Live Blog: Six Men Standing (and one dead Justice) for Tonight’s Republican Debate

128175_600Well, tonight’s Republican Debate will surely be a lively matter. CBS gets the honorsat 9 p.m. EST.First, there are only six candidates left and we’ve determined they pretty much hate each other.  Also, we’ve got the issue of one dead Supreme Court Justice.  Antonin Scalia–perhaps one of the most evil men I’ve had the displeasure of reading–died in his death in a Texas Hotel while joyously killing small animals.  According to our Constitution–which is the thing that Fat Tony did his damnedest to rewrite–President Obama will appoint a new justice with the advice and consent of the Senate. Currently, the Republicans are no longer a party that wishes to govern under our Constitution and SCOTUS with Scalia has become their enabler.  They’re a party of insurrection and some of the worst of them will be up on that podium tonight trying to impress the voters in the home state for the nation’s historical insurrectionists.  So, the rhetoric will be amped up as they compete to eulogize the dead man in black.

The six remaining Republican presidential candidates will be on stage in Greenville, South Carolina Saturday night for the CBS News Republican debate.

The stakes are high for the remaining candidates, as they head into a period of the primary season that relies less on retail politicking. A strong debate performance could be crucial as the candidates try to reach the voters who are next in line to cast their ballots — in South Carolina and Nevada.

South Carolina will determine the survival of Jeb Bush among some of the others.  It seems clearly to be in its historical insurrectionist corner with the xenophobic narcissist Donald Trump.  However, there are 1455347302412.cachedother narcissists on the stage.  The Punditry is betting on a Trump-Cruz slugfest.

After splitting the first two votes, the New York billionaire has relentlessly hammered away at Cruz on everything from his campaign’s tactics to what Trump sees as the Texan’s character flaws. And on Friday, Trump warned that he has standing to sue Cruz over questions of his birth and constitutional eligibility to serve in the White House.

“If @tedcruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen,” Trump tweeted of his rival, born in Canada to an American mother.

Asked about the threat, Cruz did not back down. “There’s more than a little irony in Donald accusing anybody of being nasty given the amazing torrent of insults and obscenities that come out of his mouth on any given day,” he told reporters. “Suddenly every day he comes out with a new attack.”

Trump is expected to carry these attacks onto the stage on Saturday at the final candidate forum before South Carolina votes. It’s a fight Cruz’s allies say they are ready for, as they prepare to assault Trump’s Republican credentials with an eye on the conservative, religious and security-focused voters throughout the south.

The dynamics on Fat Tony’s demise will likely mean a group orgy of ass kissing.  The Republicans have already promised to to block any potential nomination by the President. McConnell indicated that the next 128340_600president should pick the new SCOTUS.  This seems like a dead end argument to me.  The Election math is clearly behind the D’s this time and any obstruction would likely create an avalanche of Obama Supporters to the Polls.  I’m not the only one who thinks this.

Just 18 days ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about nominating President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court and she said, “That’s a great idea!”

Politico reported:

Asked by an Iowa voter at a town hall event here what she thought of appointing President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court if she were to become president, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton seemed delighted by the prospect. “I’ll tell you, that’s a great idea!” a beaming Clinton told the crowd of 450 packed into a theater, noting that she’d never heard the question before.

Well. It’s an even greater idea if it is something that would happen immediately after the election, effectively motivating the same turnout as surprised the beltway for Obama in 2012.

They may posture for awhile, but they will also have to avoid going on any recess to avoid a recess appointment that would likely sail through a Dem-controlled Senate.  Again, the math indicates this a statistically likely outcome.  Also, if the Republicans manage to nominate one of their more obnoxious candidates, it will bring record numbers of minorities and women to the polls in states that aren’t safely red.

The 2016 elections are the Democrats’ best shot at wresting back control of the Senate for the rest of the decade, given that the 2018 off-year elections will force Democrats to defend 25 of the 33 seats on the ballot (including the two seats held by independents who caucus with them).

In a recent interview, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged the steep challenges Republicans face in 2016. When asked how Republicans will overcome the Democrats’ huge Electoral College advantage next year, Priebus summed up his party’s chances for the presidency this way: “[W]e have to be about perfect … and the other side can be about good. And so the fact is that we do have the higher burden.” In a year like 2016, their burden will extend beyond the presidential to the Senate as well.

Scalia's ExcuseSo, go ahead Rethugs, pick a fight!   Sounds really good to me. As for the Scalia death, I couldn’t be more celebratory.  It’s difficult for me to read anything the man wrote without seeing the face of evil. He was an “originalist” only when it suited his politics and theology.  He didn’t die under any kind of tragic circumstances other than he’s rotting in hell right now by his own religious beliefs since no priest heard his last confession.  Ironic that.  This does impact the election and we can only hope and pray that it removes that 5th vote that seeks to maintain white male, christian hegemony in all aspects of life.  Next month, a huge abortion case is on the docket.

This would be the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

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Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
15-274 5th Cir. Mar 2, 2016 TBD TBD TBD OT 2015

Issue: (1) Whether, when applying the “undue burden” standard of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a court errs by refusing to consider whether and to what extent laws that restrict abortion for the stated purpose of promoting health actually serve the government’s interest in promoting health; and (2) whether the Fifth Circuit erred in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health – or any other valid interest.

Again, I believe that the Republicans should hope Obama appoints a moderate and just go with it because a Clinton appointment with a Dem majority senate would rock their world.  Well, see if POTUS takes the in your face or practical route.

 Here are some reactions from SCOTUS blog.

The most immediate implications involve the presidential election.  President Obama of course has the power to nominate a successor, with the consent of the Senate.  In the ordinary course, because the opening was unexpected, the nomination would not be forthcoming for a couple of months and then the confirmation process would take several more months.

Theoretically, that process could conclude before the November election.  But realistically, it cannot absent essentially a consensus nominee – and probably not even then, given the stakes.  A Democratic president would replace a leading conservative vote on a closely divided Court.  The Republican Senate will not permit such a consequential nomination – which would radically shift the balance of ideological power on the Court – to go forward.

There is the related question of the Court becoming an issue in the election.  Before today, it was unlikely that many voters would choose a presidential candidate for this reason, given the importance of issues like the economy, terrorism, and immigration.  But the fact that there is an immediate vacancy – and a vacancy that could tip the Court’s ideological balance – makes the future of the Court much more concrete.

In the political primaries, the Court is not an issue that divides candidates of the same party.  Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, for example, are clear that they would want to appoint a more liberal successor that would oppose decisions like the Citizens United campaign finance ruling.  The leading Republican candidates would all make clear their support for a nominee who would oppose the Court’s rulings upholding the Affordable Care Act.

In the general election, the Court is also an issue that tends to drive the base of each party, so it may be most relevant to turn-out rather than to changing voters’ minds.  In general terms, conservatives have been more focused than progressives on the Court as a presidential legacy.  But both parties have groups of voters – on the left, supporting abortion rights, and on the right, supporting gun rights and opposing abortion, for example – for which the Court has outsized importance.

Because there remains almost a year in his Term, President Obama is likely to feel an obligation to put forward a nominee rather than completely accede to Republican objections to confirming anyone.  That may also be good presidential politics, as Democrats seek to paint Republicans as obstructionists.  Three potential nominees are easy to identify from among current appellate judges:  from the D.C. Circuit, Patricia Millett and Sri Srinivasan; and from the Ninth Circuit, Paul Watford.

But tonight we live blog the sound and the fury from some of the most extremist candidates the Republicans can offer.  Then, there’s Jeb Bush who is just more of the same old same old.2008-05-05-scalia-old-news

Let’s dig in!

 


Friday Reads: Still not Raptured

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Good Afternoon!

I’m still not raptured or enraptured. How about you?

Those of us that watch debates a lot will remember that a split screen can bedevil  some politicians like nothing else.  Practicing composure while your opponent reams your ass or says something particularly irritating is the hallmark of the patience of a Job.  Remember Al Gore’s constant grimaces and sighs? Well, last night’s PBS debate introduced us to Finger Wag Bernie and it ain’t pretty.  People are beginning to chatter on about it.

It’s a gesture familiar to anyone who’s ever been warned, cautioned, scolded, told they are not very nice or otherwise belittled. A hand, often the dominant one, is raised. An index finger is extended skyward. The finger moves from left to right in a workmanlike arc or, for those with more rococo tastes, a flamboyant circle. Sometimes, a pen adds gravitas to the motion. Though the tempo and exact meaning may vary, the message is always similar, and always at least a little bit threatening. I know better than you. You are making a huge mistake. Back off.  

No politician in modern memory seems to favor the finger wag as much as Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). And people are starting to talk about it.

“Sanders … likes to wave his index finger in the air like he just don’t care … although it’s clear when he does it that he actually does care very, very much,” Alex Gladu wrote at Bustle. “The gesture is sort of a mix between scolding his opponent — typically Clinton — and screaming for attention.”

It’s also important not to get a comparison like this when you’re getting all uppity about Henry Kissinger and the Vietnam War.

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“I think wagging a finger has an implications [sic] of shaming or pretend authority while waving arms is more expressive,” one commenter on a Mother Jones piece from last month wrote. “I wish he’d do it less, it makes me think of Nixon.”

Ouch.  Yes, the luster of the new shiny object is fading for those that haven’t already been raptured.

Sanders pretty much gestures continuously with his hands while he speaks. It makes for a very engaging and hardly ever distracting picture. He’ll point his finger or move his arms in a way that illustrates his point, but he only reserves the index finger wave for moments when you’re imagining him screaming, “I don’t think so, missy!” internally. On Thursday night, those moments even included talk of foreign policy, on which Sanders isn’t usually considered an authority when compared with Clinton.

The discussion of the content beyond the wag is quite telling.  Here’s the headline from The Guardian: ‘Sanders squandered his lead while Clinton shone at the latest debate’.  Lucinda Graves describes his performance as reaching for “petty one-liners”.

In what was easily her strongest debate performance in recent memory – and arguably her strongest since the campaign began – Hillary Clinton was calm, cool and collected at Thursday night’s debate.

Clinton could’ve been understandably on edge, as she was fresh off a resounding loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday and an effective tie in Iowa the week before. But it was Sanders who was oddly on the defensive despite what has been momentum in his favor, starting out the night more combative than Clinton and wasting his time on petty one-liners. (When Clinton talked about building political capital when she’s in the White House, for instance, Sanders began a rebuttal with “Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet.”)

Perhaps it was understandable that Sanders appeared to be on defensive as the major topics of the night – race, foreign policy and relations with Obama – are all considered areas of relative weakness for the income inequality-focused Sanders, though the the depth of his policy knowledge and ability to articulate it before audiences, particularly on race issues, has improved markedly since the campaign began.

Still, as winning over minority voters will be one of the principal areas of focus for both candidates going into southern primaries like the one in South Carolina and polls show that Sanders is struggling to eat into Clinton’s lead in the coming contests, expectations were high for Sanders this debate.

And while both candidates performed well initially in talking about systemic racism and reforming the criminal justice system, it was Sanders who stumbled when a moderator asked if race relations would be better handled under him than the current president. It was a foreseeable trap – asking a white man whether he’d do a better job on race issues than the first black president – but Sanders didn’t seem to see what he was walking into.

“Absolutely,” he said in response to the moderator’s question before slipping into his classic stump speech. “Because what we will do is instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires, we are going to create millions of jobs for low-income kids so they’re not hanging out on street corners. We’re going to make sure those kids stay in school are able to get a college education.”

It was as tone-deaf a line as any all night and, worse yet, it may have reminded Clinton of another line of attack she’d prepared in advance. In an MSNBC interview earlier on Thursday, Sanders had criticized President Obama’s failure to connect with Congress, saying in an interview with MSNBC, “There’s a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people. … What presidential leadership is about [is] closing that gap.”

sandersThere he goes again.  Back to the one note he’s played for over 30 years. Clinton closed the deal by basically telling every one that she was not a one issue candidate.  Bernie’s dogged attachment to his one issue put me in mind of Marco Rubio.  There’s a point when sticking to the message makes you look unable to to do anything else. It also gives your opponent plenty of time to think up nifty comebacks.  This is Matty Y. writing at VOX so be forewarned.

The morning after a debate, it’s natural to focus on the most dramatic moments. But in the case of Thursday night’s Clinton-Sanders showdown, the most significant exchange was arguably one that featured almost no drama. It’s a dog that didn’t bark: a moment where it initially looked like Sanders was going to hammer Clinton on her Achilles heel — personal, professional, and financial ties to Wall Street — but ended up retreating into generalities.

And what’s really striking about it is that it wasn’t a blunder or a missed opportunity on his part. He wasn’t able to blast away at Clinton’s weak spot because she very effectively covered it with a human shield named Barack Obama — forcing Sanders to choose between slamming a president who has a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats and abandoning his key argument against Clinton.

It came about midway through the domestic portion of the debate, when Sanders — who’d been rambling a bit — started to close in on his view that Clinton is hopelessly compromised by a system of money and power in Washington.
“Secretary Clinton’s Super PAC, as I understand it, received $25 million dollars last reporting period, $15 million dollars from Wall Street,” he said. “Our average contribution is $27 dollars; I’m very proud of that.”

Sanders was clearly winding up to throw some kind of punch, but before he could, moderator Gwen Ifill said, “Sen. Sanders, are you saying—” and then Clinton cut her off and launched her move.

I debated then-Sen. Obama numerous times on stages like this, and he was the recipient of the largest number of Wall Street donations of anybody running on the Democratic side ever.

Now, when it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street. He pushed through, and he passed the Dodd-Frank regulation, the toughest regulations since the 1930s. So, let’s not in anyway imply here that either President Obama or myself, would in anyway not take on any vested interested, whether it’s Wall Street, or drug companies, or insurance companies, or frankly, the gun lobby to stand up to do what’s best for the American people.

On its face, this isn’t an amazingly strong argument. “Barack did it too,” as we all remember from second grade, is not a real defense against charges of misconduct. But in the context of this particular Democratic primary, it’s a daring gambit. Rather than directly defend herself against the charge of having been corrupted by Wall Street campaign contributions, Clinton is taking Obama hostage.

The debate itself was actually quite historical.  There were two women moderators and a woman candidate.  This gave the debate its first female majority.

In a historic first, two women will ask all the questions at Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate.
Co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will moderate the PBSNewsHour debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Though women have moderated primary debates before, they’ve often been paired with male moderators or tasked with letting audience members ask the questions.

When the first two women moderated debates, they weren’t even allowed to ask questions.

NPR correspondent Pauline Frederick became the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 1976, when she participated in thesecond debate between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, but she was joined by three male journalists who asked every question.

A week later, ABC News anchor Barbara Walters moderated the final presidential debate between Ford and Carter, though she too was joined by three male colleagues.

In both cases, the women’s only role was to call on the candidates and introduce the male journalists.

“Thank you. Governor Carter, your response, please,” went a typical statement from Walters in that debate. “Thank you. Mr. Maynard, your question to Governor Carter.”

The moderators actually gave me the smile of the night when this happened.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be just a response to a producer because I basically was frustrated by this mechanical response to every c7527639f46e5b36d07ff16212e9dd7cforeign policy question so I’ll just have to say the original analysis fit me to a t.

