Dec 062016
This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series 2016 Elections

Let me be clear, I do care that Trump won, and I care about determining how this awful destructive force has been unleashed on our once great nation. And I think I have cracked the code. It’s because a lot of Trump supporters just said, “I don’t care.” Certainly people were motivated to vote for Trump for many reasons, but I believe it boils down to suspending their empathy to feed their fear.

Much on-line ink has been spilled these last weeks eviscerating the Democratic Party and Secretary Clinton. Most certainly the party, and especially Debbie Wasserman-Shultz bear a tremendous amount of blame, not just for the Clinton loss, but for not having the infrastructure and ground game in place to retake the Senate and make gains in the House. This was inexcusable, but hardly a surprise. Wasserman-Shultz voted Republican about as much as she did Democrat, and didn’t use the previous 4 years to build a 50 state organization as Governor Howard Dean had started. Continue reading »

Election Day 2008

 Election, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on Election Day 2008
Nov 042008

Last week with work was a real bear, and I’m traveling for work this week, so expect posting to be lite. Hopefully there won’t be that much news, especially election news, to post about. I did want to make note of a few things that have been going on.

What an incredibly sad note that Obama’s Grandmother died yesterday. Having lost my grandmothers, I know how much that can hurt, but the timing could not have been worse.

I voted by absentee about two weeks ago. I started this in 2004 when the Florida touch screen machines were being used. I thought my paper ballot might have a better chance of being accurately counted. We requested an absentee ballot for Lay’s mother, which came and went without a hitch. Lay’s father didn’t get naturalized until just after the 2004 election, so this was his first time voting, and it was clear this was very important to him.

We went Saturday to early vote, and the line was over two blocks long in downtown St. Pete. I found out that you could go by the election office Monday and pickup an absentee ballot, complete it at home, and then drop it back at the elections office Tuesday, so Lay took him to do that yesterday. The wait was only about 40 minutes. Like Lay, his dad is not a patient guy, but had no problem waiting the 40 minutes.

When I took him Saturday, his 11 year old grandson went along, and asked who he was voting for. When he said McCain, Vincient launched into a rather lengthy discourse talking about taxes and the war trying to convince his granddad to vote for Obama. I was quite surprised.

I had seperate discussions with two friends yesterday about the election outcome. The specter of Court involvement in the election came up in both conversation. My main wish is for Obama to win with large enough margin so as to make court challenges a moot point. But Democrats have a knack for finding the most creative ways to lose elections, and the Republicans have turned election theft into an art. The cynical part of me sees this before the Supreme Court again. The practical part of me prays the court would not be so stupid as to decide another election. I could seriously see armed insurrection if that happened. I can’t imagine how the public might respond to having another election stolen from them, but I put nothing past the Republicans.

Speaking of dirty Republican politics, here in North Carolina, Washington, D.C. resident and North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Doyle is in a hot contest with a Democrat. Seems she got so desperate, she put out an ad trying to tie her opponent to some “godless fundraisers.” At the end of the ad, she had a photo of her challenger, with a female voice similar to her opponent’s scream “There is no God.” It was maybe the most ridiculous ad I think I’ve ever seen. As bad as some of the McCain ads have been, this ad by Liddy Dole took the election down to a whole new level. I hope she’s kicked out.

Polls which opened early this morning reported lines of people waiting at the doors for them to open. North Carolina had more early voteras than the total vote in 04, so it’s going to be a big turnout. Let’s hope that all goes well.

Well, I’m back on the road, so hang on…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Social Security and The Economy

 Election, Politics  Comments Off on Social Security and The Economy
Sep 192008

I seem to recall that George Bush was all in favor of privatizing Social Security and having us all put all of our retirement funds in the stock market. I have a 401K at work. Unfortunately the company doesn’t contribute to it, but that’s not what this post is about. I checked yesterday, and my annual rate of return on it so far this year is -24%. (Yes, that’s a minus…negative in front of it.) So where would people be who depend solely on Social Security if their accounts had suddenly taken a 24% hit.

Mr. Reformer, John McCain, voted three times with Bush to privatize Social Security, and has repeatedly stated he supports privatization. I’m glad to see the Obama Campaign calling him out on it.

Defining Characteristics of Facist Governments – Scary

 Corruption, Election, Politics  Comments Off on Defining Characteristics of Facist Governments – Scary
Sep 232005

The reconstruction of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama provides a fascinating picture of how the Bush administration actually works. His government represents an odd melding of corporatism and cronyism, more in tune with the workings of 1930s Italy or Spain. In fact, if one looks at fascist regimes of the 20th century, it is appears that the Bush administration draws more from these sources than traditional conservatism. Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

  • Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
  • Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
  • Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
  • Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
  • Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
  • Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
  • Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
  • Religion and Government are intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
  • Corporate Power is protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
  • Labor Power is suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
  • Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
  • Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
  • Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  • Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

(Source: The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism, Dr. Lawrence Britt, Spring 2003, Free Inquiry)

Perhaps it is unfair to characterise the Bush Presidency in these terms, because it would imply the existence of a coherent governing philosophy.