Monday, February 29, 2016

Bernie Sanders for President

I have been writing some about politics, off and on, but now I want to be more plain. The Massachusetts primary is tomorrow, part of Super Tuesday - and the race is still open - not as open as it was in 2008, but still open. Another reason to be glad I'm a Democrat - the GOP nomination looks pretty well sealed up, and a horrifying nightmare it looks to be too! Donald Trump! Though truth is, it's hard to see anything about Trump that's any worse, or any different, than the rest of them. Maybe he says the racist stuff out loud - maybe he shrugs off the KKK rather than pretend to disavow them (and conjure up poor Robert Byrd, ex-klansman and Democrat - did you know he was a Democrat?) - but the policies and rhetoric is pretty much all the same over there. If anything, Trump seems to have some traits that are less horrible than the rest of them - not being willing to let people die in the streets, that kind of thing... Though his main characteristic is that he is a con man all the way down. Does he believe anything he says? does it matter? will he do any of the things he says he will, if he were somehow to get elected president? I don't know. I don't want to risk finding out. And he won't be running unopposed - we still get to vote against him!

So - I am a Democrat, and glad of it. And tomorrow I am going to vote for Bernie Sanders. I know Hillary Clinton is probably going to win in the end, and when she does, I will vote for her, with nary a complaint. And given what she's going to run against - I will vote for her with a good deal of enthusiasm. But that is still to come. For now, I still have a choice on the Democratic side, and I am taking Sanders. Why?

1. He is closer to the policies I want to see enacted. I know Clinton has moved to the left - but Sanders still has her beat there. The things I care about, he supports, and is more aggressive about: higher corporate taxes and higher top marginal income tax rates; more spending, on infrastructure and other job-creating projects. I want a better health care system, And he is more likely to push that farther. I want something done about sky-rocketing tuitions and student debt - he pushes that. something he talks about. He is less likely to support things like TPP - he is likely to be stronger on labor. He will push harder for minimum wage hikes - he will work to break up big banks and restore the kind of regulation that kept us from having these economic collapses every 10 years or so. He will work to improve Civil rights - for women, Blacks, gays - though I think Clinton will be just about as good on this. Truth is, Clinton won't be bad on most of these issues - he's just usually a bit better. And much better on some things (TPP, say.)

2. I can't deny there is some negativity to this. Hillary Clinton is maddening. I know that most of the things people attack her for are bullshit - Benghazi? no! shut up! But it's also hard to ignore what she has done. The money she's made - and who she's taken it from. And more than one of her political choices - supporting the Iraq war - there was no excuse for that in 2003, and no reason for Democrats to forget it now. we may have to forgive, move on - but we don't have to reward, or accept, the ones who voted for it. I also find the dynastic politics she's part of depressing. The Clintons are not fools - this is not the Bush family, getting dumber and more venal as you go down the years, but it's still annoying. And though she is smart and accomplished, in her own right, she is where she is because of Bill Clinton. And Bill? looking at his presidency now is a bit depressing - it was depressing then, and comparing him to Obama, it looks even worse. Health care, gays in the military, gay marriage - things Obama got and Clinton gave away. Welfare reform, deregulation of financial institutions - those are Clinton policies, and look what they got us. I know it isn't fair to blame Hillary for Bill's policies - but she was there too... All this - I said she was maddening: she is; Bill was. Because they are both so smart, such skilled politicians - and because they can talk as good a game as anyone. But they have always tended to tack to the center - tack to the machine. She still can't seem to understand that there are values outside of Washington and Wall Street - or maybe, that there are values outside the machine that are, in fact,opposed to the machine. It drives me crazy.

3. So what about electibility? It's a big topic this winter - will Americans vote for someone who calls himself a Socialist? It's a bugaboo word for the Republicans - they will run against it with all their might. But there are two things about that - the first is - they hate socialists, but they aren't too fussy about who they accuse of being a socialist. They've been calling Obama a socialist since day one - Obama? they'll call Hillary a socialist as soon as they will Bernie. Socialism is an insult - it doesn't mean anything. They have emptied it of meaning, and it's quite possible that no one cares about it any more. I don't know if it will be such a drawback.

