From the Trenches at the Nevada Caucuses – Part 3 – Amongst Republicans

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on the Nevada Caucuses. Here is the Previous episode, Part 2

3.0 – I enter the nest of the Republicans

I approached the high school where the Republican Caucus was going to take place as if I were scrambling over rocks to approach Mordor. I hadn't even told that many people where I was going. I calculated the odds in my head… 50-1, I would die here today. Not bad odds, but still. 75-1, sold into slavery. 14-1, gang raped with a plunger like Amadou DialloAbner Louima. Fistfight? Even money.

I got out of my car and started following a woman who seemed to know where she was going. No yoga pants, but it was not unpleasant using her ass as a lighthouse, guiding me to the hive of crazy. I could hear them all chanting some mysterious incantation. Would there be a cross burning? It was goddamned freezing, so if there was, would I just run away? Or would I go warm up by the fire for a bit?

It was like wasp's nest (heh, see what I did there?). There were a lot of them gathered around the entrance, and then a mysterious series of passageways… I took a deep breath… I went in.

People streamed in as if it were a sporting event or a concert. While the Democrats looked like a homogenous group of rummage-sale clothed drones, resigned to lives in the salt mines of life, the Republicans were actually a lot more diverse. There were guys non-ironically wearing cowboy hats, a guy with that helmet where you put beer cans, just with soda cans in it. Mexicans. There was even a black guy — although he was blind. Lots of fat guys in MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats. Clearly, the Trump crowd was the dominant gang.

All of the "precincts" were tables in a high school cafeteria, but it felt like each table was supposed to be a place where someone would try and sell you Amway products or give you a 1 minute speed networking session. I sat down at my precinct, and still no Yoga pants moms, but there were a few of those Republican women who don't blink. The conversation was scintillating — it was as if someone had put on an episode of "stereotype theater" for me. The woman next to me was SO EXCITED to meet a neighbor, and she immediately asked me "what in the hell is going on with all the break ins around here?" I just looked at her blankly. "Probably because of the new mall," she said. I wondered if that was her code word for "Mexicans." I don't think it was. But, I was inside the Trump hive mind. Anything could happen.

Knowing that this scene could break out into violence, torture, horror at any moment, I chose my words carefully. I tried not to make too much eye contact.

I then explained that the homes on the perimeter of the neighborhood, where the wall to the "outside world" was, well they were getting broken into. But, those of us on the interior, we were all relatively safe. Everyone nodded. She said, "Yup, just too much temptation with that wall there and they see the nice homes, hop over, steal something, someone is going to get hurt."

I decided to conduct an experiment…

I said "yeah, we gotta do something about that… you know what I think? We need to all go to the next Homeowners Association Meeting and demand that they increase our HOA dues to pay for a higher wall around the neighborhood." Everyone nodded with approval. "It isn't our homes being broken into, but if our neighbors' homes get broken into, that's not ok, we gotta stick together!" Everyone was loving the idea. I was making friends.

"They could raise our HOA dues by $100 a month and get us some real security! We can afford it!"

I was very popular at the table by now — what calling for "law and order" and a nice big wall.

I had just called for raising our "taxes" to pay to help other people out… surrounded by MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats and Cruz buttons.

I laughed inside. I am in you, Republican devils. Ha! Live Republican trolling!

"Don't get cocky," I said to myself. That was really fucking stupid. If they figured out that I had just suggested a tax increase for the common good, they would have torn me apart like salt water taffy, except with bile and the sound of snapping bones and ligaments. I wondered how long the tendons would hold my joints together as they ripped me to shreds.

I realized that unless I actually told them, they wouldn't be able to figure out that I had voted for Obama in 2008, and that I was really rooting for Bernie Sanders.

Then, the unthinkable happened… Out of nowhere comes a friend of mine, Chris. He is a hard core Republican Mormon guy, and he KNOWS that I'm a pro-gay-marriage, Bernie Sanders loving, porn guy.

"MARC, HOW THE HECK ARE YA?" He gives me that "Mormon smile." If you don't know, Mormons can actually make much larger smiles than other humans. That magic seer stone smile filled face of his, and all of a sudden I freeze… "Chris! How the… hi… hey, fancy seeing you here!" As if he would be anywhere else…

He introduces me to his wife, who hugs me like I'm her long lost brother. I hold on just a little longer than I ought to when hugging a friend's wife that I never met before. Not anything creepy, I just knew that I was going to be killed within 10 minutes, and I just wanted one last embrace from a woman. I took a deep whiff of her hair. Not in like a sexy way… I just wanted the smell of a clean Mormon woman's shampooed hair in my lungs as they filled with blood as the Trump supporters took one of many steps toward "Making America Great Again," by stomping on my face screaming "TAKE THAT YOU LASAGNA EATING PIECE OF SHIT!"

Any second now, and Chris was going to out me. Not on purpose. I imagined he would just say "so, what he HECK are YOU doing here! Hey, everyone, my buddy here, he's a Socialist porn lawyer!"

And that would be how I would die.

The crowd was so dense they could just form a circle around me and kick me to death. The sheer number of concealed hand guns in the place was enough to start a genuine revolution, not that hippie Sanders crap. The encounter took all of 25 seconds… but it felt like being on the run for three years behind enemy lines. Everything slowed down. I breathed.

I remembered how MacDonald gets caught by replying in English to a Gestapo agent who wishes him "Good luck". Don't be McDonald. Don't be McDonald… Don't say anything… stupid…

And then he just swirled past, waving over his shoulder. His Marco Rubio pin shining in the light almost as bright as his white white white Mormon teeth. "Mormons are great at dental hygiene," I thought.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Can I borrow a pen?"


Everything froze for me…, as I say about 5 or 6 times a day, I wondered "did I just say that out loud?" I really wasn't sure… FUCK.

I half expected the entire room to go quiet. Maybe the sound of a record scratching. Then, some big black guys to come up and say "mind if we dance wit' yo' dates?" But who was I kidding? This was the Republican caucus… there was only one black guy here, and he was blind.

The woman just looked at me and smiled… not even a "this guy is crazy" smile, but just a "hi, have you found our lord and savior Jesus Christ" smile. I handed her a pen. "I like him too," she said. "He's honest. But, I just think that Donald Trump has the best chance of making us safe from all that this Muslim traitor has tried to do to destroy our country."

She didn't even skip a beat.

"Did you hear? Today he said he wants to give Guantanamo Bay back to the Castro brothers!"

I said, "well, that was one of his campaign promises, and one of the reasons I voted for him was that I didn't want to have this 'constitution-free zone' in Cuba."

Everyone at the table was interested in what I had to say. I explained why I thought Guantanamo Bay was an awful thing. And they asked questions. And nodded. And… jesus christ… I was now proselytizing total Leftist shit in the middle of a crowd of Trump supporters. I looked around for my Mormon friend. At least he was wearing a Rubio button… and I had given $50 to the Rubio campaign. Maybe he could save me before the Trump-ites held me down and did the Louima thing to me.

"That makes sense," one of them said. "I guess it just feels like surrender. And you have to admit, if you voted for him cuz he said he was gonna do that, and he's just getting around to it, he's sort of a shit, wouldn't you say?"

"yeah…" I shrugged. "You got a point."

We talked for a while. Them all explaining why they liked Trump. Yeah, about half of them had overdosed on Fox News and believed that Obama was a Muslim, and terrorists were hiding under every rock, and Obama had ruined the country. I couldn't quite get what "ruined" meant. But, they were so damned civil. Here I was talking about how I really wanted Bernie Sanders to win, and how we should close Guantanamo Bay, and raise our HOA dues to pay for better security patrols… and the most negative thing anyone said was "oh, that's nice" in a non sarcastic way.

Nobody was arguing with anybody.

I noticed that Jeb Bush and Carly Florina were still listed on the ballots. People started handing their ballots in. The caucus went on until 9:00 PM, giving people four hours in which to come in, shoot the shit about how much they hated Obama, hug each other, talk about getting together some time. Drop off their ballots and be home in time to catch whatever they catch on Fox News.

I won't say these were the smartest people I had ever met, but they sure as hell weren't the sub-humans the press seems to find to represent the "average Trump voter." In fact, as misguided as some might think they are, they weren't any less brilliant than the morons at the Democratic caucuses. The average intelligence level seemed about the same. But, the Republicans were all smiling. They were a group of genuinely happy people. It was totally weird. Their views were angry, but they were not.

That was one big difference. The Democrats were all scared. They were all pissed off. Pissed off at the banks. Pissed off at (and scared of) Trump. The Democrats were fuming about Obamacare being taken away by Sanders (yes really). The Sanders people were pissed off at Hillary for selling us out to the Banks. Everyone was just miserable.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party felt… well… like a party. I all but expected someone to spark up a joint, or at least hand me a flask.

There was no coercion. No union reps walking around watching who was where. The ballots were secret, and you could just vote without sitting in a segregated pen. People discussed the issues, but nobody got bussed in, and nobody seemed to have been told who to vote for by any bow-tied preachers.

There were a few MILFs in yoga pants.

It was weird. I've never voted Republican before, and I don't think I agreed with my neighbors about anything except the need for a wall — around our neighborhood — not on the border. They knew I was a Socialist in their midst, and that I didn't agree with them about anything, except that I didn't want Hillary Clinton to be president.

I think they were nice to me in part because they thought I might be mentally disabled myself, especially given how nervous I was… and what with the outburst about Bernie Sanders. I think they may have actually thought I yelled out FRANKS AND BEANS!

But, all in all, I have to say that while I want the guy on the Left to win, I will be looking up the Trump supporters to have cocktails with.

From the Trenches at the Nevada Caucuses – Part 2 – Wallowing in the Democrats' Ennui

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on the Nevada Caucuses. The previous part is here.

2.0 The Democratic Caucus – sorta dirty, but not in a fun way.

My wife dressed my 7 year old daughter in a tutu that looked like an American flag and my son in a shirt that had a print of the Constitution on it. We figured if it was going to be their first exposure to democracy, we should have some fun. We explained what was going to happen, and they gave no shits at all. I'm sure they will just remember it as some goddamned place they had to go before their friends' birthday party.

As we approached the Democratic Caucus, it was clear that this was no place for fun, lightheartedness, or child like wonder. There was a green haze made of metamucil-induced farts bonded to industrial-grade ennui. The voting had not yet begun, in fact the doors were not even open. There were only two candidates to vote for, but everyone in line was already defeated.

You got the impression that everyone felt like they had really missed out on something. They were neighborly enough, but just so downtrodden. None of them had been happy, or even smiled, in 20 years. The only person smiling was the guy running up and down the line from the Atheist Alliance. You could tell that he had changed his bong water and set his alarm early for a wake and bake. He hugged me after I gave him a fist bump. There were a few other people that smiled weakly at him. Like the gothapottamus about 10 yards back who had obviously taken the day off from listening to The Cure and cutting herself. Everyone else was relatively colorless. It looked like a morass of humanity that had been washed on "warm" by a college kid for an entire semester. Even the black people in line seemed pale — and bizarrely enough, every one of them had one eye that looked like it was not quite human, but more like something you would find on a giant grouper. It was like they found all the broken black people and made new ones out of the busted up parts.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the suburban Democratic electorate.

It really shouldn't have been that way. My neighborhood is actually a vibrant and happy place full of bicycles and delightfully spoiled children. There aren't that many very young adults, but there are a lot of youngish MILFs. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf down the street is known for two things — kosher pastries and hot MILFs in yoga pants. Honestly, if you can go to a strip club or hang out at the Coffee Bean, you might as well go to the Coffee Bean. Imagine if the crop of strippers at your favorite pole-dancing establishment decided that they were going to quit while they were ahead, so they hung up the lucite heels and traded them in for Lululemon, and then just decided to hang around and drink matcha tea while trying to give me a hard on. I feel like a 15 year old at the chalk board when I go into this place.

So where the fuck did they put all those MILFs? Where did they find the "walking dead" to replace them? Fucked if I knew. I was confused though. An entire crowd of voters, and not a single hot mom in yoga pants…

They scheduled the caucus on a Saturday morning. That struck me as a bit sketchy right off the bat. My precinct is pretty heavily Jewish. MILFy and Jewish. Not just Jews from back East either. Los Angeles Jews who came to escape California's income tax, and Israelis who came to escape Palestinian home made rockets. Beautiful MILF Israelis.

