Jill Stein, Too Far Out for America

peace

Jill Stein is sort of groovy in some ways. I agree with her that fracking should be banned. There is a real connection between environmental factors and human health. I remember Love Canal. Stein is a medical doctor with degrees from Harvard. She was an internist for 25 years and she taught future doctors at Harvard Medical School. She fought the industries in her state that ran by burning coal because the pollution was so harmful to living things. She stands up for the things she believes and she has earned some praise for her passion.

However, Jill Stein is sort of far out in other ways, literally way out there in terms of her backing for some discredited causes. In fact I have heard that some call her the Ben Carson of the left. She has given some support to the anti-vax movement by refusing to give her unequivocal acceptance of scientific studies that show no connection between vaccines and autism. Some people who are against vaccinating their children are now arguing that the scheduling of these vaccines is the variable that has contributed to the rise in autism in America. Jill Stein does not say anything to rule this out. It is dangerous when there are 7 billion+ people on the planet. What we definitely do not need is an outbreak of smallpox.

Stein is also against GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and many others in the forefront of the stay-healthy-eat-pure-hike-kayak-and-bike-and –you-can-live-forever crowd are with her on this. There is nothing really wrong with being anti-GMO although so far no truly harmful effects have been found. Many on the “hippie” fringes of the left believe that messing with Mother Nature always comes back to bite us in the butt. Partnering with this passion is Stein’s support for the argument that nicotine based fertilizers are killing our honey bees. In an article in Slate magazine correspondent Jordan Weissmann, says that most evidence suggests that our bees are doing just fine. However you feel about these matters, these issues are still a bit “out there” as part of a Presidential agenda.

Mrs. Stein has tacked a few new concerns on to her environmental agenda which are a better fit to a broader Presidential agenda but which could also qualify as pandering. She has promised to have the government pay off all student debt using the same mysterious economic trick that was given the title of “quantitative easing” when it was used to buy up bad mortgages and bail out the banks. She is really steamed about what she sees as a con which used a mathematical sounding term to cover up what amounted to a theft of taxpayer money. She shows us how clever and witty she is by creating the term “misleaders” to talk about our government officials and the Fed (which she would reform within an inch of its life). She often also backs reparations for Americans of African Descent, a very controversial piece of pandering which may or may not ever happen.

Jill Stein (picture her with a headband or a chain of flowers in her hair) wants to cut the military budget by 50% and close 700 military bases (picture her chaining herself to a fence near the Pentagon surrounded by angry Republicans and bewildered Democrats). That would certainly buy us a lot of student debt, although my nieces who just finished paying off their loans might be a bit ticked off. It also appeals to my hope for a future that has far more peace than war in it. But it flies in the face of the evidence we can find throughout human history that we are a contentious species and not quite ready to begin the thousand years of peaceful coexistence we would like to see stretching ahead of us.

John Lennon probably would have been a fan of Jill Stein and I am a huge fan of John Lennon, although I can’t imagine having him as our President and I cannot see us electing someone as “airy fairy” as Jill Stein either, although I hope she continues to shake her tambourine and fight the good fight at the intersection of the environment and the health of our planet. Even the anti-war stuff is beneficial, but certainly not Presidential. I cannot see the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, getting much more than the 3% of the vote that she is currently getting.

Here are two of the sources I used to learn more about Jill Stein:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/07/27/jill_stein_is_not_the_savior_the_left_is_looking_for.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Stein

 

Examining Republican Myths

Republican economic myth 3 big

The Economy

Why are we still hearing the whine of Republicans like gnats buzzing our brains by way of our ears, saying things like they do not dare let Democrats get their hands on the economy and that they might be able to cast an extremely reluctant vote for Hillary if she moderates her agenda for the economy? I seem to recall that the Republicans were in office when this country went into the Great American Recession in 2008. I keep thinking (don’t you) that it was lack of regulation on banks and investment firms that created a housing bubble which was destined to burst and do real damage to millions of Americans. I have, with many other middle class Americans, waited for some of that “trickle down” to get into my bank account but that hasn’t happened. We have examined these Republicans myths many times.

So, my question is, why do Republicans still think that they should be put in charge of the American economy? Why do they think that the same policies that tanked the American economy are what we need to set it right? These are the same Republicans who obstructed the Obama administration so much that he was never really allowed to stimulate the economy as much as he would have liked and who then want to use the slow recovery meme against the Democrats in the 2016 election. I guess they think we have very short memories, or that they are so popular (or that their media brainwashing has been so effective) that the truth does not matter.

Thomas Friedman, who leans right, wrote about this in yesterday’s New York Times. He cites Hillary Clinton’s progressive agenda as being anti-business and he suggests that her policies will discourage, rather than encourage investment and innovation. Although Hillary may not have been addressing business interests lately, she knows that this country’s engine of growth is business, employment and a spirit of invention that keeps us striving to break new ground. He makes it sound as if she will replace industry with infrastructure, private with public, but she is not advocating any such dichotomy. She is saying that improvements in infrastructure will boost employment, but will also push economic growth and make it easier and less expensive to do business in America.

Republican myth 3 big

Foreign Affairs

I also keep hearing a chorus, sort of like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, softly chanting a refrain that tells us the heroic tale of the mighty Republicans who are much better at foreign affairs and winning battles than those dumb Democrats who seem to think that we can rely on diplomacy, alliances, and hit and run soldiering. In this version of the Republican myths they blame the Democrats, especially Hillary, for the chaos in Libya and they tell us that Obama and Hillary are to blame for the upheavals in the entire Middle East as if we have already forgotten who took the lid off the pot in Iraq (43). As if the internet played no part in the events of the turn of this century.

