When Hillary Clinton Wins…

135017_bannerWhen Hillary Clinton wins this election, she will have beaten…

…with more to come.

Hillary Clinton & Racism

06-hillary-clinton-black-voters-2.w710.h473.2xRecently, in a discussion on racism among recent presidential candidates, a friend asked me what level of racism I think Hillary Clinton holds. Here is my answer:

Building a Scale: 1 to 10, 10 being the most racist.

Clinton: 2 or 3

Let’s say there’s a dividing line at 5, and the dividing point is whether a person is teachable on the subject of racism; do they fundamentally understand racism and are open to learning and improving on their own biases as well as the systemic racism in our culture? The dividing line is where I think it is ethical to call someone racist; above a 5 they are fairly labeled a racist, and below 5 they are not.

Rather than answer from my perspective alone, let’s rely on the support that Clinton receives from the African American community (note, we could talk about minorities in general, including Latinos and Asians, for example, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus in on African Americans).

I’d place Clinton at 2 or 3 on the described scale. That means that she maintains the remnants of racism naturally inherent in all humans and the remnants of racism inherent in white privilege. But she’s also keenly aware of her own racism and the racism in our society, and more specifically, the systemic ways racism manifests in government.

Let’s look at how African Americans see her:

On the question of who they will vote for:
Clinton: 80 %
Trump: 3%

Let’s look at favorability:

While Ciinton’s favorability ratings among all voters sits at 41 favorable and 52 unfavorable, among African Americans, Clinton has an 83% favorability rating.

While one might conclude that she only does this well in contrast to Trump, I’d note that Clinton pulled similar numbers in her matchup with Bernie Sanders.

Finally, as a measure of her awareness on these issues, I’d direct you to read her policy positions:

Racial Justice
Criminal Justice Reform
Voting Rights

Polling taken from http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/…/PPP_Release…

Wikileaks is not Journalism

woodward_184_2_650Wikileaks has been dubbed “Journalism” in an attempt to secure a measure of legitimacy for what they do. Recently, I heard the analogy that Wikileaks is like Deep Throat and Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame.

Wikileaks are not Deep Throat or Woodward and Bernstein. Wikileaks are the burglars who broke into the Democratic National Committee office at the Watergate hotel. The info released by Wikileaks is the info stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

Imagine if the Washington Post, instead of telling us the story of the break-in as THE STORY, published the information stolen from the Democratic National Committee. And then treated the burglars as Journalists.

That’s the state of both Wikileaks and our Press today. In the era of sensationalism, we’ve lost site of the real story. Let’s not crown the Burglers of Watergate as the heroes.

assnage_watergate

 

A Primer on Capitalism in a World Gone Nuts…

The Seven Social Sins…

  1. stormy-night-1920Wealth 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

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).

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.

Progressives Make Progress

buckskin-gulch-slot-canyon_1080

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.

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

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.

Fix it.

957155The 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.

Voting as Lesser of Evils…

15872266215_572b8c44c7_bVoting 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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Election Model, Bell Curve Distributed Ideology

ancient-trees-beth-moon-9Premise: 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)

An Obstacle to Progress

tolstoix-undat-quer-dw-politik-frankfurt-archiv1I know that most men [people], including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” — Tolstoy

 

 

Finding The I in We

The wisdom of age, acquired through experience, is not sufficient to match the wisdom of modernity, acquired through data.

This is the fundamental failure of conservatism. The only way out of this myopic view of the importance of one’s own experience is to love & respect others, recognizing that our experiences are limited to our circumstances.

If you rely primarily upon your own experiences to determine a course of action, you not only limit the freedom of others, you limit your own as well. You are an “n” of 1; much better to find knowledge synthesized from the many than from the one.

This is democracy; not the maintenance of self, but the finding of self through the love & respect of others. “We” the people is our core value.

Through a recognition of the value of we, you more fully realize the value of I.

Article: How Politics Makes Us Stupid

Over the course of 10 years, as I tried to make sense of the religion I had left (Mormonism) and why I had believed much of it in the first place, I began to deconstruct the very notion of belief and knowledge, starting with the foundational question “what can we know?”

That process gave me a lot of insight into how to change my own life, but also how to understand why many friends and family even refused to engage me in meaningful conversations about the changes I was experiencing. “Knowledge” in a community such as Mormonism has more to do with social standing than it does with facts and figures. And, now that I was outside of the community, I had nothing to offer them.

The understanding of this made my transition into politics easier. The same principles apply in partisan debates. We tend to martial facts that support our position, and our position tends to be crafted to ensure our acceptance within our tribe.

This article explains more of this: How Politics Makes Us Stupid