How We Got Here

 

I’ve seen my side lose before, and I am sure I will again. It isn’t easy to live with, but the world doesn’t give anyone what they want, it gives what it gives, and you have to be adult enough to deal with it.  So I deal with it.  It surprises me that others who are on my side are as shocked as they are, or were on election day. There are people out there who are just so sure that we had made so much progress as a people that our side should automatically win.

You see the problems with the thinking in that sentence, yes?

No?

Let me make a point or two for you. Your view of progress is not another’s, and this land has this amazing thing called freedom, and that includes the freedom to disagree. And if enough people in the the right places disagree, they can change the face of an election.  Donald Trump did not need to win the popular vote. He just needed to win enough places in enough key states to turn purple states red to win the election.

Those key places were, and have been for several election cycles Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He turned all of them, the election results were very close. Trump won Florida by 1.1%, a 100,000 vote difference in a state were 9.4 million people voted, less than 1% in Pennsylvania, and less than 23,000 votes in Wisconsin.

All the other spots he won he was going to win, just like all the other spots where Hillary won she was going to win. Was it his ground game that won those places for him? Her lack of interest in campaigning in some of these places that lost it for her? It’s a bit of both, but it’s much more complex than that.

It was also the media.

And social media.

And discontent.

That was the real force that the Trump campaign used to get him where he is today. They played the entire “Look what Obama did to America” concept and milked it to the point where it was a potent force. The fact that he did a good job despite constant interference from a congress that refused to work with him was ignored. The constant negative buzz from the right wing mainstream media (If you don’t think that Breitbart and Fox and Limbaugh and Jones aren’t a potent media force, you don’t know a damn thing about media) was an implement wielded with great force and deft precision in the places where the right needed to make noise enough to tilt the battleground for the American mind towards the conservative.

And yes fake news, but that only affected the idiots. A few million of them … but I digress…

Even if the Russians did nothing, the battleground shift due to discontent that was aimed directly at the American left is what really did the Hillary Clinton campaign in.  The right worked the middle American mind adroitly by playing to pessimism about our present.

That the present is by and large brighter than the picture the right presented America with regardless of who won the Presidency is something else that the right can take advantage of. All it will take is a change of tone and terminology about our future and all of a sudden, without any real need to do anything, things will look, and be, that much better for those who watch and listen to right wing msm outlets. This will be attributed to the change in President and party despite the fact the President-Elect will have to do nothing.

While the real world grows darker and angrier in his presence. Which the right wing msm will readily ignore.

He should not be surprised if the very thing that got him elected defeats him and his conservative allies later.

Such is the world in which we live.

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Quote of the Day: When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly. ~ George Washington, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 7th, 1798

 

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Basic Post 2012 Election Questions: Numbers

Pic of the day: The March to Valley Forge, by William B.T. Trego

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I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

Robert A. Heinlein, This I Believe (1952)

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I have questions.

I get that the Republicans are pissed off that they didn’t get the voter turnout that they wanted or were expecting.  Much of the talk from Republicans showing disappointment in losing to President Obama is about them getting 2 and a half million votes less in this election cycle than McCain got last time, 2008 was supposed to be a low ebb for the Republicans.  Admitted that it sucks for them, a dwindling base of voters can’t feel good.  But, despite that, the amount of votes the Republicans lost by actually shrank. Which means they aren’t the only ones who should be unhappy with the amount of voters who showed up at the polls.

Wait… What?

The incumbent Democratic President got something like 9 million fewer votes this time than in 2008.

Where did those votes go?

I am certain that there is definitely something to blaming tighter voter registration rules; and lessening of early voting I am certain had its effect. But it looks funny to me.  And not haha funny, but bizarre funny. Because those states are not the states where the votes seem to have simply gone away.

Florida got about as many votes this time as last time.  Ohio lost about 5% of their vote, but the vote wasn’t 100% counted either, so that number may yet rise to where it was 4 years ago.

I have been looking at the numbers closely and there were states where there were no changes in voter rules whatsoever, that still had a decidedly lower voter turnout this time around than in 2008.  For example, the numbers that I can see show me that California had almost 4,000,000 fewer voters and Washington state had nearly 800,000 fewer voters this time around than last time, and almost 1,500,000 fewer people in New York voted in 2012 than in 2008.

Now it isn’t like that everywhere, but it is kind of curious that states that were not battleground states but are states that are nevertheless powerful electorally lost votes, and millions of them.

I cannot tell 100% why this happened, but what I do know is that it looks to me that it isn’t anything to do with any kind of meddling with the election process.  It may well be voter ambivalence.

Why do you say that, Mike?

The states where this happened (and I should say where I looked as I have not done a state by state comparison of all 50 states {yet}) are all states that were pretty much known quantities without major polarizing races.

Where there was a non polarized electorate, there was a much lower turnout, and it affected both parties negatively in those states.  Because …  I’ll put it to you like this;  Had the Republicans gotten the votes they got in 2008 in these aforementioned states this time around, it would have put both Washington and California in play and made calling both of those states much more difficult.  New York, not so much, but in all 3 cases it would have given hope to Mitt Romney where he had none before.

And I am sure that there are Republican operatives out there who are running this data through their heads and preparing for the next battle in 2014 and 2016 with those numbers  and concepts in mind.

And what are they telling themselves about that data?

One can only guess.

But if I were them, I’d be thinking  we can win, but not by exciting the electorate, but by placating them, and lulling them to sleep.  By replacing passionate anger with reasoned responses.  By taking the wind out of the Democrats sails by taking away from them anything to fire up their base with.

They won’t do it of course.

Why not?

The anger in their discourse, the volatility in their hearts will not be extinguished by anything.  They are human, they feel pushed by events, and when they are pushed, like all people, they will resist and push back. I’ve seen stories online about how deep some of them have fallen for their own rhetoric.  They actually believed that the polls were wrong.  They believed that Romney would win and win big.  They believe they are the last bastion of liberty in the world, and that anyone who believes differently in an enemy of freedom.  How could they possibly back off of that precipice without admitting they were wrong, the one thing they seem unwilling or unable to do?

Watch and see if I’m right or wrong.

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A more detailed breakdown at a later date.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

It Was A Fun Night

I watched the election coverage last night on a host of networks.  CNN.  MSNBC.  FOX.  CBS.  NBC.  ABC.  NY1. Each station had vastly different numbers coming out depending on what time you turned them on.  But it really didn’t matter what you were watching because the results were the same.

Barack Obama won re-election as President of the United States of America.

Initially after the call was made, earliest on MSNBC at 11:16 pm eastern time, it was much noted, first on twitter and then on the networks that He had won without a plurality.  It was later on in the night when the popular vote turned and the right lost their talking point, and the President took the lead in the popular vote as well.  At this point what was a nearly 1 million vote advantage for Mitt Romney at 11 pm last night is now an Obama 2.6 million vote lead.

There was some anger from the right, asking questions like  “How could Obama be our President if he didn’t get the majority of the popular vote?”  After Fox called the election when they said Ohio was won by President Obama, it was much commented on that Karl Rove was trying to get the network to back off of the call for Ohio and the Obama winning the White House, and commented on the popular vote lead for Romney at that particular moment.  They didn’t of course, and President Obama won enough electoral votes to win even if someone somehow took Ohio from him.

Talk on MSNBC in justifying their calling Ohio for President Obaba was that the counties that are normally “blue” had a great deal more voters in them than the “red” ones.  Cuyahoga county was mentioned most.  At the time of the call it was noted that the President had won the county by 80,000 or so votes but that there were 200,000 votes that were in all likelihood not yet counted.  The votes are now counted and the win in Cuyahoga was a whopping 236,000 vote margin.  The President only won 17 of the 88 counties in the state, but he won all the population centers.

You could say the same thing for the rest of the country, but only to a certain extent.  It is only a generalization, and I haven’t looked at all of the states, but from the looks at state results  all the states I have looked at, in a county by county basis that the smaller the population of the county, the larger the margin of Victory for Mitt Romney, and the larger the population, the more complete the victory for Barack Obama.

There were exceptions, of course.  There were small county wins for the President in Texas, and Georgia and a few other spots in the deep south, and there are places like Hamilton County in Indiana where three of the states 20 largest cities are, and Lexington County in South Carolina, a suburb of Columbia S.C., where Romney won handily.

It was a fun night for those who voted for Obama.  The lone real dark cloud for the general populace on the left is that the GOP will retain control of the House.

Other big wins?

Women:  Right wing “rape babies” candidates like Mourdock and Akin were swept aside by the populace. There are now more women in the Senate, thanks to upset victories by Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin along with the victories by all the incumbent democratic women who won their seats back for 6 more years.

Nate Silver:  He got every single prediction he made about this election correct, after getting 49 of 50 in 2008.  Nate is the man.

Twitter:  There was a huge flurry of activity there, and much of the news that was reported by the MSM was reported there first, usually by enough time where it was old news by the time it got broadcast on television.  It was also there that the President first made public notice of his victory, acknowledging the victory and thanking those who voted for him a good 2 hours before he gave his acceptance speech.

Stoners:  Dude, Pot is legal in Colorado and Washington state. Just remember that it is still a federal offense to have pot on you.  The DOJ is gonna have its hands full figuring this one out.  There’s gonna be a showdown between local and federal authorities on this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this went to the SCOTUS.  Even when stoners win things are rough. You can smoke in those states, but don’t let the feds catch you, or that’s your ass.  Just saying.

Homosexuals: Gay marriage was passed in the states of Maine and Maryland, making them the seventh and eight states to pass same sex marriage. Minnesota defeated a measure that would have banned same sex marriage.  Apparently America is, or at least parts of it are, in the mood for big gay love.

It was a fun night.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Vote

Pic of the day: Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze

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Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes.

James Madison, from a speech at the Virginia convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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I am a man of many and strong opinions.  I am sure that your opinions are as strong as mine, and may differ wildly from mine.  There are many reasons to either love or despise both the individual candidates, be they from the house of representatives, the Senate, President, or more local representatives and the parties they serve.  There are many good people who think right now that they are the best choice to help lead the way for the state, the nation, or their city.  They can’t all be right, can they?

If you are a partisan you will just run your finger down one side of a ballot and vote for the people, and that is fine. It is also fine if you do not.   The best thing we can do is vote, not because it will help bring about the will of the people and will do everyone good, though that may well happen.  No, the best thing that can happen tomorrow is that the process forces you to think, and think not just of yourself, but of the effect that you have on the world around you, both locally, nationally, and globally.

I will be voting for tomorrow.  I hope regardless of your viewpoints you do as well.

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I will be voting for Barack Obama for President,  Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate ( Note: I worked at DPW 20 years ago with her when she was still Kirsten Rutnik, an attorney and I was Mike, the copy guy{pre-rhino days}), Mark Murphy for House of Representatives, and Michael Cusick for State assembly.

I expect that I will write myself in as a candidate in at least one seat, at least one important post.  I have in past voted for myself for a judgeship of some type, once for state senate, and once for house of representatives.

Think. Vote.  Matter.

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That’s it from here, America,  G’night.

Ten Things To Think About

Pic of the day:   Travelers on a Mountain at Night, by Hiroshige Utagawa

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…If everything is really the fault of politicians, where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans who are ready to step in and replace them? Where are these people hiding? The truth is, we don’t have people like that. Everyone’s at the mall, scratching his balls and buying sneakers with lights in them. And complaining about the politicians.

George Carlin, Napalm and Silly Putty

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Ten things to think about, with election day November 6th 2012 quickly coming on the horizon:

1)  Despite all the work the Republicans have put into destroying this nations ability to bring jobs back, President Obama has brought about over 2 solid years of private job growth.

2) He’s made permanent tax cuts for the middle class, saving middle class families thousands of dollars annually.

3)  He saved the auto industry.  The money he put into doing that saved millions of jobs and untold billions of dollars worth of damage that the decimation of the auto industry would have surely brought.

4)  The percentage increase in annual federal spending is the smallest that has existed since the 1950’s.  Bet you didn’t know that.  The 1.4% annual increase in federal spending is 4 times lower than that of Ronald Reagan, and more than 5 times lower than Dubya.

5)  The President ended the debacle that was the war in Iraq, and has put the plan in place to end the war in Afghanistan.

6)  Osama Bin Laden is dead.

7)  Health care costs are going down and health care is improving, thanks to the Affordable health care act.

8 )  Republicans have been working towards voter suppression over the last few years, and has been successful in some places.   Are these the actions of a party that cares about the voting public?

9)  Mitt Romney is saying he will cut taxes by 20% across the board.  Which will decimate the nations abilities to pay its bills, raising the deficit in ways that this President could not and would never do.

10) Mitt  Romney’s tax plan will involve getting rid of  Mortgage deductions, charitable deductions, college tax credits, child tax credits.  Meaning in the name of tax cuts, the average middle class American family will pay about $2,000 more in taxes.  And put more tax liability on low wage earners.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Four Years Ago

Pic of the day: Vase with 12 sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh

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Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.

Consider your origin;
you were not born to live like brutes,
but to follow virtue and knowledge.

Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy; Inferno, Canto XXVI, lines 118-120

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It’s September 27th. There are political races heating up all over the place. But the big one, Obama – Romney feels… meh. Obama, according to most polls seems to have this in hand, but one has to remember a few things. Polls are not always correct. The Republican base is a large one, and it will not ever vote for a Democrat no matter how good for the country that Democrat has been, just like a good Republican President would not get votes from the Democratic base.

Think about it like this. Four years ago much of the nation was swept up in a fervor to sweep Dubya out of office for destroying the economy. With all the fervor that was out there, the man who won the Presidency won with 52.9% of the popular vote.

Not exactly a landslide. The electoral vote (the important one) was a landslide, but the popular vote was not the sweep that many thought would happen. Nearly 60 million voters voted for a Republican despite all the damage the Republicans did to the economy.

So anyone thinking this is going to be easy, for anyone, is being extremely overconfident in a place where that can be very, very dangerous.

I say that to say this.

Four years ago today, President Obama was ahead of John McCain by 7.6%. Today, President Obama is ahead by 4%. That is a thought to chew on for everyone involved.

Four years ago today John McCain in the polls had 43.6 percent of potential voters in his pocket. Today Mitt Romney has 44.9 percent of potential voters in his pocket, a 1.3 percent increase from four years ago.

Four years ago today Senator Obama was favored by 47.9 percent of the people in polling. Today President Obama is favored by48.9% of those polled, a one percent increase from four years ago.

So we are not so far removed from those days.

And four years ago then Senator Obama had the economy beating the hell out of the Republicans, and was a decided advantage in his favor. Now there are people who blame him for the self same economic problems that still plague our great nation, ones that stem from and were born in those tumultuous days four short years ago.

So while things my not be far removed from those days, things have changed. Some for the better, some for the worse.

No one should think this race is over by any stretch. No matter how many gaffes Mitt Romney makes, his base is large and will vote for him no matter what. If John McCain can get almost 46 percent of the vote for President in a year when much of the nation hated what the Republicans were, how much more can Mitt Romney get with the Republican brand in better health now than it was a scant few years back?

Fight hard for it. Fight like it matters.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

A Stranger Named Adam Get Me Angry, And Convention Fun

Pic of the day:  Dragon Rising to the Heavens (Ryu  Sho Ten), by Ogata Gekko

(Attribution: Adam Cuerden)

Note: I fucking hate tossing attributions for pics anywhere on this site, which is why I almost always use art with expired copyrights, and always from Wikimedia commons.  This pic gets one because despite the fact that it was created in 1897 by a brilliant artist, this putz adam whatsisface did some resto work on the original and gets to act like its his and wants it attributed to him.  Like he created the fucking original.  Asshole.  Please.  Next time leave the original alone.  The artist who created the original should be the only one to get credit.

If nothing substantive has been changed you cannot be said to have made it your own, hence it makes a sham of Gekko’s work that someone did some paint by numbers work on this and gets copyright status for it.  This is roughly equivalent of saying you made the car yourself and want credit for it because you put tint on the fucking windows and changed out the spark plugs.  Ya it took time and there was work involved. So what? It’s bullshit. It’s silly stupid self-centered bullshit, and it’s wrong.

I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and a helluvan artist in his own right.  I’m just saying this seems an abuse of the concept of copyright law, no matter how legal.  He deserves it not.

Moving on…

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’T is all men’s office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow;
But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency,
To be so moral, when he shall endure
The like himself.

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, act v, scene i, Leonato

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The RNC cancelled most of today’s fun at the convention due to the hurricane that was supposed to be barreling at them at breakneck speed.  They did that because they are uniquely sensitive to hurricanes and their aftermath, after Dubya told NOLA to go fuck itself in 2007.  The Republicans turned that whole city into a disaster area by being so damn slow in response.

Killed thousands doing it, all in the name of the political concept that is so central to our curious breed of American fascism.

Seems they did it wrong this time though, necessary though it was.  The Hurricane is currently intensifying in the gulf of Mexico and will in all likelihood make landfall Wednesday morning, though NOLA will be feeling it before that.  So while they are finishing day twos festivities, NOLA will be hunkering down.

Missed Tampa by a wide margin, though.

Meaning that they took today off so they could… watch the weather channel?  Tampa got rain.  Some rain, still are.  But they always get rain.  They got some wind.  They’re off the water, they get wind.  Nothing substantive from what I could tell, nothing gale force or stronger.  As far as I can tell New York city got more rain in an hour than Tampa got all day today.  Then again it was pouring cats and several other types of docile house-broken four legged hairy tailed mammals out here today.  Got around 3 inches of rain in an hour.  I know, I was in it.  Damn near destroyed my umbrella and my shoes may never get dry.  Gotta wear them to work tomorrow too…

But I digress…

The convention should be a blast for all those involved, rain or no, hurricane or no.  Everyone there will (wrongly) call President Obama a Socialist and a Kenyan and a Muslim.  They’ll say he’s raised taxes when he hasn’t.  They’ll say he’s killed jobs when all he’s killed is Osama Bin Laden.  They won’t give him credit for it, or anything good that’ happened in America over the last few years.  But that’s OK.  That’s what they do.  Wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

Even though he’s a capitalist baptist Hawaiian tax cutting job creator.  They can’t tell people that though, or that lil shit Mitt would lose by 40,000,000, instead of the 1 or 2 mill that he can win (or lose) by if these Un-American fascist bastards keep lying about our President.

They’ll shout themselves hoarse for a formerly liberal Massachusetts governor who put through universal healthcare for all, while decrying the President and his universal healthcare, vowing to destroy it.  They’ll shout for the guy who ran Bain capital, a company that bought companies, sold off the best bits and killed the rest, resulting in thousands of jobs being lost.

Have fun, kids! I know I will!  🙂

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night!