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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1399

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:49 am    Post subject: Politics Reply with quote

I am starting a new thread because parts of this post relate to multiple earlier threads.

I mentioned my distaste for negative campaigning some time ago. I want to make a distinction here between public figures and the general public. Negative opinions expressed by any person in general are just that—expressions of opinion thoroughly protected by free speech rights. I write here as a citizen with no involvement in any campaigns. Negative campaigning by an office-seeker is a demonstration of the character of the office-seeker and, for me, a red flag. If someone tears down rather than building up while SEEKING office, we can expect the same if they GET the office. Dumbya did not win any elections by positive campaigning and the last 8 years have proven what a ruiner he is. (Actually, he lost in 2000 and was put in office by 5 old men with the power to override the votes of millions of citizens and there were serious questions about some electronic voting machines used in the 2004 election.) His Rove-led attack squads and the supposedly independent Swift-boaters swamped his opposites in negativity. Now McCain has hired ex-Rovians for his campaign and has Sarah Barracuda as a proxy to voice his nastiest smears, so we are being swamped with more murk and mud. Negative campaigns also show candidates who HAVE no acceptable positions on real issues--they try to tear down everyone else because they know they could never win if their own policies were widely known.
I believe public officials should be held to higher standards than private citizens. “With power comes responsibility.” Anyone in a position of power can do more harm as well as more good, so in an ideal world anyone getting power would be worthy of it (truly elite in qualifications). Unfortunately, in the real world, far too many people in positions of power are among the worst possible choices (elitists who feel entitled).
I would really like to see a campaign where at least one side sticks to positive messages (following Jesus’ injunction to turn the other cheek or the more recent examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King), but I don’t expect it to happen. Most people, even (or especially) many supposed Christians, don’t respect mild words. They think positivity and gentleness is weakness. So we can expect both sides to continue to attack each other to satisfy public expectations.

On the experience question, duration of existence says nothing about competence, learning, or adaptability, all extremely important characteristics for a President as we have seen demonstrated by their absence for the last 8 years. Obama has earned money by creativity (book earnings). I haven’t read anything suggesting that McCain has a track record of ruining like Bush, but I also haven’t read anything suggesting that he has good skills for tough economic times. There is a reason many Presidents were Governors first—we tend to assume that state executive experience is useful training for a national executive. Both Obama and McCain have limited executive experience, though Obama’s is decades more recent and probably more relevant than McCain’s. Unfortunately, McCain's vice, Palin, is Bush all over again--incompetence wrapped in intolerance.

Sex is a huge issue in US politics because the Republicans won’t leave it alone. Any sexual behavior between mentally competent consenting adults should be no business of anyone but the participants, but a lot of people can’t keep their noses out of other people’s pleasure. Speaking in broad generalizations and gross oversimplifications, both parties try to regulate morality and behavior, but in very different ways. Democrats in general try to control PUBLIC behavior (actions that affect other people), leading to nanny-state complaints from opponents. Issues include gun control laws, drunk driving laws, minimum wage laws, product safety laws, etc. Republicans in general try to control PRIVATE morality, showing a theocratic streak in direct violation of the U.S. constitutional separation of church and state. Issues include saying who can marry, limiting women's reproductive choices, laws about private sexual behavior, stupid drug laws (prohibitions don’t work), etc.
Since Republicans insist on trying to control private behavior, no Republican in or seeking public office should expect any privacy. Obama has called for respect for family privacy because Democrats already respect privacy. Republican officials deserve as much privacy as they grant, which is none. The Bush regime has probably done more spying on Americans than was done in all previous American history.
Another basic split is that Republicans generally push laws favoring businesses and rich people over working people and some (too few) Democrats push laws protecting people from business abuses. Obama has proposed real tax cuts for 95% of working Americans and a tax increase for the richest 5%, while McCain has proposed tax cuts that give a pittance to most Americans and a windfall to the richest few. Trickle-down theory deserved the voodoo economics label when Reagan pushed it and still deserves the label, but that hasn't prevented Republicans from pushing policies based on it. CEO salaries used to be small multiples of general worker salaries and still are in much of the world, but many U.S. CEOs (and other executives) take home amounts that are obscene multiples of worker's pay, EVEN WHEN THEY RUIN THE COMPANIES. Modern CEOs make the robber barons of old whose actions led to many 19th & 20th Century laws look like pikers. They make socialism sound like a very good idea (especially if you read about real socialism as practiced in parts of Scandinavia). We clearly need new laws about corporate ethics, but what we are getting instead is another huge windfall for the people that have run the economy into the ground.
Republicans value faith over reason, knowledge and science much more often than Democrats. The Dumbya regime has been especially egregious in trampling science and Palin is more of the same.
Despite the party labels, if one looks at history one finds that the parties of today bear very little resemblance to the parties with the same names 50 or 100 or 150 years ago. Republicans were once fiscally responsible. Anyone more than a few decades old has to look at party positions and platforms to see if the party they grew up with is still one they agree with.
Whoever came up with the “neocon” label was a linguistic magician, since it lets people pushing RADICAL agendas claim to be conservatives. A more realistic interpretation is that neocons are new con artists who should be convicts.

There are big splits in American attitudes toward government in general. One problem seems to be a tendency of more Republicans than Democrats to turn government into a bad master rather than a good servant. I think of government as the appropriate locus for many societal resources and actions beyond the scope of private individuals. This includes police, military, primary and secondary education, many social services, social safety nets, interstate highways, etc. Many Republicans say they prefer less government, though actual Republican actions are more for government favoring them & their friends rather than for small government. Privatizing and outsourcing are big in Republican rhetoric, though I seem to recall that the few times the actual costs were studied privatizing almost always ended up costing more than having the same function handled directly by the government. Just look at the costs of Dubya's War for a recent example.

Sky is falling claims of voter fraud are a Republican staple in every election I can remember. It is part of their effort to disenfranchise people who might vote against them by passing laws making it harder for many people to vote.

There are undoubtedly many motivations for people to seek public office, but the two most obvious are public service and power. Some people genuinely seek office to try to improve their neighborhood, district, city, county, state, country or world by being good public servants. Unfortunately, far too many seek office for personal power and gain. W is a prime example of the bad power-trip politician. Given Obama’s work history, I think he is of the true public service temperament. I haven’t seen anything in the little I’ve read about McCain to indicate whether his impulses are on the servant or master side, though the number of lobbyists in his campaign team, his temper, his willingness to bypass laws for family, and his thoughtless impulsiveness are all worrisome hints. The "laws are for other people" attitude is too Bushlike for comfort, given how often we have seen above-the-law attitudes from the Oval Office in the last 8 years.

I’ve mentioned both the Washington Spectator and the Hightower Lowdown before as good sources for information not covered by the mainly right-wing owned media. Here are a few examples.
As I understand it, McCain has acknowledged not understanding economics very well and relied on others, especially Phil Gramm. Here are a couple articles on how bad that choice is:
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20080415fyi.cfm
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20080615fyi.cfm
This is an article about how phony McCain’s claims about controlling lobbying are:
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/1718
Here are a couple articles about what 8 years of a neocon regime have done to us:
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/1603
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/1633
This is a look at candidates’ money, both personal and campaign:
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/1654
This is a good article on health care:
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20080615chinese.cfm
To get a more realistic picture on taxes than some posts here, try a search of the Hightower site with words like rich and taxes:
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/search/node
This is a good summary on McCain:
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20080915reactive.cfm
This is a good summary on Palin:
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20081001palin.cfm

One of those publications mentioned a Shrub regime practice some time ago, but I haven't been able to find the original article. News, rulings and regulations that are especially noxious are timed to be released late on Fridays so they won't get as much coverage in routine weekly news cycles.

On respecting political speech (leaving signs undisturbed, etc.), we have now had years of horrible examples from the W regime. See this article:
http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/346

On Bush's Iraq war, some people are saying the "surge" worked. What is ignored in such claims, aside from the still horrific current situation, is that what helped most was a POLITICAL change, not more American troops. This is another item I first read about in the Lowdown or Spectator, though I have seen a very brief confirmation on an inside page in our local paper. Along with the troop increase, someone came up with a plan to PAY Iraqis to stop fighting the U.S., and this is a major factor in recent reductions in violence. The reference in the local paper used the term "Awakening Councils" and mentioned that there is considerable concern that the violence will increase again if the Iraqi government doesn't keep up the payments as the U.S. phases out.

On the issue of affirmative action, a lot of people don't distinguish between equal opportunities and equal outcomes. Programs designed to produce equal outcomes can be discriminatory because people have different abilities. Programs designed to provide equal opportunity are NOT discriminatory--they are intended to let people use their own talents without artificial impediments. The U.S. has had MANY discriminatory laws and practices since its inception: slavery until the 1860s, no vote for women until 1920, and many laws of racial and gender discrimination that were gradually eliminated though the 20th Century (though they are still not all gone). In addition to the many discriminatory laws, there are even more discriminatory public attitudes and private practices. Well-written affirmative action rules are a way of providing the equal opportunity that might otherwise be denied by the many discriminatory practices still prevalent in our society. Efforts to reduce discrimination have suffered setbacks under the W regime, which has pushed rules to allow religious groups receiving government money to discriminate and other rules to allow medical practitioners to deny services (especially contraception) based on religion.

Actions have consequences. The current economic chaos is the result of years of unrestrained actions by people who never take responsibility for the their own actions, with the W regime as the worst offender among many. Taking responsibility is one theme Obama is known for. Beyond the market chaos in the news every day, there has been huge neglect of unsexy needed maintenance for many years: roads, bridges, canals, dikes, power networks, telecommunications networks, military ships, planes, tanks, weapons, etc. Fixing all this neglect will cost trillions of dollars, yet nobody seems to push to fix anything until there is a failure and/or crisis (Katrina, a bridge collapse a year ago, etc.). Failure to curb the carbon emissions that increase global warming could also be included in this category of neglect. Thanks to the stalling of the W regime, action to protect the environment has been delayed at least 8 years, possibly to the point that a tipping point of irreversible change has already been passed.

The following is a mnemonic I came up with for the kind of maverick McCain really is:
Mouthing
Any
Viciousness
Expected to
Result
In
Campaign
Killing
What little respect I had for him before this year evaporated as I watched him reverse almost every position he has asserted in past years to appeal to the hard-core Republican base. Seeing the shift to totally negative campaigning changed loss of respect to full disgust.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark:

Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. We are on the same page so thanks for taking the time to post. Also appreciate the links as well. Palin was selected to shore up the religious right's support for McCain since they never would accept Joe Lieberman as McCain's running mate. I honestly thought the maverick would select Lieberman, buck the religious right and run a different kind of campaign. Instead someone else is calling the shots.

If we had to have a Republican President in 2000 it really should have been McCain instead of "W." But "W" got the money and support of the rich and powerful so he got to be the candidate instead. I guess those in power are ruing their greed for wanting "W" as President. Our country and the world would be a different place if Gore or even McCain had become President.

All those people who subverted the democratic process in 2000 and 2004 deserves whatever bad karma comes their way. Paybacks are hell.

Karen
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
“With power comes responsibility.”


Would that be the Spiderman Doctrine?

Very interesting post, Mark! I'll be checking out the articles you included. Thanks!
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1852
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Already starting to vote suppress in Florida:

Ballots picked up, then disappear
The disappearance of some absentee ballots, picked up under unusual circumstances, has raised some serious questions.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/campaign-2008/story/740834.html
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Obama has earned money by creativity (book earnings).


ROTFLMAO!

Yeah, that just about sums it up, doesn't it?

Ya know, I'd just about convinced myself to give this place another chance. I'd even started browsing through some of the romance threads to see if there was anything worth commenting on. Then I ran across that comment and lost it to absolute chuckles.

Have fun mocking the other side, people, but, please, do yourself a favor and actually watch some real news, too, before it's too late. I mean when even CNN is starting to take notice of some, um, discrepancies occuring right in front of their nose, you might want to wonder about things yourselves.

And, no, I'm not hanging around to discuss it with you. Open your eyes and find the answers. You are readers with brains. Act like it.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics Reply with quote

Have fun mocking the other side, people, but, please, do yourself a favor and actually watch some real news, too, before it's too late.

.[/quote]


Like the Fox News Channel? No thanks.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:
ROTFLMAO!

Yeah, that just about sums it up, doesn't it?

Ya know, I'd just about convinced myself to give this place another chance. I'd even started browsing through some of the romance threads to see if there was anything worth commenting on. Then I ran across that comment and lost it to absolute chuckles.

Have fun mocking the other side, people, but, please, do yourself a favor and actually watch some real news, too, before it's too late. I mean when even CNN is starting to take notice of some, um, discrepancies occuring right in front of their nose, you might want to wonder about things yourselves.

And, no, I'm not hanging around to discuss it with you. Open your eyes and find the answers. You are readers with brains. Act like it.



What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class, what if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards, what if Michele Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization, what if Obama were a member of the Keating 5, what if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teen-age daughter? Obama has to be twice better to be considered marginal by some Americans. Obviously, someone who has the ability to write is a turn-off to some voters. The thought of an intelligent, logical, sharp thinker occupying the White House is downright scary. Obviously, a Constitutional Amendment banning authors from running for the Presidency is sorely needed.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1399

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a good assessment of the real threats to an honest election (as opposed to the Republican straw man of voter fraud), check out:
http://www.commoncause.org
Click on the link: Research Center
Click on the link: Voting in 2008: Ten Swing States
A distressing number of practices are assessed as unacceptable.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rosa sat
so Martin could walk
Martin walked
so the children could march
The Children marched
so Obama could run
Obama is running
so our kids can fly.

Author unknown


A friend of mine sent this to me. She is very involved in Obama's campaign and has been involved from the very beginning. I found this to be inspirational and uplifting as well as indicative of the positiveness of the campaign.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw an abbreviated version of that yesterday (basically, not hte "children could march" line), and it was accompanied by an Obama campaign symbol ("the O with the red white and blue). I don't know if it's something that's being used officially by the campaign, though, or if osmeone just photoshopped htem together.
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tyakoffs



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karen,

I played around a bit with the poem and sent it to my parents who were civil rights activists in North Carolina in the early 60's. I wanted to take this moment to recognize how it was not just Martin, and Rosa but also all the unnamed individuals who sat in, marched, registered voters, and took up the challenge to make this day possible. This is a historical moment that belongs to all of them no matter the outcome of the race. Despite the nastyness of various aspects of this election, as an observer from Canada I'm impressed with the American commitment to democracy shown in this election. Enjoy your day. :D

Rosa sat
so Martin could speak
Martin spoke
so the children could go to school
The Children went to school
so Obama could run
Obama is running
so our kids can fly.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1852
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an amusing look at what rabid partisans might think of each other.

If the Other Party Wins:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-_JhRJ0tWA
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1852
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Hampshire: First state senate with a female majority.

Majority by one, but still…

http://www.nowhampshire.com/content/nh-makes-history-first-state-senate-female-majority
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1852
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat, behind-the-scenes photos from Obama’s campaign. I’m guessing this will be in Time. The website is a little annoying because you have to keep clicking the "show more images" link.

http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0810/callie-bp.html
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandlynn wrote:
Neat, behind-the-scenes photos from Obama’s campaign. I’m guessing this will be in Time. The website is a little annoying because you have to keep clicking the "show more images" link.

http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0810/callie-bp.html



Thanks Sandlynn. I absolutely love seeing pictures of him with his family. I'm really, really going to enjoy them in the White House and all the photos that will come out. He seems like a really good dad and husband.
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