it's the latest edition of
The Recommentunde Newsletter
For the week that began 16 February 2020
This is the title of a US government WWII propaganda video featuring the Tuskegee Airmen and narrated by Ronald Reagan. Watch all 10 minutes on my Instagram.
We are in the thick of it now, my friend,
Bloombito is buying his poll position, and we’ll soon see if he can handle the democracy part of democracy as he faces the debate stage, media scrutiny, actual voters, and his own record of terrorizing black and brown people. His money is very attractive. Can we just vote for Bloomberg’s Billions on the ballot?
Watching his rise, I can’t help but think about the movie, Pacific Rim. Watch the trailer to reacquaint yourself. One line stands out: “to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.” Bloomberg represents so much of what the Democratic Party opposes, but is it ok if he’s our billionaire? Our very own Robert Mercer or Sheldon Adelson? Are we opposed to monsters unless they are fighting for us? Is this how democracy works now, jaeger vs jaeger and kaiju vs kaiju (thanks to my friend Matt Klinman who I believe planted the seed of this everybody-needs-their-own-billionaire mech warrior concept years ago).
Bernie is surging in the polls and just packed an arena with over 20,000 people last night in Washington State. Warren has slipped but still heads a serious organization and rocks the dopest plans. Can Klobuchar capitalize on New Hampshire, or was that too little too late, and what happens when we start to look back at her record? Meanwhile Joe Biden is out here clinging to any black person he can find as if they are the life raft that can keep him from sinking, but which black person will it be? Obama? Madea??
And Mayor Pete-- Let me pause there.
My inspired many, many responses! If you wrote back, thank you. If you didn’t, feel free. I don’t respond to everyone, but I do read it all. While most of you thought I was awesome and funny and correct, I got some criticism I thought was fair and valid. I’ll excerpt pieces of it here:
I get you were going by performance as a candidate/mayor. Haven’t read & thought about your piece enough to know if it’s fair. I assume it is. But I don’t think it’s right. And for most of the last 20 years, I think you’re generally both. Just want to ask you not to write him off too much.
When I was close to giving up on politics altogether after analytically looking at the raging doom loops around us all, he agreed w/ my facts, pushed back on my assessment, and probably kept me in the fight a little longer… He’s got more depth & preparation and is less of an egotistical hack than almost anyone I know in politics.
Thanks to this reader for taking the time to offer this critique. I promise not to write Pete off too much. He’s clearly a thoughtful and accomplished person. His campaign has struggled but at least tried to get right on race issues. Pete isn’t my first choice, but I’d enthusiastically support him if he becomes the choice of the Democratic Party this year or in the near future.
Reminder for myself and others: none of these candidates is perfect. I’m looking for the candidate who is best. And I’m working on a new Instagram video op-ed in which I’ll offer a deeper assessment of all the candidates. Stay tuned!
And now back to our regularly-scheduled content:
Article in the New York Times
This is the most important link in the newsletter. Bloomberg has skyrocketed in the polls and the public imagination because of his epic spending. The Times looks into how Bloomberg has used his vast wealth and philanthropic reach to support, commandeer, and co-opt causes and parts of the Democratic Party while avoiding criticism of the worst elements of his record.
Opinion in the New York Times by Brit Marling
What a beautiful piece of writing by the creator of the Netflix series, The OA (which I have watched twice!). Marling tells us that the classic storytelling trope “the hero’s journey” is bullshit, masculinity is a trap for women and for men, and the stories we tell each other shape the reality we experience, so let’s start telling more stories with feminine characteristics portrayed as heroic.
Podcast episode from The Signal in Australia.
This is a bite-sized, 16-minute podcast episode from our friends Down Under. I like it because it addresses what Suddenly-Energized-And-Correct Tom Steyer brought up in the New Hampshire debate: Trump will run on the success of the economy. How will we run against that?
Article in the Los Angeles Times
The LA Times has a series on the hometowns of the leading Democratic presidential candidates. Start with Pete but click through to Warren (Cambridge, MA) and Sanders (Burlington, VT).
There are two books I've heard about that I want to read. Haven't read them yet. This is a no-look endorsement!
Article from OneZero on Medium
Everybody’s trying to move to Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Las Vegas to escape rising sea levels but, spoiler alert, you can’t escape climate change effects! You just gotta pick your poison: floods, fires, drought, super mosquitos. We could all try to become Texans or we could mobilize on some WWII-level efforts to limit the pain and destruction from this human-caused catastrophe.
Article in the New York Times
While the US federal government is content to sell out its citizens in the name of profits by a handful of companies, Europe is trying to draw a line in the sand for safety, trust, and harm reduction. It would be nice to live in a place where the government looked out for the people. Until then, I’m crushing on the European Union and its burgeoning humane tech policies.
Article in the New York Times. Wow lots of NYT this week!
This is a very human story, focused on one family’s multi-generational life in Chicago, about a national phenomenon. Who gets to write the story of a place, and for how long?
Article in the Washington Post
I rarely pull out an I-Told-You-So but I called this one. In December of 2016, I wrote the following for Vox in a long post-election piece, and according to the article above, it’s happening. This bully president’s behavior has trickled down to our children.
"The bullying may be the worst part of these election results. How can you tell your child that bullying doesn't work, when it's exactly what the new president did to get his job, not in some distant youthfully indiscreet past but as a fundamental 2016 campaign strategy? The tweets are still there. I do not envy the parents of this young generation trying to explain why bragging about the size of your penis, encouraging sexual violence, and smearing entire ethnicities, religions, and nationalities is not the absolute best way to get ahead in this world."
You remember the song, “Who Let The Dogs Out,” but you never could have imagined the layers of mystery surrounding its origin. This 99 Percent Invisible podcast episode is a feat of investigative journalism, joy, and heartbreak. You’re welcome.
Peace and Love.