Monday, May 23, 2016

Bloomberg Writer Says Bernie Will Turn Us Into Venezuela

Bernie's "socialism," it should be noted, is not the same as Venezuela's.

If you're a fan of socialism and Bernie Sanders, you're not going to like what Noah Smith has to say about the crisis in Venezuela and how it can happen here:
"When center-left thinkers like Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong tried to restrain the excesses of economists who were over-hyping Bernie Sanders’ economic policy program, many leftists accused them of "hippie-punching,” and claimed that their sensible approach would play into the hands of plutocrats.
But these criticisms are misplaced, and Venezuela shows why. The center-left is the essential bulwark against the kind of aggressive policy mistakes that have doomed dozens of socialist revolutions to dysfunction and collapse. The historically successful approach to economic reform is to “cross the river by feeling the stones” -- a phrase coined by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who undid much of the economic damage done by his predecessors. Gradual reform, not revolution, is a proven winner when it comes to improving the lives of society’s least fortunate."
Methinks even with a Sanders electoral victory, the chances of a socialist revolution happening in the U.S. are about zero, so we should be safe from becoming Venezuela, for now at least.

But I guess, here we're getting a peek into what Trump's line of attack against Bernie could be. Someone trademark the "Bernie Chavez" nickname now.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Did My Novel Forsee An Election Threesome?



My junior year in college ('03) I started writing a novel. The story took part in the near future, when a high profile terrorist attack becomes a harbinger of political revolution and a second civil war. The attack occurs in an election year, and a right wing nationalist candidate rises in the Republican Party. Running against him is an ineffectual, uninspiring Democrat, and a surprisingly charismatic third Party Independent candidate whose support is growing by the day.

In the novel, the election season proceeds deep into the summer, and the Democratic candidate and third party candidate run neck and neck, while near 40% of the electorate remains solidly behind a Republican candidate whose incendiary speeches against Muslims are attracting his own fanatical followers. The Democrats try to get the Independent candidate to back down and unite--but it's no longer clear that scenario will bring out a majority. In late October, the Independent candidate appears to have a distinct lead over the Democrat. 

Another attack just a week before Election Day swings the electorate. Now the nationalist candidate is polling at 51% nationwide. The Democratic candidate and Independent candidate need to join forces but it may already be too late.

I don't want to tell you what happens next in the novel--you'll have to buy it circa 2017-- but needless to say, what happens next is a disaster.

It's strange how this election season has shaped up to (somewhat) match my vision. In my novel, the Republican candidate is a far more lucid and intelligent man than Trump is. In fact, what makes him most dangerous is how he deftly weaves a kind of logic into his speeches--in the grand tradition of eugenics--he's a slick but deeply principled salesman of hate. Imagine Trump wasn't some blubbering haircut in a suit but instead a convincing and calculating presence.

In my novel, the Independent candidate is young, in his early 40s, a first term governor for the state of New Jersey (hey, I got the Northeast part right). He's a centrist, an ex-Republican. He doesn't preach about the evils of Wall Street but he does preach a message of equality. In a stirring speech at the convention, he paints a portrait of human beings as responsible for advancing life throughout the universe, and making sure all souls have a valued role to play among the stars. "We live on a tiny rock hurtling through the vacuum of space, spinning 'round a burning ball of angry fire, while asteroids and meteors and cosmic rays, earthquakes, tornadoes and all manner of natural disasters conspire to kill us, and yet--the thing we fear most is each other?" His campaign motto--I swear, this was really it--is, "America Can Be America Again."

In my novel, the Democratic candidate is just a dull old white guy.

There are enough similarities between my (yet to be completed) manuscript and this election season for me to wonder. Maybe Bernie... gasp... doesn't drop out. The way the Independent candidate in my novel didn't drop out. Maybe this goes three ways down to the wire. Maybe at a certain point, between now and election day, it's Hillary who clearly has less poll support. What does she do?

Hillary supporters deride Bernie supporters as delusional, guns in their own mouths, sore losers who will split the party and help elect a egotistical madman. But what if, in late October, the numbers are reversed? As statistician Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight points out (in an article about Donald Trump's "unstoppable momentum") the fact is that many voters, "wait long enough to be reasonably sure they are picking a winner," and Hillary has not yet reached the point (a sort of golden ratio) where her election is inevitable. What if Bernie's appeal could be sharpened between now and November--not just as some TARP sour grapes and Occupy Wall Street word salad--but as a unifying human rights message with real power to change the world?

Well, then, wouldn't us "establishment" Democrats--the reasonable ones, as we've told ourselves--need to switch our support to Bernie? If he managed to somehow swing more than just his Bros and Bernettes, and most importantly, grabbed support from dissatisfied Republicans (a scenario that might only be possible for the centrist candidate in my novel)-- then wouldn't we have to bite the bullet too?

Somebody does, before it's too late.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

All Heil President Trump


By Robbie Republican

It's been a long time, my fellow Patriots. I've remained mostly silent this Presidential primary season (except for the detailed daily policy debriefings I give to Reagan, my pet wolf) because I've been waiting to see how the Republican nominees responded to the pressures of an election campaign. I'm proud to say that it seems my gut instincts were right all along-- the only man who can lead this country out of the hell it's become under the ego-maniacal dictatorship of Barack Hussein Obama is titan of industry and long-time loyal Republican, Donald John Trump.

What other candidate, Republican or communist, can claim to have been involved in all aspects of American governance? Education? Trump ran his own university. The economy? Trump used his family money to transform industries from meat purveyors (Trump Steaks), to casinos (a proud Native-American tradition). Foreign relations? Trump's so good at wooing foreigners he married one!

I've taken great pleasure these past few months in watching the democraps self-destruct. It was only a matter of time before they stopped pretending to love democracy and started supporting a socialist who can't even get his cheap suit to fit. I admit, I got a little worried when I thought they might actually nominate a Jezebel sneaky enough to be a first lady, senator, and secretary of state, but thankfully, it looks like even if Hitlerly Clinton gets the nod, the commies will be too busy crying into their rice fields to vote and Trump will win the Presidency easily.

Imagine it. With Trump in charge, and a Republican congress, there's no limit to what we can accomplish. A gun in every home and a baby in every rape victim. A Supreme court led by the esteemed Rush Limbaugh. No more he shes perving up our bathrooms--no more gay people at all. Imagine it. Donald Trump standing on the shore of Ellis Island, watching as all the boats full of immigrants leave our shores forever. Kicking Barack Hussein Obama back to his homeland in Kenya. Finally achieving the vision our forefathers had when they gathered together in a church and penned those immortal words, "All men are created by God and if you don't believe in Jesus, get out."

Recently, I was checking the bathroom stalls in the ladies' room for queers when I had a revelation. What if Donald Trump is the second coming of Jesus? All the pieces fit. Jesus was an only son. Trump was an only son. Jesus walked on water. Trump bottled water. Jesus stirred the masses with his unorthodox beliefs, Trump stirs the masses with his unorthodox beliefs. Jesus won over 12 skeptical disciples--Trump won over 12 primary opponents. God spoke through a burning bush--Trump spoke and burned Jeb Bush! Jesus Christ even has the same number of letters as Donald Trump!

This revelation shook me to the core. Ever since Saddam Hussein passed Obamacare and turned millions of Americans over to death squads, there have been signs the world as we know it is ending. Now it seems the messiah has come to cleanse this world of the sinners and create heaven on Earth.

My brain nearly exploded when I remembered that the book of Revelation says the Jews will help clear the devil's army away for the forces of heaven to triumph. What if... what if this Jew from Vermont, Bernie Sandista, is who the Bible was talking about? What if Hillary was the devil of which prophecy spoke?

I apologize, readers. I usually don't get too religious. But all this is impossible to ignore. Especially since half of those demorats call Hillary the devil!

Those Bernie Bolsheviks are right about one thing. Revolution is coming. I, for one, will be spending more time in church in the months ahead. And not just for the free change they pass around on those silver plates. I must repent for not supporting our Lord and Savior sooner. Forgive me, Lord, for I was blinded by Megyn Kelly.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Here's What Happens When A Transgender Person Goes To The Bathroom


Here's what happens when a transgender person goes to the bathroom:

They go into an empty stall.

They do their business.

They wipe and flush.

They wash their hands (hopefully, for the doctor-recommended 30 seconds. Stay healthy y'all!)

They dry their hands (hopefully, not with one of those Dyson airblades).

They leave the bathroom.

This is all very difficult for Ted Cruz, and apparently, Republican state legislatures to understand:



For comparison, here's how a sexual predator dressed as a woman goes to the bathroom:

They lie in wait for a female to enter the bathroom.

They peek over top of the stall, or into it.

They shove the door open.

They grope, grab, force themselves on the woman.

They run when screams attract attention.

They do not wash their hands, certainly not with a Dyson airblade.

They're arrested when caught by police, or a good Samaritan, and charged accordingly.

No law on the books (or not on the books) allows these predators to get away with preying on women in bathrooms. If some predator thought the law would be on his side... well, they're going to discover that sexual assault, voyeurism, illegal detainment, and any number of other laws on the books exist to punish him for his crimes.

