Category: politics

Bernie’s Chances

Is it possible for Elephants to do something sensible? I guess eventually, when they remember to. Over this past week, two Republicans came to their senses and did the sensible thing. They dropped out. So long, Ted Cruz and John Kasich! See ya in three years.

This leaves just one contender fighting an uphill battle for a nomination, and that is Bernie Sanders on the Donkey side. Is this man insane, or does he have a reasonable chance to beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination? He thinks so, and says he’s aiming for a contested convention, where he will win over unpledged delegates (super delegates), and become the Democratic Party’s standard bearer.

Let’s crunch the numbers, to see if Bernie is in his right mind.

There will be 4,765 total delegates at the Democratic National Convention this July. Of these, 4,051 will be pledged delegates. This means they will be bound by rules to vote for whomever they were assigned to vote for, after their state primary or caucus. At least in the first round of voting.

2,383 delegates are needed for nomination. After Bernie’s victory in Indiana on May 3rd, he had 1,414 pledged delegates, and 41 unpledged delegates. Hillary had 1,704 pledged delegates, and 498 unpledged delegates. It seems a lot more unpledged delegates support Hillary than Bernie. But Bernie vows to change that.

Bernie currently needs 928 more delegates to secure the nomination. There are 1,108 delegates remaining, so that means he needs 84% of these remaining delegates to beat Hillary. If he wants to beat Hillary with pledged delegates only, then he needs 969 more pledged delegates. However, there are only 933 pledged delegates remaining. Therefore it’s impossible for Bernie to win the nomination in this manner. This explains why he says he’s going to make a play for the super delegates at the convention.

It seems to me that if Bernie is going to have any chance of winning over the super delegates at the convention, he has to enter the convention with more pledged delegates than Hillary. This seems possible. Hillary currently has 1,704 pledged delegates, which is only 290 more than Bernie. In fact, Hillary would have to win 73% of the remaining pledged delegates before she can secure the nomination with no help from super delegates. It’s highly unlikely she will do this.

Super delegates can change their minds at any time. So the super delegates Hillary currently has can jump ship for Bernie if they decide that is more politically expedient. And they probably would if Bernie entered the convention with more pledged delegates than Hillary. Bernie could then make the case that the majority of Democrats favored him, and not his opponent. Super delegates would have a hard time justifying their votes for Hillary.

If Bernie is to overtake Hillary in pledged delegates before the convention, he will need to win 66% of the remaining available pledged delegates. That is a very steep hill to climb. Not impossible, and if Bernie is the little engine that could, who knows, perhaps he’ll make it. But first he has to win over California. California has 475 delegates to divvy up. It’s the big enchilada. And recent polling shows Hillary with a double-digit lead over Bernie in the Golden State.

Bernie’s challenge is to not only close that double-digit lead over Hillary by June 7th (California’s Primary day), but to also take a strong lead. I mean a VERY strong lead. To the tune of about 66% to 33%.

California may have to fall into the ocean, for Bernie to win.

California may have to fall into the ocean, for Bernie to win.

Under what scenario could this happen? Here’s a few that come to my mind: Hillary gets indicted for reckless e-mailing. Hillary divorces Bill and becomes engaged to Donald Trump (after he, of course, divorces Melania). Hillary announces that she still supports Barry Goldwater. Hillary’s birth certificate reveals she was born in Kenya. Hillary proclaims that California is full of a bunch of commie hippies, and expresses a desire for it to fall into the ocean after the next earthquake. Or, California actually does fall into the ocean, while Bernie wins big in all the other states.

In other words, this is mostly Hillary’s football to fumble. Can Bernie still beat her? Sure he can. Will he? Don’t sell your bank stocks short on it.

My bet is on Hillary.

Holiday of Insults

The leader of the country of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is getting his panties all up in a wad over people insulting him. I guess there’s a law in Turkey that forbids insulting its president. It seems this law was not strictly enforced until President Erdogan came along; but since his tenure in office, he has charged nearly two thousand Turkish citizens for perceived insults against him.

But he hasn’t stopped with his own citizens. Now this redoubtable president is going after the people of western Europe, who apparently are also picking on him. German comedian Jan Bohmermann recited a satirical poem about this very sensitive Turkish leader, on German TV. This poem suggested that he abuses women, watches child pornography, and even engages in bestiality. Oh my!

The inflamed president of Turkey whined to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, begging her to do something. And she has taken his side and approved the prosecution of Bohmermann.

