Discord & Dissension — Part X — Bernie or Bust?

Although Hillary Clinton actually won the 2016 election by nearly three million votes, thanks to gerrymandering and the anomaly of the Electoral College, Donald Trump now occupies the Oval Office.  There were a number of factors that allowed him to gain as many votes as he did and win the electoral vote.  One, of course, was the influence of Russian propaganda intended to denounce Hillary Clinton with misinformation fed to the unwitting public.  There was significant voter suppression in a number of states that denied the vote to poor, minorities and youth.  Another was FBI Director James Comey’s ‘October Surprise’, and yet another was Hillary Clinton herself.  Despite the fact that it makes no sense, you would be surprised how many people vote for a candidate based on looks or that “warm, fuzzy” persona.  Clinton was highly qualified, had both the experience and education to have made an excellent president, but for some her forthright manner was off-putting.  And then, of course, there was that moment when she used really poor judgement in her comment about ‘deplorables’.

But the biggest single factor that handed Donald Trump enough votes to win the Electoral College was the fans of Bernie Sanders.  Let’s take a brief walk back through those times, shall we, for there are large parallels between 2016 and 2020.

Although Bernie was an Independent, when he threw his hat into the ring on May 26, 2015, he did so as a member of the Democratic Party, for the odds are so stacked against an Independent that most often they cannot qualify for debates, and will not be allowed on the ballots in many states. Bernie-Sanders-logoBernie ran his campaign much as he has this year, on a platform of populist, socialist, and social democratic politics, which gave him the support of a large portion of the under-40 crowd.  Then, as now, he focused on income and wealth inequality, which he argued is eroding the American middle class, and on campaign finance reform. Unlike most other major presidential candidates, Sanders eschewed an unlimited super PAC, instead choosing to receive most of his funding from direct individual campaign donations.

By the time of the final primary election in June, it was obvious that Clinton would be the nominee, and on July 12th, Sanders officially endorsed Clinton at a unity rally with her in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  But then … On July 22, 2016, various emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the governing body of the Democratic Party, were leaked and published, revealing apparent bias against the Sanders campaign on the part of the Committee and its chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I have always believed this was part of the Russian campaign to put Trump into the Oval Office, but as far as I know, there is no evidence to support it, so I can only speculate.

Although the race was close, with Clinton leading by only 291 delegates before the superdelegates weighed in at the nominating convention, Hillary won the party’s nomination.  Sanders threw his support to Clinton, campaigned with her, and asked his supporters to please vote for Hillary Clinton.  But … his supporters were bitter about a number of things, especially the leaked DNC emails.  They also believed that the media had short-changed Bernie by covering his campaign significantly less than Clinton’s or Trump’s.

And thus began ‘Bernie or Bust’, a movement by some of Bernie’s die-hard supporters with the goal of taking votes away from Hillary Clinton.  They urged Democrats to write in Sanders, vote for a third-party candidate such as Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or not to vote at all.  Sanders repeatedly said he would vote for Clinton in the general election in order to avoid a “disastrous” Trump presidency and encouraged his supporters to do the same, but few of his supporters listened.  If every Bernie supporter had given his or her vote to Hillary Clinton, we would have been talking and writing about President Clinton these past 38 months, even despite the Russian interference, despite Jim Comey, despite Hillary being “anatomically incorrect” in the eyes of some, and despite her lack of a ‘warm & fuzzy persona’.

All of which brings us to today and the looming 2020 election.  This year, it is Joe Biden vs Bernie Sanders, or as I’ve been calling it, the Bernie & Joe Show.  The circumstances are much the same as they were four years ago, with Biden leading in delegate count and almost certain to become the Democratic nominee in July.  Just this past Tuesday, in the three states that held Democratic primary elections – Illinois, Florida, and Arizona – Joe Biden was the clear winner in all three.  And already, “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Biden” movements are in full swing.

Allow me to share with you some of the comments from Bernie supporters …

  • “I can’t vote for Joe Biden. It feels like the party doesn’t want us — the people who were pushing for Bernie Sanders and were enthusiastic about it. I think it just means I don’t vote for president.”
  • “The rationale for us is that our votes need to be earned and that we’ve been taken for granted, and the party never moves to us. If they install Joe Biden, I will not vote for Biden. … This is not democratic what’s happening in the Democratic primary.”
  • “If we lose to Trump then hopefully within the next four years maybe an AOC or Rashida Tlaib would be able to run. Maybe there would be a better chance to save the planet.”
  • “I don’t think that I should put aside my values and vote out of fear. The DNC needs an overhaul, it lacks values, real leaders that represent the people not its donors.”
  • “For me not voting would be to send a message: what you’ve done is not OK. I wish there was a way to vote for Biden and still send that message.”

And those are just a sampling.  But I think what those comments tell us is that the Democratic Party has some work to do.  Unity.  The party is deeply divided at present, and you know that saying, “United we stand, divided we fall”?  It’s true.  I think that Joe Biden stands a very good chance to beat Donald Trump, especially considering that Trump has been shooting himself in the foot these past few weeks.  BUT … it will not happen unless both the party and the man get busy and unify the party.

The best-case scenario probably would have been for Joe Biden to pick Bernie to be his running mate, but that is not going to happen.  To his credit, Biden did say in Sunday night’s debate that he would chose a woman to be his running mate, which should help with women voters, at any rate.  The most likely is Kamala Harris, second most likely is Stacey Abrams.

My own personal choice was Elizabeth Warren, and when she dropped out, it became Bernie Sanders.  However, I believe Joe Biden to be at least as qualified as Hillary Clinton was in 2016, I believe that Bernie will support Joe if Joe is the nominee, and I will most assuredly vote for Biden.  I think that many of the younger voters who comprise “Bernie or Bust” fail to understand what another four years under Donald Trump would mean.  I think, based on all the comments I’ve seen, that they want to shake things up within the Democratic Party, and I understand that, for I share their frustration with the Party. Bernie-or-BustHowever, having watched the progressive destruction of our constitutional democratic republic over the past three years, and having studied at some length the current incumbent, his lack of values, lack of intelligence, and his monumental ego, I will throw my full support behind Joe Biden if he is the Democratic nominee, because I honestly believe that by 2024 the United States of America under Donald Trump would be a full-blown dictatorship, plain and simple.  If Trump is handed another four years, I do not believe there will be an election in 2024, but that Trump will have found a way to circumvent or disavow the U.S. Constitution and extend his term.  Nope, I am neither a conspiracy theorist nor a drama queen, but rather I am an observer with enough knowledge to understand what we are seeing.

What I ask of you is twofold.  First, please VOTE on November 3rd for whomever the Democratic nominee is.  Second, please, when you hear someone say they will throw away their vote either by staying home, writing in Bernie Sanders, or voting for a third-party candidate, try to talk to them.  Try to explain the dangers for the future if Trump is re-elected.

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents

The Week’s Best Cartoons ⚡ 3/7

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with a few well-timed political cartoons, eh? (Okay, yeah, I can think of a lot better ways, but still …) Thank you, TokyoSand, for our weekly does of humour amidst the rubble of our daily news!

Political⚡Charge

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

In the words of Washington Post cartoonist, Ann Telnaes, “Editorial cartoonists are supposed to keep politicians and people in power accountable.” Here’s how they did that this week.

Coronavirus

By Signe Wilkinson, Philly Daily News & Philly Inquirer

By Matt Davies, Newsday

By Bob Rogers

By Tom Toles, The Washington Post

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

By Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Lalo Alcaraz

By Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News

By Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News

Super Tuesday

By Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal

ByDavid Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

ByJimmy Margulies, King Features

By Steve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

By Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer

And Other News

By Marc Murphy, following the deadly tornado in Nashville, Tennessee

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

By Matt Wuerker

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Just Another Snarky Thursday …

There are, apparently, only two news stories this week: Joe Biden & the coronavirus.


Joe Biden …

It was obvious from the day Joe Biden announced his candidacy in the 2020 election that he was the candidate Trump most feared.  Hence, the now-infamous call to the president of the Ukraine that got Trump impeached, and if we had conscionable senators, would have removed him from office.

Just to set the record straight before I go any further, it has already been proven that Joe Biden did nothing illegal when his son worked for Burisma in the Ukraine.  It has been discussed, investigated, etc., ad nauseam, and there is nothing.

