Monday, November 28, 2011

Week of 11/28/2011

Super-Fail By Design
– by David Matthews 2


That’s what the all-mighty “Super-Congress” has been forced to admit and adjourn without doing what it originally said it was supposed to. It was supposed to whip Congress into shape and come up with ways to trim the federal budget, bypassing the usual games played by Senators and Congressmen of secret holds and secretly-inserted “earmarks” and filibusters. And to give this “Super-Congress” some teeth, they threw in a poison pill codicil that says that if the “Super-Congress” cannot come to terms, that an automatic across-the-board cut would devastate federal programs right and left. Nothing would be spared. Every pork program would be on the line.

Only now, this past week, after all that bluster about “bipartisan cooperation”, we have the “Super-Congress” , now being referred to as just a “super-committee”, admitting that it can never come to terms on how to deal with its own reckless spending ways. Oh, and that poison pill codicil? Well they’re going to find ways to get around that. Plus President Obama has said he will veto that poison pill if it comes to his desk.

And thus the reign of the “Super-Congress” comes to an end, not with a bang but with a whimper. The all-mighty deal that nobody supposedly wanted but everyone ended up with in order to sustain an artificial debt ceiling has been broken. The “truce” is dead. Détente has ended. It’s time for teeth-gnashing and chest-pounding and crocodile tears from self-important morons just in time for the 2012 Presidential Election season!

Why should we be surprised?

Seriously, why should any of us be surprised that this so-called “Super-Congress” would fall through?

First of all, all of the GOP members of this “Super-Congress” were hand-picked cronies from Grover Norquist’s K-Street PAC. They all promised to their dying breath that they would never, under any circumstances whatsoever, even if the world were to come to a painful end without it, do anything that would be considered a tax increase. In other words, if a limited-time tax break were to expire as designed, that’s considered a tax increase. If you remove an exception or exemption, that’s considered a tax increase. Their tax extremist mindset is so strict that if Wal-Mart doesn’t honor a competitor’s coupon, then that can be considered a tax increase.

This guarantees that there is only one agenda for this “Super-Congress” to take, and that is slashing government spending and government programs. Under normal circumstances, this is a good challenge to have. But these are not normal times.

Despite the lies being spun by the media and by those in Washington, the whole world is still in the grip of the Great Recession. We have whole nations on the brink of collapse right now, and the perpetrators of our collective misery are being allowed to get away with their criminal acts. As long as we are in that economic death spiral, anything to try to get us out of this Raubwirtschaft mindset will involve government funding at some level, because the business world, quite simply, refuses to do their part. And that, in and of itself, defies conservative thinking.

Plus the conservatives are far from being the budgetary hawks that they fraudulently claim to be. Sure they’ll talk tough about waste, and they’ll nitpick at every program they personally don’t benefit from. But they also know that they have a war fetish to satisfy. The march to fascism requires continued war, and conservatives still have plenty of countries around the world to declare war on. But they cannot scream until they are blue in the face about deficit spending and then take a breath and then scream equally loud about wanting a blank check for Homeland Security and a blank check for the War on Bad Guys Who Aren’t Christians and a blank check for the War on Drugs Not Sponsored By Big Pharma and a blank check for the War on Anything That Offends Christian Groups. That kind of hypocrisy may work inside the Washington beltway, but for those of us who have to live in the real world, that’s called “sending mixed messages”.

But even putting that aside, there is the very idea of a so-called “Super-Congress” (as it was called then), or a “Super-Committee” (as it is called today), or whatever the buzzword for it tomorrow will be. The very thought of a group making the big decisions for the rest of Congress, bypassing all the ego-driven self-serving tricks that Congress incorporates into every action today, given the power to control taxes and spending? That’s sacrilege in their putrid and corrupt minds! That’s like asking them to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or giving the President real line-item veto power. Their heads would implode before they allow that to happen!

Let’s get brutally honest here… this whole charade of a “Super-Congress” was designed to fail! It was crafted by power-mad members of the GOP and incompetent Democrats to give all the appearances of bipartisan co-operation while their selections made it clear that there would be no co-operation. All it did was to stall the drama for a few more weeks.

The GOP and the Obama Fail painted themselves into a nasty political corner with the whole artificial “debt ceiling crisis”, and they needed a way out, so that’s what they came up with. It was a scam from the beginning. It’s clear through their actions that they had no intention of really dealing with the budget; they just wanted the excuse to complain about it without the pressure of actually producing anything.

The only thing more insulting is the knowledge that this is precisely what the voters voted for. As long as they continue to vote for either the GOP or the Democrats, as long as they listen to the lies that those are the two options when their own ballots prove otherwise, then this is precisely what they will end up getting. As long as they continue to delude themselves into thinking someone else’s incumbent is the problem but never their own, then this is precisely what they will end up getting.

Ultimately the failure is ours. We voted for this in previous elections, and we will probably vote for this again in next year’s election. We got precisely the government we voted for.

But it isn’t a failure for everyone. It certainly isn’t a failure for either the career politicians or for K-Street crowd like those represented by Mr. Norquist. They’re the ones unfurling the “Mission Accomplished” banner and are eagerly awaiting the next artificial crisis to burden the rest of us with.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week of 11/21/2011

Some Lessons In Life
– by David Matthews 2

As of the posting of this column, I’ll be 45.

Not forty and not fifty; right smack there in the middle. Right at the age for people to send me junk about home mortgages, but not yet old enough to get the junk about reverse-mortgages.

I don’t get too many chances to do an actual “birthday column”, so I figured now would be a good time to share with you some simple things that I’ve learned so far. These are little things that I’ve picked up about this messed-up reality that we live in, and some of them have gone unnoticed, and thus unheeded.

Now let’s get brutally honest here… I’m not going to claim to be an expert in life… because if I was, then a lot more people would be reading this column and you’d be hearing about me in larger online circles. But I’d like to think that at some point in the near future, more people would hear what I have to say, so it’s best to get these out of the way now, when the time is right, and then five or ten years down the line you guys can say “Yeah, I remember this… why didn’t we listen to him back then?” (Yes, I know it’s delusional at this point, but, hey, so is hoping that anything resembling my birthday wishes come true.)

So here goes…

Saying something a million times does not make it true. It just makes you stubborn… or obsessed… or stupid, or even all of the above. Or, worse yet, the universe will actually conspire to ensure that it will never, ever, ever happen simply because you are saying it over and over and over again. The universe is like that… but that’s for a later point.

Think about it: you have people in this world that proclaim to their dying breath that a document called “The Bible”, which has been written and re-written and re-interpreted and re-written and re-interpreted countless times over the centuries, is somehow “eternal and unchanging”. I’m sorry, but if you’re reading that thing in modern-day English, then you cannot claim that it is “eternal and unchanging”. And if you’ve ever played the team-building game called “Switchboard”, then you know how easy it is for mere mortals to get the spoken word wrong, never mind the supposed word of a deity.

It’s all guesswork! Sorry, but it is. Doctors, teachers, scientists, computer programmers, auto mechanics, economists, no matter how many degrees they have, no matter how much they know, it’s still all guesswork for them. They’re not all-seeing or all-knowing. When you go to them for a problem, it’s still all guesswork. They only difference is that they know more about the subject than most other people, so they have a better chance of guessing right. That’s all that it means. I’ve guess right more times than the so-called “economic experts” these past few decades. That doesn’t mean I know something they don’t. It just means my guesses have been more accurate than theirs.

I can summarize the entire TV series “House” for you… and bear in mind that I really like this series, so what I’m saying is not done in spite. Here it is: problem, title credits, guess, fail, guess, fail, guess, fail, guess, fail, forgot something, guess, succeed, end credits. Strip away the characters and the rotating patient list and that’s what you get. You get a series of guesses before someone guesses correctly, and often it’s because of something that is forgotten or was kept a secret. The mystery is always in trying to figure out what that “something” is.

And isn’t it funny that these TV doctors instantly know every possible disease and ailment and genetic defect on the spot, no matter how obscure it is? How often do you see them cracking open a medical journal? I know, I know… too boring. They’d rather show House’s deadpan humor at telling other patients that they’re not really sick but they should change some part of their lives or stop having affairs while he’s popping pain pills like Tic-Tacs.

Numbers do not make crazy things sane! How is it that Reverend Billy-Ray Bob of the Republic Trailer Park can be dismissed as a flake if he says that he gets regular messages from God, but that Presidential contender William Raymond Robert of the “Republican” Party is seen as “sane” when he makes the same claim? When has sanity become something defined by TV-Q and how many Twitter followers and Facebook “likes” someone has? If Trailer-Park Billy is Koo-Koo for Cocoa-Puffs, then so must GOP Billy.

In fact, I will come out and say that numbers make crazy people even more dangerous. Look at what happened with Jonestown if you don’t believe me. Do you really want to compound that level of crazy with the power to nuke this world into a cinder? No? Then stop treating it a prerequisite for the Oval Office!

Yes “it” really can happen “there”! I don’t know how many times I have to hear some suburbanite cry out that a certain kind of crime is “not supposed to happen” there. Security gates and video cameras do not keep out every crime. I have seen people come up with ways to bypass them simply because they’re an “inconvenience”. And I also know that maintenance people that don’t care about fixing these kinds of things until after “the unthinkable” happens; no matter how many times someone complains about them.

It can happen, it does happen, and the only thing that separates your neighborhood and “those places” is that the people that live in “those places” aren’t operating in a constant delusional state. And whatever you do, please stop bringing it up in the media, because whether you know it or not, you’re actually continuing the myth that there really is “someplace” where “it” can never really happen.

That leads me to the next one….

There is no “bottom level” of human depravity. There is a video series I watch every week over at called “What The (F-word) Is Wrong With You”. The guy that hosts it gets a regular supply of news stories of human stupidity and depravity that he shares with his listeners/viewers. Many involve the State of Florida and for some reason he cannot have a week’s worth of stories that does not involve someone getting naked and arrested. You watch that series after a few weeks and you’ll realize that if someone can think “it”, then “it” will be ingested, injected, incinerated, defecated on, or fornicated upon at some point. And not in that order, either.

And speaking of a lack of “bottom”…

Hypocrisy knows no bounds! There is a reason why hypocrisy is so flagrant in society… and that is because nobody gets punished for committing it! There are no real consequences for being a hypocrite! Just look at Newt Gingrich if you don’t believe me. He’s never had to account for his hypocrisy. He’s even boasted, according to one of his ex-wives, that it “doesn’t even matter” that he’s a hypocrite.

We constantly talk about ethics and morals, and yet nobody wants to hold a hypocrite to account for their double-standard. They should lose all credibility in common discourse, removed from the media’s rolodex. Instead, people like Gingrich are given fat contracts with cable news channels and are touted as White House contenders. And all the while they complain about ethics and morals in society, the very two things they have demonstrated to lack themselves.

And that leads me to…

There is such a thing as luck. The person that doesn’t have luck on their side knows that it exists, while the person that has it will adamantly refuse to admit its very existence, never mind its essential importance in their own success. Yes, it is the most common case of hypocrisy in human discourse.

There are people today that are successful despite their talents, despite their skills, and despite their contacts. They will tell you that they were simply at the right place at the right time. But they will bristle at the very suggestion that luck had “anything to do” with it. Hypocrites!

Luck does play a role in this world. It provides the opportunity for people to either succeed or fail. Good luck provides that opportunity. It was how an upstart computer service like America Online was able to buy up Time Warner in the late 1990’s in a deal that had shocked the world. Luck gave Steve Case the opportunity to use his company’s wealth in a big way. From that point on, though, it was on his company to keep Time Warner going, and that’s where it failed.

Think about all of the relationships that got started from mere happenstance. Good luck provides opportunities such as those. Now look at the people who find “the person of their dreams” and then realize that relationship can never happen because they met that person too late. That, too, is a matter of luck; just not the good kind.

And that brings me to the last lesson for now…

The Universe is cruel and malicious. I’ve gone beyond complaining about it at this point. Even with the grace of angels and the best laid plans of mice and men, this universe has demonstrated to me that it has an unending supply of misery to heap on people, especially when those people can afford it the least.

It is the malicious nature of the universe that can allow for a country like Japan to get hit with an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear meltdown, one after the other, while still trying to recover from the Great Recession. Only a cruel universe can create the circumstances for liars and thieves to propel themselves beyond normal accountability, to tempt people with dreams of happiness and then systematically turn those dreams into nightmares, and to ruin the lives of millions so that a slim minority can pompously proclaim themselves to be “risk-takers” when they risk nothing themselves.

Yes, there is plenty of misery and despair that is committed by human hands. The problem is that the universe does not help when it just piles on that misery and despair with more and more of it, and all the while teasing them with dreams of a future they will never have.

Oh and you know how some people claim that “God answers all prayers and sometimes the answer is ‘no’”? Well that’s total BS, because nobody asks a question where the answer is not only “no” but then the person asking it is penalized with even more misery. Plus you automatically forfeit any claim that said deity is “good” when it pulls that kind of stunt.

But, like I said, I’m beyond complaining about it at this point. This is reality. Accept it as you wish, and consider yourself blessed if you have the luxury of denying it. The malicious nature of this universe does not care either way.

And who knows? Maybe when my next birthday comes around, I’ll be given better life-lessons. One can still dream…

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week of 11/14/2011

Capitalism, You Say? The Hell It Is, I Say!
– by David Matthews 2

In his documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story”, Michael Moore starts off by explaining the myth of “capitalism” and how in the 1950’s it was touted as the end-all-be-all for America. It’s supposedly why the United States is so great in the world. It’s why we won World War II and why we would supposedly win the Cold War against the “evil communist threat”.

Of course in the 1940’s and 50’s we were busy giving George Orwell real-life material for his cautionary tales of creeping despotism, so it should be to no surprise that we would start to spin a yarn of mythic propaganda about what who we are and what we do. We did it with the myth of “democracy”, and we did it with the myth about “capitalism”.

But just like it was easier to tell impressionable youths and ignorant foreigners that America is a “democracy” instead of a representative republic with a democratic framework, so too was it easier to spin the tale that our economic system is “free-market capitalism” than what it really was, never mind what it has become today. And make no mistake; to call what we are in right now “capitalism” does the very idea a phenomenal disservice.

America has never really supported a true “free market” system. There has always been some measure of control put in to restrict the marketplace. Sometimes those restrictions are done for some social protection, but other times those restrictions are imposed to preserve the dominance of other businesses. If America was truly in a “free market capitalistic” system, for instance, then one could go to any of the various empty stores in town and turn it into a strip club, or a bordello, or just turn it into apartments for people to live in. But one can point to any number of zoning laws or building restrictions to show how such ideas are just not possible in the current “not-so-free market” system.

At best we’ve existed in a state-controlled system, or even a “crony capitalistic” system. One where rules are put in place to protect certain businesses both from competition and from their own failures. The very idea that any business, banking or otherwise, could be deemed “too big to fail” is proof that there is nothing “free” about this “market”.

At the heart of capitalism is a simple idea of supply-and-demand and the balance that is reached between them. Currency is exchanged for goods and services based on a price determined by the cost to make or provide said goods and services and the demand of the marketplace on the current supply. In order to make a profit under this premise, you simply had to have revenue from said sales outweigh costs, and that came from increasing demand, often by improving quality, and/or cutting costs of production. It’s a relatively simple definition, right?

So where is it in the definition of capitalism that says that prices for goods and/or services can be determined separate from either supply or demand?

For instance, the price of gasoline traditionally was determined by the costs of extracting the oil, refining it, transporting it, and then storing it, plus some added taxes thrown in. Today, that price is supposedly determined not on the actual costs involved in turning oil into gasoline, or in the current demand for that gasoline, but on some hypothetical “future expectation” of both supply and demand. In other words, the price you are paying for the gasoline today is based on some future expectations of costs. It’s like famed Popeye character Wimpy paying for a hamburger today using Tuesday’s prices of next year. That flies in the face of the whole idea of supply-and-demand since you can make up any number you wish and claim that it’s the “expected future costs” of production and demand. And given how those “expected” prices fluctuate not only on a day-to-day basis, but even on an hour-to-hour basis, you have to seriously question the sanity of those “futurists”.

That is, of course, presuming that this is the real explanation for the costs and not just there to falsely justify self-serving greed.

They’re not the only ones doing it, though. Insurance providers do the same thing. They supposedly set the policy rates for their customers based on expected costs of coverage. In theory, if you don’t need their services frequently, then you should be able to keep coverage costs low. So how is it that people who are otherwise healthy be forced to pay more in coverage over some future expectation of health costs? That is precisely what providers are doing in advance of expected federal laws and regulations designed to curb their more abusive practices. We’re talking legislation that could very easily be rendered unconstitutional by the court system before the brunt of it can take effect, but the insurance companies are already forcing customers to pay now for some perceived future shortfall in their revenue.

Again, where is the balance between “supply and demand” here? Both factors are now fictional, but the applications have real-world and real-time consequences.

But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Thanks to companies such as Enron, at least until their collapse, a “new” business model began to take shape. A business model that says that a company doesn’t need to adhere to the rules of “supply and demand” in order to make a profit. A business model that says that a company can still make a profit with a generally stagnant customer base through a little “creative accounting”. Money can be shuffled around, with “interest charged” no less, to give the illusion of profit.

And if all else fails, the “new” business model says that companies are perfectly fine to start fleecing their own customers. So what was once provided as a “convenience” is now a fee that is automatically charged whether you wanted it or not.

Airlines do it. Banks do it. Phone and cable companies do it. Auto dealers do it. Major stores do it. It’s a little here and a little there. It’s a “convenience charge”. It’s a “public service charge”.

Worse yet is when those same banks then get into sweetheart deals with local governments to administer social programs like support payments. The people are forced to use the bank-issued card, and with those cards come draconian rules, such as only using that bank’s ATM a certain number of times before being hit with fees. Use a teller to speak with a human being? That’s another fee. Bear in mind that this is happening to people who have absolutely no say whatsoever on the matter. If you’re on disability, if you’re getting unemployment payments or support payments through this service, you are literally enslaved to the bank and to their rules.

Then, of course, we have the “mistakes”, as in the water or electric meter that got “read wrong”, or the surprise “roaming charge” on the cellphone. “Mistakes” that are painfully easy to make but are almost impossible to correct. The victims are expected to simply pay for these “mistakes”.

The personal information and spending habits of a company’s clients are sold to “preferred partners”, who then pepper them with telephone calls. Buy a hammer at a hardware store and five different companies from across the country will later call you at home trying to sell you a new water heater. How did they get your phone number? You gave it to the hardware store as part of their “preferred customer” program. Or the bank holding the credit card you used sold it to them.

Now we have the ultimate of insults… wholesale fraud and theft-by-taking. First it was the banks with the Russian Roulette mortgage changes, now it’s out-and-out theft by the “buy here pay here” car leases. Financial institutions that initially got bailed out by the federal government are now engaging in programs that facilitate fraud and theft. Out-and-out crimes that are allowed to happen by our own government.

Meanwhile, at the places of manufacturing these goods and services, executives are using liberalized trading practices to outsource their workforce, often overseas to societies with infinitely cheaper costs of living, or else to bring in thousands of people from those other nations through work visas, which they hoarded like Beanie Babies. Those without work have to compete for the miniscule jobs that remain. And while this is going on, corporations are enjoying record profits, again divorced from the realities of the current economy. Corporate executives are enjoying benefits and bonuses higher than before, and they are arrogantly flaunting this fact to those that have been suffering for it.

Alone, each of these actions seem almost negligible in society. Minor “blemishes” to be “corrected” at the leisure of the marketplace. But when seen as a part of the larger picture, they expose this “new” business mindset, and it is not “new”. The mindset actually pre-dates capitalism itself.

Because let’s get brutally honest here… the predatory business mindset being imposed on America today is one of a “Plunder Economy”.

A plunder economy, or Raubwirtschaft, is based on the ancient days when kingdoms and empires were measured not just in their culture, but in their conquests of other lands. They would conquer a land, defeat their armies, steal anything of wealth or value, and then enslave their people. Even centuries later, the mindset never really went away. The late Saddam Hussein did this in 1990 when his forces in Iraq invaded Kuwait. He conquered the land, pilfered anything of value, and claimed the land as his own using ancient documents from the Ottoman Empire for justification.

Today this same mindset is being imposed on the American people, dressed up and paraded about by talk radio and cable news personalities under the skin of “capitalism”. It is tolerated and ignored by our governments, especially on the national level, because the perpetrators of this crime against civilization are simply “too big for jail”. They would rather strike deals and partnerships with the perpetrators, hoping that what it going on is just a temporary phase in troubled economic times.

They forget their own history.

When the American colonists were told that their sole purpose of existence was to support and sustain the British Empire, they rebelled. When French citizens were told that the sole purpose of their own existence was to sustain the nobles, they revolted and executed the nobles. When Russian citizens were told both in 1917 and in 1991 that their sole purpose of existence was to sustain the ruling government, they revolted and the government collapsed.

Today the American people are being told that their sole purpose of existence is to sustain the institutions that have a chokehold on our economy. This is being sold to them as a “convenience”, wrapped up in the dead skin that they call “capitalism”, and informed in no uncertain terms that there is nothing at all that they can do about it other than to just lay back and try to enjoy the experience.

Maybe there is little that can be done about it right now. Maybe the political and social will is simply not there. But at the very least these perpetrators and their myrmidons in the media should be honest about what they are doing and stop pretending that this is “capitalism”, never mind a “free market” one. This is plunder, plain and simple. They would have a lot to answer for should we end up in a future environment where real capitalism thrives.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week of 11/07/2011

Some Simple Advice for the GOP White House Wannabes
– by David Matthews 2

Attention GOP contenders for the White House and their advisers, consultants, spin doctors, and whomever else may be reading this…

I’ve been keeping an eye on the White House race for quite a few decades now, and I’ve noticed that there are a few mistakes that are made rather frequently by candidates in these past few elections. These are mistake that can be easily remedied now, before you go full-blown into the 2012 primary and caucus season and make fools of yourselves.

Now I know that I’m not a so-called “political expert”. I haven’t spent my time and millions of someone else’s money trying to make grifters and shysters look like Arthurian Knights of the Round Table, and considering how much time and money is wasted on these quests, maybe you should be paying more attention to the people who don’t do that sort of stuff for a living.

So if you’re Internet-savvy enough to come across this article (or have someone on your staff that is), you may want to take some of this advice to heart.

The first advice I have is simple… don’t bet the farm on New Hampshire and Iowa.

Yes I know the myth is that the person who wins those first primaries and caucuses supposedly wins the White House. But have they really done that of late? Pat Buchannan won the New Hampshire primary in 1996 only to get beat out at the Convention by Senator Bob Dole. Senator John McCain won New Hampshire in 2000, but it wasn’t his name in the “win” column that was being contested in Florida that following December, was it? No, it was George W. Bush that went on to become President.

Okay, so what happens if you put every bit of campaign time and effort and money into New Hampshire and Iowa and you don’t win? Odds are, those that play that game will be the first ones to drop out of the race. And yes, we’ve all see that happen on more than one occasion.

Treat this as a marathon, not as a sprint. If you can’t be there for the long haul, state-by-state, from Iowa to the national convention, then you’re just wasting your time and a lot of people’s money.

The second advice goes along the same lines: everything going on right now until January does not count!

You know all of those polls that are out there right now telling people who is the supposed “front runner”? That’s nothing more than fantasy league posturing from the media. Yes, it’s nice to know that “X percent of likely voters” would support you, but that doesn’t mean that they will actually be voting on that day.

Remember former Governor Howard Dean? He was the big odds-on favorite in the fantasy leagues back in 2004. And then what happened when people started showing up for the caucuses and primaries? Suddenly he wasn’t “the favorite” anymore. And that was even before the “Dean Scream” went viral. Ditto with Congressman Ron Paul, who is also on the ballots right now. Big winner in the “fantasy league”, just not so big in the real one.

The only “polls” that really matter here are the election ones. Everything else is propaganda.

Next… get your skeletons in order!

Herman Cain is finding out the hard way that even the most seemingly inconsequential thing in your past will come back to haunt you. Plus you’re dealing with people with money, and that money can find any kind of skeleton that you thought was locked away and forgotten. Don’t think for a moment that this stuff can’t be dug up and used against you. Know that it will, period. Get your story straight before then and you won’t get caught up inventing three different accounts of the same incident. Again, just ask Mister Cain about that if you don’t believe me.

And along the same lines… there is no honor among candidates!

Sure everyone there can be all smiles and handshakes in front of the cameras. But if you’re on record saying that “God” told you to run and there are two other people saying the same thing, then either “God” is lying to at least two of you, or at least one of that three are running a scam and they (or you) don’t want to have the other two ruining it.

That means that they will do anything to bring you down. They will find whatever skeletons are in your closet and leak them. They will find any kind of rumor about you and twist it around to make you look like the biggest scum in politics.

Who do you think originated all the rumors about then-candidate Barack Obama back in 2008? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the GOP. They didn’t consider him to be a viable candidate back then.

This one is rather important… don’t blame the media or the Internet for your mistakes!

Think of the insanity involved with appealing to people that have been conditioned like Pavlovian dogs to despise the media, to call them names like “Lame-stream” and “leftist media” and “the liberal media”, to then complain about how you’re getting portrayed by that same media. You created the enemy, so you forfeit any right to complain if they treat you accordingly.

Remember Linda Tripp, witness to the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal? Every time her still photo was used in the media, it was a picture of her looking like she was about ready to throw up. In contrast, Clinton and Lewinsky were usually seen either smiling or defiant in their still photos. Yes, the subtle digs are there. There is no denying it. So why complain when those same tactics are used against you?

And as for the Internet, well it’s an equal-opportunity exploiter. Just check out if you don’t believe me. Dean’s legendary “Dean Scream” was used by both supporters and opponents. So if you don’t like how YouTube makes you look like a dumbass, have your supporters come up with better material. Troll around the colleges and you should find plenty of eager Internet-savvy voulenteers.

And finally, and this one is focused more towards the bosses and consultants than to the candidates… don’t shop bad product!

What bothered me about the political ascension of former Governor Sarah Palin wasn’t really the Orwellian-like propaganda promoting her to be the “perfect candidate”. It was the eventual revelation that people were actually shopping her name around to be a possible running mate months before the decision was made! With all of the fumbles and flubs that really dragged her down, like what sort of newspapers she reads regularly, it would have been understandable if she was selected out-of-the-blue and then say that the “evil leftist media” ambushed her. But if you’re shopping that candidate around for a running mate position, then that means there’s plenty of time to get that candidate prepared for these kinds of questions. In other words, Palin’s people were shopping bad product.

Let’s get brutally honest here… there’s are several reasons why a so-called “perfect candidate” would not run for that higher position, and one of those reasons is that they’re just not ready for the big leagues. Look at former Senator Fred Thompson if you don’t believe me. He’s a very good actor. He’s a pitchman for gold merchants. But when brought in at the last minute as the so-called “perfect candidate” in the 2008 Presidential race, he failed. He became a political speed-bump.

That’s why New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has wisely said “no” to doing the same thing this time around, and why Texas Governor Rick Perry may eventually regret saying “yes”. Stop looking for a messiah and start looking for someone who is ready.

Of course I have no illusions that these simple pieces of advice will have any kind of traction outside of the blogosphere and social networks. But maybe somewhere along the line, some political consultant in the near future will Google this article and read it and say “gee… why didn’t he get paid the big bucks back then? Maybe then we wouldn’t be dealing with President Cletus ‘Nuke-Em’ Boscoe today.”