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Stuff I learned today

So, I visited a resumé guru today because I can’t get through the HR filters of most sites and can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.  I’ve tried matching my keywords and writing the damn thing over and over and OVER again to meet the most demanding filter but, no go.  Anyway, the guru worked it out, or so he assures me. It turns out I have to apply some sleight of hand. Think of it as CV SEO.  I think I’ve got it now.  What a royal pain in the ass, as if spending a couple of hours per application wasn’t painful enough.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned today:

1.) There really is such a thing as ageism.  It’s not just your imagination.  It’s probably due to some cocky young thing thinking you don’t know how to use technology, as if your diligence in filling out the ridiculous, lengthy, everything but your bloodtype online form wasn’t proof to the contrary.  If you’re over 45, you’re probably too old. Thank you New York Times.

2.) In the last three years (hmmm, let’s pause to meditate on the significance of three years, shall we?), an increasing number of employers have been hiring temp positions and not direct to position employees.  Sometimes, these temp positions turnover to permanent positions, but consider that first year a very long audition- without benefits.  And there’s no guarantee.  So, the assignment can end at any time.  Depending.  On what?  No idea.

3.) Obamacare is too damn expensive.  This came out of the blue.  Yup.  And it makes perfect sense.  If you are employed in this economy in a temp position and you have to carry the weight of that premium without a subsidy (because you make too much for Medicaid or live in a Medicaid expansionless state, but make too little for a subsidy because you are a lowly temp worker), it’s just too expensive.  You will spend substantially more of your paycheck than the blessed employee with the employer coverage.  But you’re less likely to become blessed because see #2 above.  I am now beginning to wonder what the purpose of Obamacare was.  Because if it is just a matter of getting kids covered who had  serious pre-existing conditions, there was SCHIP and Medicaid before Obamacare. Soooo…?  Bueller?

Malice or stupidity?  Before the administration gave a pass to the employer mandate, I was thinking “stupidity”.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Let’s just say there was a loophole big enough to drive a train through.

The guru says the tweaks should be enough to get me through.  I remain optimistic because, frankly, what is the alternative?  I don’t think I can sell my body at this point, even if I wanted to.  Thank goodness for the part time work and the no-mortgage thingy.  Still, no fun at all.  And I may live to be 92, which troubles me greatly.  Who’s going to hire me when I’m in my 90s?  Come to think of it, there will likely be a LOT of tail end boomers in our 90s, shlepping around the office, retail outlets and construction sites.  That should be interesting.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Supercitizens

Michael Brown was a thug who was caught on video doing some thuggish things in a deli.  He was also shot 6 times by a cop.

I don’t like the way the internet is taking over from the justice system.  Regardless of what Michael Brown may have done or what the police officer might have done, this story is starting to resemble a mediathon event a la Nancy Grace.  And I really don’t like Nancy Grace.

You know what would be great?  It would be great if we let the justice system do the work here.  And yet, after I read Matt Taibbi’s recent book, The Divide, before it devolved into yet another obligatory polemic against Bill Clinton who seems to have been the only politician in the last twenty years with any agency, I realized that there really isn’t justice in this country anymore.  Once you have committed a crime, even a small one or one you didn’t know existed, you’re pretty much screwed.  The system is set up to find you guilty if you don’t have a small fortune to prove your innocence.  It’s prepared to throw you in jail and deprive you of all you own at the slightest provocation.

On the other hand, if you’re wealthy and well connected, you can ruin people’s lives with impunity, risk other people’s retirement funds without consequence, and practice the equivalent of global and domestic economic terrorism and get away with it.  No one shows up at your door to arrest you for loitering where you shouldn’t or threatens your livelihood or keeps putting you back on the Start square in a real life game of Sorry!  Once you reach a certain level of wealth, you are untouchable.  (Well, at least until some clever vigilante individuals figure out how to circumvent the neo-feudal curtain walls.  It’ll happen eventually.)

But if you are a person of color or a woman or just poor, your life and belongings are inconsequential.  You’re not entitled to anything.  You’re lucky if you escape with your life.  And if you complain, the system will bring out a militarized police force and technology that will make you sick, to put you back in your place.  I saw it in Denver in 2008 (where was Claire McCaskill during the convention?) and at Zucotti Park in 2011.  And now we are watching it happen in Ferguson.

That’s because Americans have been allowed to indulge themselves in thinking that some people “deserve” better treatment than others.  But to the Supercitizen, no one below them is deserving of anything.  The dehumanization of the average American starts with race and women and poor people but sooner or later if things keep devolving at this pace, everyone but the supercitizen will be affected.

Internet coverage is not the same as due process, evidence, trials and justice.  And a justice department that has settled for weregild when it comes to global economic catastrophes and corruption, while bringing down the hammer on ordinary people has lost all credibility. It’s part of the problem.

When you’re deep in a hole, stop digging.

The double stupidity of Steve King

Republican Rep. Steve King made the following statement yesterday:

King appeared on Newsmax TV on Wednesday where host J.D. Hayworth asked him about the escalating conflict in Ferguson. When asked about the concerns raised by members of the Congressional Black Caucus about the possibility of racial profiling, King said those were unsubstantiated.

“This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”

At first, I thought, did he mean North America?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s where most Americans are from.

Then I realized how stupid that was.  According to the theory of human origins, we’re all from Africa.

Steve King: Ignorant bigot or silly evolution denier?

We present, you decide.

 

The White House ignored the State Dept’s warnings on Syria for Years

It looks like the gloves are off.  Josh Rogin at The DailyBeast reports the following this afternoon:

Throughout 2011 and well into 2012, President Obama’s White House barred Hillary Clinton’s State Department from even talking directly to the moderate Syrian rebels. This was only one of several ways the Obama team kept the Clinton team from doing more in Syria, back before the revolution was hijacked by ISIS and spread into Iraq.

The policy feud has flared up again in recent weeks, with Clinton decrying Obama’s Syria policy, Obama’s inner circle hitting back, and the president himselfcalling criticism of his Syria moves “horseshit.” Obama and his former secretary of state promised to patch things up at a social gathering on Wednesday. But the rift is deep, and years in the making.

Clinton and her senior staff warned the White House multiple times before she left office that the Syrian civil war was getting worse, that working with the civilian opposition was not enough, and that the extremists were gaining ground. The United States needed to engage directly with the Free Syrian Army, they argued; the loose conglomeration of armed rebel groups was more moderate than the Islamic forces—and begging for help from the United States. According to several administration officials who were there, her State Department also warned the White House that Iraq could fall victim to the growing instability in Syria. It was all part of a State Department plea to the president to pursue a different policy.

“The State Department warned as early as 2012 that extremists in eastern Syria would link up with extremists in Iraq. We warned in 2012 that Iraq and Syria would become one conflict,” said former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. “We highlighted the competition between rebel groups on the ground, and we warned if we didn’t help the moderates, the extremists would gain.”

But the warnings, which also came from other senior officials—including then-CIA chief David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—fell on deaf ears. Obama’s small circle of White House foreign policy advisers resisted efforts to make connections with rebel fighters on the ground until 2013, when the administration began to train and equip a few select vetted brigades. For many who worked on Syria policy inside the administration, it was too little, too late.

Look, guys, I hate to sound like a broken record, really I do.  Do you think it gives me any pleasure to point out that lack of planning, principle and follow through that has characterized the Obama administration for the last six years?  Hell, no.  I have to live in this country too and at my age, there’s no other country in the world that’s going to accept me as an immigrant.  (Though if there is anyone in New Zealand who wants to sponsor me, I’m all ears. )

I can understand the White House’s embarrassment and desire to keep all this dissension under wraps.  But I don’t appreciate the PR campaign they have unleashed against the former SOS simply because she chooses to reveal her difficulties with the White House.

On the other hand, maybe Hillary will learn to be more sympathetic towards people like Edward Snowden.

One can only hope.

“Step out of line, the Man come and take you away”

Read this account of a WaPo reporter, Wesley Lowery, who was arrested in Ferguson while he was charging his cell phone in a local McDonalds.

 For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald’s a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown’s shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby. But inside there’s WiFi and outlets, so it’s common for reporters to gather there.

That was the case Wednesday. My phone was just about to die, so as I charged it, I used the time to respond to people on Twitter and do a little bit of a Q&A since I wasn’t out there covering the protests.

As I sat there, many armed officers came in — some who were dressed as normal officers, others who were dressed with more gear.

Initially, both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and I were asked for identification. I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn’t press the point, but one added that if we called 911, no one would answer.

Read the whole thing.  It’s very upsetting.

Police presence in Denver for the Democratic convention in 2008 was huge and very intimidating.  I saw a girl step off a curb and get slammed to the ground by a couple of cops in what looked like paramilitary gear.  As far as I could see, there wasn’t anything threatening about the girl’s actions.  But Denver was dwarfed by the police presence in Manhattan during Occupy Wall Street.  I went to Zucotti Park on several occasions to cover the protests for this blog and used a local Starbucks to charge my phone.  I’ll probably never do anything like that again without a press pass (how do you get them?) but this story makes me realize that even the press is not protected anymore.

Enough is enough.  Americans are not the enemy.

One more thought: Battery problems plagued me when I was in Manhattan for a variety of reasons, not least of which there are a lot of tall buildings around blocking signal, there were a lot of signals in the air dogfighting and ATT (need I say more).  I’m guessing that more savvy people keep a spare charging pack in their pockets.  That’s probably a good idea.  Another good idea is to buy something when you go to Starbucks or MickyD’s to inhale some WiFi or amperage.  I used to get at least a hot chocolate and drink it slowly to show I was legit.

Update:  According to Bloomberg News, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is ordering St. Louis County police out of Ferguson.  He’s going to be making some kind of public statement soon.

Sounds like the jig is up and too many Americans are getting a good look at the militarization of the police and don’t like what they see.  Just a guess.

Here’s another interesting tidbit.  Representative William Lacey Clay “said that he has been urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to “take over the entire situation because we will not get justice forMichael Brown and his family and friends if the St. Louis County police and prosecutor have a say.””

Update 2: Oh, wow.  I think Obama has given the game away.  He is sooooo out of touch with what happened in Ferguson it’s not even funny.  Trying to find summary of press conference but twitter consensus is that Obama cautioned Ferguson residents against looting and vandalism.

{{facepalm}}

Just forget about the troop carriers and guys with rocket launchers.

 

Conflict unavoidable

“Rash and inexperienced traveller, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension”

The New York Times has an article today about the unavoidable conflict between Clinton and Obama.  They’re both on Martha’s Vineyard this week. For all I know, it’s manufactured by the flying monkeys in the media who seem to be salivating for a Krystle vs Alexis fight in The Pond.  But there are some encouraging utterances from the Clinton camp:

Mr. Obama is fast becoming the past, not the future, for donors, activists and Democratic strategists. Party leaders are increasingly turning toward Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as Democrats face difficult races this fall in states where the president is especially unpopular, and her aides are making plain that she has no intention of running for “Obama’s third term.”

Thank goodness for that.  I don’t think I can take another four years of careless conservatism spouting from the mouths of clueless young Ivy League males.  We have been waiting for six long years to hear what Clinton really thinks about Obama.  Yeah, it was great that she was able to swallow her pride and anger and play nice for the sake of “unity” but enough’s enough.  Even if she doesn’t run, I am looking forward to her informed critique.

I especially like the bit where Clinton says “ ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,”

Amen to that.

I am desperate to hear someone talk about their organizing principles.  No, I am not kidding.  That “put everything on the table and we’ll negotiate” crap has been an utter disaster.  And like Katiebird, I’d like the conversation to move away from foreign policy to economics.

On the other hand, this is probably not the best way to raise a lot of money from political donors who want to retain their iron grip on all the money in the universe.  Let’s hope Clinton can convince some of them that it’s in their best interests.

The Party, on the other hand, seems to think this is still 2008 before the crash:

Christine Pelosi, a longtime Democratic activist and daughter of the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said her phone and email “just exploded” after Mrs. Clinton’s remarks.

“Now is not the time to second guess the commander in chief, particularly when you’re a former member of his cabinet and national security team,” Ms. Pelosi said.

Oooo, really?  And when would the best time be, Christine?  I mean, he’s already opened up the tax payer safe to the finance industry, took a backseat to the foreclosure crisis and long term unemployment, presided over the dismantling of our research and development sector, and locked us into a two tier class system when it comes to health insurance.  When is any Democrat allowed to criticize him?  No one ever gave Bill Clinton that kind of deference.

Anyway, here’s to a little high tension.  It’s about fricking time.

Additional thoughts: We were the target of a troll attack yesterday.  It was wildly fun, by the way.  Katiebird and I are just warming up.  Bring it on.  But we did wonder what the heck triggered it.  It reminded both of us of the days in 2008 when the Obot trolls fired barrage after barrage from different IP addresses.  In fact, we both thought it was a good idea that we hadn’t gotten rid of those addresses in the banned list for the spam filter.  Now, we can go through the IPs at our leisure and figure out if there’s a common thread.

But it does make us wonder, why bother?  Obama isn’t running for another term, we don’t have nearly the readership that we had in 2008 when we peaked at something like 56000 hits/per day.  And the left has not sought to deign us with the pleasure of their revenue stream by adding us to their blog rolls.  In fact, I’d say we were true blue all the way through the last six years but hardly worth the effort and attention.

And yet, in spite of our anonymity compared to 2008, we still seem relevant enough to send a bunch of psych-out shock troops.  We can’t dismiss the possibility of a Republican attack but yesterday’s seemed so familiar.  It left that whiff of O-zone behind it.

Go figure.

Sanctimonious BS

From Tristero on the Iraq War Resolution and Hillary Clinton’s vote:

I was so freaked out that I did something I hadn’t done since college: I joined a protest outside Clinton’s Manhattan office. No dice. Then, I emailed every single person I knew to send me a letter opposing the war. I printed them all out and overnight fedexed them to Clinton’s office in DC.

In addition, Michael Moore circulated a petition that read in part:

We call on the Democrats in Congress to oppose a war on Iraq, to vote “No” to Bush’s war cries. We pledge to never again vote for any Democratic member of Congress who supports George W. Bush’s war against Iraq. To the Democrats in Congress, we give you fair warning: You are either with us, or you are fired.

[...]

I did not support Clinton in 2008 for the presidency. As for 2016, unless there is a serious chance that a Republican would beat her, I will honor my signature on Moore’s petition.

I saw Hillary Clinton’s statement on her vote on the Senate floor and it didn’t sound like “gobbledygook and some of the most twisted rationalizations I have ever read”.  No, I give that honor to John Kerry’s overly long statement on the Senate floor regarding the same resolution.

I think Clinton’s motives were pretty clear and I’m not going to rehash them here nor will I apologize for her.  I was as adamantly against going to Iraq as Tristero and Michael Moore.  You can ask my immediate family.  They were hung-ho, Hadji kicking, peeing in their beds in terror over Muslims coming to kill them lunatics.  We split up over it.

But I do have a problem with this sanctimonious “Lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine” bull from Tristero.

How come you guys were so Ok with turning the primary season of 2008 into a pro forma affair?  I hold the vote as one of the most sacred institutions in the country. You know what happened. Without integrity in the voting process, it doesn’t matter if you go to war or not.  The bad guys have already won.

Going into 2016, are we entirely sure we are going to have an honest primary season where a candidate that Tristero can bring himself to support has a chance of actually winning?  Will that vote actually count for anything?  I used to be a PUMA but consider myself a Democrat in Exile since the general election of 2008.  Hillary Clinton has to prove herself all over again.  My vote is not automatic.  Will I have a chance to get counted this time, because Jon Corzine gave my primary vote away in 2008 in some kind of negotiated parley with the DNC that sounded like “gobbledygook and some of the most twisted rationalizations I have ever read” and I consider that the worst thing that has happened in American politics since Watergate.

