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(Temporary) Peace Out


I have tried to keep this blog going, and to keep the content informative.  I will try to continue to do so, but life might once again get in the way.

My sources inform me that I’m beginning a masters program (tomorrow!?!).  Specifically, a Masters in Sustainable Peace in the Contemporary World, at the University for Peace, mandated by the U.N., and hosted in one of the world’s more peaceful places – Costa Rica.  (I’m taking distance education for convenience, but still, there is a school in Costa Rica dedicated to peace.)

It sounds kind of exciting, but there’s so much I wanted to write about here.

I’ve been gathering hundreds of sources – enough to write a book – about Israel, Palestine, the U.S.  It sounds kind of like Fateful Triangle, but different.

There’s also the presidential race.  Every year we’re told this is the most important election of our life, and it sure seems it’s true this year.  It also makes me wonder what might happen in 2018, or 2020.  I have so many sources, and so much to say …

There’s the environment.  It’s kind of important, and there’s a lot to say and not enough time to say it.  Somebody has to do something about this time thing.

There’s race relations.  That needs fixing, not just talk.

There’s the economy.  After all, money makes the world go ’round.  Until then, though, make sure to read some works by Michael Lewis.

So, to use the common phrase, peace out.


Nine Eleven Fifteen years later


Fifteen years have passed since September, 11, 2001.  In the years following, on other September 11’s (and other days), I’ve tried to keep you posted about what has resulted since.  I began the long task of trying to compare an excellent September 11 report with the government’s 9/11 report – the same government report that has recently been further released, although mostly redacted; the same report that talks about how our friend, Saudi Arabia, is more culpable than previously thought).

I was unable to complete that comparison of those reports.  The truth remains, and is sometimes mentioned, that we don’t know most of the truth that led to September 11, 2001, most of the truth that happened on September 11, 2001, or the truth of what has happened since 2001.

I don’t know a complete summary is possible.  However, there is a lot of information.  Consider this:

almost 15 years have passed and that air war has never ended.  In Afghanistan, for instance, in just the first four years of the Obama administration (2009-2012), more than 18,000 munitions were released over the country.  And this year, B-52s, those old Vietnam workhorses, retired for a decade in Afghanistan, took to the air again as U.S. air sorties there ramped up against surging Taliban and Islamic state militants.

And that’s just to begin to describe the never-ending nature of the American air war that has spread across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa in these years.  In response to al-Qaeda’s brief set of air strikes against U.S. targets, Washington launched an air campaign that has yet to end, involving the use of hundreds of thousands of bombs and missiles, many of a “precision” sort but some as dumb as they come, against a growing array of enemies. Almost 15 years later, American bombs and missiles are now landing on targets in not one but seven largely Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen).

Remember that the people you vote for are the people who decide if we should bomb people that never attacked us.

Moral Compass


On the back of The Speech, by Bernie Sanders, one of the promotional quotes is from Sarah Silverman.  It says “[Sanders’] moral compass and sense of values inspire me.  He always seems to be on the right side of history.”

The same Sarah Silverman told Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters that they were being ridiculous for supporting Bernie during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Silverman was a Bernie supporter – in fact, a surrogate who introduced Bernie at events.  Perhaps Silverman lost whatever moral compass she once had.

In the introduction of The Speech, Bernie says “if we don’t stand together today, working Americans will continue fighting an uphill battle just to make ends meet and the end of each month.  We cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.  Now is the time to transform America.”

The time has come and gone where Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and she was nominated by the Democratic Party (the part about Hillary delegates behaving badly is a different story).

Bernie supporters appear to be split – and it’s hard to say at what ratio – over following him to Clinton, or following his admonishment that “we cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.”  It’s one or the other.

The standard argument for going from a Bernie supporter to a Hillary supporter is that we have a two party system, we are stuck with a two party system, and that Hillary is not Trump (I never hear arguments in favor of her policies, whatever they are).  The moral argument, such as it is one, is that Clinton is not Trump, and we’ll know how to push her around on policy (as if!).

The arguments against supporting Hillary are long.  Besides the conservatives who hate the name Clinton, progressives and other Democrats with a moral compass pointing to justice also call for Clinton to be prosecuted for actions while Secretary of State, or at least to just go away.  The moral compass here points in the opposite direction of her policies – the ones we know – like deportation and bombing.

