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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://TruthSite.org for my writing, my musical creations, and my animations.
Why Abortion Isn't Murder
Abortion isn't murder because until there's a mature nervous system, there's no conscious person, just a potential consciousness (a clump of cells). Nor is there a pre-existing (dormant) consciousness, as there'd be in the case of a sleeping or comatose person. Consciousness and preciousness emerge gradually, along with the gradual development of a mature nervous. The essay elaborates on these ideas in defense of choice.
Undividing the Left: Hard-core and Soft-core progressives
The animosity between soft-core and medium hard-core progressives is kinda silly. Both factions share the same goals and values (economic justice, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, environmentalism, unionism, an end to militarism, and justice & accountability). They just disagree on techniques.
Friday, September 24, 2010(4 comments)
The Battle over I-1098 in Washington State
In Washington State there's a fierce battle underway between supporters and opponents of ballot Initiative 1098. I-1098 will establish an income tax on the wealthiest 1.2% of Washingtonians, while lowering taxes for the middle class and for small businesses. Recently newspapers, blogs, and the airwaves have been filled with pleas for and against I-1098.
Why Obama can't blame the GOP for his inability to pass progressive legislation
President Obama and the Democratic leadership blame their inability to effect progressive change on the recalcitrance of the conservative opposition. This effort to deflect blame is belied by one salient fact: had Obama and the Democratic leadership prosecuted the Republicans for their numerous serious criminal acts, then the GOP would no longer be in a position to mount an effective resurgence.
Thursday, August 20, 2009(10 comments)
Where are the religious protesters?
Abolitionism and the civil rights movement benefited from the support of religious folks. Where are the religious folks in the anti-war, accountability, and health care reform movements? Is their absence one reason why current progressive movements have failed?
Ruminations on Four Types of Love
I share some thoughts and invite feedback about four types of love: baby love, romantic love, universal benevolence, and toxic love. Is love real? Should we worry about love?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010(4 comments)
Why we need public financing of investigative journalism
The decline of privately funded journalism is to be expected. I present the case for public funding of journalism. Perhaps most importantly, I address libertarian objections to such public funding. We need government-funded journalism to act as a watchdog on both private and public corruption.
The two Democratic Parties: corporate Dems versus progressive Dems
On facebook, in comments to articles, and in person I often hear socialists, anarchists, and independents say things like "The Dems are as bad as the Republicans."
Such views represent a gross exaggeration or distortion of the facts, but they contain a kernel of truth.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party desperately needs the help of socialists, anarchists, and independents.
Sunday, November 27, 2011(51 comments)
On Occupying the Democratic Party
Can the further Left (Occupiers, anarchists, and Socialists) work, in some fashion, with the nearer Left (progressive Democrats, Labor, and groups like MoveOn.org)? Can the Occupy Movement find allies without getting co-opted?
Friday, August 26, 2011(18 comments)
How to stop the Tea Party: a response to Sam Harris
To stop the Tea Party, progressives need to both take over the Democratic Party and market the ideas of good government and fair taxation. To win that argument, progressives need to frame the issues correctly.
Are anarchists in Occupy aiding Grover Norquist?
Like Tea Partiers, many Occupiers hate government. The Occupy movement has raised awareness about gross injustices in our political and economic system, but the anarchist tendencies perplex me. I explain why and solicit feedback from Occupiers about why they're attracted to anarchism.
Washington State's Unconstitutional Initiative: I-1053
Constitutions exist to protect the People from unjust laws and initiatives.
The Washington State Constitution specifies that a bill becomes law if a majority of legislators support it. Hence I-1053 (the voter initiative requiring 2/3 majorities of legislators to approve tax increases) would appear to be unconstitutional, as would many or all of Tim Eyman's similar initiatives.
Saturday, September 19, 2009(18 comments)
Arguing with conservatives about health care
My response to a conservative's call for more "market-based competition" in health care. Market-based competition is unlikely to work, and Singapore is a poor example.
This article summarizes the case against Big Insurance and Big Pharma.
Monday, June 27, 2011(2 comments)
Coverups concerning former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel
There are credible allegations of a coverup concerning former Republican US Senator Chuck Hagel. He hid his ownership in AIS (a voting machine manufacturer), even though his machines counted the votes in the election that Hagel won in an upset. Someone removed this story from the wikipedia article about Hagel.
