HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » TygrBright » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »

TygrBright

Profile Information

Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,513

Journal Archives

Dear GOPpie Solons: DON'T Go There. You WILL Regret It.

A person who spends more time delving into commentary and coverage of The Levers Of Power than I do gave me this warning:

"Trump hides his very real vulnerabilities by flaunting his "Teflon" bits. You can't get him for being a bigot or a misogynist or a lousy businessman or an ignoramus-- those are things he's proud of, things that appeal to his 'base,' part of his ego-inflating mechanism. They all come with 'justifications':

Bigotry and misogyny are justified because "those people" deserve it.

Those bankruptcies and business failures are all part of his Master Plan to game "the system" that's rigged against "real people" and make tons of bucks anyway.

It's not "ignorance" it's "common sense" like all the "regular guys" who know the same stuff I know.

The problem is, Trump also has very real vulnerabilities. As in, the kind of dirt swept under the rug that Congress and the Courts could use to bring him down hard, including taking away his money and power, and even sending him to Club Fed for a nice, long, time.

And the GOPpie Solons know which rugs to lift. They're not doing it now, because they're mulling over a strategy of maneuvering him into a General Election win, and then bridling him, shoving the bit into his mouth, and riding him for the next four years. IOW, 'play nice, Mister President or it won't just be impeachment, it'll be five-to-nine behind bars and confiscation of every asset.'

Some of them think this might work."


I don't know if this is true. But knowing our GOPpie Solons, it makes a creepy kind of Realpolitik sense. It's right up your alley, isn't it, guys? (And yes, you're almost 100% guys, so I use the term advisedly.)

I'm hoping that one or more of your helots charged with Oppo Monitoring/Research is reading this and might pass it along, because, guys, you need to hear this:

This is not a good strategy for you.

It will not end well. For you, or for anyone.

Because, unlike all the "GAWD TOLE ME TO RUN!" morans who've already stumbled into the chute, what you're looking at with Mr. Trump is an actual Biblical re-enactment.

Donald Trump is Samson, guys.

He is bugfuck crazy, and completely uncontrollable.

And you might, indeed, manage to Delilah him into the White House. But read the Book of Judges, Chapter 16, for how well that'll end.

You might chain him between the pillars of Impeachment and Prosecution, but he WILL bring down the temple, on you and all your minions.

He doesn't care about reason, or "best interests," or financial self-preservation, or even avoiding prosecution and public scandal and the rest of it. He genuinely believes he can overcome ALL of it, with the help of the Massive Ego that is his Higher Power. And if you attempt to load him down with the shackles of Realpolitik, or even reality itself, he will pull everything over in a mighty heave.

And you will NOT benefit therefrom.

So, guys, if this IS a strategy in serious consideration, for your own sake, do not go there. Lift those rugs NOW, while there is still time. Save what you can (the Senate, maybe? Well, the House, at least- you still have a good shot there-) for now, and reassess your Long Game for 2024.

I don't wish you well, you know that. But on the other hand, we're all in this together, and the blast zone of this particular error would engulf a lot of good people as well as y'all, standing at Ground Zero. This is a bunker-buster, guys. You would NOT survive it.

So think, please.

grimly,
Bright

General Election: The Looming Choice Between Oligarchy and Kakistocracy

As much as I'd like to revive the fading embers of the democratic republic, that does not appear to be among our choices. On November 8th, we may be forced to decide between oligarchy and kakistocracy. The pros and cons of each are unappetizing, but it's best to have at least a fall-back strategy for unpleasant realities.

Oligarchs tend to maintain a minimal awareness of the necessity to keep up the appearance of a functional, if grotesquely corrupt, governing capacity. This occasionally creates cracks, where the desirability of appearing to appease popular sentiment becomes necessary. An oligarchy, if the oligarchs support a moderately competent executive, can preserve some level of civil order, maintain some level of infrastructure, and enable sufficient economic activity to engage their helots and support the services and appearance of normality from which the oligarchs themselves benefit.

They keep the wheels on, in other words. If they delegate competent executives and maintain some awareness of the need to balance repressive authoritarian responses to challenges to their authority against 'keeping up appearances,' they generally avoid wholesale slaughter, bloodshed, displacement, and genocide.

