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The Things of May

beltane-fire-fest

The May Queen banishes the spirits of winter and darkness at the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh

The White House Correspondent’s Dinner was last night. I haven’t watched it since Stephen Colbert did a masterful job of making the media stars look like the self-absorbed, overpaid, underwhelming, lazy “journalists” they are.

Obama was there and couldn’t help but take a swipe at Hillary– for not knowing how to use Facebook.

President Obama poked fun at Hillary Clinton’s lack of appeal among young people Saturday night, joking at the annual White House press corps dinner that Mrs. Clinton was like an aging relative who cannot figure out how to use Facebook.

“Did you get my poke? Is it on my wall?” he said, imagining Mrs. Clinton trying to use the popular social media site. “I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.”

Ok, stop right there. I wasn’t at this dinner so I’m not sure of the context that this comment was made. But I have something to say about Facebook.

I hate Facebook. I’m not the only person who feels this way. And I don’t want to toot my own horn here but throughout my career, I’ve learned many different applications. I even have an application scale of my own making. The hardest one I ever learned was called HKL and I didn’t even really learn it all that well because I ran out of time before we were laid off. New applications do not intimidate me. I look forward to bending them to my will.

Except for Facebook.I don’t like the interface. It’s confusing. I can post stuff on my wall and get around but it doesn’t feel natural to me and probably never will. Perhaps I’m overthinking it. There’s got to be more to it than this stupid wall and how do you see everything in order??

But guess what? I can survive without Facebook. In fact, there is a whole side of the internet that Facebook devotees will not discover unless they leave Facebook and learn to use other apps and browsers on their tablets.

I’ll go even further. You can use Facebook in several different ways. You can use it as a social media tool. It’s a way to post all those pics you took at the last party you went to or the last time you saw all your friends from high school. Or you can use Facebook as your single entry and exit point into the internet. This is how some elderly people I know use it. Unlike what Obama is suggesting, older people get around Facebook fine. They don’t have an issue with it. It’s like the AOL of the 21st century. When everyone else moves on to SnapChat and Periscope, all your older relatives will still be on Facebook.

So, I don’t know where Obama was going with this dig at Hillary and Facebook. But if she were a normal person her age, she would be a master of Facebook. Fortunately, she is not a normal person her age and she uses everything. Or her campaign does.

Will anyone be waiting for updates to Obama’s Facebook page when he leaves office? Um, probably not as many as might have obsessively checked in 2008. Facebook is old. It’s still a classic but the rest of the world has moved on. You have to wonder if Obama knew that when he made that stupid joke.

How many “journalists” thought it was funny? Did anyone watch it last night? I’m curious to know how many younger correspondents were rolling their eyes in embarrassment while people like Chris Matthews was guffawing and chugging his chard.

Anyway, I’m picking up signals here and there that Obama and Hillary have had a strained relationship and are only bound by party obligations. So, I guess it’s no surprise that he would take a few gratuitous digs at her.

I’ll never understand what some people saw in him. Never, never, never.

*********************************************************************

Lance Mannion has a post about why Bernie people and Hillary people see history differently and how this has led some Democrats to put the blame for everything on Hillary’s shoulders. Worth a read. Here’s a sample:

At any rate, it is in Bernie’s interest that Hillary be “remembered” as not just having been wrong but bad. Bad as in a bad person. Evil, in fact.

For many of the Bernie supporters of my online acquaintance, it’s not enough for Clinton to be evil herself. She has to be Evil incarnate, the root of all evil and cause of all that’s wrong with the country and all that electing Bernie would fix. The way they go at it in their tweets and posts it’s as if she was at least co-president through Bill’s two terms, that George W. Bush was president for just long enough to lie us into the war in Iraq, at Hillary’s urging, after which she took over, guiding and prolonging the war from her seat in the Senate, where she did nothing else—Lilly Ledbetter? Never heard of her.—until Barack Obama became president, when once again she assumed the role of co-president, making all his foreign and military policy decisions until she left the State Department to prepare for her coronation as Queen-President in her own right.

But even among the more sensible, reasonable, and less doctrinaire, Bernie’s purity is generally proven by Hillary’s corruption and for that work history must be “remembered” accordingly.  And the ones taking the lead in the misremembering are middle-aged men—almost all the Bernie people I know online are Bernie guys and middle-aged Bernie guys at that—old enough to have been politically aware adults during the years of Bill’s presidency and Hillary’s time in the Senate but who apparently didn’t take notes and haven’t bothered to do the homework needed to make up for it.

Middle aged male Democrats, what’s up with them?? Srsly, I don’t get it.

I agree with him but I think there is another component to this. That is, Hillary takes the place of the sacrificial scapegoat. For some reason, some of it social pressure, these Democrats can not blame the party, Obama, themselves or Republicans for what has happened in the country in the last 20 years. It’s easy to make Hillary the convenient target because the media has beaten up on her continuously since she joined the spotlight and also because she actually has a record to criticize, a point that Lance touched on as well.

But something seems very primal here. There’s an element of ritual about hanging everything bad on this one woman. The Scapegoat Mechanism really is a thing, according to philosophers such as Rene Girard, who describes it like this:

In Girard’s view, it is humankind, not God, who has need for various forms of atoning violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants (mimetic desire). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic contagion increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the scapegoat mechanism[9] is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual, and the cycle begins again. The keyword here is “content”. Scapegoating serves as a psychological relief for a group of people.

I can think of a lot of things that are desired here. For example, I think a lot of men can not wrap their heads around the idea that we might have a female president when they can think of a lot of “more deserving” men who could do the job. Do “desire” and “deserving” have a common cognate?

The idea that we can’t even contemplate one single woman before we have exhausted all of the other male possibilities who might be a smidgeon better is both funny and horrifying. After all, we have had over 40 presidents so far and all of them have been men. That means that half of them have been below average. (Average, not mean) Isn’t there any curiosity about where a woman would fit on the gaussian distribution graph?

I’m beginning to think that nothing short of a Nobel Prize would be enough to make Hillary comparable to a man who is running. Therefore, there must be something seriously wrong with her. She wants something that others want more and can’t get. She did her homework, got the experience, made all the right friends. Why is she so damned persistent? And how much bad stuff can we hang on her before we send her away again? Again! We thought we got rid of her in 2008 but she’s back. Well, we can’t have that…

(One final note: In this respect, Katiebird and I disagree. I don’t blame Hillary for getting a private email server. I remember in the early days of the Patriot Act when a system administrator working for the Republicans in the Senate broke into the Democrats’ server and made copies of strategic and other documents for his owners. He wasn’t punished or anything and if I recall correctly, the Democrats were blamed for not tightening up security of their server. It’s sort of the same argument that rapists make about their victims. If she hadn’t been wearing a short skirt, none of this would have happened. Nevermind that Nixon had to resign over doing something similar but lower tech before the days of personal computers and the internet.

So, if you are a Secretary of State and you just went through a grueling primary campaign and have 20 years of media and Republican nut cases trying to track down every “LOL!” you’ve ever texted to contort and parade before a gullible public, wouldn’t you want to make sure that nothing you wrote would be hacked into?

If the Republicans can have their own servers that are off limits to the public but through which they conduct public business (and then just conveniently erase when the heat is on), it’s unreasonable for someone who has had a history of bad relations with the other party, her own party and the media to be required more than any other person in government to leave everything open. Better to lock it all down as securely as possible. The State Department servers might not have been (and turns out the unclassified email servers weren’t) secure enough.

It’s up to the accusers to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that something nefarious was going on with her personal email server, which didn’t contain any classified emails at the time she sent them, and that some hard and fast rule was violated that Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama haven’t also violated. When you can absolutely prove that, then you can make your case and seek indictments. Otherwise, it seems like a lot of cherry picking. Of only Hillary. The Scapegoat.

I guess you could say that it was dumb for her to do it because, as the designated Scapegoat, she should have known she was going to have to bear the blame of everyone else who did it. (“We didn’t say you were at fault, we said we were going to blame you”) It was ok when everyone else did it but it’s IMMORAL and ILLEGAL when Hillary does it. So, yes, that was probably dumb. But then, it would have been dumb to use a less secure system as well knowing that as the designated Scapegoat, everyone and their brother would use the flimsiest of excuses to go through each and every email on the State Department servers. On balance, is it better to ask for forgiveness or permission? Given that this was a no win situation, the more secure server may have been the most responsible, better choice.)

 

 

 

26 Responses

  1. Great read on Bernie’s rhetorical style. How his empty arguments take hold. http://www.dailynewsbin.com/opinion/empty-rhetoric-and-the-bernie-sanders-revolution/24442/

    • Not going there, Sandra.
      Let’s let everyone vote for who they want. If we keep it clean and invite everyone in as fully enfranchised party voters, then there won’t be any reason to not accept the results whatever they happen to be.
      We need Bernie and his people.
      Even if some of them are clueless pain in the ass.

      • If it’s any consolation, 90% of the Bernie voters I know will vote HRC in the fall. Some are surprised to learn of his gun record, others of his NY Daily News interview. I think the other 10% will see the light once the GOP candidate is selected.

        • All the Bernie people I met while canvassing were really great to talk to. They’re looking for a way to make positive change and yank the country back away from the cliff. And who can argue with that?? I’m totally onboard with whatever they decide as long as they don’t help Trump get elected either directly or indirectly.

  2. Yes, Hillary is the modern political scapegoat. Tragically and awfully, the human race has seemed to need scapegoats throughout its history. The Jewish people have been scapegoated for every event, including invented ones, for the last two thousand years. Humans search for someone to blame for every thing that they do not like, or which frustrates them.

    This country fortunately has not done too much of that. kind of scapegoating. But both the Right and Left have found the need for political scapegoats. Strangely, Hillary fits both of their needs. The Right has a mythology of some halcyon time in America; maybe the 1870’s or the 1950’s, whee everyone was patriotic, accepted their lot in life, were cheerful good neightbors. The Left has one mythoogy which revolves around JFK and Camelot, destroyed by the assassination, and leaving a Democratic Party which does not live up to what they want to believe were the thoroughly lofty ideals of the Kenendys. Their other mythology is that of noble revolution, the days when they could root for the Maoists against the imperial Chinese; Castro against Bautista, Sahndanistas against Contras. America seen as the imperalists; the other side glorious freedom fighters. And on the domestic front, they have long believed that various Democrats have sold out New Deal principles. For fifty years they have looked for purity; championing the likes of John Anderson, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Howard Dean, and now Bernie Sanders.

    They did not like Bill Clinton, and they apparently like Hillary even less. Nothing she does or says is good enough for them. They want a holy war against corporations and the industrial complex. They have no real idea how this would happen, or what would be the result of it, but they want the rhetoric, and they want the exhilaration of being able to charge into the breach. They have spent 25 years blaming the Clinton administration for every failure to turn this country into something that it never was, a paradise for workers and consumers, something like they imagine small and homogenous Scandinavia to be. The thing which bothers me the most, besides the incredible unfairness to the very gifted and competent Hillary Clinton, is that it is impossible for her, or for anyone, to compete with a fuzzy and wishful political ideal. By the metrics of the activist Left, everyone falls short. They thought they got one of their own elected in Obama, but of course they were very disappointed in him. But then, rather than admit their own lack of perception, their cognitive dissonance allows them to blame that on Hillary, or to just assume that their next favorite is the true messiah, and that Hillary is once again in the way of his ascension. It is impossible to argue with religious zealots of any denominaton.

    And to throw in one more comment, I have no interest in Facebook, or any of the social media sites; which may be my loss, or not. I am glad that President Obama is such a cool guy that he is comfortable with Facebook, and wants to be buddies with the press corps, joking about Hillary’s difficulties in mastering such a cool thing. Obama has gone through eight years of not accomplishing much of anything, and of costing the Democrats about 70 congressional seats, by not stressing the need to vote in midterms, or the need to elect Democrats; but he has been very pleasant and congenial about all of it. He has stuck Hillary with a crucial “swing vote” Supreme Court nominee who is by all accounts a very decent and bright man, but much more centrist than anyone the other side ever picks. No one blames him for that, though; and it is a good laugh that these cool guys and gals are good at Facebook, while “Aunt Hillary” is not.

    • Great comment. Would you mind if I move it to the front page later?

    • Their other mythology is that of noble revolution, the days when they could root for the Maoists against the imperial Chinese; Castro against Bautista, Sahndanistas against Contras. America seen as the imperalists; the other side glorious freedom fighters.

      The myth is half-correct. Sadly, the U. S. Govt. has been bought by the Malefactors of Great Wealth and converted into the global enforcer for the piratical activities of the MOGW in what used to be called “The Third World”.

      Capital is Sauron; Uncle Sam is merely the Lord of the Nazgul.

      Where the myth fails is that it believes the alleged “freedom fighters” are good guys.

      Nope. There are no good guys.

      The Cold War, and all those “wars of national liberation” which composed part of the Cold War, were merely struggles between the Global Capitalist flavor of evil and other flavors of evil, as are the Middle Eastern wars.

      Since the MOGW won’t allow anyone who shares my views on foreign policy to become President, I might as well vote for Hillary, whom I like on other issues. I also simply like her as a human being.

  3. I won’t touch Facebook, or any other social media, unless you count the blogs and the anime forum on which I post.

    I don’t trust them not to be collecting data for the Gestapo…

    Whoops, did I say Gestapo? I meant our noble defenders, the intelligence agencies, of course… 😉

    or its lords and masters, the Malefactors of Great Wealth.

    Plus, I cheerfully confess to being an ornery and rather solitary SOB (a confession which should surprise none of the regulars here😆 ), and I don’t WANT to be accessible to every numbskull on the planet 24/7. 😛

  4. Obama also, when referring to who would be standing at that podium next year, said “she”. I have not seen or heard the media comment or mention that at all! Just the Facebook or Wall Street speech joke. He also commented on Bernie not attacking his “padre” which I took to mean not just him, but Hillary also. I think you are so right about Hillary being the scapegoat. Ugh!!

    • That first line was my highlight of the evening.
      Yes, Hillary hate is the modern version of “burn the witch,” but I keep telling myself that if she can take, I damn well can take it, too.
      There may not be another woman who could face the shit storm waiting for her; well, maybe, that Nobel Prize winner in Burma could (it’s Sunday and I’m too lazy to look up her name.)

    • Lol! She’s going to LOVE giving a speech at the WHCD. I’d just send my regrets with some excuse like, “I regret I will be unable to attend. I am growing out my new haircut.” Or something like that.
      Instead, she’ll probably go, probably be a little funny And a lot more gracious than they expect.
      I imagine it will go something like this:

      That’s right, Bernie Bros. Hillary has The Ring.

  5. Well, we have to disagree once in awhile, rd.🙂

    Most Trump supporters may not be racists, but they are also not people who were ever likely to vote for Hillary, so I can’t say I’m very worried about losing them. Trump after all, has refused to disavow his support from Nazis and Klansmen, so I don’t see much comparison to Hillary in 2008. I too have been called a racist because I don’t like Obama, but that doesn’t make me a blood brother with Republican primary voters.

    As for this:

    >We need Bernie and his people.Even if some of them are clueless pain in the ass.

    We may need Bernie, but increasingly I think we’ll have to manage without him. His talk of a contested convention (not gonna happen btw) indicates to me that his goal now is to blow up the Democratic Party, not to defeat the GOP in the fall. And Hillary should be planning on that basis.

    • I think you misunderstand me. I don’t think we need the Trump voters. They’re mostly middle aged white guys anyway, prematurely aged and non-evolving end of the species types.
      That’s not my argument.
      I’m saying that Trump’s goal is to defang Hillary’s gender argument. And he’s going to be successful doing that because more than just white guys have been shushed whenever they criticize anything Obama does. Accusations of sexism will start to look and awful lot like accusations of racism.

    • BTW, I have no idea how your comment ended up in the moderation queue. Sometimes wordpress has a mind of its own.

  6. Uh… in the news today: ““Let’s be clear,” Sanders said. “It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 — the end of the primary season — with pledged delegates alone. She will need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, it will be a contested convention.”

    The article is titled, “Bernie Sanders begins making case to Hillary Clinton’s super delegates.” https://www.yahoo.com/news/bernie-sanders-campaign-launch-anniversary-200031589.html

    • I spent six hours at my county caucus in WA State. There were 400 of us there to elect 13 delegates to the Washington State Convention.

      It took our county officials four hours to count the 210 (or so) local delegates and alternates that had to be seated so they could vote for the 13 state convention delegates. While my county officials were counting assigned delegates, and alternates, we had to listen to 3 1/2 hours of “open mic” for Bernie. It was excruciating.

      There was a particularly conspiracy theory believing man yelling about how such and such volunteer was trying to SUBVERT the process because she didn’t know the “white paper” had to go to the delegate counter instead of the delegate himself. And so she was trying to make his vote NOT count…even though he was an alternate and not a pledged delegate.

      There were people yelling about how only Bernie cares about climate change, and free college, and he likes guns, and there free college. And some asshat talking about how dare Hillary defend a rapist IN 1975! And how she bullied Bill’s side pieces. And those were just the interesting ones, plenty of people up there talking about how only Bernie could lead the party/country, and why did we insist that Democrats run the primary. And about those super delegates….how dare they exist!

      So when we finally split into our 32 Clinton person caucus, it was so nice to be with like minded people! We were courteous to one another, nominated our two Hilary delegates, voted them in, said good bye and as we were leaving, some young woman came over from across the gym to ask us to be quiet as Bernie people were trying to give their speeches. I simply looked at her, and said “we’re leaving”. And left!

      I can not wait until this primary is done. I’m over caucuses forever, and it was an awful day.

      • tamens, allow me to offer you an award. I can’t think of what to call it, but you deserve it. And on May Day, too… In thinking about 2008, and this year, I’m sure this will all happen again–and maybe even worse–in 8 years. I hope the Dem Party is thinking about that, too, and will consider making some big changes to the process.

    • Virtually every Democratic convention would be a “contested convention” by Sanders’ definition, because with about 700 superdelegates, and all that proportional divvying up of pledged delegates, it is virtually impossible for anyone but an incumbent president without opposition to get enough pledged delegates alone to win on the first ballot. Sanders is not going to convince any of the SDs to change their position. However, if he goes on like this until August, he can cause problems, by depleting more of Hillary’s resources, and time she must spend in battling Trump, who will have a head start otherwise. It’s all about what damage Sanders chooses to do. The media loves it, because it keeps people watching; and they love to see Hillary have to deal with roadblocks. If they could arrange a debate with Hillary vs. Trump and Sanders, they would do it. I’m hoping that Hillary can win Indiana by a few points, and that would further deflate the Sanders narrative. “Begins making case,” a typical ridiculous media headline. She has 3.5 million more votes; she has won virtually every big state; she has 310 or so more pledged delegates. The average losing petitioner on “The People’s Court” has a better case than he does.

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