Saturday, April 9, 2016

My hero Bernie Sanders may have boxed himself in. :-\

**Still my guy

Like so many people, I've been inspired and thrilled to see Senator Bernie Sanders really challenging Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment in this election cycle. This has got to be my favorite image of the campaign so far:

That said, despite winning six of the last seven states, and a likely blowout in Wyoming today, Bernie is still pretty far behind in the delegate race, and much of the recent on-line "horse race" discussion in progressive circles seems to be as to whether Bernie has no chance at all, or merely only an outside chance of surpassing Team Hillary. To that end, I'd encourage everyone to toss in a little something so an outsider and underdog who wants to change the world, has a chance to. (I believe we still could pull this off. Not him, us).

So Bernie supporters are currently stuck trying to build on the Still Has a Chance, side of the argument, as opposed to the No Chance side. Meanwhile, it's clear in the last couple of weeks that the campaign has taken a predictably nastier turn, as Sanders probably gaffed in calling Hillary "unqualified," although, of course, all candidates virtually always do that to their opponents, and both candidates have had some testy moments in the media lately. In the context of a national campaign, I would think of these as "forced errors," practically inevitable at some point. Any presidential candidate, who makes it this far, is going to have to walk something back, or gaffe, or fire some screw-up staffer, at some point. This is a real primary, after all, and not a coronation, and the only foregone conclusion is that the spotlight is going shine brightly and incessantly, and the typical ugliness and stürm und drang of a national campaign are going to emerge. The non-stop back and forth over whether Bernie lied, in saying that Hillary was taking money from fossil fuel lobbyists, the fairly ridiculously "into the weeds" tit for tat raging on DailyKos over Who invited Whom with regards to Sanders' trip to the Vatican next week; all of this is "the usual," in my opinion. This is the rough and tumble. As they say, politics ain't beanbag.

Here's the problem with which Team Bernie, and by extension his supporters like me, will ultimately have to come to grips: Bernie has predicated his campaign on being "different," "transformational," and above the pettiness of our tabloid-driven, 24-hour news cycle and personal attack style of politics. The rub is that our political system is still widely based on 24-hour news cycles, and tabloid hysteria. Personal attacks are salt on the dinner, in this climate. Bernie's strength as a Different Kind of Politician, now, becomes a problem. I believe Bernie is FINALLY Playing the Game, but inevitably, he now has to come down off his proverbial high horse, and immediately, he becomes "just like the rest." Team Hillary, can, has, and will continue to gleefully point out that Bernie's now attacking her, when he said he wouldn't . . . and if you think they or the media will be even one iota concerned, that she and her surrogates have been doing the exact same goddamned thing for several months now, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Unfortunately, I'm not enough of a political genius to see a way out of this. I think Bernie's boxed in, on the particular line of attack. He HAS to "punch back," yet it makes him vulnerable when he does. The narrative of the transformational dreamer is somehow going to have to ALSO be the narrative of the tough fighter. That is not an easy transition, and the typical stürm und drang of a national campaign is very likely to be the type of terms that are more favorable to Hillary. Of course Hillary's been "playing the game," the whole time, but she can take Sanders to task, very easily, for doing the same.

On the upside, there are MANY media narratives that come into play in this type of long national campaign. Other narratives may emerge, which could upend this dynamic, or even just change the subject. As long as he keeps winning, his candidacy his still alive. And the movement he's tapped into will keep organizing in other ways, regardless.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Did vote suppression in Illinois swing the Democratic primary to Hillary?


I have to say that this just doesn't look good. If the implications of this story by Tom Cahill at, are even remotely true, then I am about to find my local Hillary office, sign up as a new volunteer, and then take a piss in the storage closet . . . I am that outraged by it.

New Details Reveal Possible Voter Suppression in Illinois Primary

Tom Cahill | March 25, 2016

Thousands of Illinois primary voters turned away from polling places due to lack of ballots have been denied their vote after a recent court ruling.

