Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders -- Hillary Clinton

If Bernie Sanders is still running for the Democratic Presidential nomination by the time the California Primary arrives, I will vote for him. I will vote for him because I want his voice and his positions to get the widest possible national audience, and because I want him to provide a push from the left (closer to where I reside myself politically) keeping the Clinton campaign honest and forcing her campaign to formulate intelligent positions from the left wing of the actually possible, and also because here in Oakland, CA, I have no doubt my vote will not cause any mischief to the eventual prospects of the Clinton Presidential campaign once she obtains the nomination, as she will.

As a green vegetarian anti-racist anti-militarist socialist feminist atheist queer I don't expect to agree with Presidential candidates, I simply vote for the person whose occupation of the actually-existing Constitutionally-mandated executive branch of our government will be the best of the candidates actually on offer, ideally in the context of Congressional majorities inclined to comparatively more progressive priorities by my lights, and in the larger context still of education, agitation, organization, criticism, creativity conducive to a broader social, cultural, rhetorical atmosphere in which such Congressional majorities will see things more my way than not if I can. I do not vote for a parent-surrogate or a celebrity dream-date as so many Americans seem to do or to want to do (including quite a few otherwise enormously intelligent, otherwise politically informed people, I fear).

I do not think Bernie Sanders can be elected President of the actually-existing United States of America, nor do I actually think he would be better positioned within the actually-existing stakeholder terrain to obtain more progressive outcomes with the Congress than Hillary Clinton would. Thus, the fact that Bernie Sanders agrees with me on more political questions than any other candidate (and possibly more than any other imaginable candidate) is actually not the reason I will vote for him in the California Primary.

I made a contribution to the Hillary Clinton campaign on the day she announced her candidacy -- a way of registering the fact of my support (a support that remains flabbergastingly high across the party, including among many who locate themselves in the most progressive most activist precincts of the party -- although this is not the impression one may get from the grousing one hears online) as early as possible. As I have said before, I do not expect to appreciate a second Clinton Presidency as much as I have the Obama Presidency -- and I say this as someone who thinks Obama's domestic surveillance and extrajudicial assassinations would be impeachable in a saner world. Nonetheless, it will be an absolutely urgent matter for Clinton to win the White House against any of the candidates the Republicans could nominate in the present debased white-racist forced-pregnancy anti-gay science-denialist austerity-plutocratic war-mongering phase of their party's life.

Bernie Sanders' Presidential run does not change those stakes in the least for me -- but I will be enormously pleased to hear his voice (on many issues so much more like my own) on a truly national stage: I think and hope his arguments will help make America more available to even more progressive candidates in the future, and I think and hope he will make Clinton a better candidate in the immediate contest to come.


High Arka said...

During Dubya's white-racist forced-pregnancy anti-gay science-denialist austerity-plutocratic war-mongering, nothing was any different than during Obama's white-racist forced-pregnancy anti-gay science-denialist austerity-plutocratic war-mongering...except that during Dubya's tenure, fewer blacks were shot in the streets.

What makes you feel that Hillary's white-racist forced-pregnancy anti-gay science-denialist austerity-plutocratic war-mongering phase will be any different?

Would you say that this difference, whatever it is, will be any more different from the George W. Obama presidency than it was from the George "Slaves and Taxes" Washington presidency?

Dale Carrico said...

nothing was any different

You are an idiot, a liar, or a lunatic.

Dale Carrico said...

Those who cannot recognize differences that make a difference are little likely to make a difference either.

High Arka said...

Hey Dale! This one doesn't mind having the "what makes Republicrats different than Demoblicans?" argument by any means, and you're most welcome to call me names if it helps you. Besides skin color, vocal inflection, and footage of a ranch in Texas, what sorts of differences do you feel exist between Dubya and Obama?

Dale Carrico said...

If you cannot distinguish Dubya from Obama I cannot imagine a good faith discussion with you is really possible. I'm far from declaring Obama ideal (I described some of his policies as impeachable in fact), but if you can't tell the difference between someone who campaigned by putting anti-gay discrimination bills on state ballots from someone who has signed more lgbtq civil rights legislation than any prior administation -- someone who explicitly opposes abortion from someone who explicitly supports access to abortion including in foreign aid budgets and through healthcare policy and so on -- someone who advocated social security privitization and austerity from someone who passed a generations-unprecedented stimulus and advocated jobs and infrastructure spending bills against austerity over and over -- someone who lied us into an illegal immoral war from someone who has at least consulted and sought diplomatic solutions to conflicts in Cuba, Iran, Syria in spite of braying dick-swinging militarists on all sides (though as I said I regard the drones and surveillance as criminal, not that I don't expect even worse form Republicans), I cannot pretend to think you are capable of having a real conversation on this sort of question. The examples of differences that make a difference can be deliriously proliferated. Red states versus blue states are very different places today, and Democratic versus Republican presidents today have had very different agendas. Sure, neither partisan side advocates views like my own radical left perspective, but if you assume a perspective of radicalism which blinds you to real differences your radicalism is a threat to progress rather than an aid to it. Don't expect me to be impressed by the intelligence or vision of someone who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Rather than call you names, let me say that so far your utterances have been idiotic, deceptive, or insane. Perhaps you are none of these things, you are just playing them on online for kicks or whatever reason. There, I've just given you far more time and attention than you're facile assertions have deserved. I'm sure you will appreciate it enormously and proceed to show it.

High Arka said...

Suppose that there is a president, and his name is Bill Clinton, and he bombs Eastern Europe, resulting in the deaths of 4,000 civilians, he bombs Iraq, resulting in the deaths of 20,000 civilians, and he imposes food and medicine sanctions on Iraq, causing over a million deaths by starvation and cheaply-preventable illness.

That's a very conservative estimate of 1,024,000 dead people. Let's assume 1/4 people are lgbtq on average, so that's 256,000 lgbtq deaths.

Then, presume there's a President Bush, and he bombs and invades Afghanistan and Iraq, producing a conservative 900,000 deaths, or 225,000 lgbtq deaths.

After that, there's a President Obama, and he bombs Iraq and Afghanistan, producing a conservative 30,000 deaths, and he funds a Syrian rebel insurgency that causes a conservative 500,000 deaths across the Middle East and Africa, resulting in roughly 530,000 deaths, or 132,500 lgbtq deaths.

Presume also that, during each President's time in office, a Congress composed of different political factions--some pertaining to said President, some not--passed or rejected different series' of laws which were either favorable or unfavorable to the current domestic preferences of those lgbtq people portrayed by the corporate media who happened to be living on a portion of the North American landmass at the time.

Given all that, please answer the following questions:

1) Which of these presidents did good things for lgbtq people?

2) Which of these presidents improved the world sociocultural perspective toward lgbtq people?

3) Do any of these presidents belong to a political tradition which is likely to produce another president who will slaughter hundreds of thousands of lgbtq people?

4) How many domestic niceties are worth the cost of one innocent heterosexual child's life?

5) How many domestic niceties are worth the cost of one innocent homosexual child's life?

6) How many domestic niceties are worth the cost of one innocent transsexual child's life?

7) Is there any total number of dead lgbtq people that would be "too much" to justify any domestic nicety, no matter how nice? For example, if Hillary provides a guaranteed minimum income of $100,000 for life for every single lgbtq person in America, and she peacefully and through logic alone convinces every single person in the U.S. to view homosexuality in a positive light, thereby ending lgbtq-related discrimination forever, but she has to kill another million Arabs to do so, is it worth it?

How about six million?


8) If Hillary drone-executed a mere 10,000 American people in order to accomplish the above pro-lgbtq goals, would that be worth it?

How about only one thousand? Or a hundred?


8) Would it matter if Hillary genuinely, deeply, and passionately believed that any Americans killed were, like Middle Easterners, collateral damage, and necessary to protect her ability ...

... blogger cut me off, so I posted the whole thing separately. Here's the link to the rest:

First of the Killaries.

Dale Carrico said...

Nothing you mention is anything I don't know well and deplore(d) in my writing and teaching and activism at the time and on a regular ongoing basis here and elsewhere. The non sequitur from your criticisms to US lgbtq rights is especially egregious -- but frankly none of your comments are to the point at hand.

Do you even know what voting for president is?

Do you think it is or could be or even should be a revolutionary activity?

I fully expect a Hillary administration to do all sorts of things I disapprove -- as has every administration in my lifetime, and through out history -- while I also have specific hopes for what a Clinton administration could accomplish and facilitate to the good at this juncture -- especially if the composition of the Congress is better than the present Republican prevalence -- turning the tide against threats to women's healthcare, providing more support for working mothers, and school-age children, addressing Citizens United, providing a jobs plan and stimulus focused on renewable infrastructure and a host of other things.

Partisan politics, from the President on down, is an insufficient but necessary part of progressive social struggle, involving choosing the best among available options to occupy a position that will be occupied whether you participate or not in the service of more better than more worse outcomes.

Voting isn't about finding a dream date or celebrity crush or Revolutionary Daddy. If you want to vote for Republicans or through the peddling of false equivalence and ritual purity plays support Republicans (even if you don't vote for them either), be my guest. It's stupid, but I hope you engage in organization at the ground level that actually helps vulnerable and suffering people to compensate for your embarrassingly inept attitudes about partisan politics.

High Arka said...

Those are thoughtful comments; thank you.

It would still be a useful intellectual exercise, though, to consider the questions I asked above. How large can a "lesser" evil grow before it becomes too much evil for you? After all, I'm sure you're aware of the Third Reich's excellent maternity leave, parenting stipend, and prenatal care policies...?

So, at what body count does the Democratic Party become too much to condone?

How many little genderqueer boys will be born with aggressive leukemia from depleted uranium deposits, and die in howling pain before even learning how to talk, before you are willing to say:

"That is too much. No matter what benefits I am getting out of it, that is too much for a decent person to condone."

We've long ago crossed the "million" body count with Bill Clinton, so whatever your number is, it must be higher than a million. Would 6 million be "too many"?

High Arka said...

Oh, and in case mere mass murder is not evocative enough, let's also consider the issue of how many child rapes it is acceptable to condone in exchange for favorable domestic social policies.

Token child rape article you already know about.

How many? Being really conservative, assume that Hillary maintains the imperial network of 800+ military bases worldwide, continues to occupy Africa and the Middle East, and during her presidency, she racks up the following statistics:

200,000 people killed

10,000 people raped in the context of armed conflict

1,000 people raped in the context of armed occupation

You're okay with that, but what if she goes farther? Say, she attacks Syria or Iran? How high can those numbers go before you say, "Too much"?

Dale Carrico said...

How large can a "lesser" evil grow before it becomes too much evil for you.

Ethically? Morally? I condemn evil as evil in no uncertain terms. Always. Just read through my archive to discern whether this green anti-racist anti-militarist socialist feminist atheist queer teacher and writer and activist passes muster by the reckoning of your moral compass, my friend.

But how evil can the lesser evil get before it no longer recommends itself over the greater politically? ANY difference that makes a difference is enough of a difference to adjudicate a political decision to vote one way or another.

You seem to think voting for a candidate is an endorsement of their every policy! What nonsense! Politicians scarcely know what their policies will even play out as in the scrum of events themselves for heaven's sake. Their entire records and stated positions are the guides we turn to, among others in making such decisions.

The lesser of two evils is still evil, but the difference between them can still make a difference. Ethics Is Not Politics.

I'm all for uncompromising ethical and factual and aesthetic stands, but to demand them of political compromises in a diverse shared world is no sign of high principles but of a straightforward misrecognition of the nature of politics -- especially what passes for representative politics in capitalist countries!

Parading all the war crimes and rapes you want is entirely beside the point. Can you possibly be self-congratulatory enough to imagine you know more or care more about such atrocities than I do? You don't know me very well, to say the least.

Partisan politics, especially the partisan politics focused on voting and contributions of time and money and that sort of thing are not the place for making ethical stands. Perhaps running for office, or organizing campaigns to inspire legislative outcomes come closer. Certainly broader educational and agitational spaces of action are fine places for such unqualified judgments. At any rate, it isn't unless politics in the other domains I mentioned has done the real work of preparing the way for viable partisan politics on such questions. That simply isn't what voting is for, or usually even should be for.

Perhaps you lack the stomach for the debased choices that happen at the level of voting for the best actually-existing candidate actually on offer, or the heartbreaking reconciliations at the heart of legislative reform. But don't expect me to admire you for it, or to pretend that you are a more ferocious activist for justice and sanity in history than I am because I can walk and chew gum at the same time. If you can't vote for the lesser of two evils to restrain the greater of them -- all the while condemning and the evil for the evil it is and organizing to defeat it or expressing yourself creatively to change general perceptions to better accord with your sense of that evil -- then I just think you are being lazy, irresponsible, and narcissistic.

Voting is insufficient to achieve justice, but it remains necessary all the same. I can't say I admire those who confine their politics to voting and yet declare themselves principled, but I have less patience still for those who refrain from the costly demands of voting in the compromised service of principle and who would pretend this is the sign of their principle. At best, it indicates profound ignorance, at worst it is privileged self-indulgence.

High Arka said...

That's a nice, thoughtful paragraph, and you've done an excellent job of reframing the discussion into your preferred avenues. This one's response will exceed the character requirement here, so I'll put it on my blog as a post and link to it.

For the purposes of commenting here, would you be willing to directly answer the initial list of questions? I hope the irony won't be lost on you that your responses have been taken from the playbook of Karl Rove, in that you've avoiding answering the questions put to you and instead fired back a long paragraph that changed the subject to something more to your liking.

Dale Carrico said...

I'm not "fine" with ANY of the atrocities you mention. You will be shocked, shocked! to hear that I disapprove of war and even of child rape, even though I expect to be voting next year for Hillary Clinton. Once again, voting is not an endorsement of all the crimes and catastrophes abetted or combated over the course of the political life of a candidate one votes for because they were the better candidate actually on offer.

There are many ways to educate, agitate, organize politically to resist injustice, to bring crimes to justice, and to prevent injustice from happening. Voting for more, and better, Democratic candidates is one small part of the way one engages in such a struggle, not because no Democrats abet injustice but because they are better than Republicans in this particular debased and deranged moment in the life of the GOP.

Not voting for anybody because you don't want to sully your beautiful mind with real world compromises doesn't actually accomplish anything at all in the service of the outcomes you claim to care about, although it could ensure that people who are worse than the available alternatives do greater damage in your name.

As I have said before, I hope you do other kinds of real organizational work to support actual struggles toward better political outcomes as a penance for your failure to help by voting. But, once again, voting is usually insufficient to achieve justice, but it remains an indispensable part of that struggle nonetheless.

I actually have answered all your questions. Your insinuation that I celebrate the US military-industrial complex and our Empire of bases and our undeclared wars and extrajudicial killings and so on is frankly stupid. I actually have already explicitly condemned some of these over the course of our longer exchange and my repeated emphasis that I am "anti-militarist" should have given you a clue where I stand -- again, delving into my archive would provide you a rich record of years and years of my criticisms of our wars and war-crimes. You seem to think that the President will cease to exist if you pretend they don't by not voting for anybody. Your refusal to assume your responsibility as a citizen to vote for the best candidate on offer to occupy existing positions that will process to act in your name contributes nothing at all to the address or redress of the evil things that some of them will do from that position.

You will please spare me the idiotic and insulting suggestion that voting for Hillary Clinton over whatever killer clown will oppose her for the White House indicates my endorsement of child rape or reveals that I would have lacked the character to notice the Nazis were bad. I'm sorry if walking and chewing gum at the same time hurts your head, and that you cannot distinguish the pragmatic politics of a green anti-racist anti-militarist democratic socialist feminist queer from the lies and frauds of Karl Rove. That is certainly your deficiency, not mine.

Although you have not learned anything by our conversation, I am glad you are at any rate edified by the beauty of my apologiae for tyranny.

High Arka said...

While we're here, this one will mention that she enjoyed your critique of futurism. It was particularly apt with regards to the last argument I had with David Brin, who thinks exactly that--how did you put it? That enjoying technological progress is the same as doing science?

Dale Carrico said...

Thanks for that. Why do you say "this one" like that -- is it an homage to the Unsullied or something?

High Arka said...

I haven't read that. Is it good?

Dale Carrico said...

I actually found the books fairly terrible, ploddingy written even at their best (even fans find the later ones plodding I hear), the show on the other hand is occasionally engrossing, the last season the worst the present season so far back on track as an entertainment.

High Arka said...

Okay, that got confusing, so I googled it, and it looks like it isn't its own book or show, but various references to things inside other narratives, the most recent of which looks like Game of Thrones. Is that what you were getting at?

Dale Carrico said...

Uh, yes. When I asked if your references to "this one" to mean yourself was a reference to the Unsullied, I was referencing the Unsullied in the insanely popular Game of Thrones series. When you said you hadn't read it I assumed you hadn't read the books (since books are read, and those books are hugely famous) but were referencing the Unsullied from the HBO adaptations of the books, which I consider rather better than the books, if uneven and problematic. It's rather charming that all this was confusing to you. There are, after all, quite good things to do with one's time that don't have anything to do with Game of Thrones in any of its incarnations.

High Arka said...

Okay, then no, it's not an homage. :-)