June Gloom in California

I’m in Pebble Beach looking out over the Pacific—peaceful & conciliatory—and I don’t have much to complain about, especially when I think of the triple digit temps back home in Tucson. I don’t mind that I’m in the June gloom, as natives call it. I love the moodiness, the East Coast-ness. IMG_2344.JPGIt’s cold and damp, but people seem convinced that they can catch a tan just because it’s June and it’s California and they ought to be able to sprawl out on a sandy beach in bikinis. I wear pretty much every article of clothing I packed and shake my head with amused incredulity at those kids. They’re all young and hopeful, you see. The sun will come out in a minute.

Here’s the real June Gloom: Another mass shooting. Another round of talking heads discussing gun control and what could’ve been done to prevent this. Another round of nothing getting done. Granted, this time things are different given the nature of the shooting, the number of casualties, and the dreadful message which can’t be ignored. But do I have hope that something will change this time? IMG_2394.JPG

And to top it all off, Bernie loses quite clearly in CA. It’s over for him and all the young hopefuls. I guess I’m a young hopeful myself, having voted for him, although I’m a bit hesitant to flatter myself with that title (the “young” part). In truth, I wanted to see someone really try. I didn’t have hope that Bernie would change much, there’s simply too much in his way. I never expected a revolution, nor did I want one. So what did I want? I have to wonder—given my usual pessimism, a default position for me—did I want nothing more than a spectacle? Did I like him because he’s unique?

On the other hand, I believe in a lot of what Bernie stands for even though I don’t personally have much to gain by his proposed policies. I think his reasoning is sound. I didn’t at first. I think I said, out loud, “Free college? Is he nuts? Why is college suddenly a right?” Then Bernie went on to explain that college now is equivalent to what high school used to be. I’d always argued that college should not be necessary to get a decent job, and that it should not be dumbed down just to include those who don’t really care about anything but the piece of paper. Bernie, on the other hand, is coming at this problem from the other angle. Think of college as high school and everything changes. The solution then would be to make college free, to assume that is now the gold standard of what it means to be a moderately educated citizen. Hm. It works. He changed my mind. He changed my mind! Who does that?

Not to mention healthcare reform which we desperately need, an issue that’s extremely important and affects everyone. Too much to talk about there, certainly more than I can do in a blog post.

The point is, none of what he stood for sounded possible, but it felt good to vote for those ideas rather than some personality. To vote in a straightforward and simple way for what I think is right. Finally liberals get to stand on high moral ground, which is where many are in their hearts. Pragmatism is always the cleverest platform, the indisputable one, but it’s not to the point. When Bernie played nice with Hilary and let the email thing go, we saw someone who had greater schemes in mind, someone with much bigger fish to fry. Someone standing on higher ground. I think this is where Bernie’s strength comes from. Came from.

In fact, I don’t even like Bernie as a personality. He repeats himself to the point of inviting impromptu drinking games or throwing things at the screen, depending on your preference. A guy his age doing what he’s doing must be terribly neurotic. He’d be a ball buster at a dinner party. But so what? I don’t want to be friends with him. I agree with him. His ideas stand alone, on their own merit. And no thanks to the media, but that’s a rant for another day.

Did I feel the Bern on an emotional level? Probably in part. I did harbor a fantasy of watching Bernie verbally push Trump on his duff, rendering him momentarily speechless.

Hilary can do the same. I have to admit she’s a superb debater. But I don’t feel inspired by her, I don’t feel I’m voting for ideas. Her campaign ads feel like Bernie rip-offs. Her debates with Bernie felt like, “Oh what he said. I’ll do that too, but less. Since we all know none of these things will ever happen.” I could put all that aside. Once again, I don’t need to like her. But I feel I’m getting Obama II—the pragmatist. (Except his pragmatism felt real, like he genuinely wanted to heal the wounds of history, did it not?) And her recent victory feels a bit like a canned TV sitcom applause. She’s a woman, yes, fine. Obama’s black. Progress or a milestone? I’d say the latter. Progress comes from ideas, not from skin color or gender. Those external traits can be manufactured, as is evidenced by the Republican party’s endeavors in the past.

