is the normalization of sexual assault in a society.” Another definition is “a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.”

That definition fairly explains all of the horrendous “rape apologists” rushing to defend or excuse the sexist Republican candidate for president. And it describes the American social norm perpetuating the idea that women are sexual objects, and that sexual objectification is simply a fact of life; so there is nothing “wrong” with Donald Trump’s behavior, or nasty “rape” talk. It is talk that perpetuates rape culture primarily because when it occurs no-one challenges the attitude the Trump-types exude when talking about women.

Trump’s talk was not locker room chatter, not in any typical locker room, and not the kind of talk normal locker room men would comport or allow to go unpunished. However, it is the kind of talk prevalent among a certain class of males; males that feel entitled due to wealth, family name, power, connections or celebrity. Remember, it wasn’t just Trump’s claim that he could “move on” or “grab” the genitals of any woman he wanted and do anything his perverted mind dreamed up, it was his justification that because he is rich, a “star” celebrity, and powerful that he and his class are entitled to “the right” to sexually assault women. It is not unlike the reasoning television celebrity Bill Cosby used to explain away his years of sexually assaulting young women. And in Donald Trump’s case it excused his assaults on his wives, strangers on airplanes, beauty pageant workers and women sitting in bars.

The truth is that if men like Trump were challenged, or beaten to within an inch of their perverted lives, when they boast about their sexual predation bona fides, that culture may cease being an attractive option for men like Trump. When Trump boasted to Billy Bush about his unwanted advances on unsuspecting women, Bush should have at least feigned outrage and besmirched Trump’s character and told him what a real man would do if Trump acted like an animal around a woman. Instead, he laughed in apparent agreement and encouragement leading one to wonder if he didn’t “high five” Trump for his “achievement;” he certainly wasn’t appalled like any decent human being.

The rape culture is perpetuated in many ways, but none more so than the “rape apologists” rushing to defend the perpetrators whether they are rich celebrities like Donald Trump, high school football stars carrying around an unconscious rape victim, rock celebrities or television stars. Of course there was no shortage of Trump defenders who excused his lewd description about how he commits sexual assaults according to the Justice Department definition.

It is exactly that kind of defense by his supporters and campaign surrogates using “creative excuses that normalize and minimize sexual assaults” That perpetuate and normalize rape culture. And it doesn’t matter who is guilty whether it is Donald Trump or any other male sexual predator. A despicable example was the co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, Carl Paladino, who excused Trump’s remarks about sexually assaulting women as “something all men do, at least all normal men.” And according to rape culture, if it is “something that all normal men do” then it must be permissible in society and women who object must be sick, or at least they don’t really comprehend what “legitimate rape” entails. Yes, just uttering the words “legitimate rapeperpetuates America’s rape culture that sexual predators like Donald Trump thrive in.

There has always been a culture promoting rape in America simply because the nation is and always has been dominated by patriarchs that believe their “biblical superiorityover women excuses all manner of misogyny whether it is sexual assault, controlling women’s bodies, underpaying them, slut-shaming for using birth control or daring to come forward to unconcerned, mostly male, law enforcement to report a sexual assault.

In fact, another thing that makes rape culture “self-perpetuating” is that assaulted women are terrified to come forward and report their rapists out of fear of not being taken seriously or having “their characters ripped apart.” It is why so many victims stay silent to avoid having their motives questioned like Trump’s accusers or to avoid being accused of “asking for it.” As Laurel Raymond at Think Progress put it, “If we are to learn anything from Trump’s masterclass in rape culture, it’s that none of us [women] should keep quiet.”

If nothing else comes out of the revelation that Donald Trump is, by definition, a sexual predator and guilty of sexual assault according to his own words, it is possible that more Americans will become aware of rape culture and who is perpetuating it. It is true there are Republicans condemning Trump’s “remarks,” but one has to add that they are all the same Republicans guilty of perpetuating rape culture whether by slut-shaming contraception advocates or questioning the validity of a rape. It is something only a Republican still supporting Donald Trump is guilty of and as some people have noted are also guilty of wishing they were in Trump’s situation so they too could “move hard” on any woman with impunity because they are rich, famous or powerful.

Image: Gage Skidmore

Washington Post Offers Brilliant and Reasoned Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Anyone familiar with a newspaper editorial board’s process of deciding which candidate to endorse for any office in any election will confess it can be a lengthy and sometimes contentious task. Two weeks ago when the New York Times editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, anyone with a pulse could see the board did its due diligence and put forward a well-researched and well-conceived rationale for endorsing Clinton. Late this week, the Washington Post weighed in on the presidential election and officially endorsed Hillary Clinton and gave what is arguably the most well thought-out and clearly reasoned endorsement of any candidate in recent memory.

Although the Post methodically laid out its reasons for endorsing Ms. Clinton, the editorial’s first paragraph really said everything any of their readers needed to know about Clinton as a superior choice over not just Donald Trump, but any candidate from any party.

There is a well-qualified, well-prepared candidate on the ballot. Hillary Clinton has the potential to be an excellent president of the United States, and we endorse her without hesitation.”

In similar fashion of the NYT’s endorsement, the Post did not focus on why Donald Trump is “dreadful” or why Clinton is the “lesser of two evils;” because it is not why the board endorsed her. However, like any thoughtful endorsement it did not shy away from why it believes, right or wrong, that some Americans dislike and distrust the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator. The piece carefully explained how and why it believes Hillary could have handled the past 25 years of conservative attacks on her character better.

