Monthly Archives: November 2012

What’s Behind the Witch Hunt?

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The republican narrative about the Obama administration’s “sins” concerning Benghazi always puzzled me. What precisely were they outraged about? Did republicans really buy this idea that the President would try to hide a terrorist attack from the American people? Did republicans expect me to believe that Obama thought such an attack would weaken his re-election chances when history shows that wars result in the American public rallying behind the Commander in Chief? Regardless of what republicans hoped, their tactic didn’t help elect Mitt Romney.

So now that the election is over, and their “October surprise” fizzled, why is my senator, Lindsay Graham and others still beating this Benghazi drum? And why are they trying to go after Susan Rice, who clearly was never the person in charge of anything concerning Benghazi? I could never understand their motive. I couldn’t figure out what they were trying to accomplish besides a continuation of their ongoing public relations war against all things Obama.

Now, I think I understand, and I’m wondering what took me so long. If the republicans can sabotage the career of Susan Rice, then they can increase the chances of John Kerry being selected as Secretary of State. Kerry has always been the “other” potential candidate for the job. If John Kerry becomes Secretary of State, then he will have to resign from the Senate. If he resigns from the Senate, then there will be a special election in Massachusetts to replace him. And the last time there was such an election in Massachusetts, a republican named Scott Brown won.

Official portrait of United States Senator Sco...

Ex-Senator Scott Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So at this point, my best guess as to why these guys are obsessing over Susan Rice is because they are hoping to give Scott Brown another bite at the apple. They are willing to sabotage this public servant’s career just for the chance that they might gain one more seat in the Senate.

Of course, I could be wrong, maybe they really are motivated by something else, but honestly this is the only explanation I have found that makes any sense to me.

Advertisements

Corporate Patriotism in a Global Marketplace

DSCN1391

DSCN1391 (Photo credit: sly06)

A remake of the film, Red Dawn opened this week. In the original, a group of teenagers fight against Soviet troops invading their American town. It has been updated to replace the Soviet invasion force with one from North Korea. North Korea? Are you kidding me? This new version was written and filmed with the enemy as China. It makes a lot more sense to an American audience to think of China invading than North Korea, but, alas, there were grumblings from China, and since they did spend an estimated $75 million to make the movie, they decided they need to digitally change the villains into a safer target, North Korea.

In an era of global markets, U.S. film companies have to play by a new set of rules. They could probably make a movie about a villainous U.S. army invading some other country, but they can’t make this movie about China invading the U.S.

When you are competing locally, then you can accommodate local tastes and ideals. Once you aspire to be a global player in your marketplace, then things get a lot more complicated. This example is about an American movie that had to degrade its plot (no one can convince me that American audiences consider North Korea to be a more viable invader than China) in order to appease a foreign audience/government. This is hardly outrageous; who cares about this silly movie anyway?

But it does illustrate a larger more serious issue. There is no such thing as corporate patriotism. As U.S. based corporations expand globally, they lose their local allegiance. Their goal is always about making money; it was never about serving a particular nation. A local business has a vested interest in the health and welfare of it’s locale, because they are dependent on it. But once a corporation manages to expand geographically, its dependency on any one location or society melts away.

A U.S. based, global corporation is going to make decisions in its own interests, and if the math shows that by doing something that hurts the U.S. it can improve its profit margin, it will do it. This is not a moral question; it is just business. We as a society need to recognize that corporate patriotism is a marketing myth to make us feel good about buying a particular product.

More importantly, we need to begin considering how dependent our society has become on global players who have no allegiance to support us in an hour of need. We take comfort in our history where the U.S. banded together after Pearl Harbor. Companies retooled for war, and raw materials were directed toward that effort. Would the same thing happen today? Would the BMW plant in America choose to support America over Germany?

Today is Black Friday. As I write this, there are mobs of people fighting each other at various retail outlets of global corporations in order to buy a scarce sale item. In the meantime, local retailers dwindle. Yet if the time ever comes when it is no longer in the interest of that big retailer to serve your community; it will be gone, and there may not be anything left in your marketplace to pick up the slack. Now try to imagine the behavior of those crowds when they find themselves fighting over something more important than the latest Christmas toy.

A Strange Brand of Allegiance

English: SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 28, 2009) Sail...

English: SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 28, 2009) Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen recite the pledge of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the USS Midway Museum. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Cutberto Orozco led the pledge of allegiance for ninety-three San Diego based service members representing thirty-two countries during the ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Legalman 1st Class Jennifer L. Bailey/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most Americans, and conservatives in particular, delight in standing before the flag of this nation and pledging our allegiance. But for some people allegiance apparently has a new caveat: They pledge their allegiance so long as the rest of the country agrees with who they like for President.

Many Americans spent Veteran’s Day weekend signing petitions on the White House website declaring that they want to secede from the United States. They no longer want to be a part of America. They want to disavow whatever pledge of allegiance they might have taken to this nation.

They didn’t like how the election turned out. They are discovering, perhaps for the first time, that they really don’t like democracy, and perhaps they never did. They liked it so long as their kind remained firmly in charge of things.

Democracy is fragile. It is not the natural state of politics. In nature, the fittest survive by overpowering their opponents. The powerful pulled out all of the stops in order to overturn the Obama administration. Their effort failed because they didn’t convince enough voters. Democracy is designed to level the playing field. The most disenfranchised citizen has the same number of votes as the most powerful.

These sort of “patriots” are the first in line to proudly recite the pledge of allegiance. They love to publicly read the Constitution. They are quick to accuse others of abandoning the principles on which this nation was built. But when the going got a little bit rough for them–when they weren’t able to sweep the 2012 election–suddenly they are ready to turn their back on their country.

I can hardly think of a way to show more profound dishonor to our veterans than what these people have done.

Election Upset?

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Clearly Republicans were upset by Romney’s loss, but was the result a true upset? Was it truly that surprising that Obama won? There are many stories out there about how shocked Romney was to lose, but should he have been surprised?

I was worried about the possibility that Obama might not win, but I never really thought he would lose. Even after the first debate debacle, I clung to my belief that Obama would pull it out. One of the reasons I kept the faith was because I was watching the swing state polls. At no point did it look like Romney could amass the required 270 electoral college votes.

Huffington Post aggregated all of the polls, and came up with predictions that matched the results. These results are still available for anyone to see, just like they were available for the Romney campaign on election day. Here is what they reported based on polls for each of the swing states:

Ohio: 49% Obama, 46% Romney, 100% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual: 50% – 48%]
Wisconsin: 50% Obama, 46% Romney, 100% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual: 53% – 46%]
Nevada: 50% Obama, 47% Romney, 99% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
Iowa: 49% Obama, 46% Romney, 97% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
New Hampshire: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 97% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
Virginia: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 95% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 51% – 48%]
Colorado: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 92% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 51% – 47%]
Florida: 48% Obama, 48% Romney, 53% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 50% – 49%]
North Carolina: 47% Obama, 49% Romney, 89% confidence of Romney lead. [Actual 48% – 51%]

One of Romney’s problems is that his campaign probably believed the hype that the mainstream polls were skewed, and they were probably looking at pollsters like Rasmussen. Here’s are state’s where Rasmussen had Romney ahead on the eve of the election:

Florida: Romney 50% to 48%
Virginia: Romney 50% to 48%
Iowa: Romney 49% to 48%
Colorado: Romney 50% to 47%
New Hampshire: Romney 50% to 48%

Those states control 61 electoral votes, so even if Romney thought he was going to win those, he still wouldn’t win the election without Ohio. Rasmussen had Ohio tied, so even looking at the right-leaning polls of Rasmussen, it should not have been that big of a surprise to Romney that he lost.

I think Republicans’ shock is symptomatic of a bigger problem. For years conservatives have responded to inconvenient truths with denial. With their resources, they have been able to fund radio personalities, think tanks, and cable networks all to promote a world view that denies the parts of reality that they don’t like. Republicans were foolish enough to believe their own sales pitch.

Back to Blogging

Eighteen months ago, I agreed to become an Obama campaign Summer Organizer. One of the things that Summer Organizers had to agree to do was to NOT post blogs while a part of the Obama campaign. So, I had to suspend my blog in June, 2011. I continued as an organizer until the point when I decided to file and run for office for the South Carolina State House of Representatives. I decided to continue my hiatus from my personal blog until after the election.

I created a campaign website, and I included a blog on that site. Over the next several days, I will be re-posting information from that site into this blog, and I will also be continuing to post new postings.  It was a fun and rewarding experience to run for office, but I am glad it is over.