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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


"Downloud our app for free" is no more giving you something for free than "come visit our store for free" is giving you something for free.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Digi Demos This Summer at Berkeley

Summer 2017 

Instructor: Dale Carrico:,

Course Blog:
Meetings: July 3-August 11, 2017, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 2-4.30pm, 140 Barrows Hall
Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies -- Participation/Attendance, 15%; Reading Notebook, 15%; Toulmin/Precis, 2-3pp., 15%; Presentation, 15%; Final Paper, 6-8pp. 40%. 
                Course Description
How did the promise of peer-to-peer participatory democracy devolve into twitter harassment, doxxing, toxic comment sections, and zero comments? Is techno-progressive "disruption" merely reactionary deregulation, venture capitalist "innovation" merely marketing hyperbole, futurological "acceleration" merely social precarization, tech's vaunted "sharing economy" merely a digital sharecropping society, its "openness" vacuity, its "participation" another form of television? How did early legal and political squabbles over privacy and property online set the stage for our current distress? How might the "end-to-end principle" defining internet architecture across its many layers comport with the ideologically reactionary figure of "negative liberty" playing out in generations of anarchic, spontaneist, populist online activism? What are the politics of a digitality figured as an immaterial spirit realm, when digital networks abet financial fraud and military surveillance via an "internet" powered by coal smoke, accessed on toxic landfill-destined devices manufactured by wage slaves in overexploited regions of the real world? Setting aside the logical possibility and engineering plausibility of "artificial intelligence" does AI as a rhetorical trope in legal and cultural discourse facilitate and rationalize unaccountable algorithmic mediation and muddy our thinking about "autonomous" weapons systems? How does social media facilitate the transformation of factual disputes over climate change, harm reduction, and the macroeconomics of public investment into polarizing culture wars? Are there appropriate and appropriable techniques at hand through which democratizations might resist these degradations? Might "The Future" still be more evenly distributed? Can we still count on the street finding its own uses for things?

                Week One                                                                                                            

Tuesday, July 4 Holiday

Wednesday, July 5 Introductions

Thursday, July 6 

                Week Two            

Tuesday, July 11 
-- John Maynard Keynes, from "Europe Before the War"
-- Tom Standage, on his book The Victorian Internet
-- Lawrence Lessig, from Code, Chapter 1, "Code Is Law," pp. 1-8; and Chapter 7, "What Things Regulate" pp. 120-137.
-- Lawrence Lessig, from The Future of Ideas, Freedom on the Wires, Chapters 2-3, Building Blocks and Commons on the Wires, pp. 19-48.
-- John Oliver, Net Neutrality Explainer
-- Malkia A. Cyril, The Antidote to Authoritarianism

Wednesday, July 12
-- Paulina Borsook, Cyberselfish
-- Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The Californian Ideology
-- Landon Winner, The Cult of Innovation

Thursday, July 13
-- Jessica Littman, Sharing and Stealing

                Week Three         

Tuesday, July 18
-- Eric Hughes, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto
-- Bruce Sterling, Maneki Neko
-- David Golumbia, Bitcoin Will Eat Itself
-- David Golumbia, Bitcoinsanity, Part I and Part II

Wednesday, July 19
-- Evgeny Morozov, The Perils of Perfectionism
-- Yochai Benkler, from The Wealth of Networks, Conclusion

Thursday, July 20 (Precis/Toulmin due following Tuesday)
-- Noah Berlatsky Interviews DeRay Mckesson, Hashtag Activism Isn't A Cop-Out

                Week Four

Tuesday, July 25
-- Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion

Wednesday, July 26
-- Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis, Media Manipulation andDisinformation Online
-- Zeynap Tufekci, Mark Zuckerberg Is In Denial
-- Sam Levin, Pay to Sway

Thursday, July 27
-- Jeremy Crampton and Andrea Miller, Introduction to Algorithmic Governance

                Week Five

Tuesday, August 1 Screen film, Colossus: The Forbin Project

Wednesday, August 2
-- Vernor Vinge, Technological Singularity
-- Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek #ACCELERATE Manifesto

Thursday, August 3 Final Paper Workshop

                Week Six
Tuesday, August 8 Poetry Reading/Individual Meetings

Wednesday, August 9
-- Jarett Kobek, I Hate the Internet (novel to purchase): We Heard You Like Books (2016). 
ISBN-10: 0996421807 ISBN-13: 978-0996421805/Individual Meetings

Thursday, August 10 Concluding Remarks (Hand in Final Paper, 6-8pp.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Queer Resistances and Abolition Democracy

"[T]he point is to call for an equally livable life that is also enacted by those who make the call, and that requires the egalitarian distribution of public goods. The opposite of precarity is not security, but, rather, the struggle for an egalitarian social and political order in which a livable interdependency becomes possible -- it would be at once the condition of our self-governing as a democracy, and its sustained form would be one of the obligatory aims of that very governance." -- Judith Butler

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

If I'm Not Mistaken, We've Made It About One Tenth of the Way Through This Thing

Assuming he doesn't get impeached because there still won't be enough Democrats or others of sufficient integrity in Congress to impeach him even after the midterms. Assuming he doesn't get re-elected. Assuming there is a real election for him to lose in 2020.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump Disapproval Hits New High of 60% in Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

This would matter for any other administration in history. Will it matter this time? If it doesn't, will it ever matter again? (That it didn't matter for the last real test, the general election, is not encouraging.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

The F.A.B. One Was On To Something?

BBC Science & Environment News:
Great Britain is in the top 10% of areas for harbouring alien species, according to a study. Animals that have moved in from afar include the grey squirrel, rose-ringed parakeet and the noble false widow spider. The UK also has more established alien plants than elsewhere in Europe, such as Himalayan balsam. Scientists say islands and mainland coastal regions are global "hotspots" for alien species.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

As Goes Kansas...

