What Will Bernie Do?

There’s a lot of buzz lately that Bernie is set to announce his candidacy, which would shake things up for sure, but I’m not sure in a good way.
I’m a huge fan of Bernie, of course, but I don’t want him to run.  I think that he should throw his weight behind Tulsi Gabbard.  She is the obvious person to pass the torch to.  She is someone the Democratic establishment is afraid of, because they are trying to shut her out already.  AIPAC also hates her, so she’s got all the right enemies.  She is for all the same economic justice causes that Bernie is for, she is Green, perhaps even greener than he is, and she’s got the whole anti-war thing going on.  Like Bernie, she appeals to independents, and even some conservatives like her.  If she gets the nomination, she will win easily.
And I think if he does run, that sets up a split among progressive voters, which would make it much easier for the DNC to slide one of their total shitbag candidates – most likely Kamala “private prisons” Harris – into the slot, so they can lose to Trump again. Which means things will continue as they are, and the checks from the oil companies can keep rolling in, and Nancy Pelosi will remain as ineffective House Speaker until long after she’s dead, cackling away like the crypt-keeper in Tales From the Crypt.
But, a lot of people see it differently.  Some think that having two progressive candidates in the race would be good for the progressive side, that with both Bernie and Tulsi running, between them they will pull the whole field to the left and one of them will get the nomination.
My track record on political predictions is well under 100%, and I can’t read Bernie Sanders mind.  I’m confident he will do what he sees as right, and most effective.  I’m hoping he endorses Tulsi, though.

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re The Fermi Paradox

I was watching a thing on the search for extraterrestrials, which is one of my favorite things to do, and the old Fermi Paradox, which states that if there’s so much intelligent extra-terrestrial space faring life, like in Star Trek, out there in the rest of the Galaxy and beyond, why haven’t we been visited yet?
Of course, there’s something to it.  Even though maybe it just comes down to the vastness of the universe, and maybe we’re not in a particularly populated region, or maybe we’re just not up to the technological level that they consider worth contacting, and, after all, we’ve only existed as a distinct species for a hundred thousand years or so, and only a tool wielding, settlement building species for maybe 50,000 years, absolute tops, so in that scenario we are the primitive Pacific Islanders of the universe, and they’ll get around to us eventually.  Or maybe we are for some reason excluded, like not that we’re not technically advanced enough, but maybe they find us morally repugnant or likely to damage the fabric of galactic civilization, and we couldn’t really be surprised.  Or, maybe, they are just not out there.
The way I see it, there are two possibilities.  Either we discover aliens, and it makes a huge impact on our civilization and nothing will ever be the same again, or we keep on looking.
By the end of this century we will have a permanent colony on Mars, and I think that’s a conservative estimate.  Also, we’ll have a colony on the moon and we’ll be able to use the dark side of it as a dump for all of the toxic substances of Earth, which may sound a bit fucked up but it will mean a cleaner Earth.

By the end of the next century, the Martian colony will be well on the way to terraforming and scientists will have discovered a catalyst that changes the atmosphere of Venus,  so that humans will colonize our own entire Goldilocks zone.there will be mining operations on several of Jupiter’s moons, there will be a space elevator, and Earth will be receiving all of the energy it could possibly need from a solar array floating in space.  The environment will be stabilized, and the future of mankind assured.

By the end of the century after that, we will have developed multi-generational ark ships capable of reaching distant star systems.
If we still haven’t made contact by then, everything we find out there will be ours.  But, we’ll still keep looking.
There will never come a time in the history of mankind when we stop searching for aliens.  Unless, of course, we find them.  Or become them.  Maybe not even then.

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Once, on Morning Joe

Somebody posted a video of Russell Brand on Morning Joe on my Facebook and I was about to write my blog about it, but then, while watching it, I got very confused.  First, one  of the panelists got confused between Russell Brand and Willie Brandt, which is pretty egregious for a pundit, but then Russell Brand didn’t seem to know who Willie Brandt was, which is not so horrible for a comedian but he does have pretensions to being knowledgeable  about politics, so it was kind of an all around stupid fest, and then he (Brand) started going on about Bradley Manning, and I was thinking ‘Who the hell is Bradley Manning?’ and then I realized he was talking about Chelsea Manning and I realized that the video was very old, like years old.  So, not such a good topic for a blog.  But, I don’t have a good topic for a blog and Russell Brand had done something a bit earlier in the routine that I thought was significant.
At one point, he turned away from the panelists and looked at all the staff in the adjoining area and said “Are those people working?” and Mika explained that, yes, they were Facebooking, and Tweeting, and indeed that was their job.  Then there were a couple of jokes about whether they were allowed to watch porn, and could they maybe keep it down a bit, they were trying to do a show, etc…, and everybody missed the point.
Right there, in plain sight, and not even trying to hide it, are professional messagers, paid trolls if you will, and there’s nothing illegal about it and nobody even thought for a second “Well, damn, this is wrong.”
The internet is supposed to be a place for the free exchange of opinions, linking all the minds of the world so that we can find solutions to all of our problems and usher in an era of ecological stability, explosive innovation, massive advances in research in every direction, and peace and love and justice for all mankind.  But, the dickheads who run MSNBC apparently think the opinions of MSNBC should have more weight than the others.  Probably all the networks do it, actually.
So, what chance does the average keyboard warrior have of being heard?  Some, of course, which is better than before the internet, when it was none.  But, still, the system is rigged against us, and they don’t even need to hide it.
And I guess I just wound up writing about a stupid years old video after all.

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Feminist Bullshit

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a story which clearly was written deliberately to freeze Tulsi Gabbard out, but that’s not the theme of this blog.  It had, right there on the front page, large pictures of Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand, none of whom has as much chance of being the next president as Tulsi Gabbard.  But, that’s not the theme of this blog.
The headline was: “Voters prefer ‘Likable’ Women, Reinforcing Gender Biases.”
Sorry, ladies, but this crosses the line.  This is where ‘feminism’ becomes ‘feminist bullshit.’  Of course voters prefer likable women.  Are we supposed to prefer unlikable women?  It’s right there in the adjective.  Likable women are likable.  Unlikable women are unlikable.  Sometimes there’s a reason.  Elizabeth Warren talks a good game but is nowhere to be found when the chips are down, so that’s kind of unlikable.  Kamala Harris has made a career out of supporting private prisons.  I find that downright despicable.  Amy Klobuchar, reportedly, tends to throw things at her staff.  I don’t know much about Gillibrand.  She’s certainly no Tulsi Gabbard, but maybe she’s likable.
But, it’s not just women.  Voters prefer likable men, too.  It’s why Beto O’Rourke is so popular, despite the fact that he’s an oil industry loving tool.  Hey, he can ride a skateboard and eats hamburgers.  Very likable.  George W. Bush, one of the great war criminals of the 21st century, was elected because he was the kind of guy ‘people would like to have a beer with.’  People who are idiots, anyway.
So, you don’t get to cry sexism because voters (women included) prefer likable women over unlikable women.  That’s the way it works.

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Qualifications

About a week ago (although I just read about it a few minutes ago) Michael Moore said he wished they would lower the age of eligibility for the presidency so that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez could run.
I suspect he wasn’t entirely serious.  It’s sort of like people saying we should change the ‘natural born citizen’ part so that Arnold Schwarzenegger could run, or wanting to eliminate the electoral college because their candidate lost the last election.
I am not against any of those things, but they would require constitutional amendments and those are really hard to get, so I’m not holding my breath.
In fact, I think we should be making it harder to run for president, and not easier.  After Trump, I certainly think it’s reasonable that any incoming president should be certified by a neutral board of psychiatrists as being sane.  How to ensure the neutrality of that board, I don’t know, but then you run into a quis costodiet ipsos custodiandem type of quandary, and it’s turtles all the bloody way down.  I, personally, would like to see them take an I.Q. test but a lot of people might holler discrimination at that one, and cultural bias.  Maybe they should at least have to take a citizenship test – what are the 3 branches of government, how many stars are on the flag, that sort of thing.
But, of course, we don’t have those requirements and it’s just up to the people to make sure that there are no clinically insane people in the race.  You can sometimes spot them.  They are the ones who say stuff that isn’t even close to true and don’t act even a little contrite when they are proven wrong.  Ensuring a candidate’s intelligence might be a little trickier.  But, if they don’t know how to spell hamburger, it’s kind of a dead giveaway.

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Ilhan Omar is Right

Although she has apologized (with a bit of a rider at the end, saying nonetheless, lobbying groups like the NRA, and AIPAC, and the fossil fuel industry have too much influence), I think she was right.
She wrote “It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby” and the pro-Israel types, including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer immediately jumped all over her, as if it’s a mortal insult to say that money talks, and sometimes it speaks Yiddish, with a funny old accent.
“It’s all about the Benjamins, baby” is a phrase that probably gets repeated on twitter and facebook thousands of times a day, in many contexts.  And it can’t be wrong to point out AIPAC’s huge influence on American politics.

Can Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer honestly say they have never received campaign donations from AIPAC or its members?  Can they say they have never courted the support of wealthy Jewish donors like Sheldon Adelson and Chaim Saban, who put Israel above all else?  Can they say they have never given a speech at a fund raising dinner where most of the guests were Jewish and they spent a large portion of their speech talking about how wonderful Israel is?
I’ll bet they can’t.  And if they can’t, then they are the biggest hypocrites in the world, because that proves her point right there.
And if they can, if they are totally not beholden to Israel for their worthless political careers, then maybe they can explain why the U.S. DOES have such a servile relationship with that tiny land?  Why does the U.S. give them billions of dollars a year?  Why does the U.S. congress vote on clearly unconstitutional legislation which actually makes it a crime to criticize Israel, and to refuse to buy from them?
Because “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby” sounds about right to me.

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Green Dimension

I read an interesting article today, in a break between frenetically reading and responding to headlines, as I am wont to do, about the things people say when they are dying, not just famous last words, which can be entertaining but it’s like with anything else.  The vast majority of people’s last words are probably rather mundane, like “I don’t feel so well,” or “What the fuck was tha…” or the ever famous “Oh, shit.”  There are only so many Oscar Wildes in the world, so it gets boring after a while.
No, this was more one woman who recorded her father’s steadily progressing dementia until his death, in a scientific study of cognition.  One of the phrases (meaningless phrases, I believe she said) that he blurted out with occasionally and inexplicably, was “Green dimension!  Green dimension!”  Could mean many different things I suppose.  Perhaps he was misremembering the name of a band, or two.  Maybe he was saying ‘dementia’ instead of dimension, and he was trying to say “I know I’ve got dementia, do you have to record everything I say?”  Perhaps he was making a poetic statement about how much he’s always loved the outdoors in the spring or summer.
But perhaps, just perhaps, he had had a glimpse of another dimension, perhaps an afterlife to ours, or a parallel universe.  If so, is it called the Green Dimension because it’s environmentally perfect, the water in all the streams is drinkable, the air is so clean you could get high just breathing it, and the birds are singing in the trees which are everywhere, or just because everything, like people even, is green.
If so, we may never know.

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