[Update: PBS says the moderator was responding to a producer, not making an editorial comment. Their statement is appended below.] Following an otherwise lackluster (if not borderline uncomfortable) attempt at discussing foreign policy, Bernie Sanders moved to something he actuallycould speak confidently about: Hillary Clinton’s bizarre Kissinger boast. But as Sanders opened with a Vietnam reference, one of the debate’s moderators—apparently unaware her mic was still on—could be heard sighing in the background, “Oh, god.”

It was the reflexive response of an antsy kid who just had to listen to grandpa talk about his Iraq war vote for the 52nd time, and if you weren’t paying close attention, you almost certainly would have missed it. So in case you did, you can watch this rare bit of raw, uncensored moderator emotion above. Enjoy.

I was actually sitting in a local bar during part of the debate last night.  This is the kind of stuff we’re up against.  A older than middle aged woman was lecturing a young man (both white) on how Hillary always uses Bill and Chelsea as props post debate.  That she drags them up on stage like their all a package.  I basically mentioned that all candidate’s use their families that way.  She asked me where was Bernie’s wife then?  I said she’s probably down front and to just wait.

I was sitting next to a younger woman at the time and muttered on about how it’s bad enough to face sexism and misogyny from men but from women it was particularly disturbing.  So, when the debate closed, lo and behold! there was no Bill or no Chelsea on the stage their in Wisconsin.  Hillary spent the handshaking ending all by herself accompanied primarily by Secret Service and possibly one aid that I did not recognize.  But who was looking all nice and Vermont homey standing by her man? By that time, I was not able to correct the older woman and had to satisfy myself with asking the younger one to be my witness.


Rapture does a strange thing to people.12ASSESS-articleLarge

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? 


Live Blog: Yet another chance to hear Bernie Downer endlessly give his old Stump Speech in the Democratic Debate on PBS

GTY_sanders_clinton_smile_jef_160211_12x5_1600Another Democratic Debate is being held tonight at 9 PM ET live on PBS and streaming on YouTube

This should be interesting after a day of BernieBros whitesplaining civil rights in extremely racist and rude ways to Congressman John Lewis. Lewis was distinctly unimpressed with Sanders civil rights creds and endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Civil rights leader John Lewis on Thursday dismissed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ 1960s work on racial equality, saying, “I never saw him. I never met him.”

The Georgia congressman — a stalwart of the Freedom Rides through the South, lunch counter sit-ins and the 1963 March on Washington — raised questions about Sanders’ involvement in the movement when the Vermont senator was a college student.

Lewis has endorsed Sanders’ chief rival, Hillary Clinton, and his comments come at a critical time as the two White House contenders focus on the upcoming primaries in Southern states with predominantly African-American Democratic voters. He made the remarks at a Capitol Hill news conference where members of the Congressional Black Caucus’ political action committee delivered a full-throated endorsement of Clinton.

On his campaign website, Sanders says he has a “long history of fighting for social equality and the rights of black Americans — a record that goes back to the early 1960s.” While a student at the University of Chicago, Sanders was involved in the Congress on Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He also was arrested while protesting segregation.

“I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis told reporters. “I chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma (Alabama) to Montgomery and directed the voter education project for six years. I met Hillary Clinton, I met President Clinton.”

The Sanders campaign had to heel their trolls.

This is another opportunity to relearn patience and dedication.

PLEASE do not engage in what is described as “bernie bro” activity. Do not diminish statements made by Lewis for the sake of defending Bernie. Right or wrong this is something that the campaign needs to deal with before we can get involved.

I have not seen any overt or subvert racism, but I know how this can sometimes devolve. Opportunities like these arise and give us a chance to grow. They are not chances to grab and hold the attention of our brothers and sisters to “explain” to them how Bernie is better. And racism can come in many forms. Assuming that African Americans or other people of color are not educated on Bernie and need to be “brought to the light” is a stance full of pity and arrogance… and is incredibly demeaning to those whose respect we need and must earn.

Needless to say, the African American Twitterati will pretty righteously pissed.

We also found out that the Hilary and Bernie split the Democratic vote in New Hampshire so that he won with votes from non-Democrats.  Plus, Al Sharpton complained about Bernie Downer’s tin ear on intersectionality of racism and economic issues..

Bernie may have some ‘splaining to do.

So, join our live blog as we watch what goes down and comes up..


Lundi Gras Reads

Proteus floatSo, we’re headed into Mardi Gras 2016 down here in New Orleans.  Some big football game in some other city just wrapped up the season.  New Hampshire has its first in the country presidential primary tomorrow and somewhere out there Marco Rubio is having a terrible very bad day!  Yasssssss!!!  Oh, and Happy Year of the Male Fire Monkey!!! Tashi Losar! This is a very eventful lunar period in many ways.

Lundi Gras is the traditional resting day for us before the big day. My plans include making groceries at Rouse’s and picking up dog food at Bark Market. The Kings of Rex and Zulu will appear today. Today there is one parade. It’s the Krewe of Proteus which was founded in 1882.  Their floats are quite historical as they use the original chassis and keep many of their traditional designs.

The Krewe of Proteus parade is based on Egyptian mythology. Proteus was the son of Poseidon, herded Poseidon’s seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. He can tell the future, change his shape and will only answer to someone who can capture him.

The images today are historical drawings of old floats and costumes from Proteus.

Here’s some more information on Proteus from the NOLA History Guy.  One of the things he mentions is the Ordinance passed by the City Council to get Krewes to be more racially diverse.  The New Orleans Celebration does have some really deep roots in racism as well as class.

The Council’s unanimous vote came after leaders of six prominent, mostly white parade clubs had pledged to begin trying to integrate “racially and ethnically” by 1993.

Despite objections from civil rights advocates, the Council followed the recommendation of a committee appointed by Mayor Sidney Barthelemy to study the issue. The committee began its deliberations during the furor that arose after the law was proposed last fall by Councilwoman Dorothy Mae Taylor, who is black.

As passed by the Council in December, the ordinance, which takes effect in 1994, would have denied parade and liquor permits to any Carnival clubs, called krewes, that had membership barriers based on “race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex or sexual orientation, age, physical condition or disability.”

Krewes would have had the burden of proving they did not discriminate, and leaders of clubs found to be in violation would have been subject to a $300 fine and up to five months in jail. Watered Down Twice

In February, the Council deleted the jail-sentence provision and removed the burden of proof from the clubs, placing it instead on their accusers.

On Thursday the Council allowed krewes to remain all-male or all-female and softened enforcement of the law. The city now must dismiss any discrimination complaint against a krewe if the club submits an affidavit pledging that it does not discriminate. Change Called ‘Absurd’

If you’d like to read more on this, I suggest  Jame’s Gills’ Book Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans. I read it last year and it was quite enlightening.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of Beyonce and the release of her new video Formation which is fierce by any standard09oc-archives-1jpg-6b58d99c866504f9.  She’s gone full throttle social justice advocate for women, girls, and African Americans. It’s got slaps at the response to Katrina and a major nod to BLM.  It openly celebrates female sexuality too. She sang at that football game whose name I just can’t quite recall.  Responses to both video and performance include a plethora of items that show our country just cannot get beyond the racial divide. Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton and Beyonce have both been the subject of some rather nasty Twitters and such.

Members of the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting in Washington turned their backs on Beyonce during a Super Bowl halftime party, angered the NFL allowed her to sing a song they consider anti-police.

The Association told Secrets that when Beyonce performed a snippet of her hit “Formation,” the sheriffs holding their annual legislative meeting at the J.W. Marriott turned off the volume and video.

The video is marvelously controversial and includes scenes of New Orleans and the wonderful voice of our own Queen Diva Big Freedia.   You can believe the internet is alive with chatter.

