Archive for October 2008
I have always claimed that he was a citizen of the USA by birth. I have always said that I believe he was born in Hawaii. I have stated that I do not believe he has ever lost US Nationality and indeed I cannot account for his present name, the contents of the factcheck.org COLB, or a number of other points, if he has.
I do believe that he should have lost US Nationality, under the Law of Indonesia and International Law, but I cannot, myself, see any way he could have under US Law as it stands today. I do not believe that either the Sarah Onyango tape or the API tape are to be believed in, or relied upon, though I am prepared to be persuaded.
He goes on to specify that his reasoning for Barack Obama being POTUS ineligibe is based upon his interpretation of Article II of the United States Constitution:
Article II is absolute. It does not allow for wiggle room, to qualify an individual MUST be a Natural Born Citizen. Unfortunately there is, currently, no Statute definition of what that term means and so, since the issue has now arisen it now needs to be adjudicated and then legislated. I may be convinced that Article II is clear and utterly straightforward but most people don’t seem to get it. Likewise the position of dual, or in Obama’s case quadruple, nationality needs to be addressed because in strict Statute Law it simply doesn’t exist and it seems to clash with all US Law on Naturalization and with the Constitution. It does, you know, read the Oath of Allegiance. However you cut it the Supreme Court ought to make, and has a duty to make a determination, not simply weasel out of it on grounds of Standing.
While admitting that Barack Obama is a “natural born citizen” under all applicable US law, he goes to state what a POTUS ineligible Obama elected as the President of the United States would mean(referencing Edwin Vieira, Jr and the post he made):
Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to consider the words of Dr Vieira very carefully. If Barack Hussein Obama II, or Barry Soetoro if you prefer his other Legal Name, is Ineligible to hold the Office of President of the United States he can never preside over any Administration. In Legal terms therefore, should he gain Election by the Electoral College and then proceed to Inauguration there would be no Legitimate Federal Government, of any Branch, that is if I follow Dr Vieira’s argument correctly. At that point the United States of America would, in effect, cease to exist among the Community of Nations. Unlike 1861 the Union would not be broken, it would be utterly dissolved upon the Winds of Time, as if it had never been.
I have said this is a Crisis as grave as that which smote the Union with the Election of 1860 and the disaster of the Confederate Secessions. If Dr Vieira is correct, and I bow willingly before his great knowledge of the Law and Constitution, this Crisis is far worse. The Civil War never actually threatened the utter Legal extinction of the Union. Even had the Confederacy triumphed, as with God’s good Grace it did not, there would still have been a Union, albeit reduced in size and influence.
At the end of his post, his closes with:
But what do I know? I’m not a Lawyer, my Doctorate is not a JD, I’m just a Historian.
Here we have one of the major players in sparking the entire Barack Obama internet controversy openly admitting that Barack Obama is indeed POTUS eligible given all standing legalities. And his own basis for reasoning is based on the intrepretations of the Constitution by a anonoymously proclaimed historian. Yet, he persists to speculate that under his unprofessional opinion of what Article II means, that the United States of America would cease to exist comparing it as more grave then the Civil War.
“Judah Benjamin” openly misled the readers of the TD blog into believing Obama was not POTUS eligbile on standing US law, and is now inciting anarchy under the amatuer, imaginery interpretation of Article II. The readers of the TD blog are rabid, foaming at the mouth anti-Obama proponents who have shown a history of lapping up every word coming from Judah, TD, NoQuarter, Techdude, Polarik, and Atlas Shrugged as the gospel truth. In spite of the discrediting of Techdude and Polarik by known, verified forensic experts(along with the refutation of attempted legal standing that Obama lost his US citizenship previously), and Judah’s own admission that Obama is a “natural born citizen”, they continue to offer up wild speculation centered around Obama.
Judah, the amateur lawyer, and anyone who pontificates the destruction of the United States should be subject to Title 18, Section 2385 of United States Code:
Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government…
If anti-Obama proponents want to take the ethical high road and say that Obama should just release his documentation as a public service, they should also consider the ethical implications of incitement and libel defamation. In the future, I would suggest to “Judah” to not chose a forum to express his views whose owner consistently made accusations he now claims run contrary to his own.
For a purported historian, Judah certainly loves to wander in the realm of “What-Ifs”. I’ll leave you with this gem of a quote in which Judah previously imagined civil disorder in the event Obama was elected:
I don’t say it will happen but it could and it has. In 1861 they didn’t have gunship helicopters, or 6,000 rpm rotary cannon, etc, etc. What can a gunship do to an urban neighborhood? I know the answer, if you don’t, you don’t want to. Remember, if it happens, either way around, it was Barack Hussein Obama II and the DNC who caused it.
Sarah Palin dropped the puck at the Wachovia Center to open the Philadelphia Flyers season. The Flyers have since gone on to have the worst start in franchise history. Sarah Palin traveled to St. Louis last week to drop the puck at a Blues home game. St. Louis goalie Manny Legace tripped on the red carpet Palin walked out on, and had to leave the game with a hip flexor.
It is clear. Sarah Palin hates hockey moms. She has been feeding us endless lies to the American people ever since John McCain introduced her as his VP candidate. You have to wonder where this woman’s scorn and anger will strike next!? All I can do is hope and pray Mrs. Palin doesn’t pay a visit to HSBC Arena to drop the puck for the Buffalo Sabres.
Much has been made about the RNC spending on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe which has totaled $150,000. The story has elicited the predictable angry reaction from the Democrats and Obama supporters. It’s become another piece of partisan fodder that marks all presidential campaigns.
The number is meaningless without any form of context. Amid all the reporting of Palin’s wardrobe spending, no research has gone into past campaign spending in this area. Without knowing how much Obama’s campaign has spent on similar items or without historical spending figures for previous presidential candidate’s, the number has little value because it has no frame of reference. It’s quite likely that all campaign’s budget an amount for their candidate’s wardrobe and other related expenses. The question really becomes was Palin’s expenses exponentially greater then others. Personally, I’ll reserve judgement on the money spent on Palin’s wardrobe.
What can be said about this story is that voter responses are reactionary and misplaced. Consider the amount of money campaign’s spend on advertising and the overall net effect that advertising has on the outcome of an election.
The typical presidential campaign largest expense is advertising. For instance, Obama has raised an estimated $600 million this year and is set to break the record set on campaign advertising set by George W. Bush in 2004. That number Obama is going to exceed is $188 million. Obama is spending $10 million dollars alone on a 30 minute infomercial set to air just before election day. McCain is spending an equal proportion of his campaign budget on advertising albeit not nearly approaching the total dollar amount. There is nothing outrageous or noteworthy in the quantitative value of Obama’s spending on advertising as it’s equally proportional to all recent presidential election campaigns.
However, consider the qualitative effect on the outcome of an election based on the quantitative spending of a candidate. In a paper by Steven Levitt, he shows that campaign spending has very little effect on the outcome of an election. Previously, research had shown that incumbent spending had minimal qualitative effect on an election outcome, the amount a challenger spent had tangible implications. The major flaw in all previous research, as Levitt points out, is that they never accounted for the quality of the candidate.
The crux of Levitt’s argument is that the level of appeal a candidate possess’ directly influences his ability to raise campaign funds. Hence, campaign spending is the product of a candidate’s quality with voters, and not vice versa. In order to account for the appeal variable, Levitt examined thousands of Congressional elections in which the same two candidates faced each other multiple times.
Levitt discovered that when able to control the candidate quality variable, in almost all cases increasing campaign spending did not effect the outcome of an election. A losing candidate who spent twice as much money in his second contest between the same opponent could expect a similar percentage of the vote within 1%. Likewise, an incumbent who spent half as much money in his second contest against the same challenger could count on the same outcome within 1% point.
This is not to say that campaign spending and political advertisements do not have an effect on the outcome of an election. Psychological research has shown that while a voter with a predisposed affective state towards a candidate will filter his cognition and subsequent behavior when exposed to political ads(a pro-Obama supporter is likely to react to a pro-Obama ad positively while negatively to a pro-McCain ad), the effect is far more pronounced when the candidate is a known quantity. When a candidate is unknown to a voter, he is more likely to evaluate the contents of an advertisement divested of his party affiliation, ideology, partisanship, and affected state.
The benefit of political advertising lies primarily with introducing the public to a candidate in order to establish an affected state. But once the candidate becomes a known quantity and the affected state is established, political advertising begins to exceed a redundant saturation level where in the size of the effectual target audience reduces. The more that people are informed and have formed an opinion on a candidate, the less efficient advertising becomes. Research has shown that the more familiar a voter is with a candidate the less effectual advertising becomes. Advertising yields the highest return with voters who are unfamiliar with a candidate.
Under this presumption, it can be said that political advertising is an offensive tool for a campaign but progressively becomes a diffusive element towards success. The implication here is that as a candidate gains wider appeal across the linear chronology of a campaign, the efficacious value of his campaign money increases.
Considering in conjunction that a candidate’s financial resources increase synchronously with his appeal and a candidate’s appeal accumulates alongside the campaign ad hoc, a candidate is more likely to expend a greater amount in advertising in the latter stages of his campaign. So, a candidate is spending his greater percentage of funds on advertising at a time when they are least effective.
Yet, the wardrobe of Sarah Palin, which is an image advertisement, draws noticeable media coverage and voter outrage while candidates allocate the largest proportional of campaign funds at a time when of the least consequence evokes relative silence. Even doubly perplexing is that Palin, being an unknown and unfamiliar to the voter base, benefits the most from image and issue advertising when compared to Obama, McCain, and Biden.
Of course, Palin’s created her own self-attack advertising campaign through her repeated issue gaffes. Respectively, she is becomes a known candidate carrying a negative affected state among voters. That affected state has established the groundwork for voter behavior in response to her wardrobe expenditures. Examining political advertising critically, $150,000 expended at a time when it’s most effective as compared to $10 million(Obama informercial) outlayed at a time of least effectiveness, I have to call into question the informational cognition voters exhibit towards politics.
So, you want to be President of the United States of America? Well, I’ve got your sure fire ticket to the Oval Office. Run for President against an incumbent party that presided over either an unpopular war and/or an economic recession. Getting on the ticket is your problem.
I alluded to this previously in a post and the issue resurfaced in the comments section for a post at The Blog At The End of the Universe. I thought it would be appropriate to track every major war and economic recession the United States has had post industrial revolution and how the subsequent Presidential Election evolved.
Pre-Industrial Revolution elections don’t qualify for one reason – exposure. The US economy prior to the Industrial Revolution was a localized economy centered around agriculture. It was not dependent upon trade or capitol investments. When one area of the country would enter into a recession, it did not predicate other areas to suffer likewise. In addition, the populace was not readily connected to ongoing wars and economic downturns occurring in other parts of the country and world. Simply, our economy and the population was not exposed to the ill effects of the economy and war.
The Industrial Revolution is widely considered to have fully transformed the US economy into a capitalist based one by the 1830-40s. It is here we will look at every major US war and recession, and what occurred during each Presidential Election during these events.
Recession 1837: Widespread bank failures due to speculation as to the strength in US paper currency sends the country into a 6 year recession. Democratic President Martin Van Buren presides over the beginning of the recession and loses in 1940 to Whig candidate William Harrison. Incumbent loses.
Mexican-American War: In 1845 President James Polk orders US troops into Mexico and begins a war that lasts until 1948. Democrat Polk loses his reelection bid to Whig Zachary Taylor. Incumbent loses.
Recession 1857: Democrat President James Buchanan is in office when the a railroad bubble in the United States bursts causing massive bank failures. The Republicans win the Presidential election in 1860. Incumbent loses.
American Civil War: Democrat Abraham Lincoln uses military force to prevent the South from seceding. War last until 1864 with Lincoln unifying the country and Lincoln is reelected. Incumbent wins.
Recession 1873: When the largest bank in the nation failed, the country was sent into a 6 year recession. Republican Ulysses S. Grant was the President at the time. In 1876, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won the Presidential race in what is widely considered the most contested race in American history. Losing the popular vote and electoral vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden, the Republicans disputed the award of 20 electoral votes for Tilden. Eventually the Electoral Commission was formed to resolve the dispute as inauguration day was quickly approaching. With one more Republican on the commission then Democrat, Hayes was deemed the winner. Incumbent wins or did he?.
Recession 1893: The railroad industry takes a downturn causing investment to plummet sending the US into a recession until 1896. Democrat Grover Cleveland was in office during the recession and in the 1896 election Republican William McKinley wins. Incumbent loses.
Recession 1907: Late in 1907, the economy begins a long contraction. It persists until 1908 seeing production, imports, employment, and immigration all decrease. Bankruptcies increased to the second highest level of all time. Republican William Taft has the unfortunate luck to take office as soon as the recession hit. By 1912, Democrat Woodrow Wilson was residing in the Oval Office. Incumbent loses.
World War I and Recession 1918: Democrat Woodrow Wilson promised not to send America into the war raging in Europe. In 1917, he sent troops overseas and officially declared war on Germany. Following the end of the war, inflation in Europe drastically effected the US economy causing a recession that lasted for several years. Wilson lost his bid for a third term in 1920 to Republican Warren Harding. Incumbent loses.
The Great Depression: 1929 sees the stock market crash and the worst economic recession in American history grips the country. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt unseats the Republican party in 1932. Incumbent loses.
World War II: Democrat Franklin Roosevelt enters the US into war against Germany and Japan after being provoked with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Franklin dies in office and in 1948 his successor Harry Truman wins the election. Incumbent wins.
Korean War and Recession 1951: Mired in a stalemate in Korea and high inflation, Democrat Harry Truman loses to Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Incumbent loses.
Recession 1957: The US sees it’s first budget deficit in history and it continues to grow threw the next several years due in part to the downturn in American exports. The Republicans lose control of the White House in the 1960 Presidential election to Democrat John F. Kennedy. Incumbent loses.
Vietnam War: While the US had some presence in Vietnam since 1959, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson escalates the war with large troop deployments and an official resolution to conduct combat operations in 1964. The war becomes a polarizing issue in the country. So unpopular, Johnson decides not to run for reelection in 1968, and the Democrats lose control to Republican Richard Nixon. Incumbent loses.
Recession 1973: Rising oil prices caused the country to spend the latter part of the decade suffering from high inflation and interest rates along with low economic growth. Democrat Jimmy Carter was in office for the majority of the economic downturn, and in 1980 lost his reelection bid to Republican Ronald Reagan. Incumbent loses.
Gulf War and Recession 1990: While President George H. Bush’s approval ratings were at an all-time high following the resounding success of the Gulf War, he could not escape the recession the country found itself in 1990. Bush lead early polls against Democrat Bill Clinton, but as the economy worsened Clinton closed the gap. He eventually defeated Bush in the election. Incumbent loses.
Iraq War and Recession 2001: Following the attacks of 9/11, Republican George W. Bush sent American troops into Afghanistan and Iraq. The military scored quick tactical victories overthrowing both governments. Victory was declared. The economy also entered a minor recession due to the attacks and the dot-com bubble burst. Republican Bush won reelection in 2004. Incumbent wins.
Iraq War and Recession 2007: The Iraq war under President George W. Bush drags on for years and becomes widely unpopular. The housing market crash ripples to Wall Street sparking a major crash. Prior, the economy was slowly contracting and experts predict a recession to last at least into 2009. Republican John McCain is trailing Democrat Barrak Obama in polls by as much as 10% with only two weeks until election time. Undetermined.
Based on the historical link between war and recessions to past Presidential elections, two things become evident. One, a wars perception has a direct effect on the incumbents party reelection chances. A war which is perceived as necessary and victorious does not have the detrimental effect as a war that is perceived as unnecessary and a stalemate. Two, an economic recession is assurance that the incumbent party will be unsuccessful in retaining the White House.
And so we enter the 2008 election with an incumbent party having presided over an prolonged and unpopular war in Iraqi alongside a potentially severe recession. Judging from history, the Democrats are, in all probability, going to win this Presidential election. It is common thought to dissect each and every election for their various unique circumstances, and to attribute these characteristics as to why one party or another won the race. I contend that Presidential elections are an elementary exercise in war and economics with greater weight given to the economy. For all the nuances we might find within this race, there are these two undeniable and basic elements that will shape the future of our country. The debates, the vice presidential selections, the speeches, the policies, and the television advertising are all secondary parts that have a minimal effect compared to war and recessions.
The trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is approaching it’s conclusion this week with Mr. Stevens himself having taken the stand for several days of the trial. Judging by the details of his testimony it’s evident Mr. Stevens is not human.
In one exchange with the federal prosecutor, Stevens repeatedly claimed that he was unable to prevent the numerous gifts delivered to his house and deemed them as unwanted. Yet, the items remained in his house for years and years. If there was ever a more blantant lie, please find me one. We are to believe that a grown man, a man of Stevens stature and power in Washington, didn’t have control over his own house? How are we supposed to swallow that a man who could project the kind of control over legislation to make Alaska the largest benificiary per capita of earmark spending was powerless to stop furniture from taking residence in his own living room? And how gullable must we be to believe that a man could not get items which he didn’t want in his house for some seven years?
Typically, I possess a certain level of sympathy for those who, under the guise of power, submit to wealth’s vices and undercut the laws of the country for personal gain. Greed is a natural human tendency and counteracting that urge requires considerable more will power and strength then being greedy. But it’s also a natural human tendency to feel remorse of which Ted Stevens appears to possess none of. Ted Stevens is an alien.
Stevens took the stand in his own federal trial and blatantly lied not only to the jury but to every single person in the United States. As a politician, one has a certain responsibility to the American people to act in their best interest, but more importantly possess a level of reverance for the power bestowed by the voters. As we are all well aware, many politicians often fail in their duties to fulfill the people’s wish. To some degree, that’s forgivable. The allure of power and the confluence of various interests in Washington can transform a clear intention into a muddled one. A politician might start off on a path of nobility, but with so many criss-crossing paths, he might lose his way. No doubt Stevens lost his way.
What is so alien is Stevens utter disregard for his position. Most people when caught with their hand in the cookie jar will take account of the inescapable nature of their situation, and feel shame for what they have done. They will come to terms with the fact that the consequences of their actions have come home to roost. Shame and the subsequent desire to what is right rises to the surface. Not in Stevens case.
He has decided to take the inhuman path of studiously denying his own actions despite the fact that everyone in the room(and country)knows his own actions. It takes stubbornness and stupidity to deny the obvious. I would have believed Mr. Stevens infinitely more if he told me he came from another planet and didn’t understand why what he did was wrong. I can only hope when his trial ends in a guilty verdict we can send toss him into a capsule and rocket him into space to drift until he keels over. I don’t want something so inhuman walking the Earth with those of us who have some sense of humanitity.
I have sobering news for all of the political fanatics out there feverishly consuming every tidbit of news around the presidential race as confirmation or refutation for the support they’ve thrown beyond their respective candidate. The presidential race will not be decided on the laundry list of pros and cons for each candidate that you’ve taken painstaking effort to lay out. No, the presidential race will be decided by a randomness.
The presidential race of 2008 will be decided based on the crash of the housing market and the subsequent drop it caused in the nation’s economy. For as much as the media and average citizens strive to transform the economic crisis into a politically derived problem, it is not. I have previously made numerous posts concerning the reasons behind the economic crisis, and specifically attributed the error in management on the risk management models used by financial institutions. The post illustrated how randomness poses a severe threat to these models. The qualification for a random event is an event which cannot be predicted which precipitously qualifies the economic crisis as the consequence of a random event.
Just as the financial institutions risk management models did not predict a fall in home prices greater then 10%, political pundits could not predict the massive shift in the presidential race that the economic crisis would cause. Prior to the first day the stock market plummeted nearly 800 points and the final realization that the economy was teetering, McCain was neck and neck with Obama. Some polls showing McCain with a slight lead and others having McCain trailing by only a couple points. Immediately after, McCain’s poll numbers began slipping, and as the nation became inundated with daily news that the economy was on life support, McCain’s numbers began to suffer from the war of attrition.
The economy became the center issue in the presidential race. It thrusted itself to the forefront to become the deciding factor. For political purposes, the affair was tailored by each candidate to suit their campaign in what amounted to an advertising campaign. Voter perception leaned heavily towards Obama as being the one best suited to guiding the country back to economic health. This voter acumen, as it turns out, resides without substance.
Considering risk management models bore the fertile blame for the financial catastrophe, how then can the politicization of the problem be justified? It simply cannot. However, it certainly has played a critical role in the shape of this presidential race. Partisan advertising, voter ignorance, and media saturation loaned it the power necessary to become the deciding factor.
Barack Obama constructed an unwittingly genius advertising campaign while battling Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primary that was designed to link the presumptive Republican nominee to Bush’s economic policy. Coupled with Obama echoing sentiments of economists, he painted a bleak economic picture. In a speech earlier in the year, Obama said:
We are not standing on the brink of recession because of forces beyond our control. This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle. It was a failure of leadership in Washington — a Washington where George Bush hands out billions of tax cuts to the wealthiest few for eight long years, and John McCain promises to make those same tax cuts permanent, embracing the central principle of the Bush economic program.
The Obama campaign as continued to connect the economic polices of George Bush as “failed” and inexorably tying McCain to those “failed” policies. From a strategic standpoint, it stands as the center point for his presumed presidential victory. Yet, it’s quite simply inaccurate in the sense that the term “failed” predicates that the economic policies of Bush/McCain caused the economic crisis.
The center of this recession and possible depression does not even remotely revolve around tax cuts. Tax cuts putting money in the pockets of the poor, middle class, and rich has no bearing on sub prime lending practices or the flaws in statistical risk management models. The concept is absurd. In fact, it’s counter intuitive. A middle class family receiving a tax cut would be more likely to take that money and use as a on a home mortgage and would be less likely to enter into a sub prime, no down payment home loan. Additionally, it’s clear that the wealthy, for whatever tax cut they might receive, are not consumers who are or were entering into sub prime mortgages.
The only credible accusation that can be made against Bush and his administration is government regulation. But it’s difficult to conceive that the government, using the same risk management models and statistical information as the lending industry, would have been able to see what the financial sector could not.
Despite Obama’s inaccuracy, it was a strategic success due to voter ignorance. Voters are not apt to critical thinking when examining the issues. They display a preference for short and concise soundbites that can regurgitated on command. We gravitate to linear paths and there is not a more straight path to making the connection between an administration that’s been entrenched for the last eight years, “failed” economic policies, and an economy entering a recession. We are susceptible to the narrative fallacy and Obama beautifully catered to our ignorance for his own political gain.
The media onslaught that followed the stock market crash solidified Obama’s strategy. There has not been a day in the last month that we have not heard more bad economic news. Every time a voter read or watched a news piece on the economic crisis they made the connection in their mind between the state of the economy, those “failed” policies, and the message Obama has been preaching for months and months.
The fact of the matter is that no Republican or Democrat administration would have prevented the current economic crisis. Short of the government heavily reducing the capitol requirements for lending and shifting the economy away from the debt based economy we have been operating on for nearly half a century, politicians were equal bystanders in the unfolding events that lead us to where we are.
So, it should be quite sobering to realize that if your voting for Obama or McCain primarily because you believe either candidate can bring the economy out by it’s bootstraps to know that you are casting your vote based on a random event. It might even seem incomprehensible.
Randomness has the peculiar nature of being incomprehensible. How can we understand that which we cannot predict, otherwise we would have already known it’s impending occurrence and been able to take steps to avoid said event. Just as the statistical risk management models failed to predict the drop in housing prices, no one predicted that the decisive event in the presidential election would be, at it’s root, born from randomness.
How are we to feel knowing that the next leader of our country rode the wave of a random event into office? I know I’ll be punching Obama’s name come November 4th for reasons divested of that random event, but it’s given me serious pause to come to terms with the fact that many other have been influenced by randomness knowing Obama’s poll numbers have reached double digits since the stock market crash.
Today began with plenty of bad news for Buffalo as a national sports city. A Wall Street Journal article noted that Buffalo Bills fans are
…some of the worst-behaving fans in all of sports.
Later in the afternoon, a Forbes magazine article pegged the Buffalo Bills as one of the top ten sports franchises likely to move.
I can’t outright refute either of these. Bills games are rowdy. Fans arrive at the stadium 8 hours prior to kickoff and begin their Sunday ritual of getting plastered. By game time, a few thousand drunkards filing into a stadium to watch a violent sport. It’s not unexpected that a few of them are going to be trouble makers. But a few thousand bad fans disregards the other 72,000 well behaved, passionate fans there to cheer on their team. It’s sad that a few bad apples has to spoil the entire batch.
It’s no secret the Bills are in danger of leaving town. A 90 year old owner in Ralph Wilson who has refused to secure the sale of the team prior to his death leaves the franchise likely up to the highest bidder. And since last year with the move of two home games to Toronto, the highest bidder appears to be those folks over at Rogers in Canada with money spilling out of their pockets.
The prospect of the Buffalo Bills leaving town is naturally distressing, but if they ever do move it will be downright devastating to a town that lives with it’s football team. A piece of the city would die with the Bills should they exit stage left. Gone would be the buzz that travels around water coolers and jumps from stranger to stranger every fall. It’s one of the few things that connects the people of the city in a way most sports towns can’t relate too.
Luckily, the Buffalo Sabres saved the local sports day with a convincing win over the New York Rangers 3-1. It’s only three games into the season, but this is a different hockey team from the one that disappointed last year. They display a new found dedication to defensive responsibility. Spurred by the arrival of Craig Rivet, every defensive pair seems energerized to clear out the front of their own net. The forwards are making conscious efforts to stay in their own zone and not making early breakouts. Odd man rushes have been kept to a minimum as opposed to last year when they were an every period ritual.
The Sabres didn’t lack in the scoring department last year. The finished 4th in scoring in the NHL, but they were erratic and irresponsible in the defensive zone. While every player deserves credit, the lion’s share goes to Lindy Ruff who is once again proving that he is a master at adapting to the how the game of hockey is played from year to year. No Sabres fan will forget how Ruff turned a bunch of no-name hockey players and Dominik Hasek into a Stanley Cup finalist by being defensively responsible. I don’t want to leap to conclusions, but this team, with the emerging Thomas Vanek and a cast of capable scorers, this team holds real promise and could creep up on the league just like they did the year after the lockout.
I’d like to put forth the contention that the any increase or decrease in blogging is directly correlated to the occurrence or absence of crisis’. In fact the birth of blogging can be attributed, to a degree, to the occurrence of a crisis.
Blogs have been around for nearly 15 years. At its inception, blogs were considered to be online diaries or journals. In 2001, blogs emerged as a news source. Less a diary and more free form journalism. I would put forth the notion that the events of 9/11 contributed, in part, to the explosion of blogs. Following 9/11, the populace openly questioned the honesty of the government and mainstream media. Questions were abound as to what the government knew prior to the attacks and whether they failed to act on possible intelligence. Rather then turning to mainstream media who are regarded as the mouthpiece for those in power, people turned online looking for “outside” news sources. Journalists took note of the demand and blogs became a wide-spread necessity.
The following Afgan and Iraqi War further fueled the expansion of blogging. A highly unpopular presidency also contributed. However, it is not so much the crisis event as it is the reaction crisis’ spur in the average person. A crisis naturally presumes a high stress event. A high stress situations in turn require an outlet for expression. In addition, a crisis spans all cultural boundaries leaving us with a rare occurrence that connects us all. It is our empathy for tragedy and conflict that brings us together, and curiously apart as well.
All of these things boil together to form either a highly contentious or bonding unity across a wide area of people. Our compulsion to express the opinions we’ve formed around a crisis drives us towards the easiest of all avenues – blogging. We want to reach out across the world and let it be known how we feel on an unfolding topic. Partly to fulfill our own personal need to be heard, but because a crisis possesses the appearance that decisive action must be taken. And as a survival technique, we feel driven to herd as many others into out “decision” camp.
This is evident in the explosion of partisan, illogical political blogs that have sprung up as the Presidential election began and is reaching it’s peak. In a sense, surrounded by numerous peripheral crisis’, the election has become the personification of their collective events. Blogging has become the irrational mouthpiece for citizen politics. Your either on this side or that. Join us or the crisis we are faced with will devour us.
I am sure that once the election is over, the next president has been inaugurated, and passed his first 100 days in office, the blogging world will turn to the next major crisis. The economy is a potential target if it devolves into a depression. In short, the common blogger is drawn to the next crisis like a sheep offering little in the way of analysis, and instead just shouting from the bully pulpit.
The contexual success of a democracies foreign policy is directly related to the relationship between pressure and tolerance. Pressure defined as the degree of force with which the policy nation implements it’s foreign policy towards a target nation, and tolerance as the threshold at which the target nation can no longer bear the pressure of force applied by the policy nation. A successful foreign policy must discover the appropriate balance between both force and tolerance as the two act are reciprocating elements. An excess in force causes an equal reaction in tolerance and vice versa.
There are two distinct areas in which foreign policy is applied which proposes an inverse relationship between force and tolerance. The first area is force aggression(FA). The second is force detachment(FD). Specifically, the first domain encompasses all policy implementations that include the use of military force, where as the second precludes the use of military force and profits from the implementation of such techniques as diplomacy, economic sanctions, ect.
The relationship between force and tolerance reciprocates symetrically between FA and FD. Under FA, the amount of force applied by the target nation must exceed the tolerance of the target nation in order to be successful. Conversely, with FD foreign policy the level of force dedicated must not exceed the tolerance threshold of the target nation to succeed. To illustrate clearly the application of both FA and FD foreign policy it would be prudent to utilize real world examples.
The Iraq War would a clear and current example of FA foreign policy in action. It is appropriate to distinguish that the Iraq War contains both FA and FD policy apparatus’. Do not confuse the two areas. For the moment, only the military side of the equation is of interest. It is also of note that the Iraq War can be divided into two discrete FA forms.
At the outset, the United States was faced with the defeat of the Iraq Army. The level of force necessary in order to succeed was relatively tangible. When engaged against a foreign government, it is a calculable solution. The foreign policy maker can account for the opposing army, infrastructure, and government machine of the target nation. These can be assigned a relatively accurate numerical value, and can then be evaluated to determine the required force application for success. Military planners can diagnos how many troops will be needed, what primary infrastructure points are most vital, and target regional government installations.
It is the nature of conventional warfare that both sides possess a rigorous assessment of their enemy. The transparent nature of governments allow for this luxury. With this lucid vision, the United States applied an amount of force against the Iraq government and military that far exceeded their threshold for tolerance, and scored a decisive defeat of the Iraq military alongside the toppling of the Iraq government.
Following the success of the initial FA foreign policy, it shifted towards fighting a guerrilla enemy. An enemy hidden from concrete intelligence by the opaque cloud provided by disorganization. The United States government was unable to decode precise numbers, locations, and identities of the enemy they faced. Subsequently, it made it difficult to assess the needed amount of force to exceed the tolerance level the enemy. The war evolved into a best guess scenario for the US military and, ultimately, the pending result of the US foreign policy.
Troop levels fluctuated against the varying estimations of the enemy being engaged. A larger problem was the point of application in force levels. Determining where to strike with the available force posed a constant and permanent problem. Within the overall success of a foreign policy, lies these two elements of force application – quantity and location. How much force and where to apply said force become the two questions.
In light of fragmented intelligence and mounting frustration, the US military focused their efforts on increasing the quantity of force applied. This resulted in the infamous surge. If one force is unable to preempt the enemy tolerance level, then in order to succeed a disproportionate level of applied force is necessary. The underlying premise is quite simple – if you are unable to know which points to apply force levels in a given area, the solution is to raise your force levels to allow more points in the area to apply said force to.
An example of the inverse relationship between force and tolerance in FD foreign policy can be found in the approach the United States utilized against North Korea. In respect to force, the US has employed a combination of diplomatic cessation and economic sanctions. The foreign policy goal being the reduction and dismantling of the North Korean nuclear armament. At first, it would seem that the goal is to eventually break North Korea to submit to US demands, ergo the force of diplomacy and sanctions to exceed the North Koreans tolerance to those consequences.
However, the true purpose of the US policy, and any FD foreign policy, is to employ the target nation to assess the implications of the expected consequences, and to then grade the qualitative effects against their tolerance level. In other words, the US wants to put the North Koreans into a decision – are the losses predicted by the end to diplomatic relations and economic sanctions more or less then what the North Koreans are willing to tolerate?
An important correlative element in FD foreign policy demonstrates the intent to not exceed tolerance levels is the practice of incentive allusion. In the case of the North Koreans, the US offered up increased oil exports and the construction of nuclear power plants. In conjunction with the applied force, these foreign policy carrots act as self imposed force cap on the foreign policy maker. The US cannot afford to send North Korea spiralling into an economic blackhole i.e. to willing exceed their tolerance level. Rehibilitation is the end goal, and a policy nation does not willing choose to destroy another in FD foreign policy. As such, these incentives provide the target nation reasons to not exceed their tolerance levels and devolve into chaos.
There is a curious caveat to both FA and FD foreign policy, more so towards FA. That is that in order to be successful, both must not exceed the tolerance levels of the policy nations domestic populace. This is evident in wars. A populace that contains widespread dissent towards a war proportionally decreases the likehood that foreign policy will succeed. This is because with the growth in domestic disapproval, the ability for the policy nation to apply adequate force levels diminishes.
As an addedum, it can be said that in evaluating a foreign policy the employing nation must consider equally the tolerance level of its populace and the target nation in order to determine the proper amount of force to be applied. Force and tolerance are the two key integral components in any foreign policy, and will conclude as to it’s success or failure.
The Buffalo Sabres kick off their 08-09 season tonight against Montreal, and with each new season brings a new sense of hope. That is one of the magical elements fans find within sports. Every year hope springs anew. The anticipation is endless. The possibilities infinite.
More times then not, as a season gets underway and as the games pass, that hope turns into a sobering reality. Like any fan, I have high hopes for the Sabres season. A young team takes the ice taking with them a few new players and a years worth of experience to improve on last season.
Sports, in this respect, if often analogous to life. We find motivation in hope. As fans we cheer until our lungs burn. In life, we dream of a better life. But there is one difference. In life, hope doesn’t promise to renew annually. Nor is it quite so susceptible to the realization that hope is just a dream.
We take the hope for a better life and cling to it. There is no win or loss column to go by. In sports, it’s easy to look at the standing, see your team buried at the bottom, and just look to next year. However, in life we have to fight against giving up because we have no guareentee that hope will revisit us anytime soon. Losing hope, in life, is crushing to the human spirit. It’s can be debilitating. Losing hope, in sports, holds an assurance that it will return to hold the promise of something better.
As a human being clinging to hope for a better life, for something I dream of, the arrival of another Sabres hockey season could not come at a better time. And I think that is one of the ultimate draws of sports. It helps us forget about our dashed hopes and dreams.