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April 08, 2016


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Jon, Answering your questions would solve nothing about the storm we are headed for. You are still inside the box of thinking your reasoned opinion will make any difference. The designated parties and status quo establishment couldn't care less. By pulling out the stops to box us into voting for candidates who's judgement, strategies and tactics so many of us find repulsive they stand exposed for what they really represent, corrupt top down control. I am sick playing their game by voting for the lesser of evils hoping for incremental change. That hasn't been working. I will be voting my conscious and if others find that upsetting then give me a real choice next time. Anyway, if I were a Republican I would be praying for a HRC nomination. She is their only viable candidate.

Someone up there said "spare me with realpolitik" but, sorry, it doesn't work that way.

In Arizona in 2014 Fred DuVal lost the gubernatorial election badly and a lot of liberal dudes want to think it was because he wasn't thrilling enough or whatever but what really happened is DuVal was buried in negative ads accusing him of everything from unilaterally raising college tuition rates as a Regent to being in league with terrorists. They ran over and over and over again and demolished him, probably taking out the Dems down ticket along with it. That only took two months.

Admittedly, Bernie will be in a better position running for President of the whole country in 2016, and certainly if Trump is his opponent, but surely you didn't think Karl Rove has been pouring money into helping Bernie in the primary because he likes him and wants him to be President, did you? If Sanders got the nomination that would happen in June, and June to November is an eternity for the GOP to redefine him.

And no, it's not Double Secret 11th Dimension Chess where they really want to face Hillary. Oh no, they want to go up against Bernie, who has a past rife with opportunities for painting him as a delusional weirdo. Like how he didn't have a real job until he was 40. And has a history of expressing his thoughts, many of which will not go over well with voters.

Take those fascinating sex essays he wrote as a man in his 30s. Now, I know, stop being so prudish and provincial, Donna! What damage could possibly be done by either of these statements:

"A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

"A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously."

Being on billboards on freeways and at a busy intersections across Ohio and Florida. Think they won't be? Think again. You try explaining that to moms in the suburbs. I wouldn't know where to begin.

Then imagine how Bernie's history of playing footsie with various communists during the Cold War will play. It's true that red-baiting doesn't hold the kind of sway that it used to, but it holds enough to alienate a whole lot of voters old enough (and olds vote like MFers!) to remember. Maybe not enough to make Bernie lose, but maybe enough to dampen turnout and make it difficult for him to win.

More recently, you have Bernie saying he's going to raise everyone's taxes at a CNN town hall in January. That will make for a great soundbite in an attack ad. I know, everyone's going to get single payer health care and tuition free college (somehow). You'll just explain that too. Sure you will.

Sanders' plan to accomplish his goals involves the dubious prospects of taking back both houses of Congress through the sheer force of his magic coattails and of galvanizing millions of pissed-off Americans into the street. The first is difficult to imagine due to Sanders' refusal to raise money for state Democrats and to what is so far a small and lackluster list of "Bernie candidates" currently running for Congress.

The second is not looking too plausible considering how Bernie isn't motivating enough people to the polls to beat Clinton in the primary (and is constantly, and unwisely, dissing many of her voters) and also how Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are not likely to give a hot shit if 10 million people are amassed outside the Capitol. When have they cared about public opinion if it doesn't directly affect their midterm electoral prospects? Recent history has shown that it probably won't.

So are you of the opinion Gadfly Bernie should never have jumped in the race so that Hillary and the party were a completely solid block rolling forward over the insane out of control GOP?
I think the discussion Bernie has brought to the table was a good thing.
R U upset that Trump jumped into the GOP race

Cal, discussion is a great thing, delusional thinking not so much. The passion that's been unleashed at the bacchanal Saturday night will not simply evaporate into Sunday morning's sobriety. Berniemania is a phenomenon that demands a release of some kind, and my fear is that it will live to bear toxic fruit. Here are a few scenarios.

The first is that the Greens make Bernie an offer: run under our banner. They're already on the ballot in every state where they usually get less than .5% of the total presidential vote. Bernie could get them past 20% and help elect the Republican. Bernie has said he will support the Democratic nominee but his lack of enthusiasm for that prospect is obvious. Imagine some slight he deems a deal-breaker. It's not that hard.

Another is that Sandersistas decide to create a new party, which would have no impact this year but might damage the Democratic Party later on. New parties are notoriously difficult to create and flourish (and explains why there are few seldom competitive third parties). Still, the threat is there to punish Democrats for their "stab in the back". This threat is already being discussed openly.

One more option would be an open campaign to advance a Leninist agenda of advancing the prospects of a Revolution. Heightening the contradictions by voting for the Republican was brandished by the noted "revolutionary" Susan Sarandon on MSNBC. I notice on this thread how even the more intelligent Bernie advocates seem to think we're at some kind of pre-revolutionary stage where the nation could just blow up at any time. Be there or be square.

The older I get, the more I hate passion, certitude, and absolutism. These are qualities that twist minds and intoxicate souls. It's not a lack of courage that makes me quiver before idiotic mobs of self-righteous zealots. It's the experience where suggestible people collapse all distinctions for the thrill of being part of something bigger. I would prefer they just take up another hobby, say pot smoking.

As far as Trump goes, it was fun while it lasted. The Republican Party is still dangerous but it's dying. You can't base a party's appeal on cruelty, ugliness, and stupidity without it eventually undermining its larger purpose (enriching the rich and comforting the powerful). Trump was simply the first candidate to "go there" since the buffers between the party and mob have all but disappeared. That said, we should check our schadenfreude since an insane GOP is bad for the nation. At some point, we have to hope they regain their sanity. A half-crazed nation is dysfunctional and makes political progress virtually impossible.

Donna, You make vague references to soft core porn writings and secret financing, how about citing some sources? While your digging for those check out Hillery's stellar record as Sec. State. Here's a link that might help As for endorsements and dirty money here's another And soleri, the old pinko straw man meme falls right into the game plan the owners of the designated parties always pull out of the closet and dust off when they can't address the question. I expect better from you. The way I see it we all owe Bernie and The Donald a big thanks for forcing this corrupt political system to expose itself for what it is, a united top down tool of the owner class designed to insure outcomes in their favor. If you are ok with playing that game that is your call. I'm done with it.

ross, I keep asking this question how Bernie leverages the political process to make this revolution. Now, you're telling me the process itself is a top-down tool of the owner class. In other words, politics itself is too contaminated to work anymore. Which means we go to extra-political means. Say, violence.

