Looking Backward

If a company has a failed product or campaign they do an “autopsy” to try and understand what happened in the hope of not repeating mistakes. I don’t know if the Democratic Party has done this intelligently regarding 2016. I try not to dwell on this, and we need to look forward, but I’ll tell you my take for what it’s worth. I say this as one citizen with one voice, and in a democracy one voice is important, and out of many we are one, and all that good stuff.

I think the Clinton campaign should have put Bernie Sanders on the ticket as VP / running mate and Sanders should have accepted. The progressive / left of which I am definitely a part, would have voted along with more mainstream middle-right voters, and the Dem ticket would have won in a landslide. Instead, they put Tim Kaine on the ticket. I actually had to look this up just now, because I couldn’t even remember the guy’s name. A potato would have been more exciting. They didn’t even ask Bernie, did they?

The progressive / left was utterly demoralized and disgusted by the way the Sanders campaign was torpedoed, and that led some people to stay home or vote 3rd party. There’s little room for that in a gerrymandered system with the Electoral College and “Citizens United” (Orwellian double-speak at its finest), and CNN pointing its damn camera at the “reality TV” clown’s podium for hours, talking about his stupid ass while WAITING for him to speak. Yes, and they did this while Bernie Sanders rallies were taking place simultaneously with overflow crowds everywhere he went, and he went basically everywhere. The Clinton campaign ignored states they thought they had in the bag, not realizing the populist mood and desperation of people who wanted to vote for anything that said “Wall Street bad, Main street good!” which Bernie Sanders said and meant, and the orange buffoon said and did not mean.

Autopsy: the Clinton campaign won the popular vote by nearly three million. Three million. Three million living breathing human citizens of this beautiful country, correctly voted against this disaster, and their votes did not elect the president because of the Electoral College, which was written to placate goddamn slaveowners a century and a half ago. I congratulate Clinton on her win, she would have been a decent president, possibly a great one, who knows? Would she have leaned into her more humanist tendencies, or her more hawkish ones? We will never know. We do know she is qualified for that office, and that the current infestation of the white house is most definitely not. She’s over-qualified for god’s sake, what were people missing? A two term senator, Secretary of State, oh, and she lived in the white house for 8 years and was deeply involved in policy at the highest level the whole time. I actually can understand why her campaign might have thought there was no way the raging orange walking lobotomy could possibly defeat her, because that was a rational conclusion to make!

What happened was irrational. Autopsy not easy to perform. There are so many pieces to it, and not one of us is privy to all of the relevant information. No one can see the whole picture. We can try, though, and by doing so we may learn some helpful things.

We know now that Russians were poking away at our social networks, riling people up to increase angers and divisions that were already there. We don’t know how much of an effect that had.

We also don’t know what sort of blackmail the ridiculous commander in chief is vulnerable to from his extensive ties to Russian mobsters, but we do see him passionately servicing Vladimir Putin with his mouth. Putin won. He’s loving this. He’s been working on this since the Cold War. Yet people in this country, American citizens, are still howling “Make America great!” even as our attempt at civil government of the people by the people for the people is put in its worst peril since the Civil War, by their traitorous babbling hero. I have no doubt the remaining “MAGA” crowd really does think they’re patriots. Though they have become the opposite.

Silver linings. What are they? This sure is one immense and horrible dark cloud. What flowers are growing from this biblical turd? Well, for one thing, women are running for office in record numbers. Also, early special elections in 2018 have shown a strong trend flipping Blue, even in some historically beet-Red districts. This is good.

And bless their sweet hearts, a group of high school kids from Florida, motivated by unimaginable grief, have stepped up with unity, courage, inclusiveness and eloquence, and they are great. They are America, and they are great.

Make America great “again” is a non-starter. That’s more Orwellian double-speak. What “MAGA” means is bring back white supremacy, do not go forward, oppress people of color, women and LGBT folks, build walls, be afraid, hate and close your mind and be limited, uninformed and miserable. Who really wants that? Thankfully the vast majority of us do not.

