The Day After

When I was a kid, a movie called “The Day After” aired on television. The cast included Steve Guttenberg, Jason Robards and John Lithgow. The film was about the day after the USSR and USA exchange nuclear weapons. It was pretty scary for an 11-year-old, but I was a cold war kid, I could handle it. Now imagine another day after tomorrow, but this time the date in November 9, 2016.

We wake up on that post-election Wednesday only to realize that it really happened. Hillary Clinton fucked up and Donald Trump is the next president of the United States of America.

What happened?

Maybe Clinton falls prey to political consultants like Al Gore did in 2000. She comes across as too prepared and too polished against Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip-fuck-you style. Or maybe that email “scandal” really blows up in her face and Clinton gets indicted.

On that cool fall morning, we will just sit with our mouthes open, hung over, vaguely remembering Clinton’s concession speech at 2am, and trying to wrap our heads around President Donald Trump.

It could very well happen.

Never underestimate the ability of the Democratic leadership to fuck up easy shit.

Remember when they lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to Scott Brown. Yeah that Scott Brown, the one who put the asshole back in Masshole. Brown would eventually lose his seat to Elizabeth Warren, in part because he and his staff used blatantly racist attacks against Warren’s native american ancestry.

I was shocked when Gore lost to Bush in 2000. Yes, it’s true, Gore actually won the election, but it was close enough for Bush to ask his buddies on the Supreme Court to give him the election. It should never have been that close. Bush was a political lightweight and could barely speak for more than 3 minutes without looking like an idiot. Gore should have whooped his ass, and when he didn’t, that surprised me. And then four years later, they did it again when Kerry lost to Bush in 2004.

Democrats can lose this election and Trump could be the next president of the United States of America. If that happens, we’re all fucked.

Mother Leaves Handgun Accessible to Her Child. Son Shoots Her. She’s Charged with Misdemeanor.

Jamie Gilt

Jamie Gilt

A Florida pro-gun activist and mother left a 45-caliber handgun on the floor of her car. Her 4-year-old son picked up the gun and shot her in the back while she was driving down Putnam County road pulling a horse trailer.

Jamie Gilt, 31, of Jacksonville, Florida, survived the shooting and no one else was injured. But it’s not over for Gilt, Putnam County announced that prosecutors are going to charge her with allowing a minor access to a firearm. That’s a second-degree misdemeanor in the sunshine state.

Gilt nearly killed herself, her son and any number of people traveling on that road with her that day. It’s only dumb luck that no one was killed, but yes, charge her with a misdemeanor, so the gun nut can keep her guns.

But the worst part is that Gilt gets to keep talking about guns, as if she knows anything about them. Simply owning a bunch of guns, doesn’t make you an expert on guns – clearly.

What should happen when people like Gilt have a mishap with a firearm, they should lose their right to own guns. If not forever, for a period of time. They can get their 2nd amendment “rights” restored only after they prove that they know how to safely handle and store guns.

Or we can wait until someone is killed.

(h/t)CBS 47/FOX 30 Jacksonville, Florida

Steal My Tweets

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I snicker every time I see someone twitching about someone “stealing” a tweet.

For the uninitiated, “twitching” is “tweet bitching.”

Today, one of my twitches was twitching about the alleged theft of one of her brilliant tweets and I thought, “I wish people would steal my tweets. I wonder if anyone ever does?”

For me, tweets are essentially worthless. If a tweet is worth anything in the real marketplace or the marketplace of ideas, it’s worth pennies. Even a Kim Kardashian tweet is essentially worthless. What Kardashian offers is her network of 45 million followers, not access to her glorious mind.

Here’s a tweet from today.

“When my fave photog uses my @lumeecase … Get yours at”

If I stole that tweet, my followers would probably think I’m weird and since Lumee isn’t paying me any money to tweet their products to my 2,000 followers, this Kardashian tweet isn’t worth much to me or my followers.

You might be thinking, “But I tweet about politics and have some really interesting ideas and other people are stealing my ideas and passing them off as their own.”

It’s true, people who have really brilliant ideas should never ever share those ideas with anyone else, or else everyone will know what you know.

But wait … isn’t that the point of being brilliant on Twitter?

That your amazing ideas will cause other people to think like you do. And because you’re so awesome, if everyone else was awesome like you, the world would be awesome.

I don’t see my twitter experience in those terms, most of my tweets are trash, but if a few nuggets of brilliance happen to trickle out, by all means, steal my tweets. Share them. Pass them off as your own ideas. You don’t even have to attribute me. The fact is, I’ve stolen all of my ideas from someone else. I didn’t invent liberalism, progressivism, nor was I the first to ponder a world in which bigotry and hatred don’t exist.

My ideas aren’t novel. My delivering isn’t particularly unique.

So if you see something like, please, steal me tweets, you twitches.

You can follow me @2TwelveHundreds.

Watch Out for Politically Calculating Politicians

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard

In politics, it’s important to recognize when a politician is doing something, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the easy thing to do.

One tiny little never-going-to-become-law bill, HR 4038 “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act,” was up for a vote in the House last year. At the time, everyone was panicking about refugees fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, coming here, only to find out too late that they’re terrorists.

One would expect Republicans, knee deep in xenophobia, to support this bill, but I was shocked to see 47 Democrats vote for it too.

One of those Democrats is Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard. When the news came out that these Democrats supported a blatantly xenophobic bill, I asked them why, none of them responded. And now, Gabbard has made headlines for her full-throated support for Bernie Sanders, and so I’m still asking, why did she vote for this bill?

And here’s the thing, I’m for Sanders 100 percent, he’s the best candidate running, but liberals are acting like Republicans on this issue. They know that that vote was disgusting, but they can’t allow that to taint their glowing view of this beautiful woman from Hawaii, a veteran, a rising star in the party to be looked at with a critical eye.

One person has responded to my requests for an explanation why Gabbard voted for this bill. I don’t believe he actually knows why the congresswoman voted for the bill, here is our conversation from Twitter.

It started with this tweet.

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And my reply.

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Now, for the record, I have no problem with Mr. Marx. He seems like a nice person, who I have an honest disagreement with. This story isn’t about him, it’s about politics.

We should never allow politicians – I don’t care who they are or who they support – to vote on xenophobic bills like HR4038, simply because they know they won’t pay a political price for doing so. It doesn’t matter if Gabbard knew the bill wouldn’t become law. It doesn’t matter that refugees can’t vote. The only thing that matters is that she voted for a blatantly xenophobic bill.

Now recall that Hillary Clinton made a politically calculating vote as a US senator. That vote resulted in the Iraq war. Nearly 5,000 soldiers lost their lives. Tens of thousands of soldiers were severely injured. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed in Iraq. The entire region is burning to the ground to this day. And she did it because Clinton believed that not voting for the war would be more politically difficult than voting for it. Votes matter. What politicians do matters. And what politicians do on a bill that was dead on arrival, I think is even more telling. Would Gabbard really have been harmed politically if she voted no on HR4038? I don’t think so. So why did she do it? She’s not saying, and all of my liberal brothers and sisters don’t want to talk about it.

UPDATE: Here is Gabbard’s publicly stated reasoning for voting for the bill. I still question why she felt it was necessary to vote yes on a bill like this when she knew it would never become law. But I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

WPA Posters

I enjoy looking at WPA posters. Here are a few I like, not all of them are necessarily of the era, but some are inspired by the WPA design.

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1935-1939 --- Poster  --- Image by © CORBIS

1935-1939 — Poster — Image by © CORBIS

Hillary Clinton Says “Yes” to Chocolate

March 6, 2016

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Today, Hillary Clinton announces that she does, in fact, like chocolate. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state maintains a healthy and balanced diet, one that frequently includes chocolate.

“I love it,” Clinton told reporters outside her New York campaign office. “When I was a kid, I would eat so much chocolate, that one time I actually vomited on our kitchen floor. It was actually quite disgusting. The dog tried licking up the chocolate vomit, but she slipped and fell into it. If you ever get a chance to seen a Burnese mountain dog covered in chocolate vomit, don’t do it. I couldn’t eat chocolate for nearly fives years. But I love it now.”

As president, Clinton said that she will give every man, woman and child free chocolate bars.

“If you vote for me, I will give you chocolate,” Clinton said Sunday.

Troy Davis

Troy Davis

When I think about the story of Troy Davis, my belief that the death penalty is wrong is fortified. In more times than we’d care to think about, the justice system gets it wrong and for a black man with limited means, there’s little chance of getting a conviction overturned.

On September 21, 2011, the state of Georgia killed Troy Davis. He was pronounced dead at 11:08PM eastern time.

Troy Davis

Mr. Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. In 1989, Mr. MacPhail, working as a security guard at Burger King when he intervened in a fight in the parking lot. During the altercation, Mr. MacPhail was shot and killed.

After a pretty lame defense in court, Mr. Davis was convicted of Mr. MacPhail’s murder and sentenced to die. After appeals, the Supreme Court, millions of people pleading for clemency for Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis was killed by the state of Georgia on September 21, 2011.

After 20 years in prison, Mr. Davis maintained his innocent until the moment he died.

Here are his dying words.

Well, first of all I’d like to address the MacPhail family. I’d like to let you all know, despite the situation – I know all of you are still convinced that I’m the person that killed your father, your son and your brother, but I am innocent. The incident that happened that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun that night. I did not shoot your family member. But I am so sorry for your loss. I really am – sincerely. All I can ask is that each of you look deeper into this case, so that you really will finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on all of your souls. God bless you all.

Troy Davis

Troy Davis Wikipedia
Amnesty International “Not In Our Name: Georgia Must Not Execute Troy Davis”

Journalism Kind of Sucks Now

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton debating Feb. 4, 2016

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton debating Feb. 4, 2016

Journalism sucks today. The failure of 21st century journalism is no more glaring than in national political reporting. It’s bad.

Take for instance this “news” story in the Washington Post today.

The “reporters” Karen Tumulty and Anne Gearan wrote this lede.

“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, meeting Thursday night for their last debate before the New Hampshire primary, squared off fiercely on the question of whether the party should strive toward its liberal aspirations or set its sights on the achievable.”

In other words, Sanders is just a crazy socialist who won’t get anything done. Clinton is the realist putting out achievable policies. This is exactly what Clinton wants people to believe, and these journalists are playing their role in the selection of Clinton as the Democratic nominee.

There’s not one shred of evidence that Sanders can’t do what he says he will do. And there’s no reason to believe that Clinton will either do what she’s saying now nor whether she can achieve her goals as president. To report these as facts requires Tumulty and Gearan predict the future. As a journalist, if you find yourself making predictions, you need to either rethink what you’re doing or ask your editor to label your piece as analysis.

It’s bad journalism. It reinforces the Clinton narrative that she’s electable, that she’s the candidate who can get things done and that Sanders is a loony socialist. It’s pretty pathetic, because the Washington Post editors should know better.

History Gets it Wrong, at Least Salon’s Version

In a compelling story over at Salon about how rich people are screwing everyone else over to line their own pockets, they miss one key point that we must recognize if we’re going to avoid history repeating itself.

Salon reporter Sophia McClennen writes that “starting in the 1980s policymaking elites in the Western world were scared to death of oil shortages, inflationary spirals and the impact of jobs being shipped to lower-wage nations or made obsolete by increasingly powerful machines and computers. Something had to be done.”

McClennen’s assertion that policies passed in the 1980s were a direct result, or a response, to oil shortage and inflation is not accurate.

What happens in these situations, is that capitalists play on people’s fear and anxiety about events that capitalists probably put into play. So for instance, in the 1970s there was an oil shortage. I remember people lining up to get gas, everyone was worried gas prices were going to skyrocket and they wouldn’t be able to get to work. Also in the late 1970s there was really high inflation and that made people nervous.

When these events happen, capitalists pull on the strings of their puppets in DC to pass legislation and change regulatory rules. These actions are marketed to the people as solutions to the problems of oil shortages and inflation, but what they’re really doing is making it easier for capitalists to take more money from the economy then they were before the crises.

So it’s not as McClennen reports it, that these noble politicians were just doing what needed to be done in a time of great fear and uncertainty.

The rest of McClennen’s story is spot-on and I’m being a bit nit-picky here, but if we don’t recognize when we’re getting played, we’re going to keep getting played. It’s easy to look at the ramifications of the actions taken on behalf of capitalists, at the expense of everyone else, it’s another to ask, “How do we fix it? How do we avoid doing this again?”