That said, unless something extraordinary happens, I’m voting for her. Obama II, fine. I guess. She has experience, she’s very competent and intelligent. She’ll push for women’s rights, but I hope she won’t do it at the expense of more important matters, just to hit that milestone and go down in history. She’ll get things done…and so will the Pacific as it carves out new niches in the shore, small spaces in which to find shelter from the wind. And really this kind of progress is all I could have hoped for with either candidate. There’s only so much one can do in these circumstances.

To end on a positive note, a la the evening news, here’s a dog on the beach trying to sail away with his ears:

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Geordie inhales sand and then licks it off.

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“Daddy, I’d totally join you if Mean Old Mommy would let me off-leash.”

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Note the sudden change of weather from the two photos above, which were taken just moments before this one…happy days are here again.

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48 thoughts on “June Gloom in California

  1. I don’t know about Hillary, but Geordie is brilliant. He may as well be your president for all that he or Hillary would change. Don’t you get the feeling that the 35,000 lobbyists in Washington are setting the agenda moreso than any elected so-called ‘leader’?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Geordie 4 President! He’d bring us world peace. Or at least a lick. Especially after applying lotion (to yourself, not to him.)

      As for lobbyists, I do! Not to mention the media, which has a lot more influence than people realize—including so called independent-thinking liberals. I’ll admit that this election has been a bit of a game changer, but not much. The whole idea of eluding these pressures seems a bit staged. Even with Bernie, I got the feeling he repeated himself in order to avoid screwing up…unless he really just forgot that he said “1/10th of 1 percent” about twenty times in the past minute. Which would be really bad indeed. No, he must’ve been told, “Hey man, whatever you’re doing is working. Don’t say anything but what you’ve said already. Ride the wave.”

      Thanks for reading my political rant! I didn’t plan on going there, ever, but I did…and I hit publish and all I can say at this point is, “Oh well…they’ll soon forget.” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Why is Bernie continuing to run do you think? Is there going to be some bombshell about Hillary that he knows about, I wonder? The Clinton Foundation sounds dodgy as hell from what I’ve read – not much more than a vehicle for nepotism. We had an elected member of parliament shot dead in cold blood today here in England. Everything feels up in the air, not least of all as we look like voting to leave the EU next Thursday. That would likely cause the arrival of a new Prime Minister (Boris Johnson), as the first signifier of change. People are so utterly disenchanted with the political class currently, and are desperate for change of some kind. Shooting politicians isn’t the best way to go, I think it safe to say, but we need to move away from this blind obeisance to technocratic efficiency, which appears to be the agenda both major parties here are beholden to. It seems to unquestioningly endorse Neoliberalism, even applying the metric of efficiency to state services at the expense of how those services actually impact upon people. I don’t think anyone has a coherent vision of quite what the alternative should look like, but feel sure that the mood is such as desires it should come in some form. It needs to settle in place before Europe deteriorates socially, and The Far Right exploit the remnants of the failed economic empire that was the EU.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure why Bernie won’t quit. Maybe it’s that ego? 🙂

          I heard about what happened there…and shooting politicians is probably not the best way! On the news here, I heard that turned into a gun issue (I couldn’t tell you want network since my back was turned to the TV): Strict laws there, yet someone was still shot. Everything has to get turned into a gun argument. “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Yadda yadda yadda. But why stabbed too? That’s strange. And no mention that the guy used an antique “or homemade” gun. Homemade? I think that makes a difference!

          I’m curious to find out what happens on the EU vote.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Bernie on a lot of things: free college, universal healthcare, overall stronger safety net, etc. I see it as a positive development that someone with that agenda got the support he did. I did find his preoccupation with Wall Street a bit tedious and his ideas about trade uninformed. Still, I would have happily voted for him if he had gotten the nomination.

    I don’t understood the dislike so many people have for Hillary. Do liberals think that she, if given a chance, wouldn’t attempt most of what Bernie wants to do? Yes, she’s a pragmatist, but my review of history is that it’s the pragmatists who get things done. Many of the people we think of as leading massive change (Lincoln, FDR, etc) were actually much more pragmatic than is commonly remembered now. Hillary’s foreign policy hawkishness worries me a little, but just as Obama, as the first black nominee, had to be more reserved on race issues than a white candidate would have had to be, I think she has to be somewhat more hawkish than an equivalent male candidate would have to be. The realities of politics.

    Hillary would have gotten my enthusiastic vote no matter who the Republicans put up, but as it stands now, she’s become the choice of sanity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ditto on the Wall Street. Essentially I agree, but he gets a bit too moralistic on that front. I voted for him, but I thought, “If he wins, my funds will tank. Oh well. Time will heal all wounds.” 🙂

      I agree Hilary’s the choice of sanity. I would’ve voted for her against any of the Republicans, for sure.

      As for Hilary doing what Bernie would do, I’m not sure. I don’t think she would care about college so much. Healthcare, yes. I think Bernie changed the game for her in a good way.

      I think a lot of people don’t like her just because they’re sick of her. Or they don’t like her voice (which is grating, I’ll admit). I don’t like her, but like I said, I don’t need to like her as a personality. I think she’ll be all right. Perhaps if Bernie weren’t in the picture, I’d be more enthusiastic about her.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The history of democracy teaches us that we should be very careful about what we wish for. Sanders had many sensible policies, but on the economy – well, I think he would have damaged it enormously. It’s hard to pay for education and healthcare when you have less money. Of course, in the short term, raising taxes would have increased government revenue, so Bernie would have been treated like a hero by his supporters. But in the long term, politicians like Sanders destroy the jobs and opportunities of the very people they want to help.

    What Sanders and Trump have in common is they both think America is broken, and they want to pin the blame on “someone else” – immigrants in Trump’s case, the 1% of the 1% of the 1% or whatever in Bernie’s case. Finding someone to blame and then kicking them isn’t a nice thing to watch. We know how that plays out.

    In fact, America is far from broken, as evidenced by the fact that you have your first female presidential candidate following your first black president. America is still the richest country in the world, leads the world in science, technology and innovation, and if I understand the figures correctly, has welcomed more immigrants to its shores than any other country.

    So I think you should build on success, and realize that you have a great nation that is good at so many things. Improve the things that can be improved, but don’t look for people to blame, and don’t topple the whole thing in misplaced despair.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with your comments about Trump and Sanders finding scapegoats. Neither tactic strikes me as a productive way forward.

      However, I’m not there on Sanders’s other policies. Education, healthcare, and other benefits do take money, but as you note, America remains one of the richest countries in the world. This implies that our limitation isn’t the amount of money available, but priorities. America is rich, but substantially behind most developed nations on its social safety nets.

      Of course, many conservatives argue that America is rich because it hasn’t expanded public services in the way other countries have. My reading of both our own country and Europe is that this isn’t true. A lot of our wealth has to do with having ready trade access across two major oceans, a diverse wealth of natural resources, and diverse mix of cultural heritages.

      A robust suite of public services actually help and promotes businesses by lifting the burden of them having to provide those services (as in the case of healthcare), and a society where failure doesn’t lead to being destitute is one willing to be more entrepreneurial, risk taking, innovative. Government regulations can certainly get out of control and hurt the economy, but they can also reduce the chance of us drinking contaminated water.

      I also agree with and appreciate your assessment of America in general. While there are aspects of my country that exasperate me regularly, and we definitely do have our challenges, we’re not broken, at least not yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      • What he said. 🙂

        Also, I think a lot of what makes a country thrive economically can be looked at from various ways. The same facts can be used to point to various contradictory theories about what will work.

        Overall, yes, the richest country. But who owns the wealth? That’s the question Bernie’s asking. That’s when we get into those “1% of…” statements that get old really fast. I agree that there shouldn’t be any finger pointing here. It’s not a crime to be wealthy. But it’s risky to have such economic disparity.

        Liked by 2 people

        • On the 1% thing, I do think that wealth, once someone has enough to meet every conceivable creature comfort for themselves and their family, becomes principally about power. I wouldn’t mind seeing that power more constrained than it currently is.

          But there are more and less intelligent ways to go about it. More progressive tax rates would help, as would public campaign financing. Hammering the bank system would give some people a short term feeling of schadenfreude, but the economic hangover might be severe.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yeah, I’m not sure about hammering the bank system either. That’s the sort of place where perception plays a huge role, of course, and this could affect a great number of people. I imagine the economic hangover would be nearly instantaneous. And that could affect those living on their retirement savings.

            Progressive tax rates make sense. Even there you have a misguided perception of what this means. I’ve tried explaining it to someone who insisted he was paying too much already, but he didn’t take into account the healthcare he’s already paying for.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Well, we could always nationalise the banks when they become insolvent and need rescuing. Where’s the merit in giving them virtually free money (QE/Zirp) to speculate with in the hope they’ll recover their positions? As you can see, Mike, I’m not on the side of privatising the profits and nationalising the deficits. I see money as a public good, not the tradable commodity it’s become in allowing private banks to issue it as debt and only very partially supported by reserves.

            Liked by 1 person

          • For the US, I think the orderly liquidation procedures and tighter regulatory controls in Dodd-Frank get the job done. Permanent nationalization would be expensive, and it would result in the government running some banks while regulating others, a conflict of interest. Unless of course we nationalize the whole banking system, but not even Sanders is proposing such a wholesale confiscation of private property.

            I’m not particularly opposed to reinstituting Glass-Steagall or breaking up banks whose size might represent an economic risk (provided it’s done carefully), but I find the demonization of bankers as a class disturbing.

            The problem is that no matter what you do, it’ll have to be run by people. And if the wrong people eventually get into power, whether as regulators or leaders of a nationalized system, you’ll still have problems.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. (Someone stole my debit card info and is still somehow making purchases even though I stopped the card. Bad timing for me. No printer, no fax machine, no access to my money=pain in the butt.)

            I had to look up QE/Zirp. I’ll admit I’m pretty clueless when it comes to investing, and pretty much all I know about it is this: Go with index funds. Go with low expense ratios. Stocks and bonds are like yin and yang. Bonds are for old people. The older you get, the bondier you want to be. (Unless you’re old and don’t have much saved and the markets are like they’ve been recently. At least that’s my assessment and how I invested for my mom, which worked out, thank God.)

            I’m still not clear what QE/Zirp means other than low interest rates. Even though I looked it up, I still didn’t get it…maybe you can explain? So low interest rates, as I thought, were not good for stocks in general (I base this off of some very vague memory from a while back when the stock market went up because the interest rate increased by some microscopic percent.) So how do investors use that to their advantage? Are you talking about interest rates on loans, which are considerably higher? If so, I see what you mean.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yikes! Sorry about the debit card, Tina; that really is a pain in the (English) arse.

            QE and Zirp don’t affect you and I in that no one is buying from us the secured debts held by us so as to make our bank account more liquid in cash terms. That is what QE is, it’s the government buying back (with newly created ‘money’) its own debt (bonds) off the banks so as to provide the banks with more liquidity. What we, the public, were told was that this new liquidity would be used by the banks to provide loans to businesses, which in turn would create jobs, and personal wealth, and hence tax receipts for the government. No, what happened was that certain asset classes got Viagra rammed down their throats. Because of Zirp, then the unproductive [i.e. non-interest bearing] cash had to go into hard assets; so now the property bubbles around the world have all reflated, stocks are over-valued by traditional metrics, and useless paper gold is appreciating. To answer your question as best I can, then private investors and savers such as yourself can’t use QE/Zirp to their advantage, because they can’t access the near zero interest rates the financial institutions can, and as I said, the government isn’t buying their secured debt obligations (mortgages) off them. In fact, some highly respected economists (is there such a thing any more?) have argued that the QE should’ve gone into the hands of we, the public, rather than into financial institutions – which, purely coincidentally, part fund the political parties. Hello Hank Paulson.

            “One such radical measure is too controversial for any policymaker to mention publicly, although some have discussed it in private: Instead of giving newly created money to bond traders, central banks could distribute it directly to the public. Technically such cash handouts could be described as tax rebates or citizens’ dividends, and they would contribute to government deficits in national accounting. But these accounting deficits would not increase national debt burdens, since they would be financed by issuing new money, at zero cost to government or to future generations, instead of selling interest-bearing government bonds. Giving away free money may sound too good to be true or wildly irresponsible, but it is exactly what the Fed and the BoE have been doing for bond traders and bankers since 2009. Directing QE to the general public would not only be much fairer but also more effective.”

            Source: http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2012/08/01/how-about-quantitative-easing-for-the-people/

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for the explanation!

            How about this for a compromise: Banks need liquidity, right? So how about give them the QE with stipulations about how that money can be spent (and pass on the low interest rates on loans to normal people who want to start a business, etc.)? Or does that idea only reveal my ignorance? 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sounds perfectly reasonable, and indeed some pressure was exerted on the banks here in the U.K. to do just that. The banks, however, insisted on maintaining their own control over to whom and for which projects the loans (i.e the Q.E. money) went. The government acquiesced, on the basis that they knew they needed to prevent a collapse in property values following the ’08 liquidity crash – the banks’ balance sheets being largely supported by highly vulnerable mortgage assets. [As an aside, the financial system in the U.K. is way bigger than the nation’s GDP, so keeping it afloat was paramount.] So, fixed interest mortgages (is that what you call them?) at 2%, and even less, were offered on remortgages and new loans, whereas what would’ve been productive loans to SME’s (small and middle sized businesses) were priced at 11%-18% even when they were secured. Private bank overdrafts and personal loans were similarly priced, and credit cards were higher still at up to 24%. So, they kept the housing market afloat with 2% deals (having either borrowed from the govt. @ 0.5%, or swapped gilts for cash) and the rest went into mergers and acquisitions, Hedge Funds and the like, to pump up equities in non-productive, speculative deals.

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          • Yes, and it’s disturbing. I think—I hope—people are starting to wake up.

            My take on Trump was always, “Who IS this guy?” I still don’t know what he’d do if he won, but I hear a lot of people talking about moving to Canada. A lot. On the street, in the coffee shops, online. I think we fear his power/money, his boss baby-ness, his instability. We imagine the worst-case scenario, a dictator. I don’t really know what would happen if he won. I fear the worst-case scenario too, but I wouldn’t insist that would necessarily be the case. I could also see him listening to whoever wins his trust, and THAT person/people would be the one(s) with power. He could end up being nothing more than a puppet. That’s the best case scenario as far as I can see.

            All around a bad deal. I have hopes he won’t win. I actually have high hopes about that…I don’t think he will. Still, given the craziness of this year, I don’t think I’ll be taking any chances. I don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I’d done my part and voted for Hilary.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • He’s a crass demagogue in his lack of sensitivity, and possibly a psychopath to boot; but you’re right, he’ll end up a puppet if elected president, just as Hillary will and Obama did. I think the whole thing’s shifting increasingly towards what Chris Hedge’s terms an Inverted Totalitarianism, in his book Death of the Liberal Class. The power is fed upwardly through the offices of civil government and from the private corporations in undeclared ideologies to be enacted in sympathetic legislation, seemingly at the behest of the front (wo)man – the seemingly democratically elected leader, who soon becomes not much more than a spokesperson, a talking head for the MSM, and one full of meaningless platitudes. Trump wouldn’t be able to go it alone in The White House – not a chance, in my view.

            Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the issue for me. I’ve always seen voting as strategic…who’s the lesser of the two evils? That changed with Obama, especially the first go. And with Bernie, even more so. Now that conviction-voting is gone for me, I bemoan that loss. I’ll do strategic, but it just kind of sucks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricky, isn’t it? It becomes a self-perpetuating thing. No one believes their individual vote will make a difference, so they vote for someone they don’t really want to support. They say an increase or decrease of one decibel is undetectable, as it appears to be so; but if that were true, then the same would be so for two, five, ten decibels.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure about that. From what I’d heard up until Hilary became the clear nominee, Bernie was ahead in the polls to beat Trump—ahead of Hilary. It was a huge talking point for him. “Vote for me because I’m more likely to beat Trump.”

      Now that he’s clearly out, Hilary’s ahead of Trump by 12 pts from what I heard somewhere according to some poll…

      Sorry about the lack of citations! I hear most of the news while I’m cooking dinner. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The thing about Clinton is that, like Trump, she has such high Unfavorables. People just don’t like her. She does have higher Favorables than he does. (He only does well with uneducated angry white males. Unfortunately, in a politically apathetic country like ours, that demographic might be enough for a win, so voting against him is really important.)

        The Bad Thing about Clinton is that she’s a slick, effective politician. It’s also the Good Thing about her, since she’s, by and large, on the side of the angels, so to speak. The only real choice for reasonable people is to turn up and vote for Clinton. The alternative is unthinkable.

        Sanders did beat Trump better in polls than Clinton did, but many think it’s because he’s so unknown. Clinton has been the target of the Conservative Hate Machine for a long time, and — truthful or not — repeated assertions stick. (And we live in an era of Assertion As Fact.) So a lot of hate has stuck to her over the years, and many people aren’t exactly sure why they don’t like her. When you actually look at her record, she’s one of the good ones. About as much of an angel as an effective and successful politician can be.

        One belief was that, once the Hate Machine turned its snout towards Sanders, his numbers against Trump would fall. Or not. Polls. Ha. Who knows.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I wonder what would have happened had this been a normal election with normal slick politicians on both sides. Perhaps Clinton would’ve seemed more likable.

          I know what you mean about polls. Really, who knows.

          On Sanders, I really sensed he did stand a better chance against Trump, regardless of the polls. It makes sense for the reasons you point out. It also makes sense when you consider the type of politician he is, the fact that he’s an outsider. He doesn’t seem dishonest. He seems to care and have actual values. (Although I suspect that if he actually did get elected he’d learn to be just like the other politicians. Necessity. Obama certainly changed over the years.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think Clinton would have shone compared to Cruz and maybe even Rubio. Her tightly controlled politician mode does suffer a bit compared to The Embarrassment’s blunt and overly open mode.

            I do think Sanders would have continued to do fairly well as the nominee, although how the public would have reacted to a concentrated effort to brand him as a “commie” (socialist)… who can tell. You’d think that “better dead than red” sensibility died out with hiding from a-bombs under our school desks.

            One think I would hope politicians take from this is that people appreciate plain-speaking and, contrary to what politicians seem to think, actually like politicians who speak their true mind even if it doesn’t always reflect a supporter’s views.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s hard to say how the public would’ve reacted to branding him as a commie or socialist. I don’t think it hurt him.

            I got the sense that the media didn’t report on Sanders as much as they might’ve. I don’t know what that’s about. I won’t make up some conspiracy theory, but I felt it was strange. He’d score some big win and we’d just get a little mention of it. It wasn’t anything blatant, just a matter of air time and focus. For instance, we’d hear the report but wouldn’t get an image of anything. It would pass by in the blink of an eye, then onto Trump or Clinton. PBS seemed especially bad about this.

            I hear you on people’s appreciation of “non” politicians. I hope it won’t become yet another political manoeuvre, disguised as honesty. Ugh. What if that happened? What if these politicians became so good that they actually fooled us into thinking they had real opinions and values?

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m kind of surprised that so few politicians have learned that skill. You’d think it would be Politics 101. But geez, by and large they seem no better than newscasters who grimace and shake their heads while relating some tragedy. They actually get more transparently phony when they tell us the feel-good story at the end, and then pretend to find it amusing or cute.

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  4. Pebble beach is a beautiful area, and you have a beautiful dog.

    Don’t worry, Obama’s been a pretty solid president, and so will Hillary. It ain’t no ideological revolution, but things aren’t going to go to hell in a handbasket.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Geordie loves the compliments.

      I’m not too worried. I’m beginning to doubt that Trump will win, and if it’s Hilary, that’ll be all right. But this cycle has been so crazy, it’s hard to say for sure what’s coming next.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice pics of Geordie! I hope y’all had a great time on the coast!

    What I remember about June Gloom in Los Angeles is that the Jacaranda trees bloomed in June, so you had these trees of purple flowers set against the gray skies, which was actually quite pretty. Long time Los Angeles Times columnist, Jack Smith, called June Jacaranda Season.

    Looks like the US Southwest got a break from the heat finally. The heat’s been brutal out there lately. And it’s only July! Gonna be a nasty summer for some, I think. (But, of course, Global Warming has nothing to do with it.)

    I’m over Bernie Sanders. A revolution isn’t impossible, but USAnians seem too opiated on their toys and materialism to sustain one. Their attention spans appear mayfly-like and their grasp of nuance all but non-existent. USAnians become fans of whatever fad strikes their brief fancy. Until some other shiny object comes along to distract them.

    So, no, nothing will happen because of Orlando. Nothing is already happening. Just like Sandy Hook, which made people say, “If not Sandy Hook, then nothing will ever.” After Orlando, it seems we can just shorten that to, “Nothing will ever.”

    The British vote to leave the EU has tipped the scale for me: Stupid is clearly winning in modern society.

    In the USA, anti-intellectualism continues to rise and seems, with the election cycle, to accelerate. Chickens that some of us have been warning about for decades (but did you listen?) are coming home to roost. The success of the GOP’s Embarrassment is a horrifying sign of the times.

    Stupid is winning. Be afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know the name of those trees, but I just looked it up. I saw them blooming in San Diego with the grey skies, really lovely. I also love bird of paradise, but I guess that blooms year round there?

      It looks like we missed a lot of the brutal stuff. It had just rained here, and the heat felt nice. I couldn’t believe it was only 80 here at my house.

      I can’t tell whether the collective “we” are really that stupid or whether the media leads us to believe “we” are. The media hasn’t been top notch in their predictions lately. I’m not making any bets.

      On the other hand, driving down I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson didn’t do much for my faith in humankind. And I thought LA was bad.

      On the gun issue, I’m inclined to agree. I don’t see much that’s going to change, at least not soon. That’s actually not a big issue for me in comparison to other things, but the idea of not being able to do ANYTHING about our gun laws seems ridiculous. Can’t compromise happen just a freaking little bit? A sign, a symbol? Even just for show?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I can’t tell whether the collective ‘we’ are really that stupid or whether the media leads us to believe ‘we’ are.”

        The stupidity of the collective ‘we’ is pretty well documented by many observers and analysts (including, but not limited to, the media), but I’m keying off the “Brexit” vote and the success of the National Embarrassment. Those aren’t media fabrications; those are the result of real people in action.

        And, as you suggest, it’s readily apparent during nearly any drive on nearly any highway.

        Or in the comments of nearly any comment section (but most especially YouTube and TWITter).

        A lot of it in the USA traces back to Christian Evangelical Fundamentalists who viewed science as in opposition to their literal interpretation of Christian mythology. Rather than adjust to a factual worldview, they denied science and started us back on the path to the Dark Ages (which we’d worked so hard to get out of).

