Jill’s Star Gets Some Tarnish

I learned three things about Green Party Presidential candidate and presumptive nominee Dr. Jill Stein tonight that I found troubling. She’s still got my support but now I’m a bit more wary of her consistency and her integrity than I was when I woke up this morning.

First, it turns out she appears to be pandering to the uninformed and irrational anti-vaxxers in LaLaLand. She waffled a bit on the issue, finally settling for something like, “I’m a doctor. Of course I support vaccines. But I understand why some parents are concerned.” Bull-puckey, Jill. The whole autism-is-caused-by-vaccines hoax has been thoroughly and completely debunked. If believers in that unscientific conspiracy theory are part of your base, I wonder about  your integrity as a scientist.

Second, she is suggesting quite openly that we shouldn’t be exposing our kids to TV, computers or WiFi signals for health reasons. I know there are psychological reasons to monitor and limit kids’ use of passive screen consumption. But to suggest that LCD displays or WiFi signals are somehow dangerous to health? Seriously? Feels like more pandering to me.

Finally, her selection of a very bright and engaging human rights activist and leader, Ajamu Baraka, as her running mate, strikes me as being ill-advised. Baraka has no experience in government and relatively little in management. Combined with Jill’s paucity of such experience, this gives me pause where, if they could pull off a win in November, we’d be in for four years of demagoguery and arm-waving with very little of her ambitious and progressive agenda having any hope of achievement. If she had recruited someone with real on-the-job experience in legislation or executive administration in government, she’d have bolstered her opportunity. Nothing against Baraka, just a bad strategic choice.

As I said at the outset, I’m still a #JillNotHill kinda guy, but these are warning signs that I’m going to monitor.

 

Where Jill Stands on the Four Main Issues

Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party Presidential Nominee

Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party Presidential Nominee

After yesterday’s post about the four main issues over which I’m choosing not to vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate for President in my lifetime, a couple of people challenged me, asking where my candidate of choice — Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party — stands on those same issues.

Here’s a quick summary of her views along with links to other sources of more detailed information for those who are interested.

  • On war and peace and American foreign policy: Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. End the wars and drone attacks, cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases that are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire. Stop U.S. support and arms sales to human rights abusers, and lead on global nuclear disarmament. See her plan and her platform. More detail in a public policy statement here.
  • On the global climate crisis: Jill is committed to transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.  “End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.” Her plan and her platform:
  • On the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Jill strongly opposes the TPP and other job-killing international trade agreements. She is on record as: opposing fast track (too late, of course) and executive action and she’s called TPP worse than NAFTA and CAFTA, to which she has long been an opponent. Read a summary of her positions on international trade here.
  • On knee-jerk support for Israel: “The Jill Stein campaign calls for ending support for governments committing war crimes and massive human rights violations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. It supports the BDS movement as a peaceful, nonviolent set of actions organized by civil society across the world aimed to end Israeli apartheid, occupation, war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.” (More here.)

My Four Objections to Hillary

hillaryHillary Clinton gave a very workmanlike, well-thought-out acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention’s closing session tonight. It climaxed what has been a very impressive four-day event, well-produced, well-messaged and great TV. Several friends and family members said her speech made them more comfortable voting for her.

It did not convert me.

She has  positions on four issues that relate among my top concerns with which I strongly disagree:

  1. She is far too hawkish, too ready to use our military not as a last resort but as a threat, far too comfortable with the idea of using power to attain U.S. foreign policy goals.
  2. Her stance on the global climate disaster is woefully inadequate. She’ll try (but, I sense, not too hard)  to get us to live up to the Paris Accords but they are much too little, far too late.
  3. Her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is on too shaky ground. I have little confidence she will hold out for the major changes it would take to make it acceptable to me and other progressives.
  4. As long as she continues the horribly flawed Middle Eastern policy which calls for knee-jerk, all-out support for Israel regardless of how bad an actor that country has been and continues to be, I cannot support her.

So — as you probably know by now — I’m all for electing the first woman President in American history this year. I just think her name ought to be Jill Stein.

 

My Apologies, Hillary. I May Be Wrong About Kaine

Yesterday, when I heard the news that Hillary Clinton had chosen Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, I dashed off a quick, angry, and disappointed post calling him the worst possible choice available.

Secretary Clinton With Running Mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D, Va)A few minutes ago, I finished watching his introductory speech from Miami, Florida. While I’m still not convinced of his progressive credentials, I must say that he brings a lot more intangible value to the Democratic Party campaign than I had originally estimated. And, come to that, he may be more progressive than my first judgment would suggest.

In his first appearance since being selected, Kaine gave a speech that was filled with joy, hope, confidence, competence, and overall good feelings. As a long-time colleague of Clinton’s, he described a side of her that has perhaps been largely ignored, even though he didn’t supply any new information in the process. I guess it was his attitude more than anything else that caused me to question my judgment of him. From his slightly goofy, lopsided grin to his obvious sincerity when it came to serious issues like gun-control and our nation’s defense, he just came across as genuine and sincere in a way Hillary somehow seldom, if ever, does.

That, by itself, may turn out to be of inestimable value to Sec. Clinton in her quest for the White House.

So today, Hillary, I’m withdrawing my accusation of yesterday that Kaine was the worst possible choice. As a progressive, I remain somewhat skeptical, but I’ll withhold judgment until I get to hear more from a man I quite probably misjudged based on too little information and no personal exposure.