The downside to this side of the choice is that in maintaining a minimal comfort level for their helots and sustaining the appearance of "normalcy," it can take longer and be more difficult to ultimately destabilize, overthrow, and replace oligarchs with more democratic government.

This should be balanced against the awareness that our oligarchy is large and very complex, and there are some opportunities to create divisions among them, play off factions within the oligarchy against one another, and accelerate destabilization that way.

A kakistocracy's one "pro" is usually the speed of devolution, and the shattering chain reactions of upheaval as incompetence produces unrest which is met with authoritarian repression, undermined by further incompetence to produce further unrest and the wheels come off fairly quickly.

The cons to that side of the equation are the human costs of bloodshed, civil disorder, pogrom, repression, disease, massive environmental catastrophe, and chaos, in the process of the kakistocracy's failure and ultimate replacement. In such environments it can be difficult for democratic revolutions to maintain equilibrium. Catastrophic failure of a kakistocracy usually results in a series of further devolutionary regimes such as competent authoritarian dictatorships, repressive totalitarianism, and other forms of backlash, before democratic government can be re-established.

So, if the General Election choice comes down to Oligarchy versus Kakistocracy, I shall reluctantly choose the former.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

pragmatically,

Bright

Thought exercise: Let's stipulate we lose the "Democratic Republic" choice

It seems fairly likely that Bernie is not going to be allowed to take a popular majority into the partisan electoral process, at this point.

Thus, we will be left with the choice on November 8th:

Oligarchy

vs.

Kakistocracy

As much as I'd like to revive the fading embers of the democratic republic, that does not appear to be among our choices. We may be forced to decide between oligarchy and kakistocracy. The pros and cons of each are unappetizing, but it's best to be realistic.

Oligarchs tend to maintain a minimal awareness of the necessity to keep up the appearance of a functional, if grotesquely corrupt, governing capacity. This occasionally creates cracks, where the desirability of appearing to appease popular sentiment becomes necessary. An oligarchy, if the oligarchs support a moderately competent executive, can preserve some level of civil order, maintain some level of infrastructure, and enable sufficient economic activity to engage their helots and support the services and appearance of normality from which the oligarchs themselves benefit.

They keep the wheels on, in other words. If they delegate competent executives and maintain some awareness of the need to balance repressive authoritarian responses to challenges to their authority against 'keeping up appearances,' they generally avoid wholesale slaughter, bloodshed, displacement, and genocide.

The downside to this side of the choice is that in maintaining a minimal comfort level for their helots and sustaining the appearance of "normalcy," it can take longer and be more difficult to ultimately destabilize, overthrow, and replace oligarchs with more democratic government.

This should be balanced against the awareness that our oligarchy is large and very complex, and there are some opportunities to create divisions among them, play off factions within the oligarchy against one another, and accelerate destabilization that way.

A kakistocracy's one "pro" is usually the speed of devolution, and the shattering chain reactions of upheaval as incompetence produces unrest which is met with authoritarian repression, undermined by further incompetence to produce further unrest and the wheels come off fairly quickly.

The cons to that side of the equation are the human costs of bloodshed, civil disorder, pogrom, repression, disease, massive environmental catastrophe, and chaos, in the process of the kakistocracy's failure and ultimate replacement. In such environments it can be difficult for democratic revolutions to maintain equilibrium. Catastrophic failure of a kakistocracy usually results in a series of further devolutionary regimes such as competent authoritarian dictatorships, repressive totalitarianism, and other forms of backlash, before democratic government can be re-established.

So, if the choice DOES come down to Oligarchy versus Kakistocracy, I shall reluctantly choose the former.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

wearily,
Bright

Intervention: Can America Stop Enabling the GOP?

It's gotten pretty bad. This family, the America family, have finally decided to seek help for one of their family members. Three other family members are meeting with a professional interventionist.

Interventionist: So, tell me about the problem with your... family member, is it?

Centindie America: (The others have agreed she'll more or less be the spokesperson for now.) Yeah, I guess. Well, yes. I mean, right now, I'm really tempted to say, "annoying stranger I want outta my life", but the reality is, it's all in the family, yep.

Interventionist: I get it. Times, you want to disown them, but they do still matter. They're related to us. We can remember the good times. And it wouldn't work, anyway. So, tell me about... 'G', is it?