I’m not saying the sudden Clinton supporters don’t have a moral compass.  The compass points against Trump.  It points to the regressive status quo.

I don’t think the Bernie Sanders progressives, now looking to Jill Stein as the progressive candidate, expect to win an election, or intend to ruin one.  Rather, the point appears to be to make a moral statement against Clinton and for progress, and at the same time catch the attention of those who count votes, so that they might look up and say ‘gee, what happened?  All these people have a moral compass pointing toward progress.’

Either you can heed Bernie’s call work with Hillary, or you can heed his call to “stand together … [w]e cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.”  It’s one or the other.

It’s in our hands.




Coming together and falling apart


The Democrats are disunited.  Inside the Democratic National Convention there is no unity, with delegates walking out in protest, and chanting “no more war” when Penetta spoke.  Outside, it’s disorganized and disunited.  People don’t know where events are, people don’t know where to go.

The party being disunited, the sentiment on the street from true Bernie supporters is against party unity – that is, they are not (we are not) suddenly supporting Hillary Clinton.

The people united, it felt more like a gathering of friends who had never met.  Bernie supporters met each other on the street corner, cheered and pump fists at one another, and sometimes talked for several minutes.  Most agreed they would never vote for Hillary, and would write in Bernie or vote Jill Stein, depending on what their state allowed.

Many spent the day sightseeing.  We saw other at the liberty bell, at Independence Hall, City Hall, and many streets between.

The people are united, and the party is in disarray.

Not the planned result, I think …



Enough is Enough


Also known as

“Hell no, DNC, We won’t vote for Hillary”

A summary of one day outside the Democratic National Convention.

It’s clear that Bernie Sanders conceded the nomination, and called for Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.  It’s  unclear what will happen in the next couple days; clearly the Convention will reconvene tomorrow.  It’s also unclear what it means for the Sanders delegates, inside, who walked out of the convention in protest, and what it means for the Sanders supporters outside.

Earlier, outside, several thousand – a disappointing number in some sense – of Bernie supporters (and very few Hillary supporters – I saw maybe less than a dozen) gathered.   It was disorganized: it was unclear where things were happening, and when.  People came from campgrounds and hotels far away to stand in the heat, the humidity  (and yesterday the rain, thunder, and lightning).

There was also lots of media – mostly independent media, but late in the evening I think I saw network cameras filming people.  I was asked by three very diverse, strange, media to give interviews.  I got very frustrated with the first one, which wouldn’t tell me who owned his company or what kind of viewpoint it had.  He eventually   asked me why I liked Bernie – I gave him a strange look and said I liked Bernie’s policies.  The second just wanted to talk about what I thought of Citizens United.  Duh!  (Worst thing since un-sliced cheese).  The third asked me why I’m Bernie for Bust, and who I would vote for  if Clinton got the nominee (she hadn’t gotten it yet).  I admitted I didn’t know, but talked about why I’m not enthused with Clinton, and that lots of voters had been stricken from the rolls – mostly, perhaps all, Bernie supporters – just after the Clinton campaign appeared to have profited from a breach in NGP VAN (voterbuilder) last autumn.  It clearly hasn’t been a fair campaign.

So what will happen with all of the Bernie supporters?  People have been asking a lot.  If I had a magic ball I’d make a lot of money.  It’s clear from the signs people were carrying that the second option is Jill Stein of the Green Party.  Her platform, and the Green Party’s platform, is very much like Bernie’s, and she’s considered the other progressive running for president.  But Stein is not on the ballot in every state.

As my esteemed grandmother, who, if she was alive, would likely be Feeling the Bern, would say, more will be revealed.


Temporary Insanity



It seems that this election cycle both the Clinton (also known as Hillary) and Sanders (affectionately known as Bernie) supporters are suffering from temporary insanity.  The Bernie supporters – I am one, and on good authority do not speak only for myself  – seem unable to ever bring themselves to vote for Hillary; Hillary supporters cannot accept that Bernie has wide support in the country, and Hillary has legitimate trust issue, which even she acknowledges.

In an October debate Bernie Sanders broke the internet and gained popularity with the line that American people are sick and tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s damn emails. Not only did Bernie say damn, but he was right; people were tired about her emails.  It appeared that the email issue was a Republic Witch Hunt focused on Benghazi.

Eight months later we are still hearing about the damn emails.  They have become an issue for Hillary – a campaign issue, a personal issue, a moral issue, an ethical issue, and a legal issue.

Recently the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of State issued a highly critical analysis of Hillary Clinton’s email practices while running the department (Washington Post’s working).  Washington Post notes that Clinton “failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private email server and that department staff would not have given its blessing because of the ‘security risks in doing so,'” and that she “handled email in a way that was not an appropriate method for preserving public records and that her practices failed to comply with department policy.”

This is only one of many recent developments regarding Clinton’s misuse of her email and her inability to maintain government records of her activity in the government.  Brian Pagliano, who is an IT specialist, and who also was Clinton’s techie in her first election bid (pdf page 151) (I will return to this source)  pled the the 5th – the fifth amendment, which refers to right not to self-incriminate – more than 125 times in his deposition which focused on how the private server that Hillary used was set up.

By pleading the fifth,

“[Pagliano’s]  doing that in this context tells you something about the purpose of the system, potentially, and what was going on and whether it was a good faith issue — a matter of just folks making honest mistakes — or something more nefarious,” Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s head, told The Hill. …

“In certain circumstances, the witness taking the Fifth Amendment, you can draw some negative conclusions based on that about the State Department’s conduct …” he added.

Staying silent “can be used against you,” said Peter Toren, a former federal prosecutor and partner at Weisbrod Matteis & Copley.

“It’s extremely tedious, but the fact that [a witness] took the Fifth is an inference that what I’m asking is true,”

said Toren during an interview before the deposition occurred.

Hillary Clinton has long maintained that she made a mistake using a personal, unsecure, email.  She has also maintained that the server she used for this unsecure email was secure.  The Wall Street Journal says that “Mr. Pagliano maintained Mrs. Clinton’s server in her New York home.” ( It and also says that “The State Department paid [Pagliano], but a Clinton official confirmed to the Washington Post that the Clintons paid him in addition. Mr. Pagliano did not report that outside money on disclosure forms—as he was required to do. And the State Department claims to have been unaware that Mr. Pagliano was getting personally paid by the secretary of state,” which is another ethical matter).

We could shrug and say this was an error of two people who knew little about technology: Clinton, and her Chief of Staff (and legal council) Cheryl Mills (who was deposed about her knowledge of the server,and FOIA requests, last month- the deposition is the above-cited link from JudicialWatch).  One error is just one error.  However, if this is really a single-issue campaign, the single issue is the lack of equality: economic, racial, judicial etc.

As a human, what worries me most about Hillary Clinton’s email issues is not that she can’t email and is behind the times for those she wishes to represent, or even that she set up an email sever without much thought (although, it’s a bad thing for a public servant to do); my concern is with the lack of transparency by Hillary, who’s running to hold what’s considered to be the most powerful office in the world’s most powerful country, but, because no thought was ever given to rectify it, the information of what Hillary did while Secretary of State is largely missing.  For instance, her calendar, which should have been kept as public record of what she did daily, had at least 75 meetings with Clinton Foundation contributors and those with corporate interests omitted (never included).

The Nation poses a question and gives a partial answer: “Was it a crime for Hillary to use her private server for official communications? No. It was not a crime then—and it’s not now. But it violated the spirit of the Federal Records Act and the FOIA, which require preserving government documents so that they can be located and considered for release to requesters.”  The Republicans, who pursued a meaningless, costly, dead-end investigation into Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!, would generally considered to me by permanently, not temporarily, insane.  However, it seems they might be on to something with investing one last investigation into Hillary, and the lack of transparency – the inability to respond to FOIA requests – during her time as Secretary of State.

I’d rather not belabor the point on the emails, but every time I look up there’s more sources on the issue.  A the end of June it was revealed that another 165 pages of emails of Hillary’s were discovered (some of which had been deleted); the important part being that I agree “‘I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want,’ doesn’t strike me as Clinton simply wanting convenience and following the instructions of her IT people on how to make that happen. It reads to me as though Clinton is both far more aware of the email setup and far more engaged in how it should look than she generally lets on publicly.”

We have now reached a point – a point we had not reached when this writing began – where Donald Trump (known sometimes as Drumf, or some variation of his name, so as not to garner more ‘hits’ online) has received the Republican nomination, Bernie has endorsed Hillary, and Hillary has chosen Senator Tim Kaine to be her running mate – both the endorsement and the running mate selection have occurred before the Democratic Convention.

