Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Vicious Lies and Outright Thuggery in Nevada as Trump Rolls

Now we're down to it on the republican side. Vicious lies and outright thuggery are permeating a campaign that, thanks to Donald Trump, never traveled the high road to begin with.

Yesterday the Nevada caucuses were, by several reports, a nightmare of mismanagement and vile chicanery. The Trumpster won it overwhelmingly when he took in an estimated 45.9% of the ballots. Of course running up a number like that is easy to do when your unabashed supporters, many wearing Trump paraphernalia, are the ones counting the votes.

The Nevada republican hierarchy was quick to point out it wasn't against caucus rules, set by the party, not the state, for volunteers at the polling places to wear gear supporting one candidate, or another. Yes, yes, but one has to admit that those voting for, say, John Kasich might have a bit of  distrust in a system which forces them hand over their filled out voter forms to some proud Trump junkie for tabulation. There was also at least one report of 40 to 50 cast paper ballots being hidden and not counted, in addition to others of double voting. In a moment of supreme irony there appeared to be numerous locations--despite all the GOP caterwauling about voter ID laws--where absolutely no one was checking the identification of people participating in the process, or keeping records of who had actually voted. In other instances precincts ran out of ballots and voters were either turned away, or told to go to other polling places. It was so bad, a precinct in the Sierra Vista section of Reno didn't even have a site set up to receive people wanting to participate in the caucus.

While there isn't any hard evidence Brother Trump's campaign specifically sponsored this evil nonsense, there can be no doubting the amoral zeal of his followers, a few of whom have gleefully punched out opponents at Trump rallies. No matter the reality, his supporters wouldn't the be first ones during this race to play fast and loose with either party rules, or the truth.

Ted Cruz, the smarmy little Canadian, who has been constantly witnessing to his Christian faith in order to gain support from fundamentalists, has proven to be a campaigner so low Dick Nixon would have been proud. First was the, "Ben Carson is dropping out of the race before New Hampshire," rumor spread among pre caucus Iowa voters. The abject lie so enraged Dr. Carson he has stuck around, simply out of spite, long after everyone in the world, including himself, has recognized his run for the oval office is doomed. Then there was the photo shopped head of Marco Rubio, placed on the body of some unknown person shaking hands with the dreaded, Barack H. Obama. Finally a video emerged which seemingly showed Rubio disparaging the bible to Cruz's evangelical father. It was such a crude attempt at misinformation that it was exposed almost immediately and the backlash caused Cruz to fire his chief spokesperson, Rick Tyler.

Unfortunately, Cruz's evil trickery seems positively juvenile compared to what came earlier in the week. Prior to yesterday's caucus in Nevada, Trump, proving once again his concept of a president is something akin to a mafia don, took to Twitter and darkly warned republicans Marlene and Joe Ricketts--major contributors to an anti-Trump Super Pac--"The family is secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide."

Katie Packer, who heads up the PAC, claims she has received death threats and said, among other things, Trump, "...bullies and harasses."

Yeah, well, tell us something we don't know, Katie.

In the midst of all this madness is Marco Rubio, who now seems like the only person who can possibly stop Trump's roll to the nomination. He came in second in Nevada with 23.9% of the vote. The establishment republicans, the few who are left, seem to be finally coalescing around him. Unfortunately when he speaks he comes across as either an overly nervous high school sophomore participating in his first debate, or some guy who has eaten a little too much speed. Let's face it, the guy rattles on at 95 miles an hour while repeating the same phrases over and over again.

What we are seeing is an extraordinary shift in American politics. Trump says he, "heard," national unemployment is 42%  while it is actually 4.9%. He claims he knows of a poll where 25% of African Americans will support him against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Every reputable poll puts the figure at between 9 to 12%. He still insists he personally saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the terrorist attack on New York City in 2001 when there is verifiable proof it didn't happen--yet the howling fools following him believe every word he says. And it's all because they are utterly convinced the mainstream media--the very fuckers who got Trump to this point in the first place--are congenital liars.

The conspiracy theorists and racists--those loons on YouTube who claim the Newtown murders never took place and feral packs of white supremacists--are currently winning the republican nomination for president of the United States of America. They are willingly aided and abetted by an aging white electorate who is terrified of the changing demographics of the country and have a twisted fantasy of what this republic once was and should be.

