Third Party & Independents Archives

Just say it!!

Am I alone in this?
I am sick and tired of those running for office finding ‘the best way’ to say what they think and how they feel about a particular issue.
I can’t think of ONE front runner who can say anything without clearing it with their ‘people’ first.

People make mistakes.
I would rather hear a candidate make a mistake than wait until their employees find the exact words they should say based on polls.
Our elections are pathetic.

It begs the question:
Are our Politicians a reflection of us OR are We a reflection of them?

I do hope it is the latter.
I do hope that we are mimicking them because that means we can change things.
If they are an image of us ... well... we are screwed.

Getting elected is nothing but a game. Soundbites.

Our politicians know we are VERY busy people. That we catch the news in bits and pieces.
Most voters make their decisions based on who they think will WIN.

Our news media plays a LARGE roll in the elections.
I noticed that Hillary is getting alot of free airtime on CNN these past few days.
I want to hear more, and see more, of those who are not in the top three. Am I alone in this?

There are many many polls taken every day.
It seems like there is a new poll showing who is leading, who is gaining, and who has lost ground, based on the news of the day.

There was a reference to NASCAR during a discussion of the candidates.
All of you know what a draft is in NASCAR?

When pundits start referring to the Presidential race in NASCAR terms.... we are screwed.

How many times do you hear 'winner' & 'loser'?

I may be alone in this BUT I am sick of our elections being turned into a game.
Politics may be a game BUT running our country is NOT!!!

I want a REAL person in the office of the President.

Posted by Dawn at December 29, 2007 11:46 PM
Comments
Comment #241763

I have to agree with you Dawn, that many of them are awfully phony. I have to say the only ones I see that even resemble any “realness” and “heart” when they speak are Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson.
I don’t see anything on the Democratic side that even comes close to reality, especially when it comes to understanding middle class America.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 30, 2007 1:42 AM
Comment #241768

Dawn, JD and whoever else is reading

It is OUR fault. Specifically people like us who so effectively parse every word and phrase.

Humans are flawed. They make mistakes. But we demand perfection and pretend it is possible.

I feel your pain. I wish a politican could just take a stand w/o a focus group, but we will not allow it.

If we let it go, there are many groups in America who will punish anybody who says the wrong thing.

Think of the hard issue of abortion. Polls show that the vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal with restrictions and that it is a bad thing to have one. That is a reasonable position. Why is it that every Dem who wants to be president has to claim to support abortion on demand and almost every Republican has to say he is against it? The answer is extremist weirdos on both sides run the debate.

It will never get any better. We just need to adjust to it and limit government’s reach into our affairs so we can live our lives.

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2007 7:00 AM
Comment #241771


Give us excitement, give us contraversy or we won’t watch. This is how we have trained our press. Politicians competing for the most important job in America have to compete with each other and the likes of Brittany, Paris and OJ.

The press lies in wait for the smallest mistake by a candidate and then more often than not, exagerates that mistake way out of proportion. In the debates, policy took a back seat to personal attacks.

Posted by: jlw at December 30, 2007 10:50 AM
Comment #241777
Dawn wrote: Just say it!!

Am I alone in this?


No, but there are far too few in the electorate that care. 40% to 50% of all 200 million eligible voters don’t even bother to vote at all.
Dawn wrote: I am sick and tired of those running for office finding ‘the best way’ to say what they think and how they feel about a particular issue.
That is because they are trying to be on all sides of all issues, and that’s not an easy thing to do. But they try, because even the truest of them is false.
Dawn wrote: I can’t think of ONE front runner who can say anything without clearing it with their ‘people’ first.
Me neither.
Dawn wrote: I would rather hear a candidate make a mistake than wait until their employees find the exact words they should say based on polls. Our elections are pathetic.
Yes, and that is primarily because our government is FOR-SALE. It is increasingly a plutocracy, as evidenced by 99.85% of all 200 million eligible voters that are vastly out-spent by a very tiny 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters that make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more). 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (usually the incumbent politician).
Dawn wrote: It begs the question: Are our Politicians a reflection of us OR are We a reflection of them?
It is both. It is all of us.
Dawn wrote: If they are an image of us … well… we are screwed.
Well, that is a possibility, which is increasing each year that pressing problems are allowed to grow in number and severity.

There are most certainly some painful consequences of decades of fiscal and moral bankruptcy already within the pipeline. The self-correction mechanism is “pain”.

Dawn wrote: Getting elected is nothing but a game. Soundbites. Our politicians know we are VERY busy people. That we catch the news in bits and pieces.
No doubt about it. They are masters at it.
Dawn wrote: Most voters make their decisions based on who they think will WIN.
Perhaps. 90% of the time, voters elect the candidate that spends the most money (usually, the incumbent politician), which is why our government is becoming a plutocracy.
Dawn wrote: Our news media plays a LARGE roll in the elections. I noticed that Hillary is getting alot of free airtime on CNN these past few days. I want to hear more, and see more, of those who are not in the top three. Am I alone in this?
That may be due the fact that she has the most money. That’s how it works (90% of the time), and also evidenced by Congress’ 95%-to-99% re-election rates.
Dawn wrote: I may be alone in this BUT I am sick of our elections being turned into a game. Politics may be a game BUT running our country is NOT!!! I want a REAL person in the office of the President.
Me too.

But we have the Voter Paradox:

  • Voters give Congress and the President dismally low approval ratings,

  • but then most voters reward Congress with 95-to-99% re-election rates, or/or vote for the candidate that spends the most money.

The problem is us.
All of us.
Voters too.
In a voting nation, an Educated electorate is paramount.

  • Governments are always trying to grow corrupt, but too many within the electorate are also too corrupt, complacent, and apathetic; many even reward THEIR incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election, as evidenced by Congress’ 95%-to-99% re-election rates (96.5% since year 1980).

  • 40% to 50% of voters don’t even bother to vote at all

  • most voters don’t even know who their state and federal senators and representatives are, much less their voting records.

  • too many voters merely pull the party lever; many not even knowing who they are voting for on the straight-party-ticket ballot.

  • most voters, 90% of the time, elect the candidate that spends the most money (usually incumbents).

  • too voters fall for the partisan-warfare, because it is easier to blame the OTHER party than admit THEIR party is corrupt too; it is easier to emphasize minor differences, rather than work in unity to solve the many things most of us all already agree upon (the problem and the solution).

  • too many voters are one-issue voters, making them easy to manipulate and bribe with their own tax dollars.

  • too many voters simply don’t care … at least, not until the painful consequences provide sufficient incentive to become more interested; voters will become much less complacent and apathetic when they are jobless, homeless, and hungry.
It won’t get better until enough voters Educate themselves and thoroughly understand the human factor, and carefully design our governments and laws to account for it, and then place sufficient emphasis on the fundamental components required for any healthy government, organization, or society:
  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
At any rate, we will eventually get our Education (and motivation) one way or another.
The only question is HOW and WHEN?
Will it be:
  • (a) the smart, peaceful, responsible way (and sooner than later)?

  • (b) Or, the hard, painful way (again; later than sooner)?
Already, there has been considerable deterioration for the past 30+ years, and the longer it continues, the worse it will be later (i.e. around 1976-to-1980, many things started to unravel: debt, plundering Social Security surpluses, regressive taxation, government that is increasingly FOR-SALE and plutocratic, corpocrisy and corporatisum, massive out-sourcing, abused H-1B Visa programs, bad trade policies and selling out American citizens, illegal immigration, refusal to enforce existing laws, pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits and votes, Constitutional violations, inflation from excessive money-printing and dishonest monetary policies, predatory lending, usurious 25% (or higher) interest rates, etc.).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 30, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #241778

Hunter speaks with realness and heart? surely you jest JD. AS far as Thompson, since he is an actor would you expect anything less than being able to give the illusion that he speaks with realness and heart?

Jack I agree the problem is us. We need to change it instead of cut and run though.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 30, 2007 12:31 PM
Comment #241779

j2t2

This is a battle we cannot win, a bridge too far. The Internet allows every one of us to be an opposition research team. It makes us mad when someone zaps our boys, but we surely enjoy catching the other guy with his pants down.

Consider the remark that sunk George Allen. Supporters thought it was a silly but harmless remark. Opponents saw it as a festering bucket of puss. Should we have ignored it?

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2007 1:26 PM
Comment #241782

j2t2

Continuing the discussion, take a look at what I just wrote on the red side. Do you really believe this would not be used against me if I ever entered politics? Would having such ideas BE a disqualifier even if I said I now had a change of heart? We cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube. The days of candor for politicians are finished and we shall not see their like again.

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2007 1:36 PM
Comment #241785

Jack, I fear you are right right but I hope you haved misjudged the next generation. Perhaps they will learn from our experience.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 30, 2007 3:47 PM
Comment #241789

It sure would be nice to see a candidate that would answer a question without sticking his/her thumb up to see which way the wind is blowing first.
And I doubt a candidate like that would get elected because she/he wouldn’t be telling the voters what they want to hear.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #241797

These archeological findings may shed some light on the root problem.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 30, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #241822

This is a battle we cannot win, a bridge too far.
Posted by: Jack


I disagree, Jack. The people are yearning for someone who is believeable and most of all truthful. I think this is one reason that the Clintons are so disliked, Barak is simply unqualified and not trustworthy through experience, and it’s the reason Republicans do not have a real front-runner as well.
None of these “players” seem to display a “real genuine passion” for their country.
All of these people running seem to give the impression of more of the same political rhetoric and tired playbook demagoguery.

It’s not a bridge too far to expect better than this. And I probably wouldn’t give a plug nickel for any of the top three right now on either side. I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling, and I also don’t think that is my fault.

The one thing that I have respected about Bush is that when he believes he is right, he at least stands behind his decisions. I think his core beliefs change very little. In fact, this is one thing about him that infuriates the Democrats. But, it resonated with the majority of people. And that is why he was re-elected even during an unpopular war. Republicans would still hold Congress if they had kept with their own core beliefs and held down spending. It is they who fudged on their beliefs, and it cost them dearly.
Democrats are falling into a fudge cycle of their own with the current Congress, and I think they are scared to death it will come back to bite them in the butt. I think the key is holding one’s base constituency. The middle, moderates and independents, will then split vote for the most believeable, sincere, or honest candidate, unless there is a third party candidate running.
That is pretty much the way I see it.

JD

P.S. That almost sounded like an apology above for “what you just wrote on the red side” because it would not get you elected. That is just the problem, Jack. People analyze their own words as to whether it will get them where they want to go. Sincerity and honesty is completely lost in doing that. I think in the case of politicians it is a problem of knowing who they want to be, but not knowing who they really are.

Posted by: JD at December 31, 2007 1:16 AM
Comment #241824


Things will not get better in America until or unless We The People realize that we have the politicians and government that we deserve.

From the outhouse to the Whitehouse, corruption is becoming prevalent in our society. Lying, cheating and stealing are becoming normal rather than aberrant behavior despite their unacceptability.

