Hate Won, Hillary Clinton, Politics

31. She can never clear herself.


“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.”

Hate Won, Politics

Thoughts on the second morning after

First off, I am avoiding all cable news at this point. I just can’t deal with another ‘journalist’ or ‘experts panel’ telling me what all this means and trying to pretend that this is normal and it’s all going to be okay. It’s not now or ever going to be okay. I woke up with an even greater sense of dread this morning than yesterday, especially after reading about how the backlash against immigrants and Muslims (and even an adopted Korean child!) has begun. Whether or not Trump is able to pull it together and behave as a human being is doubtful, but almost irrelevant at this point.

He has awakened a sickening, bigoted, hateful force that is going to be felt in our communities for a long time.


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.

Holidays, Peace, Politics

Reblogged: Mother’s Day wasn’t meant to honor mothers, but to end war

The original intent of Mother’s Day wasn’t about brunch, flowers, or Kay’s Jewelers.


Note: I originally posted this on my old blog, Blue Lyon, in 2010. 

Original post: 

As a mother, and a human being who is weary of war, how I wish that on Mother’s Day we would, for at least one day of the year, remember the ravages of war.

The original Mother’s Day was proclaimed by Julia Ward Howe in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

The horrors of the Civil War even changed those the conflict made famous. Speaking to a graduating class of military cadets years later, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman uttered his famous truth about the nature of warfare as part of a rebuke to the era’s “chicken-hawks,” people who call for war without having experienced it.

“I confess without shame that I am tired and sick of war,” Sherman said. “Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded, who cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is Hell.”

By 1870, Julia Ward Howe had been deeply affected both by the ongoing agonies of Civil War veterans and the carnage occurring overseas in the Franco-Prussian War. Though very short, that war resulted in almost 100,000 killed in action plus another 100,000 lethally wounded or sickened.

The First Mother’s Day

So, as a humanist who cared about suffering people – as well as a feminist and a suffragette who advocated social justice – Howe penned her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870 as an appeal to mothers to spare their sons and the sons of others from the depredations of war.

The Mother’s Day Proclamation was partly a lament for the useless deaths and partly a call to action to stop future wars. The call was directed, not to men, many of whom may have felt proud for their “service,” but to women, who often have proved more thoughtful and humane about issues of human suffering.

Then, on June 2, 1872, in New York City, Julia Ward Howe held the first “Mother’s Day” as an anti-war observance, a practice Howe continued in Boston for the next decade before it died out.

The modern Mother’s Day, with its apolitical message, emerged in the early Twentieth Century, with Howe’s original intent largely erased from the mainstream consciousness. Howe’s vision of an antiwar mother’s call to action was watered-down into an annual expression of sentimentality.

[ . . . ]

Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870:

Arise then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’

“From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, disarm!’

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor does violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Please read.

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.