deep thoughts

with regard to Russian hackers

We have all heard of the boogeyman, right? He's for scaring kids to sleep. Russian hackers: they're for redirecting anger towards the unknown, and obfuscating the real issues with our 2-party system. Hopefully everyone has also heard of Pascal, and what is now known as Pascal's Wager. The question is, should one believe in God?

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Great, let's try this with Russian hackers. It's a bit different, because our choice is one of priority, but it still looks similar:

fix hacking firstfix hacking 2nd
fix DNC fraud firstn/atakes care of itself
fix DNC fraud secondwe still have a problemn/a

Look, I get it. I don't like the idea of anyone hacking our anything, especially if it's a little bit true. But to quote GoTThe night is dark and full of terrors...

Seriously, there are a lot of problems with the world today. They all need to be addressed. I agree. It is a question of priority. Here are my premises:

1 - we as a nation are basically able to obsess over only 1 thing at a time

2 - Bernie would have won if the DNC primary had been fair

I don't think either of those things are even up for debate anymore. The ability to avoid Dr. Orange was baked right into the system. It was the DNC that failed us. Russian hackers were not and are not enough to sway the election, even if they do exist. If you grant the truth of those 2 things, THE ONLY DISCUSSION we should be having right now is how to either create a viable third party in this country (Bernie, I am looking at you) - or to somehow change the DNC for the better. If we do neither of those things, we are on track for season 2 of DOTUS™.

Coming to you in 2020.

But by all means, let's keep talking about Russia.

 

EDIT: lol, someone sent me this link on how to watch GoT over VPN.

What Are We Doing

I was at a dance class with my young daughter. She is about to be 4 years old, and in about a month she will debut in her dancing career as a beam of sunshine. Cassie, the teacher, needed audio of each child saying their name for something she was putting together and each one of them needed to say ‘Hi, my name is…’ and finish with their name. So Cassie brought them all in to the office, which left me and the rest of the parents sitting by the wall as we do, waiting for what was barely 5 minutes.

And within 30 seconds, everyone had a phone in their hands, checking email or snapchat or Facebook or whatever it was. There was a mother close to me with a daughter in the class as well as a 1 year old son, and he and I caught each other’s gaze because there was no one else to make eye contact with. I smiled at him, and waved, it was a sweet moment but also sort of a sad one because he seemed perhaps a bit lonely right then.

A few minutes later, all the children filed back out of the office and the room livened up again.

Now, right here, I want to be clear that I am not trying to shame or blame anyone. I too am a parent, and even just a few minutes of respite is a non-trivial thing. The truth of it is that messages do need to be checked, and notes need to be taken, and text messages don’t write themselves. We can’t just stop doing it. The fucking light is blinking.

But know that when we all do that, all the time, there will certainly be more cases where a tiny little person is looking out at the world, trying to connect and finding nothing.

I think we can do better.

cross posted to kaxel.quora.com.
— https://kaxel.quora.com/What-Are-We-Doing

another thought about Hillary

This is an excerpt from a video that was shared on Facebook by Carey Wedler. It sums up nicely what I would say to any Hillary supporter out there. It goes into a fair amount of detail, mostly about Hillary's war record and below is the TLDR version.

Listen up Hillary supporters... Whether you genuinely like her, or are just terrified of Donald Trump, if you cared enough to be even marginally informed about current events, you would know that Hillary Clinton's policies and actions have directly contributed to the conditions that gave rise to him, from the bad trade deals and violent drug war, which sparked waves of undocumented immigration, to the ongoing 'war on terror' which inspired victims of American violence to wage terror attacks in the west. She directly helped create a society ripe for the demagoguery, islamaphobia, and authoritarianism of Trump, and his movement will only grow if she's elected.
I guess what I'm saying is... there's the fanaticism of Donald Trump, and then there's the fanaticism of people so terrified of Donald Trump, they'll rationalize voting for a war-mongering sociopathic criminal. If you fall in to one of those categories, you're the problem, not me.

It is impossible to overstate that the basis of the Clinton campaign is disinformation. The problem with that is people tend to fall in love with their conclusions, even if they are based on lies. Thus we have a fair number of liberals who are convinced that she is somehow a maligned, pragmatic champion of the people who 'will get things done'. Yes she will get things done. The wrong things. Everything she has accomplished in her career has been at the service of corporations, foreign governments, the defense industry, or some combination thereof.

She is qualified to be president in the same way that the wolf is qualified to run the henhouse. That wolf will certainly get things done.

Until we run out of chickens.

 

That’s not my party

I had an idea to write something and then I just got a tweet:

Now without going into a pedantic discussion about the proper use of capitalization, I need to say that this was unsolicited. And that’s the problem, really, which is that Hillary had a universal corporate sponsorship from the beginning, not to mention illegal collaboration from the DNC, and that is now, in the year 2016, too much to overcome for anyone.

Let that sink in. We live in a post-democratic USA. We have two parties, both of which are owned by the same handful of corporations.

It was ’a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over.’

What has also been happening, also in slow motion, seems to be the division of the Democratic party, into very distinct halves. I have ‘friends’ on Facebook that are very heavy-handed in their pro-Clinton rhetoric. Some are respectful, some are not. All of them feel that they have a moral high ground, which to many of us is absurd. The argument goes something like this:

In order to save us from a Trump presidency, we need to hold our nose and vote for Hillary. She is better qualified and will do a good job. All politicians are criminals.
— Hillary Supporters

So what occurred to me today is how faulty this reasoning is, if you remember that the main message here is to stop Trump.

Ok, if that is so important, then why didn’t we fairly elect in the Democratic primary the candidate who had a much better shot at winning the general election? If Hillary is supposed to be good enough to beat Trump, then Bernie would have been Trump kryptonite, but we couldn’t have that because… I never got a good answer for that. They said he wouldn’t withstand a Republican attack (not true); no one would vote for a socialist (leaving out the democratic part); he was too old.

from Real Clear Politics

from Real Clear Politics

The only reason Bernie did not get the nod was that the corporate lobby did not want him raising the minimum wage, or spearing the health care golden goose, or proposing any meaningful Wall Street reform. So they just gave it to Hillary. It’s not about defeating Trump, it’s about not rocking the boat.

So that’s the thing - that’s where the disconnect really is. Some of you are happy with Obama.

Obama...the greatest Pres we will see in our lifetime
— Facebook friend who shall remain nameless

Many of us are not. I still remember the day Obama appointed Geithner and I knew my worst fears were true. No real bank reform. No real health care reform. No privacy protections. Police state surveillance. The worst crackdown on whistleblowers EVER.

Let that sink in also. Under Obama, during a time where we desperately needed transparency and renewed faith in a government of the people for the people, we got instead Assange under house arrest, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Aaron Swartz. Not to mention the first ever openly fraudulent primary election. My friends, if that is where we are setting the bar, we are setting the bar too low.

It’s the sources I think. Information control is real. 

Realize that this line, for example: All politicians are criminals

has been repeated to me a few times by people I am close to, yet that have no connection to each other. Just like they do on the right wing, Democrats now distribute political messaging disguised as popular media and no one can tell. If you don’t realize that your favorite podcast, or blog site, or tv show takes occasional marching orders from a corporate overlord, then I can’t help you. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Realize also that agencies are being hired right now to perfect the next Twitter ‘bit’, the next viral screenshot on Facebook, and many of us are unwitting parrots in this game of conspiracy and manufacturing consent. I can think of one way to summarize how I feel right now.

If they allow it, it is not enough.
— me

I will dare to guess that many of us feel this way right now. We just witnessed our first rigged primary, and yet we are asked to believe this wolf will be a good steward for the henhouse.

We need much better than another Clinton in the White House.

if only putting it into a screenshot made it true, but the people that are sharing this on Facebook are not checking the facts at all. They just assume it to be true, because they want it to be true. So it gets shared 44 thousand times. The writer cites no sources and fails to explain why it was posted as a screen shot of something else, even though  he is the original author  (or claims to be).

if only putting it into a screenshot made it true, but the people that are sharing this on Facebook are not checking the facts at all. They just assume it to be true, because they want it to be true. So it gets shared 44 thousand times. The writer cites no sources and fails to explain why it was posted as a screen shot of something else, even though he is the original author (or claims to be).

Hillary is not a proponent of the EPA. She is no friend to water quality, health care, unions, or finance reform, and she is a horrible choice for president because she already knows she is above the law. She is not a liberal champion. She’s not even a liberal. It feels good to say you are liberal, and pragmatic, but if you support Hillary you are neither of those things. Pragmatic means compromise towards positive change, yet I promise she will be to the right of Obama, who was not nearly progressive enough as it is. Spoiler alert - Hillary will not kill the TPP.

The truth is that the DNC has lost me and many like me. I could never again vote for a party that ridicules me and that lies to me. The truth is that it IS possible to have viable 3rd party in a very short time. The truth is that if everyone voted for Jill Stein, we could do the impossible.

I am now a member of the Pacific Green Party. I urge my friends to do so as well. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. I won’t insult you. I’m sure you’ve thought about it.

One thing is for sure. That is not my party.

Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.
— Chris Hedges

Happy New Year

Here we are, 2016. Wow.

I just lost a long post that I wrote and it’s a tough thing. I love writing online but there we have a very good reminder of what the cost is. Honestly ten years ago I would have been more likely to have kept that draft. The fact that Squarespace does not have an auto-save function is a real tragedy.

It breaks me up because I had just written a wonderful testament to the new year, to fatherhood, to my amazing wife, and now of course there is no way for me to even start to recreate it exactly. I just have to go at it again completely and man that’s a rough waste of an hour.

I started out talking about how grateful I am. I just refinished my office and I am super happy about it. It feels like I finally have the office that I wanted. I used to dream about an office in DT Los Angeles and living in a loft nearby, and now I have a sweet home office with a view of the mountains and I think I just didn’t really know what I wanted until now.

the view from my office on a snowy morning.

the view from my office on a snowy morning.

the new floor in my office, just before the baseboards went in. So much better than that carpet!

the new floor in my office, just before the baseboards went in. So much better than that carpet!

This will certainly be the year of the affordable flat screen. I found this one for less than $300. You wouldn't want lay out a Photoshop project on it, but you have to respect the real estate. For Terminal, Sequel Pro and TextMate, it's a game changer.

We are getting ready for the new guy. I have been reassembling baby seats and rearranging the storage shed, all so we don’t get caught off-guard like last time. This is my first son, and the only thing I keep thinking is how will it be possible to love another human being as much and as completely as I love my daughter? The answer of course is that I will find a way but I find it interesting to think about how children basically make your heart bigger. Your heart may be full but they just get in there and make room.

 Last year this time we were scrambling to get the heat and the AC working, I was chasing paperwork and policing our horrible contractors and I lost 6 months to that. This year, I feel like we are ready for the new year. We are prepared. This feels like the first time in a long time that I am where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing, with the people I love. And that is a blessing and an inspiration to me every day.

The band is coming along, we lost some momentum over the holidays but I am ready to get going again. I am excited to start playing shows again. It has been a while since I’ve had a regular gigging schedule and I miss it. I have decided to not mix the tracks myself, however. I love writing songs; I love producing them. I love writing code. I love studying math. I love being a husband and a father. I can only just barely stand mixing songs and my gear is pretty much inadequate at this point. I DO NOT feel like throwing more money at Avid so I think I will defer to the engineer that I have found out here. His name is Sean McCoy, and he is going to do a better job than I could. So we just need to nail the last vocal parts down and get in there and he can just do the rest. I want this album to be very strong. Sometimes you got to leave it to the experts.

Anyway, life is good. I’m on the right track. Every day I am grateful for my family, my work, and my home. I have created the life I wanted. Also, my wife is amazing. My daughter is amazing. I am blessed. And I love my dog.

Mooshoo is a Millennial but she identifies closely with the Beat generation.

Mooshoo is a Millennial but she identifies closely with the Beat generation.


notes from the road

When in doubt, write. This coming from someone who for the moment has taken a step back from one of my main loves, which is performing music. But, to be fair, before I became a songwriter I was already a bit of a writer, and certainly a poet. Hell, the one degree I have right now is in Poetry. And I spent the last 3 years pretty much silent in terms of writing. For anyone who was following my previous blog, and there might be a few of you, I just kind of signed off. It was certainly a slow fade. I could feel my own creative center just ceasing to be. It was a bit horrifying, but also sort of fascinating. I remember when I started writing songs way back in the 90's, I used to wonder that if I ever lost momentum, would it be the end? I spent easily ten years from my late twenties to my late thirties, writing feverishly so as not to lose the thing. The arc, the trajectory. I had to make sure I worked hard, and that I wasn't letting anything get by me. But the thing about that kind of work ethic, especially when it comes to being creative, is that it is not the whole story. You want it to be, because it feels more or less in your control, but there is so much more out there.

And here, you might be forgiven for thinking that I was going to say something about the cruel world, or how fleeting and nebulous success is, and the cold character of a critical heart. And all of that is at least a little bit true. But the thing that I only figured out recently is that there is you. You are a consideration. It's easy to come to terms with the goals, and the trappings, and certainly the social element that comes with personal fulfillment. And at least in Southern California, which is where I cut my teeth, personal fulfillment (or 'self-help') is its own cottage industry. But I'm not talking about time management tips, or how to network, or how to keep your skin flawless. I'm talking about the simple concept of both knowing yourself, and allowing yourself to evolve.

Because that turned out to be very powerful for me. As someone who from about the age of 17 to somewhere in my 30s was chasing the exact same goal, which was to 'be on the radio', without stopping for a moment to revisit the motivation, it dawned on me that I both knew what it would take to achieve greater success, and knew that I was no longer ready to put in that kind of work. I didn't want to be on the road anymore. I didn't really want to go to any more parties in the Hollywood Hills, just to try not to smoke too many cigarettes, and sneak into the bathroom every now and then to brush my teeth, and pretend I was interested, and hand out flyers, and give 20 second pitches, and just push push push. I just wasn't interested any more. LA burned me out.

And at first you just feel guilty. Guilty because you had a chance, guilty that you weren't trying hard enough, guilty because pain is good. But that is what I mean about listening. Sometimes the only person who will tell you that you've had enough is you. But it doesn't mean you can't come back, and it doesn't mean you failed. It means sometimes that you have changed. But sometimes it just means that you needed a break.

And that is where I was. My first great love was always writing - songs and poetry, and eventually blogging as well, and to wake up one day and realize that I had left what I loved behind because I somehow felt beholden to my own expectations for the future, that was a real catharsis. When your plans for the future are keeping the current moment locked up, maybe it is time for some new dreams. And I'm not talking about delayed gratification, I'm talking about atrophy.

When in doubt, write. I don't need a better future. My present is pretty much perfect. What I needed to do was stop waiting.

Rules for baby handoff

So it occurs to me that my wife is not particularly versed in how to set me up for success with the baby handoff. Sad but true. She is a wonderful mother and a great wife but I guess finds it hard to see things the way a father would. I would like to set three rules for successful baby handoffs.

  1. Give her to me the way I need her. This one is hard for mommas because I think their world is a bit more flexible. As a father doing one-on-one parenting, I find step one is forget about momma. Mommas don't need to worry about this one - but for daddies, a momma-obsessed baby is going to cry pretty much non-stop without momma around. So as fathers we establish first that life without mommas is not so bad. A seamless transition helps with this. If I need to take her for a walk, give her to me already in the stroller. That will lessen the trauma of the handoff.

  2. Set me up for success. It's an imperfect world, but please try. I want to know where the changing stuff is, where the water is, snacks, wipes, toys. All of it.

  3. Don't help me unless I ask. This is the hardest one, I think. Just because you hear your baby crying, does not mean I need you to break my flow. I find that talking my daughter down from a booboo, or hunger pangs, or separation anxiety, follows a different trajectory than the way she is comforted by my wife. Sometimes she cries for longer (by comparison) but it is still important that she learns to be comforted by her father independently. Please respect this and give me space.

I adore my wife and my daughter, and this is not meant to be critical. We are all doing the best we can and my wife does an amazing job with her. That being said, I do think it is important for mommas to hear about this stuff from a father's point of view.