Interestingly, the endorsement did note what it called Clinton’s “genuine flaws, missteps and weaknesses;” of which one, a lack of charisma, the board considered an asset in America’s “angrily divided nation” where, if elected, she will have to govern and work with a political party “determined to thwart her.”

It is worth taking the 4 minutes to read the Post’s endorsement, but there was one specific point that stands out as justification for the opening paragraph about Clinton being “well-qualified and well-prepared” to be “an excellent president.”

In a few words with significant weight behind them, the Post said Hillary Clinton is “dogged, resilient, purposeful and smart. She does not let her feelings get in the way of the job at hand. She is well positioned to get something done,” and she will not be deterred from progress by a defeat no matter how brutal.

The Post specifically noted that instead of holding “some grudges” toward Republicans who “lambasted her husband in the most personal terms” during an impeachment fiasco, after winning election to the Senate in 2000 “colleagues in both parties found her to be businesslike, knowledgeable, intent on accomplishment, willing to work across the aisle and less focused than most on getting credit.”

On domestic issues, the Post remarked that “Ms. Clinton’s agenda is commendable, and parts may actually be achievable: immigration reform; increased investment in infrastructure, research and education, paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy; sounder family-leave policies; criminal-justice reform. In an era of slowing growth and growing income inequality, these all make sense, as do her support for curbing climate change and for regulating gun ownership.”

On all of those issues, the editorial board noted that Clinton may not please some farther-left Democrats or hard-right Republicans, but because this is a divided America and progress comes in excruciatingly painful incremental steps, her steady hand, knowledge, and intent on accomplishment by working across the aisle will achieve results; if only incrementally.

What was surprising, really, was the Post’s remark that “Ms. Clinton underlined her fitness for office in what was essentially the first major decision of her potential presidency: her choice of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as running mate.” The Post noted, rightly, that “Ms. Clinton selected a person of sound judgment, with executive and legislative experience and unquestionable capacity to serve as president if necessary.” It was an executive-level choice that demonstrated Clinton’s “seriousness of purpose and relentless commitment to achievements in the public interest” instead of making a choice based on exciting “this or that part of her base.”

The Post ended its endorsement with a point that did not have to be made and really did nothing to substantiate the worth of a major newspaper’s otherwise brilliant endorsement. It said, “We believe that Ms. Clinton will prove a worthy example to girls who celebrate the election of America’s first female president. We believe, too, that anyone who votes for her will be able to look back, four years from now, with pride in that decision.”

Anyone who supports or votes for Hillary Clinton should not do so based on her gender regardless the historical or role model value for girls or women. The only reason to support Clinton’s candidacy is because she is “well-qualified and well-prepared to be an excellent president;” the most important reason offered by the Washington Post editorial board.

 

h/t shoq

N.C. Gov. McCrory’s  Crusade To Continue Legalized Bigotry Without HB2

North Carolina’s religious governor, Pat McCrory, must think his state’s residents are imbeciles on myriad levels; they did, after all, elect him as governor. Apparently the governor is getting stressed about his gubernatorial re-election bid particularly after he and his Republican legislature reacted very badly to a Charlotte City Council ordinance; an ordinance “granting” constitutionally-protected equal rights to all North Carolina residents. It was, after all, that Charlotte ordinance that provoked religious Republicans to pass the hideous HB 2 that legalized discrimination against anyone in the state who isn’t white, male, and follower of the “right” religion.

Now, McCrory is proposing what would be a no-win deal for the LGBT community statewide in an attempt to curry favor with decent North Carolina voters and taxpayers who are aware the state is hemorrhaging jobs and revenue due to HB 2. Remember, since HB 2 passed and was signed into law, the NBA All-Star Game and several NCAA championship games relocated out of North Carolina to protect athletes from being subjected to religious Republican-sanctioned discrimination.

Along with the highly-profitable basketball events, the state lost a substantial number of major economic opportunities for the state’s residents and businesses. One conservative estimate in the immediate aftermath of the outrage is that the state has lost at a minimum $230 million as a result of HB 2. Add to that, McCrory raided the state’s emergency disaster relief fund for $500,000 to cover legal fees defending the unconstitutional HB2. It is little wonder McCrory is worried and desperate to save his job.

The governor’s plan is a solemn pledge to voters that he will reconvene the General Assembly before it officially meets again in January and overturn the law. Sounds promising; right? Except it’s not acceptable whatsoever due to one condition that maintains the status quo. Pat McCrory promises to “attempt” to convince the religious Republican legislature that passed HB2 to repeal the law if, and only if, the Charlotte City Council repeals the anti-discrimination ordinance that incited McCrory and his Republican cabal to start this truly sordid religious affair. The result will be no change and LGBT people, women, non-whites, and non-religious residents will still lack any protection from bigotry-driven discrimination they lack with HB2 in effect.

What McCrory is doing is a classic punk move to take pressure off himself during a heated campaign and put it on the Charlotte City Council responsible for passing the state’s only anti-discrimination ordinance. This is a nasty Republican gambit because McCrory is counting on the Charlotte City Council’s refusal to succumb to a no-win deal. If they don’t accept his bogus offer, he can tell voters that “I wanted to repeal the law, but the elected officials in Charlotte wouldn’t let me!

