Monday, January 28, 2008

State of da Onion, errrr... Union.

Well, right now I'm listening to a man who is trying to be all things to all people. I guess most SOTU speeches are the same.

Problem is, he's the (Gasp!) President of the USA, he's not an Apostle.

It might have been my selective hearing, but I thought I just heard "We're gonna give 'em Democracy if we have to shove it down their throats and blow it out their behinds."

"And, oh yeah, we're gonna print some more money we don't have and throw it down the well to Timmy. He can use that worthless toilet paper for a rope."

534 applauding Horses' Ass and One Honest Man, Ron Paul.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Remove money and power from 'auctions,' er, I mean elections....

By Dave Baird -- Reprinted from The Athens News

Ah, it's election time again. The great American sport.

Sadly, for a lot of folks it's a spectator sport. We tell our kids that with freedom comes responsibility, but ignore that ourselves.

Many of our forebears shed blood to give us the right of the vote. Now our sons and daughters are shedding theirs partly because we have not taken that gift seriously. We are not informed, and are swayed by appeals to our fears, bigotry and emotions rather than by reason.

I get a chuckle every time I hear that we are killing folks to bring them the blessings of democracy when we have made such a muck of it here.

Hey, gang, our government is for sale. We don't have elections; we have auctions. Both parties are crowded around the trough. If you want special treatment, lower taxes, larger subsidies or just to be heard, you don't pay taxes, you give money directly to the politician. (Pardon me, contribute to them...).

The system is stacked to make this almost a necessity in order to get the job. Even the "good" ones rationalize selling out in order to "do some good." Everyone knows it. Most don't like it. But what is going to be done about it? Good question. Ask your party officials and you will get a runaround or they will treat you like a simpleton: "You just don't understand the realities of the system."Well, THEY do. Money is power and power is the name of the game.

Fixing it would be fairly simple, at least in concept, the devil being in the details.

1) Caps on campaign spending tied to inflation.

2) Limit contributions to $50 for an individual and $500 for an organization (be it a business or a union or a knitting club). Provide public funding up to 50 percent of the cap.

3) Part of the license for media would be to provide free time and space for debates and pro/con discussion of issues. And no paid ads within a week of the election (except for a rebuttal).

4) Make it illegal to indulge in negative and personal attacks (that includes so-called surrogates).

5) Make any organization that makes baseless charges subject to libel laws (like the Swift Boat gang). Fines would be imposed in votes, not money.

6) Establish a code of conduct for candidates and fine them for breaking it.

7) Train our kids in critical thinking and encourage, nay, REQUIRE debate of issues in our schools.

8) Voting should be encouraged and protected. Voting days should be either on weekends or made a holiday. Perhaps some penalty for not voting or at least an incentive to vote (maybe a discount on traffic tickets or taxes).

9) It should be illegal for an employer to interfere with the voting or votes of his or her employees, or for that matter even ask them how they voted. That goes for unions, too.

10) Make it illegal for employers to require political contributions.

11) Enforce the strictures on non-profits involving themselves in politics (including churches and religiously based media empires).

12) Can the computer-based voting machines. They have been shown to be open to rigging and hacking. And there's no way to tell if they have been.

13) Last but not least, get rid of gerrymandering by either party. One way would be to require each district to be equal (roughly) and drawn on county lines only, no splitting urban from rural by dividing counties. The process of doing this would be under control of the Census Bureau and the judiciary.

Most of these suggestions would be shouted down by special interests as an infringement on their free speech, which is hogwash. Their concern is expensive speech, speech that only they can afford and feel free to abuse.

Having said that, I'll add that freedom of speech for the many would need to be aggressively protected. One way of doing that would be to enforce the anti-trust laws (remember them?) as it applies to the various forms of media. Individuals and groups should be able to criticize the government without pressure or penalty but should stick to the issues rather than "Candidate A" saying a bad word or having hang nails. And if we vote for someone, it should be on the basis of how he or she is going to affect your family and community (or for that matter, the rest of the world). Not because they hate the same people you do.

Am I whistling in the wind here? Maybe, but it is becoming obvious what the results are of lots of people shirking their civic responsibilities. We see the effects of corruption of the system by moneyed interests, the concentration of power and wealth in fewer hands, and their control over the political life of this country.

Obviously, money and politics must be separated. Church and state need to stay separated.

We are the ones who have to start taking this whole business seriously. The fact that 30-second sound bites can sway an election should be unthinkable. Power still rests in the hands of the people (theoretically). We should be ashamed of the fact that George Bush is sitting in the Oval Office with only 18 percent of the electorate voting for him!

Have a happy and involved New Year.

Editor's note: David Baird, a self supporting craftsman, and his wife, Roberta (better craftsperson), live in the fortunately not burgeoning community of Mud City, in the still beautiful Athens County.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Republican in OZ. So what do you do?

So here you are: a Republican in Oz. What do you do?

If you are a Romney or Guiliani supporter, the Neocons at National Review probably love you and the Devil owns your soul: you either want a car salesman or a crime lord (former US attys make the best crime lords) to be President. Great, send them some money and see what you bought.

So, here we go, the old test. Leave your wallet, your girl and your car with:

The rich boy/car salesman type who never looks anybody in the eye when he’s answering a question and tops his waffles with waffles, or

The wife-cheater/one issue candidate who you are pretty sure owes big-time to the wrong people and has bad wingman judgment, or

The experienced old soldier, who loves and serves the best interests of America as he sees them but who makes compromises and can be swayed by special interests who may be smarter than he, or

The former preacher and crunchy-con, who you are pretty sure will do better in a debate then all-of-the-above, but who you know will be anti-big business and pro-big government, which really puts you off…

Both Thompson and Paul are pretty much gone, but hopefully Paul (by far the best man in the race) will at least be able to affect the platform at some level.

Ok, which one?

Oh yeah, Edwards is the only Dem in the race with original ideas and the ability to win a populist election.

An addendum to this post:

Someone said that this test is flawed:

"... Your test is flawed. You could have trusted Hitler with your wallet, car, and girlfriend. Or Castro. Or Mao. Or Stalin. The real scary people don’t care anything about those kind of things."

I have to say that the test in no way is flawed!

Each one of them would have appropriated my car and my wallet for the good of the community, and then thrown my (Jewish) much, much better half in a "detention" camp.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The "Bradley Effect": Vote fraud, liars, or both....

It seems that the exact thing happened in the '08 New Hampshire Democratic primary that happened in the '04 Ohio Presidential Race.

In the first, the effect was possibly fear of race. In the second, the "National Security Question".

That 13% N.H. swing was enormous, BUT, do you hear the Demo's screaming Fraud?

Here are the choices, and feel free to add to the list or contest it:

13% of the voters lied. Or,

Young voters, for some reason, just didn't show up. Or,

The system (machines or reporting) were compromised (hacked or programmed to report falsely). Or,

An astounding 13% of the LIBERAL voters entered the Booth and decided (at the last minute, it the privacy of their hearts and heads) that they would rather see ANY white woman than a Black man win the LIBERAL nomination for President. This has been identified as "The Bradley Effect". Look it up.

The last choice would mean that everything the LIBERALS say they stand for was repudiated and replaced with latent and now realized racism.

What's your choice?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Toast ag'in. We just love the abuse....

Well, the blame goes mostly to our O-line, BUT...

The Vest and his minions got roundly out-schemed, out-thunk and just abused.

Both LSU's O-cord and D-cord were just having fun dialing up all kinda stuff once they realized the Bucks couldn't hang.

If there is one thing I take from this, it is that Tress seems to have three or four plays he goes back to time and again. Their D is adjusting and if the O-line can't hang we're toast.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I'd bet my (un)lucky Buckeye that LSU ran nearly 3 times as many different plays as OSU. I know for sure they had 3 times as many offensive looks. Are their players THAT much smarter?

Tress needs a good O-cord, but that ain't gonna happen.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ohio's vote is gonna be screwed up again (and again)....

Ohio is going back to Optical Scanners.

For a local overview, check out the Crabby Fat Guy here:

I remember “some people” who told us to “trust the technology”, and “it’s a lot better system than we used to have”, and “the way things are set up, there’s no need for backup paper trails”.
There is only one reason NOT to provide a system with a verifiable secure check, while protecting voter identity, and it IS doable.

As a conservative, it bothers me that the Repubs are the ones who almost always oppose efforts to safeguard the vote, to make it more transparent, securely verifiable and less easy to tamper with.

I’m not the first to note that Diebold, along with other voting machine manufacturers, are Repub contributors.

“…McCarthy & Company, part of the McCarthy Group that is one of the currentowners of Election Systems and Software (ES&S), which itself resulted from the merger of AIS and Business Records Corporation. ES&S is now the largest voting machine company in America. One of its largest owners is the ultra-conservative Omaha World-Herald Company.”

I’m against unwarrented government spending as much as the next taxpayer, but it really bothers me that we seem to put corporate special interests ahead of individual rights over and over.

In a Democratic Republic, I would think that the MOST important thing is getting the vote right.

But it’s bad to spend money making sure the vote is correct????