It’s Not You, Hillary. It’s Bill.

For women and women’s power, Hillary being the front runner in the Democratic primaries is a momentous occasion. Hillary could be the first female president in our nation’s 240 year history. No one can doubt the momentous nature of the moment.

But just as Hillary’s candidacy is momentous for women, it is equally disastrous for men. Wait. Hear me out. This isn’t about Hillary, it is about Bill. We could get our very first First Gentleman in our nation’s history, a very big moment indeed for men. But we don’t get to choose our First Gentleman, we are saddled with whomever the presidential aspirant drags along. And in this case, it is Bill; to state that he is not representative of the best that men offer is a gross understatement. As a man, it pains me that Bill may become the representative of men of our generation in future history texts.

I can hear the reader stating that this is preposterous, but allow me to demonstrate with a small thought experiment and you will surely agree with me.

Imagine that the roles were reversed. If we had a man running for president and his wife was as deplorable as Bill. Many many affairs, numerous rape accusations, a documented one-sided affair with a person of vastly inferior standing. All documented and played out in public for the world to see. What would be our views of this woman? Would she serve as a role model for young women? Is it different when it is the First Gentleman instead of the First Lady?

After 240 years men may be about to achieve, for the very first time, a First Gentleman, surely we can do better than Bill. If we can’t do better than Bill at present, then it would be far better to wait. Far better to wait, to postpone this historic moment until a better candidate for the first First Gentleman comes along. After all, we only get the opportunity for the first First Gentleman once, do we want to blow this historic opportunity on Bill Clinton (pun unintended and kind of gross)?

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Iowa Caucus Day…We Are So Screwed

Neither party speak to me; a social liberal, fiscal radical, who opposes empire in all of its forms. With that said, I could probably get behind Sanders if he weren’t so old. Despite Bernie’s supporters excitement, if he loses today in Iowa then he will only win New Hampshire, Clinton will sweep the rest. It seems highly likely from today’s vantage point that the election will boil down to Hillary against Trump. While they both have supporters within their parties, they also have large negative ratings. This raises the question, at what level is voter turnout so low that the election is deemed illegitimate?

Trumps negatives sit at 60% and Hillary is not far behind at 52% while a whopping 70% view her as being dishonest. Nobody has ever been elected (or re-elected) president with negatives above half. With Hillary against Trump, this election year will be the first as it appears that one of these lying conniving dishonest people will be president…whether the majority likes it or not. My prognostications: Trump wins the first four states quite handily and goes on to get the nomination. Bernie comes close in Iowa, wins New Hampshire, and never reaches 30% in any other state. Trump and Hillary slug it out in the general election…negatives for each increase…and voter turnout barely exceeds 40%. (Lowest turnout ever was 49% in both 1996 and 1924.)

So the question remains, if 6 out of 10 voters stay home on election day, can the election be deemed legitimate? What do you think?

Presidential Election Turning Point

Much has been made of big money in politics, the bigger the election the bigger the money. You get the backing of the biggest billionaires, he who has the most money wins, that’s politics in the good ol’ US of A.

This year, things are just a little bit different. This year big media is helping to eliminate candidates before a single ballot has been cast. Whether for political patronage or simply for a ratings boost, this is a major turning point in American presidential elections. During the second republican debates, CNN massaged the rules for entry to gain admittance to Carly Fiorina. For Fiorina it was like winning the lottery, for the one who was removed to make room for her, too bad. This isn’t limited to republicans. The DNC changed the debate rules to exclude Lessig from the debates, assumably to aid the Hillary in her march to confirmation.

What is up with big money and big media colluding with the parties to choose our president all without a single ballot being cast?

Still, folks will shake their head solemnly and wonder why it is that voting rates continue to drop.  Perhaps it is cynicism instigated by the knowledge that it is not the votes cast that choose our leaders, but the money spent.

How old is too old to be president?

Earlier today, I posted on my micro blog about the Democratic party becoming the party of stodgy old people; here I want to expound on that idea.

Let’s start with a list of presidential candidates and their ages:

Democratic: Chafee 62, Clinton 67, O’Malley 52, and Sanders 73.

Republican: Bush 62, Carson 63, Christie 52, Cruz 44, Fiorina 60, Graham 59, Huckabee 59, Jindal 44, Pataki 70, Paul 52, Perry 65, Rubio 44, Santorum 57, and Trump 69.

As an aside, the FAA forces commercial airline pilots into retirement at the age of 60. Actually they can transfer to be a flight engineer or something similar, but they can not pilot a commercial airline. No Exceptions! No physical or mental check up to get a waiver, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Is not the most powerful position on the planed at least as important as a commercial pilot?

Of the 19 people currently running for president, 11 of them would be unfit to fly come inauguration day, January 2017. That is nearly 60% for those too lazy to pull up WolframAlpha. They are not qualified to fly a plane and they certainly have no business having the keys to the nuclear arsenal.

The democratic candidates have an average age of 63.5 and that will increase by a year and a half before they take office.  The republican candidate average age is 53.3. On average the republican candidates are a whopping 10+ years younger than their democratic counterparts. So, once again I inquire, when did the democratic party become the party of stodgy old people?

It took 3 generations to initiate global climate change, move the US from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor the world has ever known, remove the nutrition from our food, begin the 6th great extinction, turn our planet into a giant waste dump,  virtually pave the entire planet and pollute our land, seas, and air. In the US we call those 3 generations the greatest generation, the silent generation, and the baby boomers. These people have had their chance to wield power and have proven themselves inadequate to the task, it is well past time to send them off to retirement. If we survive, it will take 100 generations to undo the damage they have done. None of them deserve to be president, the planet and her inhabitants can not bear it.

Edit: Jim Web just announced he is throwing his hat into the ring, at 69 he further raises the average democratic age.

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.

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.

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.

What has the president done for me:

Set up federal grants to states to provide money to help those with disabilities to work from home;

Created a fund to encourage technologies that aid those with disabilities;

Created the President’s Plan for AIDs relief, the largest contribution ever to combat a single disease;

The President’s Malaria Initiative, goal of cutting malaria in half, currently saves about 15 million lives per year;

Medicare Prescription Drug initiative, helped cut the cost of prescription drugs for seniors by 40%

Launched a global threat reduction program that removed enough fissionable material to produce 30 bombs;

Persuaded Libya to give up its WMD and advanced missile programs;

Cut in half the US stockpile of nuclear weapons;

Increased funding for National Endowment for Democracy by 150%;

Provided more than 1.5 billion for aid to Darfur;

Added preventative screening to Medicare funding, saving untold number of lives;

Provided funding to open 1200 community health centers;

Funded Supplemental Education Services which provides after school tutoring to move than half a million kids;

Pushed the US to commit more than $22 billion for climate change technologies;

Created the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the largest in American history;

Created Project Safe Neighborhoods, helping bring crime down to a 30 year low;

Greatly increased budgets of National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health;

Greatly expanded the roles of LGBT and other minorities in his cabinet;

Signed the Great Lakes Legacy Act to begin cleaning contaminated sediment in the great lakes;

Signed Brownfields legislation to speed up the clean up of abandoned industrial sites.

These are just a few of the things that GW Bush accomplished as president.  Still we do not give him a pass on being a war criminal.  So why are we giving Obama a pass?

Anyone but Obama 2012!  Get on the train, let’s put this war criminal in Guantanamo.

The Presidency….conventions, VPs, and whatnot…

I thought Obama’s acceptance speech was great theatre.  If I thought he could deliver 10% of what he promises I would vote for him.  Choosing Biden as his running mate really puts a damper on his “change” theme.  I like Biden, but he has sat in the Senate since 1973!  Yep, that’s all about change…

McCain chose Palin, evidently she is the Governator of Alaska.  I haven’t heard that she has any economic experience, or that she has any foreign policy experience, or much of anything.  But, unarguably it is historic, in January we will either have a black president or a female vice president.

That is both heartening…and sad…at the same time.  Who can argue with the fact that McCain chose her because she is a woman?  McCain’s thinking probably went like this, “I need a woman, a woman who is against abortion, a woman who is against abortion and has no skeletons…”  Then they went off to find someone to meet that criteria, and Palin fit the bill.

And McCain is old…crazy old…will the voting public accept a noob as VP, one heart beat away from the presidency?

Was this really a good thing for women?  Hillary bought her Senate seat based on her name…rode her husband’s coattails, coasted into the primaries with the idea that it was her right to be the nominee.  What do young women learn from this?  Grab a strong man and ride him to the top, put up with his philandering ways, suck it up and you too can one day be a contender for the presidency.  And now Palin–with a two four month old special needs child–gets chosen simply because she has breasts.  I am an outsider…but to me…this seems…a set back.

Edit: So I thought we–as a society–had gotten beyond the stone age, but, alas, I was wrong. It seems that Palin wants creationism taught in schools, does not believe in global warming, and fought to keep beluga whales off the endangered species list (and is in fact suing to keep polar bears off the list). Put this together with her links to the oil industry and her support of drilling in ANWR and we catch ourselves sliding backwards…it seems that she may be more of a Neanderthal than Bush–welcome to the Pleistocene, maybe next election we can rise to the level of Neanderthal.