Here’s the thing, religious Republicans realize that the citizens are paying for the consequences of their and the governor’s actions, so it is on them to do the constitutionally-right thing and repeal the seriously discriminatory and unconstitutional law. The city of Charlotte’s leaders already did the “constitutionally-right thing” in protecting the LGBT community with the state’s only anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Charlotte City Council is already facing pressure from anti-LGBT businesses such as the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association. The state’s hospitality industry is putting heat on the city council to take McCrory’s deal and eliminate the only protection the LGBT community has in the entire state. The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association represents businesses “with hundreds of thousands of employees” and they still want LGBT discrimination firmly in place sans HB2 to lure all the customers they’re losing back due to the NBA/NCAA exodus. The industry stated:

The hospitality industry has become collateral damage in a fight it did not start or ask for. Restaurant and lodging businesses and their employees are suffering the adverse impact of these policies though lost business and wages.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association calls on Charlotte City Council to repeal ordinance #7056 immediately, [and] on Governor McCrory to convene a special session of the NC General Assembly, and on the NC House and Senate to repeal House Bill 2 in its entirety.” That way, discrimination remains legal in the state and McCrory and Republicans look reasonable to idiotic voters in the state who are probably unaware sanctioned discrimination is still the law of the state.

It is no mystery why, if all the adverse impacts, suffering and lost business and wages were the only thing on the “hospitality industry’s mind, they aren’t demanding that Governor McCrory immediately convene a special session of the NC General Assembly and order them to repeal House Bill 2 in its entirety; they heartily approve of religious Republican-sanctioned discrimination or they wouldn’t demand that the Charlotte City Council toe the bigots’ line and eliminate the only constitutional anti-discrimination ordinance in the state.

One hopes the Charlotte City Council rejects the “special deal” from McCrory and continues holding the line on equal rights for all North Carolina residents. It is noteworthy that the Charlotte City Council did not start, or ask for, the fight for equality and protections against discrimination; they simply adhered to the United States Constitution’s 14th Amendment that religious Republicans and Governor McCrory have no use for according to their nasty bent against the LGBT community, women, non-Aryans and non-Christians.

McCrory and his religious cronies in the state legislature started this fight against the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. If the governor is in a heated re-election bid over HB2 and the economic losses to the state, then he can bolster his decency credentials by demanding “his cohorts” in the General Assembly come to order and repeal HB2 completely. The “no-win deal” McCrory offered the Charlotte City Council is just that: a dastardly deal that perpetuates HB2 without the necessity of a bigoted law and one has to believe that the members of Charlotte’s City Council are savvy enough to comprehend exactly what McCrory is up to.

H/T Patheos

Media Ignores Legitimate Federal Rape Case Against Donald Trump

If Americans plagued with the task of observing and commenting on the state of American politics haven’t already figured it out, America’s mainstream media certainly detests strong intelligent women. If that were not the case, and it definitely is, the media would eschew the proliferation of phony Republican claims about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and start focusing on legitimate scandals involving their favorite “man of the year” Donald Trump. No, this isn’t about Trump’s illegal campaign contribution to a corrupt Florida attorney general,or his ties to Russian oligarchs, or his failure to pay income taxes; it is about the legitimate child rape case against an avowed misogynist the GOP felt comfortable nominating as their standard bearer seeking the White House.

As misogynists go, now that the American queen of misogyny, Phyllis Schlafly, is dead, Donald Trump surely ranks as America’s greatest and most visible woman hater and has the right to claim Schlafly’s crown. If the big-time wrestling and reality television celebrity wasn’t defaming women as “dogs, slobs and pigs,” he was attacking a Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly for asking him a question that Trump claimed was unprofessional because she was menstruating. Add to those anti-women credentials his attack on the appearance of another Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, and Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi.

It is no surprise, then, that Trump is facing a very real, and very credible, federal lawsuit accusing the Republican nominee for president of raping a 13-year old girl during a party hosted by a billionaire and convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. Although this has been ongoing for some time, now more than ever the mainstream media should be delving into to case after a federal judge announced a pre-trial conference scheduled for September 9 was rescheduled for October 14th. The judge gave the plaintiff extra time to “legally” serve defendants Donald J. Trump and a man Trump said was a “really neat guy,” and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who was present during the “alleged” child sex abuse.

As a side note, even pretend journalists are encouraged to use the “alleged” because Trump is not yet convicted, but there is plenty of evidence pointing to Trump’s guilt; primarily from Trump himself. There is, however, a good reason to believe there is validity to the victims charge if for no other reason than there is an eye witness accounting of the brutal child rape of a 13-year old girl by the man the GOP establishment want sitting in the Oval Office to make America even more exceptionally Republican.

Eye witness account aside, there is the account of Epstein who was with Trump at the time of the “alleged” child rape. Epstein, a now-disgraced investment banker and “good buddy” of Trump’s, was previously accused of running a “sexual abuse ring” involving underage girls and providing them to high-powered clients and wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump. Epstein was successfully convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served 13 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Even setting aside the two other allegations of “violent rape” against Trump, it is prescient to consider his decades worth of contempt for, and debasing comments about, women in general, but especially those he has worked with. The misogynist king takes great pride in his “longstanding and well-documented” record of objectifying the gender he decreedhave to be treated like shit.”

Trump’s contemptible record of abusing women is an important point in claiming this rape charge is completely believable; because according to American Psychological Association (APA), “men who objectify women are more likely to become perpetrators of sexual violence; just as one with a long history of overtly racist comments is more likely to commit a hate crime.” One would add that a child who enjoys torturing and killing animals is more likely than not to torture and kill human beings in later life with Jeffrey Dahmer being a prime example psychologists cite often.

