Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hillary 2016, I hope

Hillary vs. Bernie, the fight on the left that's got liberals energized.  I fall in the Hillary camp, and I think she and Bernie have more differences than she and Obama had. It was easy for me to switch from her to Obama once he won the nomination. I will support Bernie if he makes it, but with far less enthusiasm.

What are Hillary's weak spots?

She is too hawkish.
That's a big sore spot for me, but I rank her higher on foreign policy than I do Bernie.  Hillary's been Secretary of State for a pretty hairy time in our country's history, and her comprehensive approach to negotiations includes the threat of our military, sadly and correctly seen worldwide as incredibly powerful. Bernie comes close to taking that off the table. When the bad guys know that, it is not a good thing.  I have great confidence in Hillary's ability to negotiate, much less so for ideologue Bernie who wouldn't be able to bluff the bullies of the world.

She has ties to Wall Street.
Let's not forget that Citizens United was dedicated to fighting the Clintons and the case in which the Supreme Court opened the floodgates was specifically aimed at Hillary. Funny how that's never mentioned anymore when the Citizens United decision is discussed.
While we wait for the next Democratic president to undo the damage from the Citizens United ruling, let's not kid ourselves. The Koch brothers alone are pouring $900 million into the 2016 election cycle. I'm not about to demand any Democrat cut himself/herself off at the knees by not getting as much money as possible to stay afloat. Bernie would go down in flames once the megamoney machine turned on him and he had to rely on supporters sending him $5 each. Bernie's got a nice dream. It's not possible until we change the rules.
Meanwhile, most of the memes you see about campaign donations to Dems are misleading at best, lies at worst. The info is out there, easily obtained. Don't get fooled by right wing trolls.

Hillary hired that Monsanto lobbyist, Jerry Crawford.
You mean the guy who worked on the presidential campaigns of Kerry, Gore and Dukakis? By the way, GMOs are not evil; Monsanto is. GMOs are a science. What has been done with them by Monsanto is the problem. Being anti-GMO is like being anti-medicine instead of anti Big Pharma. Monsanto has weakened legislative efforts at regulation, which GMOs need just as much as medicine does. Personally, I'm glad to hear Monsanto's stock has dropped. It can't fall far nor fast enough for me.

While Hillary never worked for Monsanto, she served on the board for Walmart.
She is criticized for not promoting unions during her 6 years as board member in the '80s. As the only woman on the board, her passions were gender diversity, which she made little headway in, and the environment, with which she had much more success. No, she didn't push for unionization, and I'm frankly surprised that anyone would expect any board member at any corporation to do so. It's just another double standard we reserve for Hillary.

She plays to the polls or is politically calculating.
Hillary's "evolved" on gay marriage. I have no problem with that.
Contrary to claims otherwise, Bernie has also evolved.
Hillary on TPP and NAFTA. As First Lady, she didn't publicly undercut her husband on NAFTA. Her support of it is best categorized as luke warm. Her biographers tell us she privately opposed it.
On the TPP, she supported her then boss, Obama, although always with a qualifier on the final details. She has come out against it now, Oct. 2015, still without knowing all the specifics. Is that a flip flop? Hardly. She was trying to nudge Obama in the right direction months ago and was not supporting the deal as she knew it.
Meanwhile, how much more politically calculating can you be than to run for the nomination from a party that you aren't in? Bernie doesn't like the Democratic Party. He's trashed it over and over in the past, and importantly he does not have support in Congress from either side of the aisle, which our next president will absolutely need. He doesn't mind using the Democratic Party to get himself on the presidential ballot, though.

Bernie's weaknesses?

What bothers me most about Bernie is so many other issues get lost in the shouting about corporate monopolies and the US becoming an oligarchy. Yes, it's a crisis. No, not all boats will rise with the tide. Bernie needs to better understand his crusade against Citizens United is not our only problem, and fixing that won't make everything better for everyone.

His views on immigration are pretty old-school and debunked. No, Bernie, they aren't taking jobs from our kids. That's just stereotyping, and honestly, it sounds like a page out of the GOP fear-the-immigrants playbook.

