Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for you

I voted last week.

It was the first time in 12 years that I have looked upon a ballot. The very appearance of the ballot was a big change. I was given a digitized card that I stuck inside an electric machine. The machine read my card and gave me the options that were placed before me. I read the names of candidates that were, just that, names. People who may or may not be good leaders, but in the end, they were not my choice.

It is my opinion that voting for a candidate that does not represent your interests is the worst way you can throw away your vote. Why give up your right to self-governance simply because a candidate was capable of winning the popularity contest required to participate in our modern politics? Voting does not change things.

I hadn't voted in 12 years because I don't believe in the system that it props up and believe that serious social change is due and requisite for progress to continue.

In the hopes of full disclosure, I did vote for a couple of candidates. Namely Jill Stein of the Green Party, because the two party system is a joke and we need more voices in the debate. Voices that represent the rest of us. And I threw my name behind a couple of local politicians that I think can make a difference in local matters.

And then I wrote myself in for every other position.

I may have won the contest of the single person that received votes for the most positions. Yes, it did take a while to type my name in that many times on the touch screen of the digital machine.

The idea of voting for you, is pretty simple. The candidates placed before us don't represent our interests. They don't represent our needs and we will not give them our vote. In essence, it is a vote of no-confidence.

Can you imagine what would happen if the majority of citizens woke up, went to the polls and wrote themselves in as their choice? Without the consent of the citizens, the very claim to sovereignty of our nation would be called into question. Once again the people would have the power, we would all have the candidate of our choice.

I encourage you to get out and vote for you.

"Be the change you want to see." - Ghandi.

However, it is not voting that gets things changed. Regardless of the outcome of today's elections, the status quo will not have changed. It will represent a simple shuffling of faces.

If we want to truly see change, a change that we can all believe in, voting is the least effective of the tools at our disposal.

If you look back through history, no real change has occurred thanks to voting. There is always some act of disobedience, rebellion or protest that foments the minds of the masses to create something new.

"And I may remark here that political action is never taken, nor even contemplated, until slumbering minds have first been aroused by direct acts of protest against existing conditions." -Voltairine

The real question is not for whom we will vote, but rather how we want our world to be. And when that has been decided, we must directly act to bring about that change.

Vote for you!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

I was just listening to this interview on NPR when Erick Erickson, editor for the conservative website RedState.com said some interesting things. Seeing that I hadn't had any coffee yet, I had to think about the statement for a second.

I heard him say that the Republicans were the cause for the 47% of Americans not paying taxes that Romney had referred. He also, without a glip, claimed that that was the very reason why Republicans needed to be in power.

It must be nice to be both the cause and solution for all our problems.

DailyKos heard the same thing.


Listen to the interview, here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The drum beat has begun again

Let's take a look back to 2003.

We were on the verge of invading Iraq. We were told from every angle that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that we had to destroy them. There was a constant drum being played by the media and government officials. Anyone stating the opposite or asking questions was dubbed unpatriotic and sympathetic to terrorists. Yet, there were no weapons of mass destruction. They never existed. (This is of course in spite of the fact that half of Americans still believe there were)

It's nine years later. The weapons of mass destruction have been turned into a nuclear program in Iran and the drums are once again being played. This time in Israel.

While it is now Israel and not the US pushing for a preemptive strike, the whole thing involves us. There are at this moment a whole bunch of our boats sitting in the gulf. This is to protect the Strait of Hormuz which everyone believes will be blocked if Israel attacks. The funny thing about that is that over a third of the world's oil has to be transported through that strait. Meaning that gas prices are probably about to go through the roof.

The article makes a good point and uses some fairly unknown facts about the Iraqi war to justify using non-violent methods to control Iran's nuclear program.

Recent analysis shows that a previous Israeli strike – in 1981, on Iraq’s civilian Osirak nuclear reactor complex – led Saddam Hussein to demand a nuclear deterrent and was actually the trigger for Iraq launching a full-scale effort to weaponize. A decade later, by the time of the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was on the verge of a nuclear weapons capability.
As researcher Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer explains in a recent International Security article, such ostensibly “preventive attacks can increase the long-term proliferation risk posed by the targeted state.”

The full article is here.

With lots of additional info here.

"The long memory is the most revolutionary idea in America." - U. Utah Phillips

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I ran across this article this morning and it made me laugh. I'm sure everyone has, at this point, seen or heard about the Romney ads that ask the question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" As part of that campaign, Romney bought the hashtag #areyoubetteroff assuming everyone was going to respond, that no they weren't. This is where things get funny. According to the article responses have been a resounding 5 to 1 in favor of yes. Ah, that's just good political, unexpected humor.

Full article here, it's pretty short.

The question that Romney asks doesn't take too much analysis on a personal level to answer. 

Four years ago I was finishing school working as a manager at a bike shop in Northern Utah. I made enough money to pay my bills and have some left over to party and enjoy myself. The months leading up to the end of 2008 were dismal months for that business. We had had an amazing summer, but the sales had stopped suddenly when the whole economy started to unwind. This left us with too much stock and employees scratching their heads with nothing to do. Their was a constant stream of shop friends stopping by from the coffee shop next door to inform us on the latest bankruptcy or how they weren't going to get paid or had lost their jobs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


At the end of this day, all I can say is that I am tired of being told to remember that which has not been forgotten whilst forgetting what should have been remembered.

