JUST SAY NO

It’s Sunday, August 4, 2019.

On this day 55 years ago, the bodies of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney were found at a construction site near Philadelphia, Miss.

They had been murdered by a conspiracy of Klansmen and law enforcement officials bothered by their investigation of a church burning.

Five years ago, President Barack Obama – who, coincidentally, was born on this day 58 years ago – posthumously awarded Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Two points: 1. I’d bet $1,000 Trump has no idea who they are. 2. White supremacy ain’t anything new.

You need to look around for details of the Dayton shooting, in which nine people died. (Here’s a link to the Dayton Daily News site: https://www.daytondailynews.com)

Why?

Well, first, the news cycle is still absorbing the 20 people murdered in El Paso yesterday. (And here’s the El Paso Times site: https://www.elpasotimes.com)

Second, it was a late night shooting – much like when the Mets play in California – and didn’t make the Sunday paper.

Third, the information about the Dayton shooting remains sketchy. The alleged shooter was just identified by police a few minutes ago. And it’s not yet clear what his motives were, while we’re pretty sure the subhuman who committed the El Paso atrocity was doing his part for white supremacy and his hero in the White House. 

Finally, there’s this sobering fact: On Wikipedia’s list of the top 25 mass shootings in American history, Dayton falls just short. You need to kill 10 people other than yourself to make the cut. El Paso, with its 20 lives snuffed out, managed to grab sole possession of eighth place.

Two mass shootings within 24 hours seems new. I can’t remember anything like that off the top of my head.

But it’s hard to remember them all of these mass shootings. Or to remember all the details of even the most prominent ones.

For example, yesterday’s shooting in El Paso missed seventh place by one fatality. That would be the murder of 21 people at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calif., in 1984 – the shooting I always confuse with the 1979 San Diego schoolyard murders of two adults that inspired the Boomtown Rats’ song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

By the way, only two dead doesn’t qualify by some measures as a mass killing. You need a minimum of four to make the list.

The McDonald’s murders grabbed the top spot among mass murders until 1991, when the incident that now occupies sixth place occurred. That took place in Killeen, Texas, at a Luby’s Cafeteria, and left 23 people dead.

You don’t remember who did those murders or why, do you? I mean, I had to look them up. The guy who committed the McDonald’s shootings was mad that mental health workers didn’t return his calls. The guy who committed the Luby’s killings thought all women were vipers.

Maybe it’s the 30 or so years between the incidents. 

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that there’s one mass shooting in this country every single goddamn day. White supremacy is just the latest trend – a frightening new motherlode of rationale for the gun nuts.

And, like the Onion’s powerful reposting of the same story every time there’s a mass shooting – with the headline “No Way to Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly”  – here’s my reminder of what I say after someone naively states that maybe this will lead to sensible gun control laws:

It has to do with the mass murder in fourth place. 

This country watched as 20 elementary schoolchildren – six- and seven-year-olds – and six adults who tried to protect them died in a shooting in Connecticut 11 days before Christmas.

And the United States Congress did nothing.

Nothing.

So here we are a day or so after two mass murders – one that makes the Top 25 list and one that just missed but which together result in 29 deaths of people who likely had no inkling that yesterday was their last day of life.

And yet, I assume this moment will pass without action.

Because of the morons who continue to obstruct what should be a no-freakin’-brainer.

They blame video games. Or violent TV and movies. Or mental health issues.

They say the country should unify and that gun control advocates shouldn’t politicize these tragedies – in fact, they’ve falsely accused Kamala Harris of trying to raise campaign funds from the shootings when the link on her site is to support gun control advocates.

The morons want people to pray for the souls lost. They want people to support the first responders.

Ignore them.

Don’t retweet them. Don’t summarize them. 

I don’t give a damn about the affected sorrow of Kellyanne Conway or Kevin McCarthy or John Cornyn or Greg Abbott or Mike DeWine or “Moscow Mitch” McConnell or even Donald Trump.

Unless they say something about how it’s time to act on gun control – at the very least, to act on the two bills passed by the House earlier this year – what they have to say is worthless.

They have no moral standing on this issue. It’s a waste of electrons.

You and I have made our position clear. We’ve elected people who understand the problem. 

But until McConnell and Cornyn and Trump and the rest of the NRA whores are thrown out of office or – and this would take a miracle – they see reason, it’s ridiculous to listen to or, worse, repeat anything they have to say after these or the next mass murders.

As their supposed hero, Nancy Reagan, said, “Just say no.” Until they say yes.

 

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SORRY, NO OSCAR

It’s Thursday, July 25, 2019.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Washington Declaration, ending the state of hostility between Israel and Jordan. 

Yes, folks, there was a time when Israel was willing and able to talk about deals with others in the region. Egypt. Jordan. Even the PLO. 

Leaders with courage – men like Yitzhak Rabin – believed Israel should be an ideal, not just an idea. That it could be part of a comprehensive effort to defuse the Middle East and, at the same time, make Israel as secure as any state can be in our times.

That kind of amity seems a long time past.

It’s 2044. 

It’s 110 degrees in Central Park. The Mets’ bullpen leads baseball’s 64 teams in blown saves.

And the leading contender for Best Picture – assuming the Oscars survive another 25 years – is “Mueller Time,” the dramatic story of the day in 2019 an unassuming former prosecutor and FBI director inspired the nation to depose a felon and would-be dictator from the White House.

As Robert Mueller, Jake Gyllenhaal delivers another impeccable performance. His highlight moment comes after an obtuse Republican congressman asks a snide question about how biased the investigation was.

There’s an ECU of Gyllenhaal, his voice rising slowly and surely as he talks about being a Republican – but being an American first. And that if we want to stay a free people – there’s an Alexandre Desplat crescendo now – we’ll act immediately.

His words inspire Democrats and convince Republicans. There’s an immediate impeachment vote in the House. Senators, watching in their offices, hurry to the floor and hold the trial that night.

The only bad thing: Trump escapes the U.S. marshals and flies to Moscow in one of his planes. After all, it’s a three-film deal and the sequel is coming in 2046.

Does that sum up the Democrats’ fantasy expectation about yesterday’s hearings?

That wasn’t going to happen.

The best Democrats should have hoped for was what you got. Mueller restating what he and his team concluded. The facts.

I think the facts point to crimes committed by Trump and his sycophants. I think the Justice Department guideline that a sitting president can’t be indicted is BS. I think an impeachment inquiry is in order.

Democrats believed Mueller restating and elaborating the facts of his report would make people see the light and clamor for impeachment. 

But, according to reporting by CNN’s Brian Stelter, only about 13 million Americans watched yesterday’s hearing. And I bet a good chunk of that audience already knew how it felt about this stuff.

There was never going to be a groundswell following Mueller’s testimony. By the weekend, it will have been overtaken in the news cycle.

However, that doesn’t mean what happened yesterday was a waste of time.

The American people had the right to hear about a report they bought with the tax dollars. And to hear it from the guy in charge.

There were legitimate questions asked yesterday. Indeed, one of the most relevant came from Texas Republican Will Hurd, who inquired about Russia’s continued effort to subvert our electoral process.

And, as with most hearings, there were the grandstanding questions. Republicans trying to discredit Mueller with whatabouts that were petty, obscure or irrelevant. Democrats trying to get that cinematic moment – nowadays it’s called the viral moment – that would make history.

Anyone lamenting the hearing as lacking fireworks or not providing great optics – whether they be a politician or a journalist – is a fool. 

Congressional hearings aren’t theater. Yes, they can sometimes be dramatic, But their purpose is to inform, to put facts on record.

Yesterday’s hearings did just that. They are a companion piece to the Mueller report, which everyone should read.

The Oscar fodder will have to wait for Trump’s downfall in disgrace – and our sincere belief that if there’s a merciful God, it’s coming soon.

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BACK TO NORMAL

It’s Monday, July 22, 2019.

On this day in 1882, Edward Hopper was born in Upper Nyack, N.Y., about four miles from where I’m writing this.

I’m not an art freak, but Hopper is a favorite. His paintings evoke two places I find beautiful: lower Manhattan and Cape Cod.

Those paintings capture moments of people’s lives in places that feel familiar. One of my favorites is “Gas,” a gas station on a quiet road – I always think it’s someplace on Route 6A in Cape Cod, but it could be anywhere in the Northeast. 

And if, by mentioning this, I plant a mindpictureworm of “Nighthawks” or “Cape Cod Morning” or “Early Sunday Morning” or any other of Hopper’s work, I’ve done well.

The first trailer from the movie about Mr. Rogers is out and trending on social media. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VLEPhfEN2M 

My baby brother is not a Tom Hanks fan. He might be the only person who won’t like this trailer. 

Everybody else sees Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers and cries. Mainly because it’s Tom Hanks and Mr. Rogers.

I think most people love both of them because they remind us of goodness. Of competence. Of  compassion.

Right now, it feels that those virtues are lost in a dark cave.

Like magic, this two-year-old Onion piece showed up in my Twitter feed: https://www.theonion.com/happy-monday-everyone-looking-forward-to-another-week-1819769158

If you don’t want to read the satire with the faked byline, the bottom line is this: Trump’s goal is the infection of American daily life with his taint.

There is never a day off from Trump. Not for a weekend, not for a holiday. His goal is to do or say something every day to get attention. That’s his brand.

So Frank Bruni’s piece in the Sunday Times is quite understandable – to a point.

Bruni, perhaps the Times’ most thoughtful opinionist, says Democrats need to make this the overriding theme of the 2020 election Democratic Party: “It’s about getting rid of Trump, because the price of not doing so could be this nation’s very soul.”

Amen.

I’m sick of him, too. I’m tired of the glee he takes in exacerbating the nation’s divides. He diminishes all of us and erases any claims we have to be an example to rest of the world – even as the rest of the world looks to us for help with its own troubles.

The problem is how.

And that’s where I have to part company with Bruni.

Bruni seems to believe Democrats need to start modifying their message. He lambastes such things as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, seeing them as pipe dreams and well beyond what Americans want.

He feels that these progressive goals will allow Trump to tie the party to its most outspoken members – particularly, The Squad that includes firebrand Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

And that will allow Trump to win in 2020 – by turning off the more moderate factions of the Democratic Party. He says that an ideologically focused Democratic Party could turn off some of the people who gave Hillary Clinton a plurality of the vote in 2016.

Here’s the thing: It’s still July 2019.

We watched the first debate last month. It told us quite a bit about the candidates – good and bad. Heck, Eric Swalwell is already gone from the field.

You can’t run nobody against somebody. But we also need to feel our way to a nominee that fairly represents the ideals of the people opposed to Trump.

And the best part of this process is that we have another half-year to iron out the ideas to take to the American people.

Take Medicare for All.

Several of the Democratic candidates support the idea. While Bernie Sanders likes to think he invented it, it’s been bandied about for generations. Both presidential Roosevelts – Teddy and FDR – supported a form of it.

I’m for it. I do think there should be some form of health care for everyone in this country. The idea that everyone has it at birth would just make life simpler for all 329,292, 553 of us – as of 3:17:29 p.m. ET.

But the immediate goal is to moderate health care costs. And the idea isn’t to scare people who currently have insurance through their employer by saying we’re going to abolish it for some system no one has put in place.

So the Medicare for All Democrats need to work with the not Medicare for All Democrats to find ways to take the next step. 

And that’s what the next nominee will do, no matter who it is. If it’s Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris, they’ll hear out the ideas of Joe Biden and Tim Ryan and Pete Buttigieg and come up with changes they can sell to a majority of the American people.

But the idea of having to make those accommodations now is ridiculous. Let’s take time to sound the ideas out and let the American people judge.

That’s one of many examples.

Trump isn’t going to run against the spectrum of Democrats. He’s going to run against one. 

And that one – if he or she is smart – will combine her or his ideas with those of other Democrats to get something to sell to the American people.

The point I’m making is that we can’t worry about how Trump is going to pick at Democrats when we don’t know exactly what we want. We have to run on something.

And Democrats have to be enthusiastic about their nominee. While whoever get the nod is going to be the alternate choice of a majority, the goal is to drive the turnout – especially the party’s loyalest voters: women, African-Americans, young people.

They have to show up like they showed up for Barack Obama.

If that happens, Trump can’t win.

So, let’s let the process play out a while. There are lots of good candidates with lots of good ideas. 

Let’s learn about these people. Let’s decide which candidate we support by what they believe. 

Let’s not pick a candidate because we think he or she has a better chance to beat Trump. 

