A Primer on Capitalism in a World Gone Nuts…

The Seven Social Sins…

  1. Wealth without work.
  2. Pleasure without conscience.
  3. Knowledge without character.
  4. Commerce without morality.
  5. Science without humanity.
  6. Worship without sacrifice.
  7. Politics without principle.

Attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Draw Your Own Conclusions…

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch makes $20 million per year.  The cost of living where Mylan is headquartered is $30,000 per year.  In other words...  Heather Bresch makes 666 times the cost of living.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch makes $20 million per year. The cost of living where Mylan is headquartered is $30,000 per year. In other words… Heather Bresch makes 666 times the cost of living.

 

 

The Beginning of Life…

tVqNo1pDdutC5mdV9mqhUWfuAs for when “life” begins: The gametes that join to form the zygote that becomes the embryo are all alive. Life is no longer something that “begins.” It is something that is transferred from one living thing to another. You carry within your cells a genetic code that connects you with every other living thing on the planet—as well as every other dead thing that was once alive. Plants, trees, bacteria, human embryos, etc., they carry remnants of the same genetic markers that you do because you are all related by a common ancestor (or several). Life began on this planet over a billion years ago—it hasn’t begun since.”

– from an internet post by BreakerBaker (Andrew).

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Invisibilia: The Problem with the Solution

No More War?

syrian_boy

We’ve all seen the picture. Heartbreaking.

A Washington State Delegate for Bernie Sanders posted this picture on Facebook and then stated “This is why we chant “No More War”. Because NO child anywhere should have to have these experiences. I don’t care who pulls the trigger, and I don’t care who has to give the order. Humans should be working together to make our world a paradise, not fighting about money, food, water, oil or lines on a piece of paper.”

In other words, he’s using this picture to justify disrupting the DNC with chants of “No More War.” He’s using this picture to justify labeling Hillary Clinton a “War Monger.”

Let’s analyze that. This boy was just bombed by the Russian-backed Syrian Air Force. It may have been Russian Planes.

The overly simplistic chant of ‘No More War’ says that there’s nothing to be done to come to the aid of this child and his family. It says that the U.S. should always stay out of such conflicts around the world.

How, exactly, would this approach help this child?

And this…

“Fifteen of the last 35 doctors in rebel-held eastern Aleppo have written a letter to Barack Obama with an urgent plea for intervention to stop the bombardment of hospitals in the besieged city by the Russian-backed Syrian air force.”

Would the ‘No More War’ crowd simply shout down these doctors with that chant?

Radical leftists claim a moral high ground through simply ignoring reality. By staying out of the complex problems that exist in the World, they pretend to be unsullied. By lobbing opinions from the peanut gallery, they pretend to be offering solutions. In reality, they offer nothing.

The world is complex. War and peace are complex. Anyone who tells you otherwise has nothing meaningful to offer to the conversation.

The irony of this Facebook post is that he is using this picture to justify actions that would do nothing to help this child.

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Progressives Make Progress

If you support candidates and issues that lose, you’re not a progressive. You’re a conservative.

Jill Stein is not a progressive. Why? She doesn’t make progress. She confuses holding an opinion for making progress. She’s convinced many people to hold opinions in higher esteem than making progress.

To the degree that one holds opinion in higher esteem than progress, and thereby aids conservative ideas to win, then that person is working for the conservative movement.

Progress trumps opinion. A progressive understands this.

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The Progressive Coalition: An Invitation

coalitionDear Berniecrats, Green Partiers, Socialist Alternatives, and other Progressives…

I extend to you an invitation to build a Progressive Coalition.

I get it. Your views create separation from the Democratic party. Your views are not fully captured by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Platform. You long for a more representative movement. It is not my intent here to argue with your views, to change your views, or to beg you to join the Democratic party.

I, too, am a Progressive. Sure, I am a Democratic-flavored progressive, but a progressive nonetheless. Like you, I am passionate about my politics. I am mindful of the ethics of my positions, and dedicated to Social Justice and the Environment, and many other issue on which we likely agree.

Politics always requires coalitions to build majority movements. Even in Countries where there are multiple viable parties, majorities are built from coalitions of smaller movements. This is true in our two-party system as well, just to a less-defined degree.

For all our differences, we still have many shared values. And I firmly believe that we are all stronger when we have a member of the Progressive Coalition in the Whitehouse.

Hear me out; I’m going to talk about Ralph Nader. I’m not going to blame him for being the spoiler in 2000. But I am going to question whether his approach to that election helped or hurt the progressive movement as embodied in the Green Party? In my review of the history, the election of George Bush did not build a groundswell of resources to further build progressive movements. Rather, that energy was simply exhausted in opposing the Bush presidency; efforts that in my estimation would have largely been freed under a Gore presidency.