The banal evil of predatory capitalism
Many left-wingers decry the evilness of corporations. Yes, they're often evil, but not necessarily in the black-and-white way that left-wingers often portray them. The evil is mostly a banal, bureaucratic evil that arises not, typically, from any malice towards others so much as from uncontrolled greed.
On the other hand, some actions by politicians and corporations are evil in an active, non-banal way.
Mad as Hell Doctors stop in Seattle
The Mad As Hell Doctors are touring the country. They stopped in Seattle this afternoon. Impressive people and energy. Will the American people learn the truth?
Please check out a great video they produced: OurAilingHealthcare.com .
The Market for Progressive Groups and Websites
The sale of HuffPost to AOL raises questions about corporate ownership of progressive infrastructure. House Republicans' efforts to defund NPR and CPB further threaten the Left's ability to get its message out.
How can the left build an effective media and political infrastructure outside the market system?
Saturday, October 17, 2015(50 comments)
Is Sanders' democratic socialism compatible with capitalism?
Bernie Sanders has said that he's a democratic socialist and that he's not a (casino) capitalist. And he lists Scandinavian countries as models that the U.S. should emulate. But Scandinavian countries have private wealth and corporations. Does Sanders support capitalism as long as it's regulated? Or does he want to do away with private ownership unless the owners are worker cooperatives?
White House spurns Mad As Hell Docs, invites "friendlier" docs
On September 30th, the Mad As Hell Docs arrived in Washington, D.C., and held a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Doctors from across the country attended. They told the crowd why they believed, based on their years of practicing medicine and the stories Their voices were not heard in the White House. Or were they?
Why do believers pray?
If God is all-knowing and all-loving, why should believers need to pray to Him for results?
Tuesday, May 12, 2015(3 comments)
How President Obama and his supporters damaged the Democratic Party
In 2008 I donated hundreds of dollars and many hours to the campaign of candidate Barack Obama. When he won on Nov. 4, 2008, I texted "Happy day!" to my brother. Within a year I had sorely regretted my support for Obama. I wrote articles, submitted resolutions, and advocated for accountability, to save the Democratic Party from looming catastrophe. In this article I collect evidence showing how Obama betrayed his party.
Anarchism, libertarianism, and the way forward
How does anarchism differ from libertarianism? How should a progressive liberal who supports government programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, public education, and public transportation) respond to libertarian and anarchist attacks on government? Finally, how do anarchists expect to defang corporations without government power?
Blame poverty, not public schools
Conservatives love to hate public schools and try to blame public schools for low educational outcomes compared to other countries. But a closer look shows that poverty, now public schools, are to blame for the problem.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017(11 comments)
How Jesus would preach if he were a Republican. He would eliminate Meals on Wheels. He would repeal your health care, and .... Series: Videos (1 Articles, 1373 views)
Tea Party versus the Occupy Movement
Republicans were able to absorb, co-opt, and be transformed by the Tea Party movement.
But it seems that many people in the Occupy Movement don't trust the Democratic Party and are suspicious of its support.
Can this be fixed?
Review of Matt Ridley's Evolution of Everything
A review of Matt Ridley's "Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge." Ridley's book is an imbalanced, libertarian attack on government, regulation, environmentalism, public education, and taxation.
Thursday, November 18, 2010(6 comments)
The Reagan Revolution Redux
The Right Wing plan to drown government in a bathtub is coming to fruition right before our eyes, especially here in Washington State. Here's how conservatives did it, with help from the feckless Democrats.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010(18 comments)
On Punishing the Dems
Many progressives want to "punish the Dems" by refusing to vote, or by voting for a third party candidate this November.
I can respect such progressives, because I too am upset with Obama.
But I wonder: have these hardcore progressives really thought through the costs of their choice? Moreover, are they willing to respect other progressives who choose not to follow their (risky) st
Sunday, February 3, 2013(47 comments)
Should we call gun nuts "gun nuts"?
Are gun nuts really nuts? Is it counter-productive to insult them? How can progressives win in the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans on this issue and other issues dear to us?