Dee: Beyoncé has been accused of not caring enough about Black Lives Matter and of being a bad feminist (or not one at all); on “Formation,” she raises two middle fingers to all sides of her Illuminati-truthing haters with a bold intersection of the two fights. She is a black feminist, full stop. This is a video made for women — she speaks directly to “ladies” in the song’s blazing call to action — and it is clear she is done living for the will and want of men (and has been for a minute, actually). She’s “so possessive” of Jay Z’s love and his power that she wears his “Roc necklaces.” (Still, Hov’s got the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain.) She won’t stand by and watch young black women snatch their noses so far that they can no longer take pride in their Jackson 5 nostrils.

This is a new negro spiritual hymn, one that hits me deeper than Kendrick’s “Alright,” because every look, every lyric, every outfit, every moment is a statement of Black Girl Magic. Of course, I’m moved by that fly little black boy in a hoodie who joyfully dances in front of a barricade of white cops in riot gear. But I’m politically inspired when Beyoncé gives the Black Power salute atop a New Orleans cop car. Am I reaching to call this a protest song? I just can’t get “Mississippi Goddam” out of my head when I see it.

Then, there’s the Cam  “controversy”.   I admit to seeing none of it but being caught in the Twitterstorm that followed.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton showed his personality all season with his dabbin’ and dancing.

Many loved him for it.

Some criticized him for it.

The 2015 league MVP showed his personality again after Sunday night’s 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50 with short answers and an abrupt exit from his postgame news conference.

It wasn’t pretty. The player known for his infectious smile and designer attire answered seven questions with a frown and black hoodie pulled over his head.

It’ll get Newton more criticism than love.

But it was raw emotion just like his dabbin’.

Newton hates to lose, and he wears that emotion on his sleeve as boldly as he wore those Versace zebra-print pants on the trip to California.

Continue reading that article and you’ll see that Cam’s labelled as having “childlike behavior”.  Now the best I can be is a white ally but that description is not what I’d imagine one should say about a grown black f1b82a2fef3a2ee2f0dd92581a464875man who even thought he makes that much money basically tossing balls around in a game. With so much shit coming down in the world and this country, you would think that folks could be more upset by the level of child poverty in the country, the poisoning of children in a poor community by a state government, or say sending drone attacks down on a village.  But, no, we get all excited about a game and some artistic expression. And, it variably turns into a white denial of institutional racism on parade.

Or, you could be like me and be genuinely upset by assholes running to be the leader of the Free World like the aforementioned Marco Rubio.  I really hope the man has a horrid week because THIS. I want his goose cooked until its cinder.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) promised on Sunday that he would sign an abortion ban as president that provided exceptions for rape even though he preferred for pregnant victims to have their rapists’ babies.

Following a Saturday night’s Republican Presidential Debate on ABC News, host George Stephanopoulos noted during a Sunday interview that Rubio had been hammered for his belief that abortion was wrong even in cases of rape or incest.

“Abortion to me is not a political issue,” Rubio insisted. “It’s a human rights issue. And so, if [Jeb Bush] wants to make it a political issue, that’s his right. For me, it’s not.”

“I do require an exception for life of the mother because I’m pro-life,” he continued. “Number two, as I’ve said, if they pass a law in Congress that has exceptions, I’ll sign it. Because I want to save lives.”

“What do you say to that mom when you look her in the eye?” the ABC host wondered.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Rubio replied. “I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I’m not telling you it’s easy. I’m not here saying it’s an easy choice. It’s a horrifying thing that you’ve just described.”

“I get it,” he added. “I really do. And that’s why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived. And I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me on that.”

“And that’s why any law that passed will almost certainly have exceptions. And I’ll sign it.”

ed36c3a2d6a677d0aac1ad3ef3729a6eThat’s right neighborly of him.

Those of you that actually watched the debate with us on Saturday night know that Chris Christie went after Rubio with a relish and Rubio folded like an empty sack of flour.  We’ve frequently talked about Rubio’s penchant for sounding like he’s speaking from memorized 3×5 index cards.  You know, the kind that they used in high school bates backed in the day. Christie nailed him on it and all Rubio did was repeat the same thing over about 4 times.   The polls have taken a turn. Rubio is no longer the flavor of the month and the Twitter and Gifs have not been kind either.

An internal poll conducted on Sunday suggests that Marco Rubio’s fumbled debate performance has damaged his prospects heading into the New Hampshire primary.

The poll, conducted by the pro-John Kasich New Day for America Super PAC, shows Rubio plummeting to fourth place in the primary here, with 10 percent of the vote. Most of the polling conducted in the immediate days before the debate showed Rubio in second place.

The survey, which was based on phone calls to 500 likely voters (margin of error plus or minus 3 percent), was conducted Sunday, the day following the latest Republican debate. Rubio came under scathing attack from Chris Christie, who cast the first term Florida senator as too unready, ambitious, and superficial to occupy the Oval Office.

Donald Trump holds a wide lead in the survey, receiving 35 percent. He more than doubles runner-up Kasich, who has 15 percent. In third is Jeb Bush, with 13 percent. Behind Rubio in fifth and sixth place, respectively, are Christie and Ted Cruz. Both receive 8 percent.

The results are welcome news for Kasich and Bush, both of whom have made New Hampshire the centerpiece of the primary campaigns. Strong performances on Tuesday will give them reason to fight on to the South Carolina primary, which will be held Feb. 20.

So, what’s more important in the scheme of things?  A football game, a video, the potential return of another Bush?  Oh, and of course, Rubio’s a Republican so it’s the media’s fault for emphasizing that he repeated10562275-large the same damned thing about Obama 4 times.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a fundraising email Monday that passed off New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) attacks on the freshman senator’s canned talking points as a controversy ginned up by the media.

The email said the media pounced on the Rubio campaign’s “building momentum” by making hay out of the fact that the senator “pointed out a few times” during Saturday’s Republican presidential debate “that President Obama has been very deliberate about achieving his bad policies.”

“This isn’t the first time the media has tried to distract people,” the email read. “We can’t afford to let the media get away with this.”

Rubio had said some variation of the line, “Barack Obama is undertaking an effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world,” four times during the debate. Christie repeatedly attacked Rubio’s repetition on the stage, calling the Obama line the senator’s “memorized 25-second speech.”

In the fundraising email, which didn’t mention Christie, Rubio said he would stick with the language.

Good luck with that.

If I wanted to give you all a headache, I’d start in on how horrible MoDo was this weekend.  But, BNR has done it for me so I’ll leave it at that.

Dowd is the leading purveyor of Rovian anti-Hillary memes, sophisticated negative character frames crafted in conservative oppo shops to undermine Hillary’s candidacy. Dowd believes that as a woman, she is immune from claims of sexism, so her Hillary-bashing screeds are bursting at the seams with blatantly sexist language, lies and innuendo.

Her latest column includes the following verbatim phrases:

  • Hillary still has not learned the art of seduction on stage
  • Overplays her feminist hand
  • Feels too competitive with her husband
  • Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, adding to her authenticity problem
  • Her campaign cries sexism too often
  • Hillary huffily said…
  • And she’s still not likable enough for the young women who were supposed to carry her forward as a Joan of Arc.
  • With Hillary, there are three things [that make her stupid]: sex, money and the need for secrecy.
  • Nixonian obsession with secrecy by the woman who was once an idealistic lawyer
  • Hillary was there sucking at the teat
  • She tried to drag in others to excuse her own ethically lax behavior

Dowd’s hate masquerading as an editorial is nothing new. She’s been doing this for two decades. But she got sloppy this time, slipping in a line accusing America’s first African American president of “using race” to get elected:

Then there’s the pile on the Big Dawg for a few things he said in a speech and what Madeline Albright said in a speech and what Gloria Steinem said in a speech. Yes, BernieBros, the Clintons control the media narrative. You can sure tell it by the nasty ass coverage of all this including the ginning up of your basic catfight.

Nearly defeated in Iowa, trailing in New Hampshire, and worried about everywhere else,Hillary Clinton’s campaign is bringing out the big guns, releasing political kraken Bill Clinton and summoning feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright to reclaim young female voters who have flocked to Bernie Sanders.

