Bern Means Business!

Let it be told that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic Primary not on Super Tuesday, but shortly after his victory in Nevada. For it was at that time that The Bern committed two needless, imbecilic own goals.

First, Sanders hectored both AIPAC and Israel’s PM Netanyahu, calling both the conference and the PM “racist”. Usually, “racist” is an epitaph reserved for, well, actual racists, like David Duke. This was no doubt a delight to to the cadre of Islamic supremacist anti-Semites such as Linda Sarsour and Reps. Omar & Tlaib that the Bern Out has surrounded himself with, who know a good dhimmi when they encounter one. For the the preponderence of American Jews, and one suspects “swing” suburban women, calling a conference that all of Bernos fellow candidates attended (save The Liz) one way or another, is absurd and obnoxious, even if many may not like Bibi himself.

El Bern followed that up by cheerleading Castro’s Cuban literacy program in a 60 Minutes interview. True, he made an obligatory ho hum denouncement of the whole authoritarian thing, but that clearly was not where his joy was. For many Cubans, that small matter of the dictatorship aspect of Castro’s Cuba makes celebrating its literacy akin to enjoying the punctuality of Mousslini’s train service.

Having stuck his thumb in the eye of broad swaths of Jews, Cubans and other latinos, Berning Man not just lowered his chances of winning Florida in the General, he took Florida off the map. One suspects, this was the “oh shit” moment that finally coalesced the Moderates around Uncle Joe.

Berns burn out was avoidable.

With AIPAC, Bernie could have sent in a milquetoast taped address and gone on with his “proud to be Jewish” (as a “good Jew” of course, not an uppity Zionist one) subterfuge or just said nothing and skipped it. The Castro bit was a more complicated gotcha, but Bernt could have said that the positive of literacy programs he mentioned in the 80s in no way excuses the horrors of dictatorship.

Instead, Bernmetheus doubled down on rhetoric that did nothing to expand his base while pre-emptively losing a bell weather swing state.

Why would a professional politician make such a blunder?

During this crucial stretch, the New York Times produced a fascinating overview of “The Dirt Bag” left, Ur-Bernie Bros that have a popular, pugnacious “teabagger for the left” (Thus Dirt Bag), podcast and road show hosted by a fivesome called the “Chapo Trap House”.

During the three-hour show, there is little vision laid out for what they want, beyond a Sanders presidency. There is a vision for what they want destroyed and how good it will feel to do that. The idea of actually taking power is terrifying, and they say so.

“’What’s scary is the idea that this could end,’” Mr. Biederman said. “What’s scary is we’re not just tossing catharsis into the void, that this is something real. We are there.’”

Of course winning is horrifying! The Chapos make a combined 168K per month just from their podcast. Assuming that is their only revenue stream (which seems unlikely) then they are raking in north of 2M per year. Split five ways, that’s 400K apiece. Unless MC Hammer is managing their finances, almost assuredly the Chapos are all ‘mill-yon-aaahrs’, as is Bernito himself.

That is the ultimate tasty irony of Bernie Sanders and his most stout Sandernistas: They Are Businessmen! Like any good Capitalists that have built a strong brand, they are ferocious in defense of that brand. The Bernie Brand is one of uncompromising purity as a perch to heckle impure moderates and rage against systematic establishments and lambaste a “billionaire class” (that apparently includes almost every black person in the deep south) to be “Anti” to, while promising grande and even laudable ideas that have no chance of becoming law. Ah, but that’s where the true sizzle of Brand Bernie pops off of the steak: You see, the grand strategems will all come to pass once the the revolution arrives in the form of million upon millions upon millions of new, mostly younger, voters. The Bernvoluton, like all revolutions, shall be pure!!!!

As an electoral strategy, The Youth Vote is dubious. Young people passionate about politics is a wondrous thing. They fill rallies, knock on doors, persuade peers, contribute beer money, and invigorate by their presence. They just don’t vote. In 2008 Barak Obama, a once in a generation political talent running at the perfect moment, increased the youth vote by about 10% comparable to 2004, or ~2.3 million votes. That’s a lot, but Democrats actually won back the gerrymandered House in 2018 by winning moderate suburban women. Bernie is an effective and inspirational leader. He truly does have a powerful brand. But Bernie Sanders, you’re no BHO.

Still, the revolution that never arrives is the perfect Ghost in the Machine for Brand Bernie. It allows all of the outrageous promises, it makes it unnecessary to be diplomatic towards AIPAC (Abu Mazen is apparently the only billionaire Bernie likes) or forcibly denounce Castro or do any of the frustrating (and grossly impure work) of actually succeeding and getting anything accomplished. And then, when the revolution does not arrive all that is needed is to warm over some Gramsci theorizing about how elite bourgeoise institutions thwarted the revolution by controlling mass culture, and then go back to sneering at liberals, heckling moderates, fulminating against Israel, snarking the impure, being bitter about rigged establishments, and all of the other simplistic drivel that stands in the place of actually doing the grim work of moving the ball forward on issues you purport to be passionate about.

Indeed, a 40 state loss in The General would be the best outcome possible for the Bernie Brand. Just think of the power structures to blame, the legions of petit bourgeoises that were fooled and can be mocked, and oh the glorious dreams of what could have been if only.

For the USA of course, untethered President Great Pumpkin and a Republican House, Senate and Supreme Court would be a nightmare. But Businessman Bernie and his Capitalist Bros will be laughing all the way to the Credit Union.

Will the Right Welcome the Kremlin Coup?

America has lost the Cold War in the post-game interviews.

The President is an asset of the Russian government.

It’s already known that Trump financed his businesses with Russian money. The pee tape and other dadaist absurdities are also likely real. Those two things are enough to undermine his finances and, maybe, his reputation. But at a more base level, it doesn’t matter what Russia has on Trump. Why should Trump not act as a Russian Agent when it has brought him fortune and power?

The hacking of the 2016 election was not the equivalent of Pearl Harbor or 9/11. No Americans wanted the Pacific fleet destroyed or the twin towers felled. Forty some odd million Americans did want Trump to be President. At the base College Football level, they don’t care that his win was dirty. Are the Dallas Stars really sweating their skate in the crease Stanley Cup? Of course not! While the 2016 election is revolting it is also bloodless. It hasn’t changed workaday life in an obvious, direct and negative manner. Mueller is not quite the equivalent of an exasperated Sabres blogger — but Hillary Clinton won’t get the Stanley Cup either.

Team Putin and the Russian jinns have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The pertinent question is whether they are satisfied with one victory, or do they want to take a chance to win the war? Trump is likely most useful as a Russian Asset today. Despite his relative unpopularity, he commands a Republican apparatus that maintains all federal elected power. From the GRU’s perspective, the Asset’s strength could slip easily. Fatso Trump could die or become medically incapacitated. Democrats could win one House in November and weaken his hand, and have subpoena power. Mueller could find a ‘smoking gun’ . Trump’s tax returns could leak, perhaps revealing his financial ties to Russian oligarchs. The economy could take a natural downturn. His inherent gonzo douche baggery may undermine Trump unexpectedly.

The Asset could get more powerful if Republicans hold on in the mid-terms and Trump wins re-election (which he probably will). Still, the Russian Asset is a ‘sure thing’ today and will likely remain so through November or possibly next January.

From a game theory perspective applied to the GRU and Putin, is now the time to go for a maximalist gain? Namely, is now the time for a real 9/11 or Peal Harbor — an unquestionably ugly event,  but one that produces a reaction that strengthens Moscow’s hand? Japan awoke a sleeping giant. Al Qaeda won 9/11 and its aftermath in many ways, until a real President came along and contained and decapitated al Qaeda (if not ISIS).

