Thursday, January 17, 2008

As some of you know...

...I have friends in Kenya, so I'll be posting excerpts from my ongoing conversation with one of them as it applies to what's going on there.

I say excerpts because I've omitted various personal remarks and identifying details.

I'll be green, the other person is red

I know you're probably busy, but seeing as how there is worldwide reported organized violence in your general location, don't you think you might:



a.) check in a bit more often, so people who are concerned about your well being don't have to suffer premature gray hair



b.) if you're not in danger, report on what is actually going on from your point of view so we can compare it to the media coverage and have your unique insight?

hey...am fine...working hard at keeping the country informed and reminding people that ruining your neighbours property really has no impact on politicians...



am not in danger but then again am part of the establishment though everyone is affected because we all have some family in affected areas



foreign media houses [cnn, bbc, reuters etc] are being sued by the govt for inflammatory and sensationalist journalism so keep that in mind as you watch the news...
you can only report on JLos butt size for so long, so when an actual death comes along journalists get their dicks hard trying to make a name...



am pissed off at foreign media because i work in a news room...
yes people have died...
yes Kenyans are afraid for their very lives and our country...
yes we are pissed off at Kibaki and Raila...
but to act like we will never recover is irresponsible when you consider what this country means to the region... if Kenya coughs, the region catches pneumonia...

the rwandese are rationing fuel, ugandans are buying it at extortionate prices..

anyway i will keep you posted and not be so quiet :)

Keep the factual insight coming...

Stay safe...

its raining in Nairobi which is highly uncharacteristic for January but its great because Kenyans are solar powered so there will be no riots or so called peaceful demonstrations that involve tear gas...



am safe and my family is safe but i cant say the same for my colleagues families... all this tribal animosity creates distrust on such a fundamental level... suddenly what were kikuyu jokes, are now inflammatory statements... and you can only smile at people for so long when their tribesmen killed your family upcountry.. you know?

I don't actually exactly know how you feel about the smiling at people who've done your family wrong. The only thing I can relate it to is the strange compartmentalization that I quickly manifest when I get the "...but I didn't keep slaves or MY family didn't own slaves..." remarks. It keeps me from killing people. In my imagination I would just intensify that visceral lust for righteous retribution to simulate an approximation of your situation. That being said, I don't know if I could keep myself from participating in the violence. The reptile brain is sooooo seductive.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nevada debate (semi-live)

Race / Drugs


Clinton: no card playing; lauds MLK ties all 3 together under dream umbrella, reiterates the squash of the beef between her and Obama

Obama: leads in with stump speech; can't solve race issue unless we come together as a people

Edwards: we made progress, but we're not done, gives anecdotal story about past; we should move forward


Accountability for race explosion?

Obama: expresses contrition, states that campaign staff can be overzealous; segues into economic issues; states that Clinton simply out worked him in N.H., not race

Clinton: says she's willing to believe Bob Johnson's retraction, states that campaign is too important to have the real issues cloud the issues; segues into economy


E-mail question -no real candidate difference; why should she have to choose between 1st black and 1st woman

Edwards: leads in with stump speech, states that you should decide based on what the candidate will do for you;


What do you do against them (Clinton/Obama)?

Edwards: reiterates that you should choose based on actions/agenda


Regret the N.H. debat 'likable' comment?

Obama: yes, it was taken the wrong way; we should focus on real issues; segues into 'we should bring people together to effect change', meme; choose based on what candidate can accomplish


Were you 'piling' on?

Edwards: No. My job is to speak the truth, speaks to the entrenched corporate intrests (which implies that his attack on Clinton, was based on his perception that she is allied with them)


Your husband said he could win, could your comments damage Obama in the fall?

Clinton: We're in hard fought contest. Has higest respect for her opponents, falls back on the 'ready on day one' meme, dogs Bush for going to the middle east with his hat in hand begging for good oil prices; will not back off of her unique 'readiness' stance.


You said you weren't an operating officer...

Obama: I was describing how I view the presidency; thinks that it is about vision and bringing together the best people and getting ideas, and then getting the populace mobilized to back them

Greatest strength / weakness?

Obama: bringing other disparate people together / slight absentmindedness

Edwards: fighting spirit / strong emotional response to the plight of others

Clinton: starts off off topic, mini-stump experience/change/blah,blah,blah... impatient & frustrated (attacks Obama for not being a manager|compares him to Bush) /

Obama: you do have to ba a good manager; you get the BEST people for your team and hold them accountable; to look at Bush, says he couldn't get past his ideological perspectives and the Bush couldn't manage costs and ask questions and had no vision


Lots of false information about you, alleges that you are a Muslim... how do you respond?

Obama: States all the correct information (Christian/Bible/Pledge); states that the people are smart enough to not be taken in by misinformation; brings up climate change, taxes,
other platform issues;


Economy... Citigroup and Merrill Lynch asking for money to stay afloat from 'essentially bad people'. Is that wrong?

Clinton: I'm very concerned, displays technical economic jargon, wants transparancy and control; we got here because business bet wrong, brings up her economic plan

Edwards: states all economic growth is only in the largest/richest sector, middle class is financially insecure, appeals to Nevada specifically, then to everyone;

Obama: Ties lack of energy policy into financial crisis; talks about all the sun in Nevada -- subprime problem happened because there is no oversight,


You voted for bankruptcy bill, do you regret it?

Edwards: I regret it, ties bankruptcy problems to medical debt, launches into populist spiel... agrees with Obama about energy, talks about student loans

Clinton: She regrets her vote also; happy that it never became law; wants bankruptcy reform, references her economic plan, talks about the head of Countrywide's golden parachute; naked courting of minorities; states that we can't wait

Obama: I opposed them both, I thought they were bad ideas; agrees with Clinton for reform, references bill he submitted; cites lobbyists as problem... uses anecdotal story to reference his economic stimulace package


Middle class retiree how can you protect our income?

Obama: Middle class exemption for capital gains and dividends; speaks to his fairer tax plans, gives examples, cites uneven tax burden


Mentioned freezing interest rates; what are long term effects?

Clinton: wants to do it to match the ability to pay mortgage, references more of her economic plan


Two questions for each from everyone else...

Edwards - Campaign finance, asks to Med donations

Obama: States that small med donors are registered as med no matter what, cites his wide finance pattern and his law that gives some transparancy

Clinton - War in Iraq, private agreement from Bush to Iraq gov't, introduced a bill to congress to force Bush to come to congress-- Will Obama co-sponsor?

Obama: We can work on this issue, doesn't want next president's hands tied; talks about his opposition to the war and his plan to leave Iraq

Clinton & Edwards agrees with Obama's troop re-deployment

Obama: Corrects record on Iraq deployment question

Clinton: Continues states wild difference between Dems and Repubs

Edwards: Clairifies his position about all combat troops in the 1st year

Obama: asks for clairification

Edwards: says he would keep a force in Kuwait


Domestic issues

Too many poor and minority, statute that colleges need to have ROTC and room for recruiting stations, will you enforce that?


Clinton: Absolutely, lauds any national service; dengrates the Bush admins treatment of soldiers

Obama: Yes, states that rural communities are part of the uneven burden; thinks we need more troops to cut down fatigue; also speaks to need for non combat service

Edwards: Yes. speaks about homeless vets; and wants to take care of all vets and their retraining

Obama: speaks to failures of Bush admin, uses Walter Reed as an example

Clinton: agrees with others, brings up traumatic brain injury, refers to some of her legislation


Yucca mt Nuke storage

Obama: Vows to end it, doesn't want a situation that harms the people of Nevada

Clinton: I voted against it, held hearings about it... brings up one of Obama's benefactor as being pro-Yucca and Edwards' vote for it

Obama: His home state has many plants, but he's always been against it

Edwards: reiterates that he is against Nuke plants

Clinton: brings up his votes again

Edwards: repeats his access to the new information


New Nuke plants...

Obama: voted for it because of the large amount of clean fuel investment; if we can safely do Nuke pwr, we should, goes into carbon cap spiel

Clinton: attacks the bill, calls Cheney to attention said it was special intrest pork, references her economic plan, once again bashes Obama via 'hope' comment

Edwards: states Nuke is not the answer talks about other energy sources; references Clinton's largets share of money from those energy interests; wants to make the polluters pay; wants to stop the building of coal fired power plants

Clinton: references her energy plan, uses Apollo as example

Obama: says we should cut down our energy usage; we need to be more efficient, states that it is the easiest change


Immigration...

Edwards: We need to make a path to citizenship for the undocs, wants fines, wants them to learn to speak english with our help and that language should be a requirement

Clinton: Hispanic voters don't vote for Black people, says that it was a historical statement; feels there hasn't been enough minority discussion

Obama: is there a non-voting problem?; no, they voted for me (gets laugh), references his stand w/ McCain and Kennedy


e-mail question... What is the cause of Black male drop out rates


Obama: equates it with latino drop out rate; wants more early childhood education so that minorities don't start behind, segues into teacher stump speech; wants to have parents do their part in the process (calls out fathers specifically)

Clinton: wants to continue discussion, states that the family needs their tools, highlights her connections to the 100 Black Men

Edwards: wants universal pre-K


Gun deaths...

Clinton: says she is against illegal guns, she is a political realist; she cops out at the fed level, does want a 'working' registry (unclear at which institutional level) references VT killings, attacks illegal gun dealers

Obama: Doesn't think he can accomplish that, what he thinks he can do is crack down on gun dealers

Edwards: picks up Clinton's mention of assault weapons ban and also wants to reinstatement...


Playing the fear card...


Clinton: refuses to "characterize" her statement, stands by her opinion; says we don't talk enough about homeland security obliquely references 9/11 by stating she represents NY, says president needs to protect the US

Obama: states we have been dominated by a politics of fear; congratulates Clinton's work in NY; states that Clinton's statement was part of the politics of fear; talks about the drain on resources that Iraq has been and that it has diverted funds from our security says he will focus on the real dangers

Clinton: defends her statement again; attempts to conflate the fact that the PM was tested with the "fact" that the new president MAY be tested


You called Pakistan when Bhutto was killed, was that appropriate?

Edwards: what I said was tough: you have to continue the march to democracy, you must allow international investigators, the elections have to take place

Given the decision to run for president is important, when did you make it?


Clinton: New years, wants to be the problem solver

Edwards: December, the cause of his life middle class and low income families

Obama: December, he thinks that there is something he could provide that no one else can, the bringing together of divided peoples...

END
*******************************
Quick thoughts

Clinton continued to attempt to press Obama on issues, but widened her scope to include Edwards, courted the Hispanic vote
Edwards attacked Clinton back and illuminated some of the truths behind statements
Obama put more of his substance on the table, courted the Hispanic vote

Friday, January 11, 2008

Consider if you will...

As the more rational people continue to point out; the three leading democratic contenders are the strongest candidates, and very little separates their policies. Since all of that is a wash; as much as you hate to admit it, if you're voting democrat, you're voting for style.

This is odd because our understanding of politics (especially in the light of the recent years of political failures) is that it is a SERIOUS THING.

With the parity of our leading candidates however, we're forced to focus on their minute differences and details; you know the superficial stuff. This is why we have intra-party political discussions that are eerily reminiscent of jr. high (also known as middle school in other places). Not surprisingly we get into extreme confrontations with our contemporaries (democrat/progressive/liberal/whatever you call it nowadays). So now we have a democratic voting bloc fractured into cliques, who wander the halls (of the internet and elsewhere) in bristling packs of insularity.

Why? Because nothing is worse than a heretic. Those people who almost agree with you. The alien mindset (in this case Republican) is written off as obviously wrong, an abstract evil to be confronted at a later date. Your fellows (in this case Democratic voters) are subject to acute, harsh, and intense criticism. Perhaps it arises from the staggering amount of commonalities that leave you frustrated that the others "get" so much of it and just happen to be "misguided" over that last bit of difference.

You can convince some of those people of the correctness of your understanding and you should, it's good politics; but hoping, wishing and working towards full unanimity in the party isn't democratic, it's fascist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just to make it official


for the sight impaired...


Yes, I did...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Whew...

I am obviously biased. I'm going to give you the following from my point of view. I can't give it to you from any other point of view (and you wouldn't be here if that didn't interest you in some way or another).

I watched both of the speeches. They were both essentially laundry lists of memes that have proven effective on the campaign trail that have resonated with the people. That's pretty much why you have the primary system it forces everyone to accumulate the ideas that the whole party finds important. Every candidate (even the republicans) has contributed to this aggregate of ideas.

But, the most powerful idea is the idea of change. We all know who gave birth to that meme. It's the ideological singularity of the entire election.

Many of the candidates have good ideas that's why they get assimilated readily, Barack's ideas don't get assimilated they assimilate other candidate's entire campaigns.

But back to the speeches.

Hillary's speech was made in an entirely different mode than her other speeches. She was forced to adopt a whole new style. That's what I remember, nothing specific. The meme birthed by her speech was "Hillary changed". That doesn't connect with me, it doesn't draw me in and make me think that she is going to turn things around.

Barack's speech was typical for him. I don't remember much of it either, but he co-opted and re-branded a GIANT meme. Yes We Can. Evokes images of Rosie the Riveter. You know, WWII and the empowerment of women. Not insignificant things in the mental history of the United States. That bagged me like Paula Patton posing as vice cop in a hooker sting outside of a Viagra study.

Shit yeah. We can do it. I'm sick of us not doing it. We can put our hands on the wheel and avoid the crash or just sit back and assume the airbags are working.

Monday, January 7, 2008

This is too good not to jack...

I'll start you off with the beginning...

Future - Present - Past::Obama - Edwards - Clinton.

Future is to Present is to Past as
Leadership is to Lobbying is to Legislating.

DECLARATIONS

Leaders create the future. They bring it forth. They declare it. They speak, and in the moment of their speaking, the future is.

John F. Kennedy and we SHALL put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

In that moment, we "shall it," all of us, the entire country. Kennedy declared our future. He brought it forth. He languaged it. And as one, we moved forward to meet the challenge, more or less, together.

If you were alive July 20, 1969, and of a certain age and in the western world, you watched as Jack Kennedy's declaration unfolded. I was ten years old and I remember everything.

That's leadership in action. Leaders make DECLARATIONS.

Genuine declarations -- "Strike! Ball! Strike Three and you're OUT!" "Guilty" "By the authority invested in me by the State of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you husband and husband" -- are true in the moment they are said.


***
you can read the rest here

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Democratic debate cliff notes

6:10 PST: Richardson sigh... I wonder will people go all Gore on him?
6:11 PST: Ask a dictator to step aside? Right...

6:18 PST : the nuclear threat...
Edwards... retaliate, project strength & calm; don't go off half cocked...
Obama... retaliate, falls back to NPTreaty
Clinton... wants an office of NPT? bridges to Port Security; also retaliate, repeats the "no safe haven" doctrine
Richardson... rebuild and expand NPT (esp w/ Russia) bridges to climate and international threats and multilateralism

6:25 PST: domestic issues; Social Security/Baby Boomers start w/ Clinton vs. Obama
Clinton... uses campaign slogan "hard work for change"; suggests that Obama is a flip-flopper on health care
Obama... states consistency; describe difference between starting from scratch vs. adapting the current conditions| focuses on differences health care policies; suggests higher payroll taxes for Social Security;
Clinton... points out mandate for children as a flip flop
Obama... responds with children don't have choice
Clinton... more flip floppery accusations;
Obama... rejects the words Clinton is trying to place in his mouth
Edwards... draws parallels between himself and Obama; attacks Clinton for being the status quo
Clinton... falls back to hard work meme; accuses others of raising false hope
Richardson... get laughs w / hostage comment; pushes for positive discourse, defends experience to deflect anti-status quo comments, also falls back to experience argument
Edwards... goes populist and attacks the status quo as entrenched within framework of the system
Obama... wants to get the people involved with their own governance and that citizens should be able to hold the gov't responsible

6:41 PST: Iraq/surge
Clinton... reminds that the surge was for political solutions, and that all it has accomplished is military objectives, wants to bring the troops home
Richardson... states the policy is a massive failure, points to lack of political progress and casualties, links the Iraq adventure to failure of domestic policy
Obama... restates that we haven't accomplished anything and actually spent money to not accomplish anything, and attributes some of the success to Iraqi-Iraqi cooperation
Edwards... links the British withdrawal to reduction in violence continues to restate that we aren't accomplishing our political goals; no military bases
Richardson... says you have to get ALL the troops out, falls back to earlier position, pounds podium while discussing war fatigue
Clinton... states general agreement, wants diplomacy, states unpredicability of withdrawal, supports caution

7:00 PST: Doubleteam | experience vs. change
Clinton... gets laugh with 'hurt feelings' comment, falls back to ready on day one slogan; draws parallels between Obama and Bush's likeability; plays the gender card
Obama... claims to have been watching football during the republican debate, restates populist message, wants gov't transparency, encourages cooperation; derides republican playbook strategy
Richardson... falls back to executive experience and foreign policy experience, calls for an energy revolution, references Al Gore; states that youth isn't a detriment
Edwards... uses his parents hard working background, restates that he is seriously anti special interest / lobbyist, references the Paitent's Bill of Rights and death of Natalie in CA
Obama... points to his lobbyist reforms, falls back to citizen participation in gov't
Clinton... calls for a reality break, states that Edwards' bill was killed by the Pres., that Obama voted for a bill that incluided pork, and essentially asserts that they are all on the 'take', falls back on her husband's administration's accomplishments
Edwards... states that special intrests has a stranglehold on our democracy, says that you can't take their money and oppose them, uses Teddy R as example
Obama... credits Bill Clinton's accomplisments, restates that we had never formed a coalition and says that words do matter and that they can inspire
Richardson... picks up on Obama's cooperation meme and extends it, and says you can't fight everyone
Edwards... responds with the 'can't nice these people to death' meme

7:24 PST: Al Gore/carbon tax
Richardson... says that carbon tax isn't a mandate; suggests a cap as an alternative, claims that the tax would be passed on to the consumer; restates his desire for mass transit
Obama... also supports cap, states that it will also have a cost, but that we should use the revenue to aid the transition
Clinton... brings up the recession and it's accoutrements, states that the Bush tax cuts benefit the wealthy, wants to tax wealthy
Edwards... talks about uneven wealth distribution, states threat of job loss to middle class
Obama... extend uneven distribution to Clinton era, would give < $75,000 income tax relief

Richardson... falls back to executive experience, want to balance the budget, wants to get rid of corp welfare, want to invest in science and math and arts

7:35 PST: What do you wish you wouldn't have said?
Clinton... give non answer, states the difference between dem and rep agenda, and states that the dems are better to run the country
Richardson... fav SC justice, White wants to take it back
Edwards... Clinton fashion critique
Obama... endorses Clinton's answer

My quick remarks...


I was typing as I watched and eating dinner so there are probably typos, so what...

Clinton was obviously on the attack trying to get back her mojo.

Richardson was playing the role of Rodney King

Edwards is definitely tying himself to Obama as the package of change

Obama clarified his postions and essentially fought a defensive rearguard action. Not a bad showing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Short update...

Wow. Obama won in Iowa. I think I'm still reeling from the shock. Yeah, I support him, but like many black people it was a sort of guarded hope, because inside my calloused exterior I just had the feeling that "they" wouldn't really support a candidate of color. Of course it's only one state, and smart negative campaigners will attempt to swell (or create) any backlash or buyer's remorse.

Want an example? Of course you do. Count the number of times you hear this "reasonable" position...

Something like, "...but he can't win the south, they're too racist down there, and if he can't win the south then he can't win the election, so I can't vote for him, even though I really want to...".

I'm guessing mid 500's by November...


Back to the future...

I am ecstatic that the younger and progressive stay at home, arm chair pundits, got out of their coffee shops. I sincerely wish that this trend continues. We're the clowns that have to live the consequences of the ridiculous policies our government pursues. It's about damn time we influence the decisions that'll still be affecting us long after the status-quo'ers are in the ground.

If you missed it here's his victory speech...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

For whom the voting tallies...

Whom shall I support?


Well... actually no one yet, because I don't live in Iowa.


[O.K. smartass, but if you did live in Iowa, for whom would you vote?]


My mid year assessment wasn't that far off. I still like Obama better than Clinton, and I still think Edwards is campaigning by reflex... but I'm not answering your question.


So in order to go down in flames with my fellow prognosticators (why is that the synonym of choice when discussing this subject matter?), I will officially give a stamp of approval to one of the candidates.


I'm not going to vote for the winner of the primary if it is someone I don't like. I didn't vote for Kerry and I haven't ever voted republican in a national election. Every time I hear someone use the phrase '...throw my vote away...' I want to punch her in the face. (No I'm not a misogynist, but since we don't actually have a non-gender specific pronoun in English that I can correctly use there, I get to choose, and while the accepted practice is that the male pronouns are neuter; (a.) I like my junk, and (b.) the very hint of misogyny adds impact to my post… don't you hate being predictable?).


The very fact that you believe that you have to support the popular person means you don't understand what voting is about.


You vote for (in the United States) someone to represent you. You know, act as you would in a particular situation, and make choices that you would make or at least choices with which you'd agree. If you vote for the popular person even though they don't represent your positions YOU ARE REPRESENTING THEIR POSITIONS with your support.


Let's take an example:


Our domestic auto industry sucks. Why? Well, mostly because we no longer produce the best automobiles (or at least no one believes that we do, and in this country that's the same damn thing). How did this come to pass? I can't give you a perfect irrefutable answer to that question. I can give you a guide as to how it could occur...


You have two candidates running for office in the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet; one supports a self sufficiency and sustainability agenda the other one supports a global economic positive trade balance. Both are good positions and something any country would want for itself. It’s a tight race with both candidates scraping splinters off the bottom of the barrel. Strategy sessions on both sides run into the wee hours of the morning attempting to devise ways of achieving separation in the polls. One of the strategists has a brilliant stroke of insight. She’ll transmute the opponent’s campaigning strength into a weakness so that all of their campaigning will aid her side. She knows that everyone is attracted to new technology and no one likes to depend on others for their needs. She also knows that when new technology is created, old technology is phased out. During this transition period, some employees will not adapt to the new technology and are forced to seek employment elsewhere.


This campaign strategist has just drawn a (semi) plausible connection between new technology and job loss. Now if you vote for the other guy, you’re voting to lose your job or for other people to lose their job. The message is devastating and it appeals to the purveyors of current technology, who are willing to support continued reliance on their products, campaign contributions are just another operating cost for which they can use the ‘extra’ money they have now that they don’t have to invest so heavily in research and development.


The election goes to the ‘positive trade balance’ candidate. It’s not a landslide victory, but she wins and no matter that the entire campaign was evenly matched, the positions of the winner are associated with winning. In the next election cycle candidates remember that the guy who ran for new technology lost, so candidates who want to win run for ‘positive trade balance’. Project this behavior forward, and you now have a field of candidates who favor positive trade balance while anyone who goes against the Conventional Wisdom ™ [thanks Arianna], is ‘honored' with labels such as: unrealistic, inexperienced, na├»ve, or even the dreaded ‘fringe’.



If you’ve been paying attention you realize that almost 50% of the population was FOR new technology. By not voting for the candidates that supported their economic views, they’ve abdicated that position and now it lies down the slope of political will.


If people want to bring that issue back to light, they’ll have to do the hard work of pushing it into prominence. This is done by calling attention to the issue. Of course you need a voice to call; fortunately you’ve been provided with one… your vote.










Oh yeah, in case you were still wondering, I’d vote for Obama.