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Kos Has It Wrong – Bernie Can Win

Bernie will win

Those of us who frequent the Daily Kos website, where for months the recommended list has been full of exciting stories about the Bernie Sanders campaign, saw something weird yesterday. Site owner Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (better known as “Kos”) announced that beginning on March 15 Daily Kos will permit pro-Hillary discussions only (they’re calling it “The Ides of March”). Apparently Kos and the other “front pagers” on the site have grown impatient with grass roots progressives, and they are worried that Bernie might actually win the Democratic Party nomination for President.

Of course, being a political pro now and a party insider, Kos won’t admit that Bernie has a clear path to the nomination. He claims that Hillary is now inevitable, and for the sake of party unity it is time for all Bernie supporters to STFU.

We know that Bernie has had to work very hard to get to this point in the campaign. The media ignored him until he tied Hillary in Iowa and won New Hampshire. Then the attacks began, the lying, and Clinton briefly claimed to be a “progressive,” no doubt to the consternation of her Wall Street billionaire donors. They even resorted to sheer nonsense, like claiming Bernie is a “one-issue candidate.” Then came “Super Tuesday,” and Hillary now wants to pretend Bernie is gone — she says her opponent is Donald Trump, and has already started scuttling back to the right for the general election. Her campaign’s new argument boils down to, “vote for the lesser evil – it’s Hillary or Trump.” And that’s what Kos is (in effect) telling people on his site.

Well, here’s the deal. Hillary’s so-called “firewall” didn’t stop Bernie. Only 15 states have voted so far. 11 more states will vote in the next ten days (including this evening). Hillary’s lead will expand. However, after March 15 (Kos’ Ides of March) Bernie will start catching up in the delegate totals. There will be no big wins for Hillary except for Maryland and DC. Demosten on Daily Kos:

After March 15th Bernie will have a string of 9 consecutive victories, starting with Democrats Abroad on March 21st and adding Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Wyoming. After those nine he will cut the lead by approximately 85 delegates to 230. That will probably give him enough momentum to tie or even win in New York (let’s consider it a tie). And on the road again until June comes and Hillary’s lead is again under 200 (some virtual ties, some wins for Bernie and Maryland for Hillary). On June 7th New Jersey and California have a total of 600 delegates. 30 points win for Bernie in both can tie the race!

Don’t believe the media or Establishment Dems like Kos who are doing everything they can think of to stop Bernie. It’s not over until it’s over. Let all 50 states vote!

Bernie supporters from Daily Kos will be migrating to and other sites in response to Kos’ invitation to leave or else get banned.

Last but not least, remember to caucus for Bernie on Tuesday, March 22 in Utah. The Democratic Party has open caucuses. Utahns can vote for Bernie Sanders regardless of their party registration.

More info:
Why the math of Kos is wrong!
Cenk Uygur: Why Bernie Sanders Won Super Tuesday
Utah Democratic Party: Caucus Night 2016
How to vote for Bernie Sanders in Utah


Practical Joke Gone Mad?

Who's The Crazy One Here?

Who’s The Crazy One Here?

The “clock boy” saga continues.

We’ve all heard about the kid who supposedly engineered a clock that looked exactly like a terrorist bomb and took it to school. After a couple of days, hearing more facts and seeing the “clock”, I was inclined to think the poor kid was probably being harassed at school because he looked like somebody from the middle east, and decided to hackle some feathers.

We’re talking about America in 2015 here. White Americans are terrified of dark skinned people from everywhere. It defines us – at least on the “news”. When the American media decided to make Charles Manson the face of the hippie movement in the sixties, I wanted to paint a picture of Manson on the back windshield of my Chevy Nova. That was just a thought I never carried out, but I did think about it.

Today, my first inclination is to side with everybody that the majority of congress wants us to fear. African Americans, Hispanics, old people, poor people, former felons, students, non-whites…

You know… potential voters!

So, I would be glad to see the facts come out. Was it a clock designed to look like a bomb, which caused a few of our leaders to come out in support of a brave kid who’d had enough bullying?

I’d like to think I would have done that as a fourteen year old, or a politician.

Cause some trouble; do no harm. :)


How, Not, To Work Your Political Views Into A Conversation

When I was starting out in Junior High School in 1965, they were building a new one to accommodate our large student population in that area. They had already picked a name for the new school, but a fellow student, who was a big history buff decided he wanted the school to be named after a personal hero of his. He began his quest to have the school named after Winston Churchill. I can’t remember all of the details or how difficult, or long the procedure took, but I’ll be damned if the school isn’t named Churchill Junior High today.

