my ballot 2016

Huzzah! My ballot arrived today, and I just voted. Here is your guide to voting in lockstep with me, your local democratic socialist Democratic blogger.

President: Hillary Clinton

I remember in 2003 swearing I would never vote for Hillary when she voted for Bush/Cheney’s war in Iraq. I still carry deep misgivings about her as Commander-in-Chief; not because she won’t be tough enough but because I fear she’s too much of a hawk. Especially on Israel, a nation that needs to stop blocking justice, and nationhood, for Palestine. And I thought, with Oregon firmly in her column, I could write-in someone else and keep that promise to myself.

But I have three granddaughters (and one grandson). When they ask me about this election one day, would I be able to look them in the eye and say, Nope, I didn’t vote for the first woman president. She was terribly wrong about the war vote, and I hope she’s learned from that. But she’s also right about a lot of issues, and there’s no question: she’s far and away the most qualified candidate in this election and possibly since Humphrey ran.

Governor: Kate Brown

I expect greatness once she has her own mandate.

Senator: Ron Wyden

I seem to have voted for Ron about forty or fifty times over the years. I might be exaggerating, but damn. I have voted for him a lot.

Secretary of State: Brad Avakian

Brad’s a great progressive. I expect to see both sides of him in this office: The smart, thoughtful bureaucrat taking care of our good systems and examining areas of difficulties; and the aggressive activist challenging the state, and its citizens, to do better.

Not to mention, Richardson is a god-awful candidate. He’s running a...

Hales: leaving Wheeler an effing mess

Well, Portland, we tried to warn you about Charlie Hales. You’ve kind of brought this on yourself.

My hypothesis right now: Hales is trying to leave Ted Wheeler a burning slagheap of a city. Charlie knows his legacy is, to borrow another political phrase, worth a bucket of warm spit. So why not make life as hard as
possible for the guy who ran him out of office just by showing up and say “Hi” to Portland last September?

After learning what happened with the police contract vote and the subsequent “sweep” of protesters from City Hall, my thoughts went here (as I posted on Facebook):

it's a waste of time in real terms, but gathering recall signatures against Hales would still send a message.

I then took a look at what was needed to do a recall. I also contacted a few folks about it. I didn’t need much to be talked out of it. With less than two-and-a-half months remaining in his term, the best thing to do in regards to this Mayor is run the clock out. Can he make things worse? Probably. He’ll probably do so regarding those facing a winter outdoors.

One way or another, he’ll make it worse.

So I’m not angry at Hales over this; I’m just resigned to whatever ridiculous shit he tries to do. I am instead pissed off at Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. Fritz bills herself as the “People’s Commissioner” because she won her seat initially using public funds. Yet they not only went along with the police contract despite widespread public opposition – especially in various minority communities – and since there was no deadline until next fricking summer.

And they went along with moving the meeting from...

RBG, not Kap, is being dumb and disrespectful

In case you missed it, here’s what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to say about Colin Kaepernick’s on-going anthem protest:

“I think it’s really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful.”

“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag-burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do,” she added. “But I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

“It’s dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people. It is a symbol they are engaged in,” she said.
Asked whether she meant it was their right to protest, Justice Ginsburg agreed.

“If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive,” Justice Ginsburg said. “If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

Like many progressives, I love me some Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s standing tall for the things I appreciate about America’s liberties, and she’s becoming bolder with each session of the Supreme Court. Long may she serve.

But, damn. She sure got it wrong this time.

Of course, she’s made injudicious public comments before. Earlier this year, she ripped Donald Trump. She didn’t say anything that tens of millions of Americans do not disagree with, but for a Supreme Court justice to attack a presidential nominee was wrong. Dangerously so.

(That point is underlined by Trump, in the second debate, saying that if he were president, he would...

Trump is not an exception

I want to be honest about what men (and boys) say about women (and girls), and it’s not very from what Trump was recorded saying in 2005. Here’s what we talk about:

their tits

their asses

their legs

their faces

having sex with them

how much they want to have sex with us

how awesome we are having sex with one of them

how hard I’m going to bang the next one

how pleased chicks are to see how awesome my junk is

And that’s just to summarize in a way that I can still publish.

And of course: Not all guys; not all situations; and not with the kind of macho crudity Trump seems to get high on. But most guys, at some point, do engage in such talk. (Or in my case, keep silent and implicitly condone such talk.) What we heard from Trump and Billy Bush was just the nastiest version of “locker room” talk. But it’s not uncommon.