How could Russia win during this window that it’s Asset is at maximal usefulness? My theory: a cyberattack creates a nationwide electrical blackout in mid-October. In the chaos, scores of plants or terror cells start mass casualty shooting sprees. They are neutralized. Some turn out to be Islamic terrorists, others neo-Nazis or white nationalists, a few are eco terrorists or the most radical elements of the anti-semitic BDS Left. The DC Security establishment immediately identifies Russia as behind the electrical grid hack and as coordinators of the shooting sprees. Trump notes the randomness of the shooters and insists that it is not clear who initiated the cyber attack. Meanwhile, with the electricity out for 96 hours the basic elements of food, water and shelter become more strained. Trump uses it as an excuse to declare limited martial law to have the military keep order and maintain supplies, More intelligence officials testify that Russia initiated the attack. Many citizens are convinced that Trump colluded with Putin on the attack as a “Reichstag Fire”, or was asleep at the wheel and let it happen. Millions take to the streets to demand Trump’s resignation or ouster, leading to counter protesters certain that the black out was a “deep state” false flag, demanding that Trump maintain power. Sporadic violence breaks out between the two groups, leading to more calls for calm via military law. With the USA in chaos Russia begins making incursions to Eastern European countries like Montenegro or Slovenia. America stiffs NATO, leaving its European allies to contend with an emboldened Russia. Electricity is restored, but then is ‘hacked off again. Other cyber attacks lead to more infrastructure failures. Trump cancels the mid-term elections leading to more protests, more counter protests, more violence and more chaos which begats more military order that the mushy middle supports if only to obtain their bread ration. Meanwhile, scape goating and blame over the cause of the black out intensifies leading to more chaos and violence. Authoritarian order keeping becomes the norm. NATO is left weakened, Russia gains territory and their compromised Asset, Donald Trump, is now firmly entrenched ruling over a divided and weakened former super power in North America.

Far fetched? Paranoid? Ridiculous? Yes. But Donald Frikkin’ Trump, a compromised Russian Asset, is President.  He is likely most useful to his Russian masters right now. The Director of National Intelligence is stating that the ‘lights are blinking red’ warning of another cyber attack.

Something is coming. Something is coming that will not be good. Something is coming that America is not ready for.

MOAB Morons

This isn’t complicated. Trump throws some missiles at Syria and gets press kudos. Trump does the same trick in Afghanistan and takes advantage of free advertising associated with the kitcshy MOAB moniker. Everyone, including his stalwart critics, clickbaits about it; thereby continuing the pathetic symbiotic relationship between Trump and our worthless media. Yes, I mean you, clickbait-in-fury purportedly liberal Mother Jones!

Nothing practical is accomplished. The non-articulation of any strategy makes it obvious that MOABing is not part of a broader ME strategy because none exists. Meaningless.

Another day of our lives crests and oozes away.

“Hamilton” versus PUTIN-Trump-(pence)

“Hamilton” is the crowning American cultural creation of the 2010s, thus far.* The School House Rock + 90s Rap + Showtunes mashup leaves about a dozen songs stuck in the head and posits new discoveries upon multiple listens. Reimagining the Founding Fathers as Hip Hop Dandies contemporarizes their philosophy, writing, and arguments. The Hamilton Mix Tape lacks the emotional throughfare of the cast album, but its meshing of hip hop and powder wigs is stronger. “I picked up the pen like Hamilton” Nas intones in ‘Wrote My Way Out”. “We’re America’s ghost writers” K’naan shouts in “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”.

One iconic Broadway show and one increasingly tasty album does not, a definitive quantitative analysis of cultural or attitudes. Still, it does indicate at least some championing of the ideals and big personas of the founders (in spite of their ugly and hypocritical record on slavery) amongst the broader hip hop community, along with a celebration of the immigrant working hard, thinking harder, making it and becoming American.

Meanwhile, in “Real America”™, following, at best, the seediest election in American history (yes worse than 2000) the Right is suddenly largely embracing the mutual hand jobs exchanged between Team Trump and the Potato Jefe Putin. Strong circumstantial evidence that we have literally elected a Manchurian President and lost the Cold War in the postgame interviews is met with a smile and a shrug. I mean, hHey, he’s our Manchurian President, amiright?

Urban, hip hop America embraces the Founders and the ethos of the Immigrant Striver. Reactionary, conservative America embraces Bolshevism and KGB rat fucking and is just fine, thanks, with playing footsie with overjoyed like, actual, Nazis.

It’s enough of a switcheroo to boggle the mind. That is, until one applies my oldest hypothesis: In America Everything Always Comes Back to Race. Then it makes perfect sense. The machinery the founders, however imperfectly built, is applying itself to a multi-ethnic plural society. Putin and Nazis preserve white christian nationalism without any fussy dog whistles. Oh yeah… Duh!

 

* The best movie of the 2010s is “Melancholia,” even more so now. Rogue One even stole its ending!

After the Wreckage

Admit it.

It was humiliating.

Seeing  the lions of the last thirty years that had kept the barbarians at the gate for so long, calmly doing their respectable and necessary duty to let the barbarian into the parlor. Bill. Hillary. Barack. Michelle. Winners and losers of several big battles and combatants in the bitterest of stalemates. They won more than they lost over the years,  even with the catastrophic Bush Junta sandwiched in between. They saved the economy and the country and “Detroit” twice. They gradually increased access to health care and came about as close as possible to a trend towards universal coverage. They raised taxes, modestly, on the wealthiest, reregulated Wall Street (modestly), and set a realistic path towards contending with Climate Change. Through laws and their own example they helped lead America at large to seemingly become more respectful and tolerant — even if they were late to the game on gay marriage and LGBTQ advocacy in general. Marijuana is slowly being decriminalized. All of that and so much more.

In seven weeks, all these years of battles and steady progress, a lifetime’s work, almost all of it will be gone in about 72 hours.

This blog was started as a response to the last wreckage of the Democratic Party that stood feebly by as the post-9/11 Bush Junta bamboozled America into war. Leafing through some of the old posts, I’m impressed how often this blog was correct, ahead of it’s time, and how often versions of the ideas expressed here came to actual fruition. In it’s own small way, this blog was part of the incremental progress attained since its birth in 2003.

Most of that will likely soon be gone too.

The Republicans will have to own it now, and the white nationalism at the heart of Trumpism would seemingly not jive with the starvation policies of Ryanism. No one really cares about Gay Marriage anymore, and even abortion politics are just playing to one small, vocal segment of the old Republican coalition. What everyone has always wanted, and what would help poorer exurban areas, is deficit spending to stimulate the economy. Will Rs give this to Trump now that they own the outcomes and cannot just blame? IOKIYAR.

Best case: massive infrastructure, defense and other spending boosts the economy and only around the edges changes are made to the existing social safety net.

Worst case. Oh my is the worst case ever bad. But that will have to wait for another time.

This is a bad surreal trip, and we are at the start of the beginning.

 

HRC and the “Vision Thing”

Back in the 2008 Democratic Primary I wrote that, unlike Obama, HRC was unable to stitch her worthy policy proposals into something more than the sum of their parts. That is, HRC lacked what Bush I referred to as “the vision thing”. That is her biggest weakness as a politician. It’s hurting her now. Yes, the Comey e-mail letter is a nothingburger about a nothingburger. Yes, it’s smarmy and stupid on his part. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s unfair. But, having failed to make her candidacy about one or two big things like an infrastructure project(s), addressing global warming, or anything else HRC cannot pivot from the distraction of Comey’s e-mail interference and say, what’s important is focusing on my plan to do X, oh, AND my opponent is a bozo potemkin candidate Human-Butterscotch-Dairy-Queen-Dip-Cone-With-A-Klan-Hat that you wouldn’t trust to babysit your nine-year old daughter. HRC only has the negative case to make against Mr. T and not the corresponding positive case to make for herself.

I’m not sure if Team Clinton could have added substance to the hydrogenated oil and Russian argot wheat gruel of this gruesome campaign. The venal Media’s need to chase its own tail over every ludicrous Mr. T controversy and Mean Girl spat took all the O2 out of the room. To their credit, this flummoxed the Conservatron Also Rans and Team Clinton won on this terrain and was coasting to victory before Comey’s partisan thumb-on-the-scaling. Of course, the agonizing thing is that HRC does have intelligent plans to address most every issue facing America, but it’s too late to focus on those now.

In an election where both candidates are disliked the last bit of character besmirching, lame as it may be, will be stuck to HRC.

Previously, I had HRC’s superior ground game and a general election repeat of the fact that most late deciders went against Mr. T in the Republican primaries as creating a rout for HRC. My final prediction now: HRC wins the Obama 2012 States + NC but minus Iowa and Ohio. Clinton under-performs Obama throughout the Northeast and Midwest but still wins Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and the rest relatively easily. White educated Republicans provide the margin of victory, barely, in NC and FLA despite lower black turnout than 2012. HRC wins Nevada surprisingly easily. Arizona will be under 5 for Mr. T and Texas will be under 8. Almost. Next time. Utah is a random wild card.

Key Senate Races:

ILL – Duckworth

Wisc – Feingold

NH – Hasan (barely)

Penn – McGinty

NV – Masto (Surprisingly easily)

IND – Bayh

MO – Kander (Squeaker, running as disestablismentarian versus Bond)

NC – Burr

FLA – Marco Polo

Burr and Marco Polo will owe their Senate seats to Comey. The Comey-over also keeps Dem gains in the House to a minimum, maybe 5 seats but hopefully including the worthless Issa in CA.

 

Mr. T’s “Reynolds” Access Hollywood Video

[Full Company]

The Access Hollywood Video

[Clinton/Kaine/Obama]

Have you seen thish?

[Clinton]

Creepy Orange Hitler does unwanted gropes of vag hair

And he said it all right there

[Obama]

Highlights!

[Orange Hitler]

The charge against me is connection with one

Alt-Right for the purpose of improper fascism and anti-semetism

My real crime is frequent sexual assault

As a star grabbing pussies

Without her knowing consent

[Kaine/Obama]

Damn!

[Orange Hitler]

I had frequent sexual harassments

Most of them at my own penthouse

[Kaine]

At his own penthouse!

[Obama]

At his own penthouse!

[Deep Voice]

Day-um!

[Orange Hitler]

I did this in front of my children

My typical visit as Ivanka’s father

[Kaine/Obama]

No….

[Company]

Booo!

[Clinton]

He’s neveh gon’ be president now!

[Kaine/Obama]

Neveh gon’ be president now!

[Clinton]

He’s neveh gon’ be president now!

[Kaine/Obama]

Neveh gon’ be president now!

[Clinton]

That’s one less thing to worry about!

[Clinton/Kaine/Obama}

That’s one less thing to worry about!

======================================================

All “Hamilton” parodies aside… can you, for just one second, imagine the reaction if Obama had ever been caught on tape saying anything remotely like this?

The Ghosts of 2004?

Pretty good so far, Dems. Pretty, pretty good. Yes, it’s annoying that it took so long to stoke the tender egos of the smattering or loud, nihilist Bernie Bozos. Still, The Bern himself was a mensch in the end and did the right thing. The most strident and obnoxious of his supporters were never going to come on board or even try to work within the Party apparatus. If you are constantly interrupting speakers then its always about yourself anyway, so bully for you and pointless mush Jill Stein Green Party taint licking.

Still, I’m having a bad recollection of 2004.

The 2004 Democratic Convention was remembered most, of course, for Barack Obama’s “no red states, no blue states” speech. Loop-the-loop rhetoric floating the ether like a golden eagle, no doubt. Hard to imagine BHO being president without it. Persuasive leadership at its finest.

Touche. The more immediately pertinent result of the ’04 Democratic Convention was the astonishing and complete lack of any manner of attack whatsoever on Generalissimo Bush. This astonishing strategic blunder was supposedly made by Dukakis Campaign genius (and otherwise eight time loser) Bob Shrum who thought it would look unpatriotic to attack the President in war time. Because, BS Iraq War II and the complete failure to corner bin Laden circa 2004 was like, totes, the same thing as Dewey running against FDR in 1944. (Argh! Face Palm!) Recall, that the Republicans had a sulphuric convention that basically said we were all gonna’ die if Kerry was elected. Sound familiar? It’s unknowable if the Dems’ wimpy convention was the difference between winning and losing in ’04. I still think that bin Laden’s election eve video drop was the ENG that put ’04 out of reach (bin Laden correctly surmised that having a real president would be trouble for him). Still, Kerry got no convention bounce in ’04 so at the very least the pusillanimous convention was a squandered opportunity.

The 2016 Democratic Convention hasn’t had a total absence of meanness towards Mr. T. The problem is that anyone that isn’t voting for Mr. T because he is a misogynyst Swine Lord, or made fun of a disabled guy, was mean to John McCain, or was Captain Birther already isn’t voting for Mr. T. It’s easy to pop those soft balls over the wall, it’ll get a good response in the hall, but it won’t make any difference. Elizabeth Warren wiffed too. Can you remember a single quip from her speech? I can’t, and I was sober the whole frikkin time I watched it.

Mr. T needs to be eviscerated on being a lousy businessman, on being a con man, and most importantly on not releasing his taxes that very likely show him as being deeply in debt to Russian Oligarchs. This ludicrous beta-carotened cartoon character could very likely be a Manchurian Candidate that will make the US lose the Cold War during the post-game interviews. From the victorious locker room! While we’re getting drunk on the champagne!

Enter, 12 years later, Barack Hussein Obama. Going negative is against his brand, but this time it is necessary. Obama is the one that has “taken” the America that Mr. T wants to get back. Mr. T folds the racial resentment in with broad economic concerns and general apocolyptic anxiety. I find it hard to imagine Mr. T being the GOP nominee if Dick Gephardt had been President for the last eight years.

Mr. T’s conventions was a sloppy hee-haw tail chasing contest, but having his Creepshow Spawn laud him while a bunch never-has-beens lambasted Hillary was enough to consolidate the Rs and at least keep HRC disliked among the persuadables who only tuned in at prime time.

The Democrats need to come out of Philadelphia with a compelling economic and security message against Mr. T that also counters his eshcatonological vision.

Time to put on the gloves and show up at the bell Obama! You too Biden!

 

 

Where Were You in 2016?

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention Nate Silver gives Mr. T about a 42% chance of becoming president. Even if the Clinton E-Mail “Scandal” and the subsequent investigation is a Nothing Burger about a Nothing Burger; even if Comey’s unusual hectoring about “carelessness” was probably an attempt to shield his own Federal branch office from the vagaries of Congressional showboating by giving the Dems a straightforward “no charges” while also producing an attack ad for the Rs; and even if Mr. T has continued to be a Skat Muncher that steps on his own news cycles by retweeting anti-Jew imagery, or being an ass hat towards Mike Pence or whatever feeble outrage of the day he produces. Even with all the spun nothing and bluster, having the head of the FBI excoriate HRC is a punch that has changed the fight.

