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       *** MANDOS POST *** I have been thinking about writing another post about Britain and Brexit for some time, but every time I started it, there’d be literally another new dramatic twist, so I’d stop.  But now it seems like a corner is being turned. What the corner really is, we’ll still have time […]
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Clinton Cocktail Party: Shattered Glass

ist1_3546928_bartender3The polls will close in NJ in about an hour from now. Time to fire up the tube and watch the first of two ceilings shatter.

Whoo-Hoo! Go New Jersey!

Update: We interrupt this cocktail party for a {{swoonworthy}} ad from Hillary’s campaign. Take a look:

Woah!

If you’re like me, you’ve been obsessively checking your phone and favorite sites during break and lunch and on the bus and since you got home. If you haven’t, here’s what you’ve missed.

Creamsicle Trump is whining about how the media is harassing him like no other candidate over his Judge Curiel remarks and his Trump University investigations and he’s not going to talk about it anymore because it’s distracting. His surrogates say the media is much nicer to Hillary.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

{{taking deep breath, wiping eyes}}

LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Oh, my, this general election is going to be so much fun.

Also, for those of you who want to compare the 2016 primary vs the 2008 primary, check out the front page of the NYT, which has some nifty graphs showing just how close it was. Actually, it was closer. I’m pretty sure they’re not including the FL and MI delegates, which weren’t restored to full votes until just before the convention. The difference between Obama and Clinton was microscopic and his lead came from a lot of undemocratic caucus states, just like Bernie. Anyway, at least the media is *finally* acknowledging the shocking closeness of the 2008 primary. It’s about f&*(ing time. Now they should look into the egregious convention.

Rico is here. He came straight from the gym. We provide great benefits here at The Confluence. He’s whipping up something called a Kick in the Glass. It’s more like a dessert than a cocktail but you can order anything you like including some fine California wines.

David Gergen just said that Hillary’s nomination is not going to be as exciting as Barack Obama’s nomination.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

{{taking deep breath, wiping eyes}}

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Ok, where was I? Ah yes, cocktail party. Our servers are circulating with some appetizers from our primary states. Have some puffy tacos, fresh salads and crudites, buffalo sliders and steamed crab.

Our entertainment tonight is Billy Bragg and Wilco. This Woody Guthrie song goes out to our friends in California.

Everyone is welcome but please check your trigger words and concealed weapons with Florence, our enforcer. Heated arguments should be taken somewhere else. Relentless mockery is always encouraged.

Come on in.

FWIW JMHO: Hillary vs Bernie

pie-fight-primaryDisclaimer: In the following, I’m not referring to all Bernie people. There are plenty of Bernie people who are pretty good people who just want to make sure their issues are addressed.

So, the NYTimes says that Bernie is going to try to damage Hillary all the way to California and beyond. Encouraging his supporters to vote for him because <list of reasons why Bernie would be better, include significant accomplishments> is just not enough. California is a big prize and it would indeed be a plum to take it away from Hillary.

But Bernie should be aware that you *can* win California (NY, NJ, PA, OH, FL, MI, TX, MA etc), win the popular vote and still lose the nomination. Go ask Hillary.

Bernie wants another debate before the California primary. If I were Clinton, I’d give it to him. What I think some voters want to see is an anti-Dukakis moment from Hillary. I think she can do this.

Finally, the left has to step up and make the Bernie Bros behave. Yes, it’s time to cut the sexist shit out and step up and do the right thing guys. These assholes are out of control. They think that they can use intimidation and breath holding and harrassment and everyone is going to give into them because they infiltrated caucuses and flipped some delegates in an backdoor strategy and generally made a nuisance of themselves.

This is unrealistic.

It’s unrealistic because as I pointed out before, you can still win California by 10 points and lose the nomination. If the media is on your side, you can be carried to the nomination in a sedan chair. And although the media is having a field day watching this pie fight, I see no indication that they are backing Bernie the way they slavishly fellated Obama in 2008.

No, the media is saving its worst work for the general between Hillary and Trump.

Secondly, Bernie Bros need to realize that there are other people who exist who prefer their own candidate and it is not Bernie. Even if the party does decide to ditch Hillary- again- that doesn’t mean that her voters are going to pivot and support Bernie in the fall if he gets the nomination via a coup. They were asked to do that for a man they didn’t believe in for the 2008 campaign and they’re not going to do it again. These guys need to understand this. There will be a fury they won’t see coming. We do have feelings and anger is one of the ones they don’t want stir. Don’t even. I’m serious.

I’m calling on all left blogosphere guys to tell these assholes to stop. Stop the dehumunization of Hillary Clinton.

Stop the double standard.

Stop the stupid hand wringing about whether a senator who has been elected twice, can run a campaign.

Stop believing the crap about the 2008 campaign that doesn’t acknowledge the piling on, the media collaboration, the flood of Wall Street money to Obama and the party back stabbing.

Stop abetting the overt sexism.

Stop sitting on the sidelines without commenting on the truly bad behavior and ridiculous intimidation.

Stop pretending that this is the same crap any male candidate opposing Sanders would get.

It’s on YOU to rein in these assholes. Some of you were these assholes in 2008 and how did that go for you? Did Obama give you everything you wanted? Is it possible that you weren’t entirely accurate?

If you don’t rein them in and crack down, you bear some of the responsibility for what comes next.

Step up and act like decent human beings.

Republican states should STFU over taxes

A link at Eschaton refers readers to a MediaMatters post about how Stuart Varney is trying to whip up tax resentment towards California.

Viewers of Fox Business must think California is just the biggest spendthrift of our 50 states. The way Stuart Varney tells it, those greedy Californians, by taking “federal taxpayer money,” are just robbing the rest of us — particularly “the hicks who live in the Midwest” — blind!

But in discussing California’s would-be federal subsidies, Varney isn’t telling the whole story. In fact, he’s got it completely backward.

During the November 16 episode of Varney & Co. on Fox Business, Varney interviewed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Press Secretary Aaron McLear about Schwarzenegger’s current efforts to balance California’s budget. He asked McLear if he would take a pledge to “not take one more dime from federal taxpayer money going to California.” Then he continues: “You guys in California, you’ve been making fun of…the hicks who live in the Midwest…you’ve been making fun of them. Now you want their money.”

As it turns out, California is a “donor state”.  That is, it gives more money to the federal government than it gets back.  In fact, for every dollar per capita that Californians send, they get back 78 cents.  But California has it EASY compared to New Jersey.  We’re el numero uno donor state.  For every dollar in  tax I send the feds, I get back a whopping 61 cents.  Every person in the state of New Jersey takes a 39% hit.  Howz that for tax fairness?  Yup, if you lose your job in Arkansas, your kids are much more likely to qualify for SCHIP than some poor schmuck’s kid in New Jersey.  While our salaries are comparatively high, no one seems to be accounting for the ridiculous cost of living here.  If anyone has a right to complain about greedy California, it’s those of us living in New Jersey and Connecticut (and we’ll be sending our men around to break your skinny suntanned knees any day now).

But wait!  There’s more.

According to the map that the Visualeconomics put together using data from the Tax Foundation of the donor and recipient states, guess which party represents the biggest parasites on my precious NJ dollars?  If you answered WATB Republicans, you would be correct.

You can check your place in line on this map.

So, verily I say unto you Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi and Alabama, if you don’t like taxes, by all means, send them back to us.  Surely, you can solve your problems without the help of all the liberal {[shudder}} states.  You’ll figure it out.

It’s Not about Taxes

I live in California, and you may have heard that we’re having a bit of an argle-bargle about a budget in this state.

The history, for those who’d like it: Back in the 1970s, enough Californians felt their taxes were too high to limit property taxes by law. The limit is low, (1.5%, I thought, but wikipedia says 1%) and — this is the biggest deal — the assessed value of the property can’t increase more than 2% a year until it’s sold. The new assessed value is then based on that sale price. You’ve probably heard about property values in California. A house worth $60,000 in 1978 is worth $600,000 now, but it’s taxed at around $100,000. There’s something to be said for this in the case of retirees on fixed incomes, for instance. However, they forgot to limit it to people of limited means. It applies equally to movie stars. And to commercial real estate which can stay in the same hands forever, even when it’s sold, through the magic of shell corporations. That turns out to be a loophole big enough for the whole state to fall through. . . . Proposition 13, as it’s known, also said that any tax increase had to pass with a two-thirds supermajority. We have two, count ’em, two, Republicans more than a one third minority. So that voting bloc, in its infinite intransigence, can stop any budget from passing. The situation is not helped by a Gropinator who vetoes legislation just to show off, as far as I can tell.

(Update: I should mention that the up-to-the-minute blog for all things to do with politics in California is calitics.com.)

On to the gnarly present. As Krugman wrote, California may once again be ahead of the curve in showing what happens when a bunch of Republicans decide to play politics with the future. This is not, at this point a faults-on-both-sides situation. This is a bunch of Republicans playing politics with the future. They have made the (apparently accurate) judgment that repeating NO NEW TAXES on an infinite loop will keep getting them re-elected till hell takes over.
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CAG Jerry Brown asks California Supreme Court to Void Prop. 8

Edmund "Jerry" Brown

Edmund "Jerry" Brown

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

State Attorney General Jerry Brown, in a surprise turnabout, asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to overturn Proposition 8, saying the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates basic rights guaranteed in the state Constitution.

Brown, who is required to defend state laws unless he cannot find reasonable legal grounds to do so, said after Prop. 8 passed Nov. 4 that he would support the initiative before the state’s high court.

But in a lengthy filing late Friday, he argued that the constitutional amendment was “inconsistent with the guarantees of individual liberty” in California’s governing charter.

“Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification,” Brown said.

The authors of the state Constitution, he said, did not intend “to put a group’s right to enjoy liberty to a popular vote.”

I haven’t read his brief but I agree with his logic.  Minority rights should not be subject to the whims of the majority.  The state Constitution shouldn’t be easy to amend, especially when you consider that it requires a 2/3 vote to raise taxes here.  Taking away our civil rights should require at least as much.

Jerry Brown, aka “Governor Moonbeam,” was the last liberal governor of California.  He also served as the California Secretary of State and the Mayor of Oakland.  He and his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, bookended Ronald Reagan’s tenure as governor.  His sister Kathleen Brown was formerly the state treasurer and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994 against incumbent Pete Wilson.

Sometimes dynasties aren’t such a bad thing.

Saturday: Take an old cold tater and wait

Protesting the H8 in CA

Protesting the H8 in CA

It’s funny how the people who manage to make their way to the top seem to think it is O. K. to do it by stepping on the heads of the people who helped them get there.  The passage of Proposition 8 in California, that defines marriage as between only a man and a woman, is the unpredictable fallout of the Obama victory.  Christian conserverative African Americans and Latinos turned out to establish a new pecking order.  Some of these people think that homosexuality is a behavioral choice even though there is a growing body of scientific evidence that it is not.  And if it is not, then how does one reconcile a loving god with the mandate to be forever celibate, forever consigned to the role of child in the family, forever unable to have a loving partner and family?

For too long, religion has concentrated on proscriptions about sex, putting love, commitment and protection of families secondary.  This is what Proposition 8 puts into law.  It says, “We aren’t too concerned what you do after you are married, just as long as you have slot A and piece B.  As long as your anatomical features are correct, you and your family are entitled to the full protection of the law.  Gay couples and their children are not entitled to the full protection of the law because they might do something icky with their privates.  Of course, heterosexual couples might do something icky with theirs as well but it’s legal because they’re married and therefore, none of our business.”

This is how the Obama presidency is starting.  One group of people get their long awaited triumph and then turn around and screw another demographic.  To those of us who have followed the campaign for months, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Obama made appearances with anti-gay people and made a point of reaching out to the evangelical community.  What he did was surreptitiously court the bigots in the religious community over issues of homosexuality and abortion.  He gave these groups tacit approval of their prejudices.  What makes his behavior different than that of a Republican like George Bush?  He got away with it because journalists completely failed us.  (Listen to the post-election Fresh Air interview with Bill Moyers if you can stomach it.  The blinders on these people need to come off and soon.)

This is not an auspicious start to the era of Hope and Change! There are persistent rumors that Larry Summers may be nominated as Secretary of the Treasury as well.  This is the former president of Harvard that said that women are innately incapable of competing with men in math and science.*  Science had some recent articles saying Larry is full of it. (pending citations)  So, is the media going to pick up on this or are they going to continue to grind women to political pulp? We shall see.  But if he appoints Summers, there’s a good chance that gay people won’t be the only ones protesting.

In other news:

  • Day care centers are seeing their clientele dwindle as parents cut costs.
  • Sarah Palin is engaged in an epic battle with the Bushies. It looks like the Bushies are still trying to blame their catastrophic failure as a party on her.  We shouldn’t let them get away with it.  If there is any hope for reforming the Republican party, it rests in people like Palin.
  • Anglachel covers Hillary’s newest initiatives.  It looks like Hillary is going to be a burr in Obama’s saddle for a long time in the Senate.  Take that Nancy! As Anglachel says:

I love her line: “We are in a recession and we must act decisively and wisely to change course, hasten a recovery, and reform the broken economic policies that will be the sad and disastrous legacy of the Bush Administration.” More of this, please. More nicely, sweetly partisan knife twisting to ensure that Bush is never spoken of without BartCop’s tag line – Worst President Ever.

*I just saw a reference to Larry Summers being a managing director of D. E. Shaw’s group.  This is an unusual group founded by David Shaw, a biophysicist, who made a killing in the stock market.  I’m not clear on how he did it but in the studies of proteins, there is a kind of sensitivity analysis that can be performed to observe what happens to a system when a small part of it is perturbed.  A satellite group of his is involved in a program I use at work called Desmond, which calculates protein molecular dynamics.  It kind of gives you a sense of what the hell their doing on Wall Street with all of the simulations.  The thing is, the simulations are only as good as the understanding of the system they are supposed to model.  Very interesting and very disturbing that Summers is tied to this group.  It must drive the female computational modelers in Shaw’s group up a frickin’ wall.