You're not going to win this way, either. For one thing, hippies are not very good when it comes to shooting people. Indeed, most don't even have guns. And if they did decide to arm for revolution, they'd still have to fight the U.S. military along with the para-military local police forces. But I'll admit I'm curious how the Tea Party of the left will go about it. I have heard no convincing scenarios but there are still plenty of unicorns out there to saddle up.

More good stuff. Thanks folks.

Out of fairness, I will add another argument I hear frequently. Namely, it doesn't matter if Bernie wins in 2016 as long as he denies the White House to Hillary Clinton.

Under this scenario, the Republicans would win in November and make such a mess that the political system finally purges itself of corruption, "GOP Lite" in the Democratic Party, etc. and progressives score massive victories in 2020, in time for reapportionment.

I find this unconvincing, even dangerous. But it's something I hear a good deal about.

If you look at the crowds of Sanders and Trump,they are almost completely different.Sanders fans are young,convinced that are getting conned by the politicians,and committed to changing the game.Trump's crowds are basically old people who want to complain about how somebody has "moved their cheese" and want to believe they can have all the new stuff without any new taxes.They buy beer and lottery tickets with their discretionary income which might be why Trump self financing his campaign is so attractive.It would be interesting how many would show up if Trump charged to attend his rallies.

Trump is the beginning of the end of my generation and Sanders represents the enthusiasm of the young.Neither will win in the end,but I think they both have added to the conversation.I see Trump running as independent and continuing to lob bombs at the politicians. Sanders, moving Dems to the left and more responsive to the income inequity question,will have a substantial effect on Dems and future voters,but not this year with this Congress.

Froma Harrop's column in today's AZ Republic reports that 15% of Sanders voters, under the slogan "Finally, something to vote for," voted only for him in the recent Wisconsin election, not voting for any down-ballot races.

In the same election, a right-wing state supreme court appointee of Gov. Scott Walker narrowly edged a progressive candidate.

Is this what we can look forward to in November? That if Sanders is not the nominee, there's nothing to vote for? Or that if he is, there's nothing else to vote for?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the political shallowness, ignorance, and apathy of the "Snapchat liberals," as Harrop calls them. But it just confirms my feeling about the state the nation is in: Republicans turn my stomach, but Democrats break my heart.

soleri, I don't recall saying anything about violence being a tactic to bring about the political reform this country is so desperately in need of. There are other means that will raise awareness and effect change. How about non compliance? How about non participation in rigged processes. This government spends billions teaching people in other political systems how to bring down corrupt systems. Maybe we could write a grant proposal?

ross, well, it's a nice idea. We won't vote! That will show 'em!

Civil disobedience, which I gather is what you mean by non-compliance, still demands great organizational and tactical skills. OWS might have given some of you an idea about the difficulties in that. What's telling is that most people didn't really don't know what they were protesting. It was analogous to shouting Power to the People! It sounds good but it is so nebulous as to be meaningless. You need more than a generic devil like Hillary or corporations. The more specificity, the better given that we can't really litigate attitudes much less opinions.

The rejection of incremental politics is not a revolution without offering a tangible alternative. You're not going to reinvent the political contract on Facebook or at rallies. You need a better idea than we'll make Mitch McConnell piss in his pants by thousands of people demonstrating outside his office. I get the feeling you have no idea what you're advocating but not to worry. Neither does Bernie.

Jon, GOP wins WHITE house?
If you are not WHITE or Staight or a climate change denialist best U find another country to move to.

"Neither does Bernie. "
I disagree, I think Bernie has known all along he was not going to win the nomination. I have not thought for a nano second that was his plan. I have always thought his plan was to jerk the country to the left and in that he has least awakened a few formely sleeping folks.
I think it was the intellectual that was mistaken in fear that Bernie might win.(And the GOP hoping)
I have met some "dumb" Trump supporters who are also Bernie fans?
So maybe just maybe, Soleri there has been a "revolution" of sorts? At least on this blog some roots of formentation have risen.

He never said violence.

He never said "do not vote".

Mr. Soleri, with the blinders you wear, you look, but you do not see.

Cal, I was arguing against the idea that Bernie's theory of political change - revolution - was intellectually coherent. In effect, he wants to have it both ways, that politics is irremediably broken and that you can use the existing process to fix it. Except as so many of his supporters on this thread insist, you can't because incrementalism doesn't work.

If you're serious about fundamental change, you can't simply wave off the half of the country that would sooner shoot black people (and now Latinos) than share the bounty of this nation with them. It's why Bernie's theory is so daft. He imagines something happening that has never happened before. Even during the New Deal, FDR had to cut out domestics and farm laborers from SS since Southern congressmen demanded as much. And this is not just an artifact of history. Look at all those Southern Republican governors refusing to accept Medicaid through Obamacare - at no cost! - simply to stick it to black people. Yes, Republicans are that evil.

I've made the point in this forum over and over: we're going to win eventually. Within 10 years, Democrats should have enough of a demographic advantage to reclaim Congress and the statehouses. But that's boring! So, along comes Bernie who insists we can have a revolution just like that! Just elect this elderly blowhard president and unicorns and rainbows will magically take care of everything.

Cal, this is not "revolution". It's delusion. On the other hand, if you were actually able to get our pious Bernsters interested in voting in elections for people with a reasonable chance of winning (say, Democrats), you might possibly get there sooner. But they are not really interested since Democrats are sell-outs and "corporate whores", etc. Gotta feel that Bern!

When the message is inseparable from its messenger, you haven't created a revolution. You've created a personality cult.

I think Mr. Talton has read way too many "Bernie Bro" posts and articles. :)

Personally, I don't see the Senator from Vermont ruining the Democrat's prospects for the White House. The Republicans are practically handing the keys! I'm surprised the Senate hasn't just said, "Forget it! We give up! Garland, welcome to the Supreme Court!"

Unfortunately, what concerns me (more) after this election is the continued gridlock and fascination with people's sexuality by politicians on the right. :(

So, let me see if I have this right: If we all just quit whining and go along with the program (that is, the totally rigged, plutocrat-controlled political system that has screwed us into the ground), then in 10 years, we will magically have a Democratic controlled Congress and statehouses.