The good news is that HRC has fallen and Mr. T still is stuck in the low 40s. Pseudo-intellectual Hand Job Gary Johnson and Superfluous Gadfly Jill Stein continue to lop up a combined ~15%.  Still, the Republican Klanvention probably did shore up Mr. T’s support among wayward shards of the Republican coalition. The third-world antics of demanding that his opponents be jailed in defeat and the doomsday rhetoric put, for the moment, HRC in the broad category of “Other” that has so flummoxed too much of the electorate. To the degree that Mr. T’s denunciations, bullying, and Saturday Morning cartoon nonsense is racist, or Banana Republicesque (bring on Uday and Qusay — er… Eric and Don Jr.) or just dumb he manages to troll all of the media gate keepers and other “Franklins,” as Rick Perlstein put it, that have remained unknee capped from the Great Economic Collapse. For many, LOLing these Fuckers as they clutch their pearls is more cathartic than getting pissed off at racism or stupidity.

One forgets how brilliant the Bush Junta was at politics before their butterfingers response to Hurricane Katrina. There were financial shenanigans aplenty early in the Bush reign. Recall that the answer was a meaningless rejiggering of regulatory agencies and… cornering and then imprisoned Martha Stewart. Stewart was a Type A’s Type A, a notorious domestic dazzler whose dense details delighted and annoyed. And she was a Democrat! Of course, her financial chicanery was JV compared to the Big Boys. But who the hell were they anyway? Her head was put on a figurative pike and thus someone was “gotten” for the late 90s early 00 financial crisis.

Team Obama managed to birth Dodd-Frank, which has surely been more of a problem child for “Wall Street” than Martha Stewart stitching a poncho in jail. Still, overall Team Obama wasted too much political capital defending the bail out (even if the Bush junta technically got them through) and enlivening Tim Geithners micro penis. The bail out worked and unfroze the credit market, but it still feels like no one who should be punished has been punished. The Rich are still The Rich.

Still, we are playing for keeps here. It is not at all unreasonable to imagine a “King Slayer” scenario if Mr. T becomes president where the military has to step in to prevent him from nuking Toronto because PM Trudeau’s wife slighted his advances. Meanwhile, it appears very likely that the Russian Government is responsible for hacks into the DNC that showed — out of thousands of e-mails — some kids gloves dissing of the Sanders campaign. These have been released on the eve of the Democratic Convention to sew a hint of dissent and chaos all the better to get the incompetent stooge Mr. T in office.

Is this how the American Republic ends? Puerile purist liberals being toyed with by Vladimir Putin and not being able to stand that life is unfair (and that blacks never warmed to Bernie)? With Republican voter suppression? And, worst of all, with Democrats unable to be both rough enough to land meaningful punches on Mr. T while have a positive vision of the future.

It’s up to Hillary to create a positive vision for her candidacy that is more than the sum of its policy papers. Ultimately though, it is up to us to assure that no one is asking “where were you in 2016?” a generation from now.

Bring on the Democratic National Convention!

Wow! Dems Just Did Politics!

I’ve been harshly critical of wimpy Dem politicos over the years. Especially, during the Fear Years, they were downright pathetic and spineless in their opposition to the Bush Junta.

Today, perhaps coincidentally, the House Gun Violence Sit-In knocks Mr. T’s big anti-Hillary speech off of the lead and all to put forward the proposition that it should be not so easy for terrorists to buy guns.

For once, pretty good Dems, pretty pretty, good.

My Dark Horse VP Pick

I got three syllables for you… Joe Biden. He has all the necessary chops… can be Prez if “god forbid,” doesn’t distract from the top, can debate and campaign, knows how to get shit done on the Hill when needed, and hell he’s already done the job. Team Obama likes him. The Berners have never gotten into a hissy fit snit about him, although they’ll probably grouse no matter who Hillary picks.

There is nothing that could more make HRC’s effort to run for Obama’s third-term more definitive or obvious. Of course, he may not want the job or may want to retire. And there would be some argument that Hillary is not choosing her own person. But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. For those of us that just want to vote for Obama again anyway this is the next best thing.

Bernalph Snaders?

All right, Bernie. Ralph Nader could have just remained a gadfly in the late 90s and left an admirable legacy of anti-corporate activism and followers. A nice The Subject of College Entry Essay sort of remembrance. Instead, Darth Nader’s entry in the Book of Life begins and ends with Generalissimo Bush. Say what you will about Gore running a shitty campaign and that he should have won. That means precious little to those needlessly killed while the Bush junta was asleep at the wheel on 9/11, to say nothing of thousands dead or maimed in Iraq, or those that died but shouldn’t have after Katrina and, well, just read the archives of this blog.

Similarly, Bernie could leave a legacy on being ahead of the time on so many issues that eventually became popular; of, indeed, taking a more pure approach —  and that is meaningful as example if not in the workaday grind of progress. All of this could be capped by a stupendous presidential run that attracted millions of new and, importantly, younger voters to the Democratic Party. The future of the party could well be a hybrid that favors more of Sanders’ Indica than Clinton’s Sativa. One could see a Tulsi Gabbard strain running for President in eight years.

That is, if Bernie does the right thing and concedes graciously a few days after Tuesday’s votes are cast.

Conversely, if Bernie contributes at all to a bitter, quixotic anti-Clinton campaign then his legacy may begin and end with Donald Trump.

That is, if there is anyone left to record legacies.

Be a mensch, Bernie!

 

“Hoonism” and Mitt Romney

Yes, IT can happen here. Indeed, a junior varsity version of IT did happen here during the Bush junta’s Fear Years (September 12, 2001 – September 1, 2005 or 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina) in which many of the American people, but just as importantly, our supposedly moderating institutions were meerily hoodwinked into starting Iraq War II to “keep us safe” and people with the intelligence to not support that disaster were labeled as treasonous. Of course, Generalissimo Bush left office as one of the least popular presidents in American history and 7+ years of “history’s judgment” have not been kind. Still, Bush II did not change from 9/11 to Katrina. We the People did. Enough of us removed the blinders of Bush’s lies and stupidity, proof positive that We the People (or at least way too many of us) allowed them to be put on in the first place.

Anyone dumb enough to think that Mr. T does not know precisely what he is doing in being a KKKonservative Klandidate is also dumb enough to think that he doesn’t mean it. Witness the half-lobotomized vocal cord with shoes Chris Matthews, bloviating on MSNBC that maybe Mr. T talks about infrastructure and building things in the general election ’cause he has built stuff and perhaps we get a “wall and roads” when he is President. Right. Like any politician that needs to be re-elected (assuming we still have elections) will not try to deliver for their base. Make no mistake,  Mr. T’s base is White Nationalism.

What does IT look like in Mr. T’s America? Here’s my guess: Mr. T will attempt to rally support for deporting eleven million illegal immigrants. Congress will reject most of it, but Mr. T can still make plenty of a difference via Executive Orders. If anyone thinks that the same interests that label Obama’s use of Executive Orders as “imperial” will have a problem with Mr. T using EOs to enforce his agenda , all I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Where formal ICE agents cannot or will not  deport all eleven million undocumented immigrants heavily armed “Patriot Groups”  will begin outing undocumented immigrants for them. Many people will oppose this, likely disproportionately those of other religious and ethnic minorities who will correctly see themselves as being next. Some in these groups will adhere to the side of “law and order” to keep themselves safe, but I suspect the majority will be motivated to protect and help their fellow humans. Thus other minority groups will likely fall under further suspicion, perhaps with more Patriot Groups doing their Patriotic duties to “out” those sympathetic to undocumented workers. The more this round up tears apart society and, along with the trade wars with China and Mexico, damages the economy the more impetus there will be to get rid of Them to keep Us safe and prosperous.