Every year, on the 11th, I feel like I should write something that would make people stop and think and then I don't. All day long all I can think about is Allende and his last moments and how next to no one on this side of the globe even knows who he was. Or more importantly what he symbolized.

I guess I have let this day pass by so many times because my thoughts about this day, and what it has come to represent, have not changed. I wrote this years ago;

It was a beautiful spring morning in Chile. I was on my way to a meeting when I first heard the news. The lady was really excited and I had a tough time understanding exactly what she said. From what I gathered, two twins had been killed in the United States. The picture was intensified upon arrival. One of my American colleagues was a reservist and was about to lose it. The two twins being killed were clarified to be the Twin Towers. I was also told the Pentagon, the White House, and everything living within the U.S. had been bombed as well. The reservist was almost in tears.
Being 8,000 miles away from the United States gave me a slightly different view of what transpired on Sept. 11, 2001. I was in South America, in a country that annually celebrates a U.S. backed coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973. I fondly referred to Sept. 11 as riot day, because riot they do. Living in Chile opened my mind to a different side of American politics that I hadn’t been taught in school. As the day progressed the events of that day became clearer to me. My “patria” had been attacked.
After watching the towers fall time after time, I began to wonder what was to be done. I have always been a bit of a catastrophist and things of this nature have been permanent residents in the emptiness of my head. I knew what was going to be done, but I also knew what should be done.
I knew the President of the United States would stand in front of the press and give a speech. I knew vengeance would be called for and would be promised to the American people. I considered it a given that the U.S. would soon be invading foreign shores in search of those responsible. The speech would be what most wanted and what was expected, for we are the United States of America.
The “should be done” list reads a bit differently. The president should have stood in front of journalists and announce to the world the country’s resolve to withstand terrorism and defeat it on every continent. He should have proceeded to declare to the world our intention to outstretch our hands to those who hate, in hopes that they would learn. “Our strength,” he should have argued, “lies not in weapons or armies, but within our ability to peacefully maintain our way of life.” The American people should have applauded when he said, “We will not kill to prove killing is wrong. We, the people of this great democracy, will stand up to terrorism by spreading peace and knowledge to every inch of the globe, until it has penetrated every country and made the terrorists afraid to preach their hatred.” He could then declare, “We are the United States of America.”
My compatriots we as a nation failed that day. We resolved not to spread peace but to continue to wage war, to fight terror with terror. We decided to kill to prove killing is wrong. We are no different than those who made the plans, and stated the orders. We chose to kill.

Yup, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on what happened.

Today I awoke and listened to the ringing tones of Utah Phillips' words as I scanned social media looking for the next thing to occupy my mind. Again and again I was bombarded with the message not to forget. How contradicting to listen to Utah and read that message. The juxtaposition was a hard contrast. I have quoted Utah many times, "The long memory is the most revolutionary idea in America."

Have I forgotten? Sure, but not what happened on this day.

I haven't forgotten about the thousands of people who were slaughtered by the Pinochet regime or the democratically elected government that fail that day. I haven't forgotten whose name was signed at the bottom of that coup.

I haven't forgotten about the thousands of people who died in the towers, the heroes who gave their lives trying to save their friends. I also haven't forgotten the hundred of thousands of people who were killed so vengeance could be ours. Nor the freedoms that we, as a people, so easily handed over without so much as a peep.

Nor have I forgotten the people who were killed in this state, on this day, so many years ago.

I have forgotten a lot of things but this day I will not forget. I cannot forget that the one thing that continues to happen, regardless of what has transpired on this day, is that we continue to kill.

Monday, May 14, 2012

This just in from the AFL-CIO

We need your help. CEO pay is out-of-control, but we have a chance to rein it in. CEOs of the largest companies now make 380 times the pay of the average worker in the United States. Yes, that’s right. 380 times!

This growing income inequality is hurting our nation’s economy and working families. 

Luckily, some small steps have been taken to bring CEO pay out into the open but, as The New York Times editorialized recently,1corporate lobbyists are pressuring the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to drag its feet about making this information public.

Click here now to tell the SEC to take a step in the right direction and disclose CEO-to-worker pay ratios. 

Runaway CEO pay is bad for our economy and it’s bad for the morale of working families. Employees at every level, from the executive suite to the mailroom, contribute to making a company successful. 

But companies act as if CEOs alone are responsible for the success of their organizations. That’s why the average CEO of an S&P 500 company received a 13.9 percent raise in 2011 compensation—to an astounding $12.94 million.

Tell the SEC: Make CEO pay more transparent by disclosing CEO-to-worker pay ratios.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires public companies to disclose CEO-to-worker pay ratios. Disclosing these pay ratios will shame companies into stopping runaway CEO pay. 

But corporate executives are lobbying hard to keep this pay information secret. We need to let the SEC know that a few corporate lobbyists advocating for the interests of the 1% does not outweigh the views of working families who feel CEO pay has run amok.

Click here now to send a quick e-mail to the SEC and demand that the CEO-to-worker pay ratio disclosure rule be issued ASAP.