Not Spencer: Michael Penn Exclusive song – The Count of Pennsylvania

The Not Spencer political series is being extended by one for a special contribution by one of the best singer songwriters of our generation, Michael Penn.  Michael has provided the following song: “The Count of Pennsylvania”, exclusively to A Rubber Door. I think you’ll find the song a worthy end.

Michael and I have talked all through this election – all the way back to the very early primary days and here we are a day before we finally get to have our voice. You have one more day to make a difference – call your friends – volunteer to make calls – write something on your blog. Any or all of the above will help put an end to 8 years of mediocrity and start to recover from the damage done to our economy, our world standing, and the fabric of this country: the citizens of this great country.

When you get into the booth tomorrow – pull the lever for Barack Obama and Joe Biden and as Michael states: “Get in on the landslide”

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The Count of Pennsylvania

by Michael Penn

The Count of Pennsylvania never left the commonwealth
he loiters in the alley like a shadow of his former self
cast against the brick and mortar
through smoke from pipes and stacks
one more for the listmakers
a statistician’s artifact
a victim of amphetamines,
of cogs and things that let off steam
a market for a cold machine that left him in-between
the customers and soldiers you divide
but it’s rising up, a high tide
stretching out so far and wide
the line is long but worth the ride
so get in on the landslide
get in on the landslide

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Michael Penn’s best of can be found here: Palms & Runes, Tarot And Tea: A Michael Penn Collection
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Links to the rest of the Not Spencer 2008 campaign series can be found here.

Not Spencer: Socialism? No. Social Responsibility.

The final Not Spencer post comes from my beautiful wife Kristen. I like to take credit for her turn to the Democratic dark side (no pun intended), but she’s a woman of discerning taste and Ivy League intelligence. The turn was inevitable.

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It has been a long road through this Presidential Election season. There are many ways to slice and dice the positions of the candidates, but the socialism controversy exposes a fundamental difference between the two:   As a society, are we to act as our brother’s keeper, or is it every man for himself?

McCain’s latest ads say a vote for him is a vote for “keeping what is [mine].”   That’s the attitude that got us into this mess.   Looking out for number one is the reason so many Americans have no healthcare coverage, owe money on predatory loans, and can’t make enough money to keep their families afloat.   The free market ways of McCain and Bush and their cronies have been a proven disaster.  

When McCain raises the specter of socialism while lying about tax increases you can supposedly expect under an Obama administration, he’s stoking people’s fear of a welfare state.   Most people in this country aren’t looking for a handout, though.   They’re just looking for a fair shake.  

Right now, the system is set up to enrich people at the top, and destroy the middle class.   Too many people need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet these days.   It didn’t used to be that way.   The promise of America, the dream of working hard and saving money and achieving something, if not for you then for your kids, seems to be dying.   There are no opportunities to get ahead.   And even when the big wigs fail, they fail up to bigger positions, larger bonuses, and government bailouts that they use to enrich themselves further.

McCain’s tax ideas once again trust corporate America and the free market system to take care of those deemed worthy.   This is no way to move forward.  

For the average person, this basically boils down to a tax debate.   I’ve never been a big fan of taxes.   If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have said that I shouldn’t have to pay them.   After all, I wasn’t putting kids through school or using social programs.   Why put in for someone else’s benefit?

As I have gotten older with more responsibilities, I’m starting to appreciate the importance of taxes and the role they play in allowing our society to continue functioning.   They pave roads, build schools, help take care of the elderly, pay cops, and basically maintain the fabric of civilization.   So fairly assessed taxes, when used for the right reasons, make America work.

The biggest lesson of the last eight years is that you can’t entrust the well-being of citizens to a misplaced faith in corporate responsibility.   This is the folly of McCain’s economic policy.   Now that we are starting to see the full extent of the tax fraud that is perpetrated by those in Washington who would spend our taxes on unnecessary wars, building bridges to nowhere, and bailing out corrupt robber barons, I’m more convinced than ever that the taxes themselves are not evil.   The real evil is that so few of those funds end up helping citizens in meaningful ways.    

We need to shore up the institutions that built this country and support our families. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to pay a fair amount of taxes based on your income.   Those who are successful should not be penalized, but they should put in their fair share.   And all of our monies should be spent in ways that provide opportunities for all citizens to lay claim to their piece of the American dream.  

Barack Obama’s tax plan and domestic policy outlook is the only option for the middle class to have any hope of making progress.   By cutting taxes for people under the $250,000 mark and investing that money in the infrastructure of our nation, the well-being of its people, the education of our youth, and the development of a responsible energy economy, we will regain our position as a global leader and innovator.  

“What’s mine is mine” may be a fundamental Republican mantra, but it’s no way to build thriving communities.   I believe in the concept of the greater good.   I believe in good public schools and easy access to higher education.   I believe in providing some sort of assistance for people who are having a hard time.   I believe in hope and the power of those much maligned community organizers.

I’m voting for Barack Obama on November 4th.   And if you really care about this country’s future, you will too.

Kristen is a recovering Republican from the McCainiac’s home state of Arizona.    Her guilty pleasure is singing “Raising McCain” ironically while sending money to Obama.  

Not Spencer: Wasilly Season

Not Spencer took an unscheduled day off yesterday due to the Phillies World Series win (it tickles me to say that.   I’ll probably randomly sprinkle that in to conversation for the next 6 months.) It’s back today with a gift from a gifted writer and person whose blog, Church of the Big Sky, is a constant inspiration and goal to me.

Now that I’ve made Merujo blush, here’s her post.

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“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.” – anonymous McCain advisor commenting on Sarah Palin to CNN.com

I started writing this piece for Spencer probably a dozen times, and each effort up until now has ended up in the recycling bin. A good friend of mine likes to remind me that I tend to lose my thread when I write or speak about politics. I get emotional, and rational logic tends to get the old heave-ho. This year, though, I can’t blame myself. Not this time. I can’t blame any of us for being emotional about the choice we need to make. In just a few days, we have the opportunity to change the ugly, damaging trajectory of this nation’s future.

We have the opportunity to bring America back to a position of sanity and decency and reason.

We’ve been hovering on the brink of hell for eight long, dark, miserable years. So, yeah, I think we can all get a little emotional. And I’m going to warn you here, I’m taking the gloves off.

For me, a vote in this election comes down to a judgment call. But it’s not my judgment I’m worried about. It’s not your judgment I’m worried about. And it’s not Barack Obama’s judgment I’m worried about. It’s John McCain’s judgment that worries me. It worries me a great deal. Especially as the polls tighten in these last days before we vote. I just don’t want to see someone come to power that will not only continue the lunacy of the Bush regime, but, quite possibly, expand it.

Instead, I want a president in the White House who demonstrates prudent behavior. A president who thinks about the nation as a whole, thinks about the nation as it fits into this rapidly shrinking world, and is willing to represent and lead and defend all of us – not just those who fit into a small, increasingly paranoid pigeonhole on the far right.

We need, plainly, a president with good judgment. Someone who will make important decisions with calmness and with the council of great minds in a bipartisan cabinet. Someone who can engage us, congress, our allies and our enemies with grace and without invoking fear or encouraging ignorance.

We don’t need a man in the Oval Office who makes snap decisions under the guise of being a “maverick.” Not one that sings “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and lets himself be filmed doing it. Not one known in DC circles to have an anger management problem. Not one who uses a gimmick candidate like Sarah Palin to try to lure in the rightest of the right wing.

That gimmick has failed. When prominent members of the Republican Party publicly endorse the Democratic candidate for president, citing Sarah Palin as a key reason for their defection, you know you have a problem.

I believe John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was the death knell for his campaign – and deservedly so. It was a decision either tremendously ill-conceived and poorly researched or simply a demonstration of utter contempt for the American people, an underestimation of the intelligence of our electorate, and an overestimation of the perceived desire of American women to see a female candidate on the ticket.

As an American woman, I actually find it offensive that the McCain campaign believed they could harness both the fundamentalist Christian vote and the post-Hillary female vote by identifying Palin as a running mate. Would it be great to see a woman in the White House? Sure it would. Absolutely. But only the right woman – someone with credible experience dealing with the weasel patrol in Washington, someone who is ready to hold her own with world leaders, and someone who can separate personal religious beliefs from leadership for a diverse nation. Even if I were a Republican, Sarah Palin would not represent me.

Contrary to what some elements of the Republican Party may believe, the United States is not exclusively a nation of evangelical Christians. Ours is a nation of many peoples, many faiths, and many lifestyles; I see Sarah Palin in the White House as a very bad thing for people who do not share her fundamentalist Christian religious mores. Let’s just say I don’t anticipate seeing any “Wiccans for McCain” bumper stickers any time soon.

Are there people who think Palin is an acceptable candidate for the vice presidency? Certainly there are. Shockingly, there are a lot of them. That scares the bejeezus out of me. Do I think the majority of her supporters – most of whom who had no idea who she was before August 29th this year – are using common sense in rallying to her side? Honestly, no. But in desperate times – when everyday people are being crushed by fuel prices, failed banks, foreclosed mortgages – desperate people will cleave tightly to those they *think* understand and represent them.

Problem is, these good people are being sold a bill of goods. What they don’t seem to know, despite the folksy “guys and gals/common woman” rhetoric, is that Sarah Palin isn’t just like them. Yeah, she’s a mom. Yeah, she’s a working woman, a hunter, a wife, a church-goin’ gal. (Many women are.) But unless your family’s personal wealth clocks in at the million dollar mark, my friends, you are not playing in Sarah Palin’s league. It’s all smoke and mirrors – Barnum and Bailey on an epic level. It’s all an illusion to draw in disenfranchised conservatives – the fearful, the undereducated, the insular, the poor and the paranoid, and yes, sometimes the xenophobic and the ignorant   – who are seeking someone to blame.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video Spencer posted of the scary, name-calling crowds at a recent Palin rally. It’s distressing to watch the crowd – belligerent, uninformed – one racist even holding a stuffed monkey labeled with Obama’s name. The mood changes from “party faithful” to “mob” pretty quickly in difficult times. They grasp at catchphrases like “Country First” and believe that the Republicans will keep them safe and restore their measure of prosperity. They hear Palin raise them up as being pro-America Americans and use words like patriotism and socialism without really knowing what they mean. And they do it all without recognizing it’s the party she represents – the twisted smoking wreckage of the GOP – that has laid waste to this country for eight years and is largely responsible for their current predicament.

Does Sarah Palin represent you? Try taking my easy 10-Question Palin Judgment Compatibility Quiz:

1.      Have you ever tried to coerce a librarian into identifying books that should be banned?
2.      Do you believe that God ordains the building of oil pipelines?
3.      Do you think it’s a good idea to get on a plane and fly 3000 miles after your water breaks in the 7th month of a high-risk pregnancy?
4.      Do you think traumatized rape victims should have to pay for their own forensic rape evidence kits?
5.      Do you have a knocked-up teenage daughter and still think abstinence-only sex education is the right way to go?
6.      Have you ever been videotaped being blessed against all forms of witchcraft and enemies bearing serpents?
7.      Have you ever faced an enemy bearing a serpent?
8.      Do you think the United States constitution should be amended just to serve the gay marriage paranoia of the Christian right?
9.      Do you read newspapers? Any newspaper? Buehler? Buehler?
10.      If you can see another country from your living room, does that make you an expert on it?

Oh – and on that last point – you think you know all about Russia, Governor Palin, because you can see the country from your living room? Hey, guess what? I was educated as a Soviet scholar, lived in both the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, and, when I worked for the American Embassy, I could – literally – see the Russian White House across the street from my living room. And, despite spending a decade and a half of my life studying, living in, and working in Russia, I still don’t know the country half as well as I’d like. And yet, if I am judged against the Sarah Palin international leadership sniff test, I think I’m qualified to be John McCain’s secretary of state!

Look, I don’t doubt that Sarah Palin is ambitious and politically savvy in her own small pond. The size of the cojones on that Estee Lauder’ed Alaskan pit bull is not in question. And I don’t doubt she knows how to handle herself in front of the cameras. (Hey, if I had a hard-fought, six-year, five-college bachelors degree in sports journalism and the career goal to appear on SportsCenter, I’d know which camera to address, too.)

But putting on a good face for a crowd isn’t enough. The person one heartbeat, one cancer diagnosis, one breath away from the presidency of the United States should be much smarter than the average bear. And I don’t think Sarah Palin is that. Joe Biden has his own warts and problems, too, but he’s not delusional.

A few years ago – heck, a few months ago – I thought better of John McCain. But the Palin choice has made me think he’s eaten some bad mushrooms and taken a ride on the crazy train. Whatever the reason for his horribly poor vice presidential decision, I sure as hell don’t want him representing me or my country.

Please, don’t let John McCain’s poor judgment further derail this nation’s future.

Choose wisely. Choose hope. Choose reason. Choose smart.

Choose Barack Obama.

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Please return tomorrow for the final Not Spencer post.  

Not Spencer: Hope vs. Fear in a Steel Cage Match For the Title

Today’s Not Spencer post is from  Cynicsgirl  from Suburban  Masquerade.  She did want to title this post using the following lyric from a Michael Penn song:  “I can’t hope for crying”, but then realized her thoughts were more angry, than sad.

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I remember the exact moment when I became disillusioned with the political process.  

It was November 1972.  Richard Nixon won the presidential election — by a landslide.   I was just 13 years old, but I knew that was wrong.   See, at St. Aloysius Elementary School, we students had held our own (mock) election.   Young, uncorrupted, naive, all of us — the girls, in their shapeless navy jumpers and peter-pan-collared white blouses, and the boys, in their clip-on ties and double-knit pants — cast our votes for President of the United States.   We had elected George McGovern.  

Eight years later, I’m old enough to actually vote…and along comes the Moral Majority.   (And I’m in the minority.)

As the years pass, politics seems to get dirtier.  Clinton is impeached for lying about blowjobs (which I think is icky-gross, but his own damn business.)     The Powers That Be manipulate the masses with fear, blur the separation of church and state, and question the patriotism of anyone who dares suggest that the emperor is unclothed.  

This country re-elected George W. Bush for chrissakes. How does that happen?     How Does That F*cking Happen?

One may gather that I’m a tad cynical about the political process.  

But then — something surprises me; something strong enough to make me cause an embarrassing scene at a family get-together; something I haven’t felt since…well…since I’ve legally been able to vote.

Hope.

I was just as suspicious of Barack Obama as I have been of any other politician – at first.   But I watch him closely as he navigates the primary, wins the nomination, and campaigns for president.   And I become more and more impressed.   While I would likely vote for a Democrat for president regardless (because I am an evil liberal – although technically an Independent until this past primary season) what impresses me about Obama is his obvious intelligence, his poise, and his attempts to focus his campaign on the substance of the issues.      

And he is a class act.   As superficial as that may sound, after eight years of the Good Ole Boy, the U.S.A. needs its leader to be someone who can inspire respect throughout the world, not have citizens of every other industrialized nation in the world rolling their eyes in disbelief.

John McCain lost my respect when he chose his running mate.   Whether Palin was his choice or was a calculation foisted on him (or something in between) his acceptance of her as his running mate shows a serious lack of judgment.   A blatant “I will ignore what is best for this country in a desperate attempt to win the presidency.”    

Still, Obama gives me hope.   The polls are promising. But I can’t let myself be optimistic.   Because ignorance keeps slapping me in the face.    

Two days ago, I received an e-mail from a retired gentleman who lives in the Southeast.     He’s a distant cousin with whom I’ve corresponded from time to time over the years while researching genealogy — and I’ve found him to be a personable and mentally sharp fellow.   Expecting a genealogy query of some sort, I was shocked to open his e-mail and find a call-to-action, full of half-truths, such as:   “…In addition to the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayres, Barack Obama has formed unsavory alliances with some of the most dangerous social misfits of modern times…” And this:   “With a liberal democratic congress, a liberal democratic president, liberal Supreme Court appointments, and no filibuster, we will rapidly become a socialist country.   When all of the illegal immigrants are declared eligible to vote, who do you think they will vote for in the next election? We must now make a decision between SOCIALISM or FREEDOM?”     (Oops, he forgot to take out the “?” after “freedom”, didn’t he?)

The e-mailed contained a link to USA Wake Up.org which he claimed opened his eyes.   What I saw there sickened me, especially considering my friend’s espousal.   (Went back right now for quotes, but that part of the site is currently disabled.)   It was a page of illogical fear-mongering fiction with the phrase “Socialist Barak Hussein Obama” repeated innumerable times.

Even more disheartening were the “Reply All” responses I received the next day.  One called Obama a “socialist fanatic” Another:   I know H—-   would not have said what he said unless he was sure of his facts and I stand with him.   I am an Independent Voter (unlike Bill Oreilly or Retired General Powell whom profess to be  an Independent/Republican, but we can tell otherwise).”  There was: “Vote the Bible.”    And: ” I am scared for the USA if Obama is elected. It is shame money and political parties elect our President.”  As well as: ” Thank God  there are  still a few of us AMERICANS who believe in FREEDOM.   For all others, if they are tired of living free, speaking free, working, walking, talking, shopping and practicing religious freedom, go ahead and vote for Obama.”   (Though somebody should tell them that in proper Palinese it would be “livin’   workin’ walkin’ talkin’ shoppin’ and practicin’.   You betcha.)   (Is it wrong of me to want a vice-presidential candidate to pronounce their “g”s?  Is it? )

How did our country get to this point of Us vs. Them?   Why is someone we disagree with not only wrong, but also Satan’s spawn?  

That’s that scares me.   Not socialism.   Not Obama’s middle name.   People who hate without cause or reason scare me.   People who justify their choices by demonizing the alternative scare me.  

And the political machine that would pull out the Giant Wrench of Fear from their toolbox to fix a broken campaign — that scares me the most. Because I’m afraid it will work.   Again.

I made a reference to “an embarrassing scene” earlier.   There are a few “core” Republicans in my life that I happen to love in spite of their political leanings.   They have their Right-to-Life beliefs, and I respect their right to believe as they wish (though I believe in Choice.)   And they have their giant bank accounts, and I suppose it is within their rights to want to keep those full of giant amounts of $$.  

The point is I don’t expect everyone to have the same belief system that I do.  Or to have as skimpy a bank account.   But I do expect a discussion of politics to be based on fact. And if, in the Year of Our Lord 2008, one can say (with a straight face) that G.W. Bush is a good president, quip about the “hotness” and “breath-of-fresh-air-ness” of Sarah Palin, and insult the injury by mocking Barack Obama’s ears…well, I am going to get pissed.   And shout a bit. Even if it embarrasses the in-laws.

If your fundamental beliefs align with that of the Republican party…feel free to vote that way, my friend.  But along with your vote for McCain, you will have to make peace with casting a vote for Vice-President as Novelty…a vote for Campaigns Based on Fear and Hate…a vote for Truthiness over Truth.  

Or, vote for Obama.   And make me believe in the political process again.

Cynicsgirl is a card-carrying member of the evil media,  although she has  secret aspirations of one day becoming both a  gadfly  and  a bon vivant.   She resides in the Eastern Suburbs of Philadelphia  (okay, it’s New Jersey)  with previous guest-blogger Radiocynic and their two nutritionally-deprived daughters.

Not Spencer: The Fight For Our Future

Today’s Not Spencer post is from the 49%er.   Next week the ladies take over with posts from Merujo, Suburban Masquerade, and my wife Senorapants.

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The Fight For Our Future

In my lifetime, there have only been a few elections that I actually remember. I only really became politically aware when Bill Clinton took office in 1992.   History will show that Clinton’s time in office saw peace and prosperity.   He left this country with an economic surplus.   Yet, Republicans are still trying to blame him for terrorism and our economic slide over the last eight years.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Since the year 2000, the United States has seen the government attempt to wire-tap citizens and even try to suspend the writs of habeas corpus to people who were deemed enemy combatants of the United States.   After eight years of George W. Bush, this election will not only determine the direction of the country – it might also determine the fate of democracy itself.

The only thing I am truly sure of is how this election proves that we are, in many ways, a nation divided.

Because of this, I decided that I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.   There was never any way I was going to vote for John McCain.   With Sarah Palin in the mix, I am actually afraid when consider how close this race is heading into November.

Americans are facing a deal-breaking choice in 2008.   We can either elect Barack Obama   – who stands for tolerance, intelligence, education and patience in a world gone absolutely berserk financially and politically.   Or, we can elect a candidate (McCain) who has chosen the most polished of all political sewer pickles (Palin is that sewer pickle) to get flushed down the pipe in my lifetime.

To me, this race is about electing Barack Obama and Joe Biden because they are the right men for the job.   It is also about stopping John McCain and Sarah Palin dead in their tracks.

Why?

John McCain and Sarah Palin are frauds.

That’s why.

First of all, Sarah Palin is the most ridiculous choice for a vice-president anyone has ever seen…ever.   She is the product of a political jack-off machine that preys on the complete stupidity of a large segment of the public.   The worst part is that John McCain didn’t even pick her himself.

On paper, Palin wouldn’t even be allowed to wash my car.   Her only qualifications are being mayor of a town about as large and socially tolerant/diverse as the 700-level of the now paved-over Veterans Stadium.   She is a political attack-dog who sets herself up as Eva Braun standing by her man – who in this case is a snowmobile-racing “himbo” secessionist.   Her convention speech slurred the criticisms of George W. Bush with war-cries about the liberal-media conspiracy.     She belongs to a church whose pastor, Ed Kalnins, claims that such criticisms “come from hell” and wondered aloud if anyone who voted for John Kerry could be saved.   He also believes that Alaska will be a “refuge state” for Christians in the last days, which he speaks of as if they will occur if Palin slips in the next poll.

Palin has been caught on tape spewing the same right-wing, vomit-inducing bullshit about the Iraq War being “God’s will”.     Her church also seeks to convert Jews and “cure” homosexuals.

Read that again.
I’ll wait.

Now, let’s examine John McCain.
After Sarah Palin?

Sure.
Let’s face it, he has become the under-card on his own ticket, at this point.

As a senator, McCain put himself first when he allowed someone else to choose Sarah Palin to be the VP nominee.   No one was putting “Country First” when she was chosen for this ticket.

Between McCain and Obama, McCain is the true elitist, having spent most of his life getting special treatment as the son of a career Navy man and the grandson of a respected admiral.   At Annapolis, he was a terrible student who graduated second from the bottom of his class.   He has crashed more planes….let’s just say he has destroyed more military hardware than a Michael Bay film. McCain’s record as a pilot is actually worse than George W. Bush’s was as an Air Force reservist.

McCain is a dangerous hawk with an even bigger “Daddy” complex than George W. Bush. McCain’s recent remarks have heightened tensions with Iran. In April 2007, when a voter asked him about his policy toward Tehran, McCain sang, “Bomb bomb bomb” Iran. This was meant to rally the GOP base, but it also strained relations with Iran, whose foreign minister condemned McCain’s “jokes about genocide” as a testament to his “disturbed state of mind” and “warmongering approach to foreign policy.”

This election has come down to me protecting my son from war.   McCain stated that he would stay in Iraq for 100 years if that were what it takes to win the war and defeat terrorism.

Really?

Well, that means that my son might have to be a soldier serving in a war because McCain and “vice-president Moose-Burger” can’t negotiate peace.

Because McCain is either going to be infirmed or interred before the end of his first term.

We all know it.

Now more than ever, it is about stopping the people who will not hesitate to sacrifice their own children (Palin), and anyone else’s for the sake of “God’s will”.

I am sure that John McCain doesn’t consider his five years as a P.O.W.   “God’s will”.

In this election, the Republicans even co-opted, and subsequently watered-down, Obama’s promise of “change”.   They couldn’t compete with the promise of change.   So, they flooded the market with it.   “Change” is everywhere, now.   As a stock, its worth would be plummeting.

So, why is this election so close?

Because, many Americans like their leaders to be like them. They want a fat, barely literate and totally disoriented shame-fest running their country.   They like their leaders mean and unwavering, even when all the facts point to them being wrong.   And even when being wrong means that they are gambling with the lives of America’s young.

This kind of thinking got Americans to turn a blind eye while George W. Bush stole two elections, right out from under us.

The most telling moment of this campaign season was George W. Bush’s absence from the Republican National Convention.   Thanks to a well-timed hurricane, Bush was excused.   He addressed the booze-addled flock via satellite and his name was never mentioned again.   With his approval ratings, the GOP didn’t need the stink of loser that follows that recovering-alcoholic-fucktard wherever he goes.

So, George was out.

Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

George W. Bush.
John McCain.
Sarah Palin.

Even Republicans are ashamed of these three, at this point.

Is this the best we can do?

For me, the only light in this forest is Barack Obama.   So, he is the only real choice.   He stands for a dream realized after eight years of a torturous national nightmare.   The only thing that will make me happier than watching Bush be let out the side door of the White House is watching Obama take the oath of president and finally sticking it to the bible-thumping, gravy-train riding shitheads that Bush so smugly referred to as “his base”.

This election is not so much about embracing the promise of good over an impending evil – it’s about good’s triumph over bedrock stupidity.   When Obama wins, we could finally see the nation engage in intelligent discourse with other sovereign nations as it works towards peace in our time.   We have the chance to see the leader of this country be a man of respect and sincere adulation wherever he goes.   We have a chance to save our endangered environment and protect this planet for future generations.   We have a chance to silence the religious throng who insist on challenging Roe V. Wade, year after year. We have a chance to elect a highly qualified candidate and show the most racist people in this country that open-minded people mean business and we are not going to bow to the lowest elements of a tired misanthropy. We have a chance to see Wall Street be made to conform to regulations that eradicate the kind of greed that has destroyed our economy while shipping our jobs overseas.   Hopefully, this will also mean the wealthiest residents of this country will start paying their fair share of taxes.

In short, we can rescue the once great reputation of this nation from the gutter that George W. Bush and his henchman pitched it into during their eight years in power.   We can finally derail the gravy train that Bush so smugly referred to as “his base”.

I am voting for Obama to protect this country from further constitutional abuse. A McCain presidency will be a third term of George W. Bush.   Going a step further, Sarah Palin is an unqualified, mean-spirited and brutally inept tyrant.   If Palin is allowed to walk the halls of The White House on any other business than being part of a tour group, she will usher in a new generation of religious-fueled intolerance.

Mostly, it’s about America moving forward and trying to heal while the people of this country reclaim what has been lost over the last eight years.

What have we lost?

What do you lose when your when your president talks about suspending the writs of habeas corpus and the government allows wire-tapping – while the same president takes three days to react as New Orleans drowns in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?

What do you lose when your country is anchored to a costly, seemingly endless war in the face of a struggling economy that needs to be bailed out to the tune of over one trillion dollars?

What do you lose when the world sees your leaders, the supposed leaders of the greatest democracy in history, act so inept and stubborn – seemingly devoid of decency or common-sense?

What do you lose?
You lose precious time.

And, if you wait too long, you live to see the greatness of this country continue to erode until the country itself is almost unrecognizable.

Can Obama make a difference?

I will tell you when he gets there.

And people, he needs to get there.

Please vote on November 4th.

The 49%er is plotting a desktop revolt from the Philadelphia suburbs.

Not Spencer: McCain or Obama = Not the most important political decision of our era

Today we hear from Jack – erstwhile co-worker of mine and prolific commenter – he’s a great person to argue with – he’ll certainly school you.  Tomorrow we’ll be hearing from the 49 Percenter (he may have to change the name of his blog after November 4th)

As we approach the conclusion of this election cycle and we debate who is best to lead, who has the vision for change that is needed in this country, who has the experience to led us. All of this clouds for me the single biggest flaw in modern American politics, and an issue I will simply never let go.

The most important issue = How we select our leader.

Enter The Electoral College

More than any politician or political movement this compromise from our founding fathers completely represses voting and fairness in the modern age. Do not get me wrong when it was framed and first put into place it was valid; but for god sakes we have put liquid cheese in a can that we can spray on crackers, you think we would update our election system in say the last 150 years.

Under the Electoral College system, we do not vote for the president, but for a slate of electors, who actually elect the president. Who are the electors? Well that depends on what state you are from. Also they do need to agree with our popular vote results; which has happened 158 times since the founding of the system.

Why Do We Have the Electoral College?

A long time ago we were composed of only 13 states that did not trust each other very much and were suspicious of a central national government. We had no coherent and structured communication system across thousands of miles of land up and down the Atlantic Ocean. We also did not yet have political parties; in fact many Americans felt that political parties could be actually rather evil. State power not Federal power was the philosophy of the day; yet we needed a system that everyone could agree on and would provide an elected head official of our federal government.

Since 1800′s there have been over 700 attempts to amend the Electoral College system none have succeeded. Why? To change the Constitution both the House and the Senate must pass the amendment with at least two-thirds majority.

So Why Does it Still Exist?

We are not in fact a democracy; we are a republic. Democracy is when decisions are made from majority vote; we have a Representative Republic kind of like in Star Wars. You know that thing the Jedi protected but was actually really corrupt and became the Empire.

Also if you can get a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate to abolish the Electoral College then legislatures in 38 of 50 states still must ratify the change to the Constitution.

For me it boils down to this. Both entrenched political parties love this system; it basically suppresses the rise of a third political party and keeps their power absolute.

Why? Because a third party will never be able to gain the majority of the vote in multiple states and/or in sufficient volume to unseat the existing parties. And if they do make enough of a dent it will most likely simply prevent both of the existing parties to get to the magic 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. What happens if we do not get to 270 well a two party controlled House of Reps gets to pick our next president and vice president of the US. I hope you paid attention to your state races people.

Sure third party’s have had influence in modern elections…Perot certainly made it easier for Clinton to beat Bush Sr; and Nader may have actually cost Gore (whom won the popular vote) the Whitehouse. But with the Electoral College in place the two parties are left in an environment in which they can truly not have to compromise. Most disgusting is that the Democrats despite having a candidate whom the majority of Americans voted for president (500,000 more) could not find the political will to end the system that did not elect him. The Democratic party chooses to play the hand that keeps it in a power position and not worry about the people they supposedly represent. For the humanist party this is simply unbelievable and for me unforgivable.

Since 1900, only three third party candidates have taken Electoral College votes Wallace in 1968 took 46 votes; before that we have to go back to Storm Thurmond in 1948; and than to LaFollette in 1924

In many other democracies around the world a collation government must be formed that allows for groups to compromise on views and better meet the will of the public.

A two legged stool does not stand up; unless it is propped up against a wall. In this case a wall of lies and corruption and power.

My Top Reasons for Wanting to Abolish the Electoral College

  1. Unless you live in Maine or Nebraska The candidate winning the most popular votes in a state gets all of the votes in that state. Thus if you voted for Bush (not Kerry) in PA your vote did not count. Unless you lived in Minnesota or Washington DC a vote for Mondale never counted as Regan took every other state in this country in 1984.
  2. The Electoral College is based on old population data and does not move with the current actual population. Its clear today that based on current population density some states should gain electoral votes (e.g. Texas, Florida) and some should lose (e.g. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio).
  3. Swing states like California, Texas, Florida, New York all have too much power focusing candidates to their benefit or detriment on only a handful of states; when is the last time since Regan has a Republican tried to do anything in California how about a Democrat in Texas?
  4. Smaller states like sparse Wyoming are over represented as they need to get the minimum of three votes; this means Florida and California get under represented
  5. Ron Paul supports the Electoral College (just kidding, he does support it thou)

    If you support change, well this is the thing to change. With the Electoral College gone; third parties will have more influence on politics and allow for more sensible polices that better represent the full will of the people. Without this change, no real lasting change will ever really ever occur. America was to be a free nation with fairly elected officals.

    One Person One Vote…End the Electoral College

    Jack is a Pennsylvania resident for the last 20 years, and is actually involved in local and state politics. While not an elected official himself; he thinks he will run for local office at sometime in his life. Jack is a moderate; and has been both a Registered Republican and a Registered Independent over the years.

    Not Spencer: My Evolution on Presidential Politics

    Today’s Not Spencer submission is from fellow blogger Howard Hall.   Unlike his regular blog, Nonbreakingspace.com, today he gets to speak in more than a Haiku.

    ————————-

    There was a time when I supported John McCain. I even voted for him in the Republican primary. But that was eight years ago. Both John McCain and I have changed quite a bit in the interim. Or maybe we both just discovered who we really are.

    As for me, I’ve long since changed my voter affiliation to independent, even though most of my core ideas have remained the same. I guess I just realized how poorly the Republican reality matched my ideas.

    For years I took for granted the rightwing assertions of rampant tax-and-spend liberals. But then I started to wonder why conservative heroes like Ronald Reagan and, more recently, George W. Bush were such prolific contributors to the national debt — while a Democrat named Bill Clinton has been the only president in my lifetime to balance a federal budget. So when Barack Obama suggests returning to Clinton-style fiscal policy, I see a higher likelihood of competence and fiscal responsibility in him than I do in his opponent, who pledges to emulate the policies of the current administration.

    Coming from a working class family, I have always paid attention to issues that affect working class people. And these are issues that Obama seems to care more about than McCain. Several analyses have concluded that working people will see greater tax relief from an Obama administration. This doesn’t even take into account McCain’s resurrection of a Bush initiative to treat employer-based health care as taxable income, which strangely, sounds like a tax increase.

    And on the topic of health care, I also happen to agree with a Wall Street Journal opinion piece calling Obama’s proposal better than what McCain has to offer.

    While my choice for this election is broadly based on issues, I believe that one much-maligned item on Barack Obama’s resumé also plays a role: his experience as a community organizer.

    When Sarah Palin joked in her acceptance speech about community organizing, and went on to say the world “doesn’t just need an organizer,” it was clear to me she had no concept of what she was criticizing. For generations, community organizers of all stripes have been the best, if not only, way to kickstart meaningful reform and educate regular people about their rights and responsibilities. After eight years of a President who told us to go shopping while he immersed us deeper into war, there are few qualities we need more in a leader than those possessed and practiced by a community organizer. And judging from a campaign that’s registered unprecedented numbers of new voters, it’s clear Barack Obama still knows a thing or two about community organizing.

    Which brings me to one last idea my conservative parents have ingrained in me: real change has to come from the people. This year I’m choosing a candidate who not only talks about grassroots change, but also knows how to cultivate it.

    Howard Hall
    nonbreakingspace.com