Tags: politics

clever, evil

Message from Mother Nature?

If the tornadoes last year, the earthquake and Hurricane Irene were messages from G0d that we're evil sinners for approving gay marriage and the like, what kind of message is G0d trying to send when Rick Perry declares he's running for President, and suddenly half his state is engulfed in hellfire?
thoughtful, sad

One more thought about the elections

I'm still both annoyed and puzzled about how everyone - not just locals but the entire nation! - got all hyped up about a race for a position that probably won't be around next year, while the state Assembly race passed as an almost unnoticed afterthought. Our state government is the most dysfunctional in the nation, Albany reform is a bigger issue then DC, the upcoming redistricting and transforming it from political gerrymandering to an independently done task with sane district boundaries should be on the forefront of everyone's mind, (Especially Ed Koch) and yet I barely heard a peep from either candidate about anything.
thoughtful, sad

Congressional Musings

(X-posted on Facebook)

Tomorrow is the special election for my district, made necessary when our Congressman's Wiener suddenly found it's pictures all over the internet.

Because he resigned in the middle of the season, rules stated that the parties didn't have to hold primaries - the local machines could choose who ever they wanted and run on the party line for them, and shut everyone else out.
So the local Democrats chose Dave Weprin, who was the state Assemblyman for a district that overlapped our congressional district. Weprin is a professional politician, getting his first starts from his father, the former Speakers of the Assembly and serving in several elected positions. He's got legislative experience, I've seen him campaigning repeatedly in our neighborhood. I have no doubt he's be great on constituent services. But he's said some really stupid things while campaigning, has no interesting or specific plans, and is a party hack through and through.

The Republican Machine (what little of it there is) let the rich businessman who was willing to put his money on the line to run against Wiener last time have another shot. Ed Koch endorsed him, which is significant. I like a lot of what Turner says, but he does seem to have ideas on taxes that echo the worst wings of the tea party. And he also sent us a flier about his opponent reminding people that as a city councilman Weprin was in favor of "the rights of Muslims to build a mosque a few hundred feet from ground zero". Lord knows I wouldn't want to elect someone who was in favor of property rights, or people's rights in general - right??? Meanwhile, the fliers the Weprin campaign have sent me list his qualifications and accomplishments.
(Also worth nothing, Turner fliers always made a point of showing Weprin with Obama, and Weprin ads take every chance to call Turner a "tea party extremist".)
Weprin aired a really slimy attack radio ad against Turner that made me as uncomfortable as Turners "Ground Zero Mosque" mailer did; it had been preceded by a perfectly normal "Vote Weprin" ad that listed good reasons to vote for him.

So, who do I vote for? The party hack, or the rich guy? And does it matter, when our seat will be redistricted to oblivion next year, since somehow NY lost two Congressional seats despite the city getting more and more stuffed with people every day.
thoughtful, sad

Primary day

I'm kinda of shocked by the pathetic turnout in the primaries yesterday.
I was the last one to vote in my polling booth, and I was only the 44th person. That's a third of a major election.

But this is a major election. For all citywide offices besides the Mayor, this pretty much IS the election, since there's going to be no real Republican opposition candidates. And the Comptroller and Public Advocate race are close enough to warrant a runoff. (Which will probably have an even lower turn out.)

The Manhattan District Attorney is a position of great importance and media attention, not to mention your own character in the Law & Order series. The incumbent is stepping down after decades in office.
And yet the winner of the seat only got ~50,000 votes, in a borough of 1 million people. That doesn't seem right.
thoughtful, sad

Only Netanyahu could go to China

Oh Wow.

Avigdor Leiberman as Foreign Minister. That's like sending John Bolton in the UN.
At least it will keep him away from the local Arabs.
I wonder if this will lead to Israel leaning away from the US and having closer ties with Russia? The later is more likely the former, as Netanyahu is very pro-US. (Is there an equivalent word to "Sinophilliac" or "Russophilliac" for the US?)
I'm also not comfy with Barak staying as Defense Minister. I don't think he handled the Gaza war very well, and I think he would do the country more good in the opposition. Still, I think a centrist government, with Labor and Kadima joining Likud, would have been the best possible makeup at this point.

Worse, once again Shas is part of the new coalition, selling their soul and their votes in exchange for continued control of the religious ministries and a constant flow of welfare dollars. Even worse, they're getting the Interior Ministry portfolio. I believe in Israel as the Jewish homeland, and as a Jewish state, but I'm increasingly disliking Shas. At least Aggudah/UTJ isn't part this of the government - yet; I think NRP better represents the interest of the (sane) religious. But I'm sure they'll gladly join once they get the proper incentives/welfare money. Still, they're so very wrong on the issue of conversion, and I really hope Netanyahu doesn't compromise on that just to shore up his coalition's power.

I'm somewhat optimistic about the Netanyahu government. He's got a grasp of basic economics generally lacking in Israeli politicians, and as a right-winger, just like Sharon, he's in a better position to make a peace accord and have it accepted by the general public then a left-wing government would.
thoughtful, sad

Israeli elections are today!

Last week, I spent an hour and a half watching Israeli political advertisements for the upcoming election.

For a few brief minutes, I actually appreciated our two party system, as compared to a two-dozen party system.

But that went away pretty fast. Israelis are lucky they have so many choices.
Then again, does one country really need 3 different Green parties? Is it good that society is so segmented that they can't agree on anything ever?

Some ads that stick in my mind:
Labor and Kadima's ads showed scary pictures of Bibi Netanyahu. Likud's ads showed scary pictures of Tzipi Livni.
Meretz had better ads then any of them, showing a picture of Bibi in comfort and prosperity, and then pulling out the camera to show it's a billboard, with a homeless man looking at it in disgust.
The Disabled People's Rights party (Koach L'hashpia) had a clever ad with a man in a wheelchair trying desperately to get through a set of doors in a public building.
And the Marijuana Reform Party (Green Leaf), to my surprise, trotted out a Holocaust survivor to make its case.

As a dual citizen, I wanted to cast an absentee ballot in the Israeli elections, but I discovered that Israel doesn't allow absentee ballots, except for people overseas on government duty. I probably would have voted for Likud, as Bibi is the only major leader who has a clue how to run an economy. (Israel is still a communist country at heart - opposite to the US, their economy is too far to the left for its own good.)

So, who would you vote for if you could?

The Big Political Post

Holy crap, the elections are almost here. How did that happen?

I've been full of random thoughts that I wanted to throw out on LJ for consumption, but I always figured I'd do it later. I guess now IS later. I think I'll skip the random thoughts part for now and go straight into my dillema.

I had such high hopes at the start of the election. I liked both major candidates. They were among the best of the top end of field, and both represented a break from the party establishment.

But now, after watching the debates and the speeches, I'm throughly disappointed in both of them. Instead of wanting to vote for them both, I don't want to vote for either.
I know they both have to appeal to their voter base, but the blandness of their campaigns, the lack of new ideas, the arguing over past votes instead of focusing on the pressing issues, the constant harping on things that really have no basis on the campaign (Bill Ayers, Palin's buying new clothes to campaign in, etc etc) have all worn me down, to the point that I'm filled with loathing at the thought of pulling a lever for either one.

Breaking it down, I think McCain would make the more competent President over all. He's got an excellent track record on many issues, (especially on government spending) and even when I disagreed with him, I respected him. Obama really is too inexperienced for the job. But then McCain picked Palin, who not only is even less experienced then Obama, but holds political positions that scare me. It's not unreasonable to worry about him dying in office, and we don't need 4 more years of W. with lipstick.
I'm not very fond of Biden either. He's a better choice, and his foreign policy experience is a huge plus for Obama... but one of my favorite things about Obama is his tech platform, and Biden is HORRIBLE on that issue.

On the issues over all, I find myself agreeing with Obama far more then with McCain. Off the top of my head, I think McCain would be the better choice to run the wars we're in, and I like his energy policy somewhat more. He'll probably be better on Israel. I don't like gun control, and while I'm pro-Unions, the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" is a horrible idea.
But on most issues, I'm with Obama. I like his tax plan better, he has an actual technology platform, he's pro Net Neutrality, he'll improve our standing in the world, he's a social liberal, and so on and so forth. I also think we need a Democrat picking the next few Supreme Court justices to bring some balance back to the bench.

But I don't feel that comfortable with a Democratic President and a heavily Democratic Congress. I like the idea mostly out of Schadenfruede - after the mess the Republicans and the neo-cons made of this country for the 6 years they held full power, they deserve to lose power and lose heavily. (Though I feel sorry for McCain on that - he's never been part of the neo-con wing, or friends with Bush, but if he loses, he's going to lose because of them. I would have happily voted for him in 2000 over Bush or Gore, and the nation would be in far better shape for it. If only he was running the 2000 campaign now.) But I can't stand the current Democratic heads of the House and Senate - they're both incompetent and wrong headed on so many things. (I like Obama far far more then I like Reed or Pelosi.)

A large Democratic majority with a Democratic president will have the ability to push a lot of their ideas through. I worry, though, that instead of focusing on the ideas of the Democratic party that I like, they'll be busy passing the parts of the Democratic platform that I dislike, leaving us with all the badness 6 years of Republican dominance gave us, combined with the worst parts of Democratic governance.

And I don't think they'll reduce federal power, restore the rights the Bush administration has been trying to strip from us for 7 years, and bring back freedom to this country. I fear they'll wind up making this even more of a nanny government instead. Instead of getting rid of the Patriot act, they'll expand it; instead of legalizing marijuana, they'll ban cigarettes. Instead of having more liberty, we'll move another notch closer to fascism.

And even if the Democrats act perfectly for the next 4 years, I doubt we'll be recovered from the damage the Bush Administration has done to this country. Things will still be rough, and voters will respond by voting the Democrats out - it'll be bad for the party in the long run.

McCain, on the other hand, is actually pretty good at bipartisanship (especially compared to the rest of the Republican party under the Bushes) and with a Democratic congress could counter each others excesses.

Normally, I'd vote for a 3rd party candidate, if for no other reason then that this country desperately needs to break free of a two-party system.
But I don't like any of the third part candidates this year either!

The Libertarians are usually my 3rd party choice, but their nominee this year is a right-wing nutcase for Georgia.
The Green Party's nominee is a left-wing nutcase from Georgia.
The Constitution Party is just nuts in general.
And Ralph Nader should go back to consumer advocacy, where he can actually do a lot of good for this country.

So, in the end, I'm left with no one I particularly want to vote for. At least I can console myself that no matter who gets elected, they'll be a million times better then the moron who's run the country into the ground over the last 8 years, or either of his opponents in the last two elections.

In the mean time, I find myself wishing Bloomberg had run for President. He seems to be exactly the kind of person we need in office right now, and with the current financial mess and the poor campaigns being run, he'd have a real shot at winning. Instead, he's busy staining his legacy by making an end run around the voter will on term limits... but that's a different topic for a different post on a different election.

Please feel free to argue with me or others here, (as long as you still love each other afterwards!) and please feel free to try and convince me who I should vote for. Remember that this post is mostly off the top of my head, and may be edited every time I look at it for the next few hours...

(BTW, if anyone knows of any good Election Result parties, please let me know of them. This is the sort of thing I prefer to watch and discuss with others while they happen...)
thoughtful, sad

(no subject)

I got a phone call from Planned Parenthood for Mrs. Peskowitz today, asking to vote for my incumbent State Senator in the primaries tomorrow. I asked them if her opponent wasn't pro-choice, and they told me they sent them a questionnaire and got no response. They thanked me and hung up.

Given how bizarre and lulzy most political phone calls I get are, this one was a disappointment.

Beware the liberals!!

For over a month now, I've been getting intermittent calls from something called "Citizens United". If I answer, there's no one there; if it goes to the answering machine, no message is left.

I got another call from them today while I was doing my morning physical therapy exercises. As I answer, I'm thinking I should do an LJ post about these mysterious calls, when much to my surprise there's actually a voice on the other end of the line.

This voice is puzzled about my frequent silent calls, but then asks me to listen to a recording by someone called David Bossie, who I'm apparently expected to have heard of, after which, I'd be asked for my opinion.

David Bossie starts talking. He introduces himself as one of the chief investigators into Whitewater. He talks about how he led the fight against Hillary Clinton. And then he talks about how horrified he was to discover that Barack Obama IS A LIBERAL TOO.

He talks about how he's frantically working on a documentary to EXPOSE THIS SHOCKING FACT to the American public.

The recording the goes on to make three points about Obama.

First, that he's inexperienced, with only 143 days in the Senate. (A fair point, one I think everyone knows.)

Then they reiterate that he's REALLY SECRETLY A LIBERAL. And that no less a unbiased, non-partisan source then Newt Gringrich called him a "radical leftist".

And finally, that he'll raise taxes. Every tax imaginable. (Listed off, one by one.) On every person, rich, poor, or in the middle. He'd even invent new taxes just in case we're not being taxed enough.

No mention is made, of course, of the record deficit and crippling debt our country is dealing with. (No mention is made about him wanting to raise government spending, either. Perhaps because the Republicans have raised spending so much while in power.)

He then says that I'll be transfered over to one of his associates to give them my opinion.

A very pleasant sounding lady then comes on the line, and reiterates the points made in the recording. I eagerly look forward to giving her my opinion. But she doesn't want my opinion. She just wants money.

She asks for a donation of $75-$100 to help complete the film.

She adds that as a thank you,they'll send me a book about war heroism in Iraq and Afgahnastan.

I ask her to send me something by mail, as I never donate money over the phone. (And I don't - there's far to many charity scams out there, and it's amazing how many will just hang up if you ask them to mail you something.) She tells me to keep an eye out for a red envelope, and wishes me a nice day.

It strikes me as interesting that:

John McCain is never mentioned in the course of the phone call.

The best talking points they can come up with on Obama is that he's inexperienced, he's a liberal (who would have guessed?), and he wants to raise taxes. I find that odd, given as how while I'm not sure I'm going to vote for him, my reservations have nothing to do with those issues.

The "thank you" for donating is a book about war heroism in the War on Terror. Subtlety reinforcing that only Republicans care about the war, the soldiers, America, etc etc.

This whole thing reminds me of the weird anti-Hillary phone call I got on primary day. Except this is clearly a lot more polished, a lot better funded, run by a large organization instead of a few individuals, and targeted at a nationwide audience instead of a single religious/ethnic group in a single city.

But it still comes off to me as just as crazy.