 

Did HRC Just Sink Her Candidacy and Give Us Trump?

I just heard that Hillary Clinton selected Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. As disappointed as I already was in her as a presidential choice, this was perhaps the worst selection she could’ve made.

If there is one easily detected characteristic of the electorate in America today, it is their widespread disenchantment with our badly broken political system. That is a large part of the reason for Donald Trump’s popularity, such as it is. How in the world she thought bringing onto her ticket an even more Establishment Democrat that she is would help her get elected is beyond me. In my view, she has tipped over a number of independent voters who are in fact disenchanted. They will go to Trump now, not out of any agreement with his policies (does he have any?) or particular attraction, but out of revulsion for her doubling down on things as they are.

Even though the Democratic Party platform will be one of the most progressive in the party’s history, platforms as we all know mean next to nothing. They are mere scraps of what used to be paper and is now bits and bytes.

I’m sure the political crap storm that will soon erupt around her decision will be filled with people with the same views as mine; I guess that makes me part of that storm. So be it.

Bad choice, Hillary. Bad, bad choice.

Does Adding Voices to Prayer Increase Its Power?

For those who are interested in following me on a more personal, spiritual level:

You might want to check out my newest post on my spiritual teaching site. In it, I address the question of whether there is a connection between the number of people who pray or meditate for a specific purpose coming together at a common date and time, and the efficacy of such prayers. Just click on this link to read that post.

 

Suggestion: Don’t Call it Climate Change, Call It What It Is…Catastrophic

climate_talkIn an email today, the folks at Universe Spirit suggested that those of us concerned about the climate on Planet Earth stop using the phrase “climate change” to describe the group of problems that have brought the globe to the brink of humanity’s extinction. They argue that the term “climate change” was injected into the debate by organizations, companies, and individuals who oppose the idea that climate change is real or that humanity is causing or exacerbating the problem. I don’t know the history, so they may well be right. Either way, there call for a change in language seems like it probably has merit.

On the other hand, they suggested changing the phrase to “escalating global warming” or “climate destabilization”. They contended that either or both of those phrases lends a greater sense of urgency and removes the problem from the realm of recurring, naturally caused issues. While I agree that they have come up with two phrases that do sound more critical and urgent than “global warming” or “global climate change”, I don’t think they’ve gone far enough in suggesting that we re-label the debate.

To me, we are experiencing “climate catastrophe” or perhaps, “climate disaster.” Those both to a better job, in my opinion, of addressing the urgency and the unnatural character of the crisis.

So, in response to their request that I take a pledge to stop saying “climate change,” I agreed to do so. I will henceforth refer to it as either “climate catastrophe” or “climate disaster”.

Mediocre Products Marketed Well Defeat Great Products Marketed Badly Every Time

Back in the day, when I made my living as a technologist, there was a saying that floated around among my friends and colleagues and throughout the industry: “Mediocre products marketed well defeat great products marketed badly every time.” We used it most often when scratching our heads over why Microsoft Windoze could possibly be clobbering the elegant Macintosh user experience in the marketplace.

Apple Newton

Apple Newton

I was reminded of that observation today when a news item crossed my desk. Strangely enough, it was about one of my all-time favorite technologies that didn’t make it. When Apple introduced the Newton hand-held Personal Digital Assistant in 1993, I was immediately taken with it. I bought an early version. I spent time learning the fairly slick scripting/programming language built to code applications with. I touted it. I loved it.

Oh, there were a lot of things wrong with it. Its size and format were bulky and blocky. Handwriting recognition became the industry’s favorite punchline. Still, I thought it was incredibly promising and I was willing to put up with the rough edges and flaws while Apple nurtured it through its premature release. But, as with so many other technology products of its day, the Newton fell sufficiently short of sales goals that, in a relatively short time, Apple killed it off. I remember a friend of mine in Apple’s research group who collected old Newton’s for replacement parts; several years later, he was still selling them. Obviously, some people found it still usable and useful.

I thought at the time that Apple demonstrated extreme impatience with this stunning new technology. Of course, this was in the days before Apple switched its focus from computing to consumer products, and the company’s financial reserves were much smaller than they are today. Still, it seemed to me then and still does that Apple failed to stay with promising but slow-moving new technologies on too many occasions for a company that touted itself as a research-driven outfit. They did a similar thing with HyperCard, a product that I also fell in love with — and clearly made a fair amount of money from — but that Apple never understood well enough to know how to market it. HyperCard lasted a little longer than the Newton and gave rise to some wonderful spin-off products from third parties (most notably for me the brilliant LiveCode language and environment I still love using). But ultimately, it was orphaned simply because of a lack of marketing insight at Apple.

Today, more than two decades later, I’m not sure we’ve significantly improved on handwriting recognition over what the Newton offered. At least, I haven’t seen any widely used commercial products that demonstrate that promise.

Oh, well. At least I enjoyed this brief trip down Memory Lane.

Jill Stein: A Vote for Me is NOT a Vote for Trump!

As a strong supporter of Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party of the United States, I spend a lot of my time fielding the duopoly’s inane refrain, “Isn’t a vote for her a vote that makes a Trump presidency more possible?”

Short answer: no. We’ve been sold that bill of goods by the operators of the Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum politicians who are in control. Time to wake up.

Check this video interview of Dr. Stein for a clear and impassioned argument: