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Is The Brexit an Example of What Happens When the Established Meets the Emergent?

In his book Leading From the Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer identifies 8 structural disconnects that are currently distorting our decision making, which result in collectively creating results no one actually wants.  He observed:

The current system produces results that nobody wants. Below the surface of what we call the landscape of social pathology lies a structure that supports existing patterns.

The 8 disconnects are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Creating Outcomes No One Wants

I’ve written about this dynamic before – as a nation we are collectively creating outcomes no one wants.  The rise of Donald Trump has filled me with genuine horror. As political dysfunction deepens, the more “outsider” candidates like Trump attract support from a segment of population.

In a lengthy article at The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch calls it the “Chaos Syndrome.” Rauch’s thesis is an extended metaphor about the immune system; he argues that the traditional political structures of American government and politics were an immune response to irresponsible politicians.  In recent decades, those structures have been eroded to the point that they no longer function to protect the body politic.  A key weakness in our system is a lack of a means by which politicians can be held accountable by one another for unacceptable behavior – in the British parliamentary system, an MP who behaves badly can be removed from office by their party. Our system provides no such remedies so a politician who can win a majority in their state or district can hold office even if every word and action embarrasses the party itself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Louie Gohmert is the dumbest man in Congress *(and that’s saying something)

As the Dems sit in reached an emotional peak yesterday, Gohmert approached Democratic Rep. Corinne Brown and shouted “Radical Islam” at her. Brown represents Orlando.

Gohmert, like lots of right wingers, has decided to take Omar Mateen’s declaration that he was working of ISIS seriously and has decided that means he was a terrorist rather than a deeply fucked up person whose denial of his sexual orientation drove him to madness.

As I write this, the sit in continues with Democrat after Democrat making impassioned speeches concerning efforts to end gun violence.  The parties are not the same.

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Is President Obama Going to Do This?

Bears Ears
Bears Ears buttes, Elk Ridge, San Juan County Utah

The Bears Ears National Monument proposal has been on the table since last year. There is some speculation that President Obama is readying a proclamation, despite a dire warning from Senator Orrin Hatch that it could result in an armed confrontation similar to the one at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The monument proposal stands on its own considerable merits. Adequate protection of the area, particularly the archaeological sites of Cedar Mesa, is long overdue. A recent poll found 71 percent of Utahns support the Bears Ears monument. Additionally, Utah politicians could stand to benefit from a well-timed reminder that we the people own our public lands, not the corporations.

Rep. Chris Stewart recently tacked an amendment onto the Interior Appropriations Bill, seeking to prohibit new national monuments in Utah.

Meanwhile, the Utah Test and Training Range Act land grab has been quietly incorporated in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

The Utah land grab agenda also includes Rep. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz’ Public Lands Initiative (PLI), nicknamed the “Plundered Lands Initiative” by conservation groups. The representatives are still threatening to introduce this corporate-friendly development bill in Congress.

Gov. Gary Herbert is still proceeding with a threatened lawsuit aimed at seizing 30 million acres of our Utah public lands, a doomed gesture that may cost us $14 million.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Despite the controversial 1996 proclamation by the Clinton administration, the GSENM is thriving today. Let’s hope President Obama is willing to counter the anti-public-lands Utah politicians with a resoundingly popular monument proclamation this summer.

More info:
U-Turn Utah (Center for Western Priorities)
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
Friends of Cedar Mesa
New York Times editorial: Monuments for Future Generations

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Rumblings In The Establishment

kristol unease

I’m a lifelong democrat because, although I cared about having enough to survive without asking anybody for money, I never really cared about being rich and used to hear all the time, that the democratic party was the “party of the people”. I have been lucky enough, as a privileged, 64 year old white man, to say I have never asked anybody for money so far. In fact, I’ve only asked for a raise on my job about twice. My mother insists on giving us kids a monetary gift now and then which I keep telling her not to. I have more then enough to get by, unless something pretty bad happens.

I just don’t see Hillary Clinton as leading anything close to a party of the people. There are actual, establishment television news shows – including shows on MSDNC :) – that are seriously questioning Hillary’s ability to be the president. Chuck Todd even said she probably wouldn’t be able to be appointed as attorney general with the questions being raised about her – “damn” – E-mails.

A serious comedy program compiles a couple clips from the corporate media here:

I don’t think the MSM is allowed to tell us what is happening behind the scenes and even the “Redacted Tonight” clip didn’t touch on it. For that we have to rely on another internet source that corporate advertisers would never finance. Even the title of this article by respected, but largely unknown, journalist, Robert Parry, doesn’t get to it, although the article does:

Waiting for California and the FBI

Two Washington insiders – Democratic pollster and political adviser Douglas E. Schoen and famed Watergate investigative reporter Carl Bernstein – have described panicky meetings of top Democrats worried over Clinton’s troubled campaign, with Schoen also describing private talks about possible last-minute alternatives.

I’ve heard similar tales of hushed discussions – with the fill-in options including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry or Sen. Sanders – but I still believe these fretful leaders are frozen by indecision and don’t have the nerve to pull Hillary Clinton’s hands off the steering wheel even to avoid disaster.

