Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Campaign's Next Move?

I read an interesting post by a colleague of mine. I appreciate it when another citizen lays out what they think with reasons that are not purely emotional. I have no use for purely emotional diatribes that dilute a real, useful discussion. His is not one of them. His post does make me think of the differences between the campaigns and how the electorate views them.

Before I get into it, I think it is useful to read my general viewpoint. Not surprisingly, I take issue with some of the facts in my colleagues post. It is common in today's political discourse, but many times it is because the candidates are not consistent in their position messages. This appears intentional because of our electorate's behavior. Well, let's take them one at a time.

Barack Obama, a young centrist Democrat...

Various speeches, legislation, rating sites, and books by Obama's own hand place him on the left (or far left) in terms of the spectrum of the country. If Obama were a centrist, the following would not be true.

  • The far-left and the left have been swooning over him.
  • DNC and Obama's fundraising have hit record levels which generally comes mostly from the left and far-left.

Now if my colleague is far left of Obama, then I would accept his characterization of Obama as "centrist" relative to himself, but not the country. I would agree that his message has been centrist of late, but I would have to ignore the last 10 years of his discourses in favor of the last few weeks. Sorry, but that would be stupid.

John McCain, a fairly non-ideological 72-year-old Republican who has decided to give up on his centrist inclinations and run far to the right.

Various speeches, legislation, rating sites, and books authored by McCain's place him on the center-right in terms of the spectrum of the country. If McCain were running to the right, the following would not be true.

  • The right, much less the far-right, has not embraced him.
  • RNC and McCain fundraising has been down considerably which usually comes mostly from the right and far-right.
  • McCain selected a right (or far-right) running mate to shore up party support and excite the Republican base.

Now if my colleague is far enough left of Obama to characterize him as a "centrist", then I would accept his characterization of McCain as "far right" relative to himself, but not the country.

Palin is wildly inexperienced ...

I was completely surprised that the politically savvy Democratic Party stepped into that one. Anyone with more than half a lobe would recognize that you'd be digging two graves if that argument gained traction -- the second one being for Obama.

Never-the-less, if the criteria is presidential experience, the only ones that have that are either dead or ineligible. If the criteria is executive experience then compare

  • 2 or more years city council, 6 years mayoral and 21 months governor experience


  • 8 years of state senatorial and 3 years federal senatorial experience, which most of the latter has been spent on the campaign trail.

His board experience would qualify, but 1 day every quarter for 2 years wouldn't fill a thimble.

... (and so is being kept from the press) ...

Tell Charles Gibson on 20/20 who interviewed her less than a week after the RNC Convention and aired on 9/12 that he is not part of the press.

... and most of her claims to be anti-corruption are complete lies.
The political record (through elections and resignations) and criminal record (through guilty pleas) says differently.
McCain's plans have been the most nutzoid right-wing proposals: end employer-paid health care, ...
Well, I am more knowledgeable on the health care issue than most voters, but still that statement in inaccurate at best and misleading at worst. I will address this in another post.

... permanent bases in Iraq, ...
I cannot get a solid news source to confirm this assertion. So this is either an extrapolation from a McCain statement clearly taken out of context about "100-years in Iraq" which has already been thoroughly debunked by factcheck.org at least; or a guilt by association about a story regarding the Bush administration that has been repeatedly denied and subsequently unsubstantiated.
... tax cuts for the rich, ...
If you mean not allowing the current tax cuts to expire, granted.
... and head-in-the-sand about energy.
The statement is too general to confirm or deny.

Well, until we can get the facts straight, any policy discussion cannot be tied back to the candidates available to us. As asserted in a previous post, the campaigns and media make it harder, not easier, to get the straight facts. Until then, I am limited to discussions of prioritized principles that would guide policies that I would support in a candidate.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Political Discourse

I really enjoy talking with another informed citizen who has a contrary opinion. My friend at American Express, John, is one such person. He and I could agree on the facts most of the time, so we actually spent more time on the policies, which we sometimes disagreed, but we respected each other because we understood about what the other was concerned.

Typically, our policy disagreements were more due to the prioritization of our concerns than completely different concerns. For example, we were each concerned about these same two principles, but had more concern for one than another. For the purposes of this example, "private" is characterized by corporations and the rich who derive inordinate power from the money they control; "government" is characterized by the various levels of government who derive inordinate power from laws and taxes.

My emphasis:

  1. Protect private opportunity for personal and economic growth from governmental interference.
  2. Protect private opportunity for personal and economic growth from private interference.

John's emphasis:

  1. Protect private opportunity for personal and economic growth from private interference.
  2. Protect private opportunity for personal and economic growth from governmental interference.

What can we learn from this about myself and John? We both see government and private interests as potential threats to our personal prosperity. However, I view government as more of a threat in terms of consequence and/or probability, and he sees private interests as more of a threat in the same terms. I think this a good example that describes some of the differences between the sides of our political discourse.

IcQ Question:

  1. Why would someone be more concerned with government interference than private interference? And vice-versa?
  2. Are our political differences truly that different in this country?


Our Electorate

From what I hear about our electorate, I am unlike most of the electorate. I watch politics outside of the election cycle from multiple sources. I do this not because I am a junkie. Rather, I do this because I want to be informed about those who have potential power over my life and the lives of my family. It does not make me an expert, but I hope it makes me more credible than most.

The candidates are not consistent in their position messages. This appears intentional because of our electorate's behavior (not comprehensive):

  1. Most of the electorate does not pay attention to politics until 60-90 days before the election, which itself may be driven more by increased coverage than actual interest. These voters are at an informational disadvantage and are consequently more susceptible to manipulation, particularly by the media on which campaigns rely. I have seen this way too much and it saddens me because we the people are hurt. Imagine a business where 80% of the officers only pay attention to what the employees are doing 4-6 weeks out of the year. That is our country.

  2. Most of the electorate are loyal to a party brand, half of which are because of party identity instead of actual policies. They will support that party even if the policy proposals are contrary to their personal values.

  3. Some voters use selective listening. They latch onto what they want to hear over everything that is being said. Because of this tendency, scatter-shot policy positions (flip-flops) can work to some degree.

  4. The electorate is limited to a two party system -- either-or. I will expand on this in another post.

Our electorate has changed a lot over our countries history. Much of it for the better; some of it not so much.

IcQ Questions:

  1. What are some other characteristics of our electorate?
  2. If these are the characterics of our electorate, does it make sense that campaigns do what they do? What are the consequences, potential or actual, to the quality of government we will have?
  3. How can we as an electorate mitigate the adverse consequences?

I'd like to hear your ideas.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bungee Labs Adjusts Direction

First, these are my thoughts and understanding of what transpired and are not necessarily the position of Bungee Labs. This post is meant to personally address the announcement and related blogs and comments found in the cloud.

As one of the employees affected by the downsize, I am surprised by the vitriol and nay-saying going on here, including the original post though relatively more tactful. Bungee Labs occupies a frontier space where projections are less reliable but potentially more rewarding.

Most of us who were affected were allocated or brought into the company to promote and prepare for the viral increase in business that the business thought possible. The adoption rate was and is encouraging but the trend was shallower than what was expected that justified the need for our contributions.

Those contributions were not for naught, however. Rather, they were paused to allow demand to reach the capacity of what was built. Therefore, the need shifted from increasing capacity and support to increasing adoption and demand. The company is not stupid -- it is adjusting.

On a more general note, I have been a developer on open and proprietary technologies for a very long time. I believe in the Bungee Connect platform far more than any other, whether established or promised. So much so, I am exclusively developing my applications that I am personally creating on Bungee Connect. The technology is so compelling and ahead of the competition that I think it is more likely they will get acquired than they will go under. Therefore, the "risk" is much less than what I have seen expressed here or anywhere else.

I encourage everyone to remember when PCs were emerging as the new platform of the future. Industry insiders scoffed at Apple and Microsoft competing against such behemoths as IBM, DEC, the Bell companies and other blue chips who sought to dominate the PC market as they did the mainframe market. We know how that turned out.

Well, we are on the brink of another paradigm shift adoption that dwarfs the aforementioned one in terms of empowering industrious and ingenious individuals in scope and potential. Any company worth their salt will see the opportunity and attempt to compete in this space. I would not discount Bungee Labs. They are in an enviable position. Where their competition must allocate resources to their core market to stay competitive, like IBM and the Bells had to, they can be focused and agile. Additionally, they are already in a lead position.

Finally, of those companies in or emerging into the Platform-as-a-service market, I see Bungee Labs identifying with us, the upstarts, far more than the other "players." Will Microsoft? Google? Amazon? I can identify with Bungee Labs more, too. They are where I hope to be soon -- a leading business changing the world. How about you?

DISCLAIMER: As of this writing, I have no guaranteed stock interest, but is possible.

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