The straw that breaks, or strengthens, the Donkey's back
Is President Obama's compromise on the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich the final straw, the one that breaks the Donkey's back?
In fact, it's a great opportunity for progressives to revitalize the Democratic Party.
Will the Party allow progressives to share some power? Will progressives flee to a third party?
Thursday, October 26, 2017(10 comments)
Was the Noble Savage noble? Or savage?
There has been a debate in the press recently about whether the state (nation) is fundamentally a source of exploitation and war, or whether it's a source civilizing influence on humans' natural brutal nature. The debate has echoes of Thomas Hobbes and Renee Descartes, as well as echos of FDR versus the Koch brothers.
In short, is the Noble Savage noble or savage?
How the Left can better market its message
The disappointing outcome of the 2010 general election was a result of various factors: the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, an influx of corporate cash into the elections, superior organization and party discipline on the Right, and weak leadership, messaging, and media access on the Left. We can ameliorate the problem locally, in various states: adopt standard, shared, community-owned websites.
Thursday, December 27, 2012(11 comments)
Battle over the facts concerning Chuck Hagel
I have been engaged in an ongoing edit war concerning the Wikipedia article on Chuck Hagel, whose name is being mentioned as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense. Hagel is coming under criticism from Republicans and neocons who are unhappy with Hagel's statements critical of defense spending.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Market-based competition in medical care?
Some conservatives think that the way to control medical costs is to have market-based competition between health care providers. I don't think so, and this one-minute animation shows why.
Obama and other reasons for the election debacle
As leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama bears a large proportion of responsibility for the election debacle. Though he saved the economy, he sold out to Wall Street and the Pentagon, and he allowed the GOP to set the agenda and blame Democrats for the decline of the middle class.
Review of Martin Nowak's Super Cooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed
How can cooperation emerge in a world of selfish individuals ruled by Darwinian competition for survival?
This is the question that Martin Nowak, Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Harvard University, discusses in Super Cooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed.
Nowak say, "I propose that 'natural cooperation' be included as a fundamental principle to bolster those laid down by Darwin."
Look who doesn't pay their fair share
An analysis of publicly available, aggregated income and tax data from the IRS shows that residents of rich zipcodes manage to avoid progressive taxation. They pay little or no more in taxes, as a proportion of income, than many poorer zipcodes.
The Real Meaning of Accountability: Reflections on Obama's UN Speech
Accountability is not just a matter of throwing a few Bush Administration officials in jail. Not at all. The real meaning of accountability is this: will America face the past and repudiate the ideologies, policies, and individuals who brought the nation to the brink of disaster? Torture and lying about war are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the people responsible for crimes and for mismanagement remain in office.
Hillary was swift-boated: Blame the GOP Propaganda Machine
The most striking and scary thing about the 2016 election was that a candidate as bad as Donald Trump could win. How could that happen? Yes, Hillary and the Democrats made policy and tactical errors that suppressed turnout and allowed Trump to pursue his populist playbook, but the main cause of GOP victories is the formidable propaganda machine of the Republican Party. Almost half the country live in an alternate reality.
Friday, December 24, 2010(1 comments)
Thoughts on Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars"
Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars" concerns not just the war in Afghanistan but also the ideological war in the White House between hawks and doves, as well as the war that occurred inside the President's head.
H.R. 676: a stronger public option than expected
H.R. 676 prohibits private insurance that competes with the government plan. H.R. 676 also prohibits private, for-profit institutional providers. Must progressives support such a single-play plan or can they gladly settle for a strong public option that competes successfully with private insurance companies and providers? Are progressives allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good?
Visualization of US lawmakers based on similarity of their voting records
The following images show US Senators and Representatives clustered according to the similarity of their voting records in 2013 and 2014.
What's most notable is how different the Dems are from the Repugs.
Please realize that the two dimensional images below are projections from a high-dimensional space of data, and so there is loss of information. The images represent approximate summaries.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009(5 comments)
Single-payer versus a strong public option: division within the progressive movement
Over the last couple of months, I've observed increasing disagreement, bordering on acrimony, within the progressive movement between those, like PDA (Progressive Democratics of America), who are pushing exclusively for single-payer health care and those, like MoveOn.org, DFA (Democracy for America), and Organizing for America (OFA) who are settling for some sort of "public option."
