5 September 2008

2008 Republican National Convention Roundup

As God as my witness, I think any more party convention fare consumption would drive me absolutely insane and I’m so glad it’s over.

Some of my thoughts on the 2008 Republican National Convention and other various takes on the selection of Sarah Palin for vice president — an act that has overshadowed almost all else this week (including Obama’s big acceptance speech last Thursday). Though Mrs. Palin’s presence seems to have incited Obama supporters as much as the hardcore conservative Republican base — reportedly, Obama raised $10 million in contributions in the 24 hour period following her speech Wednesday night.

  • Not a very diverse crowd at the RNC. It’s really a whitebread crowd, with minorities few and far between. That doesn’t look like America.

  • Aside from McCain’s speech, a great deal of hate was flung, including the veiled racist “community organizer” crack by Palin. First, it was anything but dignified, and a smear at all those who sacrificed personal gain to serve their community. Second, definitely a racist jab because the intent is to have the audience conjure up an image of black (shades of Willie Horton in 1988), urban community organizers (like Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson) who are frequently in opposition to destructive Republican policy stances.

  • My conservative church friends are beaming about Sarah Palin’s performance, but all I heard was a George W. Bush (and it was indeed penned by a George W. Bush speechwriter) speech slightly tailored for a shallow photogenic beauty queen contestant. It was short on content and filled with invective. I don’t want my elected leaders to be “pit bulls with lipstick” — I want them to be strong leaders that make their decisions based on the information collected, not framing the data to suit erroneous preordained proclamations (just like the present George W. Bush administration). And of what little bits of content there were, it was constructed of misrepresentations or outright lies.

  • I concede, that for many, image trumps substance, and that was a predominant theme throughout the Republican convention. As a more gifted writer noted, aside from Laura Bush, nobody mentioned a single statistic. They strived hard to separate their party from their present party leader — the unpopular George W. Bush and his dismal approval rating.

  • Republicans continue to float nonsense about Obama being an “elitist”, even as Cindy McCain trots on stage in a $300K ensemble. And especially after the on camera incident where McCain couldn’t even tally how many homes he owns.

  • McCain sprinkled bits of “we’re going to clean things up in Washington” in his speech, but the very truth that his campaign has not made Palin publicly available for question and answer press (or town hall like gatherings) sessions, but wasted no time shuffling her in front of AIPAC and other lobbyist organizations — tells another tale. And as I’ve stated, just peruse the roster of his campaign advisors, filled with the same faces that served George W. Bush, including the vile Karl Rove, and his politics of division.

  • I witnessed no evidence that a McCain/Palin ticket would deviate from the failed policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Or depart from the corrupt practices we’ve seen exposed over the past 8 years. Nor would they take prosecutorial action against the criminal deeds committed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. How can they pledge to make Washington accountable when they are already cowering through the campaign?

  • By all indications, Palin is all aboard on the torture express, has no qualm with an illegal immoral invasion of a nation that posed no threat to the U.S. and was based on fraudulent deception about WMD. Nothing was spoken over the lack of professionalism in the management of civil service workers and the pure partisanship injected into justice department.

  • It’s astonishing how the McCain/Palin ticket is attempting to run against their own party. Railing against entrenched Washington interests, pledging to take back the capital. Wait a second. Their party has been in power for the last 8 years. Of all branches of government (7 of the SCOTUS justices are Republican appointees), except for the last 18 months of Congress (even there, the Senate is a virtual tie, as I would not term Joe Lieberman as Democrat). If McCain pulls it off, it has to be a miracle that rivals any past political upset.

A few followup notes on Palin and my amazement how blindly her supporters eschew the troubling facets of her candidacy:

  • Ethical questions about her using her Alaska governor office to settle a personal score. Don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent or the Alaska Independence party — it’s wrong. Naysayers argue that the charges have no merit, but there’s more than there than a simple accusation and Palin has been caught backtracking and her responses in this matter indicate the charges are well warranted.

  • On one hand, ascending to governorship of a U.S. state would be indicative of a valid, pre-vetted candidate, but I’m not so certain in a one-party state like Alaska. The real race is the cutthroat internal party slugfest and I don’t doubt that on that stage, Palin was a shrewd player. However, their suitability to a U.S. electorate is an entirely different matter. Balancing the budget in Alaska, for example, is a relatively simple matter of adjusting revenue check amounts cut for citizens. That’s far from the challenges met by governors in other states.

