Critical Thinking, Feminism, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Science

What does Carl Sagan have to do with Hillary Clinton?

Re-upping this 2010 post from my now shuttered blog, Blue Lyon. The only edit I would make is to add this to the third paragraph: “See also the treatment of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and its aftermath.” 

A Sunday Morning Reading: Carl Sagan, Science and Witchcraft

In The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Ballantine Books, 1996), Carl Sagan stressed over and over again the need for science literacy, critical thinking and skepticism. We need not understand the finer points of each scientific discipline, but we need to understand the scientific method and how to apply it in our daily lives, as well as in our national and international policy-making.witch-torture

Sagan also argued that ignorance of what-came-before can set us up to commit the same errors in the here-and-now. Understanding the past is key to living in the present and planning for the future. To not know our history and our human propensity for unskeptical thinking  is to doom us to continually make the same mistakes, to never move forward, or worse, finish ourselves off as a species.

In Chapter 24, Science and Witchcraft, Sagan revisits the witch hunts of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that consumed Europe and America.  The parallels in the following passage to today’s political environment are striking: Guantanamo, indefinite detention, military commissions-vs-civilian courts, National Day of Prayer, torture, the run up to the Iraq war, the prosecution of whistle-blowers, even the 2008 Democratic primaries.

Sagan appears prescient. He wasn’t. He was just aware of history.

If we do not  know what we’re capable of, we cannot appreciate measures taken to protect us from ourselves. I discussed the European witch mania in the alien abduction context; I hope the reader will forgive me for returning to it in its political context. It is an aperture to human self-knowledge. If we focus on what was considered acceptable evidence and a fair trial by the religious and secular authorities in the fifteenth-to-seventeenth century witch hunts, many of the novel and peculiar features of the eighteenth-century U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights become clear: including trial by jury, prohibitions against self-incrimination and against cruel and unusual punishment, freedom of speech and the press, due process, the balance of powers and the separation of church and state.Friedrich von Spee (pronounced “Shpay”) was a Jesuit priest who had the misfortune to hear the confessions of those accused of witchcraft in the German City of Würzburg (see Chapter 7). In 1631, he published Cautio Criminalis (Precautions for Prosecutors), which exposed the essence of the Church/State terrorism against the innocent. Before he was punished he died of the plague – as a parish priest serving the afflicted. Here is an except from his whistle-blowing book: Continue reading “What does Carl Sagan have to do with Hillary Clinton?”

Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Sexism

Tweets

My photography is taking a backseat to my activism…at least for now. But I think I can squeeze in some writing. Twitter only gets you so far.

 Today’s media pile-on of HRC reminds me again of how her supporters were never allowed our grief. And we never will be.

It will always fall on us to be like her. Stoic in our grief, and careful of everyone’s feeling but our own.

We must forever extend the hand to our enemies and detractors, and must never, ever note how our hands are slapped away time & again.

Our grief and rage are of no consequence to those outside our circle. Our existence isn’t even a blip on the media’s radar.

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Hate Won, Hillary Clinton, Politics

31. She can never clear herself.

digby-suffer

“A Sunday Morning Reading: Carl Sagan, Science and Witchcraft”

Originally posted on April 18, 2010 on my now-shuttered blog, Blue Lyon.  It still holds up. 

 

 

 

 

In The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Ballantine Books, 1996), Carl Sagan stressed over and over again the need for science literacy, critical thinking and skepticism. We need not understand the finer points of each scientific discipline, but we need to understand the scientific method and how to apply it in our daily lives, as well as in our national and international policy-making.

Sagan also argued that ignorance of what-came-before can set us up to commit the same errors in the here-and-now. Understanding the past is key to living in the present and planning for the future. To not know our history and our human propensity for unskeptical thinking  is to doom us to continually make the same mistakes, to never move forward, or worse, finish ourselves off as a species.

In Chapter 24, Science and Witchcraft, Sagan revisits the witch hunts of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that consumed Europe and America.  The parallels in the following passage to today’s political environment are striking: Guantanamo, indefinite detention, military commissions-vs-civilian courts, National Day of Prayer, torture, the run up to the Iraq war, the prosecution of whistle-blowers, even the 2008 Democratic primaries. Sagan appears prescient. He wasn’t. He was just aware of history.

If we do not  know what we’re capable of, we cannot appreciate measures taken to protect us from ourselves. I discussed the European witch mania in the alien abduction context; I hope the reader will forgive me for returning to it in its political context. It is an aperture to human self-knowledge. If we focus on what was considered acceptable evidence and a fair trial by the religious and secular authorities in the fifteenth-to-seventeenth century witch hunts, many of the novel and peculiar features of the eighteenth-century U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights become clear: including trial by jury, prohibitions against self-incrimination and against cruel and unusual punishment, freedom of speech and the press, due process, the balance of powers and the separation of church and state.

Friedrich von Spee (pronounced “Shpay”) was a Jesuit priest who had the misfortune to hear the confessions of those accused of witchcraft in the German City of Würzburg (see Chapter 7). In 1631, he published Cautio Criminalis (Precautions for Prosecutors), which exposed the essence of the Church/State terrorism against the innocent. Before he was punished he died of the plague – as a parish priest serving the afflicted. Here is an except from his whistle-blowing book: Continue reading “31. She can never clear herself.”

Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, Politics

About those Super Delegates…


I was thinking about the super delegate issue this morning and I’d like to offer my two cents.

District and At Large Delegates are, in essence, Citizen Delegates to the National Convention. They are elected from the rank and file based on their presidential preference. That is, they aren’t just a group of uncommitted Democrats who are forced to vote in line with a particular percentage of the vote. They are people who have worked hard on behalf of their chosen candidate and were elected to the National Convention BECAUSE they are going to support their candidate. No Clinton supporter is going to be elected a Sanders delegate, and vice versa. That is, a Clinton delegate’s vote is theirs to give. Like super delegates, they have declared their allegiance in advance of the convention and even though no vote has yet been cast at the national convention, we still count them, even though we may not yet know who they are.

The same goes with the pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEO) who are distributed based on the statewide vote or preference percentage at their state convention. They have aligned with a candidate, and will be chosen from the slate of that candidate at their respective State Conventions. We count them too, even though we may not yet know who they are, nor have they cast their vote at the national convention.

The unpledged PLEOs (super delegates) are already designated delegates based on their place in the party as a federal elected officials, state party chairmanships or DNC membership status, not their presidential preference. These are the only delegates whose names we know in advance.  But, like the elected delegates, their vote is also their own to give. All of these groups have earned their slot through years of commitment to the Democratic Party. (Thank goodness I do not have to compete with one of them for a delegate slot at the national convention. I wouldn’t stand a chance.)  But we insist on not counting them, even though they, like the elected delegates above, have declared their preference AND are included in the total needed for nomination.

Hillary Clinton

My speech before the Washoe County Democratic Convention in support of Hillary Clinton

Originally posted as a Facebook “Note” on April 2, 2016. 

So… some people asked me if they could see what I intended to say today at the Washoe County Democratic Convention, before I was booed and heckled and lost enough of my five minutes that I was asked to cut it short. Below are my full remarks:

When I was asked speak to you, I was at once happy and nervous. After all, I knew I’d be talking to a ‘mixed crowd.’ But I know that I have friends on both sides of the arena today.

Mostly I wanted to honor Hillary Rodham Clinton and her life’s work, and why I believe she should be the next President of the United States. And five minutes just isn’t enough time to do her justice.

I have a confession to make. I have not always been Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan.

It wasn’t until I actually began to push through the media narrative to examine her history, her life-long commitment to issues near and dear to my heart, her ability to work across the aisle to make things better for people, and the loyalty and friendships she’s made and kept over the years, that I began to look at her in a new light, and how, eventually, she moved from last place to first in my personal Presidential Preference Poll. I’ve been on board ever since.

And I’m not the only one she has won over. As Jon Favreau, President Obama’s speech writer (and 2007 Hillary Clinton nemesis) wrote recently:

This same story has repeated itself throughout Clinton’s career: those who initially view her as distrustful and divisive from afar find her genuine and cooperative in person. It was the case with voters in New York, Republicans in the Senate, Obama people in the White House, and heads of state all over the world. There’s a reason being America’s chief diplomat was the specific job Obama asked Hillary to do—she has the perfect personality for it.

There is no candidate running to be the President of the United States who is better prepared to take on the responsibilities of the job who has the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to deal with the many challenges facing our country that Hillary Clinton has. No one.

I know that when she is in the White House I won’t have to worry about national and world affairs. I know that she has the ability and the intelligence to handle whatever comes her way.

For me, it all comes down to this: She cares. And she always has. But, honestly? The caring part is easy. The solutions part, the fighting to make it right part? That’s hard. That takes a plan. And let me tell you, the woman has a plan. She has lots of them. She has plans for the big challenges and the small ones.

She is a problem solver. She doesn’t wring her hands and point fingers. She gathers the best minds she can, and works to find common ground and solutions that will benefit as many people as possible. This has been her way for decades. As she said at the conclusion of her 1995 speech in Beijing:

We must move beyond rhetoric. We must move beyond recognition of problems to working together… to have the common efforts to build that common ground we hope to see.

I trust her to fight for us in the things that matter most for us. The kind of things that, indeed, keep us up at night.

I trust her to fight for women and children, because she always has, from her earliest days with the Children’s Defense Fund, through her years as First Lady of Arkansas, as First Lady of the United States, as United States Senator and finally, as Secretary of State. The advancement of women and children has always been her focus.

I trust her to fight for the right of women to make their own reproductive choices. As Senator, Hillary Clinton introduced 8 pieces of legislation with the clear purpose of expanding and protecting women’s access to reproductive health care — more than any other presidential candidate.

I trust her to fight for equal pay for equal work.

I trust her to fight to make college affordable for all.

I trust her to take on Wall Street.

I trust her to fight for universal health care and to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix where it falls short. Health care has been her fight for decades and she’s not stopping now.

I trust her to take on substance abuse and to work end the stigma of mental illness.

I trust her to fight for veterans.

I trust her to fight for the Dreamers.

I trust her to fight to reform our criminal justice system.

I trust her to fight to end gun violence.

I trust her to fight inequality in all its forms.

I trust her because she understands that the problems we face are multi-faceted and complex. That more often than not there is not a one-size fits all solution to a problem. That intersectionality requires working on numerous fronts to address what looks to be a singular problem.

I trust her to fight for us, not because she says she will, but because she’s been doing it for decades.

I trust her to fight for us, because she IS a fighter. No matter how much is thrown at her, no matter how many times she’s knocked down, she stands back up and gets to work.
Which brings me to my final point. At her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said:

Too often, we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us, but it is the real possibility of progress, of that better life free from fear and want and discord, that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.

At the end of the day, Hillary gives me hope. She has a spirit of deep optimism that I often struggle to find. Not a blind faith Panglossian “everthing’s great” optimism, but a deep abiding faith in the American people and in the future of our country and the world.

I don’t know where she gets it. It is something deep in her core. She has a resilience and strength that gives me hope just enough ledge to keep my toes on.

And that’s why I’m With Her.

Thank you.

Hillary Clinton, Politics

I would love to be a member of the Nevada delegation to the Democratic National Convention

Hillary-Me cropI am a life-long Democrat and a very proud Nevada Democrat.  I was honored to serve as the Secretary of the Lyon County Democratic Central Committee, the first elected chair of the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus, and as one of Howard Dean’s 50-State Strategy field organizers from 2005-2007, worked to grow and strengthen Democratic central committees in all 15 rural counties in Nevada. The work we began in 2004, to give rural Nevada Democrats a voice in the state party, continues to this day. A more committed group of Democrats, working their hearts out in the reddest parts of the state, you are not likely to find.Claudia & Carissa 1280

I have supported Hillary Clinton since 2007 and was honored to serve as Precinct Captain in 2008 and Site Lead in 2016.

Since April 2015 I have logged hundreds of hours making phone calls and knocking on doors for Hillary Clinton. We have provided staffer housing, held house parties, and our home beSparks-Goldwyn16Jan2016-37came the go-to place for to launch neighborhood canvasses and hold phone banks.  In the final nine days of GOTC, our home became the staging location for all GOTC efforts in Sparks and areas east.  I have been proud to work alongside some of the most dedicated people you could ever know.

I have been proud to speak on Hillary’s behalf, serve as staff photographer for President Bill Clinton’s visit to Reno in December 2015, and was one of two volunteer moderators on the Nevada for Hillary Clinton Facebook page.

In the lead-IMG_1139up to the Washoe County convention, I organized phone banks to reach out to our delegates and worked closely with the Washoe County Democratic Party to coordinate efforts to make sure our delegates received correct information about the convention process.  In addition, I served on the Washoe County Democratic Convention as co-chair of the Floor Managers team.

I am committed to doing everything I can to make Hillary Clinton the 45th President of the United States, and if you are a delegate to the Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas on May 14th, I would be honored to have your vote.

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