Far from it.

But, by the time we get out of high school or college, most of us leave most of that behind. After all, much of the energy for that talk is puberty wishing that instead of having to talk about sex, we could actually be having and enjoying sex. (Side note: the more a guy talks about sex, the less sex he is probably having.) But the nasty objectification, and the concomitant belief that women exist to serve as sex toys for men, is learned young and rarely extricated fully from men’s minds.

Part of the reaction to the release of this video is men denouncing the remarks; lots of high dudgeon going around. Good, let’s denounce. Not a tough thing to do, denouncing depravity. But I’m also seeing men stating that “I don’t...

I am white. w00t!

I am white; anyone who knows me knows that to be true. There’s some indigenous blood in there, but not a lot, not enough to make a meaningful difference. And despite the problems a lot of white people seem to have coming to grips with their own whiteness, I don’t find it a problem.

I’m white, male, hetero, and that’s just the way it is. I was born that way, and I’m fine with it. I was also born with eyesight that started out poor and has gotten worse. My hair turned silver at a young age and is now pretty thin (if I were to stop shaving my head). I have strong legs and weak arms. I’m smart when it comes to ideas and concepts; I’m dumb when it comes to linear thinking, mechanical cognition, and common sense.

To quote Popeye, I yam what I yam.

Being white hasn’t done me a lot of good. It didn’t stop the bullying when I was younger. My parents’ were not better parents because I was white. Depression hasn’t given me a pass. Being white didn’t make up for turning 50 in this economy; I still couldn’t get a decent job, not even temp work. Old is old. No one has walked up to me and said, You’re a white hetero male; let me offer you a great job for $250,000 a year. Being white has been no protection against the inherent suckiness of much of life in a world ruled by money as much as by fear and prejudice.

Of course, I have yet to be stopped by the cops for the crime of being a white person. I have only once been picked up by the cops for wandering around a neighborhood, but I was lost,...

Get in line?

So Bernie’s conceded and is now on Team Hillary. Most of his supporters got there first because they don’t hate Clinton as much as some uber-partisans want them to, not to mention they are smart people who know “President Trump” would make us long for the good old days of Bush/Cheney. Bernie is there, too; he ran a great race, came in second, and is now doing what he has to do as a responsible, conscientious politician.

But just because he and most of his supporters are now with her doesn’t mean everyone has to be. That’s not how democracy works. Just because “we” believe we are right does not mean we are. In politics, what is right or wrong is a matter of what we decide as a polity. This is why we have elections.

In this election, supporting Clinton for president is a “wrong” for a lot of people. Apart from my point that they have every right to hold that position, I’d like to make two other points I think are important.

One, there was always a large portion of Sanders’ base that was never going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Never. Many Democrats and Dem-voting independents joined him with great passion but were always open, to varying degrees, to voting for the winner of the primary. But a lot of those who were part of the campaign were not Democrats and never will be.

That’s why when the Clinton-v-Trump polls are expanded to include third-party candidates, she loses about 5% of her lead. This has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. This happens every cycle: a small chunk of voters go for the Greens, the Libertarians, etc. What was unusual this time is that so many of those...

When did this become ok?

The cops blew up the suspect with a robot.

Think about that. Dallas cops had one of the shooting suspects cornered, and, when he did not surrender, they sent in a robot armed with a bomb. And they blew the man up.

This isn’t science fiction or a bad Robocop movie. This is real-life in Dallas, Texas, a state with no qualms about executing mentally incapacitated people, the state where Gov Rick Perry was proud of his record of executing criminals. Now their MO becomes: Uncooperative suspect? And he’s not white? Send in the robot and blow his ass up.

Executing cops, as was done in Dallas last night, may be understandable – and I’m only surprised it’s been this long for it to happen, I’m sorry to say – but it’s no more excusable than any other murder. And I understand that cops get especially angry when their own are killed; that’s human nature, and it’s exacerbated when a tribe, like a police force, feels itself under what they consider unfair scrutiny.

But at some point, outside the emotion and drama of protests and videos of innocent black men being slaughtered by racist cops, a decision was made by the Dallas police department to prepare to use robots to blow up human beings. I want to know: Who signed off on this? Did the Mayor give the okay to prepare to use robots to blow up dangerous suspects? Did the DA?

Who argued that police lives matter so much that a suspect – not an active shooter putting innocent lives in danger, but a suspect cornered and incapable of attacking the public any further – should be blown up, like a piece of luggage left suspiciously on the sidewalk?

What was the...

CA Dreamin'

Yes, California has nearly 2.5M votes left to count, almost all of them vote-by-mail. (County elections departments there should contact Multnomah County to learn how to do this right.) If you compare the county-by-county outstanding ballots to the current results, you’ll come to this conclusion: Clinton still wins the state, and handily.

Here’s a comparison of the counties with the most outstanding ballots to count:

county outstanding HRC margin
Alameda 151,853 +8
Contra Costa 75,000 +17
Fresno 38,000 +19
Kern 53,856 +17
Los Angeles 556,319 +16
Orange 206,285 +10
Riverside 128,415 +20
Sacramento 107,291 +16
San Bernardino 56,049 +14
San Diego 285,000 +8
San Francisco 54,000 +11
San Joaquin 49,608 +21
San Mateo 62,687 +23
Santa Barbara 20,947 -0.2
Santa Clara 87,900 +20
Santa Cruz 37,500 -11
Sonoma 43,324 +2
Stanislaus 39,400 +8
Ventura 38,696 +7

Every one of these counties but two, she won; most by dominant margins. These are not numbers that lend themselves to a half-million vote swing. Sanders would have to win the oustanding ballots by a million, or 70% of the remaining votes. And that’s just to tie.

The current numbers, taken in conjunction with pre-primary polling and exit polls, tells us it ain’t gonna happen.

This is not the kind of outcome that will cause Sen Jeff Merkley to return to the fold, cause a panic of super-delegates, or persuade committed delegates to renege their commitment to the voters. Sanders is not going to win California on these outstanding ballots. He knows it, which is why he’s entering end-of-campaign mode.

Check the data yourself

Statewide returns, county-by-county
Outstanding ballots, county-by-county...

questions, no answers

Ten years ago, no one was paying attention to lead in drinking fountains. When the fountains at Corvallis High School were turned off due to safety concerns, the implications of that slid by. After all, Corvallis voters had approved the construction of a new high school, so the kids were getting out of that building anyway.

But now, ten years down the road, those of us with kids who went to the old CHS – and I had two – have no idea what our kids were exposed to. We can also wonder about the old Highland Middle School, demolished and replaced by Linus Pauling MS. Or all the other schools in Corvallis, most of which needed extensive fixing.

What happened to our kids during those years at those schools? I don't even know if the water got tested back then. I see what's going on in Portland, and I see testing (albeit late), accountability (way too late), and I see that parents at least have some knowledge of what their kids might have been exposed to.

All I have, and the thousands of Corvallis parents in the years before these recent upgrades, are questions. And the hope that my kids were not poisoned by their school drinking fountains. But I do not know.

Money: a review of the Portland mayoral race

Oregon’s primary election is in the rear view mirror, so let’s look at the role money played in the Portland mayoral campaign. Or, in some cases, the role a lack of money played.

Bailey: The high road?

Jules Bailey made a pledge at the beginning of his campaign to cap contributions at $250 and to take no PAC money. Of course, he was counting on support from groups like OLCV and the police union to give time and energy that he would not have to count as money. Bailey may have felt this was an ethical stand, but it didn’t do his campaign any good, especially considering he started several months after Ted Wheeler, who put no such limit on his contributions.

The question arises, given that he raised $160,000 (and ended $15,000 in the red) compared to Wheeler’s $634,000 (and that was just this year): was this a mistake? Did he regret the choice? No doubt Wheeler’s huge advantage in cash made Bailey’s task much more difficult, undermining all the things necessary to win an election.

Did he regret the choice? I don’t know, but here’s what he Tweeted when Chloe Eudaly asked Steve Novick to limit contributions in their City Council run-off:

Wheeler: Overwhelming advantage

Ted Wheeler was not shy about fundraising, and his campaign kicked major ass: $633,646 – in 2016 alone. In 2015, he raised over $324,000. That’s almost $1 million for this campaign. And it worked. He blew away all competition, winning handily (not easily, however: he, his team, and his volunteers worked like hell). He was able to buy all...


Subscribe to TABarnhart RSS