One Word, Bernie: Strategy
Like I’ve been saying all along (from The New Republic):
[Bernie has to concentrate] …on lobbying for progressive policies and promoting and financing progressive candidates—and making establishment Democrats fear the price of opposing both.
That’s right — make the party fear bucking you, B. The fact that you can draw tens of thousands to arenas doesn’t faze the veteran ward heelers. They know that sheer numbers of rah-rah-ing cheerleaders don’t translate to political power. Bring your fund-raising successes and voter-turnout numbers to the table every time you negotiate with your party sisteren and brethren. That’s how the Right Wing took over the Republican Party and that’s how you have to do it.
Bernie’s victory is going to come after this election cycle if he and the rest of the Dems play their cards right. In fact, that victory would be a hell of a lot more important and effective than Bernie winning the 2016 Dem nomination.
Post-Mothers Day Pallaver
Jill Stein is a perennial candidate for offices like president of the United States, governor of her home state of Mass., and lesser electoral prizes, representing the Green Party, and generally garnering a grand total of a handful of votes.
She’s disgusted with Hillary, just like the slightly less Left-ward of this nation who’ve gravitated to Bernie. As such, Stein Sunday tweet-upbraided Hill for being less than an ideal mother:
I agree w/ Hillary, it’s time to elect a woman for President. But I want that President to reflect the value of being a mother.
The quote, at first glance, might indicate Stein thinks Hill is dismissive of mothers, the way many (Most? All?) on the Right think feminists hate motherhood and kids. Thus far, it’s impossible to say what Stein is getting at. Does she think Hill abandoned, abused, or or fed sugar- and preservative-laden Lucky Charms to Chelsea on a daily basis when the Clinton Princess was a mere cherub?
Perhaps. It’s not unheard of for the Left to come around and meet the Right in the backyard on certain points, for instance, the two sides’ mutual detestation of Big Pharma and other bugbears. But Alexandra Brodsky on Feministing has raked Stein over the coals for another reason. Brodsky has it that Stein’s calling for Clinton to be more of a mythologically ideal mother, a nurturing, all-caring, gentle, selfless soul who’d never, ever, ever call for anything that would harm a flea or a child, even if it was Donald Trump’s.
In a successive tweet, Brodsky adds, Stein insists mothers are “healers.”
Now this is all well and good platitude-mongering on Mother’s Day, when everybody’s Ma is the finest example of the human species ever born and they say so, aggressively, through greeting cards and on social media. Then it’s back to the old grind of fighting like mad dogs on the Monday after, which is a more comforting and familiar state of affairs.
Mom’s are healers, sure. They’ll give up their lives just for you, trophy child. And if one — a real one — were president, all our great land’s citizens would have food, health care, a home, an education, clean drinking water, peace, and all the hot chocolate they could ever want.
Brodsky asserts this is a fine example of bullshit. Mothers, she writes, are “people, billions of them, who care and fail to care for others in many different ways, not identical props for a morality play.”
And mothers, she adds, are not the only good women: “And guess what: there are plenty of awesome woman who aren’t mothers. That doesn’t make them less than, as people or as leaders.”
Stein’s got two kids and, presumably, never fed them Lucky Charms. Nevertheless, she doesn’t figure to reap more than her usual handful of votes this coming November — even though the citizenry, both Left and Right, is sick to death of the usual party suspects.
Here’s another example of our holy land’s new pastime of playing the victim — and it has to do with domestic violence, a more traditional Murrican pastime.
Aroldis Chapman is a flame-throwing baseball pitcher who’s been an all-star, is absolutely spectacular at his limited role as a ninth-inning pitcher, and who, last year, apparently went bonkers during an argument with his girlfriend.
Acc’d’g to a police report, Chapman and his girlfriend clashed one night after she discovered some incriminating evidence, presumably regarding his commitment to fidelity, on his cell phone. One thing led to another and, the girlfriend told cops, Chapman put his hands around her neck in a choke her and pushed her against a wall. Her brother and mother attempted to break up the melee. Chapman’s chauffeur says he saw the girlfriend charge at Chapman and tackle him to the ground. Chapman eventually dashed out into his garage and fired eight rounds from a pistol, seven of them crashing into a concrete wall and the eighth zipping through a window and into a open field beyond. The girlfriend, natch, was terrified so she hid in the bushes outside the house and called the police. Her four-month-old child who, she says, is Chapman’s (he’s not saying if the kid is his) remained in the house. Eight officers responded, set up a perimeter around the house and began to try to communicate with Chapman. Eventually, he met with the police, who interviewed him and everyone else involved.
For his part, Chapman told the cops, sure, he’d made physical contact with the girlfriend during the fight, pressing his thumb and forefinger into her shoulder, presumably to make a point, whatever it was.
So, like most domestic violence incidents, this one’s a he said/she said thing. Only there were witnesses and they all had their say as well. The combined stories were so muddled that the cops threw up their hands and tossed the affair over to the county prosecutor.
What apparently isn’t up for debate is Chapman and his girlfriend had some sort of physical confrontation and he did fire his gun eight times in his garage in a rage afterward.
Chapman was not charged by police or prosecutors but an internal investigation by Major League Baseball resulted in a 30-day suspension without pay for him under the sport’s domestic violence policy. He returned to action last night after serving his suspension.
As part of the disciplinary action MLB has taken against him, Chapman has seen two separate psychiatrists specializing in domestic violence and he must participate in a counseling program designed specifically for him. He has lost nearly $2 million dollars in salary during his exile.
Here’s where we get into this holy land’s new pastime. Chapman doesn’t believe his actions are all that bad. In fact, he asserts, he’s the victim in this case. He told a reporter for the New York Times the whole folderol is the result of baseball’s — and America’s — prejudice against Latinos.
Unfortunately, that is the way it is. We (Latino MLB players) make a lot of money, everyone wants a piece of it, and we end up looking bad. When I had the problem, everyone thinks I did something wrong; in social media, people are saying I hit my girlfriend.
Sometimes people talk too much. We have to be careful about that. We are not from this country, and people want to harm us. It’s easier to hurt someone who is not from here than someone who is. People think we don’t know what the laws are, and they try to hurt you. Many people want money. We have to take care of ourselves.
As if that wasn’t enough, Chapman exonerated himself in the finest tradition of abusers. He described the incident as a typical romantic spat:
It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has. I’ve even argued with my mother. When you are not in agreement with someone, we Latin people are loud when we argue. I do not have a problem.
Note that last line: I do not have a problem.
Sometime soon, Chapman will strike out the side in the ninth inning, saving a victory for his Yankees team. Tens of thousands of fans in the stands will scream and cheer wildly. Plenty of them will say to each other, “I don’t believe he tried to choke her. I don’t believe he pushed her. I don’t believe he fired the gun.” This despite hard evidence he at least squeezed off eight rounds in a rage.
They’ll be in denial.
Other fans will tell each other, “I don’t care that he tried to choke her. I don’t care that he pushed her. I don’t care that he fired the gun. He’s the greatest and he helps us win baseball games.”
These fans have problems as intractable and troubling as their hero does.
Sometimes I wonder how our species has gotten this far without blowing this planet to smithereens.
[BTW: New York fans gave Chapman a standing ovation when he was brought into the game in the ninth inning last night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters afterward, “I had people over me screaming at me to bring him into the game.” Chapman said, “It was incredible.” Yeah. Like I said: problems.]
May 10th Birthdays
John Wilkes Booth — 19th Century stage actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln as part of a large conspiracy to bring down the Union government. Booth eluded authorities for nearly two weeks until he was shot to death by a Union soldier named Boston Corbett. It turned out Corbett was mad as a hatter. Literally. He’d worked as a hat maker before joining the Army and had inhaled plenty of mercury nitrate, later found to be the cause of psychosis, hallucinations, and twitching in hat makers. One night a couple of prostitutes offered their services to Corbett but he responded with revulsion. He went back to his boarding house room, read the Gospel of Mathew, and then proceeded to castrate himself with a scissors. Interestingly, self-castration, if not the rage, was at least not unheard of at the time. Still, it would take a healthy helping of lunacy to sever the plumbing with simple scissors, no?
Ariel Durant — Author with her husband Will Durant of numerous books, primarily recounting the history of civilization. The Durants won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for the tenth volume of their series, Rousseau and Revolution.
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin — Born in England and later moved to America, she discovered the hydrogen was the basic building block of stars and the most abundant element in the universe. She was the first recipient of a PhD in astronomy from Radcliffe College and her thesis was praised as “undoubtedly the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” Because of her achievements, the Harvard College Observatory (affiliated with Radcliffe) became a center for women astronomers.
Donovan — Born Donovan P. Leitch, they called him mellow yellow, quite rightly.
Mark David Chapman — The guy who murdered John Lennon.
I Prefer a Picture Of Lennon To Chapman
Rick Santorum — The inspiration for Dan Savage’s most famous line.
Lisa Nowak — American astronaut and robotics expert. Sadly, she later got herself involved in a bizarre kidnapping plot centered around a romantic rival. She negotiated a less than honorable discharge from the US Navy and pleaded guilty to minor charges in exchange for not being brought to trial on the major charges surrounding the plot.
Shel Silverstein died this day in 1999. His books The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends are standards for children’s libraries. He also wrote the song, “A Boy Named Sue,” made into a 1969 hit by Johnny Cash.