Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If Trump Wins, the Democratic Establishment Will Have Only Itself to Blame

The daily trove of evidence coming from Wikileaks and other sources make it abundantly clear that the DNC, the Hillary campaign and the mainstream media colluded to steal the Democratic primary from Bernie Sanders. Without missing a beat, the media, including some left-leaning outlets, is portraying Bernie supporters at the Democratic convention as spoiled brats who can’t let go of their Quixotic dream, instead of the patriots they are fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party.

Hillary supporters, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim to believe in the democratic process and fair elections and then stand behind a candidate who condoned dirty tricks, under-the-table support from the establishment and who accepted money from anyone with an open checkbook. Democrats love to tsk tsk shady Republican tactics that circumvent the democratic process, but refuse to look in the mirror when one of their own commits the same sins.

The irony of ironies of course, is that polls consistently showed that Sanders had the better chance of beating Trump in the general election than did Clinton. So the Democratic establishment, in its myopic quest to ordain the elite-approved candidate, may have cut off its nose to spite its face.

Believe me, the last thing in the world I want to see is Donald Trump taking the Presidential oath of office next January, but if that happens, the Democratic establishment will have only itself to blame. When you play in the same muck and mire as Republicans, you’re not any less dirty because you support a different candidate, and perhaps you’re even a bit more so after decades of claiming the moral high ground.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Republican National Convention: Send In The Clowns

The only thing missing from last night’s opening of the Republican National Convention was Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” as the prelude to Donald Trump’s entrance. Hair Trump and the rabid crowd of haters would have felt right at home with the surreal homage to a psychotic dictator.

Did the remaining members of Queen actually give the RNC permission to use “We Are the Champions” at the convention? It’s hard to believe, but if true, I’ll have to plug my ears and “na, na, na,” my way through the inevitable assault of “Bohemian Rhapsody” throughout the remaining years of my life.

One of the big headlines today is the revelation that portions of Melania Trump’s speech last night were lifted from a speech given by Michelle Obama. Is your head spinning too? It’s like Cruella de Vil giving a speech at the American Dog Fighting convention using quotes lifted from Mother Theresa. The only thing more ironically idiotic would have been to plagiarize Hillary Clinton, but never fear, the convention has just started.

And then there was former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s raging, spittle-flecked speech, in which at one point he yelled at the crowd, “Are we crazy?” and they shouted back, “Yes.” The inmates share a brief moment of self-awareness.

Of course, what Republican gathering would be complete without the lies. Lies upon lies upon lies. From Benghazi to Hillary to Obama to Black Lives Matter, conservative barkers spun yarn after yarn, regurgitating the Republican litany of demonstrable falsehoods to a bloodthirsty crowd who live in an alternate reality. The Republican convention is clearly a truth-free zone.

We all like to laugh at conspiracy theorists and religious zealots who constantly predict the end of the world, only to have the target day pass like any other, but you can’t watch the Republican convention without a bit of an uneasy feeling that, should these lunatics gain control of our government, our days on this planet are numbered.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The California Primary Debacle: A Must See Documentary

If you are still under the illusion that your vote counts in an American election, I urge you to take 40 minutes out of your day and watch the short documentary "Uncounted." This doc looks at the myriad ways in which California voters were thwarted at the polls, and how (surprise!) it all seemed to benefit Hillary Clinton. It should be shocking to anyone to learn about how unprepared volunteers are at polling places to answer even the simplest questions, to see how many registered voters were given provisional ballots that weren't counted that Tuesday, to try to comprehend how confusing some of the rules were and how frustrating all of this was for voters.

And the scariest part of all this is that this scenario was probably played out in other states as well. Our system of voting in America is not merely antiquated and confusing, it is being clearly manipulated in a variety of ways, through voter suppression tactics, hacked and corrupted voting machines, and partisan players within each state's voting hierarchy. I hope "Uncounted" disturbs you, because it should. We cannot let this stand.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anatomy of a Primary: Sanders Got Screwed

To the surprise of no one who supported Bernie Sanders during his primary run, analysis of the voting results by researchers (including a paper by Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University, The Netherlands and Rudolfo Cortes Barragan of Stanford University) show clearly that Sanders was the victim of a rigged system. From our corporate media that virtually ignored Sanders during the early months of his campaign to the Democratic National Committee’s shameless crowning of Clinton long before the votes were counted to the shady dealings of state democratic parties (such as California’s) that aggressively worked to disenfranchise Sanders voters, the deck was stacked against Bernie from the moment he made his announcement to run for the nomination.

While the press was giving the buffoon Donald Trump billions of dollars in free media exposure, it was ignoring Sanders and the huge, enthusiastic crowds he was drawing all across America. My friends, no one has to tell you that this is not how a democracy works.

Related to this is a documentary I just watched this morning called “Spin.” It was made in 1995, but the theme of how the media manipulates the message is as relevant as ever. The filmmaker who made Spin took a very interesting and revealing approach to his subject matter. I didn’t know this, and I don’t know if it’s still true today, but in 1995, you could use a satellite dish to download feeds of raw video taken during television broadcasts of breaks and downtime not edited for broadcast. For example, the Larry King Show was huge in the nineties, and there are numerous clips of Larry talking to guests during commercial breaks.

