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. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

War on Sex

The Utah State Senate passed a bill that would effectively limit sex education to abstinence only teaching. Also making it possible for districts to completely drop sex education from their curriculum and if they choose not to, the class is an opt-in for parents. Meaning that the parents have to ask the school to teach sex education.

"To replace the parent in the school setting, among people who we have no idea what their morals are, we have no ideas what their values are, yet we turn our children over to them to instruct them in the most sensitive sexual activities in their lives, I think is wrongheaded," said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.
OK. Senator Stuart Reid when was the last time you actually saw what was taught in sex ed classes. It's been a little over a decade for me but there was nothing sensitive about what was taught. A person's anatomy and how to keep oneself from becoming pregnant or infected with STD's is not a moral question. It is about information. What you have just voted to pass into law is telling parents throughout the state that you don't care what their wishes are for their children, you are deciding for them that their kids will only be taught that sex is bad and if they have it they will die (obvious exaggeration added to break down the subject to the senator's level of thinking). You sir are wrongheaded.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


One of my favorite MASH episodes is L.I.P.'s. It's in the second season and consists of Hawkeye accomplishing two missions. First, he hooks up with the girl he wants and second, he helps a soldier marry an L.I.P. or Local Indigenous Person. The part that sets this one as a favorite starts at 22 minutes. When Hawkeye rejects the girl because of some unsavory ideas. Go ahead and watch, I'll wait.

Pretty awesome, huh?

The real point of this opening is one of the main reasons I like to watch MASH. Hawkeye sees everyone pretty much as equals (except women which he learns in later episodes). There is no reason that Kim in the above episode should not be allowed to marry an American or why Klinger shouldn't be allowed to walk around in dresses or the gay guy in another episode be allowed to continue to fight after he is outed to his unit and they beat the shit out of him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Portugal, A Shining Example?

As a continuation of my post Other Options, I offer  you this.

The NYTimes offers up an example of what could be in store for Greece who is currently playing obedient child to the IMF, it gives us Portugal. According to the article, Portugal has done everything it has been asked, chopping social welfare and raising taxes. Yet, its debt ration keeps getting worse due to the fact that its economy continues to shrink partly caused by the austerity cuts imposed by the IMF to help pay back its debtors.

Without growth, reducing debt levels becomes nearly impossible. It is akin to trying to pay down a large credit card balance after taking a pay cut. You can slash expenses, but with lower earnings it is hard to set aside money to pay off debt.

This kind of goes without saying, but yea. If all your measures are focused on cutting the debt and not worried about bringing back some growth and occupying the millions out of work, there won't be any money to actually pay those debts down.

The Times this time shows a precedent, and though it is not offered as an alternative, that is historical and shows how things are most likely to be played out. These situations have been confronted before. There have been countries that simply could not pay back their debt. There were those who tried the austerity cuts and those who wouldn't. The example is there to follow, if we will.

If Portugal and other European debtors find it increasingly difficult to pay off their creditors because of slow or no growth, some experts predict they, too, might eventually need to negotiate debt write-downs. That was how things played out in Latin America in the 1980s, once it became clear that the I.M.F.’s relentless austerity push was impeding the growth that countries needed to pay down debt.

Of course, the IMF would never bring these ideas or happening up its too busy worrying about its own self interest. The austerity cuts are not meant to help the country in debt, rather they are meant to get as much money out as possible before they are cut off.

Vote for You!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Educational Disparity

Let's take a trip in the way back machine.

Way back as in mid 2000s. There was a huge push for an education voucher system. This system would allow parents to take a voucher from the state and use it to pay for private schools. Essentially allowing the state to use public funds to pay for private education.

I quickly pointed out that this "idea" was not a good one, nor was it new. Rather, the education system in Chile, where I had resided for some years had used a voucher system for a long time. Almost all schools in Chile are privately ran. The "public" free schools are the ones that people who are barely able to eat on a day to day basis attend. The voucher system effectively means that if you have money or come from money, you get to go to an awesome school that will get you the chance to go to university and then acquire a job that will pay you enough so that you can send your kids to school.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Other Options...

OK. Here's the road map.

The other option.

Then this happens.

There are alternative options. These are not new situations. It is best to learn from the past.

In solidarity with the Greeks.

Vote for you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Targeted Killings

I would throw my hat in that ring as well. As an American citizen I would like to know the criteria used by my government to decide to kill me without trial, without public debate. I find it interesting how up-in-arms  this country will get over simply gun licensing but won't make a peep about the government violating any citizen's right to a fair and speedy trial.

As part of the current system of government (at least the way I was taught it was supposed to work in grade school), the whole thing was supposedly set up to keep the power out of the hands of one person.

Little is known about the process by which the US determines whether killing an American citizen suspected of terrorism abroad is justifed. Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS' 60 Minutes that the president himself signs off on targeted killings when aimed at American citizens. 
The president himself signs off on targeted killings? That is disturbing. I know I couldn't sign off on such a thing. That is a power that no man should have.

Full article here.
If you haven't heard of the National Defense Authorization Act, you may want to come out from under your rock and read this.
And since the "long memory is the most revolutionary idea in the country," if you haven't yet, you should learn who Mother Jones was.

Vote for you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Master of the Obvious

Rich patrons are a major source of Romney's cash, are you serious? That's like reporting that the Japanese Tsuanmi did a lot of damage when the huge wave rolled over its beaches. I didn't check, but I'm guessing the NYTimes doesn't have a "Master of the Obvious" category for their news. It goes without saying that a party that, for the past year or so, has done nothing but try to convince everyone that taxing the wealthy is a bad idea would have very wealthy patrons funding their campaign. At least here in the good old US of A where wealthy individuals and corporations have full access to donate whatever money they want to influence the American public as part of the election process.

Anyway, here's part of the role call:

All told, the group, Restore Our Future, raised about $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of 2011.
Millions of dollars came from financial industry executives, including Mr. Romney’s former colleagues at Bain Capital, who contributed a total of $750,000; senior executives at Goldman Sachs, who contributed $385,000; and some of the most prominent and politically active Republicans in the hedge fund world, three of whom gave $1 million each: Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies; Paul Singer of Elliott Management, and Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.
Not to be out done, the other half of our one party system has also raised a huge sum of money.

But as Mr. Romney sailed to an overwhelming victory in Florida’s primary on Tuesday night, fund-raising documents filed by President Obama showed the kind of financial juggernaut he will face if he becomes his party’s nominee: Mr. Obama reported raising a total of $140 million in 2011, far eclipsing the $57 million Mr. Romney raised for his campaign for the year.
So between the two front runners for dictator there has been a total of $197 million dollars raised. $197 million to do what? Influence the American public to allow those who are in power to remain in power so the status quo doesn't shift. I can think of lots of things that would be a more worth-while use of those funds. Like paying for health care for millions of Americans or improving our education system, but I guess those aren't worthy causes or, better yet, good investments.

Vote for you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Four years. Is that what we were talking about. Let's explore that idea a little bit further. Four years and no one has ever been held responsible...

The Obama administration tried to instill confidence in the effort by installing Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York state attorney general who is viewed by liberal groups as a crusader against big banks, as one of the leaders of a new unit within the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. But skeptics still doubted the sincerity of the new effort.
Well, I was excited about this in the first paragraph of the story, but somehow the second one, quoted above, took all the wind right out of my foreclosed sails. Thanks a lot NYTimes.

Full article here, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/new-housing-task-force-takes-aim-at-wall-st.html

In other news, these two posts were juxtaposed on my Fbook page. It made me do a double take...

The top post is a quote from MLK, Jr. - "It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. It is even worse to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps when someone is standing on the boot."

The next post is about boicotting Starbucks because they support Gay Marriage.

We can obviously see some difference in ideas/opinions.

Vote for You!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bail You Out.

Four years has passed since we bailed out the banks. Four years that they didn't have to wait around on the verge of collapse, wondering if they would be able to make it to the end of the month. Wondering if their decisions would leave them with nothing. They spoke and those in power reacted, quickly.

Four years has passed

Four years that the average person has been toiling, working, hoping that with their efforts, their decisions they may be able to hold on till the end of the month, that they might be able to make ends meet. Four years of wondering if anyone would come to their aid. Four years of anguish and anxiety waiting for that notice to come for you to vacate your home.

Four years has passed and we still have no bail out for the average person....

A Deal on Foreclosures Inches Closer - NYTimes.com

Why is a deal even in the works, political pressure and hoping to yet again win an election.

But a final agreement remained out of reach Monday despite political pressure from the White House, which had been trying to have a deal in hand that President Obama could highlight in his State of the Union addressTuesday night.

Wow. Thanks governing leaders. We are all so very happy that it is so easy to see where your loyalties lie...

Luckily for us, the Occupy movement has shifted the context of political debate in this country. Ideas and movements that were unheard of or scoffed out of existence before they had a chance are up and running. The recent blackout of the internet being a fine example. Followed by the take down of a slew of government websites when the DOJ shut down Megaupload.com.

One of those ideas is similar to the Voteforyou! creed, Americans Elect is an organization that is setting up to be the first real attempt to get a non-partisan primary going allowing any and all Americans to vote for a third party candidate that suits their ideologies.

Is it in the right direction? I believe so. Is it where we want to be? Not quite yet, but I'm willing to support it in an effort to move in the right direction. Democracy is about making choices, not having choices made for you.

P. L. and R.