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Thirty Years Ago Tonight

Posted by on Mar 6, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 1 comment

 

Nolan Dalla and Marieta Dalla 1990 Bucharest Romania

 

Today marks an anniversary, of sorts.

Thirty years ago tonight, March 6, 1990, I went on my very first date with Marieta.

I went on a blind date with a Romanian girl named Marieta Petre. She lived across the street from the national soccer stadium in central Bucharest. I picked her up at 6.

The instant I laid eyes on her, I thought I stood no chance. There was no way this was happening. She was too beautiful. I suppose it was that sense of having nothing to lose that made me relax and somehow carry on a dinner conversation that was good enough to keep her interested, leading to a second date.

Our first date was at Pescarus (which is still in business). But, thinking my chances of developing a serious relationship were at best a longshot, our second date wasn’t until after Easter, in late April.

The most interesting thing about our unusual courtship was that it all took place just as Eastern Europe’s Iron curtain was falling and the future was uncertain. Bucharest was in chaos for six months after the revolution, with marches, protests, and sporadic outbreaks of violence.

We “dated” almost every day. I got off work at the Embassy around 5. Marieta, who worked for the nearby office at Manufacturers Hanover, got off about the same time. We met up at the daily protests at University Square, which were filled with 5,000-10,000 people every single day.

One afternoon, the provisional government which was fragile and struggling to hold power, tried to break up the protests and sent in the Army. Thousands of troops tried to clear the streets. That caused the crowd to riot, torching vehicles and breaking lots of windows.

Someone took this photo of us during one of the riots. It’s our first photo together.

After the riots, that just made the protests grow larger. Crowds were so large that it was often difficult to find Marieta. So, we made a pact that we’d meet at the burned-out Army truck each day at 5;30. I think this burned Army truck sat in the streets for three months.

I have lots more fun stories to share and the old photos are fun to go back and look at — and remember. I’ll share a few more over the next few months.

Thirty years ago tonight — our first date.

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A Message to the Bernie Bashers

Posted by on Mar 5, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 2 comments

 

 

Though Bernie Sanders is correct on virtually all the issues of this election, his presidential aspirations now appear to be fading over the horizon,  His ideals are a setting sun of hopes and dreams.

But before Democrats and Biden supporters and Bernie haters in the tens of millions rejoice and pile on about Sanders’ shortcomings (and they are many), it’s worth just a moment — no, make that TWO MINUTES of your time — to remember exactly who has been there for progressive causes for nearly SIXTY FUCKING YEARS.

Yeah, I’m pissed. I’m pissed because piling on about Bernie Sanders is disgraceful.

Evidence: Watch this clip.

 

Do you think ANY OTHER CANDIDATE would stand up and take on flagrant bigotry like this?

Virtually everyone in political office was a bigot, or a fraud, or a gutless coward 25 to 35 years ago. All of them.  Certainly every Republican, and most Democrats, too. NO ONE defended gays or took on unpopular social causes. Not Biden. Not Clinton. No one.

Except for Bernie Sanders, who has been there in the trenches. Since the early 1960s. While other candidates were fellating so-called “traditional values” and cowering to hate, SANDERS has been on the front lines making enemies. Fighting the fight.

When it comes to certain issues of human rights, let me say this as clearly as I can — fuck your mainstream moderate politics.

Now — do I want Sanders to continue battling for the nomination once it’s apparent he can’t win?

No.

But a little FUCKING RESPECT during this primary process would be nice.

I guaran-damn-tee you there are ZERO clips os Biden or others in the race who stood up for things that weren’t popular 30 years ago. ZERO. NONE. NOTHING.

So, think about that next time you tear Sanders from his flesh on social media for being “too ideological” or “too extreme.”

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Big B’s Texas Barbecue (Review)

Posted by on Mar 3, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

 

 

 

BIG B TEXAS BARBECUE (REVIEW)

Big B Texas Barbecue is located on the far south side of Las Vegas. It’s adjacent to South Hills Medical Center on Fort Apache. It took over the Chef Jose Andres spot (which I loved) after the french bistro closed down last year. It’s also a few doors down from where Khoury’s (Lebanese) used to be before they relocated to Village Square.

Las Vegas is stacked with several average-to-good barbecue joints. Most are serviceable. Barbecue is either hit or miss, with not much in-between, but can be great comfort food. I’ve tried most of them here in town.

Big B appears to be independently run (I did no research on this, so some things might be incorrect). It’s one of those old-fashioned open-air kitchen places with giant slabs of pork and beef, with a standing line where customers order over the counter. Meals are served on wax paper on plastic trays. The whole place smells like smoke. This is probably ideal for the neighborhood and is a quick take out, though plenty of tables are available for dining in.

The barbecue was very good. I’d rate it 8/10. We enjoyed a platter of smoked ribs, pork, and brisket. Platters come with two sides and are priced around $10-15. Quality was a high thumbs up.

Where I think Big B missed the target was entirely a matter of personal taste. I don’t like hoagie rolls and that’s how sandwiches are served. I much prefer a butter crusted shiny bun, lightly toasted. Hoagies are cold, doughy, and are simply too much bread for the barbecue. I don’t like hoagies. But hey, that’s me.

I was also unimpressed with the sauces. Big B offers sweet, mustard, and spicey. I found out the sauces are all homemade, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, none of the three were the right match for my taste. I’m far more inclined towards a Worcestershire flavor with a thick ketchup-like texture. These house sauces didn’t work for me and given how vital moisture is to a mix of mead and bread, this was a strikeout. I stress, my tastes might be different from yours. Others might like Big B’s hoagies and homemade sauces.

The sweet barbecue beans were also annoying, but this too is a matter of personal taste. I don’t like sweet food, certainly not on my barbecue, but others may disagree.

Big B’s was busy during my lunch visit. It appears to be doing well.

Let me add that I hope Big B’s succeeds. A man I presume was the owner came by and was very attentive. He brought us silverware, re-fills, and genuinely enjoyed his role as host. I like “hands-on” ownership and admire people who pay attention to details. I only wish I could give Big B’s a higher recommendation.

Unfortunately, my criticism of this authentic Texas barbecue joint was entirely based on my own tastes and expectations. Others might have different ideas. So, I don’t want to dissuade anyone from trying this place, at least once.

Final grade: This wasn’t suited to my tastes, but you might think otherwise. The quality of meat and hands-on ownership alone is enough to make at least one visit worthwhile.

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A Bridge to the Ugly Past and an Even More Shameful Reminder of the Present

Posted by on Mar 2, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

pettus bridge

 

I wish I could say I’m amused. But I’m not amused.

I wish I could say I’m shocked. But I’m not shocked.

I wish I could say I’m done writing about ignorance and stupidity in America. But I’m not done writing about ignorance and stupidity in America.

Today marked the 55th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, which turned into America’s “Bloody Sunday.”

It happened at a bridge named after Edmund W. Pettus — a Confederate general and head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps we can forgive naming a bridge after this traitorous racist scumbag during the 1920s, a time when Dixie was misty-eyed for the Old Confederacy. Perhaps we can overlook that historical blight and simply do the right thing now by taking a couple of gallons of white paint and slapping a fresh new coat over that dead rebel’s disgraced name.

But we can’t. Look! There it is. The decomposed bigot and favorite son of Alabama — he’s still with us today. Every time someone drives on that bridge and passes under that name, he’s remembered, when he should be buried and long ago forgotten.

It’s 2020 folks — tell me why THIS FUCKING BRIDGE hasn’t been renamed? I did some research that renaming a bridge on a state highway requires approval by Alabama State Legislature. So GET OFF YOUR RACIST ASSES, bigots. Do something.

Yeah, I know. You’re White. You’re nice to Black people. You even have a Black friend or two. There’s no way you’re a racist. Heavens, no.

So, you’re sick of hearing about racism in America? Yeah, me too — I’m sick of hearing about it. I’m sick of writing about it.

As long as we see shit like this, it’s pretty hard to say we’ve made enough progress since that sad day in 1965.

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My Advice for Joe Biden Supporters

Posted by on Mar 1, 2020 in Blog | 3 comments

 

joe biden advice

 

MY ADVICE FOR JOE BIDEN, THE CAMPAIGN, AND HIS FOLLOWERS

How We Might Win the Battle but Lose the War / How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Biden

Congratulations to Joe Biden after winning the South Carolina primary.

Just in time for Easter, he’s risen from the dead and is now back in the race. Biden may even deserve to be the favorite to win the Democratic nomination based on this sudden and shocking turnaround combined with his support among the party establishment.

That said, Biden will go only as far as how he, his staff, and supporters treat Bernie Sanders (and progressives). Read that again, but it’s critical to know.

***Biden will go only as far as how he, his staff, and supporters treat Bernie Sanders (and progressives).***

Want to WIN the party nomination then LOSE the general election, in other words, replay a repulsive redux of 2016?

Easy.

Keep on slinging the shit and doing the Democratic establishment’s dirty deeds and see where we all end up on the morning of Nov. 4, 2020, screaming at our screens with tears and bloodshot eyes wondering how the fucking gawdawful hell Trump ended up winning the ’20 election 309 electoral votes. I know it’s difficult to go back, but try to learn something from history.

Me, condescending? Yeah, you betcha’.

I’m terrified of the political lightweights and losers who couldn’t beat the worst person to run for president in my lifetime now infecting the 2020 Biden campaign and serving another batch of stale leftovers with all the appeal of cold meatloaf. If I see another Hillary hand-me-down spewing political counsel, I’m going to scream in my best Jim Carey voice…..”scoreboard!”

Let’s face it: Biden is far from the ideal candidate we can choose among 65,000,000 Americans who absolutely loathe Donald Trump and would vote for a moldy bologna sandwich if it were the only option to the dumpster that is Trump. Seriously — BIDEN is the best we can do? But hey, if he’s our nominee I’ll work for him like our future depends on it, because it will depend on it.

More thoughts in numerical order, because I like typing in bullet points and using numbers because it makes me look smart:

[1] If we piss off the Bernie Sanders supporters, and specifically millions of young people, then we can kiss the 2020 election goodbye and the country might just dissolve into disco-era Paraguay. I don’t know why I need to explain this to the mainstream Democrats and independents who despise Trump. Fact: A Democrat WILL NOT win the general election without progressive support. This will not happen. It would be like a one-winged bird trying to fly. Think about that next time you’re all amped up and determined to blast a so-called “Bernie Bro” in a tweet or on Facebook.

[2] Taking issue on public policy during a campaign is one thing, but if Biden and other mainstream Democrats continue to malign and misrepresent “democratic socialism,” then they’ll not only lose the electoral college but probably lose the popular vote, as well. Millions of working-class Americans, especially those struggling in the rust belt, are sick of insurance companies, banks, and Wall Streeters calling the shots. “Mr. Delaware” will have some ‘splaining to do as that state’s corporate bag boy for decades. Keep on attacking, and progressives will stay home in Nov. I wish this were not the case. Indeed, I wish all progressives would recognize the dangers of a second Trump Administration. But many Sanders people will not vote for Biden if the path to the nomination gets dirty (and it has) And if Biden dispatches the typical party henchmen to do his dirty work as this increasingly turns into a two-candidate primary season (James Carville, Debbie Schultz-Wasserman, and so forth), prepare for an all-out political war. Progressives on the far-Left are sick of these retread establishment lapdogs, and frankly, I agree with them. We don’t need more failed ex-Clinton campaign staffers, corrupt party insiders, and barnacle research teams who failed us four years ago advising the next Democratic nominee.

[3] After this Tuesday, the Democratic race should come down to Sanders, Biden, and probably Bloomberg. I wish he’d drop out, but there’s something about billionaires (and wannabe faux-billionaires like Trump) that makes them think their shit doesn’t stink. Moderates must consolidate forces into one candidate after Super Tuesday, or chances are, we’ll end up with a brokered convention. And I sure as hell don’t trust Democrats in backrooms to act smart or do the right thing. If possible, this party needs to get a clear nominee on the first ballot, come summertime.

[4] I have lots more to say about the prospects of a brokered Democratic national convention. Stay tuned.

