Friday, August 10, 2012

A Socialist's View on the Presidential Election

For years President Obama has been called a socialist, Marxist, communist, statist, and other such things. President Obama and myself, an actual socialist who understands Marx's critiques of capitalism, share few things in common. We seem to have different priorities and different ideas for what the country should be doing. Please don't accuse President Obama of being a socialist until he proposes any sort of halt on free trade, or nationalizes the banks, or pushes for a 100% tax rate on incomes above $1,000,000 a year.

What I wanted to talk about is how the election is looking to shape up between Mitt Romney and President Obama. Certain issues have become pretty important in this campaign and I thought a socialist perspective would make for an interesting blog post.

First thing I'd like to talk about is who I think will win. Here's the CNN projected electoral map:

Just look at that thing. Romney has to pick up too many swing states for him to win. If he was polling better in any of them, he's down in the big three (Florida, Virginia, and Ohio), then maybe we could talk. He's not, though. I just don't see a path to victory for Romney, and he's not coming out with a message that can swing Ohio or Pennsylvania. I actually think Santorum could have had a strong message in both of those states, he at least will mention a "blue collar working class" and talk about how the manufacturing sector needs help.

Between the electoral map and Romney being a weak candidate I just don't see a path for victory for the Republicans. The other big issue is that Obama's negatives are known and accounted for already. Romney's negatives are just now starting to be exploited.

Everyone knows President Obama. A lot of his actions that aren't very popular, the Affordable Care Act for one, aren't popular because they are compared to some ideal that doesn't exist. When compared to what was happening before, they end up being more popular. Since these topics are already baked into any polling numbers the Republicans won't end up getting much traction by talking about them, yet will waste hundreds of millions of dollars doing so anyhow.

The big issue I'd like to talk about on this semi-regular column is Romney the candidate. It's been four years since the meltdown in 2008, one that really started in 2007 but nevermind that, and we are finally starting to talk about the dangers of investment capital. Capital exists unto itself and only exists to create profit. That is all. I'm not even being hyperbolic as any free market fetishist would gladly say the same. It can be no surprise that Bain Capital destroyed lives in the pursuit of profit. Expecting "corporate citizenship" or for capital to otherwise act in ways that benefit anyone but those that control the capital is naive.

There's a strong chance I'll write in Eugene Victor Debs.
I almost feel bad for Mitt Romney. If he wasn't a craven member of the bourgeois class who believed in nothing but himself I would almost feel bad that the four big areas of his life are turning out to hurt his lone aspiration.

Seriously, just look at the things Mitt Romney has done that he is now running away from:

Governor of Massachusetts
President of a venture capital firm
Mormon Bishop
Saved the Olympics

As Governor of Massachusetts, he ended up being a fairly moderate politician. There's really not much to talk about outside of his healthcare plan, which ended up being the inspiration for the Affordable Care Act, and he's now in a position where he can't talk about his executive experience.

With Bain Capital Mitt Romney made billions of dollars by destroying thousands of lives. While the American public isn't quite ready to cast down the bourgeois class and usher in a perfect society where the workers control the means of production, they still realize that a man should not make money by betraying pension funds and using financial loopholes to make money at the expense of working people.

Mitt Romney wanted it both ways for a long while: he ran as a businessman who did well in business but now believes that anyone attacking what he did as a businessman is doing so because of "class warfare". Here's a quick reminder for you folks on the right: until the owners of the means of production fear the working class, there is only one instance of class warfare and it isn't against the wealthy.

Mitt Romney can not, and will not, ever mention his being an official in the Mormon Church. I would sooner expect Mitt Romney to admit he speaks French, which he does, before ever talking about his Mormonism in any concrete way.

Mitt Romney also saved the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. I have a serious question: when have the Olympics ever been a disaster? I'm serious, when has the Olympics ever not happened or otherwise been a disaster? It just seems to me, and I'm just a simple member of the heroic proletariat, that running the Olympics isn't a real good reason to vote for someone.

Where does all of this leave Mitt Romney? It leaves him with being vague, as he should be since his actual policy proposals involve raising taxes on the working class while lowering them for the wealthy, and attacking President Obama for socialism? I guess he's also attacking President Obama for not bombing Iran and for waging a literal crusade against Christians? I'm still unclear, but outside of veiled attacks at Obama's "otherness" I don't really see much in the way of a credible campaign.

I'm still not sure if I'll vote for President Obama. It depends on what 3rd party candidates get on the ballot here in Virginia and how close Virginia ends up being. Don't get me wrong, Mitt Romney is the single most detestable and lamentable candidate in years so it will be hard to do anything but hold my nose and vote for the neo-liberal Obama, but there you are.

I had planned to get into the minutiae a bit more with this post, but why bother? President Obama is a disappointment and Mitt Romney is a jackass who believes in nothing. At this point I don't even think Hank Hill would vote for Mitt Romney.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The U Gen Debs Expansion

I'm really loving the 6th Edition of 40k. One of these days (I promise soon) I'll go into why I like it so much, but it has rekindled my love of 40k. The last 18 months or so I've been 110% in Fantasy's camp, but now that I'm high on 40k again I rarely even think of Fantasy.

Because I sell my armies as soon as they get painted and I get bored of them, which is within months of getting them done, that left me with Tyranids for 40k. Since I decided to play Warhammer 40k for the NOVA Open this year I decided that doing so meant I had to get an army that would be fun to play with and would be interesting.

For years I've wanted to do an alien coalition for the Adepticon Team Tournament. Having Tau, Orks, Eldar, and Kroot all teaming up seemed like a really fun idea. It never went anywhere, but I'm now trying to do that idea for the NOVA Open.

Here's the list I'm planning on taking to the NOVA:

Shas'o, Fusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones

2 Crisis Suits, Plasma Rifles, Missile Pods, Multi-Trackers
3 Crisis Suits, Team Leader, Fusion Blasters, Plasma Rifles, Multi-Trackers, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
3 Crisis Suits, Team Leader, TL Missile Pods, Blacksun Filters, HW Drone Controller, 1 Shield Drone

12 Fire Warriors, Shas'ui
12 Fire Warriors
20 Kroot, Shaper, 12 Kroot Hounds

Fast Attack
4 Vespids, Strain Leader

Heavy Support
Broadside, Team Leader, Blacksun Filter, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
Broadside, Team Leader, Blacksun Filter, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
Broadside, Team Leader, Blacksun Filter, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones

Ork Allies:
Warboss, 'Eavy Armour, Cybork Body, Power Klaw, Shoota
30 Ork Boyz, Sluggas, 3 Big Shootas, Nob with Power Klaw
2 Deffkoptas with TL Rokkits

1 Aegis Defense Line with Quad Gun

Now, I totally know how and where I could make it better (drop the Kroot for Shoota Boyz, drop the Vespids and just play with a points handicap, etc) but I'm digging this list. I like the Kroot models and I've always dug the Vespids.

I think it'll do well. I think it puts out enough shooting to create a real threat, I think it has some resilience and will be able to stand up to enemy shooting, and I think it'll have a decent enough counter attack element to make up for Tau's weak Assault phase.

The biggest downside to this army is that I decided on it in the last week of July. I got started on it on August 1st and since then I've made quite a bit of progress. Here's what all I have painted so far!

 I'm really happy with how my Crisis Suits are coming out. Above is the Shas'o with the unit of two XV8's and Shield Drones. These guys took an afternoon to paint.

 I really love the Fire Warrior models, and even if they weren't finally worth using (it's taken 3 editions but I think they're finally good enough to use in 6th) I probably still would have taken two units.

I'm less thrilled with my Kroot. I think they work but the primer got a little dusty so some of them are a little bumpy. It's excusable because they're dirty Kroot. These guys painted up very fast as I managed to get all 32 of them painted in about 4 hours.

That leaves the following to paint in 3 weeks:
6 Crisis Suits, 3 Broadsides, 9 Shield Drones, 12 Fire Warriors, 30 Ork Boyz, 1 Ork Warboss, 2 Ork Deffkoptas, 5 Vespids, and the Aegis Defense Line. I know I can do it but it's going to kick my ass.

I'll be updating as I make progress and have more thoughts about the army!
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