Centindie: Yeah, his name's actually Repli, but he used to call himself "Goppie" as a baby, and so it's been 'GOP' or 'G' all along. Everyone calls him that, it's not just a family nickname.

Interventionist: I'll remember. So, why do you think this is the time for an intervention?

Prog America: Long past time, we shoulda done this years ago!

Democ America: Hush, we agreed we'd let Centindie tell it.

Prog: (rolling eyes) Yeah, yeah... (mutters) You're such a cop-out, Dem. (Democ glares at him.)

Interventionist: It'll be important to hear from everyone, but let's take it in order, for now.

Centindie: Well, some of us have been concerned for quite a while, but others just wrote that off as, you know, old grudges, the usual family fights, that kind of thing. We've always been a (grins ruefully) contentious bunch. Dinner-table debates a specialty, you know? (Interventionist nods.) But lately, G's behavior's gotten pretty, ummm, well, difficult to take. For most of us. It's really far over the line, now. He's hurting himself, too. We... we're really worried about him.

(Prog snorts, Democ elbows him, Centindie gives them both an exasperated look.)

Interventionist: So, you all agree G's behavior is risking serious harm to himself, as well as others, and you're all agreed it needs to change? (Looks at each in turn, and gets nods.) Okay, that's a good start. Let me explain a little bit about how intervention works: First, we evaluate. That includes gathering facts about G's problem, and evidence of how it's damaging G and others. Then, we decide who should be part of the intervention team- people whose participation will carry some weight of influence with G. Then we present our evidence and ask G to consider changing, and answer his objections-- and there'll be plenty of those. Then we offer to help G change, and, finally and most importantly, we apply leverage. If we do our preparation right, there's usually a good chance G will commit to change, and make a start.

Centindie: (Looks at the others, there's a brief unspoken dialog with some eye-rolling, head-nodding, etc.) Okay, we can do that. I think the problem's pretty clear. G's really lost his way. He's always been pretty conservative-- maybe too conservative for some of us-- (glances at Prog)-- but there were some good things that went with that. Important things. Certainly things I valued. But lately, it's like, he's not even 'conservative' any more in the sense of trying to be wise and careful with family resources. It's crazy, he's just... grabbing everything for himself and a few friends. He's doing stuff he use to say was bad-- you know, stuff like overspending-- but now that's only bad when it's something someone else wants. He goes on these crazy weapons-buying, war-starting sprees and blows through bank accounts like toilet paper.

Democ: Yeah, and it's making us all look bad. I mean, I went along with him on a few things-- after all, we DO have a responsibility to keep the neighbors safe-- but G isn't doing that anymore. He's just making things worse. We're in over our heads, we have to keep fighting these stupid wars just to protect our own interests, now.

Prog: (Very emphatically) NO, we don't. You're just as bad as G, Dem. What we need to do is just STOP, all of it, NOW.

Interventionist: I can see this is a sore spot, but can I ask, Prog, would it be a good start, if we could get G to change?

Prog: (Catches a glance from Centindie, nods grudgingly.) Yes, but I honestly don't think we can do it. G's not listening to anyone right now, not even Centi.

Democ: That's for sure. Used to be, G cared a lot what people thought of him. Kinda stuffy about it, actually. Now, it's like, hell with the rest of you, I'm the only one who knows anything so go uh.. eff yourselves.

Centindie: (nodding) Yeah, and then he goes and hangs out with these horrible friends... and gets in stupid fights-- in public! He used to be the one the neighbors thought was the cool head, but they're actually scared of him, now. And doesn't listen to anyone.

Prog: Except maybe the voices in his head. (Democ snickers.)

Centindie: (Glares at Prog, then shrugs helplessly.) Yeah, maybe. (She sniffles a bit.) I'm worried about him, dammit!

Interventionist: It does sound very worrisome. But I think we've made a good start on the assessment. Let's talk about who should be part of the intervention team. People who matter to G, either because he values their opinion, or needs their support, or because they have some other kind of leverage they can apply. Especially, anyone who's been enabling him, and who's really committed to stopping that.

Prog: Well, I'm the only one who doesn't enable him, but he doesn't give a rat's ass about my opinion.

Democ: I do NOT enable him! I never have, for heaven's sake, we're ALWAYS on opposite sides.

Prog: Unless it's about bank regulation, or starting wars, or bailing your mutual buddies out of trouble, or... (Dem seethes, glowers, starts to speak)

Centindie: (Interrupts) Okay, I admit it. I probably DO enable him. But unlike SOME of us (she glares at Prog) I care about this whole family, and I have faith that G is an important part of it. We all need him well, even if we don't always agree. And I don't want him to hurt himself. Not least, because if he destroys the place, we're ALL in the soup.

Prog: Then you could try STOPPING him, rather than SUPPORTING him.

Centindie: (getting heated) Not ALL his ideas were bad ones. And anyway, you don't make people change by screaming at them, Prog! You always want to go too far, and I think you just make him WORSE.

Democ: Centi, if you'd just listen to me, sometimes, I'm sure a united front between the two of us would convince G to change!

Prog: (rolling eyes, throwing up hands) Oh, sure, like that's not how we got into this mess in the first place, you two pussyfooting around trying to be nice to G and letting him get away with EVERYTHING.

Interventionist: Okay, okay... I'm seeing a challenge here, for sure. We might not have an effective team to make this intervention work. Do any of you think you have the influence to get G to consider change?

(Silence- the Americas all exchange glances, Centindie starts to sniffle again.)

Centindie: But he's going to hurt himself. REALLY hurt himself...

Dem: And us.

Prog: (muttering, a little shamefacedly) Maybe good riddance...

Interventionist: Okay, let's try another tack. Let's imagine that we went to wherever G is, right this minute. We all stood in front of him, and asked him to change. What would he say?

All three Americas: (in nearly perfect unison, in a marked Queens accent) "You're all LOSERS!" (They glance at each other, startled, and then at the interventionist.)

Interventionist: Okay, well, that's pretty clear. An intervention probably won't succeed until G's experienced some really tough consequences, I'm afraid. But that's pretty much inevitable, if you can just refrain from enabling him.

(Centindie starts sobbing. Prog, unexpectedly, puts an arm around her shoulders, and she leans in.)

Democ: (grimly) So we're all in for some rough stuff, while G keeps imploding.

Interventionist: I'm afraid so. The best thing you can do is support one another. Try to find your own common ground, be kind to one another, and build your support system among the rest of the family.

Centindie: (In tears) But... but G! Oh, my little GOPpie... I was SO proud of him in the Civil War... the Roosevelt trust-busting... That incredible Eisenhower "military industrial complex" speech... The gravitas... the moral compass... Won't he ever get any of it back? Is it gone forever...? Is he gonna DIE?

Interventionist: Well, no one can answer that, now. But I can tell you this, from lots of experience. I've seen a lot of people hit bottom. Experience shattering, terrible consequences that seemed like the worst possible thing that could ever happen. But you know what?

If they live through those consequences, and learn anything from it, many of them DO finally commit to change. And when they do, they don't necessarily become the person they used to be. But sometimes they find a new, recovering life, instead. And reconnect with their families, and their communities, and live important, wonderful lives.

So, don't give up hope.

But for now... buckle up.

metaphorically,
Bright

Why She Likes Trump

One of my flaws is the subconscious assumption that other people see things the way I see them. Believing (I hope correctly!) myself to be a reasonable, compassionate, intelligent person, it's too easy for me to associate the opinions I hold, the experiences I've had and the conclusions I've drawn from them, the responses I have to people, with those qualities.

But people who have different opinions than I do, who've had other experiences and drawn other conclusions from them, are also reasonable, compassionate, intelligent people. If I don't understand those differences, it's harder for me to connect, harder for me to find common ground. We get locked in our separate compounds of otherness and fear, that way.

Which works out all too serendipitously for Our Beloved Oligarchs.

I found myself having a conversation with a woman a bit older than my daughter-- probably in her late forties. Struggling financially, just getting by. She's bitter about being "forced" to pay for health insurance, which "doesn't do her any good because she can't afford to use it anyway." She liked Obama when he was elected but has been disappointed in him since, mostly because the economy has been so punitive on her family, especially her son, who came back from a tour in the Middle East with a lot of health issues, about which "the damn VA are doing nothing." She volunteers at the local animal shelter, and she helps other veterans' families with transportation, home care, figuring out paperwork, and getting to/from support group meetings.

She has a college education, and had good jobs in management up until 2009, when the collapsing economy caught up with her employers. Now she's shift manager at a franchise restaurant and going to community college classes (on student loans) to get a real estate license. She considers herself "entrepreneurial," having done some multi-level marketing in the past. She's pro-choice and considers herself a 'non-strident feminist' (her term, I have no idea what it means.)

She should be a Hillary supporter, by the demographics, but she "doesn't like Hillary."

"So who are you supporting?" I asked her, curious.

"I like Donald Trump."

My jaw must have dropped, because she got defensive. "I do! I know he's kind of a sexist, but I don't think he really means a lot of the campaign-trail bullshit. He's just saying what will get media attention, mostly."

I really wanted to understand why she likes Donald Trump. It's completely impossible for me to imagine anyone but knuckle-dragging morons 'liking' him, but obviously a lot of people do.

Why?

It was a long conversation, but here's what I took away.

Sure, Donald Trump is a rich guy.

But "he's not like other rich people."

As far as I could make out, "other rich people" are snobs and selfish and don't want to let anyone else into their exclusive clubs or allow anyone else to enjoy the kinds of things they enjoy. Even if an ordinary person like her was to get rich, or win the lottery or something, they'd never 'let her into their places.'

Trump, apparently, is perfectly willing to 'share the good stuff' with anyone who can pay for it. If she won the lottery he'd welcome her to his fancy private jet and let her use the gold-plated plumbing fixtures without making her feel like she didn't belong.

Or something like that.

Pointing out that her chances of winning the lottery are effectively the same as my chance of sprouting functional wings would not have been helpful, so I didn't.

I did ask whether she thought he'd do much for people who aren't going to win the lottery, etcetera, and she said he was more likely to pay attention to 'ordinary people who support him' than to the Establishment political string-pullers.

As far as I can tell, the things that creep me out about Trump- the crassness, the ignorance, the qualities I read as bullying and egotistical bombast- she sees as a weird kind of not-caring-what-snobs-think integrity, and she likes that.

She likes him.

I can't like him, he gives me the willies.

But I like her. Even knowing that she thinks this way, I can still recognize that she's a good person, compassionate, intelligent, and with her own reasons and experiences behind her opinions.

Here's what I didn't do: I didn't insult her, I didn't laugh at her, I didn't tell her she's delusional.

I did tell her I couldn't agree with her about Trump, but at least I had a better understanding of why she likes him. And I told her a little bit about why I like Bernie Sanders, trying to emphasize some of the same things about him that she says she likes about Trump- particularly the bit about him being more influenced by what ordinary people need and want, than by the string-pullers in the political establishments.

It wasn't exactly the time or the setting for a discussion about the complexity of the political environment, the many powerful factors and forces that influence how effective an elected Chief Executive can be, etcetera. I don't believe I "made her think," although she for sure made ME think.

But I didn't turn her off. I didn't build a wall of otherness between us.

Maybe it was the best I could manage.

thoughtfully,
Bright

Does this count as "vote suppression"?

"Hey, folks: Don't be alarmed if you've gone to the polls at the Community Center to vote and you see a bunch of cops next door outside McBrien School with guns drawn and storming the building. It is only a training exercise!"

You can't make this shit up, can you?

Someone thought that on election day, next to a polling place, was a GREAT time/place to schedule this!

amazedly,
Bright

If I Were Hillary...

Background, where I stand on the Primaries in general

If I were Hillary Clinton, I'd be looking at the large numbers of Democrats and others who are deeply engaged with Bernie Sanders as a candidate, and the substantial numbers who are committing donations to the Sanders campaign.

And I would be considering the possible outcomes for the primary, and how they will play out.

Senator Sanders' past actions show that he's a person of integrity as well as vision. And even if I didn't completely agree with that vision (having a vision of my own, after all,) I would look at the many places where we DO have overlap.

There are a number of such places and they are important, both to my (Hillary's) campaign and to a broad segment of voters.

I would anticipate winning the primary (because, after all, that's what candidates do) and I would be thinking, "in the general election, the passion, engagement, and support of those Sanders voters could be a real asset."

And I would certainly acknowledge that, based on the current levels of passion connected to those areas where I (Hillary) and Senator Sanders differ, in vision, experience, and approach, there's a realistic likelihood that some of Senator Sanders' supporters will never, ever, no matter what, put the same level of passion and engagement into my campaign. Indeed, some might not vote Democratic at all, and it wouldn't necessarily be a good use of time, resources, and political capital to attempt to change their minds.

On the other hand, once the disappointment over a Sanders loss/Hillary win primary outcome works its way through the feelings and hearts of those passionate Sanders supporters, it might be possible to engage some of them in my general campaign.

How, then, could what I (Hillary) do now, maximize my chances of both picking up broad support among disappointed Sanders supporters, and making enough of a case to them to engage them with a level of real commitment to a Democratic win in November?

Right now, many of the decisions my (Hillary's) campaign is making, much of the language and the focus, seems to be explicitly targeted to MINIMIZING those chances, alienating Sanders supporters by trash-talking the supporters themselves, rather than addressing the differences between candidates.

The only real explanation for such a short-sighted strategy would be if I thought that a) the possibility of a Sanders primary win is much greater than DNC punditry and mainstream polls assert; or b) the Sanders support phenomenon is not as deep and powerful and passionate a sea change in Democratic politics as they assert. In the case of b), then, I (Hillary) would sail on to victory in the general election because as "the only choice" many or most Sanders supporters would "hold their noses."

That scenario (it doesn't matter if we trash-talk the whole Sanders phenomenon because the ostensibly 'democratic' Business As Usual of elections in our increasingly oligarchic body politic will play out as it always does) is first of all, profoundly disrespectful, and secondly, profoundly short-sighted.

Why play that game? Granted, I (Hillary) would be unlikely to win the hard core of Sanders-or-no-one supporters, no matter what. But knowing Bernie himself, and the power of the passion he evokes, and the strength of popular support behind him, why not put some serious thought and effort into keeping bridges intact and doors open? The Sanders constituency is more substantial, more passionate, more engaged than any leftward-aligned anti-establishment populist movement since 1972.

Hard choices, but important. The lessons of history are before us.

Of course, Senator Sanders still might win the primary...

thoughtfully,
Bright

My gratitude to Hillary

The first Presidential Campaign I participated in was 1964, when I carried a sign that said "Bury Goldwater" to a Lyndon Johnson rally at the University of Minnesota, with my older sisters carrying a larger "LBJ for the USA!" banner.

The first Presidential Caucus I attended (still too young to vote, though) was 1972. My stepfather took me, even though he knew I was a McGovern supporter, and he supported Humphrey.

Significantly, that was also one year after the House of Representatives approved the Equal Rights Amendment 354-24, and the Senate approved it 84-8. Think about those numbers for a minute.

It was also the last Minnesota DFL caucus before the 1973 Supreme Court handed down Roe V. Wade, and everyone sensed that was coming.

The first Democratic Presidential candidate I got the chance to vote for was Jimmy Carter, in 1976. The DFL District Convention that year (yes, I was a delegate from my Precinct,) was a shitnado of chaos and conflict, thanks to the MCCL delegates attempting to derail the platform process with their multiple anti-abortion planks. (MCCL = Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Google it. Long and revolting history, and I was there from the beginning. Got its momentum in the district that would one day be represented by none other than ol' Crazy-Eyes Bachman herself.)

By that time, too, Phyllis Schlafly and the other helots of the patriarchy had fluttered down and swooped out of their cave to land on the necks of any number of former supporters and fence-sitters on ERA. Within two years, state ratifications would grind to a halt, and in 1979 the recission bills started popping up in states that had already ratified.

1980 was the year of "The Patriarchy Strikes Back." We watched the progress already made begin to erode, faster and faster with every year.

Even so, women kept pushing. The list of inspirational leaders who kept on in the face of the growing backlash is long, and their work many times salvaged measures of victory from tidal waves of intended defeat.

Hillary is one of those women. She went to law school, became a Congressional counsel, determinedly pursuing a self-charted course to a political career, negotiating her personal life on her own terms, and standing up with intelligence and determination to more than FOUR DECADES of vicious, calculated, sexist opposition from the patriarchy. She modeled grace under fire uncountable times. She beat the establishment at its own game, again and again. She used the tools at hand: negotiation, leverage, compromise, deal-making, horse-trading.

She has always been her own woman and steadfastly lived her own vision of feminism and the success possible for women in a patriarchal culture. Others who claim feminist ideological leadership, with differing visions, have tried to co-opt her to their version of "what is a feminist" and reviled her with "no true Scotsman" attacks when she kept steering her course based on HER vision.

I met Hillary in 1992 when she swung through Minnesota with Ira Magaziner to do some policy work with the Clinton campaign. I was a Harkin supporter, but she impressed the hell outta me. I wished SHE were the one running for President. She understood how government functions, and, more importantly, how those functions affect the real lives of real people, especially the vulnerable and marginalized. She "got" all of the policy goals our Jobs Now Coalition group and its allies were pushing, and promised to take them back to the campaign.

It's always hard to tell, once ideas get fed into the sausage-making hopper, where their traces are in the eventual product, but I had then, and still have, good reason to believe she kept that promise.

If Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, I will work my ass off for her. I believe she would be a good Chief Executive, and so many light-years better than the toxic clowns in the GOP car that it would become a matter of life or death to elect her rather than any of them.

If she becomes President, I believe she will work hard to stave off the worst depredations of the ideological nutbags, overcome the obstructionism of Congress (with, probably, just slightly less success than Obama has had in that area,) and make small increments of progress toward a more equitable, functional, sustainable America. Small increments are not to be despised, they tend to be less vulnerable to backlash, more sustainable, and often have surprising cumulative impact down the road. Another Clinton presidency would be anything but a disaster for America.

And as "America's first woman President," I would cry tears of joy at her inauguration, too. Say what you like about symbolism, it has power, and this one is long, long, LONG overdue.

But I'm still voting for Bernie in the NM Primary, and hoping to vote for him in November.

Sustainable as small increments of change are, there is also an important role and a strong effect to be had from scaring the hell outta the Oligarchy. (See: Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 1932-1945) That, too, is long, long, LONG overdue.

And as much as I respect Hillary's integrity to her own vision of feminism, and her assessment of what it's possible to achieve in the arena of government in pursuit of equity, function, and sustainability, I have my own vision, my own priorities, and my own beliefs about what is possible.

Bernie Sanders better aligns with a broader array of those beliefs, and better represents my vision, as a Democrat who grew up in the 1960s and came of age in the early 1970s. Yes, even the "feminism" part of those beliefs, because MY vision of feminism is grounded in awareness of the interlocking agendas of patriarchy and oligarchy.

I am not going to participate in any discussions that bash either candidate. I believe such discussions, well-intended, sincere and passionate though they may be, are counter-productive at best, to both candidates. In the short term, during the primary process, and certainly in the longer term when we go up against the money of the machine, they will weaken us.

I believe it is possible to contest this primary as a fight of ideas and vision, and WIN, no matter who the nominee is. I also believe it's possible to contest this primary as a fight of memes and mud, and LOSE, no matter who the nominee is.

I have no illusions that this post will change anything on DU. I'm putting it in my Journal because when I acknowledge gratitude, I benefit from that acknowledgment.

unequivocally,
Bright

Toronto Star Gives Up, But Not Our Admins!

Toronto Star closes commenting on thestar.com

They give lots of good reasons in the article announcing this decision, although they don't mention what is probably the most powerful incentive to give up on online community management: Court dismisses appeal of Warman libel judgment against website (the Ontario Court of Appeal made a ruling that the owner of a website can be held liable for libel if it does not act to remove libellous statements made in comments on its website in a timely manner.)

The issue of website and blog "comment" functions' potential to nurture raging Internet cesspools of unbridled reptile-cortex feculosity isn't a new one. It's long been known as a vulnerability in the whole "online community" concept. Discussion fora, such as this one, are a next-step-up in intensity on the same problem, enhanced by the assumption that in fora there will usually be some form of moderation. And the corresponding disappointment when that moderation fails to meet user wishes and expectations.

And so has the solution to the problem been long known:

Bad Comments Are a System Failure: So Why Can't You Fix Them Like Any Other Bug?

If Your Website's Full of Assholes, It's Your Fault

I was interested, in reading both of the above-linked blogs, to see that most of the identified remedies for the issue have been implemented, (and well-implemented indeed,) right here on Democratic Underground, for some time.

Although we're almost all here on DU based on a common interest in politics and public policy, the "Context Collapse" referred to by West in "System Failure" applies here, too. We have a really, really diverse community, and we naturally fracture into passionate and often vehemently opposed sub-communities, a phenomenon exacerbated during primary seasons.

Do I wish people wouldn't be quite so vicious to one another, here? Do I avoid reading some threads simply because I know they're going to be full of the least-admirable side of human nature? Of course.

Do I think I could "do better" making DU a place of intelligent, interesting, mostly-civil, usually-adult discourse that reflects liberal values and the will to honor diversity?

Frankly, no, I don't.

If I were appointed dictator, I could for sure turn this place into an echo chamber of MY values and opinions, and a tight little self-congratulatory cabal of like-minded individuals.

Key word there being "little." Because by the time you start turfing out everyone who agrees with you on 90% of what you like but not the other 10%, or 80% of what you like but not the other 20%, or wherever I'd draw the line today (and I didn't get much sleep last night and the coffee was too strong this morning and the weather sucks and my favorite team lost last night, etcetera) it would, indeed, be a small group.

And probably not that interesting, either.

So.

KUDOS and gratitude, and BEST HOLIDAY WISHES to our esteemed Site Admins, to the fine and dedicated volunteers on the MIRT, and to every DUer who's ever thoughtfully wrinkled a brow over a thread as a jury member, trying their best to interpret the Terms of Service with an eye to fairness and maturity.

appreciatively,
Bright

Following Which Money? Politicians, Donors, and Staying Bought

When elected, most pols try to show appreciation to those whose money and/or effort helped them get elected.

That's simple enough, and generally true.

But that's only a beginning. When people tell me who to vote for, or not to vote for, based on campaign funding, I think about a lot of other factors, too.

For one thing, I try to think like a donor attempting to ensure I'll be able to protect my interests after the election. And the simplicity vanishes in some tough complexities, including (in no particular order):

If I'm trying to see who *else* is buying a piece of this pol, it's not so easy. A straight-out "donation" may be the smallest tip of an iceberg that includes PACs and dedicated "nonpartisan research and education" organizations, issue-based groups, and other clever fellow-travelers, not to mention unreported (and unreportable) ratfucking projects designed to scuttle primary opponents, etc.

Then I have to face the reality that a lot of punters hedge their bets both ways, throwing money at those on the left and the right, trying to reserve a place at the eventual winner's table, no matter who it may be. Some of that money will be less effective simply because the recipients are perfectly well aware it's a "hedge."

And then there's the reality that just about every major viable candidate gets some funding from donors on BOTH sides of any controversial issue. To "stay bought" by a donor on one side of the issue, they'll have to disappoint donors on the other side. And since it's impossible to know the sum total of whose money on which side tipped what balance for what reason, saying that any one donor "owns" any one candidate/elected official is chancy, at best.

Of course, the nature, reputation, and ethics of the donor might become an issue- a candidate might well decide they can get more campaign mileage out of self-righteously and ostentatiously refusing a donation from someone with a really tainted public reputation, but the larger the number of donors, the bigger the campaign, the higher the stakes, the more likely it is that some real sleazemeisters will end up in everyone's donor rolls.

And finally there's the character of the candidate. For me, that comes down to a perhaps-surprising bit of calculus: How- and how well- does this candidate do "compromise?"

Because for all the passion I may bring to the particular issues that I believe in, a successful democratic government runs on the art of compromise: How can those passionately and obdurately divided by experience, understanding, and ideology find ways to make terms with one another, ensuring that everyone in a diverse electorate is both disappointed in some things and pleased in others-- all of them of critical, life-or-death importance to someone.

Reviewing a candidate's ability to get people of differing beliefs and ideologies together, parse through the options, do the horse-trading, give and take credit and responsibility for the inevitably imperfect results-- THAT might be the final decider as far as where to invest money, time, and passion, regardless of donor lists touted by those hoping to convince me that this or that candidate is "bought" by this or that interest.

judiciously,
Bright
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »