There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who think there are only two kinds of people, and those who know better.
A dichotomy /daɪˈkɒtəmi/ is a partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets). In other words, this couple of parts must be
Since I seldom watch television, and even seldomer spend my evenings engrossed in cable news, I barely know who Marc Lamont Hill is. However, a glance at Twitter this morning made me want to know him better. CNN has jettisoned Hill as a commentator because he dared to call for full human and civil rights for the Palestinian people.
One of the problems inherent in Twitter, and social media in general, is that it gives a virtual soapbox to people who react and respond to information without really thinking about the context or implications of that information. Tweeters assume that anyone who opposes A must therefore support B, because there can be no other alternatives to the A-B dichotomy.
One of the problems inherent in today's mainstream Media Industrial Complex is that our trusted information sources do the exact same shit and get rewarded handsomely for it. Think-tanks and political consultants leverage people's instinct to dichotomize: They propagate the message that, if you support A, then B is the opposite of everything you hold dear and thus your enemy. They traffic in fear, because fearful people buy stuff to make them feel better.
B is not your enemy. A is not your enemy. Dichotomistic thinking is your enemy.
I almost never share these petition thingies, but I found this one from World Beyond War particularly timely.
As World Beyond War notes, during his 2016 presidential campaign, Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders was eerily silent on the subject of foreign & military policy. His website said very little on the topic, particularly about the Middle East. This was a canny calculation, betting that voters were mostly interested in bread & butter issues (see Bill "It's the Economy, Stupid!" Clinton, 1992).
Bernie & friends also knew that any talk of Israel—especially criticism, no matter how politely phrased—is a third rail that sitting US Senators must avoid. He may be making some noise at the Capitol about ending US involvement in Yemen, but only under pressure from his constituents and supporters. It took Chris Murphy (D-CT) to bring it up in the Senate—and, even then, only when Barack Obama was no longer Commander-in-Chief.
I have admired & respected Bernie since he was mayor of Burlington. However, this reticence on his part was one of several reasons I could not support his campaign.
Way back in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King identified militarism and military spending as a grand theft from the people. Several years before that, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said something similar on national television. Why have mainstream politicians, even the progressive ones, lost sight of that undeniable fact?
1. My Facebook post from Sunday morning:
This post is for everyone who is unfamiliar with Ray Hill, his good works, his activism, his stories, his Texas-size love. People outside of Greater Houston likely don't know his name, let alone his importance; sadly, many who have lived here their whole lives don't either.
Kayleen made a delicious pumpkin pie to take to the Thanksgiving potluck at the church. I did most of the prep work for the Tofurky Feast that was my contribution. Both were quickly demolished, but fortunately I had enough leftover Tofurky for lunches the next two days. Neither of us needs a government-sanctioned holiday to express our gratitude, let alone one that supposedly commemorates the beginning of the European conquest of New England. As for me, I was most grateful for the chance to spend time chatting and chewing with friends old and new, with almost zero talk of electoral politics.
Today I thank the Blogiverse for some fascinating reads, plus one item from the Dallas Observer that PDiddie and I both missed last week but Socratic Gadfly caught.
Lisa Gray at the Chron wrote a moving pre-obituary for Houston activist and civil rights icon Ray Hill last Tuesday, whose heart ultimately did give out on Saturday.
The passing of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair on Friday, and his complicated legacy as both philanthropist and Trump Republican, prompted this cogent Tweet from Evan Mintz of the Chronicle.
This is yet another sort-of review adapted from my assessment on Goodreads.
My ladyfriend bought me a copy of Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) for my birthday. She knows that I'm fond of thinking person's rock star memoirs and biopics. She told two helpful folks at Brazos Books that I really dig Patti Smith's written work and recently devoured Elvis Costello's autobiography; they both immediately suggested Jeff Tweedy's book, of which they just happened to have a signed copy. Good call. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of memories from Tweedy's 50-plus years on earth.
Jeff Tweedy is not exactly a household name, and I don't foresee Wilco's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame any time soon. Here is the total of what I knew about Tweedy and Wilco before I began reading:
If you're just tuning in, this blog has featured multiple entries centered around or casually mentioning Ranked Choice Voting and other Instant Runoff–style systems. The one in which I scolded Samantha Bee for her binary thinking is my favorite of the bunch.
Several days after Jared Golden in Maine's 2nd Congressional district became the first person to win a federal election via Ranked Choice Vote, I'm finally getting around to saying something about it directly here at dbcgreentx.net. And what I'm saying is...I'm psyched. RCV won't always produce the results we want, or even results we can tolerate, but it will reflect the will of the majority. Despite outgoing Rep. Bruce Poliquin's petulant protest (and lawsuit), RCV is also the will of the voting majority in Maine; it worked, and I'm pleased as Punch.
Note by way of introduction: I am a monthly contributor to the Empire Files Patreon account, currently one of 697 patrons. Not only am I glad to see EF back in production as Edie is (albeit without the budget that working with TeleSur afforded it), but also happy to have helped with its re-emergence.—dbc
Note the DATE on this video, Nov 12, 2018--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdhIYWb3XVU
I’m hoping that that means that Abby Martin is back—that is to say, that this isn’t an old Empire Files video that was just now posted.
The aforementioned video is excellent, well worth the time it takes to listen to it.
I place Abby Martin in the same category as Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky and Robert Wolff, in that they are all true radicals—they uncompromisingly deconstruct capitalism, nationalism and imperialism--something that, as much as I love him, Jimmy Dore doesn’t do.
Jimmy still holds on to the illusion that Bernie Sanders will make a fundamental difference. He won’t. Sanders is a useful tool of the Democratic Party, creating as he does the illusion that there is a left-wing to the Democratic Party. There isn't. Sanders only slows down the fundamental changes that MUST take place...fundamental changes standing between where we are now and a global disaster. (dbc NOTE: As Edie well knows, Dore has recently taken Sanders to task for reversing his long-held position on the possibility of reforming the Democratic Party from within.)
Thanksgiving? Hell yeah. All day, every day. Humility and gratitude my two main practices in this endless self-improvement project. Do I always succeed in those practices? No more than Lionel Messi scores every time he touches the ball. But when I fail, I resolve to do better.
The pilgrims at Plymouth did not invent anything new. Thanksgiving feasts have been around for millennia: The ancient Romans had what they called Supplicatio (pl. Supplicationes). As at Plymouth, there was always at least one god involved or invoked. I'm not grateful to any particular deity, anthropomorphic or otherwise, except possibly Gaia if one feels compelled to deify Mother Earth. I'm grateful to nature for constructing us humans in such a way that we can feel gratitude and give that feeling a name.
The Texas Progressive Alliance is grateful not to have to wrangle any actual turkeys for its holiday meal in this weather. Wrangling these blog posts and news items—not all of which are turkeys—is difficult enough. This week, I am grateful to PDiddie for linking to (ye gods & little fishes!) three of my posts from last week.
Off the Kuff looked at the results of the Congressional races to find some themes about what happened and what we can learn from them.
David Collins also did some Congressional Kuffnering, along with a TX-23 follow-up, and wants you to know that he is down with the MPP (which is not the Marijuana Policy Project).
I would like to introduce to you my fascinating friend, whom I have never met in person. We have been friends via Bridge Base Online for several months, during which time we have had some hilarious and poignant conversations about music, classic cinema, progressive/radical politics, New Jersey, Italy, baseball, and numerous other topics.
Yes, I do play bridge online—sometimes at home, sometimes when things are slow at work. Like crossword puzzles, it keeps the problem-solving parts of my brain active. I don't play extraordinarily well, still occasionally making rookie mistakes, so I play only at the Relaxed tables, where frothy-mouthed bridge pedants are less likely to hang out.
She goes by Edie, which is American for Aïda. Since we are cyberspace acquaintances, I don't know with 100% certainty if she's really a twenty-something Italian-born runway model who lives in Beverly Hills and spends her plentiful free time playing Bridge, or even if Edie is her real name. However, she has given me no evidence to cast doubt on her story, inadvertently or otherwise. Whatever. She's awesome. She is the queen of whichever virtual table she plays. Her knowledge of socialism and radical history has admirable breadth and depth. Plus, we're fans of a lot of the same political channels on YouTube. What's not to like?
By way of introduction, I originally shared some of her writing, lightly edited, but she now says she would like to retract her essay on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in its entirety. She has a new essay (link pending), casting AOC as a sell-out to the Democratic establishment like her hero Senator Bernard Sanders.
Despite some suspicions, and despite agreeing with Edie that the Democratic Party is where progressive ideas go to die, I haven't written off AOC completely. Occasional nods to the authority of the Pelosi-Schumer squad are not the same as selling out. Knowing the Democrats, I wouldn't put it past them to build up or whole-cloth create this Young Progressive wave as a way to keep young voters and DSA types on the reservation—"See? There's hope for a progressive revolution within the party! Greens and Sandernistas, come back! All is forgiven!" But not putting it past them is not the same as believing that they're clever enough to pull it off. Devious enough, yes, but not clever enough.
I'm about to do what I call Kuffnering—not the thing Chuck Kuffner does wherein 85% of his post is one gigantic blockquote from the Houston Chronicle or other such, but the thing wherein he tosses out a whole bunch of numbers and proceeds to draw some conclusions (or at least strong inferences) from them. I haven't given the blockquote thing a name yet.
This entry is light on links; go look up stuff for yourself.
Some of you who pay attention to electoral matters already know some of the facts I'm about to relate. But now that I've seen the numbers on US House elections in Texas and some other states, I'm mildly shocked.
To see the analysis of Texas's Congressional races, click the Read more link and scroll down past the California and North Carolina sections.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.