Well, I guess that would presuppose that we all trusted the Democratic party to govern in the interests of ALL the people. Unfortunately, over the last 30 years the American people have been f*cked over in a totally bipartisan manner.

We need a revolution, not more corporate Democrats. And certainly not a condescending pat on the head and counsel to "wait 10 years."

Nope. Not waitin'.

Soleri, I'm agreeing with you. Its just your revolution is a ten year war.
To the Walls we go.

"Loyalty" is a derivative value, a transactional one. It has no anchor in virtue.

Well said Petro.

Soleri, you seem unable to discuss Bernie Sanders without attributing your own perceptions to his supporters. Young. Naive. Old. Foolish. Simplistic. So, in that spirit, I'll be equally reductive and describe my general impression of Clinton supporters: either self-isolated and affluent, or churchy. Oblivious to what's being done to the lower classes and people in other countries by neoliberal "ideology." Condescendingly announcing that everyone who hates the Clintons (with very good reasons, as well as stupid conservative ones)is somehow not a Democrat (like yourself, of course), and is really just a nuisance party crasher. And finally, my number one stereotype of Clinton supporters is that they represent the interests of an increasingly mediocre American professional class, degreed to the hilt and dumb as posts. Of course, none of these things are strictly true, but it probably makes Clinton supporters mad to hear, like "Bernie Bros" get mad at the stereotypes you lob at us.
And speaking of the worthless, ever-churchy Arizona Democratic Party (which we weren't, but I can't help myself), who is the sleazy, ridiculous little Al Sharpton mini-me convict, Maupin, backing this cycle?

Ha! Never mind, I just googled him and found out he's backing Clinton. This is why the Democrats have been whipped so hard in Arizona, they abandoned the working class left years ago in favor of buffoons like this. Jesse Jackson was ultimately bad for the Party, and Dr. King started going beyond civil rights and began focusing on the Democrat's warmongering and weak labor policies, so he was killed. Once the churchy buttplugs who hijacked the Party with the election of Carter have been dispensed with, the "BernieBots" might return to the fold. Until then, Arizona will always be a Republican stronghold. Sad and completely unnecessary, but there it is.

OK, I'll play :)

1. Easy. Compared to the monster on the GOP side, is much effort really necessary to *unify* Democratic voters.

2. I don't think Sanders does any less than a Clinton candidacy would do with deep red state voters and actually might garner more votes, given his outsider status v. that of Clinton, who, in perception if not total truth, is in the pockets of banksters.

3. I find it funny this question is asked of Sanders but I never saw this floated against Obama, Kerry, etc.. Let's face it, whatever Democratic candidate wins the nomination, and if gains the presidency, it will be an uphill battle v. a GOP controlled Congress. Again, here I like Sanders better because there is a wide swath of neoliberal / neconservative planks that Clinton has common ground with GOP interests (i.e., school privatization, private prisons, FTA, etc.)

4. Again, I think Sanders scores better with the "angry white male" demographic than Clinton -- and I think that actually plays into Clinton's support from people of color, despite prominent civil rights voices like Cornel West, Michelle Alexander, Ta-Nehisi Coates etc. that have spoken out in favor of Sanders over Clinton.

5. True. The *socialist* bogeyman. I think voters under 40 are immune to it but OTOH, they don't vote in the same numbers as elderly. Can Sanders ignite enthusiasim like Obama did in 2008? I don't know definitively here.

6. These charges are rubbish. Sanders rose from nothing, converted enemies to allies at just about every stage of his political career. You can say, "oh that's just Vermont" but what would be the big problem with making America like Vermont? His record, IMV, is head and shoulders above Clinton, even in foreign policy, where the egregious Clinton boasts of her kinship with Kissinger and pledge to include neconservatives like the Kagans in her suite of advisors.

7. See #6 -- that Clinton considers war criminal Kissinger as trusted friend and confidant disqualifies her in my view -- also, her track record as secretary of state is not stellar -- she's not much different than neoconservative hawks.

8. LOL.

9. Historically, this is true, I will concede. But I don't think 1968/1972 are proper analogies either. Hard for a leftward ascension when in post-WWII (ironically, due to liberal & progressive advances), the economic arc was on a rising slope. Contrast to present day, when last 35 years (since Age of Reagan) have seen a downward slope for 90% of Americans (all the while 1% status escalated immensely).

Well said naum

Thanks for the serious response, Naum.

Pat, I apologize profusely for disagreeing with you. Feel better?

I'll admit I'm at the point where I don't give a damn about your tribe's chronically wounded feelings. I've stated above that I'm supporting Hillary without love. That is, I think she's qualified to be president but I don't think she'll usher in a golden age, or that she has super-human qualities that can create an entirely new politically paradigm, or that her election is the only way we can save America. I'm not a zealot. I don't confuse politics with religion and create a cult around a political candidate. Go ahead and blame her and Bill for everything. She cackles. She thinks she's a queen. She's on the take with every donation she gets. She singlehandedly created bad trade deals. She's responsible for the Iraq catastrophe. She's best friends with a war criminal. Etc, etc.

I've been hearing this stuff for decades now. Karl Rove is a very busy plying his trade so people like you can be sure they hate the right person. We wouldn't be America without folks like him whispering gossip in our ears. And it saves time when the discussion gets boring for want of a devil. Oh, and some dude called Maupin supports her. Enuf said!

Yeah, yeah, I know: I'm dumb as a post. So sue me! Or better yet, just talk to your tribe. That way you can feel the Bern without heretics like me bumming you out. Cults cannot fail, they can only be failed.

soleri, you're one of the few Clinton supporters I am actually listening to, and parsing your arguments. Most of the other pro-Clinton stuff I read just smacks of DNC apparatchiks or is beyond petty.

But I think the Clinton supporters are blinded with cult-like traits too -- disregarding *all* criticism of her as *right wing conspiracy* fodder -- while she isn't the hideous creation they wax on about, there's legitimate questions on her conduct in public offices she's held. And you can write it off to conservative smear campaigns, but her *unfavorability* ratings are in league with Cruz (and not that far from the odious Trump).

I get the pragmatism bent -- in fact, I've held my nose and been in line with it too, until now. And I'm not ruling out tipping over to Clinton in November (thus far, if Sanders doesn't get the nod, my vote is for Jill Stein -- but of course, as an Arizona native, it probably won't matter who the 'R' candidate is, Arizona will go red).

Oh, my! Am I detecting a little thin skin?

Naum, thanks for a thoughtful response from a Bernie supporter! First one I've gotten here so I'm happy to acknowledge it.

You might be right that there are Hillary cultists - say elderly feminists - but as much as I read internet comments, I just don't see that much evidence. Of course, they might not be on the internet that much.

Re: the "legitimate questions" about her conduct in office. If there is something more than perfume and heavy breathing, I'd like to get something or anything that really spells it out. But in fact, these "legitimate questions" are often just talking points pretending to be "legitimate questions". It's like this McCarthyite insistance that speaking to Goldman Sachs or getting Wall St contributions means she's "on the take". Bernie himself goes there, pretty much calling her a dupe if not co-conspirator of Wall Street. These are the kind of smears that reduce politics to guilt by association and worse. It's like saying Obama "palled around with terrorists" because he once met Bill Ayres, or that he hated America because of what Reverend Wright said. The right excels at this kind of garbage. When the Sanders campaign traffics in this manure, we somehow assume that St Bernie must be right. The critique has substance in its broad outlines but not on its specific associations.

Barney Frank correctly called out Bernie on this stuff, and also noted Hillary was a lot more involved in the crafting of Dodd-Frank than Sanders ever was. He also said it's insane to expect Democrats to unilaterally disarm when Republicans have a battalion of billionaires who can fund their campaigns. If Democrats are guilty of playing by the rules on the ground, good for them. We've got to fight them with the weapons we have, not the ones we think we should have. Eventually, if our circular firing squad doesn't mortally wound us this November, we may get a liberal majority on the Supreme Court and overturn Citizens United. Public campaign financing is a liberal ideal and one that both Hillary and Bernie support. We would have been on track to achieving it if Al Gore were "elected" in 2000. But left-wing purists had decided there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the parties, so they helped George W Bush through the agency of Ralph Nader, who this year, unsurprisingly, supports Bernie.

My core reservation about Bernie is not his "socialism" although that does undercut his electability argument. It's his political theory of change. I keep hammering on this because there is really no evidence that supports the idea that one messianic figure can transform this nation into a Scandinavian social democracy by dint of his rhetoric and appeal. I know if you go to a Bernie rally, you can let yourself "go there" because it almost seems that way. But this is classic wishful thinking. If he were the nominee, Republicans would have a treasure trove of personal stuff about Bernie (see: Donna Gratehouse's comment above) to use against him. But putting that aside, just imagine them telling the average middle-class voter that Bernie would significantly raise his taxes for single-payer health care. We probably both agree that it would be a wonderful thing in and of itself, but the electorate is not there. When it's explained to them what Single Payer involves, support drops from 39% to 33%. This is fairly devastating.

The unicorn of "revolution" means people believing Bernie to such an extent that the nation voluntarily decides to raise its taxes, cut its military, overcome its racist preoccupations, etc. This is a millenialist fantasy that we should be highly skeptical of. The reason I keep talking about demographic change is that people are predictably rigid about their political values. It's why you don't see many Democrats in north Scottsdale or Republicans in central Phoenix. But America is changing. We'll be a minority majority nation by 2050 but I think the magic year politically is 2024.

By the way, if young people, who love Bernie, would vote at an 80% turnout rate instead of less than 50%, we would be well on our way to a much more liberal America. But it means voting for Democrats, including DINOs and other imperfect people (see: Krysten Sinema). I know purists don't want to hear this but this transformation has to be gradual because systemic change is difficult. We should be doing everything possible to lay the groundwork for this transformation now. When Pat trashes the Democratic Party, he's helping Karl Rove and INPHX in their task to ratfuck liberals into purity politics.

If I seem like the enemy in this comment thread, it's because a) I'm not a child, and b) I've seen these children crusades (Eugene McCarthy in 1968, George McGovern in 1972) before. I want to win. I want to rub my boot heel on the neck of the Republican Party. But this isn't going to happen with a third party or street fights or mysticism. It's going to happen with hard work, discipline, and partial victories. This is reality. Berniemania is a lot of fun but it's based on an aging student radical's romantic ideals that really don't apply to many polities outside of New England and the Pacific Northwest. If these United States were just Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, and Massachusetts, this would indeed be Denmark! But it isn't. Pretending otherwise doesn't change reality. We're also Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, and Texas. We can make this happen but it's going to be a slog. Let's not make it tougher with purity politics.

Great stuff, Soleri. Bravo!

Well said Soleri. Bravo, Ole

Another perspective on Sanders and the Democratic party.

Gadfly = character assassination with a college degree. American culture has turned denial into such a fine art that people actually believe that a Presidential candidate funded by the same people who ruined the economy will hold them accountable once she's in office.

A global perspective:

Diane, along those lines, what has Obama done? I'm not a lawyer, and even if I was one, I suspect the law involving securities fraud is so abstruse that it might be impossible to explain it to laymen. I haven't seen anyone even try, not Paul Krugman, Brad de Long, or Dean Baker. Many people believe that there should be laws or that if there aren't, it's proof that Wall Street owns Congress. But blaming this on Hillary Clinton is McCarthyism. Nothing less.

Sanders is running the same style of campaign against Hillary as Obama did. Soleri playing the same conceited "adult" persona, bringing up McCarthy, McGovern, Muslim name, black man, inexperience, unicorns (playing right into the "hopey changey" Rovian strategy). He was profoundly wrong on all fronts.

Like in '08, many Hillary supporters are simply acting out of fear. Fear about who will be more susceptible to rightwing propaganda. Fear of "revolution" ("because rightwingers have all the guns!" really? you're the adult here?). And, like other elderly Americans who have a relatively stable retirement, fear of change, even if it's the only chance to benefit future generations.

And, you're assertion that Sanders' theory of change is 1 election and everything magically changes is completely wrong. I get it that you start hyperventilating every time he says "revolution" but next time maybe try popping a xanax with your viagra and blood pressure pills and actually listen to what he is saying.