-- Lawmakers rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy over his objections Tuesday night, forcing into law tax increases to fix a budget shortfall and provide more money for schools. The legislation ends the "march to zero" income tax cuts that Brownback heralded for much of his time as governor...  The Senate and House voted 27-13 and 88-31, respectively, to override Brownback’s veto. The action took place on the 109th day of the legislative session and paves the way for lawmakers to wrap up their work quickly, potentially this week. The override represents a blow to the legacy of one of the most unpopular governors in America, amid speculation that he may not serve out his remaining time in office but instead take a federal position.
Republican deregulatory disruption destroys everything it touches, and another noble experiment in Republican deception and plunder like Iraq Year Zero now ends with the state of Kansas brought low. The cherry on top of this shit sundae is of course the inevitable genuflection to Brownback's hopes for a golden parachute, enabling his upward failure from the Kansas catastrophe to a perch in the Trump Administration where he can bring his brand of destruction and misery to millions and millions more everyday working citizens.  

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Rebel Alliance Continues To Grow

On June 5, Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia would join the Climate Alliance as did Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Governor John Carney of Delaware and Governor Ricky Rosello of Puerto Rico. As of today, June 7, 2017, Alliance member states make up 31.4% of the U.S. population and 36.3% of U.S. GDP as of 2016.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

That Is To Say, Most Of It

It is amazing to grasp just how much tech innovation finally amounts to deliberate futurological enervation of criticism and citizen action.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Real America Backs Paris

The governors of Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont have joined the initial three states, California, New York, and Washington, as part of the Climate Alliance upholding the Paris Agreement from which the evil idiot Trump and his killer clowns have momentarily withdrawn us to the disgust and horror of the world. More than a quarter of the population of the country and over a third of the GNP of the country are represented by The Climate Alliance, even more so once the statements of Americas mayor's are taken into account. First formed just a few days ago, a dozen more states are thought to be considering joining the Alliance.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Getting Past The Trumpian Impasse

You know, ten or fifteen years ago Atrios used to say on his blog all the time that the best way to understand Republicans was just to assume that they do whatever they think will piss off liberals. That has always seemed too true, but we may have arrived at the time when that is literally all that remains to hold one of the two national parties together even as it devotes itself to taking the nation apart. I am not a psychologist, and I do not like celebrity profiles of politicians. I have given up trying to figure out what drives Donald Trump. The only thing that seems to logically connect his many initiatives is Trump's hostility to his immediate predecessor. I mean, I do see quite a bit a self-serving corruption and impropriety and deception and ignorance and indecency that reflect Trump's whole life up to this point, and which obviously did and should have disqualified him from the presidency. Like Gingrich, Trump is hard to distinguish from most other d-list conservative hate-media liars grifting for cash on the lecture circuit like their cousin conservative televangelists.... I mean, little to distinguish him apart from the pointless and portentous accident that he is the lying d-list conservative hate-media grifter who happened to be catapulted at this supremely dysfunctional conjuncture into the most dangerous position in the world. The Republican Party has been a shambles as a governing party for years and years by now. But I don't think there has been a Republican governing philosophy for many, many years now. (Anti-governmentality doesn't exactly lend itself to coherence in governing philosophies anyway.) Trump has no principles we can appeal to, the Trump base just wants to poke liberals to watch them scream, the Republican party no longer has a electorally-viable coalition apart from the Trump base -- there is very little sense of an availability for shared assumptions, contexts, values, hopes, norms to which the reasonable might make recourse to move us from where we are. I teach students how to think critically, how to argue more effectively, how to articulate complex problems, how to historically situate political struggles... at a time when it feels as though these skills are failing their address, stuck in stasis, demoralized. Radical and provocative visions of sustainability, equity, diversity, consent, flourishing are not to be found in the idiotic minute by minute fray of Trumpian follies -- but on the streets, in the classrooms, in the studios, in the conversations that look past the Trumpian impasse to a futurity with civil rights for all, accountable representation in government and policing, a living wage for all, unemployment disability and retirement security for all, lifelong education and training for all, healthcare for all, securing the scene informed nonduressed consent to the terms of everyday commerce, and paid for by progressive taxation and tolls re-internalizing the costs and risks of unsustainable enterprise.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Proud To Be A Californian

OLYMPIA - In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

“I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states," said Inslee. "Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.”

“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet.”

New York, California and Washington, representing over one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, are committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.

“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy - not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

Together, New York, California and Washington represent approximately 68 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and the states account for at least 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Washington will continue to work closely together with other states  to help fill the void left by the federal government.

With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It Is The Question

"Why should the fates of the groovy and the creepy be intertwined?" -- Valerie Solanas

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Should Be A Rule

Never describe as ACCELERATION what are really social and political changes resulting in precarization for majorities and wealth concentration for the few.

If George W. Bush Was the Monolith in the Real 2001...

...does that make Trump's election in 2016 the real singularity, the collapse of the present into unintelligibility, right on schedule with the more rash predictions of the transhumanist futurologists?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Final Thoughts From My Class This Term: For Futurity


There is no such thing as technology in general. There are a plurality of artifacts, techniques, performances, research programs, events both real and imagined, things used and reused and misused, efforts supported and criticized, knowledges discovered, funded, regulated, made, maintained, marketed, appropriated, everything changing. Technological impacts are always specific and so, they should be specified. As CS Lewis insisted, when we say technology gives people power over nature what this really always means is technology gives some people some power over some other people.


There is no such thing as progress-in-general, either. Progress is always progress toward ends, and ends are as plural as the people who have them. The facilitation of one end will typically frustrate others, "optimization" always constrains as much as it enables. What technologies are capable of is not determined so much by their engineering specs but by the ways they are taken up by the diversity of their stakeholders. The costs, risks, and benefits of technoscientific change will all differ according to the positions of its stakeholders. And so, whenever anyone makes a claim in the name of "technology-in-general" or "progress for all" or "human enhancement as such" (as if we all agree already what life is about and what count as enhancements) you should always start translating that into a claim about a moment or conjuncture in an ongoing social struggle over the costs, risks, and benefits of technoscientific change to the diversity of its stakeholders.


Not all artifacts and techniques are recognized as technology at all, indeed most are not, and many are treated instead as "nature." When the political work of the natural is to treat that which is open to contestation as if it were instead inevitable or necessary or assumed to be optimal, it tends to defend the status quo and anti-democracy. But when technology discourse treats extreme and even transcendent outcomes as technologically determined, autonomous, or the result of sheer momentum, then that which is least natural of all, that which is the result of the most fraught fragile painstaking effort of all -- political progress itself -- can be "naturalized" into reactionary (Manifest) Destiny, the space of Barthes's alienated Jet Man. Even techno-transcendental declarations which seem to repudiate natural finitude and insist there are "No Limits!" ultimately translate to the customary conviction of the privileged that there will always be other folks on hand to clean up their messes for them. Again, after all, what would seem more natural to the powerful than the smooth ongoing function of power?


In this course we have often called on an Arendtian distinction between political power understood as the experience of possibility or potential (power from the L potens) as opposed to instrumental power understood as an amplification of given strengths and capacities. One understanding of power invokes a political or rhetorical rationality which takes plurality and therefore the possibility of resistance for granted, another understanding of power invokes an instrumental rationality translating causes into effects, means into ends. One sees history as a radically contingent, interminable, interpersonal struggle, the other sees history as playing out causal material forces, often superhuman ones. One is prone to social constructions and intersectional analyses grounded in plural histories, the other is prone to technological determinisms and natural progressivisms that recast differences as atavisms. Both understandings or inhabitations of power yield insights and uses on their own terms, but for Arendt it was crucial we grasp the essentially political character of concepts like freedom and progress, and understand the risk of re-casting these values in merely instrumental terms. What Arendt failed to elaborate was the extent to which the theoretical understanding of the political she championed itself depends on deeper instrumentalizations still, most crucially the infra-humanizing work of white supremacy.


For our purposes together, we have understood "The Future" as a site of imaginative investment, framed metaphorically as a Destiny/Destination, but one at which no one ever arrives.The Futurisms we have observed clashing are discourses, movements, subcultures that have formed around particular narratives and visions of "The Future." Futurology is one such discourse -- with its own archive, figures, frames, canon, and conceits -- and it is becoming one of the prevalent vocabularies through which global elites rationalize the costs and risks of their policies today (even as we raised substantial questions about its logical and empirical standards and historical assumptions: every extrapolation eventually fails, trends are more retroactive than predictive, making bets isn't the same thing as making arguments, etc.). In the last weeks of this course I have emphasized the role of futurology in corporate-military think tanks and commercial imagery and sfnal narratives in contemporary technology discourse that has been marketing deregulatory disruption, privatization of common goods and public services as if these are democratizing and emancipatory developments. Finally, I have used the term "Futurity" to describe the quality of openness inhering in and arising out of the diversity of stakeholders to the present. It is to recognize, preserve, and enlarge this critical and creative space of pleasure, problem-solving, and resistance that I have dedicate this class. The subtitle of our course may have been "A Clash of Futurisms," but the title is: "For Futurity." Remember this: The work of building sustainable, equitable, consensual, convivial futures happens in the present world, in the contests and collaborations of people figuring out ways of living together and reconciling their ends, here and now, not through retreats into transcendent futures, essentialist parochialisms, separatist enclaves, or segregated spaces.

Friday, May 19, 2017


I love how wordy English is about being wordy: chatty effusive expansive garrulous gossipy gushing loquacious talkative verbose voluble...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A is A?

I suspect that finding it simultaneously equally impossible to believe Trump will and also will not be impeached day after day is driving nearly every intelligent person quite mad right now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Don't Know What Is Going To Happen

I was among the ones who knew Trump could win the nomination of his party and then the presidency in principle, but for whom I never did really believe this would happen. I didn't believe it, even knowing just how racist this country really is. I didn't believe it, even after living through Nixon and Reagan and W.

Anyway, I don't know what is going to happen next. There are people who seem to feel sure with each week's handful of unprecedented Trumpian violations the next revelation or the one after that will change some sort of calculation on the part of enough GOP representatives to open the door to accountability in some form. There are other people who seem to feel sure instead that in two years' time widespread dissatisfaction and fear of Trump may create a mid-term wave empowering Democrats to provide such accountability.

I hope these people are right. Obviously, in a world where elected officials and political staffers were accountable for the consequences of their decisions on the diversity of folks those decisions affect then these people would be right as certainly they should be right. But the simple truth is that nobody knows how low the GOP will go to get their tax cuts for the rich and profitably harmful deregulation, just as nobody knows if disenfranchisement and voter intimidation and divisive negativity and widespread cynicism can be overcome to check the nationwide electoral disappointments for Democrats and the trajectory of the nation back into the inequities of the nineteenth century.

As someone in the business of helping students into knowing more, opening them to new knowledge, polishing the forms in which they articulate knowledge to others -- all this knowing how much I am not knowing right now feels especially painful and awkward. I find I am really going back to basics these days -- emphasizing basic critical thinking and expression skills, making sure whatever the topic basic distinctions between commodities and public goods or basic connections between partisan reform and radical movements are always clear and available for students to use in the service of actually democratizing work.

