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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,827

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Today was one of the most thrilling days of my life.

In 2008, I wanted to be sure that I had a record of voting for America's first African-American President. So I chose to request an absentee ballot, which meant the County elections office would mail me my ballot, to complete and return by mail. And I could make a copy of it, before I did.

I made that copy. I dated it, and signed it, and put it away.

A few weeks ago when I was cleaning, I found it again. There it was. "Barack Hussein Obama/Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.- President/Vice President." My ballot. My vote.

Today I filled in the little ovals again.

This time for "Hillary Rodham Clinton/Timothy Michael Kaine- President/Vice President."

Again I copied it, signed and dated it. My ballot. My vote.

And it occurred to me, that in a little more than three months, I will be watching America's first non-white President hand over the Executive Office to America's first non-male President.

And I am awed by the privilege of being part of this time, this history.


"Undecided" Voters: WTF?

Apparently there are still some "undecided" voters out there.

Leaving aside the miniscule number of individuals of voting age who've been in some form of coma since, oh, say, sometime around June and JUST awakened in the last couple of days and need a little time to catch up, I have to ask you:


You're "undecided"?

The very kindest assumptions I can make are a) You're not really undecided, you're just saying that because you want to get some attention from campaign workers, the media, whatever; b) You're not really undecided, but you can't possibly admit to family or friends who it is you plan on voting for, so you pretend you can't make up your mind; or c) You suffer from some grave physiological and/or intellectual challenge that has prevented you from doing your duty as a voter to inform yourself about your choices (also, you're not connected to the Internet, have no television, and no access to print media).

Seriously, those are the only marginally-kind excuses I can think of for your "undecided" state.

This is probably the wrong forum to be asking for enlightenment from undecided voters, but if anyone on DU has "undecided" voter friends/family, maybe you can do a little research and get back to me on these queries, because I seriously want to know.

What single piece of information or revelation do you need, in addition to everything that has been copiously provided already from Trump himself, his surrogates/proxies, media coverage, experienced analysts, the endorsements of those who pay close attention to how the Chief Executive functions and fits into the government of our democratic republic, to convince you that Donald J. Trump is manifestly unfit to serve as Chief Executive? More than that, that his election would constitute a positive danger to the security and economic stability of our nation?



What piece of information would do that? Please, tell me.

What ONE THING, that, if you learned it from a reasonably credible source, would make you say, "OMG, NO, that's too much, I can't POSSIBLY vote for this person?"

I'd really like to know.

What motivates someone to be "undecided" in the face of a contest between a candidate with decades of experience in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government, demonstrable competence, and a character and temperament of intelligence, moderation, and attentiveness to the well-being of the least-advantaged in our society; and a candidate with decades of experience in self-promotion, financial chicanery, cheating employees and contractors, assaulting women, and a character and temperament of willful ignorance, self-aggrandizement, and rabid, paranoid xenophobia against everyone but people like himself?

How can you NOT be "decided" by now?

What are you waiting for?

Please, share. This is important.


Tomorrow's RNC conference call: Paging Sophocles...

Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton committed the Ultimate Crime against the GOP Oligarchs:

He won.

Never mind that he was roughly aligned (ideologically) with the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party, prepared to 'reform' welfare, enact NAFTA, and create a Wall Street Paradise. None of that mattered. He "stole" the White House from a sitting GOP President with a term still to run.

It was unforgivable.

And it did not escape the GOPpie Oligarchs' notice that a key member of Bill's strategy team was the woman who'd helped him retake the Arkansas state house and build a solid political machine. A woman smart and tough enough to be trouble.

And sure enough, no sooner did she get off the campaign trail and into the family suite at the White House than she began making more trouble, pulling together a solid health care reform plan, pushing no end of irritating liberal agendas, working the back rooms and the wonk brigade.

A right nuisance, that Hillary.

Then she really pissed them off.

They had a plan to use Bill's mistakes against him to make him a one-term President- just the beginning of a fitting punishment for his crime.

But Hillary didn't play along. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that her level-headed, strategic approach to the whole thing helped Bill pull out that astonishing upset in 1996.

That painted the crosshairs on Hillary's back.

Bill left office and it became clear that Hillary wasn't going back to Little Rock.

Yeah, she scared the crap outta them.

The plans were laid. Just in case.

How do you keep her from being a threat?

You make people hate her as much as the GOP Oligarchs hated her. You begin an unprecedentedly vicious, sustained, relentless campaign of vilification and slander, bolstering vitriolically-spun exaggerations with innuendo, conspiracy-mongering, and outright lies. You keep it up for DECADES.

The goal: Make her UNELECTABLE.

It didn't work in New York, obviously... those stupid lefty liberal New York voters just didn't get it.

(Never mind that she won plenty of solid support from the conservative upstaters... you can always blame Manhattan.)


