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Weird Search Traffic of the Day: How to Become an Ambassador January 18, 2008

Posted by Who? in Random.
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I don’t know why, but this search term is the biggest traffic generator on the powerhouse that is TheAvidPenguin.  At least once a day, someone enters that query and reads my post from Nov. 19 of last year.  Again, I am a targeted traffic god. 

Fear not little boys and girls, it takes only one qualification to be the political face of this country abroad.  Donate or raise six-figure contributions to a political campaign(s).  You don’t have to be smart.  You don’t have to be an upstanding citizen.  You can build your fortune through white-collar crime.  Doesn’t matter.

Cut a check.  Pick a country.  Enjoy first-class treatment paid for by US taxpayers.

“I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign.”- M. Romney January 18, 2008

Posted by Who? in Politics, Random.
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You can’t be serious? 

“The AP story that Johnson filed yesterday afternoon said that Washington insiders are on Romney’s senior staff and registered lobbyists are top advisers. Kaufman, chairman of the Washington-based Dutko Worldwide, regularly sits across the aisle from Romney on his campaign plane and participates in debate strategy sessions, the story said.”  Full story here.

I don’t understand why Romney would try to make the distinction between lobbyshits “running” his campaign and lobbyists on his campaign.  I mean I do understand, politically, why he would try to make that distinction, but someone’s getting high off their own stuff if they think they can slide that by.  On the other hand, lobbyists may not be running his campaign (by the strict defintion).  And god bless strict definitions…

“It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.”– Atta-boy Willie, show ’em what good lawyering…is.

I applaud the reporter for making a big deal out of that statement.

It doesn’t matter if lobbyists are not running your campaign or getting paid by you.  You see Mitt, the way this whole thing works is they do favors for/make contributions to you, like “advising” without “pay”, and then if you get elected, they remind you of those favors. 

Political Lesson for the Day: Irrelevant and misguiding statements are money in the election-bank…unless you get called out.  Then you just look like a liar.  Liars don’t get elected. Right?  Shit.

Afterthought: is there really a difference between a wealthy businessman and a lobbyist?
 

Ministry of Truth: Records Department? January 18, 2008

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Is this the beginning of the end?

This question instantly crossed my mind when I heard about the Kindle.  I always knew Bezos had a totalitarian streak in him. 

In other news, George Orwell recently suffered the first ever post-mortem heart attack.

 Chris Weston Big Brother Hey Oscar.jpg

Credit: Chris Weston’s take on Orwell’s Big Brother from 1984

Another great bedtime story. January 18, 2008

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Ambassadorship for sale/sold.

Just in case you missed the first lesson, here is a refresher for “How to become an Ambassador”.

Can you sue the President for breaking the law?  No?  Lame.

Reminds me of a show the other night on PBS, Cheney’s Law.  Interesting stuff on AG scandal, signing statements etc etc.

 “Excuse me, Mr. Bush, did you know that it is illegal to appoint an ambassador as a kickback for campaign fundraising or donations?”

“You see, that’s what the terr’ists want.  God bless America.”

“I didn’t ask anything about terrorists…”

“Listen, people love America.  The world loves democracy.”

“That’s lovely, but you can’t…”

“They have weapons of mass destruction.”

“What?  Were not talking about terrorists, or nuke-uler weapons or national security!”

“Listen here Judge, I’m above the law.  I’m the decider!”

The Most Important Political Question? January 15, 2008

Posted by Who? in Politics, Random.
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Had an interesting conversation while driving a couple friends to the airport the other day.  We started talking about the primaries and politics and different candidates.  Eventually ended up talking about who we were actually going to vote for and it looked something like this: Paul-3, Obama-2 and Giuliani-1.  My friend’s fiancee was apalled by Paul’s victory– “How could you vote for Paul, he’s pro-life!?!”

Almost in unison, the Paul supporters chimed back with something like, “Who cares?  I don’t care what his personal opinion is.  He will let the States decide where they stand.”  And it hit me.  This is the most important political issue warranting both positive/conceptual analysis and constitutional analysis. 

The most important question is this: big Fed or big States?  Federalist or Anti-Federalist?  If I recall correctly, those classifications are  now counter-intuitive– Federalist being in support of stronger States.  This, to me, is more important than any gum-flapping about the hot-button political issues du jour: pro-life/pro-choice, universal health care, social security reform, immigration, jobs, the economy, tax reform– these are all distracting window-dressing.  Responses to these questions can almost literally be translated to “This is what my people tell me test the best and will get me elected”.  I just heard the perfect example on the news- “I will not rest until Michigan is back on top!” both McCain and Romney said almost the same thing.  Are you kidding me?

In addition to being beside the point, politicians’ answers are often meaningless.   Candidates flip-flop.  They lie.  They spin.  They skirt the issue to avoid revealing an unpopular opinion.  They say one thing on the campaign trail and do the opposite once elected .  It may sound stupid to say this but a politician’s job is to get elected.  I’d love to see a study of campaign positions/promises versus post-election performance but I digress.

The state of the political system is depressing.  More than once in the last couple months I’ve heard something like this, ” I don’t really care who gets elected, they’re all the same.  I just tried to pick the least-bad one of the bunch.”  It sucks and  I feel the same way.

Politicans lie.  The revolving door between government and big business continues to spin.  Foreign policy continues to head in the wrong direction.  The common thread as I see it is that the Federal government has become the sole domain of the elite and special interest groups.  The common citizen doesn’t know what they don’t know.  Even if they did know, they don’t have the time to think about macro-political concepts like Federalism v. Anti-Federalism and which way the Constitution should be interpretted; they have to worry about the stuff that politcians pretend to care about: jobs, taxes, the economy, healthcare… 

I don’t know how the system got to its current state.  Or maybe the current state is the historical status quo.  Federalist Paper No. 10 tackles this very issue: special interests groups.  Did the Anti-Federalists’ (now Federalists) loss 200 years ago set the table that we now sit at?

Madison trumpted the strength of a Republic with an emphasis on Federal power as protecting against the very group (special interests) that seem to dominate contemporary politics.  Was this an error in analysis or the case of a politician doing what politicians doing best?  I haven’t spent enough time reading Madion’s work but based on what I have read and my natural tendency to classify politicians as such, it appears to be the latter.

 More on this topic later…fo sho!