  • A wire service fact check of her speech claims shows a lot of whoppers.

  • She displayed childish and inexcusable behavior in this public radio appearance.

  • She appears quite ignorant of foundational American history — like her quoted answer about the pledge of allegiance being good enough for the founding fathers? Maybe some of my coworkers are not familiar with that tidbit of history, but I would expect an elected official of a prominent executive post would certainly not sound like a contestant on “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”.

  • I respect her stance on abortion. I am pro-life too, but I wouldn’t agree to the extremist position she adopts which amount to a Rapists Bill of Rights (no exception for rape or incest). Also, while admirably, her personal life illustrates her convictions, in her executive office, she’s sided against both young mothers and special needs children, cutting aid for such programs.

  • She’s been lauded as a fiscal conservative, but the evidence illustrates otherwise — as mayor, she left the town with a mountain of debt and for grandiose, unneeded projects like hockey arenas, while neglecting basic infrastructure needs.

  • She headed a 527 group for Senator Ted Stevens, who’s embroiled in an corruption investigation and is legendary for all the pork he has brought to the state of Alaska. Your tax money at work.

  • She attempted to ban books from her town library. Now, how American is that? It is behavior suited more to the Communist Party in China.

Sarah Palin seems like a nice lady. Listening to a conservative Christian talk radio host, he made a point about how great it was that Palin was just an ordinary likable principled working mother (after he termed her a “female Ronald Reagan”). And that people who attack her are somehow equivalent to those who would belittle your own Mom!

I love my Mom. She’s kind, warm, caring, nurturant, loving, etc.… But we’re not vetting a den mother for our Cub Scout children — we’re electing a leader of the free world. If I need to see a doctor or have my plumbing repaired, I certainly wouldn’t choose a professional to achieve the task on the basis of how much she was like my Mom, nor how much they are like me. No doubt, I’d be much more interested in their competency to actually perform the job. Why, for some crazy notion, do we think our president should be like a bar buddy? That’s how we got George W. Bush (because the pundits told us that he’s the candidate we’d much prefer to have a beer with), the smirking, spoiled C student fraternity son of privilege — and look what a disaster that has turned out to be.

Earlier, on a campaign trail stop, Obama nailed it perfectly:

It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant

I know his remark was directed at comments about energy and tire inflation, but it can be applied wholesale to Republican politics in the 21st century. George W. Bush loves to gloat about how he was just a ‘C’ student who proudly stands over smarter individuals, who cower before him. Likewise, the McCain camp has belittled Obama as an elitist — not because he married a younger, richer beer baron’s daughter like McCain did, but because he’s smart and can give an inspiring speech.

Do we really want to entrust our country’s leadership to ‘C’ students like George W. Bush? Or to somebody that graduated 894th out of 899, and may not have finished at all, were it not for the office of his prominent admiral father? A vice president that attended 5 colleges in 6 years? Instead, shouldn’t we award the position to the best and the brightest — say, one who lifted himself up by the bootstraps, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, sacrificed lucrative financial prospects to do community service, and strives to lead not as an ideologue, but as one who considers the merits of a position, without regard to partisanship.

4 September 2008

Obama Donation

I donated some money to Obama campaign. It's the first I've ever done this, at least on presidential level — a few years back I believe I gave a small gift to local Democrats.

For the record, though it might be tough to tell these days, from my postings here, I am a registered Independent and former card carrying Republican that voted Republican even through much of the 90s (though at presidential level, I cast "loser" votes for 3rd party candidates like Perot and Nader).

I felt so dismayed after 2004 but the stakes are even bigger now in 2008. The 2006 Congressional elections tempered the Republican "war on government" a bit, but a 2008 victory may really entail tragic consequences for the nation.

I realize many (like including my parents generation that think it's rude to publicly announce who you vote for and do their ballot selection in secret) shun "who I'm voting for" pronouncements.

It's not just about the issues. Yes, I can argue that I support Obama because…

  • …he's an advocate for net neutrality and McCain is opposed to it
  • …he's pro science and McCain more devoted to restricting scientists
  • …he'll implement a "kinder, gentler" (to steal a "Poppy Bushism") variant of imperialism contrasted to McCain's hawkishness
  • …he'll be better on SCOTUS justice selections
  • …he's stronger on honoring the Constitution whereas McCain's nebulous "war on terror" discarding of civil liberties and/or embrace of Unitary Executive doctrine
  • …while he's guided by faith, unlike confidants and groups McCain seeks to satisfy, does not wish to forcefully impose his view of religion upon the country
  • …unlike McCain, he's relatively free of lobbyists and special interests — just examine McCain's roster of advisors
  • …he'll depart from the woeful path and flawed polices of George W. Bush — mainstream media pundits portray McCain as a maverick, but his administration composition won't look much different than the present one

But beyond the issues, there are critical foundational questions about the process of government and complete corruption of the framework in Washington. First, the taint must be exorcised from Washington chambers. Restore government officers as the people's servants, not the province of a plutocratic aristocracy.

It's time to put adults back in charge of the storehouse.

27 August 2008

Positively Negative

squashed wrote:

I don't want to say that all negative ads are categorically "immoral" or even that the perfect campaign would never run a negative ad, but by and large, negative ads hurt America. By their nature they are divisive. They will tarnish the image of the country and impede the eventual winner's ability to govern the entire effectively. That said, there may be a time when a negative ad is necessary to draw a legitimate contrast. Obama and McCain disagree on how the tax burden should be allocated. (Obama would put more on those making over $250,000 a year. McCain would put more on the middle class, the poor, and the next generations who will be stuck with a whole lot of debt.) There's a policy disagreement--and both sides should feel free to promote their views or criticize the other side's, so long as they represent the other side fairly and accurately. But this is the catch. In a debate or situation with dueling press-releases, the other side gets a chance to respond. If I misrepresent your view or your actions, you get a chance to respond--and the audience will probably hear that response. I might say, "He's been seen partying with a number of women. Does his wife know?" You might respond, "Yes, I work in a coed office, and every year we have a lame holiday party." Both statements might be true--and if I unfairly paint you in a bad light, you get to respond. But in advertisements, only the first statement would air. Comments are taken out of context. A vote for or against a gigantic spending bill is construed to imply a stance on some compromise position that made it somewhere into the bill. Sweeping statements are used. Prejudices are played on. There is a place for a fair and honest, though negative, political ad. But an honest political ad requires more than factual accuracy. I don't think I've ever seen a truly honest political ad.

Myths about negative campaign appeals (lifted from a chapter of the excellent "The Political Brain" by Drew Westen):

  1. Campaigns are getting nastier — a study of American political campaign history reveals that campaigns were historically much dirtier affairs, with frequent scurrilous charges made against opposing candidates, in comparison to current times.
  2. Negative campaigning depresses voter turnout — voters are moved by positive or negative emotions.
  3. Negative appeals are unethical — the question is whether or not the ad is accurate or misleading. If the charges are fair, then the airing is essential. The truth needs to be told with emotional clarity. Personal attacks based on purely slander, on the other hand, are deplorable.
  4. Negative appeals are ineffective — every winning campaign in the last century has featured attacks on the opposition.
  5. When negative appeals are made by the other side, they are better left alone — "playing nice" and "taking the high road" creates an uncontested frame that media entities readily adopt, suggest the affected candidate has "something to hide", and emboldens the perpetrator to follow up with another "punch".

Westen writes that the latter three myths in the list have contributed mightily to failed Democratic campaigns. John Kerry, in 2004 bid to unseat George W. Bush, offers a vivid illustration. When confronted with slimeball Rovian tactics like the slanderous Swift Boat lies, the Kerry camp completely ignored the advice of James Carville and Paul Begala (who unlike Bob Shrum's zero-for-seven record in presidential campaigns, were architects of Clinton's success in the 1990s) in conducting their campaign, ignoring the scandalous accusations that were directed at his pronounced strength, his exemplary military service record.

It's hard for your opponent to say bad things about you when your fist is in his mouth.

