September 28, 2011
Ron Paul makes quite a campaign commercial. It’s interesting to see a candidate for president run on a platform of consistency, honesty, peace, liberty, and sincerity, and not have a single one of his opponents question his credentials on any of it. He faces only two obstacles: A corporate financed media who censors his victories, and a fear that a reduction in federal power would bring back the dark ages.
I urge my readers to help with these two hurdles.
On the issue of electability: If he wins the primary, Republicans will vote for him rather than Obama. Those supporters of Obama who are primarily anti-war will come around as well, since Ron Paul has far more credibility on the issue.
On federal power: Much of the power of the federal government is recent. For example, I see people recoil when they hear he wants to do away with the Department of Education, as if doing so would put us into a situation where all the schools closed and children never learned to read. The Department of Education was created in 1979. If you went to school after that, do you think you got a better education than your parents? Taking the power over education from the teachers and communities and putting into the hands of federal policy makers has taken the substance out of learning and left it cold. Ron Paul seeks to put the power back in the hands of states, communities, and teachers, not to end education.
Be heard. We can’t have the media convincing people that we don’t exist. We need to turn headlines like Poll: Romney leads New Hampshire, Huntsman in third, Perry in fourth into a rallying cry against a system trying to fix the vote for those in power.
July 16, 2011
It seems that these days, Congress takes a few breaks each year from legislating on important topics like who can marry who and baseball to bicker over some massive piece of legislation. This legislation is always claimed to be crucial to the continuation of society as we know it (sometimes it really is!), and has a deadline for doom avoidance. For months we see news anchors biting their nails over which side is going to win and whether it will pass in time to avert disaster.
The answer is always the same: It will pass. It will pass because if it doesn’t, the legislators will lose money like the rest of us, their constituents will abandon them, and the populace will make what remains of their now final term really unpleasant. Sure, some will vote the other way, but all they need is a majority.
Why do they wait? Why not just make a deal early on and be done with it? Because somebody has to lose, in fact, most of us have to lose.
Our problems are too big to solve in a way that makes everyone happy. Take the budget for example. Taxing the rich isn’t nearly enough (and it makes them not rich), reducing the military is slow and more expensive in the short term than leaving it alone, and the problem needs to be solved now. Raising taxes on the middle class just shifts the overwhelming burden to another group who can’t bear it, without fixing the core problem of a lack of national wealth, and the middle class are the majority of the voters. Stimulus is not much more than smoke and mirrors, and costs money we don’t have. Spending cuts cause outrage among those who are being cut and their sympathizers.
So what’s a politician to do? It’s pretty simple really. Put on a good show. Bang your fist on the podium, cry, point the finger at the other guys, all the while drilling home the point that the deadline of doom is approaching. The most important part is that you don’t make a deal until the clock has nearly run out. If you wait until the very end, you can vote something in that appears to address the problem and helps out your biggest donors (you know, the insurance companies, the unions, and the military industrial complex). Then you go to the American people and you tell them that the other guys put the bad stuff in there, but you had to pass it to avert catastrophe because the deadline was up. If you make the deal early, they will claim you should have kept fighting, and that you sold out.
How do we fix the system?
- Take on problems in smaller bites. Deadlines should be staggered rather than overwhelming. Bills should be mandated to be short and legible.
- Transparency. These people are public servants and we should be allowed to hear what they say on our behalf. All discussions should be on public record.
- Our taxes are a percentage of our earnings, so funding should be percentage based as well. That way, when revenue goes down, spending automatically matches it without the need for an emergency vote.
- Stop taxing the trade of Dollars for gold and silver. It’s Constitutional and allows people to shield themselves from the toxic inflationary effects of Congressional irresponsibility.
- If you want the money out of politics, take away the power from politicians to choose winners and losers. Take away the mandated insurance, the mandated union memberships, the private military contractors, and the corporate bailouts, and the money will take itself out of politics.
“Son, if you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against ‘em, you don’t deserve to be here.” – Sam Rayburn, longst serving Speaker of the House
May 21, 2009
The above video is a Ted Talk by Dan Ariely. He walks us through some deeply ingrained psychological flaws in the human mind, and how easily they are manipulated. What he shows here have some deep implications for the manipulation of the electorate. The next time you are headed to the voting booth, think about this video; think about what choices you are being given, and whether they are really choices at all, or merely the illusion of avoiding a more negative option placed there as bait.
Or, you could hunt down the phone book, call up your local bookstore, and see if they have Dan Ariely’s book.
Or you could get it on amazon: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
May 3, 2009
A doomish title if ever I’ve penned one. As seen in the video below, a recent poll has shown a strong link between churchgoing and the approval of torture.
While this comes as no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention, I think it deserve some further scrutiny. The obvious conclusion would be that religion causes a desire to torture, but I think that may be backwards. Another recent study showed the religious as being far more likely to seek extreme life prolonging measures when deathly ill. What does all this have in common? A fear of the unknown extreme enough to lead people to oppose the values they claim to have, just to scrabble at a scrap of hope. It is religion that is an irrational safety blanket for some very rational fears, that provides the self righteousness and justification for the commission of atrocities that were already desired by those susceptible to it’s pull of absolution. It is the dichotomy of hope and fear that got both Bush and Obama elected by the same electorate. While hope and fear are polar opposites, they are two sides of the same coin.
It is as if the whole country is in a Kübler-Ross model of the stages of grief.
- Denial: This is where we were between WWII and the Bush years. We were the greatest country on earth. It was our birthright, not just a side effect of being the last manufacturing power standing after the war due to the distance of our homes from the front lines.
- Anger: We clearly transition from denial to anger early in the Bush years. We believe all of our problems are external in nature, that it isn’t our fault. The Axis of Evil is the source of our pain. Wars ensue on multiple fronts.
- Bargaining: Hope. Perhaps if we elect a Democrat, they will fix everything. We will give the banks whatever they want, bail out the manufacturing industry, borrow money, whatever it takes. The final days of Bush and the first 100 days of Obama.
- Depression: This is where we are now. consumer confidence is low, the parties are fragmented, the future unclear.
- Acceptance: This is where we are going. We need to accept that our problems are fundamental and widespread, that the middle east won’t have peace, China isn’t going away, and the Dollar isn’t intrinsically strong. Our economy isn’t in a downturn, it has seen a correction, and we aren’t going back to the golden age of the 1950′s any time soon. It is time to pick up the pieces, make some hard choices, and begin to move forward.
We are a government of the people, by the people. It hasn’t led us here, we have led it here. We can take it back, but we can’t do it without a majority. Our next president should be a Ron Paul.
November 8, 2008
Things may not have turned out as we had hoped, but we would like to extend our congratulations to president elect Obama on a hard earned victory. It was obvious four years ago after his speech at the DNC for John Kerry that he had the potential for greatness. Those who claim he has no executive experience haven’t been watching for the past two years. He executed the best campaign I can remember, and he took down titans and fellow visionaries. Hillary Clinton began her campaign seeming to believe it was merely a formality to her nomination. She underestimated him. His unyielding hope for the future likely convinced many potential Ron Paul supporters that the system wasn’t broken beyond repair. John McCain, as brave a man as there is in Washington, fell to his own desperation after seeing the inexorable gains of this Teflon newcomer. Obama ran an honorable campaign. He avoided dirty politics, rejected special interest money, rejected government money, and sparked the largest voter turnout in history.
And what has he won? He has won the right to stand at the helm of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. His followers have led themselves to believe that he will part the waters and walk them to safety. All we can do now is hope that they were right. After eight years of disastrous leadership backed by rampant corruption, we have seen what has become of the Republican party. I feel a great relief that the Bush administration is on its way out. I’ll give this former constitutional law professor the benefit of the doubt because he has earned it, and standing in the way will only prolong the problem, but it our responsibility to call him on his mistakes, and we will do so. Right now our biggest issues are bloat and corruption. I think Obama will find that his biggest challenge is getting his own party to do the right thing. If he can’t turn things around, it won’t be a two party election next time. The race for 2012 starts today. It is time to take one eye off of the government and prepare to pick up the torch, should he fail.