[5] Finally, it’s true that many Sanders’ backers are abusive trolls. I ascribe some of this to youthful enthusiasm and growing up in the modern era of vitriolic social media. Many twentysomethings have no knowledge of political civility, cooperation, and coalition-building — which are essential to electing a national candidate. Let me be clear: That’s on them. Some people need to grow up. At the same time, true liberals have been marginalized in the Democratic party for a very long time and there’s justification for mistrust and resentment. How this gets handled going forward may determine our fate.

Finally, the Russian troll factories and the Republican slime machine will do everything in their power to divide Democrats. They will lie, cheat, and steal the election if they can. The moron you are arguing with at midnight on social media might be a bot, or some boiler room zit doing the GOP’s dirty work. Trump’s army of nitwits won’t fact-check anything and will repost every juvenile meme. Don’t be like them.

I’ll have more thoughts after Super Tuesday.

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More Questions Than Answers on Yesterday’s Coronavirus “Press Conference”

Posted by on Feb 27, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

coronavirus 2020

 

What did we learn yesterday?

Anything?

Forget Mike “Thoughts and Prayers” Pence being placed in charge of a complex viral pandemic threatening to explode into a full-blown public health crisis. Nevermind that jaw-dropper of an executive decision by the Trump Administration.

Let’s examine this purely from a public relations and information management standpoint.

Did anyone watching and listening yesterday gain a better understanding of COVID-19?

Were any of the symptoms of the virus addressed by the speakers?

Were any instructions given on what people should do if they suspect an outbreak of the virus?

Where was the leadership?

Why didn’t a medical professional take a few minutes to talk straight to the American public about what this virus is all about? Sure, I can go to Google on my own and search the word “Coronovirus” and hundreds of articles and videos will pop up — many hits with confusing information and conflicting data. Most of what we see online is written by non-medical people. Some of the things to be found on the Internet with a “Coronavirus” search are flat out lies, tainted by political and financial interests. It’s tantamount to DIS-information.

Instead, what we expect from our government leaders — regardless of party or partisanship — are FACTS and UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION. Is that really too much to ask?

Donald Trump should not be expected to know nor understand the complexities of viruses. I have no issues with him standing on stage and letting people in science handle the matter. That would have been the smart thing to do.

Instead, Trump spent nearly 15 minutes rambling, lying, and even went so far as to claim “We’re Number 1!” in some meaningless health poll, as though fighting a global pandemic is akin to beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in a college football game.

It was embarrassing. But it was also what we’ve come to expect from a President who is a perpetual embarrassment.

Instead of being subject to a labyrinth of lies fabricated to cheerlead the tanking stock market, I, as an American citizen who knows little about science and medicine, would have liked some answers from those in charge.  I’d like to have been informed…..

  • How does the virus spread?
  • What can we do to prevent it?
  • What happens if we fear someone we know has it?
  • How is the government prepared to deal with it?

We didn’t get any answers yesterday.  Only more questions.

But gee, it’s sure great to know “We”re Number 1!”

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This is Supposed to Make Us Feel Safer?

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Blog, Politics | 0 comments

 

Vice President Mike Pence

 

Mike Pence For Virus Czar?  Could Trump Have Picked Anyone Less Qualified?

 

So, just now, Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the Coronavirus Task Force.

Not a medical doctor, not a trained professional accustomed to dealing with infectious diseases, not someone familiar with epidemics and pandemics, not someone adept at handling medical and information management.

Nope.

Mike. Fucking. Pence.

My fellow Americans: Feel safe?

This is the same Mike Pence who:

— allowed the Opioid epidemic to spin out of control while Gov. of Indiana.

— once stated in defense of the tobacco industry that SMOKING DOESN’T KILL. (op-ed)

— did nothing for the HIV-AIDS outbreak in Indiana, refusing to allocate funds and resources.

— advocated “prayer” as public policy in a speech to deal with HIV-AIDS while Governor.

— believes in conversion therapy for gay people.

— rejects science; believes global warming is a myth.

— morally opposed to needle exchanges on the grounds that they supported drug abuse.

— quarantines himself from working or socializing with women unless “Mother” is present.

