Tag Archives: Libertarian

More Failed Political Theatre


July 24, 2013 – The “Amash Amendment” was voted down.  What was this amendment, you might wonder?  It got very little coverage really, so you wouldn’t be so out of line to ask.  The Amash amendment, surprisingly, was offered by a Republican representative despite the opposition of the Speaker of the House, Boehner.  It would have limited the NSA’s ability to collect the so-called meta data on phone and internet data usage, and otherwise reduced the funding and scope of the NSA.  It drew, as politics sometimes is wont to do, a strange series of bedfellows.  Right wing “libertarians” and “left wing liberals” joined together to support this bill and still it failed by a vote of 205 to 217.   Here is the roll call so you can see how your own representatives voted.

On the one hand, it really didn’t matter how this vote turned out.  We should all understand that.  Should this have passed, and then succeeded in the Senate, which was far from likely to begin with, the POTUS had promised to veto it.  Of course, he has promised to veto numerous things in the past and then signed them any way.  However, this one, I find his threat much more credible as it is more in line with his right wing totalitarian regime approach to things.  “Trust me.  We’ve got your best interest at heart.  We’ll give you some pretense of good faith, such as lip service about believing in same-sex marriage, but in reality, we’re going to call out the militarized police to control you and beat you into submission, while half way around the world, we kill children in your name.”  {Some Afghan kids aren’t bystanders, indeed!!  You right wing, murderous bastard!}

–  Deep breaths  –  Deep breaths  –  Deep breaths  –

It is also very likely that he would not have vetoed it because he has come out so strongly in support of the program.  For example, on June 18, 2013:

Charlie Rose: So I hear you saying, I have no problem with what NSA has been doing.

Barack Obama: Well, let me — let me finish, because I don’t.

Or, on June 7, 2013:
“In the abstract, you can complain about ‘Big Brother’ and how this is a potential program run amok. But when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” he said.

Except, we are not allowed to look at the details, so you are asking us to take your word, and since you have shown yourself to be a liar, we can’t trust that, Mr. President.

So, if you think that there was really any chance that this amendment would have succeeded, then I would like to discuss a lake I have for sale.  You might be interested.  It has a beautiful view, and several ships are included.  Details here.

Okay, so it didn’t really matter because president Napoleon the Pig, er, I mean Obama would have vetoed it.  However, it also didn’t matter, because if the POTUS is to be believed, and he has been backed on this by many in the congress, then:

“The programs are secret in the sense that they are classified. They are not secret, in that every member of Congress has been briefed,” he said during a speech in San Jose, Calif. “These are programs that have been authored by large bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006.”

Understand what that means is that each of those 205 members of congress that voted for the Amash amendment is one of two things.  Either they are so spineless that they couldn’t act without sufficient support around them.  They couldn’t stand on their own two feet to say, “This is wrong, and I must stand against it.”  Or, they are still conducting political theatre.  They saw that there were enough people in their constituencies that were at least a little upset that they would benefit from making it appear that they were trying to do something to end these programs, without actually trying to do something.  Then, they can return to what is much more important to the Republicans in the House of Representatives – a 40th attempt to repeal the ACA, other wise known as Obamacare.

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Meet the children killed in your name by drone strikes. Be proud, America! Be proud!


PAKISTAN

Name | Age | Gender

Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

YEMEN

Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
Nasser Salim | 19

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/07/25/us-officials-attack-far-from-authoritative-leaked-drone-report/PAKISTAN

Name | Age | Gender

Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

source


Push The Lemmings Off The Cliff


The so-called “fiscal cliff” came and went and a bogus deal was reached, as many of us knew it would be.  A tiny increase in taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year was passed while these rest of us “get to keep” a tax break.  Meanwhile, we continue to have the same problems in the country that we’ve had for years.  They remain wholly unaddressed.  Does anyone remember the last time that our “leaders” discussed education?  How about real attempts to address mental health issues such as support for the families and care for the patients?  When is the last time you heard anything positive coming out of NIH about AIDS research, or anything else for that matter?  Remember the space program that we, as a nation, allowed to die?  Remember the unemployment rate that is sitting at 7.8% nationally, according to the December report, but will likely go back up when the seasonal jobs go away?  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

US Constitution, Amendment 14, section 4

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.{emphasis added}

Let me translate and shorten that for you.  “Once congress has approved, and the President has signed, the budget, we pay it, period.”

Now, what does that mean?  What it means, in effect, is that the political kabuki theater of the debt ceiling is nothing more than a show put on to scare and confuse.  The constitution supersedes any and all laws in the country.  Whether you like that or not, it is the fact.  As a result, regardless, of what congress does, or doesn’t do, the Treasury department is required to pay the debt.  America, canNOT default on its debt.  What it is not required to continue doing is paying the new spending.  That is why the silly memes that go around “Why does the president always threaten to stop Social Security checks and paychecks to the military?” make so little sense.  As with so many internet memes, they are made and spread by people who either don’t understand, don’t care to understand, or are intentionally using people who fall into the first categories in order to confuse and abuse you.  While SS checks ought not stop because those are debts owed, checks to employees of the government would stop for just that very reason, they are new spending.

Oh, but it does get better.  You see, part of this the reason that you never heard about this until recently is that it was an act that was never put on for you before.  It isn’t that you weren’t paying attention, or that you’ve forgotten.  It just wasn’t done.  This, too, you can thank the far right wing for.  No, really.  Not even conspiracy theorists are needed to make these things up.  These are just simply the facts.  You see, until the Repugnicrats, under Newt Gringrich, suspended the standard practice of simultaneously passing a budget and making any necessary raises to the debt limit in one vote, this political hostage taking couldn’t take place.  They couldn’t play these games with our economy, our money and our lives.  So, the Repugnicrats create the game, then, while their guy is in office, they pass the raises as though it’s no big deal, matter of normal business.  Suddenly, their opposition takes office, and it’s the end of the world, the sky is falling, all hell is breaking loose, cats and dogs sleeping together…

The US has had debt from our very outset.  We incurred over $75 million in debt during the Revolution.  We had no debt ceiling until 1917.  The whole point of the debt ceiling was to give more flexibility during World War I.  It was meant to be a constraint, but more than that, it was meant to give a semi-open check.  Prior to that, congress authorized any necessary borrowing at the same time that they authorized the budget.  The debt ceiling was intended to allow for additional borrowing in case of need, up to a specified limit.  It’s like saying, you need to go grocery shopping, but you don’t know how much it’s going to be, so here, take $300.  Now, congress is using it in a truly irresponsible way to authorize spending that they know will exceed the debt ceiling, and then trying to use that as a negotiating tool.  What congress is doing now is akin to saying, spend $600 on groceries, spend $500 on new tires, spend $300 on new clothes, but don’t spend more then $1000.  Then, when the government runs out of money and comes back and says, “Please authorize us to borrow the rest”, then the Republicans are saying, “Well, we could, but first we need you to kiss our ass.”

Guess what, boys and girls.  Their debt ceiling is likely unconstitutional and certainly unnecessary.  There is a constitutional argument to be made that the act of approving the budget, approves the borrowing itself, via the 14th amendment.  As such, the debt ceiling law is unnecessary, and its application to prohibit previously authorized spending  would be unconstitutional.  Any conflict between a law and the constitution, as you will recall, means the law must be discarded.  The only way to resolve that, of course, is for the courts to decide.  The only way for that to happen is for the law to be challenged, and the only way for that to happen is for the center right to show some testicular fortitude and call them out on this.  Just as I had advocated for going over the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the New Year and though we are just about two months away, I am telling you now, you should be telling your friends, your family, call your Senators, your Representatives, and your President.  Tell them, “Just say, ‘Do it’.  Raise the debt ceiling or don’t.  It doesn’t matter, but pay the bills, and keep on chugging.  Ignore the idiot Repugnicrats.  Let’s get this issue behind us, and if necessary, we’ll settle it in the courts.”