The second point, and this is the big one - the GOP may hate reds - but they really hate Hillary Clinton. I can see it, in my crazy tea bagger cousins and moron friends, they are just itching to go after Clinton. They are doing it now - attacking her relentlessly, to the point that they half endorse Sanders sometimes. I am not sure if they don't hate her more than they hate Obama - at least, they have been practicing hating her since 1992. Obama, in the end, is just a black guy - Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton.

And one more point on this subject: I think this election will be determined by turnout. Get 60% of the voters to vote and the Democrat will win. Get under 50% - and look into the job market in Toronto. And there - Clinton will be able to control the party machinery more, and their GOTV efforts. But the Democrats are horrible at getting people to vote - that's the biggest single reason for the trouble this country is in now. Those 40% mid-terms. Here - I think Sanders inspires people - they will come out; Clinton - might get people out, but I think there is more danger of Democrats shrugging the election off if she is there. I hope not - but I suspect it will be more of a challenge to get people out...

So - those are my reasons for voting Sanders. I wish he could win, I suppose - I don't expect him to be able to. I can live with Clinton. I think, in the end, whichever of them wins the Democratic nomination will, in fact, win the presidency: Trump might do more to get out the Democratic vote than anything any Democrat can do. But I think even Trump is overrated as an electoral force - parties matter more than people. We are in an age of extreme party discipline - a fact the Republicans seem to have figured out, and the Democrats have been slower to adopt. Of course it serves the Republican's interests more than it serves the Dems' - deadlock is easy in the American system, with all its checks and balances. And deadlock helps the GOP - they can make government ineffective if they refuse to govern. They make government ineffective, then run on government's ineffectiveness. They work to make people cynical about government, about elections - so they don't vote. Because - they do not want people to vote. The fewer votes the better for them.

Look at the controversy over replacing Scalia: the GOP is counting on the idea that by making the system not work people will give up on the system. Now - that could backfire - there's a pretty good chance it will - the Democrats might be able to use this issue, if they try. But the GOP plan is clear enough. (Of course, if Obama were to take them up on it, and not nominate anyone - they would run against that, right? Sometimes, they seem to be daring him to rule by fiat - they've come pretty close the last couple years: doing nothing - forcing him to govern by executive action for the country to continue to function - and of course, running against his attempts to keep things going.)

I could go on. I will stop. I will end though by saying - the odds are good nothing much is going to happen until the 2020s. The GOP will hold the house - it would be almost impossible to get it away from them (they won a strong majority in 2012, despite getting several million fewer votes, for House seats, than the Democrats) - and they can continue to paralyze the government. It makes the election a strange one: Sanders and Clinton can talk a good game, but how much will they be able to do? Not a lot - how will they operate in that environment? I suppose it's another reason to vote for Bernie - he seems less likely to compromise and make deals with people who won't compromise or make deals. Clinton might try - which will end up being nothing but unilateral giveaways, because until the GOP breaks in half - which might well be coming, sooner or later - they will not pass anything.

And what happens if Trump wins? I am not sure - the GOP is organized around refusing to govern - they have had it easy the last 7 years. If they controlled government - they might try to finish the place off once and for all (that is, steal everything left over from the last time the fools ran the place), or get involved in a land war somewhere (invade Mexico? you know - wars certainly stimulate the economy). Or - they might collapse into posturing and incompetence and - god knows what could happen. Nothing good. Let's not do that, right?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Music and Miscellany

Friday, time for some songs before we start the last day of the week. Work and all that. Yuck.

No politics this week, not here - because I hope to get up a more substantial post before Tuesday, when my state gets to vote. More to come there.

How about the weather? an odd winter - last week was the champion here, going from -7 or so Sunday morning to 55 Tuesday, but this week has continued. Nights in the 20s sometimes, one day getting up to low 30s, the next to the 60s, with a big noisy overnight thunderstorm Wednesday night. Didn't seem to do much harm near me, but raised hell other places. Up in Vermont, say, where quite a few of my family live - rains, floods, mud. No fun.

Let us take comfort. Spring is coming - spring training is coming, which is even better! Pablo Sandoval does not appear to have gone hungry over the winter; Yoenis Cespedes was able to find round waffles! Spring is coming...

And now, music.

1. The Byrds - I Come and Stand at Every Door
2. Pixies - Blue Eyed Hexe
3. Bill Frisell 858 Quartet - All the People, All the Time
4. Neil Diamond - Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon
5. Rolling Stones - The Lantern
6. At the Drive In - Raschuache
7. REM - Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
8. Consonant - Little Murders
9. Meat Puppets - Fly Like the Wind
10. Violent Femmes - Prove my Love

Video? That's a nice set of tunes - too many choices, right? Violent Femmes don't come up enough on these lists so here you go:

And maybe some latter day Pixies?

And finally - Brother Neil, in 1967:

Monday, February 22, 2016


100 years ago, yesterday as it happened, the Battle of Verdun began. It began with 10 hours of artillery, followed by infantry attacks by the Germans, and it continued for the rest of the year. (And in some form, for most of the rest of the war.) The German's hope was that they could inflict great damage on the French through artillery, and by making modest attacks, that threatened Verdun itself (or more accurately, the ring of forts around Verdun), could draw the French into counterattacks that would exhaust the French reserves. It didn't quite work - the French held up better than the German's hoped, so the Germans were forced to attack more than they wanted, so took more casualties than they'd expected. Casualties ended up being relatively close between the two armies. (About 5 to 4, not 2 to 1 that the Germans had hoped for.) Still, it was a bloodbath, though not the worst of the war - the Somme, the Brusilov offensive on the Eastern front, were both bloodier, as was the fighting in 1914, when both sides were fighting on open ground. Verdun was a battle of forts and artillery - and endless grinding down of both sides. The French army survived, thwarting the Germans' hope that they would collapse; but by the end of 1916, the French army had been ground down fearfully (they lost more men in both 1914 and 1915 than they did in 1916), and were in danger - when another pointless attack failed in 1917, they started to come apart. The Germans, meanwhile, were still strong - though after this, they turned their strategy on the Western Front to pure defense, and set out to win the war in the east first.

And like so much of the fighting of WWI, it was a horrific experience - constant artillery pounding, living underground and in trenches, the whole world turned to churned up mud, full of dead bodies (human and animal), everything else - plants, trees, buildings, leveled and gone - for months at a time. It probably comes closest to our conception of the Great War - endless pounding trench warfare, a constant grind, with no end in sight, and little purpose to be seen. And, like most of WWI, looking back on it, it's hard to figure out what possessed the generals to try it. They really thought that would work? or accomplish anything? I suppose in the long run, this kind of war did accomplish what it hoped to - wore down the combatants to the point where they lacked the men and material to withstand attacks, assuming the other side got a fresh injection of men and material. That happened in both directions in 1918 - the Germans brought men from Russia and launched a very successful attack on the Allies, that wasn't strong enough to win the war. Then the Allies added Americans and their machines to their side and launched an even more successful attack on the even more exhausted Germans. Killing millions of people is a pretty bad way ot getting to that point, though.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Music, Honey dripping Beehive Edition

Slow to get to this - Friday music time! I am happy to announce that Ringo and I have made it all the way through Out 1 - the cat might not have been quite as attentive as I was...

But here we are. And now? Randomly selected songs, listed for no particular reason except perhaps to remind me of things I like:

1. Son Volt - Cocaine and Ashes
2. John Coltrane - Greensleeves
3. Cibo Matto - Beef Jerky
4. Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
5. Warlocks - Thursday's Radiation
6. Jesus and Mary Chain - Just Like Honey
7. Mission of Burma - Man in Decline
8. Jimi Hendrix - Little Miss Strange
9. Arcade Fire - Modern Man
10. Meat Puppets - Liquified

Video: it's so good, so good...

Maybe Cibo Matto - a horse's ass is better than yours!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Best Films of 2015

I am much later getting this posted than usual. I usually try to force myself to do it right at the beginning of the year - but there are always films coming out in January that should be under consideration, so it's always tempting to wait a bit. And when you wait a couple days to get Carol in, it's easier to wait another week for Revenant, and another for Son of Saul - and before you know it, it's February. And then your copy of Out 1 arrives, and that is what you do for a week or two. And yes, I know, I'm lazy. But here we are.

Was it a good year for film? Not bad. Lots of good films - maybe not so much obviously magnificent. I've felt that way the last couple years - no lack of enjoyable, intelligent films - but not as many that jump out to grab you. Maybe it's me - maybe it's the industry, turning into television, where even the good stuff gets flattened out somehow. Changes in technology and distribution and viewing habits and the critical environment all might be leading to a world of smaller feeling, more modest films. It feels like it's been that way for a while - I'm not sure there are any films from the 2010s that would make a top 10 of the 2000s. I don't know. This is the kind of thing that can shift very quickly - something can click, and a host of films I thought were nice and accomplished could look like masterpieces. I can't separate perception from what I am perceiving here. And I know this can follow my viewing habits - and I have become rather complaisant about seeing films, not chasing down titles in every special series the way I have. That can change too. So leave it. It's not like it's a bad thing - a world of reliably enjoyable and moving films is not a world to complain about.

And so? the films, cut a couple ways. First - things released in 2015, whatever their age:

1. Winter Sleep
2. The Look of Silence
3. The Forbidden Room
4. The Assassin
5. Phoenix
6. Adieu au Langage
7. Tangerine
8. The Clouds of Sils Maria
9. About Elly
10. The Wolfpack
11. Taxi
12. Jauju
13. Youth
14. Carol
15. The Big Short
16. Diary of a Teenaged Girl
17. Son of Saul
18. The Tribe
19. The Revenant
20. Bridge of Spies
21. Mustang
22. What We Do In the Shadows
23. The Hateful 8
24. Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll
25. Grandma

Made in 2015 - a first cut:

1. The Look of Silence
2. The Forbidden Room
3. The Assassin
4. Tangerine
5. The Wolfpack
6. Taxi
7. Youth
8. Carol
9. The Big Short
10. Diary of a Teenaged Girl

And to take the chance to look back a year - what about 2014? This is what I posted at the end of the year:

1. Boyhood
2. Grand Budapest Hotel
3. The Babadook
4. Inherent Vice
5. The Rover
6. Love is Strange
7. Mr. Turner
8. Citizenfour
9. Force Majeure
10. Cavalry

And this is the tally now:

1. Boyhood
2. Winter Sleep
3. Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Phoenix
5. Babadook
6. Adieu au Langage
7. Inherent Vice
8. Clouds of Sils Maria
9. Leviathan
10. The Rover
11. Mr. Turner
12. Love is Strange
13. Juaju
14. Two Days, One Night
15. Citizen Four
16. Actress
17. Force Majeure
18. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
19. The Tribe
20. What We Do In the Shadows
21. Don't think I've Forgotten
22. Cavalry
23. Selma
24. 20,000 Days on Earth
25. 99 Homes

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Scalia Dead

Been a year of obituaries this year, and here's another big one - Justice Antonin Scalia, dead at 79. It is a big deal - both because of the political situation, and because of who and what he was. It's harder to write about him than it might be about some others in a similar place - you have to respect the human being, with their families and friends, and we are all mortal, etc. - but he was a towering political figure, and how do you not acknowledge that? And politically, he has done as much harm to this country as any single human being in the last 30 years. And did it while being a pretty vile human being - letting his freak flag fly more than once... Yet - he was also a towering figure: the defining figure for modern conservatism, really - I can consider him a villain, and I do, but he was a remarkable villain. He was more Nixon or Andrew Jackson than Reagan or Little George Bush. Alito and Thomas are probably worse - Alito particularly might be the real heart of darkness on that court, the one whoever seems to have a flash of decency, the way Roberts and Scalia, and even Thomas, occasionally come across with. But Alito is invisible, compared to Scalia... In latter years, he seemed to start enjoying that rather much - like I say, letting his freak flag fly. Making himself the story - reveling in playing the villain (for the left), the hero for the right. He was interesting, even if he was infuriating.

All right. Supreme Court Justices serve for life - and in a tightly contested and fractious time such as ours, they are unlikely to resign - the odds are good the only ones to leave will be the ones to die. I don't want to root for people to die, or celebrate when people die - I would much prefer they find a better way of rotating through the court than waiting for old men and women to die... But the fact is, having him off the court makes the country a better place. There will be a terrible fight over his replacement - the Republican candidates are already suggesting that Obama leave the place empty - a comically absurd idea, though I suppose they have to say something like that... Still - while we are unlikely to get my first choice as a replacement, we are likely to get someone who will slide the country back to the left, some, a bit, enough. So - let's not kid ourselves: this isn't an obit I particularly mind posting. Yeah, it would be nice if he decided to retire to spend his dotage writing memoirs and making the talk show rounds - but getting him off the court is all good.

And - you know: when you die, all you have left is the legacy of what you did while you were alive. And he did evil. So - there you go.

Friday, February 12, 2016

I Never Wave Bye Bye

This month's band of the month has to be David Bowie.

It's hard to know what to write. Truth is, David Bowie has always been a bit of a Problem for me. (You have to pronounce it - Problem.) I like Bowie - I always liked Bowie. As long as I listened to music and thought about who was singing it, Bowie was there, and I liked him - Fame and Golden Years were on the charts when I started listening to the top 40, some of the first songs I took special notice of. But when I was young, he was always just a singer on the radio; when I got older - he didn't seem to translate as well into my new tastes. That is strange - in the 80s, I was listening to the Velvets and U2 and Joy Division - inspirations for or inspired by Bowie - you would think he would have been more part of my obsessions. Maybe he was too much a pop star - and in the 80s, that's definitely part of it. I was into punk, and he embraced a much more mainstream kind of pop just then. Maybe I just took him for granted for a while. In any case it changed - I started to listen to the things I liked in high school, and then I dug into his back catalogue a bit, and then I really re-embraced Bowie - but always in a way I found hard to explain.

I think some of it was his his image - the calculation, the imagery, the way the imagery could obscure the music. I was young - maybe I was more impressed by "authenticity" back then. There's irony here - I reacted against musicians who asked you to hear with your eyes, like Bowie and Nick Cave, someone I probably should have liked when I first heard him - and so listened with my eyes, and discounted music I should have loved. That changed, later - maybe I became less puritanical, or maybe I started appreciating their attention to image. It all looks rather silly now. Last month I went on about AC/DC's simplicity and directness, AC/DC and their allies in unpretentiousness, the Ramones, Motorhead, The Feelies, the Stooges. But really: all of those bands (even the Feelies, who come the closest to seeming to be a bunch of people playing what they want to hear) are almost as calculated as Bowie. Obviously, The Ramones and the Stooges - and almost as obviously AC/DC (a show business family, who worked through glam and other styles to arrive at what are essentially Chuck Berry tunes played in a modern style) - all of them calculated, all of them with their costumes and personae, costumes sometimes only arrived at after some experimentation.... None of them are much more natural than the Thin White Duke. The main difference between Joey Ramone or Lemmy and Ziggy Stardust is that The Ramones found something good to do, and perfected it, purified it, used the persona to make beautiful music, and Bowie made up something new a year or so later (Halloween Jack, right?), and off he went. What Bowie perfected was change itself. Or performance itself: the act of inventing a self, a persona through which to sing.

The truth is, I can probably trace the change to my full on adoration of films that began for real in the 90s - and there's no doubt that my appreciation for Bowie the musician has been encouraged by my appreciation for Bowie the actor. Film certainly helps reveal any kind of art as a complete art - music as music, performance, appearance, and so on. I like the imagery around people like Bowie and Cave - maybe not as much as I love their music - but I find their look, their attention to the look, their way of presenting themselves, the act of performing, very compelling. I could get into something about presentational vs. representational art here - though that's going to take us down another rabbit hole. (But it's a rabbit hole I can't help think about, with Jacques Rivette's death, and the arrival of that Out 1 box...) We can say this: David Bowie is the king of the Presentational Rock Star - he's not just performing the songs, he's performing the performance of the songs. Using the performance, and the personae, to shape the meaning of the music as well. And to keep you attentive to the intelligence shaping the songs - creating their meaning. Nothing is pure; everything is art.

That's fine with me. And here is the thing: it has been hard for me to think about how to write about Bowie - hard for me sometimes to say to myself exactly how much I liked him, as a musician, as a artist, as a persona. But when he died there was no doubt. It was shocking, almost, what a sense of loss I felt. His death left a hole in the world, larger than I imagined. It's as though he was too elusive to pin down when he was alive, too many different things to get a clear idea of what he was - but taking him out of the world, you can suddenly see all the things he touched. What didn't he touch?

I don't want writing about his image to take away from the power of his music. With any musician, sooner or later it comes down to the songs - and he wrote extraordinary songs. He was an extraordinary singer. He made extraordinary music. And his music was as protean as his image. Record after record, once he hit his stride, he rolled them out for ages - great songs, great performances, impeccable productions, records designed carefully, with a sound, a look, a style, complete packages - and record after record reinvents his sound, his style, the songs, the words, the tone, the emphasis. And the performances of the music changed as well - in this age of YouTube you can pick a song, and trace his performances through the years, and see how flexible he could be. Everything can change - the music, the arrangements, the style, the instrumentation - his voice, his inflections, his performance. He didn't just change his look, constantly - he changed the sound, the style, everything. He reinvented everything, over and over, and all of it brilliant. He had help - he worked with musicians as inventive and brilliant as himself, from Tony Visconti to Mick Ronson to Carlos Alomar to Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp to Stevie Ray Vaughan - and on and on. The music always warped around his collaborators, who steered Bowie through all those changes. Which brings us to another of his virtues, and the virtues of his constant evolution - he was always open to his surroundings, always absorbing other influences, other people's ideas, always finding ways to bring those things out through his music. His partnerships with other musicians, his interest in other arts - books, films, other music, his interest in the world. He absorbed everything and gave it back to us.

All right then - the songs. A top 10 - not an easy set of choices, but it never is.

1. Heroes - which is, by the way, one of the Best of Them All. That's probably a fairly common opinion, but it's still true - one of the Great Songs.
2. Panic in Detroit
3. Fame
4. Modern Love
5. Rebel, Rebel
6. Ziggy Stardust
7. Golden Years
8. Suffragette City
9. Lazarus
10. The Man Who Sold the World

I have to post this - with Adrian Belew on guitar. I've posted it before, and will again.

Panic in Detroit, live, with imperfectly matched live footage:

Golden Years, mid 80s performance:

Not on my list, but here's Belew wailing on Stay, ca 1990:

A rocky version fo Modern Love:

And finally, Lazarus, from his last record - a devastating goodbye, this:

Friday, February 05, 2016

Snowy Friday Random Ten

Another week in the books. One without any famous artists dying - which counts as a triumph this year. It is looking like a good weekend to be on the earth - snow! normal snow, it seems - 5-8 inches, wet and sloppy sure - but after last year, there's almost relief in getting just a regular winter snow storm. And - really, it's not supposed to be crowding 60 this time of year in Boston... Even better, the Coen brothers are back - Hail Caesar on the big screens! Always good. Sooner or later, the mails will bring me that big Rivette set - soon! soon!

I may even finally get around to writing my 2015 end of the year post. The way films come out, it's very tempting to wait a bit longer, until one more thing comes out - but I guess it's time. Expect it soon.

And, of course, the primary season is now officially underway. The Iowa caucuses are in the books, with the usual scramble to turn whatever happens there into a useful narrative. So - Trump falters! Little Marco Rubio surges! Hillary and Bernie tie and - what does that mean? Sanders on the rise? Clinton on the wane? or Clinton still winning, even in the places where Sanders can concentrate all his efforts? they all say all of that. Twitter is ugly - but we should take a deep breath and remember (as Matt Yglesias, cited here on Balloon Juice, says): "most Democrats like both Clinton and Sanders." Even the candidates seem aware of this, as their remarks (cited on another Balloon Juice post) about picking VPs attest. This is the time to try to get your favorite in - as long as everyone unites and votes in the fall for one of those two.

And so? Music:

1. The Feelies - Raised Eyebrows (live)
2. The Byrds - Pretty Boy Floyd (live)
3. Lou Reed - White Light/White Heat (live)
4. Six Organs of Admittance - Attar
5. Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box
6. Flaming Lips - Aquarius Sabotage
7. Highrise - Sadame [turning into a very feedback heavy Friday]
8. Bloc Party - Letter to my Son
9. White Stripes - Passive Manipulation
10. PJ Harvey - Man Sized

And video? got some find options today, huh? Feelies are always a good place to start:

Here's Lou, with some old English guy singing along...

And Roger McGuinn and Marty Stuart playing Pretty Boy Floyd; this is not a Bernie Sanders campaign ad, though maybe it should be: