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Overactive Guilt Gland, Underactive Drive Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "fool's guinea" journal:

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2016 May 10th
11:26 pm
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The cat may be made of iron, or really good at ducking an oncoming car. Panicky enough to run out in front of a car, though. This has been a weird day.

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2016 March 16th
12:44 am
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I voted. I think I voted for Bernie Sanders, but my stupid brain says I am not entirely certain I filled in the correct little ellipse. I remember sort of looking at the paper for a long time before feeding it in the scanner, but I don’t remember if my eyes were focused.

It’s probably OK.

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2016 March 12th
02:17 pm
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Why Bernie, with three days to go in my home state
I thought I might write more pro-Bernie pieces the last week or two, and I haven't. At this point, I don't expect to change many minds before Tuesday.

I think Bernie Sanders is what Democrats pretend to be when they want voters to turn out. Not in every election, even, just the ones they've decided they want to win for once, which is much less than half of them.

I get a strong sense that the Democratic Party isn't really a conservationist party; it just got stuck with the environmentalists when the GOP kept putting fossil fuel industry flacks (as in the Bush family) in charge.

A few Democrats even seem to be against the New Deal/Great Society sort of governing style, and want to remind us that they are "free-market capitalists." As someone who spent his teen years deep in a right-wing Reaganite mindset, I think that sounds like futile me-too-ism. Americans want a choice, not an echo. Those who want radical marketism already have the Republicans and Libertarians singing the siren song; surely Democrats would do better electorally to run as social democrats.

When they run on anti-war sentiment, a living wage, or universal healthcare, and then don't deliver to the voters who got them into office, they lose credibility. It doesn't do any good to pretend to be of the people and then do almost nothing for those who lost their careers and their homes after the 2008 crash. The Democrats have lost credibility and with it their base.

Bernie as president can't really solve America's problems on his own. I think he should be actively recruiting candidates to run on his kind of employment and entitlement policies. But at least he's mostly advocating for what Democrats supposedly are supposed to advocate for.

It seems like Democrats lost a lot of their base with NAFTA. Nominating Hillary Clinton may get a Democrat in the White House. But if it keeps a big chunk working-class voters alienated from the Democratic Party, the victory will be minor and partial.

Now, I know people who object to some of Bernie's votes on guns, or his strong opposition to nuclear power. Lately I've even seen a little frothing at the mouth from...libertarians, I guess...because he wants GMO foods to be labeled.

I'm not going to attack Bernie for his moderation on guns, when that's reflective of public opinion. He made that deal with Vermont's farmers long ago, that he wouldn't take a hard anti-gun line. He's still somewhat in a pro-gun-control position, even compared to some Democrats in Vermont.

People who object to GMO labeling are creepy, whether they realize it or not.

But you know what? As a Green, I can respect the position that a President who refuses to renew nuclear power plant licenses is unacceptable in the present climate. If that's someone's reason for voting against him, I respect that.

But I counter that he is anti-fracking, and Hillary is so pro-fracking that she advocated for it internationally. (This is the first link I saw on Google: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron ) I think this in particular probably helps explain his majorities in the Kansas and Oklahoma primaries. He's the only major anti-fracking candidate, apparently.

I hope he will be more moderate on nuclear power, which is at least largely containable pollution. If he's not, well, after Fukushima, I understand. But I want a President who is anti-fracking. I do.

And I want a President who wants a living wage. And a President who proposes an FTT. We can compromise on some things. I just want him to be on the side that wants a better life, less pollution, and less destruction.

I would like you to consider voting for Bernie Sanders.

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2016 March 7th
02:17 pm
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Taibbi on Sanders and on campaign reporting
The Case for Bernie Sanders
His critics say he’s not realistic – but they have it backwards

Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone
Anyone who's survived without felony conviction a few terms as a senator, governor or congressperson, has an expensive enough haircut, and has never once said anything interesting will likely be judged a potentially "serious" candidate.

If you're wondering why no Mozarts or Einsteins ever end up running for president in America, but an endless succession of blockheads like Rick Perry are sold to us on the cover of Time magazine as contenders, it's because of this absurd prerequisite.

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When you stop believing in the electoral process, then the only questions left to interest a professional observer are who wins, and how many laughs there will be along the way. We've gotten good at thinking about these things. Cassidy's bit about Sanders harmlessly occupying the left flank and blocking more "plausible" candidates from threatening Hillary is exactly the kind of sounds-smart observation we've been trained to believe passes for political journalism today.

Conversely, we've been trained not to care about which old ladies are freezing to death this week because some utility somewhere is turning the heat off, or who's having their furniture put on the street by a sheriff executing a foreclosure order, or who's losing a leg to diabetes because they didn't have the money for a simple checkup two years ago, etc.

None of those characters make it into campaign reporting. As good as we are at the horse-race idiocy, we suck that much at writing about these other things.

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Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time.

I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don't believe there's anything else he really thinks about. There's no other endgame for him. He's not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha's Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn't a game to him; it's not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others.

And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair.

Not all of us can say that. But that doesn't make us right, and him "unrealistic." More than any other politician in recent memory, Bernie Sanders is focused on reality. It's the rest of us who are lost.

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2016 February 29th
06:32 pm
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Jimmy, Barack, Hillary, Bernie, & foreign policy
Jimmy Carter was the first US President I remember. I still like & respect Jimmy Carter, even though in hindsight he didn't really continue the successful economic policies of previous Democrats, and he didn't stop the imperialist activities of the USA in Latin America.

I can like someone while recognizing that they have glaring flaws among their good points. I bring this up because it's relevant to how we look at Barack Obama. Obama is likeable, and he's cool, and his presidency is important to a lot of people--and his foreign policy team is crap. Total crap.

War in Libya with the opposition of Congress--are we playing at being Dick Nixon & Henry Kissinger now?
Trying to depose Assad via the ragtag Free Syrian Army, and probably contributing to the Syrian refugee crisis--instead of offering food aid when Syria was in a five-year drought and a killer famine, possibly thawing relations with Assad, and averting the refugee crisis.
And both of the above empowered "Islamic State." Lovely.
Assassinating Muslim preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. Then assassinating his teenage son. Obama flak-catcher then saying, "Should've had a better dad!" Class act. e_e
The "double tap" drone policy which attacks first responders after an assassination strike, not to mention that our foreign policy relies on assassination strikes at all.
America apparently completely blowing the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009? I don't know as much about this one.

All of this happened when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. I'm not giving John Kerry a free pass. I'm just saying, if she wants to run on this record, I'm not seeing enough positives to outweigh negatives. It's not really a great record on the merits.

Then she stood in front of a bunch of Democratic primary voters and invoked Henry Kissinger as someone who approved of her state department. Um, OK, you can take a compliment from a predecessor, but trumpeting that is odd. Do you even know where you are, lady? Republicans might accept that endorsement; I grew up Republican, and I think we sort of knew Kissinger was a supervillain, but he was our supervillain. In front of a bunch of liberal US Democrats? Uhhh, no.

Bernie isn't perfect. Drone attacks will probably continue under him in some form. But I think I'd rather take a chance on his foreign policy than on hers. Of course, that's easy to say, given that I tend to agree with him on other issues.

Tulsi Gabbard's endorsement of Bernie yesterday makes me think I'm onto something. Hillary Clinton was a bad Secretary of State who backed foolish policies that caused problems for other countries, including our European allies. And to no advantage to our country.

She has not earned the respect her resumé would imply. And at least Bernie isn't looking to Kissinger as a mentor and role model.

Just one of the reasons I am asking you to vote for Bernie Sanders in your state's Democratic primary.

Current Location: under creeping dusk
Current Mood: worried, intellectual
Current Music: "On the Turning Away," Pink Floyd
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2016 February 28th
11:18 am
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I let my feet get messed up. They have painful cracks in the soles. I'm not sure what's going on, but this is a new level of bad. So it's hard to walk very, very much, although I do still walk when I have to run errands.

And I've been blowing off the Bernie campaign when they text me, because I'm now used to sitting around and not going places. But I think I need to do something.

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2015 July 6th
03:45 pm
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Oh, yeah, I got the power fixed a week ago. A circuit breaker had corroded, and wasn't getting power to the whole house.

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2015 June 27th
12:57 pm
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Something's wrong with the wiring in my house, and I don't really know what happened.

I have working lights in a couple of rooms, and the power company say things are normal on their end, but--despite checking all the fuses--power to the upstairs lights and most of the outlets is off.

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2015 March 20th
05:05 pm
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it has Sprung
As someone born in late June (what is traditionally called "Midsummer" in perhaps now archaic English), I've always rolled my eyes at the tendency to claim that the equinoctes and solstices are the "beginnings" of the four seasons.

I was walking yesterday and saw a few trees not only budding but in bloom. Spring has sprung.

But today, outside just briefly, I could smell it for the first time. (Maybe because it was colder here yesterday.) I thought I could smell blooming clover, but I didn't see any. It may have been some other ground cover, something with blue flowers, but I didn't bend down to investigate. (I may later.)

So, yeah, "First Day of Spring" and it smells like it.

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2014 November 30th
06:05 pm
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Thanks to my relatives for putting up with my antisocial behavior this Thanksgiving. I was falling into obsessing on video games more than usual, I think.

And yes, I did try to run around with the little bit, but I really do have a swollen blood blister on my foot that made that hard. I hope I can dig out that knot in the next few days.

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