You may have already heard about the teacher in New Hampshire who recently decide to teach his fourth grade students how a bill is adopted, so he had them decide on a bill and they took it to the legislature. The attempt to get the red-tailed hawk named as the official state raptor turned into a learning experience for sure, but definitley not one you would have imagined.

After one legislator mocked the bill, saying they’d probably next be naming an official state hotdog, Republican Representative Warren Groen really took the wind out of the sails of these kids by saying:

“The hawk grasps its prey “with its talons and then uses its razor-sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds, to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.’’

I guess this idiot thought these students were being taught to be a bunch of stinking liberals by their stinking liberal teacher. Just let the adults come up with the bills, huh?

The Democratic governor is going to visit the school and try to get the students not to give up trying to be involved in their communities. My sense is that after making the national news, they are going to be even more involved. That’s how these sorts of inane blunders usually work out, but you’ll never convince some ideologues.


The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


None of us should be surprised Wasatch High Officials are a bunch of sexist prudes

I suppose in all fairness, we should probably acknowledge that girls in small town Utah are all sluts. And in digitally altering their photos to make their clothing appear modest, school officials are actually doing them a favor so their slutdom won’t be memorialized. Right? Seriously? Amirite?

The contretemps over Wasatch High School’s decision to alter girls photos has gone national and as with many such stories out of Utah, has served to make the entire state look like a bunch of pearl-clutching prudes. Honestly, school officials should have known there was no way this would turn out well and have not done it in the first.

The free-range morons who run Wasatch High School have defended their decision to edit the photos. Their defense would be hilarious if it weren’t obvious that they’re serious about it. Their argument is that students were warned they should not violate dress code and photos might be edited – and that they feel bad it was inconsistently done. In other words, “Why won’t all you sluts shut up and stop causing trouble?”

The editing involved adding sleaves to sleeveless tops, removing tattoos and adding necklines that the bluenoses think are more fitting. Of course the whole sorry affair is about nothing more than slut-shaming and double standards. It’s about a religious culture that tries to convince girls to cover up lest they inflame male desire. It’s about a cult of modesty that distrusts women and disdains female sexuality. It’s about a double standard that says it’s women’s job to control male sexuality by not doing anything that might possibly make people think women are sexual beings.

That photos of boys weren’t edited at all is no surprise. Of course there’s a double standard at work. Of course it’s sexist. The problem with the girls’ outfits is entirely in the minds of school officials who deemed them too sexy, not in what the girls were wearing or what their tattoos said.


The Godly Oppressors

Amidst the troubling and problematic trends in recent years has been the tendency of Christian conservatives to self-righteously declare themselves the victims and then support insanely discriminatory laws targeting gay people.

Witness, Kansas’ unfortunate drive to implement Jim Crow:

To put this simply, the Kansas House has just endorsed a comprehensive system of anti-gay discrimination. If it becomes law—which isn’t unlikely, given Republican control of the statehouse and governorship—it will yield a segregated world for gays and their allies, as they are forced to use businesses and other services that aren’t hostile to them.

When asked about the bill, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback toldThe Topeka Capital-Journal that “Americans have constitutional rights, among them the right to exercise their religious beliefs and the right for every human life to be treated with respect and dignity.” The question is whether he thinks this applies to gays.

Looking at this bill, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it a close cousin—if not sibling—of Jim Crow (natch, for black gays and lesbians in the state, there’s little difference). Like its Southern predecessors, this proposal is meant to isolate and stigmatize a despised minority, under of the guise of some higher priority (“religious liberty”).

