Tag Archives: CNN

Things That Occurred to Me (Or, How I Procrastinated Today)

So, I’ve been contemplating site changes to offtopictim.com. Nothing major, just a new layout. And colors. And words. And “stuff.” Basically, retooling offtopictim.com to be cooler looking as I build my social media consultancy and study for Google certifications and a whole bunch of other “stuff.”

I’m also about to build two MORE WordPress sites – www.totalengagementmedia.com (which will be my social media consultancy), and www.cocktailsandmovies.com (which will be MY social site for all of us who love going to the movies and drinking. At the same time.).

Outwardly, I am cool as a cucumber. Inside, it’s like Fry is running the show at times.

But, then I started thinking. Which, if you know me, is how I came to start this site in the first place. I start at point A, then I think about how A.1 is kind of similar to plot point 7 and how in a 3D axial matrix that would lead to set X. If you think that made no sense, you should try being in my brain at times. It’s highly creative, partly disorganized, and a whole lot of fun.

So, this is what I’ve been thinking about while I still work on two websites, daily corresponding Facebook, Twitter posts, instagrams, Pinterest Pins and studying for my Google Adwords, Analytics, Adsense exams… Continue reading

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I’ve Been “Censored.”

Well, not really. But it feels like it.

As the television networks have the Parents Television Council, OffTopicTim has his friends.

Lately, a few of them have been turned off by the cynicism, which they say has grown and infested my latest posts. (The fact that they were about politics, the MOST cynical of entertainment sports, appears to be lost on them. It’s just that John Stewart, Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert have TEAMS of writers to make their cynicism sound funnier.)

Normally, I would react to this “friendsorship” like I do most censorship proponents as a child would to an annoying dog who barks incessantly: I’d swat it on the nose and say, “No!”

But, as I am a struggling writer, with a blog that hasn’t quite received the traction and promotion from those friends that I wish it had, it pains me to say that I need to temper my message a bit to bring in a larger audience. Besides, I still want them to invite me to things, even though a lot of them are unaffordable to me.

A special ‘thank you’ to Doug and Shawn.

But, I really want to thank Doug W. and Shawn P. who have been champions of my blog to their friends and promoting it to their followers and FB friends. Thanks, Guys!!!!

So, with a wounded ego, a fractured self-worth and long spiraling self-esteem, not all of which are the result of getting rapped on the knuckles by friends, I will no longer be writing cynical blog posts about politics, nor any negative pieces about anything on this blog. I’ll continue with “offtopics” that (hopefully) amuse and entertain you all as much as possible. I’ll miss railing against CNN and NBC and their questionable programming choices. And I’ll miss calling out the idiocy of politics here. I’ll even miss talking about bad dates (hell, I’d be grateful for ANY date right now…).

It might turn out that I won’t be able to post every day anymore. The list of drafts in the pipeline will have to be deleted and replaced with other (off)topics.

If you DO want to hear more about politics, send me an email to offtopictim@gmail.com and I’ll direct you to another blog where divergent viewpoints can be shared and political discourse can continue between those who love to hate politics.

Until next time everyone, Happy INDEPENDENCE Day!

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The New Terrorism: How Today’s Politicians Have Co-Opted America

“They’re well financed and very slick… Add all that up, I don’t know what the fuck it means, but you got some bad-ass perpetrators and they’re here to stay.” — John McClane in “Die Hard,” but it could anybody who wants to describe the elected officials who are supposed to be legislating for you in Washington.

The U.S. Congress has a new logo…

There is a growing homegrown terrorist organization inside this country. It has been quietly funded by shadowy figures and large groups with their own personal agendas. It has quietly infested the very soul of this country. It has kidnapped and hijacked the idea of America. It uses fear, obstruction, terror and childish inaction to cajole the public into electing them again and again. It’s name is the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government. There’s 535 of them, 435 members of the House of Representatives (a very loose term these days) and 100 members of the Senate. And, they are openly hostile, dangerous and a clear and present danger to the people of the United States.

Regardless of your opinions of who should be our next president, I have openly advocated for an almost complete dismissal of the current members of Congress at the polls this November in a previous post.  They don’t care about the American people anymore. Can you remember the last time an elected Congressman or Senator said, “The people in my state feel…” or “This affects my district/state…” without it sounding like it’s all about them or the party? It’s been a long time since I hear something other than “We don’t want the other party doing this or that…”

Dogmatic and inflexible party lines with unknown lawmakers

Quick: name your two Senators and your representative for your district. Good. Now tell me how they voted on the last three bills up for vote. If you got more than two of those right, YOU should run for office. But, were the votes that they cast the best vote FOR YOU and your fellow district/state members?  Or were they what was best for the Republican or Democratic Party? Do you even know how to get a hold of your Senator or Representative? Have they ever replied? Maybe you should join a group…

“Whips” are not just for the dominatrix set. Whips are used to tame lions. Whips were used as part of the Inquisition to enforce an ideological dogma. Whips in Congress are all about making sure that the members of the parties fall in line with the party. I’ll let you draw the parallels. As with all terrorist organizations, the legislative branch co-opts individual thought and subjugates its members into a collective, “us against them” mindset that does little to advance national interest.

Outside influences – Congress as a proxy war

Congress is not entirely at fault. They were once true individual Americans. But, they are weak minded and power hungry. Like Gollum, corrupted by the One Ring, Senators and Representatives need their fix and look to wherever they can in order to stay in power. Enter the outsiders: SuperPAC’s, and “policy” makers like Grover Norquist and the exhaustive line of lobbyists. By offering to fund campaigns or with outright extortion (in the case of Grover Norquist), these individuals and groups have twisted and corrupted the very set of lawmakers that are supposed to represent you.

If there is anything that I learned today with the SCOTUS ruling on health care, it’s that Congress does NOT have our best interest at heart. Instead of accepting that the equally important third branch of government ruled something constitutional and working together to find a way to make an obviously imperfect bill BETTER, your leaders began to take sides. None of those was siding with the American people. Instead of working to finding jobs for Americans, passing a budget and assisting those in need from floods in the South and fires out West, I watched as Senators and Congressmen used obstructionist policies and talked about making repeal of the Affordable Health Care Law their first priority and adding fetal “personhood” amendments to flood insurance bills to prevent legislation from passing.  

Personally, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I could care less if Republicans or Democrats make a majority in Congress, or whether (please, please, please) some unknown third party makes a play and wedges itself into the political scene in order to force Congress to work together. JUST SO LONG AS THEY ARE DIFFERENT AND THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE ELECTED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND CAN BE “UN-ELECTED” BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. It would be great to see anyone who has been elected who will work with others for the benefit of the people of the United States. I would run, but my finances are limited and after this blog there probably isn’t a group that would come near me with a 10-meter cattle prod.

Yes, I am angry.  Yes, it may be a (slight) stretch calling them terrorists. But, it’s hard not to do so as I listen to the Short Bus Network (CNN) and The Legion of Doom (FOX News) where I am constantly reminded of what a bunch of out-of-touch jagoffs we have in the legislative branch of the federal government. Yes, I am going to keep talking about it. No, you can’t stop me. I have a blog. Unfortunately, we cannot just escort them out of the building.  And, actual advocation for termination brings men in suits by your house… But, hopefully I have friends who will A) read this and, 2) forward it on to others. Hopefully, I have friends who will vote with logic and intelligence for candidates that speak to them about their issues and will continue to interact with them and hold fast to those issues. And, with any luck, hopefully my friends will help me vote new Congressman and Senators into office this November.

Dear FBI: you won’t find me at home today. I’ll be outside taking the day off. Just come in and make yourself at home.

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Help Me [Insert Legitimate Third Party Here]!!! You’re My Only Hope!!!

(WHY not…?)

The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s…

The Axis and the Allies…

Fox News and CNN…

The Skeksis and The Mystics

 

Republicans and Democrats.

Brilliant! Nice job, gentleman. That'll teach them!

There’s a stalemate in America government between the two major political parties. There’s an uneasy, often vitriolic detente displayed – much to the thinly disguised glee and enjoyment of the news networks – as loudly as possible for the benefit of their wealthy donors and their own oversized egos. It’s turned our government into political theater, a macabre, grotesque shoutfest mockery of what the wigged framers of the constitution had in mind. It has become “government” in name only. It’s an equal opportunity for getting nothing done at the highest levels of government.

With an equal amount (+/- 30%) of registered voters in America calling themselves either “Republican” or “Democrat” and committed to voting that way (even if their candidate holds up that blind autistic child, the one that the campaign staff carted up onstage with the candidate, in order to shield himself from the lightning bolt arcing down from the heavens), we are left an impotent and ineffectual government that will continue to be elected into power. In this era of partisan politics, with each side calling the other the problem, we have entered a new age of Mutually Assured Destruction – a behavior you get when your elected leaders refuse to work with the “other side” based on either a purely sophomoric view that the other side’s ideology is wrong, or a juvenile need to make sure that the other side doesn’t get any credit for solving the issues. Wahhhhh!

Traditionally, stereotypically, “historically” (whatever you want to call it) the two major political parties are known for certain ideologies and have certain voters who vote for them. These voters once based their vote on what their candidate stood for but have since primarily voted as a result of their hatred for the “other side’s” candidate, not so much what the candidate stands for:

Prototypical Republican as seen by the Left

  • Republican: (as seen by the Democratic voter): White, rich, wears a monocle and uses a cane as HE (no women here) climbs to the top on the back of his workers, entering his limo, lights his cigar with a $100 bill, loves guns, lots of guns, hates a woman’s right to choose, is Christian, and “shoots first, asks questions later.”
  • Famous Republicans – Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, Sarah Palin, FOX News, Montgomery Burns. (amazing, the evolution, isn’t it)

Democrats are sponges as seen by the Right

  • Democrat: (as seen by the Republican voter): Non-whites, godless, lazy/freeloaders, elitists, baby killers, socialists, Muslim* – new addition, whiners and criers, gays.
  • Famous Democrats – I honestly looked for non-celebrities here, but other than John F. Kennedy, all I saw were screen shots of celebrity photos. And Sponge Bob. (sigh)
Again, these are only traditional stereotypes I listed here, but with most Democratic or Republican candidates for every office cow-towing to the party line (“small government,” “big government,” “lower taxes on the rich,” “everyone pays their share,” “pro life,” “women should choose,” insert your favorite political diatribe here), drifting to the “party base” and throwing out their personal ties to the voters THEY REPRESENT, where are those who don’t follow the strict party doctrine to turn?

The “Rest of Us”

Caught up in this ideological war, are the roughly 30% to 38% of Americans who call themselves “independent.” This is a higher percentage than call themselves “Republican” or “Democrat,” but as there is NO one main Independent Party that counts them all part of the same group, this number is highly diffused across too many parties to have any effect. (This is also probably a misnomer, as in this day and age, no one wants to offend anyone by stating their political beliefs out loud, they might believe that their “independent vote” won’t amount to much, or they “can’t bear to see that ____ candidate win.”)

True independents believe that the purpose of government is TO GOVERN FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE, not just to battle the other party; that a SMALL CENTRAL government IS good and STATES’ RIGHTS are more important; that because a small central government is best, that people get to CHOOSE how they conduct their lives in private; that everyone pays the same to live here; that those who do live here get all THE SAME RIGHTS as everyone else; that we live within our means and that taxes ARE those means; that economic development AND environmental/personal protections are not mutually exclusive, etc… The running theme here is logical, fair compromise.

(I profess that I was a Young Republican before attending the University of Wisconsin. It was a crazy liberal named Mark E., but more the lovely Diana, whom I took home from Democratic rally in 1988, who indoctrinated me into the Democratic Party. As I’ve grown, matured(?), and been educated, I’ve come to realize that I cannot be pigeon-holed and don’t have to pick just between Evil 1 or Evil 2.

The Numbers

First of all, there are only two (2 of 100) U.S. Senators and NO (0 of 435) U.S. Representatives that are “independent.” The U.S. has never had a politically independent President. How is that possible if 38% of the American electorate considers themselves “independent?”

Okay, sure, part of the problem with the independent party system is obvious.

Well, outside of the two major parties, look at the parties they have to choose from. There are approximately 38 highly unorganized “independent” political parties, most of whom apparently have poor PR departments. Most of them have also sprung up only after 1970, including: many parties with “Socialist” in the title, the obvious “American” parties and even fringe parties like the United States Marijuana Party and the United States Pirate Party. Clearly, they haven’t had the time to get their message across or land huge political donors…

As candidates flee to the edges of the political spectrum in order to shore up their “bases,” it’s clearly now time for a legitimate Third Party to step up into the middle of American politics, to fill the void by those who apparently despise using logic and compromise and who are afraid to stand up and lead the way. With both “right” and “left” wing connotations eliciting grimaces from the electorate, what’s wrong with a party that exists in the middle? Isn’t that where the strongest part of ANYTHING is?

I don’t advocate for one political party or the other. If you agree with everything that one of the two major political parties believe in, then by all means I cannot dissuade you from voting for their candidate. I DO advocate for the smart, logical and willing voter out there to at least take a look at the major third parties out there, including the Libertarian Party, and their candidate for president, Gary Johnson – a former governor of New Mexico and a pretty smart guy if his appearance on The Daily Show was any indication.  You can see it here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-5-2012/gary-johnson. I’m not sure if I believe in everything they say, but I am at least willing to take a look.

“Benefits” of a Legitimate Third Party at the National Level

With both sides of “the aisle” poised to block any bill or effort to effect change with the status quo in place, inserting a third party can actually accomplish a lot.

  • They can mediate between the major parties as they (often) come to an impasse.
  • They can bring to the political table new ideas and logical, fair voices.
  • They can break voting ties by siding with one side or the other, hopefully with the understanding that they will in turn get support for their agenda later.
  • They can restore faith in our government that the candidates actually listen to the voters and not their party whip or leader.

Obstacles

Where do I start? Third party marginalization is historically a central plank in any party’s value system and probably one of the only things that each side agrees on. Why would either side want to lose what power they have?

The Two Party System:

Consider “Simpsons Treehouse of Horror: VII” (1996!):

Enough said.

Kodos: It’s true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system. You have to vote for one of us.
Man 1: He’s right, this is a two-party system.
Man 2: Well I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.

 

 

The 15% Rule Regarding Presidential Debates

In 2000, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CREATED BY THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES), ruled that a candidate for President of the United States must be polling at least 15% across five national polls in order to be part of the Nationally Televised Debates. It has nothing to do with whether or not he/she’s on THE BALLOT in all 50 states, as Gary Johnson – Libertarian, is. You just have to be liked by 15% of the polled voters. Um, stoners don’t answer polls by phone…

Historical Candidates

Probably the biggest obstacle is the damage that historical candidates themselves have done.  Since John Anderson garnered 6.6% of the vote in the 1980 election and Ross Perot received 18.9%!!! in 1992 (only 8% in 1996), no candidate has gotten more than 1% of the vote since. Yet, Ralph Nader and other still tilt at the windmills, hoping to effect a change.

Where Now?

The independent movement is lost in the wilderness. It doesn’t have its Moses to lead them  to a legitimate standing. People like Ron Paul, a Republican in name only, but more of a Libertarian, CAN and SHOULD sway their legions of voters to vote with their hearts and to elect people, not parties, to office. It’s a long road; the specter of having someone elected that you don’t like because you took a stand is a hard pill to swallow for 2, 4 or 6 years…

But, hopefully more people like me will pick up the cause and begin to change the system, to show that you don’t just have two choices, and that tilting at windmills is sometimes okay.

Now, I’m off to saddle up my horse…

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We are up and running!

After much help from the fantastic people at GoDaddy, we are up and running. Kudos to Canilla, Deanna, Zachary and Benny for the stellar help that they provided to a young man with a dream.

Unfortunately, I don’t know where to start today; is it CNN and their death spiral to the ratings toilet? Could it be political? Or maybe it’s the entitlement that the bitch who almost ran me down in the crosswalk as I walked home from the gym while on her cellphone felt she had this morning.

I’d take suggestions, but as it’s an “off topic” blog, I’ll probably dismiss them and do something I want to do…

Tim

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