Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There will be change

Version 0.5

There Will be Change

An open letter to President Obama:

America is dying, and it's my fault. I'm not a powerful person, so the degree of my fault is relatively small. However, insofar as America is a representative democracy and my vote is as good as yours, then I share that degree of blame with you.

Insofar as you are a MORE powerful and influential person than I am, it is MORE your fault. In particular, if you are a professional politician using gerrymandering, lies, and the bribes you've received to make my vote ineffective, worthless, and meaningless, then your fault is just that much greater.

Insofar as President Obama is a much more powerful and influential person than you or I, it is much more his fault. He's supposed to be the leader of America, and he is not leading to positive change.

While we are alive, we change. Only in death does change stop--but America is dying.

There will be change. Good or bad?

President Obama campaigned on promises of good changes. He has not delivered those good changes. Pick your favorite promise and cry. Now Romney is campaigning on promises of bad changes. Romney promises to change back to policies that are already proven failures. Weep some more.

The choice of this election is apparently between empty promises and bad promises. Once again it's apparently a choice between bad and not quite so bad.

Does President Obama have a good excuse? Sort of. I believe he sincerely tried to help America and he at least tried to put America's good ahead of politics while his opponents put their personal hatred of Obama ahead of EVERYTHING else. There was a time when patriotic political opponents could still hope the president could succeed insofar as that was part of the success of America. Kind of hard to believe now. John Wayne probably said it best when he said "I didn't vote for him, but he's my President, and I hope he does a good job," but...

Is there any hope for America? I really doubt it, but I think there is only one path that might lead towards good change.

If President Obama wins a narrow victory and continues to face an obstructionist Congress, we know there will be no change. If Romney wins, he will change America for the worse.

The only path for good change is with a massive defeat of the neo-GOP Congress. You'd think that would be easy given the low approval of Congress--but they've rigged the system in favor of the incumbents. That's the ONLY thing all of the professional politicians can agree on.

President Obama should mostly ignore Romney. That's just forces a choice between lesser evils.

President Obama should campaign DIRECTLY and primarily against the neo-GOP Congress. He should go to the districts of the worst neo-GOP Congressmen and try to flip them from 'safe neo-GOP incumbent' to 'probable Democratic challenger'. He should speak directly to the voters in those districts and tell them that they have the power of change. Not likely, but at least that would be a possibility.

Here are some of the things he could do in a target district: (1) Give a speech in the district focusing on the harms of Congress and the specific harms of that Congressman and personal attacks from that Congressman. (2) Appear with and strongly endorse the Democratic challenger. (3) Make short forms for advertising in that district. (4) Put videos of all of the above on the Internet addressed to the voters of that district. (Of course he should use similar tactics for the Senate, going for 61+ Democratic senators.)

Two helpful side effects of these tactics. First, he would provoke massive (and therefore relatively visible) expenditures of black SuperPAC money in those districts--and the natural and relatively inexpensive response is to ask those voters "Are you for sale?" How much money can the neo-GOP waste in such an uneven struggle against the bully pulpit? Second, he would provoke Romney into linking himself more closely to the most extreme elements of the neo-GOP. The American voters actually dislike extremists, no matter how much Romney lies about his own extremism. My own favorite target would be that West character in Florida. What about King in New York? Even my own district elected a progressive Democrat for many years until the gerrymandering--but maybe it could be flipped. Some of these targets are quite soft. At least some of those neo-GOP politicians are really soft in the head.

The Republican Party is no more. Abe Lincoln's original Republican Party was progressive and liberal, NOT conservative. The GOP of Teddy Roosevelt and Ike (Eisenhower for you children) was moderate and balanced, in favor of national parks and infrastructure such as roads, NOT extremely conservative, quite mindless and proudly ignorant, and against EVERYTHING that America needs for the future. Today's neo-GOP is something new, but a change for the MUCH worse. The only chance for positive change in America, the only hope for America's future, is if the neo-GOP is decisively defeated and crushed.

There will be change.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

President Obama versus the neo-GOP Congress

Version 0.7

Is There Still a Path to the Survival of Democracy in America?

In the future, there will be change. If it is not change for the better, then it will be change for the worse.

If President Obama is going to help America change for the better, then his only hope is to campaign against the Republican Congress. EVERY Congressional race for a seat held by a neo-GOP politician must become a referendum on the performance of Congress.

If President Obama wins reelection, but Congress remains a gang of noisy neo-GOP obstructionists, then there will be no change for the better. The last four years have proven this. A narrow Obama victory is a defeat.

I strongly believe that a Romney victory with a staunchly conservative neo-GOP Congress will lead to a change back to Dubya's failed policies (which were actually the policies of Rove and Cheney and their associates). Those policies did not succeed when Bush was in the White House, and they will do no better on the second, third, or 10th attempt. This will NOT be a change for better.

The only hope is if the neo-GOP politicians are punished for blocking constructive change. There is only one path to progressive and constructive change. The first step on that path is that President Obama has to win and the neo-GOP Congress has to lose.

In light of Citizens United and considering that so many Americans have been so well trained to obey the ads, the situation looks quite bleak. All good things must come to an end, and I fear that I am about to witness the end of America. I would much prefer to believe that I will not outlive my country.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Truth, justice, and the American way in Wi$con$in

Version 0.1
Truth, justice, and the American way? You silly rabbit! How much cash do you have? Thanks, Wi$con$in, and go to the devil.

Basically just recording my initial reactions to the debacle of Wisconsin. Unleash the hounds of hell? Well, the big, bad money has certainly been unleashed and we'll see its full wrath in November.

One question is why the same math (statistically sampling) apparently failed (again) for exit polling but apparently worked perfectly in predicting the final results within an hour of the polls closing. Apparently the exit polling showed a very close race. Statistically, that should mean that the actual result is quite close to even. Then they start looking at a different sample and almost instantly decide the result is NOT close to even. Do you believe in math? I think that's the real problem with the anti-evolution nuts. After all, genetics is really statistics, too. I would like to see detailed comparisons of the exit poll results and the actual results.

Obviously worth very little, but I can put my defense of democracy rather succinctly: Any system (1) will work better if all of the people involved care about making it work better and are trying to make it better. A system (2) will work worse in direct proportion to the number of people who are NOT sincerely trying to support it, and the system (3) will work worst of all when most of the people involved are working to destroy the system.

America was never a perfect democracy, but it used to be much closer to Clause (1) in a more democratic condition. There were periods of high social mobility when it really was possible for almost any white man in good health to succeed as an independent farmer. Most Americans could rationally feel they were roughly equal to most other Americans and had roughly equal prospects for the future. Not perfect, of course. For example, if you were a black slave, there was no reason you couldn't be worked to death, ordered to warm your master's bed, or worse.

The neo-GOP Congress is the perfect example of Clause (2), where an obstructionist minority is clearly most focused on their own political success to the point where they can't even stop themselves from cheering when they receive BAD news about the country. "Unemployment is up? GREAT--for US in November." I even think America is headed for Clause (3) in the style of the Russian Empire in the 19th century.

However, if you have enough money behind you, there are NO limits now. Our advertising and political propaganda technologies have reached the point where people routinely vote against their OWN future.

Rather safe prediction for the November is that there will be LOTS of secret black money poured into the campaign. President Obama's people have already realized that they will be badly outspent and that they need to focus their limited resources to have any chance of winning. However, such a narrow victory will be no victory at all. The only victory that would make a difference would be a victory that allowed us to get the money out of politics, a victory that would lead to LEGAL proof corporations are NOT people. For that meaningful victory, Obama needs a LARGE victory, not a narrow victory that will leave the obstructionists in place.

Yeah, I still love America, but it's evolving. It was already to the point where I had to compare it with love for a close relative in the last stages of an incurable disease. Now it's like the close relative has adopted crazy and self-destructive habits, snorting cocaine, juggling flaming clubs, and worse.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Secret Millionaire is EVIL propaganda

Version 0.2

Secret Millionaire is EVIL Propaganda

Just feeling morally obliged to at least briefly record my reactions to my first exposures to this this show. Actually, I'd heard of it a few times over the years, but never actually saw it until about two weeks ago, and then saw a few minutes of a second episode today. I then wandered over to Wikipedia and around the Internet a bit, but didn't even see any attempts to question the morality of this show.

Yes, it is emotional and I believe that the participants are sincere on most sides. However, the overall conception is so amazingly and obviously evil that it completely overwhelms every other aspect of the show. Why don't they just make a series of programs teaching poor people to gamble on the horses to reduce their suffering? That would be much more honest than this show. You can find plenty of other descriptions of what a lovely show it is, so I'm just going to present it in a rather bleak and cold-blooded way focusing on the evil side.

A rich person donates a few days of vacation time to visit a bunch of charities. One of the recurring themes of the shows (but remember that everything I'm saying is only based on watching parts of two episodes and reading some of the Wikipedia description) is that the millionaires are shocked by the poverty and even feel threatened by the dangerous neighborhoods. That's already a perfect tell for the utter falseness of the show. How much danger can you be in while you are surrounded by your very own film crew? If they want to be honest, they'd include a few pan shots of the crew, which probably includes as many security guards as necessary. That would be a touch of the awkward reality here.

Anyway, the rich person donates a few days to act all righteous. The money part is trivial to people of such wealth. Actually, I would start by asking whether or not they deducted the donations from their income taxes and continue by asking about any public relations value they received by appearing on television in such a favorable light. It's certainly not like they've reformed their lives and decided to donate the rest of their time and the bulk of their fortune to charity. I was actually being kind when I said I believe that they are sincere on the rich side, because the rich person could be lying about it and actually be showing a net profit on the deal while being coached on how to act. Given that the entire thing is canned, they can just burn the tapes if the rich person can't do the emotional part sufficiently well. The punchline here is that there might be some rich people who really are selflessly focused on helping, but whose tapes get burned because they just don't show their emotions so strongly for the camera.

On the side of the people running the charities, I think they are probably much more sincere. After all, they are not donating a few days, but have been involved in the work for some time, at least long enough to come to the attention of the producers of the show. However, from this side and considering the uses to which the video is being put, the important question is how the award decisions are being made. After they've had some experience making this show, I bet they've learned out how to avoid awkward moments that produce video like this: "Okay, thanks for the money. Now you've finished your puff piece about how holy you are, so get the hell out of here, go back to your stinking mansion, and let me get on with my work." According to Wikipedia, they've even followed up on some of the so-called winners, and I bet they don't show any videos where the prize money has caused the charity to collapse. (I saw "so-called" because this is fundamentally a situation where you win a few bucks by fighting a losing battle.) If I was a betting man, I'd bet that their selection criteria for the winners include how appreciative they will look and sound when they get the money--and even if the millionaire visited some much more worthy charities during the few days, that's just more video to burn.

Actually, that raises another important question that could be addressed by someone who has more stomach for this show than I do. (Obviously, I'm not planning to watch any more episodes.) How much of the show actually features non-winning charities? Maybe the entire game been rigged in advance? At this point, I can actually imagine the producers of the show visiting the target location in advance, picking the most suitable charities, and scheduling the entire thing even before the millionaire guest host arrives. In that case the winners are already known, and they are just playing around with which charity takes first, second, or third place.

The REAL point of this show is that there is no reason for large-scale efforts to reduce human suffering. You should just be quiet and wait for the millionaire to recognize your goodness, in this case in a cubic form by actively working to keep other people quiet in their suffering. Heaven forbid that the government should get involved in trying to improve the average of society! Perhaps this comic about the importance of considering the individual variance is the best illustration?

Lotteries are just taxes on people who are bad at math. Encouraging people to play the lottery is not a constructive solution to ANY real problem--unless you strongly believe in evolution and that it's just a great thing for the losers to die. Earlier, I asked the question "Why don't they just make a series of programs teaching poor people to gamble on the horses to reduce their suffering?" The answer is that most of them would only increase their suffering--and that's exactly the real purpose of this EVIL show.


About Me

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As a blogger from before there were blogs, I've concluded what I write is of little interest to the reading public. My current approach is to treat these blogs as notes, with the maturity indicated by the version number. If reader comments show interest, I will probably add some flesh to the skeletons...