Because we thought Hillary Clinton was a lock – and we pay the price every day.

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TAKE A SAD SONG AND MAKE IT BETTER

It’s Friday, July 12, 2019.

It’s the 230th anniversary of a speech given by French journalist Camille Desmoulins protesting the ouster of King Louis XVI’s finance minister.

Desmoulins, who normally stammered, delivered such an angry, unhesitant bombast that it inspired, two days later, the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.

That’s the part of the story I like. 

The part of the story I don’t like is that, less than five years later, the tide turned and Desmoulins’ head ended up in a basket. He was 34 years old.

At once an inspirational and cautionary tale for our times.

“Tepid” best describes the reviews for the movie “Yesterday” which I saw, well, yesterday.

In the film, for those unaware, the world experiences a total momentary blackout after which only one man, a failing British singer, remembers the Beatles. He capitalizes on this, becoming an overnight sensation by “writing” such songs as “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Reviewers seem to find this film far-fetched – duh – and the premise resolved clumsily. The Times’ A.O. Scott says it might have been better if it had taken the Beatles and their music more seriously.

I’m saying this: No, this film is not flawless. But I haven’t felt as good coming out of a movie in a very long time. 

It’s sweet. Not many things are now. It’s a reminder of the joy of the Beatles’ music and the wonder they created for the world.

Yes, you need to suspend reality to embrace this film. So what. I felt pretty good for two hours.

So much so that, aside from this post’s title, I’ve avoided referencing Beatles’ lyrics. 

Alex Acosta quit. Finally. He won’t be Labor Secretary after next week. 

If you read the great Miami Herald series by Julie Brown last fall, you’d wonder why the hell it took so long. 

If you haven’t, start here — and good luck stomaching your way to the end.

The series revolved around the so-called prosecution in 2007 of Jeffrey Epstein, a hedge fund manager accused of engaging in sexual acts with dozens of girls in his Palm Beach mansion.

There was enough evidence to put Epstein away for life. 

But perhaps because Epstein had influential buddies or because of his supposed wealth and its ability to buy high-priced lawyers, the federal prosecutor agreed to a deal. That deal included:

— a 13-month state felony sentence that included six days a week of work release in an opulent office.

— immunity for those who assisted Epstein in recruiting the girls.

— the end of an FBI probe into Epstein’s activities.

— not informing the girls about the deal until it was too late for them to complain about it.

That prosecutor was Alex Acosta. 

And, of course, with those credentials, he was the perfect choice for an important job in the administration of Trump, who was friends with Epstein in the 1990s and 2000s.

Given Trump’s penchant for bailing on people who might be perceived negatively by his base – there are still some evangelicals who think it’s wrong to rape a 14-year-old – you would think he would have bailed on Acosta when the stories hit.

But Trump likes people who like him. If he saw a picture of Acosta wearing one of those freakin’ red hats he sells, Acosta was golden as long as the furor didn’t get too hot.

And it didn’t. Until last weekend, when Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on new charges of engaging girls for sex, aka rape. 

The negative publicity didn’t end quickly. So Acosta got ditched.

Is that good? Well, yes, people who protect pedophiles shouldn’t be Labor Secretary – who not only is the executive charged with protecting the interests of workers, but also the 11th person in the line of presidential seuccession.

But then again, two things crop up.

One is that Trump’s tendency has been to find someone even worse to replace someone forced to resign from his cabinet.

Two is that Trump faces accusations of rape himself. Sadly, it’s not as if abusing women is disqualifying for the Oval Office, according to the idiots who support him.

But, for a little while, we can cheer the fact that outrage over crimes against children triumphed. Acosta is off to wherever disgraced Trump officials go to cash in on their Trump association. 

Finally, this idea:

We’ve become immune to the daily, the semi-weekly, the weekly Trump outrages. Sometimes they come at us in multiples. 

Right now, we’re dealing front burner with Acosta/Epstein, yesterday’s backstep on the Census citizenship question and the reports of ICE raids coming this weekend.

That’s the front burner.

And that’s the problem. There’s so much stuff that’s happened over the last 30 months that it’s hard to remember it all. 

So here’s a suggestion: Let’s keep tabs.

Let’s keep a log of the outrages starting from Jan. 20, 2017. List them all. Know what they are and remember the ones we’ve forgotten.