As noted here, “Decades of abusive language [targeting women] does not make Trump a rapist, but it does show who the man is: a callous, mean-spirited misogynist who no sane person would leave alone with their daughter.” And, as acclaimed American poet Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

Trump has revealed who he is and what he thinks of the fairer sex that makes the allegations he is a child rapist very believable. If the main stream media would take a second out of focusing on Hillary Clinton coughing, or slipping on icy stairs, or using email to give attention to a legitimate charge of child rape against the Republican nominee for president, perhaps his ardent supporters would pause and realize they are enamored with a dirty lying pedophile.

Bernie Sanders Didn’t Lie – He Blamed Media Because He Believed a Lie

 

It is, or it can be, easy to get caught up during a hotly-contested campaign and make statements that one might reconsider making after the fact. But if that  is the case, the wise thing to do is “walk back” the offending statement as elegantly as possible and if the statement was based on a gross error, or dog forbid a blatant lie, then admit the misstep, apologize, and move forward with the campaign.

Over the past couple of days all the rage has been the two Democratic candidates for the nomination claiming their opponent is “unqualified to be president.” The only problem is that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never said Senator Bernie Sanders is unqualified to be president; even though she was given three prime opportunities to do so.

In fact, Mrs. Clinton was pressured by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, three times, to state categorically that “Senator Sanders is not qualified to be president.” She refused to be dragged into what is typical of Republican politicians Scarborough is used to easily manipulating into saying what he wanted to hear. Hillary Clinton is not a Republican, and since she is very dedicated to maintaining Democratic unity, she was not about to be manipulated by the likes of “Morning Joe.”

Apparently, Senator Sanders, or his staff, failed to verify reports that Mrs. Clinton said on national television that he was unqualified to serve as president, so he reciprocated during a campaign speech. He said,

She has been saying, lately, that she thinks that I am quote-unquote ‘not qualified to be president.’ Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton that I don’t believe she is qualified if she is, through her Super Pac, taking tens of millions from special interests.”

Now there are two specific problems with the Senator’s remarks. First and foremost; Hillary Clinton never said Sanders is unqualified despite being aggressively pressed on the issue three times. Second, taking special interest money does not make a candidate “unqualified to be president.”

If that were the case then Senator Sanders is as unqualified as he claims Mrs. Clinton is because he takes millions in special interest money as well; including from wealthy Hollywood elites and there is nothing wrong with it. It is, unfortunately, the nature of American politics and not a reason for either of Democratic candidates to be considered “unqualified” to serve.

What is wrong is that the Senator reacted negatively, and hastily, to something that never occurred. It is curious that no-one on his campaign staff alerted him that regardless what he might have heard, or wanted to believe about Mrs. Clinton, she refused to stoop so low as to say he was unqualified to serve despite being “aggressively pressed” three times. As one writer notedMrs. Clinton did what a ‘statesman’ would do;” take the high road to maintain unity with the Democratic base.

It took a day or so, but Senator Sanders did kind of walk back his statement regarding Mrs. Clinton’s qualifications to serve, but he blamed the media during a press conference yesterday for instigating his untoward remark about Mrs. Clinton’s qualifications. Senator Sanders even said he did not want to get into “that type of politics.”

This is not the type of politics that I want to get in, I know it’s what the media loves. It is not the type of politics that I want to get in, but let me also be very clear. If Secretary Clinton thinks that I just come from the small state of Vermont, we are not used to this, we will get used to it fast.”

Maybe that is how they apologize and say I made a mistake in  Vermont, but if that is the case it was unconvincing and likely irritated a few more on the left. The simplest thing to tell the press, his supporters, and the American people was not about being a victim of the media, but that he simply overreacted before vetting what he believed was a slight against his character and qualifications.

As noted by other columnists, “Simply calling your opponent ‘unqualified’ isn’t necessarily the wisest thing to do, but if it’s how you feel, it also isn’t necessarily earth-shattering heresy.”  Unless, however, that comment is based on a blatant lie with video verification it was a blatant lie; no matter where the lie originated. Senator Sanders’ comment rankled Hillary supporters and no small number of Democrats,  but a different response from the Senator would have allowed them to get over it and have a new sense of respect for Bernie and his campaign.

Even after learning it was lie, it was  unforgivable to shift the blame to the media; it is what Republicans do and it is beneath Senator Sanders as a man of integrity. It does not take any effort to say “I was wrong, I overreacted and I shouldn’t have; I apologize.” A comment like that would go a long ways to combat the “Bernie Lied” articles making the rounds on the Internet. What Bernie did was overreact to a lie, but made it worse by blaming the media instead of his campaign.

As yet another columnist commented, this nominating primary is not some kind of amateur game without serious consequences for the entire nation. It is all well and good to fight for the nomination, but as noted here, here, and here, anything serving to divide the left is a win for Republicans. It is exactly why the Karl Rove types are spending tens-of-millions to feed the “Left’s” smear campaign against Mrs. Clinton’s character.

Senator Sanders says he does not want to get into dirty politicking and that he wants to lead the most powerful nation on earth.  But as mentioned here, “if he can’t admit a simple mistake or apologize for it – which is what blame-shifting amounts to – his qualifications for the Democratic nomination may be fine. It’s his character that becomes a matter of debate.”

It is too bad that instead of a simple apology and “a strong walk-back by Senator Sanders himself,” Bernie made it look like he can be easily manipulated by a headline; one he was quick to blame for leading him to engage in exactly “the type of politics” he says does not want to get into. It is too late though, because blaming the media just defined the “type of politics” the Democratic campaign is now into and that is indeed very sad and unproductive.

Bernie Sanders Will Ask President Obama to Withdraw His SCOTUS Nominee

 

 

Anyone who has ever been in a position of authority and responsibility, particularly over a large number of people, comprehends that there are very few decisions that will please everyone; it is just human nature. The idea of “pleasing everyone” becomes even more impossible in politics; especially when it is an Executive Branch decision, and particularly when one political party objects to every decision made by the sitting President.

President Obama likely knew that it wouldn’t have mattered who he nominated to replace Antonin Scalia as an associate justice to the nation’s highest court. In fact, he may not have been very surprised at the instantaneous assertion by Republicans in the Senate that they would not give a fair hearing to any nominee to the Supreme Court. By now, anyone with a pulse is aware that Republicans claim it is not within the current President’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice and that it is the responsibility of the next president.

Now, it has been reported in the mainstream media everywhere that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I, D, VT) said that if he wins the Democratic nomination for president and the general election in November, he will ask President Obama to withdraw his Supreme Court justice nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. Apparently, Senator Sanders believes, like every Republican, that the decision to nominate the “right” kind of Supreme Court justice is better left to the next president; but only if it is Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that, “I think I’m 100 percent prepared to support Judge Garland. I think he’s clearly very knowledgeable and can serve ably on the Supreme Court. But, there are more progressive judges out there.” Sanders insists that any Supreme Court nominee would have to meet his litmus test that entails “being loud and clear that he or she will overturn the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.” So there it is again; expecting a prospective SCOTUS justice to publicly make a political pledge to overturn a prior Court decision that is not before the court as if there is not a regular established process for the nation’s High Court to hear a case.

Likely surprised at the presidential candidate’s naïveté, and audacity, Sanders was asked specifically if he would directly ask President Obama to withdraw Judge Garland’s name, forsake his Constitutional authority and duty as President, to allow Bernie Sanders to nominate a judge because they pledged in advance to overturn a previous SCOTUS ruling; the Vermont senator said, “Yes I would.” Without conflating Senator Sanders’ remarks about him being better qualified to choose the “right” kind of nominee to Republican obstruction for obstruction’s sake, there are a couple of issues worth addressing.

First and foremost; the decision to nominate a prospective Justice is the purview of the current President; whoever wins the November election should not factor in to any Presidential consideration. Second, whoever the current or next president nominates will have to go through the intense and often combative Senate confirmation process. There may well be “more progressive” judges available for the nomination, but it is general knowledge that judges on the federal benches do not wear their politics on the sleeves. It is true all judges have political leanings, but part and parcel of being any kind of judge, much less a Supreme Court justice, is not being blatantly partisan; the deceased Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas notwithstanding.

Putting aside the appearance of audacity and hubris of even expecting a sitting President to withdraw his Supreme Court nominee because he is not progressive enough for the as-yet-unelected or inaugurated next president, there is still a problem with expecting the High Court to overturn a previous decision on partisan political principle. It is an issue that came up a couple of months ago when Senator Sanders said in a Tweet that, “Any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions.”

At first blush that statement reeks of ignorance of the federal judiciary, but it cannot be put down to some campaign underling tweeting out nonsense without Senator Sanders’ knowledge and approval. Last November Senator Sanders said the same thing; “No nominee of mine to the United States Supreme Court will get that job unless he or she is loud and clear that one of their first orders of business will be to overturn Citizens United.”

Senator Sanders is an establishment politician with a quarter century worth of experience in Congress and is very well aware of how the High Court works. Unlike the federal legislature that has the freedom to take up, or blow off, any issue at will, court cases must go through “numerous and lengthy procedural hoops before they can be heard or decided by any court.” This is particularly true of the nation’s highest Court by design of the U.S. Constitution. As noted several times by judicial experts and savvy eighth grade civics students alike; “it would be impossible for any Sanders’ nominee to the High Court to guarantee that any case would be one of their first orders of business and decisions;” especially as an “Associate Justice” on the nine-justice Supreme Court.

The U.S. Constitution contains two significant limits on the justices’ ability to set their own schedule in Article III. Article III limits the federal judiciary’s authority to “cases” or “controversies” that have long been understood to require that two parties that have a genuine conflict with each other before a federal court can intervene and settle the issue.

Even a super-duper newly-appointed progressive justice needs to follow Constitutional procedures and wait for the case they were “loud and clear about overturning” to go through the federal appellate court system. Any semi-knowledgeable civics student knows that “the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court only has appellate jurisdiction over the overwhelming majority of cases.” What that means is that the High Court justices, or one super progressive High Court Justice, cannot decide to consider a matter until after it has been decided and appealed by several lower courts.

What continues to be an unanswered question is exactly how Senator Sanders would convince hardline Republican senators to support and confirm a “more progressive judge” any more than they would support the “socialistic policies” Senator Sanders espouses. It is yet unclear how a different “Democratic” president will fare any better with Republicans in Congress than President Obama, but parroting “political revolution” is not going to be any more convincing or productive.

There are millions of Americans who want the disastrous Citizens United ruling overturned, just like there are a substantial number of evangelical fanatics who want Roe v. Wade overturned; but neither is going to happen because a prospective Supreme Court Justice pledges “loud and clear” that “one of their first orders of business is overturning” _________ (fill-in-the blank). What is also not going to happen is President Barack Obama withdrawing his nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the High Court based on who wins the general election in November, or because Republicans want to make the choice.

No doubt there are more progressive and liberal judges ‘out there’ that the President could have nominated, but he chose a highly-qualified jurist that has a reasonable chance of being confirmed. What bothers many Democrats is that although Senator Sanders said he is certain he will support Merrick Garland’s nomination, “it is still surprising that a politician running for the Democratic presidential nomination has openly criticized the current Democratic president’s nominee.” What is really surprising is why any pundit is surprised that a politician running for the Democratic presidential nomination is still openly criticizing the current Democratic President at all.

Petulant Bernie-Brats Determined To Hand Republicans the White House

It is likely that most people have had the uncomfortable experience of being in the vicinity of petulant children at some time in their lives. One can almost excuse badly-parented brats who become angry and annoyed when they do not get what they want, but when allegedly well-educated adults do it, it is inexcusable. Americans are accustomed to petulant Republicans, or they should be after seven straight years of grown adults refusing to do their jobs because they failed to get what they want. But now it looks as if, like many things in this political environment, many pretend progressives, socialists, and “Democrats” are mimicking petulant Republicans and their teabagger cohorts.

Apparently, because they are angry and annoyed that they have not gotten exactly what they want, “as a protest thousands and thousands of Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters are making plans and preparations to exit the Democratic Party.” Their complaint is that as a result of Sanders joining the Party, Democrats have moved so far to the right and away from the people who actually vote they are left with no option but to “stage a revolt within the Democratic party itself.”

Likely, it is may not be what Senator Sanders had in mind when he told his supporters America needs “a political revolution,” and hopefully not what he wants his supporters to do; at least one hopes that’s not his plan.  In fact, this screed is not really about Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton for that matter. It is certainly not any kind of endorsement of a candidate. Liberal opinion columnists are not allowed to have opinions about any Democrat or a preference about which candidate wins the nomination; all Democrats are perfect. It is just too bad, and it could turn out to be too sad, that all progressives, socialists, and Democrats do not hew to that mindset; especially the petulant “bernieorbust” movement.

This self-titled “bernieorbustmovement claims that ever since Senator Bernie Sanders called for a political revolution, “the Democratic establishment started conspiring against them at every turn.” Never mind that Senator Sanders is a career politician that fits anyone’s definition of  “the establishment,” the idea that “the establishment” is out to get Senator Sanders’ supporters is sheer madness. Frankly, it reeks of the religious right’s paranoia and fanaticism; and a healthy dose of gross political ignorance.

The “bernieorbust” crew also strangely asserts that former president Bill Clinton committed election fraud in Massachusetts even though he is not running for office. They also claim that Democrats “fixed coin flips” in Iowa, and they rigged the Democratic debates to stop the Bern’s “storied” political revolution. A revolution they claim the Democratic National Committee will not allow to transpire any more than it will allow “their race to run fair and square to ‘let’ the best candidate win.” Seriously, if anyone is curious about what exactly constitutes a conspiracy theory, just re-read the last two sentences a couple of times. It is madness that threatens Democrats up and down the ballot in November.

The “bernieorbust” movement says, “If we the people of the Democratic party can get 5 million or 10 million Democrats to leave to leave the party enmasse (sic), and go to or form a NEW and better party, the DNC would be a LOT more hesitant to go up against us.” The grand plan is to “show the Democratic National Committee that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz single-handedly caused a mass exodus from the party. And that she and Hillary Clinton are working to divide the party, not unite it, then we truly get the change inside the Democratic Party we demand.”

According to the “bernieorbust” movement, if their revolt to transform the Democratic Party into something more palatable to politically ignorant American “socialists” and petulant “progressive” brats, they will start up “in a brand new party, who’s (sic) main platforms are all what Bernie has been fighting for without a single establishment candidate running.”

This is exactly what no small number of liberal pundits have warned the left about for a couple of months to no avail. Now a new Wall Street Journal poll shows the pundits are not remotely off base with their warnings. According to the WSJ poll, 33 percent of Senator Sanders’ supporters claim that if their candidate is not the nominee, they will stay home in November and let the devastation of 2010 and 2014 put a Republican in the White House. Their goal is to teach the DNC the same lesson the EmoProgs thought they were teaching Barack Obama in 2010 when he annoyed them by not letting them have everything little thing they wanted. The resulting teabagger takeover and damage to the nation needs no comment.

This opposition attitude is not entirely unprecedented on the left. In 2008 some Hillary Clinton supporters embraced the “PUMA” (party unity my ass) moniker and refused to vote for eventual nominee and brilliant President Barack Obama. However, this time it is different because the bernieorbust folks believe if their candidate is the nominee and does win the White House, they will get all the “free stuff” Senator Sanders has never really promised them would be “free stuff.”

They want their “free healthcare, free college, and free union membership” even though Sanders has told them “that nothing is free” and that everyone, including the poor, will pay higher taxes for all that alleged “free” stuff. In fact, every ‘bernieorbust’ acolyte can see right here that the Sanders’ tax plan is a three-tiered rate system in which everyone will have to pay higher taxes for all that “free stuff.” It is how socialism works and if the bernieorbust folks were not politically ignorant they would know it and stop being brats.

These petulant brats’ actions and threats are not necessarily down to Senator Sanders by any means. In fact, one seriously doubts that many of the Bern Brats are even Democrats who will “leave the DNC en masse;” it is certain they are not progressives. Democrats and progressives are, for the most part, pragmatic voters who comprehend that in this or any other political environment one group or one socialist man does not and cannot enact anything without cooperation from Republicans. It is sheer political ignorance to believe otherwise.

It is one thing to be passionate about a candidate, but to plan and prepare to take down the only party serving as a firewall against a corporate theocracy Hell-bent and duty bound to eviscerate America is evil and vindictive. One would like to believe that this new bernieorbust faction is just emoting passion, but they have been so programmed by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers to literally hate Bernie’s opponent that as an increasing number of pundits warn, their petulance may put a Republican in the White House; something that is beginning to look like their real intent.

A Real Democrat Would Not Criticize President Obama During A Primary Race

 

 

Anyone who is new to a group or an organization they have spent years assailing usually would lay low and refrain from attacking the group’s popular leader; at least if they expect to be embraced and regarded as someone who can contribute anything positive to the movement’s mission. One thing that most Americans comprehend, whether they are interested in and follow politics, or are members of a violent street gang, is that it is generally not a good idea to join up with an organization and then criticize its leader.

This screed has nothing to do with endorsing or criticizing any candidate for president; it is about being sick to death of hearing a “neophyte Democrat” parrot EmoProg criticism that President Barack Obama is a bad and ineffective leader. Although those were not Senator Bernie Sanders exact words, he did question the leadership skills of President Barack Obama and claimed that as a new Democrat he will close the “divide between government and Americans that President Obama opened wide throughout his presidency.”

It is curious that, like his EmoProg acolytes, Bernie Sanders is unaware that whatever “divide” he perceives exists between Americans and Congress is due to contrasting political ideology, racism, religious fundamentalism and Republicans; not President Barack Obama. President Obama is not a member of either chamber in Congress; he leads the Executive Branch of government. Besides, this latest claim that President Obama is divisive, or responsible for a gap between Americans and government, is a tired Republican accusation that does not carry any more weight coming from a Democrat than a Republican; even if it is a new Democrat.

The Vermont Senator said, “There’s a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people. What presidential leadership is about is closing that gap.” To be fair, he did acknowledge the President tried to bridge the divide, but he said Obama has failed and Bernie knows the reason why; “We need a political revolution bringing millions and millions of people into the political process in a way that does not exist right now.” So there it was; “blame the Black man” for not waving a magic wand and morphing Republicans in Congress, the Supreme Court, evangelical fanatics, and angry racists into Democrats; and for not bringing about political revolution.

This “political revolution” meme again; the one the Vermont senator confesses is necessary to fulfill the “free college and free healthcare” pledge he thinks Republicans in Congress and tens-of-millions of conservative voters will embrace with open arms. As John Lennon said regarding people who want a revolution; “We’d all love to see the plan.” And no, repeating that term “political revolution” ad nauseam is not a plan and  is not going to transform America’s conservative majority, or the Republican-dominated Congress, into a population that will embrace what Republicans will scream is “socialism and more free stuff.”

The divide Sanders believes President Obama failed to close between the American people and Congress is political, ideological and religious; something beyond the purview of a mere human being elected as President. Besides, it was millions of American people who put Republicans in charge of Congress with valuable assistance from the same EmoProg people who claim President Obama is a failure, a lousy progressive, and unable to “close the gap between the American people and Congress.”

A prescient question for the Sanders’ campaign is exactly how will the senator will “bridge the gap between the American people and Congress;” particularly when he has been ineffective in bridging the gap between Senate Republicans and Democrats, or Senate Democrats and himself. After all, in a quarter century or so in Congress a record of three bills signed into law does not speak favorably about any secret ability to  “close a gap” between ideological opposites; exactly the same situation that exists among the American people. The so-called “gap” between Congress and the voters is certainly not going to be bridged because Senator Sanders’ ideas are new or a revelation to the people; they are old ideas minority Democrats embrace and majority Republicans oppose vehemently.

President Obama has called for higher wages, money out of politics, wealth redistribution, and affordable college since before he was sworn into office. In fact, Joe the plumber became a right-wing celebrity because of an exchange between then-presidential candidate Obama and an “aspiring” plumbing contractor in 2008. The exchange was over candidate Obama’s pledge to address income inequality; specifically tax cuts and wealth redistribution. And, as a revelation to the senator’s “historically” ignorant EmoProg backers, Sanders’ opponent for the Democratic nomination crusaded for “universal healthcarein 1993 as First Lady. It is what began the nearly 24 year “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her and the same one many feeltheberns are aiding the Koch brothers and Karl Rove perpetuate today.

Perhaps it is naïveté, or ignorance, but Senator Sanders is not helping his case with Democrats who have been staunch supporters of President Obama. Senator Sanders’ criticism of the President in particular and Democrats in general is nothing new, but it is getting old and as damned irritating as EmoProgs and HamWalds attacking the President in 2009. If President Obama had been a catastrophic failure, one would understand a new Democrat attacking his policies, agenda, and missteps; but that has not been the case and up till now only Republicans, teabaggers, EmoProgs, racists, and religious fanatics don’t get it.

For most Democrats, President Obama has done a miraculous job in the face of the most extreme obstructionism and outright opposition likely ever in America’s history, and only Republicans, teabaggers, racists, religious fundamentalists and Sanders’ EmoProg movement disagree. Obama Democrats don’t like it when Republicans attack their President and it is curious that anyone would think it is acceptable when a Democrat does it; even if they are a new Democrat who seems to think they are running a campaign against Barack Obama.

Liberal Economists Say Sanders’ Economic Numbers “Don’t Add Up”

 

 

One of the redeeming features of liberal politics, and policies, is standing firm on reality and not fantasy or what one wishes were true; particularly reality in numbers. Some Americans may remember that Democrats typically have an easy time debunking Republican economic proposals like those of so-called “economic policy wonk” Paul Ryan. Liberal economists get to the truth of Republican economic scams by using good old-fashioned arithmetic; something Republicans, conservative belief tanks, and Paul Ryan never take into consideration in creating what real economists call “fantasy economics.”

Now, a group of liberal economists have assessed another economic policy proposal of a real liberal politician, and using math concluded that Senator Bernie Sanders’ “rosy economic projections do not add up.” The economists warned, like they did with Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” that “there is no credible economic research to support its (Sanders’) conclusions.”

The group of “leading liberal economists,” Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson sent a letter to Senator Sanders’ campaign and cautioned that;

Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

In fact, the highly respected economists, who are all universally regarded as luminaries in the field, say the Sanders’ economic projections “are as irresponsible as those promoted by Republicans who claim that deep tax cuts will jump start the economy.”

They tell the Sanders’ campaign;

These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.” These liberal economists are just the latest to question not only the Senator’s numbers, but his “grasp on political realism.” It is a recurring concern.

It is noteworthy that these are the same liberal economists who, at different times over seven years, have served in the Obama Administration and were instrumental in “using responsible arithmetic” to debunk every single Republican economic proposal over the past seven years.  They have also advised the President on his economic policies and agenda that lifted the economy out of the Great Recession, created millions of jobs, and all while reducing the deficit; not heaping trillions of dollars on it.

In fact, a prominent health policy economist at Emory University, Kenneth E. Thorpe, contradicted Mr. Sanders’ Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and said her claims about how much the Sanders’ healthcare agenda would increase the size of the federal government was completely wrong because it is way too conservative.

Mr. Thorpe, whose field of expertise is “economic health policy,” says Mr. Sanders’ health plan will cost $27 trillion over the next ten years. It is not $14 trillion as advertised and will bring the total of all his initiatives well above $30 trillion through 2026. Mrs. Clinton had said the Sanders’ plan will increase the size of the federal government by 40 percent and the liberal economists all say that too, is all wrong; it will increase it by 50 percent. Now there is a fact Republicans would love to ram down Democrats throats in a general election because that increase is in addition to regular government operating expenses.

That increase is a level that “will surpass any American federal government expansion since the buildup in World War II.” It leads one to wonder exactly how any Democrat will convince Koch Republicans who own the nation’s purse to increase the size of federal government by one percent, much less 40 or 50 percent; particularly when the GOP’s only goal is cutting government to a size they can easily “drown in a bathtub.”

The Sanders’ campaign responded to the liberal economists’ facts and arithmetic-based letter and assessment by dismissing their economic expertise as Clinton sympathizers and corrupt industry insiders. The liberal economic experts join a group that is increasing in size every day based on utterances void of praise for Mr. Sanders.

Look, it is not a popular reality for some Americans, but the fact-based reckoning of the left-of-center economists, none of whom work for Hillary Clinton, are as valid assessments of a real liberal politician’s economic plan as they are for a real Republican politicians’. According to President Obama’s former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, now a University of Chicago professor, “the Sanders’ proposal numbers don’t remotely add up;” it is the same conclusion liberal economists reached about Republican Paul Ryan’s economic proposals.

Austan Goolsbee alluded to another progressive economic analysts’ assessment of the Sanders’ single-payer plan as “puppies and rainbows” he said was nonsense.  He asserted that after his liberal economic teams’ assessment,  “the puppies and rainbows evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars.”

It is worth mentioning yet again, that these real liberal economists, like Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, think the concept of a single-payer plan is worthy of consideration. However, like Mr. Krugman, they also note the major difficulty Democrats and President Obama had in winning support for and implementing a less-ambitious healthcare reform law; one Republicans still want abolished as much as they want to wipe out Medicare.

The liberal economists regard putting everything into a “fairy tale a fool’s errand; particularly at the expense of other necessities such as education, infrastructure, climate change, worker benefits and preserving the Affordable Care Act itself.”

A longtime health economist at the Brookings Institute, Henry J. Aaron, said,

The single-payer idea has enormous appeal: coverage for everyone, hopefully use government power to hold down overall costs, and clean out the godawful mess that the U.S. private health care system is and save money there.”

But Mr. Aaron said that, like nearly all liberal economists, in this political climate such a proposal is a “fairy tale.”

The proposal is a fairy tale in this political climate and it is why it is more important to present realistic numbers. The good news is that real liberal economists are honest enough to use the same standards to assess a liberal’s economic proposals as they are a Republicans’. As the economists said in the letter to the Sanders’ campaign, “these claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.”

Democrats, no matter who their candidate of choice is, can be assured that Republicans will take great joy in challenging the unrealistic claims made by the Sanders’ campaign. Armed with some honest assessments, hopefully Senator Sanders will revisit his economic proposals and use “responsible arithmetic” to come up with a plan that no liberal or conservative economist can possibly call a fairy tale.