In six counties across Illinois — Adams, Champaign, Effingham, Madison, Sangamon, and St. Clair — polling places ran out of ballots amid higher-than-expected voter turnout, meaning thousands of voters were sent home after waiting in line. On March 17, Adams County state attorney Jon Barnard went before Adams County circuit judge Chet Vahle to ask for an injunction that would grant those voters the ability to vote late due to ballot issues.

The next day, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter who has introduced her at campaign rallies, filed an appeal in Illinois 4th District Appellate Court to prevent late voting. On March 23, the appellate court issued a stay on Judge Vahle’s injunction, meaning those voters won’t get a chance to cast ballots in this primary. Hillary Clinton won Illinois by roughly 35,000 votes, or a slim 1.8 percent margin, effectively splitting delegates with Sanders.

Maybe there's some kind of less-damning explanation for this, than Lisa Madigan making a decision to "'shut 'em down' since they're Sanders voters." But the proverbial money shot in this particular version of the story, is that in four of the counties where peoples' vote are being denied - like Champaign County, for example, where the University of Illinois is located - SANDERS WON. Another under-represented county in Illinois is Effingham - a very demographically white, working class area of the sort that has been friendly to Bernie in the polls. In a couple of these not-entirely enfranchised counties, Sanders won by A LOT.

Now I know that rural, western, Quincy, Illinois, is a notorious redoubt of far left conspiracy paranoia. But since Hillary just barely eked out a victory here in Illinois, by 1.8%, at least someone has suggested that the under-enfranchised counties may have changed the outcome of the Illinois primary. That person is Adams County State’s Attorney Jon Barnard, who filed a motion to have those counties' voting process extended, so that those denied the ballot due to shortages, could participate.

So, the question is, just who the fuck are these people that are willing to go to the mat for Team "You Shouldn't Be Allowed to Vote Because We Conveniently Ran of out Ballots So Sorry Better Luck Next Time in the General" - anyway? Who are the folks ready to lead the charge against folks' getting the ballot? Oh right, my Attorney General in the great state of Illinois. You can put me in the tinfoil hat brigade if that suits your world view, but the implications of this story are clear: that well-known Hillary surrogate, and probable future Governor of Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan - whose last names sounds like a loud, wet fart to anyone with an Illinois address - may have used her position to fight against those denied the ballot . . . like, literally . . . from actually getting one. The further implication . . . you don't need to be a frickin' Einstein-level genius to connect these proverbial dots . . . I mean it's a pretty basic little string-pattern collage on the lighted wall at the end of the Conspiracy Parlor . . . is that she did this so her buddy Hillary Clinton could barely eke out her very small win in the state of Illinois.

I'm not too familiar with, so I suppose this story could and should be taken with a grain of salt - it's pretty clearly a partisan site. But the flaming radicals at the Quincy, Illinois-based "Herald-Whig" newspaper were covering the story, and Adams County's State's Attorney Jon Dunbar doesn't exactly have that Alex Jones-y, paranoid conspiracy aura about him. The implications of this story are extremely troubling, and if true, need to be publicized in a big huge way, hopefully before the election is certified on the 29th - that's just two days from now. It would certainly be a long shot to prevent that from happening, as Barnard's lawsuit has already been successfully challenged by Madigan's people, and he's not pursuing it further. It would take titanium gonads for someone to take on the Madigan machine in this state, as almost anyone who is politically aware knows.

I've seen some treatment of this story on the Democratic mega-site, but it didn't get a lot of traction

If this story turns out to be true, whether it "has legs" in the media, or not, a part of the something that makes me want to go to bat for Team Hillary in November, should she be the nominee, has died . . . painfully.

For my part, I only want to say this: you don't fuck with the ballot in the Land of Lincoln. This matter needs to be fully investigated, and explained, to the citizens of this state. They cannot be allowed to get away with this, if their efforts against Illinoisans' right to vote, did indeed swing the primary to Team Hillary. If there can't be a price to pay in terms of delegates, which would of course be small anyway, the price of Madigan's political career SHOULD BE. You don't get to be Governor, if you use your influence to deny Illinois citizens the right to vote, so your friend can be president. Hell, the fuck, no.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

El Drumpfo retreated last night. Thoughts on what I saw at the UIC Pavilion . . .

The Big-Hands Pope was too much for Donald Drumpf.

So I was lucky enough to participate in the protest that shut down El Drumpfo's would-be rally last night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago's west loop.

The event has officially become "Big News" for some of "skirmishes" and/or small-scale violence that occurred, some of which I witnessed outside the rally. (I couldn't get in, I had arrived too late.)

While I’ve no doubt that Trumpeteers were more responsible for most of the “skirmishes" or whatever, I do have to say that I saw a demonstrator or two behaving badly, which isn’t acceptable, and needs to be reigned in on the side of the good guys. However, the overwhelming majority of the protesters were peaceful. Watching stunned Trump-supporters do a kind of perp-walk out of the pavilion, through a throng of jubilant protesters was absolutely delicious. Those memories will get me through the hard times in the future.

The alleged “safety concerns” El Drumpfo used as en excuse to cancel the event are just another bullshit lie. While the media has predictably hyped the so-called “skirmishes,” because that’s what sells, the police presence was professional and had things mostly under control. The greatly overwhelming majority of both protesters, and . . to be fair . . . Trump supporters that I saw were peaceful.

Big Tough Guy El Drumpfo cancelled because he wasn’t tough enough to withstand being INTERRUPTED, which he certainly would have been, by the protesters . . . as he was in St. Louis yesterday morning. Some tough guy indeed — he’s afraid of being interrupted by the mean protesters.

No doubt El Drumpfo figured he could capitalize on playing the victim card with the whole “They were stomping on my free speech,” card, but that is of course horse shit, again, as is everything else that drops from the mouth of that turd-breathed sleaze. Chicagoans’ collective right to ASSEMBLE . . . ahem . . . trumped his free speech last night. At any rate, Trump isn’t wanting for free speech, he wants freedom from CONSEQUENCES of whatever he says. That freedom does not, and should not exist, anywhere. But make no mistake, his non-appearing act last night was definitely a hastily thrown-together RETREAT, that he himself chose, when he decided that he couldn’t take the pressure.

Trump’s probably right that he could mewl up to the RepubliCon electorate in some ways — at least for a 24 hour news cycle — as we all know the GOoPers’ ubiquitous hard-on for playing the victim. But I have to wonder if ultimately his bogus Potemkin-village-like “Alpha Male” Image isn’t going to take a hit in some circles, and after his nationally televised loss-of-nerve last night. It has been pointed out, worrisomely, that such a narrative could cause Trump to double-down on his "get 'em" rhetoric, which could certainly have unpleasant consequences down the line.

At any rate, being a part of the scene at the UIC Pavilion last night was one of my prouder recent moments. Even though I was late, it was a wonderful thing to see.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Some progressive Democrats have drunk the got-danged kool-aid.

I am hearing a lot of cheery optimism from those in the politically-engaged progressive blogosphere these days, about how the General Election of 2016 this November 8th is likely to be a shoo-in for the Democrats. This is deemed to be especially true if the GOP selects Donald Trump to be their nominee, as the Tea Party and a significant segment of alienated white America seems hell-bent on doing.

Regardless of who wins on either side, but presuming the current trajectory, any lefty/progressive/Democratic-leaning types predicting a progressive cakewalk in “the General” had better wake the fuck up. We’re about a modest economic slowdown from it being tough for EITHER Democrat to beat Trump . . . Hillary especially.

With all due respect to Markos at Daily Kos (who humorously wrote that even mentioning the possibility of a November 8th Trump victory over the Democrats qualified for "10 demerits") and hoping I do not qualify for any “demerits,” or whatever, some people on the progressive left seem to have drunk the got-danged kool-aid with regards to this: “Oh the General Election will definitely be won by the Democrats,” NONSENSE.

To get demographic, Trump’s electoral strength isn't just the overtly GOoPer teabaggers who have stained our collective subconscious since this country dared to elect a black President. There are a LOT of pissed off people out there . . . and quite a lot of them are disaffected white folks who for many years have been disengaged in the process, and who in many cases don’t normally consider themselves Republican, nor do they much care for the so-called “Tea Party.” But they know they are pissed off about something or other. Trump is doing a fantastic job of activating these people. At the risk of being anecdotal, I personally know a few of these folks — people who “weren’t into politics until Trump.” With the screaming lefty social base I have, trust me, the (mostly) guys I know who fit this Trump-ready description, are not alone. There are MILLIONS of them, likely. Con enough of these folks into to voting for the first time since Reagan or Clinton the First, and any Democrats’ natural advantage with African Americans, women and Latinos is going to seem a lot less firewalley**.

Yes, a lot of these newer potential voters are “low-information.” So let’s not forget that El Trumpo has amassed Capital-B Billion$ in his 30+ years as a celebrity, convincing idiots that everything he touches is golden. Say what you will about the egomaniacal, turd-breathed sleaze, he is VERY good at that; maybe the best on the planet.

And sewing your campaign up into white racialist and racist fears?-I mean sure, it’s scummy as fuck, an outrage and amoral hate-monge of the lowest order. But as an electoral strategy in these United States of America? — Fucking brilliant. Just seems like it could work, right off the bat. :-[

In recent history, Americans haven't shown much willingness to turn over the White House to just one party three elections in a row. The last time it happened was Bush the Elder back in 1988, and that was the first time since World War II! If you really want the third leg knocked from under the stool of complacency, NOW think about what might happen if the economy went into recession this year . . . you know, as much of the world seems to be. Yeah. Big problems; problems upon which a sleaze like El Trumpo and his GOoPer orc-people friends could EASILY capitalize.

At any rate, I’m a Bernie Sanders guy because I think Bernie will ALSO activate a lot of newer voters, especially younger ones, in a way that it’s hard for to imagine Hillary will. I get gallstones thinking about Hillary trying to woo Independents, which poll after poll shows to be an area of significant weakness. How exactly is that going to work? Or hey, let's flip that coin! Let’s try a base election and get hard left progressives fired up! We'll just turn these keys over to Team Hillary and uhhhhh . . . wait how is that going to work?

And as I already stated in the post below this one, one of Hillary’s problems seems to be letting candidates who no one thinks have a chance storm into elections. In 2008 it was Obama; this year she appeared flat-footed to the Sanders phenomenon for most of this fall, IMO. Who's to say she's not going to sleep on Trump too?

Lots of recent analysis seems to continue to indicate an uphill climb for Team Bernie. That I can mostly agree with. To that end I’d recommend folks take a minute to give to the candidate that will have an easier time with Donald Trump.

Regardless of WHO wins though, progressive Democrats had best be ready to throw the kitchen sink at the GOoPers when the time comes. I know I am, even if Hillary does become the candidate. Pretenses of a cakewalk in the General are greatly exaggerated.

**God I hate that term, "firewall."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hillary let Bernie storm into the race. Will she let the GOP do the same?

The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. After about 15 agonizing months of endless, tooth-gnashing, hair-rending, bottomless, repetitive, redundant, unnecessary, and banal pre-electioneering buildup, some votes are finally about to be actually cast, in Election 2016.

I am a Bernie Sanders fan, and I believe in the agenda, the program, and the spirit of what he's offering the American people. To that end, I've ponied up a small chunk of change, and I hope everyone reading this will at least consider doing the same. That said, come November, should Hillary Clinton be on the ballot against the RepubliCons' Team Insanity, I will gladly do my part to help her win.

Most recent polling seems to indicate a tight race, with a slight Hillary advantage. But here's the thing:

Unless there is some massive Hillary blowout, that none of the polling has caught, Bernie Sanders has already won Iowa.

Bernie Sanders, the now permanently-italicized democratic socialist was not even supposed to be part of the conversation, in Iowa, in 2016; at least not if Team Hillary had its way . . . not if the party Establishment had its way, either. With his hard-progressive message, he has stormed out of New England like the New York Yankees of old, and the very fact that we are even discussing a POSSIBLE Sanders victory tomorrow is a testament to the strength of the kind of progressivism so many Americans are begging to see in our national conversations. No way was the gruffy "Old Professor" supposed to be a real threat to the "Polished Candidate;" it's not clear that Team Hillary even imagined that a populist, left-wing, people-powered campaign was an option this year, DESPITE the obvious indicators from the American progressive community.

Rather than attempt to surf the populist tide of indignation, Team Hillary has rallied herself to the billionaire class, and the party's monied elite. She has relied on her experience, mainstream centrism, and the bona fides of her lengthy resume (we dare not call it inevitability) to bolster her claim to the nomination. Her message of the last few days can charitably be called "pragmatic," while many of us on the Left are left with the unpleasant reverse echoes of Obama's 2008 trademark: "No we can't."

My memory's not entirely clear when exactly Team Hillary started "taking Bernie seriously." I suppose there were some indications that Secretary Clinton might be starting to see the potential problem with the insurgent Sanders candidacy in early December. This was months too late. Bernie was already a full-on phenomenon in progressive circles by August. At any rate, we are now talking about a VERY TIGHT RACE, which, regardless of who actually gets the most delegates tomorrow, will launch a contentious primary season in what, for Establishment Democrats TM, was presumed to be a cakewalk for Team Hillary.

This gets me to the real crux of the issue, and the title. If Team Hillary, resting on its certainty of victory, and gloriously blase about the chances of any other candidate, was so sanguine about Bernie Sanders, that they myopically let him define the race as "real progressive vs. Establishment . . . " and let's be real, Hillary has CERTAINLY ceded that talking point . . . who's to say Clinton won't be caught napping by a Trump or Cruz candidacy she doesn't take seriously EITHER?

There's a lot of talk about the GOoPers giving up on the White House this year, and how the Democrats are somehow a shoo-in for the Oval Office in 2016, due to the RepubliCons running a complete and obvious shitshow and whatnot. But I'm not so sure. While there's some logic to that type of thinking, I'm pretty worried that if Clinton DOES win the Democratic nomination this spring, she'll find a way to let el Trumpissimo or that dead-eyed snake, Ted Cruz, "make a race of it," when it should have been a slam dunk. In fact, Hillary Clinton has a pretty long record of allowing insurgent outsiders to get the best of her. Trump and/or Cruz (Tea Party dream ticket-??) may only be a recession away from getting he inside track anyway, in 2016. If the vaunted geniuses at Team Hillary are so prepared and ready and good-to-go and competent, and Up-to-Speed on Day One, why did they allow the democratic socialist to sneak in the back door in the Democratic primary? Why did they let the Old Professor define her as the Establishment candidate? Why are we event talking about who will win Iowa tomorrow?

Why should any progressive Democrat think the general election will be any different from the primary?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

PREDICTION: Martin O'Malley will be the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee

This isn't much of a diary, but here is my prediction: The above man, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, will be your Vice-Presidential nominee, on the Democratic ticket.

There is almost no rational person that I know of suggesting that he can somehow win out in the actual presidential contest vs. Hillary or my guy Bernie Sanders. I think he's just running to show that he has the get-up-and-go for a grueling national campaign.It's been done before - arguably Joe Biden, (and Chris Dodd) did the same thing (less successfully) in 2008.

If Hillary wins, O'Malley is the classic Vice-Presidential attack dog, who can make the base - which is in some areas clearly groaning under another centrist-seeming Clinton - happier. If Sanders wins, and he very well might, O'Malley is a somewhat kinder, milder look at the progressive left, who might be able to soften Bernie's image a little with swingier independents who . . . foolishly, let's be clear . . . get nervous at the very mention of "democratic socialism."

O'Malley is perfectly positioned. You heard it here first, he will be the Vice-Presidential nominee.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hey Heyeeee!

After the Halloween Gathering parade downtown on 10.24 - come to the burn-tastic after-session at TransAmoeba studios! It's just a few short blocks from the parade site, aaaaaand if you participate in the parade your first drink is on the house!

Downtown Dave presents


Saturday 10.24.15

9:30 PM - 3:00 AM

TransAmoeba Studios in the South Loop

$10 suggested donation for Halloween Gathering parade participants

$15 suggested for non-participants




National Geographic POD