What issues matter, what can be done about them

So when my vote was suppressed, I swore I’d do something about it. And so far I have.

Political Action Groups
I’m now a member of NRDC, Oceana– those are enviornmental protection groups, HSUS, PETA, COK– all animal rights groups, the Brady Campaign, Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU and EFF.

Individual Politicians
I’ve given money to three candidates nationwide who support doing something about the out of control situation with guns. I also gave money to my local Democratic candidates.

I organize the Progressive Book Club of Takoma Park. Picking books was more challenging than I expected– while the right writes identifiable right wing screeds, the left tends to write nonfiction and works of journalism. Oddly, right wingers signed up and at least one left winger refused to sign up because the group didn’t look radial enough. It’s hard to please.

Funding What Should be in Society
In addition to giving money to the government to encourage it to spend money on issues of importance (instead of tax subsidies-i.e. business tax cuts- in return for campaign contributions), I’m directly giving my money to good causes, such as the Poplar Spring Run (a local animal sanctuary), the Takoma Coffee Shop “La Mano”, the Takoma Community Kitchen, and micro-finance lending via Kiva.

Boycotting What Shouldn’t be in Society
I am boycotting Monsanto. I’m dedicated to cutting out non-organic food from my diet. Since Monsanto only sells poison to homeowners (roundup) and farmers– which I am neither, I can’t effectively stop buying from them unless I stop buying from farmers who buy from Monsanto. I do what I can to harass my building about the pesticides they put on the lawn. So far, only a local ordinance has suggested that the building’s board and management company might stop trying to poison us all.  It depends on enforcement.

It’s all new, so it’s hard to say how effective it is. I tweet, re-tweet, I sign petitions. I click “like” and occasionally re-post. I try to be loud about writing a check.

Some things I won’t do online: get into fruitless discussion in the comment section of the news or fight a flame war with anyone. I’m going to see if a blog coupled with twitter & Facebook integration will provide the reach to those who I’d like to reach: progressives who want to do something, but don’t know what. People who would do something, but don’t know it needs to be done.

Advocacy Group of the Month: ACLU

Why do I like the ACLU? They fight for the right to vote. The believe it is more important to let people vote than anything else.  Voter suppression is a right wing tactic to get more white Republicans into office.  Even if you are a white Republican, you should favor the right to vote.

1) It’s democracy. Not voting is authoritarianism. If you are fundamentally an authoritarian, really, what tribe are you from?

2) Racism and flat out preventing Democrats from voting is illegal, so voter suppression is likely to back fire time to time and suppresses *your* vote. Do you trust the party to suppress the right votes?

ACLU stands up for religious freedom and a division between church and state, something that is important when both those who are over enthusiastic about spreading their religion and those who are over enthusiastic about repressing religion from time to time convince the government to go to far in people’s private matters of conscious.

ACLU is an interesting organization in that their laser like focus on principles sometimes put them on both sides of the progressive-conservative divide.

Everyone, left and right, should be a member of the ACLU– (except authoritarians, like really people?)

Join here: https://www.aclu.org/multimedia

So my vote was suppressed. Now things just got serious.

Okay, for the last two elections, lines started to get really long. Now when I changed states, I couldn’t vote because I didn’t have a driver’s license. I take the metro. So apparently, anyone who takes mass transit is liable to commit voter fraud, or more likely, not Republican enough for the corrupt voting boards.

Voter suppression is the rightwing strategy to make voting difficult for women and minorities and city dwellers so that Republicans will remain a viable party.

Unlike the the poor, black, asian and so on that the Republicans really wanted to suppress, this time they suppress the vote of a white guy. I wasn’t going to vote for Republicans anyhow, but now I’m mad. So I’m joining as many progressive political groups as I can, top among those MoveOn and the ACLU, both which are working on voter’s rights. So here are some things I will be doing in my spare time over the next 40 years since voting isn’t a sure thing anymore. I’ve added my rough estimate of how many vote equivalents each is worth, and given that the Electoral College system makes the marginal vote about as important as mouse farts, maybe in the long run this will work out of the better. All the same, better than a successful revolution after a nearly stolen election, I’d rather not have the Sith Lords take over in the first place.

Donate to GA, TX and AR Democratic party. Worth 50 Votes.
Money talks, well, as long as you have an attractive candidate. And the Dems have more attractive candidates. If GA, TX and AR turn blue, the GOP will be excluded from the presidency for generations. There aren’t enough old white men in those states for the GOP to govern without repeal non-white and women franchise and maybe the repeal of voting altogether.

I’m going to read the news Worth 25 votes.
The poor and disenfranchised are getting screwed because they aren’t paying attention. I can read, I read fast and I use RSS and I can amplify the the news that is being ignored. I even have truth on myside– since as a progressive I won’t need to make up material.

I’m going to blog. Worth 6 votes.
My task as a political blogger is much easier than for conservative bloggers as I only need teach people how to resist voter suppression, where as conservatives have to move the opinions of their sole audience of old white men to political la-la land and get them to vote. Despite the barriers.

I’m joining about about 22-25 groups. Worth about 20 votes.
Votes in congress are only one way that policy gets made. I don’t have $300 million for attack ads, but I got a few hundred bucks to fund a variety of lawyers, think tanks, activists, watch groups that help decide what congress will be voting on in the first place.

I organize meetups. Worth about 15 votes.
I’ve organized so many meetups I’ve lost count. I create groups like I sneeze. In this election I saw that right wing literature is outselling progressive books. I suspect that in part that is because a lefty will read the original, say, Darwin’s Descent of Man, which is not the the politics section, while right wingers need to have their books written by ideological hacks, which will end up in the politics section.

I’m taking election day off. Forever. Worth 20 votes.
I’m not working class. I can afford to use my vacation days to vote and to spend the day driving people to the polls.

It’s time to take America back from the corrupt right wing voting boards.

The perfect boycott

  • The boycott is related to something trendy and in the news. For example, SOPA and PIPA. There are tons of vulnerable companies in that support SOPA and PIPA
  • The company is a consumer goods and services company. Mining companies are immune from consumer boycott pressure, unless it is a highly visible item like diamonds.
  • You are a current customer or buy at least occasionally.
  • The industry has a variety of at least similar competitor. Presumably you’ll still need to get your stuff form somewhere.
  • Bad behavior isn’t widespread or fundamental to the business. Oil companies come to mind– they all pump huge amounts of carbon into the air and they all have spotty records when it comes to pollution from extraction and refinement. If the bad behavior is fundamental to the business, then its the consumer that needs to change. Again until people stop driving everywhere, there isn’t much point in boycotting an oil company on account of it’s carbon pollution.
  • There is a way to let the company know they are being boycotted.
  • The company has an effective way to communicate that they really have stopped their bad behavior so that consumers can resume buying. The Nesles Kills Babies campaign had effects long after the company said “uncle” and tried to respond to the campaigns demands. If the company doesn’t notice and think that responding to the demands will lead to normalization of sales, they might just treat the boycott the same as bad luck and bad weather–bad, but nothing they can do anything about.

I don’t like Libertarians

Sites like digg and reddit and corners of stackoverflow have been overrun by libertarians.  Some of them may just like low taxes and the freedom to smoke pot and may otherwise be nice people.  Some may have well thought out intellectual reasons.  Heck, even the Mormons, who I can hardly agree with them on anything are truely some of the nicest people I’ve met, even when I have to turn them away from my door.   The rest of libertarians are expressing their socialpathic personality.

The sociopath is the moocher, the freeloader, the man who will take a handout but won’t let you starve in the street because you misfortune is your fault and his gain.  The sociopath is the traitor that switches sides when it pays, the thief who is above all property laws except when they serve to protect his property instead of yours, the scrooge who saves not for the greater wealth of all, but to deny others his surplus.

The sociopaths among us use the web, too.  They’re the trolls, the guys ruining online communities everywhere, sniffing out messages with whiffs of social contract so they can  badger them into thinking the social contract is somehow impolite, trying to re-engineer social opinion all the while condemning conventional morality as  social engineering.

The libertarian sociopath is the one that wants the freedom from social obligations and the freedom to be be a parasite.  The libertarian is the self justifying thief, the anarchist who wants you to follow the rules, so as to make it easier to exploit you when he breaks the rules.

The libertarian hates nothing more than social responsibility, not out of any fancy thinking but because the putting the good of anyone above themselves is repugnant to them.  They don’t buy into the social contract because they can gain so much more by just taking what they want and getting even more by pretending to be paying into the system but in fact only taking what society has given.

Even chimpanzees will hunt down that slaughter traiters, in law routinely the traitor gets the highest punishment.  The thief is routinely exiled or caged.  The cost of being an ugly sociopath is high, if you are found out.  Thanks to the internet, the sociopaths now have keyboard courage and are annoucing their presence on the web with the label “libertarian.”

If you think you’re a “good” libertarian, well, maybe you are, but still, you’re sharing a self chosen label with the label that has  been chosen by the worst elements of humanity.

This post is closed to comments.  Should you feel the need to post an angry comment,  please do so on your own blog so society can hunt you down like a dog,  so that woman will refuse to breed with you and your genes will disappear from the face of the earth.

We have found the disease and the disease it not liberalism, it is libertarianism.

Obama Wins

Contractors whose sole qualification is being a Republican party member in good standing can expect to see fewer contracts.

Ideologue CEOs and Board Members who’ve funneled funds to the Republicans can now add wasting shareholders’ money (my money!) to their list of crimes.

The Republican party itself, which relies so much on opportunist contractors and businesses and can expect to shrink enormously as the contracting and business community shifts its funding from the Republicans to the Democrats.

Also, we can expect the financial health of rural America to improve. Rural America’s  votes against their own economic interests won’t have so much impact, at least not at the Federal level. We will also see a receding of rural Americans’ imposition of their lifestyle on urban America.

This is a good thing.

Where did law and order and rule of law go?

What’s up with McCain supporters going around and smashing people’s windows and stealing their yard signs?

Just more evidence, that there isn’t a conservative party in the US, just creaping fascism.  The consequences of a two party system is you get to vote for people who have no respect for law and no respect for law and order.  Or you get to vote for a party that might disagree with you on your favorite issue.  Or you can stay home.

Without law and order, without the rule of law, abortion and who is more pro-gun is the least of our concerns.

Movie Review: V for Vendetta

Fantastic movie.  Everyone should see it ask themselves, which party, given that we only have two, is likely be backbone of the Norsefire party in the US?  Which party would create fear and war to remove our freedoms? Which party will use fear of the other to make obey what we would never obey if we were afraid? (In our own back yard of Virginia no less)  We have only one thing to fear, and it isn’t the fear– it is that we vote people who would manipulate the fear of everyone around us.

I’m not afraid, and besides, inspiring true fear takes a certain amount of competence.

Everyone planning to vote should watch this movie.

Tough love for the Republican Party

The Republican Party has always been one of tough love.  Tough love means not giving handouts, subsidies or services to the public.  Doing such detroys the incentive to achieve because handouts and entitlement reward failure the same as success.

This is why it is more important than ever that there should be 248 people to add to our mind boggling high 7% unemployment rate– all of them Republican hangovers from the biggest nation wrecking binge since the British burned down the White House.

Why should we reward these scum of the earth?  Like it or not we have a two party system and there is likely to be issues in each party with appeal and diagreeableness. Is it because they support guns rights more than the other side? (Both parties support guns more than any guncontrol advocate does!)  Should we relect bozos who are destroying the economy just so we can have fantasies of playing Rambo in our  home?  Is it because they oppose abortion?  Would the Catholics support Beelzebub himself if he were pro-life?  Is there no level of incompetence and malfeasance so great as to trump these popular single issue voting strategies?

The Republicans, like John McCain are the new welfare queens, who have so many houses that he can’t keep track of them.  John McCain is welfare queen of the worst sort whose wealth is derived from coporate welfare.    John McCains family fortune comes from the wholesale liquor business, who would not have such sky high profits if it were for prohibition era experiments with laws that turned out to be a massive consumer to supplier transfer of wealth, check out this Reason article for details.

This year, vote your conservative conscious and vote against all Republicans.  There is no conservative party in the United States.

This blog endorses Barack Obama

As we head into a recession, will this be the Great Depression II or will this be the close call with the Great Depression II?

Let me tell you as a software developer with a master’s degree in Economics:  the johhny one notes of the Republican party will not save nor help me or the economy with a tax cut.  The “cut taxes” matra of the Republican party is not economic policy but unreasoned sloganeering turned into pseudo-public-policy.

It wasn’t high taxes that turned Wall Street into Vegas.  It won’t be tax cuts that get us out of this mess. Besides, when we are all unemployeed, bereft of our retirement funds and our houses, what taxes did McCain intend to cut?  We already don’t tax the penniless. 

Tax haters like to point to the day when you start working for your self, about one quarter to one third through the year.  Maybe people should start paying attention to the day that we will make up for the Bush tax that robbed us of our stock and real estate portfolios.  When will we get that back?  At least tax freedom day arrives sometime in the year.  The day our assets recover may be much more than a year and longer should we individually go bust before then.

McCain and the Republican party are scurrying to save the passengers on the luxury yachts that are watching us sink on the Titanic.