• I did not vote for a candidate for president. I’m sorry.

    November 6, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    I’m really sorry, but I did not vote for a candidate for president. Whatever bad comes of this election, I guess you can blame it on me. But I don’t think I’m alone.

    I couldn’t vote for Romney. He is a guy who made money destroying America. He started a firm whose only purpose was to buy other companies and squeeze them. It had a nice name, dividend recapitalization, and like the shell game it was, you had to watch closely or you’d be broke before you figured it out. Say you are the We Meant Well Company, on hard times, but still make things, employ people and have assets like land and machinery. A venture firm comes along, figures the We Meant Well Company is worth $100 million. The firm invests say $10 million of its own money, and buys the rest with money borrowed against the value of the We Meant Well Company as collateral.

    BANG! The We Meant Well Company now is in debt to who-knows-who for $90 million. The venture firm, which owns it based on the borrowed money, starts having the We Meant Well Company pay it out a management fee while at the same time laying off workers to raise the cash for the fee. The venture ain’t done, though. It has the We Meant Well Company issue stock to the venture firm, then declare a dividend to be paid to itself. Where’s that dividend money come from? More debt for the corporate entity of the We Meant Well Company. If the We Meant Well Company’s managers and board members start complaining, well, that venture firm simply cuts them in on the deal, with bonuses and buyouts and severance packages your dad never got. It is like using someone else’s credit card for a cash advance for yourself.

    Once the vultures are done picking the bones, the We Meant Well Company dies in bankruptcy. The bank that made the initial loans loses money, sure, but passes that on as a cost of business risk to its own customers if the government isn’t rushing in with a bailout to protect the economy or some such too-big-to-fail bull. The government actually incentivizes this kind of deal making. The federal tax code allows the venture company to deduct their debt interest, so they pay little to no tax, all supposedly to encourage them to invest more in this sleazy cycle while pretending to create jobs. Romney helped change us from a place that made things—radiators, cash registers, gaskets, ball bearings, TVs– into a place that just makes deals. Making things creates jobs and jobs create broad prosperity. Making deals just creates wealth for the dealers. You might as well just write-in “Goldman Sachs” and cut out the middle man.

    As for Obama, I cannot vote for someone who institutionalized the murder of American citizens based on His decision that they must die by drone (as terrorists, or whatever else is justified), and then rationalized it as “justice being done.” I voted for him in 2008 in large part because he said he opposed indefinite detention without trial and would close Guantanamo. He did not, and expanded the secret national security state. He never sought resolution about America’s horrific policy of torture, never mind justice. Bradley Manning still has not had a trial. Obama makes war around the world in an ever-expanding ring of fire.

    Such things matter. If you read the dialogue among the Founders, one of the things they feared most for the nation was an omnipotent leader, a king they said because they did not know the word dictator. A president who kills on his own decisions cannot be my America. The potential damage to the social agenda of another Republican president bothers the hell out of me, though at the same time I am reminded that Obama did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or do anything on immigration. I grew weary of arguments that said “Vote Obama so we don’t get Romney.” I want my vote to be an act of conscience, a measure of support and not something as weak as better than the alternative. I wish I could vote for someone.

    I understand about third party candidates, but at this point that is just a feel-good-about-myself symbolic gesture, and I don’t really feel good about things right now.

    When I speak publicly about my book We Meant Well and the failure of reconstruction and nation building, there is usually an older man in the crowd who will bring up the successes of the Marshall Plan, and ask me why that succeeded where we failed so completely and conclusively in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of historical factors, but one of the biggest single issues is that a man like George Marshall was not in charge in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, men like Marshall simply do not exist in high positions in government anymore. Instead of selfless public servants who care about our country, we instead find a government, Republicans and Democrats equally, full of self-serving men and women who exist only as appetite. They see “public service” only as a stepping stone for their own advancement, either in terms of money, power, prestige or all of the above. The most significant cause they support is their own. They are cynical about it, openly mocking the democratic process, buried in mistruths, holding allegiance more to party and self than nation, and are supported by patrons who have so, so much money already but somehow still want more. My politics is no longer about left or right anymore, it’s about up and down.

    So I did not vote for a presidential candidate this year, the first time I did not in the nine presidential elections I have been eligible to vote in. I did vote in this election by the way, just not for president. So it’s not as if I have dishonored the sacrifices of those who protected my right to vote. It’s just that I have a conscience and I am writing about my dilemma in honoring it. You’d think people would admire that as a fundamental requirement for an effective democracy rather than dismissing it out of hand or claiming it is wrong.

    I never thought it would come to this. I’m sorry.




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  • Recent Comments

    • jim hruska said...

      1

      PVB,
      I do not, and will not vote until the system gives me a realistic alternative to war.
      Both parties are jingoistic and i won’t play their simplistic game.
      jim hruska

      11/6/12 2:24 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Glad you feel so strongly about the dismal State of our foreign affairs. When can we expect the PVB run for public office campaign to begin?

      11/6/12 2:25 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      3

      Congratulations Peter. Welcome to the ranks of Americans who see this charade for what it is, and who refuse to give legitimacy to a Cartel of depraved sub human murderers, who will continue to destroy America from within.

      It’s only a matter of time before a nuanced set of SECRET Sedition laws or Potus issued Executive order will amend the NDAA. That will be the final nail in the coffin of the Constitution and the FEMA camps will begin to fill exponentially.

      Now that the NSA can identify anyone with one shred of dissent, the DHS will start rounding them up in secret. Once detained..no one will know where they’ve been taken, as the NDAA specifies. Yessereebob…it’s ONLY a matter of time. This is why I too refuse to vote for any these cockroaches as they all come from the same cesspool. Change indeed. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      ya know..it simply boggles my mind how fucking stupid a majority of the ‘merican populace really are. I should have bought stock in Snake Oil Inc. when I had the chance. Unfortunately..it’s 100% owned by the Oligarchy now.

      11/6/12 3:29 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      11/6/12 3:55 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      5

      Doubleplusgood. Ungood bellyfeel unhere.

      Yes, Marshall types have a harder time, because they are NOT wanted. Or they simply don’t exist anymore to be in a position to become noticed and hired.

      Remember:
      Human Resources is inhumane.
      Personnel is much more human.

      3rd-party voting is either simply to give them a boost, or to be more serious.

      Some say voting confirms acceptance of the system — Bull cakes!

      Why does someone cling to a raging bull? Fear of letting go.

      Decency and respect to my fellow citizens requires some advice and warnings to all:

      http://www.aeinstein.org

      This will be required in America, barring biblical miracles, which I do not believe in.

      11/6/12 6:37 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      6

      I too passed on this scam exercise in “choice”. I don’t believe either candidate is fit to serve.

      11/7/12 1:00 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      7

      PVB’s explanation makes perfect sense and he needs not to justify his reason.

      I never subscribed to the adage that “power corrupts” but instead feel that only the already corrupted seek power. The uncorrupted will be shut out from having a decisive voice in the DC of today.

      11/7/12 2:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Expat said...

      8

      @ John Poole: Exactly, “the uncorrupted” and those without means.

      Join the club. “SHAM: an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine.” Step right up, folks, take your pick. What shall it be – tweedledee or tweedledum? One will delay the inevitable; the other will hasten it. Throw a dart, draw a straw, flip a coin. You are not in power. You are not in control of your collective destiny. And the beat goes on. $6 billion later(unf__kingbelievable) and the lesser of two evils won.

      11/7/12 2:32 PM | Comment Link

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