They are caught in a narrative that suggests that complex world events have simple causes. According to Republicans people can’t cause climate change, but one person, acting on his/her own can topple empires and create global political chaos with well-intentioned but clumsy advice. Yes Obama backed off from the “red line” in Syria, but where would we be right now if he didn’t? I suppose in GOP-world we would be shut of Assad, the Syrian people would not be flooding Europe (so that their children can have some quality to their lives), and there would be no ISIS. But this is all hypothetical and we might just be stuck sending our sons and daughters into a situation that is still in flux and cannot be solved with powerful rifles and dead soldiers.

They insist that ISIS would not exist if Obama had never brought the troops home from Iraq and the rest of us insist that ISIS would not exist if Bush had never sent our troops to Iraq. By artificially speeding up an awakening that probably was inevitable but perhaps not quite so imminent chaos was loosed on the world in the sense of the conflicting sects of a religion that we once saw as monolithic but which was not, in the sense of how the Islamic religion, which has been left in a peaceful-seeming equilibrium will eventually either temper its fundamentalism with modern secularism or will wall itself off in an ecstasy of purity and either turn its back on the rest of us or force our foreheads to the floor. I think Bush would have done better by all of us if he had gone directly to Afghanistan and left Iraq alone, although the taunting of Saddam Hussein was hard to ignore. Once the Middle East awakened to the 21st century, some Muslims with disgust, some with interest, the changes we are experiencing there were probably inevitable.

The GOP shows no more prescience or military brilliance when faced with our current dilemmas than the Democrats and, in fact, because they do not like to approach the problems we face with any delicacy, their desire to stomp around using the dusty boots of America’s children, and their bombast would actually be harmful. Many people believe that Hillary Clinton is too hawkish to conduct our foreign affairs in these combustible times, but I like to think that Hillary is unlikely to turn Obama’s foreign policy approach aside and become an avenging Amazon. She has too much compassion for women and children to leave the effects of her decisions on them out of the equation.

The GOP, if you really consider the past seven or eight years and the mistakes of G. W., has nothing to offer us on either the American economy or our foreign policy, but Hillary will still take their stand on these issues into account because she wants to unify, rather than divide, America. The Republicans cannot be trusted to do the same if they are in control.

August Book List 2016

stack of books on the dark wood background. toning. selective focus on the middle book
From a Google Image Search

My August Book List 2016 is compiled from four sources: Amazon, Publisher’s Weekly, the Independent Booksellers, and the New York Times Book Review

 

Amazon

 

Wolf Road: A Novel by Beth Lewis

Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch

The Heavenly Table: A Novel by Donald Ray Pollock

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez  (NF)

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

As Good as Gone: A Novel by Larry Watson

Pierced by the Sun by Laura Esquivel

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Night of the Animals by Bill Broun

 

Mysteries and Thrillers

 

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

Wolf Lake: A Novel by Ruth Ware

The Heavenly Table: A Novel by Donald Ray Pollock

The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch

I Am No One: A Novel by Patrick Flanery

All is Not Forgotten: A Novel by Wendy Walter

How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel by Jesse Ball

The Last One: A Novel by Alexandra Oliva

Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch

 

Nonfiction

 

The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese

 

Science Fiction and Fantasy

 

Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, Book One by Jodi Taylor

Time Siege by Wesley Chu

The Dark Side by Anthony O’Neill

 

Publisher’s Weekly

 

Wintering: A Novel by Peter Geye (Sequel to The Lighthouse Road)

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

Problems by Jade Sharma

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Magnate: The Knickerbocker Club by Joanna Shupe

The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline

One Hundred Twenty-One Days by Michele Audin (trans. by Christiana Hills)

 

July 25th

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

In Loving Memory by Winona Kent (sequel to Persistence of Memory)

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

 

Fall Books

 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

 

Mystery, Thriller, Crime

 

The Lost Boy by Camilla Lackberg

IQ by Joe Ide

The One Man by Andrew Gross

 

Independent Booksellers

 

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

First Come Love by Emily Griffin

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Cartel by Don Winslow

Last Words by Michael Koryta

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

Pond by Clair-Louise Bennett

A Hero of France by Alan Furst

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Siracusa by Delia Ephron

LaRose by Louise Eldrich

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Lily and the Octopus by Steve Rowley

The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029 – 2047 by Lionel Shriver

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

Zero K by Dan DeLillo

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

They May Not Mean to, But They Do by Cathleen Schine

NYT Book Review

 

July 10

 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

She Poured Her Heart Out by Jean Thompson

 

Crime Fiction

 

The Innocents by Ace Atkins (Bk. 6)

Another One Goes Tonight by Peter Lovesey

Fatal Pursuit by Martin Walker

Brighton by Michael Harvey

 

Editor’s Choice

 

The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro

The Drowned Detective by Neil Jordan

Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan Neil Jordan

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

 

July 17

 

The Mandibles A Family 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

 

Editor’s Choice

 

Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard

 

July 24

 

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

Chronicle of Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi

Miss Jane by Brad Watson

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

Pond by Clair-Louise Bennett

The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel

 

Crime Fiction

 

Let the Devil Out by Sarah Crichton

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

Fall From Grace by Tim Weaver

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

 

July 31, 2016

 

The Devils of Cardona by Matthew Carr

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

The Death of Rex Nhongo by C B George

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Breaking Cover by Stella Remington

The Wolf of Sarajevo by Matthew Palmer

I Am No One by Patrick Flanery

City of Secrets by Stewart O’Nan

Missing, Presumed by Susan Steiner

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Paradime by Alan Glynn

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

Exposure by Helen Dunmore

The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakumura

The Crow Girl by Eric Axl Sund

Among the Dead and Dreaming by Samuel Ligon

Fever by Tim Baker

Judenstaat by Simon Zelitch

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters