Hillary v. Bernie, #1

I know that Hillary has a closer relationship with the conventional sources of power in America than does Bernie. But, I want you to notice something. The total of Bernie's listed donations adds up to as much as the bottom two of Hillary's.

We are not going to win with Bernie's $695k. Repeat after me: We are not going to win with Bernies $695k.

Yes, that's evil, wrong, sad, unAmerican, etc. It's also reality. The Democratic candidate is going to face a Republican who those corporate interests actually like and who will make Hillary's numbers look like a joke.


I am infinitely more liberal than Hillary. It's very likely that I am way more liberal than Bernie. Were I king of the world, I'd have Noam Chomsky be president.

Between Bernie and Hillary, he is, rhetorically, probably closer to me than is Hillary. However, that's only part of the equation.

There is no one who doesn't lament some of the lost opportunities because Barack was relatively inexperienced as he entered the White House. I am 100% confident that of all the people who have ever run for president, Hillary is the most ready to make a quick, effective start. She will be able to use her entire term, from the first day, to maximum effect. She would not, for example, be rolled over to give up on single-payer health care.

The experiences that put her in this position add other specific skills. I focus on having run several (hers and Bill's) national campaigns, what is said to have been a very effective time in the Senate, and having been Secretary of State.

She is a hard core power broker and, for good measure, will be a woman who wants to avoid being seen as weak. I expect we will see awesome compensation behavior as she kicks Republican ass.

Bernie has been a great Senator and I love him but his experience is as a Senator. That's great, but it just doesn't compare.

But, say it did. While he was doing his Senator thing and then deciding to run for president, Hillary was actually running for president.

Unlike Bernie, Hillary already has a national organization. She already has a huge amount of money. She has policies that are polished through her first campaign and the intervening years, including four working at the White House. She has presented herself to voters and refined her appearance and message.

She has not only earned her "inevitability" but she is like a suitor coming to ask for our hand bearing an incredibly huge dowry that includes just the things we need to win the war.

Bernie is a nice guy, but he doesn't have the fucking dowry.

So, if Hillary is farther from my policy views than Bernie (or Noam), why not go for the gold?

Because there isn't any gold to be had. If Hillary had all of her skills and resources *and* was as liberal as Noam, it would make no difference. The next president will govern in the same context as does Barack. There will be gridlock and bitter, partisan opposition. The nation is, though it makes me sick to say, fifty fifty divided between decent people and hideous, right-wing reprobates. Bernie will no more be able to, say, revitalize the labor movement than fly.

Whether they are beating back Bernie's 100% awesome policies or Hillary's 80% awesome policies, the fact is, the difference is going to be minor. In either case, they will be pushing policies that are consistent with our values and they will only get a tiny amount of that enacted.

So, Bernie proposes that we should take him seriously. I think, actually, that that very view is a point against him. For him to fail to see the practical advantages of having Hillary run and pretend that his policy accomplishments would be significantly different than hers, indicates a lack of insight that is, for me, very disappointing.

All this, of course, leaves out the elephant in the room. The American people would sooner vote for an atheist than a socialist. They would vote for a French person before they would vote for a socialist. They would vote for a dumbass, recovering alcoholic before they would vote for a socialist.

This is a good season for Democrats. Obama's done a good job and people are finally starting to feel it. Democrats are polling better and the Republicans are polling like the traitors that they are. While local elections continue to be rough going for Democrats, the presidential election looks pretty good.

Unless Bernie gets the nomination.

Another Way to Denigrate Women


It's my opinion that this topic has become a 'thing' as a replacement for previous anti-feminist topics as denigrating a women because her breasts aren't big enough, she's not wearing sufficiently sexual clothing, she's too assertive, etc. 

Decent people understand that deriding a woman's sex and behavior characteristics is bad. So, now we innocently observe, "I'm not saying you 'are' a bitch or bad person, I'm making a technical observation."

But, I think it's more of the same. People (including other women) can't stop themselves from interpreting women relative to their own desire. Nobody feels compelled to take a stern expression on a man's face personally. But, if it's a woman, people feel like she should change to make them more comfortable. "Smile, honey."

Well fuck that. I hereby declare war on the whole idea of 'resting bitch face'. It is anti-feminist and denigrating. Women have faces of all sorts. If they aren't talking to you, what they are thinking is none of your business.

Fortunately, this NY Times article mostly says this...

"We don’t inherently judge the moodiness of a male face. But as women, we are almost expected to put on a smile. So if we don’t, it’s deemed ‘bitchy.’ "

Hillary Accomplishments

These have a tendency to get lost, so I like to copy them into a place they can be permanent. Thanks to AddictingInfo.org for putting this together. I'm pretty sure I could come up with more than this but, it's a start.

Even though her major initiative, the Clinton healthcare plan, failed (due to Republican obstruction), you cannot deny that it laid ground for what we have today , the Affordable Healthcare Act, something Clinton supports and would continue. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/04/bill-clinton-obamacare_n_3868861.html]

She played a leading role in the development of State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides the much-needed state support for children whose parents cannot afford nor provide them with adequate healthcare coverage. [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-bill-frist-reauthorize-childrens-health-insurance-program/]

She was also instrumental in the creation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act. [http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/29/nyregion/campaigns-soft-pedal-on-children-and-the-poor.html]

Successfully fought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and asthma at the National Institute of Health (NIH). [http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=43]

She spearheaded investigations into mental illness plaguing veterans of the Gulf War; we now have a term for it  'Gulf War Syndrome'. [http://www.nytimes.com/1995/08/15/us/hillary-clinton-urges-attention-to-gulf-war-ailments.html]

At the Department of Justice, she helped create the office on Violence Against Women . [http://www.justice.gov/ovw/about-office]

She was instrumental in securing over $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment. [http://web.archive.org/web/20070209124010/http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/press/speeches/association_for_better_ny.shtm]

Took a leading role in the investigation of health consequences of first responders and drafted the first bill to compensate and offer the health services our first responders deserve (Clinton’s successor in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, the bill). [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/20/nyregion/20hillary.html, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/nyregion/23gillibrand.html]

Was instrumental in working out a bi-partisan compromise to address civil liberty abuses for the renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060627112300/http://www.senate.gov/~clinton/news/statements/details.cfm?id=249895]

Proposed a revival of the New Deal-era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to help homeowners refinance their mortgages in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster. [http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122230767702474045]

Was a major proponent of sensible diplomacy which brokered human rights with Burma. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/02/hillary-clinton-aung-san-suu-kyi-myanmar_n_1124853.html]

Oversaw free trade agreements with our allies such as Panama, Colombia, and South Korea . [http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2011/10/20111004103703su0.804176.html#axzz3X9yGaLHC]

Was the most traveled Secretary of State to date. [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/hillary-clinton-traveled-secretary-state/story?id=18347258]

The Clinton Foundation, founded by her and her husband, has improved the living conditions for nearly 400 million people in over 180 countries through its Initiative program. [https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative]

Rachael Dolezal

I am deeply angry about the mistreatment of Rachael Dolezal. There are three reasons.  

First is that I feel protective of an innocent. This woman was living her life, doing her job, washing her dishes and going to the movies. One day, her parents decided to go on television and talk about her personal secrets. Then, the infinite viciousness and judgment of internet busy bodies set about trying to ruin her life. She is now infamous and unemployed. The Seattle NAACP has lost a good employee. It makes me want to do murder, I think it's so unfair.

Second, I think that the people who are doing the talking are wrong in an unethical way. I believe with level of certainty hardened by several days of having people work really hard to talk me out of it that no one should ever have to answer questions about the personal identity. 

We used my experience with Judaism as an example. One person got it badly wrong in reply. He said that I had done my adoption of Judaism was better done than her adoption of blackism and listed details. Even though intended positively, it was a terribly intrusive thing to say. I think, "who is he to judge how well I handle my religious life."

No one, least of all the random internet busy bodies can know her personal journey and I don't think she should be subject to their judgment. I don't think she should have to be embarrassed because a third party who doesn't even know her approves or disapproves what she did. It's none of anyone's business. That so many people are so rude and tasteless puts me right up the wall.

And finally, I have been talking about this for days in my role as defender of the right to do you own thing without every single person talking about it. During that time I've had a lot of intense conversations as people escalate their language and intensity in the face of my intransigence.

Consequently, I now have a lot of fully developed ideas supporting my viewpoint. I also have become impatient with the derivative thinking that I run into. Partly this is unfair. Most people haven't had the dozen conversations I've had, and, so, haven't heard it all a dozen times in fifteen variations.

But, the bottom line is that I would, if I could, slap the shit out of everyone in the country and tell them to mind their own business. This woman is out of a job for fucks sake, even though she was doing a good job and her employer was perfectly happy. 

She has been subjected to the kind of shaming that we used to consider to be the specific province of petty, small town, small minded vindictiveness. It has deeply harmed her life and, even if, I say "if" because I don't know of any reason to think it is, even if she had lied and was cynical about it, it's nobody's business except her's and her employer's.

That's why I am outraged. I consider the treatment of her to be a bigger, nastier crime than the shootings in Charleston. There one guy went nuts and harmed some people. Bad, but only one bad guy that we can put in jail. With Rachael, we have millions of people. some of whom I call friends, ganging up on a single person to destroy her life. It's a sickness in our culture that we cannot stop. It makes me furious.


I have figured out something. Conservatives evaluate what's good by comparing reality to their moralistic ideas. Where liberal types look at the world and evaluate it's practical condition, conservatives look and consider how closely it matches their preconceptions.

In this case, their preconception is that 'people should get to keep what's theirs'. They evaluate policy by how closely it aligns with that idea. It's effect on the outside world is not important.

Liberals look at the policy and evaluate how it would change the situation. They evaluate it based on the predicted consequences. If it contradicts their principles in some way but does a lot of good, they still support it.

I posed an article recently that noted fMRI studies that observe that, when evaluating ideas, conservative brains expend a lot of energy in the amygdala; liberal in the anterior cingulate cortex.

The amygdala is thought to be the center of fear-oriented emotions, the warning system for the brain.

The anterior cingulate cortex is thought to be the part that evaluates ideas and helps us deal with ambiguity.

Which is to say that it's kind of obvious how these viewpoints differ. Fear vs analysis seems a decent shorthand for the underlying phenomenon. And what is used to stave off fear in the absence of analysis? Faith. And what do people who are not afraid do? Work for progress.

You can chase the comparison a long way before running into any comparisons that seem false. The upshot is not that they are lemmings, running blindly toward destruction. They feel that we are already destroyed by our variation from the ideal. They think they are leading us back to the only thing that matters, and now I switch to metaphor, close alignment with God's will. Their God, of course, includes the free market, low taxes and condemnation of everyone who does not share their values.

Making things better in the ways liberals value is not relevant. That is, they know that it is more likely that a camel pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man go to heaven. Of course, in this case, they mean 'rich with gay marriages and abortions.'

That is, the Taliban and ISIS are not the only group of people who are willing to destroy freedom and well-being in pursuit of their understanding of virtue. They live amongst us intend to subjugate us every bit as much as do their Moslem brethren.

My Line in the Sand


It is correct that she be kicked out of the pool job because she behaved poorly there. It is*appalling* to me that people, liberal people are calling for her to be fired from her day job because of this. 

People should not lose their ability to support their families because of unrelated acts unless they are truly horrific. Being a bigot or being an asshole at a swimming pool does not even approach that level.

The right has pressed for intolerance and worked to turn political discourse into personal destruction. I condemn it as a crime against society. If we encourage destruction of families over reprobate ideas, we are no better.

If liberals encourage escalating disagreement to actively preventing people from earning a living, I am out. I think it is a terrible, terrible thing. I feel this issue as strongly as I do anything.

You are welcome to hate her for her views. You are not welcome to try to ruin her life. I will fight you to protect this bigoted bitch as fiercely as I would myself. 

Kristen Gillenbrand - A better bet than Hillary?


I am a huge Kristen fan. I don’t think she is a better Hillary, just younger. She has some policies that I prefer and has had a shorter career to accumulate distasteful compromises. If she ever wants to be President, I will support her enthusiastically. But this time, it's Hillary all the way.

The main reason that I support Hillary so emphatically is that, more than any other candidate in my lifetime, she has prepared for the campaign and the job. Everyone else, douche bag Republican or charming Democrat, came to the initiation of their Presidential primary campaign on a whim. Sure, many knew they were going to do it and had a handful of supporters but their preparation for the campaign began when they announced an exploratory committee. And sure, many had jobs that gave them a variety of public service experiences.

But nobody has done what Hillary has done. You don’t recall her ‘forming an exploration committee’ because she has been preparing for this since she left the senate. She already has a national organization and a ton of money. She already has a well-formed policy apparatus. She’s not getting ready to run. She is already running a fully competent campaign while everyone else has their dick in their hands.

And, there is nobody who has her experience. They will complain about the “Clinton dynasty’ but she has lived in the White House. She has had national policy failures and successes. She has done foreign policy as part of the Presidential contingent and as Secretary of State. She was an active First Lady, running a large staff and acting on policy initiatives, working with the legislature as part of the Executive Branch. She was a well-respected, remarkably effective Senator from a large state. She learned the details of legislation and how to work across the aisle. She has experience working with state government to accomplish stuff.

It’s incredible. She has the potential to be the best president ever. She is certainly the best qualified. She is a once in a lifetime gift for Democrats.

I love Bernie and I am a Kristen fan. I also love Mila Kunis but, she isn’t as good for me as my wife. Sometimes one has to leave romance aside and make a strong, healthy choice. Hillary is the one for 2016.

How I could accept the PATRIOT act


I would stop objecting to the PATRIOT act if they would amend it to say that everything they looked at was absolutely sealed. That a government person who revealed a single detail would go to prison. And, that the information could never, ever be used as probably cause or evidence for anything other than an immediate threat. 

Basically, I would have them subject to pretty much the same rules as a psychiatrist relative to his patient's records. No talking. No cooperating with law enforcement. No nothing unless there is an immediate, demonstrable threat of harm.

If they find out that you are selling drugs, laundering money, or cheating the IRS, they are not allowed to tell anyone.

If they added that to the PATRIOT act, I would believe they were sincere about it's being applicable to terrorism and not a stalking horse for the police state.

Mr Burns: A post-electric comedy

'Mr Burns: A post-electric play' was entertaining but, even more, I really liked the idea.

It was structured into three acts, each of which was set some time after some sort of unspecified global calamity. It looked at how The Simpsons was transformed by people as it became a myth.

The first scene took place shortly after, even during the disaster. Electricity and civilization were apparently gone. In those troubled times, The Simpsons was used as a way to push away the darkness. Trading lines around the camp fire was fun, funny and connected people to each other and to happier times.

Seven years later, performing The Simpsons was a desperate way of making a living. Ragged theater troops performed episodes for audiences. People still remembered the shows but, without having seen it in years, it was hard to remember exactly how they went. Stories were mixed up with other cultural artifacts as the myth changed in peoples' minds.

Seventy-five years later, no one alive had actually seen the show. By then, the myth served only as unconstrained inspiration. The characters were still known, though mixed up, and they had been changed to icons with simplified characteristics. Bart was practical. Homer was hopeful. Etc. Pure mythology of clarified virtues and vices. A play produced in those times used the myth to express the hope that, despite the peeling away of comfort, security and pleasure, those who accepted the new reality would prevail – in a strangely passive way.

It made me think of the Hercules myth. I don't really know how the Romans portrayed him in their culture but they had theater and poetry and the rest. His basic story was as a protector at a time when outside forces were threatening Rome. Where today's Simpsons are a way of looking at American families and small town culture, Hercules was, presumably, a way of understanding the military culture, perhaps the equivalent of terrorism at that time. Later, Hercules changed from his original emphasis as protector to being an heroic inspiration for  warriors.

Centuries later, in the nineteen fifties, Hercules was a comic book hero. "The world's strongest man". That is, the myth, with all those in the real world who lived during the popularity of his origin story long gone, changed again into a symbol of pure masculinity and power. Not having read the books, the cover suggests that he was big and strong and mighty. A good use of the myth for post-war America as the country reveled in its wartime successes or, perhaps more accurately, sought to retain that self-perception in light of the mixed events in Korea.

In the nineties, Kevin Sorbo portrayed him as a response to that era's needs. He was a pleasant, ethical helper. He redefined masculinity as congeniality and restrained strength. He was a helper, not a savior. He avoided violence but, it was because he was strong enough to risk engagement. He was self-effacing. Perhaps it was a response to the "greed is good" eighties or an expression of the power of feminism in myth. Maybe a response to the immense overkill that was applied in the first Iraq war. An attempt to recast our self-image as more thoughtful than violent.

In any case, the sequence is a practical example of the transformation of a myth through time and in response to different social changes. As with the change of Superman story from its creation in the thirties as the American Hercules to the eighties Lover Superman to today's Flawed Introspective Superman, Hercules and The Simpsons adapt to the needs of modern society.

It is peculiar to think of The Simpsons as our mythology. It is thought of as a crude entertainment but, that's how all myths start. The Simpsons has real myth potential because of its longevity (we replace things much more quickly now than in the heyday of historical myth making) and because of its complex reflection of social reality.

'Mr Burns: a post-electric play' is not a fabulous play but the author does a credible and imaginative job of envisioning the changing demands that society places on myths and how a particular one might adapt to fit those needs. From The 'Chase Away the Darkness' Simpsons to The 'Nostalgic Rerun' Simpsons to The 'We Will Endure' Simpsons, the play provides a way of understanding that, even in these cynical and anti-cultural times, mythology is an essential way of helping us adapt and look at ourselves.

'Yo Mama' Attack

When, in a discussion online or elsewhere (but usually online) a conversational opponent fails to argue the issue and resorts to personal attacks, calling names or expressing other, irrelevant nasty attitudes about the person.

This is exemplified by the (possibly apocryphal) phrase, "Yo Mama" to suggest that someones mother is a whore, even when neither she or whoring is under discussion.

Other examples include, "you're a communist", "asshole" and "you're a hypocrite.

Executing an unforced (ie, the opponent did not engage in it first) 'yo mama' attack results in a win for the recipient of the nasty accusation.