For a time, when Bernie Sanders seemed to be coming out ahead of the pack, Trump dropped off on his rhetoric about Biden.  It was reported that Russia was not only intervening on Trump’s behalf, but also on Sanders’.  Why would they do that?  Well, Russia helped put Trump in office in 2016 because Putin saw a puppet he could use.  Putin could never have manipulated Hillary Clinton in the ways he has Trump, he understood that Trump would be easy to sway, and that was that.  It’s in Putin’s best interest to keep his puppet in the White House.  It’s largely believed that Trump could beat Bernie Sanders, if for no other reason that that label, ‘democratic socialist’, that Bernie wears.  So, if Russia helps Bernie, they help Trump as well.

But now, it appears that Trump’s nemesis on November 3rd may well be Joe Biden after all, so … the day after Biden’s Super Tuesday win, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin attempted to plant a seed of doubt about Biden’s credibility.  He told reporters that the Senate Homeland Security Committee, of which Johnson is chairman, will be releasing an interim report on his panel’s probe of Hunter Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.  Oh for Pete’s sake, get over it, Johnson!  ENOUGH already!  First, it has been clearly established that, while Hunter Biden may not have used good judgment, he broke no laws, and at any rate, it was nothing whatsoever to do with his father!  DROP IT!

But, Trump is clearly not going to drop it, either, for in an interview Wednesday night on Fox, he opined that it …

“will be a major issue in the campaign, I will bring that up all the time because I don’t see any way out.”

So … in other words, if you can’t win fair and square, then lie, cheat and steal!  Why should we be surprised, for that’s how he ‘won’ in 2016, though he didn’t actually win, for he lost by nearly 3 million votes!


Coronavirus …

In the U.S., it isn’t so much the virus itself that is making headline news, as the response of the loon in the White House.  He (Trump) has been on some sort of tirade for weeks now, as if somebody must have concocted the virus to personally offend him.  First, it was a hoax, or rather the media coverage of it was a hoax, designed to “bring him down”.  The latest?

Due to slow and insufficient response to the virus by the Trump administration, testing has been haphazard and inadequate.  But, since nothing can ever be Trump’s fault, it must be Obama’s fault, right?  BINGO!  He’s blaming Obama for the shortage of test kits (is there really a shortage of kits, or is it simply that they aren’t being distributed properly?) …

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with — I don’t think we would have made it — but for some reason it was made but we’ve undone that decision.”

As I said in this morning’s post … don’t believe a word of it.  But, as if that weren’t enough, Trump called in and had a chat with his good buddy Sean Hannity over at Fox last night.  Hannity asked Trump about the new estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the global fatality rate for the coronavirus is around 3.4%.  Trump, however, had a ‘hunch’ …

“I think the 3.4% is really a false number. Now, this is just my hunch, based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild – they’ll get better very rapidly, they don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people, so you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population, in terms of this corona flu, and/or virus. So, you just can’t do that. You know, all of a sudden it seems like 3 or 4%, which is a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1%. So I think that that number is very high. I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1%.”

I didn’t realize you could earn a medical degree at Wharton School of Business.  Obviously, Trump knows sooooo much more than the scientists and medical experts.  Who needs all those experts when we can just ask Trump for his latest ‘hunch’?


I don’t know about you guys, but I am getting damn sick and tired of the childish, harmful games that Trump and his republican sycophants are playing.  They have put their own interests much higher on their priority list than ours, and now are even willing to gamble with our very lives.  Let’s send them a HUGE message on November 3rd … Let’s send them all packing!

The Bernie & Joe Show

While there remain four candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination, it is obvious that there are really only two viable ones.  Tulsi Gabbard should have dropped out long before, as she never stood a snowball’s chance.  Mike Bloomberg, who won not a single state last night, announced he is dropping out this morning, and will be supporting Joe Biden.  And, much as I hate to see her go, the time has come for Elizabeth Warren to remove her hat and announce her support for either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.  Yep, folks, for the next four months it will be the Bernie & Joe Show.

A few of my own thoughts …

I am sometimes saddened and sometimes angry that the people of this country, even some who are supposedly liberal-minded and forward-thinking, are still too cowardly to actually elect a woman as president.  Why did Hillary Clinton lose?  Sure, Trump with the assistance of Russia, Julian Assange, and FBI Director James Comey sabotaged her campaign.  Sure, she had some baggage and she was lacking the ‘warm, fuzzy’ persona that people expect from a … woman.  Despite the Trump/Russian interference, despite the Bill Clinton debacle, and even despite her faux pas when she referred to republicans as ‘deplorables’, Hillary Clinton won the election by nearly 3 million votes.  If Hillary Clinton had been a man, if she had been “anatomically correct” for a presidential candidate, she would have swept the election and the electoral college, for she had experience, decorum, and intelligence.  All she lacked was a penis.

And it disgusts me that on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in this nation, we still cannot pass an Equal Rights Amendment to legally give women equal rights under the Constitution.  Then again, we haven’t managed, after all these years, to pass an anti-lynching bill, either.  We still refuse to place a woman in the Oval Office.  Some churches in this country still teach that a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, subservient to her husband.  Elizabeth Warren would have made a great president.  Perhaps in another hundred years or so, the people of this country will accept that women are as capable as men of being leaders.  Obviously, it isn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

Another thing that disgusts me about the Democrats this year, or perhaps I should say about the Democratic Party, is that they are so determined to squeeze Bernie Sanders out.  Now, don’t get me wrong … I like Joe Biden just fine and will be happy as a lark if, by this time next year, we are talking about President Biden.  However, I don’t like the hatchet job that the Party is doing on Bernie Sanders.

There may be good reasons that Bernie is not the ‘best man for the job’, as our friend Gronda notes in her post this morning.    But, it should not be up to the Democratic Party to decide, nor the media.  It should be up to We the People.  That, my friends, is one of the principles upon which this nation was founded … that the people have the right to choose their leaders.  Will the people sometimes make mistakes?  Sure … that much is painfully obvious from the result we’ve lived with for over three years now.  But, it is still the people’s right to choose, not a handful of people who control the Party.

I would very much like to see the media use their loud voices to educate and inform, rather than to try to tell us what is good for us.  I’m willing to bet that more than half the people who are either registered Democrats or Independents don’t know the actual platforms of either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.  They hear that label, “democratic socialist” and that’s all they want to know.  They form their opinions directly from the opinions of whichever media personality they most like or most often watch.  The media could play such an important role, but instead they pander to gossip and emotion.

I strongly suspect that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and as I said, I’m fine with that.  I would love to see him pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, but I doubt that will happen.  My next best hope is that he will choose Senator Kamala Harris, who is an intelligent, well-spoken woman who I might have even voted for, had she not dropped out of the running early on.  It is time, folks, to drop those preconceived notions that a woman is “too emotional” or somehow just not qualified to sit in the Oval Office.  If Biden selects Harris, perhaps in time she will be our first woman president.  And about damn time, too!

So, folks, fasten your seat belts and prepare for the next four months of … The Bernie & Joe Show!

The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to OnTheIssues.org  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

Democratic Jitters

As always, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is spot-on in his assessment of the current Democratic candidates and their campaigns. He has also drawn a scenario about Michael Bloomberg that, while it doesn’t please me, I certainly cannot argue otherwise. The goal that we must not lose sight of is to topple the bully-in-chief, for another four years under Trump, who has been handed the keys to the kingdom, is unthinkable. Good work, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

It’s time to state the obvious: Beating Donald Trump must be the main objective in the 2020 election. While we all may have our personal favorites, and should proudly vote for that person in the primary, when it comes to November 3, whoever is the Democratic nominee deserves all of our support.

No matter who it is.

I know this upsets a lot of people. Ideological purity tests are running rampant all over social media. “But wait, he’s too far to the left.” “Hold on. We need to excite the base and increase the turnout. Only a real progressive can do that.” I’ve heard and seen them all. Everyone’s nerves are frayed. We know what the King is doing to our democracy, and none of us want to see what another four years of Trump will do to our beloved country.

Right now, the bane of all of the hand-wringing…

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Little Devin’s Feelings Are Hurt 😭

One of the not-so-illustrious faces of the GOP today, Devin Nunes, is suing media outlet CNN … for $435,350,000.  Yep, folks … you read it right.  $435 million and change!  I would love to know how he came up with that figure … heck, his life isn’t worth that much!  His net worth is estimated at $158,001 (the extra dollar … who knows … maybe the Tooth Fairy?).  He may well be the poorest member of Congress!

So why, you ask, is he suing CNN?  He is suing because last month CNN published what Nunes now claims to be a “demonstrably false hit piece.”  The story reported that in December 2018, while serving as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes traveled to Vienna and met with Ukrainian former prosecutor general Victor Shokin to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.  Funny, isn’t it, that the entire focus of Trump & Co these days is on Joe Biden?

Now, I don’t claim that CNN or any of the other news outlets are above embellishing on a story from time-to-time, but unlike Fox, Breitbart and others, they are not into conspiracy theories.  They report actual news.  Their source for the November 22nd story was an attorney for Lev Parnas, a now-indicted business associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani.  The attorney, Joseph Bondi, says Mr. Parnas would be willing to testify to Congress under oath.  CNN contacted Nunes’ office multiple times before publishing the story, asking for a response from him, but he refused to return their calls.

Nunes’ complaint is 47 pages long … lawyers always manage to write 50 pages for what could easily have been said in 2-3 sentences … and accuses Parnas of manufacturing a narrative that he hoped would help him negotiate a deal with federal prosecutors or obtain immunity from Congress.  So … why isn’t he suing Mr. Parnas?

Records disclosed Tuesday in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report show phone calls between Nunes and Giuliani as well as between Nunes and Parnas earlier this year.  Nunes says he remembers speaking with Giuliani, but that it was all perfectly innocent, and he doesn’t remember speaking with Mr. Parnas.  I guess he has a ‘convenient memory’ like Trump, eh?

Nunes claims that CNN published the story in order to damage his reputation and ensure his removal from the ongoing impeachment inquiry.  It seems to me that Nunes is trying to catch up to Trump in the number of lawsuits to his name.  Trump has been either plaintiff or defendant in over 6,000 lawsuits during his 73 years, so while Nunes has some catching up to do, he’s certainly trying (in more ways than one).

Devin-Nunes-criesIn March, he filed a lawsuit for $250 million against Twitter, claiming that two parody Twitter accounts (one called “Devin Nunes’ Cow”) and a Republican political consultant defamed him with mean tweets.  Awwww … pobrecito!  In August, he sued McClatchy news organization for another $250 million, alleging defamation.  And in October he sued Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines for $77 million, claiming that a story in Esquire about the Nunes family farm in Iowa defamed him.

An interesting aside … the Devin Nunes’ Cow Twitter account had only about 1,000 followers until Mr. Nunes filed the lawsuit, and then it’s readership skyrocketed to 667,000! nunesIt seems to me that Mr. Nunes has very thin skin.  As I was writing this post, the thought occurred to me that perhaps it would be fun to mail him a box of tissues to dry his tears.  Hey, maybe he would then sue me!  That could be fun, for as the old saying goes, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip”!

The irony here is priceless, for in 2017, Devin Nunes co-sponsored HR 1179 – Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act.

Just think, if Nunes were to win all these lawsuits, he would increase his net worth from his present $158,001 to $1,012,508,001.  That’s it, folks!  I’ve got it now!  He wants to become a billionaire like so many of his peers!  All these lawsuits could put him just over the billion-dollar mark!  Except … one small problem … I don’t think he’s likely to win a single one of them!Devin-Nunes

The Great Debate … #5

I just finished watching most of tonight’s Democratic debate (I had to take a 15-minute break to roll a pack of smokes).  This is the first of the debates this year that I have watched for a number of reasons.  One, when there were 20 candidates on the debate stage, it seemed pointless.  No way was any candidate going to be able to have enough time for us to get a good feel for his/her platform, ideas, and persona.  Second, I actually hate watching debates.  Why?  Because I do not like to see the infighting that typically takes place … the sly remarks, the arguing, the cutting of other candidates.  Third, because as a rule, I see little value in them … it often turns into more of a personality contest than an actual presentation of ideas.  Tonight, the field was narrowed to a more manageable, though still twice as large as it should be, number of candidates (10), the infighting wasn’t too bad, and I came away with a somewhat better idea of the differences between the candidate’s platforms.  I wanted to share my (unsolicited) thoughts about the debate while it is fresh in my mind, for by tomorrow I will have forgotten half of my impressions.

Overall, my biggest complaint about the debate topics was the omission, once again, of any meaningful discussion about climate change.  It was touched on briefly, but far too little relative to its importance, and only in the most general of ways.

The candidates, in my order of least to most likely to win the nomination (I have included links to their Politico profile which includes their platform):

Tom Steyer speaks well, has some good ideas such as term limits for Congress, and is an environmentalist.  He is not, however, qualified to be president of the United States.  He is a billionaire businessman … we do not need another of those.  He stands no chance and would be doing the nation a favour by dropping out, so that future debates can focus on the more viable candidates.

I found Tulsi Gabbard to be incredibly arrogant and combative.  Gabbard is a veteran of the Iraq War, and I respect that.  But, she has been highly critical of such people as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Democratic Party in general, while cozying up to the likes of Steve Bannon, and has among her fans, the ignominious Tucker Carlson.  She struck me as somehow ‘false’, not genuine. She is polling very low and, like Steyer, would be better off dropping out.

Amy Klobuchar has some very good ideas, such as ending Citizen’s United (one of my top priorities), and is well-spoken, but something about her bothered me, and quite honestly, I don’t know what it was.  She had one line, however, that brought the house down and had me laughing out loud:  “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.”  That line alone should bring her up a few points in the polls!  I have mixed thoughts about Klobuchar, however since I don’t expect to see her in the top 3, I’m not going to overthink it.

This was the first time I really took much notice of Andrew Yang, and I liked what I saw and heard.  He was very down-to-earth, his humanitarianism seemed genuine, and he came across as very intelligent.  However, he has no government experience of any sort, is an entrepreneur, and that just simply falls short of the qualifications in my book.  It might not have three years ago, but after the experience of the current administration, I want somebody in office who at least halfway knows what they’re doing and how our government operates.

Kamala Harris has always impressed me, and tonight was no exception.  She has some experience in government at both state and federal levels, having been the Attorney General of California for 6 years, San Francisco District Attorney for 7 years, and has currently served as a U.S. Senator from California since 2017.  She speaks with passion, intelligence, and I found nothing in her platform that I disagreed with.

I like Cory Booker.  No, I don’t think he stands a snowball’s chance, but I like him, like his ideas, his platform, and think that while maybe 2020 isn’t his time, perhaps 2028 might be.  I disagreed with him on one thing, that he is against increasing taxes on the wealthy, though he said he definitely does support estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and he agreed that the nation needs to find additional sources of revenue.  He was friendly, congenial to the other candidates, and his closing statement brought a tear to my eyes when he noted that Representative John Lewis, a hero in my book, was in the audience and referred to Mr. Lewis’ civil rights heroism of the 1960s.

Pete Buttigieg was ranked as one of the debate ‘winners’ by The Washington Post, and I would agree.  He is intelligent, and while his governing experience is limited to being Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012, it is certainly more than the current president has.  He speaks well, has some good points, such as in the areas of housing, minimum wage, and education.  He took some guff tonight, as was expected given that he has been rising in the polls of late.  I rank Mayor Pete fourth of the ten remaining candidates.

Which brings us to the top three.  I truly cannot rank these as #1, #2, #3, because they are all excellent candidates and I am very much torn between the three, yet all three have the same Achilles Heel … their age.

bernie_palestine_debateBernie Sanders did a great job tonight.  He was passionate, spoke with strength and compassion, had all the right answers, in my book.  He had many good moments in the debate, but I think the one that received the warmest audience response was when he said, “It is no longer good enough for us simply to be pro-Israel. I am pro-Israel. But we must treat the Palestinian people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”  The concern with Bernie Sanders is his age and health.  He is 78 years old and recently suffered a heart attack.

