2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Monday, February 8, 2016

In response to the newly aroused Hillary Haters

A couple of years ago, the Daily Kos published Meryl Streep's tribute to Hillary Clinton. The Hate Hillary club is out in full force in 2016 and  doing its best to take Hillary down. It's heartwarming to reread Meryl Streep's tribute to Hillary, a woman whose years of public service have been primarily invested in supporting the downtrodden around the globe.

The Hillary Haters will no doubt continue their attacks on the best qualified candidate for president this year, but it has become increasingly obvious that their warped opinions bear little or no relationship to the real Hillary Clinton. Meryl Streep gets the word out:

Read Meryl Streep’s introduction of Hillary Clinton during the recent 2012 Women in the World conference:

Two years ago when Tina Brown and Diane von Furstenberg first envisioned this conference, they asked me to do a play, a reading, called – the name of the play was called Seven. It was taken from transcripts, real testimony from real women activists around the world. I was the Irish one, and I had no idea that the real women would be sitting in the audience while we portrayed them. So I was doing a pretty ghastly Belfast accent. I was just – I was imitating my friend Liam Neeson, really, and I sounded like a fellow. (Laughter). It was really bad.

So I was so mortified when Tina, at the end of the play, invited the real women to come up on stage and I found myself standing next to the great Inez McCormack. (Applause.) And I felt slight next to her, because I’m an actress and she is the real deal. She has put her life on the line. Six of those seven women were with us in the theater that night. The seventh, Mukhtaran Bibi, couldn’t come because she couldn’t get out of Pakistan. You probably remember who she is. She’s the young woman who went to court because she was gang-raped by men in her village as punishment for a perceived slight to their honor by her little brother. All but one of the 14 men accused were acquitted, but Mukhtaran won the small settlement. She won $8,200, which she then used to start schools in her village. More money poured in from international donations when the men were set free. And as a result of her trial, the then president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, went on TV and said, “If you want to be a millionaire, just get yourself raped.”

But that night in the theater two years ago, the other six brave women came up on the stage. Anabella De Leon of Guatemala pointed to Hillary Clinton, who was sitting right in the front row, and said, “I met her and my life changed.” And all weekend long, women from all over the world said the same thing:

Read More:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clinton/Sanders debate highlights two competing philosophies

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders greet the crowd during the MSNBC Presidential debate in Durham, N.H., Feb. 4, 2016.
Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters, courtesy of Maddow Blog.

Hi Katalusis friends, my son and his wife took me out to dinner last night to celebrate my birthday, so I missed the Clinton/Sanders debate. I'm sorry I missed the debate but Rachel Maddow's blog post by Steve Benen summed it up very nicely for me. Benen wrote:

Those hoping for some fireworks in last night’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire weren’t disappointed. In their first one-on-one debate of the cycle, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were fierce advocates of two competing approaches to politics and policy.
But to perceive their aggressive confrontations as some kind of election-year food fight would be a mistake. As MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported overnight:
Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC offered the clearest, rawest, and most specific examination of two fundamentally different philosophies about the character and future of the Democratic Party voters have seen yet. […]
Clinton represents one view, calling for continuity and pragmatism, while Sanders represents the polar opposite, with his outspoken calls for “revolution.”
Sanders specifically called for a “political revolution” three times last night, while Clinton made clear from the outset, “I’m not making promises that I cannot keep.” Pressed by Rachel Maddow why, in light of some of the more moderate parts of Clinton’s record, liberal Democrats should support her, Clinton responded, “Because I am a progressive who gets things done. And the root of that word, ‘progressive,’ is ‘progress.’”

Read more:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stop the anti-wildlife forces!

Donate Now Katalusis friends, I am so grateful to Jamie Rapaport Clark at Defenders of Wildlife for keeping me posted regarding the efforts of the anti-wildlife forces in Congress to harm or destroy the nation's wildlife. I just got this message from Jamie:

Protect Our Wildlife
Gray wolf, (c) Michael Quinton NGS
This Congress, more than 90 bills, riders and amendments have been proposed to undermine the ESA!
Donate Now Button
Dear Virginia,
Can you believe it?
There have been more than 90 legislative measures introduced this Congress to undo decades of wildlife conservation progress and abandon the wildlife we all love.
If these measures pass, wolves will die. Other wildlife will lose protection. And still others will find their habitat plundered and destroyed.
Most recently, anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.
There are four amendments in particular that must be defeated:
    The "open season on wolves" amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;
    The "let’s give up on Mexican gray wolves" amendment – would delist Mexican gray wolves if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines that minimum survival goals under a deficient, outdated plan from 1982 have been met;
    The "leave bats in the dust" amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperiled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and
    The "forget your day in court" amendment – blocks citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.
The anti-wildlife forces have their high paid lobbyists and lawyers. Wildlife have you and me as their voice – we're the premier organization speaking out on behalf of wildlife and wild places.
You and I know that most Americans love their wildlife and want to see it protected. It’s up to you and me to make sure the true voices of Americans are heard on Capitol Hill.
Thank you for all you do.
For the wild,
Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport Clark
President, Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife leads the pack when it comes to protecting wild animals and plants in their natural communities

Defenders of Wildlife | 1130 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 | defenders.org
This message was sent to vbergman422@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hillary won the Iowa Caucus

In reporting the results of the Iowa Caucus, Huffpo reminded its readers: "The Iowa Democratic Party doesn't report vote counts. It reports State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs), predictions of who will attend the state-wide party convention." Most reporting sites agree this morning that Hillary Clinton garnered 701 SDEs; whereas, Bernie Sanders emerged with 697 SDEs. That translates into 28 delegates for Clinton and 21 for Sanders.

In other words, although Bernie Sanders claims it was a tie, others disagree:  NBC News said:  "Based on the report from the Iowa Democratic Party Chair, we have marked Hillary Clinton as the apparent winner. The party described the race as a 'historically close caucus."

In the run up to the Iowa Caucus, I kept encountering Bernie's angry face in his online ads - his perpetual scowl with arms waving as he rants and raves at the top of his lungs. Each time, I've been reminded of his attempt to put Hillary Clinton down back in October 2015 by telling her in reference to her position on gun control: “all the shouting in the world” won't fix the issue."

I imagine Bernie is convinced that his ranting and raving and promise to start a revolution will fix not only all of America's problems, but the world's problems as well.  Maybe his inexperienced youthful followers - with all of their enthusiasm - can swallow his pitch, but for the rest of us, Bernie's unrelenting shouting is quickly growing old.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The NY Times gets it right once again in endorsing Hillary Clinton

Well, Katalusis friends, considering Hillary Clinton's widespread sexist treatment by the media during the 2008 Democratic primary, it's a pleasure to read that once again, the NY Times has chosen to endorse her.  The Times editorial begins with this blurb:

Voters have the chance
to choose one of the most
broadly and deeply
qualified presidential
candidates in modern history.

For the past painful year, the Republican presidential contenders have been bombarding Americans with empty propaganda slogans and competing, bizarrely, to present themselves as the least experienced person for the most important elected job in the world. Democratic primary voters, on the other hand, after a substantive debate over real issues, have the chance to nominate one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.

Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated by a major party. She served as a senator from a major state (New York) and as secretary of state — not to mention her experience on the national stage as first lady with her brilliant and flawed husband, President Bill Clinton. The Times editorial board has endorsed her three times for federal office — twice for Senate and once in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — and is doing so again with confidence and enthusiasm.

Mrs. Clinton’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has proved to be more formidable than most people, including Mrs. Clinton, anticipated. He has brought income inequality and the lingering pain of the middle class to center stage and pushed Mrs. Clinton a bit more to the left than she might have gone on economic issues. Mr. Sanders has also surfaced important foreign policy questions, including the need for greater restraint in the use of military force.

In the end, though, Mr. Sanders does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers. His boldest proposals — to break up the banks and to start all over on health care reform with a Medicare-for-all system — have earned him support among alienated middle-class voters and young people. But his plans for achieving them aren’t realistic, while Mrs. Clinton has very good, and achievable, proposals in both areas.

Read More:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Whoa! Wildlife killing contests in Minnesota?

Hi Katalusis friends, I'm a Minnesotan who supports wildlife, and this petition from Change.Org that just hit my inbox blows my mind. Please read and sign Scott's petition.

Petitioning Tom Landwehr, Bob Meier, Mark Dayton

Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in Minnesota

Petition by Scott Slocum
White Bear Lake, Minnesota

If killing defenseless animals for prizes sounds like fun to you, be sure not to miss Minnesota’s upcoming “Save the Birds” Coyote Hunting Tournament. Cash prizes are awarded for the most coyotes killed, and the largest and smallest killed as well. There aren't many rules, and there's no limit.
Wildlife-killing contests are currently allowed as a form of "charitable gambling" in Minnesota. Many have looked the other way, not wanting to interfere with the seemingly-popular fishing contests and "big buck" deer hunting contests, but it's harder to look away as the bloody carcasses of coyotes accumulate. Coyotes in Minnesota are classified as “unprotected wild animals,” so they're hunted and trapped year-round, with few regulations, no limits, and often no sense. Although the targeted removal of coyotes can be necessary when they cause problems on farms, these coyote-killing competitions aren't any part of that.
These tournaments are disastrous to wildlife, and glorify killing for the sake of killing. Please join me in calling on the Minnesota DNR to ban this bloodsport and prohibit wildlife-killing contests statewide.
Organizers of these events often claim that they are helping to control predator populations, but studies have shown the opposite effect: increased predator reproduction followed by increased attacks on livestock.
Many of these tournaments encourage “junior” participants, saying that it's an opportunity to teach the ethics of sportsmanship to young hunters. But there’s nothing ethical about it. The piles of carcasses at the “finish lines” of these events show that this is not hunting, but thrill-killing on a staggering scale.
These contests are ineffective at best, savage at worst. In areas where predator control is needed, professionally developed “best management practices” are more effective, and more humane.
Other states are heeding the call to ban these contests--last year, California outlawed events that award prizes for killing wildlife. In addition, they've been banned on federal land in Idaho, legal action has halted gambling on them in Oregon, and legislation has been introduced to outlaw them in New Mexico, Nevada, and New York.
Let’s call on the Minnesota DNR to join the movement toward ethical wildlife management, and ban wildlife-killing contests statewide.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Palin and Trump resentment voters

During a phone call last night, an old friend and I puzzled over the scary phenomenon of the growing number of Trump supporters who buy into their idol’s bigotry toward anyone different from them, e.g., Syrian refugees, immigrants from Mexico, etc. My friend and I wondered about the source of their vehement hatred of “the other.” Today, I came across a possible answer in an item in Politico by Nick Gass.

"With his call to deport illegal immigrants, especially because Mexico sends us its 'bad ones,' his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country, his emphasis on the threats to lawful gun ownership and his promise to protect American goods and workers from China, Mr. Trump is riding the wave of anxiety that Ms. Palin first gave voice to as Senator John McCain’s running mate," Wallace wrote. "Mr. Trump has now usurped and vastly expanded upon Ms. Palin’s constituency, but the connection between the two movements is undeniable."

“Palin, Wallace continued, ‘owned the resentment voters’ in her party, a torch that has seemingly been passed to Trump.

And that’s the answer my friend and I were puzzling over – Palin and Trump supporters are the “resentment voters.” It figures, doesn’t it? But the next question is how to connect with those who feel disenfranchised and lead them toward more positive solutions to their life challenges.