On Paul Ryan as VP Choice

Until today I had little reference to Ryan.  Other than the “Ryan Budget”, which I knew from news reports was the Republican House counter to the Obama budget, I knew nothing of Ryan.

First, something I don’t understand.  Romney, a business man who is running on nothing else than his supposed business savvy.  Where Romney seems deficient is foreign policy experience, logical choice would have been a VP who gives him a lift in this regard.  Instead Romney picks a candidate whose only strength is economics.  Maybe Romney feared someone who helped balance the ticket would only serve to highlight his own lack of foreign policy experience?  Was Ryan the least distasteful of the right wing of the Republican party?  Did Romney need right wing cred so much that he had to kiss their butts while attempting at least somewhat to appeal to the middle majority (the folks who actually get people elected in this country)?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that Ryan’s budget proposal is bullshit, it will not lead to balancing of the budget.  Titled, The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal, it is solely tax cuts and decreased social spending.  It makes no pretense of actually balancing the budget…at least not in the first 10 years.

Most nations have debt, but none to the extent that we do.  Most industrial nations have more social programs than we do.  Most of them manage to feed the poor, educate the young, heal the sick, and maintain the infrastructure with only a small amount of deficit spending.  While we (by first world standards) don’t manage to do any of these things well; yet we are the ones with an escalating debt crisis.  The difference comes down to a single word.  Empire!  Empire was the downfall of Rome, and Empire will be our downfall, unless we act decisively and quickly to reign it in.  Neither the Obama budget nor the Ryan budget address this.

We have troops stationed in 150 nations.  We have covert operations in 30-40 more.  We have never left any country that we entered.  With the fall of the Soviets (also rotted from within by Empire), American hegemony has been pushed to every corner of the Earth, usually with the force of military intervention.

Our infrastructure crumbles, our children are more and more hungry and uneducated, we are floundering in our attempts to compete in a global market, health care reform is a sham, and only a few metrics allow us to claim that we are number one; high school dropouts and incarceration.  Empire is a parasite and it needs fed, no regard can be given to the health of the host.  Empire, by its very nature;  feeds, gorges,  and dies.  It has happened over and over throughout history and across the planet, rarely does the host survive in a recognizable manner.

We have more Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb politics, not debating how much we should sacrifice to Empire, nor debating an attempt to save the host by not feeding Empire, but instead caught in petty debates about how much to cut social spending.  What part of 16 trillion dollars in debt do the candidates not understand?  Why are they not laughed off stage when they mention tax cuts?

They will stand on stage and disagree on details, but they will both offer policies that similarly lead to our nation’s death at the hand of Empire.

Interesting unrelated fact: For the first time ever, there are no WASPs on the presidential ticket.  Ryan and Biden are both Catholic.  Romney of course is a Mormon and Obama isn’t white.

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Election apathy 2010 (rant)

Out here on the Left Coast there is much nail biting and hand wringing over the upcoming loss of at least one house of congress (and maybe both).

I don’t really understand it, it is not like we have been living in some left wing Mecca for the past 2 years.  With the Dems in control of both houses of Congress, a super majority in one of them, and a popular president in the White House, what have they accomplished?

As our roads, canals, bridges, rails, etc, etc…crumble from lack of funding, did we divert any of the money being siphoned off to foreign wars to its upkeep?  Nope, Obama’s war spending is indistinguishable from that of Bush.

Firmly in control for two solid years, what do the Dems have to show for it?  I would argue, not a single thing.  Costs of healthcare continue to spiral, Guantanamo prison is still open, the income disparity continues to increase at alarming rates, the pirates of wall street have moved into Obama’s cabinet, our critical infrastructure continues to rot, our treasure still goes off to fund ill-conceived foreign occupations, our trade deficit continues to accelerate, relationships with our neighbors have not improved, the national debt spirals like nothing before, home foreclosures continue to escalate, homelessness goes up with joblessness, and it goes on and on.

Our representatives have been bought and paid for, on any true issue there is not a divide between the parties, they are in complete lock step agreement.  Sure they pay lip service to differences on things like abortion and global warming.  But while there is a difference in their rhetoric, there is zero difference in their policies.  The laws are written by corporate lobbyists while the so-called representatives are off on corporate sponsored junkets.

And what are the great debates this election season?  What grand scheme does either side have to fire up their base and get the middle excited?  Not a single damned thing.  Voter apathy is at an all time high, with fewer than 18% voting in the primaries.  If that doubles for the general election we will celebrate the high turnout.  That’s right, things are so dismal that we celebrate when little more than a third of the population goes to the polls.  In Afghanistan or Iraq, we would count such results a huge failure.

And this election season goes on, ho-hum.  No grand debate, nothing to see here.  Instead we focus on a nut from Delaware and pot in California.  Meanwhile, our treasure is siphoned off, our infrastructure rots, and our kids are not getting educated.

Welcome to the circus.

It would surely be funny if it were not so serious.

Election

Just a couple of quick observations.

I drove through Oakland last night shortly after the election was called.  Wow, folks were excited…at MLK and Alcatraz there were a hundred people in the streets…dancing, hugging, crying, and generally whooping it up.  A sight to see.

Palin did not cost McCain the election…he had no chance regardless who he chose as his running mate.  Palin was a hail mary pick, hail marys seldom work.  McCain lost because he never got back to angling for the center, he played to his base and his base voted for him, the center did not…no big surprise there.

Prop 8, gay marriage.  We just voted on this a year or two ago, gay marriage lost big.  Then the courts stepped in and said we don’t care about your vote, we are making it legal.  Prop 8 was a backlash against the courts overturning the will of the voters.  This was more anti-activist judges than anti-gay.  It set civil rights back 20 years and you can thank the California judiciary for that.

Who for president?

Since none of the above is not on the ballot…I have an “anybody but Hillary” hope for the democrats and an “anybody but Rudy” for the GOP.

The nice thing about the democractic race is that as Edwards stumbles we seem assured that the dems will nominate either a woman or a black guy–a first and it is hard to fault that.

But I really dislike Hillary…she is shrill, the right hates her–so we will continue divided…our nation needs healing and Hillary is not the person who can do it. And really, what kind of message does it send to young women, the first serious woman presidential candidate got there by riding her husband’s coattails….is that the message we want to send? So I truly hope she cracks and folds…anybody but Billary.

On the other side, Guiliani comes off as a fascist one trick pony. Has he ever answered a question without invoking 9/11? This guy comes off as more Bush than Bush–and that scares me. I really want a president that will denounce torture in all of its forms–Rudy is not that man. So anybody but Rudy. I would rather have Huckabe than Rudy. (I don’t think Huckabe is as right-wing as people think–he is just playing identity politics with his Christian beliefs, he comes off as a warm and personable soul.)

I will not get my wish of the election being between Richardson and Paul, so I must hope that the worst get weeded out.

Full disclosure: I don’t vote. I believe that I have every right to choose my own master…but I do not have the right to choose yours. And while you are contemplating that, keep in mind, you have no right to choose my master either.

I refer you to multiconstruct for one view on voting–start at the second paragraph

Election Eve

I did a search for “Why I don’t Vote”.

Tomorrow this god foresaken season ends. I am glad I don’t live in a contentious state, we are pretty solid dems here, so no one spends ad money locally. Thank goodness.

I actually feel more empathetic with the democrats. But let’s be honest. They are a bunch of incompitent shills. If they don’t sweep both houses of congress, they are sad sacks indeed.

Let’s see: Iraq, no Osama, Abramoff, Foley, Abu Graib, Rumsfield, Cheney, Iraq, DeLay, Plamegate, Guantanamo, etc…ad nauseum…

History (the last 100 years) teaches us that the out of power party always gains substantial seats in an off year election. So let’s add historical inertia to the list above.

Still…

The dems will be lucky to eke out enough seats to take one house majority…

They lack vision. The republicans have a plan. It is diabolically evil, but we can all agree that it is a plan. What are the democrats plan? Name a democrat that has successfully gotten their vision across to a broad spectrum of the populace? Not a one.

I don’t vote because there is one to vote for. I don’t vote because no one who seems as if they would truly represent me has ever been on the ballot. I don’t vote because I am sick and tired of choosing the lesser of two evils.

In America, or so I have been taught, the majority makes the decisions. In America the majority does not vote. What does that say about America’s brand of democracy.