Elizabeth Warren had the most speaking time on the debate stage, and I absolutely loved the passion with which she spoke, not to mention that I always like her ideology.  One of the most controversial topics was Medicare-for-All.  I liked many of the ideas that were floated, but I think perhaps I liked Warren’s best, for hers was to phase it in over a three-year period in order to have time to work out the kinks, and to give people time to “feel it and taste it and live with it”.  As with Bernie Sanders, her age is a factor, at 70.

I have thought, since the beginning of this never-ending campaign season, that Joe Biden is the most viable candidate, and … I still think that, with reservations.  Biden, obviously, has the most relevant experience, and he is more moderate than some of the others that I like.  The sad truth is that next year’s presidential election is not about any issues … it’s not about climate change, health care, education, foreign policy, housing, or any of the other issues.  It is about one thing and one thing only:  Who can beat Donald Trump.  Everything else is secondary.  Biden is, of the ten remaining candidates, the most qualified, and the most ‘trusted’, for he is a known factor, while the others are unknowns, relatively speaking.  Biden would be a good president.  However, as far as the debates, I must admit that relative to almost all the others, Joe Biden was not exciting … in fact, he damn near put me to sleep. Additionally, Biden gets cantankerous when challenged … not a good thing.  At the moment, I think he is the best choice to beat Trump, but … for a number of reasons, that may change.

The most recent polls …

Candidate Economist/YouGove Politico/Morning Consult
Biden 30 32
Warren 22 17
Sanders 12 20
Buttigieg 9 8
Harris 4 5
Bloomberg 0 3
Yang 2 3
Gabbard 3 2
Klobuchar 2 2
Booker 1 2
Steyer 1 1

Overall, the debate was worth watching, and I was glad I did.  I’ll likely watch one or two more if I can.  Though it wasn’t captioned, the audio quality was excellent, and I had no trouble hearing the candidates.  I would like to see the next one, which I believe is later this month, whittled down to five candidates, but I am not holding my breath there.  The candidates engaged in a bit of humour from time to time, which helped, and I chuckled aloud more than once, ‘til finally daughter Chris asked what the heck I was watching!

I will have more on the candidates and their platforms in the coming weeks/months, but those are my thoughts about tonight’s debate.  It’s gonna be a loooooooooonnnngg 12 months, my friends.

New Poll spells trouble for Dems

I was pondering on a similar post, when Jeff’s post popped up in my inbox. He has said it better than I could have. This is not the news you want to hear, but it is the news you NEED to hear, for next year’s election is not, as some believe, a sure thing. Thank you, Jeff, for this analysis … though it may not be what we hope to hear, it is certainly information that we should be thinking about.

On The Fence Voters

Trump still competitive in battleground states

There’s roughly a year to go before we decide who will become President of the United States on January 20, 2021. Recent polls telling us who’s up and who’s down rarely cause a rise to my blood pressure.

Until the one that just came out, that is.

The New York Times/Sienna College poll, released yesterday, should be a wake-up call to all of us who think that Donald Trump is a disaster for America. The idea that he could win again, even with all we know about his presidency, is beyond frightening. However, when you look at the results of the poll, the warning signs are flashing loudly.

But many may ask, “What’s the big deal? All the top tier Democrats are leading Trump overall nationally, some by nearly ten percentage points.” That’s true. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all lead Trump…

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“I Tried Not To Be Snarky” Snippets

Friends … I had every intention of NOT being snarky this morning.  My intentions were pure and good … I would write something upbeat and cheery … surely I could have an attitude adjustment and be happy-go-lucky just for one post, right?  Right?  Sigh.  Wrong.


Why?

Below is a map of the United States … please take just one minute to look at it and see where Colorado is located (hint … it’s the blue state just left of center).us-states-and-capitalsNow, you see Colorado there, right?  And … do you notice that there is at least one whole state, New Mexico, between Colorado and the U.S.-Mexican border?  The southernmost part of Colorado is some 450 miles from the border.  And yet …

“You know why we’re going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on their border and they didn’t have it. And we’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico.  And we’re building a wall in Colorado. We’re building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works that you can’t get over, you can’t get under.”

Dang! I didn’t know there was a feud going on between Colorado and New Mexico!  Why didn’t someone tell me?  That was Donald Trump speaking at an oil and gas conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yesterday.  Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, had a great comeback, though …

“Well this is awkward. Colorado doesn’t border Mexico. Good thing Colorado now offers free full day kindergarten, so our kids can learn basic geography.”

Good one, Guv!  Not so good, Donnie … in fact, downright embarrassing.

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont also had a good one, inspired by Sharpiegate …Colorado-sharpiegate


And speaking of … misspeaking …

What’s in a name, anyway?

It isn’t the most important thing in the world, certainly not the worst of Trump’s many, many, many terrible tweeting faux pas, but it speaks volumes about how he views other people.

On July 15th, Trump formally nominated Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense.  The Senate quickly confirmed the nomination, as they have with most of Trump’s nominee’s, and Mr. Esper took office on July 23rd.  Imagine Mr. Esper’s surprise on Sunday when he saw this tweet by Trump …esperantoSure, it’s a minor thing, but it tells us that Trump doesn’t even think enough of his own hand-picked cabinet member to get his name right.  And it wasn’t a live broadcast, where he might be forgiven for misspeaking, but rather a tweet, where he had the opportunity to look at it, realize his mistake, and correct it before hitting ‘Send’.  I see this as a matter of great disrespect.  Am I surprised?  Not at all.  However, if I were Mr. Esper or any other member of Trump’s administration, I would take this as yet another sign that he considers his staff as nothing more than disposable assets to be used, abused, and kicked aside when they displease him.


The ultimate hypocrisy …

You’d have to laugh, if only it weren’t more asininities coming from members of the Trump clan.  Now, we all know that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the Board of Directors of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.  This had nothing to do with Joe Biden other than perhaps the Biden name gave him a foot in the door.  There is no scandal, such as the one Donald Trump has been attempting to fabricate for the past several months, ever since most polls revealed that if the election were held today, he would lose to Joe Biden.

But, there is a certain irony when the entire Trump clan go on national television to whine … yes, folks, they whined … about nepotism!  Think about that one for a minute.  The Trump clan … is decrying nepotism???

You’ve got Jared and Ivanka, neither of whom could obtain security clearances, serving as “presidential advisors” … and both, I might add, who have business interests tied to Trump’s presidency.  And then, there’s Don Jr. and Eric who are supposed to be running Trump’s businesses, but somehow find time to stick their long noses into the day-to-day business of governance, and frequently tweet on daddy’s behalf, and even appear on Fox News to toot daddy’s horn!  Disgusting animal killers is what they are!

And these infamous fools critique Joe Biden’s son for … um … accepting a job that his education well prepared him for???

Junior and Eric travel all ‘round the country on our dime, folks.  They are accompanied by Secret Service agents wherever they go, and believe me, they go to some places that you and I could only dream of.  And we … yes, We the People, We the Taxpayer, pay for their journeys.  Whatever high-classed (read, expensive) accommodations they choose, the Secret Service must also inhabit … on our dime.  Even though they have NO OFFICIAL ROLE, nor are they qualified for one, in our government.  And they are screeching “Nepotism” at the Bidens???  Yeah, right, dude.  If anyone buys this one, please call me, for I have a lovely little bridge in Brooklyn I will sell cheap!


Granted, none of these stories constitute impeachable offenses … that’s a story for another day.  Nor are they as relevant as certain republicans in Congress, led by the obnoxious Matt Gaetz, disruptong an impeachment inquiry for some five hours today, breaking every rule in the book.  Again, that’s a story for later.  But, even these small incidents have relevance because they show us the mindset that is allegedly running this nation.  Can’t get your own employee’s name right?  Sheesh.  When I was in management, I made sure to know even the names of the children of the people who worked for me … it’s called ‘common courtesy’, ‘respect’, ‘caring’.  And to claim to be a “stable genius”, with “great and unmatched wisdom”, but not even know where the state of Colorado is???  Every bit of this, every ignominious tweet where he misspells words, calls people names, is further evidence that not only is he not a genius, but he is neither intelligent nor educated.  And yet … some 40% of the people in this country want that.

As for my failed attempt at not being snarky … don’t look for it to happen any time soon.  In fact, I’m thinking about changing my middle name to ‘Snarky’.  But, to prove that I am not the snarkiest, here is a clip from Seth Meyers who has snarky down to a science!