Monday, March 31, 2008

Election Day tomorrow

For my part, it can't be over soon enough. At this point, I'm so weary of the constant barrage of campaign ads, nasty letters blog entries, letters-to-the-editor, and "whisper campaigns", I don't really care which way it turns out.......well, I do, way down deep but whatever the result is, I'll deal with it.

My sainted better half called something to my attention last week that I should have had the wisdom to realize but obviously was too close to my friend's campaign to realize what was going on.

In short, I was so "into" the campaign that I watched every word our opponent said like a hawk and devined "conspiracies" in every detail. If the opponent said "when" instead of "if" then I was ready to surmise that the outcome was some fashion or another. I was "reading tea-leaves" that weren't really there and operating in the full-blown "crisis mode" that most local campaigns rely on in the closing days of a really close campaign....or what we THINK will be a close election...there were only 18 votes different in the primary and both campaigns went after the defeated third parties 911 (ironic no?) votes with a passion.

I heard from our candidate's blog/web guru yesterday who said that he was editing an entry to change ONE WORD at the request of one of our opponent's supporters. ONE STINKING WORD out of probably two dozen posts because they felt the term was "prejudicial" to their candidate.....whew.....

I guess I'm not the only one who was operating in "crisis mode".

Since I'm personally unopposed, I don't have much to worry about other than making sure that at least my wife and I vote for me. My friend has to "sweat it out".

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone.....

Matt Taibbi hits it out of the park in this issue of Rolling Stone....

Honestly I never thought of media manipulation in the way that he presents it here. Here's a few "snippets" for your enjoyment but I do encourage you to read the whole piece...

The net effect of all of this is to make the electorate exquisitely sensitive to constant prodding and poking by media stimuli, and what people don't notice is that that prodding and poking is tirelessly moving them in the same direction, toward a safe, inoffensive middle, away from anything that
smells controversial. The endless onslaught of tiny scandals trains the
electorate to be hyper-responsive to temporary, superficial outrages while
simultaneously chipping away at their long-term memories, their inclination to
look at the big picture, their ability to grasp subtleties of opinion and


We're getting to be the same kind of people. We can't focus for more
than ten seconds on anything at all and we're constantly exercised about stupid
media-generated non-scandals, guilt-by-association raps, accidental dumb
utterances of various campaign aides and other nonsense — while at the same time we have no energy at all left to wonder about the mass burgling of the national
budget for phony military contracts, the war, the billion dollars or so in
campaign contributions to be spent this year that will be buying a small
mountain of favors for the next four years. And we... shit, I don't even know
what I'm saying anymore. I'm just tired of this tone that's always out there
when these scandals break, like we can't fucking stand the existence of this
Wright fellow for even a minute longer, not a minute longer! — when we all know
that come Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, Jeremiah Wright will be forgotten
and we'll be jumping en masse in a panic away from the next media-offered shadow to fall across our bow. What a bunch of turds we all are, seriously. God help us if we ever had to deal with a real problem.

I'm not sure that I totally buy the implication that the media purposely does this to us. I'm not sure that there is a conspiracy as such to make us lose our "collective memory" but I am pretty sure that it has to do with the phenomena that we've known about for years.

That is the media must constantly compete for our attention in order to attract viewers which equals audience share, which equals higher advertising rates and more money, more money more money...Hence....we move from scandal to scandal instead of moving from issue to issue.

Matt writes a good's fun to read.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another thought

I've calmed down a bit after the initial shock of seeing the audacious smears against my friend.

I'm now concentrating on how to counter it........I hope my friend doesn't get too depressed by this. He's relatively new to running for public office (second try actually) and I don't think he was prepared for this......

Now it's getting dirty....

The Mayoral campaign locally is getting pretty ugly. It didn't get this ugly last time but I think there is more at stake for the status quo faction than there was last time. A friend of mine emailed this to me:

Things are also getting very nasty on the thread that XXX's (name deleted) letter to the editor started. The check cashing issue and marital infidelity are the topics of the day. Fun stuff. I'm surprised more people don't run for public office.

Yep...that's about it...nasty stuff on an unmoderated newspaper website. But my friend has it exactly right.....this is why people don't run for public office.

Now, certainly, I'm not going to blame my favorite candidate's opponent for these things because he has personally behaved in a gentlemanly manner. But his supporters are scum of the earth and they have given him all the "plausible deniability" he can handle. He won't come out and condemn people who spread rumors, he'll just quietly sit back and tsk, tsk his way through it hoping some of the crap his supporters are throwing will stick to my candidate. It's an old political trick and he won't disassociate himself from it.

How do we move beyond this?

I've often wondered if I'm too idealistic to be in this job......just for the record, I have, indeed secretly held thoughts of retaliation and "tit-for-tat" blog entries on this issue, but I've never been able to bring myself to do them.

Maybe someday we'll all grow up and knock this S$$T off......maybe

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another glimpse at the "conservative soul"

E. J. Dionne Jr. has been one of my favorites for a while but I've always suspected that he's holding back how he really feels...

Today...he lets it loose.

You can read the whole article here but I've just GOT to post some snippets:

Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy.


The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost "confidence" in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another's portfolios.


But if this near meltdown of capitalism doesn't encourage a lot of people to question the principles they have carried in their heads for the past three decades or so, nothing will.


As the economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted of the era leading up to the Depression, "The threat to men of great dignity, privilege and pretense is not from the radicals they revile; it is from accepting their own myth. Exposure to reality remains the nemesis of the great -- a little understood thing."


But in the enthusiasm for deregulation that took root in the late 1970s, flowered in the Reagan era and reached its apogee in the second Bush years, we forgot the lesson that government needs to keep a careful watch on what capitalists do. Of course, some deregulation can be salutary, and the market system is, on balance, a wondrous instrument -- when it works. But the free market is just that: an instrument, not a principle.


I don't think I've ever seen a clearer example of the paradox of Conservative thinking....public sector intervention is okay in order to bail out the "captains of industry" order to literally save capitalism from it's own excesses.

Conservatives seem to have a problem in learning the lessons of history. In a way, I think, they are too much in love with the myth of "the invisible hand" and the "free market", neither of which have ever existed in any true sense, to see the reality of the dangers of unchecked capitalism. Perhaps I should be more precise by stating that what we witnessed in 1929 1981 and 2001 was capitalism running rampant.

It's examples like these that make me think that the image we liberal/progressives usually paint of conservatives as being....well....dumb....are founded in no small part by history.


Monday, March 17, 2008

No Mas! No Mas!

I cant take it anymore.....

I have to meet with supporters and people I'm trying to convince and they all say the same thing:


The Barisats at Starbucks know me by my first name...they have my coffee ready for me when I get to the counter from the parking lot.

"The Grind" has named a breakfast special after me.

The Cracked Egg wait staff is worrying about my chloesteral.....

I'm not sure how much more of this my bladder can take.......

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

About that "phone ringing at 3 AM Ad.......

Let me first apologize for not posting here in so long. I've been so busy that I haven't had time to do two posts in a day....sometimes not even one post a day for my other responsibility ...and of course the pressures of a Mayoral Campaign, pending Capital Improvements Budget, personnel crisis (not really ...just hyped to make a political issue out of it ..see "Mayoral Campaign" above) and a ton of other little issues make blogging a hit or miss issue.

I would like to post more about the local issues involved in this campaign but I noticed on STATCOUNTER that a computer that could only come from the opposition camp has been very frequently visiting this blog...or at least was a week ago... I am closely associated with one candidate and I certainly don't want anything I say here to be used in a campaign speech, news release, newspaper advertisement, or campaign blog against my preferred candidate. So I'll be a bit cautious. I wish I could be more candid but unfortunately it would be counter-productive to do so.


About that ad...

By now I'm sure almost anyone with even the most minute bit of interest in the Democratic Nomination campaign has seen or heard of the Clinton Campaign's ad entitled "It's 3 AM and somewhere in Washington, a phone is ringing." Of course, the surface implication of the ad is that only Hillary Clinton has the experience to answer the "red phone" in the White House at 3 AM.

As you might has also seen, the ad has been attacked on several different levels and parodied on an even larger number of levels. James Wolcott of Vanity Fair writes about a particularly outlandish stupid analysis of the ad. Here's the gist of it:

"...., and the Daily Howler's Bob Somerby is scathing on the troubled thoughts that Patterson can't help but think even if those thoughts are hobgoblins of his own imagination:

..The uneasy professor "ha[s] spent [his] life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery." Another person might have put that sort of work to good use, but Patterson is left with "scenes from the past" that come to his mind—with things he "couldn’t help but think." Of course, fools that we are, we all have things we’re inclined to think—reactions we're inclined to have, thoughts that instantly pop into consciousness. But to the extent that we have trained our minds, we then subject such reactions to analysis. Sorry, but Patterson doesn't go there much. Later on, he again reports the things he "could not help but think." Soon, he’s throwing the r-word around quite a bit, based on things he "could not help but think."

Patterson offers interpretations of this ad that are, simply speaking, inane. For that reason, it's sad to see him boo-hoo-hooing about the way some people "may" or "could" be "trading on the darkened memories of a twisted past Obama has struggled to transcend." Part of our history with which Obama has struggled (quite brilliantly, in our view) is the requiremen--lodged in the brains of many professor--that every incident in the world must be given a racial reading. Obama has struggled against that quite brilliantly. (It's a shame that he's had to do it. Just think of the other social problems this brilliant man might have solved.) But race men like Patterson have played this dumb card ever step of the way in the past four months. They've played this card inanely befor--but never as inanely as this.

See what I mean? Everybody seems to be using the Clinton ad as some sort of Rosarch test upon which they hang their own personal fears and bigotries....pretty bad huh?

Well, hold on. I've got one more for you.

My own problem with Clinton's ad is that is solidifies the Republican narrative about the state of our nation today. Their narrative is and has been the same since Sept 12, 2001 :


Hillary is selling you the image that you must live in fear unless and only unless, you elect her to the Presidency. It's primal. We need to protect our young so she shows picture of innocent little rug-rats sleeping the sleep of the just in their beds and a conscientious Mom looking in on them to be sure they are safe.....while a crisis looms somewhere else....the red phone is ringing.

But relax. We're safe. We're safe only because Hillary is answering the phone.

The message is no more complex than that. There is no racial underpinning to it, much less any veiled reference to "Birth of A Nation" and the KKK. No. It's the same, old, worn out Republican narrative coming to us from the warm and safe confines of OUR Democratic candidate for the Presidency.

Be Afraid.

Be VERY Afraid.