445 posts categorized "Politics"
Kasi asked me this last night in the comments:
So I will take a shot at answering that question.
I take the result of yesterday's election as a sign that the demographics of the United States are changing and changing fast. The Latino vote in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada has changed those states from red to blue and maybe permanently.
I also agree with Nate Silver that the President's bailout of the auto industry in 2009 was a huge bet that paid off bigtime yesterday. The blue that ran from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin in the electoral map last night was a sign that the industrial midwest is more comfortable with the President than the private equity guy.
And finally, I think that the war on women that the GOP has been waging for years must stop if they want to be relevant again. It is not OK to include legitimate and rape in the same phrase and it never will be.
But where do we go from here?
The House is in full control of the Republicans and the Tea Party. They will continue the obstructionist politics that have been the dominant theme in Washington for the past four years. But Mitch McConnell's goal of using those obstructionist politics to deny the President another term did not work and probably cost his party a lot of goodwill in the end. He was the big loser last night as his chance at majority leader was slapped back hard. That was nice to see.
I am hopeful we will get the grand bargain on deficit reduction that repeals the Bush tax cuts along with $4.5 trillion in spending cuts. We have to have that deal. Our deficits are killing us and our economy. I know this community is full of folks who think you can't tax your way out of ecoonomic problems. But our country enjoyed a great economic run in the Clinton years and repealing the Bush tax cuts will simply take us back to the tax regime that was in place in those years. I hope and pray we can get that grand bargain done now that the President has been given four more years.
The other thing that yesterday's election makes perfectly clear is the rising power of the Hispanic community in our country. Their signature issue is immigration reform. So hopefully we will get relief on that issue now. The idea that we can and should close our borders to those who want to work hard and make a better life for their families is abhorrent to me. It is downright unamerican. We need to open our borders to those who want to be hard working citizens of our country and we need to legalize those who have been working hard and acting like good citizens in this country for years.
The economy is on the mend. The recovery is the slowest we have had after a recession in many many years. My partner Albert is doing a series of posts on why that is. I highly recommend them. Our economy will continue to expand in the coming years if we take control of the deficit and stop piling debt on top of our economy. We can bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. We can bring service jobs back to the US. We can build on the entrepreneurial spirit of our country and we can compete on a global scale if we just put our heads down and work at it. And it would be best to do that together.
My favorite image of the entire campaign is the one of Gov Chris Christie and the President touring the ravaged Jersey shore together. That was dropping our differences and coming together in a time of need. We must have more of that in America. And after last night, I hope and pray that we will.
We've witnessed the most expensive presidential election contest in history. If you don't live in one of the eight to ten "swing states", it didn't feel like much of an election. I did not see one commercial for either side. But friends who have been in Ohio tell me they have been bombarded for months. Well that's the electoral college for you.
But regardless of whether you live in a swing state of not, I urge everyone to go out and vote. I plan to do that bright and early this morning on my way to work. I have no idea how crowded the polls will be so I am going to leave extra time.
Like much of America, I find it hard to be enthusiastic about either choice this morning. My vote will be a vote against Romney and the GOP more than anything else. I don't subscribe to the GOP's social views and I don't subscribe to the idea that you can fix the fiscal mess without asking those like me who have to the means to do more. I am hoping that once their legislative strategy of "keeping Obama to four years" fails, the GOP will meet the Democrats in the middle and find common ground to deal with the messes that all of our elected officials have been entrusted to solve.
I have thought a lot about the Kid's advice to pull the lever for Gary Johnson, but that doesn't work for me. It's a two horse race and placing the lever for anyone else is a waste of a vote. And I take the job of electing a President too seriously to waste a vote like that.
But regardless of how you feel about Romney, Obama, or Gary Johnson, I hope that all of you take the time today to go out and vote. Our system sucks in so many ways, but it is our system and as citizens we have a responsibility to engage in it. Today, that means voting.
The NY Times has a good post up today about Mike Bloomberg and his new Independence USA PAC. Frequent readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Mike Bloomberg and his politics. I do not think there is a major issue before this country that I don't agree with him on. There is nothing more that I would wish for than a centrist like him in the White House.
In the post, the Mayor has tough words for both Obama and Romney, as he should. But one wonders whether both men are hostage to their party orthodoxy and therefore can't and won't speak honestly and candidly the way the Mayor can and does.
Maybe the millions that the Mayor will dole out this year and in coming years will help give elected officials the courage to do what is right instead of what is expected of them. I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful.
I was walking through Union Square this past week and I bumped into my friend Clay Shirky. We had a nice chat and I got to thinking that I ought to catch up on his talks and writing. So I did that over the past few days and came across this Ted Talk from this past summer.
It's called "How the Internet will (one day) transform government."
It's great. I hope you like it.
Our President gave an important speech yesterday at the UN. It was a speech about speech. Free speech. This is a topic that gets me going. I have been investing in the tools of self expression and free speech for close to twenty years now. I know how powerful they are and I also know that they can be used by haters and trouble makers just as easily as they can be used for good.
Here at AVC, I have tried to cultivate a forum where all opinions are welcome. Even those that are hateful or hurtful to me. I let them stand. Where everyone can judge them and opine on them. The President said this at the UN and I wholeheartedly agree with it:
As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day,” Mr. Obama said. “And I will defend their right to do so.
And he went on to say this:
These are important values to state, to live by, and to protect. I applaud the President for expressing his beliefs on this subject. If we can export anything to the parts of the world that are just beginning their relationship with democracy, it is these ideas and the tools that make self expression possible. We must do this.
the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.
The "net native" generation can be and should be an important political force. These young people grew up with the Internet and they understand how to leverage it in all aspects of their lives. And they understand the importance of protecting the Internet and the concept of Internet Freedom.
But we have to make sure they are registered to vote and that they do indeed go out and vote. That's where The Internet Votes comes in. Over the next week, the folks at Fight For The Future and Personal Democracy Media will be rolling out a series of tools that encourage everyone, but particularly the net natives, to register to vote and then in turn to get out and vote. This effort is non-partisan. There is nothing in this campaign that has anything to do with who you should vote for and why. It's all about voter activation.
The first of these tools, a voter registration widget, is available now (in beta). I am running it on the right sidebar of AVC, under the ad unit. You can get it for your blog here. Please feel free to use it as much as possible so the folks can fix the bugs and get it ready for prime time next week.
As more of these tools launch, I will blog about them, use them, and encourage all of you to do the same. Those who understand the power of the open internet, use it in their lives, and value it as a positive force for society must vote and make their voices heard if they want our elected officials to value these principles as well.
Last month I posted two back to back suggestions for industry self regulation on the issue of copyrights and the Internet. The first was a competitive market for third party whitelist and blacklists. The second was "fast, fair, and frictionless content licensing on the Internet."
I am seeing signs that both models are emerging, slowly, but surely.
In the case of frictionless content licensing, I wrote:
I think it will be even harder to get the content industry to build instantaneous real-time self service licensing systems for their content.
But happily, the photography industry is proving me wrong. Yesterday, Getty Images announced something they call PicScout Image IRC. Not the most memorable name. But it is "instantaneous real-time self service licensing on the Internet."
Here's how it works. When an image is posted to your service, you send the image to them via their API, they fingerprint it in real time, check the fingerprint against their database of rights managed photographs that are out there, and then tell you if the image is licensable, must be taken down because its not licensable for the Internet, or if they don't have it in their database, then you keep it up under DMCA. And they handle all the billing for the licensable content. If you don't want to pay licenses for images posted to your service, you can use their service just to take down all images that are under license.
It is a lot like what Audible Magic does for the music industry or what Content ID does for YouTube, in terms of rapidly identifying the content and determining if it is infringing on a license or not. But PicScout goes one step further and provides an instant license to the content if the application wants one. That's a big deal and is the very step I think the content industry needs to take to tackle copyright infringement on the Internet. It is not enough to say something is infringing. The right thing is to say, "that is infringing, but here is a license" and to do that in real-time.
Any developer can use this PicScout Image IRC API. No meetings required. No lawyers required. Fast frictionless licensing on the Internet. I really like it.
I've posted about this topic before. I wrote down my thoughts about the Obama campaign trying to make an issue of Mitt Romney's departure from Bain. And I've written about trying to keep stuff private in the Internet era. Well this past week we saw those two themes come together in a single story.
Gawker obtained "more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested" and published them on the Internet this past week.
I will stay out of the issue of whether this was legal, moral, or right. What's done is done. And it is apparently not too damaging to Mitt Romney according to this reporter who went through most of the material.
But there's a lesson this for me and my partners. Everything we publish to our investors should be written as if it will someday be published in Gawker. And every action we take in structuring our business, our relationships with our investors, and our relationships with the entrepreneurs we back should be conducted as if it will someday be published in Gawker.
I think this policy will be good for us and others who choose to adopt it.