Anyway, these off-air segments are very revealing in several ways. They clearly show how our news is both overtly and subtly managed, slanted and sanitized for consumption, often not by outright propaganda, but by what’s omitted. The news we see on television is the news the networks and cable companies want us to see to be good little zombie consumers. Spin also shows how political handlers help politicians “spin” uncomfortable topics or questions as they are coached during breaks. And the documentary exposes the sycophantic relationship between television personalities and politicians. Larry King practically polished George HW Bush’s shoes during an interview.

In the twenty years since Spin was released, the news has gone from bad to worse, democracy in America has died and the possibility exists that Donald Trump could become President of the United States. Have a nice day.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Alien Reptile People Are Real, And They're Voting for Trump

I am now thoroughly convinced that a portion of the world’s population is in fact, made up of reptilians from another planet who are able to take human form and call themselves by various names; Evangelical Christians, political conservatives, Dominianists, white nationalists, Nazis, Islamic fundamentalists and Trump supporters. While advanced enough to reach the Earth from their galaxy, their mission is to destroy our planet from within, using an ability to appear in human skin to sew the seeds of their primitive, hateful beliefs among the people living on this blue marble.

How have I comet to accept this remarkable reality? The reactions expressed by the far Right to the Orlando shooting cannot be coming from actual human beings. No born and bred earthling would spew the callous, disgusting, soulless bile that I am reading on various online comment sections. Lead by the orange lizard himself, Donald Trump, the reptilian far right fringe is infesting the Internet with its poisonous rhetoric, blaming the victims and exposing their rotted, maggot riddled souls to the world.

The hypocrisy is beyond real human understanding. Christian fundamentalists who claim they’d like nothing better than a holy war to wipe Islam from the face of the earth, convey their grateful regards to the Muslim who murdered the gays. Come on, people, you’ve got to decide who you hate more, Muslims or gay people. Your wishy-washy attitude weakens your brand. The reality that you cannot face is that you have far more in common with radical Islamists than you do with the American LGBT community.

The tragedy of Orlando has brought the reptiles out from under their rocks to disrupt the grief of tens of millions with inane, inhuman observations that unmask their cold-blooded, brainless nature. Trump and his hateful minions must be sent back into the darkness this November or the reptile invasion of Earth will be complete, and the future of humans doomed. Oh, and apologies to all home-grown reptiles.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Windmills 1, Democracy 0

A note about yesterday’s primary vote here in California that seems to exemplify the shady nature of the Democratic nomination process. Both Katharine and I are registered to vote in California. We both received confirmation of this, and we were sent a card notifying us of where to vote. Despite this, when we went to our polling place, surprise, we weren’t on the list. We were given “provisional” ballots that, instead of going through the machine and being counted, were stuffed in an envelope and ended up god knows where.

Of course, I can’t say if this was the result of any shenanigans on the part of the Democratic Party, but the result is our votes for Sanders were not counted yesterday. Since the beginning of the campaign for the Democratic Presidential nominee, the process has been compromised, controlled and co-opted by the DNC in conjunction with national media outlets to anoint Hillary Clinton the Party’s champion in November.

It’s a no-win situation for Sander’s supporters. Despite the obvious collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, Sander’s supporters who complain will be labeled as sore losers and conspiracy theorists by the corporate media. Using every dirty trick at their disposal, the establishment has won, as it was ordained long ago by America’s elites.

This ugly coronation called a campaign only serves to reinforce the sad reality that America is an oligarchy, a country governed by the rich for the rich, and Clinton is a bona fide, card-carrying member of the ruling class. So far have we fallen that the choice given to us on election day will be between a narcissistic, racist dictator-in-waiting and a morally bankrupt, money-worshipping tool of the elites.

I thank Bernie Sanders for taking on the hapless job of attacking the windmills. Though the odds were always against you, you fought courageously and for all the right reasons.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

I Understand the Futility of Voting in a Rigged System

So this morning I went through the motions of voting.  I say, “went through the motions” because yesterday, one of the major news services made the announcement that, based on information from the nefarious and undemocratic Superdelegates, Hillary Clinton had wrapped up the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. The announcement, timed conveniently the Monday night before the California and other primaries, is one more example of the political establishment hijacking the democratic process to essentially install their candidate as the nominee.

This Presidential campaign cycle has already shown a glaring light on our broken electoral system. Yes there’s Donald Trump, but the problems I’m talking about are systemic issues that run across party lines to rig the election in favor of America’s elites, whatever their party. This campaign season the DNC has pulled out all the stops to assure Wall Street, K Street and every street lined with multi-million dollar homes that they will have one of their own sitting in the White House come January.  The one percent can let out a sigh of relief knowing it will be business as usual for the next four years under Clinton, that greed will be rewarded and short-term profits over long-term stability will still be the order of the day.

The only hope is that the Sanders revolution will continue rolling on past the election, and that it will have energized young people to stay in the trenches and fight for progressive ideals and candidates. We need to cultivate younger candidates to run for offices at all levels of government around the country and start making inroads into the old boy’s network that has a stranglehold on our democratic institutions. Had this been a truly democratic election, Sanders would have won, but the fight can’t stop here in defeat, but must move on and grow stronger and smarter for the next battle.