I will defend Tristero’s right to vote for any self-righteous, preening, “Yes We Can!”, supposedly anti-war candidate he wants in 2016.  Will Tristero allow me the same right to vote for whoever I want?  Or is he going to call me a racist, stupid, and uneducated when I have a different set of priorities and set much higher standards for qualifications?  Does my vote for “It’s the economy, stupid” have equal standing with Tristero’s desire to live like Gandhi?  Will it be OK once more to just ignore my wishes and trash my vote because Tristero and his friends know better than I do what my priorities should be?  What if I decide that women’s rights are more important this election cycle than LGBT rights?  Will that be Ok? If we’re going to get a bunch of lefties crying and holding their breaths this early in the election cycle, it’s time we pushed back hard because they threw a fit and got their way in 2008.

And because of that, we got the most untested, overly ambitious, unready, president in the middle of the greatest economic catastrophe in 80 years.  I and many of my former colleagues are still paying for that and will continue to pay for that in terms of diminished wages and savings until the day we die.  Our children will pay for that. Women in general have been paying for that.  Is there an American woman alive who can genuinely say that the misogynism unleashed by Democrats in the 2008 campaign season hasn’t affected them?  And it was all very, VERY predictable.  We predicted it throughout the campaign season with some very good logic and observation.

I can think of a lot of “the most dangerously stupid policy decisions any American president ever made”.  For example, pulling out of Iraq before the country was stabilized in order to placate a bunch of noisy Tristeros before the 2012 election was dangerously stupid. Making Tim Geithner Secretary of the Treasury was dangerously stupid.  After all, he’s the one who wrote the actual blank check for the finance industry in the form of trillions of our tax dollars.  If we face another economic catastrophe because the financiers took greater risks, I’d say that was dangerously stupid.  Bailing on homeowners might not feel so bad to Tristero but I’m sure the kids who lost their houses when the banks foreclosed on their parents would see it differently.  There are a lot of dangerously stupid policy decisions that Obama has made that are going to affect all of us and make us a weaker nation for generations to come.  But those decisions?  Not a peep from Tristero and people like him.

We all have our lines in the sand.  Tristero thought the war in Iraq was his, though I suspect he was pretty OK with voting for John Kerry in 2004.  Can Tristero honestly look at us in the face and say that he held John Kerry to the same standard in 2004 as he holds Hillary Clinton in 2016?  Call me very skeptical.

And I have mine.  To me, anyone who schemes to deprive voters of their choices, substituting his judgement for theirs, doesn’t get my support.  Ever.  Because I don’t know who is behind that kind of sacrilege and nothing good comes from a bad seed.

Messing with the vote is evil.

One final thought: There seems to be some misperception out there that I am totally onboard with Hillary and I’m just being coy and my past as a PUMA just proves it.  That would be wrong.

I’m not the head of any group and I don’t have any connections to the campaign.  No one has approached me to officially or unofficially support a candidate.  Maybe it’s too early for that anyway but in any case, I wouldn’t know how it’s done because I was never solicited in the past.  All of my statements were purely voluntarily and not under the control of any candidate.  I’m sure that didn’t always help the candidate but that’s what has happened in the past.  I liked my independence.

Yeah, I could use ad money.  I have tuition to pay and I’m a lot less financially secure than I was in 2008.  I don’t have a good job with benefits anymore.   I’m human and I would be sorely tempted.  But what I really want more than anything else is a full time job making decent money, and health insurance that doesn’t cost me my entire paycheck and, in my opinion, the economy is in such desperate need of liberal economic policies that I am willing to wipe my slate clean and start with a fresh pair of eyes when it comes to candidates for 2016.

So, Hillary has to prove herself to me just like any other candidate.  If she is a worthy candidate, she wouldn’t want it any other way.

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