Needless to say, there are quite a few observant Jews who do not roll on Shabbos. Would they have come even if it was on a weekday? Would they have voted one way or the other? Hard to say. But, if I were the DNC, and I had already anointed Hillary as the heir apparent, I'd probably want to discourage Jews from coming to the polls. Lets face it, if you jog on over in your Yoga pants and you're not sure who you want to vote for, you might as well throw in with the fellow Tribe member, right?

Since you can't just throw bacon at people in line, having the caucus on Shabbat seems like the best way to keep as many Jews away as possible. I dunno… maybe Hillary could develop a sonic weapon that drives Jews away next time one challenges her authoritah.

Caucuses generally favor the party favorite, since it takes a lot more effort to caucus than to just come in, mark a ballot, and then go home. For a caucus, you go there and get locked in for a while. The Democratic Party held its caucus with a one hour window of opportunity — the line started at 11 AM, and if you were not in line at 12:00 PM, you were out. I showed up at 11:15, and there was already a line snaking around the corner, with cars dropping off carloads of dead-looking people wearing Hillary shirts or buttons.

It was awfully early in the day for anyone who was up late the night before though. In other words, not a lot of millennials in line. A few. Not a lot. The gothapottamus was clearly a millennial. A few kids here and there who weren't sure if they were registered to vote. They generally didn't seem to grasp the concept of soap either, so voter registration was clearly a huge bummer. Of course, I never saw these kids at the Coffee Bean either, so maybe they just inhabited a corner of my precinct where the walking dead lived. I personally try and practice good hygiene, not for myself, but so that the yoga pants MILFs will talk to me.

My precinct took quite a while after 12:00 for everyone to get inside. At another, an eyewitness told me that he dashed in at 11:59 and some change, and that a group of 5 kids wearing Bernie shirts got the stiff arm about 10 seconds later. "Nope, you need to be in at noon. You're late. Buh buye". I did not ask him about yoga panted MILFs at his precinct.

Once inside, the stench was unbearable. It was in an elementary school cafeteria/gym and it smelled of bug spray and the impending death of at least 10% of the people inside. In my precinct, there were just a few Sanders supporters, and they herded us into a small penned off area. It felt like we were in one of those "free speech zones" that the kids are all into these days. Hillary supporters were there, in shirts announcing which union had sent them, and they slowly circled the Socialist Petting Zoo we were in. On a table was a fresh, unopened deck of cards.

I figured the cards were there so that we wouldn't get bored. So I cracked them open and started playing Scopa with my kids. I found out later that this was the deck of cards they would have used to break a tie, had there been one. A woman near me asked what we were playing, and when I tried to explain the rules to the game to her, she got flustered and said "that doesn't make any sense, you're just making the rules up! I don't understand! Its too complicated!" My five year old whispered to me that she was "a dumbass," and my seven year old asked me if she had Alzheimer's like her grandmother. I told her I didn't think so.

The benefits of a caucus for the "party candidate" were clear. You could tell that there were some people there who genuinely adored their chosen candidate. Others were there picking her as the lesser of two evils. But, the Hillary squad also had some very clear "enforcers" there to make sure that nobody thought better of where they were sitting. When my wife checked in, the woman before her said she was there to caucus for Sanders. The woman checking her in said "Are you sure about that? You sure you wouldn't rather be undecided?" She changed her mind and went with undecided. At that, she went to sit down, with a guy in a "carpenter's union" shirt going over to talk to her. This idiot could have been convinced to vote for the giant grouper that gave its eye to one of the broken spare-parts bin black people.

The racial divide was pretty clear — with absolutely zero black people on the Bernie side. I only talked to two of them directly. Both of them had been told by their preacher how much better the Clintons are for "us black folks." When I addressed them about that, the words "my African American friends…" got out of my mouth, when someone who had been silently listening jumped in with a "don't you dare go there!" I'm not sure who they were, or why, or if they were talking to me or my new friends… since that grouper eye always looks somewhere in the distance. I guess that in ennui fart land, you are not allowed to fraternize with the negroes.

And the union reps were always circling. When the speeches got too much in favor of the Bernie camp, they started interfering. One guy told me to sit down and shut up. I yelled at him to wander on over and try and make me. Another guy in a union shirt joined in, and I yelled to him "give it a shot, you fucking punk…" Yes, we were in the middle of a caucus, and it was about to turn into a fist fight. Someone who claimed to be in charge told me that she was going to have me removed if I wasn't "nice." Pointed to her Union buddies and said, "who's going to remove me, those fucking cunts? Fuck you. You're not getting me out of here without physically removing me, and the first motherfucker who puts their hands on me isn't leaving here with all their teeth."

Yeah, there was almost a brawl. Go figure, I was in the middle of it.

Then we voted.

All in all, I wouldn't call it "very dirty" though. Scheduling it to make sure only old people came? Well, if Madison and Tyler can't get the fuck out of bed in the morning, that is hardly what I would call "voter suppression." Saturday to keep the Jews away? I would imagine it wasn't by design, but then again, how the hell do you schedule an election on a day that so clearly means that an entire segment of the electorate is religiously prohibited from showing up? I'd chalk it up to the DNC wanting less Hebrews at the election, given that the disfavored upstart is ostensibly one of them. But, it was on a Saturday in 2008 too. I'll call this one just a hell of a faux pas.

The preachers, union reps, and poll workers who were actually pushing people to change their vote, or making damn sure "their" people stayed exactly where the hell they wanted them? Classic politics, but still dirty shit. All in all, on a scale of 1 to 10 with a 1 being a town meeting in rural Massachusetts, and a 5 being what a first world country should expect, and a 10 being Florida or Chicago, I'd call the Democratic caucus at a 6. Still dirtier than a first world country should be, but I wouldn't chalk Hillary's win up to dirty games. What really won her the election is that she was organized, even if it meant payoffs to ministers and unions. When your base is people who mainline geritol, you're always going to beat an enthusiastic band of voters who have to ask "aw, Mason, is that today, dude?"

I stole the deck of cards. Good thing there wasn't a tie.

NEXT: Part 3 – Amongst the Republicans

From the Trenches at the Nevada Caucuses – Part 1.0

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on the Nevada Caucuses.

1.0 I know Dirty… and I know Elections

The big news of the day is Donald Trump's runaway victory in the Nevada Republican caucuses. Along with it, "reports" that the process was tainted, crooked, a Trump flimflam. The "sources" for these reports are almost all people griping on social media.

The Republican caucuses that I observed were either clean or they hired Penn & Teller to handle the shenanigans – because I didn't see a damn thing happen. Maybe it was a little disorganized, but certainly nothing that suggested a dirty election.

I know a dirty election when I see one. In 2004, I was an election observer in Florida, and I saw things that you probably wouldn't believe happened, even if I had video.

Crowds of black voters came in to vote, noting that "volunteers" had come to their neighborhoods to “help” them register to vote. After taking their registration information, these “volunteers” seemed to "forget" to send in the forms. Oopsie!

Ok, perhaps it was just an honest mistake that dozens of people came in with the same story, that a "nice volunteer" came to their house to "help them register," and then their registration forms magically didn't ever get submitted. The black voters, believing they were registered, would not discover the truth until election day – when it was too late to rectify the injustice. “Y’all come back in four years now,” the poll workers said with cheshire smiles and voices as sugary as sweet tea. Some might come back….but, the damage was done for that election.

And in other situations, I recall more than a few voters being told that they weren't registered to vote, even though they personally turned in their voter registration forms on time. When I showed up by his side, all of a sudden, his name would appear.

After I apparently helped too many of them get ballots, a Republican election observer made a call, and ten minutes after the call, a white van screeched to a halt in front of the polling center, and five stocky, buzz-cut white men (one shaved bald) in red shirts barged into the polling station and demanded that I be removed from the polling place. Finally, the gang of five thugs found a corrupt deputy who ejected me from the place under threat of arrest. I was more than happy to go to jail for the cause. But, when I called the HQ, they gave me strict instructions to stand down — their concern was that if voters saw a civil rights attorney getting hauled off in cuffs, it would most scare the shit out of them, and thus likely be the best vote-suppression strategy the Republicans could hope for.

Outside the polling station, I walked over to a chair, and fell into it. I thought that battle ended before I was born. The emotion that sat on my shoulders and collapsed my whole body was shame – shame at being part of a society that still considered equal rights to be a nuisance, shame that I didn’t do more, shame that I was so naive that until Nov. 2, 2004, I truly disbelieved everyone who told me a story like this. But this time I was there. I couldn’t deny that it happened, and I couldn’t deny that what I saw was an organized effort to deny people the right to vote.

That was a dirty election.

So here in Nevada… were the caucuses really dirty? What were they like?

NEXT: Part 2.0 – Wallowing in the Democrats

They're Just as Porn-Idiotic Across the Pond

If you're ever worried about the United States being the only western democracy with a stick up its ass about porn, fret not, we still have our friends in The Mother Country trying to keep up with us.

The Government is to force users of pornographic sites to identify themselves, in an attempt to keep children from using them.

Companies that run the websites will have to put checks in place to ensure that only adults are viewing them, or face having their sites shut down. Those that don’t comply could have advertising banned or be forced to have their pages unavailable in the country. (source)

Why, you ask?

The Government said that the new effort was part of its plans to keep children safe online.

“Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults,” said internet safety and security minister Baroness Shields.(source)

Ah yes, to keep us safe. You know, from WEB PAGES OF DEATH!!!!

I reject any premise that considers porn to be “unsafe” – that is an idiotic presumption. What is going to happen to a child who sees porn? Do their eyes burst into flames? Do they get leukemia? Do they get hit by a bus? Do magic goblin zombies suck their brains out through their ears?

The correct response to someone who plays the “safety” card when it comes to porn is to push them into some train tracks and say “that’s unsafe, not pictures, you blithering idiot”.

That said, I am a parent, and I understand that parents don’t want their kids to watch porn. You know why I don't want my kids to watch porn? Because I am uptight about talking to them about sex right now. It isn’t their problem, and it isn’t the porn company’s problem. It is my problem. Just because I have a stick up my ass about talking about sex with my kids doesn’t give me the right to jam that stick up the ass of my fellow citizens who might be a little better at parenting than me, does it?

The measure itself is stupid. This Baroness seems to think that by requiring a credit card to access porn sites, it will keep the precious youngsters from watching fuck films. Good luck with that.

When I was a young teenager, I wanted to look at skin mags. I couldn’t buy them because I was under 18. I still got them — quite easily. Do you think there is a 16 year old out there who doesn’t know about prepaid credit cards? Or who can’t find another way to circumvent this? At the very least, even if the UK lost its mind and completely banned porn, there is this place called “the rest of the world,” and they’ll be able to access it. Is the UK really prepared to build an unassailable firewall around its rain-soaked islands in order to ensure that no children get absorbed by the sexual gelatinous cubes of porn movies? (Is there Gelatinous Cube Porn? If it does not exist yet, fix that before we have a Rule 34 violation!)

Every time you hear someone come up with one of these measures, you need to realize that the real mission is to try and ban porn altogether. That comes either from stick-up-their-butt religious zealots or stick-up-their-butt feminists. Nobody else cares enough to try and push through laws about it.

The religious zealots should realize that they’re losing.

When I was a kid, I spanked it to porn. Then, they told me it was time for my Confirmation (I used to be Catholic). Then I thought “if I’m not old enough to legally make a decision about buying magazines with boobs in them, then maybe I’m not old enough to make a decision about my eternal soul.” So I waited until I was 18 to make that decision — figuring that the maturity to look at pictures of boobs was at least equal to the maturity required to made decisions about where my immortal hard drive would be uploaded for all eternity. By the time I was 18, I figured out they were lying about masturbation making me insane and sending me to hell. So, I started questioning everything they told me, and I figured out that their whole religion didn't make any freakin sense.

So, I suppose, thank goodness for the laws “protecting me” from pornography at that age, because they also protected me from throwing in with a bunch of child raping charlatans. (If only Pope Francis were the Bishop of Rome at that time, I might have stuck around for the Liberation Theology).

As far as the regressive-sex-negative-feminist angle goes (as opposed to sex-positive feminists… who can very much live alongside porn), it is equally absurd and relies upon just as pernicious fiction as anything from the religious zealots. This group's objection to porn is based in a few foolish theories. They think that if a guy looks at pictures of boobs, he’s going to think that porn is reality and/or be possessed by the testosterone demon and will go out and rape someone.