In a sign that the formerly inevitable nominee is growing anxious, Bill went all-out against Sanders during a speech Sunday in New Hampshire that sparingly mentioned the Vermont senator by name, but implied that he was a hypocrite whose ideals were untethered to reality. “When you’re making a revolution, you can’t be too careful with the facts,” he sniped, according to The New York Times. But Bill didn’t stop there, accusing the Sanders campaign of fomenting the alleged “Bernie Bro” phenomenon, described by Politicoas a group “who harass female Clinton supporters online and accuse them of ‘voting with their vagina’ and call them ‘bitches.’” Condemning what he called “vicious trolling,” Bill said the attacks on his wife are “literally too profane … not to mention sexist.” (Sanders has denounced any sexism among the ranks of his supporters, saying misogyny has no place in his campaign.)

But Bill was not alone in his unusually harsh words for Sanders and his supporters. The Clinton campaign also tapped Steinem and Albright, two prominent, glass-ceiling-shattering women, to join in chastising young female voters for not supporting one of their own. “We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said Saturday during a Hillary event, according to The New York Times. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Steinem, never one to mince words, suggested Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher that young women are supporting Sanders’s campaign because “the boys are with Bernie.” Steinem and Albright both received significant backlash for their comments, with the Times reporting that some young women were insulted by the suggestion that they were “misinformed and stupid” for not voting along gendered lines.

The series of seemingly coordinated moves underscores how much Clinton, who made women’s rights a core mission during her time as secretary of state, has stumbled with female voters. Recent polls suggestthat women under 35 overwhelmingly prefer Sanders by a 20-point margin, citing their disapproval of Clinton’s Wall Street ties and her less progressive positions on economic problems like student debt and a weak job market for entry-level positions. Hillary hasn’t recovered well from these attacks, recently refusing to release transcripts of her speeches to large banks and organizations—for which she received compensation well into the six figures—unless everyone else “who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances” does so as well.

Since this is getting long, I’m going to let you add the links to the criticism for all that if you want along with your thoughts.  Or, we can talk about what kind of challenges we have in this country and who is the best to deal with them.

Meanwhile, did you know there’s a video with a black woman suggesting that the police should stop killing unarmed black people and that a black quarterback with his own kind’ve style upset reporters by leaving a presser early?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: You might be BernieBro if …

20150822_USD006_0It’s the Friday before Mardi Gras and it’s way too cold and way too early this year! The only good news I can pass on about this is the decided lack of AirBnB/BnB tourists invading my hood.  I’ve actually started to wonder if the alternative rental leeches have finally saturated the market here because the vacancies are giving me some much needed peace and quiet.

It also means that I don’t have to dread going out for groceries and wondering if the one little spot in front of the kathouse will be taken over by a stationwagon on steroids (e.g. SUV) usually with a Texas license plate. My street is still a bit of a cab stand atm. Taxi cab alarms going off at all hours are enough for me to go all Clint Eastwood on some one. However, the cabbies aren’t happy about the UberDudes here so they’ve filed a suit and I’m taking some mercy on them.

More than two dozen cab drivers will make a plea before a New Orleans judge Friday (Feb. 5) to block UberX drivers from picking up passengers, a decision that could have an impact on the big Mardi Gras weekend and beyond.

The cabbies filed a lawsuit Jan. 26 in Orleans Civil District Court against 10 drivers for UberX — the ride-hailing app’s lower-cost service — who cabbies say are violating state law by taking fares without having a commercial or chauffeur driver’s license, which amounts to unfair competition.

“The majority of UberX drivers do not possess the proper license required by law and … the requirement to hold such a license is not being enforced by the City of New Orleans against UberX drivers,” the lawsuit says.

Taxicab drivers are routinely checked for the appropriate permits and service owners can lose their city operator’s license for violating the requirements, which include background checks, drug testing, and installing cameras inside their cars.

Orleans Civil District Judge Piper Griffin will hold a hearing Friday at 10 .m. on the taxicab drivers’ request for a preliminary injunction keeping their competitors from picking up passengers.

I really can’t blame any one who files suit against these “sharing economies” companies frankly because they completely ignore local health and safety laws.  They ignore zoning laws, noise ordinances, and all kinds of things.  I understand the need for a side hustle but why do something that hurts other folks’ livelihoods while giving a piece of your action to a third party parasite?  I’m still waiting for the city to come down harder on short term rentals.  I guess we’ll have to see what Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest vacancies look like around here.  I am ground zero for all this damn stuff and it’s nothing but a nuisance.

So, all of us that have been Hillary supporters for some time can tell tales of hair-raising misogyny on line and else where.  The press is finally beginning to notice that not all of Bernie Sanders supporters are nice folks.  I actually heard Chris Matthews ask John Heilemann if there was anything to it and Heilemann said yes.   The national press secretary for Hillary Clinton Brian Fallon discussed the Bernie Bros at a Bloomberg Politics Breakfast this week.  Any Hillary supporter active on social media has experienced a Bernie Bro Bash and Dash.  Fallon asked the Sanders Campaign to rein in the angst and testosterone of their supporters and to watch the candidate for signs of Bro Creep.

Brian Fallon, national press secretary for the Hillary Clinton campaign, spoke at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday. He addressed social media attacks against Hillary Clinton by the “Bernie Bros,” saying that Senator Bernie Sanders’ shouldn’t let the “crudeness” of some of his supporters seep into his own criticism of Clinton. On the issue of whether some of Sanders’ attacks are sexist, Fallon said, “he knows what he’s doing when he does these little hip checks.”

BernieBro sexism is not imaginary.  It’s also not all about the guys who say they’ve never done anything like that.  It’s about how every woman spends every day fighting off something related to some guys’s issue with women and his own hyped-up idea of masculinity.

But the live controversy over the alleged bros’ existence and activities didn’t begin until months later, after many women began to notice that when they criticized Sanders online or praised Hillary Clinton, male Sanders supporters would reliably turn up in swarms to tell them they were wrong. And that this swarming occasionally escalated further, intomisogynistic abuse that was upsetting or even frightening for them.

Several women, including some who were themselves Sanders supporters, pointed this out online. A greater number noticed that they’d had the same experience, sighed, and resignedly added “Bernie Sanders” to the category of things women tweet about at their own peril, along with “feminism,” “guns,” “Muslims,” “pop culture,” and “probably everything else.”

The Sanders campaign, to its credit, took swift and sensible steps to try to improve its followers’ behavior. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that this slice of online abusers represents the views of either Sanders or the bulk of his supporters, who have better things to do than fight on social media. But some prominent Sanders supporters perceived the complaints about Bernie Bros as a threat to the Vermont democratic socialist’s candidacy, and decided that they needed to set the record straight.

And so, predictably, the “Not All Men” portion of the debate followed. Contributions ranged from measured but only marginally relevant to the issue of abuse (actually, the real divide between Sanders and Clinton supporters isn’t gender but age) to bonkers (Glenn Greenwald going Full Greenwald, claiming that the entire Bernie Bro narrative was a “concoction” by “pro-Clinton journalists,” a “cheap campaign tactic masquerading as journalism and social activism”).

But those efforts weren’t just an unnecessary fight against a perceived media-industry-wide campaign to discredit Bernie Sanders that didn’t actually exist. They were actively counterproductive. The women who complained about their treatment were talking about their own lives, and how the insults and harassment had affected them. And so the debunkers, intentionally or not, sent the message that the really important thing here was not women’s experiences but rather how they might affect a man.

The most maddening thing about this phenomenon is the mansplaining on sexism. It’s a bit like being told by Bill Cosby that you’re being passed out on a roofie makes for better orgasms and has nothing to do with rape.

Some look at these demographic breakdowns and say that Sanders supporters aren’t representative of the diversity of the Democratic base. Others say that many Sanders supporters are motivated, whether they realize it or not, by sexist bias against Clinton. This second critique was expressed perhaps best by a viral “ALL CAPS” critique (worth reading in full) of the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon by Pajiba’s Courtney Enlow.

And, of course, because there are actually women who do support Sanders, the term has come full circle; Sanders supporters sometimes use the term “Bernie Bro” ironically to mock the idea that there aren’t women in their ranks.

But while such responses from Sanders supporters are often straw men, they’re right that the critique is off base.

berni bro

What people really mean when they talk about “Bernie Bros”

Often, though, when supporters of Clinton or critics of Sanders complain about “Bernie Bros,” they’re not actually talking about Sanders supporters as a whole. They’re talking about a specific subset of Sanders supporters who are particularly active on social media (especially Twitter) and can be particularly aggressive in defending their candidate.

Complaints about the behavior of Sanders supporters on Twitter are by no means new. Here’s how Roderick Morrow, who started the joke hashtag #BernieSoBlack, put it to me in August:

there’s all these people who, I don’t know, they’re just sitting around searching his name on Twitter or something, they just come and get in your mentions and start harassing you, they start saying the same things over and over to you.

There are names for these tactics, many of which are associated with the ongoing online-movement-cum-dumpster-fire known as Gamergate. There’s “sea lioning” — trawling tweets from people they don’t actually know to start demanding answers and debate. There’s “mansplaining” — being condescendingly pedantic to people who may very well know what you’re telling them. There’s “dogpiling” — a disproportionate (and sometimes coordinated) group response to an individual comment. And, of course, there are actual threats.

Tiger Beatdown’s Sady Doyle articulated it this way:

I am now the subject of blog posts labeling me “the most extreme opponent of the Bernie Army” (yes, it’s an army now) and various gross-out pictures of pig testicles. There have been, I’d estimate, a little over 100 messages on Twitter today alone – give or take a paltry few interactions about things I actually wrote at some point.

This — the trope of the mansplain-y, harass-y Sanders supporter who gets all up in the mentions of anyone insufficiently praiseful — is the definition of “Bernie Bro” that journalists tend to use when writing about the phenomenon.

But, the deal is that Bernie does mansplain and play into sexist tropes. One of the very things that irks women of a certain age is remembering how all the early movements in the 1960s and 1970s were their own brand of raging patriarchal malarkey.

In the week leading up to the Iowa caucus, the internet was abuzz with a Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton meme that highlighted the pair’s ideological differences. Although the poster-like graphic was mocked up to look official—from the patriotic blue background to the tagline, “Be informed. Compare them on the issues that matter”—it employed decidedly non-political matters (e.g., wolves, sleeping, caves, jetskis, Pokémon) to demonstrate their opposing viewpoints. The obvious goal was to play up Sanders’ perceived complexity and contrast it with Clinton’s supposed #basic nature, in order to illustrate why the former was a better, hipper candidate.

Translated to internet humor: Compared to Sanders, Clinton isn’t as evolved in her tastes and approaches. And so graphics popped up which imagined what the candidates might say about Olive Garden (Sanders: “Only when I’m high.” Clinton: “An authentic Italian restaurant for the whole family”) or lizards (Sanders: “[covered in lizards] ‘Hell yeah! I love these little guys!’” Clinton: “No”). The meme’s absurdity wasn’t quite as successful (or humorous) once it ventured into pop culture territory, however: Clinton was portrayed as being oblivious to the nuances of “Star Wars,” anime and “Harry Potter,” as well as a philistine when it comes to jazz (“It’s not Christmas until I put on Kenny G’s Christmas album”), Iggy Azalea, industrial music(“Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, the list could go on”), Radiohead (“I love ‘Creep’”) and the Grateful Dead (“I like ‘Touch of Grey’”).

Radiohead and the Dead have zero to do with the election or candidate platforms, which of course is the point—it’s all speculative humor meant for social media virality and a Facebook chuckle or two. Still, the meme’s subtext has uncomfortable parallels to the authenticity wars that continue to rage in rock circles, the idea that certain acts and genres are more real because they don’t employ an army of songwriters or laptops. It’s also reminiscent of the indie-vs.-mainstream music dichotomy of the ’80s and ’90s—when the idea of “selling out” and going overground was often anathema—and the negative perceptions around the concept of a “casual fan”: Liking only the big single or a band’s surface output is often considered hopelessly uncool.

These jabs at Clinton’s imagined sonic preferences reinforce the tired idea that the tastes of non-cis-male cultural consumers—from teenagers on through boomers and beyond—are something to be mocked and disrespected. It’s seen in the way the term “fangirl” has become a term of derision directed at supporters of any band with an adolescent fanbase—everyone from My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy to One Direction and 5 Seconds Of Summer—or the way having the musical taste of a “soccer mom” is worthy of an eyeroll. Women of all ages have their favorite artists or genres mansplained to them online every day, when they’re not having their expert opinions or reviews viewed with condescension.

Younger people may want to take a look at the Bernie Sanders “rape fantasy” writing to see just exactly how bad it could be back there trying to be groovy with the primordial DudeBro.  It may have been a way to look at gender roles but it was definitely a look steeped in white male privilege.  Even in revolutions, women’s positions are described as “being prone” and cooking dinner.  The Sanders campaign is making an effort to reel the Bros in but mostly what I’ve seen is dudes mansplaining to me that I’m taking them all wrong.

On Reddit, Sanders’s digital director, Héctor Sigala, told Sanders’s digital army to join the fight against the Bros. The campaign speaks very frankly with its digital cadre, whose volunteer efforts are a huge part of Sanders’s current success and whose political and grassroots sophistication is the envy of most of the candidates running for president this cycle.

Sigala’s message: The Bros are making it tougher for Bernie and they need to stop.

“We love our supporters and we know we wouldn’t be here without you all, but it does add a layer of complexity when we have to track what you all do during some moments when we are shaping our messaging,” he wrote. “Above all: just know you represent our movement and be respectful with those who disagree with you.”

Walsh said she senses the Sanders campaign is aware of what is going on, and urged the campaign to step up its efforts to push back.

“I think they are getting concerned that they have this set of keyboard warriors who revel in insulting women, not just Hillary,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I think they just have to get that message out more aggressively. I don’t blame Sen. Sanders personally, at all. But it is disturbing to see such a misogynist strain in the male left. It’s not a new thing, but it’s tough to experience.”

Even men have been targeted by the Bernie Bros.mansplainers-of-FB-feature

I myself have written a few pieces about the Vermont senator, varying in perspective. And I’ve found that even coverage that tips toward the positive garners a torrent of strongly worded reader responses, from “Your article is misleading” to “Has Hillary offered you a job in the White House press corps?” (That’s not how the press corps works, if anyone was wondering.) In fact, I receive exponentially more criticism when I write about Sanders than any other candidate. And I’ve essentially called Ted Cruz a sociopath, and straight-up called Donald Trump a fascist.
These interactions have been more irritating than anything else—though I’ve significantly worn out Twitter’s mute function. I don’t feel especially threatened by Bernie Bros, and any large-scale negative attention directed toward my inbox typically lasts a few hours at most.

The women writers who dare question or criticize Sanders have it much worse. A subset of Sanders’s supporters have been known to orchestrate campaigns of relentless, misogynistic harassment against them. The phenomenon is so widespread that Cosmopolitan’s Prachi Gupta put together a comprehensive roundup of the women who’ve been targeted—one of whom, Sarah Jeong, a writer for Vice, temporarily locked her Twitter account to stanch the flow of vitriol.
Funnily enough, Jeong actually considers herself a Sanders supporter. And this highlights a significant inconsistency at the root of the Bernie Bro problem.
A number of vocal Sanders supporters prefer to deny the existence of Bernie Bros altogether. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, for example, considers the meme a “blatant, manipulative scam” attributed to “Clinton media operatives” who are “campaigning for their candidate under the guise of journalism and social-issue activism.” Others dismiss the Bernie Bros moniker because there’s nothing traditionally “bro-y” about Sanders’s overall support base. But the most common talking point trotted out is also the most nonsensical: Sanders supporters aren’t all men, ipso facto, the Bernie Bro is a myth.
But pointing to the existence of women supporters is hardly a sufficient refutation of misogyny within political movements. Who else enjoys a significant female support base? A slew of anti-choice politicians across America.

CaE8WcvUcAAj8GtBB wrote about this last month before the narrative took hold in the broader media.   We’ve all noticed the condescending, superior tone that comes along with being raptured by the Sanders Campaign.

So, it’s getting worse out there and I’m already ready to hit some one.  The right wing and Republicans are back in full metal jacket misogyny. It’s been bad. JJ and BB have documented some of it already.  Here’s a good round up from Amanda Marcotte with my favorite explanation of the Morning Joke discussion on Hillary Shouting.

And on Wednesday, the pundits on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC could not get over the audacity of a woman raising her voice at a noisy rally, like she was a politician or something. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating,” Bob Woodward complained, all aflutter that a lady is raising her voice above a soft, man-soothing whisper.

Cokie Roberts jumped in, pointing out, “These are rallies, though, and it’s hard to do that at a rally.”

“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Bob Woodward, said, before bravely charging ahead, “but there is something here, where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself.” Women who are comfortable with themselves, you see, speak in low tones so as not to be heard. To communicate true self-acceptance, a proper lady will not speak at all. He’s just concerned and trying to help, you see.

As writes like Ann Friedman and Amanda Hess, as well as the folks at “The American Life” have shown, policing women’s voices is a time-honored way to make it clear to women the only way they’ll be accepted is if they refrain from talking at all. This is a game Clinton cannot win. If she took this oh-so-concerned advice and started talking in a whisper, she’d immediately be accused of not presenting herself as an authoritative figure. You get to be a bitch or a bimbo, and the promised middle ground between the two is an illusion.

And yes, that’s the media that Sanders calls the establishment supporting the Clinton Machine and the Bernie Bros say are friendly to Hillary.

Yup, 2016 is going to be a bumpy ride.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 

 

 


Wednesday NH Townhall (CNN) Live Blog

sandersclintonClinton and Sanders have their first townhall in New Hampshire without O’Malley right now on CNN.  This event comes fresh on heels the historic Clinton win of the Iowa Caucuses.  The margin was small, but a win is a win is a win.  Sanders is expected to win New Hampshire because of the neighbor effect. They always vote for fellow New Englanders and Sanders is no stranger.  CNN has a list of five things to watch.  I found this one pretty interesting.

In a similar CNN town hall in Iowa, Sanders absolutely unloaded on Clinton, hammering her as a newcomer to the progressive movement on income inequality, trade, energy and other issues.

Since then, the man who talks about never running a negative ad in his life has approved one that ripped into Goldman Sachs for paying politicians speaking fees — a crystal-clear shot at Clinton who has received that money.

He has complained about the Democratic establishment, complaining about the Democratic National Committee’s decision to hold debates often on weekends and against playoff football games and other high-profile events.

Is Sanders ready to really rip into Clinton?

His winks and nods toward the liberal base are impossible to miss.

On Tuesday in Keene, New Hampshire, Sanders launched into an attack on the Walmart-owning Walton family, saying that “the major welfare abuser in America is the wealthiest family in America.”

No wonder: Walmart is headquartered in Arkansas. Clinton once served on its board. And Alice Walton gave Clinton’s Democratic National Committee Victory Fund $353,000 in December — a contribution just made public in filings Sunday.

Sanders has the podium first.  You can watch it live on CNN or here at Raw Story.

This event and the MSNBC debate scheduled for tomorrow night were thrown together rather hastily.  Here’s variety’s take on the first part of the Sanders questions.

Ever since they left Iowa, Clinton and Sanders have gotten more pointed, particularly on Twitter, over who can better carry out a set of progressive priorities. Clinton has called herself a “progressive who gets things done,” while Sanders posted a series of tweets suggesting she has shifted her positions on such things as the Keystone pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as on the question of whether she is a centrist or a liberal.

“You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive,” Sanders tweeted on Wednesday.

9:10 pm ET: Sanders slams expectations. Bernie Sanders criticized the media for focusing so much on expectations in New Hampshire, where he leads some polls by a significant margin. “That is the media game. That is what the media talks about. Who cares?” he says. Clinton’s campaign has downplayed the state, in hopes of delivering a better-then-expected result. But Sanders, too, cautions that he expects the results to be “close.”

9:15 p.m. ET: How do you pay for it? In the last debate, Clinton pointedly said that she would not raise taxes on the middle class. Sanders has said there will be tax hikes. Sanders said that his proposal for a “medicare for all,” single-payer health care program would raise taxes on those in the “middle of the economy” by about $500 annually. But he tells a questioner that the switch to single payer will reduce medical costs by $5,000.

9:23 p.m. ET: On faith. Cooper asks Sanders about something the Vermont senator rarely talks about on the stump: His faith. “Everybody practices religion in a different way,” says Sanders, who is Jewish. “I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings.” He added that on the stump rarely gets that personal, but he did say he worried about a society “where some people say, ‘I don’t care,’” when spirituality to him is a recognition that “we are in this together.”

So, here we go again!  Join us!!!

 

 

 

 

 


Iowa Caucus Monday Reads

Let the Games Begin!!!

Waverly_iowaToday are the Iowa Caucuses that will likely make or break a lot of the more iffy candidates hanging on to the slim hope that somebody takes them seriously.  Iowa first is a long tradition with some interesting twists. Some of the things that I learned so far in the 2016 silly season include the idea of a “kiddie table” debate and that pundits take Uber and that all those Iowa Uber drivers seem to be the source of anecdotal evidence on voting patterns.

This Iowa Caucus is not the Iowa Caucus of my parents. My father was the Ford Dealer in Council Bluffs, Iowa for over 25 years.  They voted in the same elementary school where I practiced “duck and cover” during the Cuban Missile Crisis and saw my second grade teacher Miss Irma Long cry as she announced we’d be sent home because our President, Mr. Kennedy, had been shot in Texas.  Most of the candidates of the ilk we have today would’ve been a really odd sight on the stump back then.

I can only imagine what my parents and their friends would say if this crazy looking man from Northern Louisiana showed up looking as he does–which is like someone who’s been lost on an island for years ranting crazily from too much sun–to rally for a candidate. But, the same group of Baptists that harassed one of my father’s clerks for doing laundry on Sunday because they saw the steam coming out of the dryer vent is probably uber excited about Ted Cruz and the duckstasy of religious fever.  They want to holy roll all gay marriage supporters off the planet, I guess.

While stumping in Iowa for Ted Cruz on Sunday, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson declared that gay marriage is a sign of growing “depravity” and “perversion” in America.

Robertson, notorious for his racist and anti-gay remarks, said of marriage equality: “It is evil, it’s wicked, it’s sinful and they want us to swallow it.”

“We have to run this bunch out of Washington D.C.,” Robertson said. “We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there.”

Cruz followed Robertson on stage, calling the reality TV star “a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth.”

Cruz is in hot water for a number of things.  First, there are many they are still not convinced he meets the “natural born” qualification stated in the Constitution and Donald Trump mentions it every chance he can.  Additionally, Cruz has used a push piece that has come under criticism by the Iowa Attorney General. The Strump is making a lot out of Cruz’s possibly illegal mailer.2_0.685694001389844425_osage_iowa

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump condemned mailers sent by Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign over the weekend, which implied Iowa voters had violated election law.

