G. K. Chesterton on Conservatives and Progressives

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”
-G. K. Chesterton

Beauty is Greater than Words: Electoral Politics

It is interesting to me that during Obama’s first (2008) election I voted for him, even while explaining to people how it would change little if anything. After his first election I paid attention the whole time to his administration, and I tried to call the administration out on all the points at which he had betrayed his constituency when and where I could, appropriateness being the tantamount concern of course.

The next election (2012) I voted for “Rocky Anderson” (a true liberal) of the “Justice Party” (another good but doomed 3rd party) instead, fully knowing that Obama would win anyway because he was seen as “the lesser of two evils.” I had high hopes for 3rd parties until I realized they are all doomed because the Supreme Court has allowed states to impose higher standards upon 3rd party candidates than on Democrats or Republicans. The reason asserted by the Supreme Court was that the two-party system had served America so well in the past.

After realizing this I started explaining how he’s acting like a neoconservative again, but with a slight shift in my mindset towards the solution. Now I just advocate for “Protest Voting,” or turning in a blank ballot, till we get rid of the two-party system and legalized bribery.

I will even spell out the solution. We need to get public funding for political candidates,  and only public funding. We need the Supreme Court to repeal their silly interpretation of whatever law they used as justification for allowing the hobbling of 3rd parties. We need the loss of corporate person-hood. The acknowledgement by our judicial system that even though a corporation may have the responsibilities of a human being it does not have the rights of a human being. To say that a corporation is used as a person for tax and other useful reasons in a legal sense, but as a member or the community, it can only be a second class citizen; because it has no body, no soul, no brain, no heart, no pain, no life, and no mercy, a corporation is simply not a human being.

Anyway, I find it sad yet amusing to note that this young woman has come to many of the same simple conclusions as I have. I guess beauty does have its advantages.

P.S. This woman has obviously been flipped to the libertarian/anarchist side, which I think is complete and total hogwash. That said, everything she says is true.

Thoughts on Obamacare, AKA The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Obamacare, also known as The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while a small step forward, is based upon a Heritage Foundation health care legislation recommendation for the Republican Party/conservative agenda.

Obamacare

Huh?

Obamacare serves the people a small amount of good at the cost of a permanent requirement to earn and pay enough for health care based upon their probability of getting ill (with the costs skewed towards the young). The problem with that is that nobody’s earnings are based upon the work one does but instead is based upon the amount of capital one already has, their economic class, their social class, their skills, their talents, and the work one does. The obvious assumption here is that everyone deserves the same quality of healthcare.

Obamacare was probably the best we could have reasonably expected without the man getting JFK’d. (assuming he’d vetoed the bill when it was finally passed so he could use the leverage that the American Public had/have over congress to get more favorable legislation for the lower 98%/lower classes)

Obamacare is largely a corporate giveaway because it requires every American to purchase PRIVATE insurance instead of having PUBLIC insurance, hence giving the insurance companies more leverage for the PROFIT motive instead of REDUCING COSTS overall to both the American PUBLIC and American GOVERNMENT.

Beliefs, religions, worldviews, politics, and cults

Think like sheep peopleIt feels good to believe things. It is nice to not have doubts. The world is so full of doubt. Belief systems take care of so many doubts. They make us feel secure. That said, I’m fairly certain that any type of true security is an illusion. Worldviews are quite close to beliefs in that they are like filters that we see our world through, but unlike beliefs they are theoretically changeable through rational discourse or scientific evidence.

I find it unfortunate that many people make their worldviews into beliefs. The best example is the worldview of an extreme political partisan such as a Democrat, Republican, socialist, or communist. Other examples of worldviews that often turn into beliefs include realism, idealism, conservatism, liberalism, and even atheism.

Even if people reject beliefs we still seem to have a pervasive need to attach some sort of spiritual significance to our lives. Perhaps this need exists in the human psyche because we still have more questions than answers and it makes us feel insecure. I am no exception, which is why I try to keep myself from being a believer by reserving 1% doubt about any idea. A lack of belief in ideas is what I think I need to keep from getting pulled into a cult. This is because I’m rather gullible at times, and I have been in two “cults” before. Specifically, I was a Lutheran and a Democrat. I know calling Lutherans cult members is an extremely unpopular thing to do in a Christian nation, but bear in mind that most Christian denominations consider any sufficiently different variation from their religious beliefs in another Christian group to be enough to make it a cult. For example, the church I was a part of until I was eighteen taught that the Mormon church is a cult. The idea that a political party is a cult is pushing the boundary of the word a bit, but partisanship in America has become so extreme in recent years that it is an accurate description of adherents.

I have also noticed that spirituality, beliefs, and religion have been subtlety inserted into our self-help groups and legal processes. All the chemical dependency and mental illness facilities/groups I have ever heard about encourage, if not require, people to find a religion, spiritual path, or at least a “higher power.” Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are largely voluntary and free examples of such groups. There are other programs and facilities that people are forced to pay for under the law, after getting a drunk driving ticket for example, that require such thinking too. As you might guess, it deeply disturbs me that the state in any way requires or endorses spirituality or religion.

I support everyone’s right to think whatever they want to; yet I encourage people to not believe each other, but rather believe in each other (a subtle difference). Let’s retain the wall of separation between church and state. Let’s erect a new wall between spirituality and the state. Let’s remember what the nature of a cult is. They pull people in with comforting dogma that answers unanswerable questions. They fill people’s heads with silly beliefs like the holy trinity, totally equal distribution of wealth, or trickle down economics. While believers may feel safer, get to drink some tasty Kool Aid, and wear some nice Nike shoes; in the end people usually die because of a lack of rational thought. Political believers are not an exception.

Bernie Sanders takes corporate tax rates, “revenue neutral tax reform,” Republicans, Democrats, and President Obama on.

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Bernie stands up for the people.

I know some of you liberals are probably disappointed in me

I recognize that many would think that if I was truly a bleeding heart liberal I would be more supportive of our President and Democratic congressmen (and women!).

Sadly, if you haven’t noticed, President Barack Obama and his herd are just the other side of the coin called the corporate party.  Of course, I had no love for President George W. Bush or his herd either.  Hell, I actually voted for Obama the first time, but as Dubya so eloquently put it “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me.. can’t get fooled again.”

My problems with our liberal leadership are many and varied.  A true liberal doesn’t allow tanks to roll through the streets inside of their own country.  A true liberal doesn’t offer to cut Social Security as an opening move in budget negotiations (what would the equivalent be in chess – perhaps playing without any pawns).  A true liberal doesn’t allow torture.  A true liberal doesn’t circumvent due process and the rule of law to catch the bad guys.  A true liberal doesn’t give up the liberty of his people, no matter what the cost, ever.

If the citizens that considered themselves Democrats or Republicans had any spine they would stand up for what they supposedly believe in, protest, make their representatives act on their beliefs, and never vote for either party again.  Instead it is apparent that the majority of people who consider themselves either a Democrat or a Republican merely support “their man” without question (let’s take that literally too – we have never had a woman president – Pakistan has).

I wish members of both political parties could have the courage to admit that both of “their guys” screwed up our economy, infringed upon our civil liberties, violated the Geneva Conventions, and engaged in thinly veiled resource wars in the name of “democracy” and “terrorism.”  Of course, that would mean admitting that we were wrong when we supported one side or the other.  It would mean admitting that all those arguments we had with people of the other party were really just us being the unwitting patsies of the plutocracy.  It would mean that we would have to actually do something other than repeat the canned phrases that we hear on MSNBC and FOX news.  It would mean we would have to admit that the two-party system is fatally flawed.  I can see why most Americans can’t bear to do that.  It takes some real courage to admit when you have been wrong and it has hurt just about everyone you know.

I will admit it to you now.  I was wrong for at least 80% of my life.  I thought the Democrats had my back.  They didn’t.  Anybody else?

I may sound radical but let’s think about our current situation critically.  Tanks are rolling around in our streets and DEMOCRATS are JUST FINE with it.  If that doesn’t qualify the United States as a military state and an authoritarian regime I don’t know what does.  Can you imagine what Democrats would be saying if George W. Bush had allowed tanks to roll around in our streets?  This is what is called a cult of personality, you know, like the Dear Leader in North Korea has.  Patriotism is all well and good but this rally around the flag mentality has gotten completely out of hand.  Stop being motivated by fear.  Start standing up for your rights and the rights of others.  The men and women in uniform that have died for us over the last 237 years deserve that we honor them by at least not being utterly ignorant and craven cowards.

It is with these things in mind that I have decided to refer to our current President as “Dear Leader” in honor of his cult of personality and his authoritarian regime.  I will also pray to our Dear Leader, never take his name in vain, and when Passover comes I will put the blood of a member of the opposing party (whichever party that is at the time) above my door to make sure that “my guy” knows I’m with him so he doesn’t kill my firstborn son.  That said, to use our Dear Leader’s favorite cliché, “Make no mistake,” I am as disappointed in the American people as I am with our leadership.  Now, get back to the herd and go back to sheep.. er.. I mean sleep.

An explanation of CISPA and some links to petitions against it

Stop CISPA

Stop CISPA

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a bill going through the US Congress right now.  The goal of CISPA is to allow the US government to more effectively police the internet. Legislators have been trying to get a bill of this nature signed into law for many years, and in fact did try to pass a previous version of this same bill in 2011.  It has been reintroduced by Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan’s 8th district.  North Korean hackers, Wikileaks, and even the Boston bombing have already been used to justify the reintroduction of this draconian bill.

The problem with this bill is that it would allow the U.S. government to collect personal information about online users from companies without having to issue a warrant.  In other words, they don’t need to have any proof or a valid reason to investigate you to get information about your browsing habits, what websites you visit, how often, what you say, and who you interact with.  There is even a provision in the bill would allow US companies to require employees to give them the passwords for their social networking accounts (for websites like Facebook) according to the Huffington Post. That is my understanding of the proposed law.

President Obama has vowed to veto the bill unless better privacy rights are not incorporated into the bill. I wonder what President Obama considers acceptable protection of privacy and if his requirements would actually be adequate. This sounds to me like posturing to satisfy his political base. I would wager that if congress makes some largely superficial changes to the bill to make it sound better our dear leader will sign it into law.

In my experience, a good indicator that something is wrong with a bill is that the ACLU opposes it. They have extensive information about the bill.  Wired has also written a good article about the issue.

Anonymous has asked the internet community to blackout their websites.  Almost 400 websites have joined in their protests; but sadly none of the big movers and shakers like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, or Facebook have taken part (clearly WordPress.com hasn’t).

If you would like to protest this bill here is a petition to the whitehouse and a petition from the ACLU to strike down the bill.

My fellow Americans: we live in an authoritarian regime and effectively have no rights any longer.

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This is what you call an unlawful search according to the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution which “applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (quote from the Wikipedia page).  To my fellow Americans and the citizens of the world.  Recognize this and do what you can.  I do not endorse acts of terrorism or killing.  I am a pacifist and I fear for the lives of my countrymen.  I love everyone.  I must be careful what I say and do or become a target of the state as well.  We all must.  Where can America’s drones not reach?  Does anybody really know?

Read the comments in the original youtube video for further information.  I hope to be here tomorrow to keep writing.  If I am not here tomorrow you will know why.  Should that occur I encourage people to figure out who I actually am as I have carefully hidden myself from only the most casual search for my actual identity.  Perhaps I am being paranoid.  I hope that is the case.

I find the truth everywhere, even occasionally on Fox News. In fact, opening your mind to all ‘sides’ is the only way to see the truth.

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What if the only way to see the truth is to watch the right, the left, the center, the “radicals” on all “sides,” disregard most of what they all say, and then figure out the truth on your own based on a broad view instead of a narrow one? What if Denis Kucinich is the left’s version of Ron Paul and was just as valuable?  What if that’s the reason both of them were ignored and deemed radicals who were unelectable   What if we can agree on this? Wouldn’t that be nice.

I do not agree with everything Napolitano says, but there is a whole lot of truth to what he says.  I do not agree all his stances such as his views on abortion (pro-life) or on gay marriage.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t see the big picture.  Don’t let the details deter you from seeing the broad strokes.

US Isn’t Going to Sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty and I Can’t Imagine Why

Selling Tanks!  Photo credit:  Ben Job/REUTERS

Selling Tanks! Photo credit: Ben Job/REUTERS

The U.S. will join the likes of North Korea, Iran, and Syria by not ratifying the new arms trade treaty passed at the UN General Assembly.  President Obama committed to signing it, but it is an empty promise because the US Senate will not ratify it and he knows it. The Republicans won’t allow it.  That makes it safe for him to say the opposite of what he knows ‘we need to allow’ and keep his base happy (go team Repulicrat/Demican).  You know the military-industrial complex would be not be happy if America actually stopped being the world’s largest arms supplier.  That said, does anyone actually think less arms are going to be traded after this treaty?  Who will regulate the arms trade?  Oh that’s right, nobody – the UN has no enforcement ability.

An interesting side-note: China has now replaced Britain as the world’s 5th largest arms supplier.

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

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This is a broad reaching 3 part BBC documentary about inequality, class, privilege, game theory, human nature, freedom, democracy, authoritarianism, and terrorism, in Britain and the United States.  The documentary examines economic theories, the psychiatric community, the financial industry, the revolution of statistical analysis as a means of increasing efficiency, and even capitalism itself.  I can’t tell you how much this documentary made me think.  No matter which lens you look through our world at, you’ll have a greater understanding of our societies after watching this.  It’s well worth the time.

NSFW (a few f words)

Robert Reich inadvertently explains why the Democrats no longer represent liberals

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Class_Warfare“Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation.  This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans”
An excerpt from his blog post.

There is another thing Mr Reich is wrong about.  WE NEED CLASS WARFARE, and he’s an appeaser because he doesn’t recognize the Democratic Party as the bunch of plutocratic lapdogs they are.

Something is wrong with our country when it fights for our “freedom” and the “freedom” of others by continually restricting the freedom of its own citizens and bombing citizens of other countries.

In Saner Thought

 The Drones

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What have liberals done for us, where are they now, and who is speaking for them?

I ran across this clip from “The West Wing” the other day.  It really made me think (and convinced me that I have to watch this show).  How could it be stated more succinctly?  This is what liberals have done for us:

This make me wonder: where are the liberals now?  Why aren’t they stopping the constant attacks on our social safety net?  Ostensibly they are in the Democratic Party; but the Democratic Party is not the liberal party anymore.  There is no party for the liberals.  Don’t feed me that bull about the Libertarian Party being the party of liberals either.  Most Libertarians would like nothing more than to completely remove the social safety net in lieu of what can only be called social Darwinism.  If anything the Libertarian Party is the party of yes small government and austerity (you know what the Republicans claim to be).  But I digress, there is no place for liberals in any political party today.  There is just a huge ugly mess to clean up after the two ‘parties’ just trashed the house; and there are no parents to come back and scold them for the damage they have done.  Well, not unless the American people can start acting like responsible parents instead of spoiled selfish brats.

Why can’t you call the Democratic Party liberal?  Often the reason is subtle, like their perceived inability to act.  The main problem though is that you can’t call the Democratic Party liberal just simply because it opposes a slightly more conservative party.  We need to face the fact that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved steadily to the right for the last twenty to thirty years.  Sadly, liberals, by in large, have not noticed that the Democrats no longer represent their interests; instead they represent banks, lawyers, and the corporatocracy, not in word, but in deed.

Let me illustrate how far to the right the Democratic Party has slid by reviewing some of what the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party have done or allowed to be done since President Obama took Office:

I could go on but you get the point.

So who is speaking for the liberals now?  With the exception of Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison I honestly have no idea.  We lost Denis Kucinich.  We lost Barnie Frank.  We lost Anthony Weiner .  Who else is left (pun intended)?

We could try for a new liberal political party.  One problem with this approach is that the Supreme Court has sanctioned the two-party system by allowing laws in various states that make third parties more difficult to form (I will address this in the future).  Another problem is splitting the ‘liberal vote’ which could mean a series of Republican wins and majorities for a long time to come.

So I guess it’s up to us guys.  We have to protest.  We have to push our politicians to represent our interests.  We have to make calls and write letters to our congressmen.  We have to get the money out of politics (or legalized bribery as I like to call it).  We have to push for run-off voting.  We have to push for an end to the two-party system.  We have to elect officials that will stand up for our rights.  If they don’t represent our interests we need to promptly attempt recall elections when possible, or at least vote them out after their term is done.  I wish I had better suggestions.  I welcome your ideas.  Seriously, help.

Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Speech

There were many things liberals enjoyed hearing said in President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech.  There were even more things that liberals should have noticed that weren’t in the President’s speech.

I can’t help but notice that he didn’t try to justify his administration’s continued support of warrant-less wiretapping, indefinite detention of Americans suspected of being terrorists, extrajudicial killings of Americans abroad, the use of torture, extraordinary rendition, or the continued use of the Guantanamo Bay prison.  I did not hear him say that he would end the failed war on drugs.  I did not hear him mention the prison-industrial complex and the need to break its back.  I did not hear him mention the two new wars the United States became involved in (Libya and Mali).  I did not hear him defend the torturous treatment of Bradley Manning.  I did not hear him explain why more whistleblowers have been prosecuted under his administration than under any other.  I did not hear him explain why he resigned the Patriot Act.  I did not hear him explain that Social Security and Medicare are self-sustaining and do not contribute to the national debt.  I did not hear him explain how Social Security could be made solvent through the baby boom merely by removing the income cap on Social Security payments.

One thing I did notice in that liberals should be outraged about is the increased rate of oil drilling and the reduction in regulations – especially after the gulf oil spill; but the public seems to have conveniently forgotten about this tragedy and focused more attention on the daily fluctuations of gas prices.  The memory hole is always so close at hand here in America.

He is indeed a great compromiser.  He has compromised the values he was elected to uphold.  He has compromised the liberty of his citizens for the promise of more security.  He has compromised with the far right to pass mediocre center-right legislation left and right (pun intended).  He quotes Reagan constantly and I think there is a reason.  He behaves a lot like Reagan.  Ladies and gentlemen our president is equivalent of a Republican from the 1980’s.  That is how far our country has drifted in the last 30 years.

Republicans should think of a new word to describe their party and the far-right position on the political spectrum it holds because their previous position has been usurped by the Democrats and their President.  Perhaps the lesser of two evils was in fact the greater of two evils.  Would the Democrats in Congress would have allowed all this to happen if a Republican had been in office?  Wouldn’t they have filibustered the Patriot Act?  Wouldn’t they be demanding that American citizens be given due process by the courts rather than allow them to be killed abroad with little more than an executive committee masquerading as their constitutional right to ‘due process?’  Since ‘their guy’ won the Democrats in congress and the Democrats in the public are more than happy to endorse almost anything ‘their guy’ says is in their interests.

Divide and conquer has worked again America.  The liberals have been thrown a few bones.  The push for a higher minimum wage (which over the long-term does not fix structural economic problems and ends with the same levels of poverty).  The push for woman’s rights.  Gay rights in the military.  A health care law that was authored by the Heritage Foundation and is as much a corporate giveaway as it is means of giving the public insurance.

Yet overall the warmongers, the bankers, the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, the international corporations, the lobbyists, and the moneyed elite have won again.  For allowing this to happen I can do nothing more than voice my opinion, disperse relevant facts, and admonish the American public for its inaction.  In other words, for shame America.  Wake up.  The two-party system is a joke.  At the very least we need a third-party that represents the interests of the actual left.  We need a more engaged citizenry.  We need a better educated public (and by this I don’t necessarily mean by educational institutions – read a book dummies).  We nearly need a miracle.  This is the downward spiral.

Who and what will lead our nation back from the brink?  We must risk something now while we still have the resources to risk or soon we will end up penniless and landless sharecroppers on the land of our forefathers (and the American Indians before them).  Speak out!  Protest!  Contribute in whatever way you can!  The longer we wait to act, the less power we have, and the easier we are to subdue.  I’d rather we took action now.  It will only get harder to reverse these trends as time goes on.