Conspiracy!

category: brief rant.

Eleven Democratic candidates for President have qualified for the next debate. Each one could plausibly complain about something – the way they are covered by the media, the schedule of primary elections, campaign finance regulations, misleading statements by their opponents, even their assigned positions on stage during the debates.

For example, one can easily imagine supporters of Biden griping that the media focuses too much on supposed gaffes, or Kamala Harris boosters complaining about slanted coverage of her record as a prosecutor. Warren is probably just as sick of Pocahontas stories as Buttigieg is of seeing “openly” next to the word “gay.” Can anyone doubt that Beto’s backers fume at the stories about his failure to rise in the polls, that Castro and Klobuchar think they deserve more media attention, or that Yang and Williamson don’t think their campaigns are given serious consideration?

None of the candidates are campaigning in 100% perfect circumstances. In particular, the media tends to run articles portraying each of them with one or another simplistic label or tag line. And, to increase attention, articles posit unlikely conflicts or pointless straw men. “How long can Warren and Sanders remain friends?” “Is Buttigieg the new Beto”? “Can a woman win this time?”

BUT. A carefully conducted and statistically reliable survey (of my friends and relations) establishes two important points. First, with one exception, no matter which candidate people prefer at this stage of the game, they plan to vote for whoever ultimately wins the Democratic nomination. Secondly, with one exception, they understand that anyone running for any office is likely to face annoying party rules, misleading media coverage, silly debate moderators, and false statements by reporters and politicians. Right? So, okay, Big Shrug, and whatcha gonna do, thems the breaks.

EXCEPT, gosh darn it, for the Bernie Brigade. Don’t get me wrong, Bernie is a good guy with some good ideas. But his supporters are the only ones who insist that if he doesn’t win it’s because of an evil conspiracy, and the only ones who declare that they won’t vote for anyone if Bernie doesn’t win.

Not only is this annoying as hell, it’s also scary because it increases the chances of Voldemort’s re-election.

Furthermore, the “Bernie or no one” position is the exact opposite of the values behind Sanders campaign. Democratic socialism is based on the principle that we should, within reason, enact policies that benefit society as a whole, even at the expense of certain individual privileges. The idea is that people may pay higher taxes and businesses may have more regulations, but free public transportation will be available and pollution will decrease. It ultimately requires some sacrifice by the individual for the good of all. However, a Bernie Brat who is willing to see Trump re-elected if Sanders is “cheated” out of the nomination is essentially declaring that they will sacrifice what is manifestly best for the common good rather than endure the personal discomfort of voting for a party or candidate they are not thrilled with.

To the Bernie or Bust cohort, I say (1) grow up, and (2) what would Bernie do?

Bright Side

I won this yarn in a charity auction that raised over $14,000 for the Coalition to Stop Violence against Native Women. The pattern is called Bright Side, by Makenzie Alvarez, and the yarn was dyed by Knitted Wit.

Bubble gum!! Summer sherbet!! My Little Ponies!! I’m proud to have supported this cause. Depending on the final result, I may give the shawl to a child.

Time to Break Up?

This is a map of the United States. I’m no longer sure whether we should remain United.

Polls indicate that some 40% percent of Americans plan to vote for Trump. This leaves a person (note: by “a person” I mean me 😁) spluttering in frustration. “But how can you?! Why?! Don’t you see that he is” – are there any adjectives that haven’t been used? Ignorant, lying, narcissistic, incompetent, insecure, greedy, self-centered, stupid, shallow, lying, lying, lying. Oh who are we kidding, they know all that.

So, Why? Some are so virulently determined that every girl or woman who becomes pregnant be forced to deliver a baby that nothing else matters. Apparently polls indicate that 20% of all Americans favor outlawing abortion in every case, and another 30% think strict limits are in order.

Another big group of Trump supporters are people who love guns more than they love human beings. So, the ostensible devotion to unborn embryos doesn’t translate into any concern for living children. Nope, these folks are willing to risk their own tender children being slaughtered by a random madman as long as they can keep their military rapid assault I-dont-care-what-the-tecnical-term-is weapons.

I despair of people who are so anti-intellectual that, rather than aspiring to read, learn, master a new skill, or grow, they use the word “elite” as a sneering curse. update – a poll reports thst 33% of Republicans think colleges are bad for the country. What the actual hell?