His stance on gun control also plays to racial stereotypes, something the media has so far given him a pass on.
“I come from a state that has virtually no gun control, but the people of my state understand—pretty clearly—that guns in Vermont are not the same as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles. In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they’re used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting police officers, shooting down innocent people.” 
Close your eyes and think of a Vermont hunter. Now picture a cop-killing Chicago or LA gang member. It's a racist statement by a man I do not think of as racist. I'd prefer to think of him as out-of-touch, privileged, entitled. Either way, it does nothing to address the issue of mass killings, a huge and growing problem in the US often involving previously law-abiding white people. Bernie's lily-white Vermont with its lax gun laws is a big part of the gun troubles in nearby states with stricter gun laws. He is pandering to a small set of white hunters in Vermont while what we really need is someone who will stand up to the gun lobby. 

Hillary has a record of being able to negotiate and get things done in both domestic and foreign policy. Bernie, not so much. His rhetoric is inspiring, as long as he's talking about finance reform and can stay away from race issues. But his ability to move anything forward is problematic. Like it or not, we will be working with Republicans for the foreseeable future on legislation.  (Bernie can't even get along with Democrats.)  And we will be dealing with Middle East problems, as we have been for much of my life.

I had problems with Obama compromising so much. In the end, he managed to have a terrific presidency. He is a master at political chess. I see Hillary sharing that quality. Bernie has the desire to be a game-changer, but he won't play the game. Wouldn't it be nice if the rules could change to make that okay? Sure, but the President of the United States doesn't make the rules, and the game is played on a world-wide board. We aren't small. We can't hide. We can't walk away. We need to deal. Ideologues won't win in either arena, domestic or foreign.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On naivety, overcompensation, anger and hope

I lived in Maine for the first 40 years of my life. Maine is 96.1% white according to the 2010 census and was probably whiter while I was growing up. My parents were both prejudiced, but I don't remember either of them teaching me to think in like fashion.  Neither do I remember them teaching me to be homophobic, but there had to be a reason I didn't know I was lesbian until I fell in love at age 21 with another woman. If you didn't follow that logic, I'll explain. It was because back then GAY WAS BAD, so I didn't even consider the fact that I might be gay myself.


In my teen years, I assumed that civil rights issues would no longer be a problem when I grew up. I thought bigotry and prejudice were so obviously wrong they would just die away as my generation started voting, becoming part of the workforce, running things and joining the police, firefighters, civil service and military.


After that came a period of overcompensation as I realized it was mostly stupid white men who ran things in this country, and they weren't about to share the reins. I bent over backwards to give a leg up to other races because I realized 1. THE MAN wouldn't and 2. being white myself, I still had an advantage.

Guilt tripping.

Sometime in the last decade, I started to understand how stupid white people can consider themselves unprejudiced and yet continue to hire and promote people who look just like them excepting the occasional overachieving token other-race person. Given two people with like abilities, experience and any other meaningful harbinger of future job performance, stupid white men usually choose the white guy since they have more in common. Maybe they connected with sports talk or a wife joke or some other not-pertinent-to-the-job shared experience. What is worrisome is that I might do the same. Given two people with the same qualifications, I believe I might take the one who agreed with my political, religious and/or world views over one who didn't. It would make for a more pleasant workplace. Is that wrong? At least I'm aware of it and, I hope, not likely to make it a prerequisite.


So many of the top positions that involve hiring and promoting are already held by straight white men. They will continue to hire and promote each other more than nonwhites, the GLBT or women which ensures that straight white men will still have most of the future jobs that hire and promote.


Ask those straight white men about privilege or entitlement and they'll be insulted. They think they got where they are solely because of being the terrifically hard-working, talented people they are, and any inference that they were born into a life with better chances dings their self-esteem. That doesn't mean they don't deserve what they have but it does mean they MIGHT not. Tell them they are where they are partly by birthright and not merely aptitude and watch the blood pressure rise. You'll start hearing stereotypical stories about laziness, drug use, bitchiness and all the other racist, sexist, homophobic crap that makes them feel superior.


Do I hate straight white men? No. I just don't agree with them that they are all that and then some. And I enjoy knowing the melting pot won't be mostly white in the future. I actually feel better that the generation of straight white men who have been running and ruining this country are getting old enough to be dying off, and their replacements are not ethnocentric.


UPDATE: (Thanks to a tweet from @dailyrace) More on the same from someone much smarter than I.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'll say gay if I want to

Since Tennesee passed its ban on saying gay, I've been thinking about boycotting the word straight. Maybe I'll replace it with gay so gay can get some more airtime, make up for the ban.

Gay off. Gay up. The gay and narrow. Get it gay. Get it gay from the horse's mouth. Give it to someone gay. Get the facts gay. Go gay down the road. Keep a gay face. Set gay. Gay to the point. Keep them gay. The gay dope. Gay laced. Going gay to hell. Go gay home. Gay to the heart. Gay from the heart. Gay away. Gay A's. Gay as an arrow. Gay forward. Gay ahead. Gay talk. Gay flush. Gay cut jeans. Gay edge razor. Gay hair. Gay up. Gay down. Gay jacket. Gay leg raise. Gay line. Gay out. Gay in. Vote the gay party ticket. Shoot gay pool. Gay teeth. Gay truck. Gay whiskey.

Think I'll really do it? Damn gay I will!

Republican sex scandals

Taken from the Republican 2010 platform:

"...government should do for individuals only those things they cannot do for themselves..."

"Government’s responsibility is to uphold and respect traditional institutions, such as marriage..."

At least they admit it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

History lesson

I just used the wayback internet machine to see into's past.

In 2001: I was po'd at IE6 and had rolled back to IE5. (I haven't used IE in years now. My current browser of choice is Chrome.) I had installed phpBB on the web site. I liked playing with css. I authored and offered gay e-cards and downloadable gay desktop themes. I made some flash cartoon shorts. I was looking for a good pop-up blocker. I wrote about driving for peak gas economy. I offered free web site design for personal and nonprofit pages. I also had and reviewed pc games on that. (I started the site as United Gay and Lesbian Employees but realized I couldn't provide anything better than HRC, so changed it to United Gaming LEsbians.) I'm not sure what script I was using to post.

In 2002: I used postNuke for the site and was writing about how to make web pages, how to deal with cgi scripts, link verifiers, freeware html editors, Paint Shop Pro and Xara, dhtml and code generators. I had a  color picker, a popup window generator (wait, didn't I hate those the year before?), a table maker and basic html lessons. Here's what you saw at the top of the home page:

"Ranebow dot Com Vision and Value Statement
Vision: To demystify the process of building free web pages; to find and promote free resources; to provide support to those who wish to build free personal or non-profit .org web pages.

Value: Everyone has different tastes, different goals, different purposes. We value the diversity of the web and honor the choices to be gaudy or subtle, flamboyant or plain, garish or somber. We do not intend to mass produce pages that all look alike. We simply want to help people publish their own web pages in the style of their own choosing.

Anyone who wants a web page can have one, for free. Free space is available. Free scripts are available. Free graphics, free text editors, free fonts, free tools of all kinds. Let us help you find them and learn how to use them. 

Ranebow dot Com is here to help you weave your corner of the web."

I talked about Cyberwings (ripoff web host) and how to snag a domain name and find a decent host (not Cyberwings).

In 2003: I returned to personal blogging with "Yum Thong -- sage (or not) thoughts from a non-cook." Yum thong means "drink soup" in Chinese. My better half, Q, likes soup and recommends it as part of a healthy diet. I remember that when I checked stats for the site, there were a lot of visitors who found me by searching for "thong."

I was using Movable Type and talked about distributed computing, my boss being diagnosed with brain cancer (he died some months later) and Bowling for Columbine.

I told how my father called to wish my better half a happy birthday but just hung up when he heard a man's voice on our answering machine message. He knew no man lived with us and assumed he had the wrong number. It was just a generic message that came with the machine.

I talked about the google bomb that make George W. Bush's bio come up when you searched for "miserable failure." I also did a piece on dressing:
"I put my pants on both legs at a time. (I sit and pull them on partway, stand and pull them all the way up.)
I put my bra on backwards, hooking it in front where I can see what I'm doing, then turning it around and sliding my arms through the straps.
I hate shoes, never wear them in the house.
And I love Stove Top."

I ran a few articles about Native American views on Thanksgiving in November.

I was playing Anachronox, an rpg.
I was into "Today in History" posts.
I quit smoking for 6 weeks.

