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I just finished watching NYC mayor, Bill DeBlasio, on Meet the Press.  He was asked by moderator Chuck Todd why Hillary Clinton is the better candidate to get the progressive agenda accomplished.  His answer was, and I am paraphrasing, is that she has the ability to get things done.  She has a history of accomplishing big challenging tasks and the steel to fight for those changes.  Let’s break those comments down.

  1. History of Accomplishments – If you ask any one who follows politics closely what one issue defines Hillary Clinton’s political career, the overwhelming majority would say Health Care reform.  She certainly fought very long and hard but ultimately she and President Clinton failed to achieve any change not just some change.  You could argue that they were facing an obstructionist Republican House and that this was a difficult uphill climb.  In 2017 there’s no reason to believe that calculus changes.  In addition, the right has only become more intransient.  Looking to her time as Senator and Secretary of State I can think of no major standout accomplishment.  More importantly, I am hard pressed to pinpoint any  Progressive initiatives that she has championed.  I am sure there are some but with the level of exposure and notoriety that Clinton has, one would think that we would have heard more.  To me those were simply short-term resume builders to achieve a long term ambition.
  2. She’s a Fighter – She has certainly had to fight, over and over again.  She is really good at fending off attacks.  She’s had to do it her whole career.  It most certainly made her a stronger candidate.  It is also true that she is universally disliked by conservatives, politician and voters alike.  She is also untrusted by many independents.  Those that are her supporters are “all in” on Hillary, but they are a minority, a very well connected minority.  There’s nothing to lead us to believe that from day one of a Clinton v2 presidency the nation will once again be dragged through an endless series of investigations, real or imagined, once again led by a rabidly conservative House.  Once again, the major issues will be sidelined and the sensationalist media will be consumed with covering hearing after hearing.  As it stands right now, Clinton if elected, may be the first president that enters office already embroiled in a scandal.  Can she stand up to these attacks, baseless or not?  Sure.  Knocking down attack after attack does not equate to a more productive president.  I would argue quite the contrary.

It’s time for the Democratic elites to put aside their love of Hillary and pick a true champion of the progressive movement.  To realize that they are move in love with the idea of Hillary than the actual person, that principles and ideals hold more weight than political friendships and personal ambition.

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Despite what the mainstream media portrays, Bernie Sanders stands the best chance of winning the White House of any candidate in either party.  Granted, if you are a ‘true’ conservative any argument to vote for Sanders would fall on deaf ears.   I am not here to convince those people.  But if you are a progressive and you are still on the fence on whether or not you should throw your support to Clinton or Sanders, I will outline why the latter is the better choice and why candidate Clinton may lead to serious case of heartburn and buyer’s remorse.

  1. SANDERS is more electable and more likeable.  Again, if all you listen to and watch is FOX, CNN, or MSNBC this might be quite a surprising statement.  Over the last several months there have been multiple polls, both from old media and the typical political pollsters that, hands-down, Bernie beats every current candidate.  In most cases, he is beating contenders by double-digits.  Those same polls show Clinton leading just marginally or in same cases in a virtual tie with Republican adversaries.  Keep in mind this is before we even get to the general election.   In additional polls, Sanders is the only candidate on either side who polls positively with the electorate.  Let’s break that down.  Cruz, Trump and Clinton all have greater negative perceptions by the general populace.  That’s a tough position to campaign from.  Often what that requires is that you motivate your base at the detriment of alienating those who are somewhat ambivalent to you, thus increasing your negatives.  Sanders has the upper-hand.
  2. SANDERS is  an Independent.  Sanders has spent his entire political career as an Independent.  That matters.  Despite what many might believe we are not a Red/Blue country, divided by two far extremes.  Most people who vote hold positions that fall on either side of the center line.  The largest voting block is in fact Independents!  As it currently stands, they are practically unrepresented in the primary process.  There are a few states where independents can vote but that is a small minority.  Those independents will need someone to turn to once the parties have decided their candidates.  If the choice is between Clinton or Trump/Cruz, one of two things will happen, the independent minded will come out for the anti-establishment candidate or they will not like their options and stay home.  In either case, Clinton loses.  If instead it is a contest between Sanders or Trump/Cruz, we have a different story altogether.  Sanders not only resonates with independents but also energizes the youth vote.  Worst case scenario he would split Independents with Trump/Cruz and drive up  Democratic turnout.  I  can’t imagine a scenario where Clinton accomplishes that.
  3. SANDERS is NOT Clinton.  Pretty obvious statement.  Let’s break that down a little bit.  Clinton can certainly make a great argument that she is the ‘experience’ candidate.  Her career spans many decades and many branches of government, including a foreign policy position as Secretary of State.  Consider though, that she has spent much of that time defending herself against right-wing ideologues who have spent not only exorbitant amounts of time but also hundreds of millions of private and public dollars trying to destroy her.  Most of these accusations have resulted in very little substantive outcomes.  We are living in a time of serious issues that need serious attention.  A President Clinton (v2) would most certainly be one filled with constant investigations and hearings led by a Republican led House.  We can’t afford to be distracted by that, not now.  Sanders does not carry that same baggage.  Does that mean he wouldn’t be targeted by right-wing attacks.  That remains to be seen but given his respectable career it would be tough.  Keep in mind, Obama has seen 8 years of a nearly scandal free tenure.  The one glaring exception to that record is Benghazi.  And yes, you guessed it Secretary Clinton was at the center of that one.

So there you have it!  3 solid reasons why Bernie should be the nominee.  I hope for many I have extinguished some media myths and made a rational argument.  I understand that there may be some policy positions that you disagree with Sanders on.  That’s only natural.  But in the end, if what we are looking for is a candidate that can win and will represent people over special interests then there really is only one choice.  My progressive NY friends, let your voices be heard!

 

 

 

Gun Culture

In a recent Google Hangout session, televised on PBS, Vice President Joe Biden was interviewed by reporter Hari Sreenivasan and 5 pre-chosen Americans.  In part of that interview the VIce President made a comment concerning “gun culture”.  He adeptly navigated the gun control waters, trying to ensure that he did not enflame the anger of the NRA and its legions of paranoid, heavily armed members.  The comment was was the following:

There is a legitimate, respected and I think as old as the country, culture of gun ownership in America.  My dad was a hunter.  My dad had a gun case full of some fairly valuable weapons.  It’s a legitimate and respected tradition

I agree with all of the statements that the Vice President states.  Every last one.  What I disagree with Vice President on are his conclusions about these facts.  Namely that “gun culture” in America is not part of the “gun problem”.  That somehow the merit of a particular facet of our society should  be judged on how long it has been around and how tightly woven it has become in our lives.  To that point here are few examples of why that line of thinking is unfounded:

  • For the the first 100+ years of of our nations history many parts of society had a deep tradition of slavery.  In fact, it constituted an entire industry and was the backbone of the Southern economic infrastructure.  But it was wrong.  We came to that conclusion, only just before Cuba did.  Coming in almost dead last in that realization.  It cost 500,000 lives to uproot that tradition.
  • In the not so distant past, smoking public was completely unrestricted in American society.  Smoking was an activity that was glamorized by Hollywood and propagandized by the Tobacco industry.  It was as American as apple pie.  But once the scientific data began to mount and the practices of industry were exposed that “tradition” also succumbed to clearer thinking.  Today, you are hard pressed to find a public establishment that is permitted to allow smoking in their establishment. 
  • Finally, I come to a popular topic of the conservative minded.  The Right would argue that the ills and misfortunes of the inner cities and minority communities are not the fault of the government but instead can be attributed to a culture of dependency and violence.  It might come as a surprise but I actually agree, at least in part.  Generally speaking, if your society embraces and glorifies gangs, teen promiscuity, drug use and a lack or personal responsibility you cannot legitimately blame all of your misfortune on the rest of society.  The problem of the inner city will never be fully resolved until a light is shone back on the community.

We cannot dismiss a particular aspect of a problem just because it’s part of a long and widely held tradition.  We, as Americans, need to stop defending everything that we are and everything we do as sacrosanct.  As though, if we came up with it, there could be no wrong to come from it.  We need to have the humility and, dare I say, courage to look within ourselves and examine our motivations.  I am not advocating a repeal of the 2nd Amendment.  I am advocating that a real honest debate and examination of American gun culture begin in earnest.

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Despite the fact that on most occasions the New York State legislature disappoints its constituents, today they passed the first in the nation laws, following the Sandy Hook massacre. Apart from feeling safer, I hope that this set of new regulations make us safer. I will be paying close attention. You should too…because at the end of the day we need laws that are not about political grandstanding but real positive societal change.

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...

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Too funny for words!  Makes sense that he’s from that liberal oasis known as Massachusetts.

Lord Jesus Christ (his real name) hit by car – Weird news- msnbc.com

 

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The Codex Gigas from the 13th century, held at...

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It’s a good to see that the iPad is promoting the reading of great works of fiction with the introduction of the Olive Tree application.  The Bible stories have never looked so good.  For the zealots among us they will never again have to tote around that old paper version, that bulky weighted version.  Now when they are attempting to spout off on the steps of the Supreme Court, railing against Roe v. Wade or Gay Rights, they can pull out their Apple iPad and wala, instant support for their cause, drawn from the world’s best selling work of myths.  I can’t wait for the Koran version.  I just wonder what they will call it and whether Jihadists will be able to get their hands on it in the remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Isn’t technology great!?

Olive Tree brings heaven to earth on the Apple iPad | The Mobile Gadgeteer | ZDNet.com

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Student pledging to the flag, 1899.

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Once again the courts have made it clear that patriotism is conditional.  That the term, “under god”, added at the height of the McCarthy era, has been deemed acceptable to the pledge. 

The court held that the Pledge does not violate the Establishment Clause because "Congress’ ostensible and predominant purpose [is] to inspire patriotism and that the context of the Pledge–its wording as a whole, the preamble to the statute, and this nation’s history–demonstrate that it is a predominantly patriotic exercise. For these reasons, the phrase ‘one Nation under God’ does not turn this patriotic exercise into a religious activity." Thus, a California statute permitting teachers to lead students in recitation of the Pledge does not violate the Establishment Clause.

Ostensible and predominant purpose is to inspire patriotism?  Then why was it put into the pledge in the first place?  Would it not still inspire patriotism without the “under god” as it had from 1892-1954?  Better yet, the removal would better serve the purpose of uniting Americans because it doesn’t alienate poly-theists and non-theists.  This clearly is another example of the “new interpretation” of the constitution, protecting the special interests of the majority over the rights of the minority.  The real crazy irony in all of this is that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a man, Francis Bellamy (apparently Francis is an uber-patriotic name), who was a Baptist minister!  And oh yeah, he was a SOCIALIST!  How’d this fervently anti-socialist nation let that one slip through?  So if Bellamy found it unnecessary to promote God in the pledge, why is it so important now?  Why in order to pledge our loyalty must it be conditioned on putting God at the top of that pyramid?  Remember it’s UNDER God NOT beside or with. 

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Avatar – Movie Review

Unexpectedly I had an opportunity to see this movie and I wanted to share my thoughts very briefly:avatar_movie_poster_thumbnail

Likes:

  1. 3-D, knocked your socks off and wasn’t overdone like the “B” movies of yesteryear.
  2. Visually spectacular film…raised the bar to new heights.  CGI so much better than what we are used to
  3. Sigourney Weaver!!  After kicking Alien ass for years, she now gets to play one herself.  I must be getting old but she’s kind of hot!
  4. The Message – Humans can screw up their own planet but DON’T come around trying to screw up the rest of the universe.

Dislikes:

  1. The plot – A little to cliché, sub-plot was Titanic with blue aliens
  2. The antagonist – So predictable and one-dimensional
  3. The religious and spiritual symbolism.  The tribals who were in touch with their magic god were just so more morally pure.  The whole chanting and trance like swaying under the big magic tree was a little too much for this Atheist.

Well that’s all.  If you get the chance give a look see.  Definitely needs to be viewed on the big screen for full effect.

Nearly 200 years after the birth of this brilliant Englishman and a century and a 1/2 after publishing his famous works on Evolution, Charles_Darwin_aged_51_cropCharles Robert Darwin has still not earned his due.  Last year a docudrama was released entitled, Creation.  The movie details Darwin’s life work but also portrays a man tormented by the loss of his daughter and at odds with his pious wife over the scientific evidence that he could not ignore nor deny.  The closest venue for me, living in Central NY, to view this movie is New York City, over 5+ hours away.  NYC is home to 7 million residents.  Those 7 million residents can watch Creation in a grand total of 1 theater!!  Yes that’s 1 theater!  February 12th, 2010 will commemorate the 201st year since Darwin’s birth and yet as a nation and a world we still cling to myths, magic, and folklore to explain our universe and it’s creation.  It would be dishonest to claim that science has uncovered all the answers to the wonders of the natural world.  But it is even more dishonest to ignore all that science has answered and therefore proven false.  There is not now, nor has there ever been one single piece of scientifically validated evidence that allows us to posit the existence of a supreme being.  Although Darwin is credited with popularizing Evolutionary theory, history show us that the ideas of evolution date as far back as the 6th century BCE, 600 years before the alleged birth of Jesus Christ!  Can you imagine for one moment if we still we’re claiming that the planet was flat and that the Earth was the center of the Universe?  All of these things have been proven false by science not religion.  Yet for some reason we still belief that a supernatural being is responsible for the creation of the natural world….HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHUCK and we will keep fighting for you!!!

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Two of my favorite iconic American clowns have once again opened their pie holes to reveal their true nature.  This time around robertson-limbaughthe two men both demonstrated a tremendous lack of empathy for the horrible tragedy unfolding in the nation of Haiti.  Let’s start with Pat Robertson, the last remaining televangelist of the old guard.  Mr. Robertson apparently believes that Haiti’s woes,  past and present,  are related to the nation’s pact with Beelzebub (Satan).  Because the island nation has a a cultural history of practicing voodoo, God (remember that cartoon superhero?) has deemed this as an alliance with the devil (Arch-Enemy to cartoon superhero) and thus warrants his wrath and vengeance (Old Testament superhero).  Get a load of that crap.  Referring to a Haitian legend about Haitian independence, Robertson said the following.

"And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.  The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."
Read more:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10015/1028396-153.stm#ixzz0cfzYLmea

Just for the record these are Pat’s other comments on modern tragedies:

9/11 was God’s punishment on this country for harboring abortionists and tolerating feminism and the homosexual agenda?
Read more:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10015/1028396-153.stm#ixzz0cg0HxDR5

Hurricane Katrina – The destruction of huge swaths of New Orleans was a manifestation of God’s wrath?
Read more:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10015/1028396-153.stm#ixzz0cg0Mb8PZ

Now onto my favorite bag-of-wind, Rush Limbaugh.  Rush showing that he is a crazed ideologue and incapable for one second of putting aside his political agenda, saw the Haitian disaster as one more opportunity to push his wing nut agenda on his “ditto head” zombies.  So what was it this time that is getting the hyper-arrogant Limbaugh so much attention?  Here’s Rush in his own words:

This will play right into Obama‘s hands. He’s humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, "credibility" with the black community–in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made-to-order for them. That’s why he couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.

NOTE TO AMERICA: BEWARE OF THE HUMANITARIAN COMPASSIONATES!!! THEY WILL SEEK TO HELP THOSE IN NEED! 

I wish he  had stopped at that ridiculous statement but it didn’t.  The real damage (and like it or not this fathead has the power to inflict damage) was by these comments:

"We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax"
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=55312#ixzz0cg38sRsu

Although this is not a flat out command to NOT send relief aid to the tiny nation, you can be certainly sure that the fervent followers of Limbaugh will read this statement to mean just that.  “Taxes” is the magic word to his drone army.  Whenever Limbaugh wants to work them up into rabid foaming mess all he needs to do is drop the word “taxes” and  “government” and the ditto-heads line up for their marching orders.

It’s about time that rational people abandon these two hateful and divisive characters once and for all.  How many times are they going to get a pass on outrageous comments and not suffer for it professional and financially?  Their is some hope that Robertson may be wounded by his comments but as for Limbaugh, I don’t hold out much hope. 

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