Uncle Josh on the Challenges of Gifts

The following is a short undated journal entry torn out of one the few billion Moleskin notebooks I have purchased over the years.

The first challenge of having a gift is accepting it. The second challenge is accepting acknowledgment for those gifts. The third is the challenge of feeling the gift abandon you in the middle of a tricky bit-a problem you to solve for the first time and every skill, every tidbit of knowledge goes away in a poof. You grasp for everything–anything–that may reveal a solution or a way forward. You find nothing.

Faith tells us that the answer is out there. The exact method exists. The precise answer exists. Maybe you have to make it up as you go along. That’s fine. Faith tells us to live without fear and the creative faith tells us not to fear our own failure because in the end the only failure is not trying.

I am not sure where I was in life when I wrote this, but it seems like one of those things I need to remind myself over and over again. Especially with NaNoWriMo coming up.

Uncle Josh Ponders Portland Measure 26-200

The basics: Limits contributions to $500 per individual, $5,000 loan balance from candidate, with no limits from small donor committees (which are capped at $100 per individual).

I usually scan the number of arguments in favor and opposition to these measures. There are 18 arguments in favor, and only 5 in opposition. Oddly, both sides cited Michael Cohen paying off Stormy Daniel’s to help the current president in the 2016 election. Granted, two of the arguments in opposition are classic reductio ad absurdum arguments. Other arguments in opposition assert that money is speech which is a false proposition to begin with.

In principle we should have locally-funded small scale campaigns and debates where actual ideas can be discussed. We don’t live in anything resembling an ideal democracy. Measures like 26-200 attempt to get more people involved, and that’s a good thing in my book. The Small Donor Committees are designed to encourage grassroots organizations. There is a clause that, if I understand it correctly, still caps an entities total expenditure to $750, so Ms. Mega Rich Donor can’t create 50 SDCs and flood them with $100 each and have them all support a candidate. I may be wrong on these details.

The trick to all of this is the City Auditor. If the Auditor decides not to investigate fraud, I don’t know how the law could be enforced.

Several arguments in favor argue that Oregon allows unlimited PAC-to-PAC transfers, which can be used to hide the source of funding. There’s nothing in the ballot title that tells me this kind of shenanigans would be outlawed.

Ultimately these measures attempt to drive candidates in front of the voters and turn their audience from a  few billionaires to as many people as possible. I can support that.