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Thursday, March 31, 2016

False Narrative's

My Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sander's stories.   Which, to a certain extent, is fine.  I'm a Bernie supporter and have been from day one.  The reason is simple.

I don't believe that the White House is a prize to be passed from Father to Son or from Husband to Wife.

Hope springs eternal
However lets be honest, he needed to win states like Ohio and Illinois.  The fact that he didn't pretty much doomed his campaign.  He didn't lose by much...but a loss is a loss and that made the matches ahead that much more difficult for him. 

If you look at my Facebook feed it seems that people are accepting of the uphill battle, but don't realize exactly how uphill that battle would be.  Bernie needs to flat out win some states and keep it close in others.  That is the only way he could catch Hillary and win the nomination.  Lets forget about the bull shit that is a "super delegate's" for a moment.  That is just in regular old "pledged" delegates.  When you do the math, it doesn't seem likely.  

When you add in the "super delegate's" - who are party insiders who can vote for who ever they wish - then it seems even more unlikely.

I still support Sander's.  Do not misunderstand me.  A lot of people, including me, are angry at the "one percent" for a variety of reasons.   We see this with the raise of Donald Trump on the right and the surge of Bernie Sanders on the left.   We are angry about the future, the economy and that one simple law of economics seems to be forgotten by the one percent.  People need money to buy shit.

There are some big states coming up.  New York and my home state of Pennsylvania are the big prizes.  Both of these states are closed primary states.   Now I'm not suggesting any chicanery is going on, unlike other Bernie believers, but he doesn't do well is states with closed primaries.   I'm not sure of the reason why.

I expect Bernie to win Wisconsin, which is an open primary state and one where independents can vote.  I also expect him to win Rhode Island.   The reason why is simple.   Bernie attracts a lot of non affiliated or independent minded voters.     These votes currently make up something like 42% of the current electorate. Frankly the other states that have primaries in April are all closed primary states.  With the exception of Wyoming which is a caucus state and he should win that one as well.

He is dead one most of the time
However again, he either needs to win in New York, with it's 247 pledged delegates, or keep it very close.  Same with Pennsylvania which has 189 pledged delegates.   Notice that I'm not talking about the "super delegates."  These are party insiders that are more interested in saving their asses than anything.    If it somehow goes to the convention with Bernie ahead that's when they will come into play.   That's when the party will have to make some hard choices.

That's where the Bernie or Bust pledge comes in.

I took this pledge.  I am sticking with my principles and will not be voting for HRC if she wins the nomination.   I'll most likely vote Green.  I'll definitely be voting for the progressives running in Congress as well. 

The main argument I'm hearing against the Bernie or Bust Pledge is that it's a wasted vote because that means we give the White House to Trump or Cruz.   Again that is a false narrative.   The Republicans are in the midst of a full out inter party Civil War. 

They don't like Trump for a variety of reasons but they also realize that he is their best shot of at least winning the White House in name only...a lot of what he says is a combination of not being a politician, playing the media and his own ego.  His polices are a jumble of things that borrow from both sides of the political spectrum. 

The biggest issue however, is that he is not a "real conservative" which is just lip service for "he's not one of us."   There is a long but amazing story detailing how the GOP lost to Trump in the New York Times and it's worth a read. 

It seems unlikely that Donald would be willing to work with the GOP elite, or them with him, if and when he wins the nomination.   I fully expect a brokered convention where Cruz or, in my opinion, the better choice of John Kasich in nominated as the Republican candidate.  Trump runs as a third party option thus splitting the Republican ticket and the lesser of two evils wins. 

The only way I might break my pledge is that if the race really is close, as in 5% going into election day.  The Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame then putting up a rather weak HRC against Trump.  It's not that I want to save the collective ass of my party.  No, it's because I don't want a Republican to be choosing a Supreme Court justice.   It's very likely that you will see at least one or two...perhaps three picks in the next four to eight years.  That is the only narrative that I can get behind.

For me, "Bernie or Bust" is about sending a message.   My party has failed me.   So yes, I will vote Green in November to send a message.  Let's hope my party is listening because I will continue to fight for what I feel is right.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Museum of Broken Relationships

I was traveling down the road somewhere barely listening to the talk show that was on.  Then something made me pick up my ears.

It was a story on the LA branch of the Museum of Broken Relationships.  It seems that there is already a permanent collection in Zagreb,  Croatia.  You can learn about that here.

Which got me wondering.   I've had my share of failed romantic relationships.  I still have nothing nice to say about my first wife Anna  and it's been some 20 years since we married and divorced.  Yet in all those relationships, in all those days I never kept anything.   I could not think of one object that summed up my relationship with Teri, Sue,  Priscilla, Amy, Nicole and all the others.

There was no ratty tee-shirt.  No heart shaped stone.  Nothing....nada...nope.

There is only one thing that I can think of that I've kept all these years from a failed relationship.  Her name was Tricia and we were at two different points when we dated.   I was ready to start my life, I was just out of college and looking forward to starting work and starting a family.  The traditional life.

However a traditional life was not for me.   I left teaching which was what my original degree was in and fell into an Engineering job that took me up and down the East Coast and through out the south.  I had a lot of money and spent it all chasing poetry in a bottle and in a brown eyes of a sandy haired girl.  Her name was Anna, and that turned my heart cold for a bit.

That ,as they say, however is another story.

When Tricia and I were dating, she was just coming out of a bad relationship and painted me a picture of a blue cat (from a song I liked called "When the cat turned blue") on the glass, below it was two other layers...based on something I said about the ocean.   I'm not sure what happened to that painting over the years.  I'm not sure why I kept it.

Actually I do know.   Out of everything that has ever been given to me.   Out of everything that has ever been down for me this was a gift from the heart.   It was original, creative....and it meant something.

 It hung in various places I've lived.   Normally in my office or man cave.  It seems the other women I've known since then did not find the art very good (and it was more experimental on Tricia's part than anything if memory serves me - and probably another reason why I kept it because she stretched as an artist for me).

Funny that I've not thought about that painting in years.   It may still be tucked away in a box,  It may still be part of my home.  Part of my small but wonderful collection of original art I've collected over the years.

What got me thing about past relationships was that little radio piece and how I never really kept anything.   I guess I did keep something.  I guess I do have something to donate.

Now if I can only find it again.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Watching the Republican's expose themselves

I did not watch the debate last night.  While that's not exactly true.   I watched about 5 or 10 minutes of it and that was enough to watch the lively debate between Cruz, Trump and the moderator Megan Kelly.

Fox news impressed me a bit in that they went after Trump...and Cruz during that segment and for a brief but shining moment looked like a real news organization.

I've been reading the news stories about how the traditional establishment GOP is trying to block Trump for a variety of reasons.   "He's not a real conservative."  "He's not working with the party" or "He's not experienced enough."

If you look past the bullshit however the reason why the "establishment" does not care for the Donald is rather simple.   He's exposing a very simple truth about the Republican party that no one wants to talk about..  A very clever man who is gambling a bit but is playing the establishment and the media like a rare Stradivarius.  I may not like the man but he's smarter than many are giving him credit for.

How so?   Simple.

  1.   Everytime he speaks he gets free press.   Part of this is due to his celebrity but part of this is also do to what he says.  
  2. What he says is a combination of racism, phobia's, and bat shit crazy talk....but contains enough "truth" that many in the Republican base see it as true (more on that in a bit).
  3. Since he's self funding, he does not have to relay on Super Pac money.  Trump himself admitted in the first debate to giving money to politicians to help his position in the business world.   Being self funded he can, and does say what he wants and this is "off message" for the Republicans.  Putting him in the outsider box which works for him.
  4.   Voters are angry, and having a mouthpiece that is angry on the national stage seems almost a role Trump was destined to play.   He recognized that anger well before anyone else did and played into it.
  5. Trump is the master of the soundbite.  Rubio and Cruz simply don't hold a candle to the Donald.  When you speak in soundbites you win the media.  Policy, and facts, don't matter to Donald because he knows that bumper stickers, not policy, wins elections.
The problem is that the Republican party establishment knows that the ground is shifting beneath their feet.   Their base used to be a collection of business leaders, social conservatives (religious people) and whites.

The Republican party played a careful balancing act of serving the business community through a variety of means, being against things like gay marriage and abortion...and although it was not spoken about in public, keeping the black man and other minorities "in their place" so to speak.  Remember this is the party that brought about Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and the "Willie Horton" attack ads (click here to see the ad on youtube).

It was a very subtle type of racism but racism none the less.

And it worked for a long time.

Trump knows how to play into that loose collection.   First off, he is a businessman.   How successful is debatable but most people are familiar with the Trump brand.   For most people the brand is more important than anything.   In my other blog, I write about motorcycles.  I'm amazed how many people will swear up and down that Harley Davidson is the top of the motorcycling world because of the name.   Once your in the motorcycling world however you quickly learn that their are other bikes out that that are simply better.  Brand names matter.

At one time the Republican party could state they were the moral center of America.  That they stood with God and as such were against the sins of homosexulity, abortion and other issues.  However the truth of the matter is that religion no longer plays a large role in the average American's life.  This waning religious belief makes the GOP record on things like gay rights, abortion and prayer in schools dated.

Worse, and the party knows this, they have done little to stop gay rights from gaining ground.  That abortion has been around for 43 years now and any attempt to restrict it further is most likely going to be rejected by the courts.  School prayer has been dropped completely by the GOP.

You do have one candidate running for President that should appeal to the religious right at this time.   Yet he is a distant third in the current polls.

Trump rarely brings up religion, rarely speaks about social conservative issues in general....unless it's in a veiled racist manner....and that appeals to the last block.


I'm white....yet I know in the next 20 years or so that I will be a minority.   I'm okay with that.   After all I work with people from all classes, creeds and colors.   I have worked with gay people and slept with a black woman or two.  America is changing and will continue to change.  That's evolution.

My experiences have been and generally will be good with someone "different" than me.   Sadly however there are those out there that espouse racism for what ever reason.   I've seen it in people that I call family and friends.

Sometimes it's generational.  They were raised certain ways and that way is all they know.   Others I've no idea where it comes from.  My own brother, for example, I would call racist.

Do I believe Trump is a racist and an islamophobe?  No.   Honestly I don't.   He's to smart for that, but again he knows that many whites feel threatened.   It's easier to blame a scapegoat for the failings you have.

Trump understands this.   It's the illegal alien that is making me speak Spanish.  It's the Muslims that are threatening my church, never mind that I've not gone to it in the last 5 years.   I lost my job because some chink will work for $5 a day.

Trump also understands that many of the "entitlements" that Republicans hate are being used by those same white base.   Republicans may spout off about Obamacare and other "welfare" programs but understand that they are needed.  Trump acknowledged that with his supporters and again this goes against the "grain of what Republicans stand for."  

That's the problem for Republicans.  They want to move away from the subtle racism towards a party where blacks, latino's, woman and others are more accepted.  They have to in order to survive as a party.  The powers that be know this....and that means moving away from the racism that has always been part of the Republican party.

Trump is a very ugly reminder of it.   To make matters worse, he has about 30% of the Republican party agreeing with him.  Something exposed to the light that the Republicans wish would go away.

It does not take much research to see why the "Establishment" is against Trump.  It does not take much to see that Trump is dragging the party back towards the center.  Where the "Establishment" does not want to be....but knows it has to get back to.  

We have a very quiet and very subtle civil war going on....between the old guard and the new.   Between where the party needs to be and where it is.   I'm not sure if this will split the Republican party in two...but I feel it just might.

That's not a bad thing.   A little revolution now and again is good for the soul.   Frankly, the Republican soul needs saving....and although Trump is a ugly reminder of something very wrong with the GOP.....he just might save their soul by exposing the sins.  

It's about time we on the left started calling them out on it.....but our own party has issues.   Not as bad...but God knows we have them.   That's for another entry though.