Democrats and “activists”: this is how we roll

Workout notes: easy 4 mile walk (Cornstalk course); basically a “day off”. I took Barbara to the bus stop for her trip to O’Hare airport.

Post topic
If you are unfamiliar with Democratic infighting, it is a bit like this:

Yes, right now I am backing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. I feel that she is a better politician than the other candidates; she is a bit more level headed and accepting of expert consensus (example: science of GMOs)

But now, Bernie Sanders is coming under fire from…some “activists”:

Black Twitter has a bone to pick with Bernie Sanders.

The 2016 lefty darling’s seeming unwillingness to talk about race on the campaign trail is not sitting well with some black activists and observers, and a tense moment turned #BernieSoBlack into a dominant trending topic over the weekend.

Confronted Saturday by protesters at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix chanting “Black lives matter!” and “What side are you on?” Sanders was clearly annoyed. “Black lives, of course, matter,” the populist and self-described socialist senator said. “I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity…If you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”

And that is how we roll. “Activists” get a cause and expect everyone else to put their cause “front and center” and to accept their claims uncritically. No, this is far from the only group (example, example)

Not accepting their claims at face value or not allowing them to jump to the front means that you are: immoral, ignorant, deluded, evil, stupid or possibly all of these. Anything but cheering “Yay team” is betrayal. Never mind many (most?) of the activists are themselves ignorant of the basic facts and data pertaining to their pet cause; what they have instead is an belief in a dogma, energy and enthusiasm.

So, why am I a Democrat? It isn’t because I like activists; for the most part I can’t stand them.

I am in favor of Keynesian economics because there is evidence that it works; supply side economics, whenever it has been tried, has been a failure.
I am in favor of following science. Yes most Democrats accept astronomy, geology and evolution, but when it comes to vaccines, GMO acceptance and energy issues, well, it is a bit mixed.
In terms of moral values, I believe in inclusion as much as practically possible (example: someone of my athletic abilities doesn’t belong in professional sports, and someone of my intellectual abilities shouldn’t be full professor at MIT).

I believe in social liberalism; example, what sort of sex you have with another consenting adult is none of my business.
I believe in freedom of speech, including some speech that I don’t care for (opposed by some liberals)

So the Democratic party is a better fit for my beliefs.

And so it goes.

This coming election season, I’ll be voting the same way as a lot of people that I don’t really care for. :-)

\end rant.

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment

Clinton: better stance on science than Sanders

When it comes to science and GMOs, Hillary Clinton seems to understand science better than Bernie Sanders does.

This is a woo-woo article attacking Hillary Clinton:

Speaking at a conference in San Diego last week for the world’s largest trade organization of biotechnology firms, potential presidintial candidate Hillary Clinton backed GMOs and Big Ag, further displaying her allegiance to the industry in the eyes of sustainable food and organic advocates.

While trumpeting her endorsement of GMO seeds when she served as Secretary of State, Clinton told the crowd that the term “‘genetically modified’ sounds Frankensteinish,” and thus turns people off to GMOs. “Drought resistant sounds really like something you’d want,” she said, encouraging the industry to improve their semantics. “There’s a big gap between the facts and what the perceptions are.”

Sanders, on the other hand:

There was concern among scientists at the FDA in the 1990s that genetically engineered foods could have new and different risks such as hidden allergens, increased plant-toxin levels and the potential to hasten the spread of antibiotic-resistant disease. Those concerns were largely brushed aside. Today, unanswered questions remain. In the United States, resolutions calling for labeling of genetically engineered foods were passed by the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association. In Canada, a landmark independent study by Canadian doctors published in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology found that toxin from soil bacterium engineered into corn to kill pests was present in the bloodstream of 93 percent of pregnant women. There is a great need for additional research because there have never been mandatory human clinical trials of genetically engineered crops, no tests for carcinogenicity or harm to fetuses, no long-term testing for human health risks, no requirement for long-term testing on animals, and only limited allergy testing. What this means is that, for all intents and purposes, the long-term health study of genetically engineered food is being done on all of the American people.

Uh, Senator Sanders, G<O foods meets the same tests that organic foods; they just "sound" icky.

I'd go with the science community says rather than what some "activists" say, but hey, that is me. And, evidently, Hillary Clinton. Good for her.

July 23, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, hillary clinton, science | , , , | 6 Comments

Iran deal and politics

Iran deal Personally, I like the deal as it cuts off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon; it was designed by those who know how to make such weapons.

But alas, in the opinion of some conservatives it..well…isn’t “tough enough” on a country that we don’t like. Oh, there is that troubling notion of getting other countries to agree to go along.


Bernie Sanders: I think that this short article lays out the pros and cons very nicely.

Barack Obama: yes, he set out to be “transformational” in that he wanted there to be “Obama Republicans” just as there were “Reagan Democrats”

He failed. Nevertheless, he got some really big stuff done and ultimately he helped the country more than President Reagan did, at least in my opinion. As far as the opinion of others: well, his approval ratings track rather well against the average approval ratings of past 2 term presidents. Here is the graph; the dotted line shows the average and the darker green line was President Bush (II).

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 7.57.39 AM

Graph generated from here.

No, he didn’t have the charm of President Reagan or President Clinton. But I happen to like his approach. Note: I think that President Clinton (II) will be more like President Obama in that she’ll take a measured, calculated approach.

Republicans Trump might be in the lead in a few polls, but that can be very deceiving when there this many candidates diluting the support for a front runner. The “anyone but Trump” action is strong.

I think that Gov. Walker, Gov. Bush and Sen. Rubio are their strongest candidates. If I had to pick a Republican to be President, I’d probably pick between Gov. Jindal, Sen. Rubio or Sen. Graham.
But I can’t envision a Democrat being nominated that I wouldn’t vote for. And I’ve already given Sec. Clinton a donation.

July 20, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, republicans politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senator Sanders and rhetoric vs. action

I know that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has officially decided to run for President. Some of the more outspoken liberals I know are backing him.

Yes, he says many of the “right” things in public, and Secretary Hillary Clinton has been derided as being too close to Wall Street, too much of a hawk in foreign affairs, etc.

But here is the question I’d love to get answered by someone who supports Senator Sanders: what actually has he done?

Saying the “right thing” is pretty easy one one comes from a small, “safe” state; in 2012 he won by 70 percent but still had about 2/3’rd the vote that the current Chicago Mayor got. But if “saying the right thing” is what we need, then why not draft, say, Paul Krugman? Krugman certainly knows more about economics than any political candidate and I mostly love what he says. :-)

I want someone who has demonstrated some political skill at actually getting legislation passed and getting hostile political opposition to at least give a little.

So, at least to me, Senator Sandars is something like a Democratic version of Senator Santorum or Senator Cruz; I really don’t take him that seriously even if I am in agreement with most of his positions.

Hey, I agree with myself 100 percent of the time, and I’d be horrible at that job.

May 3, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, political/social, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Obama on Baltimore, warming, butt hurt, etc.

This lasts 14 minutes. Note that President Obama STARTS by condemning the criminal behavior of looting, burning, etc. He also points out that the peaceful protests didn’t get a lot of attention.

President Obama did have some fun at the expense of Michele Bachmann and her nuttiness.

Of course, the nut jobs are “offended”. Sorry: a nutty idea is a nutty idea, even if you believe it for “religious” reasons.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is going to “run for President”.
Yes, though he won his Senate race by a landslide (and then some), he still only got something like 208,00 votes, which is less than what the Mayor of Chicago got (319,000). But he excites some of the liberals and perhaps that excitement might carry over to the general if Hillary Clinton reaches out to them.

But his chances at the nomination are only slightly greater than my chances of making an NFL team.

Trolling I assume that this guy was serious. But instead of being outraged, I laughed out loud at him; he sounds like a caricature of a Fox News watcher.

Science and society

Yes, this is only one point on the earth. But look at the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.


Yes, GMO crops have a place. This is how one former “anti-GMO activist” saw the light.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Barack Obama, Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ok, Democrats: what about the 2016 Presidential election

Ok, it was February 10, 2007 when then Senator Barack Obama announced that he was running for President. I was there in Springfield.

It is about a month later than that and, to my knowledge, no serious Democrat has yet to make the official announcement though, of course, most of the buzz has been about Hillary Clinton.

So, IF YOU USUALLY VOTE DEMOCRAT (no Republicans, Greens, etc.), what do you think?

March 8, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

I was wrong about Cheri Bustos

Yes, I voted for Cheri Bustos and gave her campaign a token about of money. But I was not happy about her becoming a Blue Dog.

I am still not happy about that, in terms of policy.

But she did win reelection, and she won by a larger amount than she did in 2012. In 2012, she won 53-47. This time, she won 55-45, and this was in a hard year for Democrats and in an election where President Obama wasn’t on the ballot.

Yes, President Obama carried her district by 17 points in 2012.

Still, she pitched a “moderate” image and won with that.

November 5, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, Democrats, IL-17, political/social, politics | , | 3 Comments

I agree with John Boehner’s office about something….

We hear the talk of impeachment coming from well known Republicans

as well as from some Republicans in Congress.

I don’t know the grounds but hey, it is popular with rank and file Republicans (57 percent)

So, the Democrats have noticed and are raising money off of it:


Of course, Republicans have noticed. John Boehner’s office weighed in (and yes, Rep. Boehner dismissed the notion):

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel noted in a statement that Boehner already ruled out impeachment and dismissed Pfeiffer’s remarks as a “fundraising exercise for Democrats.”

So who exactly among GOP leaders in the House — where an impeachment move could only start in the Judiciary Committee — is jumping on this bandwagon?

Earnest(White House Press Secretary), asked if anybody in the Republican leadership is seriously talking about impeachment, said, “Well, I think Sarah Palin considers herself to be a leader.”

“. . . . I think that there are some Republicans, including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can get into office so that they can impeach the president. That is apparently a view that they hold, because it’s one that they have repeatedly expressed publicly,” Earnest said.

Talking up Obama being impeached is certainly a way to try to whip up the Democratic base as Congress gets ready to leave at the end of next week and won’t be back until after Labor Day.

Seriously, this is one way to wake up the lazy Democrats. I hope that the Republicans keep on talking.

Note: President Obama’s approval rating continues in the low to mid 40’s, and is about 79 percent among all Democrats and 81 among liberal Democrats.
His tend line almost perfectly tracks the historical trend line (I’ve also included the trend for President Bush)


click to see a larger version

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, political/social, politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

We are going to get creamed in 2014, and we deserve it.

Terrible news for Democrats:

Americans are angry at Congress — more so than basically ever before. So it’s time to throw the bums out, right?

Well, not really. In fact, Americans appear prepared to deal with their historic unhappiness using perhaps the least-productive response: Staying home.

A new study shows that Americans are on-track to set a new low for turnout in a midterm election, and a record number of states could set their own new records for lowest percentage of eligible citizens casting ballots.



David Horsey has a point:


We are going to get creamed because we suck.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Walking and the politics of young people

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 12.11.37 PM

I took the car to north Peoria to get serviced; since I was close to the northern part of the Rock Island trail I decided to take advantage.

I walked south to the intersection of Knoxville and Giles (4.05 miles), back to the trail head; at mile 0 I clicked a split and walked to mile 1 on the trail and then back to 0, and then doubled back to the trailhead. The total: slightly over 10 miles (16 km) in 2:25:56.

Since I hadn’t specifically planned the walk, I walked in my cargo pants and t-shirt; sort of the “old foagie” look. I was somewhat sore this morning from yesterday’s intervals plus “hard hike on the trails” so I cruised at a steady 14:20-14:30 pace. I saw a couple of deer in the distance as I passed by farmlands.

Good news: when the walk ended, it was more of “aw, do I have to quit now?” rather than “thank goodness I am done”; that is a very good sign.

The title of this article is interesting:

Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense
That’s not a harsh assessment. It’s just a fair description.

I’d add: with one exception, they are like people of my generation. The exception:

3. Far less important, but entertaining nonetheless: Millennials don’t know what socialism is, but they think it sounds nice.

I think that “socialism” has a negative connotation with people of my generation because we grew up with the Cold War; that is something millennials only read about in books.

But here is why it makes no sense:

On spending:
Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
On taxes:
Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
On government’s role in our lives:
Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that “when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.”
Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
On government size:
Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word “taxes”).
Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don’t mention “taxes”).
Some of these positions suggest, rather than prove, utter incoherence. For example, you can technically support (a) reducing the overall tax burden and (b) raising taxes on the wealthy by raising the investment tax and absolving the bottom 50 percent of Social Security taxes. Somehow, I think what’s happening is simpler than young people doing the long math of effective tax rates. I think they’re just confused.

In short: they are like the rest of us; they want services (whether they admit it or not) but don’t want to pay for such services. :-)

But here is why this matters to politics: on one hand, they lean Democrat; the social conservatism of the Republicans really turns them off.

On the other hand: they have a libertarian streak when it comes to economics:

Although a majority of younger voters today are reliably Democratic, there are key issues on which they differ notably from their elders within the center-left coalition. The July Pew survey identifies two predominantly white core Democratic constituencies: the “solid liberals” of the traditional left, which is 69 percent white, with an average age of 46, who exhibit deep progressive commitments on both economic and social issues; and younger voters, 68 percent white, with an average age of 38, which Pew calls the “next generation left.”

The two groups were asked to choose whether “most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard” or whether “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.” A decisive majority of the older “solid liberal” group, 67 percent, responded that hard work is no guarantee of success, while an even larger majority, 77 percent, of the younger “next generation left” believes that you can get ahead if you are willing to work hard.

Part of me just chuckles; this goes hand in hand with studies that state Millennials vastly overestimate what they are going to accomplish in life. (see: the book Generation Me by Jean Twenge). Some things you have to learn the hard way, just as I did.

But the upshot is that economic populism, while popular with old hippies (e. g. my crowd) won’t be such a selling point with younger voters.
In other words, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich doesn’t really “speak to them” the way that they speak to me.

So there is your Warren/Sanders ticket right there.

Note on Elizabeth Warren: yes, she is very smart and she has some excellent ideas. But she simply isn’t a politician; I have deep skepticism of her chances on a national level even though the old hippies love her.

I present the following:

Massachusetts Senate race 2012:

Warren: 53.7 Brown: 46.2 difference: 7.5 points

Massachusetts Presidential race 2012:

Obama: 60.65. Romney: 37.51 Difference: 23.14 points.

This is a national level candidate?

Here is a sample of previous presidential winners in their “race before the presidency” races. One has to go back to 1970 to find a national candidate who won their “large race” by a narrow of a margin as Warren’s (and yes, Nixon lost the California race of 1962 and narrowly lost the presidential race of 1960).

Illinois Senate 2004:
Obama: 70.0 Keys: 27.0

Texas Governor 1998
Bush: 68.2 Mauro: 31.2

Arkansas Governor 1990
Clinton: 57.49 Nelson: 42.49

General election 1984
Bush (VP with Reagan)
Reagan-Bush: 58.8 Mondale: 40.6

California Governor 1970
Reagan: 52.83 Unruh: 45.14

California Governor 1962
Brown: 51.94 Nixon: 46.87

But Nixon was VP to Eisenhower and had lost a very narrow Presidential election in 1960 (narrow in popular vote: 49.7-49.6)

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | , , | Leave a comment


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