And then, when the Democrats have a nominee, let’s play them back. Every single day from the end of the convention to the election.

Make Trump defend his atrocities. Every day. A different one. Flood the zone the way he has and remind people of why he’s such a disgrace.

The goal is not to get the Trump sycophants to see the light. They won’t. They’ll see all these outrages as triumphs and there’s nothing we can do about it.

The job is to remind the rest of us – the majority of Americans, by the way – of what we’ve experienced. To keep the fire stoked and drive up the turnout.

In “Yesterday,” the hero has to try to remember the words to all the Beatles’ songs. He struggles with some of them, but he eventually succeeds.

We have something negative to remember. But we need to do it. It – and a nominee offering a positive message for the future – is how we end this era of disgrace.

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BIT BY BIT, PUTTING IT TOGETHER

It’s Friday, July 5, 2019.

It’s the 23rd anniversary of the birth of Dolly, a sheep who was the first mammal conceived through cloning.

You can see her taxidermied remains at the National Museum of Scotland, if you’re so inclined.

Some of the Democratic presidential candidates spent the day in Houston, at the National Education Association’s annual representative assembly. 

I’ve tried to watch some of it on a livestream. The first thing to say to this group of educators: Learn how to get your livestream not to continually cut out.

The candidates I was able to watch included Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren, who seemed to get energetic support from the assembled teachers, and Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar, who were greeted politely.

All of the candidates, of course, played to the crowd when it came to teachers and unions, which is what NEA combines. Understandably, everybody in that room hates Betsy DeVos – in fact, I didn’t once hear the name of Trump, who is responsible for DeVos being education secretary in the first place.

Two issues that came up a lot were charter schools and high-stakes testing.

So here are some thoughts about both:

Charter schools are a Darwinian concept promoted by people, in many instances, who frown upon Darwin.

The idea is that you throw an educational lifeline to some disadvantaged students through a lottery or whatever other method, they will emerge well-educated. And either they’ll spread that to their peers or a select group of the next generation will get the lucky break.

Charter schools basically throw in the towel on educating as many kids as possible – the basic principle of the nation’s public schools since the 19th century. They absorb the resources of a school district, usually in an urban area, and leave what remains for the mass of students not quite as fortunate.

I’m sure I’m presenting that in a biased liberal way. I don’t care.

I believe in educating everybody.

Public education in this country has been a pariah my entire life. 

Its funding is a joke. 

If you live in a place where well-to-do people understand they will be weller-to-do if they fund public schools lavishly, thereby raising their property values faster than their property taxes, you generally have great schools.

If you live in a place where the population has other considerations – elderly people on a fixed income, working people struggling to make ends meet – that dream of flipping the house for 7 times what you paid for it is pretty ephemeral. Reality tends to shake those notions quickly.

So the rationale is that, since the resources are limited, it’s better that a few kids get ahead than for all of them to fall short.

And, because a lot of times the charters for charter schools take them out of the jurisdiction of the school systems that create them, they can disregard teacher unions and pay rules that conservatives seem to believe are the real problem in public education.

One other thing about charter schools: They seem like a breeding ground for schemers. 

They’re yet another opportunity for the entrepreneurial to indulge in corrupt money-making. As happened in Los Angeles and Phoenix for two quick examples.

All of the Democratic presidential candidates are saying something similar: Charter schools don’t seem to work. 

The problem is that Democrats were willing to go along with the idea of setting up these schools in the first place. The Clinton administration trumpeted this idea in the 1990s and tried to get NEA and the other teachers’ group – the American Federation of Teachers (disclaimer: I’m a member) – to go along.

So Democrats share some responsibility for the charter school debacle.

And they’re going to need to make a commitment to find ways to fund public education more adequately than we have for decades. 

For starters, rebuilding decaying public school structures should be part of a massive infrastructure push. Trump promised one, but of course he wasn’t going to be serious about that unless all the schools were named after him or his offspring.

All the soundings about raising teacher pay and providing adequate funding for kindergarten and preschool are great beginnings. The next Democratic president, hopefully taking office 18-1/2 months from now, needs to make sure he or she delivers.

The other concern is high-stakes testing.

I’m not exactly sure how this situation devolved. So let me explain my beliefs on this.

Back in the ‘90s, there was a push for national standards. The theory is that a kid in South Carolina who studies math in the fourth grade should know the same basics as if he or she was a fourth grader studying math in Massachusetts or Oregon.

Somehow, this has gotten perverted. The onus has fallen on the kids – if they can’t attain a certain level, they are marked as failures and treated as such.

And I’ve never thought that’s the point of standardized testing. It always should have been a message to school administrators, not kids.

Standardized testing was never meant to corrupt a school’s curriculum. I just think the idea of “teaching to the test” was an easy out for lazy or underfunded administrators. Saying the kids need to know “Moby-Dick” so let’s not read “As You Like It.”  Getting them out of offering music, art and other enrichment classes.

So when candidates such as Warren say that she’ll eliminate high-stakes testing and let teachers determine the best way to reach a student, I get it. I don’t think 8-year-olds or even 14-year-olds should face stomach ache-inducing pressure. And teachers should be trusted like the professionals they are.

What’s most important is that our kids should be excited to learn, so that the basics come naturally and the enhancements show them what’s possible in something that interests them. That’s the standard we need for our country.

And, since the current titleholder doesn’t seem to care much about kids or education, our next president needs to think about these things on our children’s behalf.

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MAY THE BEST PERSON WIN

It’s Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

On this day 156 years ago, the forces of a treasonous racist group made a last attempt to defeat U.S. soldiers in a battle in Gettysburg, Pa. 

They failed in what was called “Pickett’s Charge,” dooming their effort to establish a white supremacist nation in the southern United States.

That, to me, is the right way to describe what happened on July 3, 1863.

I can’t watch soccer.

Or football, as the rest of the world calls it. I’m not going to bore you with my reasoning, because boredom is a mean thing to inflict on people. 

Just like making them watch soccer.

Nevertheless, I would like to see the U.S. women win the World Cup on Sunday. Not just because it would make Trump’s head spin.

I just love the fact that this team, with such finely honed individual skills, meshes the talent into an unrelenting unified effort. 

So, go USA! I’ll eagerly look online for the score Sunday.

The New York Times did it again today.

There’s an article about Democrats worrying that running a woman against Trump next year is a  ticket to failure. Here it is, if you want to read it.

Now, obviously, reporter Lisa Lerer has a story here. She quotes a lot of people, mostly women – including candidates Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. 

And some of the women quoted confirm the story’s theorem – that there are concerns a woman can be elected President of the United States.

First, this isn’t the first time the Times put out a story about female electability. This is from May.

This is from February.

And this is from January.

And yet.

Last Thursday, on a stage of 10 people with egos massive enough to think they should be president, one candidate dominated – according to all post-debate polls or anyone with eyes and ears.

She was Kamala Harris.

She was sharp and on point the whole two hours. The confrontation with Joe Biden was just the most noticed moment. Throughout, she showed a command of facts and ideas, and clarity in presenting them. 

There’s no question she belongs on a debate stage next fall. And while there are no sure things in life, I turned off the TV last Thursday as confident as I can be that she could wipe the floor with Trump.

If you saw that debate the way I did, please don’t tell me you next said to yourself: yeah, but she’s a woman and nobody wants one of them to be president.

Because then you’re an idiot.

And so I just have to wonder if the proliferation of stories about the electability of women perpetrates the notion that there’s some unelectability component to xx chromosomes.

A woman advances in the polls, as Harris – and, to a lesser extent, Elizabeth Warren – did after the debates. Then the reflex at the Times and other media kick in – ah, but is she electable? Maybe we need to do another story about it.

Then the story comes out and the question dominates the day again – I’m obviously falling victim to that in this post.

So to get to the point: How does this stupid cycle end?

David Axelrod, the CNN analyst and former adviser to President Obama, has the best quote in the story: “In terms of electability, the cure for that is winning.”

And I’ll quote another famous male Democrat: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Look, I get it. We CANNOT LOSE the next election to Trump. The future of our democracy and the proclamation of our ideals to the world are in grave danger.

But Democrats can’t try to not lose. They have to try to win. They need to ignite enthusiasm and make people sprint to the polls on Nov. 3, 2020 to vote for their candidate. 

There are two reasons Hillary Clinton lost. One is that a Russian disinformation helped manipulate enough voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to overcome a nearly 3-million vote margin in the national popular vote.

Hopefully, Robert Mueller will elaborate on that before the House Judiciary Committee in two weeks.

The other was the low enthusiasm level for someone who had been in the national spotlight for a quarter century.

People were tired of the Clintons – both Bill and Hillary. Just like the Republicans were so tired of the Bushes that Jeb’s candidacy was a joke.

That’s the problem with nominating an older candidate. A Biden, a Bernie Sanders, maybe even Warren. They’ve been around so long that people get tired of them – this is a country that’s on to the next new thing every few days.

And yet, the Times and other media don’t seem to be doing quite as many stories about that being a factor as Hillary Clinton’s – or Kamala Harris’ – femaledom. 

So if you’re a Democrat, ignore the crap. 

Yes, you want a winner. But that winner is the one who will get you to wear her/his button every day, wake up a 4 a.m. on Election Day and make you want to have Champagne on ice that night when we finally throw Trump out on his massive butt.

Kamala Harris was one of several candidates – male and female – who made Democrats feel that way last week. That’s all you need to know about her electability.

 

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WHO WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE?

It’s Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Now, for sure, the year is half over.

It’s the 55th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Here’s a fact: While the act outlawing discrimination was pushed by two Democratic presidents – John F. Kennedy and LBJ – the final vote garnered a higher percentage of votes from Republican lawmakers than Democratic ones.

Something else that might seem strange: The fierce opposition came from southern Democrats. Democratic leaders, the majority, with the minority leaders among the Republicans to get a bill that could overcome the filibuster.

In the end, the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate 73-27 and the House 289-126, a truly bipartisan achievement.

I doubt that’s what the Trumpsters mean when they want to make America great again. Given where we are at this moment, Trump and the Republican acquiescence to his madness makes that kind of unity toward progress seems like a fantasy.

So consider this question:

Who do you think is more likely to eventually be the researcher who helps find a cure for Alzheimer’s? 

A Honduran girl currently sleeping on a concrete floor in one of the Border Patrol’s concentration camps in Texas?

Or a grey-haired lardass in a MAGA hat planning to attend Trump’s masturbatory July 4 rally?

Try this one:

Who is more likely to risk his life your son, the soldier, in a war zone of Trump’s making?

The Salvadorean boy being made to drink water from a toilet?

Or the pontaloon chanting “Lock Her Up” in Pavlovian response to her master’s voice?

One more:

If you’re in Target looking for the inflator needles for your kid’s soccer ball, who is more likely going to be the one to find it?

The Guatemalan girl getting a thumbful of shampoo to wash her whole body and that of the toddler whose care has been thrust upon her by Customs and Border Protection?

Or one of those idiot CBP guards too busy depicting congresswoman in faked sexual poses on Facebook?

My point is simple.

Refugees and migrants want something better for their lives.

And more often than not, they’re willing to take on the undesirable, the backbreaking, the mindnumbing tasks that those already settled in this country aren’t.

All to get to a life that is better than the horrors they left behind – stuff so bad they were willing to endure the brutality of Trump and the base he constantly placates.

Trump’s favorite goons at ICE and Customs and Border Protection remain pretty unstoppable in their cruelty to desperate people who have committed no crime in the eyes of the world. 

The people who will pay the price are us. We’ll never know if the person who could have lengthened and improved our life lost her or his ability to do so in the squalor that Trump and his minions created.

Instead, we’re stuck kissing up to the people sitting in some Midwest diner complaining about some phony crisis they saw Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham gussie up. And doing nothing to solve the real problems humanity faces.

Yesterday, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other representatives visited the camps in Texas, they were mistreated and scorned by the people who employment depends on them. 

And there were actually pro-concentration camp demonstrators trying to shout them down. 

But they put out the word about the horrific conditions in these camps. They’re some of the heroes we should remember this Independence Day.

By the way, you and I are not helpless.

My wife and I donated money to Raices, an organization that provides aid to these desperate people seeking asylum in a country that used to be a beacon for it.

Here’s their website: https://www.raicestexas.org/

It won’t solve the problem instantly. But helping these folks help others is a good way to start. And it seems like a perfect way to celebrate the 4th.

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