Why not a $50 dollar minimum wage?

Because Republicans don't care if people starve while working full time. I would absolutely raise the minimum wage to a level that a person can live a decent life.

It is my opinion that a business owner who pays less than a decent living wage is stealing from each employee. In most cases, they are also stealing from society, too, since we have to deal with feeding, jailing, etc, for people who are desperate.

It is my opinion that any business that cannot afford to pay its employees a decent living wage is a failed business by definition. I see no reason why a failed business owner should remain in business.

And before you tell me that nobody would go into business if they had to pay a decent living wage, I will tell you that it is my opinion that 1) you don't have enough faith in the greediness of American entrepreneurs, and 2) If stuff needs to be done, it will be done.

I would also tax the use of robots (in a broad, general sense of automated systems) in a way that insured that no business owner was encouraged to use fewer people than appropriate. I would use the proceeds of those taxes to support people who could not get a job with, you guessed it, a decent living stipend.

Yes. I am a liberal. You might call me a socialist. I believe that work is the important part of the capitalist system, not management. I believe that the application of capital in my country has to serve the people.

I believe a person who extracts a penny of profit while he has a single worker on food stamps should be taxed until the situation is changed, either by the worker making more or the profiteer being replaced with someone who values America and Americans more than his or her own greed.

On the Occasion Where The Donald Changed His Mind

Dear Trumpsters,

Don't you finally see that he is just using you now that he revealed that he was playing you for a fool by pretending to be a birther?

I mean, he had you and your friends saying really goofy stuff about Obama's heritage, fighting vociferously against the Kenyan threat, and he didn't really believe it. He must have been laughing at how sincerely the rubes bought that bit of social manipulation. I know I was.

How did it feel when, with absolutely no new evidence, he said, "He's an American. I was just jerking you around." And then everyone on Earth laughed and wrote articles about the use of the word "lie" in the media.

Hillary never humiliated me like that. Never treated me like a fool.

A Supporter of the Decent Candidate

An Exchange on Immigration and Terrorism

The person quoted below found me in a Facebook post by a right-winger I know. After some back and forth, I finally convinced him to discuss the topic at hand. He wrote a very nice essay explaining his view in rebuttal to my assertion that 'borders are mainly useful for deciding who to hate'. (He is not a native english speaker and included no paragraph breaks. I separated the sentences in the quotation below for readability.)

Says he.

"This all idea is upsetting to me.

"I grew up in Germany during a time when we did have a wall to keep people in! Any wall works both way...

"But we must have people respect the laws that will protected them once they are in the country.

"From my perspective the reason for illegal immigration is a lack of opportunity in their own countries.

"The best answer would be to create more jobs in Central America.

"I am involved in a project in Tanzania where we provide loans to farmers and educate them in financial management and farming techniques.

"The project has been going on for 10 years and has grown to 40 villages now.

"Most exciting to me is that we have save several thousand children from malnutrition and death and that the life expectancy of people in villages we are active in has grown from 51 to over 60 years!! That is bring in hope and a future for people.

"That is what we need to do an a larger scale in Central America.

"That will stop the problem.

"The terror issue to me is an issue of the conflict of civilizations - there is a book by that same title by a navy strategic think tank guy from back in the late nineties.

"He predicted the great powers to be the christian north west and the islamic east.

"Turkey being the leading power in the islamic bloc.

"I have spend a good deal of time in the middle east and Africa and done a fair amount of business in with Muslims and people of other religious groups.

"You have to understand that as a Christian in the Middle East, you are at fault, regardless of what happened, because you should not be here and if you were not here, what ever happened would not have happened.

"Logical! These civilizations are not compatible and living in the same place is very difficult, because you do need a common set of laws and that means you need to have a common set of fundamental values - and we don't.

"Singapore does a good job of creating a multi religious environment, but they are brutal enforces of law and order; the rest of the world is not good at making this work.

"And as long as we have a competition between the believes living in the same country will lead to conflict.

"Don't get me wrong, I have gained a number of very good friends in the Arab world who are muslims, but the best way for us to live is that they live where they live and I live where I live and we get to gather every so often and enjoy each other and discuss our differences.

"It would be foolish to live in the same place, because we would not be able to agree on who's rules to follow.

"I like them they like me, but let's not move in together."

To which I replied.

"I deeply appreciate your notes here. It is, I think, the first time a person from the right has actually responded to the idea, rather than calling me names. THank you.

"We agree on immigration, at least I think we do. I would expand on your observation to include legal immigration as well. People rarely leave their home if they are comfortable there.

"Your perspective on terrorism is illuminating. I suppose the difference between us is that I do not accept the notion that people with different values cannot live together. I don't disagree entirely. I cannot share space with an ax murderer. But, I am inclined to think that there are values that are intrinsic to being human that can serve as a foundation for sharing a society.

"I note, for example, that the American melting pot easily contains lots of Moslems, Jews and Christians in close proximity. In many places, environmentalists living next to oil barens. Here in Minnesota, we have a large contingent of Hmong people mostly living comfortably among big, blond people of Scandinavian descent. (The office suite next to mine at work has just such a group of tiny people. No problems at all.)

"But there certainly are value systems that seek to dominate in ways that make it difficult for others to cohabit. Fundamentally, our disagreement lies in the response to that fact. Yours is that "it would be foolish to live in the same place". Mine is that we must live in the same place and find a way. This is, at its foundation, where you and I differ.

"But I do not to disagree with the problems of unlike value systems sharing a society. In France, they are having terrible problems, substantially, in my opinion, because their value system requires submission to French culture. But in America, the problem is different and it doesn't have anything to do with Moslems. Moslems in America live with the American value system perfectly well. In American, the value system that is aggressive and intolerant is Christianity.

"And that brings me back around to the topic of immigration. America is not troubled by immigrants. Mexican immigrants, with and without papers, are great people. In general, they work hard, take care of their families, and contribute to society in a thousand ways. I literally do not know of an immigrant population that, generally speaking, fits your concern about disparate values.

"The one group that I argue is causing a problem in your context comprises native born Americans, the Christian right-wing. They are the people who want to pass laws based on their religion, who want to ignore the American value of inclusiveness by refusing to do business with people that see things differently, etc. The problem that you worry about is not immigration or borders, it is people with different values and they show up without immigrating.

"So, what do borders do for this problem. We started, after all, with my claim that borders are a way to decide who to hate. I think you have made a good case that I overgeneralize about right-wing people. Clearly your view of borders is to protect you from those nasty, middle-eastern Moslems based on a legitimate theory that their value system and ours cannot share the same society, not because you hate them.

"But, I also think that I am right for many (I believe almost all) of your co-right-wingers. Almost always, the conversation about immigration on the right starts with Mexicans and they do not, in any way, fit your theory. Their value systems are 100% compatible with ours. Without you theory of incompatible cultures, I cannot see any reason except racial hatred."

Noam Chomsky on Lesser Evil Voting

Voting according to your conscience is an unconscionable thing to do. Act according to your conscience when there are not bad consequences for other people. A pacifist who allows many people to be murdered because he won't kill is a monster. A voter who votes against Hillary in principle knowing that Trump will abuse millions of Moslems is a monster.

Says Noam Chomskey, political philsopher,

"Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression or moral judgement directed in retaliation towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values, or of a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites. [...]

"[B]y dismissing a “lesser evil” electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve."

Leave the Primaries Alone

I see people talking about reforming the primary process to be "simpler and more accountable", "uniform primaries", etc. I disagree. These people want to turn an interesting process that tests the abilities of the candidates and their organizations on many levels into the equivalent of education's high stakes testing.

Contrary to the opinion of the losers, the Nevada process showed us, for example, that Hillary runs a team that covers the details and plans carefully. It showed that Bernie and his campaign were not up to the task. That's important information for voters.

Caucuses show a campaign's ability to reach out in a small-ball, emotional context. The sequence of conventions and their negotiations show the power and savvy of the candidate. These are all important.

Primaries replace this complexity with a single, uniform (and fairly boring) test. Money plays an outsize role because of advertising. So do special interest organizations who can muster volunteers. They, too, have their place but to change it all into a monoculture would be bad.

Super delegates enrich the situation, too. They actually represent one more primary challenge for the candidates. It takes entirely different skills and characteristics to appeal to professional politicians. The stated purpose is to prevent a Trumpian disaster, but they also represent the judgment of the seasoned people who really know how politics works.

I do not think the primary system is broken at all. It fulfills many needs.

Distracted driving is "Pure Death"

No. Pure death is a bullet to the head. Drinking cyanide.

Distracted driving is highly diluted death. I know because I know of millions of people who are not dead yet and probably never will be.

They say it is as bad as drunk driving, another activity that is wildly overrated as deadly. Though I assiduously avoid it, my few experiences with staggering home in a car have resulted in zero deaths. My old friend and desperate alcoholic Al Spinnabella only drove drunk. To the best of my knowledge, he never killed or hurt himself or anyone else.

To be clear, I do not drive drunk and I do not text while driving. Both clearly increase risk for little reward.

But, talking on the phone is almost as bad. I do that all the time. I know it increases risk but the reward is high. You might feel that way about listening to music. I do about listening to books.

Everything lives on a spectrum of risk. Driving a car is extremely dangerous compared to watching television. But the reward for driving is high.

I am in favor of analyzing risks so that they can be mitigated but I am not in favor of trying to control behavior. Not only doesn’t it never work but the unintended consequences are usually appalling. Making cars safer has had infinitely more benefit that all of the reductions in blood alcohol level, increases in penalties and social opprobrium put together. It will be the same for distracted driving.

Here’s the other thing. It’s so not-close to “pure death” that people continue to do it. In fact, everyone who’s not a nanny-state advocate knows it's not even terribly dangerous. I have been hearing about this for years and am still alive and so is just about everyone else.

The annual death rate for automobiles is 10.7 per 100k (about 33k per year, less than unintentional poisoning) and the number of people admitted to the hospital for auto injuries is 50 per 100k. To accumulate those injuries and deaths, Americans drove three trillion miles in 2015 (it’s up almost six percent so far for ’16).

Which is to say that 350 million people spent (apparently) all day every day in a car and only .0005 of them (.05%) were hurt more than a sprain (non-hospital injury). Those ~90k that got killed or hospitalized represent 1.2 billion (13.7k/driver, I leave out the fact that not all were drivers) miles of driving. That means that we got over 2.99 trillion miles without death despite all the distracted and drunken driving.

Again, I’m not saying that people should do things in cars to increase the risk to themselves or anyone else. What I’m saying is that the alarm presented on the Diane Rehm show is overblown. I read today that New York is working on an implied consent law that would force you to show your phone to a cop to prove you weren’t texting (the article calls it a ‘textalizer’) in the same way that getting a drivers license obligates you to blow for the cop if they want.

Given the level of hysteria that goodie-goodies are working up, we can imagine (and why not?) roadblocks that check both your drunk status but also your phone.

And all this for activities that I believe with perfect certainty are much less dangerous than having a couple of kids in the car between the ages of two and five. There, of course, the benefit of allowing the risky activity is very high so we don’t care.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Campus Police

It was one of the nastiest events of its period. A bunch of students hosed down with pepper spray at University of California in Davis.

It was an appalling event. Anyone who is trying to figure out if they would allow their child or student to attend the place should consider it. It was an obviously peaceful protest and the campus police were obviously out of control. This suggests a world of irresponsible management at UC Davis.

Take a look and see if you don't agree that the campus police were doing being abusive when they pepper sprayed these peaceful protesters.



Personally I don't like the dichotomy being expressed by some Hillary fans claiming to support "evolutionary" over "revolutionary". It supports the Bernie Bros claim that she's into the status quo and "incrementalism." It's counterproductive.

It's also not true that Bernie promises something fundamentally different than Hillary does. They both seek to achieve the same goals. She wants to remove money from politics. She wants college to be affordable. She wants to prevent the financial industry from harming society or the people in it. I cannot think of a single Bernie goal she doesn't hope to pursue.

What she doesn't do is call people enemies and frauds. She doesn't speak in language of destruction and anger. She talks about planning, information and thoughtful policy. Considering where our country is today, that is the real revolution.

Bernie is, in fact, moving in the direction of the main political perspective. The entire Republican party speaks of enemies and destruction. They talk about groups of people who are bad. For the R's it's Moslems and Mexicans. For Bernie, it's "the business of Wall Street is fraud." Like theirs, his entire political strategy is dogma. The same five ideas repeated again and again and again and again. If you don't buy into them as expressed, you are reviled.

Viewed from the meta-perspective of how they want to operate to address the country's problems, Bernie and the R's have much the same strategy, albeit with very different goals. Hillary, different from the mainstream politicians and talking heads, is the revolutionary. She's the one who proposes respect. Respect for knowledge, expertise, collaboration and the political process.

So, this idea that Hillary represents a marginal, incremental approach is just wrong. She emphatically rejects the dogmatic, ideological and bitter strategy of the past - of Bernie and the R's.

She presents a new way of doing things - being smart, adaptable and collaborative. That's my kind of revolution.

Does a woman have the right to control her body?

If not, she is a slave. Like a black person in the 1800's who was not allowed to refuse sex and was forced to breed additional slaves, a woman would be forced to create a child at someone else's demand. She would be prohibited from having medical procedures she deems appropriate.

The justification of "life beginning" is a fraud. It doesn't matter. No one doubts the legitimacy of killing in self-defense. Few doubt the legitimacy of killing on the battle field. Few doubt the legitimacy of killing vile criminals. Killing is an accepted tactic for making a person's life, or society work better.

The focus on the "innocent baby" is simply a propaganda way of shaming women and controlling them. It is a way of making sure that no woman can be secure in her future. It is a way of making sure that a slut (any sexual woman) pays, and pays dearly. It is a way of making sure that women cannot survive without bring under the control of a man.

We do have to live together but only because I do not have the balls to raise an army to murder every motherfucker who talks about interfering with the lives of women.

My Choice is Hillary

Bernie partisans will tell you that he's passionate and committed. Hillary's fans (I am one) will tell you that she's brilliant, experienced and has well thought out policies. Contrary to what the Bernie partisans will say, their values, the overarching goals they will support, are almost identical.

I started the primary season as a long time fan of Bernie but convinced that Hillary had a huge advantage, in addition to the above, of having spent the last ten years building a political organization and otherwise preparing for the Presidency.

Then I witnessed the Bernie phenomenon. It turns out that passion is another word for emotion. Commitment is another word for intolerance. His strategy from the start has been to denigrate Hillary as a corrupt tool of the right wing corporations, to imbue his followers with a clear understanding of who the enemies are and to encourage them to be angry.

I have a lot of arguments with Bernie partisans on Facebook. I have had them tell me that Hillary, a person I have followed fairly closely for over twenty years, is no better than Dick Cheney. That she is a war criminal. That she disgusts them. This is what Bernie's leadership inspires. Irrational hatred for one of the most intelligent and reliable liberals I have ever seen. I think Bernie is a bad influence on America.

By contrast, Hillary is clearly all about being thoughtful and rational. She gets dinged for it all the time but her response is always a plan, well thought out, broken down into workable steps. That is, her main message is that we have problems and the way to solve them is to do things. People complain that she is unemotional because she doesn't think about who is at fault or who is bad or who she doesn't like. She thinks about what can be done to improve the situation.

I am often frustrated because I actually see real emotion in her. When she is explaining what she wants to do, I see a powerful version of the earnest girl with the thick glasses looking at a long-haired Bill. I imagine her screwing up her courage to investigate that racist school when she was twenty. It breaks my heart that people can't perceive her value.

But most of all, I think that she is brilliantly well qualified. Hillary already knows the personalities of the leaders of the world. She already knows how security works in the White House. How to operate the situation room. How to organize a policy organization. She has run the State Department, one of the largest and most important governmental organizations on Earth.

The question, though, comes down to emotion vs rationality. We are in an era where people are angry and disatisfied. The question is how to respond. There are a lot of Bernie people who think the way to do so is to encourage passion, ie, anger at the status quo, to break up things, to revolt, to condemn the enemies. In my opinion, these are people who think that emotion is the most productive way to make things better.

I am not one of them. I believe in thinking and planning. I believe in negotiating and cooperating. I think that negativity and enemies are a counterproductive distraction. I do not really think that emotion is a useful component of governance.

One other thing. The 'woman' thing.

I do not think anyone should vote for a woman because she's a woman. Carly FIorina couldn't get my vote if she was the last person on Earth. But, I do believe that there are differences in the perspectives of men and women and I do believe that this is a moment when that is apparent and important.

We are in a time when the inclination to violence is everywhere. When muscle flexing and intransigence and harsh judgements are rendered enthusiastically throughout society and government. It is my opinion that this is a consequence of a testosterone laden governing class. I believe that the Republicans are exhibiting dominance behavior more than any other thing. I think that we have become a country that is focused on the wrong things.

Hillary has made clear, for her whole life, that she is focused on helping people. From her early days as a student, through her time as First Lady, to her Senate period and even as Secretary of State, human rights, poverty, economic security and a host of other human oriented issues have been the center of her career.

I think we need that now. Families are in trouble. Human rights are under siege. Women rights, especially, are threatened in America, but so are other, non-white-male rights. I think it is time for a woman to give it a try.

I think that Hillary's lifelong interest in working on problems whose solution has nothing to do with kicking ass, assembling great armies or otherwise dominating people would be really helpful now. I think that her inclination to work across the aisle, her female inclination to collaborate and socialize, would be a breath of fresh air. I think the men have held power too long. We need to break up the pattern.

I have always like Bernie. But watching him in the debates has revealed a classic male dominance person. Seeing him shout, gesticulating in large aggressive movements, hearing him talk over Hillary again and again, watching him dancing and waving and upstaging her, all make me think that he is, contrary to his assertion, more of the same.

Boehner talks about "taking back" the country. Trump talking about "kicking people out". I just don't think we need another person to get into government with the same mindset and strategy.

If Hillary gets elected, I believe (and now I have studied on this some) that she will be the most qualified person ever to sit in the Oval Office. She has extraordinary amounts of applicable experience. She is clearly the most intelligent person in public life today. Her plans are thorough, well thought out and intended to achieve goals that any liberal should love.

Hillary is the right person for the job. I encourage you to vote for her.