Scott Lemieux at The American Prospect has this to say about it:

“The sovereign,” as John Paul Stevens observed, “must govern impartially.” This bill is a direct shot at this basic principle of democratic governance. It is bad enough to permit private businesses to discriminate; to allow public officials to discriminate is even worse. As the Daily Beast‘s Jamelle Bouie puts it, “[a]mbulances can refuse to come to the home of a gay couple, park managers can deny them entry, state hospitals can turn them away, and public welfare agencies can decline to work with them.” Allowing state officials to deny services to same-sex couples is about as stark a designation of second-class citizenship as one can imagine short of bringing back George Wallace to deny gays and lesbians access to the University of Kansas.[snip]

The pretext for this rollback of civil rights is the protection of religious freedom. But the Kansas law makes clear how hollow and dangerous such arguments are. It’s worth noting here that we’re talking about secular businesses and state officials. Acting as individuals, people are free for religious (or any other reason) not to associate with same-sex couples or support same-sex marriage. But—whether motivated by religious belief or not—homophobic beliefs cannot trump the rights of people to use public accommodations on equal terms. These arguments were bad when they were used to oppose civil-rights legislation to protect African-Americans and women, and they’re no better in this context. For state officials to be permitted to deny services to citizens based on private religious beliefs is simply unconscionable.

Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly:

You don’t have to completely buy the Jim Crow analogy to understand that this legislation—a logical extension from the claims made for blanket exemptions for religious-based objections to laws in the Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby case on which the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month—is designed to carve out a separatist zone of immunity for people who are willing to say their hostility to homosexuality or to same-sex marriage is religiously motivated.  The fact that even public employees would share this immunity shows that it isn’t designed to protect a tiny group of wedding planners or cake-bakers from the horror of being expected to peddle their services to same-sex couples—the hypothetical on which much of the “religious liberty” argument is being pegged—but to sanction discrimination generally.

The bottom line – despite all the hue and cry about religious freedom – is that these laws exist for the sole purpose of humiliating, shaming, harming, and stigmatizing gay and lesbian persons.  The people supporting and passing them are emotional and moral infants, squawling at a world that terrifies them.


The Republicans Passion for Pelvic Politics Takes a Turn for the Toxic

Via of Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly, this report about Kansas Republican legislators’ latest attempt to micromanage women’s magical lady parts:

The Kansas legislature is advancing an omnibus abortion bill that would, among other things, define life as beginning at conception in the state constitution and place unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers in the state. HB 2253 has already passed the House, and looks poised to gain enough support to sail through the Senate — but only after Republicans rejected several key amendments to soften the measure, including a provision to add exceptions for rape and incest to the state’s existing abortion restrictions. Top Republicans decried those provisions as “little gotcha amendments.”

There’s an interesting dynamic at work here.  Conservative Republicans jump up on their sanctimonious high horse over abortion.  Then they get tangled up in the conversations about rape and incest because of course abortion isn’t as black and white as anti-choice forced birther folks like to pretend it is.  Rape and incest are the obvious first stumbling blocks to the anti-choicers simplistic moralizing.  Having invested significant time and energy into sentimentalizing fetuses, the forced birthers cannot now pretend that the sentiment only applies to some fetuses.  So they’re forced to make incredibly cruel arguments – women who get pregnant as a result of rape or incest shouldn’t punish the fetus by having it aborted; they should instead see it as a blessing.  It’s an awful argument but it flows directly from the logic embraced by the anti-choice movement.

Enmeshed in their own arguments, the anti-choice people wind up unable to make coherent arguments about abortion, contraception or reproduction.  They end up buying into various myths (for instance the debunked claim that abortion causes breast cancer or that women’s magical lady parts prevent conception when they’re being raped).  In this instance in Kansas, they’re forced to pretend any objection to their forced birth agenda is nothing more than politics. 

And despite wanting desperately to avoid the topic of rape, Republicans can’t seem to steer clear of it.  And so the unpleasant dynamic sucks them into a discussion they want to avoid.  And they end up saying things that make them sound like sociopaths.  In response, they propose even more toxic and authoritarian rules concerning the ladyparts.

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Children are Often Oppressed in Religious Households

“Children are often oppressed in religious households”; when I read that line in Mark Galli’s op-ed over the weekend, I literally stopped reading mid-sentence.  Here’s the whole passage:

But the fact that children are often oppressed in religious households suggests that there is indeed something in religion which tempts parents in this way. That temptation is the inherent human fascination with law and control. People become religious for many reasons, good and bad. One for many is that their lives are completely out of control morally and socially, and they see in religion a way to bring order to the chaos. Religion as inner police. Such adherents are attracted to religions, or denominations within religions, that accent discipline and obedience. This happens — surprisingly — even in Christianity.

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Rape Culture, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence

EJ Graff has been on FIRE at the American Prospect with a series of posts about the rape culture, sexual assault, domestic violence and ways to confront and change the world.

