Monthly Archives: April 2019

Review Of Sanders Application

For a description of the position please see Job Opening

Management’s preliminary review of the application of Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, was born on 8 September 1941. That makes him about 77 years old and a Virgo. He ran in 2016 and surprised the pundits with his success, but Hillary was the eventual candidate and lost to Trump.

Consistent and Sincere. For more than 50 years, Sanders has supported progressive causes, from civil rights in the 1960s to Medicare for All in the present. His votes in the Senate reflect this and he has often been on the right (that is, left) side of history. He voted against the war in Iraq, the Defense of Marriage Act, and NAFTA.

(Do any of my fictional readers know whether NAFTA was good or bad? I don’t know anything about global economics.)

Consistency, continued. Sanders votes his conscience without regard to political fallout. His positions have always been in favor of helping the poor, fighting for racial justice, taxing the rich, avoiding war, and generally leveling the playing field.

Democratic Socialist. Sanders is to the left of the Democratic Party establishment and is a Democratic Socialist. Despite the scary (to some) Socialist label, this primarily means that he wants higher taxes (especially on the very rich) to pay for things that people currently struggle with, notably college tuition and medical expenses.

Colin Woodard’s book, American Character frames the fundamental divide in the USA as the tension between the common good and the rights of the “individual” (actually the individual exploiter, be it a nobleman, plantation owner, or corporation), to do whatever they want. Bernie has always been on the side of the good of society, rather than the Overlords.

Unafraid to Challenge Root Causes. As a Democratic Socialist, Sanders is not afraid to identify and challenge the fundamental causes of our current banana-republic-esque income inequality, or to propose Big Ideas that leap over the incremental changes supported by more moderate Democrats. Not sure how else to say this, but he cuts through the bullshit, tells it like it is, gets mad, and argues for global change to government’s allocation of resources.

Demographics. Sanders is a white male running in a year when there is a hunger for a President of a different demographic category. His idealism and proposals have proven very appealing to younger white voters, in addition to traditional white progressives. To date, Sanders has not achieved a similarly high level of support from African Americans or other racial minorities, despite his history of fighting for civil rights and the fact that his policy proposals would benefit the disadvantaged.

Foreign Policy. Most of Sanders most publicized proposals are focused on domestic issues. He has a history of being willing to challenge military intervention; for example, he voted against the invasion of Iraq. The Atlantic has an interesting article about Sanders foreign policy positions.

Oppositional? In Sanders long history (of good ideas), he has always positioned himself as misunderstood, too pure for the rest of us, fighting The Man, ahead of his time, taking the purer less traveled road, etc. Management agrees with most of Sanders positions. However, even if he is right about It All, there is something adolescent about all this. For example, he is too righteous to be a Democrat.

The President will govern a country of more than 328,000,000 people, whose backgrounds, ideologies, and viewpoints often vary wildly. To be successful, the President must be able to identify common ground with others, negotiate compromises, and accept the good instead of the perfect. Too much compromise results in the ultimately harmful triangulation that characterized Clinton’s presidency. But, a rigid refusal to sully one’s principals is also counter productive.

This is a matter of temperament rather than one’s position on a scale of left to right. Management is concerned that even if every member of Congress were a Democratic Socialist with a philosophy similar to Sanders, his posture would still be that of The Proud Righteous Loner who won’t demean himself with the horse trading and bargaining of politics. In short, the ability to govern effectively is quite different from the ability to rally supporters at a protest rally.

Age. As noted in the job description, the position of President is uniquely demanding, intellectually, emotionally, and physically. For this reason, management has a concern about the effect of these demands on any candidate over 65 years old. On the other hand, Sanders appears to be vigorous and his young supporters do not seem to be worried that he is too old.

Preliminary Conclusion. Sanders has several positive qualities, including a long history of voting his conscience, and his consistent support for improving the lives of the poor, the sick, racial minorities, and others whose fortunes are neglected by other applicants. Management has concerns about his appetite for the nitty gritty of governing and about his relatively advanced age.

On balance, management would like to invite Sanders back for a second interview.

#BernieSanders #Sanders2020 #Sanderscampaign #2020election #2020Sanders

Job Opening

From: Management

Re: Position open 20 January 2021

Please post the following online and in all appropriate publications.

Job Title: President, United States of America.

General Description: We are currently accepting applications for the position of President. The successful candidate must be prepared to manage a wide array of sensitive and demanding challenges, to delegate responsibility where appropriate, and to formulate both long term plans and responses to immediate situations.

The president will serve as Commander in chief of the world’s largest military force, will develop and implement policies guiding the foreign policy of one of the world’s super powers, and will apply the country’s foreign policies both to ongoing international situations and to new conflicts, crises, and events as they arise.

For this reason, management prefers applicants with demonstrated interest in and experience with international and geopolitical matters, including prior military service, relevant government or diplomatic service, and academic credentials.

The president will also play a leading role in the development and implementation of domestic policies, and in the federal government’s response to events affecting the people of the USA.

A complete listing of the matters for which the President will have some responsibility is beyond the scope of this announcement. However, for purposes of illustration and not intended as an exhaustive list, the President will be closely engaged in the following matters:

1. Budget. The president is responsible for developing a proposed budget which is submitted to Congress each year.

2. Infrastructure. The President will be responsible for addressing infrastructure problems neglected by previous administrations, including roads, bridges, water pipes, railroads, and government buildings. Some of these matters, such as the provision of water in Flint, Michigan, are urgent.

3. Immigration. The President will work with Congress to develop solutions to issues arising from immigration.

4. Health Care. Millions of citizens cannot afford necessary medical care. The President will work with Congress to address this problem.

5. Climate change. The President must be prepared to immediately take aggressive steps to mitigate the effects of climate change. This will require working with Congress and the leaders of other countries.

