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merrily's Journal
merrily's Journal
September 22, 2015

We may be seeing another victim of Sanders perennial snark desperation syndrome, or SPSDS.

In essence, it's an obsessive need to snark at anything, no matter how insignificant and/or banal, connected with Bernie Sanders, however remotely, even if nothing that actually makes sense comes to mind.

Psychiatric professionals sometimes describe PSDS as "Obsessively flinging any kind of poo at a wall, desperately trying to get some of it to stick somewhere."

Perhaps saddest of all, it's not covered by Obamacare, the disease having been unknown in 2009, when current suffers of SPSDS were praising Sanders. This just shows how many poor souls desperately need to vote for Bernie for President in 2016, even if they can't see that.

To single payer and a full and speedy healing for all sufferers from SPSDS!

September 20, 2015

Yes, it's been since May at least. The earliest flurry I saw prompted me to post this

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12806844 (What the hell is an avowed Democratic Socialist, anyway?)

And just before I noticed your reply to me, I was reading this Forbes article, which is much more accurate and fair to a Democratic Presidential hopeful than some of the Democrats on DU. http://fortune.com/2015/09/19/bernie-sanders-socialist/

But, it's okay because polls show that, on the issues, most Americans are Democratic Socialists, too.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12779483 (I just realized....most Americans are Democratic Socialists)

The good news: The people in Democratic Socialist nations are happier than people in the US. And they have a higher gross national product, too. Win win.


Now, if we could only get our government to admit certain things and act on them, maybe we'd have a shot at making the top ten happiest nations list, too.


But, here's some Berniesplainin'

September 19, 2015

Artists for Bernie Sanders. (Link to list)


Some of my favorites on that list. (I've been hoping Sarah Silverman would corral Matt Damon, but not yet. She did bring in Margaret Cho, though)

Props to Mark Rufalo who got on board with Bernie very early.
September 19, 2015

Trump said that Tom Brady endorsed Trump.

Bring back the court sketch artist.

I blame Ernie Boch, Jr.

September 18, 2015

Gee, if only Sanders' supporters were educable, the United States of America could have nice things.

How long is the British campaign season and what does it cost a British candidate like Corbyn to run a campaign, start to finish? How full of loopholes are British laws governing corruption of politicians? 'Cause all those things and more bear directly on how much multi-millionaires and billionaires and PACs and groups like ALEC get to control politicians. And guess what, those people aren't exactly leaning on politicians to go left.

How hard is it for Brits to change electoral college rules when they don't work well? What in UK requires a rule change, in the US requires a Constitutional amendment, which is all but impossible to obtain. Even Justice Affectation Scalia thinks the US Constitution should be easier to amend. However, with our pols creating gridlock intentionally and demonizing each other and the constituents of "the other side," I doubt any amendment is going to come about in the next three decades, minimum. (The last mildly controversial amendment occurred during the Eisenhower Administration. After that, even equal rights for women was too divisive for ratification.)

Another difference: Who runs and dominates the Labor Party? Well, OK. I know Al From and Hillary toured Europe years ago to spread the DLC gospel and Tony Blair may have been their most notable and noticeable convert. However, when politicians in the UK had massive election losses, they rebelled. In the US, the Third Way doubled down, promising to "compromise" even more with Republicans. So, there is that difference, too. http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778559

The message matters? Gee, if only I had been able to grok that, I would have supported Senator Sanders and posted over and over how glad I am he is running because Americans need to hear his message and you can't unring that bell. I'd best get on all that.

The labor movement matters? Another thing that totally escaped Sanders' supporters, as anyone can see from posts in this group, the populist group and Omaha Steve's labor group, among others! Well, now that I get it, I'm buying me a pair of comfortable pair of shoes. I sure hope I can find a pair that was union made in the USA, like all the stuff in the Bernie store. Solidarity forever!

I am sad that Bernie's supporters are so unaware of all these things. I am adding failing to rid America of austerity politics (whatever that means) to the long and ever-growing list of massive shortcomings and abysmal failures of Bernie's supporters. I am deeply ashamed of each of you and, of course, of myself.

My fellow Bernie supporters, this one's for each of you.

September 16, 2015

Best of Mae West video - Why doncha come up sometime and see it?

I cannot get enough of certain things from this era. Mae West is one of them. In the Great Depression, which was actually quite lousy, people stood on lines around the block to spend some of their precious money to see Mae West movies.

She wrote some of her own dialogue and otherwise shaped her characters. I would bet the deed to my house that she wrote most or all of the dialogue collected in this best of Mae West you tube video.

September 15, 2015

Morning Joe had good things to say about Bernie today.

Scarborough must be up to something.

Of course, he and Halperin couldn't stop saying "socialist," but the comments were otherwise mostly positive.