Saturday, November 3, 2012(7 comments)
The Republicon con game, and why impeachment mattered
The Republicons are masters of propaganda. They construct vivid alternate universes, populated by imaginary demons who must be battled to the death. Republicons are able to convince tens of millions of Americans that their imagined worlds are real. Even when their ideas lead to disaster, they are able to blame their ideological opponents. The Democrats have not done a good job at holding them accountable or refuting them.
Thursday, October 2, 2014(5 comments)
Joshua Greene's Moral Tribes -- Emotion, Reason, and the Gap between Us and Them
A book review and summary of Joshua Greene's book about psychology, philosophy, politics, and ethics.
The central question of the book is: In a modern, pluralistic society, how can diverse groups who disagree on fundamental issues come to agreement on matters of morality and public policy?
Greene argues for a liberal (progressive) morality in contrast to the libertarian morality of philosopher John Rawls.
Obama, Democrats playing into Republicans' hands
My response to a local conservative journalist: Until Obama and Democrats nationwide turn decisively against conservative rhetoric and policies, the people will continue to get the short end of the stick.
Bloomberg is intolerant of reasonable protests
Michael Bloomberg criticized cases in which liberal students prevented speakers from speaking at universities. "In each case, liberals silenced a voice -- and denied an honorary degree -- to individuals they deemed politically objectionable. This is an outrage."
He compared students protests to the efforts of gun rights' advocates in Congress to prevent research into gun control.
The comparison is unreasonable.
Occupy Denver Elects a Leader
In response to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's insistence that Occupy Denver choose leadership to deal with City and State officials, and drawing inspiration from the notion that corporations are people, Occupy Denver's General Assembly has elected a leader: Shelby, a three year old Border Collie. "Shelby is closer to a person than any corporation: She can bleed, she can breed, and she can show emotion. Either Shelby is a pers
Donald Trump dreams of a "white" Christmas
I'm dreaming of a "white" Christmas
With every Fascist I appoint
Where we fill the prisons
And people listen to skinheads marching in the streets.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas with every stupid tweet I write.
May my policies help the wealthy and the white
And may there be no Latinos or Muslims in my sight.
Monday, June 15, 2009(12 comments)
Your money or your life! Health care or thievery?
Thieves and pirates say "Your money or your life!" The for-profit health care industry is not much better. This image expresses the analogy between thievery and America's heatlh care industry. Support single-payer health care!
Amazon.com shareholder proposal for disclosure of political spending; company meeting
Amazon.com has come under criticism for working with ALEC, a corporate lobbying group that writes model legislation in favor of corporate and conservative causes.
For consideration at the company's May 24 company meeting at the Seattle Art Museum, an investor has submitted a shareholder proposal that would force Amazon to disclose political spending.
The company's May 24 shareholder meeting is a worthy protest target.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Government: Unproductive? Wasteful? Corrupt?
This essay defends government against the relentless attacks by conservatives about government waste and alleged unproductiveness. The article enumerates many of the ways we depend on government for essential services. It address the question of corruption and waste by pointing out that corruption and waste are present in the private sector too, and we need government also to play a watchdog role on the private sector.
The Revolution will not be pleasant
Millions of young, motivated progressives are participating in Democratic Party primaries, caucuses and meetings, thanks to the leadership of Bernie Sanders. But many hard-core leftists (Socialists and Anarchists) still insist on fleeing from the Democratic Party. What are they afraid of? Dealing with unpleasant corporate Democrats? Majority rule? A little hierarchy?
Reclaim the Media: Take action to support Local Community Radio
The Local Community Radio Act (HR 1147) will expand the ability of local, low-power community radio stations to compete with huge corporate radio stations. Big Media has been able to convince Congress that low-power radio stations pose a threat of "interference." The real reason is they don't want the competition. Please phone your congressperson.
Monday, July 27, 2009(3 comments)
Conservative moles, lesser of two evils
Some progressives are more interested in criticizing Democrats than in criticizing Republicans. Are some of these progressives really conservative moles trying to incite division on the Left? Given a choice between two evils, isn't it sometimes wise to choose the lesser of the two?