Ageism and Portland hipster progressivism

Being a woman in politics is a tough gig. No matter what side of the political divide, what office you’re seeking, what your background, you’re going to get hammered in ways men never have to worry about (cf: Hillary Clinton). Sexism in politics is rampant, disgusting, and destructive.

So is ageism. And we’re seeing that in play in the 2016 Portland mayoral primary.

The leading woman candidate is Sarah Iannarone. Her bio is a strong one: single-mom, started her own business, a leader in a program at PSU that allows her a wide range of international contacts, relentless volunteer, full-time bicyclist. This is a background that makes for a good politician, especially in Portland. Varied, full of struggle, full of opportunities taken.

As a result, even though few Portland voters know of her and she has no chance of becoming Portland’s next mayor, she’s earned a lot of respect and support. She says a lot of things progressive leaders need to say, and she says them with the conviction and detail that lets you know this comes from a strong combination of heart and brains. Many progressive activists in Portland are supporting her, especially younger ones and those with a dislike for the political establishment (and rich white men).

Fortunately for Iannarone, she’s young enough and not-rich enough that these younger activists are willing to give her a fair chance. Four years ago, the same people had a woman candidate with an even stronger background but never gave her the fair chance they are giving Iannarone.

I’m talking about Eileen Brady, of course. I worked on her campaign and got to know her quite well. She and her family made me a friend, and I learned what wonderful people they are. I...

An old white guy talks about Béyonce

Not gonna happen. Not here. I may be an old white guy, but I’m not a stupid old white guy.

I’m also not a black woman in 21st Century USA. I’m not any kind of black person, much less a female one. The life experiences of Béyonce – the life experiences of black women and women in general – are not something I have shared. Yes, I have gone through shitty things in life, so empathy is no problem. I “get” a lot of this: the anger, the fear, the burning desire to tell the world to fuck off, and so on. Any human who has been stomped on can know these feelings.

But I can never know that lived experience because I am an old white guy living in a different kind of skin, one that gets automatic respect and privilege because, well, I’m a white male. A straight white male. Poor? Yes, but since I am a straight white male, my “poor” is a whole lot better than that of women, of people of color, etc. For example —

I do not stand a one-in-three chance of sexual assault.

I’m probably never going to be stopped by the cops for the crime of being white.

I will be taken at face value where women and people of color will not.

So, me? Talk about Béyonce? Like I said, I’m not stupid. I just wanted to get your attention. I’m not a fan of her music, but that’s about the music. I don’t care for much pop music these days (cf: “old” guy). I don’t care for hip-hop and its many commercial variants. I grew in the 60s; I like melody more than pounding rhythms and thundering bass. I can enjoy these...

Why Wapato may be a bad idea

Setting up a homeless refuge at the Wapato Jail is a tempting but problematic idea. The key phrase to bear in mind is: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Check the map; I’m guessing most people aren’t aware just how far from downtown Wapato is: Eleven miles by car. By TriMet, over an hour-and-a-half (the 1:13 trip includes the last 1.3 miles on foot). This is a facility that was put in a distant locale for a simple reason: they wanted to keep the criminals away from the rest of us. When you are locking people up for crimes, easy access to the jail is the opposite of what’s desired.

Access for those experiencing homelessness, on the other hand, is critical: access to employment assistance, SNAP and other benefits, child care, training, medical care, and so on. Those who do not have a place to live should not be punished further by making access to vital services and opportuities difficult. Our goals in dealing with this issue has to be more than just giving people a roof over their heads and a place to escape bad weather. If that was the only goal, Wapato might be great. But a place to spend the night is just the beginning of what the homeless need.

Unless the multitude of agencies and organizations people dealing with homelessness and related issues set up branch offices inside Wapato, we’re looking at a major transportation issue for these folks. For a single person, the hassle and time needed to get back and forth is manageable; for families, it can become a daily trauma. Getting the help needed to move out of homelessness becomes much more difficult from the far end of NoPo....

Fear-mongering fails, or 2004 once more

My friend Jj Ark sent me this reminder:

Find something that fires up the base, and people will get out and vote: Gay Marriage.

It worked. Kerry lost.

He was talking about how Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove used state-level DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) ballot measures to drive voters to the polls in 2004 to bolster flagging support for Bush’s re-election and down-ballot Republicans. With marriage equality now the law of the land, most of us have forgotten just how recent it was that in state after state, voters were denying a basic civil right to millions of law-abiding Americans.