Joe Biden? John Kerry?

Well anyway, I didn’t want to leave the rumbling problems in the republican party out here. Everybody knows they’re at least as bad as the democrat ones. Republicans are good little soldiers and are lining up behind a pathological liar for their candidate because the brat seems to have told them he will cooperate.

Bill Kristol, editor of his dad-founded “Weekly Standard”, who has never really been on-the-rails, but is always asked to comment on the TV anyway for some reason, is seriously flummoxed by the Trump thing. He has recently announced his solution to the 2016 problem:

Bill Kristol Thinks a Nobody Named David French Can Take Down Donald Trump

Over the holiday weekend, the Weekly Standard chief confidently tweeted: “There will be an independent candidate—an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.

Well, at least David French is friends with Jonah Goldberg, – yes that Jonah Goldberg – who even gets to be a regular pundit on NPR for some reason. When asked about Kristols pick on NPR, he laughed. He likes his friend, but can’t really see him as leader of the free world right now. Besides, French isn’t sure he wants the job and nobody has any idea who he is. But that’s our Bill; always wrong and omnipresent.

Do you think all the people who have been filling up stadiums all over the country for that other guy, will be happy to have the democrats pop up with Kerry or Biden?

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NPS Centennial = Corporate Takeover?

Arches NP Milky Way
Milky Way viewed from Arches National Park

“The national park idea, the best idea we ever had, was inevitable as soon as Americans learned to confront the wild continent not with fear and cupidity but with delight, wonder, and awe.”

–Wallace Stegner

2016 is the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service (NPS). But because of chronic neglect and under-funding from Congress, the NPS is set to adopt a very bad idea for our national parks: Corporate sponsorships sold to the highest bidder that run the risk of plastering our most treasured sites of America’s natural heritage with corporate branding and logos. Park employees would be directly engaged in soliciting funds from corporations.

This policy change came as a consequence of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which compels the NPS to increase private funding through “donor recognition.”

The NPS annual budget of $3 billion isn’t enough to catch up on an estimated $11.49 billion in deferred maintenance costs in our national parks. As National Park Foundation president and CEO Will Shafroth told the Washington Post, “The parks don’t have enough money to accomplish their goals.” Private and corporate donations are needed to fill the gaps.

The new rules, that will take effect by the end of the year, would “swing open the gates of the 411 national parks, monuments and conservation areas to an unprecedented level of corporate donations.”

The comment period has already closed on the order from NPS Director Jarvis that would allow parks to start selling “naming rights,” which would allow the highest corporate bidder to place their name or logo – like a Nike Swoosh or a Starbucks logo – directly on select spaces and areas of our national parks like park buildings, benches, auditoriums, and visitor centers.

Tell Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to pull the plan to commercialize our national parks. And let’s tell our congressional delegation to fund the parks in the federal budget. Some Utah national parks are now charging a $30 entrance fee.

More info:
Yosemite, sponsored by Starbucks? National Parks to start selling some naming rights
Donor Naming Rights in U.S. National Parks – Is Brouhaha Justified?
No, the U.S. National Parks Will Not Be Sponsored by Viagra

NPS centennial patch

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The Super-delegates Will Decide

Not Me Us

This year’s Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia July 25–28 will be the first in which super-delegates will make the decision on a presidential nominee. The questions that will be asked: (1) Are super-delegates supposed to choose the most electable candidate? or (2) Were super-delegates given the job of making sure the establishment-chosen candidate wins over an insurgent?

What is a super-delegate? From Wikipedia:

[A] “superdelegate” is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders, and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. … Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate who did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.

Why does the Democratic Party have super-delegates?

The super-delegate story begins with the traumatic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which resulted in the nomination of then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey (President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election that year after being challenged by popular anti-Vietnam War candidate Rep. Eugene McCarthy). There was widespread dissatisfaction among the voters because Humphrey did not compete in any primary elections. Humphrey lost the general election to Richard M. Nixon.

A commission headed by South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota Representative Donald M. Fraser met in 1969 and 1970 to make the Democratic Party’s nominating convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast in primary elections. The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members. The number of state primaries increased from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.

Despite a huge increase in the level of primary participation, McGovern’s 1972 presidential run resulted in a landslide defeat for the party. The same thing happened in President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 race against Ronald Reagan. Party leaders established another commission in an attempt to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates. Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of un-elected and un-pledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs.

The problem for the 2016 election

Neither Dem candidate is likely at this point to finish the primary campaign with a majority of pledged delegates. Un-pledged super-delegates make up about 15% of the overall convention votes, and these delegates will choose the party’s nominee in July.

According to former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair and now lobbyist/super-delegate Howard Dean, “Super delegates don’t ‘represent people.’ I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.” (86% of voters in this year’s Vermont primary election chose Bernie Sanders, but Dean remains committed to voting for Hillary Clinton at the convention).

Of course, the assumption has always been that Democratic insurgent candidates like Bernie would be less electable in the general election. In 2016 it looks like this isn’t a good year for establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton. A lot of people thought we were doomed to a Bush-Clinton contest, but Donald Trump won so much support among Tea-GOP voters that he’s their presumptive nominee. And it looks like Bernie is the more electable Democratic candidate.

Hillary Clinton Now Loses to Trump in Polls. Bernie Sanders Beats Trump by 10.8 Points. (Hillary’s poll numbers have gone down, however she is within the margin of error against Trump — and the Democrats can expect a built-in advantage in the Electoral College, the so-called “Blue Wall”).

It’s up to the super-delegates to decide. Win with Bernie (and nudge the party to the center) or risk losing with Hillary (confirming that right-wing Dems cause progressives to abandon the party).

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Will 2016 Election Turn Into an Unpopularity Contest?

Both parties’ presidential front-runners are growing increasingly unpopular, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with Hillary Clinton showing an especially steep decline over the past month.

Among voters in both parties, 56% hold a negative view of Clinton and 32% hold a positive view. That 24-point gap is almost twice as wide as in a Journal/NBC poll last month, when 51% viewed her negatively and 38% positively, a 13-point gap. In other words, the more Americans get to see of Clinton the more they don’t want her.

Net negative ratings Trump & Hillary

Compared to frontrunners in previous presidential primary races, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable ratings (57 percent and 52 percent respectively) are the highest in CBS News/New York Times Polls going back to 1984, when CBS began asking this question.

If the two major parties nominated Clinton and Trump, the electorate would be divided three ways:

1. American voters who would refuse to vote for Trump.
2. American voters who would refuse to vote for Clinton.
3. American voters who would refuse to vote for either one of them!

And we could forget about the actual issues in the 2016 election, because the media would cover all the mud slinging and nothing else.

By contrast, Bernie Sanders has the highest favorability of any candidate. Bernie averages a +5.3 compared to Hillary’s -24.

More info:
Democrats March Toward Cliff
Unpopularity dogs Trump, Clinton, Cruz: Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton viewed unfavorably by majority – CBS/NYT poll
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump: General Election Match-Up Polls & Favorability Ratings

UPDATE:
Any Chance Trump and Hillary Can Still Get Popular, Despite Their Negatives?

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New York Has Me Worried

new y

This was the last thing I wanted to wake up and read this morning. It looks like a lot of young people in New York, who would most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders, have missed the boat, due to restrictive laws on voting registration.

Restrictive Rules Leave New York Voters Shut Out of Pivotal Primary

I just happened upon this “Democracy Now” segment that was taped the day after the Utah caucuses caught the nation by surprise and gave Sanders an overwhelming victory here. I don’t think the extent of the failure in the Arizona election had been looked at yet. It’s great to see my favorite Utah politician standing up for my favorite national politician and stating Sanders’s obvious advantages over Hillary:

Of course Sanders went on to a long string of solid wins after Utah and Idaho, showing a strong momentum if there ever was one. Polls in Utah showed that even Republicans trust Sanders more then the current front runner in their party and, like Rocky says, he’s a shoe-in over Hillary against any Republican now running for the general election slot.

Anderson, of the “Justice Party”, is upset about a blatant hit piece on Sanders in “The Washington Post”, derived from a poorly conducted and carved up interview from a rag called the “New York Daily News”. He’s made a list of questions a tough journalist could ask Hillary. It’s obvious this won’t happen at “The [Bezos] Post”; a publication which recently did 16 negative articles on Sanders in 16 hours.

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‘The cause is right, and the time is NOW!’

The Cause is Right, the Time is Now

We had our grand opening and canvass launch in Brooklyn this weekend and over 1000 people showed up. It was amazing!

Posted by Northeast for Bernie on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nina Turner is just awesome. If Bernie can win in New York, he can go all the way!

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#ImSoSick the Latest Hashtag Taken Down By Twitter

@Twitter removed #ImSoSick when it hit the #1 trending spot. This is at least the third time in recent weeks that Twitter has pulled a trending hashtag to help the Hillary Clinton campaign.

UPDATE:
Clinton Says She’s “Sick of the Sanders Campaign Lying” About Her—Which It Isn’t Doing

Read the rest of this entry »

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Utah’s 72 Hour Waiting Period has marginal impact on abortion rates – it just makes things harder and more inconvenient for women

The lead paragraph pretty much says it all:

A new study of women seeking abortions in Utah has found that the state’s 72-hour waiting period didn’t dissuade the vast majority from going through with the procedure, though it did present them with additional financial and logistical difficulties.

Despite all the pious noise from politicians, the inconvenience was the point of the law – it’s a feature not a bug.

From the Tribune in 201

Sponsoring Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, believes the concerns are misplaced.

“I think it’s a positive change for women and children,” said Eliason. “At the end of the day, it’s a consumer-protection law.

“The focus of this bill is women having time to consider all of the information that is given to them when facing a life-altering decision that somebody else is making money off of,” he said.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the whole point of these laws is the idea that women are too stupid to make their own choices and need counseling before making them  – as if any woman who wants an abortion hasn’t thought though the issues.

And it turns out the law has done nothing other than make it harder for poor women to access abortions. Wealthy women of course will have no problems getting their counseling visit and getting back to the office. Middle class women will be able to do the same. The burden of Republican moralizing, once again, falls not on male, Republican legislators, but on poor women.

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