Last week: enter Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP deserve 99.99% of the blame for Mr. T. They are the ones that have stoked racism as a fundamental political strategy since 1968. They are the ones that sought to oppose Obama at every turn — as though tail chasing delusion was better than governmenting with a black Democrat. As a result, they are the ones that no longer have any ideas for governing, or even acknowledgment of problems like global warming. Romney had no problem with Mr.T’s hammy birther racism in 2012. Yes, Romney’s “self-deportation” nonsense circa 2012 is the non-alcoholic beer to Mr. T’s 2016 nativism. Yes, Romney’s unprecedented opposition to Mr. T overlaps with his own interests to perhaps be the “White Knight” at a brokered convention. Yes, overall, Romney is a venal termite.

And yes, Mitt Romney recognized the unAmerican, authoritarian, violent nightmare of a Mr. T presidency and chose to forcibly speak out against it.

By and large, rather than taking Romney’s denunciation of Mr. T as proof positive of Mr. T’s scary agenda, the Middle and the Left have resorted to the facile comfort of Hoonisms. In this case, the “Hoonism” is the man-bites-dog story of Mr. T beating up “the Establishment” and the easy peasy (and oh so very accurate) hypocrisy charge that Romney is largely guilty of the same resentment-mongering as Mr. T. Witness witless witness Maureen Dowd cheering the “wicked fun” or Mr. T’s candidacy tearing apart said establishment before limply acknowledging its “wickedness.” [For me the “wicked fun” of beating the GOP establishment was electing and re-electing a Democrat, having him enact much of his agenda, and having him “keep America safe” by actually killing Osama bin Laden through a pin point military exercise, rather than missing bin Laden in a pointless full-scale war.] Similarly, Saturday Night Live cut a funny “racists for Trump” fake commercial last Saturday. Their vehemence would stick had the selfsame Mr. T not hosted SNL a few months prior.

Will Willard Mitt Romney be remembered as a smarmy shape-shifting pol that was ultimately hoisted by his own petard by the very backwards elements he sold himself out to? Or, will Romney be recalled as a man whose ambitions silenced his conscious for so long that when he did let his conscious speak not enough people wanted to listen because he was so compromised and his warning was too unpleasant?

The remnant of the respectable Right is being routed. It’s up to those of us of the Left and the Middle to determine the outcome. If we want Mr. T to be a freaky funny footnote to history and for Mittens to remain a punchline, we have to stop Hooning away the warnings from anyone that demands that we contemplate the unwanted dangers of having Mr. T’s stubby fingers using the might of the federal government for an ethnic cleansing campaign in the USA. Even if that anyone includes Mitt Romney.

“Hoonism,” The GOP Establishment, The Media and the Rise of Mr. T

After the rise of universal white male (as opposed to only land owning male) suffrage in 1828 the quality and notoriety of Presidents declined (Pop Quiz! Name one president between Andrew Jackson and Abreham Lincoln)  and much of the intellectual heft of American government resided in the House of Representatives with three leaders providing the bulwark of statesmenship that, in the most altruistic telling, kept the Union whole until it was finally ripped asunder in 1860. This “Grand Triumvirate” consisted of Daniel Webster broadly representing the North, Henry Clay broadly representing “The West” (then states like Ohio and Michigan) and John C. Calhoun representing the South.

Of these three stalwarts Calhoun was dealt the worst hand. He needed to perpetuate the peculiar institution of slavery, whose existence was even in 1776 a compromise to the minority interest of politicos, even as the physical size and number of states expanded. Should the majority will hold true to those new states they would be “free”. In time, free western states and free northern states would outnumber southern slave states and slavery, as a minority regional interest, would end through the basic “majority rules” structure of the Republic even with its attendant check and balances.

Luckily for the South, Calhoun was smarter than Webster and Clay. Calhoun was a full throated booster for the “positive good” of slavery, but his arguments for maintaining slavery were not about its awesomeness; rather, he made legal argument over the need for “minority” rights, states rights, and even the idea of a “concurrent majority” of all major interests for anything that the majority does — in other words, the majorities of the rest of the United States that wanted to abolish slavery and keep new western states free, could be nullified if the majority of the Southern slave states disagreed.

Calhoun’s ideas are a ripe rabbit hole of worthy College sophomore bull session fodder to cannonball into: How are minority interests protected in a majority-rules Republic? Are Calhoun’s ideas a tyranny of the minority? These ponderances conveniently allow the self-evidently repugnant fact of slavery to become tacit background to the debate. The states rights argument was a tactic to perpetuate slavery; had the majority of the USA been pro-slavery than Calhoun would have been a genius scholar of the dictae of majority rules. The politics of antebellum America were about slavery with all of the genocide, violence, rape and subjugation that goes along with it.

“Hoonism” then, is an intellectual or symbolic rationale for ugly positions that allow both sides of the argument ground to disagree while keeping the hideousness of the subject matter at bay.

John C. Calhoun is the intellectual grandfather of reactionary conservatives, so of course the Right enjoys employing Hoonisms. Moderates dig Hoonsims too. Isn’t easier to focus Grade 6 through 12 history on yakking about “concurrent majorities” rather than how America’s founding fathers and most of its politicians rationalized the enslavement of the ancestors of several of the kids in class? A visceral examination of the sickening practice of slavery indicts everyone in an uncomfortable way.

Those that are that are surprised by the rise of Mr. T despite his Real Conservative apostatecy , then, have grown numb to the fact that the GOP has become the party of “Hoonism” ever since it employed the “Southern Strategy” in 1968.

Take abortion. The pro-life “Hoonism” is that people with deep religious convictions hold all embryonic life sacred. There are many, well-organized people for whom this is true. The pro-choice narrative is more informative: women should have control over the bodies. Ay, there’s the rub. The Pill and progress towards gender equality overall allows more women to choose their family and career options, thereby limiting some of the power once held by men. Some men find this untenable, but that’s kinda’ nasty so they are supposedly very religious in their pro-lifeness. Enter Mr. T who is all over the map on abortion, but is a barking misogynist that will put the Megan Kellys of the world in their place. He wins because for most of the Right “pro-life” is a Hoonism for misogyny.

And on the Hooisms slide:

“Welfare Queens” = Lazy black people stealing white people’s money. (Irregardless of the fact that most welfare is distributed to whites)

“Strong Military,” at a time when America has the most powerful conventional army in world history = Still Butthurt over Losing Vietnam.

“Against Big Government” = Schools should still be segregated and I resent federal power being used to enforce constitutional equality for everyone.

“New York Liberal” Slander = I don’t particularly care for the Jews, or the blacks or the queers or all the other “others”.

“Show Me Your Birth Certificate” = Any black person is illegitimate to be president.

And so on.