In a sane world Republicans, from moderate to Tea Party, would be flocking to support Trump and most Democrats, moderate to very progressive, would have resigned themselves (the more progressive the less so) to Hillary.  But this article is titled Temporary Insanity, and that’s what we’re experiencing.

I surmise that most Tea Party Republicans support Trump, and are likely to vote for him November.  More moderate Republicans – especially the ones who don’t have a career to lose over it – are less less likely to support Trump, and maybe, a little likely to support Clinton.  She hopes so, because she’s targeting them.

Then, with the vitriol coming from Trump, you would expect that those Democrats – mainly progressives – who are otherwise turned off by Hillary, you’d expect support for Clinton to increase after Trump’s nomination.  Instead, as soon as Bernie endorsed Hillary it backfired on the Democrats, and Jill Stein (Green Party) received record donations and support from Bernie supporters (Stein and the Green Party has an almost identical platform to Bernie’s).

There are those that beg you to never vote third party, and there are those that propound that a Trump presidency would be better than a Clinton one.  There are also those who try to use reason to convince “the other side” of real issues that need to be addressed  (This article, I’ve heard, was posted on Huffington Post, and removed, so it ended up on the linked website).  It all sounds kind of temporarily insane.

In this anti-establishment year it appears the progressive (or, more properly, the non-regressive) part of the Democrat Party would consider splitting the vote and risking a Trump presidency.  I don’t advocate the thought, but at the same time will tell you that I’m with the #NeverHillary crowd, and never means never.  At the time I can’t tell you what I, and the many (tens of thousands/millions) that agree with me, will do in three months.  Indeed, there are articles that question whether Bernie supporters will back Hillary, should that time come, but no answer is provided.

Admittedly, people are not very good at predicting what they will do in the future. “‘People have ideas about how they’re going to behave that don’t necessarily end up being the case when they’re faced with that eventual reality,’ said Kim Nalder, a professor of government at California State University, Sacramento.”

The same article suggests that one way for Hillary to win over Bernie voters might be to pick a vice-presidential candidate with progressive credentials.  She failed even at this .  Her pick – again, I remind you this was made before the Democratic National Convention, which hasn’t happened yet (and Clinton still does not, and cannot acquire before the Convention the requisite number of delegates to clinch the Convention) – is Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia, who describes himself as boring.  The leaders of the online Bernie movement, and progressives in general, are not impressed; Kaine is anti-abortion, and supports the reviled Trans Pacific Partnership deal (sometimes called NAFTA on steroids), which even Hillary Clinton has claimed to oppose, after supporting it.  Some has suggested the pick was to impressive the moderate Republicans Clinton hopes to persuade.  It appears she has no need for progressives; again, it appears a matter of temporary insanity.

I understand that the Hillary supporters are against Trump, and want to make sure he loses. They make somewhat sensible arguments about how a Democrat must pick the next Supreme Court judges, not Trump.  I’d rather vote for something.  If I could take Hillary at her word, it would make things easier, but she just wiffle-waffles, and it is rarely clear what she means – although I am sure she will always favor the corporation.

The Clinton campaign – and her supporters – are pushing the boogeyman Trump, and the arguments being “peddled are very poorly constructed. They rely on a mix of fear and bias toward the near.”  The argument is that the Democratic and Republican Parties are fundamentally different; they’re not.  Both pursue neoliberalism (read: trickle-down economics), and it’s not working.  ” Instead, this results in widening inequalities and it makes it increasingly difficult for ordinary people to continue to provide the ever-increasing amount of consumption the economy requires without borrowing increasingly large sums of money.”

I’d rather not see Trump win the general election, and it worries me that Hillary polls so badly that she is now tied with Trump in polls.  Her number are declining, not his increasing.  Clinton could still win the general election, if she can she can first win – or, if you’d like cajole her way to winning – at the Democratic Convention, but the prospect is actually declining.

Many argue multiple reasons not to vote for Clinton; they acknowledge terrible consequences – Trump, Trump appointing Supreme Court members – of not voting for Clinton, assuming she is the nominee, and still will not vote for her.  Economic reasons, racial reasons, international concerns are cited .. the list goes on.

Indeed, Bernie Sanders listed as perhaps the reason why he must work with Hillary (after endorsing her) was to defeat Trump – although he acknowledged that is just one of many issues to be addressed.  If responses online could be an indication, his supporters were not impressed.

Common knowledge says that Bernie endorsed Hillary.  The temporary insane mind, thinks, then, either that campaign is over or that it’s not over (it depends on which candidate you root for).  Chris Cilliza, who is generally respected by “the left,” agrees a rational mind might hear it that way, but (but!) the endorsement speech was more a “a celebration of Bernie Sanders by Bernie Sanders and for Bernie Sanders (and his supporters),” in which Bernie said endorsing once in the speech, and talked mostly about the record turnout and enthusiasm his campaign had generated.  Some endorsement!

Maybe those voting for Hillary are suffering from temporary insanity; maybe those who will not are suffering from temporary insanity.

Maybe those voting for Bernie are suffering from temporary insanity; maybe those who will not are suffering from temporary insanity.

This could become a treatise on what inspires politics, morality, and economics, but that might become boring very quickly.  The point is that there are actual issues that do drive, and have driven, this election year, which sadly has given rise to The Donald.  I still am never going to vote for Trump, but there’s a reason why people are so disenchanted with Clinton: she’s part of the system – the neolilberolist system – that just isn’t working for people.

I’d like to think just the Bernie supporters have gone temporarily insane among the Democrats, this election year.  However, I’ve heard some strange things from otherwise intelligent (<- here, I pass judgement) Democrats (who also happen to be Hillary supporters).  I’ve heard that it’s the same 10,000 people that follow Bernie from stop to stop so that his crowd looks big.  On a more serious issue, I’ve heard that all this stuff about emails and laws were only written after Hillary left office.  I mentioned the lack of public record, which would be acquired under FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) of 1966.  Last I checked, Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009-2013.  I concluded, in a rather judging way, that I must be in the presence of stupid people if they believed the things they were telling me. …




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Representatives voting against your interest – and theirs


The following is a letter to the editor that didn’t get published because it’s “too long.”:


We have a smart and (ha-ha) funny Congressman in Derek Kilmer.  He grew up in Port Angeles and it feels like he really cares about this area: trying to balance the economic and environmental interests in our community.  But there’s something missing.  Kilmer is in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a kind of NAFTA-on-steroids bill.  It’s somewhat unclear what the TPP would do, because it’s been written behind closed doors by corporations, and is allowed only an up-or down vote in Congress.
However, we do know some things about the TPP.  It would ship jobs overseas (if there are any left to send).  It would let corporations sue our government in arbitration courts (where the corporation is always correct)   According to “The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose” (Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2015) the same lawyers who represent a corporation can be a judge on the next corporation v. government case.
Also according to the Washington Post, this has already happened.  Recently.  See “TransCanada is suing the U.S. over Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The U.S. might lose.” (Jan, 8, 2016).  A suit for $15,000,000,000 (15 billion dollars).
Patty Murray and Derek Kilmer are both in favor of giving Obama “fast-track” authority to negotiate the TPP, which goes around the point of Congress.  Both of them, along with Larsen DelBene, were denied an endorsement by the Washington State Labor Council
It’s not only about the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Murray and Kilmer are both up for election  this  year, and both committed their super-delegate vote to Clinton before any other contestants entered the race, and have never reconsidered, despite the fact that Washington went for Sanders 73% to Clinton’s 27%, in the caucuses where delegates are assigned.  They have also disregarded the fact that Sanders does better in the polls (beats Trump by 10-15%) than Clinton does (see Real Clear Politics).
There has been little news published about challengers to Murray or Kilmer.  Phil Cornell is a Democrat running against Murray.  He is against the TPP, in favor of single-payer healthcare, and against the super delegate system.
Derek Kilmer has three challengers; perhaps because he didn’t take a stand on TPP, or remained an unpledged super delegate.  According to Tyler Vega’s website (he prefers the Green Party, and is running against Kilmer), Vega has suspended his campaign, and has joined Paul Nuchim (preference: Democrat) in endorsing the other progressive challenger to Kilmer: Mike Coverdale (prefer: Independent).  In an unusual year, candidates are coordinating to break the hold on our two-party system.
Mike Coverdale calls for overturning Citizens United, is against the TPP, and wants to get money out of politics.
So, who will you vote for?  The incumbents who won’t commit to representing and protecting the people, or the challengers who will represent the people of Washington, and the North Olympic Peninsula?