        Over the decades it morphed into a strong trend of anti-intellectualism, not just anti-science. Today it’s common to hear open disdain for “experts” (and, granted, there’s an old joke about how “expert” is the ‘X’ factor, which is the unknown, plus ‘spurt’, which is a drip, so, ha-ha, “experts” are unknown drips, but just kidding, because back then we knew experts knew their stuff (and, also granted, these days many so-called experts who aren’t worth the length of old lumber needed to bean them a good one do muddy the waters)).

        It has very little to do with capability, really; it’s more about attitude. (One might even invoke Shelley’s Frankenstein [Prometheus Unbound] as an early work pondering the dangers of science. The fear of Pandora’s Box. Which we always choose to open.)

        It all creates a counter-current that, right now, is scary strong and largely irrational. We’re being driven by emotion, which is bad enough, but by negative, hateful, fearful emotions, which is much worse.

        With “Brexit” and The Embarrassment, never was that Leon Wieseltier quote I like so much more apropos: “A democratic society, an open society, places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility on ordinary men and women, because we are governed by what we think, we are governed by our opinions. So the content of our opinions, and the quality of our opinions, and the quality of the formation of our opinions, basically determines the character of our society.”

        And so it does. You can see the result all around.

        “On the gun issue, I’m inclined to agree. I don’t see much that’s going to change, at least not soon.”

        Nope, they’re too embedded in our culture. Just consider any random evening of prime time TV. Think about, starting from a very young age with cartoons and Westerns, proceeding to toys and games, how guns have always been there. The idea is ancient and simple; a small and trivial Pandora’s Box but with huge social consequences. We’re still working on that one. Clearly we haven’t figured it out, yet.

        “Can’t compromise happen just a freaking little bit? A sign, a symbol? Even just for show? “

        Sad isn’t it? Social polarization (the interweb amplifies the problem) plus ignorance plus emotional groupthink (plus naked greed by the gun makers).

        This is not a media illusion! I’ve been complaining (loudly) about this shit for over 40 years. I’ve watched society grow dumber over those decades, less able to tell noise from nonsense. (Charlie Pierce wrote a book about it: Idiot America) The Embarrassment and “Brexit” are just the logical outcomes — and proof — of what I’ve been saying all along.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well you have more years of observation than I. I’ve often wondered if it’s truly the case that we’ve grown dumber. I know over many many decades, we have, but in the past forty? That, I don’t know. And then there’s the question of dumber vs. less educated, which might in the end mean the same thing.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t think humans have changed in thousands of years! (Ancient Greek comedies are still funny.) Like I said, it’s not capability, it’s attitude. It’s what we value.

            We (collectively) used to value intellect and education more than we seem to now, and I think that change has occurred in the last 50-60 years or so. (It was under way when I started complaining about it 40 years ago.)

            Think about all those parents who worked their asses off so their kids could get a better education. Think about all those who sacrificed everything and risked their lives to move here because we have such great schools (and that freedom stuff they’d heard so much about).

            There’s always been a counter-current (and rightfully so; Yin-to-the-Yang), but from where I sit, right now, darkness is on the rise, and a great deal of that stems from our devaluing of intellect, education, and science.

            Again, as clear and present proof, I give you: “Brexit” and The National Embarrassment (and all that surrounds them, including the media). 😮

            Liked by 1 person

  6. California looks amazing … sigh.

    I’m in kind of a pickle this election. I can’t vote for Hillary because I don’t support dynasties. I won’t vote for Trump because he’s a champion of the resentful and struggling.

    I’m seriously considering just writing in Obama. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know how you feel. Honestly, I might’ve just done a write-in if it were someone other than Trump on the other side. I just feel he’s too dangerous. I know I’m probably exaggerating, but the unknowns with him are too much for me to feel comfortable with. It’s really a question of extremely painful possible future regret that trumps—if you’ll excuse the expression—not liking Hilary.

      Liked by 2 people

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