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What the Iowa Caucuses generally show (not specific to 2016) [Feb. 2nd, 2016|09:12 pm]
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On the Republican side, the caucuses are good at selecting the candidate who to represent one faction of the party. The faction whose reason for being politically involved is to assuage their existential fears by attempting to impose their religion on everyone else. The faction that loses the nomination to another faction, whose reason for being in politics is to exploit those fears for profit.

On the Democratic side, the caucuses choose a regional candidate, if there is one. Otherwise, it gives a reasonable indication of who has party support, but it skews White.
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Both campaigns are full of it when they say they can stuff done in 2017-18. [Jan. 31st, 2016|05:37 pm]
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I think so long as there's a GOP House majority that depends on the Freedom Caucus, Congressional obstruction will look much as it does now, whether the President is Clinton, Sanders, Bloomberg, Kasich, or whomever. But the Sanders campaign talking point of breaking the deadlock by sweeping in a new Congress *in 2016* is at least as unrealistic as the Clinton campaign's that somehow they'll be more responsible with her in the White House.

The only two way it changes is if someone like Cruz gets elected (I much prefer deadlock) or if a Democratic President runs hard in 2018 against Congress, being willing to lose a big battle or two where the public is on her/his side leading up to the election.
It's imperative to do that, even if the Democrats hold a nominal majority, but not a solid enough majority to prevent obstruction.

Bill Clinton should have done that, but didn't. He was too much of a people-pleaser to not take whatever the best deal he could get at the time, because he'd be litting people down (as he saw it) if he didn't. So we got things like DADT.

Obama didn't, I think because the economic conditions left him very little latitude in public opinion. When the public is already scared but not angry, it's dangerous to challenge them too much.

Who'll be more likely to take that aggressive approach, should they get in? I think Sanders. But I'm not sure he'd be effective at it. That's why I support Sanders, but I can't yet promise to keep supporting him. The primary season is an audition. And despite how long some of us have been following it, it's all Spring Training until Monday. I want to see how both Sanders and Clinton handle the ups and downs of a real campaign with real voter feedback.
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It's not jut the right wing. The left has also helped create the atmosphere Trump exploits. [Jan. 26th, 2016|07:56 pm]
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As correctly noted by people NPR interviews, it's counterproductive when the FBI monitors mosques and discussions in the mosques about terrorism. Even when tweens express sympathy for violent and/or extreme positions, it's much better for the adults to explain why that's wrong in a calm manner, safe from surveillance, so everyone is speaking authentically.

Trump is a pernicious troll, and deserves the criticism he gets. But we create opportunities for him and those like him when we shut down discussions where people honestly try to reconcile their prejudiced perceptions of the world with what the rest of us have realized.

It's easy to get tired of teaching the basics of seeing through the news' oppressive tropes over and over again. It's easy to assume that everyone who doesn't already know better is actively trying not to know better. But sometimes, they aren't. In those cases, when we shout at them and tell them to shut up, we push them more firmly into the bigots' camp. It is better to teach, patiently--being wary of trolls, but not being too quick to conclude someone is one.
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Robert Reich gets it right. [Jan. 26th, 2016|07:53 pm]
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"Political 'pragmatism' may require accepting 'half loaves' – but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. That’s why the movement must aim high – toward a single-payer universal health, free public higher education, and busting up the biggest banks, for example."
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Does Trump see this? [Jan. 26th, 2016|07:51 pm]
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I wonder if Trump is too much of an egotist to realize he's better off not winning Iowa by too much, if at all. He needs Cruz to be a strong factor in the race going forward, or the winner of the Bush/Christie/Kasich/Rubio fight will surely beat him over time.
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Trump [Dec. 14th, 2015|12:46 pm]
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Fascism grew out of far worse political conditions than we have. With far more fear of non-fascist revolution, and so less willingness on the part of the body politic to defend the status quo.