In addition, their followup defense, once it was determined that damage had been done, was just as weak and ineffectual:

  1. Respond with a flurry of facts and counterarguments — which means you accept your opponent's frame and may only deflect one or a few of the charges levied.
  2. The "he know's that's not true" or "he's lying" tack — turns issue into "he said/she said" debate, that keeps focus on the accused. If you're going to say your opponent is lying, you need to establish lying as a broader story about your opponent's character. It must be centered on who the opponent is, not just a campaign tactic.
  3. "Girlymanspeak" — you don't express sadness or disappointment, you express rage and slug back.
  4. Appeal to the referees (media) or to the other side to "play nice" — this establishes the accused as weak and allows the accuser to milk the message for all it's worth as it will be replayed repeatedly.

Instead, Kerry campaign strategists based their judgment on listening to focus groups, oblivious to the truth that much of political persuasion occurs through changes inaccessible to consciousness. Kerry avoided issues like Abu Ghraib because campaign advisors feared Republican spin of "attack on our trooops". The failure to "go negative" against an incumbent whose behavior in office is deeply immoral or destructive to America's moral authority is itself an ethical failure. I will repeat: The failure to "go negative" against an incumbent whose behavior in office is deeply immoral or destructive to America's moral authority is itself an ethical failure.

Better than a just response to an unfair attack, would be to get there first. The first to make a pitch renders an effort at persuasion more effective. Innoculate by building up "resistance" by forewarning against it or presenting weak arguments in favor of it before the other side presents a stronger version.

Again, this material on negative campaigning was taken from a chapter in "The Political Brain" by Drew Westen, a book that I highly recommend for anyone interested on how the mind works and what this means for why candidates win and lose elections. Especially if you're a Democratic voter who can't figure out why your party loses so many elections despite polls that show most voters favor Democratic positions on most policy issues.

4 January 2008

Isolationism v. Noninterventionism

On a radio show this afternoon, the host, in reviewing the Iowa caucus results, repeatedly referred to candidate Ron Paul as isolationist (in fact, one such utterance tarred him a “angry libertarian isolationist”. The charge is a smear, and an intellectually dishonest one at that. Whatever one’s thoughts are concerning the desirability and viability of Representative Paul’s presidential aspirations, his stance on foreign policy is more aptly termed non-interventionism.

In the United States, non-interventionism has often been confused with isolationism. Critics of non-interventionism frequently add to this confusion by describing prominent non-interventionists as isolationists. However, true isolationism combines a non-interventionist foreign policy with protectionism (economic nationalism) and strict border controls to prevent international travel and cultural exchange. The majority non-interventionists in the United States reject protectionism in favor of free trade, international travel, and cultural exchange.

Ron Paul believes in “free trade, international travel and cultural exchange”? He’s voted against granting presidential powers to carry out elective wars justified by deceptive means (not just Iraq, either). His political opponents tag him “isolationist” because he is in opposition to military meddling in other nations. Paul believes that a nation should be treated like it wishes to be treated by its neighbors — how would Americans feel about a foreign nation launching unmanned missile armed drones on our shores? Or unleashing spooks to bag and hood an unwitting citizen simply by executive degree.

Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address in 1801, lays out the proper role of government in this regard:

…it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none

According to the neoconservative Republican frontrunners, if you’re not in favor of preemptive military strikes of nations that pose no threat to the United States, you’re an isolationist!

Ron Paul, as do a majority of Americans, believes the illegal, immoral invasion of a country that did not attack the United States was wrong. That, despite military industrial complex cheerleaders like John McCain and the other Republican presidential frontrunners, does not make one an isolationist. Ron Paul, pledges to uphold the Constitution, as instructed by the nation’s founding fathers.

Here is Ron Paul discussing the matter.

In viewing that clip, it doesn’t appear to me that Ron Paul is “angry” either.

You might disagree with the principle of noninterventionism. But please don’t erroneously call it “isolationism”, else you are engaging in name calling and resorting to twisted pretzel logic tactics.

But that may be the neoconservative bias — they rally for wars they themselves (or their children) do not wish to fight. They weep not at the annihilation of the innocent, and accept the tag of “collateral damage” with a shrug. They care not over constitutional erosion and cheer for unitary executive doctrine that essential crowns the president as king. They excite over banning the IRS and willingly burdening future generations for the war machine machinations indebtedness.

7 December 2007

Who Should Be Allowed to Vote?

On a recent radio show, the host posed the question of voting rights and decried the notion of one person, one vote. He is bothered that his informed vote is easily nullified by an "idiot vote".

In America, our system is simple: every citizen over 18 can vote as long as he isn’t a criminal or insane (generally). But these rules seem much more like a practical system than a theoretically coherent system. Should illiterate people vote? They haven’t read the Constitution. Should people who don’t pay taxes vote? They don’t suffer the consequences of their decisions. Should women vote? They can’t be drafted. Should the elderly vote? They have wisdom, but they won’t have to live with the consequences very long. Should children vote? They certainly have the most to lose by bad decisions. We require all sorts of tests before we let someone drive a car, but any old idiot can influence all of our lives by voting. So lets pretend that we are setting up a new system for voting…what would that system require of someone, if anything, before voting?

Yes, Mr. Tallman, you are being an elitist and you erroneously equate the rule of kings with we the people. What made America great in the evolution of government was emphasis on “we the people”, a product of the Enlightenment, that people had rights, unlike the previous ages of world history where no such social contract ever was in existence, at least on a scale as grand as America.

“We the people” means we are the government and the government is us. The host brands government as sanctioned “steal, kidnap, and kill” but that assertion is not apt for our form of government. Is it a fitting moniker for monarchies or dictatorships, but not a model of representative government. How can one “steal or kidnap” ourselves? I left “kill” out, because a nation does go to war, but unfortunately, our history is stained by those occurrences where America was led to war not by democratic sway, but by principle of unitary executive, in flagrant violation of our constitutional charter.

Addressing some of the list points made in favor of voter suppression:

Illiterate people?

On the surface, the notion of banning the illiterate seems sensible. But at the other end, does that mean a voracious reader like me that consumes dozens of books a week is inherently more qualified than someone who primarily gains their knowledge from watching CNN or Fox News? Of course not. And going forth, our culture is transitioning from a written word culture to a visual culture. It’s been established that we’re not exactly a people that like to read:

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school. 42% of college graduates never read another book. 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year. 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. 57% of new books are not read to completion.

How about “computer illiterate” people? Are they also acknowledged as lesser informed, and thus mete out their vote in unqualified fashion? Our society is one now where one is required to grasp technology to function in it, at least in terms of holding down a job. And increasingly, with media ownership consolidation, the internet (or possibly your public library) is the only resource where you can get more than one side of a story. Or be able to explore all the facets of an issue, not just the strawman hoisted by clever propagandists.

Elderly Vote?

The assumption that the elderly “won’t have to live with the consequences” is flawed — elderly are not only endowed with greater wisdom, but their voting is motivated to see a better world for their children and their children’s children. Though issuing a universal edict on the matter is not a sensible proposition, I would gauge that older, wiser citizens possess a much more forward looking perspective, as opposed to younger people, whose focus is often solely confined to immediacy and interests in their own selfish sphere.

As an aside, the host’s attacks on social security are completely without merit. Social security was established to keep the elderly from dying in the streets, and measured on that criteria, it’s been a success that serves people of all ages. Folks of his political persuasion continue to attack the doings of the New Deal, despite the historical truth that those measures created the middle class in America.

People who don’t pay taxes?

Even people who don’t pay taxes are affected by policies and legislation. I would venture that workers who pay very little in taxes are the foundation of society — they do the work and provide for the riches that do flow to the financially powered. Others like students enrolled in study of a scientific discipline or profession represent the nation's investment to ensure its future prospects are rosier than previous times, and thus, are principle players of equal or greater value than many other tax payers.

Citizenship Tests?

The host defended his ideal system has discriminatory against “dumb people” and not in the spirit of Jim Crow. But there is much hubris in this notion — simple “citizenship tests” are naive and simplistic, and that retaining overly simplistic historical tidbits, taken outside of historical context, grant no meaningful benefit by themselves. Sure, a citizen should be versed in the composition, structure and process of government, but I’m not so certain that a “citizenship test” can effectively serve proof. It’s far more likely that such measures would enable those striving to disenfranchise those of lesser means. Even today, there are still atrocious accounts of voter suppression and campaigns to nullify blocks of voters.


The present mark, 18, is suitable, and should not be raised or lowered — as it would be a travesty (and was prior to a constitutional amendment) to be able to fight and die for your country, but be denied suffrage. Granted, there may be small set of younger folks who should be allotted suffrage, but I don’t see how that group could be properly delineated with “citizenship tests” or other criteria.

