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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


suggestions to remedy mediocrity

in many wants, PAC's / corporate lobbyists / special interests represent the gravest threat to a democracy of/by/for the people. because the ones with the most money win in washington, these groups have the potential to affect change that benefits the heads of large, rich organizations and is generally bad for everyone else.

our foreign policy, energy policy, environmental policy, health care system, intellectual property laws, educational funding, communication regulations, these have all been heavily affected by special interests. and because you need lots of money to get elected in this country, you (almost always) end up in the pockets of one of those special interests because they have a lot of it. this isn't a drastic oversimplification. this is the reality of the american political process.

it seems that politicians by and large have little choice but to ride the current in this particular river; mainly because doing otherwise means they won't have the financial advantage of their opponents, and they will lose. "to affect any positive change," they rationalize to themselves, "we have to play along, because you can't make laws if they elect the other guy." and once in office, the interests of the financial support outweigh the interests of the citizens they represent.

this isn't news. obviously everyone reading this is aware of the situation; sadly we spent the 20th century learning to accepting this system as inevitable, and ourselves as powerless to change it. but eliminating the special interests' control of our elected officials really could be the silver bullet. what if more decisions were made to solve the problems of the average, working-class american, than solely to grow the stock price of the fortune 500?

this is chiefly why i am voting for barack obama in the ohio primaries on march 4... set aside the fact that he shares my views on education, health care, technology, social welfare, faith, and the environment - obama has become the democratic frontrunner and he's done it without support of the special interests.

now i'm not naive enough to think that there aren't leaders of those large organizations writing checks to his campaign; or that one man can fix the system. but he's the first one to set the special interests' control center stage, pointing out the elephant in the room while he's campaigning. he is talking about how to fix it, and that's far better than any other candidate on the ballot has done in a long time. if even that one variable about american politics changes, the possibilities for other dramatic progress grow like crazy.

and for once i don't believe it's a campaign scheme to buy the votes of the middle class... he's been talking about it since before he started running for president. the guy has captivated me with his class and his honest, total anti-sleaze attitude since he got elected to the senate. when the buzz started in 2006, i wondered if he might actually be the guy that could change things. when i read his book around this time last year it pretty much removed all doubt. and his voting record seems to match his rhetoric.

i don't expect magic - the president alone can't fix all that much - but i think obama has the capacity to at least change our direction, rally support from both parties, and make better decisions that recent administrations. who knows? we might make it out of this decade intact after all.


for this post

Blogger Simon Says:

I still don't know enough about Barak to have an opinion one way or the other about him. Where does he stand on abortion? I can't seem to find his stance on this issue. I looked at his voting record, and he did not vote on any of the issues pertaining to abortion, which does concern me a bit. With him claiming to be a 'Christian' and a man of 'faith' and all. Not that this is the only issue that I care about, but I think it says a lot about a person...

Blogger Nickolini Says:

As one of the most liberal senators he is definitely pro-choice. He supports Medicaid-funded abortions and if I'm not mistaken, he supports partial birth abortion. I think another issue that both sides have with Obama, is that he has not voted on a number of key issues in the Senate...refer back to the voting record. Yesterday he did not vote on the waterboarding ban...now I'm not trying to argue on this issue one way or another...but he won't even take a stand on it one way or another. I would imagine this is so he does not alienate any voters. But if he won't stand up for his principles now, what are we going to see in the White House? Don't get me wrong, I'm not just criticizing Obama. I don't like McCain and I think Hillary is probably the worst option for our country. But, I keep hearing about Obama's plan for change...but it doesn't seem to have any substance.

Blogger Simon Says:

I'll hold my tongue (there's that word again!) until Justin has time to defend his boy...

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

on the abortion thing, i'm not thrilled about it either, but i'm not a one-issue kind of dude. and i don't know if he thinks the government (or the executive branch, at least) should be making the decision for the whole country on it. so far it's been the realm of the courts...

i do wish he would vote on every issue raised in congress - and i was disappointed he didn't vote on the FISA law yesterday; that said, i certainly don't think not voting means not caring about an issue or not believing strongly about it one way or the other. saying he won't stand up for his principles because he missed a few votes is a little far-reaching.

i think one of the things i like about dude is that he's a kind of non-traditional politican. he's certainly more of a departure from the broken system than any of the other options, and that alone is almost enough to get my vote...

Blogger Nickolini Says:

so you're saying you are one of these people.

Blogger Simon Says:

Ok, here's my beef with the abortion thing. I find it hard to believe him when he says I a Christian, and I follow God, and all this stuff about his faith, and then he's pro-choice. I stand pretty firm on the subject of abortion. I don't think a person can be both a follower of Christ and be pro-choice. It just can't happen. I was really starting to like the guy a little bit too. Why did he have to come out and say he's a Christian, and supports abortion?

I don't care if the president heads up fighting abortion or not, but when issues come across his desk with abortion as the topic, I would want someone in there that would shoot down anything that would allow any type of abortion.

Blogger ryanham Says:

Sounds like Rome and not Jim Rome.

Blogger Bragg Says:

If I'm not mistaken, conservatives hate McCain because he is willing to work with Dems on issues. Obama is willing to work with Reps to make change a reality, but you don't hear a lot of rhetoric about how that has terrible repercussions from him.

Personally, I could care less about abortion. I've never been faced with that kind of decision and it's funny how men seem to be the biggest opponent.

I've made the decision, should I be faced with making it one day, to not abort a child, but that doesn't mean I know the circumstances behind believing it's the best option for the mother.

Here's the thing I hate about the conservative right on abortion. It seems birth starts at conception and death at birth. The life cycle of a child is much longer than nine months.

Republicans are not in favor of teaching safe sex, and abstinence education clearly does not work with the expectations it is supposed to have. Conservatives are cutting the spending to help those mothers once the child is born, making a much less successful possibility in life, health, and education for both parties.

So now you are left to ponder why it really matters that this one issue is the reason you're not going to put someone into office. Abortions are going to take place. They can be done safely in operating rooms, or in back alley, Mexican shacks.

But if you really want to convince me that it's really that big of a deal for you, then go adopt a child. Go volunteer at a family planning clinic.

Either way, we're all smart enough to know the reality of the situation. Change has occurred and from now on the conservative right is going to have to deal with the fact that it is not 1934, and, for better or worse, pandora's box has been opened on a lot of issues that are going to be staples in both party's campaigns.

Blogger ryanham Says:

Why can't a Christian be pro-choice?

I'm not saying I am pro-choice, but I'm wondering why there's a hard line in the sand about it.

Blogger Bragg Says:

I was writing my post and missed the last 4 comments until now.

Clearly I am a Christian and I don't have the damned smallest clue on what the right thing to do is regarding abortion. So in the mean time I am saying that pro-choice is my stance.

And here's why I can say this. I believe if I am truly following God, then those who chose to abort are living in the same f***ed up world I live in. There is no sliding rule on sin.

As a Christian, I am called to love that person even more. I am called to not alienate her, as seems the choice by most conservatives.

Blogger Bragg Says:

And if a woman who has had an abortion were to be reading this, what would her response be to the men who are alienating her?

You don't know her choices or her life. you don't know what she has had to deal with before making that choice and after making that choice.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

simon - there's more ways to kill than abortion. if the tradeoff is a leader who'll fight abortion but be cool with torturing, imprisoning and murdering foreigners... or one that'll give corporations free reign to kill by pollution and toxic waste... or one that'll widen the economic gap, create more poor and homeless and let them die on the streets... or one that'll create more gangs by ignoring underfunded urban schools, and create an OTR or an Avondale in every town in America, where kids are murdered by their peers... my fear is that Christians have too narrow a view of what constitutes injustice in our society.

nick - not quite sure i'm tattooing his name on my forehead or naming my kids after him, but yeah, i'm optimistic that we could have a leader that could call the country to be positive about government instead of assuming it's all evil and out to destroy us. i don't think that makes his campaign a messianic cult; his message of hope is wayne dyer nonsense as far as i'm concerned, but the specific changes he is talking about sound way more appealing than the typical washington song & dance bull that i hear from any other campaign.

anyway. i fully agree with those that criticize obama's lack of experience in governmental office; personally i am thrilled to see what someone who hasn't been ruined by decades of complacency and special interest payola can do in the oval office.

Blogger Bragg Says:

Justin, you always do a much better job at communicating the bigger picture I wish to portray. I'm sure this is the reason I sound like an ass-even to myself-when debating anything in the blogosphere.

Blogger Nickolini Says:

He has the Oprah cult behind him. Anyway, I agree with you Justin, there are many other forms of murder...but I wouldn't compare aborting an innocent child with dunking a terrorist under water. And I'm really not convinced that none of the millions of dollars he has thrown into this campaign have not come from special interest groups. I'll equally attack all three front runners....they are politicians...and to get elected, politicians need support of interest groups. In Obama's case, I would call the liberal media an interest group. Maybe they are not giving him money, but they are financially supporting him by giving him positive press, while bashing his current political threat, Hillary Clinton. They have been very kind to him, and very critical of her. You can't buy that kind of press. It's a back door way around being accused of being controlled by special interest groups.
As for the abortion issue, I think it is a much too sensative topic to debate on a blog, so I'm bowing out...despite my strong opinions.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

personally i think the fact that Oprah supports Obama is a reason not to vote for the dude :)

so wait, the newsmedia labeling him as the next David Koresh are his strong special interest support? i'll take that over the Halliburtons, RIAA's and Phillip Morris' of the world dumping gold into the coffers in exchange for legislative happy endings.

you are wise to curtail the abortion thing - i agree, let's kill that whole thing right here and now. as for "is he Christian enough", the only Christian president that could really do it right would be Jesus. since we aren't getting that, i'm signing up for the guy that i think values all life the most...

although if Ted Nugent ran for president you bet your face he'd have my vote.

Blogger Simon Says:

I'm going to answer a few of your concerns on abortion. To touch on when Steve said "I've made the decision, should I be faced with making it one day, to not abort a child, but that doesn't mean I know the circumstances behind believing it's the best option for the mother." When you look at it that way, it's true, but then your not asking about that child that is to be killed. What about that child's chance to live? God formed that child and we have no more right to take that than I do of coming over there and axing you.
I'm not saying anything about anyone who has ever had an abortion. My sister has, and although it tears me up that she made that choice, I still love her. So even though I speak boldly and stand firm that I am anti-abortion, I'm not anti-aborter. Like I said in my first comment, "Not that this is the only issue that I care about, but I think it says a lot about a person" I am concerned for many issues. However I do have a problem with someone who claims to be a follower of God and is ok with abortion. As far as I am concerned God creates life, and He is the only one allowed to take it away! This I won't drift on. Ryan, I hope this clears up your question.
Justin, as for your comment about a leader who fights abortion, but is cool with torturing and killing others, I guess you've just got to choose the lesser of two evils there. But is that person claiming to be a follower of God? I am assuming you're talking about Bush here, and if so, yes, he's claimed to be a follower of God and I have a problem with that!
Again, I'm not saying that this is the only issue that is important to me. I am saying I have a problem with someone who claims to be a Christian and is OK with it. So that brings me to Steve. I love you brother, and I don't want to get into this whole debate over the blog-lines on this, but I would encourage you to think about how you feel about this. Like I said, God is the one who gives life, and should be the only one that can take it. It's not our choice. But you know if they choose to, they can be forgiven by God, and He still loves them, and so do I.
What I can't figure out is this...
The story that's been in the news recently about the mother in Dayton who killed her 2 week old baby in the microwave. Why is this murder, but if she would have taken this child's life a few weeks earlier, it would be ok?

Blogger Simon Says:

Also, clearly I know that just by making abortion illegal will not stop it. It will certainly help! If a woman really wants to do it, she'll find a way. But the fact that we support MURDER (let's just call it what it is), bothers me.

Blogger Bragg Says:

It would appear, then, that I'm not a follower of Christ.

I guess I'll let Him deal with that.

But if you're willing to let the line slide on the torturing and killing of people, then why would you not let that same line slide on other issues?

This is the problem I have with conservatives. They compromise their own stance for the sake of one issue. They operate too much in the gray area of every person's liberty and concretely state that their way is the only way. Which is absolutely not tolerated when a Democrat says something about pro-choice, making it easier for aliens to gain citizenship, and being environmentally aware.

I am liberal. And I am a Christian. I guess I really have to let Him sort that stuff out for me. But if I've lost your respect because I am pro-choice, then really, I feel I haven't lost anything.

Blogger Bragg Says:

As for your last big comment, this is a f***ed up world. I don't have answers for that.

And obviously there has to be limits placed on the issue at hand.

Because now we can argue the benefits of the morning after pill for rape victims. Choice between life and death of the mother or child during childbirth, a child brought to term with terminal genetic defect which will bring undue risk to the mother, etc.

Again, there sliding scale conservatives use to justify one stance has completely different implications when the circumstances change.

Blogger Simon Says:

I'm not sure if you're talking to me here. I don't know why you keep referring to "conservatives", I don't know what I've done to earn this label, and frankly, if you've ever listened to me on the blogs, the only label I want is "Follower of Christ" But I'll assume you're talking to me. When did I say that I was willing to slide on the torturing and killing of people? I said I have a problem with that. All killing to me is the same. I don't think you can call yourself a Christian and be ok will these other killings either.
I'm not compromising my stance on anything for one issue. I said for the general public they would have to choose between the lesser of two evils. For myself, I would just choose to not vote for anyone as I have done plenty of times, and then just have to live with what everyone else picks...

And no Steve, you haven't lost my respect because you are pro-choice. I still love you.

Blogger Bragg Says:

"For myself, I would just choose to not vote for anyone as I have done plenty of times, and then just have to live with what everyone else picks..."

Simon, if you're not voting, then you really don't have the right to bitch about any issue.

That might make me the biggest dick in this whole thread, and from here on out, but considering we live in a country that allows your vote to count (in most instances) then you have a voice.

But to not vote and then bitch about the way things are is akin to stealing a television and complaining to the store you stole it from when the blue color goes out on the screen.

Blogger Simon Says:

That's a little far fetched there Steve.

But the fact that I choose not to vote should make no difference.
That can be said for the same people that voted for Bush and are now bitching about him! They are the ones that put him in in the first place. So who has more of a right to bitch about him?

What would have happened if it came down to Romney or Hilary? I couldn't bring myself to vote for either one of those 2, so I would just choose not to vote. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Or you could choose the lesser of two evils. But then you're just screwing yourself.

Just because I choose not to vote for a person doesn't mean I don't vote for other things that matter! Like issues and such...

Blogger Bragg Says:

Simon, there's a write in spot on the ballot. If you voted, you'd know that you can choose to vote for Bruce Wayne, as a write in, if you chose to do so.

Blogger Bragg Says:

And yes, those people who voted him into office have the right to bitch because he's not living up to the standards he campaigned to uphold while in office.

Blogger Simon Says:

Yes, I know that. I voted for Brian Callahan a few years ago! But wouldn't that be just the same as not voting? Cause honestly, is Brain Callahan really going to get enough votes to make a difference?

Blogger Bragg Says:

The same could be said for Ron Paul. Dude doesn't have a chance to win anything, but your vote for him means you're not voting for any of the other Three.

Which ever gets elected will know they won because that individual, strict Constitutionalist in my example, took votes from the other.

The newly elect can choose then to decide if there is something to what the swing candidate did to help then win.

Current administration aside, which has made the constitution worth as much as a football bat, is so alienating that all the republican candidates are getting as far away from the policies and decisions as they can.

As for what you claim about your label, I have to question whether your stance is closely tied to that of the conservative party or of this Jesus you follow. Because I'm trying to find in my Bible where Jesus took sides with a political party. Which side of the issues did Jesus endorse? Maybe my Liberal Bible Version doesn't have the same texts highlighted in Red that yours does?

Blogger Simon Says:

I'm not sure what party I'm taking the side of? So if the conservative party have the same views as I do on murder (abortion), I am automatically labeled one of them?

No, I don't think Jesus ever took sides with a political party. I've had this discussion on WackMCs before. So we are on the same page there.

Here's what Jesus did say: "You shall not murder." Exodus 20:13

Blogger Simon Says:

Justin, sorry we're turning your post about Obama into this mess...

Blogger Bragg Says:

So then, in a far fetched circumstance, if your daughter/wife/random woman on the street were raped and conception takes place, she should carry the child to term?

If you have to make the decision one day to save your wife or your child?

By the way, does an embryo six weeks after conception have the ability to sustain its own life? If it's not alive, how is it murder?

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

i am dropping the elbow on the abortion conversation here. could you all take this to email or something if you want to keep it going? much appreciated.

Blogger Simon Says:

Crap, I forgot how to type!

Sorry that should have said:

That's not my choice to make. God has a reason for what has taken place. And it's not my choice to make to take that life.

And your question is not for me to answer either. Are you preventing that life from happening if you stop it?

Blogger Simon Says:

works for me J-dub. Steve if you would like to further discuss this...simonisrad@gmail.com

Blogger B-Call Says:

wait, am i late for something?

Blogger Darren Says:

Wow I missed a ton of crazy stuff. I'm glad I missed it though. Abortion is a crazy topic. Emily is adopted so you can probably figure out where I stand on this topic.

Blogger Simon Says:

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Artie Says:

I know JW asked us to cut it out, but I'll just say this in support of Obama. I think abortion is a horrible thing and I wish it didn't exist. HOWEVER, how much can a president do about it? Maybe I'm being too pragmatic, but Bush has had 8 years. For 6 of those years he had a conservative Congress. He's appointed 2 conservatives to the Supreme Court. How much has been accomplished for the conservative agenda regarding abortion? Not much as far as I can tell. So, if the most conservative president we've had in a long time with a conservative legislature and a conservative judiciary can do jack squat, why should we even be talking about this?

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

btw if anyone's interested and planning to vote Dem already, dailykos has a great summary of clinton's legislative records (bills introduced and passed in the senate) vs. obama's, it's here.


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