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Maureen Dowd, Shrewd Judge of Human Character

[ 48 ] June 20, 2016 |

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As Atrios always says, leaving aside the merits of the theater critic approach to political punditry (which have always struck me as scant), most of its practitioners are really terrible even on their own terms. Maureen Dowd, of course, has a ratio of theater criticism:actual politics that approaches 100:0, and yet is notably inept the former.  for example:

Having seen Donald Trump as a braggadocious but benign celebrity in New York for decades, I did not regard him as the apotheosis of evil.

In fact, throughout this period Trump was systematically bilking people out of their money with an endless parade of scams. Why, it’s almost as if forming a vague first impression based on some superficial characteristic and never thinking to revise it doesn’t really work.

As for the rest of the column, I think I’ll just outsource:

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Corporate SM

[ 62 ] June 20, 2016 |

Hello, Hugo Award nominated author Dr. Chuck Tingle? Have I got a story idea for you!

DennysDream

My source of pay checks and health insurance makes the occasional feint towards the wonderful world of social media. But the powers-that-be would rather we spend our time doing things that generate money, and since they’re not convinced that increasing our presence on SM will generate more cash, our current SM policy is very informal.

Or it could be they’re worried we’d get bored and do something weird.

Bernie’s Staff Going to Clinton’s Campaign

[ 42 ] June 20, 2016 |

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To what extent Bernie Sanders’ success among young people was due to especially skilled campaign staffers, I cannot really say, but I suppose it’s an encouraging sign that Sanders’ director of student organizing, Kunoor Ohja, has taken a job with the Clinton campaign as her national campus and student organizing director.

Reductio ad Derpum

[ 88 ] June 20, 2016 |

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BERNIE DEAD-ENDER #1: “What have you done for the revolution today, comrade?”

BERNIE DEAD-ENDER #2: “I sent 50 BLISTERING tweets each to five women who remain unconvinced that the question of which liberal is the Democratic nominee for president and how far to the left of the median vote of a Republican House the next Democratic president is constitutes a question of apocalyptic significance. Some may even engage in the counterrevolutionary act of voting for Hillary Clinton.”

#1: “Brilliant! The end of capitalism is surely imminent!”

#2: “And, yet, I am tired by such intense intellectual labors. Perhaps we could try something a little more cheeky.”

#1: “I know!”

Philadelphia: Cheri Honkala, the leader of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, announced that her group was organizing the world’s largest “fart-in” to be held on July 28 at the Wells Fargo Center during Hillary Clinton’s anticipated acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination.

“We will be holding a massive bean supper for Bernie Sanders delegates on American Street in my Kensington neighborhood on the afternoon of July 28,” she said. “We are setting up a Clintonville there, modeled on the Hoovervilles of the 1930s where the poor and unemployed built shanty towns. The Sanders delegates, their bellies full of beans, will be able to return to the Wells Fargo Center and greet the rhetorical flatulence of Hillary Clinton with the real thing.”

Honkala said she would issue an invitation to Sanders to join the bean supper, which she is calling Beans for Hillary. She has asked donors to send cans of beans to 1301-W Porter Street, Philadelphia, Pa., 19148.

“Any remaining beans will be served to the homeless, although we will, of course, be urging Sanders delegates to eat as much as possible,” Honkala said.

Chris Hedges, an author and activist who is an ordained Presbyterian minister, will open the Beans for Hillary meal with a nondenominational prayer.

“I am happy to bless a meal that will be put to such effective political use,” Hedges said.

“The Democratic primary process, as Sanders supporters now realize, was rigged from the start,” said Hedges, a Pulitzer-prize winning former New York Times foreign correspondent. “The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton machine used a variety of mechanisms to game the elections including the appointing of superdelgates, the banning of independent voters from numerous primaries, purging voters from voting lists and using millions in dark money and from Super PACs to fund the Clinton campaign. Caucuses, as we saw in Nevada, were shamelessly manipulated on behalf of Clinton. Sanders never had a chance.”

#2: “Brilliant! If Chris Hedges thinks something is politically effective, you know it’s pure genius!”

#1: “And when people hear him explain how the DNC rigged everything by allowing the candidate who had far more votes and pledged delegates to become the nominee, surely they will rise up and depose the neoliberal Jill Stein agrees with 90% of the time for the hardcore socialist she agrees with 95% of the time.”

#2: “Indeed! Make sure people have plenty of practice using their armpits too.”