Including us, the fine folks of left coast Oregon.

It was only a temporary fix for the GOP, not to mention the forces of regressive social policy. The Supreme Court was always going to strike down these measures; it was just a matter of time. Most of us were, I think, shocked how quickly that time came. But “equal under the law” always gets protected by the high court, even if it takes years,or decades, too long to get there.

Jj pointed me to the Pew Center’s recent poll on political affiliation, because he sees a link between the DOMA movement (Rove’s grand scheme involved rolling out more of these measures in succeeding elections, but his boss broke the economy and opened the door to the Oval Office to Obama, and next thing you know, it’s gay marriage everywhere) and the GOP’s loss of affilation that is much greater than the Democrats’. In his view, many Americans responded to the DOMA movement by leaving the GOP.

And while I think the Iraq War and Great Recession played a large part in voters turning from the Republican...

Give them time

Yes, the Democratic nomination is done and dusted. Bernie Sanders’ only path to that nomination is via a time machine. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President. Hell, she’s going to be our next President. The best thing for those who oppose the right wing in this country to do is accept that and move forward.

The worst thing is to tell Sanders supporters, Time to get behind Clinton.

This is not the time for those who’ve given so much to back what they see as a revolution to give up and commit to the candidate who won. This is a time to live through that loss and come to terms with it. And that’s going to take a while. As someone who gave so much to the Dean for America campaign in 2003, I understand.

Sanders supporters think they’re getting a raw deal from the DNC and top Dems; they know nothing about raw deals. The behind-the-scenes efforts to stop Dean in 2003 and 2004 make efforts to block Bernie look like speed bumps on a side street. Joe Trippi’s disastrous Iowa strategy didn’t help, but Dean’s opponents constantly fed the media stories, rumors, and whatever else they could to tear him down.

And when “the scream” happened and it was shown over 800 times in a single week on cable news, not a single Democrat stood up to say, This is wrong. This is unfair. They sat back and gloated while the most successful grassroots campaign of our time was torpedoed by establishment elites in politics and the media. It was brutal, and, when it was over, I was as angry about organized politics as I’m likely to ever be in my life.

But you know what? Time passed....

Noisy me

Politics is full of noise, and, sad to say, I’ve added my own share to that mess. That makes me sad, because I see politics as the way we – and “we” varies from issue to issue, community to community – sort out our differences. Make society work.

The alternative to politics is not peaceful anarchy; the alternative to politics is violence.

In the United States, we do it badly, but we do stick to politics to resolve our issues. In a nation of this size, with the vast differences in beliefs and opinion that make up the American people, we rarely resort to violence to resolve political differences. Rather than violence, most Americans choose a second alternative to politics: submission to whoever wants to be in charge.

These are our choices: violence, surrender, politics. The latter should be cherished, seen as a privilege, the right of free human beings living in civil society. I view politics that way. No one is imposing rule by the gun in the United States, and I’ll be damned if I let anti-democratic forces control things. I choose politics because this is the one means I have available to me to affect progressive, peaceful change.

So my failure to live up to my standards hurts. When I think how I’ve added noise and not substance, I’m humiliated. I can do better than that.

Don't worry. They'll be there.

There is significant worry among Dems that Sanders voters won’t show up for Clinton in November should she win the nomination. Calls for “Bernie or Bust” or for Sanders to run as an independent are loud right now in the heat of the primary campaign. I don’t think this should concern those of us who want to elect a Democrat as President, be it Sanders or Clinton. The voters will show up.

Enough to win, that is.

In 2008, after a primary that was far more contentious, far more divisive than this one has been, there was a “PUMA” movement: Party Unity My Ass. Clinton supporters, so hurt and angry at the process, stating they would never vote for Obama, and to hell with “bringing the party together”. How large was this movement? At the end of the 2008 primary, about 50% of her supporters.

Obviously, most of them changed their minds. In the end, most Clinton supporters did vote for the Democratic nominee. Faced with the possibility of John McCain becoming President, and Sarah Palin Vice-president, the necessity to do their civic duty overcame their anger. Plus, in Denver at the DNC convention, Hillary Clinton made a stirring endorsement of Obama and, by the time election day approached, most of her supporters stood with her and voted for the man who had defeated her in the primaries.