Let us be proactive about this one.  Make no mistakes, the far right is already gearing up for this one.  How do you want to play it?  As victim?  Or, are you finally ready to take the little toads by their throat and say, “No!  Enough is enough!!  Get out of my house!”?  Which will it be?  You do, in fact, have the power.  Each and every one of you.

I love my country, and I am tired of the word “patriot” being used as cover by those who would destroy it and all that we have worked to build.  They have been too successful over the last 40 years.  It is well nigh past time we fight back.  It is long past the time we continue what our fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters started before us.  It is time the anger and strength of the left came back.  Not with violence, because that is really not the path of the liberal.  That is the path of the conservative fear mongers.  Those who are too afraid to stand on their own two feet.  It is time to stand up, look those who are chipping away at what is good in the eye and say, “No! Stand aside!”  It is time to repair that damage.  Heal what can be healed.  Build what new is needed, and move forward.


Reform School, boys and girls?


Campaign finance reform is now officially off the front burner.  Almost everyone will let this slip off the radar until the next big election, because that is what we do in this short attention span theater culture we’ve developed.

And, yet, this is really an important time to act on it.  Yes, I know we have other issues going on, and I am not suggesting that we should put them aside.  We need to deal with the unemployment situation.  We need to deal with the financial “crisis”.  We need to deal with a lot of things.  However, this is one of those things that really should be dealt with before the next election cycle.  Preferably before the mid-term, but definitely before the next presidential election.  I know that isn’t going to happen, but it should.

There is a very strong argument to be made that the ideal situation is a truly level playing field.  That would be a situation of completely publicly funded campaigns.  If individuals, corporations, unions, PACs, etc still wanted to contribute then they would be able to contribute to that fund in a similar way that we as individuals are able to contribute to the Presidential Campaign Fund with our income tax filing.  It is highly unlikely that they would, of course, since they are not actually interested in funding democracy, but rather in buying candidates and influencing the outcomes of campaigns.  They are not altruistic, but rather acting with a specific goal in mind.

Still, that is precisely the reason that the argument for public financing of campaigns is so strong.  It takes that influence out.  It makes the campaigns and the outcomes more pure, because the candidates are less likely to have been purchased so blatantly and publicly.  It does open the possibility that companies and unions, more so than PACs, would contribute to these funds for the positive PR.  This move would certainly put an end to the Citizens United ruling and the mess it created.  There would be no more SuperPACs.  And, that leads to the strongest negative also.  It would make it more difficult for groups of people such as unions, AARP, NRA, etc to get their messages out.  If not done properly, a system like this would intrude on 1st amendment rights, and courts would properly strike it down.  While this is not the space for a full solution, there are ways around those pitfalls.

Public financing of campaigns, if done properly, would also help to break the strangle hold that the Democrats and Republicans have on our winner take all election system by, again, leveling the playing field.  If all sides have equal funding to get their messages out, then voters actually have a chance to hear it.  The Rocky Andersons, Gary Johnsons and Jill Steins of the elections will have a better chance to unseat the 800-pound gorillas sitting in the throne.  As it stands, money is allowing for a louder voice to be heard, instead of a better voice or all voices.   Despite the best efforts of the campaigns themselves, myself (here and elsewhere), and others, the mainstream media virtually ignored all of the “third-party” candidates, to the point that some people were shocked to see candidates other than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on their ballots.

There are many issues that would be addressed by moving to a fully publicly financed campaign system.  It would come with other pitfalls that would have to be guarded against, but it would provide the greatest solutions to what all sides say they see as a huge problem in our political system.  All sides decry the influence of special interests via money on the outcomes of the process.  All sides insist they believe that something must be done about it, and yet, when the time comes to actually do something about it, no one wants to give up their own sweet deals, perks and benefits.