Apparently, Germany and many other western European countries have antiquated laws on their books which prohibit insulting foreign heads of state. If convicted, Bohmermann could actually serve jail time for his funny little poem.

This seems to have encouraged the Turkish boor, who has now shifted his attention to the Netherlands. He’s now making an uproar over some Dutch cartoons which seem to insult him. And he’s sent an email to Turkish organizations in the Netherlands, asking Turks living there to immediately report to him any insults the Dutch people make against him.

This is not going over well in Europe. Both the Germans and the Dutch are outraged. But can you imagine how this would be perceived if President Erdogan turned his attention to America? This is the land of the First Amendment, baby! And we treasure our First Amendment rights almost as fanatically as our Second Amendment rights.

In the U.S.A., politicians must develop a very thick skin. Any pol who complains about being insulted runs the risk of being laughed down and branded a cry-baby. We Americans have the Constitutional right to insult any leader we want, whether foreign or domestic. And we do.

And the most beautiful thing about our country is that we can insult any political leader without fearing the heavy heel of authority coming down to crush our necks.

We've been insulting our leaders for many years. This cartoon portrays Abe Lincoln as a monkey.

We’ve been insulting our leaders for many years. This cartoon portrays Abe Lincoln as a monkey.

I don’t like to insult people. But I do like having the right to do so, without fear of jail time. Wouldn’t it be nice if citizens of other countries had the same right? So I propose a special national holiday dedicated to telling jokes about world leaders. This will send a message to the world that its possible to have a thriving country, where people can stand up to bullies in positions of authority without fear of reprisal.

And with that in mind, here are some insults I’ve reserved for President Erdogan:

Mr. President, I understand you like to lick the balls of a dog. But when you tire of that, you lick its asshole. You also eat dogshit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I won’t insult your wife, President Erdogan. She’s taken enough beatings from you. Besides, she can’t help that she was born your sister. Your mother is to blame for that. Well, at least she gets half the blame. You must shoulder the other half.

So, President Erdogan, you like to wank off to child pornography, eh? Or do you fuck your dog while watching it? Are you into threesomes? Like, I mean, you with a dog and a pig?

I was stationed in Turkey for over a year, while in the military. This gave me occasion to learn a few of their insults in their native tongue. So if you’ll pardon my phonetic spelling, here are some more insults for President Erdogan, in the language he understands:

Babasan suckola suchdem. (I shit on your father’s beard.)
Sikdirge, eshekolu eshek! (Fuck you, you jackass and son of a jackass!)
Gobble-gobble-gobble! (Now I’m really talking Turkey.)

I feel so much better, getting that out of my system. It’s a sort of lighter-than-air sensation of liberation and power.

It’s nice to be an American.

Drink Your Water and Eat Your Brockovich

Who would dare drink this?

Who would dare drink this?

Erin Brockovich crusaded for safe water, and now she’s being shoved down our throats. In 1993 she sued Pacific Gas & Electric for polluting the water in the town of Hinkley, California, with Chromium 6. There’s a good movie about her exploits, starring Julia Roberts. Let’s see, what the heck was the name of that movie? Oh yes, Erin Brockovich. Julia Roberts played Erin, and won an Oscar for Best Actress.

The lawsuit and the movie brought awareness to the danger of Chromium 6. Chromium 6 has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats when they consume it in astronomical quantities.

Oh God, here’s some technical shit coming your way. I’ll try to keep it simple: The town of Hinkley had over 500 parts per billion (ppb) of Chromium 6 in their tap water. The federal standard is no more than 100 ppb. This is also the standard for most states.

But after Erin Brockovich, the state of California reduced the allowable amount to 50 ppb. And then about two years ago we reduced it again, all the way down to 10 ppb. We’ve gotten very paranoid about Chromium 6, thanks to good ol’ Erin.

Our neighboring town couldn’t quite meet the new standard. Just a bit too much chrome in their well water. So now they have to spend over a million dollars to tap into a pipeline that imports water from northern California. Apparently, northern California has much less chrome in its water than the south.

The Westside Elementary school in Thermal, California has relied upon it’s own well water for many years. But recent tests indicate their Chromium 6 level has risen from 10 ppb to 13 ppb. The alarm has been sounded. They must scramble to protect the school children from this health menace, so they are now going to spend a million dollars to tie into the local water district’s water supply.

Meanwhile, the kids aren’t allowed to drink that tainted, 13 ppb well water. Instead, they are being given bottled water. But the FDA standard for bottled water is 50 ppb for Chromium 6. It appears these children will be exposed to potentially higher levels of Chromium 6, in order to “protect” them from the lower levels, which are higher than is allowed from well water.

That’s just crazy bureaucracy for you. But I want to thank Erin Brockovich for making California one of the most anomalous tourist destinations in the world. When you come out here on vacation, be warned. Don’t drink the bottled water. The tap is your safest bet. Unless you attend Westside Elementary school.

Brownshirts

A petition has been signed by more than 33,000 people, demanding that guns be allowed into the Republican National Convention this summer in Ohio. Donald Trump is considering whether or not to support it.

Perhaps it’s time to remember a lesson from Adolf Hitler.

Hitler and Hermann Goring at a Nazi rally in 1928. That's a Brownshirt on the right.

Hitler and Hermann Goring at a Nazi rally in 1928. That’s a Brownshirt on the right.

Hitler could attribute much of his rise in power to a paramilitary organization called the Nazi SA. SA members were often called Brownshirts. The Brownshirts initially provided protection at Nazi rallies. They were kind of like security guards, only much meaner. They wouldn’t just 86 you. They would kill you.

Shortly after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he called the German Reichstag into a special session to consider passing the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act would give Hitler dictatorial powers. Hitler made sure his gun-toting Brownshirts were present at this session, to threaten and intimidate members of the Reichstag. It worked. The Enabling Act passed overwhelmingly.

Today, there’s a campaign underway by GOP leaders to stop Donald Trump at the convention. If they can keep him from getting enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, then they can propose an alternative candidate for nomination on the second and subsequent ballots. Donald Trump has implicitly threatened riots if this should occur.

Suppose that convention hall was filled with gun-toting Trump supporters? Who would try to stop Trump then? And if Trump won the nomination under that kind of circumstance, perhaps he’d feel obligated to all those gun-toters. Who knows, maybe he’d be in favor of organizing them into some sort of security force.

When I consider the lengths some second amendment supporters are willing to go, I feel a frisson of fear. I love living in a free and democratic country. I want them to back down on this issue.

If the first amendment has the limitation of not allowing us to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, then why can’t the second amendment have the limitation of not allowing us to bring firearms to a crowded political venue?

People often speak forcefully and without compromise in support of the second amendment. When they do, I sometimes wonder just who or what they might be enabling.

I Am Really Really Excited

I just want to express how excited I am about the ongoing presidential campaigns. I really really like it. It is so much fun. I really really like to watch a speech. I don’t much like listening, but I really really like to watch. I don’t care who wins. I just want someone to win. That is very exciting. Whenever someone wins. I am always very disappointed when no one wins. But I am really really excited when everyone wins. I like to follow the issues. I don’t care what the issues are about, but isn’t it so much fun that we have issues? I like that people wave their arms a lot and shout things. That is really really fun to watch. I don’t like to watch Meet the Press. That is really really boring. I can’t wait to vote. I look forward to the feel of the ballot in my hands. The paper is really really thick and it smells good. I get very excited when I hold a pen in my hand and draw a line that connects an arrow together. That is really really cool. I like it so much that I always connect all the arrows together. Every single arrow. I have so much fun. Then I mail it in and then I don’t know what happens to it after that. Someone told me that all my arrows get counted. That is really really exciting. I was told that I could vote again on election day. But they wouldn’t let me in when I showed up and stood in line. I was really really bummed. I really really wanted to connect more arrows. I am not very educated well. But one of the presidential candidates said that he loves the poorly educated. I really really hope I can connect his arrow, too.

(This guest post was dictated to me by one of my neighbors, Joe Hoogeveen, who told me he really really wants a blog of his own.)

Three Issues

"Taco Robbery" by Charles Russell

“Taco Robbery” by Charles Russell

There are three issues that matter to me in this election: Tacos, Internet Freedom, and Naps.

My favorite meal is tacos, and I want a president who will keep this delicious menu item popular and inexpensive. So I must be certain that as commander-in-chief, he/she will keep us out of war with Mexico.

I love the internet. But occasionally I accidentally Google something that brings up photos of nice young ladies who happen to have few if any clothes on. I really enjoy these mistakes, but I only ogle at these Googles for a few seconds before I quickly fix my search query. No, I wouldn’t abuse my internet privileges by slobbering over these images for hours upon end. Not me. Just the same, it always comes as a pleasant surprise whenever I make such Googling errors. I want a president who understands this, and who will not censor the internet.

Nothing feels better than a midday nap. Especially at work. But I’m retired now, so I get double the pleasure from my naps, because I don’t have to sleep with one eye open. Television is a great soporific. I like to turn on the boob tube, prop myself up in bed, and then drift off to dreamland under the quiet hum of my favorite TV show. I want a president who will keep us out of crises, so I won’t have my naps constantly disturbed by the clamant blare of breaking news.

Donald Drumpf (aka Trump) would be bad for tacos. He’s sure to get us into a war with Mexico, and then patriotic war hawks would call for a boycott on tacos. Just like they did with French fries after France criticized us for invading Iraq. Every Del Taco in our country would be forced to close. But the Donald wouldn’t censor the internet. He always says he LOVES women. As for naps, I’d never get one again with all the trouble he’d stir up in this world. So Donald, you would only be good for one issue. Thus, I give you only 1 point, in my scoring system for choosing who to vote for.

Cruz and Rubio would protect tacos. They’re Hispanic, so I’m sure they’d do their very best to preserve this fine form of tortilla-sandwich dining. But Cruz is evangelical, and Rubio is part of the Republican establishment. Both groups have a history of Comstockery, so they’ll censor the internet. Thus, no more skin for dirty old men. As for naps, I think I’d get a lot of them under their leadership. They are both boring as hell. So I give them 2 points each.

Hillary would be great for tacos. She appeals to Hispanics, and has even hinted she may choose a Hispanic running-mate. Democrats never censor the internet, so my Googling errors would be safe under her tutelage. And I’ve found it very easy to take a nap in the middle of her speeches. Hillary’s a 3 in my book.

But what about Bernie? Well, he’s from Vermont. I’ve been to Vermont. Do you know how hard it is to find a taco in Vermont? So Bernie-from-Vermont probably knows nothing about tacos. This lack of range in his qualifications costs him a point in my book. He wouldn’t censor the internet, but he has called for revolution. A revolution means lots of breaking news. No naps under Bernie. Bernie gets just 1 point.

And so the winner is, Hillary Rodham Clinton. There, I’ve made my decision. Now it’s time for a taco and nap. But not before I do a little internet browsing.

Hillary’s Generic Grandiloquent Speech to Wall Street

The initial rough draft of Hillary's speech

The initial rough draft of Hillary’s speech

Bernie Sanders points out that Hillary Clinton has made $200,000 a pop for delivering speeches to Wall Street. He implies that these speaking fees are nothing more than bribes from Wall Street executives, so that she will do their bidding once she becomes President, and he’s challenged Hillary to release transcripts of these speeches.

But it seems Hillary will not be releasing these transcripts. But don’t worry. I managed to bribe a disaffected Wall Street employee, who works in a mail room, and he has provided me with the very transcript that Bernie has been asking for.

And yes I use the singular, “transcript,” because as it turns out our former Secretary of State was lazily giving the same generic speech over and over again. C’mon Madam Secretary, for 200 thousand mazumas you couldn’t write a fresh new speech each time? But that’s how it is. There’s only one transcript. However I must admit, it’s a grandiloquent stemwinder. Here it is, because I want to share it with you so I can become rich and famous in the interests of the greater public good:

HILLARY’S GENERIC GRANDILOQUENT SPEECH TO WALL STREET (final draft)

For scores and several hundred years, ya know, our mothers and fathers brought forth on this continent new corporations, conceived in profit, and dedicated to the proposition that I’m gonna get 200 large for a speech, any speech, even if it’s one I lift from Abe Lincoln.

Now we are engaged in a great business transaction, testing whether any big corporation can long endure paying this much money for a speech. We are met at a great auditorium of one of these corporations. We have come to dedicate a portion of that corporation’s profit, as a final resting place in my purse. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this vast sum of money. The brave employees, still working and laid-off, who struggled at this corporation for a fraction of what I’m getting for this piddly speech, have consecrated this money, far above my power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember this speech–unless Bernie Sanders insists on a transcript–but it can never forget what I’m being paid. It is for $200,000, to be directly deposited to my bank account, which the employees who have worked here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is for me, to be here dedicated this great sum of money—that from these honored employees I have increased devotion to that cause for which their bosses gave the last full measure of payment—that we here highly resolve that these employees shall not have worked in vain—that this corporation, under my Presidency, shall have a new birth of profits—and that corporations of the stockholders, by the stockholders, for the stockholders, shall not perish from the earth.