🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (IV): Summary

My sample ballot has been received, indicating that (a) it is indeed Fall; (b) my TV will soon be inundated with political advertising; and (c) it is time for the General Election Ballot analysis. This election, it is being divided into three parts and a summary:

  1. Non-Judicial Offices: State, Federal, and Local
  2. Judicial Offices
  3. Propositions and Measures
  4. Summary

This is the summary:

🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (I): Introduction and Non-Judicial Offices

🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (II): Here Come ‘De Judges

  • California Supreme Court: Yes for all the judges.
  • Court of Appeals: Yes for all the judges.
  • Superior Court

🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (III): Measure for Measure

 

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🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (III): Measure for Measure

My sample ballot has been received, indicating that (a) it is indeed Fall; (b) my TV will soon be inundated with political advertising; and (c) it is time for the General Election Ballot analysis. This election, it is being divided into three parts and a summary:

  1. Non-Judicial Offices: State, Federal, and Local
  2. Judicial Offices
  3. Propositions and Measures
  4. Summary

This is Part III: the state and local measures. It covers the following measures:

The last part in this series will be the summary post.

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🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (II): Here Come ‘De Judges

My sample ballot has been received, indicating that (a) it is indeed Fall; (b) my TV will soon be inundated with political advertising; and (c) it is time for the General Election Ballot analysis. This election, it is being divided into three parts and a summary:

  1. Non-Judicial Offices: State, Federal, and Local
  2. Judicial Offices
  3. Propositions and Measures
  4. Summary

This is Part II: the judicial choices. It covers the following races. Note that, for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, you only either confirm or reject the person appointed to the position:

For reference, here is the post that covered the Superior Court Justices in the Primary. The third post of the series, Measure for Measure, will explore the state and local measures on the ballot.

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🗳️ Nov. 2018 California General Election Analysis (I): Introduction and Non-Judicial Offices

My sample ballot has been received, indicating that (a) it is indeed Fall; (b) my TV will soon be inundated with political advertising; and (c) it is time for the General Election Ballot analysis. This election, it is being divided into three parts and a summary:

  1. Non-Judicial Offices: State, Federal, and Local
  2. Judicial Offices
  3. Propositions and Measures
  4. Summary

This is Part I: the analysis of all elected offices except the judges. It covers the following races:

For reference, here are the posts that covered these offices in the primary: Governor ☙ Other State Offices ☙ District Based Offices ☙ US Senate and House ☙ County Offices. If much of this looks familiar, it was because this particular grouping allowed me to simply revisit my primary analysis, and update as appropriate.

In the next part, to quote an old TV show, “Here come ‘de Judge”.

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🗯️ On The Horizon

This week has truly disturbed me. I’m not specifically talking about the specific people in the news and what they have done (although that’s been pretty horrific). Rather, I’ve been talking about what I’ve seen on social media in response — and it truly is frightening me. If we look back at the American Civil War in the 1860s, the groundwork for it was laid many years before — some argue it was laid at the time at the founding of this country, and the specific items that led to the actual Civil War were triggered by a number of Supreme Court cases, including the Dredd Scott decision. But that Civil War — horrible as it was — had one distinct advantage. The ideological lines roughly could be drawn as geographical lines. There were clear areas that held one view strongly, and clear areas that held a different view strongly. That led to secession and a traditional ground war.

The foundational problem that led to the Civil War is still around. There is a divide in this country and it is growing, a divide created by some fundamental constitutional decisions. The wounds from the first Civil War are festering and malingering. This week — again, a battle over a Supreme Court justice, and his positions on a number of decisions — are adding fuel to the fire. But unlike the last Civil War, this one will not have clean geographic battle lines. There is no territory to secede, no traditional armies to form, no place for those armies to line up and take aim at each other (except on social media). There is still anger, there is still brother against brother, but this time it is at the level of Shia vs. Sunni in the Middle East: a block by block, house by house, room by room division that can only be fought in the most dangerous way: through propaganda, through terrorism, through mess shootings, through IEDs. It is a something that is not fought by formal armies, but by lone angered crazies, trying to bring a point home, so desparate for their side that they will do anything.

As we have seen, such a war is dangerous not only for the civilians in the middle, but it is a war where there is no clear victory and no one to surrender. It is a war that does not win a cause and destroys a nation. It is a war that stops only when the people arise and say, “Enough!”, and either convince the losing side to  change their mind (unlikely) or find a pocket of the country where they can be kicked out to, to be isolated and live the way they want. The latter, although *a* solution, is not *the* solution. Further, the solution is not legislating one side’s goal, for that just kicks and anger and resentment down the road, to let it fester and grow. The solution may not be compromise either, for that doesn’t resolve the fundamental problems. Ask yourself: Did the Civil War solve the race problems in America? Did the Civil Rights Act of 1965 solve the problems?

Here’s the divide as I see it.

On one side you have what I we’ll call the “Blues”: using the name Democrat is wrong, because the coalition is broader than that; the name Progressive is wrong because of the pejorative nature of the term; the term Liberal is wrong because it has been coopted into an curse word. These folks are libertarian in the social sense: what people do is there own business, and someone else’s beliefs should not be forced upon them. They fundamentally respect the rights of others in a similar way — and argue against discrimination or privilege based upon characteristics — sex, skin color, orientation, gender, social status, religion, and many more. They care about others, often at a personal cost to themselves (and often, they are willing to take burdens upon themselves, such as taxes, to help others). That does not mean they are fiscally irresponsible — they don’t want to spend just for spending’s sake — there needs to be an outcome. They are not universally against war, but I do think there is a belief that when war is waged, it must be just and for the right purpose, and have a clear victory point. They are a bit more against the war machine — the complex that supports war and tends to want to feed itself — and would rather not only those funds, but the talent and intellect to be used for productive purposes and to benefit society (as was done with the DARPANet). They are distinctly against inherit and inherited privilege, believe in consent and the right for the individual to dictate what is done regarding their bodies, and they demand respect for themselves as individuals.

On the other side, you have a few of the same characteristics — a demand for respect, calls for fiscal restraint. Let’s call this side the “Reds”, for it isn’t the traditional Republican Party, and it has gone beyond the Tea Party. The term Conservative is wrong because it too has both become pejorative and coopted, and to call it the party of the Privileged Old White Men is wrong because there are other sexes and races represented. But it does appear to be a party of Fundamentalist beliefs (including evangelical), and all that goes along with them. It does appear to be a party that believes in fixed social and economic strata, and that people have their places therein. It is the party that believes in the divide between the 1% and the rest, in the divide between black and white, man and women, and that each have their place in society. It is a party that believes it is acceptable to mandate their fundamentalist views on people that believe differently (although, arguably, they view what the Blues are doing as exactly the same thing). Thus, if they believe life begins at conception, everyone has to hold that view. If they believe that certain characteristics give an entitlement for a particular behavior and privilege, then that is how it must be. They are willing to fight war — and not only have the guns, but are willing to use them against the Blues whenever and whereever necessary. They don’t understand the positions that the Blues take, and weaponize that mis-understanding. This week was a good example of that: when the Blues get concerns about sexual assault and their victims, the Reds threaten to weaponize sexual assault claims — real or imagined — against the Blues (and that has started). The Reds will figure out a way to weaponize any freedom, and use it to destroy and divide — freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the 2nd Amendment. While the Internet wasn’t designed for this purpose, they’ve weaponized it as well, using it as a way to amplify their voices, spread propaganda, engender distrust, fan the flames of resentment, and sow the seeds of discontent. They’ve used it to find others with similar feelings, and they’ve begun to organize (and, in response, the Blues have used the Internet for the exact same thing).
——————
†: Admittedly, this is from my perspective as a Blue, and thus is a bit skewed, and perhaps a bit pejorative. But that is (at least) the perception I have, so if someone wants to clarify or correct my characterization of the Reds, please do so.

This divide is real. The adherents are intransigent. There is more similarity between the two sides than they would admit about wanting to legislate their worldview on those who believe otherwise. The worldviews may, indeed, be incompatible. But both sides believe in their hearts and mind, with 100% of their being, that they are in the right. If there is reconciliation, it is only temporary. Both take advantage of any tool that is given, and use it in the worst way.

[ETA: One of the things leading to that is inconsistency. If some particular action is done, it needs to be done independent of whether it is your candidate or not. So, if you establish the tradition of not considering a Supreme Court candidate nominated by the other side in an election year because — you know, election — then don’t be surprised when the other side wants the same delay when your side nominates a candidate. To not delay shows the original delay to be weaponized political ploy. Or, to use the Ford case as an example, if you bring up sexual harrassment charges, then you must be consistent. Don’t stop the investigation if the accused candidate withdraws the nomination — continue to investigate and either confirm the charges, or clear the name and go after the false accuser. To do anything else demonstrates it was just a political ploy weaponized. Further, you need to be willing to believe as true and investigate any claim made against your side as well. The issue is believing the claim, investigating it  well, and taking actions based on the findings — whoever the claim was against. If you investigate every little claim of bad legal behavior when your opposition is in office, you need to be willing to do the same level of investigation when it is your guy behaving badly. One of the best tools to close the divide is consistency.]

The most disheartening thing is that I can’t see a solution. The anger will grow and grow on both sides until it erupts in warfare. I like to point out one of my favorite books, The Late Great Days of the State of California by Curt Gentry — about the election of Ronald Reagan in 1965 in California — as a warning shot of what was to come. The seeds of this war and anger were planted by the election of Reagan to the Presidency in 1986, and the subsequent election of Bill Clinton in 1992. Each set the anger in motion; each was a dividing point for the country. The election of Bush 43 and the Supreme Court intervention in Florida that gave him his office and the subsequent swing to Obama was the fertilizer, and the election of Trump has combined the ingredients into a weapon.

It’s not pretty out there, except for being pretty disgusting. What is worse: I don’t see an answer. It just leaves me very worried and scared for our future.

If you see a reasonable answer and a way to fix this before it becomes worse, please share it.

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🗯️ Shaving Brett Kavanaugh (with Occam’s Razor)

All week long I’ve been reading posts about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I’d like to share some ruminations with you. I should disclose that I’m not a Kavanaugh supporter, although that is independent from the line of reasoning here. I’d be making the same arguments here if Merritt Garland was the nominee and she was accusing him:

  • Why didn’t she come forward at the start of the hearings? Most likely, fear. After all, we’ve all seen what has happened to her and her family for her coming forward: she’s been doxxed (had personal information released on the Internet), and her family has received death threats and had to go into hiding. Her personal life has been ridiculed. All for making public that someone attacked her. This is often why women are reluctant to speak up: there are men in the world that don’t like women who report their bad behavior, and take it out on them. Here’s a longer article on why some women take so long to come forward.
  • Why didn’t she report this to the police when it happened? Less than all half of all sexual violence is actually reported to law enforcement. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. There are numerous reasons: fear, shame, worries about retaliation, post traumatic stress. The treatment many women get when they do report — being blamed as if it was their fault — is a large part of it. Some are afraid to admit they might have been drunk when it happened. But remember this: even if the women was drunk, that does not give a man excuse to attempt rape. This also means that we shouldn’t blame the woman if she didn’t report, or discount her claim that the incident happened. Believe her and investigate it.
  • Why should we believe something from 30 years ago? Funny how we believe boys who say they were molested 30 years ago by a priest, but doubt a woman when she says she was forced to do something sexual by a man. What does that tell our daughters about how much we value their word? I’ve even seen some people pointing out that she must be lying, because the Bible says that all women are liars. In any case, her claim is a starting point, but we must believe the claim and that she believes it to be true. This is true even if the memory is spotty — many trauma survivors have spotty memories due to the trauma itself.
  • But could she be lying? She could, but people rarely ask the FBI to investigate them when they are lying or have something to hide. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that  a review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent. Just look at the President, who specifically does not want the FBI investigating him. If he was clean, they will find nothing. In this case, having the FBI investigate will determine if there is any corroborating evidence to back up her story, making it more than “he said, she said”. Ask yourself: What is in it for her in making such a claim? The DNC doesn’t have deep pockets, and even if they paid her, it would be discovered. Coming forward is asking to be insulted online, have your family harassed. There is no upside, other than possibly righting a wrong done years ago.
  • But they were teenagers, and boys will be boys. Being young doesn’t excuse you from your actions; indeed, we teach our children from the earliest ages that actions have consequences. I’m willing to believe that Kavanaugh was young and stupid when he did this. Many teenage boys let their little head control their big head, and try to force themselves on women. However, that doesn’t make it right or legal. Further, being drunk doesn’t give him a pass. We hold drunk drivers responsible for their actions. If you commit a murder in a drunken rage, you’re still liable. Drink doesn’t excuse criminal behavior.
  • But it was 30 years ago. So? The question here is what Kavanaugh did afterwards. If he realized that he was wrong and apologized, changed his ways, and never did this again — then I might give him a pass. But if he was unrepentant — if he continued to behave that way towards women, then there is a bigger problem.
  • But it was one time. Was it? This is the second reason there should be an FBI investigation: There needs to be a determination if this was the start of a pattern of behavior towards women, or a one-time drunken incident. If one time and unrepentant, it is still a problem — although one where redress and restitution might be possible. If there is a pattern — if throughout his career he has devalued women and treated them only as sex objects, then there is a significant issue (for example, if he hired clerks based on how sexy they looked as opposed to their legal skills). [ETA: Since this was written, a second women has come forward with a claim, and Michael Avenetti is reporting there is yet a third women with a claim.).
  • But the FBI has already investigated him. True, but they didn’t look specifically in this area. Ask yourself what the FBI was looking for, for they will only discover findings in that area. Unless, of course, they were looking for your lost car keys. Then they’ll find loads of stuff. Seriously, the FBI likely didn’t investigate claims of sexual harassment — rather, they were looking for reported criminal activity, involvement with foreign governments, and so on. Legal reviews and background checks would also not look in this area. There might not have been previous claims, for the simple reason that many women are scared to make claims against powerful men, because of the backlash to them.
  • But this hearing has gone on long enough. Much as you would like the hearings to be done and done, we are talking a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. Better to take a little extra time and do the job right. After all, we went almost an entire year when Congress sat on its hands and didn’t even meet with President Obama’s nominee. Surely we can investigate for a few more weeks.
  • But is an attempted rape from 30 years ago significant in the scheme of things? That’s an interesting question. If it was a one time, childish indiscretion, an apology and restitution might suffice (and recall that I said I opposed Kavanaugh for reasons separate from this). But if there is a pattern of this behavior, that implies a number of things. First, it implies that Kavanaugh puts his personal attitude towards women above the law of the land — and a SCOTUS justice must put the law first. It also indicates that he might discount the word of women or the value of women, which would translate to putting them at a disadvantage in the courtroom — either when testifying or bringing a case. And that would be wrong.

We should and must take the time to slow down and investigate this properly. Believe her enough to start the investigation and determine if the story can be corroborated. If it is true, discover if he understands and admits what he did wrong. Discover if there was a pattern of behavior towards women. Then, and only then, can we move forward based on those findings.

One additional note: There are those who still blame the victim (the woman) for the attack: for not reporting it, for being drunk, for wearing provocative clothes, for doing it to get ahead. However, it is the man’s responsibility to be moral and ethical, and to not take advantage of situations and to obtain informed consent. Nothing is forcing us men to attack; we have the ability to keep it in our pants, and keep our hands to ourselves.

 

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🗯️ Anger Makes My Head Explode

userpic=divided-nationYesterday, a Conservative friend of mine began a political post (wherein he shared a link from Fox News) as follows: “Whereupon liberal heads explode…”. This is a style of rhetoric I’ve seen from the right before: Doing things just to “make Liberal heads explode”. There’s so much anger and hatred expressed towards a broad group. It is as if they were _______-ist. But what gets me most is this attitude of hate towards groups.

Further, if you think I’m letting my side off the hook, you’re wrong. I get equally annoyed when I see on the Liberal forums that a read: “Oh, that will piss them off” or other things that express hatred towards all Trump supporters or all Conservatives. Of course, these are Liberals, so we know there’s no hate or _______-ism in them. Right? But for Conservatives? [In fact, there’s a cartoon going around Facebook making just that point — of how Liberals are accepting of anyone … except Conservatives].

Hate. Hate. Hate.

I just hate hate.

Seriously: If we are to move this country forward, we’ve got to get past this hatred of groups of people. Yes, people can choose their politics, unlike their skin color, sex, gender, orientation, or other protected classes. But that’s not a reason to hate people as an entire group. Hate and protest ideas and political positions. Dislike individuals. But don’t do things just because you don’t like broad groups, or just to piss off broad groups.

Doing things to piss of groups of people — doing things to make others angry — that’s just being a bully. You are better than that.

Just stop it. In Jewish tradition, tomorrow is the day of repentance — a day to commit to make changes in your behavior. Take advantage of it, and vow to stop this senseless hatred of groups, and doing things just because it will piss someone else off. You’re better than being one of the “Get off my lawn” nasty old men.

G’mar Chatima Tovah.

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🗯️ What This Liberal Wants

No, Folks, I do NOT want this to become a full-on Socialist Country.

I want the beautiful balance of Capitalism and Socialism that we had back before Nixon and Reagan, when we looked out for Rich and Poor, back when a one-income working person’s salary meant he or she could afford to rent – or even BUY – a nice little 2-bedroom house with a little bit of yard. I want the days when kids could learn a trade or go to college, or both, without spending a fortune, and usually ended up living as well as their parents within 10 years or so. I want days when people could afford to go to the doctor and get the medical treatment they needed, and there was confidence in the quality of that treatment.

If only this system had worked for everyone!

The blot on this sunny scenario was … Racism. Non-white people were treated badly and paid far worse and jailed far more often than white folks, even with other factors (intelligence, work ethic, education, nature of infraction, etc.) being equal. What’s worse is that this still goes on. At times, I seems that the Far Right’s entire purpose has been, since the 1950s, to make sure this state of affairs continues. If not for the Civil Rights Act — an act brought forward by Democrats that lost them the Southern Vote to this day — we would still have legally separated neighborhoods!!!

You should SEE the bullshit in the original CCRs (from the 1940s and NULLIFIED BY THE CRA) for the neighborhood I grew up in the Crestwood Hills community in West Los Angeles! These state that no one of Asian, Negroid, or Hispanic heritage could own or rent in our neighborhood. I even recall that there were initially covenants against Jews. In other neighborhoods, POC were not allowed to SLEEP in the neighborhood unless they were household servants living in separate quarters on the property.

This was an era when the best position to be was White, Male, and Christian. Those who were not in those categories were viewed — either explicitly or implicitly — as “beneath”. There was implicit privilege in three attributes: you got the better jobs, you got better treatment from law enforcement, you got the better pay, you got the better working conditions, you got accepted at the better colleges, you could join the right clubs and organizations — all without you having to do anything.

The GOP, which was once the anti-Slavery Party, is now the chief supporter of discriminatory actions in policing, in housing, in hiring, in firing.

Notice the completely different rules THEY follow when THEY are in power (e.g. “No criticism of US; To HELL with the First Amendment!”) versus when they are OUT of power. When they are out of power, they criticize, they investigate, and they complain about the corrupt ethics of those in power. When they gain power, that goes out the window. No criticism is permitted, despite what the First Amendment says; investigations into corruption are “witch hunts”, and there is a distinct lack of ethics.

From what I can tell, the GOP now represents only the those that have money, privilege, or position, and those that want to preserve their money, privileges, and/or positions. I’ve seen this characterized as the “Richies and the Racists”.

If we REALLY want America to be “great again”, we need to truly crown our good with brotherhood and knock off the racist crap,  We need to go beyond the “under God” in the pledge, and focus on the “liberty and justice for all.” We need to move beyond the constant fearmongering and international saber-rattling that make us cut beneficial social programs so we can spend insane amounts on the military … all while military families struggle MORE than the rest of the middle class. We need to truly and realistically understand the external risks that this nation faces, and use our military power to defend against those realistic risks, and as a way to help other nations protect and promote freedom, which benefits this country through the reduction of overall risk.

I have no idea how we can fix this, when when we live in a country where a large portion believe it to be a Christian Nation (despite what is written in the Constitution), where Christian values are to be legislated in statute and imposed on all. When we live in a country where Black Men Kneeling during the flag salute is treated as a soulless act of disrespect, but White Men marching to support White Privilege and re-segregation of society, and deliberately killing a counter demonstrator with one of their cars during the process, is treated as merely a product of understandable frustration. When our leadership proclaims that there is equal wrong on both sides.

The Right has gone insane, thanks to twisted religion, racism, greed, bully-worship, and fear. They have abandoned the values of their once respectable party to the cult of personality, and the worship of power and privilege.

Luckily, there is one way to bring us back to where we need to be. Please, Sane People! GET OUT AND VOTE! Every Primary. Every Election. Your vote is the difference.

[Note: This was adapted from a post by my friend Mary W. over on Facebook. Shared and adapted with permission.]

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