On the Trustworthiness or Lack Thereof WRT Presidential Candidates
An old friend of mine says he want’s a president he can trust. He raises the issue of Hillary’s emails and Benghazi, and I concede, he does make a point. On the other side of the coin, there is this graphic from Robert Mann, based upon data from politifact.
Granted, some would say that politifact is biased against conservative views, being Bachman and Trump are rated so low, and Hilary and Obama are rated high. I think there is some wiggle room to allow for this, as all politicians spin, but the impact of their lies vary’s greatly in severity.
Trumps far out crazy lies are likely for media coverage, as any coverage whether good or bad is a positive for him and supporters see it for what it is, and thus don’t take the crazy seriously. Reagan had some real doozies as well, like trees causing more pollution than automobiles, and that sulfur dioxide emitted from Mount St. Helens was greater than that emitted by cars over a 10-year period… and yet he accomplished a lot of good, including serious dents in crony capitalism, raising the medicare tax, NFA weapon regulation, and amnesty for 3 million undocumented immigrants.
All of that being said, there is an issue of trustworthiness of the individual, apart from the political spin and campaign press manipulations. Trump’s record of business dealings wreaks of being a seedy used car salesman. Hillary’s recent spin handling the email issues in combination with decades of spin lawyer responses doesn’t present a sense of trust either. Such is what I wish to dig into a bit, with respect to my old buddies thoughts on wanting a president he can trust.
Would you trust a well regarded, typically diligent and well liked employee in your organization who did similar things as Hillary did in regards to confidential communications? For most folks, the answer is yes, whether they are a subordinate, or even a coworker. The reason being, there are systems issues at play that make keeping information confidential, either insanely difficult and/or borderline impossible in light of being able to handle their primary responsibilities. Ie, if you truly want secure communications, you keep them 100% sequestered and distant from day to day communications. You handle them only in a EmSec(TEMPEST) room, despite the obvious difficulties and inefficiencies of doing so.
By the same token, if you have someone who is a jerk^4, it is easy and fairly common practice to discharge them based upon mishandling confidential information, despite the issues that most everyone else does it knowingly or unknowingly. Add in that high powered politicians are for the most part considered above the law (as its too hard and expensive to prosecute with their ability to spin and the high powered lawyers they surround themselves with).
Thus, the old saw about peon’s being subject to laws that the powerful are not is replayed over and over.
In addition, as unequal treatment under the law play’s out over a period of years, increasingly powerful politicians end up feeling they are bulletproof… until finally they go too far, and/or their power wanes. Case in point Rod Blagojevich the former and Dennis Hastert the later. It takes a great deal of blatant unspinnable evidence to put a dent in a politician, and even then, as spin masters with loads of high powered attorneys, convictions are near impossible, consider John Edwards as a recent example.
Yes, I’d like a president I could trust… but I think we are so far beyond that. Trustworthy folks get thrown off nearly all political tickets shortly after they start even at the lowest levels. Its a mess, when deception and spin are what we choose to promote in our leaders irrespective of party.
I’m not sure how we change that.
Who put a halo on Norm?
I just saw one of Norm Coleman’s commercials and went ouch… they must be in cost cutting mode, as the media quality was subpar and then some. They used a green screen, and a profile shot of Norm talking, rather than an on location shoot. Well, they messed up. Norm got a halo. Granted, that was somewhat common back in the old days of analog chromakey if the electronics module drifted, or lighting was very bad. Today, unless someone really really messed up the lighting, there is no excuse for it. Makes me wonder what the Republican party is thinking. It wasn’t a time critcal issue ad either… Go figure
FAA user fees, differences between McCain and Palin
ts interesting to note the differences of opinion over FAA user fees. From MPR: News Cut: Blaine setting for Palin speech highlights a difference with McCain
Senator McCain…. “I wanted to get at, which we should get at, the wealthiest people in America who are flying corporate jets around this country and not paying an extra penny for doing so, while average citizens, average middle income, lower income American citizens are paying, again, an increase in their cost of air tickets, while your fat cat friends pay nothing. ”
McCain stressed that user fees would only apply to business aircraft. The general aviation interests insist that a user fee-funding system would only expand.
Gov. Sarah Palin…..signed a resolution in Alaska in 2007 that opposed “the enactment of the provisions in the Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007 that impose user fees, increase aviation fuel and aviation gas taxes, reduce airport funding, and reduce Congressional oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
“Aopa… says the surplus in the Aviation Trust Fund, paid for by taxes on general aviation fuel, airline passenger tickets, and cargo, should be used instead, and argues that the skies will be less safe because pilots won’t use air traffic control and other services designed to keep flying a relatively safe exercise.”
Indeed, I think this is a safety issue. GA pilots are cheap, and will do pretty much anything to save a buck, esp when they figure it cant happen to me. 25 years ago when I worked on GA airplanes, man the stories I could tell. As a flight instructor for nearly 20 years, my mechanic experience was continually reinforced. If pilots start having to pay for services, its likely the vast majority will choose to not use them, and safety will be affected. Its not unlike the reluctance of pilots to declare an emergency… with the end result being a crash and potential loss of life, and thats over the paper work burden. Imagine if they had to spend $25 to do so…. Declaring early brings a wealth of resources, waiting until the end, it can be too late, and or the number of remaining options end up being severely limited.
Now, some might say, pilots need to take responsibility…. ie if you go cheap, and something happens, its your problem. The issue is, things dont operate in isolation and the public is affected. A runway closure due to a crash can put an airport out of service for hours, if not days of reduced capacity. A search and rescue effort costs tons more than a weather briefing. A midair is a lot more expensive than a years worth of flight following/radar services. to say nothing of loss of life.
The other issue is FAA services for the most part are a fixed cost. Ie, once weather services, air traffic control, and airports are in place… they are fixed costs pretty much with the exception of usage. The exception being peak hours at busy airports and terminal areas where additional technology and staffing are needed. Yet for the vast majority of airspace, and airports the costs are pretty much fixed. Since the largest user base contributing to the peak times are the airlines, it only makes sense they should cover a majority of the costs. Now, whether the 97% figure is the appropriate number, that’s another story entirely.
Granted… McCain states this would be for business aircraft only, but just as the NRA is against some seemingly reasonable restrictions as concerns gun control… its not the initial concept as presented, its the slippery slope which can lead to huge problems later on which is the issue. The last thing general aviation needs is a user fee taked onto small training aircraft, which likely would increase operational costs by 30-50%, to say nothing of the negative safety aspect. Sure, a lost flight student is going to use ATC services… but again, some ATC radio help is a ton cheaper, than the manpower, fuel, and aircraft needed in the event search and rescue is needed.
My counter to “Huckabee speaks in support of McCain, Palin”
Responses to Huckabee’s speech in support of McCain, Palin and some of the reasons I became a Democrat.
The fact is, my friends, most Americans don’t want more government. They want less government.
I think he is right on that… although I would add a qualifier, the govt they do have, they want to be effective, and said govt to promote somewhat of a level playing field and decency. Yet, the following has happened.
- Pensions were plundered, creditors were shafted, yet through KERPS and other bonus programs CEO’s recieved windfalls, and the average Joe worker lost his shirt.
- Baggage screeners were federalized, where as the FAA is pushing for greater privatization, resulting in aviation weather services now being run by Lockheed, and more and more air traffic control towers becoming private all the time. WHich is more critical for aviation safety… air traffic control, aviation weather, or bag screeners?
- Passport applications are now being processed by offshore firms.
- A successful self employed college student pays ~15% for FICA and medicare. A F100 CEO, typically under 1%.
- The tax avoidance strategies, where multinational corporations may pay 0%, as contrasted with totally US based successful corps paying 35%.
- Govt corp welfare, where the public takes on the risk, and private investors reap the reward. Bear-Stearns, Freddie Mac and Fannie May bailouts come to mind come to mind. GM may be next.
- Through lack of oversight, melamine spiked wheat gluten ends up in pet food, and many cats and dogs die.
- Mevacor, a prescription statin ends up in nutritional supplements in a higher dosage than what is available via prescriptions.
- Through international investment, more and more key infrastructure has moved, or is moving offshore. Do we really need out ports owned and controlled by Middle East firms?
Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich. I’m a Republican because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.
I’m a Democrat, as I dont want to spend the rest of my life having the govt stack the deck against me, and other fellow Americans who are trying to get a peice of the American Dream. We dont need rescuing, just look at Katrina, that doesnt work. What we dont need, is govt working against us.
John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach even deeper into your paycheck and pick your pocket, your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive, or tell you how much you have to inflate your tires.
This doesnt add up… only a few pockets, many of whom do not get a formal paycheck will be subject to greater tax. Ie, multinational corps using tax avoidance strategies, and those making more than $250,000 a year, and even for those folks, one can be sure there will be options to mitigate the effects of such a tax. The vast majority of people and corporations will get to keep more of their money. WIth McCain, much less so… only a few, namely the elite will benefit under McCains proposal.
Republican plans through loose regulation of the insurance industry, allows insurance buearocrats to stand between you and your doctor…. and in some cases, if you move, or change employers, you loose your doctor, unless of course you want to pay cash.
NCLB is a huge reach into schools operations… and promoting lower standard of learning is an unintended side effect. The Fed govt needs to step out of that domain, at least as concerns standardized testing driving funding. There are too many unintended consequences, not the least of which is encouraging teaching to the test, rather than higher levels of learning.
Govt can and should dictate CAFE standards… as obviously the manufacturers are incapable of doing so from a market driven perspective, even going so far as to a few years back requesting employees to write their legislatures to prevent increases in CAFE standard. Now, those manufacturers are in a world or hurt, many employees are loosing their jobs. It may be survival of the fittest… but there is an aspect of the public good and national infrastructure at stake. Do we really want to loose the big 3, as their investors pushed for quaterly returns now, and ignoring the worlds markets, to the exception of long term sustainable business practices.
Market driven tire pressures as evidence by the Ford Firestone disaster are not a good thing… There is very much a need for govt safety standards. To abrogate those would be disastrous. Just look at the case of the bus with retreads on the steering axle disaster from a couple months ago… Govt indeed has a place, but it needs to be funded at adequate levels… We dont need a DOT stating they dont need any more funding, only to have bridges collapse.
And I wish, ladies and gentlemen…I wish we would all remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have; it is about those who gave it to us.
Then how come the VA and veterans get shafted? McCain voted against funding, and programs for veterans numerous times… These folks in some cases paid the ultimate price. We must not be shafting them in their time of need. They fought for freedom, so why did we sell out freedom and the constitution for the benefit of the telephone companies? Yes, Democrats and Obama voted for that…. a sad day indeed. WHy did we exchange freedom for Calea (Joe Biden was behind that). All seem to be willing to sacrifice freedom for some feel good things in the interest of public safety. Even the Democratic party is not immune, but I think its far less intrusive than the Republicans.
Way cool on Tim Walz on voting against HR6304
I’m becoming more and more impressed with Congressman Tim Walz all the time. I really liked what he had to say about the FISA bill HR 6304.
â€œWhen Richard Nixon said that â€œwhen the President does it, that means itâ€™s not illegal,â€ many Americans were horrified that any President would consider himself above the law. This legislation is even worse, because it essentially says â€˜if the President tells you do so something, itâ€™s not illegal,â€™ even if it violates the plain letter of the law. The process set out in this bill to rubberstamp the actions of the Bush Administration is contradictory to the rule of law in this country.
Sadly though, I am way less than impressed with Barack Obama’s stance on the FISA bill. Granted, this is a tough one.. if he would have rallyed the troops in opposition, its likely McCain and crew would use such to indicate a soft spot on defense. Yet, because he chose to not do so, it really comes across he is soft on the constitution…. and that is very very discouraging. Sure, he will try to rally the senate to remove the immunity provisions, but likely that is just a token thing at this point…. he could have made a difference, yet no doubt except for political expediency and politics as usual, he did nothing.
Sure, Obama will come up and put up a fight against immunity, but short of a fillibuster, its unlikely to do a whole lot of good… the ship has sailed, and with it a part of our constitution. Otoh, it may well be he still has some cards to play, and that is my hope.
Yet, the same cards dealt to Barack also came to Tim Walz…. and he made a choice, the right choice, the one to uphold his oath of office, even though it likely will not be all that popular. Ie, many folks are not versed in constitutional matters… and some I perceive would rather sell out the constitution if it meant they would be safer, or at least have an illusion of safety.
This is perhaps best illustrated in an example Karoli presented about a fellow who exudes so much fear its scary in and of itself. Some comments from her blog.
The FISA and torture issues have been framed to prey upon peopleâ€™s fears, and itâ€™s worked fabulously. Until these issues can be reframed in a way that exposes and resolves those fears, pushing back isnâ€™t an option if one wants to have a political career that actually succeeds and gets them elected.
Opposing this â€˜compromiseâ€™ is too nuanced a position to take in a country where people decide who to vote for based upon whether theyâ€™d have a drink with them, or gender, or race, or whatever other superficial excuse is made for their surrender to the dark place where fears grow.
And that is what I think is cool about Congressman Walz…. he does not run, nor settle for political expediency, nor business as usual. Its a risk he is taking, yet it is also a risk he must take to uphold his office, irrespective of the consequences. Thats a whole lot of courage he has to take such a stand, and I applaud him for it. I also know, should this come back on him during election time, he won’t back down, and likely any mud thrown, is going to come back at the thrower in a huge way, if not from Tim, by a bunch of us supporters who will not stand for those who throw the constitution under the bus for expediencies sake.
For reference, we also have a few other Minnesota folks to be proud of.
Nay MN-1 Walz, Timothy [D]
Nay MN-4 McCollum, Betty [D]
Nay MN-5 Ellison, Keith [D]
Nay MN-8 Oberstar, James [D]
Hillary/Obama ticket not a good idea
Its a recent strategy of the Clinton campaign to suggest Barack as VP to garner votes, but not only are the framing of the issues so vastly different, the brands won’t mesh. In addition, the campaign infrastructures are totally incompatible. In one case we have top down command and control, and in another buttom up grass roots. If a strategic mixed branding plan were in case 2 years ago, perhaps it might have made sense with a ton of work behind the scenes… but today, the only thing they share is a base set of policy, and the rest is vastly incompatible, at least from an operational and electability pov.
Barack Obama’s campaign has a rather amazing consistency in branding, and its truly amazing, even so far as to include grassroots diy graphics. I’m not sure how it came to be, but certainly any marcom group would jump up and down to have this level of consistency across their corp, much less across a geographically and sociologically diverse group of volunteers. Certainly there is a high risk of mis-steps and mixed messages when you take command and control out of the equation, especially in the pr domain. Yet, when mistakes happen, folks take ownership very very fast, as evidenced by Samantha Power and Kirk Watson. Granted, I think Samantha’s resignation was overkill, yet in her choosing to do so, an even stronger message is sent concerning her commitment to the message.
Yet, I contrast the consistent message and branding of Barack’s grass roots campaign, with the mixed and variable messages sent by Hillary’s top down command and control. Within a weeks time frame, Hillary’s messages and the framing of such have swung back and forth and sideways. Barack’s campaign on the other hand canges very slowly and deliberately, in part probably due to real time feedback via the social network combined with the bottom up messages from the field. Its fascinating to watch how changes on the network affect the message presented. It is very subtle effect, but causality is definitely there.
I almost wonder if perhaps the Clinton campaign is measuring impulse response followed by Bayesian analysis…Â intentionally creating ripples for predictive modeling while cool from an academic pov, would seem to be too risky to use in a high stakes campaign. Yet, if such ripples are not intentional, the only other option suggests a scatter gun approach perhaps out of desparation, and I sort of doubt that as well. Either way, this campaign and its associated social dynamics would make for a fascinating paper.
Lastly, there is the I or We factor I previously blogged about… and to some extent, I think that sets the tone of the major incompatible differences between the campaigns. Branding, framing, consistency, command and control vs grass roots bottom up, all tie to the I or We factor. Short of one or the other party completely jettisoning their principles and operating practices, a mixed ticket is just not workable. I hope it never happens, as effectively it kills off the participation of the strongest activists on both sides. Ultimately, I go back to Seth’s analysis, that stepping aside may be the best course of action for Hillary as well as the party.
Sunk cost analysis / politics Hillary
Seth Godin brings up a good point about Hillary changing her brand to win the nomination, and the results of which almost guarantee failure in the general election. I think his analysis of sunk costs is on the money, although being an Obama supporter, I must admit I am pre-disposed to agree with him.
From Seth’s blog:
The new brand, the one that it would take to succeed at this stage, almost guarantees she doesn’t succeed at the next.
And the alternative?
The alternative is to quit. To become a statesman. A respected power broker.
The alternative is to be the trusted advisor, the person who gave up one dream to realize a bigger one, and to build a brand and a lifestyle with long-term leverage.
I think the issue is two fold,Â first is whether she can realize a bigger dream at this time. Certainly Al Gore has done so, and I think Bill Clinton up until some serious mis-steps this election was onto something even bigger than his presidency. Bill will recover, that I am sure of. Hillary on the other hand, has her sight on the presidency, to the exclusion of everything else in the short term.Â Secondly, the time clock is not on her side. She likely has this one and only opportunity for the presidency. Yet, that doesn’t preclude something bigger down the road.
Sadly, if the rate of earth scorching increases…. there likely will be a point, where there is no spring board left to launch of off in order to foster such a dream. Ie, to go after the big dream, one needs to have a group of people and a vision to rally around. When one goes into earth scorching mode, the vision easily gets obscured, and the rally group decreases in size. In other words, politics as usual, with limited participation… and whether thats enough to make a difference down the road will be something her campaign will need to seriously consider as to her strategy.
1,376,213 Calls and Counting; Let’s Hit 1.5 Million by Tomorrow
The call counter keeps going up and up, in fact so much so, the phone call server is having difficulty keeping up with the demand. Its pretty amazing… albeit a little frustrating at the same time, especially if one scheduled a time slot to do phone banking. Thus, Julie at Barack’s Inspired Phone Bank Army came up with a great idea when the server gets overloaded, (or the time slot for calls expires) Go blog commenting!
Its actually a bit more than that, its targeted blogging in the states of interest. Newspapers and media outlets often times have blogs, and there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there. Thus, for the times we can’t get on the phone, we can put effort into getting the right information into voters hands. The issues pages are a huge resource in this regard.
Another opppurtunity includes targeting the blogs located in states of interest. The goal is to provide correct information, or help someone who is undecided or cynical to vote for Barack. Arguing with diehard Clinton supporters is likely not the best use of the little time we have left to work with.
We have only about 23 hours left, the phones are our best strategy, short of being on the ground, but prudent blog commenting can also help when the phone server is overloaded. If you do however go down the path of blog commenting, make an entry, and then retry the phone call server, it does come back now and then, and folks are getting through, albeit intermittently.
Winona County DFL Banquet
I met a number of folks, a surprising number from adjoining states of MN and IA. Its good to get out in 3D and have some face time, as contrasted with the 15 or so hours online I spend every week volunteering with Obama’s campaign. I almost wish, I would have spent more 3d time pre-caucus, but that is water over the dam at this point.
One fellow I ran into was Victor Vieth of the National Child Protection training center. They are rolling out some new programs in the near future, and their work looks to be pretty amazing and they most definitely fill a critical need. It was also cool to learn of Mike Ceresi’s involvement in getting them funded.
I also talked engineering with a couple guys, and met a number of interesting folks from a variety of walks of life. Everything from biodiesel conversions to pathology to folks involved in foster care. A most diverse crowd indeed.
Jack Nelson-Palmeyer was one of the first speakers… there were others, but alas, my palm battery died, and I’d rather not get a name wrong, so I’ll have to forego that for now.
Jack presents a most inspiring vision, its easy to get behind him… od course being I signed up to volunteer with his campaign some weeks back I was already behind him. He has the greatest vision of any of the candidates, both by paper research, and by hearing what he has to say. To some extent, he carries a tone reminiscent of Paul Wellstone yet with a mix of Russ Feingold. Granted, as a prior republican I didn’t agree with their views, but was impressed with the stances they took nontheless. I really think Jack would be a top notch senator for us.
Next up was Al Franken’s wife… and its hard to say a whole lot one way or another since he wasn’t there himself. She did put on a nice speech though. I have a feeling based upon paper research that Al would serve the party very well, although he doesn’t have the vision of Jack, nor the get it done approach of Mike Ceresi. Were it not for his name and success, he likely would mostly be a go with the party type of guy. However, with his name, he can rally folks, and he is a smart man. Assuming he surrounds himself with great advisors, I think he will do well.
Mike Ceresi comes across as a go to get things done sort of guy, and can capture a big picture fast, and capture secondary and tertiary consequences of a multitude of issues. I met Mike back in 93 or so, when a friend was of council with Robins Kaplan. Mike’s speech was pretty powerful, and he presented a big picture view, and specifically used the word sacrifice, a rarity for a politician… Apart from my personal knowledge, as well as my paper research, his position of being willing to say what folks need to hear, rather than what they just want to hear goes a long way. I have no doubt he will get things done, and do exceedingly well. Its too bad we can’t have both him and Jack as senators, that would be a dream team combination.
And then on to Ellen Anderson’s keynote speech, where she relayed the long term history of the energy bill, and how Gov Pawlenty jumped on the bandwagon. It was a fascinating history for sure, including how they stopped some rather off the wall definitions as concerns renewable energy sources. She also discussed the use of non-corn based ethanol, which imho is the way of the future. She also talked about how rapidly things are moving forward in this session, and a little bit on healthcare. Again, I wish I had my palm, as I am really lost without it.. thus this summary is a lot more vague than I’d really like it to be.
I left around 8:45PM as I expected the weather to take a dive. It was a good call, the weather gradually deteriorated over the 30 minute drive home. Starting at 35 deg F in Winona, and ending up at 30 deg F with ice pellets in St Charles. I’m sure it was no fun for those who had a long drive this evening.. the weather went south really fast.
I think the organizers did a wonderful job of putting this together, and I really appreciate the Winona County DFL chair Ann Morse responding to my last minute email and getting me in. It was well worth it.
* I think they said 170, but my hearing is not so great.Â
Comparing Hillary and Barack, public legislative record
This is one of the best, least biased reviews of legislative records I’ve read. Significant insight can be gained by the legislative records in and of themselves, much more so, than debates, sound bites, or tv ads. It really shoots holes in the argument that Barack doesn’t have much substance.
However, looking at successful bill passage, as well as co-sponsorship of bills likely doesn’t show the whole story. Certainly, Hillary’s supporters are very vocal of her accomplishments, albeit the public records don’t seem to correlate very well with that pov.
Yet, what if successful legislation is not the desired outcome? Perhaps Hillary’s success potentially lies more along the lines of stopping legislation rather than moving forward. Doing so could be viewed as a successful approach, albeit not the way we normally think of success. Ie, how many roadblocks did she put up, how many really bad bills were killed off or put on hold due to her efforts. Granted, I am an Obama supporter, and in no way am trying to defend her, but there has to be a reason for the level of support she has. Perhaps a negative approach is the key. Of course, trying to ferret out that information makes navigating the Library of Congress legislative info website seem simple. Its a huge unknown, at least to me, as to why her supporters are so positive, when the published track record doesn’t back up such an assertion.
Ultimately though, roadblocks to progress, while a laudable approach, and one I shared years back, no doubt has contributed to much of the mess we find ourselves in today. Ie, in the past, I always liked to see a mixed legislative and executive branch, as such a combination likely decreases the potential for radical legislation on either side. Yet, the lack of forward action, combined with poor decisions and judgment, has resulted in absolute disaster, both in foreign and domestic policy arenas.