Monday, March 20, 2017

There Will Be Consequences—There Always Are

According to yesterday’s (Mar 17) article about Bernie Sanders in the Guardian UK newspaper, “a new poll found he is the most popular politician in America. But instead of embracing his message, establishment Democrats continue to resist him.”

Well, there’s nothing new in that, Senator Sanders was never taken seriously in the American media during the primary campaign and when he was mentioned it was usually with the disclaimer that ‘of course, he has no chance at the nomination.’


Thursday, March 16, 2017

While I Wasn’t Looking, Someone Privatized My Senator

It’s no surprise our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world, anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany. That suits insurance companies—although they wouldn’t even exist under universal single-payer care—and it’s a gravy-train for pharmaceutical companies.

But privatizing a Senator? My Senator? That’s a bit of a stretch.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

‘Guided Democracy,’ Governed by Those Who Can Manufacture Consent

Cambridge Analytica is said to be negotiating “two potentially lucrative new contracts, one to boost the incoming Trump White House's policy messaging and the other to help the Trump Organization expand its sales.” Those who question President Trump’s conflict of interest in maintaining control of the Trump Brand may find that rumor worth chasing down. Not so sure I want a ‘guided’ democracy.

Cambridge Analytica's web site says
“We bring together a 25 year experience in behavioral change, pioneering data science, and cutting-edge technology to offer unparalleled audience insight and engagement services and products … We collect up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans, and use it to model target audience groups and predict the behavior of like-minded people.”


Friday, March 3, 2017

Mr. Trump Sees Enemies Everywhere—So We Do As Well

The recipe for the toxic soup our current president is ladling out is three parts fear to one part frustration—and America has much about which to be frustrated.

While no one was looking, we decided to give up being an industrial society and try on the flashy wardrobe of consumerism. Of course that means we don’t make all that much of what we consume and so factory jobs at good wages have now become mostly service jobs with no contract, health care, retirement or vacation benefits. The enemy here is hard to name, but it’s likely listed on the stock exchange.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Who Is Robert Mercer and Why Should I Care?

The short answer is he’s a computer scientist billionaire. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

Mercer is very right-wing in his politics, which is not all that unusual. But he’s chosen to use his expertise and wealth to move the American social conscience hard to the right as well. So, knowing just who Bob is and how he proposes to propagandize is essential if you care at all about world politics.

If ISIS and Brexit, immigrants and Donald Trump, global climate change and the Dakota Indians are not on your mind, you still ought to know, because all those things affect your life and Mercer affects all those things.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Darling, We Can't Go On Like This

I thought we could find some common ground, at least enough to get us through a trial period. But those little annoyances we sucked up before the inauguration are at the front of my mind when we finally limp off to bed and I swore to myself I would never go to bed angry.

Now there we are, lying back to back and pretending we’re asleep but quietly fuming over the nothings that just keep coming like the drip-drip from a leaky pipe. Sleep-deprived, I stumble my rumpled morning-self downstairs and even my bathrobe itches. Coffee growing cold at my place, but you’re looking out the window as if there was something interesting out there and your back is turned.

We haven’t seen the fronts of each other in days. Have you noticed how when we walk into a room the dog gets up and moves elsewhere?


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lying Down to Pant in a Dark Room

My beloved Labrador retriever used to sulk off and pant in our darkened bedroom when he was out-of-sorts and feeling abused.

There’s ample reason for chastened Democrats to feel out-of-sorts and abused in the current political situation. Like my Labrador, they have chosen to sulk off and pant when the country and their (majority) supporters need them most. I can forgive my dog and rub him behind the ears to make him feel better and get a quivering wag from his tail, but I feel more like kicking the Democratic leadership (?) in their recalcitrant butts.