And guess what? The number of Sanders supporters swearing they’d never vote for Clinton is about one-third smaller than those who swore they’d never vote for Obama. How many of those “Bernie or Bust” voters will stand back in November and see the possibility of President Trump or President Cruz and do nothing? Especially when the person they admire so much, Senator Sanders, says “Get out there and vote”? Because he’s going...

HRC & the Return of the 50-State Strategy

Dr Howard Dean's 50-state strategy being revived by Hillary ClintonAnyone who has followed Dr Howard Dean since 2003 knows this about him: the Clintons hate him. He messed up the party that year and showed how to push the insiders out of the way – a lesson Obama used to beat Hillary in 2008. As DNC Chair, Dean took back the House and paved the way for Obama. He had the kind of success with the party the Clintons had failed to even come close to.

So when Rahm Emanuel became Pres Obama’s chief-of-staff, it was not surprising that Dean was given no place in the administration. Nothing. Obama had his House majority because of Dean, but Dean was personna non grata to the Clintonites, so Emanuel, a Clinton flunky if anyone deserves that title, kept him on the outside.

Which made his early endorsement of Hillary Clinton very surprising. It’s not like he owes her anything, other than perhaps a bit of payback. But he got on-board with her campaign and, as is his wont, he’s been solid for her. Howard Dean does not do waffles. Why, I and many other deaniacs wondered, why did Dean endorse her after the way he’d been treated?

This may be my creation in terms of making a connection, but check out Bloomberg:

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has signed joint fundraising agreements with 33 state Democratic parties, according to a Wednesday filing with the Federal Elections Commission.

The Clinton campaign now has deals in place with the Democratic parties in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas, among other states and Puerto Rico, to create "victory funds." Contributions to those funds will be


Bailey: How much will he owe PPA?

On March 7, Jules Bailey got the endorsement of the Portland Police Association, the cops’ union. Here’s the final paragraph of The Oregonian’s article:

Bailey's political consultant, Stacey Dycus, has connections to police work. She worked on efforts to save the mounted patrol and, more recently, with the union on last year's billboard reading: "Having enough police matters."

And in case you don’t remember that billboard –

Portland Police Assn endorses Jules Bailey whose campaign consultant has close ties with the union and who refuses to oppose the 48-hour rule

The Mercury had the story back on October 7, 2015:

A Black Lives Matter banner hanging from the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland since just after police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has a new neighbor: A billboard displaying the message, "Having Enough Police Matters," that went up Tuesday on the next block.

And here is the original #BlackLivesMatter banner –

Portland Police Assn endorses Jules Bailey whose campaign consultant has close ties with the union and who refuses to oppose the 48-hour rule

Here’s Dycus in the same Merc article, stretching credibility to the breaking point:

Stacey Dycus said she sees absolutely no reason why anyone would connect the "Black Lives Matter" banner to the "Having Enough Police Matters" sign down the block, and asked the Mercury to explain.

Apparently she said this with a straight face.

A reminder:...

The War on Women: Erin Andrews edition

Here’s the top of the Sports Illustrated website this morning. Note:

  • an “analysis” of the Erin Andrews case,
  • written by a man,
  • with the swimsuit issues featured just below.

Perhaps we might learn a bit about why the idea of a “war on women” is not only real but goes far beyond basic rights like health care, equity, and opportunity. Take the so-called analysis. It’s not about the stalking, the video, or the other attacks on Andrews. It’s about the money and whether she’ll get. It’s written by a legal analysis. Yes, does have other articles addressing the more critical issues – “Female reporters speak out in wake of Andrews trial”; “Women on sports TV talk safety amid Andrews trial” – but this is the story that SI features at the top.

Right above the nearly naked woman who represents SI’s annual attempt to convert soft porn into sales.

And here’s the video that auto-plays when you go to the featured story:

Yup, another nearly naked swimsuit model, selling shaving cream. So before you read about Erin Andrews getting millions because some sick creep video’d her naked and put it online, you can goggle at a young women getting paid to be video’d almost naked and put online.

As in any war, casualties happen because too many people just don’t give a damn and demand that it stop. SI readers are happy to stare at the bodies without demanding safety for women – and few things would help provide that safety than to stop turning women into sex objects for men to ogle, online and in real life....


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