#1: “Oh, I think everyone’s already in fighting shape there.”

[Exeunt.]

Bernie and Labor

[ 119 ] June 20, 2016 |

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One more postmortem of the 2016 primary. Joe Burns writes in Jacobin that what labor needs to learn from the Sanders campaign is to reintegrate radicalism into its thinking. A lot of it is just revisiting the anti-communist purges of the CIO and decrying the lack of radicalism in the labor movement, underpinned with anger that the unions backed Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders.

Reintroducing class struggle into trade unionism also necessitates having a serious discussion about the state of labor’s reform-minded wing. Supportive of diffuse activism, this broad coalition includes true reformers and those who, in the past, would have been considered collaborationist hacks.

Many in labor embrace what could be called “labor pragmatism” — initiatives that try to fight smart within the existing system, like the inside strategy, the corporate campaign, and the one-day strike.

All of these are sensible strategies for workers forced to struggle within an unjust framework of labor control. But because they do not challenge the underlying paradigm, they cannot revive the labor movement.

Many in labor’s progressive wing favor the phrase “social movement unionism” to describe a form of unionism that emphasizes community ties and rejects narrow unionism. This is particularly true in public-sector unions, which live or die based on public support.

Social movement unionism is a broad concept that can encompass a wide range of activities, from the class-struggle approach of the Chicago Teachers Union to staff-driven models more akin to business unionism.

It’s time to move beyond these concepts and toward a more Sanders-inspired vision of labor organizing, which puts our fight in the context of the struggle between the 1 percent and the rest of the population.

Class-struggle unionism incorporates the broad demands of social movement unionism into a workplace-centered struggle against management.

So what would a “Sanders-inspired vision of labor organizing” really look like?

Reestablishing effective trade unionism requires a number of concrete actions. We must develop forms of solidarity that move beyond just fighting a single employer and instead confront capital as a class. We must constrain capital’s mobility and cultivate solidarity across borders.

We must disregard the “property rights” of employers and be willing to flout labor law itself. We must resist the constant pressure to collaborate rather than fight. Fundamentally, we must put workers and struggle back at the center of trade unionism.

None of this is possible in a labor movement that spurns socialist ideas.

Here is the basic problem: over the last eighty years, an aggressive capitalist order has reshaped trade unionism. Collective bargaining is now confined to individual corporations, so the union is captive to each employer’s business decisions.

The profits extracted from workplaces flow largely to capitalists, and workers have no say over the distribution of the wealth they create.

While a web of rules created by the NLRB and the courts have granted this status quo legal legitimacy, today’s labor policies are merely capital’s worldview imposed on the labor movement.

Without a socialist analysis, economic shifts look like forces of nature rather than human creations. Issues like capital flight, subcontracting, or corporate globalization are taken as givens, impossible for any labor movement to resist.

A socialist trade unionism, on the other hand, would demand that capital be bent to labor’s needs.

Past moments in the labor movement — like the AFL’s closed-shop era, when unions controlled hiring decisions and worker education, or the CIO’s solidarity unionism, which brought hundreds of enterprises under the same master agreements and used industry-wide strikes to halt production — remind us that this is possible.

And so has Sanders’s run. In a refreshing challenge to the neoliberal views of Hillary Clinton (and much of the labor establishment that backs her), Sanders has promised to direct societal resources away from the banks to rebuild inner cities, create jobs, and provide free college education.

Applying his vision to trade unionism means rejecting the idea that capital has an inherent right to do what it wishes to our jobs and our communities.

OK, I guess. But this feels a lot more like sloganeering than really analyzing the critical issues with the labor movement. It also papers over a lot of history–the AFL unions that controlled hiring halls used them to exclude black workers, for instance. Flouting labor law is fine, but sometimes can lead to the president crushing your entire union and setting the entire labor movement back. I obviously agree that constraining capital mobility is absolutely central for the ability of the working class to survive. I wrote a book about that very topic. And a socialist analysis does provide some ways forward on these topics. On the other hand, so does our current legal system, which is very much not socialist and not used to socialist ends, but could be used to accomplish some of these policy goals. A labor movement committed to socialism might be useful, but then the labor movement is already committed to a lot of socialist policies if they could be enacted, although there’s no question that unions will often make short-term decisions that undermine the long-term interests of the working class, such as working for minimum wage carve-outs for its own members.

Moreover, I just don’t really see what Bernie Sanders had to do with an entirely new radical approach. Is he calling for the illegal occupation of corporate property? I just feel that there’s a whole lot of projection on the left to Sanders, who see in him what they want to see instead of what he actually is–a good left-liberal on most policy issues with a talent for a certain kind of rhetoric that appeals to 60s radicals and their descendants. And that’s fine I guess, but I’m still struggling to see how Bernie Sanders is that far to the left of Hillary Clinton on most policy issues. He’s a bit to the left on many and the proposal for free college tuition is a good goal, even if the details really need to be spelled out. But she’s not a monster and he’s not a savior.

Finally, I need to know how this actually works on the ground if unions start occupying buildings, ignoring labor law, defy the NLRB, etc. I also need to know how to explain the very real risks involved to rank and file workers.

I guess all this means is that I’m a bad leftist for wanting policy analysis and complexity in my social movements instead of sloganeering. If we just had more solidarity, everything would be better! But those Big Labor bureaucrats sold out the working class once again by supporting Hillary over a man who has similar beliefs on many issues, just a different way of talking about them. And that’s of course a lot of what this whole article is about–the endless battle within the labor movement between pragmatism and radicalism that radicals almost never win because they struggle to bring the rank and file of the unions around to these vague ideas of action and solidarity.

The Trump “Campaign” Rolls On

[ 302 ] June 20, 2016 |

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The Donald’s campaign is pretty much an empty shell:

Donald Trump, reports Maggie Haberman, has fired Corey Lewandowski in what could be seen as either the most recent campaign shake-up, or merely the latest iteration of an endless power struggle that has seen figures like Lewandowski, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort cycle in and out of the candidate’s earshot. When the operation in question is a garbage fire like the Trump-for-president operation, terms like “campaign manager,” which imply a cohesive entity that is managed in some hierarchical fashion, may not even apply.

Trump’s campaign, reports the Associated Press, has 30 paid staff on the ground across the United States of America.

Let’s pause here for a second, because that’s amazing. This isn’t a campaign making some dubious choices; this is a campaign that falls so far below minimum professional standards it’s barely a campaign at all.

That is a smaller number than the Hillary Clinton campaign has in many states. Clinton’s massive ground advantage is supplemented by an even more massive television-advertising advantage. The current ratio of Clinton to Trump television-ad spending in battleground states is one to zero. (Data via NBC News, chart via the Washington Post.)

Trump has previously vowed to campaign in deep-blue states like New York, California, and Maryland, where no Republican could win. He has devoted at least some of his scarce resources to this hopeless goal. Meanwhile, polls show him locked in a close race in overwhelmingly Republican Utah, where he has promised the state’s party chairman he will spend campaign time to lock down the Republican vote. If you’re a Republican presidential candidate devoting resources to Utah, that’s real bad. Trump is also spending some of his time this week on a trip to Scotland, where he will visit a golf course and discuss the Brexit vote. Scotland is not represented in the Electoral College and has very few eligible voters.

The liberal media will surely rue the day it questioned the brilliance of Trump’s plan to plaster Utica with bumper stickers. (Also, it really says a lot about Jeb! and Rubio that the guy beat them easily, all of it hilarious.) But if his staff is small, at least it must be well-organized, right?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is gathering his top lieutenants, including members of his family, in New York on Monday to discuss a political strategy shift as he looks to move beyond recent missteps.

Trump is facing pressure from within his own inner circle—including from donors—who are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as a lack of coordination and communication, members of Trump’s staff told Bloomberg Politics, at a crucial moment in the presidential race.

There’s also a growing impatience among some on Trump’s payroll that the candidate has failed to fill key roles within his campaign, including traveling press secretary and communications director, while Democrat Hillary Clinton’s synchronized political machine capitalized on a string of negative Trump headlines.

My apologies for anyone involved in McGovern ’72 for invoking them in comparison to Trump.

…I love this detail from Olivia Nuzzi’s fine story about Trump’s PR person [via Anderson]:

Getting the most out of the star requires keeping him informed. While Trump nurses an obvious addiction to cable news, the reading that’s put in front of him is largely confined to a topic he already knows well. Every morning, staffers print out 30 to 50 Google News results for “Donald J. Trump.” He then goes at the sheaf with a marker, making circles and arrows and annotating things he likes or doesn’t like. The defaced article gets scanned and e-mailed to the journalist or the person quoted who has drawn Trump’s attention, under the subject line “From the office of Donald J. Trump.”

Textbooks and the Civil Rights Movement

[ 22 ] June 20, 2016 |
Rev. Ben Chavis, right, raises his fist as fellow protesters are taken to jail at the Warren County PCB landfill near Afton, North Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 16, 1982. Chavis is one of the members of the Wilmington 10. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)

Rev. Ben Chavis, right, raises his fist as fellow protesters are taken to jail at the Warren County PCB landfill near Afton, North Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 16, 1982. Chavis is one of the members of the Wilmington 10. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)

As I discussed in the Black Power post from a couple of days ago, the civil rights movement has no real start or end. It’s an ongoing series of struggles. The Civil Rights Movement we think of as having primarily existed between 1954 and 1965 is really just a moment where the black freedom struggle coincided with a peak of white liberalism that opened political space to change some of the laws oppressing African-Americans. It’s unfortunate that we so often think of the movement in this way because doing so erases the long-term systemic racism that oppressed black people before, during, and after this period. It’s also unfortunate that this periodization dominates American history textbooks, where other than mentions of the Black Power movement of the late 1960s, the civil rights struggle after 1965 is scarcely mentioned, if at all. Adam Sanchez calls for the teaching of the “long civil rights movement,” focusing on the post-1965 struggles, as well as the 1954-65 period.

Far from being the end of the Civil Rights Movement, 1965 marked a legislative milestone and provided activists with another tool. But the new legislation was not a solution to the problems people had been organizing against for many years. In the North and the South, activists continued to confront poverty, unemployment, lack of health care, poor housing, inadequate education, and police and sheriff brutality.

U.S. history textbooks fail to look deeply at the urban rebellions, Martin Luther King’s campaigns against war and poverty, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, and the rise of the Black Panther Party. And there are countless other post-1965 events that should be brought into the classroom: the Memphis Sanitation workers’ strike and the subsequent workers’ struggles of the 1970s, the Orangeburg Massacre, the fight for Ethnic Studies programs, the national campaign for welfare rights, the Attica Prison Uprising, the battle over segregated schools in Boston and community control in New York, the fight in the South to ensure the Voting Rights Act was put into practice, and many more.

The shallow understanding of the Civil Rights Movement that my students brought to class goes beyond not knowing post-1965 events. As historian Jeanne Theoharis has noted, before the Watts Rebellion there was more than two decades of nonviolent activism against legalized segregation in Los Angeles. And in 1963, after what is widely taught as a successful nonviolent struggle to desegregate downtown Birmingham, Alabama, 2,000 African Americans, fed up after segregationists bombed hotels that housed movement leaders, turned to violence. They threw rocks and bricks, looted stores, and set fire to a nearby grocery. Despite the fact that this precipitated Kennedy’s endorsement of the Civil Rights Act, this violence is often left out of the story of Birmingham, just as nonviolent activism is left out of the story of Watts.

What this example reveals and what a growing work of scholarship argues, is that we have been sold a narrative of the movement that ignores enormous parts of Civil Rights history. By mythologizing a successful, exclusively nonviolent struggle against racial segregation in the South that becomes a polarizing call for Black Power as it moves North after 1965, we leave out struggles across the country that don’t fit this stereotype.

We should replace this limited narrative, these scholars argue, with one of “The Long Civil Rights Movement,” a national Black freedom struggle rooted in struggles of the 1930s and extended through the 1970s, that used self-defense and nonviolent direct action, that dealt with issues of race and class, that developed international solidarity, and participated in countless local struggles in the North and South.

In classrooms across the country, guided by the official textbooks and curricula, students learn a version of the Civil Rights Movement that leaves its lessons in the past. School districts across the country should provide time for teachers to produce a people’s curriculum of the movement in order to teach the local histories that are left out of the official narrative. This way our students who we hope will join and shape today’s social movements can do so with knowledge and insight about what came before.

That last paragraph is really important because not only did the legal victories of civil rights start disappearing in the racist white backlash that began manifesting itself by 1965, but stopping our teaching of civil rights in that increasingly distant past is an overt political decision to downplay racism today. This is the sort of thing that allows conservatives to claim Martin Luther King as their own because of a couple of lines in one speech completely disconnected from context. Even King’s turn to democratic socialism, his opposition to Vietnam, his Chicago housing campaign, and his move to organizing a poor people’s movement is significantly downplayed in our historical narrative, and King’s the most celebrated figure in American civil rights. Dealing with racism today requires understanding racism of the past. Understanding Black Lives Matter and the Fight for $15 today requires placing these movements in context of the black freedom struggles not only of 60 and 50 years ago but of 20, 30, and 40 years ago.

Pleistocene Extinctions

[ 23 ] June 20, 2016 |

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New research suggesting the decline of the American megafauna was a combination of both climate change and human hunting happening at the same time. For a long time, there’s been a debate over whether the rapid extinction of so many large American mammals was because of the warming climates after the last Ice Age that turned a lot of grasslands into forests or whether it was because the first human residents of the Americas marching rapidly south through the Americas after being stuck in the Arctic for several thousands years wiped them out through hunting. The most sensible answer was always that it was a combination of the two factors and now it’s pretty clearly the case.

Luckily, there’s no connection between a rapidly warming climate and human interventions decimating wildlife today so we have nothing to worry about.

Putting the “Strike” Back into Joint Strike Fighter

[ 7 ] June 20, 2016 |
Formation of F-35 Aircraft MOD 45157750.jpg

F-35C, F-35B. By Photo: Harland Quarrington/MOD, OGL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34694835

Lockmart!

Lockheed Martin’s machinists union members made it clear Saturday that they support a strike against the aeronautic giant if a contract agreement can’t be reached in the next few weeks that adequately boosts their wages while also protecting healthcare and pension benefits.

The International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 776, which represents about 2,600 workers at the Lockheed plant west of Fort Worth, met for about an hour at the Will Rogers auditorium before voting 1,696 to 32 to approve a strike.

Lockheed’s four-year contract with the union expires July 10, and the union has set July 9 vote for its membership to consider the company’s last, best and final offer. If that deal falls short, union members will decide whether to walk a picket line.

“I’m ready to strike. They are taking everything away from us,” said David Darlock, who installs plumbing in the F-35’s wings. “They are disrespecting us.”

In a proposal made to Lockheed last week, union leaders asked for a longer contract — from July 2016 to April 2021 — that increases pay 38 percent. The machinists also want $7,500 in cost-of-living adjustments and a $5,000 signing bonus, among other things.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article84629657.html#storylink=cpy

Extremely specialized workforce in high leverage situation… seems like the union is in a strong position.

Lexit: The Fool’s Journey

[ 288 ] June 20, 2016 |

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A recent poll (10 June) estimated that 44% of those who voted Labour in the 2015 General Election will support Brexit. This was perhaps the poll that began the general freak-out amongst remain supporters. That said, neither that number nor the top line figure of 55% leave are likely to survive the vote come Friday morning.

Brexit is an emotional, nationalistic movement, and my guess is that a strong majority of that 44% figure are not motivated by the Lexit arguments. Summed up, the basic argument is that the European Union has been little more than a neo-liberal project, concerned only with big business and trade, and worse, would prevent the UK from becoming the progressive, socialist paradise should we ever, you know, elect such a government. Most Labour-Brexit support want the same (ill-informed, misguided) things all Brexit supporters want: their “country back”, an end to unregulated immigration, and to snub their collective noses at the elite.  According to at least two vocal members of the audience of a panel I chaired a few weeks back debating a “better EU”, I represent said elite.  (I’m still waiting for my membership card, instructions for the secret handshake, and the financial stability that membership of the elite promises). But, there are those that genuinely believe that Britain, and the left in Britain, would be better off and in a better position to effect progressive chance should we leave the EU.

This is a good, brief read on the folly of Lexit-ism. It outlines how ignorance over the EU is driving the left as well as the right, albeit from different perspectives entirely such that the EU is rendered some sort of schizophrenic institutional blob:

If you listen to some left-wing voices – proponents of what is being called Lexit – the European Union is an undemocratic, neo-liberal empire. It is ruled by Angela Merkel and an army of cold-hearted, faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who spend their lives plotting to privatise British public services and deliberately making life in Southern Europe as miserable as possible.

Listening to both left-wing and right-wing arguments for Brexit can be rather confusing. Similar to Schrödinger’s immigrant who lazes around on benefits while simultaneously stealing jobs, the EU seems to be at the same time both communist and predatory capitalist. It has transformed Europe into a fortress while at the same time opening its borders to mass immigration. The EU’s rescue packages for Southern Europe have been too stingy while at the same constituting an outrageous burden to British taxpayers.

But here’s some truth:

But that is not the case for the UK. Britain has been driven by neoliberal economic policy for the past four decades. The EU has actually brought back all kinds of protections for workers, consumers and the environment. Among other things the EU forced the UK to introduce the statutory right to paid leave. Before the implementation of the EU Working Time Directive in 1998, two million British employees did not receive any paid holiday at all.

European integration has clearly been a left-wing corrective to British neoliberalism. Meanwhile, it was actually the UK that has pushed many of those developments in the EU that the left opposes.

The government of the United Kingdom lacks any sort of real checks and balances that can be found in many democratic systems. Yes, there’s the toothless House of Lords, who can be somewhat of a nuisance to the government of the day if they so desire, but then said government can effectively quash any objection the House of Lords raises by invoking the Parliament Acts 1911 & 1949. Within this constraint, their power is limited as the Lords can not muck around with supply bills or anything mentioned in the governing party’s electoral manifesto.  What does that leave?  The Queen.  The monarch hasn’t withheld royal assent since 1708, and I’m thinking that the left doesn’t want to rely on the monarch to share in its goals regardless.

The European Union effectively provides the left of the UK with an implicit check on the ability for Conservative parliaments to make life harsh. Furthermore, in the event that Britain elects a left-ish Labour government (where left-ish equates to the left of Blair and Brown) the EU does not prevent a lot of the left’s dream agenda (which is a common critique of the EU by Lexiters):

Nor do arguments about the EU holding Britain back from re-nationalising public services and the railways stand up to much scrutiny.

The privatisation of British public utilities had a lot to do with British politics and very little with European integration. While the EU Rail Directive opened up the railways for private competition, it did not oblige member states to privatise state-owned service providers. In fact, the UK was the only big EU state to do so.

If a left-wing British government tried to renationalise the railways, or any other utilities, the EU would be the least of its worries. The main obstacles would come from within the UK, most notably from the private sector and, indeed, the electorate. British voters are – whether the left likes it or not – far more economically conservative than most of continental Europe.

The piece correctly points out that the only way for this dream to work is for a left-leaning Labour government (or, let’s face it, a Lab-SNP coalition) to get elected. Alas, there are problems with this dream.

Brexit could only be in the left’s interest if it was followed up by consequential left-wing politics. It would require a Labour party that has significantly moved to the left to get into government very soon.

Giving up on the EU and the left-wing corrective it already provides in exchange for the slim hope of a genuine left-wing government coming to power in Britain is a rather risky gamble. In the short term, Brexit will empower the likes of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who have never made a secret of their Thatcherite fantasies.

In the long term, Brexit might render Labour completely impotent. If Britain leaves the EU against the will of the majority of Scottish voters, their appetite for independence will surge again. Needless to say the left’s electoral potential will diminish for generations without the Scottish vote.

Unmentioned is that any future Conservative government, and there will be more Conservative governments than Labour governments, can simply undo whatever it is that a progressive left government established.

Should the UK vote for Brexit on Thursday, there’s a decent chance that we’ll be governed by some form of a Boris Johnson – Michael Gove administration. This would make Kansas appear well governed in comparison. Which leaves this for our Lexiters:

Any British left wingers thinking of voting to leave the EU over these issues should perhaps instead consider leaving Britain.

Believeland!

[ 202 ] June 19, 2016 |

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 29, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I assume people might want to talk about this. Congrats to Cleveland fans — you’ve earned it.

Let me ask a question as a distinct non-expert in the NBA. LeBron James is obviously the best player in the NBA, right? Curry’s MVP awards were like when they would give the MVP award to various people so Mantle and Mays wouldn’t win every year? The Cavs beat the Warriors in a 7 game series that was dead even even though Curry’s supporting cast is vastly better? Again, I may be wrong — you probably know more than I do — but it certainly looks like that to me.

…poking around, it may be true that James at his best is better than Curry as his best, but game-in-game-out the analytic stats do seem to suggest that Curry’s MVPs (unlike, say, Steve Nash’s) were justified, so I retract that charge.

…shorter Skip Bayless: “if only the Cavs could replace LeBron with Tim Tebow, they could be a championship team.” He is going to join the cast of Speak For Yourself All Takes Matter imminently, right?

A Deal with the Devil

[ 18 ] June 19, 2016 |

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I want to give my kudos to Cleveland, making a deal with Satan to win this NBA title in exchange for hosting the Republican National Convention. Satan probably wins this deal, but I would have made it too.

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