Sunday, May 22, 2016


Hillary Clinton, 1992
Excellent and eloquent piece by Savannah L Barker that expresses what I think and feel about Hillary Clinton. I emphasize once again that I'm not in love with Clinton, but I see her as the best choice in this election. I've learned it's best not to fall in love with politicians, unless you plan to marry them. All are human and imperfect, and, if you're in love, they will break your heart. Read it all, but only if you want to.
The question as to why many Millennials —and millennial feminists in particular— seem to have turned their backs on Hillary Clinton has been explored at length this primary season. The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Los Angeles Times have all come to varying conclusions: Hillary is “not feminist enough,” Hillary is “part of the establishment,” and Bernie’s youthful idealism is more appealing than Hillary’s less sexy pragmatism.

All of these factors undoubtedly play a large role in the overall negative perception some Millennials have of Hillary Clinton, but the more obvious answer is simply this: we Millennials are coming to know Hillary Clinton after 20 years of relentless personal and political attacks.

Whatever you may think of her, you cannot deny that no other public figure has been subjected to the kind of merciless scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has endured throughout her career. It has become nearly impossible to distinguish fact from fiction with respect to the many accusations that have been leveled at Hillary Clinton. To put it blatantly, we Millennials aren’t familiar with the Hillary Clinton that our parents know.
Keep in mind that Sanders has, thus far, been only mildly attacked.  The ugly vetting process by the GOP would begin only if he is the nominee, because they'd much prefer to run against Sanders, than Clinton.  There's much to be explored in Sanders' background, and that's not counting the lies that will come from the Republicans.

The money quote:
At the end of the day, no matter how aggressively her opponents have tried to destroy her, Hillary Clinton is still standing and that means something.
Clinton is still standing.  Her strength, stamina, and composure in the face of 25 years of attacks are amazing.  If Clinton seems guarded and lacking in spontaneity, she has reason, and her demeanor has little to do with what she will accomplish if she is elected.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Josh Marshall in an editorial at Talking Points Memo:
For months I'd thought and written that Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver was the key driver of toxicity in the the Democratic primary race. Weaver has been highly visible on television, far more than campaign managers tend to be. He's also been the one constantly upping the tension, pressing the acrimony and unrealism of the campaign as Sanders actual chances of winning dwindled.

But now I realize I had that wrong.

Actually, I didn't realize it. People who know told me.

Over the last several weeks I've had a series of conversations with multiple highly knowledgable, highly placed people. Perhaps it's coming from Weaver too. The two guys have been together for decades. But the 'burn it down' attitude, the upping the ante, everything we saw in that statement released today by the campaign seems to be coming from Sanders himself. Right from the top.
Josh Marshall is spot on.  Even as my concern about the Sanders revolution had risen over several months, last night I lost all respect for the senator when I watched his lame commentary about the disruption of the Nevada Democratic convention by his delegates and his absolute refusal to take responsibility.  The disrupters were not people off the street; they were Sanders' delegates to the convention, and he is indeed responsible for their actions.

Later, I  watched parts of Sanders' speech at the rally in California.  He continues to lie to his supporters and tell them he has a path to win the nomination of the Democratic Party.  Not for one minute do I believe Sanders can control his Sandernistas, now that he's whipped up their emotions about the coming Sanders revolution, nor do I think he wishes to.  I won't hold my tongue any longer for fear of alienating the extremist obstructionists among his supporters, because I expect none of them will vote for Clinton; they will either stay home or vote for Trump.

Though he doesn't mention her by name, rather than scale back his criticism of Hillary Clinton, who will be the nominee, in order to unite the party, Sanders upped the nastiness in his speech, pitting himself against her though he has no chance to win.  If Sanders ever campaigns for Clinton, I'll be surprised.  Perhaps he will eventually pay lip service to endorsing Clinton, but by then it may be too little, too late.

Sanders took advantage of the Democratic Party to run for president, and now he is determined to have his way or destroy the party.  It's obvious that however he labels himself, he is no Democrat.  At first, I thought he served the party well by highlighting issues that need attention.  Now I see him as a sore loser and a spoiler.  Whatever you think of the Democratic Party, and it is far from perfect, it is the only institution that stands in the way of a Trump presidency.

Sen. Sanders and Sandernistas, good luck with the revolution.  Sadly, it will be Trump's revolution, not your revolution.  Enjoy.  The rest of us will pay the price for your recklessness.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Several months ago, a friend named Paul paid us a quick and most enjoyable overnight visit. Before he left, Paul gave me a copy of Okay, So Look by Micah Edwards. The book is a humorous retelling of the the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Hebrew Testament. Edwards describes himself:
I'm a lifelong agnostic Jew, an aberrant Discordian, and a student of human nature. I've got an abiding interest in religion and the way it has shaped our world.
Is the book irreverent? Indeed, it is. Is it funny? Hilarious. I smiled and sometimes laughed out loud as I read each short chapter in the book, which I highly recommend.

Edwards again:
I hope you've enjoyed reading this book, and I hope that it's helped you view Genesis in a more playful light. The Bible is full of fantastic stories, and it's a shame so many people miss out on them because they've heard  the book is just a collection of boring lessons sandwiched between tedious lists of begats. Nothing could be further from the truth! It's a collection of entertaining, bizarre and colorful stories sandwiched between the tedious lists of begats.
Edwards is also a stand-up comedian.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


(To the tune of How Great Thou Art)

O Donald Trump, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds my hands have made;
I see the tower, I hear the jangling quarters,
My power throughout this earth of ours displayed.


Then sings my soul, O Donald Trump, to me,
How great I am, how great I am.
Then sings my soul, O Donald Trump, to me,
How great I am, how great I am!

And when I think of me my time not sparing;
I choose to run, I scarce can take it in;
That on the stump, my burden gladly bearing,
I lie and shout my way to score a win.


When I shall come with shouts of acclamation
As nominee, what joy shall fill my heart!
The right will bow with humble resignation,
And there proclaim, "O Trump, how great Thou art!"


Alternative lyrics for the hymn by me, with apologies to Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940).

Original post from December 2015.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of my sister Gayle. I still miss her. Frank, Donna, Gretchen, and Eric, I know you miss her, too. Though we didn't live near each other, we talked on the phone or emailed nearly every day and visited back and forth from time to time. I think she would have liked Facebook, warts and all.

The photo shows Gayle in York on a day trip from London when we traveled together to England. We took the train and saw York Minster and other sights in the city.

Below is a poem I wrote some years ago when my grief was fresher. As time passes, the hurt is less, but I've never stopped missing her.
Why Couldn't You Stay?

You walked away; you left us
Bereft, bereaved.
How could you go?
It wasn't your doing,
I know, I know.
Yet, how could you go?

Two years passed and gone,
Slipped away.
After you left, I'd think
I'll call her; I'll email.
Oh no! None of that!
You won't answer.

Now I know you're gone.
No thoughts of visits to come,
Seeing your face, hearing your voice,
The sound of your laughter.
Sadness lingers, emptiness remains.
Why couldn't you stay?

June Butler - 04-27-08

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Several nights ago, I watched the film Spotlight, which was riveting and all around excellent.  The movie earned its well-deserved Academy awards in Best Picture and Best Screen Play categories.  Though I followed the story of child abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston in the newspaper from the beginning, the story as told from the point of view of the newspaper reporters and editors kept me in full suspense mode throughout.  I'd be hard put to single out particular actors for fine performances, because the principals were all outstanding.

The child abuse scandals in Louisiana broke earlier than the Boston scandal, but there was only spotty coverage by the national media.  South Louisiana is heavily Roman Catholic, and I now realize how courageous the reporters and editors in the local newspapers, the Daily Comet and the Houma Courier, were in publishing their stories.  No doubt, they took a great deal of heat from diocesan leaders and lawyers at the time.

The Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is small, and I knew some of the people involved.  When I learned of the child abuse, the hush money paid to victims, and the attempts to cover up by supposedly moral and psychologically sound leaders, I left the church at age 60.  Though my alliance with the church had been uneasy for quite a while, my decision to completely break the ties was difficult.

Night before last, I watched Spotlight again before I sent the DVD back to Netflix. I wanted to enjoy the fine artistry on display in the film without being overwhelmed by suspense.  Upon seeing the movie the second time, I remembered the light-bulb moment when, after hearing the stories about more than one priest in more than one diocese in Louisiana, I concluded that the abusive priests didn't simply slip through the cracks, but that the actual policy of the church was to shift abusive priests from parish to parish, perhaps after a leave of absence, where the abusive behavior continued in their new placements.


Atrios makes a good point at Eschaton.
If Bernie had dropped out a month ago (or, frankly, if he dropped out yesterday), there would be no horse race to cover, and no "both sides" (on the Democratic side) necessitating some balance between critical pieces of Clinton and critical pieces of Sanders. So any press coverage of Clinton would be one sided and critical, elevating nonsensical stuff into front page news.
My comment to the post:
Probably no reason to leave the 819th comment, but you make a point, Atrios.  If Sanders left the race, the media and Republicans would continue to minutely pick apart Clinton's every statement and bash her at every opportunity.  With Sanders in the race, the media will focus on the horse race and give the two candidates equal scrutiny and picking apart.  Republicans leave Sanders alone now, because they see the handwriting on the wall and also because they'd prefer their candidate to run against Sanders.  If Sanders should surprise us all and become the candidate, of course, the GOP will be merciless.
When I posted the link on Facebook, one of my friends who is a Sanders supported noted that the GOP will be merciless to either candidate.  The difference is that Sanders has not yet been scrutinized for 25 years, as Clinton has. Does anyone see the GOP bashing Sanders now? I don't. Why is that? I'd hope he and his family and his campaign are prepared if he is the nominee, because the attacks won't be pretty.  Also, a candidate who has less to lose feels freer to make negative comments about his Democratic opponent, comments that will attract the attention of the media and keep him in the spotlight.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Jane Sanders told CNN that she thought the candidate's hour-long interview with the tabloid's editorial board was "odd."

