Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

This post has been long in the making: it has resided in my brain since the time I started this blog and it has certainly made itself apparent throughout this part of history that will surely become known as the Great Manic Depression (you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen). This will be the last post, officially, of the 59 Second Minute in its current, utter useless form, but it will also begin an era of new, more fresh, political commentary by me, as well as another project that will ultimately end up taking more of my time and is totally different from anything I’ve done here in my blogspace in the cybersphere. This post carries a message of imperative importance to everyone who considers themselves politically informed, or is involved in any way in the politics of the United States.

The message is this: both the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same, wretched coin. Together, they compose an entity that is against the liberty of all American citizens. There is not a party that is for freedom – no mistake about that.

Consider that most people dislike the Republicans for their over-reliance on evangelicals; for their restrictions on the decisions of women via their “pro-life” stance; and for their traditionally anti-gay views. This is infringing upon peoples’ social liberty because it restricts their freedom based on sexuality, gender, or, in some religious extremists’ cases, religion.

Consider that some people dislike the Democrats for trying to increase taxes and increase the role of government in all sectors of life, especially now in the economy. This is infringing upon people’s economic liberty because they seek to restrict the way that people trade goods and conduct their business. Having freedom of any kind naturally carries risk – the risk of failure. The government, in essence, seeks to remove the risk of failure by taking over the banks, etc., etc.

When you put these parties together (have a compromise between the two), what do you get? General authoritarianism, where the government dictates what you do, both socially and economically. Is this the type of system the “land of the free” deserves? NO!

I’d argue, that since the founding of this country, political thought has become increasingly homogenized, especially in the past 60 years, due to the two-party system. Again, ask, “What makes two people in the Democratic party any different from one another?” Not much; and I’d wager that that fact is a cause (or is it an effect?) of the lack of diversity in political thought from our people, and, thusly, the representatives they elect. And if there is no diversity in political thought (along party lines, of course: Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democratic), then, one can argue that no one’s really thinking at all. Think about it: if your political views mesh with the typical Democratic robot, then you don’t have to think, for they think for you! You hear them talk, you nod in agreement, and life goes on. Then you hear a left-leaning journalist spit fire at the Republicans, you, again, nod in agreement (for Republicans are The Enemy), and life goes on. Whenever you talk politics, you just vomit back what you heard on TV or read in the newspaper, and life goes on, without any analyzation of your beliefs.

This type of system benefits nobody but the ruling class. We’ve become programmed like Pavlov’s dogs: the majority of the populace has been conditioned to think highly of a person that has that capitalized “D” next to the state they represent when they’re interviewed on the major news networks (note: substitute “D” for “R” when appropriate). And when the “R” shows up – well, he’s just another Bush and shouldn’t be listened to.

(As a side note: when there is infighting among parties – witness the fears of Hillary “ripping apart” the Democratic Party during the Conventions last year- people hope they all “get along” and keep going with the party line. Back then, I said I hoped she would concede to Obama but now I realize there was no correct choice, and I imagine that it would’ve been preferable for the party to be torn apart if Hillary pulled a stunt during the Conventions. My reason? I don’t want parties)

Is this the kind of divisiveness we need in our country?

As I said before, if we all think along the party line(s), who do we elect? The same people, or, at the very least, people who follow the party line(s) – the sad thing being that there is no tangible difference between the two options. And so, we elect the same people, and they continue to get nothing done or they decide to do the worse alternative: make bad laws.

We wonder why the country is going downhill, and then you look at Congress’s approval rating, which has hovered around 30% for what seems to be time immemorial. If we really dislike who is in Congress that much wouldn’t it make sense to vote them out of office by replacing them with someone more competent and has a political ideology that would better represent us?

But, the problem is, we’re given two choices in most races, and are forced to pick one of the two party lines that fits ours the best. And, most often, we elect people of the same party – people who closely share political ideologies… Who are likely going to repeat the failings of their predecessor. So we vote in what seems to be a revolving door of people who follow a certain party line, but, somehow, 70% of us more or less disapprove of Congress as a whole.

The issue lies in the homogeneity of the parties and of the populace. It has become evident that the two-party system is worthless and is destroying the quality and quantity of political thought in this country. It gives no choice to those who disagree with the dominant parties and force their hand into voting for the lesser of two evils. I say that we abolish the party system and vote for people based on the quality of their thought and their policies, not the name of the party they’re a part of. I say we stop casting our votes for both parties, since they are against our liberty. I say we open our minds and encourage those with alternative viewpoints and vote for them instead. I say we pick up a book on political theory or economics instead of turning on our televisions.

And, if you don’t believe me, I think you’ll take George Washington’s word that the party system does not work. From his farewell address in 1796:

They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally…

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

Right now, I am calling it: the Obama presidency will be a disaster, partly because of the legacy Bush left him, and the errors that he will make on his own, namely continuing to hand out money in order to “stimulate” the economy, as well as continuing the farcical “War on Terror” that Bush started, and will never end until people realize it is just an attempt to expand America’s control in Eurasia. Admittedly, I don’t think the ailing economy will be Barack’s fault, though social spending programs are likely to make things worse in the future.

Hail to the thief?

I’m still angered over President-Elect Obama and his support for the missile defense shield in Poland. The BBC reports that an Obama aide said he was “uncommitted” to the defense shield, contradicting the past statement that he supported it, which I alluded to yesterday.

I am relieved that Obama doesn’t explicitly support the missile shield, at least in public. As anyone who has followed politics over the past 8, 12, hell, even 40 years, going back to the Johnson administration, knows, what politicians say to the public is different from what they actually say behind closed doors, which is when they say what they mean. There cannot be a contradiction here; Obama cannot simultaneously support and be “non-committed” to the missile shield at the same time. To do so would be an example of Big Brother politicking: a fantasy world where war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. Due to the previously mentioned behavior of politicians, I’d wager that Obama was speaking the truth on the phone with President Kaczynski – all Kaczynski has to gain from the missile shield is a giant bullseye put on his chest from Russia, so why would he deliberately misquote Obama?

Yes, I realize that Obama isn’t making any decisions since he is not president yet, but I fear that he is showing is true colors as a mere politician – he isn’t showing any traits out of the ordinary except his charisma and speaking power. He has, regardless of his verdict on the shield, shown that he, like Bush, is going to be running an operation where the public talking points are different than what he’s actually doing – he acts contrary to what he says to the public. To lie to either the Polish president or the public is the same Bush schtick we’ve seen for the past 8 years, and I can’t make up my mind as to which action is worse. Recall how Colin Powell got in front of the UN and told them how grave the threat in Iraq was? Remember how Bush told us that Iraq had biological weapons and posed a serious threat to the United States? Those were statements that blatantly contradicted reality. If the reality in this situation is that Obama has committed to the missile shield, then he has lied by saying he “isn’t committed” to the missile shield; likewise, if the reality is that he isn’t committed to the missile shield, then he lied to the Polish president. It is, again, Orwellian in either case, where 2+2=5.

Again, if the latest story is true, I am relieved and somewhat pleased with Obama, though it doesn’t take away the fact that he lied (of course, there is a slight possibility that he misspoke, but you do not do that with an issue of this magnitude) to a leader of a foreign country. Remind you of the Bush administration?

People who voted Obama in as a “lesser of two evils” should remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

So, Will, enjoy your honeymoon with Barack. Hopefully you’ll be able to report on the bad decisions he makes while he’s president rather than president-elect, since that “-elect” somehow negates the legitimacy of his action. “Wait until he actually makes decisions!” you cry. But you forget that any action constitutes a decision, just as any decision constitutes an action. This is a decision he makes, just not as President of the United States. But, the point is, decisions he makes now are going to be indicators of what he will do as president. And it doesn’t look good.

To paraphrase a famous politician: this guy says he’s going to change politics, then he uses the same kind of doublespeak and contradictions we’ve seen from the Bush administration! This isn’t change we can believe in! This is 4 more years of the same, failed politics that put us in bad standing on the international stage.

(Although, I’ll admit, the sample size on the decisions is too small. We’ll have to, inevitably, wait and see)

Barack Obama has announced that he will continue to try to isolate the Russians in a strategy ripped right out of the Cold War: he supports the bogus missile shield that Bush has planned to erect in Poland to defend against so-called “rogue states”, also known as Russia (though, they say, it’s Iran they want to shield the world from).

The BBC reports:

US President-elect Barack Obama will go ahead with plans to build part of a controversial missile defence system on Polish soil, Poland has announced.

President Lech Kaczynski’s office said the pledge was made during a telephone conversation between the two men.

Russia opposes the US plans, and early this week said it planned to deploy missiles on Poland’s border and electronically jam the US system.

This is the first signal that Mr Obama plans to continue George Bush’s policy.

During the US election campaign, Mr Obama said he wanted to review the system to build a missile defence system in central Europe to ensure it would be effective and would not target Russia.

Moscow says the plan to locate 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic will do exactly that.

In his first state of the nation address earlier this week, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Moscow would neutralise the system by deploying short-range missiles in its western enclave of Kaliningrad on Poland’s border.

The US military insists the shield is incapable of destroying Russian rockets and is designed solely to knock down long-range missiles fired from the Middle East.

This is also the first signal from the US president-elect that he has no intention of backing down in the face of the Russian threats.

This is not a change at all – in fact, it’s more of the same. This is not what Obama promised during his campaign: he has gone with George Bush instead of against him on this issue, trying to make it look like he’s a tough guy to placate the militaristic population of the United States. Obama should take the opposite approach and play pacifist, unless we are attacked by another nation (not terrorist groups like al-Qaeda). He’s deliberately stirring up anti-West Russian sentiment by supporting the missile shield, and a second Cold War is certainly something this country and the world cannot afford.

To get a perspective of how Russia feels, consider this: how would we feel if they trained a proxy army in Quebec and killed citizens there, and we had to clean up their mess? Or if they placed a missile defense shield in Panama, saying that they had to defend against “rogue states” like Morocco? Would we not cry of them meddling in our affairs, and call them out on their missile shield?

Obama’s doing nothing but saying he’ll advance the Bush Doctrine, and that’s not change.

In a predictable response to the US missile shield deployed in Poland in August, Russia has made its move. The BBC reports:

Russia is to deploy new missiles in a Baltic enclave near Nato member Poland, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.

Short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region would “neutralise” the planned US anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, he said.

The US says its shield is a defence against missiles from “rogue” nations, but Moscow sees it as a direct threat.

This was, again, an easily foreseeable move on Russia’s part, and brings back vestiges of the Cold War. I don’t think Eastern Europe is doomed yet, but, if a second Cold War were to return, Europe would collapse due to Russia’s stranglehold on the oil industry.

There have been comparisons between President-Elect Obama and John F. Kennedy. Maybe Obama will have to prove himself against the Russians much like Kennedy did.

This editorial in the Guardian’s pretty good:

Thanks to America’s insistence on a shield of unproven worth, and Poland’s backing for it, eastern Europe now faces the nightmare return of the short-range missile. Go back 16 years to discover just how dangerous this bluff was. Taking the chips off the table is going to be more difficult, even though Barack Obama told Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, about his doubts concerning the effectiveness of the missile shield. Whatever the truth about the Pentagon’s claim that the shield is not aimed at Russia, the installation has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Pawn to D5. White, your move.

…particularly Michael Moore, who said:

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

Michael, I’ll tell you when absolutely anything is possible: when we elect an atheist for president. When that happens, I’ll certainly believe that anything is possible.

Yes, voting in a black man is an important step forward for this country, but it doesn’t smash all the barriers of prejudice in this country. Voting in a “godless” person will be a much harder task to accomplish than it was to elect a black man, simply because discrimination based on religion is in vogue, while racism is unacceptable in our society.

There were riots across the country last night, but of pride: Barack Obama was named president elect in a landslide victory over resident maniac John McCain. Many people shed tears witnessing Obama’s victory speech at Grant Park last night, believing that they had claimed a major victory for America, saving it from the evil GOP overlords. Their hero was Obama, and (pardon me for using a tired cliche) he appeared to be a Messianic figure, at least in their eyes.

Obama is not going to radically change Washington. Let’s get that out of the way – the president does not have the type of power in order to enact that kind of change. Our primary legislative body here in the United States is not the President or his administration, but Congress. If the head of state were to enact a massive change across the board like Obama says he will, he’d be a dictator to any other nation.

But here’s the catch: Obama, simply, won’t be able to change Washington as much as he says he will. And that’s a good thing.

Yes, I know that by not accomplishing what he immediately set out to do will disenfranchise voters. But it will be good for the country, just like when Clinton was forced to abandon his health care policy. And this is why Obama is the next Clinton.

Mark my words, people: Obama is simply not capable of changing Washington the way he wants you to think. He can’t put an end to partisan bickering or hackery. He can’t put an end to Washington’s corporate ties. He can’t put an end to the lobbying that goes on. He can’t tell Congress exactly what to do (after all, isn’t that a Bush-esque thing to do?).

While he may not be able to fundamentally change Washington from the bottom up, Obama can be a great president while alienating his supporters at the same time (abandoning a national healthcare initiative, for one). He can be a steadfast supporter of all peoples, friend or foe (love thy enemy). He can be willing to work with both parties, taking the time to hear proposals from the Republican minority and the Democratic majority. He can, dare I say it, be conservative, limiting the policies he enacts, while protecting the freedoms of the American people.

But, most importantly, he must do this: he must respect the limits of power imposed on the office of the President. That’s change enough for me.

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Looking ’round the blogosphere, I’ve observed that just about everyone and their brother is talking about the election, since it’s election day in this country. Don’t follow suit.

Why, you ask?

1. Everyone Else is Doing It

This one is self-explanatory – the more people are doing something, the less interesting it becomes. And you don’t want to be like everyone else, do you? I mean, look at what mass movements have done before: Nazism. The Bolshevik Revolution. The Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades. Al-Qaeda. The list goes on and on. When you see the masses move in one direction, you should immediately swing in the other, and this case is no different.

2. Other People Get Paid To Do It

There are tons of people working for various mainstream news networks that are actually being paid to cover the election. This means that they’re professionals. And, if they’re professionals, they’re definitely going to put their heart and souls into their work (that is, if journalism’s even alive). These professionals are going to blow anything an amateur like yourself is going to write out of the water. They possess superior writing skills and far better resources, while you have nothing to do but quote their reports for their data and their opinion. Plus, they’re much, much better looking than you. And you know how the masses flock to those who look good – just look at Sarah Palin! Or Britney (Spears)! Or anyone else!

3. You Have Better Things To Do

Go outside (no, don’t vote) and have fun. Read a book. Play cards with your friends (though, if you’re a blogger, you don’t have friends) and family. Talk with your kids. Eat some ice cream. Have sex. Do SOMETHING other than waste your time covering the election on your blog. Just have fun doing anything at all will be a nice change of pace while your stupid coworkers are holding election parties. Yes, it may seem super-important to you that you cover this (apparently) historic election and get your voice heard on the internet, but, really…

4. No One Cares

You’re one of those people whose heart leaps every time he gets 10 views on his blog, thinking that all those articles you read over at Copyblogger helped you reap 50% gains in traffic. You use Google Analytics to track all of your 4 unique viewers in a day, desperately trying to find ways to attract more people to your site. You think those 4 visitors (who barely found you using a Google search) really give two shits what you think about the election? Do you think that they’ll actually pay attention to your pitiful, whiny attempts at liveblogging? No! Of course not!

4.5. The Election’s Over Anyways

Bow down to the DRE-700!


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fivethirtyeight’s final election prediction is that Obama goes on to predict an Obama victory of 349 electoral voted to McCain’s 189. McCain also has, I kid you not, a 1% chance of winning this thing.

I’ll be brief here: it’s still possible, very possible in fact, for McCain to win. Let’s remember that fivethirtyeight uses every poll conceivable in order to predict the potential outcomes of the election. I know that this is a scary thought, but consider the possibility that the polls are wrong. If one protests that fact, one only needs to look at the exit polling during the 2004 election – there has been quite a stir over their inaccuracies on the internet and elsewhere. If those polls are wrong, what prevents these polls from being wrong as well (though, statistically speaking, it’s quite hard for these polls to be unanimously incorrect, but I’ll counter that below)?

What about the silent GOP voting machine that has lay dormant, not responding to polls, and such? Where have they been? Or has it been fairly represented; after all, there’s still a chance that Obama could actually lose the popular vote.

But does anyone care about baseless speculation, like the above? No! After all, speculating is what got us into this mess to begin with.

I figured I’d share these with you guys: