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November 10, 2008

PART ONE - THE DANCING ELITES

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YouTube Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYrt_8XhC64

HTM Version: http://jaygaskill.com/DanceDialogueSleepingGiant.htm

PART ONE
THE DANCING ELITES
Imagine that we are pulling away the curtain to see politics as it really is. But first, we should understand more clearly why this is important. 
WE ARE SMOTHERING IN OUR BUBBLES
Most of us now live in protected, self selected bubbles defined by a robust political and social mono-culture that excludes and derides all those other people, you know who – the ones with the wrong ideas, who are “less evolved” or “more decadent” – fill in the blanks, it depends on whose bubble we’re talking about.
This state of affairs is a result of our mobility and the natural desire to live near and work with people who think like we do. We’ve created bubble neighborhoods, bubble towns, bubble workplaces and a bubble fragmented country.
Within our respective bubbles, there are approved attitudes, political stances and information sources.  Some things that don’t fit your local bubble ethos are just not said out loud, until you are sure – very sure - of your audience. After all, you don’t want to offend, or worse, be ridiculed, or even … excommunicated.
Our bubbles are comfortable intellectual prisons.  We learn, grow, avoid mistakes, acquire knowledge and wisdom though a self-correction process powered by dialogue.  But real dialogue requires attentive, sincere listening. That just doesn’t happen very often within a bubble. [This point was brilliantly illustrated by the San Francisco based philosopher Jacob Needleman in his 2007 book, “Why Can’t We Be Good”.]
The Obama ascendancy may turn out to be a very good thing.  I am cautiously hopeful at this very early stage of the formation process of the new administration.  But the bubble isolation we Americans tend to live in does not inspire confidence because there is a pending, hyper-partisan issue – let’s call it the “bad bubble attack initiative of 2009”. 
Some on the left – and they now have the votes – want to help destroy the information feed that influences the “wrong” bubble.  The so called “fairness doctrine” is censorship by stealth.  If it is selectively imposed on the radio band by the federal government, stations will revert to the days when nobody listened to anything but music and a five minute newscast on the hour. 
Robust opinion will be effectively silenced by a smother pillow called “opinion diversity”. In practice, this can only be accomplished by a form of content censorship.  This measure, supported by New York’s senator Chuck Schumer, is as malevolently clever and deadly as arsenic in Halloween candy.  In the context of the obvious and embarrassing one sided political bias of the broadcast networks and major print information pipelines, the so called “mainstream media”, the partisan purpose of “fairness” move is blatantly apparent.
I can only hope that President Obama is a principled liberal whose allegiance to the First Amendment ethos and whose commitment to dialogue will give him the foresight and backbone to throttle the censorship-through-fairness initiative in the very cradle.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
When you peel away the veil of hype, spin, celebrity infatuation and ideological meanness, behind the political struggles of the moment you will find a dance.
To see it is a marvel. 
But to witness any unseen thing in our lives, we need to notice the universal ebb and flow that is operating in the moment. In politics, the pendulum metaphor is too mechanical. We need to feel the rhythm, the rhythm of a dance.  And we need to see the outlines the larger drama, the nine thousand year arc of the developing human condition. The dance of human politics is both beautiful and dangerous -the former because it can lead us up, the latter because it can also take us down into the abyss.
Politics is the dance of four minds. It’s all about power and boundaries.
For liberal minds, boundaries are obstacles to be eliminated.
For conservative minds, boundaries are bulwarks to be defended.
For centrist minds, ideological boundaries are threats to a delicate balance.
This is why reasonable minds, the rarest of all, are inherently wary of ideological extremes.
I personally believe that extreme ideologies are like mind-worms that feed on the vulnerable. All ideologically driven minds, especially those fevered minds infected by the ideologies of the last century, are dancing on a precipice.  They always fall.
A SLEEPING GIANT
Each of the archetypal mindsets is “onto something” -- each is a gift to us of one essential part of the Truth. No culture can afford to ignore or marginalize a single one of these gifts, except at great peril. Here’s the deal: a society without liberal minds, without conservative minds and without centrist minds – all of whom are in mutual dialogue – is soon gripped in a downward slide; the slope is steep and the momentum of the fall is constantly accelerating…
“Not my problem”, you say? No part of a human society falls over the precipice without taking others down with it. I believe that times of imbalance – like our present situation - are dangerous because the rules of the dance are unforgiving: We are permitted to briefly lose our balance, but we must quickly regain our footing or we will fall.  The precipice is always near It’s a long way down.
In this circumstance, dialogue is not a convenience – it is our lifeline.
Now, there is a dark secret about this dance:  Imagine a giant with huge feet sleeping under our dance floor. This giant is us, the people, not the population, but that ancient virtual being that holds the precious life lessons of our ancestors.  This is our giant, the keeper of our pains, joys, successes and failures – especially of our failures. The sleeping giant embodies our common wisdom, our common sense and our common morality.  When the dancers are careless and unbalanced, they awaken the giant under the dance floor.  And all hell breaks loose. 
Or so it will seem to the dancing elites.
This is the first of three linked pieces about politics and the human condition. 
JBG:jbg

November 07, 2008

SHAPE OF THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY- IMPLICATIONS OF EMANUEL

 

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Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed. Forwarded links welcomed.
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Htm LINK for this post: http://jaygaskill.com/EmanuelPost.htm

 

SHAPE OF THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY- IMPLICATIONS OF EMANUEL

 

Has Obama just tipped his hand?  Or is there a hand to tip?  I suspect that the appointment of Congressman Rahm Emanuel to be President Obama’s Chief of Staff would not necessarily dismay John McCain.

 

Emanuel’s father was an Israeli before he became a Dr. in the US. From the “NeoCon Express” Website(LINK: http://neoconexpress.blogspot.com/ ) we learn that --

 

“Rahm Emanuel (Hebrew: רם עמנואל) was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, the Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician and former member of the Irgun, an Israeli resistance organization headed by Menachem Begin in pre-Israel 1940's and considered a 'terrorist' group by the British governing authorities at the time.”

On some issues, particularly foreign policy, Emanuel is reportedly a centrist.  This appointment tends to corroborate that assessment.  One hopes, for example that when, if ever, President Obama chooses to meet directly with the president of Iran, he arranges for some private face time between that loosely wrapped Islamist fanatic and Mr. Emanuel.   

So the jury is out on several things.  Will Obama manage ... or be managedAnd by whom? 

The interesting thread I'm picking up is that the Obama worriers on the left are starting to come out of the closet.  But the fear theme runs through the whole Democratic Party establishment. 

I have this image: The Obama-ites have swooned with uncritical infatuation, then, in a Las Vegas drunken impulse, actually married that good looking someone. And are just now they are awakening from the spell. I can hear that old refrain -- "What have I done?" 

On another front: The Palin backstabbers -- all of this is coming from within the McCain campaign circle -- now provide a window into why John McCain lost. 

 

I suspect that the establishment types who surrounded him weren't really interested in a McCain revolution at all. 

 

Disloyalty is evident.  Sabotage is suspected.

 

So much more to come:  Stay tuned…

 

JBG

November 06, 2008

Suspend Your Pessimism

My post-election take -- only on YouTube.  Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QfTkp0f90o .

JBG

November 04, 2008

As Ohio goes, so goes the election

Welcome to the Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    

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→The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   

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All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed. Forwarded links welcomed.

Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

TUESDAY

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER

It's 6:45 PM, Pacific Time and, given the network consensus that Obama has taken Ohio, there is no remaining scenario in which McCain wins.  If early reports are any indication, the polls did exaggerate Obama's numbers, but enough is enough.

 

I would expect a graceful concession from Senator McCain in a couple of hours or so.  As to my conservative friends who maintained - based on Obama's biography - that the Junior Senator from Illinois will prove to be a closet centrist - we'll find out soon enough.

 

Ideology aside, it is a momentous occasion. Assuming that Senator Obama really has won this election, he deserves a decent honeymoon period.  and - for the duration of his term - a great deal more forbearance than the hyper-partisan democrats accorded Mr. Bush.  We have, after all is said and done, only one president.  He will need our prayers...

 

JBG

 

 

 

November 03, 2008

CHANGE! Join a Post-partisan Recovery Group

 

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All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed. Forwarded links welcomed.
Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

LINK: http://jaygaskill.com/CHANGE.htm
 

CHANGE!

No echo

Here’s the deal.  Voters are going to get change next year, no matter how the election turns out.  Even a McCain electoral miracle will inaugurate a dramatic change in contrast with the last eight years.

 

But the new circumstances will be sharply limiting for the new POTUS. 

 

In an earlier post, for example, I pointed out (in “Obama’s Training Wheels” -- http://jaygaskill.com/ObamaTrainingWheels.htm )  that the hoped for money for Barack’s list of liberal initiatives has been pre-spent on the bailout, and that the turgid and threatening international situation allows very little room for any rational commander in chief to make sudden dramatic moves. 

 

And a president McCain will be constrained in addition by a thoroughly democratic house and Senate.

 

But the change in tone, style and spirit, in each case will amount to a breath of fresh air. The stifling, circle-the-wagons atmosphere in the latter Bush presidency is soon to pass into history, along with the rude “W” caricatures so emblematically displayed in Oliver Stone’s latest box office failure. 

 

If Obama loses (about a 15% chance outcome at his moment, it seems to me), the left will need therapy - big time therapy.

 

[In my post, Therapist in Chief - http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1/ , I have opined that the Obama phenomenon has been driven in large part by the prevalent therapeutic culture.]

 

As a starting point in that exercise, check out Bill Krystal’s whimsical Op Ed in today’s New York Times, “Hey Liberals, don’t worry”.

[ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/03/opinion/03kristol.html?ref=opinion  ]  

 

It is a must read. 

 

As to conservative therapy?  Krystal ends his piece with this charming image:

 

“If McCain wins, think of this column as a modest contribution to cheering up distraught liberals. If Obama prevails, I’m confident there are some compassionate liberals out there who will do the same for hapless conservatives as they hobble out to the wilderness.”

 

In fact, what is needed is a 12 step recovery program from our toxic partisan excess, corruption and in-the-bubble isolation from each other. 

 

Like all perfect storms, this, too, will pass.  If the current episode is to prove constructive in the long term, both political parties must realign themselves closer to productive center, where both sides are in a respectful mutual dialogue.

 

This is a line of development I have been calling the coming “populist reformation”. [See http://jaygaskill.com/newPPP.htm .]

 

So I invite all my conservative, libertarian and liberal friends to a post-partisan twelve step recovery program. 

 

Imagine us all sitting in a circle.  “My name is [your name goes here] and I am a feckless ideologue.”  And imagine a chorus of friendly voices, red-state, blue-state, panic-state voices in reply: “Welcome to club-America!”

 

JBG

JBG

November 01, 2008

TEN MIRACLES FOR THE POLITICALLY BORED

Welcome to the Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    
As Posted On
→The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   
→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3 
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed. Forwarded links welcomed.
Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

LINK to My YouTube version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouCvOfXl2lw 

Saturday, November 1, 2008, Noon Pacific
Print Version LINK: http://jaygaskill.com/TenMiracles.htm

 

 

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY…

 

TEN POLITICAL MIRACLES
An exercise for the politically bored

 

For purposes of this exercise, let me pose a working definition of the modern “miracle”.  This one doesn’t require a suspension of the laws of nature, just a suspension of cynical fatalism about the future:

 

Miracles are those unexpected, benign rescues, turning points or transformations that seem like the answer to a prayer, but are so highly improbable that they eerily locate themselves outside the realm of mundane luck.

 

Political miracles are always difficult to recognize because, inevitably, lots and lots of decent minded people are earnestly praying for two utterly inconsistent outcomes.  It takes the reflective distance of history and a godlike perspective to figure out which outcome was or would have been better. 

 

In a sense, the political rise of Barack Obama was miraculous, all things considered, but his election to POTUS would not be.  Recall that miracles are “so highly improbable that they eerily locate themselves outside the realm of mundane luck”.  Obama’s campaign is one of those well planned, super-funded and brilliantly executed efforts that, in his case, has succeeded beyond all expectations: By any measure, Barack Obama is on the very precipice of a resounding victory. A likely outcome is not a miracle.

 

THE MIRACLE LIST ONE THROUGH FIVE

 

Given those circumstances, here is my list of the First Five Miracles:

 

1. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-life side of the abortion dispute, opposing – even vetoing – any newly proposed repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.

 

 2. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-free speech side of the dispute, blocking – even vetoing - the selective application of the so called fairness doctrine to conservative talk radio.

 

3. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the anti-jihad side, drawing a line in the sand against militant Iranian adventurism and Hezbollah’s terrorist agenda.

 

4. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-Israel side, promising to destroy any regime or terrorist subgroup that launches a deadly attack on our most steadfast ally in the Middle East.

 

5. McCain comes from behind and wins the general election this Tuesday.

 

MY PREMATURE PROPHETIC GIFT

 

Anyone who attempts to predict anything of a political nature, needs to cultivate humility.  To err, after all, is the lot of the amateur prophet.

 

I posted these predictions on September 3, 2008.

 

BACK THEN, I SAID:

 

“Even exit polls aren’t perfect.  Those who talk to pollsters after just having voted are more likely to be partisans.  The non partisans are less inclined to talk. Recall President Bush’s win against John Kerry where network pollsters were misled during the voting to expect a democratic win.

 

“The overriding problem is that a significant block of voters can and do make their final decision, especially in a close race, at the last possible minute.  This is particularly true when a voter is leaning to a candidate nominated by his or her same party, but harbors misgivings. 

 

“Polls show that roughly the same number of voters in each party are firmly behind their nominee.  This means that a significant number of voters in each party are up for grabs.  Right now it appears that about 40% of the voters are essentially committed to Obama and 40% to McCain, plus or minus 2%. Yes, this is a crude estimate, but it means that the election will be decided by about 20% of the voters, roughly half of whom will make up their minds in the last few days, many even on the last hours, and some only in the privacy of the polling booth at the last minute.”

 

NOW I SAY (cautiously and humbly): 

 

A distinct trend is in play – Obama, though still in the lead, is losing support and the gap between the two candidates is closing to within the margin of error.

 

THEN I SAID:

 

“There is always movement in the last week or so of the campaign.  Sometimes it merely cuts into a large lead, sometimes it reverses the outcome.

 

“I am now willing to make three predictions: 

 

(1) Unless and until Obama gets a durable breakout lead (something exceeding 5%) within a couple weeks following the republican convention, this race will be a toss up in early October.
(2) If the candidates are very close (within a couple of points of each other) in the last week of October, Obama will almost certainly lose.
(3) Even if Obama is ahead by only 4 points going into the last few days of the election, Obama will lose unless somehow he is gaining momentum at that point.

 

“I make these predictions on the basis that Obama probably has peaked. If that assessment is true, time is his enemy.” 

 

NOW I (HUMBLY) SAY:

 

All of the major polls show a trend in McCain’s favor, but few of them as yet evidence a trend slope so steep that Obama’s commanding lead will likely evaporate in just 60 hours.  THAT would take a miracle. 

 

Here are my favorite three polls at the moment:

 

THE PROPHETS ARE CAUTIOUS

 

TIPP:                         OB 47.7  Mac 43.4 Undecided 8.7

 

ZOGBY:                      OB 49.1  Mac 44.1 Undecided 6.8

 

RASMUSSEN              OB 51 Mac 46 (omits or allocates undecided)

 

Notes:


From Zogby:


“Almost two days worth of the polling -- or about half of the current sample in the three-day rolling poll of likely voters nationwide, was conducted after Obama's 30-minute commercial aired Wednesday evening. There is no evidence it helped him, as he has dropped 1.1 points in the last two days, while McCain has gained 0.8 points during the same period.
“The three-day average holds steady, but McCain outpolled Obama today, 48% to 47%. He is beginning to cut into Obama's lead among independents, is now leading among blue collar voters, has strengthened his lead among investors and among men, and is walloping Obama among NASCAR voters. Joe the Plumber may get his license after all. "Obama's lead among women declined, and it looks like it is occurring because McCain is solidifying the support of conservative women, which is something we saw last time McCain picked up in the polls. If McCain has a good day tomorrow, we will eliminate Obama's good day three days ago, and we could really see some tightening in this rolling average. But for now, hold on."

 

 

From Rasmussen:

“Not surprisingly, the number of persuadable voters has declined sharply as Election Day draws near. Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters say they are certain they will vote for Obama and won’t change their mind. Forty-three percent (43%) say the same about McCain. Six percent (6%) have a preference for one of the major party candidates but could change their mind, 2% plan to vote for a third party option and 2% remain undecided.

 

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of Obama's tax cut promise to his current lead in the polls. Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters now believe that their taxes will go down if Obama is elected. Only 11% believe that will happen if McCain wins.” 

 

THE REST OF MY LIST OF TEN MIRACLES

 

6. During the first term of the new president, your taxes will go down and stay down.

7. The national media-crats will become ideologically evenhanded and non partisan.

8. Our country will not be engaged in any major military activity.

9. American industrial manufacturing will grow.

10. You will be happily voting for the same candidate in the 2011 presidential election that you now favor in 2008.

 

///

Don’t worry.  Be happy….

JBG

 


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