Why I’m Voting the Way I’m Voting – 2016

Posted on October 12th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

I’m With Her

First, a disclaimer: I am not a ‘true believer’ of any political party. No US political party fully represents my worldview, and I have significant objections to the philosophies and actions of them all. Over the years I have voted for Republican, Independent, and Democratic candidates, and I am willing to vote for any candidate that I feel is best for the job.

All that being said, in recent years I have primarily voted Democrat. My basic political underpinnings are as follows:

The entire US election and campaign system needs to be completely overhauled to insure modern, free, and fair elections at every level (local, state, federal). This includes getting the current obscene amounts of money out of the system and eliminating gerrymandering. This, to me, is the single most important issue of our time, because solving all the other issues depends on first solving this one.
The level of destructive animosity and hate in politics needs to be dialed way down, and the level of constructive, civil discourse needs to be dialed way up.
We need to return our focus to a fact-based, science-based government.
Governmental fraud, waste, and cronyism needs to be ruthlessly ferreted out and punished to the point where it is no longer a profitable risk to undertake.
While every person is entitled to their own spiritual beliefs, no one is entitled to impose those beliefs on others.
Our tax system needs to be simplified and rationalized, and the overall tax burden reduced.
Peace and diplomacy are better alternatives to war, except in the most dire circumstances, which in my opinion we have not experienced since World War II.
The US is a wealthy nation, to the point where none of our citizens should be homeless, hungry, or lack basic health care.
Institutions that are necessary, but whose goals are to reduce or eliminate their need to exist (health care, prisons, national defense, police and fire departments, etc), should not be for-profit.
Capitalism is a great system, unregulated capitalism is a disaster, and over-regulated capitalism stifles progress. There needs to be a balance, and there needs to be non-partisan system created to achieve and maintain this balance.

To make a long story short, in the 2016 election there has been only one candidate that I have seen as viable, and that is Hillary Clinton. Do I love her? No, she’s done some questionable things, but so has every single other POTUS candidate in my lifetime, and my take is that her mistakes have been amplified by a multi-decade witch hunt by her enemies. Would she be my first choice? No, and I’m not sure who would be, at this point, because virtually every single candidate at the national federal level is tainted enough, in my opinion, to be unworthy of office.

The one exception to that is Bernie Sanders, and while I think Bernie is the cleanest and most honest national politician of my lifetime, I also think that he would have been unable to get anything

30,000 Emails, That’s a Lot! Or Is It?

Posted on October 10th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

How About 600,000+ Emails?

My wife and I have a private email server at home that we don’t use for our primary jobs. We use it to run our lives, hobbies, and side projects. Over the years, between us, we’ve managed to accumulate 600,000+ emails in our two email boxes.  Note that we’re both in the technology business, and we run fairly sophisticated cloud-based commercial spam filtering, so it’s not like our inboxes are filled up with V1agra ads and phony IRS/Apple gift card scams, or something.

So, my wife and I, a couple of the normalest normals who ever normalled normally, have managed to accumulate 600,000+ personal emails on our home servers.  Yet we hear Trump repeat the mantra of “30,000 emails” over and over again, as if it’s some kind of travesty of a mockery of a sham, when what it actually is is a MacGuffin with no context and no concrete meaning to many who hear it. He repeats it as if it were the most salacious thing imaginable…”30,000 emails”…”THIRTY THOUSAND EMAILS!”

The Clintons have much higher profile lives than we do, to say the least. They’ve been Governor, Senator, Secretary of State, and President of the United States. If it’s accurate that 30,000 personal emails were scrubbed from Hillary’s private email server, the only thing that surprises me is that it was so few. Maybe that’s Trump’s point and we’re all missing it? Maybe he’s calling Hillary out for being a Luddite who only has 30,000 personal emails when she should have millions?

Sadly, Trump’s focus on this will play strongly with those whose lives aren’t wrapped up in technology, because it’s difficult to have a frame of reference for something like this. The younger generations tend to have skipped over email and focus on texting and other forms of messaging. Older folks tend to be minimal adopters of technology – using Facebook to keep up with the family, texting to have some form of communications with the grandkids, etc. There are exceptions, of course, but most people don’t have the exposure to technology to put the “30,000 emails!” accusation in a realistic context.

So that’s what I’m trying to do here – show that a couple of normal, if technologically-enabled, folks can generate far more personal email than what is being bandied about by Trump. And just to put this in perspective, JFK was still alive when I was born and I watched the first moon landing on TV, so it’s not like I’m some kind of outlier child of the technology age.