So, we know that public financing is off the table any time soon.  “Top tier” candidates opt out of it because they can spend much more money if they are not limited by it, the public is choosing not to contribute to it (participation is down to 6.6% per the FEC), and no one in office today has the testicular fortitude to suggest it, much less the support to actually get it passed.  What’s left?  What other alternatives do we have to address the issues with campaign finance and the corruption in our system?

First, make no mistake.  It is rampant, systemic corruption, but it is not confined to just the elected officials.  The corruption is, in fact, in the minds of the voters, or more often, in the minds of the non-voters.  At least the voters, even when misguided or simply selfish, are still participating and trying.  They have not completely given up or been lulled into being total sheep that choose to be acted on rather than making even the slightest effort at acting for themselves.  There is nothing more enslaving than the belief that one is powerless.  There is little more foolish than to believe that one can live in a society and be unaffected by the decisions that are made by that larger society.  To choose not to participate in those decisions is to choose to believe that one is, in fact, quite powerless.

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Yay!! It’s over! Oh, wait…


Ah, isn’t that cute?  Kittens!  Yay!  It’s over!

Unpack your kittehs!

Except, it’s never really over!

One of the great sources of frustration to non-Christians is the compartmentalization of the respectable, honorable and decent teachings of that religion from the daily lives of so many.  We see that they go to church on Sunday and maybe Wednesday, and then the rest of the week, they lie, cheat, steal, molest children, commit rapes, murder, and all sorts of mayhem that are completely divorced from their supposed beliefs.  While some of this is certainly attributable to “being human”, there is a pattern of behavior that is not.  It is not my purpose or the purpose of this space to attack any religion or to draw out the laundry list of supporting evidence for this.  The point is that we, as a country, tend to do the same thing with our politics.

We allow it to go unwatched for long periods of time, and as we do, we get more and more distressing government in place.  When the cat’s away, the mice will play, no?  We pay attention only at times of crises or around elections.  Do we remember last January when the SOPA/PIPA fight came up and there was an internet blackout?  As I wrote the following week, it is an ongoing battle, not a one day action.  The same is true of all politics.

Okay, so the Presidential preference poll took place on November 6th.  Fantastic!  You went out and voted?  Bravo!  Brava!  I am proud of you!  I thank you for being a responsible and contributing member of our society.  You are part of less than 50% of the eligible voting population with any claim to being patriotic, in my eyes. My eldest son participated in his first.  We also had Senators, Congressmen, state legislators, judges, county officials, city officials, state constitutional amendments, county referenda, etc.  The Presidential election wasn’t the only one on the ballot.  It was only the most highly publicized.

Did your guy win?  Congratulations.  He was marginally better than the likely alternative.  Mine didn’t, but I knew he wouldn’t.  He was completely ignored by the press.  That is a crucial factor in the election process.  In fact, all of the alternate candidates were effectively shut out of the process by the media.  When the most well known of the bunch, Jill Stein, attempted to attend one of the main presidential debates, she was arrested, you really have significant issues in this country.

Politics is not something that we can engage in at election time and then disengage from the rest of the time.  My son said to me the same thing that many people have said, “I don’t feel like I should really vote because I’m not educated enough on all of the issues.”  During the lead up to the election he took one of the “Who is your candidate?” online tests.  It told him that Jill Stein was his candidate.  As we were discussing it, he told me that there were many questions that he didn’t answer because he either didn’t care or didn’t know about the issues.  I wonder how many people did the same.

I also discussed this same test with another friend.  In that case though, he had taken the test after researching candidates for himself.  He was given a different result than the conclusion he had reached for himself.  He was questioning himself.  I suggested that rather than questioning his own research and conclusions, perhaps he should question the website, its conclusions and possible bias.

In both cases, they were making efforts to educate themselves, which is more than a lot of people can say!!  Too many people simply vote based on party lines, without any thought.

We cannot just cram for the election as though it were a high school test.  This is something we have to stay at least a bit more than peripherally on top off all the time.  Constantly there are issues going on that will impact our daily lives to smaller or larger degrees.  What those things are will vary from moment to moment, but they are constant.  The biggest in the news right now is the so-called “Fiscal Cliff”.  That is the impending sequestration that was agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 2, 2011.  How will it be resolved?  Will a deal be reached?  Will the Republicans continue to hold the middle class hostage in order to continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us?  Do you care?  Are you paying attention?

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Eye of the Beholder


Art

Beauty

Goodness

Pornography

What do these things have in common?  Like so many other things, they only have value in the eye of the beholder.  Further than that though, they only have meaning in the eye of the beholder.  The infamous “I know it when I see it” is often as good as any other explanation, though reams, nay tons (literally) have been written on each subject.  Careers have been made on their study.  Theories expounded.  (Some of which I am more partial to than others, because they make more sense to me.  However, that may just as well be my own bias as their validity, no?)

American political campaigns at a national level drag on far too long.  To the point where they are exhausting for all involved – the electorate, the candidates, the campaign staff, the media, and even the political junkies.  But, what is even worse, is that there is so much misinformation out there, and it isn’t serving any real purpose.

Let’s face a brutal fact here, shall we?  Most people are not looking for information or opinions with an open mind.  They are not gathering information in order to then reach a conclusion.  This is not a scientific process.  No, rather this is, for the vast majority of people, a religious process.  They are, at best, looking for validation.  They are looking for someone to agree with them.  They’re looking for someone that the next time they are having an argument/discussion with another someone of the “opposite” political persuasion, they will be able to cite as part of their arsenal.  Someone to use as part of their, “But, George Will says,” or “But, as Thomas Jefferson said”, if they bother to cite sources at all.

If people were looking for facts with an open mind, then we would have a very different election cycle.  The conversation would be a very different one.  We would not, for example, hear repeatedly about how in debt we are to China when the actual indebtedness to China is approximately 7% of the overall debt (as of July 2012).  This is, in the big picture, a tiny fraction.  However, to hear those on the right tell it, China owns our souls.  We owe Japan almost as much ($1.12 trillion versus $1.15 trillion) and yet that is not all over the news.  We do not hear Romney talking about how he’d cut programs based on, “Is it valuable enough to borrow money from Japan to pay for?”  That is what we call misdirection.

We hear talk about cutting funding to PBS.  Really?  Because cutting 0.012% of the federal budget on a service that is invaluable to much of the country will really make a difference.  This sounds like no big deal to people who live in major markets.  In larger markets, this would be no big deal.  To Sesame Street productions, this would really not directly be a hit.  But, for smaller markets, this will mean an end to this service.  But, that’s that 47% Romney doesn’t care about, right?  Oh, no.  That was just an inelegant statement.  He didn’t really mean that.  Again, in the eye of the beholder.

Let me just put this out there bluntly.  If you really believe that Romney did not mean that he didn’t care about that 47%, you are simply either a fool or you are being intentionally blind.  You decide which it is.  The man said what he meant, in a private conversation, amongst people he thought were “safe” and it got out.  Then he was embarrassed and he’s got to try to back pedal on it.  Those are, again, facts.  You do not misspeak those words that badly.  This was not a slip of the lip where he said one or two words in error, or in the wrong order.  This was 1 minute out of a much longer speech.

Following the Vice-presidential debate all of the far right “news” sources (Fox, Daily Caller, etc) are trying to push the line, as Britt Hume put it, that “I thought it was rude. And I have a feeling it will come across to an awful lot of people as rude. It looked like a cranky old man to some extent, debating a polite young man.”  They are trying to push the angle the Ryan won the debate.  Hume himself though points out that if you pay attention to facts, “If you read the transcript, you might conclude that the vice president had a very strong debate, that he had a lot to say, that he was strongly critical of Gov. Romney and his program, that he held his own.”