Millions and millions and millions of people disapprove of Trump -- millions and millions and millions more did not vote for him or for anyone else despite their eligibility and perhaps enough of these people may be mobilized to change things. Change will be built in part out of those realities. But who is to say how soon and how much that change will reflect the values of sustainability, equity, plurality, and consent that define my own perspective? We can only do our best and help others to their best. One of the knowledges conferred by critical theory is that nobody, not even those credited with knowing most, know everything that matters about what is happening in the moment they are living, so that none of us may be fully justified to despair.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


The appearance of spontaneous libertarian order is always enabled through the delivery of simultaneous authoritarian orders.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Last Class Today

...of a long and unexpectedly difficult term. Turns out teaching a class called "For Futurity" is really hard to do when many of your students fear their future has been stolen from them. The end of term final projects reveal my students at their best, tho, full of ideas and creativity and care, which is fortunately ending a fraught term on a high note. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Just Between Us

No need to infer conspiracy when incumbency's opportunities are so very endlessly many.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Weekend Edition

End of term. Final lectures. Endless grading. Trump still President. March, march, march.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Decelerationist Grumblings

If futurologists were really progressive they would be celebrating struggle not speed.

Social justice is built at the speed of life, not the speed of light.

Beware the one who peddles violence via velocity.

Freedom happens at the speed of consent.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Still Having Occasional Thoughts

Utopia and dystopia are futurological variations on satire and panegyric in which criticism is blunted by prediction for marketing purposes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ten Theses On Taxes And Democracy

An Amor Mundi Tax Day tradition:
Hostility to taxes is commonplace among anarchists, as well as for right-wing "conservatives" whose advocacy of "smaller" or "more limited" government might as well be anarchism, since always only advocating ever smaller, ever more limited government without ever indicating what good government actually should be and alone can accomplish is substantially equivalent to blanket anti-governmentality in principle. Exploitation of discontent over taxes is also commonplace among neoliberal/neoconservative right-wing politicians and thinkers who want to ensure taxes subsidize primarily the fortunes of incumbent elites through extractive-industrial-financial corporate-militarism backed by complacent consumerism and organized violence. I for one do not want to smash states, but to democratize them. And an understanding and championing of taxes should be no less indispensable to the work of democratization as its obfuscation and demonization is indispensable to the work of anti-democratization.
Taxes are not really the price we pay for a civilized society -- in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s, influential phrase -- for civilization is priceless. This is just to say that commonwealth is not a private commodity but a public good. Taxes are not, for example, fees for discrete services that might be provided otherwise, nor are taxes a price for which there might be discount alternatives. Perhaps the true spirit of Holmes' phrase is captured best in a negative formulation: anti-tax zealots would appear to believe that civilization is the only free lunch.
Certainly taxes are not theft, as anarchists of the right and the left are so pleased to declare, since taxation is a precondition for the constitution and ongoing intelligibility of the claim to ownership on which notions of theft depend in the first place.
Neither should taxes be mischaracterized as forced contributions to what might instead be charitable causes, since the basic rights secured through taxation cannot be regarded as matters of charity else they are not truly rights but mere favors bestowed by privileged elites.
Taxes are not, however annoying they may seem, burdens on our freedom so much as essential enablers of freedom. Taxes, government bonds, and public fees support the public investments maintaining the legal, infrastructural, and administrative material conditions alone within which political freedom can abide.
Taxes ameliorate undemocratic concentrations of wealth and authority to secure sufficient equity among citizens of diverse fortune. The equity valued by democracy ensures that the diversity also valued by democracy does not disable the demanding and costly democratic processes facilitating collective responsibility, expression, criticism, problem-solving and the interminable reconciliation of the aspirations of all the people with whom we share and contest the present world.
Taxes pay for the maintenance of institutions providing nonviolent alternatives for the adjudication of disputes. Taxes pay to secure basic needs to ensure that the scene of consent to everyday association is reliably informed and is non-duressed by the threat of deprivation, inequity, or insecurity. And taxes pay for the accountable administration of commons and public goods without which they are inevitably violated and exploited for short-term profit-taking by minorities to the cost and risk of majorities. Far from representing quintessential state violence, taxes are the enabling condition of a democratic state facilitating nonviolence.
Taxes coupled to representation itself ("No Taxation Without Representation") tie the maintenance of government as such -- an organization invested with legitimate recourse to force with all the clear dangers inhering in that state of affairs -- inextricably to public accountability and democratic legitimacy.
Taxing more those who profit more by their personal recourse to the shared inheritance of human knowledge and culture, to the shared substance of precarious environmental resources on which we all depend for our survival and flourishing, and to the ongoing benefits of collaboratively maintained infrastructure, institutions, norms, trust, legitimacy, and security is not unfair in the least. Progressive taxation follows quite simply from a recognition of the indisputable fact of our radical inter-dependence as both productive and vulnerable beings in the world. This same recognition, of course, is also the foundation for fairness.
Whenever a right wing politician declares all government wasteful, criminal, or corrupt you should pay close attention, because he is revealing his intentions. Wherever government is meant to be of by and for the people, to be anti-government always means to be against the great majority of the people.

Monday, April 10, 2017

They Call It The Cloud

"The Internet" is the buzzsaw into which the genius of already more than one generation has been poured and sprayed out as a bloody mist.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Contract Ratified!

Our first union negotiated contract was overwhelmingly ratified by the membership yesterday.

Come what may, I have acquired a host of benefits and guarantees at school that really turn things around for me. I will now get paid to perform professional functions, like advisement and committee work. I have gained the right to a week's paid bereavement should a loved one die. If the school cancels a class at the last minute, there is now a few hundred dollars' fee I would get to defray all the costs of designing the course (not to mention the cost of turning down possible alternate courses elsewhere). I have gained good faith consideration to re-teach successful classes if they are offered again later. Perhaps you will be shocked to discover that I have not had these benefits before.

Speaking of such little shocks, since I have been teaching at SFAI as a member of the "Visiting Faculty" full time since 2004 and since past service is being respected or "grandfathered" in the calculation of new positions and salaries it is actually conceivable that the result of our labor struggle for me personally will be a shift from thirteen years of single-semester appointments with at-will contracts (that is a "contract" you can be fired from at any time, for any reason, and even without a reason) at the bottom of the school's pay scale, I could now suddenly find myself re-designated a "Senior Lecturer" with a three-year renewable contract, a 20% raise or more, grievance procedures and representatives securing my job position, and a host of new protections and supports.

These days of Trump Republicanism have been deranging and demoralizing, but this labor struggle at SFAI has been years ongoing and it bears remembering that there is always so much more than one thing going on at once in politics.

I was one of the "founders" of SFAI's Visiting Faculty Association in (I think it was) 2012, back when we had to pretend to be a social club to find a space to air grievances and organize under the eyes of a suspicious administration (we're on our third President since then!) that was obsessed about keeping us from ever assembling, organizing, even communicating... You know, not a single colleague with whom I participated in those very first few Visiting Club Association events is still at SFAI with me -- one found a marginally better adjunct job for which she uprooted her whole life, another left adjunct teaching altogether as a no-win situation. They were not wrong to leave, we are not wrong to long to live better lives. It's just that these struggles take forever. They have vicissitudes -- there are many false victories and also false dead-ends. Everything feels like it is going to hell, and then something you've been fighting forever for suddenly goes well. This is true of all politics, but I must say that the lesson of the political struggles I have not simply followed but in which I put my ass out there in the world in a real way for a real length of time (union stuff in middle age, say, Queer Nation stuff in my youth) is that eventually you win much more than seems possible when things seem worst.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


I voted today to ratify the first contract negotiated by a committee of my colleagues and representatives of my union at SFAI. You may remember our struggle to be represented by SEIU 1021 in the first place, documented in a series of posts here, mostly a few years back, especially in 2013 and 2014. All these years in between, a handful of dedicated adjuncts just as precarious and exhausted as me have been going round after round after round with the administration on my behalf. There have been stretches months long during which I all but gave up hope that this day would come -- I can only imagine the demoralization and rage folks on the committee in the very belly of the beast have been living through all these years... Years! If the contract is ratified, as I expect it to be, it may well be a life-changing event for me. After the dust settles in upcoming weeks I'll report on the aftermath, and perhaps gather all the posts narrating this mini saga together.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Capitalism as the system that destroys the world so straight guys can pretend they are working when they are playing golf.

Defying Gravity

PoliticalWire: The latest Gallup daily tracking poll shows President Trump’s approval rate crashing to 36% to 57%. [This is another plummet from the number, already unprecedented enough to get a post, last week!] "Trump’s current 36% is two percentage points below Barack Obama’s low point of 38%, recorded in 2011 and 2014. Trump has also edged below Bill Clinton’s all-time low of 37%, recorded in the summer of 1993, his first year in office, as well as Gerald Ford’s 37% low point in January and March 1975. John F. Kennedy’s lowest approval rating was 56%; Dwight Eisenhower’s was 48%."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Okay. Love.

Yeah, otherwise, still grading midterms, reading sf, watching Buffy high with Eric -- the first hundred days.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Grading mid-term papers this weekend, which should pretty much park a truck in the middle of my brain for the next couple of days.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Your crappy product isn't "New" and "Improved" because you slapped those words on it.

Your AI theory is stupid and slapping the word "super" in front of the word AI doesn't help.

Your anarchism is facile and slapping the word "deep" in front of the word "state" doesn't help.

Be a revolutionary if you want to be a revolutionary...

...but you shouldn't confuse whining about Democrats as the same thing as being a revolutionary because it is not.

Could Be Useful

In case the throwaway character of this post leads to the wrong impression, I really do quite love this beautiful and funny and forceful work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

No computer has ever won a game of chess.

No computer has ever even played a game of chess.

No computer has ever played anything.

No computer has ever played.

All survival has style.

Survival radically underdetermines style, but all survival has style.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Low Can He Go?

Not fifty days in, and the execrable Trump has already managed approval numbers lower than Obama ever had in eight years. Will Nixonian depths have been plumbed prior to the end of the first hundred days? And what would that even mean under current conditions?

Spring Break

Papers to grade and lecture prep for the back end aside, my plans for Spring Break (well underway) are to read Nnedi Okorafor's Binti: Home, Becky Chambers' A Closed And Common Orbit, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Here In California, The Numbers Are Much The Same

Friday, March 17, 2017


This is the first CD I ever bought. I still own it -- and listen to it! Something magical happens during her rendition of "Fascinating Rhythm" and Sassy is seized by her genius and the concert just never lets up after that. I got this on the the same day I got my first CD player back in 1983 as a first-year undergraduate at IU Bloomington. I bought it at a record store called The Glass Harmonica, where a jolly couple like two gray acorns in thick gray sweaters sold mostly classical music and Broadway cast albums. My best friend Kathleen and I got a second musical education sampling music at Glass Harmonica Saturday afternoons, Sondheim, Shostokovich, and so on, and then to Mother Bear's pizza and then to the movies... Good gods, this was thirty four years ago!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't Count On It

I mean, sure, hold out hope, cheer even brief successes, call your Congress critters, give to the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the Immigration Law Center and so on... but understand that it is ongoing education, messaging, organizing, protesting, campaigning that will resist Trump and repair the damage done by Republicans and make a world that works for the majority who have to work for a living. I'm happy the Courts are dealing the Republicans some early blows, but we're not a hundred days in yet and I daresay the Courts will no more save us from Trump than they saved us from W.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It Pays To Advertize

Until Democrats insistently and consistently celebrate government doing well what only government can (that is, to maintain the public and common goods of which political freedom is made), Republicans will continue to decry and dismantle as "waste" everything government does that doesn't simply protect and expand the wealth of the richest.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rhet Vet

I am perplexed by the preference of many for the opaque term "single payer" over the (to me) much clearer and usefully stakes-foregrounding "Medicare for All." It's oddly counterintuitive to persist in crafting a rallying discourse around a form of the word "pay," for one thing. And the intrusion of the isolating individuating figure "single" here is discursively deranging. The point of dem-left healthcare politics in the American context, surely, is to emphasize the collective nature of public health, healthcare as a universal right and public investment and source of commonwealth: Whatever the wonky reference of "single" in "single payer" in the insurance policy imaginary, as a slogan it is pushing buttons, making connections, opening up possibilities for action in different ways once it is no longer a phrase in an educational lecture about optimal outcomes to students, an organizational shorthand about ideal outcomes among activists, but a phrase that is activating the diversity of hopes and histories of a working coalition capable of electing enough legislators to enact a longer-term agenda while accountably solving the shared problems in real time of an even greater diversity of stakeholders. Part of this is the difference between discussing engineering and discussing politics, part of this is the difference between discussing ethics and discussing politics, part of this is the difference between movement politics and partisan politics, part of this is the difference between expertise and commonsense and hegemonization...   

Saturday, March 11, 2017

And then you're caught.

The assimilation of Platonic doxa to Marxist ideology is an easy hook to bite down on.

Friday, March 10, 2017

So Useful

Every word you use is a scientific hypothesis.
Every word you use is a magic spell.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


These last few months I have drawn sense and solace from reading much more than from writing (or, heaven help me, my teaching) and that has made this blog an even more than usually slipshod affair lately. Obviously, the volume of my writing here has waxed and waned over the years, but it occurs to me that as a general matter the life of this blog has co-incided with an unusually long stretch in which I have drawn my sense and solace instead mostly from my own writing. Nowadays, though, it seems I prefer to mull. Thinking back to a childhood spent hiding with books I'd say my hunger for reading these days but distaste for saying much of anything myself is pretty familiar. Even if I spent well over a decade unceasingly over-confidently blathering several Tolstoy novels' worth of words onto this blog, for instance, the comparative recent reticence feels like a return to form. Probably this change has been a gradual thing, but the dramatic blows to my confidence represented by last year's unexpected medical emergency and then the catastrophic Presidential election have left me floundering in ways that exposed what otherwise I wasn't paying too much attention to. This blog began years ago in an effort to produce an extended piece of writing, my dissertation, and this blog has testified since to my sense of myself as a writer more than anything else, not because my writing here has been especially good or anything but simply because my writing here has been writing I had to do, that I figured things out with, that would remain unchanged if it never attracted a reader. These days, I'm feeling much more like a reader than a writer. Not saying I'm not going to blog anymore, I'm just reading and listening is all, and probably something is changing.

Monday, March 06, 2017


When every tweet feels like the ritual exorcism of an essay you didn't write that also will never be read...

Saturday, March 04, 2017

What Is Happening?

My working theory is that Scalia's passage into hell seems to have deranged the timeline for us all ever since...

Monday, February 27, 2017


Should be prepping for my lecture tomorrow in "For Futurity" but a search through Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future to confirm a point I was going to make has turned into an all-day re-immersion in that book about a decade after I read it last. I appreciate the book a lot, and it seems to muck around with the very associations -- between satire, utopia, modernity, reduction, construction, revolution, administration, reform, sub-culture -- we're teasing at in the class, and which I spend so much of my time teasing at more generally. It's not that I hate the book or anything, or even know how I would frame my critique yet, but I can't shake the feeling that I have disagreements with Jameson's take at a level that would help me clarify the anti-futurological (or maybe anti-marketing) critique I have been engaged in for years now. Can't put my finger on it yet...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

No App For You!

An enormously high proportion of "Tech" innovation and progress is just marketing and repackaging, so when you read breathless articles about new activist apps and tech-mediated organizing activity springing up be aware: Wherever there is "Tech" there will be vaporware, skimming and scamming collective efforts, credit-stealing wheel reinventions, wasteful duplications of effort, repackaging of failure and stasis as progress and novelty, manifestos without movements, etc.

Ated It!

I feel like most of my gay life has been over-legislated over-educated and over-masturbated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Say Something

If you want to demonstrate you understand the value of debate in a free society don't just tolerate disagreeable speech -- disagree with it.

Oh Yes They Call Him The Streak

Like all who are known only for their shortcomings, this by-the-numbers Republican bigot-contrarian Milo whatever-his-name-is will be entirely forgotten for them soon enough.

Not My President's Day

And, yes, that's right, proud card-carrying member of the ACLU for years.  Never more important to support their work, Join.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Door Number One For Trump's GOP

Since the choices seem to be Trump destroying the Republican Party, the United States or the planet I'm going to push for the first outcome.

No Need To Choose

I don't know which is the more facile and reactionary, market pieties from right-anarchists or mutualist pieties from left-anarchists.


Futurists are what pass for public intellectuals when marketing is what passes for truth.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sensible Prediction

I predict that people who confuse making predictions with making sense will make little sense.

Friday, February 17, 2017


I love to be told something almost as much as I hate to be sold something.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Venus Flew

It's been well over a year since I directed people to the Grimes/Monae collaboration "Venus Fly" -- but a video has come out rather unexpectedly (I guess the renewed excitement over Monae's star turns in Moonlight and Hidden Figures and on the usual red carpets in far from usual gowns may have something to do with the timing) and even if it didn't look so goddamn stunning fabulous any Janelle Monae video is news here at Amor Mundi, as you know!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Post-Clinton But Not Post-Obama?

New York Post:
[F]ormer President Barack Obama... isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration... He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action... with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country. Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy, it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change. Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account... Far from sulking, OFA activists helped organize anti-Trump marches across US cities... After Trump issued a temporary ban on immigration from seven terror-prone Muslim nations, the demonstrators jammed airports, chanting: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!” Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America in 2013. OFA, in IRS filings, says it trains young activists to develop “organizing skills.” Armed with Obama’s 2012 campaign database, OFA plans to get out the vote for Democratic candidates it’s grooming to win back Congress and erect a wall of resistance to Trump at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. It will be aided in that effort by the Obama Foundation, run by Obama’s former political director, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP “gerrymandering” of congressional districts. Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama Foundation. Critical to the fight is rebuilding the ravaged Democrat Party. Obama hopes to install his former civil-rights chief Tom Perez at the helm of the Democratic National Committee. Perez is running for the vacant DNC chairmanship, vowing “It’s time to organize and fight... We must stand up to protect President Obama’s accomplishments;” while also promising, “We’re going to build the strongest grass-roots organizing force this country has ever seen.” The 55-year-old Obama is not content to go quietly into the night like other ex-presidents. “You’re going to see me early next year,” he said after the election, “and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.” Added the ex-president: “Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go.”
The insinuation that Obama is behind the scenes with a hand in organizing the hearteningly massive street protests after Election Day and the powerfully effective airport protests after the unconstitutional and racist first attempted Trump-Republican Muslim Ban is enormously interesting. I suspect this claim is a bit overblown, but I also suspect that it is getting at something otherwise overlooked.

There are all sorts of interesting crosscurrents blowing in the background of this reporting. The reference to the Obama preference for Perez for DNC Chair is one of them for sure, since it seems to side Obama with Clinton loyalists against Ellison as standard bearer of a Sanders-affiliated wing of the party. Since the Sanders-fandom is also prominent in post-election organizing, OFA's credit-claiming here feels like skirmishing along the same lines. (I think Ellison is a fine Senator, and I regarded him and Perez both as good solid progressive candidates for chair -- but now that this contest is re-litigating the primary yet again I incline to Perez knowing full well any result, including my preference, will be divisive and demoralizing at a time when we should be united and righteous.)

Nevertheless, one also gets a distinct impression from these initiatives that Obamaworld is more than a little disappointed, perhaps even a bit disgusted, by the missteps of the Clinton campaign and the pretty pass to which we have now come, and in taking up the Resistance to Trump Obama is rebuking Clinton politics. Given the embrace by HRC of the diverse Obama coalition and the most progressive platform in generation, I am personally inclined to say this rebuke was already the substance of HRC's Democratic campaign itself.

Denial of this very insight was necessary in order for Sanders to demonize HRC -- which he disastrously chose to do once he delusively shifted from a protest campaign to what he thought was a winnable campaign -- the original sin of the primary campaign that yoked her high negatives to unanswerable (because insinuated rather than asserted and impressionistic rather than factual) character and corruption attacks that would be re-iterated by Trump to balance his own unfavorables and reach otherwise unreliable white resentment voters in suburbs in the context of Republican disenfranchisement of Democratic base voters in just enough states Democrats have counted on as a firewall to pull an electoral college upset.

Given the "shellacking" Democrats received at all levels of government in both of the mid-term elections of the Obama era, it is reasonable to ask if any OFA distancing from Clintonworld doesn't involve some small shirking of critical self-assessment and responsibility on the part of Obama's adherents. Before taking too much heart from the suggestion that President Obama is still the head of the Democratic Party and OFA is busy behind the scenes planning a stunning come-back and recapturing of progressive momentum in the face of climate catastrophe, weapons proliferation, and social injustice... do remember that OFA had that 2012 database and activists and the full power of the White House and yet the losses piled up in 2014 on top of the losses preceding it. What push against jerrymandering and disenfranchisement will work better now for 2018 than it would have done in 2012 for 2014 or 2008 for 2010?

Of course, those who "Feel the Bern" will have easy answers to all of this: Obama era Democrats lost seats because Obama is a corporatist/warcriminal, Obama and Clinton skirmishing is irrelevant because Obama and Clinton are both corporatists/warcriminals. Of course, the President is commander-in-chief of the American military and executive of the wealthiest capitalist country in history -- something describable as "corporatist" and "warcriminal" is going to characterize any American Presidency. Grasping this is indispensable to exposing, resisting, ameliorating the atrocities these facts imply. Sanders' fandom in offering up their loose abstractions -- everything is rigged by the 1% -- lose the capacity to distinguish Republican from Democrat (Gore vs. W., Obama vs. Romney -- Sanders wanted Obama primaries, recall -- HRC vs. Trump), Democrat from Democrat (Bill vs. FDR, Bill vs Hillary, Hillary vs Obama), or Sanders as... another exactly equally inevitably disappointing politician (his war funding, gun, ethanol votes all reveal a compromising politician distinguished from others mostly by getting much less done than most of his colleagues and in haappening to live in such a homogeneous boring postage stamp of a state he simply rarely is called upon to compromise because nobody wants anything from Vermont).

Needless to say, as a lifelong hippy faggot socialist art school teacher in San Francisco I am far from disdaining the politics of those who would condemn and resist plutocracy and militarism. My point of contention with the Sanders fandom in the Democratic Party has always been with what I regard as their preference for a politics of purity-tests and symbolic protests over a politics of real-time problem solving and piecemeal progressive policy reform. I am an advocate of the Kingian model of the "revolution of conscience" and the ongoing struggle toward and of the Beloved Society of sustainable democratic equity-in-diversity. I am neither contemptuous nor afraid of those who call for Revolution in this nation of white-supremacy and patriarchy and plutocracy -- but I must say I do disdain those who label themselves "Revolutionary" without a substantial diagnosis of the actionable terrain and a program for change. I would never be so foolish to pretend there was anything Revolutionary about campaigning for HRC for President. This isn't because HRC was less "revolutionary" than Bernie -- indeed, I preferred HRC over Bernie as a candidate (I don't know her as a person, and don't judge candidates as potential friends, dream dates, or parent surrogates) because I regarded her experience, temperament, and connections as more capable of the kinds of progress in the direction of my own more "revolutionary" aspirations -- but because election campaigns and partisan politics, even at their best, are not revolutionary activities. Saying otherwise is a deranging error, it actively mis-educates citizens as to the nature of political change and substantial radicalism.

In the closing months of the campaign, Obama sometimes seemed to rebuke the unreliability of Democratic voters who seem all too eager to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, who forget that voting for a lesser evil that makes a real difference for the better can still be a way of voting for the greater good, who cannot be counted on to promote progressive accomplishments and remind majorities they have something to root and vote for. Whatever their frustrations with the Clinton defeat, the trustees of the Obama administration's legacy and living representatives of the REAL real diversifying secularizing planetizing America of the Obama coalition will, I both think and hope, ally with the architects of the Clinton campaign's move to the left, the professionalism of its policy shop, its embrace of intersectional analyses and harm reduction policy aims, its celebration of the diversity of America and the Democratic base. A return to Dean's 50 state strategy and ACORN-style voter registration drives coupled with legal challenges to disenfranchisement schemes is clearly the order for the day. Presumably, since this is something pretty much everybody always says one can assume eventually some party muckety-mucks will get around to doing it in earnest.

However indispensable the mass protests of Trump Republican authoritarianism and individual support of the vulnerable, organizing to win elections (at the City and State level and in the House of Representatives for 2018 -- even to hold in the Senate is a dauntingly big task, I'm afraid, given the math) is the most useful thing we can all do in coming months. More, and Better, Democrats is a virtuous circle making everything else we need to do that much easier. Bernie Sanders isn't even a Democrat and too many who take him as their champion are simply Greens and Naderites and anarchists who want to piss on the Democratic Party and/or take it over because they cannot build or maintain their own. But not all politics are partisan. There is a lot of education, agitation, and organization at the local level, in the streets, in classrooms, in culture. This work is not to be dismissed but celebrated. It is no less indispensable to progress than partisan reform also is. But a stump speech isn't the same thing as an academic lecture and a party platform isn't the same thing as a revolutionary manifesto and a party isn't the same thing as a fandom and a slogan isn't the same thing as a policy and a vote isn't the same thing as performance art.

Like Howard Dean, I am from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party: I want a Democratic Party that stands with and for the majority of Americans who work for a living. And I believe that Obama and HRC both worked to re-orient the Party to that work after the long night of the Southern Strategy and the Republican dismantlement of the New Deal and Great Society (very much including the distress of the Clinton administration in the immediate aftermath of the Reagan years during the Gingrich "Contract [On] America"). I have no trouble with those who prefer more conspicuously progressive candidates for this or that office (I was a fan of Tsongas against the first Clinton, and a fan of Obama against the second Clinton the first time, and might have been a fan of a Biden/Warren ticket over Clinton a third time too given the chance), once a solid case can be made for the path to their actual election. But I prefer my Democrats to be... Democrats, with real accomplishments and solid relationships and a detailed understanding of current events. Bernie wasn't, in my view, and it matters to me that he still isn't.

The Democratic Party is signaling that it is NOT post-Obama in the Moment of Trump. This is a good thing in my view. I think the Party is also signaling that it IS post-Clinton, as I believe it has been doing since the Party's purge of DLCers and Blue Dogs, mostly in 2010. In the past I would have described that development as a good thing as well, because I regarded it as the conclusion of the Great Sort of the parties on questions of civil rights which I imagined would eventually force the GOP to adapt wholesomely to reality to become a viable opposition Party again, but I cannot say I am quite so confident of those assumptions at the moment given recent events. Is Trump the last gasp of white supremacy as the Southern Strategy blows its wad and America turns into a majority minority country -- or is a "Southernification" of white suburban/"rural" voters coupled with disenfranchisement of Democratic base voters in mid-western states extending the electorally useful life of the heinous Southern Strategy? The concentration of Democratic voters in cities in a system that ultimately allocates representation in ways that skew to geographic rather than demographic realities is a deep problem, as the example of how small a minority subjugated how great a majority so terribly so long in South Africa, for example, is an important reminder.

Be all that as it may, I think it is more important to get past Bernie Sanders than to get past HRC in this post-[Bill]Clintonian Democratic Party. I believe, the Democratic Party is the most indispensable but at once inadequate tool in the struggle for freedom and justice in the United States. I don't personally expect to like the process in which the progressive vegi-sausage is slowly made. I don't expect actual policies to resemble my own ideal versions of them, since they will always also reflects the needs, facts, and ends of stakeholders who differ from me but share the world in which and for which legislation is made. In the long term, despite our current Trump-Republican catastrophe, I have to think it is a sign of greater long-term health for the Democratic Party that it was able to fend off a takeover by an extra-party insurgency while the Republican Party was not. While it is true that you don't get to govern if you don't win elections, the converse is not necessarily true with Republicans who may win and yet are incapable of or opposed to actual governance. Again, while I am pretty far to HRC's left politically myself, I think her greatest flaw as a candidate was actually not her policy positions, even the ones I disagreed with, but her awkwardness and discomfort as a public communicator in an era irretrievably mass-mediated -- this is a flaw that recurs catastrophically as a Democratic tic from Adlai Stevenson, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry to Hillary Clinton. I daresay if the people of the Democratic Party took rhetoric seriously neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders would have been the frontrunning candidate in our primary.