Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bait-and-Switch Presidency

Yes, regrettably the evidence is becoming clear that Obama, like Dubya before him, is a bait-and-switch president. Certainly circumstances are much different as are the roles (and their eloquence in playing them). Dubya purposely drove our economy down and got us into military entanglements. Now that the economy is down, Obama presides over the foreclosure auction where true wealth changes hands and Obama's $$$ backers are paid off.

Although I don't like to hear criticism of Obama, I will listen to and seriously consider valid criticism.

Example of invalid criticism: Birthers.

Examples of valid criticism: Obama taking single-payer and the public option off the table. Obama's superb rhetoric on closing Guantanamo isn't matched by action in resolving the sticky details of military tribunals and all of the other foreign and/or black sites. The same Sec. of Defense as Bush? The Sec. of the Treasury coming from the same financial entities that helped drive our economic collapse?

I will stand with a pitchfork on the barricades against Obama, providing that those leading the attacks recognize that the crimes of the Bush Administration have to be exposed and tried first, else no Obama Administration could ever be held accountable for their (perpetuation of the) crimes.

To that end, the patriotic American flag wrapped around 9/11 should no longer serve as part of its cover-up and needs to be seen for what it really is: among the colors of the insiders who perpetrated it.

If we really wanted a choice and an alternative in the elections, we need (at least) three reforms in the election process.

(1) Open-source public-verifiable election software/hardware (2) Instant Run-Off elections (3) Publicly funded elections

Regarding 1. As Stalin used to say (paraphrased): "It doesn't matter how you voted but who counts the votes."

With the change in party governance in 2006 and 2008 elections, the government wants us to believe the myth that all is well in electronic election land, and their counting on our short attention span in this area. You don't have to electronically tweak election results if both candidates on the ballot are in your pocket.

Still, that malicious power to tweak elections electronically exists, and might be a factor in public initiatives much closer to home, like medical Mary Jane, gay rights, or any of the three voting reforms given above.

Regarding 2. Instant Run-Off elections remove the argument that third-parties don't have a chance and that voting third-party is throwing your vote away. Individuals can vote their heart and conscience as first choice with the assurance that if their favored candidate as first choice is at the bottom, their second choice on the same ballot could be "more reasonably be for a candidate with a better chance of winning" (although I think this will prove to be unfounded wishful "conventional" thinking propagated by those in power to stay in power.)

A spin-off of instant run-off elections is that even if third-parties lose the election, they will receive a higher percentage of the votes that then raise the stature in subsequent elections in being taken seriously, getting on ballots, receiving matching government funding, participating in debates, etc.

Regarding 3. Public-financed elections should be a no-brainer. Money shouldn't be coming from the deep-pockets of special interests to make the representatives beholden to them rather than their constituency. If serious candidates from all serious parties [as determined by election results] all had comparable public funding, an additional benefit is that we could probably enact laws to reel in the election campaign cycle to, like, the six months prior to the vote.

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