But I do it. (Update: Engage) I don’t much like preaching to the choir, as satisfying as that can be. It’s harder, and at least more fun for me, to try and change minds, as pathetic an exercise as that may be.

The following is a lengthy recounting of a recent series, names redacted, on an interesting and largely political e-mail chain (gonna try to turn them upside-down again, for you, my 10 readers):

Me:

Serious question, X (Republican).

Did you donate any money to the RNC?

If so, wouldn’t shorter skirts and lower necklines have been a better electoral strategy? For your money?

$150,000? I could LIVE off $150,000 for three years.

What. A. Clown. Show.

😉

J

On Oct 22, 2008, at 1:30 PM, X wrote:

http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-paedce/case_no-2:2008cv04083/case_id-281573/

This case still is in court and the DNC / Nobama are doing anything they can to get this case dismissed except provide 3 simple documents.

1. Obama’s Vault version ( certified copy of “original” long version) Birth Certificate;
and
2. A certified copy of Obama’s Certification Of Citizenship;
3. A certified copy of Obama’s oath of allegiance

On Oct 23, 2008, at 4:49 PM, X wrote:

http://www.rossputin.com/blog/index.php/2008/10/17/is-obama-eligible-to-be-president-of-the

Still think I’m a left wing nut job?

Me:

Heck, no, X, I don’t even think you’re a right-wing nut job!

I just think you’re a “wallet Republican,” an “every man for themselves” citizen, probably not caring too much that Obama is black, probably pro-choice, probably not giving two craps about gay marriage, grasping at straws. At this point, Obama has been the most vetted candidate in history, and there is NO WAY someone at a high-profile news organization isn’t flogging this daily if it were worth the time. Media’s only bias is towards money. And there would be money in that story. Lots of it. And a lot of reporters would like to put “Pulitzer” on their resumes.

They’re all owned by 5 mega-conglomerates. Some are transparently biased, like the FOX “News” shows that only conservatives watch (odd, that) and most are at least trying to give both sides a fair shake (even, I often think, Shephard Smith of FOX), best exhibited by the “The Earth is flat!,” “No, the earth is round!” coverage that predominates these days, with the (insert network here) host closing with something like, “Well, there you have it folks, both sides weigh in!” without bothering to call either side out. So bias can be seen and documented everywhere. If you want to read a real smart take on the left’s version of media bias, always read Jamison Foser, of Media Matters. Because they do. Or you might like Bob Somerby, who has made a very nice career for himself taking down members of the LIBERAL media, for so badly wanting to be novelists they can’t get away from their predisposed narratives (Al Gore said he invented the internet!) despite the facts presented. Like I said, he goes after liberals. Constantly, almost always. Somerby HATES the liberal media, but for completely different reasons than you do. Read him a few days in a row, and you’ll get the idea. And he’s hard to argue with.

If there was controversy there regarding Obama’s birthplace (and I still wouldn’t care, just like I would vote for Ahnold if I thought he was the best choice I had), with no risk of looking like a moron (and given how well the Obama campaign has been run, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was waiting with paper, certified copy in hand to hit back with a death blow to the accuser) someone (FOX, at least) would be making it inescapable.

But you vote with the loonies you have, not the ones you wish you had. Even Republican insiders are stunned at the level of McCain’s campaign incompetence (see Mike Murphy, for one). If you can’t run a campaign, how can you be expected to run a country?

I still say the Jackie Robinson metaphor is apt: Not only did Obama need to be better at what he did professionally than his opponents, including in the primary, he had to be better personally, too, to overcome the very concept of electing a half-white guy named Barack Hussein Obama. And all sides now point to a pretty strong, if not humiliating victory. 12 days left, so a lot can happen, and I make no predictions, but I gather a lot of information, because I love politics in general.

Vote 3rd party! Only then will real change come.

Politics: The last true blood sport. 🙂

J

Birth certificate porn, I tell ya!

J

(Finally, an objective third party weighs in, like most of this, someone I’ve known virtually my whole life):

My Fellow Americans,
I think this is an appropriate time for me to quickly enter and exit the fray. Though reading everything below certainly won’t be quick for anyone who chooses to slog all the way through it. So bear with me.

The election is less than 2 weeks away, and I’ve noted the back-and-forth with keen interest and amusement. I must say, I’ve learned a lot, and know that this election will be more memorable for what it isn’t about than what it is about. Never before have I seen two candidates, and their supporters, circumvent the important election issues in such spectacular fashion. Perhaps it has always been this way, and seems worse because it is so easy to gain access to each individual byte of data produced by each candidate’s camp. The Internet and YouTube are a blessing and a curse in this respect.

Though I seem to think this every four years, I really believe that this is the most important election since I’ve been an eligible voter, because the implications this time will last well beyond the next four years. So I’ve really tried to understand the issues and the candidates, much more than in the past. And yet, I consider myself no more informed than the average voter. (This may be naive, but work with me.) So I believe my viewpoints more or less reflect those that a voter who has done an average amount of homework might have, for what that is worth.

And it is very clear to me that there are people who just vote along party lines, and I get that. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require much defense or explanation. It requires no more time than I usually care to spend, and I am absolutely OK with that line of thinking.

It’s not me, though; not this time. Rarely, and especially in politics, are things “always” or “never”. And going through somewhat of a Life Event this year such as not having a job has given me the time and inclination to better analyze my decision. I must say I’m enlightened and not necessarily encouraged.

Let me start with what I think this election should be about, and to do that I must tell you what it isn’t about, because that is more of what I’ve been reading and seeing and hearing, despite my attempts to avoid these things. For me, the election isn’t about who is associated with whom, and when they had those associations. It isn’t about how much experience someone has or hasn’t had doing this or that government job. It isn’t about which candidate is the better American, or represents more “true” Americans. It isn’t about who can come up with the catchiest sound byte or the worst label for the other candidate’s action or proposed action. It isn’t about who is “cool” or “hip” or too young or too old, or who wears better clothes or eyeglasses, or who relates better to me, or who is the better dancer or has the hotter wife/VP. It isn’t about what was said by someone in either the liberal or conservative media, or on a blog.

And it certainly isn’t about what race or gender the candidates are. We should all be proud that, for the first time ever (unless you count Gerry Ferraro), this is actually a consideration.

To apply part of the esteemed Lee Elia’s famous tirade as a metaphor, it’s about who can “hit the ball, catch the ball, and get the f***ing job done”. (Any reason to cite Lee is a good one in my opinion.) And it’s up to us as voters to decide which candidate is best suited to get that job done.

I have grown increasingly frustrated by the candidates’ inability to tell me how that might happen. Instead, I have to wade through everything three paragraphs up to maybe get one sentence of actual substance any time the candidates speak. Even (or especially) the debates were largely devoid of discussions of “how I will get the job done”.

Earlier in the campaign, I had high hopes that I would actually be voting “for” a candidate and not, as in nearly all elections I voted in previously, voting “against” the other candidate. I genuinely liked both candidates, prior to the conventions and VP selections. So I was looking forward to learning the facts and choosing the best of the two. Unfortunately, when it comes to weighing the factors impacting my decision, most relate to what the candidate I am selecting is not rather than what the candidate is. Again, naivete kicks in.

To summarize and weigh in on the issues most people are talking about for this election:

THE ECONOMY – Though oil and gas prices were a hint of things to come, the mortgage fiasco sent us to where we are today, when we are relieved that the Dow “only” moves a percentage point or two per day. There are (pre-bailout) government and non-government forces at work here. I have no doubt that the Fannies and Freddies were affected by pressure from Democrats to provide loans to those who shouldn’t be borrowing money. But I also have no doubt that this was primarily in reaction to what the Bear Stearnses and Merrill Lynches were doing – packaging crappy loans to investors in such a way that they didn’t look like crap – in order to compete for the types of customers that previously were primarily Fanny and Freddie’s domain. Sorry, folks, but crap is crap, no matter how pretty a bow you put on it.

And I’ll take a wild guess that the directors on the boards of these companies (Bear, Merrill, etc.) are made up of people with a lot of money who generally support Republican viewpoints. The fact that these boards allowed their leaders to take on something so risky, such that the trigger to the nuclear winter was a mere drop in home prices (something that was bound to happen), is unconscionable. (At my former company, if a proposed business solution had even a 1/100th chance of taking down the entire company but would make money in the short term, the board would have shot it down immediately.) Shame on these people – they deserve to lose everything they own, and become the poor people they probably can’t bear to even think about. And let the shareholder lawsuits begin; it ought to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

The money the government is investing in the bailouts could certainly be put to different use, and it is amusing to me to hear the “socialized health care” complaint being thrown around when this is clearly the poster child for socialism. Thank God for my 30-year fixed.

This is the second truly egregious corporate governance meltdown to occur in 43’s administration. (See “EXPERIENCE” below for my views on POTUS accountability.) The first, the Enron/WorldCom/Tyco/Andersen accounting malfeasance debacle, had a serious impact on me personally and contributed significantly to my work misery of the past few years, not to mention my current unemployment. And just as we are all outraged by the exit packages given to leaders of the companies that either went under or are being bailed out currently, I (but not too many others, sadly) am outraged that the large accounting firms are charging additional fees hand over fist for Sarbanes-Oxley-related work, even as they were the main cause of the malfeasance in the first place (who could have seen a conflict of interest in providing a company with accounting guidance or putting in their billing system, then “independently” auditing said company?). And now they have the “aud”acity to whine about the quality of accountants coming out of today’s universities. Reap what you sow, you pricks. And, as I’ve said before, I’m glad Ken Lay is dead and Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Kozlowski are rotting in jail.

IRAQ – I am least qualified to comment about this topic, but I have one question: Why is it again that the United States, more or less unilaterally, decided that this is where the bad guys are? Yes, we captured Saddam Hussein – let history record this as 43’s greatest accomplishment in his administration. But even the most defense-conscious among us would have trouble saying that his capture and whatever else it is we’re trying to accomplish there is worth the $10 B per day spent out of our pockets. I would like a detailed timeline, please, for my tax dollars; unfortunately, none of us have seen that yet. There are surely some things that us shareholders in the national defense system can be told about progress in Iraq. It’s what we would expect of our other investments. (“The surge is working” doesn’t count as a progress report, by the way.)

Anyone who supports what we are doing in Iraq should not complain about socialized anything. I haven’t felt afraid of terrorists since about a month after 9/11, and believe there are much better places for my tax dollars to go.

One last point – just because I don’t agree with what we’re doing in Iraq doesn’t mean I don’t “support the troops”. Like all decisions we make as a country, once we decide to send our armed forces somewhere, I want them to succeed and come home safely when their job is done. And, even if I didn’t think like that, my “support” manifests itself in the tax $$ that go toward the cause.

EXPERIENCE – As happens every so often, neither of the candidates has even one day of experience doing the job they are applying for – POTUS. Therefore, any other experience that the candidates have can only be applied to a degree, and to what degree is certainly subject to discussion. U.S. history tells us that there is no special combination of prior experience that always, or never (those words again), results in a quality POTUS. I find neither Obama too young or McCain too old to do this job. Any lack of governmental experience on Obama’s side is offset by McCain’s spending a long time (30+ years) in government, which in my opinion means he hasn’t seen much of the real world in that time. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s a wash.

As far as what the incoming POTUS gets left behind from the previous administration – too bad, you get what you get. The job of POTUS is necessarily one of the few hardest in the world, and the person in that job needs to work with the hand he is dealt. No blaming previous administrations for ineffective personnel or attaching events happening on your watch to circumstances occurring prior to your administration. If you don’t like what you’re getting going into the job, don’t apply for it.

ENERGY – I’m OK with “drill, baby, drill”, as long as we also keep looking for alternatives. I’m sure there’s some kind of global warming going on, but my rule is that if my kids’ grandchildren won’t be affected (i.e., anyone my kids will know while they’re alive), then I don’t care. This seems like a safe bet from what I hear about the timing of any human impact. Just don’t let Big Oil hinder research on new, effective (this means you, ethanol) energy sources.

IMMIGRATION – Part of what makes America the great country it is is that our ancestors were allowed to come here and seek their fortunes. We still remain one of the most receptive countries in the world for immigrants. The risk associated with that is that unsavory immigrants can come in and fly planes into our buildings. Well, we can’t have it both ways. If you want to live in a homogeneous country, move to Canada or some other place where whitey dominates. But complaining about those who come to our country legally, add to our culture and try to make a living is hypocritical, because that’s how each of us got here too.

That said, anyone here illegally should be shipped out immediately, no questions asked. (I’ll even let my tax dollars pay for your ride back.) Get your papers in order and then we’ll talk.

TAXES – This is the one where I really don’t understand the rhetoric. How can anyone who has seen the waste in Iraq (whether we should be there or not, we should have been in and done years ago, according to the original reasoning for going in) and the recent corporate bailouts complain about whether the next guy MIGHT raise your taxes? And the socialism argument is just plain dumb. Again, we’re talking degrees – if you pay $1 of taxes, you’re involved in some sort of socialized something.

Of course it makes sense for some things to be run by governments and/or paid for with taxes. It’s just the degree of those things that people argue about. I agree that there are many programs that only cater to a select few constituents and should be eliminated, and other causes have an inordinate amount of power (go away, PETA), but I take offense when the generalization is made that everyone who is out of work and/or can’t pay their mortgage or for health insurance is lazy. I know many hard-working (usually self-employed) people who, out of necessity, forego health insurance or make a choice between health insurance and taking out a mortgage. Yes, there are lazy people in this category who should not benefit. But it doesn’t mean we’re socializing health benefits just to make it affordable for working people.

I personally have been on both sides of the bailout coin in my lifetime. I have helped others who were caught short, and I have had benefactors help me when they had more than I did. The golden rule ought to apply here – chances are we’re all going to be shorthanded at some point in our lives.

THE CONCLUSION – I cannot with good conscience give the incumbent party another 4 years after what has occurred during the past 8. It’s nothing that the other party’s candidate has done, necessarily, to earn it, though they’ve run a more positive campaign (again, not completely, but more so) and have given me at least a glimpse of what their plans are. And I don’t care if he’s half-black (or green, or purple), or “just” 48. (I’m 46 and have been told I’m “too old” for some jobs I’ve applied for.) I would feel this way if I was working, too. It’s just time for someone else, and they give us the best chance for something better.

So, good luck, Barack and Joe. I hope you get in.

Me:

You know, G, that’s probably the most thoughtful piece I’ve ever read from you, and you know I have your most seriously thoughtful letters (old school, snail-mail) letters all the way back to college. About serious shit like whose music was coolest.

I consider it a truly terrific thing that one of the most apolitical people I’ve ever known has at least tried to become engaged. For many years, you’ve laughed at me about why I cared, and, if I may, now the chickens have come home to roost.

As some clever blogger said recently on the news that lots of racists were considering Obama this year because of the economy, “Racism is officially a luxury this year.”

Now, about this:

“I have grown increasingly frustrated by the candidates’ inability to tell me how that might happen. Instead, I have to wade through everything three paragraphs up to maybe get one sentence of actual substance any time the candidates speak. Even (or especially) the debates were largely devoid of discussions of “how I will get the job done”.”

Here’s how you can figure this conundrum out: Read the fucking Constitution, and read the candidates’ specific details about what they want to do on their campaign websites. You’re not going to get it on the fucking TV, watching the millionaire pundocracy (Gee! Where do you suppose they come down, personally, on tax rates above $250K being raised!) telling us what to think.

There is NO excuse beyond laziness to claim that someone wasn’t telling you what they wanted to do. Not anymore. Obviously, one must factor in the concept that the POTUS doesn’t WRITE law, he/she merely signs them. Which is why all campaign “promises” must be taken under the advisement that in our system of government, nobody can do it themselves, to our Founding Fathers’ credit. (Cheney notwithstanding.) An uninformed electorate, btw, is something either Jefferson or Franklin called the death of democracy, paraphrasing. Thus that wacky “freedom of the press” and freedom of speech and free assembly nonsense was born.

It is easy for a Senate minority of at least 40 to stop any legislation proposed. This is a good thing, in general. You’ll recall that the GOP decried the “filibuster” when 2006 came and they didn’t have their overwhelming majorities. Note also that President Bush didn’t find his “veto” pen until 2006. Until then, he got EVERYTHING HE WANTED. Since then, the minority party in Congress has blocked everything the majority wanted, and the POTUS found his long-lost veto pen and the Congress didn’t have the votes to override his vetos. Nobody fears the “tyranny of the majority” more than I do, and I’m confident even if the Dems get it, they’ll somehow overreach, and the pendulum will turn again.

Here’s how change happens: Veto-proof majorities in House and Senate. Writing your Congresspeople. Sending letters to your papers. Engage locally, and engage nationally, it’s easy now. You can do it from your fucking ass. I was one of the proud donors to the $450,000 Michelle Bachmann’s (MN-06) opponent raised within 24 hours after her now infamous Hardball interview, wherein she called Obama “anti-American” and suggested the media should do a comprehensive investigation into “unAmerican” views held by Congresscritters, presumably on the other side. It was over $1M after 72 hours. And then the Republican National Committee pulled their money from her. Y’all make fun of me for my blogging. And I take it with a smile, ’cause I know I’m making at least a small difference.

And I make no bones about the demands on time The Man has created for anyone with a wife and kids. You don’t have time unless you commit to it.

For the record, I’m for public financing of national elections.

The Democrats have been living in the wilderness since ’68, when the fringe took control of the party, the “antiwar pro-commie dirty fucking hippie” contingent. The same thing is happening now, since the Bushies gave too many fucking retards from Bob Jones and Liberty U. government jobs. And then they trashed the Bill of Rights, the most sacred text in existence to this patriotic American, in the name of fear. My odds of getting ass-fucked by my own bureaucracy are so much higher than my odds of being blown up by a terrorist it isn’t even funny. Already I have to submit my laptop to potential seizure if I travel with it.

“Show me your fucking papers.” How American. Power, always, seeks more Power.

Obama, accusations to the contrary, is too centrist for me. He’s not proposing nationalized health care (accusations to the contrary); he’s not proposing a new approach to the War on Drugs (nobody will touch that one!); he’s not proposing a trashing of the tax code and accounting rules (the root of all of our current financial chaos, IMHO); he’s not proposing a less imperialist foreign policy (Can’t! Everyone will call him a pussy!); he hasn’t proposed anything but Kumbaya shit with a party who has lost rationality, a party comfortable with Sexy Sarah as their next President. He’s a pretty naturally cautious guy, as anyone who has watched him over the last two years should be able to see.

Check out “Overton Window” on Wikipedia. It’s real, and it’s true, and it moves slowly. The GOP has very successfully moved the OW so far to the right that even though politicians like French “conservative” Sarkocy would NEVER EVEN THINK about suggesting to the French that they privatize health care, even “liberal” politicians in the US won’t touch it.

Show me an old school, “small government” Republican, who is a social libertarian (get the government off people’s backs!), who wants to trash the tax code and subsequently the accounting rules, a non-interventionist foreign policy Republican (that’s their tradition) and I’ll show you an electoral winner. Until then, they can go fuck themselves and the nepotistic fascist horses they all rode in on.

Also, the two party-system has fucked us all. When in doubt, vote 3rd. Nothing will scare the Dems and GOP more than increasing numbers of 3rd party voters.

Nice job.

And welcome to the scene. Politics is you. Politics is life. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

J

Lots of missing links. To coin a phrase. And I may have missed some key interim e-mails.

But you should get the idea.

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