How can one get through to someone who actually believes what they hear from Trump, Fox Spews, or online conspiracy nuts? (by “one” I also mean me of course 😀).

Trump voters are all either stone cold racists or so het up about some issue like immigration or guns that they will overlook his constant, blatant, incessant racism.

But, really, a lot of it really, is racism. Trump voters are folks who are so convinced that their taxes mostly provide assistance to nonwhite transgender immigrants that they are willing to die – literally die from lack of medical care – rather than expand Medicaid.

Or they have been tricked into believing that “government regulation” is the source of all evil. Trump voters are prepared to breathe poisoned air and drink polluted water if it means thwarting the wishes of the “coastal elites.” What is WRONG with them? Stupidity? Bitterness? So, okay, I admit “a person” can get kind of foaming at the mouth about all this.

The point is this: apparently a sizeable percentage of our population would prefer a country that (1) is a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, in which religious beliefs are a legal excuse to discriminate and public meetings are opened with explicitly Christian prayer, (2) spending on education, parks, libraries, public health, and other services is reduced or eliminated lest these benefits be used by “those others” (3) regulation of industry, employment, and the environment is reduced or eliminated because guvmint regulation, and (4) anyone can walk around anywhere with a military assault rifle.

So, let them have that country, I want no part of it.

The question, nonexistent readers, is how to divide up the country? Should we use state lines? Should we split into two, or maybe more? Look at the map up top and try to figure it out. When one (me again) starts fiddling with the map, several problems are apparent.

First, places that seem to belong together are not all next to each other. The coastal elites are on different coasts, so do we connect them with a band across the top? Secondly, a lot of people might end up in the wrong country – looking at you, Austin, New Orleans, Chapel Hill, Athens Ohio, Athens Georgia, etc. Finally, it’s kind of sad, as break ups are. Kentucky and West Virginia can’t really survive without the taxes collected in New York and Massachusetts. A person could miss Miami and Charleston.

If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

Nautical Knitting

A few photos from the knitting cruise:

Head Banger

In Bellingham I was on a wonderful sailing and knitting cruise among the San Juan Islands. The ship was The Schooner Zodiac and the knitting was organized by Northwest Yarns and a good time was had by all.

I was with a good friend and neighbor and, after the cruise, we had a big spaghetti supper complete with dessert and 2 glasses of wine. Back at the condo we relaxed with a tiny bit of something that is legal in Washington but that in retrospect may have been a bad idea.

So now we have a combination (DH calls it a perfect storm) of exertion, dehydration, alcohol, blood sugar overload, and that other thing. This resulted in my experiencing low blood pressure and fainting, which in turn resulted in passing out flat on my face.

The fall resulted in 2 jaw fractures, loosened teeth, black eyes, swelling, bruises and, worst of all, a concussion. Ten days later I am still dizzy and on a liquid diet (As a result of which I’ve lost 8 pounds, so there’s that).

The Walkers

When I can’t sleep, I think about the Walkers, a fictional group living in, roughly, Mendocino County some 150 years after an apocalyptic disaster. The Walkers might be the title of this year’s Nanowrimo book

I read somewhere “There are only two basic stories – ‘a young man set out to find his fortune,’ and ‘a stranger came to town.’ ” I guess this the second. More to follow.

Teach Your Children Well

I find this video very affecting. In fact, I cried when I first watched it.

All About That Base

With apologies to Meghan Trainor, whose song was catchy and body-positive:

The 2020 election – it’s all about that base. We have to win, because who could stand another 4 years of this?

To win, we have to turn out the younger people and all the African Americans who tuned out for Obama. And to do that, management has concluded that we need to nominate Kamala Harris.

UPDATE August 22. Maybe not. Management continues to believe that African American voter turnout is a key, and that this will be easier if there is a person of color on the ticket, but might that be accomplished with Cory or Stacy as VP?

Look, any of them will be a quantum leap better than that [add your own expletives and colorful barnyard sayings here]. Kamala may not be your first choice, or mine. But we don’t win if we don’t motivate the black vote.

Now scroll up and play the video again. It’s catchy!

“Electability”

No Joe Biden is not the most “electable” candidate. Electability is code for “dull white candidate who won’t turn off the right wing of the Democratic party.” History demonstrates that choosing the “electable” candidate is a losing strategy.

Since WWII, the Democrats have consistently LOST by running safe “electable” candidates. Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, even Hillary – they all lost. (Yes, I know Republican chicanery played a huge role in Gore’s and Hillary’s defeats, but it shouldn’t have been that close.)

Democrats have WON by taking the “risk” of nominating a candidate who represented a break with the past, in some way that made sense at that moment. Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama all won. In 1960, it was a Thing for a young Catholic to run; in 1976, Carter’s piety was a refreshing change from Nixon’s amorality; Clinton ran as a “new Democrat” (no comment on all that), and of course Obama promised Hope and Change and the first African American candidate.

No, Biden is not the best candidate. The crucial key to winning is turnout and inspiration, and who find Uncle Joe inspiring? Or Klobuchar or any of the indistinguishable white guys at either end of the row during the debates?

#electability #Buttegieg2020 #Harris2020

Wilde Across America

My nephew is having a wonderful adventure, biking with his cousin from Minneapolis to Seattle and posting daily updates on Instagram under @wildeacrossamerica.

They have camped out a few nights, sleeping in the open and cooking out. Most nights, however, they have found shelter with strangers in the small towns that they pass through. Apparently there is a network of biking enthusiasts who put each other up.

I’m glad he is exploring the world beyond suburban New Jersey, and discovering natural beauty and kind souls. There is nothing political in his posts, photos, or reflections, so this Debbie Downer observation is all my fault.

The observation is this: You kind of need to be a straight, white, Christian, cisgendered male for this trip to be such a carefree lark. Just saying, and nothing against him or all the fun.

First Pass – Joe Biden

Joe Biden has applied for the position of President. Management finds that the pros and cons of his application have a substantial overlap.

Pros – Biden’s strongest assets are that (1) he is likeable and seems authentic, and (2) he could jump right in without needing an education, given that he’s been in politics since 1753 and has even been vice president.

Cons – Biden’s greatest weaknesses are that (1) his go-along-to-get-along, affable, deal-making personality is not what we need in this time of crisis, which cries for someone who is braver and willing to step on toes if necessary to save the country, and (2) he’s been in politics since 1756 and does not seem to have Kept Up with Things.

Leader in the Polls. Biden is the current front runner. This is a point in his favor, but the rankings will surely change and change again.

Can he win? Maybe.

On one hand, people who dislike the current president won’t be “afraid” to vote for him. They won’t associate a vote for Biden with a dangerous leap into some hitherto unknown presidential demographic (a gay French Hindu juggler!).

On the other hand, Biden will neither excite anyone nor bring a new generation on board. Nor would any demographic, even his own, be thrilled that – at last! – an old white man will have a chance.

Then there is the question of age. See the post of April 14 that I would link to if I remembered how, “Are Some 2020 Candidates Too Old For the Demands of the Presidency?”

Nominating Biden feels like admitting that we lack vision, guts, bravery. On the other hand, he is the current front runner.

Conclusion: Biden will not be invited back for a second interview at the moment. However his application is retained for further review.

The Washington Post: Want to help prevent mass extinction? Get rid of that grass lawn. (Seriously.)

I wish I could leave this on the neighbor’s lawn. You know, the one with the lush lawn maintained with pesticide, about 3 houses down the hill? It’s yellow but isn’t my yellow house.

Want to help prevent mass extinction? Get rid of that grass lawn. (Seriously.)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/05/13/governments-could-take-decades-save-species-heres-what-you-can-do-now/

Reyna

Reyna is a free pattern for a one-skein triangular shawl. The design is a mindless combination of garter stitch and eyelet lace, perfect for social knitting or Knitting Under the Influence. It’s so boring that I need TV or conversation to work on it. Nonetheless, I’ve made several. Here is the latest.

“Go get the paper.”

“I think we should switch the New York Times and the N&O to digital. We’d save a lot of money.”

Well, yes we’d save some money. It’s also more environmentally healthy, all those trees not being used for paper. We’ll do it I suppose, but I’m not enthusiastic.

It’s obviously a generational thing, dating from a time when kids had paper routes, moms saved clippings, and the latest update arrived with the paper and not on your phone.

