Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thank Michael Moore

   I guess I'm one of those rare Liberals that, until today, had never invested the two hours to experience the "Bowling For Columbine" documentary film. Although I was keenly aware of it's existence and the subject matter, I was as ignorant as Charleton Heston when it comes to the depth and scope of our gun violence "problem". And we have a significant problem. A problem that has no comparison in any other society on Earth, despite the claims made by the NRA and their spokespersons in Congress, the Media and the Echo Chamber. Michael Moore was kind enough to tweet the link to his documentary and I highly recommend an uninterrupted viewing to get the full impact.

   "I grew up with guns"

   Like a lot of Americans, my childhood memories include the family hunting trip, the locked rifle display case and the day the Police Officers in their dark blue uniforms showed up at the neighbors house because a 5 year old boy accidentally shot his sister in the garage. In all honesty, I hadn't thought about that shooting since it happened. I didn't know the family and they moved away soon afterward. Until I watched this documentary, I hadn't given it a thought. Even if there was a news report about an accidental shooting by a child. I'm not saying it's relevant or insightful, but simply observing my own odd behavior as it relates to guns. My Father, my Uncle, My Grandfather...they all owned guns and always stressed the safety, so I've always leaned toward (or maybe I've been susceptible to) the Second Amendment argument. However, the real issue we should be dealing with is the abuse of the Second Amendment. Just as freedom of expression is often abused, the right to bear arms is as well. And nothing screams abuse of both more than someone arguing they MUST have an arsenal of assault rifles to exercise their "right" to overthrow an imaginary "Dictator".  It also screams "marketing campaign" by gun manufacturers, which is another reason I highly recommend viewing Michael's documentary.
   In order to preserve the rights of law-abiding gun owners, I propose a fairly simple reform. We have the infrastructure in place already, although it will require some additional hiring. We simply treat gun ownership in the same way we regulate owning motor vehicles. It's quite likely that most DMV buildings/offices have adequate square footage to accommodate a gun licensing/testing department. It's just one idea and I'm interested in hearing yours as well. Either leave a comment or tweet me if you can, but at the very least watch the documentary and say "Thanks" to Michael Moore.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Now?

   The celebration is winding down and your Facebook is getting back to the "normal" conversations of "baby cute" and birthdays. The Twitter feed is less spontaneous with more retrospect, more sports, more movie reviews and fewer "new followers". So what is the focus now? Now that President Obama has been reelected and the Senate and House are more Democratic and there are more Women in Congress. Here's a few ideas:

   Register with at least 3 blogs you've been visiting regularly. You've probably been visiting a lot of blogs via links, but be sure to register with those that offer interesting content on a variety of issues. Join in the comments and conversations. Think of it as maintaining an infrastructure of "rapid response political teams". There are still a lot of issues on the table. Obviously, consider donating to at least one that really stands out for you.

   2014 begins today. Democrats have a long-standing tradition of resting on the "laurels". Look at your Congressional District and the immediate surrounding Districts. The Senate alone has 33 open seats and the GOP already have a BIG bank account set aside for the planned "shift in power". Surprised? Don't be, the GOP has a long-term plan and the Presidency in 2012 was never considered a "keystone" victory. Get to know your local Candidates and offer any help you can.

   New Year Resolution. Tired of committing to weight loss each year? Commit to being a voice for Change instead. There are crucial midterm elections coming up and it's never too early to establish your network for 2016. Democracy requires participation, but time off for the Holidays can be just what the Doctor ordered to avoid "burnout" and/or awkward family gatherings.

   The White House Blog   Keep up to date on political and apolitical news from the White House.

   Become a News Commentator. It's surprising how much opinion is derived from reading other people's opinion...just kidding, of course. You don't need a blog, you don't need a website, all you need is an internet connection. Local newspapers, Regional papers and National news. Some may require a registration, but most offer the option of a Twitter or Facebook "login". While the option to "reply" to a specific comment is available, replies to the article itself are most effective. Include the writer's name when you can and offer a civil critique or supporting comment that represents your point of view and political affiliation in the best light. Yes, sell your ideas and attempt to convert the cynics and the opposition. Avoid snarky swipes or tirades. Also, avoid links to other articles, websites or activist groups.

   Letters To The Editor. The value is obvious. To maximize it's impact, share a link of your published letter to the editor through your Twitter or other Social Media accounts. In this Digital World, clicks and views are everything.

   Maintain your Tweepitude. Retweeting is a simple thing to do. Even if you've decided to go into a "down time" mode, occasionally during the day check your feed and retweet something that catches your attention. Think of it as waving from across the street or in a passing vehicle. Just a gesture to say you are still in the community, just a bit busy lately.

   Enter the Lair of the Dragon. Not for the faint of heart or the queasy, join the Breitbart community for access to posting comments. Not only will you be ahead of the curve when it comes to Talking Points, but you will find you are not alone. The format begs for "flaming" and derogatory remarks. After all, the big "sell" from Breitbart is an ongoing ideological "war" complete with militant terminology and attitude. But whether we want to admit it or not, we need to work with each other as Americans. Letting some air out of the "bubble" is the first step. Most "internet warriors" on the right are actually quite vulnerable to suggestion, hence their unswerving loyalty to false premise. Every time their "learned stereotype" of liberal or Democrat is challenged by thoughtful dialogue, they are one step closer to the "freedom" they so desperately seek.  This same theory is applied to News Commentator above.

   Okay, these are just a few ideas I can think of. You might see me in the Comments sections around the internet or on the Twitters, feel free to wave! Peace





Friday, November 2, 2012

Jake Tapper and Social Media

   Jake Tapper has an impressive resume. I have long-respected Jake Tapper and I have read the Political Punch blogs as a regular routine. I follow a very diverse group on Twitter and I've always considered Tapper a valuable resource of information. But as of this morning, Jake Tapper has blocked my Twitter account.
   I'm not writing this to garner sympathy or accolades. I'm just relating my frustration with high profile "media personalities" that pretend to be engaged in Social Media, while quietly censoring criticism and sincere differences of opinion. I had always thought of Jake Tapper as a Journalist. I understand that political bias is the accusation being tossed around at all political news reporters, but Tapper has always kept me engaged in his writing and reporting by asking the questions raised by both sides of any particular debate. You might disagree, but that's been my experience.
   What did I do to receive the reward of a "block"? I made a joke that Jake Tapper had fallen for the Benghazi hype "campaign" conducted by and Fox News. I was referring to the "Drip, drip, drip" article that played on the theme that the President is hiding something and there's new "proof" from Doornbos that security requests were ignored. It just so happens that I have been reading the "drafts" that Doornbos collected from the Consulate following the FBI sweep. The drafts have been rescued from piles of ash and burnt documents. I emphasize that these were "drafts" because Doornbos and independent reporting confirms that the FBI removed "Documents". The difference? A document has been sent and received, while a draft is just like it seems, an unpublished written work. The drafts are important, of course, as a window into the thought processes leading up to the attack. They are intriguing, as well as contradictory and supporting (depending on the assumptions of the reader). Jake Tapper reported that the draft showed security had indeed been requested. But as I understand the draft (and other independent reporting confirms), the request was directed to the Libyan Government. I didn't get quite the same impression from Tapper's article and the hoots and hollers from the Breitbart crowd indicated they were pleased with Jake's interpretation.
   So I made my joke, with a heaping helping of sarcasm and even a "wink" for good measure. Jake asks me if I object to the substance or is ANY reporting on Benghazi considered offensive. He added, "read the article". I explained his article had "fed the trolls" in my opinion, and the Breitbartians were making a "bank shot" off of it. The bank shot being "credibility in the MSM". He added, "I did my job". I did reply by trying to explain my different point of view regarding the Doornbos "evidence", but 140 characters can be limiting. I didn't hear back, but I figured we had just agreed to disagree and move on from there. I was left wondering if I had completely misread his article. I considered a reply to his "I did my job" tweet. I was honestly thinking I should tweet, "I understand that" or something, but it struck me as too much "brown-nosing" and it wasn't like he would block me or anything...
   I looked for other articles he had written to retweet, but again I was hit with the thought that he doesn't really need my apology or anything, he's a journalist after all. But this morning I checked the Punch and clicked on his Twitter link to see that I no longer "follow" Jake Tapper...because the journalist had decided he is really a media "personality" that can't be bothered with any opinion that might challenge his judgment.
   Granted, I'm just a guy on Twitter to those who don't know me in the real world. I'm also just a guy that Jake could have ignored. My joke was actually a reply to another "tweep", but I don't like the idea of "tweeting behind people's virtual back" so I included the @. I obviously "struck a nerve" as we like to say, but I certainly didn't expect the "face of ABC" to pull the plug entirely over a "misunderstanding". Would a true Journalist with ABC plastered on his bio and a big blue check next to his name really alienate a regular follower, reader and viewer? No, but a media "personality" might.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Romney Fumble

   By now, everyone is aware of all the mistakes made Romney made in staging his canned goods drive for Disaster Relief. But it gets even worse when you consider what Romney COULD have done. As a former Republican, I still look at the GOP as a potentially viable political party. But that all depends on whether they can shake their reliance on revisionist history, religious extremism and blind obstructionism (a tall order indeed). In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Republican "standard-bearer" had an opportunity to demonstrate the practical application of the Private Sector in Crisis Management...and he blew it off for a "Victory Rally" instead.
  We all know Romney has deep, Global connections in the Private Sector with deep pockets (remember that 47% event?). Hurricane Sandy provided Romney with the opportunity to put together commitments for resources, including supplies and equipment and project planners, and lay out a real PLAN for rebuilding the damaged areas on the East Coast. He could have requested a meeting with the President to discuss the plan and present the commitments. He could have pre-released the plan to the media. As a "whiz-bang, He Built That" kind of candidate, he should have gone BIG. He should have invited the President to reject the meeting (which could be justified, of course), but with the plan outline released to the media it might be more difficult for the President to just brush it off without some potential for political damage. Romney had a shot at the big time, but his true character showed through in the final analysis. The Wimp Factor is real.
   To make matters worse, Romney is back to campaigning as usual without a continued emphasis on collecting donations (preferably checks) for the Red Cross. But this is the "new" Republican Party. A party that shouts their "principles" and provides no real evidence that these principles have any practical application in the real world. The real world that exists outside of their "bubble". 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Willard Romney Says Voters Are Just Plain Dumb

   Within minutes of hearing the GOP Presidential candidate blurt out the "news" in Ohio that Chrysler was planning to move all production of Jeeps to China, I had already googled and read three separate articles from industry-specific websites with a very different interpretation of the Chrysler news. Instead of moving production, Chrysler had announced expanding production with plans to hire 1100 more American workers. In addition, the automaker has plans to return to producing Jeep vehicles in China after leaving the market in 2009.
   That's right, Chrysler is returning to China where they have manufactured vehicles in the past. I even read the cited Bloomberg report, trying to understand how Romney could misunderstand the obvious good news of the Chrysler expansion. While some recent articles have bent the truth to say the Bloomberg report was poorly worded, the more pertinent question is why Romney would make such an astounding observation without at least checking one or two other sources, like maybe Chrysler headquarters? After all, Mitt Romney claims to be a "car guy", a "Son of Detroit". Surely he has expanded his network to include US Automakers, right? But as we know, Romney has no interest in the pesky details like "the truth" or "the facts" that would undermine a perfect opportunity to send waves of panic through Union households and Small Business owners that rely on Chrysler for their livelihood. And why should Romney assume anyone would bother to fact-check?
   I make it quite clear that I'm no fan of Mitt Romney. It's not because I think he is "evil" or "heartless". I have absolutely no respect for Romney because he has absolutely no respect for anyone outside of his family. This entire narrative about Chrysler is built around the assumption that the American voter is just too dumb to know any better. He assumes that because he's built a fortune by manipulating business owners into huge long term debt loads, that he can certainly pull the wool over a simple voter's eyes. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a full three days after his "Big Ohio Lie" was originally fact-checked, the Romney campaign produces an ad that literally quadruples-down on his original bet. That bet he made that American voters are just plain dumb. Get out and vote for a President that "bets on the American Worker", not the guy that bets against you and your family every chance he gets.

Pop Goes America: The Real Story about Benghazi

Pop Goes America: The Real Story about Benghazi

The Real Story about Benghazi

There's a tension in the air. No, it's not the looming reality of Election Day, it's the Benghazi campaign of misinformation by the right wing.

Fox News is frustrated. While I quietly cheer our Mainstream Media (a 4th Estate that has failed America on so many other fronts and specific issues) for resisting the sensationalism of the Charles Woods story, I can't help but sense the wall of resistance is about to give way. Ty Woods was killed in Benghazi after a Libyan Militia group attacked the US Consulate. His father is understandably upset and has been vocal in his criticisms of the President, in particular. In a televised interview by phone, he described the President as insincere and uncaring, going so far as to mock his "voice" when the President offered his condolences to him. With Charles Woods, it is "personal" and that is understandable, to a degree. Watching the Hannity Show, a repeat broadcast in the dead of midnight (ratings, ya know), I was reminded of Cindy Sheehan in 2004. Ms Sheehan was certainly granted plenty of news coverage and air time. Sunday Talk Shows will certainly offer an opportunity for pundits and surrogates to raise the issue just enough to force broader coverage of Charles Woods. But the real story isn't the factual events that occurred. The real story is the manufactured narrative, the "interpretation" of a simple quote, the application of wild assumption based on assumed "experience" and the victimization of the father of an American warrior and hero that saved lives.

My hope is that we can resist the temptation to blame or attack Mr Woods. He is a grieving father and he's been prodded into action with misinformation, grooming from vested interests and a promise of some form of misguided vengeance or revenge. The blame lies squarely with Fox News, in particular Sean Hannity. The blame lies with Glenn Beck, the desperately-seeking-relevancy radio personality. The blame lies with Pat Dollard, a surprisingly effective "repeater website" that has ramped up estimated earnings from web traffic into 6 figures. The blame lies with our good friends at Conspiracy Theory Central, otherwise known as, as they shop around for another $10 million in "venture capital". They are the "story" that should be getting coverage. These are the same marketeers of conspiracy and confusion that pushed Darrell Issa into the abyss of a failed Fast and Furious investigation. These are the same money-grubbing dolts that prompted Darrell Issa to reveal our CIA locations, our Libyan operatives names and their locations to every terrorist cell in the World. The real "story" is not the incompetence or "cover-up" by government officials in Benghazi these grifters are selling. The real story is their own incompetence and mindless pursuit of manufactured conspiracy in the name of revenue...and they should be called out for it.

* Originally written on Saturday 10/27

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Big Poll Scandal

Conspiracy theory is fun, but what happens when there's a conspiracy of coincidence?

I'll keep this real short, because the focus for Democrats during this final push has to be a positive message of support for President Obama and your State Representatives. Provide examples of their leadership and the improving economy.

How did this poll "conspiracy" start? It began with the President taking the obvious leads we expected due to Romney's miserable favorability and his inability to appeal to ANY voter block other than "White male with some College". In fact, the running narrative was (and should still be) he simply can't win with such low numbers among people of color and white women. So what happened? It wasn't the first debate.

Sensing a demoralizing effect from the polls, a "movement" sprang up from the depths of the GOP. The "UnSkewed Poll" was unveiled. While I haven't bothered to investigate, it's origins can certainly be traced back to Rove or some element of the Rovian network. The unskewed poll narrative satisfied two criteria. It stopped the bleeding in "enthusiasm" and it forced the Democrats to vehemently defend the polls while mocking the "unhinged right". Voila! From this point forward, the polls are "Gospel". If you challenge the polls, you're labeled unhinged by your own words or the words of someone else. Citing "sample" numbers? The ultimate in conspiracy theory or denial of reality.

It's not exactly a conspiracy, it's a strategy. It's been an effective strategy since the pollsters have taken the sampling criticism to the bank. It's a regular free-for-all at this point when it comes to weighting, sampling and whether cell phones are included at all. Building a narrative or following a narrative is up to the individual to decide, and that individual is of course, you.

Lastly, let's keep in mind that polls are generated by "FOR PROFIT" organizations or at the very least, a revenue stream. Conspiracy is common practice in business and politics, it isn't always an "evil enterprise". We all conspire with friends at some time or another to achieve common goals. It's just the stakes are higher in some cases. Enjoy the day!

Obama/Biden 2012! Vote Dem!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Romney Rules With Romney's Rules

   Before we put the First Debate in the rearview mirror, I believe it's important to recognize just how Romney managed to put the President on his heels. In fact, you could probably accomplish the same thing if you are willing to abandon your previously stated principles. Of course, Mitt has an advantage here because he has carefully crafted a "principles-free" campaign and economic "plan".
   The Debate Strategy is simple enough. You make yourself a "moving target" with evolving or changing positions. In a "real" debate, this would require conceding some points to the opposition, but under Romney Rules it works a little differently. Under Romney Rules, the goal is not to debate ideas or visions, it's all about theater and landing "virtual blows".
   Romney has campaigned for a year on a "Tax Cut for Everyone". It was described as an "across the board" tax cut of 20% on marginal rates. Of course, the cost of this proposal has been estimated as high as $5 Trillion based on current revenue projections. But under the Romney Rules For Debate, there's no requirement to carry this policy forward into the debate, simply change the proposal in the blink of an eye! "Tax cuts? I've never proposed actual "cuts" because I'm eliminating loopholes!" I'm paraphrasing here, but that was as close Romney ever got to owning his own proposal. Suddenly, he became the Champion of the Middle Class and his new tax plan is nothing like that crazy talk the President is factually debating. There are absolutely no costs associated with the tax cut because more people will be working! While, the chicken has arrived well before the egg in this scenario, it's Romney's Rules and it's a free-for-all.
   The President appeared to be holding back the temptation to blurt out, "You lying sack of arrogant sh*t" as much as he appeared to be genuinely stunned that Romney would choose to abandon any sense of decency and mislead the American Public at such a crucial moment in history. The goal posts had shifted, the new goal was as simple as this, "Do not be drawn into a pissing match". Granted, the President was disarming the "virtual cannon", but there's always tomorrow and two more debates.
   In the meantime, let's recognize this pattern of "self-absorbed, entitled behavior". Romney doesn't abide by rules, he bends them in his favor and ONLY "his" favor.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ryan and Romney's Magic Tax Plan

   In keeping with the spirit of the Ryan/Romney plan, I blog with little detail and a whole lot of opinion. Why? I like to broaden the discussion to the "big picture". And, like the Ryan/Romney plan, the big picture is ever-evolving and not bound to the "fact-checking" that pesky details can attract.
  Today we heard Willard Mitt Romney explain his "tax plan". Make no mistake, Mitt assures Americans that the wealthiest will continue to pay their exceptionally low taxes AND everyone else will pay even lower taxes! Or did he say "the Middle Class" will get a tax cut? Oh, my mistake, the ever-shrinking Middle Class will get a "tax cut", he says. So that first leaves us wondering, "what about the working poor and the poor?" I suppose Mitt or Paul will fill in that detail later, although a quick review of their vague and ambiguous "budget plan" (which is a plan to develop a budget based on some generalities and a budget that has passed the House although that budget isn't really the budget that Romney and Ryan propose) suggests that the working poor and the poor will contribute more in taxes and lose pretty much any benefit from a "safety net" they may be currently receiving or have been promised in the future. But that is only "suggested" of course and shouldn't be considered as fact, although the "safety net" is most assuredly going "broke" anyway due to President Obama's "failed leadership" according to the Republican candidates...are you getting the picture?
   It's hardly an exaggeration of the typical Romney or Ryan interview, really. A whole lot of words built around a talking point that might or might not apply to the actual question. Sure, it happens all the time with pundits, but these two "yay-hoos" are supposed to be taken seriously as candidates for Leading the Free World. And speaking of diplomacy, in relation to the Free World, Mr. Ryan has developed a bad habit of beginning his rambling dissertations with the statement, "You are mistaken". In diplomatic terms, that's called a brick wall. From that point forward, no one is listening on either side of the argument and in the case of Face The Nation, it BECOMES an argument instead of a simple interview. Not Ready For Prime Time Ryan is in for a shock, he really isn't considered "credible" beyond the Fox News "bubble" and even Fox is beginning to doubt his integrity. The debate with Joe Biden should be compelling TV and I'm fairly certain it will be a historic meltdown. Be sure and tune in.
   But here's the thing that has me so very curious. What exactly is the premise for Romney's burning desire to reform the tax code while assuring Americans it will mean either "no changes to your taxes" or a "tax cut for the Middle Class". I mean, doesn't that sound like a whole lot of legislator time to "not change" things? There's more than one explanation, but what if he's thinking of making those tax shelters and tax havens less attractive? Of course, if this was the premise then Mr. Romney-bucks is going to avoid any mention of the Caymans, isn't he? In fact, he's avoided any mention of his repatriation plan altogether. To the point that no one even bothers to ask about it...or maybe they're prohibited from asking when they sign the obligatory Romney "prenuptial agreement" before being granted his presence before a microphone? Either way, he's smart enough to know there's a HUGE chunk of wealth outside of our economy that belongs IN our economy, including his own. Does that sound too "reasonable"? That he's planning to increase revenues by taxing a massive increase in Capital Gains after a "freebie" repatriation? While Ryan proposes no or low Cap Gains tax, Romney says he's sticking at 15%. While I have little reason to believe Romney really has ANY plan, it's entirely possible he's stupid enough to keep this somewhat "moderate" proposal all to himself...until the debate. And then he wouldn't be so "stupid", unless our President has cut him off at the pass.
   There's a million reasons I could be way off base, but that's the beauty of the Big Picture and projected outcomes. It's ever-evolving and fact-checking will never dictate the conversation. Tomorrow, Paul Ryan's plan to open the Janesville Plant, Nationalization of General Motors!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jobs - Jobs - Jobs

   Every Media pundit will say the "real issue the people want to hear about is jobs, jobs, jobs". I think that is only partly true. It's more accurate to say we want to hear how the policy positions relate to creating jobs.
    We've all seen the latest jobs report and it was only a "bad" jobs report if we compare it the Clinton era. When compared with the Bush era, it was a pretty standard report with one BIG item missing. That big item being Public Sector hiring. The other big item that goes unaddressed, in my opinion, is the "trigger" for growth. In the 80's, America was faced with a "gas crisis", it wasn't recognized as much as an energy crisis since the major impact was only realized at the gas pump in long lines, rationing and soaring prices. America responded by retooling and producing new autos with higher gas mileage and high-tech parts, WE invested in Public Transportation and adjusting speed limits to promote fuel efficiency, Corporations responded by offering fluctuating shifts and introducing "work-at-home" positions. This response created a whole lot of jobs and opportunities.
   In the 90's, America made a drastic shift toward e-commerce. The goal of limited travel and the cost savings associated with it inspired the creation of an infrastructure we take for granted, the "virtual marketplace". While most of us tend to focus on the "bubble" and the massive "wealth destruction" that marked the completion of a functioning e-commerce infrastructure, in the final analysis there were over 20 million NET JOBS created and the internet continues to drive our economy and contribute heavily to economic expansion. But once again, it was the demand for lower energy costs that provided an essential "trigger".
   In the "Lost Decade", the energy "crisis" was once again at the heart of our economic expansion. Although terribly slow with anemic job creation, the invasion of Iraq fueled our economy with a flood of money. Instead of paying for the War that was supposed to pay for itself with control of the Strait of Hormuz and the largest untapped oil reserves in the World, America chose the Bush Doctrine of an "Ownership Society". Anyone and everyone could now buy a home on the "promise" to make timely payments. No job? No problem! We have plenty of money to throw around! We even sent a pallet of Millions somewhere and we don't care if we EVER find it! Okay, enough all know what happened. The Republicans looked for the easiest short-term solution and the Easy Mortgage plan fit the bill. For two years, it went swimmingly. So well, that auto manufacturers abandoned fuel efficiency with the promise of Iraqi oil wells and huge Equity Loans to substitute for a raise or a job for the consumer. It was the best of times...and the demand for more energy was the "trigger".
   So here we are. Our "trigger" lays dormant. Sure, there's been progress in auto manufacturing, but not until after they restructured and there is still the challenge of "tight" credit requirements on new auto loans. But the biggest obstacle of all is not socialism or welfare or the Banks, it's the politics. We have a bigger demand than ever for new and different sources of energy. For some, it's a matter of environmental awareness. For others, it's a matter of practicality. For even others, it's just a matter of wanting to see innovation. But to nearly every "conservative", it's a matter of principle that any energy source other than a fossil fuel is simply "not American". In defiance of all their "market competition" blather, they staunchly defend the oil monopoly and even the Government subsidies of the Multinational Oil Corporations. If we want to "unleash" the Private Sector, we need to first "unleash" our "trigger" and demand a competitive market for energy sources and the systems for delivery. In the 2012 elections, your vote for energy alternatives is essential to an American Economy that is truly Built To Last...and if it slows climate change? That's definitely a nice bonus.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bring on the Big Mo'!

   While I'm not expecting a big bump from the Convention, no matter how wildly successful it has been, I can't help but believe there is a momentum building.
   A basic premise that I subscribe to is the notion that a movement, a campaign or a marketing plan cannot succeed if the foundation is built on a negative. Imagine Apple advertising to "not buy Samsung" matter how flowery the prose, the basic message doesn't inspire the consumer. To make matters worse, Apple continues the ad by saying Samsung phones cause cancer and we hate cancer so you must hate Samsung. It just doesn't have that "ring" to it, ya know? Get it?
   It's Day Three of the Democratic National Convention, but it's really Day One of the Campaign to reelect President Obama. Until last night, it's been primarily a game of rope-a-dope. The President has allowed the Republicans to go way out on the limbs with only minor push-back on flagrant lies. In fact, less of a push-back and more of an exercise in narrative building. Forcing the Republicans to dig in their heels on the issues that divide, rather than promoting new ideas on policy. The Republican National Convention reflected the message President Obama wanted (and most Democrats expected) the Nation to see...a very offensive, angry message of "We are taking America (back) from YOU". The entire theme was built around the idea that Republicans are the "owners" of America and the rest of the citizens? They really don't matter. They aren't pure enough or qualified enough or wealthy enough or Christian enough...a very exclusive club. Ironically, it's the Republicans that are fond of using the term "Plantation", seems to be more projection, doesn't it?
   I'm not trying to say President Obama is this masterful politician that has Republicans doing everything and anything he desires. The obstruction is certainly NOT something the President desires. I am saying the President and his team have done a masterful job at converting political stunts and ploys into a language that the average American voter can understand and evaluate. And I'm fairly confident that when it comes to the issue of trust, the President has earned that "likeability" with more than his crooning or his contagious smile. And it's that trust that will win this election for America. It's a trust that isn't granted because of wealth. It's a trust that cannot be bought. It's a trust that isn't fleeting. It's a trust that can bring momentum.

Enjoy the Convention

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On Wisconsin!

   Original post title, huh? Yesterday the Wisconsin recall results were disappointing to some, reinforcing for others and surprising to most everyone. A little gem hidden in the results was the Democratic "flip" for the Senate, which could have the most impact of all. Fitzgerald would no longer control the Senate in tandem with his brother in the House. But I'm not going to pretend to be a "nuts and bolts" analyst here, I'm more interested in the long view, the big picture and the potential for upside.
   A little background. I've been a Union member as well as a Management Representative in different periods of my life. A steelworker for 5 years...on the "other side" for nearly 3 decades. I never lost my respect for Unions and the good they did for me and my fellow Union members. As a Manager, Business Owner and Employee Relations Rep, I've seen the positive impact of collective bargaining. I've also taken advantage of the biggest problem in Union membership...greed. Unions have lost their core message, but that's another issue that you can read about in hundreds of blogs and articles. The bottom line on collective bargaining? It's valuable to American workers and that includes non-members. Without bargaining, there is no pressure on Management to offer attractive benefits and wages, other than an individual's decision to "quit" on their own or turn down an offer for employment. In this environment? It either won't happen or one of a dozen other potential employees will replace that individual. Even during periods of high employment, the impact of one or two individuals has literally no influence on Management. It's an easy fix, just pull the "informal leader" of the employees aside, offer them a "lead" position with a 25 cent per hour raise and task them with creating unity and teamwork (basically parrot the Management talking points). It's POLITICS, folks, and MONEY rules. But I digress...though it's important to recognize that throughout most Americans' careers, they are constantly reminded by management that Unions are "bad", "cost you more than you'll ever make" and "force you to pay dues and walk off the job".
   The recall was misguided from the start. It became a referendum on Unions from the Democrats while Republicans simply countered with a referendum on "the recall process". It should have been a referendum on a Governor that allowed the State Legislature to break their rules, break their laws and ignore the voice of the minority. The Governor that will continue to "divide" Wisconsin. The Governor that raised taxes on the poor while lowering taxes on the Wealthiest in the State. The Governor that promised 250,000 jobs that has factually LOST jobs from Wisconsin to neighboring States. The Union issue? The message should have been simply "YOU are next on the chopping block". With all that said, the results weren't all that bad, considering the only message that reached the National Stage was "Unions are under attack". Over a million Wisconsinites voted in support of Unions. From where I sit, that's extremely impressive. Barret lost by the same margin he lost the first time...the same voters that elected President Obama by a sweeping margin. In all of the hullabaloo, Republicans have yet to sober up to the stark reality that there hasn't been a significant shift of voters to the Republican side. District 21 actually appears to have made a "correction" by recalling Van Wanggard (R) in favor of the Democrat, Senator John Lehman. If the results survive a recount, it is a huge shift in "power" with the Democrats controlling the Senate and telling Scott Fitzerald to kindly step aside from his Leadership perch. Not a bad way to "lose" when you think about it.
   A bigger message was sent that is slowly starting to sink in. Voting "against" someone carries far less weight and momentum than voting "FOR" a leader. This is the big take-away, in my opinion. This is the big advantage we, as Democrats, MUST exploit in 2012. In essence, the Republicans are running a "Recall Election" in 2012. They want to recall Pres Obama and undo the "damage". Hmm...sound familiar? Sounds like the basic strategy in Wisconsin that failed the Democrats.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's Facebook Day!

In the midst of a Eurozone manufactured "crisis", Facebook went public today. Closing at near the introductory value, there are those that are cheering and those that are jeering. I, for one, am taking a "long view" here...a "big picture" perspective.

From what I've observed, there's a "fad" element at work, but it's the "fad" of hating Facebook that will fade soon. The very people that gripe and complain about the Stock Market and Wall Street and their immoral greed are the first to denigrate Facebook as a "sellout". Of course, that also assumes that Facebook has no intention of reforming the traditional values of profit over the social compact. Whether by design or not, Facebook has the potential to reform Wall Street by virtue of it's incredible value. Poo-pooing the Internet Standard in Social Media is pretty much cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Let's take a brief look at a few basic values at play, shall we? Zuckerberg is not a money-hungry zealot of Capitalism. In fact, he's pretty much the opposite. While there have been notable issues of "privacy" concerns, Facebook has generally responded to those concerns by weighing privacy against the basic concept of being "accessible". Too much privacy and there's no real value in the marketplace, after all. Face it, without the potential for marketing the whole idea of Facebook becomes little more than a hobby. And while it may be "cool", it's not viable. It's also important to note that, being a "Tech" business, the executive group is comprised mostly of innovators with an interest in alternative energy and improved access to high-speed internet and other "liberal-friendly" concepts.

So how does this marketing aspect "trickle down"? To say Facebook only creates 3200 jobs is a flat out lie or an opinion drawn from ignorance. Facebook provides job opportunities for game creators, app creators, nonprofit orgs, etc. But there are so many potential avenues for monetizing that it seems very narrow-minded to suggest that Facebook only represents a "concentration of wealth". That is clearly an ideologically driven conclusion that has no merit on it's face or in it's assumptions. It essentially ignores the very real concept of wealth creation and assumes a stagnant money AND "value" supply.

Lastly, Facebook reminds me of the early days of Television. Who would invest in THAT?! Silly comedy shows? Sure they are fun to watch, but what is the "value"?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

El RushBomb meets the Truth - Part I

   It's been quite a few years since I regularly listened to Rush Limbaugh. With the recent outburst by Limbaugh and other talk radio personalities regarding Sandra Fluke, I find myself once again listening to the defacto leader of the Republican Party and the self-appointed leader of the "new conservative movement". Why am I listening? As a reformed and rehabilitated "dittohead", I hope to cut through the smokescreens and reveal the true "message" that Rush Limbaugh is delivering. I will continue live-tweeting the Limbaugh "show" at every opportunity to give the suffering dittoheads, the vulnerable and the insecure, some hope that they can regain control of their thoughts and their self-determination. In this "Part I", I offer a brief history of my journey into the abyss of "Limbaugh Land".
   When George W. Bush was "ruled" the President in 1999, I actually wasn't that concerned. After the Bill Clinton era, I had fallen into the trap that America was basically on auto-pilot. My investments and retirement were solid. The National Debt? Heck, it was just a matter of "when" we would pay it down, not an "if". The new concept of "war" involved a no-fly zone and maybe a brief campaign of bombing, but not an "invasion" or "occupation", are you kidding? After Vietnam? Heck, I was certain that the job of President had somehow gotten so easy, even the son of a former President with rocks for brains couldn't screw THIS Great Nation up. Besides, I was busy. I mean BUSY!
    Mandi and I were brand new parents with a brand new son. I was driving 100-200 miles per day as I checked on repossessed manufactured homes for vandalism and maintained compliance with appearance regulations. Little did I know this lucrative opportunity was created by the same conditions that would eventually bring the entire economy to it's knees. The "sub-prime mortgage crisis" was already under way, but no one noticed because the "homes" were in "parks". Repossessions were exploding and Conseco Finance was going bankrupt, but you'd never had guessed it in 2000. And just as the repos started really exploding, two airliners exploded as they crashed into the Twin Towers. Like any good American, I put the American flag on my antenna and turned the radio dial to Rush Limbaugh. Actually, it would be more accurate to say "Talk radio", but whatever Rush was talking about was repeated over and over with a different voice as I drove hundreds of miles per day.
   Looking back, it's fairly obvious that the repetition is by design. At first, I was a bit put off by it and couldn't help but think these guys were sort of boring. But with the occasional caller and the breaks for local news reports, within a week I was over the feeling of boredom and something strange happened. I started "anticipating" the commentary. Repetition is a tool that Teachers employ to help students "learn", after all. The basic messages were simple, but in retrospect quite troubling. All Muslims are evil because they're religion is based on evil and Muslims live in Iraq. All of the oil we love so dearly is in the Middle East and that's why we must control Iraq. And when I wasn't "learning" about Iraq and oil? The message was that Gays are somehow to blame and if we let them marry, America will collapse. Over the course of a full year, I became so indoctrinated I actually started debating AGAINST the right of same-sex couples to marry. I honestly can't recall the details of my position, other than something about "there are no special rights to being married" and "marriage is already defined". Did I really "believe" what I was programmed to "believe"? No. In fact there isn't much in detail that I can remember about this strange period in my otherwise moderate and liberal life. Looking back, I was definitely at a vulnerable point in my life. New son, new enterprise, new recession (that was paying me big bucks), new attack on American soil, new President, a new country on the map I'd never paid any attention was a lot of new. Which also meant a lot of unknown and a lot of fear. And I wanted answers. Listening to Limbaugh gave me some comfort because I knew there were a lot of Americans nodding their heads right along with me when Rush would say that Muslims hate us for our "freedom". And then one day I was driving later than usual and I heard Michael Savage. He said a lot of the same things as Rush, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and I was nodding along like a good little dittohead when he blurted out something regarding Abu Ghraib that woke me up from my stupor. I'm pretty sure this was around the time Rush had said the treatment of prisoners was like a "fraternity prank". Savage said the Muslims should have explosives shoved up their "backsides".

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What IS Chistianity?

   A lot of talk about religion and Christianity again. America has a tendency to go "religious" during times of dynamic change. The "big question" starts intruding on everyone's thoughts..."Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?". Or more pertinently, what is the meaning of "my life" and what the hell is the reward? Heaven? Or is it more important to see women give birth to other babies that were as unloved and ignored as me? Ah yes, the Republican slash Conservative dilemma. Yep, we're witnessing the mass public mental breakdown of the Grand Old Party that has become the American Spectacle.
   There are plenty of Republicans that honestly believe it's a worthy debate to be had. To debate whether a candidate's "religiosity" is legitimate. Why? Because they're ignorant fools that haven't really studied their own alleged "Christianity" or religiosity enough to know that the basic tenet of any religion is to simply NOT judge others. Forget that "lest ye be judged" crap. That's just filler from translation. That's the human interference that suggests if you're "worthy enough" you can judge without fear of reprisal. Sorry folks, but if you're really worthy of judging, the primary qualifier is that you will never judge anyone.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Expanding the Universe of Awesome

   I'm not quite sure when I "created" this blog. I suppose I could look at my incomplete profile and somewhere in the brief description it will likely have the date. I'm pretty sure it was just before the 2010 midterms, but it's really not that important. What IS important is that it was simple to sign up and I have a place I can link to when I want to write an expanded tweet or I just have something to add to a broader discussion. You see, I'm not a dedicated "blogger". Just like I'm not a dedicated video producer. So where am I heading with this? The Goldie Taylor Project.


  Now here's what you want to do. Go to YouTube and register for an account. You get a really cool "Channel" page that you can play with and customize if you want, but the really cool thing? You can "Subscribe" to Goldie Taylor's channel! And THAT helps Goldie get the Truth out, because the truth matters. When you subscribe, you help Goldie reach "Partner" status which means she can get paid and make even more videos about the truth! And the best part? It doesn't cost you anything! It takes about 5 minutes to register and you don't "have to" use your channel page, although they are pretty awesome. But what's even better is that when you visit YouTube again, it will automatically display new videos from your subscriptions on the homepage! You don't have to "seek out" Goldie's channel, she comes right up to you and says "click here" and voila! The Truth!
   It's only 5 minutes and it's important. Are you up to it? Click here: The Goldie Taylor Project: The Truth Matters

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Still Asking Susan G Komen for the Cure to Change Their Decision?

   The decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood was made a long time ago, behind closed doors in a "Board Room". It was made "quietly", Nancy Brinker has explained. A quiet decision intended to be kept quiet, because there are no politics involved and transparency is undoubtedly a prized virtue among the "No Choice" leaders that have hijacked a once apolitical and respected charitable nonprofit. In case you missed it, I was being sarcastic.
   The time to "rethink" their decision has long passed. It's too late for that. The Susan G Komen for the Cure "nonprofit" has been transformed into more than a source of funding. It is now a source of influence and political statement. It is a source of intimidation and support for the minority of Americans that advocate a "No Choice" position with regard to aborting a pregnancy for any reason, including those pregnancies that endanger a woman's life or are the result of rape. They have become what Nancy Brinker continues to argue they never would be, a politically motivated "nonprofit" reliant upon networked professionals (as opposed to grassroots activists).
   Petitioning for a different outcome is akin to asking a cheating spouse or partner to stop. The bond of trust is broken, the path to reconciliation inherently requires a period of separation and ultimately, the "cheater" has to make the final decision for themselves, not for you. Just let go, secure in the knowledge that those pink sweatshirts* really only contributed a couple pennies on the dollar to those women who are truly in need of our support. Stop asking the nonprofit behemoth to change their ways, and lets change ours.
   For more information on alternate charities: Shoq Value - Contribute directly to Planned Parenthood

  * It should be noted that not all pink items are directly associated with the Susan G Kormen for the Cure nonprofit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Twitter list of Celebrity Donors to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Look to the Stars provides a list of "notables" that contribute to the famously pink charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I've done my best to provide their Twitter names to give you an opportunity to politely state your concerns regarding their recent to decision to discontinue their relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Aimee Teegarden - @Aimeeteegarden
Ellen DeGeneres - @TheEllenShow
Kimberly Locke - @KimberleyLocke
Ann Curry- @AnnCurry
Erin Pac -unconfirmed
Krisily Kennedy - @krisily
Barbara Bush - unconfirmed
Five For Fighting -
Laura Bush - @LauraWBush
Brandon Tyler Russell - @IllinoisActor
George W. Bush - @GeorgeBush
Marcia Cross - @ReallyMarcia
Candy Coburn - @CandyCoburn
Gloria Gaynor - unconfirmed
Mimi Rogers - @mimirogers
Christian Kane - @ChristianKane01
James Denton -n/a
Neil Patrick Harris - @ActuallyNPH
Christie Brinkley - @seabrinkley
James Woods - n/a
Trent Tucker - @TuckerAll4Kids
Cynthia Nixon - n/a
Jennifer Tilly - @Jennifer_Tilly
Trisha Yearwood - @TYcom
Dorothy Hamill - @DorothyHamill
Jenny Jones - n/a
Vanessa Hudgens - @VHOfficial
Ebony Steele - @EbonySteele
John Ondrasik - @johnondrasik
Vida Guerra - @VidaGuerra
Elizabeth Hasselback - @ehasselbeck
Kay Panabaker - @KayPanabaker

Disclaimer time! I've done my best to confirm these accounts, but we all know that accounts are sometimes abandoned, unused or not exactly verified. Please view the timelines before tweeting and remember to be polite, please. The purpose is to raise awareness.