You push her "unfavorability" ratings through the stratosphere with hate radio, yellowrag fear-stoking, and a full-spectrum bash-her-from-both-sides sustained offensive. You make her The Most Hated Woman in Suburbia.

Relentlessly ginning up every concievable accusation, pushing every narrative of sleaze, orchestrating every kind of mud for every kind of audience, you ensure that even though years of shameless pandering to Tea Party extremism has gutted your bench of any real talent to run against her, she'll STILL LOSE. No matter what.

Even though you've got no viable candidates left who aren't moronically empty suits posturing for the Useful Idiots, your party can't lose.

The gods love hubris like that.

And what more perfectly-crafted Samson to lean on those pillars and bring the whole temple of greed and callous indifference crashing down, than the Compleat Narcissist himself, the Nuclear Cheeto?

Sophocles himself couldn't have written it better.

I would pay a year's mortgage payments to a charity of Hillary's choice, just to hear that conference call tomorrow, and bathe in the sweet GOPpie tears.

But it probably wouldn't be good for my karma.

After all, there's a limit to MY hubris.


Female Trump Supporters who "Want My Country Back"

I've had conversations with a couple. And closely read and analyzed the coverage of others.

Because, damn, girl... what country IS that, and why the FUCK would you want it "back" if you ever had it in the first place, anyway?

I've reached a few depressing conclusions about such women. And while I don't claim that this particular delusion is at the root of all Trump's female support, I'm fairly confident it accounts for a big percentage.

The "country" they "want back" never really existed, to start with. But what, in their anxious, angry, wistful minds, did it look like in some misty "better time?" What would it have been like being them, "back then," and thus what are they expecting Trump will deliver, in the halcyon future of 'Trumperica'?

First of all, what do these women have in common? They're almost uniformly Caucasian.

Their imagined Shangri-La, then, was a place where not-white people were invisible, or at least in "their place," which was working as nannies, railway porters, etc., on their own damn' side of the tracks. A woman like her never had to encounter those skeery not-white people except when they were working for her or her husband in some menial capacity.

At which time they'd always call her "Ma'am" or "Miz >Name<" and act very respectful.

And never, ever, EVER would she have to worry about a not-white person sitting next to her child in school, or, heaven forbid, taking the designated job, college admission slot, or other benefit her children and other family members are entitled to. They can have their own not-white schools, colleges, even their own not-white businesses (on their own side of the tracks, of course.)

She's not a racist and she doesn't want bad things to happen to them. She wants them to be happy, as long as they're properly invisible to her and/or respectful. As long as they stay in their proper place, she's happy to grant them the right to do not quite as well as 'real' (that is, white) people, up to and including modest financial success and, of course, their own churches and other community institutions.

But how can she possibly imagine that, as a person with a vagina, Trumperica would be a good place for her to be? WTF is up with THAT?

ahhh... now it gets interesting.

Because, you see, this Trump supporter, this woman, she knows that back in the Good Old Days, a woman like her would be happy, because back then, men and women knew THEIR places, too. And a man's place was to A) Fall in love with a nice woman like her and marry her; B) Go out and Win Bread to provide for her social and financial security so that she'd never have to worry about those things; and C) Play Little League with their male children and loom jovially-but-intimidatingly over the young men arriving to take their female children to the sock hop.

Back then, only women who deserved it got cheated on by their husbands, and only bad girls got raped, and every girl could expect a truly charming Prince to be by her side at the end of the day (when she was serving his nice dinner, of course,) and she and "the girls" could play bridge while the menfolk were at work, and all was simply la-la-lovely!

A woman like her wouldn't have to worry about ending up broke, lonely, abandoned by creepy predator-guys (who are that way because of Obama and liberals, of course,) potentially homeless, threatened by all the terrific challenges of modern adult life, terrible decisions about getting teeth fixed or paying car insurance, and all the other anxieties.

Trump, who "tells it like it is," and shares her anger and frustration at the complete mess of everything the stupid liberals and Obama have made, will Fix Everything.

Of course she's voting for him.

Fortunately, she's a comparatively small and continually shrinking portion of the overall female population.



Explaining stupidity: "isms" and Loss Aversion

"How can 'they' be SO STUPID?"

"How can 'they' vote against their own interests?"

"Why do 'they' support something so manifestly destructive- to 'them'?"

I've lost track of the versions of this fundamental question- they are myriad. The question is asked over and over, but particularly in relation to people who are clearly not at the top of the income distribution, lacking powerful educational/family connections, often struggling with challenges to the health, well-being, and future of themselves and/or their families.

Writing them off as "stupid," or even "delusional" may feel good, but it does nothing to promote the understanding needed to build positive connections and promote change.

Identifying the "ism" driving their oppositional orientation (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) is a start, but focusing on something as big as an "ism" won't help you communicate with them, either. Often the reverse- identifying them as an "-ist" or a "-phobe" simply widens the gap.

As a wise elder of my acquaintance puts it "turn the pocket inside out."

Almost all forms of "ism" relate to the assumption of, and benefit from, a specific kind of privilege.

White people- no matter how economically, educationally, or otherwise disadvantaged- still retain the advantages of our white privilege. We may not be conscious of it, we may even deny its existence, but it's there all the same. We have a much higher chance of surviving a traffic stop. We don't have to think twice, while shopping, about picking up an object and moving along to see it in a better light before putting it our basket or taking it to the register. Thousands of daily, subtle things we benefit from, stresses we don't experience, worries we don't have, assumptions we can unthinkingly make, whether we're aware of them or not- these are our privilege as white people in a racist culture.

Male people retain the privilege their "Y" chromosome conveys in in a patriarchal culture.

Cisgendered people, able-bodied folk, members of ANY group that enjoys privilege in a culture that bestows it, may be unaware of, or even in denial of, that privilege and the advantages it bestows, but they react with immediate, even instinctive, opposition to any kind of change that threatens its loss.

And when those intangible but very real privileges are practically the only advantages you enjoy in a wealth-worshipping, power-driven, hierarchical, profoundly inequitable society?

They are exponentially more precious. Realized or not, the holders thereof will cling to them with grim determination intensified all the more by the fading hopes of ever achieving the economic or social success to which that privilege "should" entitle them.

The more we suffer from the effects of inequity, the greater our aversion to giving up the few tangible or intangible advantages our privilege conveys.

Examining things from the status of loss aversion- however intangible or even imaginary those losses may be (how manyof those people longing for a return to the imagined paradise of an orderly Leave-It-To-Beaver past would really have been any better off than they are now..?) helps me understand the grim obstinacy their self-defeating choices.

Loss aversion is almost always more powerful, as a psychological motivation, than hope of benefit.

The upsurge in overt racism after Obama's election is a pretty clear indicator that we can expect something just as- maybe more- virulent, pervasive, and obstinately vicious from those who fear the loss of the privilege that comes with their "Y" chromosome.

I'm not looking forward to it.


Call. It. Out. Again, and again, and again, invariably and unwearyingly. CALL IT OUT!

Unbelievable MTP misogyny. "Nana Clinton?" Do they even hear themselves? A rant.

This one's a two-fer!

Sexism PLUS ageism.

Of course, this is a combo all of us "invisible women" (On the Invisibility of Middle-Aged Women) are all too familiar with.

I am looking ahead, to a Clinton victory. I refuse to consider the alternative. (Denial CAN be a good thing, sometimes...)

And I am looking back, at the past eight years of an Obama presidency, and what it foreshadows for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

First, an admission: While I never, ever bought into the whole "post-racism" bullshit, I really DID think, back in 2008, that America's progress in dealing with racism was more substantial than subsequent events revealed. It's one of the costs that come with white privilege. No matter how good our intentions are, white privilege allows us to take breaks, to accept the hopeful narratives rooted in our privilege with less critical scrutiny, to selectively focus on what we want to see.

Black people know otherwise. Black voices were there, quietly trying to prepare us for what they knew was coming. Black experience was unsurprised by the post-election explosion of unvarnished, virulent, racist backlash.

It has been a painfully expensive eight years for black Americans, faced with the surging manifestations of bigotry, hate, and discrimination. But black people and allies worked to turn that costly experience into an extended "teaching moment" for all of us, making lemonade from a harvest of unspeakable bitterness by their determination to use the power of the spotlight.

I salute and admire those who have provided an example for American women facing the vilely misogynistic backlash to come:

Call it out.

Call it out, without wearying.

Call it out, every time.

Call it out, again and again, and again.

Call it out, the big manifestations.

Call it out, the small manifestations.

Call it out, EVERY TIME.

Call it out, in the face of being dismissed as "angry, strident, shrill" and all the other epithets.

Call it out, in the face of danger, assault, doxing, rape threats, death threats, denial, hate.

Call it out.

Call it what it is: Misogyny, sexism, bigotry.

Call it out, to the point where even if they don't give a rat's ass about the reality of the issue, they get so damn' tired of being called on it that they start to think before they act or publish or speak misogyny.

Yes, sure, there'll be a whole new crop of contemptuous dog whistles. They'll find all the creative ways to justify their sexism that they've already used to justify their racism, and more.

This fight won't be won in weeks or months or years, there's millenia of patriarchal misogyny baked into every aspect of our culture, economy, and our institutions.

I'll get tired, I know.

I'll want to let it slide, sometimes, just because the fight is so damn' wearisome.

But I have your example to inspire me, black America. I have my children and grandchildren's experience to anticipate. I have a lifetime of being told "girls can't" to burn for energy.

So I will CALL IT OUT.


She said it. Now people have to talk about it: "basket of deplorables" - BRILLIANT

The timing is perfect.

Well done, Hillary!

"Yo, people! Finding the room a little crowded? THERE'S AN ELEPHANT IN HERE WITH US....!"

"Birds keep disappearing? Hang on a minute while I put this bell on the... YEP, CAT HERE!"

"Whaddaya mean, 'gorgeous outfit'? DUDE'S NEKKID! HIS TEENY TACKLE'S BOUNCIN'!"

If these things get said too early, they get written off, not believed, and the person saying them gets discounted and even vilified.

It these things get said too late, the response is "well, no shiteedah, Brilliant One..." and the person saying them gets no credit, and maybe even blame, as in "You didn't notice until NOW?"

But at the exact right moment, these things can be said, and the Wall of Denial crumbles like concrete with too much sand in the mix.

Now people HAVE to talk about it.

Who follows Trump?

What does that say about Trump?

About them?

And about America?

And about our future?

Oh yeah... I give her *major* props on this one. Right thing at the right time. This discussion will outlast the corporate media howling about "gaffes" and it will cut deep and the blood will not clot soon. This discussion will continue. The memes will spawn and go viral.

It was effing *beautiful.*


A "Taco Trucks" Clinton Campaign Ad I'd Like to See

Clips of happy people at taco trucks, biting into yummy tacos...
Clips of smiling taco truck operators making food, making change, closing up for the night, dropping off the deposit at the bank...

(More clips of food trucks and other small/micro businesses in the background as Hillary talks)

Hillary: "I can't promise a taco truck on every corner. But I can promise a business environment friendly to micro-businesses and small family entrepreneurs. I can promise to make self-employed and small business peoples' concerns as much a part of my Administration's agenda as the priorities of big businesses with high-paid lobbyists."

Zoom out to Hillary and a couple of campaign staffers standing in line at a taco truck for lunch items, Secret Service people and all...

Shots of Hillary with truck owners, talking to them, while campaign staffers nom yummy burritos, tacos, gorditos, etc.

(Hillary voice-over): "Small businesses and family businesses build strong communities. I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message."

A) "Why" Trump is going to Mexico- and B) what it'll do to his campaign

There's been a lot of speculation, gleeful or otherwise, that this impulsive trip will somehow backfire on Trump, that it will result in terrible publicity, humiliating treatment by Mexican leaders, etc., that will cream him in the polls, yadayadayada...

Y'all are not getting it.

Stupid? Well, yes, in the objective sense of the term, the Nuclear Cheeto is definitely "intellectually challenged."


There is one thing he knows better than anyone/anything else, and that is, how the brains of the 34% work, and how to toss them the cookies that make them salivate.

And that's all he really cares about- keeping the adoring crowds adoring.

So: WHY is he going to Mexico?

It's very, very simple: So he can say that he went.

And when he comes back, no matter what the media coverage says, the Human Hindenburg will tell his acolytes what they want to hear about what he did/said while he was there, and he'll burnish those fantasies with the credibility that having "been there" makes what he's bloviating a) important; b) TRUE! or c) YOOOOOOOGE!

And then he and his surrogates will "Trump"et his Incredible Foreign Policy Experience, because, 'trip to Mexico!'

And in the debates, he'll endlessly assert 'truths' and 'realities' based on what he did/found/etc. during his Major Foreign Policy Swing through the entire Central/South American region, and claim that his 'experience' Trumps all other sources of factual information.

And the 34% will suck it up and drool it back out and magnify his claims and beg for more.

He's gonna get a YOOOOOOOGE return on this little investment, believe me!


I think our own DemoTex is one of these "freaks on the peaks," yes?

'Freaks on the peaks': the lonely lives of the last remaining forest fire lookouts

Dozens more like him do the same across the US every summer, perched in 15ft by 15ft wooden cabins atop remote towers with sweeping panoramas, a low-tech, very human first line of defense against conflagrations. They are known, unofficially, as the “freaks on the peaks”.

The nickname is affectionate, not derogatory. It recognizes certain qualities needed to operate in lonely eyries – an embrace of nature, solitude and disconnectedness. And an ability to shift mental gears and respond when tempests and fires interrupt serene observation of cloud and canopy.

But yanno, I think DemoTex's posts here are even better than the nice Guardian article. Here's a few for those (like me) who count ourselves fans of the "eyes above" who keep us safe in fire-prone country.

"Earth, Wind and Fire (and Smoke, Lots of Smoke)"

"The Emmy landed at Lemmon Rock fire lookout today - incredible!"

"Bye Bye Birdie"

Maybe it does take a very special few to be the "eyes on high" or the "freaks on the peaks," but all of us who live in fire country can appreciate them!

Thanks, DemoTex and all of you Eyes on High!

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