Thursday Reads: “And Now His Voice Is Everywhere.”

Eastman Johnson (American genre painter, 1824-1906)

Good Morning!!

I’m going to begin today by quoting a NYT newsletter that arrives in my email every day even though I never requested it. This one is from Times columnist Roger Cohen:

You grow numb. You grow weary. I recall discovering a few weeks back that President Trump had lied about two phone calls, one from the president of Mexico and one from the head of the Boy Scouts. The calls, supposedly to congratulate him, did not exist. They never happened. They were pure inventions. Asked if Trump had lied, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “I wouldn’t say it was a lie.”

I actually remember shrugging. The shrug was terrifying. This is how autocrats — or would-be autocrats — cement their power. They wear you down with their lies. They distract you. They want you to believe that 2+2=5. They want you to forget that freedom withers when the distinction between truth and falsehood dies. In a dictatorship there is a single font of “truth”: the voice of the dictator. Remember Trump at the Republican National Convention a little over a year ago: “I am your voice.” And now his voice is everywhere.

There’s the scripted Trump voice, which is fake. There’s the unscripted voice, which is genuine. The two tend to alternate; call this the choreography of disorientation. It’s confusing, like having a president who isn’t really a president but instead acts like the leader of a rabble-rousing movement. The Oval Office is a useful prop, no more than that. He’s held eight rallies since becoming president in January. The latest was in Phoenix, where he called the media “very dishonest people.” He led the crowd in a chant of “CNN sucks.” He attacked the “failing New York Times.”

It’s familiar. That familiarity is menacing. It led me to think of my half-repressed shrug at the beginning of this month. Trump has one fundamental talent: a ruthless ability to mess with people’s minds and turn their anger into the engine of his ambition. A dishonest president calls the media that report on his dishonesty dishonest for doing so. This is where we are. This is the danger that Trump represents.

Harold Knight. (English artist, 1874 – 1961) Morning Sun

He said of the Charlottesville violence: “There is blame on both sides.” He equated neo-Nazi bigots with blood on their hands and leftist protesters. For this president, they stand on the same moral place. But when the press reminds him of that, he lashes out. Phoenix was a reminder of that. Don’t shrug.

“And now his voice is everywhere.” That is chilling and of course Orwellian. I never shrug off Trump’s words or deeds, and I suppose that’s why I get so tired. But we must stay conscious and aware of what is happening. Trump is a buffoon, but he still has dedicated followers and he is actively attempting to push the U.S. toward tyranny. He would love to be the American Putin.

And guess who helped put Trump in the White House? Newsweek: Bernie Sanders Voters Helped Trump Win and Here’s Proof.

Bernie Sanders supporters switched their allegiance to Donald Trump in large enough numbers last November to sway the election for the real estate billionaire, according to an analysis of voter data released Tuesday by the blog Political Wire. Since Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton, much discussion has focused on the degree to which passionate Sanders supporters’ refusal to embrace Clinton led to the Republican winding up in the White House.

According to the analysis of the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, fewer than 80 percent of those who voted for Sanders, an independent, in the Democratic primary did the same for Clinton when she faced off against Trump a few months later. What’s more, 12 percent of those who backed Sanders actually cast a vote for Trump….

The impact of those votes was significant. In each of the three states that ultimately swung the election for Trump—Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania—Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton was smaller than the number of Sanders voters who gave him their vote.

Francesco Nétti (Italian artist, 1832- 1894)

Please go check it out. It’s an interesting piece. Of course the Hillary-hating media will continue to blame her for everything under the sun, but we know the truth.

CNN broke an important Trump Russia story last night: Exclusive: Top Trump aide’s email draws new scrutiny in Russia inquiry.

Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top Trump aide that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now President Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin, the sources said.

The person was only identified in the email as being from “WV,” which one source said was a reference to West Virginia. It’s unclear who the individual is, what he or she was seeking, or whether Dearborn even acted on the request. One source said that the individual was believed to have had political connections in West Virginia, but details about the request and who initiated it remain vague.

