Hillary Lost

My friend Bill Brenner recently posted this:

Claims that Russia hacked the US election and power grid are ‘overblown’

And when I first read it, I admit I was a bit put off. Bill is not as Liberal as I am (few are), but this is his area of expertise. So I let it sit there. I heard about it on NPR and (because I was driving) I didn’t quite catch who, but it reflected this quote from Bill’s article:

“There’s no evidence regarding the DNC leak causing any disruptions to voter opinion or changing votes,” Kennedy says. “The hacks did reveal that the DNC threw the election to Hillary and gave Bernie zero chance to win.”

The speaker went on say that he didn’t want all this talk to set up a narrative wherein Trump won because of the Russian hacking.

This rattled in my brain once more and it spat out something that we need to face before we can go on. Trump didn’t win. Hillary lost. I won’t go on to say that it’s her fault and I will explain that later. Hillary got the popular vote yes, but what really killed her was the non-voters. People didn’t want to vote for her, so they didn’t vote. The Democrats forced her on the electorate and the electorate rebelled by doing nothing. I don’t know if Bernie could have won, because the problem is with the Democratic party overall and he just didn’t fit in with the narrative they want.

The Democratic Party has a long history in Massachusetts of picking candidates based on qualifications, but not really focusing on likability. An excellent parallel of this to Hillary is Martha Coakley. Coakley was a first rate Attorney General, a role where being somewhat of an attack dog was more of a plus than being charming. She also had been involved in the infamous Fells Acres Case which literally ruined lives and has returned periodically to the local news. After the governorship of the popular Deval Patrick, who had close ties to Pres. Obama, Coakley was maneuvered into the Democratic candidacy to replace him, vs. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican with an upbeat campaign. It was easy to convince moderates to vote for Baker. Similarly, in 2002 Mitt freaking Romney was able to win over the very capable but drab Shannon O’Brian. She had a few questionable real estate deals, whereas Romney had a whole Olympics scandal behind him. Sound familiar?

I’m not saying that women are unelectable, because I don’t think it’s true. But the Democrats seem to think that bland, vaguely masculine types of impeccable training with the same baggage that a white male candidate would easily overcome are winning candidates.

With Hillary they went gangbusters. Hillary was the heir apparent to Obama, she had earned it. I know at least one person who bristles to hear it even now, but the Democratic party had only one candidate they would accept from day one. This is despite being unpopular and having many (probably untrue) accusations hoisted at her and Bill since 1992. It didn’t matter if it was true, shit sticks.

I’m not saying this is right, but we have to live in the real world and we have to fight with the weapons we have. You may have the best made bow in the world, once it’s been snapped you don’t keep using it.

People want celebrity. So lets start making celebrity politicians. Wendy Davis is a good example. We need qualified AND charming.

We can do it! These women are out there!

I may expand on this later, but my daughter is literally hanging on my shoulder.

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Octavian (Augustus) and the Fall of the Roman Republic

Ok, this is a doctoral level topic, so I am going to be doing a quick and dirty here.

The Roman Republic was dying for reason that are discussed endlessly. At the death of Julius Caesar, his teenaged great nephew Octavian inherited his money and his political clout. Octavian ran with it. He used legalish methods to set up what we now call the Roman Empire. At his death, his step-son Tiberius took power as an official Roman Emperor.

So what? America has reached the same point that Rome was at before Octavian entered the picture. The problem is that we don’t have the caliber of leaders Rome had at that time. We have some ambitious types and some qualified, but we don’t have an impending Augustus. Instead we have Donald Trump, who is a disaster for the Republic and should he fall (and he probably will) we have Pence who is a dangerous reactionary.

We have no Augustus waiting in the wings; young, ambitious and capable of rebuilding America into something new that will carry on the ideals of America even if the freedoms of the Republic have died. We will disappear. The luckier parts will carry on, the states that can stand on their own when the Federal government dies by evisceration. Perhaps this will free the Northeastern states from propping up the money pits of the South, but so much potential will be lost in the vacuum of a “Free” South. Without California money to pave their roads, how long will Wyoming last? The very people who fell for Trump’s lies will be the ones to suffer from the results.

Trump is the antithesis of Augustus’ great rebuilding of Rome in an Imperial image. As much as we like to believe we’re beyond history, we aren’t. The story has been written and for too many Americans, the ending sucks.Bronze Head of Augustus

 

A challenge to Trump voters

I am adapting this from a Facebook post. I want this to be on record.

Something I think needs to made clear now and will probably be something I bring up on the day: As of the swearing in of Trump in January, I want all of my Trump voting friends to agree that everything that happens after that is directly the responsibility of the Republican government they have elected. I do not want to hear about how it’s some Democrat/welfare mother/Muslim/Obama etc. These are the people you wanted to run the country, now you have to accept whatever happens next.

 

This shouldn’t be a problem if you really do think he’s the man for the job.

Feel free to share this and collect your own Trump voters pledges. 59,791,135 voted for him according to the NY times, so a million shouldn’t be a problem. Pledges can be on Facebook or whatever you use.

 

 

Samhain

Tomorrow is Halloween, for witches it’s Samhain. There’s tons out there about Samhain, so I will just comment on my own interpretation.

Samhain is when the year dies and the dead pass on to the next world, whatever that may be. It’s when we say goodbye to everything that has passed. That this is a turbulent Election year is only the tip of the iceberg of what has been an exhausting and disheartening year.

I find myself overwhelmed by the deaths this year, unable to write my list and focus on the individuals that have gone. The losses have been more profound. We’ve passed a tipping point in climate change and are well advanced into oligarchy. While we have made great scientific advances and marriage equity is the law of the land, women and minorities are still targets of the disgruntled white male.

This is the time to let go of what has died. We need to let go of the bootstraps mentality that worked for us when we had a frontier, it’s not working. Rugged individuality has become a curse in an America of the internet. When the ship is foundering, we work together to right it. Otherwise, our fate will be like the victims of the raft of the Medusa.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_frigate_Méduse_(1810)

jean_louis_thc3a9odore_gc3a9ricault_-_la_balsa_de_la_medusa_museo_del_louvre_1818-19

 

Analyzing sources: The Election and Game of Thrones

The level of debate has become abysmal and this latest election has just about driven me to despair. The idea that all sides are equal is a disaster because people don’t have the ability to distinguish good sources from bad. When you confront people with the complete trash of their sources, they revert to pure emotion and tune out everything that follows.

I was pondering this problem and it occurred to me that we need to show people how to judge sources without getting too academic or defensive.

The two biggest topics right now in my feed are the Election and Game of Thrones spoilers. Now I’m not going to actually spoil GoT, I just want to use it as an example of source analysis.  All of my examples are fictitious.

Right now GoT is filming and a lot of the comings and goings are being scrutinized by show fans and media. Media outlets know that a juicy spoiler will bring them readership and fans who have insider knowledge can get quick adoration by other fans. There are of course various factions in the fandom based on different fan theories and favorite characters and ships (relationship fans). If you are a fan and have a pet theory, you will eat up any spoiler or potential spoiler that supports your theory.

There are different kinds of spoiler based on how reliable they are. The most reliable are recordings, mostly photos taken with long-range cameras. If you have a photo of Kit Harrington french kissing Alfie Allen, that’s a huge spoiler. Suddenly all the Jon Snow/Theon Grayjoy shippers would be ecstatic.

Another form of spoiler is interviews with the writers, GRRM, the actors, etc. Kit Harrington saying, “Jon Snow and Theon Grayjoy will be running off to Dorne and getting married.” is huge. However, the actors are trained to not spoil and will instead say, “Jon will be exploring new relationships at sea.” Thousands of fans will be discussing what that means: will Jon be marrying Theon? Will he start dating a whale? Generally these spoilers are somewhat reliable, but not set in stone.

The most common kind of spoiler is the least reliable. GoTlvr123 posts on a spoiler thread “Costuming sources I met at a bar said that there is a wedding dress in Kit Harrington’s size.” This will lead to endless threads on Jon Snow getting married or maybe Sansa getting married but in a comic scene Jon Snow needs to escape in disguise and so is wearing her wedding gown.

When you are reading an article about the Election please consider if the item was a GoT spoiler, where would it fit in the described range? If it’s the last please don’t believe it or post it until something more reliable comes along.

Thank you!

Opening

I don’t really have a set plan for this blog except as a place to solidify the myriad thoughts that evolve into rants and essays unwritten. I have a lot to say and some of it is probably important or funny or wise.

At the moment my efforts are mostly focused on family, taking care of and studying. I have a background in history and my ancestors have their place in the histories of France, Scotland and England. They were the soldiers and the farmers and the courtiers, never at the center of events but part of the clockwork behind those events. Through studying them I am inspired not to fame, but to progress.

A warning: sometimes I am a lover of words, but sometimes I am a ranting bitch. Today I am savoring language. As such: Check this out.