In other words, had Ralph Nader both committed to building the Green Party, AND committed to working to elect Al Gore, who was the most likely candidate to win the White House for the progressive movement, I contend that more energy could have been devoted to building strong Progressive movements of different varieties. The effort would have been a net gain, not only for the Democratic Party, but for the Green Party as well. Further, much of the Obama presidency has been spent simply making up for lost ground under the Bush presidency.

Without resorting to the fear-based ask surrounding Trump, the same scenario exists today. We can build a Progressive Coalition to elect a member of our Progressive movement. By doing so, we will gain several important benefits that accrue to all Progressives.

Joining such a coalition does not require you to abandon your beliefs or principles. The opposite is true. The degree to which the President of the United States shares even some of your values frees you to not have to fight an opponent of those values. That energy can then be used to focus on building your movement and expanding your base.

Coalitions don’t require us to agree on everything. They simply ask us to build on those values that we already share.

Will you join me? Can we build a Progressive Coalition?

That is my sincere hope.

 Timothy Killian
A Fellow Progressive

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The Kshama Sawant Problem…

Sawant-at-Hillary-rally-icoIs it time to remove Democratic support for Socialist Sawant?

In 2013, I supported Kshama Sawant in her race for Seattle City Council. I’m not a socialist, but I was convinced that she represented enough of our shared values that among the mix of nine city council members, she’d help create space for a more progressive agenda. And, I was largely pleased with how that worked out.

It’s obvious that Kshama won and retained her seat in large part due to support from many Democrats, like me, who are also not socialists. We created a joint coalition, relying on shared values.

Kshama Sawant was afforded a platform for her views on the backs of Democrats. We helped elevate her voice. And, I think many have been thankful for the efforts she’s made.

But perhaps it’s time to cut ties with our friend?

Now she’s using that platform to malign and misrepresent the Democratic Party and our Nominee for President. Rather than acknowledging that we have shared values, that we can work together, she’s become a leftist demagogue, using hyperbole and ad hominem attacks to further her own agenda.

If Kshama Sawant cannot recognize that we have more to gain by working together to defeat Donald Trump and to move our shared values forward, then it is time for Democrats to work to remove the platform that we helped build for her. If she can’t acknowledge the coalition that has helped her in her cause, if she can’t return the favor, then it’s time to end the coalition.

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Fix it.

The intent of the 2nd Amendment is to keep us safe.

The result of the 2nd Amendment is that we are less safe.

The 2nd Amendment doesn’t work.

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Voting as Lesser of Evils…

“Voting the Lesser of Two Evils…”

This meme is fundamentally dishonest in the context of Democracy. To use it says you simply don’t understand what a Democracy is; don’t understand what it means to be in community with “We The People.”

If you choose to see voting as a choice between evils, then you are calling Democracy evil; because democracy will ALWAYS require your view to be compromised. Always.

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We. Will. Will we?

Screen-Shot-2014-10-13-at-12.11.02-1014x570We. Will. Will We? We will. Or, we will not. We is choice.

One can’t choose relationship without first choosing fidelity. Fidelity is the choice. Some aspects of fidelity and infidelity are natural. We is (or can be) transcendent of the so-called human condition. If two (or more) will it to be.

Why so-called? Because “human” applied to us is inexact. Humans are not static. Humans are in flux, evolving. Some are here; some there. Do not confuse a signifier for the signified. Language approximates; it is useful, but can mislead.

Am I free? Chosen will is a better term than free will. I can choose something even when I am seemingly forced to choose something else. This suggests possibility of a chosen will. Choice.

Choose.

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On Bernie, Hillary, Purity and being in Community with We The People…

Ihand-god-worship-sun grew up with an ideologically pure belief system. For years, good/evil were pure concepts for me. Defined by this belief system, I could categorize anyone very quickly, and place them on a neatly defined spectrum.

That all came crashing down, as do many notions of purity, once the reality of the world beats us up a bit.

“Democracy” gets thrown about by all sides in American politics. But for all the accolades we heap upon it, there’s one thing we rarely talk about: Democracy is NOT pure. Pledging to be in community with We The People means pledging to be in community with people you not only dislike, but people you loathe. It means working with those same people in a system of give and take. It means a life-long commitment to compromise and persuasion.

Hillary Clinton is a politician. Of course she has an ideology. But she’s chosen to sacrifice a bit of her purity in order to work in this system. So, when she gets asked about things like gay marriage or even war, she analyzes her answer in terms of what is politically possible. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an opinion about what is “right” or “wrong”, but she recognizes that few swords are worth falling on in such a system.

This, to me, is strength of its own kind. This is sacrifice of a particular nature.

You may hate this “system” of governance. But the irony is, absent electing a dictator, absent supporting an authoritarian model of government, there’s no substantive alternative to it.

I don’t “hold my nose” to vote for Hillary, even though my personal political opinions are well to the left of hers; I admire her for the hard work of placing herself in a viable position to help move this Country ever so slightly to the left. Because 3 degrees in the Left direction for the next 8 years is extremely valuable.

Meanwhile…I support Pramila Jayapal for Congress in the 7th. The real work of Revolution is built from the ground up; not the top down.

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We The People: Persuasion, Not Revolution

crookedThe Tea Party on the Right and the Bernie Supporters on the Left frame the dysfunction of government this way:

“The Establishment is ignoring us!”

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way Democracy works. Democracy is, by definition, an averaging of political will. Push. Pull. You hope for two steps forward for every one step backward.

When enterprising politicians promise each side a utopian vision they simply can’t deliver (because math!), the very dysfunction that is decried is increased. The cure becomes the illness.

This is the nature of We The People. Persuasion. Not revolution.

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FDR Wasn’t a Socialist

Bernie Sanders and his campaign are fond of comparing themselves to FDR. They use FDR’s New Deal policies as examples of the socialism they’d hope to implement. But FDR himself denied that he was implementing socialism.

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On Purity and Politics…

old-wood-fence-inspiration-design-21-on-home-gallery-design-ideasInherent in “We The People” is a rejection of purity politics. Democracy requires compromise; otherwise it’s merely authoritarianism. The hard work of our lives is the slow work of convincing our neighbor. There is no other way. There is no short cut.
 
From one of my favorite philosophers, Tony Kushner:
 
“The principle of realpolitik is that politics isn’t an expression of your personal purity. Politics is about compromise. People need to understand that politics is very much a matter of the lesser of two evils, or three — however many evils, but you choose the least evil one.”
 
If you can’t be in community with those you consider to be evil, you most likely can’t be in community within a pluralist democracy. For always there will be disagreement; especially so amongst the purists.

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Election Model, Bell Curve Distributed Ideology

Premise: Where voter ideology is distributed along a bell cure, “Left Center” and “Right Center” candidates are more viable than “Left” or “Right” candidates, producing 1 win or 1 tie compared to 1 tie or 1 loss.

Results from Matchups:
Left or Right Candidates will produce: 1 tie, 1 loss
Left Center or Right Center Candidates will produce: 1 win, 1 tie

Voter Distribution:
(LV) Left Voters = 15%
(LCV) Left Center Voters =  20%
(SV) Swing Voters = 30%
(RC) Right Center Voters = 20%
(RV) Right Voters = 15%

Candidates:

Left | Left Center || Right Center | Right

Election Matchups:

Left Candidate Vs. Right Candidate:
Left Candidate: 100% LV + 100% LCV + 50% SV = 50% (Tie)
Right Candidate: 100% RV + 100% RCV + 50% SV = 50% (Tie)

Left Candidate Vs. Right Center Candidate:
Left Candidate: 100% LV + 100% LCV + 0 % SV = 35% (Loss)
Right Center Candidate: 100% RV + 100% RCV + 100% SV = 65% (Win)

Left Center Candidate Vs. Right Candidate:
Left Center Candidate: 100% LV + 100% LCV + 100% SV = 65% (Win)
Right Candidate: 100% RV + 100% RCV + 0 % SV = 35% (Loss)

Left Center Candidate Vs. Right Center Candidate:
Left Center: 100% LV + 100% LCV + 50% SV = 50% (Tie)
Right Center: 100 RV + 100% RCV + 50% SV = 50% (Tie)

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The first challenge

The first challenge in a life lived honestly is to unravel our own mythology.vines

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Solitude

IMG_2324

Tolerating the intolerant? No.

extreme-weather-climate-link-6-new-zealandTolerance of intolerance violates the law of noncontradiction.

 

It’s common to hear the intolerant attempt to paint the tolerant as hypocrites for not tolerating their intolerance. This is a cheap rhetorical trick that while it convinces nobody, can often confuse an argument. And there’s a strong logical foundation for intolerance of intolerance, especially for a philosophy of tolerance. It’s called the law of noncontradiction; simply stated, it says that you can’t have both “A” and “Not A” at the same time.

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