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      (MANDOS POST MANDOS POST MANDOS POST MANDOS POST) In a weird twist of fate, American liberals and (some) leftists are finding themselves in the non-traditional position of standing in the “hawk” corner, while (some) American conservatives under Trump are in the position of wanting to cut deals with so-called traditional enemies of the USA.  Whether […] […]
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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.)

 

 

 

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Beltane

Today is the first day of summer according to the Celtic calendar. I’m not sure you could call this a religious holiday in the Christian sense of the word. It’s more like reconnecting our modern life with the natural order of the world, acknowledging the change in the seasons and the life of the earth to ourselves.

The Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland attempts to recreate the celebrations of fertility and nature that out ancestors participated in for millennia, even after the introduction of Christianity. It’s bright and colorful yet slightly dark and mysterious. Such is nature in all its forms.

This video is from a previous fire festival and follows the procession of the May Queen to meet her consort, the Green Man. Together, they light the purifying bonfire and revel in the wonders and delights of the season.

 

Be back later, talk amongst yourselves.