Next stop is Super Tuesday and polls say Donald Trump leads in every republican primary up for grabs.

At first we wrote the gruesome bastard off as a joke, now we need to recognize him for the real danger he is.

sic vita est


Sunday, February 21, 2016

The House of Bush Falls as Severe Craziness Prevails

The fall of the House of Bush came a little over a week sooner than predicted. But, hey, that's what happens when you go all in with your campaign budget, drag your brother out of the closet for one last hurrah, and then end up finishing far closer to sixth place than first.

Well we all knew it was coming. At least now the fat cats can start funneling their cash to someone who at least has a  glimmer of hope to derail the run away train known as Donald Trump.

Given the hard right turn the GOP has taken, it is easy to say in retrospect, Jeb Bush never stood a chance. Hell, no sane person might when you take a look at what grass roots republicans believe now days. In CBS exit polls yesterday, 75% of South Carolinians, whether they voted for Don Trump, or not, said they believed in his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.

Yes, severe craziness is prevailing at the moment and Brother Trump is channeling directly into it. Earlier in the week Public Policy Polling crunched some numbers and found that 70% of Trump's supporters in South Carolina think the confederate flag should still be flying at the state capital. In fact, 38% said they wished the south had won the Civil War. In addition to 80% of them favoring that ban on Muslim immigrants, 33% said practicing the religion of Islam should be illegal in the United States, while 23% claimed they were undecided on the issue. In fact these fuckers are so nuts the poll found that 31% of Trump supporters also think gay immigrants should be stopped at the border. It was unclear if those in favor of such a law believe all gay immigrants come from the country of Homoslovakia, or not, but the odds seem pretty good they do.

Meanwhile Ted Cruz described his third place finish as, "...defying expectations." That's one way of putting it, since he got only 27% of the evangelical vote, which he depends so heavily on. It is increasingly clear that Senator Cruz can't hang with the media hog that is Donald Trump. His message, that he's a religious Trump with brains, looks to be lacking, since a candidate with any sort of brains at all seems to be the last thing republican voters care about right now.

After the nightmare in New Hampshire Marco Rubio rebounded nicely with a second place finish, although he was a full 10 points behind Trump and a mere 0.2% ahead of Cruz.

Now that Bush is gone, Trump has to be thinking the establishment will begin to seriously rally around the senator from Florida. The first sign of that came earlier today when he retweeted a supporter's assertion that Rubio might not be eligible to run for the presidency. The theory is, even though Senator Rubio was born in Miami, since neither of his parents were citizens when he emerged on the planet, he is automatically disqualified. It is an argument espoused by the likes of the constitutional scholars at the John Birch Society. In the past, at least one Birch publication has claimed, a potential president not only has to be born within the confines of the United States, but both of his, or her parents must be American citizens at the time.

Trump, as always, dodged accusations that he's dumpster diving into the Chock Full O Nuts waste bin of political science. On ABC's "This Week," besides saying he retweets a lot of things his supporters say, he claimed he was just attempting to, "...start a dialogue." He also said, "I think lawyers have to determine it (Rubio's eligibility)." The very notion Rubio might be ineligible is, of course, prima facie bullshit, but as we all are painfully aware, Donald Trump will do, or say anything to create a media buzz.

Indeed, as long as the press is talking about how weird and wild El Don is, they aren't talking about who is running against him and what they're saying. That's right baby. Keep the spotlight on me, no matter what and everyone else will remain stuck in the shadows.

Other than the South Carolina democratic primary this coming Saturday, the next stop is Super Tuesday. 14 states and American Samoa will be going to the polls on March 1st. If Rubio is to put a dent into the hysteria, ignorance, and neo-fascism of the Trump campaign he's going to have make some sort of significant move then.

If he doesn't the American republican party could well fall into the hands of a 21st century version of Adolf Hitler and the latter day Brown Shirts who so rabidly follow him.

Think not? To paraphrase Messrs. Jagger and Richards, "'s just a vote away.."

sic vita est


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Look Back at Past Outrages: The Ghosts of Carina Saunders, Alina Fitzpatrick, and Jaymie Adams Still Wait For Justice, While Luis Ruiz Settles on the Cheap

Perhaps this is the moment to step away from the rapid fire culture of fast food/internet media for a minute, or two. Indeed, sometimes it is best to look back at the progress, or lack there of, we've made regarding past outrages rather than focusing on the never ending blizzard of new ones.

In the fall of 2011 animal control officers were rummaging through a field behind a Bethany, OK Homeland Grocery Store. They were looking for feral cats. What they found was a duffel bag filled with the dismembered remains of Carina Saunders.

The nature of the crime was cinema worthy horrific and its back story was so luridly tragic that both the local and national press immediately saw its worth in terms of newspaper sales and TV ratings. For weeks they ran wild with it, while all but ignoring the brutal murders of two other local young women which occurred shortly after Ms. Saunders' body was recovered.

The suburban Bethany police force, numbering less than 40 officers and existing mainly to hand out traffic tickets and make an occasional home burglary investigation, dove straight into the Carina Saunders' case without a net. Apparently the working theory was that the sooner someone was nailed to the wall for the crime, the quicker book and movie deals could be signed and everyone would get a big, sweet, payday.

The investigation was so driven by ego and incompetence that within a month, or two the quickest way to have your name show up on the front page of the metro's daily paper, "The Oklahoman," was to become either a suspect, or confidential informant for the Bethany cops.

To no one's surprise, once their names hit the news, all those informants began changing their stories, denying they'd ever told them, or started leaving the area for parts unknown.

In the end, the police charged Jimmy Lee Massey and Luis Ruiz with Saunders' murder. The intense hubris of the cops proved costly. The evidence against the pair proved so unreliable that seven long months later not only had the Bethany police withdrawn from the investigation, but prosecutors were letting Ruiz walk out of the county lock up as free as a bird, while Massey remained there on separate charges.

A couple of days ago, The Oklahoman's Jennifer Palmer wrote that last month, Ruiz and the City of Bethany came to an out of court cash settlement over the charges and his incarceration. Ruiz had sued, claiming false arrest and imprisonment, plus malicious prosecution.

According to Palmer, Ruiz filed statements saying investigators ignored his alibi and had used, "exploitative and abusive," interview techniques to coerce Massey into not only confessing but implicating him. Ruiz also accused the police of altering reports when the local DA began questioning their investigation.

Despite all the egregious behavior, Bethany got off on the cheap. Palmer reported Ruiz, decided that his seven months spent wrongly accused and imprisoned in the county slammer, were only worth $50,000. Actually less, since it figures his attorney is going to pocket anywhere from 20 to 30% of that sum.

One can only speculate why Brother Ruiz was willing to let the city off the hook, although we might have a hint, or two. Palmer also reported that shortly after the 50 grand total was agreed to he was stopped by the OKC cops for having a busted tail light on his car. Police allege Luis Ruiz was found to be intoxicated and in possession of six grams of meth, a glass pipe, and a loaded syringe. He is currently out on bail. It isn't the first time he has run into some sort of trouble since he was sprung thanks to Bethany's legendary detective work.

Yes, when it comes to a firm offer of cash, sometimes it is best not to push your luck. Especially if it's certain your personal character and behavior will be spelled out to a jury, possibly filled with hard eyed Trump types, who, based solely on your name, don't like you to begin with.

Palmer wrote that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, who is in charge of the Saunders' murder investigation, still considers the case open and active, but refuses to comment on it.

Kelsey Bransby was found shot and dying in a south side apartment shortly after Carina Saunders' body was discovered. It turned out two of her friends were involved. They claimed the shooting was an accident and because of a drug induced panic they fled the scene. Danielle Cooley got 25 years probation, which she quickly violated, and the actual trigger man, Cole Hopper went away for nine years.

Alina Fitzpatrick's nude body was found in an empty lot in northeast OKC during November that year. As soon as the local police found out she had a large amount of meth in her system they appeared to lose all interest in finding her killer, or killers. Her death remains classified as, "suspicious," rather than a homicide, despite numerous bruises and scrapes on her body, and a gag found stuffed in her mouth.

A fourth woman, Jaymie Adams disappeared in December 2011. Her body was found in far southeast OKC a month later. After another, quite public, long and winding trail led to a dead end, a man named Joseph Cyr was finally charged with her murder. His trial has been delayed numerous times, the latest being a couple of weeks ago, when his attorney fell ill the evening after jury selection took place.

So now, nearly five years after the fact, we see local police and prosecutors are 1 for 3, with one case pending when it comes to solving capital crimes. We also find the media is 2 and 4 when it comes to covering them.

Yeah, there might not be any Professor Moriarty's in the world, but there certainly aren't any Sherlock Holmes, Jack McCoy's, or Edward R. Murrow's either.

And--as that grim reality sets in--let's get back to the selective hysteria du jour.

On to South Carolina.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Nehemiah Griego Gets to Stay With the Bad Boys

It has been a long three years for Nehemiah Griego. He has spent much of it in an Albuquerque facility known as, the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center. It is a place where the state of New Mexico sends boys who have behaved badly--really, really badly.

Nehemiah qualified for membership in the club one night in the latter part of January, 2013. That's when he took out a gun and killed his entire immediate family.

When he was apprehended, he told authorities he shot his mother, Sara because he was, "frustrated with her." Then he shot his nine year old brother, Zephania because the kid got upset over their mom's death. After he took a photo of the bodies of Sara and Zeph he confessed to police, "I lost my conscience." That, even deeper plunge into sociopathy, is what motivated him to murder his sisters, five year old Jael and two year old Angelina. He then hid out and waited for his father, Greg to get home so he could finish the terrible business. Nehemiah Griego was on the cusp of being 16 years old when he started pulling the trigger.

As usual everyone who knew the family claimed they had no clue such a nightmare could happen. Nehemiah was described as a respectful teen who told people he wanted to go into the military and later become a cop. He fancied a wardrobe of camouflage clothing and regularly attended Albuquerque's massive Calvary church, were his father had once been on the pastoral staff.

Greg Griego was a former gang banger, turned minister. He served as chaplain to the Albuquerque Fire Department and ministered to inmates in local lockups. His resume as a man of peace was a little sketchy though. The reverend also owned at least two semi-automatic rifles and an unknown number of other weapons. One, or two of them were used during the multiple murder and were intended for use in an unrealized fantasy to gun down shoppers at a local Wal-Mart.

Yes, as always, the All American family had a dark side and in this case it was a lot darker.

Yesterday Nehemiah was in court. There was testimony that before the shooting he suffered emotional abuse by his mother and physical abuse from his dad which was bad enough he may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

He had also been diagnosed as having Schizo Affective Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and, "some," learning disabilities.

However that is all in the past now. Griego's public defender pointed out his client had pleaded guilty to all charges last October, proving he was taking responsibility for his actions. Plus, the good doctors at Sequoyah say he is rehabbing mentally quite well.

So much so in fact, that, according to a supervisor at Sequoyah, young Mr. Griego, now nearly 19, "Has matured into a role model for troubled teens." A teacher described him as a, "thoughtful student," but just so everyone knows things aren't completely peachy, the same teacher said Nehemiah espouses racist views and has a deep fascination with war, Herr Hitler's Nazi party, and the concept of absolute power.

Well nobody is perfect. Besides, if we jailed all the racists who are enamored with that fascist bullshit there wouldn't be anyone left to vote for either Don Trump, or Ted Cruz.

Judge John Romero was so impressed by all the progress he ruled the defendant would be sentenced as a juvenile, rather than an adult. What that means is that in two years, a 21 year old, Nehemiah Griego will walk out of Sequoyah, a free, or at least mostly free, guy.

Yesterday, in spite of all the optimism, one shrink testified Griego should continue to be arbitrarily treated by a doctor for a minimum of two years beyond his 21st birthday.

Which, of course, begs the question--in March, 2018, will the deadly little geek actually be, "cured," or will he simply be kicked out onto the street no matter what his condition just because that is what New Mexico law dictates?

We'll certainly find out in a hurry, because if we know anything, it's as soon as he leaves the confines of the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center, Brother Griego will be able to get his hands on another gun. And, at that point, it's just a matter of whether he once again, "loses his conscience," or not.

Hey, let's face it, such dramatic moments are, The American Way. Just ask the NRA.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sanders Wins, but Does He Have Legs? Meanwhile, Trump Sails, Rubio Tanks, Christie Sinks, and Ted Cruz is a Pussy

If we learned anything last night in New Hampshire it's that Bernie Sanders fills affluent white twenty somethings with a zeal not seen in that demographic since George McGovern ran for the presidency in 1972.

Of course McGovern got beat like a gong by Dick Nixon and carried only one state, Massachusetts. As soon as that election was over, just to prove he could hold a grudge even after winning a monumental landslide, Nixon ordered the Boston Navy Yard permanently closed.

Yes, it is a cautionary tale and one which should be heeded by democrats from the east to west coasts. Idealism is a fine and wonderful thing, but all the youthful enthusiasm in the world won't win national elections. Especially when your guy is an avowed socialist and over 50% of the United States electorate is on record as saying they'll never vote for a socialist.

Indeed, all that government financed single pay health care stuff may work in Denmark and Sweden, but the last anyone saw, Youngstown, OH and Ocala, FL aren't located in Scandinavia. Not to mention that the next House of Representatives will still be riddled with tea party beasts who would prefer to see the poor and uninsurable die in the streets rather than even consider funding such a program.

But, perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves. Despite all the media hysteria New Hampshire isn't the end of the road for Hillary Rodham Clinton. There are 48 states left to cover in this marathon and Senator Sanders has yet to prove he can appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in places like South Carolina, Texas, and California where they'll go to the polls in large numbers. Unless, of course, they've already been disenfranchised by state legislatures who are working as busy as termites on meth to undo the voting rights of everyone darker than a couple of shades of pale.

That brings us to the republicans where the vulgar savagery of Donald Trump carried the day convincingly. For the first time in history a major candidate for the highest office of the land publicly called one of his chief rivals, a "pussy." The mob was so enamored with his language that a little over 35% of New Hampshire republicans went out and voted for the despicable neo-fascist.

If there was a winner on the GOP side, besides El Donald, it would have to be John Kasich, who placed second with 15.7%. The Ohio governor is the quintessential moderate--at least among the ugly crowd running for the republican nomination--who was recently endorsed by the New York Times. That might be the last good news Kasich gets in a while, because this traveling freak show now turns south and west where endorsements by publications like the Times are generally considered the kiss of death.

The candidate from Alberta, Ted Cruz quickly discovered not everyone in the party wants to jump in the nearest river in order to be saved by--not necessarily in this order--Jesus Christ and himself. He came in third with a paltry 11.7%. Cruz, being Cruz, quickly described receiving a little over one in every ten ballots cast as a moral victory.

The two big losers of the day were Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. After spending a huge amount of time and cash in New Hampshire, Christie could do no better than 6th place with 7.4%. Earlier today reports were swirling on the internet he will drop out of the race either this afternoon, or tomorrow.

Before leaving, however, Governor Christie might well have delivered what could be a fatal torpedo to the hull of the S.S. Rubio. During the republican debate Saturday night, Christie hammered the senator from Florida and Rubio's response to the attack was appallingly incompetent. In fact it was such a debacle, today, after a horrendous 5th place performance, Senator Rubio apologized to supporters for his by rote debate performance and promised them it wouldn't happen again.

Jeb Bush finished 4th, slightly ahead of Rubio and vowed to carry on--probably because he started out with more money on hand than your average NFL owner and still has plenty to burn. Well that and there is the whole family pride thing.

Finally we come to Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. Put together they got fewer votes than even Chris Christie. They are done. There is simply no other way to describe it.

So there we have it. Mrs. Clinton was thoroughly thumped, but the Sanders' campaign has yet to show whether it has legs, or is sufficiently deep and organized enough to compete in the multiple state frenzy known as Super Tuesday.

And when it comes to the GOP we are seeing what appears to be the beginnings of The Lava Lamp Effect, first witnessed four years ago. Only now it is in reverse. During the 2012 race it seemed like every couple of weeks the right wing of the party embraced a new glowing hot shot to challenge Mitt Romney. Each one would rise in the clear goo, but after a few moments sink back to the bottom. In the end, Romney withstood the different candidates du jour and won the nomination.

After his showing in Iowa the republican establishment became all giddy at the prospect of Marco Rubio making a real charge. Now, a scant week later, thanks to Rubio tanking in New Hampshire, there is John Kasich. The question is who will be next and how long can he stay afloat in the face of the Trump/Cruz madness.

If there is actually a GOP establishment left out there, they'd better coalesce around someone in a hurry. If they don't, the party that was once Lincoln's will be saddled with either an obscene racist, xenophobe, or a man so arrogant and loathsome a large portion of his republican colleagues in congress utterly despise him.

Such is the current state of American politics.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for obvious reasons, the bar is now open.

sic vita est


Monday, February 8, 2016

Ted Cruz and the Friends He Keeps

As the old saying goes, you are known by the friends you keep, or in the case of presidential politics, the people who are supporting your run for the oval office.

Today the Associated Press ran a list of the right wing yokels who think Ted Cruz would be a marvelous fit for the job. It is a frightening litany of crude and extremist cranks who anyone with a sense of morality would run away from as fast as possible. But then we're dealing with Brother Cruz, who is utterly devoid of morality, not to mention any sort of decency.

After all, he is the same guy who sent out a mass mailing to Iowa voters telling them if they didn't show up at last week's caucuses they'd be committing a, "voter violation," linked to some mythical point program. That was right before he instructed his workers to tell all the Ben Carson supporters the doctor would be dropping out of the race before New Hampshire, so a vote for him would be a total waste of time.

Now we come to New Hampshire. The Cruz campaign ran a print ad listing local legislators who fully support him. Included on the list was state representative J.R. Hoell. He told the Cruz people that while he liked their candidate's stance on gun control--or the lack thereof--that he, "...could not support him." In fact Mr. Hoell told the New York Times he would be voting for Rand Paul, because of foreign policy issues, even though the Kentucky senator has dropped out of the race. He also told the Times he had been assured an updated list of Cruz supporters, without his name on it, would be issued. Predictably, by late last night, no such update had been released by the Cruz campaign.

But, all political chicanery aside, let's get back to the rogue's gallery of supporters the evil little Canadian has embraced.

First is his national co-chairman, Iowa congressman, Steve King. In the past he has called illegal immigrants things like, drug mules, and stray livestock. Former NH GOP chair, Fergus Cullen was quoted as saying, "His rhetoric on immigration has been appalling."

Then there is the infamous rube, Phil Robertson. In a fit of unconditional love Cruz described the unabashed game poacher as, "What an extraordinary human being." He added that Robertson was a, "...a joyful, unapologetic voice of truth." Part of Robertson's truth is that African Americans were far happier when the segregationist Jim Crow laws existed than they are now. He is also known for his gay bashing and solid belief that men should marry underage girls in order to train them how to be good wives who can skillfully pluck the feathers from dead birds.

Tony Perkins is on the list. He is the head of the Family Research Center, an outfit so virulently opposed to gays that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled it as a hate group. Mr. Perkins is also the former employer of Josh Duggar. He is the Arkansas yahoo and reality TV personality who spent much of his teens molesting underage girls, including a couple of his sisters. That's not to mention running amok with any number of hookers while he was on the road for the organization.

The founder of The International House of Prayer, Mike Bickle is all in for Teddy C. Bickle believes the apocalypse is right around the corner not only because of gay marriage, but Oprah Winfrey. He claims her tolerance of gays and her popularity is a sure sign of the end of times. He also thinks Adolf Hitler is simply misunderstood and was nothing more than a righteous hunter of Jews.

That whole Jew hunter thing is a view shared by Reverend James Hagee, another Cruz supporter. On a different subject he once exhorted his congregation to get out there and drive their cars as much as possible because the trees of the world needed carbon monoxide in order to grow and flourish. He didn't miss a beat that day, even as his audience grew a tad uncomfortable, because most of them knew trees don't need, or want carbon monoxide, but instead, carbon dioxide.

Whether any of this makes a difference tomorrow in New Hampshire is up in the air. That's because, Cruz--while willing to accept the support of the Chock Full o Nuts wing--is battling an uphill battle against a man even more demented than guys like, King and Robertson. His name would be, Donald Trump. And right now he leads in all the polls.

Let's face it, New Hampshire republicans are sometimes capable of going completely off their nut. So much so, that in 1996 the notorious anti-Semite and Nazi apologist, Pat Buchanan won the primary with 27.26% of the vote. Indeed, there are moments when the Granite State isn't a place for moderation, or sanity.

In truth we saw this madness coming four years ago. The well financed, establishment candidate, Mitt Romney couldn't shake challenge after challenge from the far right wing of his party. It led to a protracted and expensive primary campaign, which cost Romney not only boat loads of cash, but any sort of momentum going into the national election.

Now, thanks to an anemic and sometimes corrupt slate of establishment hopefuls, the lunatics are running the asylum. The far right, pot bellied, white part of America--those creatures of guns and xenophobia--are, at the moment, determining the candidate who will represent what was once the party of Lincoln.

It's a reality that would make Ol' Abe shudder. As it should all of us.

sic vita est


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Iowa is Over and the Game is Afoot: What Did We Learn?

So, as Holmes used to say, the game is afoot.

The republicans came out in record numbers last night up in the land of corn and hogs. It's a statistic both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders need to be wary off. You can say many things about Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, but you'll have to admit they both know how to whip the hoi polloi up into a blood thirsty frenzy and drive them into the process.

So what did we learn from the whole, overpriced, affair? First off we know Mike Huckabee finally came to his senses and dropped out. He did so after garnering 1.8% of the vote. That slim number meant he ended up with no delegates to the national convention from a state he won eight years ago with 34.4%.

Others taking it on the chin in Iowa, unlike ol' Huck, have yet to throw in the towel. The reasons mostly revolve around available reserves of cash and the scale of their political organizations working as busy as beavers in places like New Hampshire. Although in the case of Rick Santorum there is a distinct possibility hallucinogenics are involved.

Jeb Bush and Rand Paul each pulled in one delegate apiece, leaving them both only 1,190 short of the number needed to win the nomination. The ever crafty Paul has a backup plan though. Besides running for the GOP presidential nomination, he's also a candidate for re-election to the U.S. senate in Kentucky. In other words he's running two separate races at once. Which, of course, begs the question, how much more time and energy will he waste on what increasingly seems like a hopeless quest for the White House instead of concentrating on retaining his day job?

Bush, on the other hand, seems lost in denial, or at least a dense fog of disbelief. The pedigree is there, as well as an extensive network of establishment contacts. In addition, from day one, he's had his hands on hundreds of millions of dollars. When he declared he was running you could almost hear a collective groan coming from the rest of the field. And now, at least so far, Bush III has proved himself to be the best financed and well connected dud in the history of republican presidential primaries. The guess here is, thanks to money and hubris, he'll hang on until the day after Super Tuesday, then withdraw after a heart felt thanks to family and friends.

Then we come to the case of Dr. Ben Carson. He won 9.3% of the vote. Previously, as his poll numbers sank, he told the media that after the Iowa caucuses he'd take a couple of days off down in Florida before attending a prayer meeting in Washington.

God bless the naive.

The Cruz campaign seized on the statement, fanned out over the Iowa landscape yesterday, and told everyone who would listen that a vote for Carson was a waste of time because he was dropping out of the race before the New Hampshire primary.

Today, Carson is screaming foul, because according to him, he has every intention of heading to New Hampshire after his three days off from politicking. He was quoted as saying, "For months my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters of it."

Cruz's communications director, no doubt a lawyer, claimed it wasn't a dirty trick at all  Rick Tyler said the vile little Canadian's organization was led to believe the good doctor was dropping out before next Tuesday, because of his earlier public statement to the press. That's right, it was all in good faith because they just assumed Carson was quitting.

All of which brings us to Cruz, who punched the seemingly run away train known as Donald Trump squarely in the nose by scoring a three point plus victory. His big night also gave us a glimpse of what we should expect from him in the future. Not only did his people tell everyone Carson was dropping out, but last week the campaign sent out a mass mailing with an official looking letter head. It instructed Iowans that if they didn't participate in the caucuses there would be exquisitely vague legal ramifications involving some mythical point system which no one on earth, not to mention the United States, has ever heard of.

After the smoke settled, the big story of the night wasn't that all the Trump hysteria didn't translate into the landslide he and the national media believed it would. No, it was the abject inaccuracy of the pre caucus polls. Prior to yesterday, Florida Senator, Marco Rubio's best showing in surveys of Iowa voters was 15%. Last night he pulled in 23.1%. In fact he was closer to Trump's total than Trump was to Cruz.

Yes, the herd is being culled and many will fall to the side of the trail in the next few weeks. In the mean time--right now--it's too early to tell if Rubio is simply a loser who will find himself permanently stuck in third place, or if the GOP establishment will abandon Bush and the rest and coalesce around him in the face of the brute, yet vacuous, evil of Cruz and the overt and equally vacuous fascism of Trump.

Next up is New Hampshire, then South Carolina and Nevada. If, Donald Trump can't win in at least two of those states his fifteen minutes of fame will be rushing pell-mell to a close.

And that--in the end--is what we finally learned from Iowa last night. You can bet on it.