6. Domestic policies. The population of the USA is divided on an array of issues, including the legality of abortion, gun control, criminal justice, the proper scope of federal authority, educational policies, gender-related issues, voting rights, racial disparities, the role of money in our elections, regulation of industry and banking, the proper scope of environmental regulation, the appropriate role of federal government in redress of the impact of prior policies on non white populations, and the proper balance between the rights of the individual citizen of corporation and the best interests of society as a whole (examples of this tension might include whether to require vaccinations and OSHA regulations governing workplace safety).

The President should be prepared to use the power of the office to seek compromise where appropriate, to resist any erosion of basic rights, to balance competing interests, and to work with Congress on appropriate legislation.

Specific skills. The successful candidate will be well educated, with a broad general understanding of government and history, both American and international.

In addition, the President must possess the following abilities:

Physical stamina. The job of President places extraordinary demands upon the person in this position. For example, the President should be prepared to travel across many time zones and to undertake matters of great significance on arrival, regardless of the difference between the perceived time (Washington D.C.) and local time. The President must be able to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. During a crisis, the President may need to function at the highest level on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night.

Intellectual ability. All of the applicants receiving consideration by management will be intelligent and educated. However, the winning candidate should possess the ability to quickly learn and synthesize new information on any possible subject. This will include the ability to quickly read and understand 50 to 100 pages of factual information on a matter that might be new to the President and to apply our foreign or domestic policies to issues arising from this subject. For example, it is possible that an unexpected international incident would require the President to rapidly absorb the history and culture of a nation to which the President had previously paid little attention; similarly, an unusual natural disaster could require the President to immediately learn the rudiments of a scientific or natural subject, such as the factors involved in the rupture of a dam, a wildfire, or the dangers arising from a hurricane. As mentioned above, management expects all serious applicants to be able to study and learn new material – it is the ability to do this quickly, in response to an emergency, that will distinguish the successful candidate.

Personal traits. Character is perhaps the most important criteria for the successful candidate. The President must have a proven track record of successfully working with a variety of people, including those of different background and beliefs. He or she will have a reputation for honesty, integrity, compassion, and tact, and a demonstrated ability to exhibit grace under pressure and empathy. At the same time, the President must be capable of making hard decisions and taking appropriate risks. He or she must be skilled at delegating to others while retaining responsibility for a decision, must be adept at compromise and negotiation. It is essential that the President be a person with a mature, even temperament, who can maintain equilibrium and good humor under stress.

Please submit all applications to management (me, the Empress of the Universe). We will consider all applications without regard to sex, race, gender orientation or preference, ethnic or religious background, or any other suspect classification.

#president2020 #2020 #jobofpresident #2020candidates

Letter to Mayor Pete!

Hi Pete,

I don’t know who, if anyone, reads your email, but here goes:

I’ve been donating to your campaign since it was a wee little exploratory committee. Your pedigree is impeccable and, unlike your cohort, you actually have some military experience. You are off to a great start and, with suggestions from your favorite North Carolina grandma (me), you could go all the way!

There is an issue that you need to tackle. This is a big year for demographics and you are, sorry to point it out, a white male. Not only that, but Kamala has been practically living in SC and has endorsements from Important People.

You cannot win without support from African American voters, so how do we get there? (Note: I’m ignoring the “black churches are socially conservative” thing because if they don’t like that you’re gay, they can bite me, so to speak.)

I’d say face it directly. Let’s pretend you are in Manning, SC –

“I cannot do this without you.”

“We all want the same things – a loving family, a good job, a safe community, and the freedom to enjoy these things.”

“We may all want the same things, but for 400 years African Americans have had to battle the vicious scourge of racism and white supremacy before they can even try to obtain their dreams.
“This is wrong, it’s immoral, and we must dismantle white supremacy. To do this, I need your help.” (Trust me here, saying ‘dismantle white supremacy is exactly right.) “I need your help, not just your vote. Our lives may have been different, but the dreams in our hearts are the same.”

Intermission: to attract African American voters, which you need to do, you need an Issue that resonates. I’ve chosen one that fits with your “talkin-bout-my- generation” persona.

I’ve decided (*giggle*) that you will make a big push for assisted (read: tax supported) opportunities for young people. Young people in South Carolina have basically no opportunities. They never even had factories like South Bend.

So, I don’t know, figure out some kind of WPA type thing, infrastructure work, tax- funded internships. Just about all the municipal water pipes in the country need to be replaced. Your proposed program needs to help underserved young people get help launching a career or learning job skills.

You figure out the details, but your issue is that people who are 15 – 25 need some way to get started. This may also include child care. People want to see a path forward for their children and grandchildren.
When this has been tried before, it’s been more of a thing for rich white kids to do for a year. Your plan will put disadvantaged young people on a career path.
I have a lot more advice, but that’s enough for today. Carry on and give Chasten my regards.
P.S. I’m going to put this in a blog.
P.P.S. I truly hope that I don’t get a form email back. Who else you got in North Carolina to give you advice?

Are Some 2020 Candidates Too Old For the Demands of the Presidency?

The job of President is grueling if done properly (of course, it’s pretty easy if you just sit around tweeting and not reading or thinking).  The extraordinary demands of the position include the ability to nimbly travel across time zones, to function effectively on 4 hours sleep when necessary, and to quickly read, digest, and synthesize many pages of dense writing on complex subjects.   I’m in my 60s and am pretty healthy and pretty smart, but there’s no way I’m perky enough to do a good job of Leading the Free World.

From the Washington Post: “Research says septuagenarians struggle with new tasks. That’s bad news for several 2020 candidates.”

Just my opinion here, but I think the president should be younger than 60.  Your mileage may vary.


Andrews NC

If only I knew what I was doing with this. But it’s still fun.

Creek in Spring