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.
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.
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.
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.
The Democratic decision is actually about the basic male/female question.
Hillary has, all her life, been concerned with taking care of people. Concern for women. Concern for healthcare. Concern about issues identified by the people whose injury she would remedy.
Bernie is going to break things and lead a revolution. He shouts about principles and enemies and the grand armies that he will lead to victory over evil. He talks about the millions he will lead to victory to provide him the ability to make everything different. He. He. He. He.
Ask any decent family man and he will tell you that the heart and backbone of his family is his wife, the mother of his children. The one who remembers birthdays and takes care of sick kids. The one who knows where things are, how to make the phone calls to get the repairs done, to solve the problem with the kid's school, to focus on the facts of the people around her.
When men are dominated by their masculinity, they are more inclined to seek glory, to be filled with pride in themselves and their accomplishments. They are inclined toward hard applications of principle. Consequently, they are the priests, the captains of industry, the generals - to ex-communicate, exploit and kill.
I support Hillary because I see in her the female sensibility that getting stuff done is more important than starting a revolution. That violence and arguing and pushing people around are less likely to make the world better. That the things that are important to other people, their problems and needs and issues that will bring them into a collaborative spirit, are important. I see the opposite of a bully, the opposite of a revolution. I see We, We, We. I hear, "I will work with..."
I see sincerity, caring and a steely determination to make things better for people. I'm not supporting Hillary because she's a woman. I'm supporting her because I think we've had enough confrontation. I want someone who cares enough about our country to cooperate.
He says it's a challenge and he says it's questions but, in fact, it's a list of insinuations that would make Darrell Issa proud.
(Original article here: http://tqwhite.org/?017B0D)
Though the article is contemptible and deserves to be reviled, my rage forces me to answer.
1. Why is Clinton more capable of leading our nation than Sanders, if it was Vermont’s senator who voted against Iraq and predicted its outcome, while Clinton calls her vote a “mistake”?
Implicit in this argument is that everything Bernie has done is perfect. That all disagreement and every error disqualifies. It is a fascist view of intolerance.
Why is Clinton more capable? Because she has been in the crucible. She has made mistakes, understands their consequences and takes her responsibility. Bernie criticizes. One is the voice of experience. The other, a complaint.
2. Why are supporters of Clinton willing to move the Democratic Party and America dangerously to the right with Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy?
The use of prejudicial language doesn't make it true. In fact it emphasizes the fallacy of the statement. Were there substance behind this assertion, the supposedly dangerous ideas could be stated and we would see their evil.
Instead, we have rhetoric. Like the Tea Party, we have accusations of sin. The Syrians are dangerous. So is Hillary. In both cases, they are baseless, coward's propaganda.
3. Without claiming Republicans are worse, how is Clinton going to fulfill her promise of ending mass incarceration, when her campaign has accepted $133,246 from two major prison lobbyists?
The premise of this question is that everyone is as dishonest and self-serving as the author and people who support this notion. The surveys tell me that Bernie has increasing support among Tea Party activists because of his hatred of bankers. Are we to think that he will also turn against women's reproductive freedom because he has taken their money?
Politics is a business as much as it is a calling. Hillary has chosen a strategy that requires money. Hillary believes that she cannot prevail against a moneyed, Republican opponent on individual contributions alone.
It is a reflection of the corruption of the opposition that this point is ignored. There is nothing in Hillary's background to suggest that she supports injustice. It is a notion that reveals the internal views of her detractors that they can be so certain that everyone can be bought.
4. Why has Clinton evolved on so many issues, when Bernie Sanders remains true to his principles?
Because Hillary is an intelligent person. Because Hillary is not dogmatic and trapped by her previous viewpoints. Because Hillary has reached beyond her limitations and sought to do great things.
Republicans and, apparently, Bernie supporters require faithful adherence to a single dogma. Hillary has rejected the roles foisted on her as a woman, as a liberal and as politician. She has changed and grown. This author might consider Bernie to be extra virtuous for not having learned anything in the last thirty years. It is a narrow, conservative conception of the human experience.
5. How is Hillary Clinton better for African Americans and Latinos than Bernie Sanders, in light of the fact she utilized Republican strategies (race, Islamophobia in order to defeat a political opponent) against Obama in 2008?
Race-baiting is another way to demonstrate a craven spirit. Announcing the policies she proposes would not support a sneaky accusation of racism. Reaching into the bowels of political speech to emphasize passing ideas and pretend they are representative is another rhetorical devise of the bigot.
This author could as easily wonder how fabulous it would be to have a President that whose history included so many brilliant and supportive racial statements. That would not support this greasy effort to smear Hillary.
6. Who is more trustworthy?
And so we come to it. She can't be trusted. She's a 'clinton'. She's 'other'.
Why not just say it? She's also a 'woman'. She's a liar. Only Bernie is lovely and virtuous.
It's another right-wing emphasis on faith and character. The kind that can't be refuted and has no meaning but somehow denigrates the accused.
Neither is more trustworthy. Neither is more corrupt. Both are politicians. Both have said things that are reprehensible. Both have lied. Nobody is perfect and people who are working for the salvation of society sometimes have to dance with the devil. The implication that only Bernie is perfect is offensive.
7. Who is more likely to have a scandal-free presidency?
Who is more likely to fly? Who is more likely to learn to sing. Who is more likely to have diarrhea or get a venereal disease? Who is more likely to make love to a Republican?
Who is more likely to succeed?
That last, of course, is the only question that matters yet is the one left unasked. That is, of course, because Hillary has a much stronger chance of actually winning the game of politics. Bernie has been a mayor and a Senator. His policies are simplistic. She's done more and her policies are fully explained and subtle.
We don't talk about policies. Here we talk about virtue, character, faith. Why? Because this author is a Tea Party, emotional, faith-based right-winger in liberal clothing.
Questions 8-19 provide no new perspective and are not really worth discussing.
The real import of this series of 'questions' (irony quotes are appropriate since the questions are all really accusations) is to imply that Hillary can't be trusted.
It's the same tactic, expressed in almost the same language, as that used by the Republicans against Obama. He's shady. He's dishonest. He's allied with the wrong kind of people. While we are at it, shouldn't we wonder why he won't use the precise language we prefer? Doesn't that make him unqualified? Doesn't that mean he's an imposter.
The only question in the remaining list worth answering is the last one.
The reason that Clinton supporters question the motives of people who 'critique' Hillary is that the critique is always about her personality and her virtue. The critique never seems to focus on issues, or electability, or intelligence, or capability, or experience.
Instead, we always hear that she's dishonest, corrupt, can't be trusted. These are criticisms that, as they do when uttered by Republicans, say more about the questioner than the subject of the question.
Talking about these points reveals the speaker to be a person who believes that people are corrupt. Focusing on character, personality, family and faith are tricks used by those who do not have real evidence.
In fact, it is probably right to say that there is no question about the motives of the people who are critiquing Hillary in this way. They are speaking for themselves. their motivations are obvious and never have anything to do with seeking truth.
For the record, here are the questions that were not specifically commented on:
8. Will Clinton continue to oppose Keystone and the TPP as president?
9. How did Clinton evolve on gay marriage?
10. Why did it take Clinton so long to evolve on gay marriage?
11. Does Hillary Clinton really believe wiping a computer server means with a cloth?
12. Does Clinton’s experience translate to good judgment and decision making?
13. Was the Libya bombing a wise decision on the part of Secretary of State Clinton?
14. Why didn’t Clinton mention Sandra Bland, like Sanders, in the debates?
15. If gun violence is a tragedy, then is gun violence also a travesty in Iraq and Libya, if Clinton’s foreign policy decisions helped lead to this violence?
16. Who’s more likely to be influenced by factors other than progressive principles?
17. If Hillary Clinton didn’t have name recognition, but still held the same prior positions and subsequent flip flops, would you still vote for her?
18. If you fear future Supreme Court nominees, then in the future would you vote for someone even more conservative than Clinton on foreign policy, or would you take a stand against the DNC?
19. Which candidate inspires voters?
20. Why do Clinton supporters always question the motives of anyone critiquing Hillary Clinton?
At next week's debate, open with this. It will elevate you, flummox the entire political class and make it so that the conversation with Bernie doesn't do harm.
"I do not know of any single detail where Bernie's values and mine diverge. I am determined that women are free and equal. So does he. I am determined to protect the environment. So is he. I believe that economic inequality has gone way too far. So does he. Gun control. Labor. Health care. If there is a place where his goals and mine are not the same. If he wins the nomination, I will support him with all my heart and be glad for the country when he wins.
"But, we have an election and we need to provide a way for you to decided who to vote for and that means that we both need to explain the places were we differ. It's not our goals. It's our tactics. The things we think need to be done to achieve our goals.
"I have worked a lot of jobs in national government. Starting with First Lady - and yes, I promise, that was a job and a hard one, through the Senate and Secretary of State. Along the way, I have participated in the Clinton Global Initiative and run an effective presidential campaign. Yes, I lost but not because I have no idea how to organize people and get things done.
"I explain this not because I believe I am 'all that and a bag of chips'. I just want to establish the fact that I am well experienced and that, as those of you who don't agree with me hear this, I hope to help you understand that I'm not stupid or evil. I am sincerely on your side and I know a lot about how to accomplish things on a national scale.
"The difference in our strategy comes down to this: I do not think that one can win in today's divided country by taking strong, unilateral positions. I know many of you think that's how the Republicans have behaved but I have to remind you, they are not winning. Starting with Obamacare, they have suffered a string of defeats and have literally accomplished nothing except keeping the Benghazi investigation alive.
"So, it's true that I'm more supportive of international involvement than he is. I think that active engagement is essential to representing our interests and encouraging better outcomes. There are risks to both treaties and military action but, I believe the risks of allowing events to unfold while watching from the distance are greater. I think it is crucial to support friendships and develop allies. I understand that there is often a price to be paid and risks to be faced but the benefits of international engagement leave us, overall, better off.
"While it's not true, as has been said, that I am a friend of Wall Street (and I have to say - and I know this doesn't come from Bernie - that the idea, at this late date in my life, that I could be bought for campaign donations is, well, it's not even insulting. It's silly.), it is true that I have a healthy respect for the role that corporations play in our economic system.
"It is probably true that some people committed crimes that were unjustly ignored, but it is also true that reality demands that we have banks and trading institutions and all the other functions executed on Wall Street. I agree with Bernie that Dodd Frank should be just the start but, I also think that the goal we share of having a more equitable distribution of wealth will never be achieved without the cooperation, hopefully voluntary, perhaps forced, of those companies. We can't just call them bad and shut them down.
"There are many other examples. The Senator and I come from different backgrounds and have different attitudes about life and conflict and getting things done. I am confident that, if he wins, he will do a lot of good things. But, I do not think he will be able to do so without adopting the, I'll call it, my attitude of realpolitik, my understanding that half of this country is fairly conservative and that Congress is probably still going to be under the thumb of the corporations and that we don't have infinite money or a broadly peaceful world, that we cannot say to our opponents, 'My way or the highway.'
"So, the case I make to earn your vote is this: I have a good strategy for getting things done. I have demonstrated my skills over the last twenty some years in many ways. I am tough and determined. Try to think of anyone in public life who has taken a beating more times but still came back to accomplish good things and keep moving forward. I have unparalleled experience and a good plan.
"But, I also understand that those plans that I have placed all over my website, that I have worked very hard to make as realistic and sincerely possible as I can, are going to be crushed in the face of events and the opposition of the Republicans. I believe that this perspective, which Bernie's partisans have tried to say makes me almost a Republican, is the best way to accomplish the goals that I share with Bernie. It's not that I am incapable of the determined passion that Bernie presents, it's that I think my approach is more likely to be effective.
"I think that Bernie Sanders will make a great president. If he is elected, he will uphold the highest values of our country and of American liberalism. But, I emphasize: So will I.
"If I am elected, you can be 100% certain that I will fight for women's rights, for labor rights, for economic parity, for the environment, for our position in the world including that of a decent leader of world events. We will, because I think I have the experience to do so, optimize our accomplishments in the battle against the Republicans and I think that I can do a good job of bringing people who are more conservative than me closer to seeing my view.
"We are lucky this season as Democrats to have no bad choices. You will not go wrong choosing Bernie but I believe choosing me will be better.
"One other thing. There are three other people in this race and, I apologize for my focus on Senator Sanders. The truth is that everyone who talks to me compares me to him, so I have become a little single-minded in thinking of him as 'the' competition. I know that's not true and I mean no disrespect. I know that you are good people with good values who would do a good job. As I said, we are very lucky this election season to have nobody taking the role of Trump or Cruz, people who are unqualified and have bad, even dangerous, opinions.
"But, I think you would do best to choose me. I believe that I am the most qualified person in this race because of my experience, understanding of how to get things done and my heart. I love this country and I love the people - including my opponents here.
"If you elect me, I will do a very good job. I will pursue good, liberal goals in a practical way that will, I think, optimize our opportunities.
"I guess some might say that it's a faint promise, but it's what I believe is the biggest responsibility of a president, fulfill the good goals of the American people in a way that optimizes our opportunities. If I am elected, I will do everything I can to improve the lot of the American people and to make America great."