Probably Jim Justice, the Governor of West Virginia–the guy who switched parties briefly and then re-registered as a Republican and then appeared at a WV rally with Trump. In 2009 Justice “sold the family’s coal operations in West Virginia to Mechel, a Russian company, and in 2015 bought the operations back for about a penny on the dollar,”

Returning to the CNN story:

Sources said the email occurred in June 2016 around the time of the recently revealed Trump Tower meeting where Russians with Kremlin ties met with the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
While many details around the Dearborn email are unclear, its existence suggests the Russians may have been looking for another entry point into the Trump campaign to see if there were any willing partners as part of their effort to discredit — and ultimately defeat — Hillary Clinton.

Bo von Zweigbergk, 1921. (Swedish painter, 1897 – 1940) Woman in Cafe 1921

Guess who Dearborn worked for before he went to the White House?

Dearborn’s name has not been mentioned much as part of the Russia probe. But he served as then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, as well as a top policy aide on the campaign. And investigators have questions about whether he played a role in potentially arranging two meetings that occurred between the then-Russia ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and Sessions, who has downplayed the significance of those encounters.

Dearborn was involved in helping to arrange an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel where Trump delivered a major foreign policy address, sources said. Kislyak attended the event and a reception beforehand, but it’s unclear whether he interacted with Sessions there.

Interesting . . .

Another casualty of the White House purge, according Politico:

W.H. RAPID RESPONSE DIRECTOR IS OUT — ANDY HEMMING left his job on Monday as the White House director of rapid response, according to multiple sources. A source familiar with the move told us it was a “mutually agreed upon” separation, and Hemming now plans to take a vacation (in which golf may play a big part) and then explore future opportunities. Right before his departure, he was profiled by Annie Karni (http://politi.co/2g79s6m) as the staffer the White House pays “$89,000 a year to spot and distribute positive stories from the mainstream media.”

HEMMING WAS SENIOR ADVISER for research at the RNC in the 2016 cycle and director of research on the Trump campaign. At the White House, he worked from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every weekday and was a regular in reporters’ inboxes, blasting out stories favorable to the administration. Hemming declined to comment. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told us that it was a “[m]utual decision that he could best help promote the president’s agenda on the outside. Andy is smart and very talented and we wish him all the best.”

So who will put those favorable stories on Trump’s desk every day now that Hemming is gone?

I came across an excellent article on Twitter–posted by Republican never-Trumpers. David Roth at The Baffler: The President of Blank Sucking Nullity. The main point of the piece is that Trump’s behavior can be explained by the fact that he’s an asshole. I can’t do it justice with an excerpt, so I hope you’ll go read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

Malcolm T. Liepke American artist, b 1953

 

It is not quite fair to say that Donald Trump lacks core beliefs, but to the extent that we can take apart these beliefs they amount to Give Donald Trump Your Money and Donald Trump Should Really Be on Television More. The only comprehensible throughline to his politics is that everything Trump says is something he’s said previously, with additional very’s and more-and-more’s appended over time; his worldview amounts to the sum of the dumb shit he saw on the cover of the New York Post in 1985, subjected to a few decades of rancid compounding interest and deteriorating mental aptitude. He watches a lot of cable news, but he struggles to follow even stories that have been custom built for people like him—old, uninformed, amorphously if deeply aggrieved.

There’s a reason for this. Trump doesn’t know anything or really believe anything about any topic beyond himself, because he has no interest in any topic beyond himself; his evident cognitive decline and hyperactive laziness and towering monomania ensure that he will never again learn a new thing in his life. He has no friends and no real allies; his inner circle is divided between ostensibly scandalized cynics and theatrically shameless ones, all of whom hold him in low regard and see him as a potential means to their individuated ends. There is no help on the way; his outer orbit is a rotation of replacement-level rage-grandpas and defective, perpetually clammy operators.

Trump now “executes” by way of the The Junior Soprano Method. When he senses that his staff is trying to get him to do one thing, Trump defiantly does the opposite; otherwise he bathes in the commodified reactionary grievance of partisan media, looking for stories about himself. It takes days for his oafish and overmatched handlers to coax him into even a coded and qualified criticism of neo-Nazis, and an instant for him to willfully undo it. Of course he brings more vigor to the latter than the former; he doesn’t really understand why he had to do the first thing, but he innately and deeply understands why he did the second. The first is invariably about someone else—some woman, there was a car accident, like during or maybe after that thing—and therefore, as an asshole, he does not and cannot really care about it. The second is about him and therefore, as an asshole, he really, really does.

To understand Trump is also to understand his appeal as an aspirational brand to the worst people in the United States. What his intransigent admirers like most about him—the thing they aspire to, in their online cosplay sessions and their desperately thirsty performances for a media they loathe and to which they are so helplessly addicted—is his freedom to be unconcerned with anything but himself. This is not because he is rich or brave or astute; it’s because he is an asshole, and so authentically unconcerned.

That’s all I have for you today. What else is happening? What stories are you following?

 


Sunday Afternoon Reads: Hello Sailor 

imageGood Afternoon

If any of y’all see my Facebook wall the past few weeks, you would notice a trend…centered around the word “fuck” as in “fuck it” or “fuck you”. It may be a picture of someone flicking a middle finger, giving the British two finger salute, or it would be just the phrase “Fuck” used in various ways. It is my silent form of protest you see…

Every time I see something in the news that pisses me off, I change it. (Well, not literally every time, because if that was the case the damn image on my wall would be constantly updating.)

Yesterday my right eye was swollen shut, allergies I am sure was the culprit, but damn if there was a part of me that feels it was something more…I was able to avoid reading the news online all together. And this for me was a wonderful joy. Until I saw something that Jslat wrote in the comments on Dak’s post yesterday: Saturday Reads: Let the Record show that Donald Trump is a textbook Misogynist and Racist | Sky Dancing

In reply to a link Dak posted which stated: Hillary Clinton Polls: Clinton Could Be Headed To Big Win In Oregon, Effectively Ending The Race For Bernie Sanders

Oregon has a closed primary!! It’s looking better with each poll!

Jslat made this observation…

 

Jslat

And yet on Face the Nation, the Bern was touted as the likely winner in OR!! Also, heard that Clinton was sloughing toward the nomination!!!

WTF! She will never win in the media’s eyes.

And that is the perfect example of what pisses me off the most. I can’t describe it any other way than to offer this up above.

(Oh… there are so many other things that piss me off, but Dak covered them in the post too. Add to that the Bernie Bros and their asshole contributions to the pile and you see why I have my “fuck this shit” Facebook campaign in full swing. )

So, for today I will just post a couple of links, make this an open thread…and wrap it up nicely with some vintage pictures of sailors. Yeah, let’s objectify some men…for a change.

I'll take the dark lovely man on the upper right hand corner, those three white boys can go back home for good.

I’ll take the dark and lovely man on the upper right hand corner, those three white boys can go back home for good.

GOP chairman says ‘people just don’t care’ about misogyny allegations against Donald Trump – LA Times

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Donald Trumpwould have to answer for allegations about repeatedly disrespecting women, but deflected concerns that it posed a major challenge for his presidential candidacy.

The GOP chairman appeared on Sunday television talk shows and was asked to respond to a New York Times report that documented Trump’s checkered history of disparaging women and making unwelcome advances toward them.

“These are things that he is going to have to answer for,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I also think there are things from many years ago and I think that, you know, as Christians, judging each other I think is problematic.”

Problematic? Really? Nah…

When asked about the allegations on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus said it wasn’t likely to affect Trump’s campaign because the American people want change to come to Washington.

“All these stories that come out, and they come out every couple weeks, people just don’t care,” Priebus said. “I think people look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and say, ‘Who’s going to bring an earthquake to D.C.?’”

A Gallup poll published April 1 found that 70% of women had an unfavorable opinion of the billionaire businessman, who has been married three times.

Trump managed to catapult to the top of a crowded Republican presidential field and garner widespread support from voters despite a controversial style and personal politics that are often at odds with traditional conservatives. His positions on taxes, trade deals and military intervention, even as they have shifted, have not won fans among GOP leadership.

But that trend is beginning to shift.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin moved toward accepting Trump as the Republican presidential nominee Thursday after a closed-door meeting intended to show a gradual unifying of the party.

When asked about the encounter between the two GOP leaders on “This Week,” Priebus said he expects Ryan to endorse Trump.

“I get the sense that it was a great meeting,” he said. “I get the sense that it was everything both parties wanted it to be.”

Geez, someone get me a barf bag, I’m gonna hurl.

Other Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, have already moved toward Trump.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter, said on “This Week” that Trump, as a nontraditional politician from outside Washington, isn’t a typical candidate and therefore isn’t judged in the same way. He doesn’t expect the allegations of misogyny to stick to Trump even as he is seemingly headed toward to a general election against the first female presidential candidate in U.S. history.

“People have not expected purity on his part,” Sessions said. “What they’re concerned about, they’re deeply concerned about, is this: somebody strong enough to take on Washington.”

No wait, I was just joking before about throwing up…after that Sessions quote, I really do want to vomit.

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This next link is rather obvious, at least for me: Democrats fear Sanders may undermine efforts to beat Trump | PBS NewsHour

Democratic Party leaders are upping the pressure on Bernie Sanders to drop his presidential campaign, alarmed that his continued presence is undermining efforts to beat the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and again win the White House.

“I don’t think they think of the downside of this,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a supporter of front-runner Hillary Clinton and broker of the post-primary peace between Clinton and then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.

“It’s actually harmful because she can’t make that general-election pivot the way she should,” Feinstein said. “Trump has made that pivot.”

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I feel the Hillary campaign is thinking along the lines of Feinstein as well…the latest email from her camp was titled “Nuts” and said this:

Things are getting nuts around here! We’re opening offices every week in battleground states like Ohio and Florida, AND we’re fighting every day before the California primary, building for rallies in Kentucky, and even doing voter outreach in the U.S. Virgin Islands! (Hillary wasn’t kidding when she said we’re going to fight for every vote.)

Here’s the deal: Bernie’s not opening field offices in Ohio because he’s only focused on the primary. Donald Trump isn’t opening field offices in California because he’s only focused on the general. We’re the only ones running two races, which means we need this team to step up twice as much.

You know Bernie’s grassroots army and Trump’s billionaire buddies are coming through — can we count on you? Chip in $15 right now, and let’s win BOTH these fights.

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And what if Trump does win? Well we know a few places in Canada which has offered some refuge, now there is an island in Ireland that is doing the same.

An Irish Island Just Offered Political Asylum To Americans Fleeing A Trump Presidency

The idea of a Donald Trump presidency has filled many rational-minded Americans – especially Latino-Americans – with a great fear. The casual talk of mass deportations, ofreligious identity cards, of forcing the press to “tell the truth” are not proposals to be taken lightly. The talk of emigrating if the abrasive reality television star wins the election has become a running theme in the election – some taking it more seriously than others, but the fact that we have to discuss it at all is extremely disturbing.

Thankfully, our allies across the pond are ready to help. The Irish island of Inishturk has announced they would love to have Americans move there following a Trump victory. The tranquil island is in desperate need of new lifeblood, as their population has dwindled to 58, with only three children enrolled in school.

Mary Heanue, the island’s development officer, said that “I’ve heard there are quite a few people in America looking to move to Ireland and other countries if Donald Trump becomes president. I’d like them to know that we’d love to see them consider moving over here.

They’d be given a huge welcome and they’d find this is a fantastic place to live and to bring up children. Their kids would probably get the best education anywhere in the country too, because the teacher to pupil ratio is nearly one-on-one.

Although winters can be hard and it’s the kind of life that wouldn’t necessarily suit everyone, they’d find it very peaceful here and they’d soon find out there’s nowhere as nice in the world on a summer’s day than here.”

 

 

I’m up for it. What about you?

 

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Last links for today, Getting Botox doesn’t just leave YOUR face impossible to read | Daily Mail Online

Getting Botox doesn’t just leave YOUR face impossible to read: Study finds treatment can affect brain and leave people unable to process other’s emotions

  • Humans reproduce emotions they observe from others on their own body
  • As Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles in the face, it blocks this process
  • Researchers say this impairs ability to understand the emotions of others
  • Study revealed it’s especially difficult when observed expression is subtle

I think that explains quite a lot, don’t you?

For a more, medical abstract look at the study: Emotions in the age of Botox — ScienceDaily

Aesthetic treatments based on botulin toxin affect the perception of emotions, new research shows. The consequence of having Botox injected, scientists explain, depends on a temporary block of proprioceptive feedback, a process that helps us understand other people’s emotions by reproducing them on our own bodies.

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And lastly, a little tale about Prince and his legendary Superbowl halftime show performance…The Story Behind Prince’s Super Bowl Performance — Vulture I tell you one thing, the man made me cry that night when I saw the show live on TV.

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So, this is an open thread, what are you reading about today?


Monday Reads

10155190_10207062534495474_5016625561016188746_nIt’s Monday!!!

So, most of my friends and family know that politics is my favorite blood sport. I’ve been at this since volunteering in high school for a friend’s father’s re-election to Congress.  I also was forced to drop Nixon flyers along with knocking on doors for the Congressman which is something I may never forgive myself for doing.  I did drop them a variety of places though, I might add.  It was a different time back then as my “very flamboyant” friend Mark who was door knocking with me will tell ya.  We didn’t quite have the right words for that sort’ve thing back then other than “very flamboyant”.  My grandmother was still thrilled she been given the right to vote in middle age too. Who among us would want to go back to that?

Every wide open primary is like the Super Bowl/March Madness/World Cup all rolled into one big Shindig for me! They just have to put up with my normal issue-centered self and watch me go Super Fan until the nominations get sewed up. Then, there’s my deep hibernation until fall.  You know my birthday is usually on an election day too.  Maybe that has something to do with it!

So we’re headed towards a ton of primaries!  Early voting is on here in Louisiana and many other places!!!  Our Sky Dancers in Massachusetts, Georgia and Texas will be voting shortly too!  Speak up and let us know what it’s like on the ground in your state!!!  We’re going to have our usual live blogs and we just love hearing from every one!!!!

Turnout has not been high among Democrats compared to 2008.  Turnout is high among Republicans.  This is America folks!  We invented democracy here!!  Get out there and vote!!!!  (Warning this goes to the Washington Times.)

Republicans’ turnout streak continued, with GOP voters shattering their South Carolina primary record Saturday night.

With almost all precincts reporting, more than 737,000 votes had been counted. That was more than 20 percent higher than 2012, when about 603,000 voted.

It follows record GOP turnout in Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary earlier this month.

By contrast, Democrats’ turnout has tumbled from its 2008 records in all three contests, including Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada. About 80,000 voters took part in the caucuses, with was 33 percent less than 2008’s level.

Republicans hold their caucuses Tuesday in Nevada, while Democrats shift to South Carolina next weekend.

Clinton leads in 10 of the 12 early March Primaries.  Her win in Nevada was significant.  It also looks like Trump is on the way to becoming the Republican nominee according to Mark Halperin.

Only suckers bet on presidential politics or professional wrestling, especially in this most tumultuous campaign cycle in recent memory. But if you were playing the odds, you would have to say that the weekend’s electoral results have, for now, put Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in extraordinarily commanding positions to become their parties’ de facto nominees as early as mid-March.

The two New Yorkers arrived here by different routes. For Clinton, her solid victory over Bernie Sanders in Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada provided a circuit breaker on her rival’s weeks-long run of momentum, punctuated by his landslide win in the New Hampshire primary.

Such is the inexorable power of the expectations game in determining the meaning of election results that what would have, only a few weeks ago, been seen as a miraculous showing by Sanders in Nevada (losing to Clinton by just 5 points) is now a potentially candidacy-ending loss. The Vermont senator’s campaign compounded some bad luck with some bad judgment. First, after a long period without any credible polling in the Silver State, a CNN survey released three days before the caucuses showed the race effectively tied. Then, Sanders’ team made it clear to reporters that they were playinghard to win on Saturday and their body language suggested they thought they would prevail. Thus, Clinton’s victory was seen as a reassertion of her hold on non-white voters, seniors, and other elements of a majority coalition that can be replicated in almost every upcoming contest.

It is crude and irrational, but the impact of the CNN poll and Team Sanders’ misplaced display of confidence was to take the full measure of his momentum and transfer it to the former secretary of state in one fell swoop Saturday night. Now, Clinton has regained the Big Mo just in time for a three-week stretch after South Carolina and created a potential killing field for Sanders.

12717836_10207052111794913_5040842045985873994_nSo, a Trump nomination is really interesting for RepublicanLand.  I guess the Southern Strategy really is biting the oldtimer’s country club asses.    Nate Silver characterizes it as going to war.

If you think the arguments between the Republican candidates have been bad, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Pundits, reporters and political analysts are going to really have at it. Two competing theories about the Republican race are about to come to a head, and both of them can claim a victory of sorts after South Carolina.

The first theory is simple. It can be summarized in one word: Trump! The more detailed version would argue the following:

So, um, isn’t it obvious that Trump is going to be the Republican nominee?

Not so, say the Trump skeptics. Their case is pretty simple also:

  • Trump is winning states, but he’s only getting about one-third of the vote.
  • Trump has a relatively low ceiling on his support.
  • Trump now has a chief rival: Florida senator Marco Rubio.

What did the Trump skeptics find to like about South Carolina? Quite a lot, actually. They’d point out that Trump faded down the stretch run, getting 32 percent of the vote after initially polling at about 36 percent after New Hampshire, because of his continuing struggles with late-deciding voters. They’d note that Trump’s numbers worsened from New Hampshire to South Carolina despite several candidates having dropped out. They’d say that Rubio, who went from 11 percent in South Carolina polls before Iowa2 to 22 percent of the vote on Saturday night, had a pretty good night. They’d also say that Rubio will be helped by Jeb Bush dropping out, even if it hadalready become clear that Rubio was the preferred choice of Republican Party “elites.”

“So what?” sayeth the Trump optimists. Second place means you’re a loser! There’s no guarantee that the other candidates will drop out any time soon. And as Trump himself has argued, it’s a mistake to assume that all of the support from Bush and other candidates will wind up in Rubio’s column. Some of it will go to Trump!

There’s still plenty of trouble coming from Bernie’s Thralls.  Amanda Marcotte discusses the recent attacks on the integrity of Dolores Huerta who is a modern day working class shero for many of the left’s most precious causes. It seems that many of them have a complete misunderstanding of intersectionality and of outreach to minority voters.

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Things are tense right now because the Nevada loss is starting to look like a devastating blow to the Sanders campaign. From the beginning, the biggest obstacle to the Sanders campaign was convincing voters that this was about serious change instead of a bunch of privileged people posturing about how radical they are.

It seemed, until Saturday, that the campaign had a real shot at this. Sanders is an articulate candidate who sells his ideas well, and the improved poll numbers and real inroads with voters outside of the privileged white guy tent were heartening.

Unfortunately, Nevada showed that the inroads just weren’t enough. “He lost among women, blacks, nonwhites, and self-described Democrats,” Charles Blow of The New York Times writes. Early reports that Sanders had outperformed Clinton with Latino voters proved unlikely, as caucus results show that Clinton won the more Latino-heavy precincts. The Sanders message of economic populism is not resonating with people of color, women, or union workers— the very people you need to convince people your campaign is a serious one and not the electoral equivalent of the white guy in dreads wearing the Che shirt playing guitar in the quad.

Under the circumstances, it’s understandable why Sanders supporters would be a bit touchy about Dolores Huerta accusing them of disrespect. Huerta sits right at the intersection of three demographics — labor, women, people of colo r— that the Sanders campaign needed, and failed, to win over in order to convincingly argue that this is a real political revolution instead of a social signaling opportunity for people who want to be seen as radical.

So it’s easy to see why Sanders supporters want to yell at Huerta. She’s an easy punching bag for those frustrated with voters they believe should vote for Sanders but stubbornly refuse to do what Sanders supporters want them to do. (It’s similar to way that older female Clinton supporters have gotten bossy with younger women who vote Sanders.) Painting Huerta as delusional, corrupt or a liar makes the loss of these voting blocs easier to swallow, because the alternative possibility, that Clinton voters know what they are doing, is too painful to contemplate.

 I still continue to shake my head at the horrible treatment of Congressman Lewis by the Bernie Bros. This just sort’ve doubles down on those reactions.  South Carolina does not look like it will be kind to Bernie even though he’s saying many things Black Voters want to hear.  This could be because he frames much of his issues and candidacy as a criticism of President Obama.

There are lots of explanations, but the most important one is the most obvious. Sanders committed the cardinal sin for any Democratic presidential hopeful in 2016: He framed his candidacy as a critique of Barack Obama’s legacy. As much as conservatives revile the nation’s first African American president, the base of the Democratic Party reveres him — especially black voters, who can make or break a Democratic primary candidate’s campaign in many states.

What exactly did Sanders do? He suggested in 2011 that Obama needed a primary challenge from the left. He entered the 2016 race suggesting that the progressive agenda hasn’t been adequately advanced under Obama, and that he would do more to fight inequality and to take on the financial elites of Wall Street.

10367180_10207058809522352_797234900403048374_nClinton also has firm union support which was central to the Nevada win.

In an effort to dispute what they say is a false narrative that union voters are closely split between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a group of more than 20 unions representing more than 10 million workers released a statement on Monday reaffirming support for Mrs. Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton has proven herself as the fighter and champion working people and their families need in the White House,” says the statement, which was embraced by several large unions, including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union. “That is why, of all unions endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, the vast majority of the membership in these unions has endorsed her.”

The statement is partly a reaction to the aftermath of the announcement by the A.F.L.-C.I.O., a federation of unions, that it would not vote during its executive council meeting this week on whether to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries, essentially postponing an endorsement until the primaries are no longer competitive.

“I have concluded that there is broad consensus for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to remain neutral in the presidential primaries for the time being,” Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, said in an email to union officials last week.

12717754_10207051973751462_4412257531759487398_nThe dissection of the now-dead Bush campaign is starting.   Here’s the take from writers at WAPO.

At what would become a crucial moment, Bush’s team had no clear strategy for a rival who was beginning to hijack the Republican Party that the Bush family had helped to build, other than to stay the course set months earlier of telling Bush’s story to voters.

“There was no consensus,” senior strategist David Kochel said of the discussions about how to combat the threat of Trump’s candidacy. Other campaigns were wrestling with the same problems, but as the front-runner in the polls at the time, Bush would suffer more than the others.

The Republicans have become a party of insurgents and insurrectionists.  Many of them also hold extremist religious views. It’s no wonder that the penultimate party insider was an easy target and never got off the ground despite scads of cash.  Only Kasich and goofus Rubio continue to be the Great White Hope of the Country Club Set.  My guess is that Rubio may get the Trump VP nod eventually.  We’ll see how the Terrible Trio feeds on each other going into Nevada and March.

The photos today come via the dazzling Lynda Woolard who has started a twitter handle called @TweetsToHillary and featuring the New Orleans Krewe of Hillary.  We’re GOTV for Hillary!  How about you?

So, this has been a fairly political post today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list? 


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?