We here live in a society where the status quo is considered by most to be virtually unchangeable. There is no *immediate* danger of fascism here, for that reason. Trump's campaign does undermine that certainty, just as economic stagnation of the middle class has. But overreacting to Trump's campaign, proclaiming our system is far more fragile than it actually is, does every bit as much to undermine the confidence in the current system.

Hyperventilating about Trump is the political equivalent of calling for a run on the bank by shouting we must protect the bank from everyone who's about to make a run on it. It is related to how professional activists always try to raise money from you by talking of immediate dangers (which are often exaggerated) rather than long-term goals.
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Refugee Status [Nov. 17th, 2015|02:31 pm]
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For folks who don't know what it actually takes to get into the US as a refugee. It's not the same as entering as an immigrant or as an asylum seeker. It's a lot harder. The folks saying the system should be revised probably don't know it already looks like what they want it to.

Quoting a friend who has long worked resettling refugees from many parts of the world:

...the average Syrian refugee goes through a vetting process that is 2 years long, and involves multiple agents at multiple agencies. They end up being more heavily scrutinized than a prospective CIA or secret service agent.

Of course, this level of scrutiny can be increased, if we're willing to pay for it. But to call on the vetting process to be even more 'updated' and intense is pretty absurd.

Especially when there are a number of rather easy ways to legally enter the country.

The US has resettled 750,000 refugees since 9/11 without any of them being linked to a domestic terrorist incident.

None of this means nothing will ever happen with a refugee. It does mean people should direct their worry elsewhere long before focusing on refugees.

The US refugee program is something Americans should be proud of. Millions of people have fled from terror and found safe haven in the US.

It would be really nice if in this present culture of fear and hatred, it remained that way. But it's up to us, as Americans, to remain sensible.
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Democratic Debate [Oct. 14th, 2015|12:32 am]
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I am very sad. Sanders is effective at convincing people of truths. But unless tonight was a fluke, he is uninterested or clueless about to convince people to positively imagine him as president. He can keep doing fine among people who are highly motivated by issues, but he's almost certain to lose the nomination and if he were nominated, he would lose to Rubio and probably to Bush.

Clinton was competent, I guess a little better than that. But she also reminded us that she's wrong about important stuff more often than we should expect, even taking electability fully into account. Yet if she can keep up tonight's level of performance, she will be nominated and that's probably for the best.

O'Malley started out every bit as badly as those who've seen him in person over the years told me he was. But he got better as the debate got toward the middle. And then he kept getting better--he was really good in the final half hour. I have real doubts that he will keep it up, but if he does, he becomes a possible vice-president and may even make the nomination interesting. He may also keep Biden out, if Biden would otherwise be in.

The other two are not factors at all.
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House GOP's problem is as much procedural as ideological. [Oct. 9th, 2015|07:15 pm]
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When Dennis Hastert made a policy of not bringing to a vote any measure that did not have the support of a majority of Republicans, that was novel. It was an increase in partisanship in the mechanics of how the House was run.

But how the GOP caucus now runs is far beyond that. By the Hastert rule, the Speaker could bring to the floor any measure that was supported by 124 Republicans, because the number of Republicans opposing it would be fewer than that.

Now it is considered a grievous breech of protocol to bring forward a measure unless it has the support of 218 Republicans. A measure could win a straw poll in the GOP caucus 217-30 and it would be out of bounds because it could not pass a full House vote without some Democratic support.

If the responsible Republicans want to take back power, they must insist on going back to the Hastert-era protocol. The nutters say that they would not vote for any speaker who does that. Those interested in governing must call the nutters' bluff, even if it means making a few deals with conservative Democrats to elect a Speaker. It probably wouldn't come to that, but the threat must be made if the bulk of the caucus wants to be more than bystanders.

Charlie Dent (R-PA) brought up the possibility today. Not so far as an intent or a prediction of what will come to pass, but as a prediction of what will happen if the caucus otherwise fails to agree on a Speaker. That is a necessary step in the GOP resuming its role as a serious party.
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Why Both Party's Field of Presidential Candidates are Electorally Weak [Sep. 18th, 2015|10:50 pm]
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Both parties have weak fields (from a non-ideological perspective, just in electoral ability) for very different reasons.

The Republicans have spent decades developing a culture where nobody can remain relevant inside the tent while calling out the bullshit that people who are passionate but don't think very hard can be led to believe. The Democrats have just as big a proportion of passionate people who don't think very hard. But if you pander to them more than just a little bit, there's no state in the country where a Democrat can expect to be nominated for governor or senator.

The Republicans, though, insist on candidates who believe, or give a very convincing show of believing nine impossible things before every spaghetti breakfast, Rotary Lunch, and rubber-chicken dinner. And at those functions, no one will question the nonsense. So the candidates are all either dumb enough to actually believe the bullshit or are habitual liars who are unpracticed at selling the lies before skeptical audiences.

Well, there are a few exceptions. There are the Stepford Candidates, like Romney, with no there there at all. And there are the grifters, who only pretend to be candidates and make a lot more money on FOX than they could running anything and who care a lot more about money than they do about running anything.

The Democratic problem is not quite as systemic. Hillary Clinton is as good at insider politics as Bill is at retail politics. She cultivates opinion makers--the leaders of organizations, prominent media people, and anyone else she can sit down with for more than 90 seconds. By doing that, she convinced almost everyone that it was her turn and that her nomination was inevitable. So the kind of candidates one would normally consider strongly electable didn't run.

The problem, HRC is as bad at talking to voters en masse as WJC is good at it. The skills she does have can make her be taken seriously by the punditocracy. But they can't get people to actually vote for her. Sure, she does have some genuine support. And in this field, it may well get her both nominated and elected. But in a strong field, she'd fall flatter than she did lat time, and she may yet.

(In case anyone's wondering, I support Bernie Sanders. My first campaign was 1972, with McGovern at the top of the ticket. I'm well aware of the danger of candidates too far from the center. Both for themselves and in negative coattails. But Sanders seems a more capable campaigner than McGovern. If Clinton shows that she can relate to people more like her husband or Reagan or Obama than like Romney or Dukakis, I may reconsider. If Sanders shows that he is personally unappealing to typical swing voters, I will reconsider. But so far, neither of those things are true and I support Sanders. In this weak field, he might just win both the nomination and the general election, and that would be unimaginably good.)

When I said the Democrat's problem is less systemic, that doesn't make it 100% unsystemic. There is a cozy feeling among those who wield power and think they do it responsibly, for the general good. The mainstream media, people who work in non-profits, and sincere politicians have respect for each other in ways they don't respect the general public. That's not evil, the general public is often generally stupid. It's not surprising that they want to let their hair down only among those who 'get it.'

But that gives them a very skewed perception of who's in the world. The people they talk to are White, upper middle class, generally over 40, and have a history of career success. (And on the conservative side, but not the liberal side, overwhelmingly male.) It makes them assume that anyone who shares their values also shares their experience. It is because of such an insular community of people out int he world making a difference that they think they have both more control over and a better read on what the electorate will do. That was the precondition for Clinton being assumed to be inevitable.
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My day, fourteen years ago [Sep. 11th, 2015|12:07 pm]
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You may have read pieces of this on Facebook, either a few months ago or today. This is the most complete version to date, and probably the most complete version I will write.

It was my second day back at work after taking a 3 month leave of absence when I had decided to quit but was talked into waiting and seeing if I wanted to come back. They asked me to come back and manage a transition from someone who was leaving to someone who wasn't hired yet. 9/11 was my welcome back.

I was a few minutes late getting out of the subway, because voting in the primary election that day took longer than I expected. It was probably just about 9:00. As I walked up the stairs to the street, there was an odd smell and a few pieces of charred paper blowing in the wind. I asked someone on the sidewalk what was up and he said a twin-engine plane had hit one of the towers.
When I got to my floor at NYSE, everyone was asking what the shaking was. It turns out the second plane had hit when I was in the elevator and because of the cushioning of the elevator, I was one of the few people in the neighborhood who didn't feel it.

CNN reported quickly after that that it had been another plane. That was the point that we knew (rather than speculated) that it was terrorism. There was confusion from on high over the next several minutes as to whether NYSE would evacuate. Eventually, they did. The Gemini employees there found each other in front of the building. Most went home, but Claire, the top Gemini person said she'd be going over to the office on Broadway in a bit and I said I'd go over now and see if there was anything I could do. At the time, I had no idea the buildings would come down, and I don't think those I was talking with did, either.

At Gemini, reached my family telling them I was OK and reported to those taking calls from others' families that I had seen them after the crashes.

When the first tower came down, it made a terrible, long roar, and I thought it was another building being hit. The room where we had been had a large window and we all evacuated our offices into the building's elevator lobby for the floor we were on. When the tower was coming down was the only time I was scared of immediate harm, and not as scared as one might think.

Eventually, the building came speakers on and told us we had to leave. I don't remember whether we had already walked down to the 2nd or 3rd storey before then; I think we had. The first floor was blocked by the awful smoke and ash. The building kept telling us we had to leave, and eventually we did. I was much more scared of what the neighborhood would be like outside the building, but not because of immediate death or external injury. At least someone had thought to get wet paper towl before we left and I was one a few people who asked if he could get me some, too.

Once outside, the only way to face and be able to breathe was south, so I found myself in Battery Park. I went to the Staten Island Ferry, but they were closed. I could see people on the walking over the Brooklyn Bridge--somehow the smoke didn't go that far north and the sightline to them wasn't obscured, I guess because they were high up. But I couldn't get there because you couldn't walk into the smoke for that far. I tried a few times, though. I also helped a vendor struggling with his cart. I gave some of my wet towels to someone who didn't seem to be doing well. I ran across some tourists with a baby who were facing away from the smoke but had the baby on a shoulder, facing into the smoke. I pointed out the problem and gave them half my remaining towels.

When I tried the ferry for the third time, a boat was just arriving with firemen from other boroughs. The ferry folks said the boat would return to Staten Island and we could get on. As we passed the firemen, they looked in worse shock than the rest of us. I didn't learn until later that many firemen had died, undoubtedly including their friends and family. As the passengers went into a long, wide, tunnel-like passageway onto the boat and the firemen came into view from the other end, one of the passengers started clapping, which we quickly all took up. I remember one of the large, stunned firemen drawing up his hips and back, putting on a show, still stunned but seemingly glad for even the distraction of feeling he had to put on a public face.

When I got to Staten Island, I walked a mile and a half in shoes that really weren't meant for that to get to an intentional community I had lived in for several months a few years before. From there, I didn't get in the first set of cars that went to give blood, but I did go somewhat later when a new group left in another car. When we got to the center, they were clearly overwhelmed and it was apparent my blood would not immediately help anyone. I went to a bus stop and after another couple of hours, I got a bus that took me home to Brooklyn.

Gemini had people at WTC, but they were all on lower floors and got out. Several NYSE colleagues knew someone who had died on one of the planes, but interestingly nobody knew anyone who had died in the tower. Until I learned that on old friend from my high school chess team had been a new father and that was his first day at Cantor Fitzgerald and the last of his life.

Two weeks later, when they re-ran the primary election, my day started the same way. I was even the same few minutes late. On the way from the polls to the subway, I had an overwhelming sense of wrongness of continuing that path. It was the only mental health day I took. I quit shortly after, but this day was because I wasn't working up to my (or eventually, I imagine) the company's standards. 9/11 was at most a minor contributing factor to that.
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Katrina seems to have been the political nadir of our times. [Aug. 28th, 2015|12:06 pm]
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10 years ago, we (that is, the US, the world, and specifically the Gulf Coast and especially New Orleans) suffered a great tragedy. But it also marked a low point in our political culture.

Since 1980, for a quarter century, we had been giving government power to those who claimed government was the problem, that whatever it did, didn't work. And those politicians who claimed that had been doing their best to see that it was true. By cutting budgets. By promoting those who were cynical like themselves. By demoralizing their workforce in countless ways.

I think Katrina was a major turning point. Where we as a country realized that we do need the government to do things well, and we therefore need it to be led by people committed to that notion.
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Resistance to enforced gender roles should unite, not divide those who need change. [Aug. 28th, 2015|11:58 am]
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Gah! I just heard a woman interviewed and taking calls on Brian Lehrer who was so wrong and offensive in some of what she was saying on transgender issues that it will make it impossible for many people to hear the much needed things she was saying about gender in general, and the real ways that should inform those who are advocates for transgender rights and recognition.

The vast majority of people ultimately behave how the believe the word thinks they will behave. When that just doesn't work, some people take radical steps to change what the world expects. It is true that the vast majority of gender dichotomization in behavior is due to social construction. It is true that we need to reduce social pressure to conform to those roles. That should be a uniting premise on which old-line feminists and trans folks should be able to agree, rather than a pissing match where each group tries to see who can more effectively cry foul at the other.
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Which election would you rather have? [Aug. 27th, 2015|05:05 pm]
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Suppose you knew that the 2016 general election would be a 50-50 chance. Would you rather that be between Clinton and Bush or between Sanders and Trump?

Poll #2020820 Which election would you rather have?


Clinton vs Bush
Sanders vs Trump
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Sad Sesquicentennial [Apr. 14th, 2015|08:28 am]
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150 years ago this morning, the country, just done with the only terrible war we ever faced at home, was divided among those who wanted vengeance on the southern aristocracy and would use the freed slaves and the army to get it, those who wanted to preserve as much as possible of the old order without regard to the well-being of the freed slaves or the justice of their claims, and some few (aside from the freed slaves themselves) who were concerned almost exclusively with the well-being of the freed slaves.

The President, nearly alone but with great will and the great standing that comes from victory, saw all sides as real people, rather than seeing great numbers of them as merely tools or obstacles in some quest to serve only other people. Only this powerful President and a few associates were committed to reconstructing the most damaged part of the nation such that it would function normally for its time, with freedom and development that would reduce hatreds and raise the standard of living for all.

150 years ago tomorrow, that President was gone--gunned down by a fanatic of the South, The effects of that over the next twelve years were to make the Reconstruction both less sweeping and more punitive and corrupt. The effects for the remainder of the century following the assassination was to keep African-Americans under a state-terrorist regime and to keep both Black and White southerners much poorer then they might have been. And of course, the effects still dominate our politics and form our resentments in many ways.

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
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50 Shades Of Grey - The Movie [Mar. 10th, 2015|11:12 pm]
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This is very much at odds with everything else I've read about the movie, which I have not seen, nor did I read the book. For anyone who did see it, is this accurate?

Originally posted by bart_calendar at 50 Shades Of Grey - The Movie
Pirated this last night in order to hate watch it. Am disappointed that it's nowhere near as offensive as it's reputation. In fact, it's just a long episode of that show Red Shoe Diaries that  used to run on Cinemax late at night.  Given the reaction to the book I have to assume they changed and toned down a lot of shit for the film.

I fully expected an abusive relationship. What we get isn't that. Instead we get a woman who keeps asking in one way or another "do you love me" and a dude responding in one way or another "no, I want a fuck buddy" and the woman thinking "that means he loves me."


I'm told that in the book the motivations of the characters are not clear. In the movie they are clear as a bell. Her motivation is that she wants a good looking billionaire boyfriend who is good in bed. He wants a pretty young woman to fuck with no strings attached. Those motivations may be cliche but strike me as reasonable between an incredibly naive young woman and a rich straight dude in his 20s.

I'm also told that in the book the sex is kinky/BDSM. Not so here. Their first sex scene happens after she tells him she's a virgin. So, he goes down on her before fucking her gently missionary style and pays enough attention to her clit to make sure she orgasms.

After that we get treated to tons of scenes of  him going down on her before missionary sex happens. Christian Grey likes eating pussy more than any character I've ever seen in a mainstream movie.

One time he does her doggy style. Another time he runs a feather duster along her clit.


Ok, finally, he pulls out a riding crop. I'm thinking "NOW I'M GOING TO GET THE BDSM!"

Nope. He has her hold up one of her hands and then lightly hits it with the crop. Then he goes down on her and they have missionary style sex.  At one point he ties her hands above her head. Is he going to do something kinky? No, he goes down on her.

Ok, I'm thinking, I can't really be that much against a guy who is simply  obsessed with eating pussy and missionary sex, but I've been told he's a stalker so I'll wait for that.

But, no! He asks her if she will tell him if she's going to be out of town and also asks her if it's Ok if he tracks her down if she goes out of town. She consents to that. Then, she goes out of town without telling him.

He, like he asked permission to do, tracks her down. This makes her think he loves him. He thinks "now I'll get to eat her out and have missionary style sex."  Guess what happens.

Eventually even Anna finally starts thinking to herself "This fucker has over $50,000 worth of sex toys in a room that looks like it was designed by Lindsay Lohan on meth, why the fuck does he do nothing but eat me out and then get on top of me?"

So, she asks him to "do his worst."

At that point  he bends her over and spanks her lightly six times with a belt.

Then, she dumps him. I'm assuming this is because she's like "this guy is so fucking full of shit. He's teased me by owning all of these awesome looking sex toys but deep down he's more vanilla than anyone in the world!"

Roll credits.
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GMOs [Nov. 12th, 2014|12:57 am]
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There are several issues where what I have to say is too long for a typical Facebook post, but too short for a magazine essay. These rattle around in my head and so far I've rarely gotten around to writing them. Tonight I was asked about GMOs, which is one of the topics, and I wrote it out. I hope you give it time for consideration. If you we are also friends on Facebook, you may want to comment there as well as or instead of here.



I think the kind of GMO foods we generally have are harmful to the environment, but not directly to the individuals who eat them.

1) They allow the use of pesticides that are harmful as well as beneficial and the harmful affects of those pesticides have not been adequately studied.

2) They encourage a lack of diversity among crop strands, so that if a new disease attacks the current varieties, we will be especially vulnerable to catastrophic collapse of some crops.

3) They go along with the monopolization of seeds, which puts under more farmers and through them the rest of under more control by a few large corporations, especially Monsanto.

Those are all good reasons to oppose the Roundup-driven GMO foods we see.
Aside from that, even though the evidence of direct harm to individuals who consume the foods is totally bogus, there's some small chance that term are long-term bad effects of specific modifications that have not been discovered. That's not different from possible bad effects of new varieties that are developed by traditional means. Or of bad affects of food that was eaten for generations, like sarsaparilla, that we later learn is harmful.

But remember that not all GMO foods are of the Roundup-ready type. In all probability, we will also be able to develop crops that are beneficial, though the progress on things like rice with Vitamin A is slower than many scientists expected.

The righteous fight against the Monsanto-type crops has led to hyping of supposed dangers that aren't there, snowballing into anti-scientific hysteria by people who should know better. But that doesn't mean Monsanto should get a free pass to inflict all of the harm described above.

I would like to do away with all propriety knowledge of chemicals released into the environment, whether it be pesticides, the toxic soup they use for fracking, or anything else. And withholding scientific information about them while using them should be a felony for everyone who knowingly participates in doing so.

I don't know whether, were all the information publicly available, it would make sense to ban Roundup and whatever will follow in its place now that Roundup itself is losing efficacy as pests evolve. I see no reason to ban all GMOs, but just as with the pesticides most of them are designed to work with, information on them should be in the public domain before the organisms themselves are in the public environment.

Laws that have prevented companies from advertising that their milk is BGH-free are absurd and should be repealed ASAP. I don't think there are such laws in any state with regard to GMOs, but if there are, they are equally bad.

Mandatory labeling of products that do have GMOs are perhaps a useful stop-gap method so long we we cannot get legislation making the information about the pesticides public, but I don't think that's the real issue nor should it be the political focus. Open information is much more important.
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How GOP Paranoia Continues to Propel Hilary Clinton's Career [Jan. 1st, 2014|11:41 pm]
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Around 1994, Rush Limbaugh decided that Hilary Clinton made the perfect bogey(wo)man. Without Limbaugh, she would never have had an elective career. Sure, she had some ambition in that area, but it was pretty far-fetched.

But Limbaugh was (try not to gag when remembering) one of the most influential voices in the country at the time. And he thought the notion of an ambitious woman (therefore by definition, an evil shrew) so close to the Presidency was a wonderful tool to amp up the sense of beleaguered outrage and paranoia among his base. By raising her profile, he dragged other commentators for all over the political spectrum to also evaluate and speculate on her as a possible future President. Without that boost, I think it's very unlikely she would have had the prominence she has had.

Then, in the mid-2000s, most Republicans, still fueled by the Hillary paranoia their gurus had been feeding them for over 10 years, took it as a certainty she would get the Democratic nomination. The fix was in. As it had been all along. Some Democrats were foolish enough to buy into it, too.

Of course in the real world, no non-incumbent is ever given a free pass to a presidential nomination, even less so in the Democratic Party than in the Republican. She lost, in part because she's jut not a very good candidate. She has non of Bill's gift for empathy on the stump. Instead, she has the skill-set of a party leader in a parliamentary system who tried very hard to make that close enough.

Now, once again, Republicans are dead sure she will be the next Democratic nominee and many Democrats are along for the ride. but she is old. She herself said when she took the Secretary of State job that she would be too old to run in 2016. I'm pretty sure she meant it at the time, too, though having the prize within site and not being worn out from a recent loss has likely changed her perspective since. Still, it's worth keeping in mind: whether she was determined to run, keeping her options open, and maybe if she knew she would not run, she would be acting precisely as she is acting. She has power to influence events because she is *believed* to be running, and she will not give up that power sooner than she has a good reason to. I rate the odds of her running at 5 out of 7.

If she does run, she still has the same weaknesses she had before, and likely less stamina, to boot. Whether an older appearance will help or hurt her, I don't know. Both, of course, but I don't know which more. The field of possible rivals for the nomination looks weak, but outside of presumptive favorites, it almost always does until December the year before. I rate her chance of getting the nomination assuming she runs at 2 out of 3 and I may be being too generous. That makes her chance of both running and being nominated 10 out of 21--just under 50%.

Now, if she *is* the candidate, he chance of winning the presidency is helped by the continuing Republican paranoia about her. I read Republicans salivating at the chance to attack her over Benghazi. I read some Democrats thinking that the recent New York Times report about Benghazi is an attempt to favor her. Even though 90% of what the Republicans allege about Benghazi is preposterous, the other 10% doesn't involve Clinton very much, and the Times report in now way absolves her of anything.

The best thing Clinton has going for her as a candidate is that she con compare the Republicans' obsession with her as a person to her own obsession (if she chooses to paint it that way) with serving the country. I don't particularly want her to be the nominee. But I also don't think anyone else who's likely to be nominated (that doesn't include Warren, though it may be worth a try) is much different. So if the Republicans think that their obsession with Clinton and what they perceive as scandals will work for them, I'll play along. Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! Clinton For President! (Unless we find a better nominee.)
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