UPenn BioEthics Film Conference

This was from the BioEthics Film Conference that was at University of Penn back in April. After “Dying to Know: Ram Dass and Timothy Leary” played myself, Rick Doblin and Dominic Sisti conducted a panel on the implications the film made on bio-ethics, psychedelics and cultural influences.

#BernieOrBust is a Bust

In some ways it’s been hard to articulate why the Bernie or Bust (or the NeverHillary) movement is dangerous, uninformed and petty. Mainly because it’s also well intentioned, optimistic and coming from a place of wanting real change to seep into the well of our political system.

I get the latter half, I do.

It’s a wonderful thing to be so passionate about the movement that Bernie Sanders has put in motion that you aren’t willing to part with it’s inertia come hell or high water. Passion and conviction are usually the ingredients that make real social change. See Dr. King or Ghandi for examples.

The Sanders campaign has been amazing at bringing once fringe issues into the national spotlight while simultaneously highlighting the core systemic problems within American politics.

While we do know this to be true the glitch in the matrix of the BerenieOrBust/NeverHillary movement arrises in that viewing the problem through that lens and that lens only is not viewing the entire problem. It’s like turning on the zoom lens to zoom out on the subject of focus but then stopping mid way. The lens stops half way through and insists that there’s nothing more to see – however, there is more to see. Much more. One has to zoom out as much as possible to see the complete picture and to know that you are dealing with many variables that go far beyond the stump speeches that Bernie has pounded home.

Let’s agree that the first step is analyzing the process – the zoom out. That’s Step One. Pause that for a moment and move on to Step Two which is the examination of the Hilary Clinton campaign and the candidate herself. There are a handful of really problematic issues with HRC.

For me the big four are:

  • Fracking – no politician of her stature has done more to advance fracking in the US and around the world than HRC. As Secretary of State she sold fracking around the world in an official capacity. Check out the eye rubbing Mother Jones piece.
  • Gay rights – in my world view, not supporting same sex marriage until 2013 when the polls said it was safe to do so is cowardly, spineless and anti-gay. How my homo-sexual brothers and sisters look passed this is beyond me.
  • War in Iraq – we all know this one. Add to that her record on military expansion, etc.
  • Goldman-Sachs speaking fees – you can not simultaneously want to reform Wall St. while taking in $650k per speech from Goldman Sachs and then to make matters worse, refuse to release the content of said speeches. This makes no sense.

Those four issues are fact based, are not conspiracy theory led and have yet to be explained by the HRC campaign or otherwise.

However, I think it’s wise to calmly and rationally admit that the problems within Hilary Clinton are perhaps no more than any major candidate who’s been in the game this long. Does that make it right? No. But is it the truth? Yes.

So, we know there are problems with HRC. Big ones. With that said, I don’t think the summation of those problems equates to her being an evil, mad dictator, xenophobe or a bigot. She’s a career establishment politician who has succumb to the pressures of her time and is a product of her environment. There are many pitfalls with a life led in that theater. The other stuff belongs to the other guy she’s now running against. And it’s our job to distinguish between the two. That’s Step Three.

It’s a very different animal to be anti HRC policy than it is to put her in the same breath as being like Trump. They are not the same thing. The maniacal tone that some people in the Sanders campaign have illustrated has created this circus of viscous, uninformed and foam-at-the-mouth worthy attacks on HRC that have landed like a San Andreas fault division within the Democratic party. All of a sudden, the HRC campaign has become this demagaury of evil and corporate conspiracy that is made up of the most secret and profane of the inner workings of the Bilderberg led faction within the US Government. As if, the real Wizards of America are pulling the levers of decision that make up the reality for the rest of us. Even if that is true that is not why she won the election. Even if a part of that is true (which it probably is) I still take the position that there simply aren’t enough smart people in the US Government working together to create an ongoing well orchestrated conspiracy.

I think there are little faction groups within the US Government that at times do work together in secret and get away with things that would land them in prison if the public did actually find out the truth. But I don’t think there is a sub-government with a secret handshake that’s pre-defining the outcome of elections that imply the actual voting process is a waste of time. Again, there are simply too many dumb people involved to be able to pull that off.

How about we just take a deep breath, wake up and see that Bernie Sanders just lost. He didn’t have the minority vote for one. Example: HRC has won on average 66% of the Hispanic vote compared to Sanders 34 % (SOURCE). Add to that, Sanders main edge was the awakening of the beast of the 18-25 year olds who usually don’t vote. That’s where his strength in numbers were. He won 22 states but fell short of the popular vote by about 3.7 million votes (SOURCE)

That said, yes there were many alarming problems within the election process we must take a real look at – the outstanding California votes, what happened in Arizona and NY too.

The point of this piece is not to conduct an election recap but rather it’s to illustrate that one; HRC and Trump are not the same thing and two; the NeverHillary/BernieOrBust movement is childish and not a complete picture on how to achieve progress.

This piece on Quartz by Melissa Hillman isn’t even that new (March 26th) but I just came across and it. It’s worth reading because it illustrates many of the problems that are arising from the Never Hilary/Bernie Or Bust movements. Fast forward 2 months later and we see the problems amplified even more so. The basic take away from the piece is that the BernieOrBust/NeverHillary movement is born out of privilege and is fraught with problems mainly because it’s supporters can’t look out of their own very small eco-system.

How privileged do you need to be to imagine that it’s a good idea to risk the actual lives of vulnerable Americans because you “hate” Clinton?

Additionally, this other strange sound bite has been emerging from the NeverHillary faction. The average Facebook post goes something like this “I’m #stillwithsanders and won’t support the election of a criminal under indictment from the FBI. I choose to vote my conscious and won’t let the system put a gun to my head. I choose Bernie or nothing.”

While not an exact quote it’s a near facsimile of the drones of posts I’ve seen on the topic. The only reason I didn’t cut and paste someones post is because I didn’t want them coming after me with their tantrums. Ok, so what’s the problem with the above sentiment? At first glance, seems to be ok right? But then, let it settle and really think about it for a moment. A nagging itch starts to happen.

Ask yourself this – when in your lifetime have you ever voted with your conscious on a presidential level election? When has your major candidate ever been so squeaky clean that you’ve felt so amazing about pulling that lever? The answer? Never. Never in your lifetime (maybe Carter if you’re old enough) have you voted for a major candidate who isn’t ripe with a slew of problems. When did all of a sudden it become a valid point to say that you’re voting on your conscious this election? All that tells me is that you’ve never voted.

For me, the closest I came was Obama in 2008. In spite of his problems he inspired me with his intellect, oratory fervor and calming inspiration of hope. I got swept in it for sure. Did he let me down? Yes and no, but that’s another post.

The point is we must look at change happening on the federal level as going on with fits and starts. It comes in bits and pieces. Yes, I would have loved to see Bernie go all the way and I did what I could. I gave money and most importantly I gave my vote. But now that it’s over we must calm down and awaken to the idea that the main goal is to defeat Donald Trump. Additionally, I’m not enough of a cynic to think that the Sanders campaign didn’t effect the HRC campaign. The DNC has been moved inextricably to the left and many progressive issues are now on the table thanks to Sanders. Perhaps I’m naive in thinking that HRC really cares about this and that she’ll bring a couple of them to the table with sincerity, but I do. I think our voices have been heard and that alone is a victory. I never thought Sanders would win to be honest, I knew he was mainly a smart-white person candidate and that has it’s limitations.

To whine on about BernieOrBust is putting women, minorities, muslims and gays in great danger. It’s putting that pot you’re smoking back into the bong of criminality. It’s creating a world stage that will be ten times more dangerous and volatile than it currently is. It’s creating an atmosphere of tension and division many times greater than already exists. And it’s assuring that SCOTUS be in a position of we-are-compltely-fucked for a generation to come. That’s why I now support Hilary Clinton for president.

Wake up, be rational, sane and be thankful for the step forward we’ve made. Capitalize on the gains we did make and don’t blow it by letting Trump get elected.

Indigenous Intelligence LiB Panel covered by the OC Weekly

The entire piece can be found here

My quote was as follows “I don’t believe there is a disembodied plant intelligence that lives outside of us, outside of our own consciousness or outside of our own hearts,” says Leary. “I believe psychedelic mysticism and psychedelic practices really just pierce the veil. They lift the veil and allow you to merge into the one and allow clear vision to see everything that’s around us, everything that’s possible and every screaming electron that’s flying around throughout the Universe right now that makes up our collective consciousness; which is really a disembodied collective consciousness. Psychedelics allow you to jump into that disembodied experience, where the one can be realized and you can feel it in your own heart.”