On another thread spun by the host, why should extra votes or increased weight be given to married families or larger families? In fact, if such a system were to be implemented, the reverse should apply — that extra resources that all have to pay for (education, security, increased resource consumption) are incurred by “we the people”.

Poll taxes

The idea that citizens should pay to vote or be given extra weight according to their wealth is a crass, gross concept.

In looking at our system, the points at which money is given extraordinary weigh, are the flaws in need of correction. Senators were appointed by state legislatures but this practice became so corrupt a constitutional amendment was passed to stop financial overlords from swallowing the legislative process whole. Absolutely, the founding fathers framework divided the parts of government for the sake of checks and balances, but the legislative branch was envisioned to be the will of the people and the Senate/House split setup for the internal check within the legislative body. Via state legislatures, this was a still part of democratic construct — with the U.S. rise to global powerhouse, the institutions served the money men, not “we the people”.

Defense of the current system

It means we get the government we deserve. Aristocracy is not superior to democracy, and the real life stage of world history is illustrative of this truth. Aristocracy is the enemy of “we the people” — it subverts justice to the interests of the rulers, denies opportunity except to patrons of them in power, and regresses culture and society. All through history, aristocrats have drained the fountain of progress, it’s been only since the social contract implicit in our Constitution that political and economical freedom became a reality for a majority of the nation’s people.

Another system?

I must confess that the citizenship model in Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers is appealing to me, though Heinlien’s model is criticized for its militarism. In the fictional Starship Troopers world, citizenship was earned by volunteering for service and could only be exercised after honorable discharge from such service. Others had rights including freedom of speech but only those who serve get a say in governance. It strikes me as a just system when only those who have made the sacrifice of service to their country should be in command of its charter.

Such a system, however, would require we totally discard the current constitution and begin anew. Yes, this a theoretical discussion — but the successful application of the U.S. Constitution is a solid practical argument against such a radical change. It’s not free of deficiencies, though, and going forth, maybe our framework will prove to be unsuitable for the 21st century and beyond.

Tinkering with the present system

One of the great things about our system is that is has been tinkered with, and improved through generations of Americans. Contrary to the wishes of “philosopher kings”, most believe that opening the vote up to non-property owners, women, non-white people, etc.… is a most beneficial and just course.

  1. An informed and educated citizenry — democracy requires an informed and educated citizenry to operate property. Literacy means nothing if the media channels are completely controlled by corporate interests who fill them nothing with propaganda. Recently, the internet has evolved as a great equalizer, offering a marketplace of knowledge and ideas not being served by traditional media entities. Hence, issues like consolidation of media ownership and net neutrality must be cornerstones of real democratic reform. This is so essential to proper government that the media industry is the only explicitly specified in the Constitution. And even early on, the press was heavily subsidized, through the establishment of the Post Office and other means, to nourish and promote the idea of a “free press”.

    I think right now there’s some important scholarship that is coming out, not just myself, Paul Starr at Princeton has a new book out “The Creation of the Media,” which discusses this, too, which really demonstrates that our media system historically, through to the present day, has nothing to do with free markets and magical technologies. It has nothing to do with some biblical command from Moses or the founding fares, but in fact it’s due to a policy making, subsidies, government monopoly franchises that lay the foundation for how our media system will work, who has power, who doesn’t what the logic is going to be. And what’s extraordinary, when you look at the history, is, at the founding period of this republic, there were tremendous media subsidies, press subsidies or printing subsidies and especially postal subsidies, which were used to really spawn a much more diverse, wide open and democratic press then would have existed if we just left it to the market. And the moral of the story, why this is important is, it gives us today as citizens who are dissatisfied of the caliber of journalism we’re getting and dissatisfied with the type of media that we’re getting, the power to know that the system we have today isn’t natural law, but a result of policies. Today though unlike in the first generation of the republic, they’re made extraordinarily corruptly behind closed doors by powerful special interests. But armed with this knowledge, as real citizens in a democracy, we have an obligation, not just a right, but obligation to establish free press.

  2. Instant runoff voting — the two party system in America has a stranglehold on the political process. While I don’t agree with those who claim that there is no significant difference in the parties, there indeed is a relevant set of issues where both parties stand in unison as the “Washington party”, and completely in opposition to the interests of the American people. The implementation of instant runoff voting would be a healthy tonic, and do a great part in breaking the two party monopoly on the political process. Voters could then vote their conscience without any qualms about unwittingly serving a underhanded vote to a lesser preferred candidate in the two party system.

  3. Disproportionate weight given to rural populations — 10% of the American population easily trumps the other 90% in the Senate,by virtue of the unbalanced nature of state populations, ensuring that this body is quite paralyzed in its constitutional role. The interests of urban workers are drowned but worse, the rural voting block is hijacked by corporate special interests that mainly revolve around funneling government largess into corporate windfalls. At the time of the nation’s founding, such divisions, though present were nowhere near the extreme outliers that exist in today’s geographic alignment.

  4. Corporations citizen status revoked — the notion of corporate citizenship is a gross affront to the sensibilities and vision of America’s founding fathers. It is ironic, because the American rebellion was a strike against the chartered corporate giants of the day, like the British East India Company. Now, in the legal and political realm, corporations are immortal entities, borderless leviathans that easily trump “we the people”. Nothing is sacred — life, justice, sovereignty — all sacrificed on the altar of the almighty dollar.

  5. Gerrymandering — slicing up voting districts not by geographic bounds, but by voter demographics and tendencies needs to end.

I reject the fatalist view that “we the people” are flawed — in fact, it represented an evolutionary factor in the advance of government. One that empowered all of its citizens to realize life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The alternative, which prevailed overwhelmingly, outside of an occasional spark, of rule by aristocrats, was only of benefit to a small cartel of privilege. The majority were confined to filling the coffers of corrupt overlords.

In America, as a result of the Enlightenment and prescient thinkers, that through the ages tyranny was shattered. No, not completely, and still, there are drawbacks and foibles in need of remedy with the system. But one would have to deny historical truth to believe we have been ill served by "we the people".

17 August 2007

Follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America

This article advocating "President-for-Life" Bush the Caesar seems so objectionable that it must be a plant, or a mole.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life. The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide.

Family Security Matters is a conservative think tank with a adviser board boasting of some heavyweight neoconservatives including Frank Gaffney and former CIA director R. James Woolsey, Jr. This particular piece was penned by Philip Atkinson.

Early in 2004 I realized that not only did my theory clarify the subject of civilization, but it also clarified that of Philosophy, so ever since then I have considered myself a philosopher.

Christians for Caesar!

Simply insane.

It may have slipped from the Google cache, as the Family Security Matters webmaster yanked all articles authored by Mr. Atkinson

27 February 2007

“Ron” who?

Looks like the evangelical king-makers are trying to follow the lead of the GOP power-brokers in a game of "let's ignore the e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t in the livingroom." And the e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t's name is Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Rep. Paul has been announcing the formation of his presidential exploratory committee for nearly two months now. A few examples: But while Ron Paul has been letting America know for almost two months that he's exploring a run for the GOP presidential nomination, readers of the Rev. Jerry Fallwell's National Liberty Journal would never know it. NLJ's March 2007 issue includes the piece "Campaign 2008 — Identifying the Republican Presidential Candidates" — which doesn't even mention Ron Paul! (Interestingly, the piece does inform NLJ readers about such "serious" contenders as Newt Gingrich and "talk radio gadfly" Michael Savage — neither of whom have even announced yet!)

If you do nothing else, dear reader, I urge you first to read Pastor Chuck Baldwin's piece "Why Do Evangelicals Ignore Ron Paul?"

Then pass along printed and emailed copies if it to all your religious conservative friends who've never heard of Ron Paul. I suspect they'll thank you for it.

And by the way: If you'd like to hold Fallwell's feet to the fire, perhaps you could also drop his National Liberty [sic] Journal a short email. Maybe something like the following:
Dear sir or ma'am:

May this letter find you well.

I realize that you are the Webmaster and probably not a writer or editor for NLJ. But in the article "Campaign 2008: Identifying the Republican Presidential Candidates" (March 2007 issue), NLJ left out one very important candidate: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

May I ask, how did this happen? Was it merely an oversight, or was Rep. Paul left out intentionally?

In my opinion, Ron Paul is a politician of tremendous integrity. I hope NLJ will have the integrity to give your readers the pertinent info on all the GOP candidates. Perhaps you can include a "Ron Paul addendum" to the article in your next issue.

Phoenix, AZ