I like newspapers. They wait patiently if you get busy for a day or two. You can spread them out on the table, or give them a brisk shake as you turn a page. They’re useful for packing, painting, and lining canary cages. And the last thing I need is to spend more time staring at a screen.

When I was a kid, the driveway was two tenths of a mile long and “getting the paper” was a chance to daydream for a few minutes. “The puzzle” referred to the NY Times crossword, which gets harder as the week progresses.

For 36 years of married life, we’ve taken at least two papers. We’ve dashed out to get them before the rain started, cut out recipes (So old fashioned) and given “the paper boy” (usually a 50 year old man) twenty dollars at Christmas.

So, yeah, I guess it’s time to go digital, but I’m not excited about it.

#newspapers

Past Present and Future

Mothers Day.

My time as an active day-to-day mom is in the past. My own mother died 15 years ago. When you do your job right, you render yourself unnecessary – my mom said that about motherhood. The child becomes an adult with a partner or family that is the center if their life, exactly as it should be. Time to move on.

I have a box of old family letters in the closet that I should maybe get rid of. They certainly don’t spark joy. Some are hurtful, even mean.

The past. Do the old letters, old books, old things, connect me to the Past? Why do I want that – am I going to forget my childhood if I don’t keep old detritus around? And why would forgetting some things be a big deal?

I have lots of current projects and ideas for the future, but I’m haunted by the fear that I was a generally Bad Mother – wounding and harmful rather than nurturing and inspiring. I’ve sought therapy, not to resolve gripes about my parents, but to figure out if I was really so awful. I’ve done searching moral inventories of my mistakes.

But why? Why can I forgive myself for normal failings, since most of the time things were okay, even good, and my mistakes were well within normal range?

I think it goes back to accepting that the whole mother with children thing is over.

So, Big Realizations. First, as long as I participate in drama, I’m not coming to grips with the reality that the only healthy relationship for adults is an adult one. Secondly, I can unilaterally withdraw from the drama.

I can burn old letters. I can let go of drama that serves only to perpetuate long-outgrown roles. I can engage less with the past and more with the future. I can stay on my side of the street.

Happy Mother’s Day – we all do our best, and we all benefit by forgiving ourselves.

Love and Death in the Spanish Moss

Okay, it’s time to write a southern gothic novel – the kind with forbidden love, ghosts, murder, creaks heard at night, sexy family secrets, and so on. Ready, imaginary readers? I’ll provide the illustrations and a prompt, you fill in the blanks.

She hasn’t seen the ruined plantation house since that fateful day 40 years ago, but she still remembered . . .

The sight of the barred windows brought a shudder. That hot night in July . . .

She recalled the lane – how innocent it first appeared!

Fearfully, she stepped inside. There was the hall, the old fireplace . . .

The sight of the stairs brought a slight shudder. She’d waited upstairs, only to discover the truth . . .

Fleeing the house, Erythrinia found herself among the live oaks – under whose branches she had first –

The Spanish moss dripped like blood from the branches . .

There had always been only one way out of Tibwin. For so long she had been locked in . . .

#spanishmoss #gothicnovel #southerngothic #southcarolina #photography #tibwin

Report: Electability

Review of the application of Amy Klobuchar has raised the issue of electability. Obviously, management is charged with selecting, not simply the best candidate, but the best candidate who can defeat Trump in 2020. Accordingly, management has commissioned a report on the subject of electability.

A Central Question. The debate over electability often focuses on the relative merits of two opposing viewpoints:

(1) Choose a candidate from the middle, who will appeal to the broadest swath of potential voters and have a greater chance of winning the votes of disaffected Republicans.

Or

(2) Choose a vibrant, exciting candidate who will increase turnout among his or her demographic group, younger voters, and progressives seeking transformative change.

This report cites a number of articles. Hot off the presses today is “Can anyone define what ‘electability’ means?” in the Washington Post.

Update. a new article from WaPo about electability.

Perhaps my favorite article is in The New Republic which declares that “electability is a crock of shit.” Similarly, Vox argues that the term “electability” is a coded way of saying “white male.”

A few more articles – one in the Washington Post about electability, and a good one in The Intelligencer about the two main opposing views.

Don’t get nervous, but an article in Real Clear Politics suggests that a significant number of voters would vote for a Democrat, depending on who the candidate is, and thus that the choice of candidate matters a lot. Gee, thanks for increasing the pressure.