The mailer, which uses social pressure to urge potential voters to the polls, “grades” Iowa voters on their voting history — a practice not done by the state.

“I think it’s one of the most disgraceful things I have seen in politics,” Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Sunday’s “Hardball.” “When you say violation, and then they’re giving you F’s for your voting records and they’re saying immediately come and vote. I think it’s one of the most horrible things that I have seen in politics.”

You can follow the link to TPM to see an example of the mailer.  Meanwhile, every time Trump uses music, another musician tells him to cut it out.  This time it’s Adele.

The Republican presidential candidate, whose slogan is “Make America great again”, has recently been playing Adele’s hit Rolling In The Deep as his “warm-up” music.

“Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning,” her spokesman confirmed.

It is not the first time Trump has been criticised for appropriating pop songs.

Lawyers for Aerosmith star Steven Tyler sent Trump’s campaign a cease-and-desist letter last year, after the politician played the band’s hit single Dream On at numerous rallies around the US.

The letter said Trump’s use of the song gave “a false impression” he endorsed Mr Trump’s presidential bid.

Trump responded on Twitter, saying he had the legal right to use the song, but had found “a better one to take its place”.

“Steven Tyler got more publicity on his song request than he’s gotten in 10 years. Good for him!” he added.

Blizzard conditions will be heading tonight to my childhood home in Council Bluffs which basically means there will be no fair weather turnout in a good deal of Eastern Iowa.  It also means that youngest daughter will be digging out on Tuesday since she’s out there in the Omaha Boonie Suburbs.

My continued fascination with the parallels between Bernie and the Strump has me thinking on how the both of them seemed to have made the Super Pac and the billionaire donor class appear irrelevant. Trump is self-financing his campaign. Sanders has just passed a record for collecting money from small donors. It’s amazing to watch Jeb Bush struggle for attention while swimming in all that money. 

With billionaire Donald Trump sitting firmly atop the Republican field, the willingness of big establishment donors to underwrite his competitors’ war chests has fizzled.

About 17 donors gave $1 million or more to groups backing Republican presidential candidates in the last six months of 2015, 60 percent fewer than the number who gave that much in the first half of the year, according to Federal Election Commission filings. And outside groups that can accept unlimited contributions accounted for about 27 percent of Republican fundraising in the second half, down from 78 percent.

Many donors contributed large sums early to create the perception that their candidate was financially viable to go the distance. Now, with the first-in-the-nation caucuses taking place today in Iowa and several other primaries happening in the coming weeks, much of that money isn’t being replenished as candidates enter a grueling and expensive phase of the campaign.

“Part of this is the Trump effect,” said Tony Corrado, a government professor at Colby College. “Some major establishment Republican donors are undoubtedly waiting to see which candidate will emerge as the best alternative to Trump.”

For some, that’s already begun. Marco Rubio, who has emerged as the leading establishment candidate in recent months, won the backing of two major conservative hedge fund donors — Paul Singer and Ken Griffin — each of whom gave $2.5 million in late 2015 to a super-PAC supporting Rubio, Conservative Solutions PAC.

Rubio’s also winning over some big money that previously backed Bush, who, as a frequent target of Trump’s jibes, has struggled to get traction with voters. After raising a record $103 million in the first half of the year, the super-PAC supporting Bush, Right to Rise USA, pulled in only $15 million over the next six months, the bulk of it from one donor.

iowa-grantsRubio joins Clinton and Sanders as the top fund raisers.

The former secretary of state brought in over $37 million in the final three months of 2015 and started the year with $38 million in the bank. At the same time, the campaign spent $35 million in those three months. She continues to benefit from millions of dollars raised by her super PACs, including Priorities USA, which said Friday it has raised $50 million through this month. Two other groups supporting Clinton, American Bridge and Correct the Record, brought in an additional $6 million total.

And while Sanders has sworn off super PACs and criticizes Clinton’s largesse, a group run by National Nurses United is backing the Vermont senator regardless and has raised $2.3 million, with about half of that remaining, the group reported.

Clinton’s haul also meant a windfall for the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties across the country, who worked with Clinton’s campaign to raise money for the Hillary Victory Fund. In total, Clinton’s campaign raised $18 million for the DNC and state parties.

“We’re heading into the first caucuses and primaries with an organization second to none thanks to the support of hundreds of thousands of people across the country,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. “We will have the resources necessary to wage a successful campaign in the early states and beyond.”

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver touted the number of individual contributions — 3.25 million — the campaign has received. “As Secretary Clinton holds high-dollar fundraisers with the nation’s financial elite, our supporters have stepped up in a way that allows Bernie to spend the critical days before the caucuses talking to Iowans about his plans to fix a rigged economy and end a corrupt system of campaign finance,” Weaver said in a statement.

It looks like Hillary and the Strump are the expected winners tonight.  Sanders, Cruz and Rubio all appear poised to close with some delegates since Iowa is not a winner take all state.roseman-covered-bridge

It would be entirely reasonable to presume that Bernie Sanders has momentum in Iowa. He’s gained on Hillary Clinton in national polls. Hekeeps pulling further ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire. And he’s made substantial gains in Iowa relative to his position late last year. December polls of Iowa showed Sanders behind by an average of 16 percentage points; the race is much closer now.

There’s just one problem: Sanders’s momentum may have stalled right when it counts the most.

The Des Moines Register’s Iowa poll released Saturday, for example, had Clinton leading Sanders by 3 percentage points. That means Iowa is close and winnable for Sanders; polling errors of 5 or even 10 percentage points are not uncommon in the caucuses. But it also means that Sanders hasn’t gained on Clinton. The previous Des Moines Register poll, released earlier in January, showed Clinton up by 2 percentage points instead.

The same story holds for other polling companies that have surveyed Iowa twice in January. A couple of these pollsters — American Research Group and Quinnipiac University — show Sanders leading. But they don’t show him gaining; Sanders also led in the previous edition of the ARG and Quinnipiac surveys.

Location_Des_Moines_IowaClinton and Cruz are relying on a substantive ground game and good commit to caucus plans for GOTV activities.  Sanders and Trump are hoping for a large turnout and the ability to overwhelm the caucuses where they do have a base. Cruz appears to be the one Republican with a substantive ground game.  Cruz has a natural base with evangelicals that Trump has somewhat eroded.  Cruz goes after the right wing religious voters.

It’s little more than 24 hours before the pivotal Iowa caucuses begin, and the presidential campaigns are still going strong. Especially for Ted Cruz, who TIME reporter Alex Altman says digs deep to his religious roots to connect with his conservative voters on the trail.

“Ted, the voice of sanity, in this time of calamity!” a voter exclaims at a campaign stop in a public library in northwest Iowa.

Cruz has been touring several towns in Iowa, and is one of the few candidates who planned to stop in all of the state’s 99 counties.

“This is part of Cruz’s strategy to win it the old fashioned way,” Altman said, “which is to go hand-to-hand in small towns, visit people, and tell them why he wants their vote.”

Iowa is primarily a rural state although there are vast differences between the east and western sections of the state.  It is home to several really good universities and to the Amish. There are still plenty of farmers there including the grandfather of my future son-in-law who used to buy his F150s from my dad.   Iowa folks are also very fond of their agriculture and ethanol subsidies.  It’s going to be interesting to see how they weigh in tonight. I’m seeing lots of pictures and shots from places I recognize that don’t seem to have changed much in my 60 years on the planet. Parts of the state do not have reliable wifi still.  There is also a large contingent of immigrants that work the slaughterhouses.   It’s a state that looks like Mayberry in many ways.  We’ll just have to see.

We will be posting a live blog with the returns later tonight.  Caucus doors lock down around 8:30 cst.  The weather will be important as will the intensity of the supporters.  Who do you think is going to win tonight?