 

Yes, this is the man now leading the Coronovirus Task Force. Not a scientist. Not a trained medical professional.

Mike Pence.

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Will the Coronavirus Become a Pandemic?

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

coronavirus

 

This is an attempt to discuss what may become the biggest health scare of our lives.

Many health professionals predict sizeable percentages of the global population could become infected with a potentially deadly virus. This doesn’t mean mass death, but fears can lead to panic, which can lead to some things that most of us would normally be unthinkable.

My question is — at what point do you begin altering your life and change plans in response to fear?

When do you stop flying?

When do you worry that the person next to you who sneezes might carry the virus?

When do you decide that playing poker in a casino is just too risky or decline attending a sporting event?

These are not frivolous questions.

Yes — it’s early. But, in some way, it might also be too late.

Let’s agree, uncertainty and confusion are real. Virtually all governments and populations are vulnerable and unprepared. A virus knows no borders. A virus doesn’t discriminate. No walls, nor social status, nor privilege will protect any segment of the public. Everyone faces potential danger.

I’ve followed this outbreak but I also lack the background and knowledge to have much of an opinion about it. Hysteria won’t help and I’m reluctant to provoke unnecessary worry. However, when I see the head of the 2020 Summer Olympics coming out with a statement that the Tokyo games could possibly face cancellation/postponement, it’s time to take this matter seriously. When health ministers in the most advanced countries on earth are describing mass infections as “inevitable,” we better start asking questions and thinking about the implications.

This virus has already impacted stock markets. Too bad it takes a financial component to get our attention. This might be just the beginning. Or, perhaps this is much ado about nothing.

I’ve seen very little discussion about the Coronavirus among my contacts on social media. It might be time to begin a dialogue.  I presume others might have questions and worries, as well.

Thoughts? Predictions? Advice?

Do you have fears?

Follow the discussion HERE ON FACEBOOK.

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Uncle Dick for President!

Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

 

Al Pacino in Godfather part 3

 

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!

ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, ANOTHER SHITSHOW, ANOTHER COLUMN

“Uncle Dick in the deer stand.”

Did anyone catch that line? Really, check the record. AKlob muttered that pearl midway into the circus shitshow. But “Uncle Dick in the deer stand” got buried in the avalanche of shouting matches with Bernie, plus Bloomie’s miserable attempt at stand-up comedy, and Uncle Joe’s chuckle-worthy gaffe about “150,000,000” dead Americans from guns, a line that I kinda’ wanted to cheer because that would mean I can now find a great parking spot next time at Costco.

Gee, who would have guessed Marrianne Williamson would ADD to the sanity of the debate? Too bad she dropped out.

I think it’s time Liz Warren gets slapped with a restraining order for stalking Mike Bloomberg. Yeah, I know he’s a fraud, a liar, a cutthroat, a racist, a Wall Street scumbag with a deeply-seeded Napolean complex with the personality of a junior high assistant principal, and pretty much the scum of the earth for trying to buy the nomination of a major political party. But hey — who among us doesn’t have a flaw or two?

Tom Steyer seems like a nice guy. Exactly like Bloomberg — except that he’s likable, honest, a decent speaker, and actually a real Democrat. But Steyer has one thing I can’t overlook. That TIE. Good grief man, it’s a Democratic Presidential Debate, not the office Christmas party. Seriously, has he changed that tie in six months? Bloomberg beats Steyer all to hell on the necktie issue. And if I was either one of these billionaires, I’d take every vote I can get.

Speaking of buying votes, Bloomie is paying social media hounds $2,500 a month to praise him. Really, it’s true. You can look it up. The Bloomster’s people are paying 500 social media activists to like, and post, and persuade, and influence all you readers. So, anyone who jumps into my thread and defends Bloomberg is likely a paid agent.

But that’s not nearly as appalling as Uncle Joe Biden pandering…..oops, I mean promising to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy with “an African-American woman” while speaking in a state where 60 percent of the Dems are Black.  Excuse me Joe, but I just heard five Democrats in the front row say they’d much rather have Bloomberg’s $2.500. But it has to be in cash.

During the debate, Bernie was untouchable for the most part, even though the back of his head must have felt like he’d just driven circles through Dealey Plaza. Bernie did a wonderful job doubling down on Castro, Mao, the USSR, Lenin, the Stasi, Nicolae Ceausescu, and Che Guevara, but at least he didn’t mention Susan Sarandon. Not even once. So, let’s give him that.

Speaking of Sanders, I had a huge problem with him claiming the United States overthrew democratically-elected governments all over the world, multiple times. Who does he think he is! That man needs to read some history. How could we elect a president like that who makes up so much nonsense and won’t tell Americans the truth?

Back to AKlob. Her answer to the final question of the night about ‘the greatest misconception” about her was answered with a grand slam. AKlob sheepishly noted that some people think “she’s boring.” AKlob noted that she’s really not boring at all. Not in person. Wow, I feel much better now. I was terrified Klobuchar’s doddering demeanor and forced smile was a put on. I’m so relieved she’s actually a barrel of laughs in person.

Mayor Pete didn’t damage his chances tonight, but he didn’t do much to help his candidacy either, which might be a win for an openly gay man running for office in South Carolina. I figure if Mayor Pete makes it to his car without getting called some homophobic slur, that’s got to be chalked up as a major step forward in the history of civil rights.

Did I forget anyone?

Oh yeah!

Uncle Dick!

Where’s the deer stand?

UNCLE DICK FOR PRESIDENT!

And THE NAKED COWBOY FOR VEEP!

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My Current Thoughts on Bernie Sanders as the 2020 Democratic Frontrunner

Posted by on Feb 24, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

 

bernie sanders

ANALYSIS NOT ADVOCACY: MY CURRENT THOUGHTS ON BERNIE SANDERS AS THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC FRONTRUNNER

.

Political science doesn’t care about your feelings.

Off the top of my head, here are ten thoughts about Sanders and his future prospects:

(1) Political campaigns are far easier to manage when you’re an outsider and running from behind. Being the frontrunner comes with a whole new crop of pressures and responsibilities. All candidates strive to steal the spotlight. However, once they get the spotlight, some meltdown in the heat. I don’t expect Sanders will melt. But he must be aware the political contest is now very different. He will have to make some adjustments to this new reality.

(2) Sanders has defied all forecasts and exceeded everyone’s expectations to this point. He and his organization deserve extraordinary credit for consolidating much of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and catapulting into the lead over established candidates like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Whatever one thinks of Sanders, his political strategy has been masterful. I have witnessed this firsthand here in Nevada and watched it nationwide on all forms of media.

(3) Now, Sanders faces the biggest strategic test of his campaign, one that will likely determine his fate. He can continue with the same “revolutionary” message and further solidify the Left while attracting some additional working-class support in the center…..or he can inch closer to the center and run a more conventional campaign and chip away at the undecideds. Sanders’ need not abandon progressive causes in order to appeal to more moderate voters. He simply needs to alter his tone a bit, while also stressing more common themes that will attract non-ideologues and apolitical supporters. These voters will be essential to getting the party nomination and general election victory. Sanders MUST expand his base. NOW.

(4) Accordingly, Sanders must begin to pick and choose priority issues. I suggest universal health care be his anchor. I view Sanders’ pandering to other constituencies as unfortunate and long-range disastrous. In the last month, Sanders has stressed universal health care and forgiving student debt/free college (which I oppose) as core issues….but then he’s also broadened promises to include free child care, higher pay for teachers, etc. This is fiscally reckless. Sanders has a difficult time already justifying the costs associated with M4A (it can be done, and I would love to help with his messaging, but Sanders hasn’t handled this effectively). Adding other half-dozen government programs which will cost enormous sums simply isn’t feasible nor realistic. Yes, I’m for all these things, in time. But they must be advocated in a clear and responsible manner. Overpromising what one can deliver isn’t a viable platform nor a winning political strategy (Trump’s numerous lies and broken promises, excepted).

(5) Sanders’ handling of the “60 Minutes” sit-down interview last night (watched by 15 million of the people in this country who matter) was a disaster. He’s no longer on the outside of this race. He’s on the inside with a giant target on his back. Sanders’ dismissive tone, failure to give specifics on policies, and the occasional display of anger don’t gain the confidence of the core constituency that will be essential to victory. He’s got to elevate his game. Giving the same stump speech in a sit-down interview isn’t going to broaden support.

(6) Sanders’ past comments and controversies about so-called “socialism” and regimes including the former USSR and Cuba are entirely justifiable (and for the most part accurate). Sanders has nothing to apologize for. The CEO of Coca-Cola and dozens of other companies were saying the exact same things in the 1980s when they were trying to sell Cokes and tractors in new markets like China and the Soviet Union. In fact, the friendly remarks are nearly identical. However, Sanders does need to come up with a better argument and defense that will deflect mass ignorance about this issue. Forget the old folks who somehow fear “communism” but remain complicit in supporting a Putin enabler in the White House — he won’t win over those doddering fossils anyway.

(7) I cannot stress # 6 enough. New strategy. Better messaging. Stick to the script. Any criticism of Sanders on coddling up to former communists is completely obliterated by Trump’s “love letters” to the leader of North Korea, and embrace of the world’s worst authoritarians (Saudi Arabia, Russia, The Philipines, etc.). Hammer this like a stubborn nail. It’s one thing for Sanders to appreciate some good things accomplished in Cuba 30 years ago in grainy film footage in a town hall meeting with 10 people in Burlington Vermont — It’s quite another level of shock and inhumanity for an American President to stand on the world stage and openly fellate Putin and Kim Jong Un with lavish praise. Sanders has Trump in a box here, so close him in and duct tape it shut with his own abysmal record and history.

(8) Sanders MUST make an attempt to earn the support, or at least the trust of moderate Democrats. I have serious issues with the milquetoast moderates, sure. But they are critical to the greater cause. More important, fears of Sanders’ dragging the ballot in other races are legitimate. It’s time Sanders do something to quell this rising tide of fear. Unfortunately, we can’t sweep out the corporatist Democrats. So, Sanders might be right that the DNC and “the establishment” are conspiring against him. They are! But it looks petty and is counterproductive to bitch about unfairness. This is politics. Politics at the highest level. Get in the game. Do what it takes to win, not appear like an embittered outsider who wasn’t picked first on the team.

(9) What happened to the word INFRASTRUCTURE? It didn’t come up one time in the last Democratic debate. Every American is for this. EVERYONE. So, why isn’t Sanders hammering the essential theme of democratic socialism — that instead of wasteful defense spending, tax cuts for the rich, and so on — why aren’t we building roads and bridges and high tech plants in the United States with our tax dollars? Why are we rebuilding Baghdad instead of Baltimore? I realize this is a more complex issue than simple slogans, but this is a winning campaign message. Trump lied on this. He and Republicans had two years to pass an infrastructure bill but instead, they gave huge tax cuts which did nothing for working-class people. The factory worker, the soccer mom, the single parent — everyone wants and understands the need for domestic infrastructure — good roads, clean water, bridges, airports, etc. Sanders is blowing this opportunity.

(10) Lest anyone thinks I’m now backing Sanders — I’m not. Sure, he will get my vote if he’s the eventual nominee. Anyone BLUE will get my vote. And, Sanders is entirely inside my political wheelhouse. In fact, I’m to the Left of Sanders on many issues (he’s yet to say anything about cutting defense spending, for example). What concerns me is — democratic socialism is a winning message and the ideal path forward for all societies, especially the United States. But the messenger isn’t doing a good enough job explaining it and promoting it. I fear that unless he adjusts and broadens his appeal, all the gains of the past few years on this point will be lost.

My Direct Message to Sanders:

Yeah, I know you won’t read this but…….If you want to win, start acting *presidential.” Sanders needs to morph into someone who resembles a world leader, not an insurgent demagogue from a tiny New England state rambling on with way too many promises to deliver. It’s now time for a reality check.

I have my doubts Sanders will take any of these suggestions. I think the dye has been cast. This is my analysis of where Sanders currently stands and what it will take for him to win.

Comments welcome here or on FACEBOOK DISCUSSION HERE.

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