Friday, December 20, 2019

BootEdgeEdge gets speed-bagged

Triple-teamed in the wine cave.

Pummeled like a piñata.

(you can make this video full-screen)

The very best of these scrums was pulled off by PBS and the Politico dude with the bad haircut, and while the mods weren't great -- Bernie Sanders schooled Amna Nawaz in intersectionality -- they were head-and-shoulders better than the morons at CNN and the neoliberal clown show that MSNBC has so far managed.

Seven debaters onstage is the right number.  It enables the lower-tier, i.e. Klobuchar, Yang, Steyer, to have time to make points and be heard.  Those first two capitalized; the billionaire didn't.

Amy Minnesota Nice had a very good night, but when she mentioned Trump's awful judicial appointments in the third hour, I was reminded that ...

And if Biden wins a debate because he's "lucid", Dishrag help us all.

Did anyone notice that in the final question, the women asked for forgiveness while men used the opportunity to shill their books? (Not all men, yes yes, but, you know, three.)

Yes, I noticed.  And I strongly approved of Warren's suggestion to boycott (a revealingly gendered word) the question.

DK's Marrissa Higgins rounded up nearly every Tweet response from the seven candidates to questions posed last night.  Alternet's Cody Fenwick via Raw Story has the seven best moments.  CNN's Chris Cillizza gets everything wrong.  Vox's aggregate of analysts got the losers right and the winners wrong.  It makes you wonder if they were even watching the same channel.

There were no questions about Jeremy Corbyn/"soshulizm"/last week's UK election and whatever ramifications it may portend for ours in 2020.  I haven't collected these hundred or so links for nothin', so I'll get around to that eventually.  Hopefully before the year is out.

As for the next debate ...

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The 2020 Update, Part 3: #DemDebate6

I have run out of time for an assembly of opinions on the ramifications of Labour/JeremyCorbyn's shellacking last Friday on the state of play for Bernard and Elizabeth.  I expect a question on the matter this evening, so I'll work that into tomorrow's postgame analysis.

We have one billionaire debating tonight and one not, as you may have noticed if your teevee has been on recently.

Michael Bloomberg has reportedly dropped more than $8 billion total on philanthropy throughout his life, and hundreds of millions more on key influence points around the Democratic Party.

The Washington Post reports that the billionaire and former New York City mayor has spent massive chunks of his approximately $55 billion net worth on groups that shape Democratic politics, even long before he entered the race for president and gave more than $600,000 to the party in recent weeks.

The Post notes that Bloomberg's status as a top donor to interest groups like Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the League of Conservation Voters, in addition to his massive donations to other political committees and key lawmakers, underscore his deep-rooted connections to those who decide the Democratic nomination he has entered the running for.

In just 2017 and 2018, the Post reported that Bloomberg's family foundation spent more than $900 million on causes like environmental groups and Planned Parenthood.

Bloomberg also targeted donations to counter-act groups that are popular among conservatives, including the National Rifle Association. The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Action Fund drew about $63 million in 2017, with Bloomberg as the largest donor of an undisclosed amount, according to the Post.

Bloomberg's spending has already made headlines in the race to 2020, as he dropped $30 million in November on a series of 60-second ads that will run next week in at least 29 states, according to The New York Times.

The massive funds stand in stark contrast to the first ad for his campaign, which was released when he announced his run on November 24. In it, Bloomberg is painted as a champion of working Americans and the middle class, emphasizing how different he is from Trump, a fellow New York business magnate.

The Post reported that Bloomberg has taken to addressing the outward similarities between he and Trump and not being shy to reference his wealth.

"I realize some people will say, 'Do we really want a general election between two New York billionaires?' To which I say, 'Who's the other one?" Bloomberg joked an address to members of the Texas Democratic Party, according to the Post. "If ever there was someone who is all hat and no cattle, it is Donald Trump."

Bloomey hasn't just bankrolled causes; he's bailing out the party, at the state level as well as nationally.  He's dropped wads on minority voter registration efforts in five states already, including Texas.  Now that's a big deal for anybody who's been around these parts long enough to remember when those herding the Donkeys in Austin were forced to beg for donations just to keep the lights on in the offices.  I'm so old I can recall when Fred Baron and Steve Mostyn -- Jeebus rest their souls -- were being counted on to save Lone Star Democrats from bankruptcy.

And Bloomer's strategy with his massive ad buys and no individual contributors lets he, alone, shape his message, pick up the earned media (all the chattering class ever wants to do is talk about fundraising), and avoid having to answer sticky questions in the debates, like why did you become a Democrat just last year, and what about stop-and-frisk and your women problem and your journalism censoring and such.

His largesse has collected him support from Texas armadillos like Gilberto Hinojosa and Dallas County DP Chair Carol Donovan.  Most everyone understands that Bloomberg is in because Joe Biden has one foot in the assisted living facility and the other foot on a banana peel.

Tom Steyer, speaking tonight -- and rumored to be targeting the front-runners who have no "bidness experience" -- doesn't have Bloomboy's bucks nor his political background.  Still somewhat the same challenges as Moneybags Mike, though.

Tom Steyer has self-funded $83.6 million so far on advertising for his campaign. Such spending has allowed Steyer to squeak his way into Thursday’s debate by achieving the national polling threshold mandated by the DNC.

Steyer’s policies, however, have clearly not resonated with Americans enough, as he’s also found himself stuck at 4 per cent.

And it's a four-person race, with some suggesting it's about to be two.  Biden's Palmetto State firewall is cracking, and if he's seeping African American support there ... well, that's why Buttigieg and Klobuchar and the billionaires are hanging around.

I'll skip Yang and Tulsi and whoever is left, onstage and off.  I don't believe I've ever included the thoughts of the WaPo's Jennifer Rubin in this blog, so here's a first.

And there's more.

This is blind-hog-finds-masting-of-acorns stuff.  Conservatives are starting to get it; Donkey centrists are as usual slow on the uptake.

Conservative commentator Johnny Burtka argued Tuesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders is best equipped to take on President Trump on the debate stage.

“Bernie clearly has the pugnacity,” Burtka, executive director for The American Conservative magazine, told Hill.TV. “He’s the only one that I think could ultimately take on Donald Trump on the debate stage.”

Maybe the Bernie Blackout has ended.

2. Bernie Sanders: Don't call it a comeback! Actually, do. Because the Vermont senator, who was sidelined earlier this fall by a heart attack, has emerged from that health scare with a new momentum -- especially among liberals. Sanders' poll numbers are up both nationally and in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Plus: Sanders ended September with more than $30 million left to spend on the race, meaning he is going to be in this race for a long time. (Previous ranking: 4)

Watching and Tweeting tonight, and blogging the aftermath tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The 2020 Update, Part 2

Let me finish up with Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg before moving on.

To paraphrase Obama, don't bother hoping; "nothing would fundamentally change" for the fossil fuel companies or climate change if Biden stumbles into the White House.

Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, the Biden campaign’s national co-chair, has one of the most pro-oil and gas industry voting records among all congressional Democrats.

Despite representing a low-lying Louisiana district that could be one of the areas in the U.S. most immediately impacted by climate change, Richmond has voted reliably in favor of expanding production and exports of natural gas and oil. [...] In 2015, Richmond was one of 28 House Democrats to vote in favor of approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. Last year, he voted in favor of a bill from Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) that would undermine the environmental review process for natural gas pipelines by stating that all pipelines that transport 0.14 billion cubic feet per day or less should be immediately approved.

Richmond, a member of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, has voted in favor of many Republican bills opposed by environmentalists over the years, including Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-Okla.) bill to exempt cross-border pipelines from environmental review, Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) bill to reverse the crude oil export ban, Rep. Doc Hastings’ (R-Wash.) bill to expand offshore drilling, and Rep. David McKinley’s (R-W.V.) bill to block the Environment Protection Agency from regulating the disposal of toxic coal ash.

In 2011, Richmond signed a letter from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to expedite approval of the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, a project of Cheniere Energy, the natural gas company where Heather Zichal -- Biden's climate adviser -- would become a board member.

Sad Old Joe's "No Malarkey" Iowa bus tour was in fact full of more malarkey than could be measured with modern technology, most of it spewing from Biden's own piehole.  Thankfully he kept reminding those present they could vote for someone else.

And it looks as if #WineCavePete may have shifted his demographic strategy to a lighter shade of brownBuena suerte, pal.

Still to come in Part 3: Bernie, Bloomberg, and the rest ahead of tomorrow night's showdown. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Weekly 2020 Update, Part 1: #DemDebate, Buttigieg, and Biden

An exceptionally long update this week, and scheduled for last Friday, gets split up with so much to cover and so many late-breaking developments.

There is to be a debate this Thursday, with just these on stage.

Tulsi Gabbard decided she wasn't going to play even before the checkered flag came down.  (You might remember that she threatened to do this before the last debate, then changed her mind.)  Cory Booker joins her, and Julián Castro, on the sidelines.  Andrew Yang's last-minute qualification only slightly ameliorated the #DebatesSoWhite issue.

Cory Booker asked his fellow contenders to sign a letter requesting the Democratic National Committee to make its debate qualification rules less exclusionary, BuzzFeed News reported.

“All seven participants in next week’s debate, as well as Julián Castro, who also has not qualified, have signed the letter.”

But Politico notes the DNC is pushing back.

The debate -- or its location, at least -- is up in the air, though, because the debaters will respect striking food service employees.

All seven of the Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for next week’s debate at Loyola Marymount University in California have said they refuse to cross the picket line resulting from a culinary worker strike at the university. [...] This puts the Democratic National Committee in the tough position. Sodexo, the company that employs the campus’ culinary workers, is in negotiations with the union that represents them, Unite Here Local 11.

“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” the union said in a statement. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”

The DNC, through spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa, said on Friday that its chairman Tom Perez “would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either,” adding that the DNC is “working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution.”

Assuming the debate happens ... those relegated to watching the festivities with the rest of us have been fireworks-starters in past debates, so who could initiate the sparring?  We might look to the escalating feud between Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg for a flashpoint.

#WallStreetPete has really caught the heat lately for his McKinsey ties, what they are revealing about his work there, his smirky, dodgy responses about being the big corporate donor/bundler money magnet in the race, and more.  A sampling of recent Tweets:

That was a brief snark break.

This was BootEdgeEdge's week, all week.

Can you stand some more, Pete stans?   Can he stand some more?

Just a couple more living horses to beat here.

#MerlotWithTheMayo #PinotWithPete #SauvignonBlancAndWhiteBread #DontSpareTheDough


Everybody understands that Buttigieg and his 6% polling is hanging around in this race because of Joe Biden's pending psychological breakdown.

Yes, even sitting Republicans are trying to convince Joe -- and Pete -- that post-election partisanship is a pipe dream.  "Pie in the sky", I believe some would say.

Oh well.  There are many who are encouraged by the outcome of last Friday's UK elections with respect to centrism's chances next year.  Or maybe it's leftism's chances.

To be continued in Part 2.