I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton after strongly supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary. For my part of the autopsy, I would like to be able to say I campaigned hard for Clinton, but I did not. On election day I walked to my polling place and had a Star Wars “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” moment. As I waited in line I thought, “damn, couldn’t I have put in an afternoon of cold-calling swing voters, or something?” Because I did almost nothing. Before, in the primary, I helped raise over $3,500 for the Sanders campaign, and a number of people told me my early posts about Bernie made them look closer and get onboard. Then it became this huge groundswell I had a small role in creating, and I was proud of that.

After the Bernie wing was amputated, discussions among some of my friends got ugly. I put it aside. I couldn’t grieve it much. I wrote it off to politics as usual and said, OK, now I’ll vote for Clinton. And to my dismay, I got some really harsh blowback from that! Yes, in fact someone even called me a “Good German” for going along with it. That’s funny of course because I am half German! But I was taken aback. An intellectual, a person I know to be educated and smart, and for all I knew, kind and thoughtful, saw fit to equate my public declaration that I was voting for the Dem candidate and not a 3rd party, and that I was not writing in Bernie, she figured this made me a “Good German.” Or at least, she was willing to say that at the time, to make her point. I wonder, looking back, whether our discussions were or were not, in subtle or not so subtle ways, affected by nefarious actors and bots? Regardless, I walked away. I gave it some minimal effort but after a few interactions like that I just said to hell with it, Clinton will win, business as usual, I’ll vote like I always do and hopefully get another Bernie type opportunity later, done. So. Autopsy. It was not business as usual at all, and by the time I got that “bad feeling” on election day there was no way to move the needle.

Move the needle. That’s what democracy involves, right? You show up, you can do something. You don’t show up, others will do something. I write my little autopsy not to beat myself or anyone else up, just to observe. Maybe someone who reads this maybe shared some of my experiences, and may gain some insight from it. Why do I write this? Maybe because I’ve thought about it a lot. I really was bewildered by much of what happened in the last few years. Starting with the GOP treatment of president Obama. I mean, why? He was a great centrist corporate-friendly middle-of-the-road nice extremely smart family man whom they opposed on every single issue because of one thing. One thing. I didn’t think they would do that. Not so extremely and blatantly. It was heartbreaking and horrible. Rather than show us we have gone beyond racism, Barack Obama’s presidency revealed that the GOP is racist to its core. Or at least, they are willing to play to the racist part of their base, which is functionally the same as being racist. And now, you know, a white supremacist in the white house who screws around on his wife and brags about assaulting women and is loved by white Evangelical Christians. Could you make this stuff up?

It all has to go. At least finally the GOP is clearly exposed for what they are. What they are willing to go along with. They’re insulting kids who are grieving their murdered friends for the love of God, how low can you even possibly go? We must remove them from office.

Why am I on about this? What energizes me this morning? How am I again shaken out of resignation and sadness, and again toward action and resolve, to try and help improve matters for humanity and our sweet and only earth? What could possibly be the thing that inspires me so? Ladies and gentlemen, this:

Ranty McRantface Walks In The Cemetery, Again

Today’s delightful morning read was How America Lost Its Mind. Posting without comment. I have nothing to add as yet. On to other subjects, and possible rant, as coffee sets in.

My solo recordings are now in Pandora, so you can make an Eric Din channel and wowza it’ll take you to all sortsa related musics magically selected from their vast music genome. I listened for a bit and one thing that popped up was Critical Mass, with my good friend Michael Valladares! Approval. You can hear my tracks on-demand if you have a premium account there, or just jump on the “radio” train and see where it takes you. Here’s a link.

Walked in the cemetery again, this time with a friend. We enjoyed reading headstones aloud, especially the older ones. One feature we noticed is when married couples share the same headstone, it’s almost always the husband’s name first. Often it’s in larger type than the “loving wife”‘s name. Patriarchy even in death. I wondered aloud what arguments and discussions did or didn’t take place, when the bereaved families were having those stones designed and carved.

I especially love the old, retired names. No one calls their child Abernathy or Cornelius anymore, but perhaps they should. Josephine and Winnifred top my list. Sebastian, already. I might have a kid, just so I can have a Sebastian.

Reality, what a thing. Facts. Truth. A square is a square, a circle is a circle. That, and that the earth is round, and that child slave-colonies do not exist secretly on Mars, these little facts have always been part of the steady foundation of reason and science that we wake up and go to sleep in. Gravity in its reliability is a law, not a theory, and it wont keep you on the ground less, if someone tweets that it is fake.

Everything is upside down. It can’t last, and thank god (or whatever you may like to thank) that facts are permanent and indelible whether they are known or not, and that lies remain lies no matter how often they are repeated by how ever many raving madmen.

Will the Constitution of the United States serve its function, now that the test case it was designed for is upon us? Will the men and women who populate the checks and balances remove the tumor? Either way, vulgarity and baseness have taken on a legitimacy for some, that I didn’t expect to see, really, in this lifetime. In fact it’s odd, that some “conservatives” have become so foul-mouthed and uncouth, when in my youth, I remember the older conservative types generally frowned upon using foul language and they’d tell their kids to “wash your mouth out with soap” if they said naughty words. I wish they’d be around to hear the Mooch guy, whatever his name was, shortest white house career ever. Now that was entertaining.

That’s when I realized this is not a government at all. Our federal government is set to “Away.” It’s a “reality TV” show driven by ratings and advertising revenue, with a cast of cynical and insane clowns who hate each other, wielding immense power while staggering in random and unpredictable ways like drunk children fighting over a flame-thrower.

A zombie apocalypse would be benign by comparison. Will the Union survive this? We’ve survived many challenges. This is a new one. All our awful presidents plus the good ones all had this thing in common: A desire to serve for the good of the nation, as they perceived it. I didn’t agree with many of them, but they clearly felt what they did was not exclusively in their own self-interest, but also for a greater good of some kind, for at least some cross-section of the public, if not for everyone. Anyway that’s gone, for now. What ever will happen next?

Popcorn sales are brisk.

Ranty McRantface In The Age Of Contradictory Advice

I love it when other people rant. It’s so entertaining! Myself, not so much. Usually after a rant I feel sheepish and a day or so later want to pull it down. This or that detail was imprecise and maybe this bit hurt someone’s feelings. I really don’t like the idea of bumming anyone out so the tendency might be to never ever talk.

This is contrary to current popular direction, is it not? Ranting is a career choice for many. I think ranting is the act of speaking without thinking. It’s not an intellectual pursuit. It’s “no filter” and other dumb things.

It’s best if executive officers do not rant. The former CEO of Uber ranted his way out. Unlike Rush Limbaugh, he was not rewarded for his ranting. Entertainers can rant and they do. It’s entertaining. Heads of state should not rant. The president should not rant. President Obama never ranted.

The buffoon-in-chief only rants. He’s in the entertainment business and furthers his “brand” and that’s it. What example is set for our kids? I mean this question seriously and I know it’s a discussion widely had among teachers, parents, any reasonable human being – how to frame this firehose of idiocy for our young impressionable beautiful kids.

President Obama set a fantastic example of behavior for men and boys. I’m not talking about his administration’s policies or anything like that now, I’m talking about him. He thinks before he speaks. He researches, he listens, he’s careful, respectful. He demonstrates as any reasonable man should, how we would like our young men and boys to grow up and behave. Now we have the opposite. The exact opposite. How to frame that? How to discuss it with young’uns? “You can grow up and be a scientist, an astronaut, or you can even one day be president of the United States!” Well damb, I’m not saying that this week. This gauche gold-curtained infestation of our nation’s highest office is among other calamities, a dreadful message to our kids. Here, boys and men, is exactly how you should never behave. It was naked and known, in the campaign, no secret. A minority of Americans, via the Electoral College, placed at the helm of state, a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Son, don’t be like that. Do not be like the president of the United States.

A friend once gave me some advice that I try every day to follow. Note I said “try” – for I am by no means a master at this. She basically said it’s best to act skillfully and not impulsively. Basic, simple thing, right? Man, it’s complicated for me. As an artist, I act impulsively, or I don’t create anything. The essence of writer’s block for me, was, simply being a self-editor before I let myself blurt. Fear of judgement, fear of not being good enough, fear of making something that sucks. So I didn’t make anything. I don’t have that problem now, writer’s block is gone from me and I don’t think it will return. I’ve become comfortable finally with the fact that sometimes I love the things I create, and sometimes I don’t. There’s songs I love one day and hate the next. It’s OK.

How must it be to never care? To be so void of self-reflection that you can rant all the time with no regard for truth or the feelings of others? I occasionally listen to AM talk radio when I need to suffer, and look, there’s guys on there, 24/7 for decades now, seething with rage and stupidity and narcissism, setting their example to humanity. It has an effect. They elected their guy. And the sickest part is they just do it for the money. It’s a game, it’s lucrative, Rush Limbaugh is very rich. Who knows what he actually believes? It doesn’t matter. His minions believe his garbage, and turn it into policy with their votes.

This quote from Bertrand Russell has vexed me from the day I read it years ago:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

I wrestle with that every day. As an artist, and as a man. Many of the best things I’ve ever done, the best songs I’ve written, the best solos I’ve played, even some of my rants, have been spontaneous outbursts and I look back on them with pride and no regret. In all caps: THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE!!!! Good lord, no. I’m awash in regrets over some of the things I’ve done and created and said, spontaneously. How to know when to shoot from the hip, and when to stop and reflect, listen, be silent, consider, be careful? I’m working on it. Thought I’d share in case anyone else who may read this, might also struggle in this way. You are not alone! I say a little prayer each morning, hoping to act skillfully, but not censor myself out of existence. And hoping that when I do act impulsively, it’s right and good, and something I can look back upon later and smile, rather than cringe.

Oh, and to my ranting friends, THANK YOU!! You often inspire me, and I love you.

Here’s some thoughtful and calming advice from Bill Hicks.

And here is the Great One:

Rantyface, out.

I Blog, Therefor I Rant

Good lord. I hear on NPR this morning that the Koch brothers, and some of the congresspersons they own, are dissatisfied with the health care elimination bill because they feel it is not “conservative enough.” First let’s dispense with “conservative” and never use that word again. They don’t like the bill because it’s insufficiently sadistic. Not enough people harmed and killed, not enough despair for their liking. The GOP requires maximum carnage and suffering among the working and middle classes, the young, the old, the poor, the ill, the struggling, and all women. They work to harm people, because it pleases them to harm people. How else to slice it? They don’t need any more money. Fiscal conservatism doesn’t come into it. They want to take away your health coverage because they don’t like you.

Poor and middle class white persons will be dumped like landfill alongside the poor of every race that the ass-hat in chief publicly insulted to win the Bigot vote. Now they too will see the real face of the GOP in power, and some will still screech “make America great! etc” even as they finally lose the health coverage they so desperately wanted to lose because it was signed into law by a black man.

I’m out here on the coast, in my “bubble,” knowing full well that progressive thought is dismissed or even reviled by so many of the very people who have benefited from it since labor unions and social welfare programs were invented. Socialism, the dirty word of post-cold-war hysteria, is the thing we drive our cars on. The pavement, the signs that point us to Los Angeles or Albuquerque or explain that it’s a one-way road, it is all socialism, my dears. So I suppose public roads too must be eliminated. Public schools, the DMV, everything, the Golden Gate Bridge. All of it has to be shut down or privatized because it is socialism, and socialism is Bad. I feel better now that I understand.

In sum, 2016 saw the single dumbest decision in the history of humankind. What is more, President Obama was a great president who was as reviled by the racists he so diligently tried to help, as he was under-appreciated by many of my fellow left-coasty wine-sipping progressives for whom nothing is good enough. The Brexit vote in the UK was similar. These elections depict a humanity that has gone insane. It’s a mass movement of masochism. It basically said, “things are not difficult enough for us, may we please also be flogged?” The GOP is happy to oblige.

The opinions expressed here are mine alone and I apologize for breathing. I’m glad that Mother Nature bats last. Once Upon A Time, The End

Horsefeathers, Fish, Beer, Nixon, and Marijuana

Things have become so ridiculous politically, it’s basically impossible to keep track of appalling developments. But I was happy to read an article this morning by a Republican former judge and rational conservative, Mark P. Painter. The headline is plain, It’s time to impeach Trump. His points are unassailable and he says “Horsefeathers.” No opportunity to say “Horsefeathers” should be missed but I digress.

There’s something comical about Russia sabotaging our election to their liking, in much the same way the USA has done to other countries around the world over the years. The GOP’s greatest 20th century hero, Ronald Reagan, “won” the cold war, so the GOP narrative goes, and now, 30-some years later, Russia’s favorite oaf slouches in Reagan’s chair.

As a lifelong leftie liberal democratic socialist environmentalist hippie ska-punkin’ tree-huggin’ critter-lovin’ peacenik and registered Democrat, I am fascinated by the collapse of the GOP. Grand old party. It’s not looking grand. It’s certainly old.

I had a grand old great-uncle who was a conservative. He took me fishing and gave me beer when I was like, 9 or something. Totes loved the dude. He voted Republican mostly and he was a WW2 vet and successful attorney. I remember him to be a reasonable man. A funny and clever man. He regretted voting for Nixon and applauded his impeachment. I can’t begin to imagine what he would think, now.

We argued once about legalizing pot. I smoked it at the time, when it was still illegal. “Why are your bourbon and cigar legal, and pot is not?” I pestered. I encouraged him to listen to reggae and bongload, also to no avail. It was almost a non-event in November of 2016, when marijuana became officially legal in California and elsewhere. The law is just catching up with long-established reality. But I wonder if my conservative lawyer great-uncle would try it now. I like to think of him giggling uncontrollably like a teenager before earnestly ordering pizza and listening to Led Zeppelin 1 over and over again.

My grand old great-uncle would be dismayed by current events, but it wouldn’t stop him fishing. It wouldn’t stop him arguing his case in or out of court. He would say “Horsefeathers.” He used to say things like that. And “bag of worms.” Yes, he said “bag of worms,” and on one occasion I distinctly remember him saying “Poppycock.”

Here is some music.

Here is a cat.


Please Fellow Bernie Sanders Supporters, Let’s Elect Hillary Clinton and Progressive Democrats Wherever Possible

Bill McKibben calls it a “War On Climate Change” now, in this age of “War On” every little thing. I guess that might get more attention to this single most important subject in the history of everything. From Democracy Now! this morning:

Here’s an excerpt of the part I find most important in RE: how we vote in November:

Bernie refused to concede. He didn’t back down. He didn’t do what everyone told him he should do. He kept in the race through the final meeting about the platform in Orlando two weeks before the convention. And he did that in order to ensure that he’d have leverage in those discussions..

..And as a result, by staring them down, the platform, at the last-minute, turned markedly more progressive. Among other things, there’s a call in there for an emergency climate summit within the first hundred days of a new administration, designed to — and it says this in the platform — mobilize us for something like a World War II approach to climate change. We’ll see if we can hold them to it.

– Bill McKibben

That is one reason I am following through with my support for Bernie Sanders, by voting for the Democratic Party ticket in 2016. And then this year can be over please, thank you.

There is a certain sick entertainment value to having a presidential candidate tweet at 3AM that Miss America is fat. And that many Americans seem determined to elect a boy with no qualifications and every horrible trait a person can have. Charles M. Blow in his NYT column articulates this perfectly. There’s a certain hilarity to the fact that grown persons want to provide a maladjusted toddler with nuclear weapons.

In the race also, are two other candidates. The Libertarian doesn’t know the name of a single foreign leader and he’s a right-wing nut. Yet he’ll pull some votes from right and left, and this too is good for an uneasy chuckle. We also have a Green Party candidate who will pull a significant number of votes away from the sole qualified candidate in the race, Hillary Clinton.

The laughing stops when you realize that most of the unworthy brat’s followers will vote for him, no matter what he says or does. And that many rational people seem to be missing this point, as they prepare to make protest votes for candidates who are not only unqualified, but also have exactly no chance of winning a single state. Thus, the unworthy brat can win. It is not funny.

There was one other qualified candidate in the race, his name is Bernie Sanders. He has endorsed and is campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I agree with him, and I am voting Dem even here in sunny “Blue State” California. Because this election is weird. It’s so weird it makes weird look normal. Anything could happen, and it’s an emergency situation. We must not allow our nation to be led and represented by its most horrible specimen.

To abandon the Democratic Party nominee in the general election would be to render all the efforts we made behind Bernie Sanders a complete waste. Please don’t do that. Please vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, support her campaign in whatever ways you can, and encourage others to do so. After that business is done, we can address everything else, but first we must put a grown-up in the White House. And hopefully bury the GOP down the entire ticket for ever subjecting us to this shameful display.


I don’t think I’m actually signing any petitions demanding that congress do its job re: Supreme Court nomination. We don’t sign petitions demanding anyone else do their job, do we? You pay them and they fix the sink or whatever and that’s it. I’d like that – plumber comes over, sits down, says “I refuse to even hear your arguments about that leaky faucet. Fuck off and die. Oh, and pay me.”

I’ll miss President Obama. I don’t agree with him on everything of course, but that’s not the point. He’s a great president. In harsh contrast to his predecessor, and most who scramble to replace him, Barack Obama is highly qualified for that office, while most persons simply are not.

I hope Bernie Sanders wins, and I’m doing what I can to help make that happen. But much of America is deep in a self-destructive kick. To say economically disadvantaged people often vote against their own interests is a whopping understatement. On the one hand, they’re nominating a belligerent fascist buffoon. On the other, maybe a dedicated servant of Wall Street, the Incarceration For Profit Industry, and the Department Of Lobbing Bombs At People. She’s rational. And reasonable. In comparison to the raving, psychotic idiots of doom. And that’s the deal. We’re supposed to be happy with the lesser evil in this context.

There’s no need for satire anymore. Reality has replaced satire.

There is exactly one candidate for president in 2016 whose positions align with the interests of most Americans, and not with the entrenched corporate forces of greed and devastation. His name is Bernie Sanders.

If you, like many Bernie supporters, are discouraged by yesterdays not-so-super-Tuesday results, have a look at this optimistic assessment for a morale-boost and reality check:

Bernie Sanders Had a Phenomenal Night — Here’s Why

And that’s it, I have nothing more. Donate to Bernie’s campaign if you agree and are so inclined. Phone bank etc. if you have time. We can win, but key word is “we.”

Oh, and I’m playing a gig Friday! With the amazing and beautiful Pollyana Bush, and her amazing and beautiful band! It will be amazing, and beautiful. Info here.

Here are some rabbits.


Bernie Sanders for President!

I decided to start fundraising for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, so I created a page at ActBlue.

It’s called, of course, “Eric’s Virtual Bernie Sanders Fundraising Bus!

You can donate directly to his campaign through my page, or make your own and spread the word even further.

Goal Thermometer

I set an initial goal of 100 people, and 8 of us came up with over $250 in 3 days! Thanks friends!!

I agree with Bernie Sanders’ policy positions. I also favor him because rather than change course with the political winds, Bernie has been singing the same tune for his entire career.

The number of contributors is important. A thousand $3.00 contributions means more, in some ways, than one $3,000 donation. The whole point is that the Bernie campaign runs on people, not corporations. That’s why Bernie is the ONLY presidential candidate in the 2016 race so far with significant and growing momentum.

I’m on the bus. Hope you’ll join me!

Update, Dec. 3 2016:
We tried, we did good. The campaign was stopped by the Dem Party who clearly thought they knew better than the VERY PROCESS AND IDEA OF DEMOCRACY ITSELF, YOU SELF-ABSORBED MYOPIC TWITS!! Ahem. My little ActBlue page there with the Bernie Bus raised over $3,300 for the Sanders campaign (THANKS, FRIENDS!!) and we would have almost certainly won the general election. Now we’re doomed. Thank you DNC, thank you 3rd party “protest” voters, thank you apathetic lazy stay-homers and, apologies to polar bears and all life on earth. Whoopsiedaisy