Dean Clough

August 14, 2023

Portico Darwin: Platforming


4 Minute Read
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For the record, I am thrilled President Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to further investigate the dodgy Hunter Biden.  If Hunter did something illegal, he should be prosecuted.  If the criminality involved his father, so be it - he should be impeached and removed from office, just like Trump. 


Onward and Happy Monday.

On Friday, I presented the past and current results of an annual Gallup poll of US voters.  I believe it shows a saddening gap between mainstream America and the views of more extremist Republicans. 

If that's disagreeable, I will be pleased to send Portico Darwin swag to the first reader that thoughtfully rebuts my takes on the poll's categories.  Or I'll donate $40 in your name to the Will Hurd campaign - your choice.

10 Seconds of Seriousness:  like Will Hurd, I believe there is drastically more that unites than divides us as proud Americans.  Trans or cis, white or not, AOC lover or Super MAGA King, our enemies are not us.  Polls be damned.

Because exactly how far away are your own views, from mine, below?  My swag and donation offers are real.
Basic physical and mental healthcare is a right and also a reasonable function of a national government; indeed, that's how it works in every OECD nation, apart from our own.  If we trust the Feds to contract out the manufacturing of fighter jets to Lockheed Martin, certainly NorCal's Kaiser Permanente could build a national healthcare system. 

Climate Change
Is this still a question?  Wildfires on Maui much?  We must move with vigor to nuclear power and get over ourselves about the risks and barriers.  Small Modular Reactors could be a thing if we'd just let them.  We also must have a transparent and preferably on-shored solar panel industry, subsidized by our tax dollars, if necessary.  I believe we could set target dates for ending fossil fuel extraction and their use if we did those two things, but we must start now.  Oh, and we could put a lot of people to work upgrading our national electrical grid at the same time.

Like cars, guns can be deadly.  So, like cars, guns must be registered, and their owners/users licensed and insured.  And possession of an assault weapon is illegal - just like owning a missile launcher.  Problem solved.

Federal Government's Power
The Feds have too much power in some areas, and too little in others (e.g. tech is essentially unregulated).  But only a functioning government can provide the guardrails required by a society run by animals unique on Earth, in that we take more than we require to survive.  Writ large, that must be governed in some manner, and it is also why unregulated capitalism can't work. 

Abortion, Who Can Have Sex/Babies, Same-Sex Marriage, Divorce, Death with Dignity, and Marijuana
In every single case, what you do is none of my business.  And can we keep the influence of religion out of anything that involves governing? 

And please look at the list, my Conservative and Republican friends:  I thought a lot of the problem is the government having too much involvement in our lives? 

Our borders should be both secure and accessible.  America's strength and unique qualities come from the fact we're about an idea, not a tribe.  Today's "real Americans" were the reviled Irish, Polish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants of yesterday.  Mexicans and Central/South Americans?  OMFG, yes, please - anyone that has worked with immigrants knows they're not the problem.  Are there bad immigrants?  I don't know - are there bad people? 

Death Penalty
Shocker:  I remain conflicted here and will not render an opinion.  I understand and agree with both sides.

Israel and Jews get to exist.  But so do Palestinians and Muslims.  One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, and vice versa.  A mess, centuries in the making.

So is a single-state solution the answer, with minority rights and respect among citizens being paramount?   

Please, no Fantasy Island cracks:  what's your proposal?

(And I encourage anyone interested in this subject to read My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit.)

The entire qualified immunity thing needs to go out the window.  But police, their training, and their pay should be more in line with computer programmers, and like them, they should not be asked to be sociologists, psychologists, or family counselors.  Our goal must be to have the police department respected in the same way as the fire one.

Taxes and Foreign Trade
It is largely wealth and justice inequality that is corroding our national unity.  Income taxes should be what they were when Bill Clinton left office, and capital and labor taxed at the same rates.  I believe the United States should onshore what is reasonable or strategic.  Most tariffs are a bad idea.

The equality and quality of public schools must become a national priority.  Public school teachers, like the police, should be paid drastically higher wages, subsidized federally if necessary.  A transparent national standard of progress for every 3 grades should also be established, with the results being a scorecard for the country as a whole.

What is taught?  Facts and objective reality.  Including our history of indigenous genocide and the enslavement of black Africans, but also how we've improved drastically over time to become the best country in the world.  Flaws and all. 

I am also a strong advocate for a mandatory 13th grade, and also holding back boys one year from first grade - girls factually mature faster.  I also would like to see the elevation in society of trades- and craftspeople, such that they're on par with those holding secondary educations.  A 4 year degree is not the answer for everybody.

I've beaten this into the ground:  who cares what you are, if you're not a jerk?  Being a particular race should neither help nor hinder your opportunities - like hair color.   

Why is this even on the poll?  Is anyone still concerned about Cuba and Castro and communism at this point?  Wouldn't the people of Cuba be better served if we attempted to work with their leaders and bring them into the 21st century?  Indeed, I believe Cuba could be a great manufacturing partner for the US.  And I really don't give a rat's ass what Marco Rubio or any other aggrieved Floridian has to say on the matter - exactly when can we move on from a 1959 revolution?   

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

My offer stands:  I will send Portico Darwin swag to the first reader that cares to rebut my takes on the poll's categories.  Or I'll donate $40 in your name to the Will Hurd campaign - your choice.

Oh - who is Will Hurd?  Mr. Hurd is an apparently rational Republican, running for President, who says things like:

If you can't stand up to Trump, you're not fit to lead the nation.

If fringe Republicans were more interested in defeating war criminals like Vladimir Putin than hurting our friends in the LGBTQ community, then we would be better off as a country.

Don't be a jerk, racist, misogynist or homophobe.

Is he the answer?  I don't know, but he won't seek to divide us like Trump, and he's not ancient like he or President Biden. 

But I'll vote for anybody to keep Trump from office.  Joe Biden or Will Hurd or really anyone.  

How about you?  Because I would strongly consider voting for Will Hurd over President Biden - would you vote for Papa Joe over Donald Trump? 


These have been everywhere here in SF for months/years now, but with drivers.  Let me tell you, it's pretty exciting to see a car driving itself, and I find it especially amusing to see an empty, driverless car cruising down the street.  I saw three on my walk in The Presidio yesterday.   

Welcome to the future, problems and all.  But unless these start maiming people, they're not going anywhere.

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


SF's annual Millennial Self-Pleasuring Festival, A.K.A. Outside Lands, just wrapped up.  On Saturday, Foo Fighters brought a fitting Brie and Chablis vibe to the affair when Dave welcomed none other than crooner Michael Bublé to the vast stage. 

We weren't there - duh - but one can pretend.  This is their latest album, But Here We Are.

About Dean Clough