Midterm Elections 2018, Gut Response

Net result: Republicans expanded their control of the Senate while the Democrats took control of the House. The bottom line is that there was no blue wave, essentially there is no backlash against Trump’s first two years in office.

Random thoughts in random order.

1) The Democrats overplayed their hand on Kavanaugh, showing that #metoo has limits.  I didn’t really understand the intense opposition to Kavanaugh, he was as good as we would get with Trump and a Republican senate; that battle had already been lost in 2016. Sun Tzu teaches that if you want to win a war then you must choose your battles carefully. This is a lesson that the Democrats never learned. So the Democrats wasted their political capitol on a battle that was never winnable, energized the Republican base in the process, and it cost them some seats in congress.

2) Democratic leadership is not very likable. Every republican running for the House ran against Nancy Pelosi. She is a lightning rod (it is insignificant if rightly or wrongly). She is an astounding 78 years old, how can she be the face of the future?

3) Trump is smarter than we give him credit and his base is passionate. I have no idea what Trump believes in, I’m not sure that he knows, but he has re-shaped the Republican party in his image.

4) As of right now, I don’t see anything blocking Trump’s re-election. It would seem the Democrats are lining up a clown car of Septuagenarians and Octogenarians to challenge him in 2020. I am old enough to remember when the Republicans were the party of old stodgy people, my, how times have changed.

5) Our government is based on the checks and balances of 3 parts of government. Unfortunately the legislative branch has ceded its power to the executive. This imbalance makes us wobbly at best and headed for a serious crash at worst. Trump is not the problem, he is but a symptom. We need to fight the disease while managing the symptoms.

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Last Minute Election Thoughts

We should know the results fairly early.  Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia polls all close at 4 PM PST.

The media are pretending that Pennsylvania is in play, I think this is just to keep us in front of our TVs.  There are 9 states in play: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Of these nine, I think three will go to Obama quickly: Ohio, Nevada, and New Hampshire.  That leaves him just 6 electoral votes short of victory.

If Romney does not sweep Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida (all close at 4 PST) then it is over.  Florida appears to be close, Virginia leans Obama, and North Carolina leans Romney.

Predictions: Odds are at least 50 to 1 for an Obama victory.  And we will probably know the definitive answer by 8PM PST.

None of this is meant to imply that it makes one whit of difference who wins.  While the media hypes this election as one of the most vitriolic in history, I think we have never had an election where the candidates agreed on so much.  And maybe that is why they resort to name calling, there are no differences in their political leanings to debate.

Catch the results here.

Election Eve…ho hum…

Tomorrow we will elect either Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum to be president, and nothing will change.  Obamacare will be implemented as scheduled, the Federal debt will continue to balloon, foreign intervention will continue to escalate, sabres will be rattled at Iran, the presidential kill list will be continued, the sun will continue to rise in the East and set in the West.  Never has a presidential election hinged on so little.

3rd parties were kept out of the debates and so we had mutual masturbation sessions where nothing of import was discussed.  What would a President Romney administration be like?  It is the night before the election and we have no idea, but I suspect it would be very much like a President Obama administration (which really is not all that different from a President Bush administration).

And the cycle will continue until we wake up one day to find that we are paupers living in a third world country.

Choosing a President

Per usual, the nominations were already decided before we had a chance to vote here in California.  Our choices are, once again, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  Two political hacks with nearly identical ideology.

My liberal friends are aghast when I tell them that it really doesn’t matter to me who wins, because I can’t tell the difference.  It always puzzled me that they would challenge this assessment…until recently.  I finally figured out that it is our placing different levels of importance to the issues that guides our belief (or non-belief).

While I won’t here challenge their beliefs, I do want to lay out mine.  When choosing a president, these are the issues that I find of the most import (in no particular order).

  1. Decentralization
  2. Human/Civil Rights
  3. War/Imperialism
  4. Planetary Stewardship

Let’s take a quick look at each in turn.

Decentralization: I want to be free, there is no compromise on that.  Increasing centralization places increasing limits on personal freedom.  The further away I am from the power structure, the more I am confined by the soul-less bureaucracy.  For every proposal. I ask, “Does this centralize power or does it lend itself to a dispersal of power?”  I look at a candidate’s record, I listen to his/her rhetoric, and I attempt to determine if the candidate’s platform lends itself to a devolution of power.

Human/Civil Rights: I care about human rights on a global level.  Will the candidate respect human rights, will the candidate ostracize those who violate basic human rights?  I don’t think we can impose human rights, instead we need a leadership that will lead by example.  This includes not allying ourselves with tyrants.  Civil rights are an extension of human rights but at the national level.  Neither Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum respect Habeus Corpus, a cornerstone in protecting us from government overreach.

War/Imperialism: These go hand in hand.  War should be a last resort, waged only when your own life is threatened.  A standing army prevents peaceful resolution.  Imperialism is what got us into our debt crisis and will eventually lead to our demise, the same as it has every imperial civilization in history.  The candidates are in lock step on foreign policy, and neither value peace.

Planetary Stewardship: Environmental carnage threatens the future of human existence.  Nuclear waste, desertification, species extinction, de-forestation, and global climate change are all threats to our continued prosperity.  There is a crisis of mass magnitude, but both candidates are business as usual.

If you add my second tier issues of the prison industrial complex, debt, collapsing educational system, and food security; it all becomes pretty clear.  There is no difference between Obama and Romney and the entire election hoopla is a charade played out for idiots.

Looks like I will be sitting another one out.

Prop 19, last minute thoughts (free flow of ideas)

In 1913 California was the first state to make marijuana illegal.  In 2 days it may be the first State to make cannabis legal.

In the earlier, prohibitionist, fight; it took 24 years for the nation to follow.  If we tax/regulate/control cannabis this Tuesday, will it take another 24 years for the nation to follow?

Since the initiative has a “severability” clause, if the main gist of the intitiative is found to be illegal by the Federal courts, we will have 2 new cannabis felonies on the books….and still no legal pot.  I bet we would feel foolish then.

1996 is known as the medicalization of marijuana, will 2010 be the industrialization?

I kind of have warm feelings for the small scale family farms that we have today, a classic cottage industry.  Will those warm  fuzzies carry over to the sterile warehouse grows?

What about energy consumption?  We already have rolling blackouts when consumption is high.  What if 5% of Californian households put a 1000 watt bulb in their closets?  Will the cities go dark?

If this industrialization initiative fails to pass, will we have a good decrim initiative in 2012?  Will the world end if we do?  Or don’t?

Tax.  Control.  Regulate.  Did the initiative’s author, Richard Lee, think this would fire up the base?  Did he take the base for granted and play for the middle?  Will he learn a lesson if this initiative fails to pass?

I don’t think I have ever voted to increase taxes that were not earmarked for a particular item (usually schools or drug treatment).

I currently spend 3 to 5000 dollars a year on pot…  And that is with a very generous employee discount from some awesome friends.  Will I spend less after the initiative?  My current tax on (an average) $4000/year is $350 dollars.  That same 4k will cost me an extra $800 in taxes ($50/ounce), that gets added to the $350 I already pay.  Will the overall price come down?  How?

Is Dennis Peron really a bad guy, as Chis Conrad claims?  I always had a personable likeness for Dennis.

If we vote this down, will the forces of prohibition use it as pretext to attempt to roll back our recent gains?

Can we blame Richard Lee if they do?

I can’t wait for Wednesday morning, it is like Christmas…or Pandora’s box.

Edit: Full disclosure, I earn a living in the medicinal cannabis industry.

Beyond Voting (link)

The Bureau of Public Secrets has updated “Beyond Voting, The Limits of Electoral Poltics.”  A timely message as we move into the final stretch till the election.

The essay’s author has a better view of voting than I do and leaves off with this message:

“By all means vote if you feel like it. But don’t stop there. Real social change requires participation, not representation.”

Why pot won’t be legalized (California)

This November, Californians have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.

Full disclosure: I make my living from the medicinal cannabis industry;  if this law passes, I lose my job.

In 1996 Californians passed medical pot by a 58/42 majority.  That initiative was powered by a movement.  The current initiative does not have a movement, it has an industry.  Industry is good for raising money, but not so good at get out the vote activities.  The current initiative is polling at about 44%.

It seems that Prop 19 was written by a small group of people, another thing that sets it apart from 215.  The concerns of the community were never aired, let alone considered.  As a result, there are a lot of people whom one would expect to be for legalizing pot, who have come out against it. [One striking example is Dennis Peron, the mover and shaker who got us medical pot.]

Ok, so that answers the question of the title of this post, because it won’t pass.  But let’s assume it does pass.

If you look at the text of Prop 215 you will note that it is but a single page long.  A straight forward, no frills, easily understood initiative.  Compare that to Prop 19, 6 dense pages that requires a legal degree to understand.  Look at how the courts had to interpret Prop 215 at each step along the way, then imagine the field day the courts will have with 19 [Maybe we should call it the The Attorney Full Employment Act]

Then there is the little problem of the federal government.  Prop 215 used weasel words (recommendation instead of prescription) to avoid direct conflict with the feds.  The current initiative takes no such steps, they seem to invite federal intervention.  The Federal Controlled Substances Act supersedes state law making the cultivation or sales of marijuana a felony.   If this law is passed, numerous injunctions will be filed on the very next day.

The initiatives authors could have avoided this.  A simple decriminalization would have flown under the fed’s radar.  It would have maintained the cottage industry that has sprung up as a result of 215.  It would have been simple and unambiguous.  Further, waiting for the presidential election would have ensured good turnout to aid in getting it passed.

But this initiative’s author(s) were so blinded by profits and consolidation of the industry that they failed to see that they were setting the marijuana movement back 10 years.  By this rash and greedy action, we all suffer.  It does not matter if the law passes or not, the movement is pinched and stunted just the same.

I don’t vote, so that saves the quandary of how I should vote on the initiative.  [Hint: Tax, Control, and Regulate are not my favorite key words] I mostly stay neutral when discussing it.  I figure that to actively oppose it would require that I quit my job if it failed to pass.

All the hand wringing that the clubs, the growers, the blacks, the rural areas, the south, or the whoever is going to spoil the vote turns out to be nonsense.  The culprits are the initiative’s sponsors, this is the wrong law at the wrong time.  Unfortunate but true.

Edit: So I got a call from someone who had read this asking if I was really against the initiative.  I’m not really against it, I am neutral.  I just think its backers fucked the rest of us over.  To be clear, I SUPPORT THE FULL LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, I like pot.  Unfortunately, this initiative will not give us legal marijuana.  Prop 215 was all about the patients, Prop 19 is ALL about greed and consolidation of the industry.  One was an initiative of the people, the other is an initiative of the corporate marijuana industry (created by prop 215).  As an anarchist, I obviously will not vote for or against it.  It DOES NOT MATTER if this law passes, it will not make marijuana legal.  If I don’t think it matters if it passes, if I think the attempt screwed us–win or lose; that leaves me agnostic on the initiative.  Got it?