09. January 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Politics, Rant · Tags:

I really try to ignore politically-oriented posts on my Facebook newsfeed, but some days I really cannot stand to see what comes across there. I know I’m friends with some conservative-minded individuals, and I respect that. What kills me is the myopic approach they take with so many things. I constructively can come in and provide enlightenment on the situation, and it’s a crapshoot on what I’m going to get back out of the whole thing. On rarer occasions, I will be praised for my critical eye in examining information, but that’s usually when I’m not outright contradicting something s/he may be arguing. The rest of the time, it’s a chronic battle of disinformation through obviously biased sources (simply on the labeling of the sources alone).

I like to think that I try to search for the least biased data/information possible. If I cannot, I will try to source multiple articles in order to gain as many varying viewpoints on the information to collect the core of the data/information, and leave the rest to postulated speculation. Granted, I may be serving into my own bias towards progressive attitudes, but I really don’t go looking for sources of this nature specifically, so I honestly don’t know if I’m coming off that biased or if I am really that biased. It’s like trying to see past the intentional veil of experimentation to not bias your results. Except I don’t know if there is one.

Anyways, today was especially difficult. Such a post was proselytization from a congressional candidate (of another state) regarding the foundations of this country’s government, and where it has become today. I see more and more comments saying, “this isn’t a republic!” or “we’re on track to socialist agendas!” and I just want to throttle them for not understanding what the hell they are talking about! The commenter today raved on about how we’re becoming a “mob rule” country instead of a republic, and I had to clearly demonstrate just want kind of a government we live in today. We live in a republic governed by representation. Yes, we have democratic appointment of many officials. Hell, more than we did during the foundation of this country. S/he spouts beliefs as if his personal rights are being infringed upon, and I’m sure s/he believes that they are. Unfortunately, that’s not the byproduct of the government we have; that is a byproduct of the officials appointed. There is no “mob rule”: the populace does not decide law, our appointed representatives do. However, by extension, if s/he really believed that the appointment of representatives by the populace is source of the “mob rule” that is coming to be, then the most obvious solution would be to take the power to elect officials out of the hands of the populace, which the way I understand it essentially is a socialist republic. So in principle, s/he is unwittingly and naĂŻvely being a proponent for the exact extreme they claim to execrate.

I really try to keep my opinion out of politics unless it’s asked for. I taught my college speaking class that winning an audience’s attention is achieved by appealing to three things: pathos, ethos, and logos. Bipartisanship these days seems to put such an emphasis on pathos. Long gone are the days when logos has a place in politics. People now are predominantly won on emotion, not logic. Emotion is fueled by passion. Passion is often irrational, and even less often sensical. Why on Earth do we want emotion driving a superpower such as a governmental body? Please tell me why.

I do not believe emotion belongs in government. It has its place on rare occasion, but government should first be run by logos, then by ethos: make rational, logical decisions for the ethical best treatment of its citizens. Why oh why are we so fixated on cramming our idealogical pathos down everyone else’s throats to satisfy that our sovereign opinions reign supreme?

We are a country of many. We must govern many. We must accommodate the many. We should not deliberately alienate anyone, or rob the weak of their fundamental rights. I understand that is what a republic is to do: protect the rights of the citizens. However, so many of these attempts to “protect” individual rights is endangering or violating others. We are on a see-saw of pathos, torn from side to side over people’s petty appeals to just themselves.

A republic is a government of the people for the people. Why then are we demanding they appeal only to each one of us, and not the republic as a whole? I wonder how many people have forgotten what a republic really stands for…

A dear friend of mine posted this on their Facebook wall a month or so back, and I wanted to repost it so more people could read it (due to the security settings) because I very much agree with what was stated in the post. However, I just hadn’t gotten around to it after I got their permission to. So now that I finally yanked the text and reposted it, here you go! The only formatting that was done was to better break up the text and formatting to make use of HTML and CSS.


Here’s my situation as a teacher…

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I really cannot wait until election week is over with. The asinine things that are happening all because of this election (or more accurately drawn out) have me just dreading this last week or two.

Is this a sign of things to come in future elections? If so, I’m not sure how long or to what degree of these shenanigans I will be able to withstand!

