Friday, May 27, 2016

Hillary Supporters Want You To Give Up Your Right To Vote

Quick repost of one I made on Facebook.

Someone had posted this Slate article: "A Letter to a Bernie-or-Bust Voter: I get it. I was just like you once."

Typically, I don't respond to such blatant propaganda by Hillary supports, but this one was particularly agitating because it not only attacked Bernie for damaging Hillary's chances in the general election (which it will), but went after a fundamental right of American citizens.
The author encourages Bernie supporters to stop supporting their candidate for the sole reason of boosting Hillary. That is, he wants them to revoke their right to vote and, instead, blindly support the Democratic party's preferred candidate.

This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. 
I'm not the biggest Bernie fan, but this mentality is what got us here in the first place.
Instead of demanding the best candidates and the best of them, we concede to the "safe" candidate and settle for just "OK". 
Consider the current situation:
Sanders has long known that it was a near mathematical impossibility to win the nomination. However, he stayed in and fought.
In doing so he has helped pull Hillary further left (good or bad). Additionally, because of his vast support, he will now influence politics beyond the primaries.
Had he given in and dropped out months ago, this would not have happened. 
Like it or not (and whether or not his policies are fiscally possible), there are people who agree with his views. In a democracy this must be recognized and respected.
The past year, the Hillary campaign has acted like her nomination was a forgone conclusion. That's not how it works. 
Playing safe and simply trying not to mess up should not be a strategy. A campaign is meant to expose weaknesses and reveal a candidate's true self.
Unfortunately for Hillary, despite her best efforts, this is what ended up happening and only happened because Sanders remained in the race. 
So, sorry, Hillary supporters. You cannot silence a significant section of the population in the name of unity and #NeverTrump.  
By the way, for those unhappy with both Trump and Hillary, there is a viable 3rd party candidate that will be on the ballot in all 50 states. 
Gary Johnson is likely the Libertarian candidate and believes in a women's right to choose, legalizing marijuana, the rights of ALL people, and being smart about international policy. i.e. he will not get into endless wars (not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Syria and Libya). All of this and he will not spend the country into an unrecoverable deficit, only to pass it on to the next generation.
Maybe he'll win, maybe not. But don't for a second believe that you'd be "throwing away" your vote by expressing your opinion in a manner that many around the world are unable to do.

Thoughts on the article?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Democratic Party finally Feeling the Bern

Words cannot express how much I love this.

Two recent articles:
'New York Times', May 18, 2016

'Slate', May 19, 2016

While I certainly do not agree with his policies and think his brand of 'Democratic Socialism' would be devastating for the country, the whole Bernie Sanders saga is incredibly amusing to me for several reasons:

1. Self-Inflicted Wound
The Democratic establishment is frantic to try to place the blame on Sanders and demand he step aside; meanwhile they are also trying to make excuses on how this is different from Clinton staying in until the end in 2008.
I feel no sympathy for Democrats because I believe they fell victim to one of their core beliefs, and the one I disagree with the most, which is that they believe they know what is best for the rest of the population.
Had the Democratic establishment not been too preoccupied with preparations for Hillary's coronation, they would not be in the mess they're in and could have avoided it in two ways:
First, having a more open and competitive primary would have brought Hillary's deficiencies out much sooner and they could have been addressed well before the summer and general election.
Second, paying closer attention to Sanders early on, they would have realized his base was very much out of line with the Washington left.

2. Displeasure with the system
Again, had establishment Democrats been listening to the public rather than patting themselves on the back for the past eight years, they would have realized that voters were incredibly unhappy with the status quo and didn't want Obama 2.0.
Also, while everyone assumed Sanders's support came from a core of socialist sympathizers, they underestimated the swell of #NeverHillary sentiment.

3. Fighting against an ideology
For those watching 'Game of Thrones', the battle for the Democratic nomination reminds me greatly of the current situation in Westeros. Bernie Sanders is the High Sparrow and, of course, Hillary Clinton is Cersei.
Much like the High Sparrow, Sanders is not motivated by power or money, he is driven by his ideology and what he believes is right and just. While he was limited as a simple senator from Vermont, as his popularity grew, he realized the power of the mob and used it to influence even the most powerful and established politicians.
Now, emboldened by his supporters, he truly believes he is "of the people" and that his solutions are the only ones to solve the country's problems.
The dangerous thing about fighting an ideology is that, unlike a typical politician, he cannot be bought or intimidated. Sanders knows he's towards the end of his political career and is willing to bet it all on this campaign. Even if he loses, he believes his "revolution" will continue and his supporters will drive change in Washington.

4. Eyes turned to the GOP
Perhaps the best part about the current state of chaos in the Democratic is that for the past year they've been laughing at the dysfunction of the Republican party and its primaries.
Of course, the GOP is in worse shape and more fractured, but Democrats were grossly overlooking their own problems and missed the now obvious issues I laid out in 1, 2, and 3.

I still think a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump general election is inevitable, but how these issues play out in the long term will be interesting to watch.

Additionally, the next few months will be made even more exciting as a Libertarian candidate will be chosen soon. While still not much of a threat to win the election, a third party candidate will definitely garner a lot of attention and could garner the most votes since Ross Perot in 1992 (recent polls show Gary Johnson at 10% vs Hillary and Trump).
Dissatisfaction with both candidates will only grow as the direct attacks do (they are the two most disliked candidates in history) and, much like Perot in '92, could play spoiler to either party's bid.

Finally, I think I'll play around with the Presidential Election as 'Game of Thrones' idea a bit more. Maybe following up with another post on it later.

Thoughts on the concept or anything else?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Octopi Are Terrifying

I know 'octopi' is not a 100% accepted term and 'octopuses' is more common, but octopi sounds so much cooler.

Anyway, the New England Aquarium recently opened a new octopus tank and as cool as they are (and I will definitely go to visit), they are terrifying animals.

Not only can octopi change color at will and squeeze through almost anything, they are incredibly smart and can problem solve to get what they want.

Some examples:

This octopus opening a screw-top jar to eat the crab inside:

This one carrying around a coconut to hide from larger predators:

Another that can run out of the water to catch a crab:

(And other stories of octopi leaving their tanks at aquariums in the middle of the night to steal fish from other tanks).

But scariest, this octopus that EATS SHARKS:

In short, if octopi ever realized their superiority to humans, I, for one, welcome our new 
cephalopod overlords.