I don’t think it’s stretching things to say that sexual assault and domestic violence are linked.  Before I go to far, I want to point out that women can be perpetrators of both sexual assault and domestic violence.  And, importantly, men who commit both sexual violence and domestic violence are the minority.  The goal eliminating sexual assault and domestic violence no matter the gender of the victim.  Women are far more likely to be victims of both than are men.  In a recent post, Graff addressed the Steubenville case and called for a move from rape culture to respect culture.

Some background is necessary on Steubenville.  The basic outline feels all too familiar.  A group of local school athletes have been accused of raping a 16 year old.  The case went viral when a video surfaced:

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Purity Culture Is Rape Culture

EJ Graf’s title says it all.  Her article at American Prospect is powerful.  The money quote:

“Rape culture,” as young feminists now call this, isn’t limited to India. It lives anywhere that has a “traditional” vision of women’s sexuality. A culture in which women are expected to remain virgins until marriage is a rape culture. In that vision, women’s bodies are for use primarily for procreation or male pleasure. They must be kept pure. While cultural conservatives would disagree, this attitude gives men license to patrol—in some cases with violence—women’s hopes for controlling their lives and bodies.

It’s a culture that sees women’s sexuality as property of men.  It’s a culture that values women according to their supposed sexual purity.

A culture in which women must cover up or be threatened is a rape culture. You’re thinking of hijab and burquas, right? Think also of the now well-known SlutWalks, which were launched after a Toronto police officer told young women that they could avoid rape by not dressing like “sluts.” The protests, which have spread worldwide, make the point that no matter how we dresswomen are at risk; and no matter how we dress, our bodies are our own.

Purity culture is a culture that is threatened by female autonomy.




Black President Pulls Rope a Dope on Rich White Guy “Please Proceed Governor” or …Obama Punks Romney

Next time someone says to you, “Please proceed Governor,” check yourself. If you are Romney and that someone is a Black man, STFU.

Someone on Team Liar needs to be fired….after Romney.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The full transcript of the remarks is online, but of particular interest was the president’s vow of “justice” in Libya.

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said. “Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

The president made no reference to the campaign, politics, or his domestic opponents.



Strom Thurmond Was A Malevolent Forrest Gump

So says Michael O’Donnell in a review of Strom Thurmond’s America by Joseph Crespino at the Washington Monthly.  Thurmond was the exemplar of an unfortunately common Southerner of his time.  O’Donnell’s summary of Thurmond:

Like many artists and most bigots, Strom Thurmond was highly productive early in life. By the age of fifty-five, the humorless South Carolina reactionary had run for president as a Dixiecrat, secured election to the U.S. Senate, penned the neo-confederate “Southern Manifesto” denouncing Brown v. Board of Education, and performed the longest one-man filibuster in the Senate’s history: a ghastly King Lear with pitchfork and noose, in which Thurmond denounced the 1957 Civil Rights Act as the death of liberty. (It ended when he grew hoarse and sat down.) When Lyndon Johnson pushed the much toothier Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress, he again did it over Thurmond’s filibuster. The following year, Thurmond fought the Voting Rights Act. His political idols were John C. Calhoun, Robert E. Lee, and Spiro Agnew. In his most famous speech, Thurmond pledged in 1948 that there were not enough troops in the Army to force “the southern people” to “admit the nigger race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.” But apparently they were allowed into “our” beds: in 1925 the twenty-two-year-old Thurmond sired a child with a sixteen-year-old African American family maid. His illegitimate daughter remained anonymous until her father’s death in 2003.

What makes Crespino’s book noteworthy is that he is able to move is focus past Thurmond’s racism and observe:

. . .  it is precisely Thurmond’s loathsomeness on racial issues that obscures his larger role in American politics. Like some malevolent Forrest Gump, Thurmond was there at all the major choke points of modern conservative history: the 1948 breakaway from the Democrats of the short-lived States’ Rights Democratic (or Dixiecrat) Party, Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon’s southern strategy in 1968, and Ronald Reagan’s ascendance in 1980. A Democrat until 1964, Thurmond was the fulcrum on which the parties traded places on race issues. His trademark use of nasty populism dressed up in constitutional principle has echoes today on the far right — the territory of Rush Limbaugh and the shrillest of the Tea Partiers. Yet he also helped cement the association between conservatives on the one hand and big business, the Christian right, and anticommunism on the other.

O’Donnell’s review is worth the read – and it sounds as if Crespino’s book is as well.

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