Ex Phx Planner is one of the most thoughtful commenters on this blog. I would love to see him or her address a few of my questions on Sanders. I think at least a few are worth serious discussion. Remember, I didn't write this column to re-litigate Clinton v. Sanders. I am assuming Bernie is the nominee. And here are some issues he will face in the general.

Ex Phx Planner, is there a way you might actually address my arguments instead of demonizng my person? It's so tempting in a political forum to give in to frustration and simply decide the other person is not merely mistaken in their opinions but wrong as a person. Ageism and misogyny are part of an age-old tendency to demean other people when the polemicist loses confidence in his own reason and resorts to personal attacks (see also: Donald Trump).

This is a political campaign where we strongly disagree about the candidates. While our viewpoints are opposed, our larger values are not. You diminish your arguments by resorting to bigotry and the ad hominem fallacy. You have no proof my personal characteristics prompt my opinions just as you have no proof that it's cowardice, old age, and a conservative's anxiety about personal security to think differently than you about a political campaign.

I have admitted on several occasions that my "voice" is off-putting. It's an amalgam of William F Buckley's and Gore Vidal's in its icy disdain for what I consider spurious and weakly reasoned arguments. There have been times I've crossed the line with language. I wish I could stop calling Republicans "assholes", for example. But to my knowledge, I've never implied the person I'm talking to is wrong because of something they have no control over. This is poison and you really ought to stop polluting this space with it.

Ah yes the drivers have sank into their upholstered bucket seats and their knuckles have gone white from their maddening grip on the wheel but hopefully a calm will come as there is "Miles to Go."

I prefer bench seats as it makes relationships much closer.

Well, we agree that this conversation has descended into ad hominem nonsense, but maybe check your own self too?

If I seem like the enemy in this comment thread, it's because a) I'm not a child

this is a millenialist fantasy

Cults can be very blinding and controlling when it comes to their leaders. Scientology has nothing on you guys

Or that only Bernie can save the world. Most of us give these zealots a wide berth

This unhinged personality cult of St Bernie is rapidly becoming a parody of itself.

While I always enjoy reading your comments, it's you who took this thread from a cordial pick-up game at the Y to full on trash talking street ball. You don't like it? Maybe stop playing.

Now come on folks, keep playing, no blood no foul.

Ex Phx Planner, thank you for the opportunity to discuss openly this Bernie Bro phenomenon you shamelessly embody. Sanders' thugs aren't content merely to oppose Hillary Clinton, but to allege all kinds of nefarious deeds, corruption, and generalized evil-doing. The right has been doing this for years, of course, and your tribe has simply picked up where they left off. As I've remarked before, there is an amazing degree of congruence between the Tea Parties of the right and left. Both tend to be comprised of low-information wack jobs and zealots. It was one of the first things I noticed when Bernie's thugs began posting provocative memes on Facebook that were not merely pro-Bernie but anti-Clinton in a highly personal way. They were almost analogous to those right-wing memes you might get from an in-law in Alabama showing a picture of Obama photo-shopped with a bone through his nose.

Now, I'm not thin-skinned. I really don't give a fuck what you think of me. I'm a veteran of these flame wars, although I'm usually pitted against the right. To tell you the truth, I've probably mocked them in ways that you've mocked me, so your instinct here is right. I'm protesting too much. That said, we are on the same team if you're still sane enough to understand that Republicans are assholes and Democrats should be your allies.

What we're fighting over here is something of an abstraction (a theory of political change), that you and all your teammates on this blog are utterly incapable of explaining. So, you get a tad tetchy and frustrated, and let the bigotry rip. I understand. You want to believe with all your heart and soul that Bernie is the messiah. I've seen this movie at least a dozen times in my long life and it never ends well. People are insane with belief and contort reality in a million different directions to justify that belief. The problem is that Bernie is not going to be the nominee but he is damaging the candidate who will be. There is no telling what you glassy-eyed zealots will do in Philadelphia but I'm not optimistic. I do think Hillary should win the general even if you Full Mooners vandalize the convention but I'm less and less able to contain my contempt not only for your tribe but for Bernie the candidate. He's really a pompous, self-righteous jerk who real Democrats are starting to openly loathe. And for good reasons.

My own wish is that all of you should simply stop pretending to be Democrats since you're openly contemptuous of the party's rules and bylaws. You could pack up en masse and create a party organization suitable for a religious cult pretending to be a political organization. Call it The Sacred Cult of St Bernie the Immaculate. You might eventually try to get a tax exemption that other churches enjoy. When Bernie dies, you can harvest locks of his hair and and fingernail cuttings to sell as holy relics on e-Bay. There are endless commercial opportunities here. Just remember: this is America. Most people have short attention spans. Your ultimate fate is to be an answer on Trivial Pursuit.

I'm not a glassy-eyed zealot, or a jerk. And I don't believe that Bernie is the messiah.

I'm a reasonably well-read adult, and I've chosen to support a candidate that I find trustworthy and intellectually honest.

I don't like the idea of a candidate who flip flops or "evolves" on positions after campaign focus groups or internal polls. I am also skeptical of a candidate who is beholden to big donors.

Since the national Democratic party saw fit to try and shove a less-than-stellar candidate down our throats, I don't owe the Democratic party loyalty for loyalty's sake.

^ word.

So, we should all leave the Democratic Party because we are "contemptuous of the party's rules and bylaws"? Maybe we're a tribe of idealists, but at least we're cooler than one of bureaucrats. BTW; I agree with you that Nader supporters made a big mistake; however, Gore would've probably won the general if Nader ran as a Democrat in the primary and forced Gore to move to the left - just like BS. Careful what you wish for, if BS did this (which he won't) HRC would be done.

Pretty sure we've explained Bernie's "theory of change" pretty well. He's explicitly defined it - bottom up change based on a bold, reform platform. Contrast that with the business as small ball ideas, incremental tweaks, compromises with the most rightwing GOP probably ever and the usual elitist fundraising and party politics that have been ineffective (and continue to be, as evidenced by this election).

The only "personal" thing I've ever criticized HRC over is her cackles. In which you promptly called me out as a misogynist. Contrast this with the litany of pure shit talking from you and the rest of you hair-on-fire Hillary...something (Tommy Bahama and Chico's-wearing Baby Boomers?) about everything from Bernie's age to his sanity and weird perv tendencies.