Bogus Robocall Tells Floridians They Can Vote By Phone:

“Another unknown group is distributing flyers (see the flyer after the jump) with official-looking letterhead around the area of Hampton Roads, Virgina that erroneously inform recipients that because of the crowds at the polls, the Virginia State Board of Elections is scheduling Republicans to vote on November 4th, and Democrats on the 5th.

(Via Wired.)

That shit don’t get much better than that…

Passing along some important information. Make your voice heard if you don’t approve of this folks! Especially after McCain’s disappointments Wednesday at CBS. I don’t think he’s in much of a hurry to go anywhere that important.


Image copied from DemandTheDebate2008 website to prevent secondary server burden

And so on that note, many people including myself are upset to see that none of the independent party candidates are going to be present at these debates. Looking into this a little bit, I saw what the requirements were for participation in these debates (my own bolding below):

Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on November 19, 2007, those candidates qualify for debate participation who (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results.

The Board of Directors of the CPD convened today to apply the criteria with the assistance of the Editor-In-Chief of the Gallup Polling Organization, Dr. Frank Newport. Of the declared candidates, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain were found to have satisfied all three criteria Accordingly, Senator Obama and his running mate, Senator Joe Biden, and Senator John McCain and his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, qualify to participate in the September 26 presidential debate and the Oct. 2 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the September 26 and Oct. 2 debates.

Fifteen percent of the national electorate seems like a rather high number considering the partisan spreads in the elections. I personally feel this number should be lower (say perhaps 7-10% range) so that way these debates can be broached with more thinking outside of partisan alignments. Granted, that’s the way the debates should already be, but I feel that with the way this election campaigning has gone so far, the questions will be answered in order to polarize their respective parties as best they can (at least for the Republicans at a minimum) and not really be a genuine reflection upon the candidate’s true thoughts and feelings on the issue.

Next election, I’m going to try to make a mental note to see if there is any way the public can influence these requirements set forth by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

September 24, 2008

[recipient address was inserted here]

[recipient name was inserted here],

Respected congressional representative of my district/state,

I am personally appalled at the rapidity in which the Bush administration has forced upon this nation this plan to simply throw money at the financial meltdown on Wall Street. I hardly feel that this is an adequate way to deal with a situation that was due to a growing irresponsibility of lenders, borrowers and the people who took it upon themselves to gamble with such loaned monies on the market.

I am in no way supportive of this present measure that has been presented to Congress. Frankly, I do not feel the government should involve itself any further in the crises that are occurring. Borrowers should be made accountable for poor decisions to involve themselves in unreasonable debt. Lenders should not be so aggressive with throwing money at people simply because they feel it is available when it really is not. The corporate entities who play with these high-risk loans should know they are unconfirmed monies and can hardly be used as legitimate assets if they cannot back them. The government and its citizens should not be held responsible nor liable for this debt.

I may be rash in saying this, but I feel they should fail if they cannot liquidate their own assets/profits in order to rectify their situation. Yes, it may cause a significant problem in future loaning and borrowing situations, but this is not a practice that people should be recklessly engaging in. Perhaps that is what this nation needs in order to put some solvency back into the mortgage system and to put a halt to this unnecessary inflation of home prices among other things.

I cannot fathom the government obtaining these unstable and insolvent monies as a solution. What guarantee do we have that these will be purchased back from the government so that we may return the monies borrowed in order to purchase them? What is the likelihood that most if not all of these dangerous loans make it until that time without also failing in foreclosures, further indebting our nation for helping? Lastly, how much will we really pay in the end? Regardless of any gains made on the tainted monies bought, how much will we owe back to those who lent us the funds in interest there?

This cannot be allowed to happen. These corporate entities must be held accountable for their actions. The government should not involve itself in the matter, if nothing else to be a last-action resort as no more than a lender to these institutions. We can be nothing more.

I can only hope you share some of my sentiments of disapproval. I understand much of the gravity of the situation (albeit not all of it, unfortunately) but I cannot simply stand by silently while such an action is suggested for foolish people who were too foolhardy for themselves and unable to assume responsibility.

Sincerely,
Jamie Baxter

US citizen and resident of New York’s 26th congressional district.
Sent to Senators Clinton and Schumer, and Representative Reynolds.

Addendum:
For those that are unaware, a convenient means for contacting your own congressional representatives can be found at Congress’s website. At the immediate left, you can enter your zip code to find your elected officials, and then submit correspondence to them on subjects of your choice.

No-shows stall hearing in Palin inquiry:

Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein argued Thursday that Todd Palin did not have to comply with a subpoena because Alaska state law bars ethics investigations of people running for elected office. Though the law appears to apply only to candidates for state office, a McCain-Palin spokesman said the subpoenas violate “the spirit of the law, if not the letter.”

(Via CNN.)

This little bit of news ired me to hear, as I was assuming something to this manner was going to occur with the presidential campaigning going on. The transition from a state-paid lawyer to a private-paid lawyer in combination with her initial cooperative manner towards the investigation just stands out like a sore thumb in my mind.

Now add to this picture even more attempts to bog down and immobilize this investigation:

Palin deliberately filed a complaint against herself, likely with the intent to derail the investigation into the non-public eye. As Alaska law AS 39.52.310(c) states,

If a complaint alleges a violation of AS 39.52.110 – 39.52.190 by the governor, lieutenant governor, or the attorney general, the matter shall be referred to the personnel board. The personnel board shall return a complaint concerning the conduct of the governor or lieutenant governor who is a candidate for election to state office as provided in (j) of this section if the complaint is initiated during a campaign period. The personnel board shall retain independent counsel who shall act in the place of the attorney general under (d) – (i) of this section, AS 39.52.320 – 39.52.350, and 39.52.360(c) and (d). Notwithstanding AS 36.30.015 (d), the personnel board may contract for or hire independent counsel under this subsection without notifying or securing the approval of the Department of Law.

Now if you will recall, Palin accepted her nomination back on the 3rd of September. This was also the same day the complaint lodged by the Public Safety Employees Asssociation (PSEA) was made for Wooten. Unfortunately I have no idea where the grey line is drawn in regards to when she is officially considered a “candidate for election,” but this sure as hell is not a state office.

Anyhoo, to follow up on line AS 39.52.310(j) mentioned above in bold,

(j) The personnel board shall return a complaint concerning the conduct of the governor or lieutenant governor who is a candidate for state office received during a campaign period to the complainant unless the governor or lieutenant governor, as appropriate, permits the personnel board to assume jurisdiction under this subsection.

The personnel board (as far as I can tell) is personally appointed by her while she is in office. From what I understand in the wording (I’m no law expert, just someone who tries to dig too deeply into information to make some sense of it), this would allow her filed complaint to either be disregarded (because she is a candidate for office, which is at the discretion of the interpretation of the word of the law) or direct the complaint away from the eyes of the attorney general to the private evaluation by the personnel board. So unless the disregard would also apply to the investigation set forth by the attorney general at the PSEA’s behest, then she is forced to turn this over to her personnel board and hope that they would evaluate this more to her desired discretion (e.g. not in the public eye, perhaps?), because she is obviously “not trying to put off the investigation until after the election”, according to Ed O’Callghan. Regardless, I cannot find any information to see if an individual is allowed to file a claim of ethical violation against their self (which at first glance sounds like a conflict of personal interest). Anyways, this is just the convoluted start of it.

Secondly, five Republican lawmakers have filed suit to halt Palin’s inquiry. This sounds like their way to retaliate against the bipartisan investigation that Palin allegedly was going to cooperate with, despite it being led by a Democratic senator. It appears to only be blatantly polarizing between the parties directly involved: the persons filing the lawsuit and those accused. The NY Times article illustrates that this was originally intended to be a “bipartisan and impartial effort,” and even suggests that this may be a direct result of the McCain campaign, whether or not they deny it. This could be debated: if they really were acting independently of the campaign, then Ed O’Callaghan might not sound like a lying bastard. If their actions are at the behest of the McCain campaign, then we have more blatant lies and trickery coming out of this campaign in order to save face.