Then there is the very undeniable fact that there's no reason for a predator to dress up as a woman to assault a woman in a women's bathroom. It's not like that makes it any easier. Ben Roethlisberger wasn't wearing a dress when he did it. A man could attack a woman in the bathroom before North Carolina's bill, and they can do it after. It was illegal then, it's illegal now. A bill that says you need a vagina to be in the women's restroom isn't going to make a predator go, "Oh gee, I guess I won't be raping today!!"

Sure, a caught predator could claim to be transgender... but even if that were true, it wouldn't excuse any crimes committed while in the bathroom. It could also be easily refuted by any number of witnesses. Saying you're transgender isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card.

These "bathroom bills" don't keep anyone safe from predators, but they do make "pissing while transgender" into a criminal offense. If it's anyone at risk of sexual assault, it's the transgender person, part of a group that has often been abused and even murdered because of their orientation.

If you're really worried about protecting "your daughter," imagine what would happen to her if she was forced to use the men's bathroom.

That's what North Carolina's bill, and others like it, aim to do--to anyone born into a gender that their brain is not wired to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 Reasons Bernie Bros Are Mad, And Why They Shouldn't Be


The system is rigged. If you're a Bernie Sanders supporter, you already know that. How could one of the most liberal states vote for Hillary Clinton, that Republican in Democrat's clothing? Voters were disenfranchised! Independents couldn't vote! 126,000 Democratic voters were wiped from the rolls just before the primary! The will of the people was subverted! The fix was in!

I hate to interrupt this stream of outrage. But lets get real. This has nothing to do with the system. It has to do with people who rarely vote suddenly being surprised that they don't understand how primaries work.

1. Superdelegates are anti-democratic!

They're not meant to be democratic. They're meant to prevent terrible mistakes like Donald Trump from taking over the party and changing its core principles. If the Republicans had superdelegates, Trump wouldn't be an issue. Superdelegates are not hand-picked friends of Hillary Clinton. They're committed Democratic party loyalists--Democratic congressmen, senators, state officials, you know, people that Democrats have voted into office time and time again. These guys and gals have been in the political trenches for a long time, fighting for Democratic values against the Republicans. They're responsible for the Democratic party's platform for women's rights, the rights of minorities, the support of labor and education. They're here to make sure the party sticks to Democratic principles. They have an interest in making sure the Democratic candidate can win the general election and represent Democratic party values.

Superdelegates are not robots. If Bernie won the popular vote, and the most pledged delegates, it would be abundantly clear that the party base had shifted and the Democratic party would be wise to follow the will of its members. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED in 2008, when superdelegates recognized that Barak Obama, not Hillary Clinton, had the support of the Democratic majority. They shifted their alliances, and Hillary herself, for the good of the party, released those delegates sworn to her of their obligations.

Bernie does not lead in the popular vote. He does not lead in pledged delegates. In fact, there's no chance he will change this by the time of the convention. Before, when he had a chance, he argued that the superdelegates should follow the will of the people. Now, he says they should go against it.

2. The primaries should be open!

Primaries should not be open. That allows raiding from the opposing political party. Republicans seeking to go against a softer opponent could pack the Democratic Party ballot boxes. More importantly, why should we allow those not invested enough in a political party to have a say in that party's candidate? Primaries are designed to help a political party choose its candidate. Only those committed to the party should make that choice. If you want a different candidate, make your own party. Pick your candidate from a spinning wheel or by throwing darts. You can do that. But if you want a say in who the Republicans or Democrats choose, you should be a Republican or a Democrat. Otherwise organize, raise money, support a real third party run. If you're not a Democrat, then why should you get to choose who the Democrats nominate? It would be like UNC choosing which players Villanova gets to start in the NCAA championship game.

Elections decide who leads the country. We're all part of the country, so we all get to decide who leads it. Primaries, on the other hand, decide who leads the party. If you're not part of the party, then why should you get to choose the leader? If you don't like either candidate the two major parties have chosen, you have three choices. Don't vote, support a third party candidate, or pick a side and seek to influence its policies through your primary votes and level of involvement. Don't complain because you've registered as an independent and therefore can't vote in the Democratic primary. That was your choice!

3. Hillary's goons purged Bernie voters from the voting rolls! They switched votes!

Voter fraud is not a problem. It simply isn't. Many have made a big deal out of the 126,000 Democratic voters purged from the voting rolls prior to the election. As if somehow, all these were determined to be Bernie voters last fall.