Her fundraising and questions about the FBI investigation are completely fair game (not because I actually think she is a criminal, but because it was an extremely stupid mistake and will be a major weakness in the General Election.)

And, while I also don't give a fuck what you think of me, I am a reasonably educated professional and every Bernie supporter I know does not come close to your characterization of "thug, zeolot, bro, etc." While I'll admit that I'm probably a more "low information voter" than you are, at least I don't let my world view be shaped by tweets and Facebook posts.

The revolution continues.
Balls of fire and the smell of singed hair

Yes! The smell of singed hair!

I was really struck watching the debate last night how Clinton was the adult who talked about the difference between diagnosis and instrumentality. Sanders is great at diagnosing problems and then giving some maximal solution (raising the national minimum wage to $15, a carbon tax for climate change, a Wall St transaction tax to pay for free college, etc). The crowd was on his side because it was probably too subtle a distinction to see given the Circus Maximus atmosphere of the evening. In my impolitic way, I wanted Clinton to simply come out with a sharp right hook and announce that his "solutions" were easy since they were based on nothing more than hot air, that they would never pass Congress, and that political change itself ultimately has to be anchored in real-world possibility, not just a utopian wish list. But most people don't understand how politics works, so Clinton can't simply spell it out bluntly. It's not and never has been an exercise in ideological purity. Sanders gets away with this stuff because people can't see this distinction. It's like we think politicians should wear togas and angel wings. It's frightening how stupid we are.

Here's a link that suggests even Bernie's supporters aren't willing to pay for these fantasies.

Soleri, I know you must be a little older than me, and I'm living on borrowed time. What is it that makes you think we'll be better off as a nation in ten years? For purely selfish reasons, I don't want what may well be my last presidential vote to be squandered on Hillary Clinton just to deny Trump or Cruz or Romney the presidency. I will, but I really, really don't want to, and I resent the Clintons for popping up yet again and forcing me into such an odious choice. The reason I WILL vote for Clinton, if I'm denied any realistic option (no, that's not a snipe at the Greens, I have the utmost respect for them) may well be selfish as well, because had I not had a child who is going to be inheriting whatever mess we leave her and all of our children, I might well look at life from a different perspective. But since I see the world the way I do, I'll vote for Clinton because she might not finish us off as quickly as eight years of the crazed opposition. But before we get to that point, may I offer a proposal? Sanders has released his and Mrs. Sanders tax returns, as the Clinton Machine has been so loudly and self-righteously demanding, and there isn't much to see. Can we agree that Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches to bankers and hedge funders now? Since she wants to be President, shouldn't she be willing to let us see what she told them?

Pat, I'm sorry you're on "borrowed time". To extend the metaphor, so is this country and the world. I've written a lot of navel-gazing ruminations in this space whether there is a reasonable hope that we can do what is necessary to prevent the worst of catastrophic climate change. Increasingly, the answer appears to be no. So, you might ask, why "waste" a vote on a pragmatic incrementalist?

I've written too passionately in this thread why I think politics has to be grounded in what is real instead of ideal. To give up on the political process now pretty much concedes the Hobbsian nightmare ( that appears to be our fate in any event. We see this train barreling down on us and we're mesmerized to the point of unconsciousness. We literally can not see what is happening to us. The human brain evolved to meet short-term threats like snakes and sabre-tooth tigers, not decades-in-the-making environmental crises. We will in all likelihood not do what is necessary to save human civilization.

When I was born, there were two billion people on Earth. Now there are seven billion. We're each hungry, anxious, self-serving, and short-sighted. We've overutilized the planet with our appetites for comfort and security. The current dyspepsia in the western world relates to the sense that our bacchanal may me running out of steam. We're angry and bitter for the wrong reasons, however. We should, as you say, be worrying about the next generation. Instead, we're only feeling sorry for ourselves.

We're not going to wish away our predicament with messiahs, political or religious. I can only recommend the greatest clarity each of us can individually muster. We need to do this within the painfully limited amount of power each one of us possesses. We need to concede the rights to viewpoints other than our own because the only other possible path would be tyranny and violence. That's why we have politics - to forego the need to capriciously impose our demands on others. We get to vote within an elaborate framework of checks, balances, buffers, and associations. We each have a "say" as microscopic as that may be. We're not going to improve this system with a "revolution" since there is no magical escape from one's individual limitations. Politics is both a blessing and a curse in that we get to participate but not dominate.

There is no reasonable alternative despite the severe crisis we're facing. At some point, the system might collapse and the human project is pretty much over except for a few survivors. But until then, I recommend honoring the only process that gives us just enough power to behave responsibly and ethically. If we impose a politics of virtue as Sanders (or Cruz) would, we better stock up on guns first. We're not going to make this work somehow by taking away other people's political rights (romantic as the scenarios might be). While I don't believe we will ultimately do what is necessary to survive, giving up now only ensures a life that is nasty, brutish, and short.

soleri, You forgot to respond to Pat's call for Clinton to release her 1/4 million dollar per each speeches. Let me pose the question a little differently. Why would Clinton be so adverse to releasing her comments to big finance? Clearly she must feel they would damage her standing with those she wants to support her with their votes. No doubt there are recordings of those comments. I mean who would pay $250,000.00 for one hour of anything and not keep a record? If you ever took a loan from a bank you know how obsessive they are about records. The banks have copies. If she fakes a copy of her comments the big money guys with the real deal have a very nice lever on her as if they don't already own her. They can dispense with the bribes and proceed with the blackmail.

ross, I didn't forget it. I just think issues like that are so trivial they're hardly worth the pixels.

But, since you ask, what do you think were in those speeches? A promise to help the 1% confiscate what's left of middle-class America's wealth? These right-wing talking points all have this quality in common: lots of speculation mixed with demonology and leaps of logic. The Bernie left and the nut-case right have similar epistemologies. Barney Frank called Bernie's attacks McCarthyite for this reason (Barney, who has done infinitely more for financial reform that Bernie ever dreamed about also spoke to GS for a fee).

Now, I know why Hillary is being so cautious. Anything she says will be taken out of context and fluffed into one more attack point by people like you who traffic in conspiracy theories. That said, it is politically damaging given this country's taste for paranoia and Clinton Derangement Syndrome. So, she should release them. Whatever media hysteria will result in it probably won't impact the race against Cruz or Trump.

One more point since I get the feeling you will still want to believe the absolute worst about Clinton regardless of what is in those speeches, but if she really was some evil person on the take with Goldman Sachs, would she give a speech about it to a bunch of workers? No. She would call up Lloyd Blankfein or whomever and say, "hey Lloyd, how about I give the Evil Vampire Squid that is GS everything it wants when I'm president for $250,000! Because I'm evil!". That's how they roll. You don't just tell a bunch of middle-level executives this stuff in a canned speech.

soleri, Thanks for the reply. You may attempt to slough off what many of us see as legitimate questions as "Clinton Derangement Syndrome" but I hope you don't think this will make her any less a target for the R attack machine the day after she gets the nomination if she gets it. Her problem is with so many questions about her she presents a huge target. She's a Titanic of questionable positions and actions. If you care to get into it I would be willing to list a few more.

It's an interesting irony that the (very real -- see Jane Mayer's "Dark Money") vast right-wing infrastructure of Richard Mellon Scaife et al got its start demonizing Hillary because it saw her -- much more than her New Democrat husband -- as a dangerous threat from the genuine left.

I've seen the lists of Clinton's sins, many of which are simply the inevitable consequences of taking action in office where the outcomes are less than ideal. Welcome to the real world! Others, like the GS speeches are simply slanders dressed up as "legitimate concerns". Still others, like the AUMF vote, are "gotcha" kind of embarrassments. The most valid complaints about Hillary, to my thinking, concern her foreign policy hawkishness. I've mentioned this before upthread, so I won't get into that again.

Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has been remarkably pure and unsurprisingly ineffective. If you want to be an agent for change in the world, you need to do actual things that demonstrate that ability. Bernie has, time and again, demonstrated a consistent talent for making stirring speeches about other people compromising and somehow sullying the ideals he lives by (and by which he also judges their motives). He has, in my opinion, a first-rate mind and a second-rate temperament. He would make a terrible president.

Bernie, fortunately, is not going to be the nominee, which will be Hillary Clinton, who will most likely win election and be your next president. You can pretend she's Caligula in a pant-suit if you want to feel superior to an accomplished human being for no better reason than misogyny and a college sophomore's need to blame competent people for exercising power. Just remember she's been in the vortex of actual political battle for a quarter century. Her peers, even Republicans, respect her. She is consistently prepared and serious in ways that most people can't even begin to emulate. People who've worked with her speak in awe of her work ethic and comprehension of issues. There is no one else running who comes close to her qualifications for high office.

One of the best political movies ever made was Alexander Payne's Election in which one Tracy Flick, a too-competent goody two-shoes runs for high-school student body president. The high-school civics teacher, played by Matthew Broderick, intensely dislikes her for her ambition, and recruits a high school jock, played by Chris Klein, to run against her. In the end, she wins not with our love but sheer grit. In the movie's last scene she is shown getting into a limousine in Washington while the civics teacher has been fired and humiliated for his efforts against her. It's very easy to see Hillary Clinton here, who is very ambitious, focused, and a gritty survivalist. Those are the kind of qualities a president needs, but we're put off by the fact a woman possesses them. My advice to you is get over it. Misogyny is a very powerful instinct among some people, and even in women. Payne, the director of Election clearly despises Flick. She's set up by Payne for the audience to loathe and mock. That said, why? Why do you need to hate her so much? On the flip side, do you think "liking" the person who is president is important? How did George W Bush work out for you? I want to tell people to grow up and get over this need for purity in politics and fairy tales about good and evil. Something else is going on here. It's more like a child's need for an ideal mommy (who stays home while Daddy works). Hillary hatred is not based on anything more substantial than right-wing smears and left-wing credulity.

OH no Soleri I just drank the Bernie Koolaid!
Hillary and Ted are Satan unmasked.
your dying pal, Socrates.

Soleri Said, (the most important question of all, CLIMATE CHANGE) "Pat, I'm sorry you're on "borrowed time". To extend the metaphor, so is this country and the world. I've written a lot of navel-gazing ruminations in this space whether there is a reasonable hope that we can do what is necessary to prevent the worst of catastrophic climate change. Increasingly, the answer appears to be no." AND
"We will in all likelihood not do what is necessary to save human civilization."

The GOP and Hillary will just continue the same ole chit. But then pessimistically, not even Bernie or JC can save the "Manunkind".

Jon said,"It's an interesting irony that the (very real -- see Jane Mayer's "Dark Money") vast right-wing infrastructure of Richard Mellon Scaife et al got its start demonizing Hillary because it saw her -- much more than her New Democrat husband -- as a dangerous threat from the genuine left."
Left of who Stalin right of Lenin?

On Oct. 20, 2011, when U.S.-backed rebels captured Gaddafi, sodomized him with a knife and then murdered him, Secretary of State Clinton couldn’t contain her glee. Paraphrasing a famous Julius Caesar quote, she declared about Gaddafi, “we came, we saw, he died.”

Cal, Hillary is not a climate change denialist. Demonizing her is fun, but you'd have more credibility here if you didn't stoop to the level of her right-wing critics. The primary reason we can't do much on climate is your party, the GOP. Please: blame where blame is due. This blanket demonization of Hillary for everything is getting old.

Regarding Neo-Cons and Wall Street, they have declared war on any country that doent follow their rules. Financially the bankers of the world are after countries that do not want to participate. Lets hear Hillary's speech to wall street.

And I give you The women's vote.

Hillary at the Helm.

More Hillary the Neo-Con.

Why U should not TRUSTED. (Thats his LOGO)
A TRUS, "Basically, it’s an anal probe. Which makes us even more certain that he’s actually an alien." per daily KOS

IN support of Soleri and Hillary, I give U,

And finally Meryl Streep tells us why we should vote for Hillary.

soleri, I regret that you choose to belittle my serious and justified concerns regarding Clinton. I have a simple question. Is she willing to release the text or recorded words of her fund raising speeches to Wall St finance? These questions are not going away as much as you and she want them to. Copied is a link to a clip of her evasions to that question. .

Click on the clip of her dodging the question. She sure is acting like a woman who has something to hide. She is running for President of the USA and as a citizen I still have the right to ask that question. Evasions and diversions may be ok with you but they don't work for me. If questions like this are misogyny, as you intimate, and not allowed then we are in worse trouble than I thought.

Ross, here's Keven Drum trying to make sense of the Goldman Sachs's fake scandal:

You folks on the right and far left know Hillary is the devil. Anything I say will not change your mind since we're dealing with theology here. A cult does not reason. It finds the evidence it's looking in virtually every utterance she makes and position she takes. And yes, it's motivated by misogyny because the overwhelming tenor of Clinton Derangement Syndrome is that she's evil. Say, like a witch. Which rhymes with....

Soleri this had been an extremely informative blog and also fun. I appreciate U hanging in there with nuts like me posting slogans. But rest assured U know when it comes Down to voting that Hillary will be the Democratic candidate and whatever kook my party, the GOP ends up with, Hillary is going to be elected the next president.

soleri, Thanks for the link. My take on the argument expressed by Drum is why in hell would so many banks pay so much money to have Clinton pat them on the back. Maybe they have a need (for an ideal mommy) to use your term, so they can feel better about themselves.

Chances are better that she cut a deal that if they gave her the money she would pass out their bribes to the faithful (super delegates) if they agreed to tow the corporate line.

Jon, How about a set of questions for nominee Clinton.


This is what I wrote in February:

Ross, your allegation that Clinton got bought off by Goldman Sachs is based on nothing more than neo-McCarthyism, which is the use of innuendo and broad-brush attacks to impugn someone else's character. Sanders himself is engaging in this kind of demagoguery, by making the same suggestions. He is, in my opinion unqualified to be president for this and other reasons.

I can't defend Clinton against your blind hatred of her and I won't try. I will say this: the Sanders' campaign started off on a bright, idealistic note and, meeting success, has descended into a cesspool of self-righteous indignation and contemptible smearing of his opponent and the Democratic Party. I notice that Bernie supporters seem to emulate him. They don't take criticism well, suggesting anyone who opposes their messiah is a corporate sellout or a shill for big business or a neoliberal. They are nearly the mirror image of Tea Partiers with their over-the-top attacks on Obama. Since I know a few of these people, I can say they're nearly psychotic with hatred for someone whose very political personality is based on transcending fixed ideological positions and partisan polarization. The irony here is that their accusations are, in reality, pure projection. Similarly, the Bernie Tots seemingly demand that the Democratic Party purge itself of anyone who is not "progressive", coupled with purity tests, and threats to form a third party. If you think the rest of us are so terrible, why do you want our party besides the fact that Bernie couldn't win if he ran as an independent?

Question: why should anyone who is not a member of your cult care? You don't build bridges, you burn them. You don't seek the broadest coalition feasible but the narrowest ideological faction possible. Bernie's appeal is to the far left and low-information voters who don't understand how politics works. They think Bernie has magical powers when in fact his congressional career resulted only in three bills getting passed, two or which were for renaming Vermont post offices.

These left-wing fever dreams are evidence of group hysteria. I support Hillary Clinton because she's sane and understands what's possible in our politics. She's the opposite of Bernie. She knows how the process works and how to make deals. Bernie knows how to give speeches based on his morally absolutist principles and not much more. It's what makes him an instinctive demagogue.

Jon, Thank you for the reply I was traveling at the time and missed that posting. I appreciate your work and thanks for providing such an accessible forum.

Well, I guess I have my answer: there's no reason for Clinton to let the Peasantry know what she says at big-bucks talky-talks because Soleri has officially sniff-sniffed, harrumphed and pooh-poohed the whole trivial non-issue away, and predictably included a condescending snipe to go with it. Ok, man, you're right, as always, it was just darned hypocritical of me to want to see those transcripts when I'm not demanding to see those of the Republican candidates as well (Oh, yeah, she really did float that). I'll just say one more thing on this thread, though: you Clinton-pushers better hope Mitt Romney doesn't somehow emerge as the Republican candidate, because the Clinton-bashing you think you're seeing from the "far Left" has been a real lovein compared to what's coming.

Pat, you're right. I'm condescending, particularly to theatrical lefties who imbibe their anti-Clinton demonology in big gulps from right-wing talking points. I should simply cede the moral high ground to purists since that's the only terrain they care about. But then I notice who lives in the real world of political struggle and who lives in the world of ideology. One actor has been at the forefront of virtually every issue, wrestling with the gritty details of implacable reality and while the other lives in a kind of college dorm room of the mind with the smell of incense, well-worn paperback editions of Karl Marx, and a Che Guevara poster.

You're possessed. You think politics is about ideological purity and saintliness. You can't name one effective political actor who has exemplified these "attributes" but you absolutely know that's why America sucks. Because we haven't chosen our leaders according to their moral absolutism so much as their engagement with reality. Finally, a saint appears from Vermont, who demands we do things now like bringing back the manufacturing sector, unions, 1968, and food co-ops .

Ain't gonna happen because politics isn't about ideals so much as tangible things that happen in a place we call the real world. If you thought more deeply about this, you'd understand that you only live here, not in daydreams. But it's a lot more fun to preen your moral superiority in ideas that lost their currency decades ago. Because that's how you Feel the Bern.

The real world is a place where unions are diminished and dying, where the financial sector has mushroomed in size and power, where Americans live not in communities but housing pods, and where the world has interconneted in ways that spell low wages and low prices. I don't like it much either but it's reality. And if you just hold your breath and demand a new reality, you're not changing anything. It's this world that demands your focus, not the daydream you live in.

Pat, Have you seen this article?

Pat, Have you seen this?

What an absurd person you've revealed yourself to be. You rely completely on cheap, dramatic rhetorical flourishes to make empty accusations against everyone who disagrees with you. You know what? I've resisted the urge to point this out before, since this is Mr. Talton's blog, and he does like you (He liked Emil Pulsifer, too, though), but you aren't even an interesting person. How ridiculous is it for a person to spend his career as a civil servant in a conservative city to retire and move to Portland, Oregon, because it's more liberal? I have friends who left Phoenix over forty years ago, and have lived in Portland ever since. They're Portlanders now, they're OF Portland. You're just a malcontented tourist. I suspect your biggest involvement with the community involves a bar stool. There. I'm done with you, pal. As long as I'm allowed to post here, you won't get a shred of respect from me. I know, boo-hoo, huh?

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