Observation. Can’t remember where I read it, but Democrats have lost more often by running supposedly electable candidates, and seem to do better with candidates who offer something new. (It’s ancient history now, but it was a big deal that Kennedy would be the first Catholic president).

Preliminary Conclusion. It seems that “electability” is often shorthand for “most conventional and least threatening.” If a candidate’s views are bizarre or extreme, they are not electable.

But, if a candidate has the same general positions as other candidates, we should not assume that they are unelectable simply on the basis that “America will never vote for a candidate who is” [so young, so old, black, white, Hispanic, gay, unmarried, angry, from the south, inexperienced, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, quirky, etc. etc.].

This is a big subject and I’d love to know what my imaginary readers think. Meanwhile, it’s time to publish this for now with a promise to revisit it as we go along.

#electability #2020electability

Review Of Klobuchar Application

Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, is running as a moderate, a centrist, a “nice” candidate who can find common ground and bring us together to meet in the middle.

Background. Klobachar is a white woman from Minnesota, 58 years old, and married with a 23 year old daughter. She has been a prosecutor and an attorney in private practice, and was the first female senator elected in Minnesota.

Positions. Klobuchar’s views correspond to her identity as a liberal centrist. She supports the right to abortion and LGBTQ rights, and she was critical of the war in Iraq. Klobuchar is generally in favor of gun control, a higher minimum wage, and increasing taxes on the rich. She opposes the death penalty and gerrymandering.

Klobuchar is slightly to the right of some othet camdidates. She considers Medicare for all to be an unattainable “aspiration” (although every other western industrialized country manages somehow to achieve this), but supports expanded access to health care. She does not support the Green New Deal, but she would rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Klobuchar wants to reduce student debt but does not support free higher education.

Klobuchar’s views on current issues are traditional liberal positions. The perception of her as a moderate or centrist arises from the fact that other candidates (Sanders, Harris, and Warren) have moved the Democratic party to the left.

Here is a useful summary of Klobuchar’s stances on a number of issues. Management concludes that Klobuchar’s positions are acceptable, if cautious. The Atlantic has an interesting article about her identity as a Heartland Midwesterner.

The latest polls show 2% of those surveyed are presently planning to vote for her.

Mean Boss? There have been reports that Klobuchar is a Bad Boss. If true, this is a significant shortcoming, both because it indicates emotional immaturity and also because the ability to play well wth others is central to an effective presidency. The only data that supports these rumors is the fact that Klobuchar has the highest staff turnover of any senator.

A Google search for “is Klobuchar a mean boss” returns numerous articles in reputable publications describing her tendency to be demeaning, angry, and even abusive towards her staff, who are described as working in a state of panic and anxiety. All of these reports are anonymous, so there is no way to verify them; moreover, other employee have publicly supported Klobuchar.

This is the best article I’ve found on the subject. Management concludes that Klobuchar’s alleged nasty treatment of her staff is concerning, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

Electability. The biggest question about Klobuchar is whether there is an opening for her to succeed. Why would a voter prefer her over any of the others? What does she offer that is unique?

It seems possible that many people who might otherwise vote for Klobuchar would instead choose one of the others – maybe Biden (another centrist, but a former vice president with a good reputation), Harris (flashier, more progressive positions, and a woman of color), Sanders (long record of progressive values, bolder proposals), Pete Buttegieg (another competent, workmanlike Midwesterner gay, which makes him seem edgier somehow), or one of the other 4 or 5 competitive candidates. It is just not clear where her niche is.

The Democrats have lost in the past when they ran competent compromise candidates, even those who might have been very good presidents. Hi there Kerry, Dukakis, McGovern, Humphrey, and even Clinton.

Preliminary Determination. Klobuchar has been a competent, effective senator, and her positions are likely compatible with those of many moderate Democrats. Management will not discard her application.

The problem for Klobuchar is that the centrist label also fits Biden, O’Rourke, Gillibrand, and Buttigieg, among others. Management has decided to set aside her application for the present. However, if one or more of the other middle-of-the-road applicants withdraws their application, or if new developments improve Klobuchar’s standing in the polls, we will call Klobuchar in for a second interview.

#Klobuchar2020 #AmyKlobuchar #Klobucharforpresident #candidateKlobuchar

Review of Kamala Harris Application

For background, see Job Opening and Sanders Application

Management has reviewed the application from Kamala Harris, currently a Senator from California.

Positions. Kamala is a liberal with progressive views on subjects that are in the public eye. She supports Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, legalization of marijuana, a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, increased pay for teachers, and a moratorium on the death penalty. Her views are similar to most of the serious applicants for President, who also espouse progressive positions. A recent article discusses her stance on a variety of issues.

Background. The daughter of immigrants, Harris has an ethnic and personal profile different from the typical white candidate. Wikipedia offers this summary of her background:

Kamala has shared her personal history with voters throughout her career. As this article notes, her family background has shaped her life and her views. She is a living rebuttal to Trump’s xenophobic view of immigration.

Former Prosecutor. Before running for the Senate, Harris was the District Attorney of San Francisco and then the Attorney General of California. Her record as a prosecutor has been criticized from both the right (she declined to pursue the death penalty for a gang member charged with multiple murders) and the left (she prosecuted the parents of truant students and fought to uphold convictions that were tainted by official misconduct).

Management has two observations. First, the record shows only that when Harris was a prosecutor her approach was prosecutorial. Her job was to seek convictions and to argue that they should be upheld despite evidence of official wrongdoing. Management finds the criticisms of her record to be the flip side of attempts to smear criminal defense attorneys for advocating on behalf of notorious criminals, or seeking to “free a murderer on a technicality.”

Secondly, to the extent that Kamala was charged with making difficult discretionary judgment calls, that was excellent practice for the daily duties of a President.

Fierce Critic of Trump. Harris sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and on several occasions she has questioned witnesses for the Trump administration. It is a joy to watch Kamala Harris cross examine a weasely government witness.

The witness’s plan may be to run out the clock with irrelevant speechifying to avoid answering the question. Kamala does not allow him to get away with it, and is prepared to cut off a meandering non-response with “It’s a yes or no question, sir; did you bring a hula hoop to this hearing, yes or no?” “That isn’t what I asked. It’s a simple question sir, did you or did you not, yes or no, take the cookie from the cookie jar?” “Excuse me, sir, I’ve moved on to a different subject.” One can be forgiven for exclaiming “Yes!” or “Zing!” while watching her fearlessly tackle a foe.

For the most recent example, here is a Kamala evicerating William Barr:

and here she is, gently questioning Kavanaugh:

Foreign Policy. Harris voted in favor of the US ceasing its involvement in the war Yemen, against the appointments of Tillerson and later Pompeo as Secretary of State, and has said that she won’t “conduct foreign policy by tweet.” She opposes Trump’s policies on immigration and has argued that we need to be careful to distinguish between the religion of Islam and the actions of Muslim terrorists. Can’t argue with any of that.

Israel. There exists a tension between America’s historical and ongoing support for Israel and the criticisms of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, it’s incursions into the West Bank, the viability of a two-state solution, etc. Harris has been criticized from the left for, as best management can discern, being insufficiently critical of Israel. On the other hand, any public official who criticises Israel is immediately branded anti-Semitic.

Disclaimer. Darned if I know how to solve The Middle East. Management’s position is that of course we should oppose anti-Semitism and support Israel, and that of course Palestinians have rights and that of course Israel needs to find some solution to the issues associated with its Palestinian population, maybe two states, I don’t know, sounds good but I’m not Secretary of State. Management concludes that Harris’s foreign policy positions are acceptable.

Demographics. Management confesses to lingering bitterness about the appointment of Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, and to a resulting conviction that it was past time for a President who is not a straight white man. Elections are won in the margins and it is likely that Harris’s name on the 2020 ticket would increase turnout among all non-Caucasian population sectors, including African-American, Indians and other Asians, and probably Hispanic voters. On balance, her ethnic background is a plus.

Preliminary Conclusion. Kamala Harris is a strong candidate. Her positions on a variety of issues, her focus on the problems faced by groups that are under attack by the current administration, and her fearless confrontation of opponents all recommend her. Management has decided to invite Harris for a second interview.

#KamalaHarris2020 #Kamala #KamalaHarris #2020KamalaHarris #KamalaHarrisforPresident

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.”
https://wapo.st/2Vvvi3v

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

#2020ageissues

Andrews NC

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