CONTINUED on PAGE 2


Get out the vote


The day is fast approaching.  Voting day 2012.  It is 37 days away, and I have resigned myself to several facts.

The most significant is that despite the fact that there are many other candidates running, several of which are likely more qualified and better candidates, we are once again going to be faced with either a Democrat or a Republican president.  This is not because these are the two best choices.  This is not because these are the least two evils.  This is quite simply because of two basic reasons.

The first reason is because most people are unaware that there are any other choices.  As was discussed a few weeks ago in this space, there are at least 22 other candidates of varying seriousness running across the country.  The vast majority of which have received no attention whatsoever from any significant media source, much less from the mainstream media.  If the citizenry are unaware of their options, then how can they legitimately consider them?

The second reason though is the more insidious and more significant.  Inertia – the widespread belief that we have to vote for either a Democrat or a Republican because those are the only two legitimate parties.  As though they have always been the only two options.  If people do become aware of a third party option, they dismiss it.  Granted, they have been around a long time, and they have dominated the Presidency since their founding – the Republicans in 1854 and the Democrats in about 1829, both of which arose from the Democratic-Republican party.  (Not really the party name, by the way.  Just how historians refer to it.)  The Whigs held the Presidency twice.  The Federalist party once.  This is just the presidency.  It does not account for the Representatives or Senators.  Nor does it account for state or local offices, and it is not my intent to teach a class on the history of political parties in the United States.  The point is that we are not bound to vote for these two parties for the presidency, and we have not always had to.  Some of our most revered presidents were not from these parties – George Washington (I) and Thomas Jefferson (D-R), for example.

Even recently we have seen reasonably successful third party campaigns, and yet, we still hear people saying all too frequently, “I can’t afford to throw my vote away.  This election is too important.”  Every election is too important.  The single largest impediment to real change in this country is not corruption.  It is not money.

It is not even the media.  Not any more.  Not thanks to the internet and social media. We have proven that with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, the people are very capable of spreading information, gathering and acting.  When they choose to.  The single largest impediment to change is belief.  The belief that you actually matter.  That your single vote counts.  That your voice matters.  That you should get out there and speak your peace, and that when the time comes to vote, you should.  Some places are already allowing early voting.

This cartoon has been making the rounds and it speaks volumes.  It is unattributed, of course.  (If anyone knows the proper attribution, please let me know.)

Power of the people

All the money of the Koch brothers or the Soros’ of the world matter not, if we the people stop playing their games.  We actually do have the power.  Abstaining from the vote though, is not the answer.  If you abstain from voting, then you are simply consenting to allow them to do to you whatever they wish.

A conservative friend said to me the other day that even they distrust their leadership.  If they are distrusting their leadership and the democrats are distrusting their leadership, then why are you all continuing to elect these people?

However, that wasn’t the real point here today.

The point is this.  I will be voting for Rocky Anderson this election.  I will write his name in on the ballot because he is only on the ballot in 16 states.  There are 8 states in this country that do not recognize or count write in votes.  I will do this because I believe he is the best candidate that is running.  I do not expect that he will win.  However, as I have always told my children, we do what is right because it is what is right; not because it is what others are doing.

As a responsible liberal, when I compare the candidates, I can reach no other conclusion.  If more people were to vote based on their beliefs rather than on fear, we could actually achieve change this year.  Or, we can sit back and watch the right continue on their path to burn the country down.

On a related note, if you doubted that Obama was part of the right-wing, please remember that his signing statement for the NDAA 2012 indicated his regret that it included indefinite detention of Americans without due process and a promise that his administration wouldn’t use it.  However, his administration is now vehemently defending this in court, including “emergency appeals”.  “Oh, but he must.”  Really?  Just like he must defend the defense of Marriage Act?  Oh, no.  That’s right.  His administration stopped defending that because he decided that it was wrong.  To me this says that his signing statement was a lie.

As my father says, we get the government we deserve.  Our apathy and willingness to accept this kind of behavior means that we deserve this.  Wake up.  Change it.


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