And Mike Barnicle raved emphatically about Bernie's speech at Liberty U.

There was some discussion about how many trillions Bernie's promises would cost, which is fair commentary, IMO.

I am going to enjoy this while it lasts because I know it won't last long.

September 14, 2015

Being/seeming religious is a vintage Democratic Leadership Council recommendation.

At the website of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council, I saw a recommendation that Democratic politicians not attempt to "hide" their religion. The hint simply assumed that all Democratic politicians had a religion of some kind, something that I very much doubt. IMO, the implication was to display "your" religion, whether you have/practiced one or not. For some Democrats, this can be complicated.

As some may know, long before incorporation of the DLC, religion was an issue in the Presidential campaign of Senator John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President (though not the first Catholic Presidential hopeful, a distinction owned by Al Smith.)

At one points, while candidate JFK was making a speech, someone shouted out something about JFK's religion and was met with some booing. However, JFK admonished the crowd, "No, no let him speak," or something similar. (This type scenario always makes me wonder about staging, especially when we see how some hecklers of Presidents and Presidential hopefuls are treated when their comments do not provide an opportunity for the politician to say something he wanted to say.)

JFK then famously allayed allegedly widespread fears that a Catholic President would take orders from the Pope. However, the issue of a Catholic President was not, in the 1960s, complicated by all the issues that were to confront Kerry in 2004. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerry_presidential_campaign,_2004

Kerry's maternal grandparents were Episcopalian and his paternal grandparents were Jews who had converted to Catholicism and changed their surname. For years, politicians and ordinary citizens alike had assumed that Kerry was Irish Catholic, like JFK's maternal grandfather, "Honey Fitz," Joe Kennedy and JFK himself, a very good thing for a politician to be in Massachusetts in the 1960s.

By the time Kerry was well-known, the annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast had become an important--and televised--political event. Year after year, voters heard Massachusetts politicians, most of them Irish Catholic, say things directly to Kerry that assumed that Kerry was Irish Catholic. Kerry never attempted to dispel their unmistakable assumption.

If Kerry tried to flaunt his Catholicism, as the DLC recommended, would the truth be teased out eventually; and, if it were teased out, what would happen? Perhaps that was one reason why Kerry did not make a big issue of running as a Catholic Presidential hopeful. (The truth did surface before the election. My purely subjective assessment is that it had very little impact on votes, even in Boston.)

Aside from his personal situation, Kerry faced issues that JFK had not had to face, namely women's rights to reproductive choice and various rights of members of the GLBT community. JFK had run in 1964. Griswold v. Connecticut (birth control) was not decided until 1965; Roe v. Wade was not decided until 1973 and Bowers v. Hardwick (sodomy in the privacy of one's home) was not decided until 1986. But, by 2004, a candidate could address issues of reproductive and GLBT rights one way and the Catholic Church, by this time militant about these issues, would respond harshly and publicly. However, if the candidate took the opposite positions, Democratic voters might respond harshly and publicly.

Some Catholic clergy did try to make an issue of Kerry's Catholicism, and the right piled on. (Example: http://catholickerrywatch.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_archive.html ) However, their attempts did not get the traction that they may have if Kerry had tried to "flaunt" his Catholicism in any way. Still, Kerry lost the election.

AMY SULLIVAN: Very shortly after the election, John Kerry called one of his close advisers, and among the things that he wanted to talk about, kind of revisiting the mistakes that they had made, was religion and both his inability to stick up for himself when attacked over his faith, but also his campaign's unwillingness to really target religious voters. And he said, you know, "I got the religion thing wrong, didn't I? " and his advisers said, "Well, yes, sir, you did."


My suspicion is that the advisor referred to by Ms. Sullivan may have been Robert Shrum, of the firm of Greenberg Carville Shrum (yes, that Carville):

Robert M. Shrum (born 1943) is an American political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including the losing
presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry. In eight elections (for either the presidential nomination or for the presidency itself), Shrum's candidates have never won.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Shrum (To be fair, Shrum has advised winners, just never anyone who won the Presidency.)

Also in God in America, the panel claimed that the Democratic Party had had an epiphany about keeping religion out of politics after 2004 exit polls showed that Kerry had done better with (for want of a better word) "secular" voters than he had with religious voters. This is false. In reality, the 2004 Democratic Platform contained a number of references to God, including a reference that flirts heavily with creationism, all very much in line with the DLC recommendation. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29613

Not long after Kerry's loss, I saw Clinton on TV (I stumbled on the program near its end, so I don't know details.) He went on for a while about how much better Democrats were than Republicans. Someone from the audience or the media asked him why it was, then, that Kerry lost the 2004 Presidential. Clinton took a few seconds, then said something like, "You know, when Obama announced for the Senate, he did it with his pastor at his side." (Hindsight's a hoot sometimes.) And here is Bubba on why Kerry lost the 2003 Presidential:

The party had been "crazy" not to engage the American heartland in a conversation about religion and values, the former president said.

Mr Clinton, still an influential voice in his party, suggested that too many voters believed Democrats were against family and morality but in favour of abortion and gay marriage. "If you let people believe that your party doesn't believe in faith or family, doesn't believe in work and freedom - that's our fault," he said.

Mr Kerry had failed to make it clear during the campaign that he did not support legalised gay marriage. "He said it once or twice but not a thousand times in small towns," Mr Clinton said.

During his presidency, he (Clinton) said, he had worked with faith-based organisations and set up an office of religious affairs to reach out to Muslims, Jews and evangelical Christians. In that time, the number of abortions fell by more than 20 per cent - and has since risen under the Bush administration.


Remember, according to establishment Democrat memes, when a liberal loses, it's because he's a liberal. However, when a centrist loses, it's never because he's a centrist. Carter, for example, supposedly lost because then liberal Kennedy had challenged Carter in the primary. Oddly enough, when centrist Mondale lost, it was supposedly because Mondale was a liberal. (Danged liberals! One way or the other, they force the centrists to lose elections.) http://www.democraticunderground.com/128046511 (In politics, the conventional wisdom may be neither conventional nor wisdom. Discuss.)

Kerry had, in his youth, certainly given the impression of being liberal. By 2004, though, Kerry was a founding member of the Senate New Democrat Coalition and a Senator who had voted for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Dean was seen as the liberal Democratic candidate in that primary, even though Dean was relatively moderate on issues other than health care and the war in Iraq. At that, Dean claimed Kerry had acted like a Republican on the campaign trail.

Kerry's run was plagued by a number of things. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1280&pid=50201 And Dimson was a war-time incumbent and Americans have never voted out a war time incumbent. But, sure, let's blame the 2004 loss on Kerry's failure to pretend he was a wingnut, as DLCERs thought he should. IOW, according to the DLC, DLC candidate Kerry supposedly lost only because he was not quite DLC enough.

So, dear DUers who are surprised that Hillary is running a "values" campaign, you should have read more at dlc.org before the website disappeared. But, no worries. I'm sure all the DLC papers are safe and sound at the Clinton Presidential Library. So, if you're ever in Arkansas....
September 14, 2015

Creating one or more infrastructure banks is a vintage Democratic Leadership Council recommendation.

In one of his addresses to Congress--possibly the special address--Obama mentioned a national infrastructure bank, as does Hillary Clinton's plan for her administration. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Infrastructure_Reinvestment_Bank For me, this raises some questions, especially given that the DLC touted this idea in one iteration or another and--full disclosure--I am not a fan of DLC policies.

I first heard of the Democratic Leadership Council right after Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel Chief of Staff. This was before Al From decided to implode the DLC qua entity and donate its papers to the Clinton Presidential Library, for safekeeping While not entirely easy to search, the DLC website then was easier to search than it became after the announcement that the DLC would dissolve its corporate existence. And, now, of course, the website is gone. Of course, the teachings of the DLC survived both technical corporate dissolution of the DLC and termination of the DLC website and remain highly relevant to the behaviors of the DNC and New Democrats.

In any event, quite a few of the earlier DLC articles were about schools and then about schools as infrastructure. As a general observation, things that involve children seem to be the wedge for policies from school lunch subsidies to charter schools: Who can say "no" to private ownership of schools subsidized at taxpayer expense, if Democrats and Republicans agree that charter schools definitely shall improve education of America's beloved children?

In any event, over time, DLC articles about schools as infrastructure in need of repair, etc. segued into funding of all kinds of infrastructure repairs through creation of infrastructure banks. Ultimately, former Congressman Harold Ford, who I believe was the last chair of the DLC, wrote an article about using infrastructure banks to repair and maintain the nation's infrastructure, such as roads and bridges and.....nuclear power plants.

I strongly suspect that Ford was able to distinguish in his own mind between (1) building or repairing a nuclear power plant; and (2) repairing a bridge or a road that the government built, owned and operated. However, his article gave no indication of any difference: it simply lumped nuclear power plants in with things like schools, bridges and roads. As I recall, his article made no distinction between charter schools and public schools, either. Therefore, I have no clue whether he intended to treat the building and/or repair of charter schools the same as public schools, bridges, etc. ("Which of these things is not like the others" is an important question to be able to answer on Main Street, as well as on Sesame Street.)

As the saying goes, the devil is always in the details. Accordingly, I recommend paying very close attention to the specifics of any proposal involving infrastructure banks.

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