Oligarchs Want Cruz Control

“Cruz gains steam with 2 wins on ‘Super Saturday’” 

(Washington Post Headline, 6 March 2016)

e9e2161f-0611-4086-868b-9ab050380818Donald Trump has really rattled the ruling class. Cruz won a few more delegates, but yesterday’s results were consistent with previous GOP primaries yet the media and frightened Republican politicos are all out there pimping Ted Cruz now (the Grey Lady also has the “Cruz has momentum” narrative).  Indeed, Cruz’s campaign hasn’t approached the success of Bernie Sanders on the other side, but the same media elite have declared him DOA and anointed Hillary already.

Here’s what’s important, I think: It’s not that Trump is different from past oligarchic leaders (esp. in the GOP) but in fact  he’s troublesome because he’s so open, crude, and vulgar about the way they think. Trump’s not saying anything new really, he’s just doing what he does in plain view.  He avoids the bullshit rhetoric about liberty and humanitarianism and all that “hopey, changey” stuff and cuts to the bone.  Trump doesn’t represent the “beginning” of something new and ugly, and he’s not the “product” of Fox News; he’s an American politician who’s lost his inside voice.  Homer Simpson often says “think it, don’t say it,” before he says it.  Trump doesn’t even have that level of control over his thoughts–he just blurts out what the ruling class would otherwise only say behind the  doors of the Bohemian Grove, at Davos, in the hallowed halls of Ivy League schools.

Think about it–Dick Cheney was Veep for 8 years and Trump is the most dangerous guy around? Reagan opened his campaign in Philadelphia, MS and gave us an obese black “Welfare Queen” to scapegoat. Nixon adopted an openly racist “Southern Strategy.” Bill Clinton killed a retarded Black guy to boost his numbers in the New Hampshire primary and, with the support of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, passed one of the most draconian crime bills in modern history.

Trump has unwittingly provided Americans with an important education.  He’s laid bare the facade of American “democracy.”  He’s given first-hand evidence of the way the ruling class thinks and acts, and also given us insight into how many other Americans think that way.    Ben Hooks once said something along the lines that he was more afraid of a liberal in a Brooks Brothers suit than a southern man in a white hood.  Trump’s a two-fer, the dressed up guy who lets you into the after-party to see how vile the 1 Percent really is, and also the angry man appealing to desperate white men who have lost hope and blame Blacks, Muslims, women and other groups for it instead of the capitalist bosses who run society.

And Cruz, who seems to be the the oligarch’s choice to play General Custer, is in fact worse than The Donald. A genuinely scary man who perhaps believe all the ghastly stuff he says. Trump’s merely the magician who lets the audience in on his act to see how he does his tricks. Choosing between Trump, Cruz, Clinton, etc. is like deciding whether you want a lethal injection, guillotine, or electric chair.

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Presidential Penises–the Johnson Precedent

lbjPretty much everyone’s become engorged with rage over Donald Trump’s not-so-cryptic reference to his penis size in the GOP Prez Debate a few days ago.  But when it comes to presidential johnsons, he’s not in the same league as President Johnson, as in Lyndon Baines.  He reportedly referred to his penis as “Mr. Baldy” and often talked about it in the 3d-Person, as if it were a separate identity. You didn’t needa presidential pole, er poll, to know how he felt about it.

He made reference to it often.  During a meeting on Vietnam, as the various military and diplomatic officials reported on the problems U.S. troops faced there and the popularity of the Communist leader Ho Chi Minh, he reportedly unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis and said “Does Ho Chi Minh have this?”  At another point, sensing that the war was improving, he boasted that he had Ho’s “pecker in my pocket.”  He wanted a new shower put in the White House with a nozzle aimed directly at Johnson’s Johnson.

Perhaps most famously, he discussed the need for extra size in his pants to accomodate Mr. Baldy in a phone discussion with the head of Haggar Slacks.  (Transcript below, with highlights in bold) until the conversation petered out.  So for those of you perturbed by Trump’s protuberance, he’s no more jacked up about his junk than LBJ was.

Operator: Go Ahead Sir.

LBJ: Mr. Haggar?

Joe Haggar: Yes this is Joe Haggar.

LBJ: Joe, is your father the one that makes clothes?

JH: Yes, we’re all together.

LBJ: Uh huh. You all made me some real lightweight slacks…that he just made up and sent up on his own and sent it to me 3 or 4 months ago. There’s a light brown and a light green, a rather soft green, a soft brown.

JH: Yes Sir.

LBJ: And they’re real lightweight now and I need about six pairs of summer wear.

JH: Yes sir.

LBJ: I want a couple, maybe three of the light brown, kind of almost powder color like a powder on a ladies face. Then there were some green and some light pair. If you had a blue in that or a black then I’d have one blue and one black. I need about six pairs to wear around in the evening when I come in from work.

JH: Yes Sir.

LBJ: I need…they’re about a half a inch too tight in the waist.

JH: Do you recall the exact size, I just want to make sure we get them right for you.

LBJ: No, I don’t know…you all just guessed at ’em I think, some, wouldn’t you (have) the measurement there?

JH: We can find it for you.

LBJ: Well I can send you a pair. I want them a half inch larger in the waist than they were before except I want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so I can take them up. I vary ten or 15 pounds a month.

JH: Alright sir.

LBJ: So leave me at least 2 1/2, three inches in the back where I can take them out or bring them up. And make these a half an inch bigger in the waist. And make the pockets at least an inch longer, my money, my knife, everything falls out…wait just a minute.

Operator: Would you hold on a minute please.

(The conversation is on hold for two minutes)

LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything. so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing…the crotch, down where your nuts hang, is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, please give me another inch I can let out there, uh, because they cut me. It’s just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I’ve had anywhere in the United States.

JH: Fine.

LBJ: But when I gain a little weight, they cut me under there. So, leave me, you never do have much margin there. See if you can’t leave me an inch from where the zipper (BURPS) ends, round, under my back to bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need it.

JH: Right.

LBJ: Now be sure you have the best zippers in them. These are good that I have. If you get those to me I sure would be grateful.

JH: Fine. Now where would you like them sent please.

LBJ: White House.


JH: We’ll supply the material to match it.

LBJ: “OK, I’ll do that. Uh now, how do I–can you give this boy the address because I’m running to a funeral and give this boy the address to where we can send the trousers…don’t worry, you’ll get the measurements out of them and add a half an inch to the back and give us couple of an inch to the pockets and a inch underneath too we can let out.

JH: What you’d like is a little more stride in the crotch.

LBJ: Yeah that’s right. What I’d is to give me a half inch more, then leave me some more. OK here he is.

JH: Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the others.


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Batshitville, A.K.A. Texas

I haven’t gotten apoplectic over Donald Trump, like so many of my associates on the Left.bruner  It terrified me that he’s unleashed the Brown Shirts at his rallies, and I don’t know that they’ll be contained, but Trump himself is no threat.  He’s actually anti-interventionist in some areas, is pro-choice, and, despite all his bluster, he’s not gonna build a wall.  But the biggest reason I’m somewhat nonplussed about The Donald is that I live in a state with the most extreme, insane, and frightening politics of them all–Texas.

Since I’ve been here (1995) the most moderate and reasonable statewide office holder has been, hold your hats, George W. Bush.  The state GOP considered Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Rick Perry too liberal.  A SuperPAC ran ads in the past couple weeks accusing Trump of being too liberal.  You can’t smoke on campuses, but you can carry a gun into class.  Some folks have even resurrected a German word for Ted Cruz, Texas senator and prez candidate– Backpfeifengesicht, meaning “a face in good need of a punch.”

But when it comes to batshit crazy, the State Board of Education probably takes the cake.  The Board exist in a different world and time–like the 18th Century.  It’s mandated that Texas textbooks refer to the “Atlantic Triangular Trade” instead of slavery, that Moses be presented as a founding father, that the bible be discussed as a foundational political document. Just last year, Guv Greg Abbott appointed Donna Bahorich to chair the State Board of Ed.  She’s from Houston, a devout Republican who believes in vouchers and the aforementioned textbook editing, and she home-schooled three sons and then sent them to private school.  She has zero experience with the Texas public ed system.

Ah, but Ms. Bahorich is virtually enlightened compared to Mary Lou Bruner, who won the GOP primary for the Board of Ed last night and is guaranteed victory in the general election. Ms. Bruner rocketed to fame with her astute observations about American political life, which resonated with all her fellow-travelers on the right deep in the heart of Batshitville, aka Texas.  Barack Obama supported gay rights, she’s explained, “because of the years spent as a male prostitute in his twenties.”  The recent spate of school shootings began when public schools started teaching evolution.  Books on sex ed which teachers are reading to litte kids have been banned from prisons but are allowed in schools and they “stimulate children to experiment with sex.”  And it goes on and on . . . Continue reading

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How Would Jesus Vote?

jesushippieLiberals love to sound the alarums about the “religious right” and its influence over the Republican Party.  For a few decades now, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Democrats and liberals have used evangelical Xians and other conservative churches as a bogey man to frighten their constituencies into donating money to their campaigns and getting out the vote.  If you don’t stop Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson/etc. the country will turn into a right-wing theocracy.

To be clear, the GOP definitely used the religious right as an important tool to win elections.  It raised fears about abortion, equal rights for women, and gay rights/gay marriage to mobilize fundamentalist voters on “moral” issues.  And to be just as clear, it worked, and helped Reagan and George W. Bush in particular get elected, as well as to pass referenda on issues like gay rights.   More importantly, religion has proven a critical weapon for Supreme Court justices like the undearly-departed Nino Scalia, Clarence “Where’d Nino Go?” Thomas, and Joseph “I’m Too Uptight To Be Italian” Alito.  Even in 2016, in certain circumstances, like Ted Cruz’s evangelical-directed campaign in Iowa, religious fanatics can show their muscle.

However, the religious right has always been like the Wizard behind the curtain as well–a seemingly omnipotent and frightening visage with preternatural powers to destroy liberty and freedom.  But since the 2d Bush election, the power of fundamentalists to win elections has been exposed, and even its ability to undermine women’s right and gay rights has slipped as “business Republicans” have realized that women and Gays have money and buy a lot of stuff.

More to the point, Pew Research recently came out with a survey on “U.S. Political Groups and Their Political Leanings” which is a much-needed corrective to liberal hysteria about right-wing religions.  As the graphic below shows, there are indeed more religions that trend Democratic than to the GOP.  And if you look at the groups most strongly associated with each party, you see a clear Democratic advantage.  The most Republican-leaning group is the Mormons, with about 3.9 million members. Southern Baptists, probably the religious sect most closely associated with conservative issues, claims about 15 million members, of whom about 2/3 vote Republican, and with overall membership in decline. Continue reading

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Ginsberg, I’m Glad We Knew Ye . . .


It’s been a full month without Ginsberg today, and I still see him everywhere, often withDSCI0186 Kelsey, like I have since the day he rescued me. It’s like the day I took him to see ice. His water bowl is still out and the food I made him is still in the refrigerator. I walk the neighborhood and everyone misses him, misses the way he plodded down the streets walking like a baby hippo with suspicion in his eyes, giving the canine malocchio to those he distrusted. Passing by the trees he watered, the bushes he sniffed, the animals he tried to eat . . . But I’m lucky to have years of good memories of him. He was a curmudgeon, a wartime consigliere. He wasn’t a friendly puppy, well to anyone but me. He’d lunge at passing dogs and bicyclists, bark at anyone who even looked at the house, try to maul every cat he saw, and he did it to protect me—he was my Genco. He was a dog’s dog, a rat-pack dog, a Sinatra dog, my dog. He ate well—sirloin, chicken, turkey, yogurt. If dogs drank scotch, he’d favor Macallan 25. He was the chairman of the board. I had to spoil him for a million reasons. We never fought, he never lied, never betrayed, never took a shiv to anyone’s back. He offered, and expected, loyalty and comfort, and we simply gave that to each other. He lived outside the law honestly. Dogs have some kind of preternatural, instinctual intelligence that we all underestimate and probably don’t understand, and he was at the top of the pyramid, “A-Number One.”

And the world isn’t the same without him. When he left this life, everything changed. As he took his last breath, birds stopped in mid-air, simply hanging there without motion. Ants decolonized in honor of his struggles for liberation. Leaves began falling off trees with vertiginous speed, only to halt and turn back to the limbs they had just left. The sun and moon got confused and caused a global flickering effect, offering the greatest fireworks show ever. A Chicago alderman told the truth. A Sicilian released a grudge. Essence briefly preceded existence, and being and nothingness were as one, as they should be. People realized the bible was dyslexic and they shouldn’t have worshiped God all these eons. Drones turned into butterflies. Televisions turned off spontaneously and books opened themselves. Position and momentum could be equally discerned. Working people of all countries united. Paul Robeson saw Joe Hill. Frogs sang gloriously. The elderly got younger as they walked backwards. Schrodinger did Est and found himself.  Free Bubble-Up and Rainbow Stew were plentiful. Dogs offered a 21-Bark salute in honor of their alpha comrade. Cats took a moment of silence, in the most stirring display of gallantry and sportsmanship since Mountbatten gave India back to the Punjabs, to honor such a formidable rival whose dominance was never questioned, and to breathe a sigh of relief that they could go back to their duplicitous ways without him to keep the peace among the families.

And then, once his energy broke apart in a Vesuvial eruption and he became part of the cosmic stuff that creates all of us, bouncing with Kelsey’s and Langston’s atoms, things returned to what they had been, but they would never be the same.

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Clarence Thomas’s Eulogy for Scalia









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The Kennedy Precedent, GOP Threats, and Media Complicity

Since Nino Scalia’s demise on Saturday, the Republicans have been adamant that Barack Obama should not nominate someone to succeed him, and that if he did they would simply not hold hearings for the candidate, thus leaving the seat open until a new president is inaugurated next January.  While this is on the surface ridiculous–Obama’s the president until noon on January 20th, 2017 and has every right and duty to fill a Supreme Court seat until then–it’s also the first time such intense political pressure was brought to the issue of a Supreme Court vacancy itself rather than over the qualifications of a nominee.

While nominees have been rejected before (See Bork, Robert), they were given hearings and grilled on their legal views.  What the GOP is promising here is a preemptive nuke against the very idea that the president has the right to nominate someone to the court–which is as fundamental a rejection of the constitution as you can get.

But there’s a precedent here.  In November 1987, after the failed nominations of Robert Bork (defeated 58-42 in the senate) and Douglas Ginsburg (withdrawn after admitting he smoked marijuana–it was a simpler time back then), Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy to the court.  In his announcement, Reagan stressed that he hoped for confirmation quickly in a bipartisan manner, and added that Kennedy “seems to be popular with many senators of various political persuasions.”kennedy and reagan

Linda Greenhouse, the longtime New York Times Supreme Court reporter, immediately wrote that there was a strong expectation that Kennedy would be approved, “as well as collective relief that another bruising battle could probably be avoided.”

The opposing party, the Democrats, generally agreed.  Joe Biden, then chair of the Judiciary Committee, admitted at once, “quite frankly, unless something happens that I’m not aware of, we will be able to move pretty swiftly.”  Laurence Tribe, liberal judicial icon and Biden’s advisor on court matters, was relieved to see Kennedy nominated–“his opinions are more sensitive than strident.  He replaces the dogmatism of Robert Bork with a sense of decency and moderation.” Continue reading

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