Mr. T’s skill has been in ripping off the Hoonism hood and racing the car with its untethered racist engine. One of the reason that he has been so difficult to contend with is the GOP Establishment is too inbred to realize that its Hoonism is a faceade, but even The Smarts like Nate Silver have been flummoxed. The reason for this, I suspect, is that being forced to acknowledge that Mr. T’s support is greatly predicated on a White Power (with all the ugliness that phrase implies) reaction to white disempowerment, forces one to look up from their equations on measuring the standard deviation “resentment” and acknowledge that a great many Americans do not like black people, latinos, Muslims, Jews, homosexuals, and so on. This hatred has been the organizing factor in right-wing politics since 1968. Acknowledging this forces people of good conscience to speak out against it. And that’s uncomfortable.

Baring some sort of deux ex machina the leadership of the free world will come down to a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence. If the Left and the Middle wants to win this fight, it must acknowledge what the right has become, and has been since 1968 without the Hoonism woodwork to obscure it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screw it! New Jersey Should Go First.

Now that the inane Iowa caucuses are over and the tail-chasing Boston Suburbs + Quebec Suburbs primary is ended, the rest of America can begin to choose between the candidates that our cornfield and flinty-faced betters have so expertly winnowed or story-lined for us. The primacy of IA and NH would be NBD if not for the fact that America’s candidates spend almost two years campaigning there; meanwhile, after a brief jaunt to Nevada and South Carolina, the totality of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia (to say nothing of American Samoa) will all vote on March 1 with about 19 days of campaigning for the lot of them. Our candidates make a show of mugging at all 99 of Iowa’s counties and making multiple visits to each New Hampshire Nothingberg. If I’m lucky I might get one meaningful rally in my state, like we did for Obama in 2008.

I was going to suggest wonky solutions for this absurdity. Perhaps a random drawing of “Plus One” states to go along with Iowa and New Hampshire so that at least four states get the two years of attention. Or, perchance a series of regional primaries with a different region going “first” each four yeats. But, the umpteenth visit to Ida County and the media’s smiley smile tallying of Dixville Notch’s first votes have left a groady corn and granite slime in my mouth.

Yep. It’s time to move this entire grotesque carnival to where it belongs. The state of my birth: New Jersey.

There are intellectual reasons for starting with Jeerz. It boasts some of the richest and poorest sections of the country, meaningful numbers of almost every race, religion, and ethnicity in the world, dense urban areas, sprawling suburbs, and more farmland and rural pockets than an outsider would expect. That’s all well and good for an NPR segment, but the real reason that the Marco Polos, Mike Hucketerbees, John Kasichs, and Jeb!utante Bushs (etc.) and all their media should have to spend two years slogging the Oranges, Amboys, and Cape Mays is far more pointed: It will be a colossal pain in the ass.

Firstly, ad buys will have to be in the ultra-expensive New York or Philly markets. Yet, those ads will have a hard time appealing to Jersey’s ideal of itself. Half the state likes the Knicks/Giants/Jets/Yanks/Mets the other likes the Sixers/Eagles/Phillies. Debating Devils/Flyers/Rangers WILL start fights. Rutgers is there for everyone, but no one cares about the Scarlet Knights. Jersey has no central city, landmark or place. Newark is the largest population center, but I admit to never setting foot in it until I was in my late 20s. I’ve still never been to Camden. Most of the times I was in Trenton it was a mistake. Despite being easy Blue nationally since ’92, Jersey functions like a set of city-states and fiefdoms; intensely local subcultures that sometimes enjoy each other, but ultimately have little affinity for one another. The candidates will have to squeeze votes out of this incoherent melange.

Being so close to NY and Philly, Jersey will be unimpressed by the candidates, their entourage, or The Media. Nope. No corny aw schucks smiles when John Kasich mentions that Toms River has a storied history in the Little League World Series or that John Updike wrote about Elizabeth once. Hillary will get no bounce for trotting out Carl Lewis (he’s from Jersey, look it up). No one will entertain Ben Carson. That said, the instant Jersey learns that Marco Polo has been supping at Brooklyn’s Peter Luger every night or Jeb!utante calls the “shore” the “coast” then watch out, because the only identity Jersey has is a negative reaction to the rest of country’s “Toxic Avenger” perception of the Garden State. We will rally and defend Jersey to the death. It’s an incomprehensible composite rock of “I Don’t Give a Fuck!” and “Fuck You!” and anyone that wants to be president had better figure out how the hell to navigate it.

The candidates will get stuck in traffic. A lot. The people will get bored of security inconveniences. Familiarity will breed contempt. Months before the first votes are cast, Jerseyans will find that one little, peculiar bit that gets under each candidate’s skin and, like a coven of mini-Howard Sterns, pick at it endlessly. One would think that Crisco Kremey would be adapted to these environs and be favored in his home state, yet I suspect that he would merciless trolling for being  shitty at his day job. I Don’t Give a Fuck so Fuck You!

I want to see Mike Hucksterbee chum up to a dad with three kids at the Kendall Park roller rink and have the guy tell Huck to choke on his own vomit and die, and then go back to playing Buck Hunt.

I want to see overly tan women giggle and point at Jeb!utante Bush while he is wearing his creepy WASP shorts at the Shore and then have a guido laugh in his face.

I want to see Bernie face down a Libertarian heckler with aspbergers syndrome and a six figure salary from Bristol Meyers Squibb in a town hall in West Windsor.

I want to see Hillary “connect” over hoagie orders.

I want to see a beer bellied slob with half-chewed pizza in his mouth get into an Alpha contest with Mr. T on the Point Pleasant board walk.

I want to see the real life incarnation of Randall from “Clerks” make Marco Polo cry.

I want The Media to get grouchier and grouchier about the whole damn thing. New York and DC, so close and yet so far!

Finally, mercifully, the ordeal will end. Jersey will be sick of all you alls stupid, vapid speeches and boot slurping handlers. The candidates will be seething beneath false saber-tooth smiles, gamely thanking the volunteers and ready to book the hell out of here.

Thus, Jersey and The Election will part ways. Both reminiscing over scores of slights, brows furrowed, thinking about waving a gigantic stadium-style foamy hand with its middle-finger jacked up in each others’ face. I mean really, could anything be more American?

You Got A Problem With That!

 

What the Western Left and Middle Eastern Arabs Do Not Understand About Israelis

In an effort to live out some bad karma, I occasionally read the comments section of Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, or Haaertz articles posted on Facebook. For all its faults, Comment Land serves as a useful proxy for the folk wisdom of current events – the one-on-one dialogue of personal arguments far from the purported nuance of elite` Thought Leaders.

In this sluggish and nasty realm the anti-Israeli argument goes something like this: Zionism and Zionists are fundamentally colonial and have stolen land in the British Mandate Palestine; therefore, Israel’s claim to said land is illegitimate and it should somehow be returned to indigenous Palestinians that, although never a nation-state [although many in Comment Land are ignorant of this fact and think that there was a formal “Palestine” that got turned into Israel], are still a cultural identity that should have had a formal state in what is now Israel.

The moderates in this camp will concede that Israel has a right to exist along with a Palestinian state but that a homeland is still owed to the Palestinians by the Israelis, the radicals say “Palestine from the river to the sea!” None of this contends with the fact that the “Palestinians” could have had a homeland on multiple occasions and started all the wars that they lost, but I digress.

There is so much ignorance in the Zionism = Colonialism argument that it is almost impossible to unpack all of it, but because it is elemental to the ongoing Arab-Israeli peace problem  address it we must to achieve a lasting peace.

The first problem with the Zionism = Colonialism narrative is that it assumes that there is no connection between the land that is Israel today and contemporary (say, from the 1880s to present day) Jews. This would stun anyone that has ever been at any Jewish prayer service. Even not understanding a word of Hebrew you would hear “Yis-rah-ale” and “Jer-ru-sa-li’yim” chanted again and again. There is ample archaeological evidence for humans identifying themselves as Jews lived in what is now Israel since almost the dawn of recorded history. This includes Judea and Samaria (“The West Bank”), whose moniker itself should be revealing.

Israel is foundational to Judaism, but the anti-Israeli narrative (if it even acknowledges that people called Jews have lived in Israel historically) rests on inventing a statute of limitations at which point Jews no longer get to become Israelis after the Diaspora: by this logic, Diaspora Jews are not Israelis or Judeans, they are “Europeans.” This ignores the reason that Ashkenazi Jews became Zionists and ultimately Israelis: the European majority considered them Jews and not Europeans. The major Aliyahs of modern Israeli history are not Colonial swashbuckling but refugees fleeing horrific discrimination, pogroms and the Holocaust, often with just two suitcases or less. Call their migration Colonialism all you want, they called it survival.

Finally, despite the fact that (for just one example) the Incans were conquerors of local peoples before they themselves were Conquistadored by the Spanish, Colonialism is seen as something that Whites do to Others. Again, the supposed whiteness of Jews disqualifies their ability to live in their historic Homeland that also has non-white people in it. Yet most Jews were  expelled from other lands because of their Jewishness. Jews’ expulsion from the Arab world was not a catastrophe in 1948 because Zionism worked as intended and they went to Israel. The same holds true for Ethiopian Jews in the 1980s and French Jews today. As a result, as anyone that has ever been to Israel will attest, Jews are multi-racial. That’s not to say that discrimination towards Mizrahi Jews in Israel was not and is not problematic, but Israel  and Judaism is not a monolithic “white” region, religion or culture.

The Zionism = Colonialism slander underlies the Palestinian/Arab strategy towards Jews. It is the same strategy used in Afghanistan against the Russians and Americans, and used in Iraq against the Americans: Blow stuff up, weaponize young children as suicide bombers or terrorist stabbers, keep committing violence and make staying so horrible that eventually the occupiers leave. The problem is, as far as so-called “the occupiers” are concerned, they are home! It doesn’t matter how many freshman College essays labeling Israelis as Colonialists get an A-, or how often Arab TV fulminates about them being “European.” For Jewish Israelis Israel is Israel and they will not be boycotted or terrorized into thinking otherwise. Trying to do so is a foolhardy strategy for anyone that actually wants to achieve peace, as the Palestinians prove with each rejected peace offer.

Mr. T and the Royalist Rumble

Thesis: Mr. T will remain in command of the GOP nomination until someone  out-alpha’s him in a direct confrontation. This will be made exceedingly difficult by the gargantuan field and the banality of his intellectually fallow opposition. Irrespective of that, we might as well analyze how any one of these folks could  alter the race as we await the next potential elimination ceremony  second GOP debate.

There are three broad categories of conservatrons running this year. The Establishmentarians, the Disestablishmentarians, and the “Who, Huh, Whas?”.

Lets start with the “Who, Huh, Whas?” in no particular order:

Rick Santorum — There’s no Mitt for this creeper to be a “non” to this year. Buh bye!

Lindzey Graham — Never recovered from getting pwned when Mr. T read his personal phone number out loud. Buh bye!

Jim Gilmore — ????????? Related to the Pink Floyd guitarist???????? Or the Hall of Fame hockey center????????

George Pataki — Didn’t know he was still alive. Seems like a nice guy.

“Bobby” Jindal — Failed Louisiana governor who disgraces himself by forcing his ethnic  “otherness” to lay behind a vapid persona that is half pill popping 50s housewife and half Beaver Cleaver. Proof positive that, outside of spelling bees, subcontinent Indians will never be the “new Jews”. Buh bye!

Rick Perry — Pinned and eliminated by Mr. T via the “smart glasses” wisecrack. No longer sullying the national image of perry, a delightful beverage made from fermented pear juice; perry is especially tasty if one can find rare perry pears that are no good to eat but have tons of tannins!

Now for the Establishmentarians, in no particular order:

Marco Polo — The thirsty, once upon a time GOP “savior” with a compelling personal story of being a first generation Cuban-American who, through hard work and perseverance, has become a Senator and is now working tirelessly to assure that no other poor children of immigrants will ever have the same opportunities that he had. Still waiting for him to do something.

dummScott Walker — Failed Governor of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the brain that controls his lower extremities became out of sink with brain in his head when he hit the national stage. My pick for the next elimination. Even the Kochs aren’t yet willing to commit their posion-the-earth warbucks to this dunce no matter how ably he peed on Organized Labor in Madison.

Crisco Kremey — The Mayor of Tromaville, New Jersey whose bold leadership style (see him in action at 2:14 mark) backfired when he attempted to kill the Toxic Avenger (witness the mayhem at the 1:15:00 mark) against the wishes of his constituents, most of whom just wanted to get home on time. Kremey is bellyflopping in the polls, but is perhaps the only candidate that has the sense to know that he must be the bigger dog against Mr. T to have any chance of winning. Belligerence is Mayor Kremey’s strength and he has promised to “go nuclear” in the debate. One suspects CNN only gave him a mulligan to enter the varsity debate because a Crisco Kremey/Mr. T showdown would be the Bobby Bacala/Tony Soprano fist fight of politics, and CNN knows good infotainment when they see it. Mayor Kremey’s problem is that he’s an Angry Warrior and Mr. T is a Happy Warrior. There’s an old boxing truism: Never Hook with a Hooker. Indeed. But, Kremey has nothing to lose. Should be an interesting exchange.

John Kasich — ????? Third Baseman for the 1983 Cincinnati Reds????? Still waiting for him to do something.

Jeb!utante Bush — The Establishmentarian’s Establishmentarian that Mr. T has turned into an Antidisestablishmentarian. Jeb!utante is proving to be the “smart” Bush Bro to the same degree that Zeppo was the funny Marx Brother (Poppy is Chico, Barbara is Groucho and ‘Dubya is Harpo, by the way). Would this walking and talking mediocrity have ever been Governor of Florida if he wasn’t a Bush? Jeb!utante possesses this peevish, patrician angst as if he is just too good to be slinging mud with Mr. T or do any of the other workaday grime work that it takes to become President because he’s already used his daddy’s network to raise a bazillion dollars. As I wrote earlier, the “you’re not a real Conservative!” attack is a failure because real conservatives have done nothing but facilitate giveaways for the rich, and that is all Jeb!utante is proposing. If your ideas are stuck in the 80s, at least have the sense to learn from Hot Rod Roddy Piper if you wanna’ take on Mr. T. C’mon, dude! If I were one of his Money Guys I’d be worried. For the pertuative favorite this douche bag just doesn’t have it.

Randy Paul — This pseudo-intellectual carpet head’s libertarian “brand” should offer an effective opening against Mr. T. The gestapo tactics it would take to round up and deport eleven million illegals are horrifying, right? Randy’s Libertarianism isn’t about caressing the egos of basement dwelling trolls with skim milk-hued skin that want to feel they are nobly fighting some Big Brother that is surely watching them send boring e-mails, hack into porn sites and Beat the Meatles to those Jennifer Lawrence pics, right? It’s about the Constitution!, and the protections to privacy and property that it extends to everyone in this country, even those with brown skin who are here illegally, right?

Mike Hucksterbee — The folksy theofascist. This man has always terrified me. Getting most of his support eaten by his Disestablishmentarian doppleganger (see below).

Now for the Disestablismentarians:

Ted Cruise — Having been out A-Holed, now attempting a Forrest Gump strategy of “me tooing” with Mr. T (and even Hucksterbee when he is trolling for white resentment over the marrying of the homos in Kentucky) in hope that he can snag T’s support should Mr. T fizzle. A play not to lose strategy that will fail because Mr. T won’t fizzle on his own and, meanwhile, Theodore has made himself invisible. At least everybody in Congress still hates you the mostest, Teddy.

“Uncle” Ben Carson — The not-thinkingman’s Evangelical whacko. Cannot expand beyond the non-Hucksterbee evangelicals unless he can take on Mr. T and does not appear to have the vim to do it. Unlikely to go anywhere though, and he could gain the most if Hucksterbee is eliminated.

Karli Feeoria — The female Mitt Romney, only she was a failure as a businesswomen and a loser as a candidate. The liberal media is getting all goosebumpy over this insipid ad where she notes that she is proud of every wrinkle on her face. They think she is being clever by saying she is getting under Mr. T’s skin by raising in the polls. Really? She’s barely out of the “Who, Huh, Whas?” Part of Mr. T’s appeal is that he boasts that can take on vicious female board room commandos (AKA, stalking horses for Hillary). Karli has been telegrahing her punches all week, Mr. T will correctly point out her mammoth failures as a businesswoman and that will be that. It’s nice to know that a woman can be equally as much of a worthless, empty suit as a man. Bravo, Karli!

Mr. T — Still Master of His Domain.

Overall, I expect Crisco Kremey to have the best shot to take down Mr. T, but Kremey is so far behind in points at this stage that he is going to have to swing wildly. He may have a punchers chance; however, in the midst of any fight there is another wonderful boxing truism: Who would you rather be? In this case it’s Mr. T or Mayor Kremey. The answer is obvious: Mr. T!

 

I Have Come Here to Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass, and I’m all out of Bubblegum!

No! No! No! No! No, Jeb!utante Bush! You don’t take on Mr. T by making a silly commercial about how he isn’t a Real Conservative.™ The “real” conservatives haven’t outlawed abortion or stopped Obamacare, or really done much of anything besides cutting taxes for the rich and losing Iraq War II. And y’all lost the culture war too!

This is how you take on Mr. T.

Pay attention to Roddy Piper. How he mocks Mr. T for putting his name on everything, for his hair style, for his ridiculous name dropping. Witness how Mr. T gets all belligerent in the face of the Hot Rod’s taunts, loses his cool, and attacks widly; unable to bear Piper’s ridicule.

And, yeah, well sure, you could argue that Mr. Piper’s political philosophy is staged. Right. ‘Cuz there’s nothing staged about politics, or a presidential campaign. And you aren’t getting your ass handed to you by a smarmy Reality TV blowhard, who isn’t an improbable manifestation of some third-tier dadaist’s ‘Tussin chuggin’ hallucination.

Sigh.

I pity the fool.

I Pity the Fool!!

To understand Trump and Trumpism we must focus not on the why, or the what, but on the tactical how. For just as the invented persona of 80s icon Mr. T would take no guff so does the GOP’s 2015 Extreme! Mr. T out-alpha and out-anger anyone that takes his bait or challenges him.

Witness the obliteration of South Carolina’s plantation belle Lindsey Graham, who dared call Mr. T “jackass”. In response, Mr. T recited Lindsey’s personal phone number. To retaliate, Lindsey cut a commercial wherein he goofily breaks his own cellphone again and again. The ad was funny, but stupid because Lindsey responded to a punch in the face from the sandbox bully by doing a jester dance. It doesn’t get more beta than that.

The whole episode was infantile, but it was obvious who the strong one was: Mr. T! And thus the Graham Cracker crumbled.

Not all of Mr. T’s opponents are cowed as easily as Dim Lindsey. Sometimes, Mr. T wins ugly. Fox fox Megyn Kelly got treated to a Mr. T Twitter Troll roll of sexist blather for daring to point out Mr. T’s past sexist blather. Ultimately, Kelly didn’t respond to Mr. T’s assertion of Male Privilege (“… she had blood coming out of her wherever.”), but did skip town for ten days; I suspect, because the row caused her potentially serious threats. Similarly, difficult as it is to feel sympathy for a nimrod like Lindsey Graham, reciting his personal phone number was possibly dangerous for Lil’ Lindsey. When Kelly returned Mr. T re-opened fire (“The bimbo back in town…”). Memo to the chummy, self-obsessed press class: ask Mr. T tough questions and get harried and threatened.

Mr. T turned to White Guy Privilege to take down Jorge Ramos. Evicting Jorge from the press conference (“Go back to Mexico Univision!), letting him back in, and deflecting Ramos’ sensical point that many immigrants actual enter the USA by train thereby undermining the efficacy of Mr. T’s ballyhooed border wall. Was Mr. T’s orchestration of Ramos’ mini-‘Deportation and Re-Entry’ (Mr. T’s immigration plan writ small) a suicidal dick move for the general election? Sure! But Mr. T wins again!

Mr. T plays offense by exerting Rich Guy Privilege, usually by saying that he knows someone (a celebrity, a finance big wig, border guards, lawyers) that has special knowledge about something. YOU do not know these Masters of the Universe, but Mr. T does. YOU do not participate in multi-million dollar law suits or mega-real estate deals or mega-bankruptcies, but Mr. T does. So there!

I’m not underestimating Mr. T. Not at all. He is quicker on his feet, funnier, and more interesting than his fellow cavalcade of conservatron clowns. Many of his disses are soooo true. Jeb!utante Bush is low-watt silver spoon mediocrity, Rick Peary is a dunce wearing “smart” glasses, and the economy of dummScott Walker’s Wisconsin sucks. Mr. T’s support appears to be broad across the various groups of bitter, Epsom salt-oriented white people that make up the GOP base. I hazard that this is because those that feel that they are having what is Mine taken by Them favor a man that berates and beats down all of the Thems that They throw at Him because that proves that He will not back down to all of those Other Thems that are taking what is theirs.

In boxing parlance, Mr. T is a brawler fighting in a small ring. No one will outbrawl him; but the tactics for a boxer-puncher to beat him are already apparent. Pick your spots, be prepared to get hit in exchanges, but punch more effectively by sticking to reality (Ramos almost did this on immigration, but Ramos was way too shaky — and to Mr. T’s credit Mr. T parried well) and forcing Mr. T to respond to substance with substance. Step back as Mr. T gets furious and flails, then wallop him again with more verbal onslaughts that require a cleverer comeback than, “you’re a bimbo!” In other words, the rest of the conservatron Royal Rumble bukakke needs to fight Mr. T with robust, substantive and precise oration face-to-face to win. Good luck with that! They are all too insipid and too hamstrung by goofball reactionary politics that are not much different than Mr. T’s hammy jingoism. Able reporters could corner Mr. T in a similar manner… and risk personal danger like Megyn Kelly or shaming like Jorge Ramos. (Ah, that little extra-oomph of intimidation!)

Mr. T cannot be knocked out until the GOP field is winnowed enough for an opponent to truly engage him. Oh irony of ironies, that may not happen for many moons because Citizens United bequeathed the ability for a single ultra-rich asshole to keep any one of these flailing buffoons around crowding the stage long after he (or she) has flat lined, thereby maintaining Mr. T as the biggest bull trout in a shallow, heavily polluted river.

For now, I pity the fool who thinks that Mr. T is not the favorite to win the GOP nomination!