The truth? It's a mix of bureaucracy and confused people. According to Board of Elections executive director Michael Ryan, 12,000 had moved out of borough, and 44,000 had been placed in an inactive file after mailings to their homes bounced back. An additional 70,000 were already inactive and hadn't voted in two successive federal elections or responded to cancellation notices. It wasn't all this year that suddenly 126,000 became ineligible to vote--this number has added up in the 4 years since 2012, the last time Brooklyn cleared their system of ineligible voters. In a place where people move in and out as often as Brooklyn, this number isn't out of the ordinary.

Were you ineligible? It was likely your fault. Take Jessica Sager. She wrote for the New York Post that she was purged from the voting rolls and became a ghost. But it's very clear from her own words why this happened. Jessica, who was registered as an Independent in New Jersey, just moved to the city in July of last year. It's not clear when, or if, she changed her address officially and obtained a NYC driver's license or proof of residency, but by her own admission, she missed the deadline for a registered voter to switch parties. March 25th was for new voters, not previously registered ones. That would be in October. From Bernie's own website:
What is this Oct 9 deadline I keep hearing about?Oct 9 2015 was the last day for switching party affiliation in time to vote in the Primary Elections in New York in April 2016. This deadline only applied to existing voters who wanted to change party in time to vote in that party’s primary (eg independents switching to Democrat to vote for Bernie in the Democratic primary!). It DOES NOT apply to new voters.
Jessica was not a new voter. She was registered in New Jersey. She voted before, as she says, in the 2008 and 2012 elections. So the March deadline to switch parties didn't apply to her. The October one did. Her printed and mailed registration form came several months too late to participate as a Democrat in this primary election.

I don't fault Jessica for being confused. The system is far from being perfectly clear. But she's being disingenuous to imply that this had nothing to do with her own ignorance of the process. If you change addresses and switch districts, its your responsibility to make sure you update your registration.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I voted for Obama in 2008 in New Jersey, despite spending more of my time in New York. I hadn't yet changed my address officially--I still had a New Jersey license and listed my parents' address as my permanent address. Imagine if I had shown up in New York to vote, expecting no problems. Instead, I recognized that I'd been lazy about changing my address. My parents were able to forward me the mailer that told me where my designated polling place was. Even though it was more than an hour away, it was important for me to vote, so I took the train and did it at the polling place assigned to me.

I've seen Bernie supporters irate that they can't tell whether their vote was accurately counted. They just can't believe their neighborhood would vote for Hillary. This is another example of ignorance. There is no way to verify a vote was recorded correctly. Only that you voted. This is by design. A secret ballot is meant to stay secret to avoid vote selling. If you could verify that your vote was for a certain candidate, then that would promote vote selling or coercive behavior. As long as the vote is secret and there's no way to tell, no one can force you to vote for a candidate. This is a bedrock principle of our voting system. It seems odd that some Bernie supporters aren't aware of it.

I understand all the frustration from people who feel like they've been excluded from the process. But many of them don't understand that in order to really change things, you need to be involved in that process more than just showing up for a primary vote or on election day. "Independent" is not a party. It has no platform. It has no plan. You could be a skinhead racist and be a registered "Independent." You could be a communist who believes in a fully socialized state, and be a registered "independent."

If you're unhappy with the two parties and what they represent, you have two main options. Organize with others to create a third party. This is not unprecedented in American history. Some have done quite well. If your party grows enough and makes enough noise, and falls to one side of the ideological line, then the competing party with the most to lose will be forced to cave and accept your agenda into its platform. If your party falls in the middle and makes enough of a splash, then both parties will be forced to moderate their platforms to fall closer to the center. If you manage to really capture the populace, you might even drain enough support from the closest competitor that they're forced to fold completely. Unlikely, but it has happened in the past.

Then there's option two-- changing the party from the inside. In order to do this, you can't be an Independent. You need to choose the side you're trying to change, and become a member. Then you have voting power within the party. We all saw how Tea Partiers were able to rip the Republican party sharply to the right, even getting them to give up on immigration reform. They created a powerful voting bloc within the party that threatened to become a third party-- the only way for the Republicans to win was to accommodate them. If Bernie's supporters want to change the Democratic party... they need to be involved members of the Democratic party. Indeed, Bernie supporters within the party have already forced Hillary to move her views further to the left.

You can still be "independent" and be a member of a party. Plenty of Republicans and Democrats have crossed party lines to vote in elections. But if you register that way, you need to be aware that you've chosen not to join a club. You don't get to say what the club does. And you can't say the system is rigged if you've never taken the time to understand it in the first place.

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