"We commented on that afterwards, that it was more of an inquisition, hurry, hurry, interrupt, let's ask the questions don't let you even finish your answers," Sanders said. "We didn't realize they had planned to release the transcript. So it became a little bit more evident what they were trying to do."
The media is mean, and they ask probing questions, even gotcha questions, alas.  Welcome to the world of presidential politics. I'd have thought Sen. and Ms Sanders understood that transcripts happen when public figures give interviews.

What the hell. I'll pile on.  Dr Paul Song, a speaker at the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square last night:
"While I agree with Secretary Clinton that Medicare for All will never happen if we have a president who never aspires for something greater than the status quo.
Not true.  Clinton aspires to build on the status quo.  See?  Not the same thing.  
Medicare for all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big Pharma..."
Yikes!  The tone deafness in the Sanders campaign is appalling. Of course, Song was not referring to Clinton. No, not at all.  More than half the voters in the New York primary are women.  To women: nothing to see here.

The rally attracted quite a large crowd, between 15,000 and 27, 000, depending upon law enforcement estimate or campaign estimate.  In any case the large number of supporters at the rally should have been the Sanders news story today, but attention is now focused on the offensive comment, on Sanders' repudiation of his out-of-control speaker, and on Song's lame, tweeted non-apology apology.
I am very sorry for using the term "whore" to refer to some in congress who are beholden to corporations and not us. It was insensitive.
— Paul Y. Song (@paulysong) April 14, 2016
Who is Dr Paul Song?
Thursday afternoon, Courage Campaign, a California-based progressive group that Song chairs, distanced itself from his remarks in a statement.

"Courage Campaign does not endorse political candidates. Dr. Paul Song, acting in his own capacity as a health care advocate, and separate from Courage Campaign, made comments at a rally in New York for Senator Bernie Sanders last night that are contrary to the values of Courage Campaign," the statement said. "These comments were unacceptable and that sort of rhetoric has no place in our political dialogue."
Do we know him?

Dr Song is also one half of a celebrity couple.  He's married to Lisa Ling, host of This Life with Lisa Ling on CNN.

Post inspired by Rmj at Adventus, but he is in no way responsible for the content.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Several weeks ago,  I decided I would not write anything negative about either of the Democratic candidates for president, but I'm on my last nerve with Bernie Sanders.  Sanders is not clean, and he's not pure. No candidate is.  He's beginning to sound like a Republican when he criticizes Clinton, and I've had enough. If Sanders ends up as the nominee, I will vote for him, but I've reached the point where it will be hold-my-nose-and-vote.

Sanders does not campaign for nor does he contribute to down ticket candidates, but he is trying to woo super delegates to support him. I guess he doesn't know that a number of super delegates are running for reelection to Congress or for governor of their respective states.  Sanders is about Sanders and how he will save the country because millions will rise up. If his millions don't rise up to elect Democratic candidates, then he will accomplish nothing if he is elected. He is not and never has been a team player. He became a Democrat to run for president, because it was to his advantage.

Michael A. Cohen says it well in the Boston Globe.
The candidate who pledged last May that his campaign would not be about Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, but “about the needs of the American people”; the candidate who boasted he’d never run a negative political attack in his life; the man who said he would be “driven by issues and serious debate . . . not reckless personal attacks of character assassination,” has begun to run a very different race.

Sanders is increasingly embracing the tactics he once decried. Rather than trying to unify the Democratic Party behind its almost certain nominee, Hillary Clinton, he is ramping up the attacks against her. While once Sanders refused even to mention Clinton’s name, now he doesn’t go a day without hitting her.
When Rachel Maddow asked Sanders in an interview about Trump's comments on punishing women who have abortions:
SANDERS: But because media is what media is today, any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Trump becomes the story of the week. Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America. Donald Trump will not look quite so interesting in that context.

MADDOW: Are you suggesting, though, that the media shouldn't be focusing on his call to potentially jail women who have abortions? Because that's another stupid --

SANDERS: I am saying that every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remark, of course it should be mentioned. But so should Trump's overall positions. How much talk do we hear about climate change, Rachel? And Trump? Any?
Now Sanders is whining that Clinton took his comments about whether abortion is a serious issue out of context. The senator didn't pay much attention to Louisiana during the primary, but I'd like him to know that ongoing efforts to limit access to abortion and health care provided by Planned Parenthood to both women and men is a deadly serious issue in my state.

Sanders is on the right side on many of the issues, but his Medicare for All plan as described on his campaign website is no such thing.

As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card. Bernie’s plan means no more copays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges. 
Our primary health care provider is Medicare with supplementary insurance from the State of Louisiana, as my husband is a retiree.  We pay both deductibles and and co-pays, so the information on Sanders' campaign website calling his single payer plan Medicare for All is deceptive.  I'm surprised neither the media nor the Clinton campaign has picked up on the mistake.

I could go on, but my post is long enough to explain why I'm losing patience with Sanders.  At the beginning of the campaign, I supported him and contributed to his campaign, but, more and more, I came to see a number of his promises as pie-in the-sky that will not happen if he is elected president, and I switched my support to Clinton several months ago.  Since then, nothing has changed my mind, and I'm even more convinced that I made the right decision.