That is a gross over-simplification of the theory behind the anti-pornography "civil rights" ordinance in Indianapolis that was struck down in American Booksellers v. Hudnut, 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985). MacKinnon and Dworkin decided that their perpetual victim machine required a porn ban. But, you can't ban porn outright with the First Amendment hanging around, so they said that porn made us have bad thoughts, thus anyone who made porn was responsible for those bad thoughts. Constitutional? Not so much.

If they paid attention to annoying sexist things like “facts,” they would realize that anyone mature enough to tell that The Terminator is not real is also mature enough to know acting when he sees it in porn. The fact is, porn-tolerance has a positive correlation to a drop in sexual violence. You know when a guy is LEAST likely to rape anyone? Five seconds after he blows a load from whacking it to teletubbies porn or whatever he's into.

Now yes, I will agree that if you watch porn all the time as a kid, it might give you some madcap up ideas about sex. Back in my day, vaginas had this stuff on them we called "pubic hair." I had seen girls' vaginas my whole life, but it was usually while playing my favorite game (then and now) "show me yours, and I'll show you mine." Having only seen the real thing on girls my age (at the time) which was pre-pubescent, I was under the impression that the vaginas I was seeing were "larval stage" vaginas, and once they went through the pupal stage, the vagina healed over and just became this flat thing. It did not occur to me that it was just public pubic hair.

So, if you imagine my poor little mind with that misunderstanding of female anatomy, you can imagine how many other confused ideas were in my head by the time I actually got into my teenage years and got to the real live thing… my head was a mental petri dish of confusion and bizarre ideas.

You know how long my messed up and confused ideas lasted?

For about 5 minutes after I actually got a test drive with a real live girl.

You see, girls will tell you "no, I don't like that" or "yeah, that feels good." If you pay attention, even a little bit, you get to do it again. Just like the monkey getting the grape in the cage.

Now its not all fun and games — you need some ground work to get there. So, here's how you keep porn from being "dangerous."

If you have a boy, you need to make sure that he gets along with and loves his mother. You know why? Because she's a human being, just like that girl he is eventually going to be finger banging in the car. So, if he has developed any kind of healthy relationship with his mother, he will realize that when he finally gets to play with a vagina, he will understand that it is not a disembodied toy … but a rather important part of an actual human being. Thus, he will want that human being to express her preferences, and he'll be a decent guy. If you're a parent, and your son disrespects little girls, you straighten his ass out the first chance you get.

My son tried to kiss a little girl one time, and she didn't want him to. He tried again and she slugged him. He started wailing. Both mothers ran over. Hers ran over to yell at her, and his ran over to comfort him. I said "stay the hell out of it, the sooner he learns this lesson, the better off he and everyone else will be." Lesson learned. Yeah, you gotta teach your son to respect women. If he also (hopefully much later) wants to jerk off to pictures of them, so what? Build that respect in him, as part of making him a "real man," and he can jerk off to anything and watch anything and he's not crossing that line. Fail to teach him that, and he can read nothing but "the selected works of Gloria Steinem," and he'll still likely grow up to be a rapist, abuser, or something less horrifying, but still something you don't want him to be.

There… easy. All the dangers of porn washed away in two paragraphs of instruction. Don't screw it up, Dads.

Nevada Caucus Shenanigans: Why Mischievous GOP Voters could participate in Saturday’s Democratic Caucus

Nevada voters must register their party affiliation before caucusing – Democrats on Feb. 20, and Republicans on Feb. 23. Nothing about this is unusual for a closed caucus system, but there is one interesting blip.

The Democrats allow same-day registration for their caucuses tomorrow, but Republicans closed their registration on Feb. 13. Therefore, any Republican who registered by Feb. 13 can show up at their caucus tomorrow, register as a Democrat, but still also participate in the Republican caucus on the 23rd. How? Well, the party switch would not show up on the GOP caucus rolls. Clark County Voter Registrar Joe Gloria confirmed the possibility.

Nevada’s caucus system has not been challenged, but other states have faced legal challenges to their primaries in the past. For example, in 1996, a voter referendum changed California primary rules to create “the blanket primary.” Under this system, the ballot listed all the candidates, and voters were able to choose a Republican in one race and a Democrat in another. The person with the most votes from each party on the ballot advanced to the general election.

However, in 2000, the Supreme Court found this system violated a political party’s freedom of association rights. California subsequently got rid of blanket primaries. In 2002, The U.S. District Court in Atlanta threw out a case challenging Georgia’s open primary system, holding that open primaries are legal because they require voters to choose candidates from only one particular party for all races. Even the smaller parties have challenged primary elections. The Libertarian and Green parties feel California’s top two primary system keeps their parties’ members from ever being named on the general election ballot. Residents in New Jersey even argued the state’s closed primaries (similar to Nevada) unconstitutionally disadvantage those who vote independent.

Would crossover voting like this even have a major effect on primary and caucus outcomes? Primary crossover is rare. California allowed crossover voting in the 90s, and political scientists found it had little to no influence on election outcomes.

Of course, losing candidates have claimed in the past that crossover voting caused their defeat. I should note, however, that there is no evidence to support that crossover voting leads to deliberate sabotage. Even so, Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who suffered a 16-pt loss against her primary opponent, Democrat Denise Majette, claimed that thousands of Republicans voted for Majette.

And in 2008, Rush Limbaugh prompted Republicans to launch “Operation Chaos” Although the conservative talk show host merely wanted to cause a shit show in the never-ending Obama-Clinton Democratic presidential primary, the effect was debatable. This happened again in 2012, when liberal blog Daily Kos attempted “Operation Hilarity,” urging Democratic readers to vote for Republican candidate Rick Santorum in order to complicate the GOP primary for the eventual nominee. However, Santorum’s campaign actually contacted Michigan Democrats, asking them to vote in the Republican primary to make it more difficult for Romney. Although 9% of Michigan GOP primary voters were Dems, and over half voted for Santorum, Romney still won the primary and, later, his party’s nomination.

However, in Mississippi’s 2012 primary election, anyone who voted Democrat in the initial primary was ineligible to vote in the Republican primary.

It makes sense for Nevada to institute this rule (especially if Republicans are not offering same-day registration to attempt to even the score).

The moral of the story is that yes, Republicans can vote in the Democratic caucus on Saturday. To what end? It seems that Republicans hate Hillary more than they are afraid of Bernie, so the chatter out here in the desert is that Republican operatives are going to show up to caucus with a fake “bern” on them. On the other hand, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows that Bernie is more electable than any current Republican candidate.

I was a registered Republican until about a week ago. I’m caucusing for Bernie tomorrow. Depending on how slow the Republicans are to update my information, I might be able to also pull off caucusing for Trump as well (yeah, Bernie is my first choice, and Trump is my second choice). But, if do, I would only do so to watch the shit-show. While it might be legal to double-caucus, something about it doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up the opportunity to watch something as entertaining as a Republican caucus with the current field of candidates.

Why we need "White History Month" Too

You're missing the point

You're missing the point

Easy answer:

We do not need "White History Month."

"White Pride" is not the same as "Black Pride."

I'm really sick of hearing this garbage, as we hear every February. And remember, I'm the guy who keeps screaming that political correctness and identity politics are out of control. So hopefully that keeps at least one person's attention here.

Let me explain this to you, if you're genuinely confused. If you're just a dick or a white supremacist, you can just jump down to the comments and call me names now. I'm neither getting through to you, nor trying.

Race is a political construct. You know who invented "blackness?" Slave traders. There was no concept of "Black" as an identity before slavery. But, in a world that wanted slaves, but the concept of slavery being completely fucked up, there had to be a way to justify it. It didn't take genius to say, "lets just enslave people who look really different from us."

"African American" is an "ethnicity" created by the institution of slavery, and then perpetrated by Jim Crow.

Let me explain this to you in Italian terms:

Before there was an Italian nation, Prince Metternich of Austria made remarked that Italy was just “a geographical expression”. When he said that in 1847, there was no “Italian” identity.  “We” identified with our town or province.  “We” were not a unified people, “we” did not speak the same language.  “Italians” had not all been under the same flag since ancient Rome.  
A more aspirational quote came from Massimo d'Azeglio.  After unification in 1861, he said “we have made Italy; now we must make Italians.”  At that time, only 2-3% of the population spoke “Italian,” and even the King and Cavour barely spoke it – speaking regional languages instead.  
Although Metternich intended his comment to be dismissive of Italian unity, he was in large part correct.  Someone from Palermo had little in common with someone from Torino. There was no common language, and “Italian” was no more an ethnicity than “Balkan.”  To make “Italians,” it was necessary to forge a unified identity.   
Strangely enough, this happened in Italian America even before it really happened in Italy.  Immigrants, arriving here from “the old country” were all looked at as “Italians” by the existing Americans.  In my home town, the “Italian” immigrants (mostly from Sicily) referred to anyone who was not like us as ‘medegani – Americans.  This artificial divide helped forge an “Italian” identity in America – in some ways making d’Azeglio’s dream a reality in Little Italy before it was a reality in Italy itself.

Similarly, but at the same time, really differently, Africans wound up in America from a mishmash of different places, traditions, languages, and ethnic groups. But, unlike the Italians, who didn't have their languages beaten out of them, didn't have their families forcibly broken up, and didn't have the choice to go back where they came from taken from them, the "Blacks" wound up mixing together — forming a "Black" ethnicity.

Now I really chuckle when I hear other Italian Americans say "yeah, well the Italians got treated like shit too." Fine, yes, they lynched some Italians in New Orleans, and Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent, and went to the chair because they were Italians. If you think that puts Italians at the same level of getting-fucked-over and being the subject of generations of disrespect as the Blacks, you're out of your lasagna-slinging mind. At least "we" can go back to our ancestral town, if we're one of the Italians who bother to give a shit where our grandparents came from (and fucking shame on you if you're Italian and you don't know).

Meanwhile, the furthest back most African American families are going to trace there heritage is to some bill of sale in Savannah.

Point being, this is a "new" ethnicity, and even once Black America gained its freedom, at about the same time that Italy became a thing, it then found itself under the thumb of 100 years of Jim Crow and capitalism-cum-racism. So, while (for example) the Jews suffered under multiple attempts at genocide, they could reach back to 3,000 years of history and tradition to keep their shit together. Meanwhile, "Black History," almost didn't exist.



African Americans are descendants of the most fucked over group of people that history has ever recorded. Because I can't think of any other group of people who were so thoroughly detached from their ancestry, then kept as chattel, and molded into an ethnicity by people who didn't treat them as human beings.

And meanwhile, your Czech-descended, or Irish-descended ass is worried about whether you need a little bit of "White Pride?"

There is no "White" — ok? "White" is actually a collection of ethnicities, all of which have their own history, their own languages, and their own trail and identity they can pick up. The most downtrodden Pole is still not wondering if anyone knows that Poland gave anything to civilization. We've all heard of Copernicus, we all know about Galileo, Nikolai Tesla is practically a folk hero. Anyone "White" who thinks they need "White Pride" or "White History Month" is forgetting that they're something other than "White."

And, if you only identify as "White" and not the underlying whatever-you-came-from, then shame on you, or your parents, or grandparents, or whoever decided to let go of the thread of your identity. Nobody cut that on you. Nobody forcibly severed you from that connection. Nobody created your identity. You either still have it, or you gave it up.

You're not oppressed this month. You may have had a shitty life. Your parents may have too. You may even come from five generations of imbeciles and losers, but that is hardly the same as the black experience. Yes, at some point, Black people have to take responsibility for themselves and stop complaining that white people caused all their problems.

That's not what Black History Month is about. Black History Month is about recognizing that there is this unique group of people here, who happen to be 13% of the population. They happen to have done at least 13% of the work in bringing America to where it is today. They also happen to have brought much more to the table than great basketball players and collard greens. The fact that some of us don't know that is something worth dealing with and fixing. Further, its not such a bad thing if the black community has a month to be a little bit more proud, since on average, most months in black history have been really really shitty months.

So please shut up about Black history month (well, at least if it bothers you). Black history month is not "unfair." Black history month is not racist.

Go enjoy it, show a little respect, and if you're not careful, you might learn something.

Death to Section 2(a)! Hail Coleman, Connell, MacMull, and The Slants!

If they are not your favorite band, they should be. (Unless you hate freedom and America)

If they are not your favorite band, they should be. (Unless you hate freedom and America)

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided In re Tam, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 22593 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 22, 2015). In it, the Federal Circuit made a sweeping pronouncement that the First Amendment applies to trademark registrations, and that a long-criticized prohibition on “disparaging” trademarks could no longer stand. The portion of the trademark act that fell was Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1052(a).

Of course, I was delighted. I have long railed against Section 2(a). My first (losing) fight against this provision was in 2007. See Billman, Jeffrey, The F Bomb, Orlando Weekly, Jun. 7, 2007. And, once CNN gave me some column space, I used a lot of it to write about this issue. (Marc J. Randazza, Decision on Asian-American band's name is wrong and Why Redskins decision is wrong.

So when this decision came in, I jumped for joy. That said, it was a huge pain in my ass. I had just sent off my law review article on the subject to the printer, with all the final edits completed. I had a whole section criticizing Section 2(a) jurisprudence, and unflatteringly comparing U.S. law to recent European decisions. Then, In re Tam came out, and I had to rush to update it. Thank goodness that the Federal Circuit didn’t wait one more day to release the decision.

Ron Coleman

Ron Coleman

But, of course, this was a small price to pay for the delight of seeing our First Amendment rights protected, and seeing the personal victory for the lawyers in the case – Ron Coleman, John Connell, and Joel MacMull – First Amendment Bad Asses of 2015, as far as I am concerned.

However, the decision seemed to leave an important fight for another day. But, a recent missive by the Department of Justice might have brought us that day.

John Connell

John Connell

Section 2(a) does not only prohibit “disparaging” marks. Section 2(a) has some restrictions in it that remain – some of them reasonable, even. Section 2(a) bars registration of marks that deceptively suggest a connection with persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols. Since the function of a trademark is to distinguish a mark owner’s goods and services from those of other producers or suppliers, these prohibitions make perfect sense. There is no commercial rationale to permit false advertising in a trademark.

The First Amendment Lawyers Association provided an amicus brief to the In re Tam Court, in which it argued that § 2(a)’s prohibition on “immoral and scandalous” trademarks should also die along with the prohibition on “disparaging” trademarks. However, since that specific issue was not presented squarely before the Court, the Court declined to explicitly expand its ruling to include all of § 2(a).

Joel Mac Mull

Joel Mac Mull

Despite this urging, In re Tam left this most problematic portion of Section 2(a) standing, if just barely. It is not that the court approved of this clearly unconstitutional provision. Far from it. The Court simply recognized that this particular portion of the Act was not being challenged in this particular case. Nevertheless, in Footnote 1 of the decision, the Court augured the downfall of this provision as well.

We limit our holding in this case to the constitutionality of the § 2(a) disparagement provision. Recognizing, however, that other portions of § 2 may likewise constitute government regulation of expression based on message, such as the exclusions of immoral or scandalous marks, we leave to future panels the consideration of the § 2 provisions other than the disparagement provision at issue here. To be clear, we overrule In re McGinley, 660 F.2d 481 (C.C.P.A. 1981), and other precedent insofar as they could be argued to prevent a future panel from considering the constitutionality of other portions of § 2 in light of the present decision.

And with that, the most offensive portion of 2(a) remained intact.

But it was like a billiard ball hanging on the edge of the pocket. One tap, and it would fall in. However, just like when you play pool, sometimes the ball hangs there for a second, and then falls in on its own. That just happened. In a letter brief issued Thursday, the Department of Justice conceded that § 2(a) was no longer enforceable in light of In re Tam.

We do not believe that given the breadth of the Court’s Tam decision and in view of the totality of the Court’s reasoning there, that there is any longer a reasonable basis in this Court's law for treating them differently…
The reasoning of Tam requires the invalidation of § 2(a)'s prohibition against registering scandalous and immoral Trademarks as well."(source)

Before we call the game over, the Department of Justice hints that it may appeal the In re Tam decision. Should that happen, the Supreme Court outcome would be anything but preordained. However, the In re Tam decision seems to be on solid constitutional grounds. I am optimistic that if the government does decide to appeal, that it will not be overturned. That said, I think I would be naïve if I said it would be a 9-0 decision.

Certainly, I find both prohibitions to be offensive under the First Amendment, but I can at least emotionally (if not Constitutionally) get on board with the government wanting to put its fingers on the scales of justice when it comes to opposing racism. But, as the In re Tam case shows us, when the government tries to do that, it usually does so with all the grace and logic of a Chris Farley character. Nevertheless, give them credit for good intentions.

On the other hand, the prohibition on "immoral and scandalous" trademarks was nothing more than a neo-Comstock attempt to legislate morality and to suppress sexual speech in order to serve illegitimate goals. One of my favorite law review articles ever was by Steve Russell, writing about the Communications Decency Act. He wrote:

By trying to regulate obscenity and indecency on the Internet, you have reduced the level of expression allowed consenting adults to that of the most anal retentive blueballed fuckhead U.S. attorney in the country. (source)

Every time I got a Section 2(a) rejection under the immoral and scandalous clause, I heard those words in my head, replacing "U.S. Attorney" with "trademark examiner." Today, perhaps, those examiners can go listen to Louie Louie, see if they find naughty words in it, and go whine to the FBI about it.

Some may feel this is a narrow decision regarding trademark rights, and those who don’t own any trademarks may not think this is a big deal, especially if they won’t be applying for any “immoral or scandalous” registrations. If you feel this way, you would be precisely wrong.

Every American should be celebrating this news. When the government decides to suppress First Amendment rights, no matter how narrow that suppression might be, we all have a little less liberty. When the courts recognize the expansive nature of those rights, we are all more free. It’s refreshing to see that the Department of Justice decided to yield to the In re Tam decision — even if it turns out to be temporary, rather than pathologically defending an unconstitutional law in the name of one very narrow definition of morality.

My delight at this development is both personal and professional. Professionally, I have been banging my head against Section 2(a) for most of my career. When I speak on the subject, I proudly announce that I have lost more 2(a) administrative appeals than I can remember. It isn’t that I’m proud of losing – but I’m proud of my clients for being willing to take up the fight, even in light of the fact that until In re Tam, it was a hard uphill battle, with the entire weight of the appellate decisions just brushing off the First Amendment as if it were an annoying little gnat.

I'm looking at YOU, In re Fox, 702 F.3d 633 (Fed. Cir. 2012) In re Mavety Media Grp. Ltd., 33 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 1994) and Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc. v. Singh, 428 F.3d 559 (5th Cir. 2005). If you read these cases, it will make you pretty sad that appellate judges can have such little reverence for the First Amendment, and such intellectual laziness in light of their own preconceived notions about morality. But, In re Tam restores all faith!

Those of us who believe in the First Amendment always believed that these decisions were wrong, but unfortunately, the government would exhaust each and every client before getting to the Federal Circuit to challenge it. Besides, how many times can you push that rock up the mountain before you just ask whether it is worth it?

But, finally, there was a client who didn't give up and who thought it was worth it — Simon Shiao Tam and the Slants (your new favorite band).

Therefore, I think that we all need to slap a few people on the back here. First, the Slants and Simon Shiao Tam for having the conviction to keep fighting this case to the appellate court. And just as much, Ron Coleman and Joel MacMull – the lawyers who handled the case. These lawyers did an incredible job – and they did it pro bono.

Because of them, your First Amendment rights are broader, more robust, and more protected today than they were just over a month ago. I have the privilege of calling Ron and Joel my friends. But, even if I did not know them, I would demand that all readers hoist them on their shoulders for what they’ve done for us. Fighting a First Amendment fight, for free, against some very poor odds is what I call “heroic.”

And if the government does appeal the In re Tam case to the Supreme Court, they’re going to have the bigger guns, unlimited funds, and at least a few of the justices already in their pockets.

Well, that doesn't concern me.

I like the good guys’ chances, with First Amendment Bad Asses like Ron, John, and Joel fighting for us.


If you find the issue of morality and intellectual property rights of interest, I'd be delighted if you downloaded and read my law review article on the subject. See Marc J. Randazza Freedom of Expression and Morality Based Impediments to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (January 16, 2016). Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016. This issue is only a part of the article, as it deals with morality and IP rights on a global scale. If you do read it, download it rather than just reading in your browser. (It gets the numbers up)

Randazza gets PWNED by Troll

Some people in our audience do not know the finer points of trolling…

Wow… there I was, all proud of the article I just wrote about journalism licensing.

And five minutes after posting it, I get word that I've been trolled. Yep. The proposed law was a Second Amendment protest. I would love to say "I knew that all along." No, I did not. I failed to critically examine the story. Epically failed.

I thought about updating the post. No. When I get trolled and epically owned, I need to go to the box for two minutes by myself, and I feel shame.

I go free when you say I go free. I feel shame.

Journalism Licensing Sounds Like a Good Idea… but….

SC Bill

South Carolina’s house bill 4702 seeks to create "The South Carolina Responsible Journalism Registry." The bill sounds like a pretty good idea. Lets face it, there are a lot of terrible journalists out there. A lot of hacks who don't deserve the name. When Sabrina Erdely made up the Rolling Stone story about gang rapes at a frat house at UVA, I called it "journalistic malpractice." But, I spoke merely hyperbolically. Wouldn't it be great to have a "reporter's license" that you could lose if you committed grave transgressions like that?

If you're nodding your head right now, slow down cowboy.

This seems to be another example of good intentions, but something I can't see working in practice.

There was a time when the title "journalist" was reserved for those working for a known publication. Everybody knew who was a journalist and who was not. Those days are long gone. With the rise of the internet, everyone can potentially be a “journalist”. Any John Doe can easily launch a blog and within a few magical minutes call yourself a “journalist”. Sometimes, they might even be telling the truth.

When it comes to protections for the press and speech protections for the rest of us, the distinction between "journalist" and "just some kid with a blog" is really nonexistent.

When the courts have recently struggled to determine who is a journalist and who is not, the answer has largely been "doesn't matter." For example, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals looked at that question last year when Crystal Cox, the well-documented extortionist, claimed the title of "journalist." (See interview with Marc Randazza on NPR here) Ultimately, the Ninth held, like every other court to look at the question, that it really doesn't matter — that journalists and batshit crazy lunatics get the same First Amendment rights. Similarly, but not identically, an appellate court in Florida looked at one of its journalism protection laws, Fla. Stat. § 770.01 and whether a blogger could claim its protections as well. The court in Comins v. VanVoorhis determined, essentially, that journalism is a thing you do, no matter who you are. (More here)

I think that part of the reason the courts have come to such conclusions is that defining "who is a journalist" is really difficult. But, this law would presumably help cure that problem. Person A has a journalism license. Person B does not. A nice bright line.

But is that a good thing? It strikes me with a little fear.

The First Amendment cannot abide in giving the government the ability to decide who has a journalism license and who does not. If we do that, it is almost certain that someone will abuse that power in order to promote a political agenda rather than a pure “ethical journalism” agenda.

Everyone has an agenda. I'm not sure that I trust some government bureaucrat to have the keys to who has a journalism license and who doesn't. When you take the high importance of the Free Press Clause and put the keys to it in the hand of a government agency, that can't end well. Imagine it is January 2002 and a journalist writes sympathetically about Al Qaeda. Would they lose their journalism license? Probably. What about today? Someone writes critically about Black Lives Matter, and there's an avalanche of letters from crybaby SJWs. Does that affect her license? Write a pro-Israel (or anti-Israel) piece, and do you think your journalism license wouldn't be on the block, depending on who makes the decision?

Perhaps there is a way to license journalists, which would be compatible with a notion of a free press. If there is, I lack the imagination to picture it. I agree there is a small problem, but we have always had good journalists and bad journalists. The marketplace seems to have taken care of that sufficiently up until now. I'm not ready to solve the problem of bad journalists by giving the keys to the Free Press Clause to some government-blessed regulator.


What's got “The Slants” case, CUMFIESTA, Fuckingmachines, Nutsacks, and Japanese porn?

My latest law review article does!

Randazza, Marc J., Freedom of Expression and Morality Based Impediments to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (January 16, 2016). Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016.

When I did my LLM in International Intellectual Property in Italy, I had to write a thesis. What else would I write but a study of how morality can get in the way of enforcing intellectual property rights? Download early and download often.