History tells us, it is moral decay from within rather than barbarians at the gates that destroys powerful democracies or democratic republics.

When tyranny comes to town, it is usually riding a horse called populism to the accompaniment of brass bands and cheering crowds.

Posted by: jlw at December 31, 2007 2:13 AM
Comment #241826

JD

When people yearn or aspire, it means they do not plan to do anything practical about it. We are getting the politicians we deserve. On this very blog all of us have taken the small details to attack political opponents. When we are doing it, we call it speaking truth to power or blowing the whistle.

BTW - if you read what I write you know that I do not choose my words to be popular. I can do that ONLY because I do not give a sh*t if people like me or not. A politican cannot do that. He/She is in a perpetual popularity contest.

It actually is a flaw in democracy, recognized as far back as ancient Greece. When you appeal to the mass of people, you have to cater to them. For awhile in America we managed a balance that moderated this with checks and balances, which included non-democratic elements. The mass media and now the internet has brought us closer to the Athenian model of democracy. Read Thucydides and see how that worked out.

The only way to mitigate this problem is to limit the reach of government. Then people like you and me can afford to be unpopular with some folks. Pluralism means most people think you are wrong most of the time. We need to tolerate that.

Posted by: Jack at December 31, 2007 2:43 AM
Comment #241831
jlw wrote: Things will not get better in America until or unless We The People realize that we have the politicians and government that we deserve.
Exactly.

As evidenced by the Voter Paradox:

  • The Voters give a corrupt, incompetent, Do-Nothing, Congress (as low as 11%) and the President dismally low approval ratings,

  • but then most of those same voters reward Congress with 95-to-99% re-election rates, and/or vote for the candidate that spends the most money.

Unforunately, too many voters simply don’t care, 40%-to-50% of voters don’t vote, too many voters are one-issue voters (making them easy to trick and manipulate), too many voters believe their vote will not make any difference, and too many voters blindly pull the party-lever without even knowing the candidates on the ballot (much less the candidates voting records).

Thus, as you say …

jlw wrote: … We The People realize that we have the politicians and government that we deserve.

The one thing that will finally bring about change is the painful consequences. We are already starting to feel some of the painful consequences of 30+ years of these numerous regressive/oppressive systems, which all did not come about by mere coincidence. And the pain (for the majority of Americans) may grow exponentially from this point forward. But that majority really only has themselves to thank for it. They will be less complacent and apathetic when they are jobless, homeless, and hungry. Unfortunately, that will not erase the painful (but educational) consequences of 30+ years of fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

Jack wrote: Congress is FUBAR (the second part of which stands for beyond all recognition.) There is evidently no remedy for this. The Republicans kicked out the Dems in 1994, but after a couple years in power became like them in spending and corruption. The Dems kicked out the Republicans last year. It took them only a few months to revert to form and waste most of their time with meaningless posturing.
Precisely.

Jack, That sounds like a revelation? I suspect that you suspected as much all along? No? Did you really ever have any doubt that repeatedly rewarding a corrupt, incompetent, Do-Nothing two-party duopoly with 96.5% seat-retention rates (since year 1980) would have any other end result? Have you noticed that many of the most staunch Democrat loyalists have been somewhat less defensisve and/or silent lately? Why? Probably because many of them are now sadly realizing what you just stated so precisely. That doesn’t mean they have turned to the OTHER side, but the silence is usually a definite sign of some disillusionment.

As jlw wrote, it won’t get better until enough of the other voters understand what you just wrote. And that, as history shows us, will be driven by one of the most basic and common human motivators: pain

One way to help bring about some reforms (sooner than later, since later equates to pain), is to realize that most incumbent politicians in BOTH parties are FOR-SALE, and to simply stop rewarding those irresponsible, corrupt, incompetent, plutocratic, FOR-SALE incumbent politicians in a two-party plotocracy with 96.5% seat-retention rates.

Eventually, that is exactly what most Americans will do anyway, when things become painful enough.
So why wait until then?
Why always wait until the pain of rampant corruption motivates us?
Why always wait until the self-correction mechanism (pain) is all too obvious?
Why always learn the hard and painful way (again and again)?
Why not do the smart, logical, and responsible thing, and disrupt the corrupt, plutocratic trend; now, before it becomes more painful?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 31, 2007 9:36 AM
Comment #241833

d.a.n.

I have long ago figured out that most government is FUBAR. We need government, but we should ask it to do as little as possible because it is FUBAR. This revelation came to me a long time ago, which is why I am conservative and advocate less government.

I know that organizationally government just cannot work when it gets too big. (You know if an ant was the size of a man, it would be much stronger BUT an it violates the laws of physics for an ant to be that big, so the argument is meaningless. Same goes for government. Some things are not scalable.) Changing the politicians will not change the problem, because the problem is systemic.

Posted by: Jack at December 31, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #241837
Jack wrote: d.a.n.

I have long ago figured out that most government is FUBAR.

Most of the time, that is pretty darn accurate.
Corruption is always looking for a toe-hold, and once it is found, it breeds (at least, until that becomes too painful). Why is that?

There are periods when it is better or worse. It’s most likely a cycle:

    ,-(1) corruption, oppression, pain and misery,
    | (2) courage, responsibility, outrage,
    | (3) liberty, growth, abundance,
    | (4) selfishness, complacency, fiscal irresponsibility
    | (5) apathy, dependency, fiscal & moral bankruptcy,
    ` - - return to step (1)
Jack wrote:
We need government,
True. Without it, there is anarchy, waring factions, and rampant and unjust aggression. Few would argue your point.

Jack wrote: … but we should ask it to do as little as possible because it is FUBAR.
Absolutely.
Jack wrote: This revelation came to me a long time ago, which is why I am conservative and advocate less government.
Yes. Less government, and less intrusive government is best.

However, some of your ideas about taxing carbon and/or gasoline seem to be contrary to that philosophy?

Jack wrote: I know that organizationally government just cannot work when it gets too big. (You know if an ant was the size of a man, it would be much stronger BUT an it violates the laws of physics for an ant to be that big, so the argument is meaningless. Same goes for government. Some things are not scalable.)
Interesting analogy.

Undoubtedly, too much government is bad. Our government is severely bloated, wasteful, and inefficient.

Jack wrote: Changing the politicians will not change the problem,
I disagree. That is part of the solution, but not the total solution. The system requires reforms too.
Jack wrote: … because the problem is systemic.
Not completely. You are only partailly correct. To blame it only on the system ignores the fact that it was created and subsequently perverted by politicians and a complacent electorate (i.e. people).

Yes, we fail to design and maintain our governmental systems to emphasize Education, Transparency, and Accountability, but systems are created by people.

The root problem starts with people and the most fundamental root problem is a human trait (laziness and greed), which is repeatedly underestimated and overlooked, which results in insufficient Education, Transparency, and Accountability, and breeds a cycle of corruption.

Psychologists, the folks at Transparency International, and other think-tanks understand this, and the Transparency International Corruption Index Scores of many nations are telling us something important about a common-thread within many governments around the world.

To simply blame it on the system is too simplistic.
For example, reward your children for misbehavior and see what happens.
They will become spoiled rotten.
Now, reward irresponsible incumbent politicians with 95% to 99% re-election rates, and observe what happens.
Reward a plutocratic, FOR-SALE, two-party duopoly with 96.5% seat-retention rates (since ytear 1980) and observe what happens.
What you see today is the result (FUBAR).
It is not merely systemic.
It is also human, since we designed those systems (and then allowed them to be perverted and FUBARed).
We can not fix the systemic problems without first accepting (however unpleasant), thoroughly understanding, and accounting for these negative human traits (laziness and greed), by incorporating and maintaining sufficient Education (not just math and science, but about government and human nature), Transparency, and Aaccountability in our systems of government and society.

The health of any organization, government, or society depends on a firm understanding of the importance of these fundamental concepts (human nature, and Education, Transparency, and Aaccountability). But, obviously, they are not well understood if we think they are systemic only. It is not that complicated, and it sounds like mere common-sense, but they are still overlooked far too often, and the end result is what we see and you call FUBAR. And it can get worse.

When will it get better?
Most likely when FUBAR becomes too painful.
But, every once in a great while, humans make reforms BEFORE things become too painful.
And then, finally, there is progress.

Will be make progress, or will we learn the hard way (again)?
I fear, this time around, we will choose pain, if 96.5% seat-retention rates in Congress, and misplaced loyalties to THE PARTY are any indication.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 31, 2007 11:03 AM
Comment #241838

We recently elected a new Mayor in our small city.
Three people ran.
The wife of the man who was Mayor for eons.
A man I know little about who went by a name that sounded like he was linked to the mafia.
A woman who was unheard of, but did have good looks going for her. (Shallow but true.)

I was convinced the ex-mayor’s wife would win simply because of who HE was.
I didn’t think ‘the Don’ would win simply because he sounded scarry … lol.
I thought the third woman had a shot just because she is nice looking but didn’t think she’d win because of being an independent. Not in this town.

We now have our 1st woman & first independent mayor.
The race reminded me of the Presidential race because of the 1st woman part of it and the fact that the 1st woman could have been the wife of an ex-mayor. An ex-mayor who ‘everyone’ loved and thought he did such a great job when really he didn’t.
People in this area really had no problem with a woman being mayor … just not THAT woman.
Her platform was… she was going to build walking and bike trails and spruce up the city parks to attract better businesses and jobs to our city.
When she lost she blamed it on the newspaper that was always so supportive of her husband.

Anyway. It was alot like the majority of races in our country. People making promises that won’t fix anything and are basically nothing but window dressing for some moron that contributed money. The people(taxpayers) who would have funded these improvements would probably have never used them.

Hillary tried to set up a plan to give all newborns $5,000. What happened to this marvelous idea? How many ‘anchor babies’ would have received this money??
Where was the money going to come from?
Who are Hillary’s voters?
Who are the people who vote for anyone promising more entitlement programs?

How many of these voters, of which many probably get the income credit and pay no income tax, realize that taxes on everything else go up to cover these programs/gifts?

Our state started a Health Insurance program that citizens can buy into. I was thrilled. Ready to sign up, since we are self pay and our premiums are getting to be more than we can really handle(even though we haven’t really used it).
I went to the website to sign up.
Found out that we qualify financially BUT we cannot sign up because we have insurance. In order to fully qualify we have to be without insurance for 6 months. I never bothered to look but I am sure that if I drop the insurance to qualify they will not accept us.
When they add a section for self-employed - which they never will - we may be able to buy in. The premium would be about half of what we pay now. Same insurance company. MAKES ME SICK!
This program is being funded by the tobacco tax that we also pay … but will never be able to get back.
I’m not expecting a handout … but I would like to be able to buy in.
When it comes to government health insurance it should not be free. We already have free programs for those who are poor.

Posted by: Dawn at December 31, 2007 11:24 AM
Comment #241847

Fred Thompson makes his appeal to Iowans. I will include a link in just a second.

If you want to see a very carefully crafted “folksy” attempt at “straight shooting”, then you should see this. He’s got some really good writers and delivers in a “no nonsense” sort of way that amplifies his acting talent. Those who are fans of his movies and his TV roles are very familiar with it.

The final plea was delivered on the internet and runs just over 17 minutes.

Great job of acting, Fred.

Here it is.

Posted by: Jim T at December 31, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #241848

Bloomberg.
Will he get in the race?
The media is all for it.
Ready for the excitement.
Playing him up.
Creating scenarios for the race for President that would make it more fun to watch and ‘play’.

Posted by: Dawn at December 31, 2007 1:03 PM
Comment #241849


British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some Smart cars.
The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study’s three authors.

“This is an amazing discovery,” he said Tuesday.
“We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But we never realized until now just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were,” he said.

cnn.com

I guess these bugs never read their physics book.

Posted by: Cube at December 31, 2007 1:09 PM
Comment #241866

Cube

Note the adjective “sea”. Things that float do not require as much support. Do you think a blue whale could crawl across the ground?

Besides different bugs have different bodies. Some can be bigger. But some things clearly are not scaleable. I do not believe an ant could be, but I do not have scientific proof at hand, so consider a building. How tall can you build a brick building? Can it be as tall as the Sears tower?

I do not want to get bogged down in metaphores. Consider simple span of control. Nobody can personally mange the work of 100 people. I wrote efficiency reports for 15 people once and it took me a long time to do it right. The bigger the organization, the more sublayers you need. Each layer creates inefficiency. A very large organization will have trouble being nimble. It will have to rely on bureaucracy, which is good at some tasks and not so good at others AND it gets expensive to feed.

Posted by: Jack at December 31, 2007 5:02 PM
Comment #241876
But some things clearly are not scaleable. I do not believe an ant could be, but I do not have scientific proof at hand, so consider a building. How tall can you build a brick building? Can it be as tall as the Sears tower?
That’s a reasonable analogy; especially with some biological entities.

However, with many things, the quality and strength of materials and the design are important major factors, such as the difference between a brick-only building, and a steel building.

Likewise with government; the design is critical (i.e. containing sufficient Education, Transparency, Accountability), and so is the quality of those that hold office (peer pressure, honesty, integrity, honesty).

Who can name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are Responsible and Accoutable? And how did they get that way? It is nothing new. Corruption has always been with us, but it is now increasingly a plutocracy, as evidenced by 99.85% of all 200 million eligible voters that are being vastly out-spent by a tiny 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters that make 83% of all federal campaign donations.

But when those that hold office have been spoiled rotten by repeatedly being rewarded for corruption, they are like steel that has corroded, rusted, and compromised. There is clearly a quality issue, and continuing to reward corruption with re-election makes it more corrupt, bringing it closer to collapse, and those that have become spoiled by corruption are very unlikely to be part of the solution.

Have you ever seen an elephant gallop?
Well, that’s a good analogy of whether a corrupt, Do-Nothing, Congress can ever reform itself.

It can’t, because that is like expecting a rusting, corroding, decaying steel structure to repair itself. It can’t.

It must be repaired with new parts (i.e. new materials).

There is no way to reform a Congress in place, since more re-elections simply reaffirms and breeds more corruption.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 31, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #241890
Getting elected is nothing but a game. Soundbites.

Oh come now. Politics and political campaigns have always been and always will be a game of clever wording. The slogans and sayings that now go by the term “soundbites” is something that comes very naturally to human beings. And the truth is, the majority of us Americans really like them, and use them to great effect. That’s because they have the ability to heft a whole bunch of ideas (and/or ideals) while lightly and eloquently using a minimum of words.

Off the top of my head, some classic American political “soundbites”:

All Men Are Created Equal
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Paine’s Common Sense (*some quotes below)
Live Free or Die
No Taxation Without Representation
Remember the Alamo
Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too
Don’t Swap Horses in Midstream
Remember the Maine
Big Stick Diplomacy
A Chicken in Every Pot, and a Car in Every Garage
I Propose to the American People, a New Deal
The Four Freedoms (Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear)
Remember Pearl Harbor
Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!
The Buck Stops Here
Peace and Prosperity
I Like Ike
Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You; Ask What You Can Do For Your Country
The Common Enemies of Man: Tyranny, Poverty, Disease, and War Itself
In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right (But In Your Guts, You Know He’s Nuts!)
Morning Again in America
Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?
Read My Lips: No New Taxes
New World Order
It’s the Economy, Stupid!
9/11
Mission Accomplished
Stay the Course
I’m the Decider
Support the Troops
Culture of Corruption
There Are Two Americas

Maybe I went a little long with my list there, but let’s face it, we have always been a jingoistic culture that can’t resist a good soundbite.

*A few good ones from Paine:

“I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense …”
“There is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.”
“So far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king.”
“Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ‘tis time to part.”
“Every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
“That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices among Nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.”
“Since nothing but blows will do, for God’s sake, let us come to a final separation.”

Dawn:

A man I know little about who went by a name that sounded like he was linked to the mafia.

I didn’t think ‘the Don’ would win simply because he sounded scarry … lol.

Ugh. Just like ALL those EYE-talians, right?
Bigotry is alive and well.
God Bless America!

Posted by: veritas vincit at December 31, 2007 11:17 PM
Comment #241891

How would you know if I am Italian or not?
It was not bigotry.
When one is running for office and uses the word ‘Big’ in front of their name …
I don’t know anyone from the mob personally, I don’t think - never asked!, and I have many Italian friends who would have said the same thing I did…..and did.
It is people who accuse others of bigotry based on a ‘soundbite’ who cause trouble where there was no trouble to begin with.

Posted by: Dawn at December 31, 2007 11:27 PM
Comment #241900
It is people who accuse others of bigotry based on a ‘soundbite’ who cause trouble where there was no trouble to begin with.

You admitted knowing nothing about this man running for public office, yet thought he couldn’t win because his name “sounded like he was linked to the mafia” and was “scary”, so he was transformed into ‘The Don’.
Then you write an entire blogpost whining about the whole concept of political soundbitery, and become upset when nailed for doing an uncanny impression of bigotry.

“Causing trouble where there was no trouble to begin with”!!!

Thank you for the chuckle, and Happy New Year!

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 1, 2008 10:21 AM
Comment #241901

C’mon, Veritas vincit, it may have been a slip, but I don’t think Dawn meant it the way you took it. But, again Dawn’s point is made. You would probably not vote for Dawn if she was running for office because the media would have her “supposedly” anti-Italian comments played on every station out there.
Politically, Dawn has just lost the entire Italian-American population if she was running for office, just because she was being taken out of context on one remark.
What she said was not unlike the issue about Mike Huckabee only six months ago.

“He could never win. His name sounds too country hick!” Huckabee has Arkansas hillbilly all over it.” These were some of the things the media was saying about the guy back then. Now, he is the front-runner in Iowa.

Let’s face it, everybody does exactly what Dawn did in using their personal experience and first impressions on the candidates look, (remember the opposition calling the esteemed Bob Dole a cripple?), their name recognition or the sound of their name, their hairstyle, you name it.

What would people be saying about Guiliani if he went by the nickname “Big Vito” or should I spell that more presidentially, “Big Veto” Guiliani, instead of Rudy?

Someone would be connecting him with the Godfather out there in the media for sure. There are so many superficial things that are so blown out of proportion. I think the key is asking yourself, “What is really important, and what is simply a superficial attack?”; and not getting caught up in the group think that doe not really matter, but is often the tipping point of the elections.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 1, 2008 12:14 PM
Comment #241921
Veritas vincit, it may have been a slip, but I don’t think Dawn meant it the way you took it.

Whatever the intent was, I automatically perceived it as stereotyping, since the admission had been made that nothing at all was known about that candidate.

But, again Dawn’s point is made.

Well, this point was certainly proved:

Most voters make their decisions based on who they think will WIN.

Obviously, a vote was cast there without knowing anything at all about two of those mayoral candidates. Remember, one was known only by name (‘The Don’), and the other was judged according to looks (The independent winner).

You would probably not vote for Dawn if she was running for office because the media would have her “supposedly” anti-Italian comments played on every station out there.
Politically, Dawn has just lost the entire Italian-American population if she was running for office,

Yes, that’s true. Because I favor politicians who are interested in representing all their constituents, not just the ones they like.

just because she was being taken out of context on one remark.

How do you get that I was taking those remarks out of the context that they were delivered in?
This “out of context” claim is one I frequently hear being made by pundits on the Right (I feel erroneously). Sometimes there really isn’t any other way to take a remark than at face value. (“Maccaca” for example.)

What she said was not unlike the issue about Mike Huckabee only six months ago.
“He could never win. His name sounds too country hick!” Huckabee has Arkansas hillbilly all over it.”

In my view, there really isn’t much in a name. However, I myself see Huckabee as a hillbilly. Not because of his name, or because of where he comes from, but due to much of what I’ve read about his record as the governor of Arkansas, and because of his extreme Authoritarian Christianist views (denial of scientific theory in favor of Creationism, desire to tear down the wall of separation between Church and State). I’m also bothered by his ignorance of foreign policy issues, and that he recently said he wants to remedy by getting John Bolton to be his adviser!

These were some of the things the media was saying about the guy back then.

Yes, big corporate media and the other plutocrats don’t seem to care for Huckabee very much.

Now, he is the front-runner in Iowa.

Think he’ll win the nomination?

“Let’s face it, everybody does exactly what Dawn did in using their personal experience and first impressions on the candidates look,”

First impressions, sure. But then many of us move past the superficiality of that first impression and try to figure out who that person is, and what their policies and positions are. First impressions are often very deceiving, as I’m sure you’ve heard.

(remember the opposition calling the esteemed Bob Dole a cripple?)

No, I don’t recall that. Regardless of his political views, everyone knows that Dole is war hero.

What would people be saying about Guiliani if he went by the nickname “Big Vito” or should I spell that more presidentially, “Big Veto” Guiliani, instead of Rudy? Someone would be connecting him with the Godfather out there in the media for sure.

Haven’t you heard that they are, and with good reason? That guy has more ties to the mob than a concrete shoe salesman. Or maybe I should make that shoe-bomb salesman, since it came out that Rudy’s private security firm got contracts in Qatar from a government minister who harbored Khalid Sheik Mohammed (terrorist in on the planning of the 9/ll attacks).

There are so many superficial things that are so blown out of proportion.

It’s true. For example, a candidate getting an expensive haircut that was stupidly arranged by one of his campaign aides, and then have to watch while he gets tarred and feathered with that haircut for months on end by just about everyone in the media.

I think the key is asking yourself, “What is really important, and what is simply a superficial attack?”; and not getting caught up in the group think that doe not really matter, but is often the tipping point of the elections.

Very well put, JD. I agree.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 1, 2008 6:57 PM
Comment #241940


I think we can pretty well take it for granted that any candidate, right or left, that isn’t acceptable to corporate america is going to get plenty of negative publicity.

veritas vincit: Contrary to popular belief, I and many of my fellow hillbilly’s are not Bible thumping hicks.

Posted by: jlw at January 2, 2008 1:36 AM
Comment #241950

Two schools of thought here.

Jack’s school says government will do most things badly, therefore, the least government is the best government. Jack even goes, to my surprise, to source of this philosophy, that people are flawed and flawed people make democracy a poor form of government. This kind of honesty from those on the Right is rare. Kudo’s to Jack for his references to Athenian democracy and Thucydides.

The other school of thought is more in line with the founding fathers who believed democracy of, by, and for the people, is a good thing, IF that democracy is itself checked and balanced by a tenured representative government, which can delay hasty and ill-conceived public passion from becoming law and wreaking havoc on long term stability and longevity of the nation. The founding fathers recognized that democracy belongs in the hands of the literate, those with a vested interest and stake in the products of government, and those with personal qualities required to stand up and speak loudly for their purposes and interests. In their day, that meant the vote went to white, male, landowners. Those on the left believe our government is as good or bad as our educational system permits it to be. Which is why public education remains a cornerstone foundational issue for the Democratic Party.

Whose school of thought is the easiest to observe? Jack’s and Republicans. Whose school of thought would produce the better future if national secular educational standards were observed and met? The Democrats.

There are some instructional lessons from history that tip the scale. Least government was the rule of the day prior to the 1929 Stock Market crash and the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Least government obviously did not protect nor defend the stability and well being of the nation and its citizens from those who sought to build empires.

With the GI Bill and massive infusion of cash, research, and innovative development of education that followed the returning veteran’s of WWII, came the greatest period of productivity, prosperity, civil rights enforcement, and equality of opportunity our nation has ever witnessed or the world has ever seen.

And with the decline of the public education system in the 1990’s to the present, has come the sowing of the seeds of our nation’s demise resulting from unbridled borrowing, greed, legalized corruption of the political process, and widespread ignorance not seen since the pre-WWII era.

Some will attempt to argue the details, but, the trends are historical facts and the correlations are undeniable. The prescription is also very clear. In the absence of a Renaissance in American education, least government is called for. With a Renaissance effort in secular education at a national level, the democratic aspects of our government can actually be our nation’s future salvation in century of global challenges.

There is a progression in history. Challenges began as conflicts between the tribal peoples and their leaders. These grew into challenges between national leadership and citizens of sovereign nations. These grew into challenges posed between nations in regions of the world, centering on control of lands and natural resources. In the 21st century, without having resolved all of the above mentioned challenges, we face not tribal, not national, not regional, but, world wide global challenges that threaten the entire human species and all of civilization around the earth.

Will America join with China, Russia, India, and Malaysia toward successful mastery of these challenges? Or, will America become an irrelevant debtor nation of ignorant consumers demanding ever more for less as they further their addiction on the borrowing and consumption of the exports the new century’s foreign leaders ever so willingly supply, all the while fussing with each other over race, religion, and disparities of wealth within?

How America votes in 2008, will in very large part, seal the future course of our history. We can vote for the status quo and yesteryear’s factional issues, or, we can vote to lift ourselves up above the pettiness of our political system and DEMAND better for ourselves and our children’s future.

Vote to keep 95% of the incumbents in office for more of the same, or vote for their challengers and a different future than the one these sitting politicians have laid down for us so far.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 6:45 AM
Comment #241959

BTW - he’s not Italian but he is a large man. Would say fat but … u catch my drift.
I wouldn’t want to lose any more voters over a word.
Anybody hear about the University that is banning words & phrases?
banned

This is a joke but how long until it really happens?
We the (overly sensitive) people, may just go along with fines & jail time over the choice of words.

Posted by: dawn at January 2, 2008 12:01 PM
Comment #241964

jlw:

I think we can pretty well take it for granted that any candidate, right or left, that isn’t acceptable to corporate america is going to get plenty of negative publicity.

Couldn’t agree more. Or sometimes not given very many opportunities to make appearances, or be mentioned in any serious way at all. I feel that this has been the obvious case with many of the Democratic candidates. Even with John Edwards, despite the fact he’s been polling very well in Iowa all along, and the caucuses are still too close to call among the three front runners.
Corporate media is certainly aware of just who will butter their bread, and is definitely doing their best to try to influence and control the outcome of the nominations. On both sides of the political aisle.

veritas vincit: Contrary to popular belief, I and many of my fellow hillbilly’s are not Bible thumping hicks.

Well aware of that fact, and wouldn’t want to imply otherwise. (Even though Huckabee does qualify as one of those, in my view.) Just as Americans of Italian descent aren’t necessarily connected to the mob. Even when they’re fat guys who have been given a nickname like Big Vito.

I take the same view as Margaret Mead, who said:

Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.

Obviously, it’s not only children who might benefit from a cautious awareness that cliched stereotypes are often of little or no merit in judging character and ability.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 2, 2008 1:25 PM
Comment #241971

Jack, do you not find your support of huge and massive government which intrudes upon and manages the affairs of foreign people in foreign nations fully supportable, while rejecting large government intruding upon and managing the affairs of its own people in its homeland, highly contradictory and at cross purposes?

If government is so bad at managing the domestic affairs it knows best, what justifies its managing the affairs of others in foreign lands which it knows least?

Or, do you find resolution in the unitary executive theory which posits the authority for foreign affairs and national defense in the one person sitting in the White House, whose authority is far more efficient than the democratic or representative process, and therefore preferred?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 2:24 PM
Comment #242053

David

The founding fathers read Thucydides. They well understood and feared the anarchy of Athenian style democracy. They also studied and discussed the flaws of republics, monarchies and oligarchies, ancient and contemporary. That is why they set up a mixed system that balanced the power of the demos with that of the few (senate) and the one (president). They also understood that we are in a never ending struggle to preserve liberty and they purposely set many of the parts of government at cross purposes. It means that government in the U.S. is – by design – inefficient.

BTW – we accept the use of democracy in the rhetorical sense, while embracing – as we should – the concept of checks and balances, local & state autonomy and civil rights that limit the scope of democracy (i.e. rule of the people). Thucydides, Aristotle, Hamilton & Madison would have recognized our government as the mixed form that it is.

We need government for many things. You cannot have a free market w/o a government that protects rule of law and property rights. But we should not ask government to do things beyond its capacity. We will never come up with a formula that will work now and forever and it is better to err on the side of too little than too much.

Re my support of “huge” government, I assume you are talking about my Iraq enterprise. Yes, BTW - my support of big government in things like war and peace (and my carbon tax) is inconsistent. I believe all great things are based on paradox.

I am emotionally attached to doing my duty as an American and I cannot explain it rationally. You may have looked at my personal blog. If you do, you know that I really cannot put it into words that make sense and so I don’t try. I really cannot argue for my patriotism; I just do it.

Which just brings me to the other truth. Logic and reasoning can inform decisions, but all our important decisions (the kinds where you risk you life, fortune of sacred honor) are based on values and emotion.

There is a difference in that way between personal and government decisions. The rule of law needs to be consistent. Among people, only the dead and the insane can maintain consistency for any length of time.

Posted by: Jack at January 3, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #242059


Who wouldn’t want to do great things with other peoples money when it results in great profits for you and yours?

David R.; I think we will continue to be ignorant consumption addicts until we can no longer do it. We will then become very mad and mean. We will elect a champion of the people who will promise to destroy the scapegoats and return America to it’s rightful position in the World.

Posted by: jlw at January 3, 2008 12:56 PM
Comment #242062

Jack said: “It means that government in the U.S. is – by design – inefficient.”

NewsFlash for you Jack. It’s pretty efficient now under Republican’s Unitary Executive Theory, I’d say about 55% as efficient as a straight forward dictatorship. NO thanks to the partisan hack gutless wonders in Congress.

Jack said: “BTW – we accept the use of democracy in the rhetorical sense”

BullCrap. When the Senate was elected by state legislators and the electoral college delegates as well for electing the President, then, it was rhetorical. But, with Idiot Jackson’s expansion of executive authority and rally for popular election of the president, and with the Amendment to directly elect the Senate by the people of each state, we became a real Democracy.

Which of course scared the hell out of the powerful elite and folks like yourself, who gave entirely new meaning and purposes to political parties to try to mitigate this democracy. Now all we have is corruption of the entire system from the voter, to the politician, to the politicization of the judiciary.

Jack said: “but all our important decisions (the kinds where you risk you life, fortune of sacred honor) are based on values and emotion.”

And it would seem, all the important decisions (the kinds where you risk the lives of others, their fortunes, or sacred honor) are based on values of emotion as well and defenses like, “All great things are based on paradox” so don’t try to make sense of it. What hogwash.

And the emotional man who kills his wife out of jeolousy? Is he too to be defended by the paradox of loving and killing her, and his “value of emotion” on such an important life or death decision, as you use to defend your decisions?

Your argument is utterly and completely absent any reason or defensibility other than its implied rationale: ‘you do what you want because you want to do it, and to hell with the consequences to others’. Which is fine so long as you don’t support condemning others for their own participation in that justification. Otherwise, the hypocrisy is more than reason will tolerate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 1:29 PM
Comment #242063

jlw, of course I hope you are wrong. But, reason says, if betting, bet that you are right.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 1:30 PM
Comment #242108

Jack

You are right without sufficient evidence it is difficult to declare whether a particular insect is scalable to larger proportions. My response to your metaphor was supposed to be more humor than retort. I find it interesting that you use a Blue whale as another example to emphasize your meaning, considering that in its’ history, the blue whale did indeed wander on land at one time.

Now that I’ve been drawn into this discussion, I must reply that I disagree with your assessment that government is not suited to run certain programs due to its’ size. Your argument that government cannot be “efficient” begs the question define efficiency? If efficiency means profit, or least cost method, then perhaps you are right. But unlike business, we do not allow government to fail. As an example, if a private firm undertook the implementation of the Iraq war using the strategy the U.S. used. This company would have gone bankrupt before any reasonable stability could have been achieved. The U.S. though with comparably unlimited resources and a willing stream of volunteers it could sacrifice, has been afforded an opportunity to alter its original strategy.

Corporations offer services or goods at difference pricing levels, offering the consumer various pricing opportunities. Allowing the consumer to decide what level of service they can afford to purchase. Government is required to offer a certain level of service to all those that are eligible under a program. Does this make government less efficient? It would not seem to for the person who otherwise could not afford a medical procedure for example. Does this dilute the purchasing power of the dollar paid directly or paid through taxes for any such service? I would expect you to answer that question with an emphatic yes, but I would offer that there are too many variables for a quick answer.

Interesting enough, it seems the abuse in government seems to exist mainly where government interfaces with business. Remove the business aspect from this equation and there would seem to be less complaint. Of course this is not entirely possible or wanted, but perhaps this is an indication that the problem does not lie with government per se’.


Posted by: Cube at January 3, 2008 7:21 PM
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