I used Xoop to put up a guild web site for the Order of Balagan. I was playing WoW and wrote posts in the voice of Yenra, my troll toon and the guild leader. Later that year, I installed MKPortal and went back to a personal blog: Rants by Raney. I liked TrayBar and MailWasher, JayIsGames and I was participating in FightAIDS@home distributed computing. And I posted the following:

"I think this was originally posted on Craigslist, but I'm not sure.

Ten reasons to prohibit gay marriage

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural 
things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that 
hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy 
behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has 
legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at 
all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and 
divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were 
allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage 
would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay 
couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry 
because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight 
parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, 
the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why 
we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at 
home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to 
raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never 
adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the 
service-sector economy, or longer life spans. "

I've been on hiatus since then, according to the wayback. I wonder if it will start to cache me again. We'll see in another 10 years.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Abortion, bathtubs and guns

Down in Texas, Governor Rick Perry has signed a law that mandates a sonogram before a woman can get an abortion. What if we required gun buyers to view pictures of gunshot victims before purchasing a gun? Those pictures would include dead and horribly maimed children, of course, since kids make up half of all accidental gunshot victims.

The Texas law also provides for the woman to listen to the fetus' heartbeat. Maybe we can get some dying gasps from those gunshot victims. People at ERs across the country need to start recording.

Texas law now says a woman who wants an abortion must wait 24 hours after the sonogram before having the legal medical procedure aka abortion. Meanwhile, the number of states with a waiting period before buying a gun is in the single digits and doesn't include Texas. Why bother? As this site points out, there should be no waiting period because 1. someone could drown you in your bathtub and 2. citizens who need guns for self defense right away are left vulnerable. Like if someone wants to drown you in your bathtub and you don't have a gun, I guess you tell them to stay right where they are and you run down to the corner gun store where you can immediately buy a gun and rush back to shoot the bathtub-drowner bad guy.

The Texas government has insisted that this sonogram be performed. Meanwhile, almost any idiot can have a gun. There are no tests. You are allowed to possess something built specifically to do bodily harm and/or kill without any test. But to undergo a legal medical procedure, you have to also undergo an unnecessary test. In this time of skyrocketing medical costs, you are required to undergo an unnecessary test that has nothing to do with the legal medical procedure that you and your doctor have decided to have done.  The governor in Texas will do his best to get between you and your doctor because he is such a staunch defender of human life. Except that time he let Cameron Todd Willingham be executed when there was exculpatory evidence. Or when he vetoed the ban on executing the mentally retarded. Or for any of the (record number) 200+ executions performed while he is governor of Texas. (Remember, this guy wants creationism taught in Texas schools, doesn't believe in climate change, hinted Texas might secede and is friends with racist, misogynist gun nut Ted Nugent, who performed at his 2nd inaugural.)

By the way, Texas law does not require a permit to buy a gun, has no registration for ownership, no assault weapon law, no owner license required, no waiting period.  It is easy peasy to get a gun in Texas.

I have this scary image in my mind of the type of person who would oppose mandatory gun training and waiting periods before being able to purchase a gun but who gleefully advocates for sticking a probe up a pregnant woman's vagina and then making her wait to get a legal medical procedure. It is not a pretty picture. It is probably accurate, however. And I bet that person voted for Perry.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Liu still left hanging, 1 year and counting

Republican are filibustering (no surprise, it's what they do best) the appointment of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals even though many of them said they'd never do that.  The poor guy doesn't have a chance because he's insulted Archdemon Alito in the past and he's not white nor Republican. He's a moderate, but that's not good enough for the repubs who only want people from the far right in government jobs.

I realize these tactics ensure the demise of tthe Ridiculous Right, but it still pisses me off that these people can screw things up for the unrich and unpowerful.  I'm thinking I should be praying for the rapture that is due Saturday to take these morons away.

I don't care where it takes them, but please god, make it somewhere far away from the US.  Antarctica is nice and white. Mars is better than a red state, it's a red planet! Either one would work for me, but I'm not picky. Canada would be fine, too. Wait, I like Canada. I take that back.

If you have to leave them here, god, can you consolidate them?  How about putting them all in Texas? Then it will surely secede and we can stop oil subsidies. That would really be a big help, god. Please consider it, even if you had no plans for Saturday. Most of the world would be pretty grateful.