Now, to wrap this back into the original post at top. Todd Palin seems to be a focus point for this investigation, and he feels he doesn’t need to respect the subpoena submitted to him by the attorney general. Between the fact that the McCain campaign is sending plenty of lawyers/advisers to Alaska to support Palin’s family and aides involved in this matter, it really leads me to wonder why they are fighting this tooth & nail?

Did it really take them two weeks to realize that they feel they shouldn’t be tried now because she’s running for an office? Despite the fact she doesn’t want to put off the investigation, why does she feel the need to register a complaint against herself, inevitably delaying and refocusing the investigation into her own pocket (by my own views in regards to her pocket)? Why are there Republicans trying to quash the investigation set forth by the attorney general if all of it was honkey-dorey before the nomination?

This really sounds like a disjointed effort to virtually eradicate this issue. Dirt or not, it feels as if there’s something everyone is trying to bury and quickly. It seems like too much work without enough coordination to really deny plausibility of the complaints.

But that’s just my long-winded two cents. *shrugs*

This is primarily here for those of you who haven’t run across this information yet. It was rather nice to read what appears to be a fairly critical evaluation of Mrs. Palin and her history in Wasilla. Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily think that this will change a whole lot in the evaluation of the McCain campaign. As I noted previously, Palin has already flipflopped on one of her previous stances. I’ll dig up some of the others that I’ve witnessed.

But as it blatantly appears, hypocrisy is not a trait that is unknown to the Republicans. John Stewart illustrated this quite nicely, much to my personal amusement!


adn.com | Alaska Politics : “I have known Sarah since 1992…”: “”

(Via Alaska Politics blog.)

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. 🙂

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

Thanks,
Anne

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As of October, FBI To Allow Warrantless Investigations: “”

(Via NY Times.)

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Homeland Security has decreed that they can indefinitely hold your laptop upon crossing the border back into the United States, it appears now that the FBI may soon be able to carry out investigations against people without any necessary cause.

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, Democratic lawmakers briefed on the details said Wednesday.

I’m already disturbed enough by the Homeland Security measure. It makes me feel as if it completely defeats the purpose of me taking my personal laptop with me abroad to avoid using insecure terminals while in other countries. Why should I even bother if they could just confiscate my machine for as long as they feel like, taking with it most of my relevant work and documents with it? There’s no compensation for such a seizure. It contains virtually all of my laboratory research data that I maintain in a digital format. In lieu of not being able to access it, do I really want to trust them with all of this information? For the amount of information that is being “lost” these days, I frankly do not feel comfortable with an agency attempting to scour through my data for whatever they feel like searching for.

I do not feel as if I have anything that needs to be hidden. I do protect passwords and other account or sensitive information in the reliable fashions that are at my disposal. This is really just a blatant invasion of privacy, however. Some of the rationale for this decision was to prevent the trafficking of illegal materials into the national from foreign sources. Seriously, did you people really think this was the means by which to do it? Oh, nope, I’m sorry, you’re right. You’re likely going to consider deep packet inspection as well. Might as well tap and monitor all of our communications means at this point, right?

With these breeches in our own privacy being threatened more and more, why are we even considering something like unwarranted investigations? Are these just the footsteps of taking this nation into a totalitarian government, or where is this really all going? I understand it is all in the name of better security and for preventative measures against dangers within our own borders, but the possibility for abuse of such power just seems enormous! Do the people who are creating and/or approving such measures really, truly understand just what they are giving up? As soon as they push something like this into effect, the administration could double back right on them and put them under investigation, no questions asked.

With the fact that these may be unwarranted, to we have any means by which to contest or combat such an investigation or seizure of property? To add to that thought, would search & seizure also soon follow suit, forgoing the path of investigations as well? This all worries me, seeing it as progressive steps to a more and more controlling government.

Our constitution supposedly recognized man (and woman alike) three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal happiness. It feels that liberty is being compromised more and more the longer we let the powers that be continue on their power-hungry assault on the wars of terrorism. Sure, we’re giving it up in order to pursue our personal happiness and maintain life, but when will it become that our own personal liberties are compromised so much that we can no longer pursue happiness?

What happens when the only inalienable right in this country we are left with is life? (I know, I know, I’m probably being a little dramatic with this remark)