Tag Archives: Government

America: A Nation of I

I, the simplest way to sum up a single individual in the first person. I, the roman numeral for one. It is the most self centered and exclusive word in the English language, and it sums up the average American perfectly.
As a fellow citizen to this massive collection of singular view points, it pains me to see our country in the state that it’s in. We’re better than this. Inclusion is the foundation of our nation, not exclusion. When times are tough, all the I’s band together to form a We. We the people, not I the person and these other guys too.
Americans are to blame for the state of the union. Not Bin Laden, not Wall Street, Not Washington, and certainly not anyone else in the world. Americans turned a blind eye to finance and let it run amok. Americans let greed over come common sense and allowed our debt to balloon. Americans allowed our freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of security. Why? Let’s start with 9/11.
As a nation, we did not react so well to this tragedy. In fact, we lost our shit. Cries for revenge and “Never Forget!” rang out from across the land. That’s all fine and dandy, I’m a fan of vengeance myself. However, what was eventually accomplished with a small covert force, started with a massive military misadventure. I’m still not sure why nuking the region never came up, but I’m pretty sure the idea was floated at some point.
Then there’s the public violations required to participate in the privilege of flying over priced (and mismanaged) airlines. Listen, I’d prefer not to get blown up while flying, but if I have surrender even one of the freedoms I live for to do it, I’d rather die. At that point the terrorists win. Crotch grabbing for safety is not the sort of rational things non-terrified people engage in.
Speaking of rational, how much sense does it make to spend TRILLIONS!!!! (this should always be how this word is written) on tracking down and killing a few dozen guys who barely graduated to the 20th century, let alone the 21st. We have virtually bankrupted ourselves chasing down a bunch of guys who want to live in caves. They actually prefer a 19th century lifestyle.
And Speaking of cave dwellers, I’m looking at you tea party, let’s talk about the upsurge in fundamentalist ideology in this country. It’s hard to justify hating an all inclusive and diverse multi-cultural society. It is however quite easy to hate a xenophobic bunch of gun totting bible thumpers who have no respect for other religions, and are constantly being provided with the public eye they so desperately crave.
God told them this minor earthquake was a warning about the debt. He also told them a blown out hurricane was punishment for legalizing gay marriage. These are things said not by people who hope to hold an office someday, buy people who are already elected. Curiously, God has been silent on the matter of a hell like firestorm rampaging across a state known to be intolerant, racist, and hotbed for Christian fanaticism.
Let’s check the score. Floods, droughts, and fires in places that refuse to accept global warming on religious principle and a freak earthquake that knocked the steeple off the national cathedral. A not unheard of yet mercifully weakened monster storm to a place that recognizes love between two people regardless of design specifications. It seems to me that God isn’t getting his point across and really don’t want to hear him shout.
Faultcode, you say, these people only represent a small portion of this great and mighty land. This is true. The problem gets back to “I”. That small portion of I’s has formed a We. They are divisive and deceptive. They are manipulative and prey on fear and uncertainty.
Those of us I’s who choose discourse over volume need to form our own band of We. We need cease being individual Americans and become America.
America, home of the brave, we must stand up a face our fear and conquer it. America, land of the free, we must preserve our freedoms in the face of terror and despite of it. We must become a nation, not just a notion. We defy those who would hold our nation hostage with fear, especially those who we trust to run it.


Insight, paranoia, or just coincidence?

The other day I was getting irritated at a bunch of stuff. Since this is a frequent occurrence, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then a tiny little thought crept in and asked a question. Is all this stuff related? A simple question that begs some difficult answers. Warning: I’m going to sound crazy and delusional.
I’ve always been curious as to how the political right ended up being composed of the groups it has. These groups would seem to have completely different ideological and philosophical views. I never understood how the religious groups and the corporate giants could be lined up so neatly on the same side. One group is all about love and sharing and family. The other is about squeezing the last penny out of employees, customers, and anyone else who they think might have money they could take. Let’s look into this a bit by examining a few of our issues in this country.
Climate change is happening. Regardless of whether we’re causing it or it’s a natural phenomenon, we should be taking steps to make our environment more habitable not less. This is a problem for a wide variety of industries because it means they have to invest in new technology and machinery. That means spending money and not making money. After all, they’re goal is to make a good quarterly statement not look decades down the line at how much the weather might suck. It benefits them if we’re not to blame for climate change.
Then there’s the idea that God would not let us ruin his world. He’ll let us commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced relocation, and all manner of crimes against humanity, but not spoil the good Earth. It sounds crazy, but that’s the view held by some of the people in charge of our environmental policy. While I’m not suggesting we worship the Earth, I would think the religious folks would want to take better care of a world created especially for us.
So how do you get a group of religious people who live primarily in the Southern (read hotter) states who rely on agriculture a great deal to take a your corporate view on climate change. Well I would reach out to my friends in the media and give voice to the loudest groups who don’t care what they sound like. It would only take one interview question about whether they believed God would allow global warming (a tragic misnomer) or one article on a protestant website. They whip up a frenzy among the fundamentalists, and the next this you know they’re back big oil’s candidate for presidency.
Surely the information will get out right? That’s what the internet is for right? Well, not so much. Let’s talk about big media, the entertainment industry, tech giants, and parent’s watchdog groups. Oh my, where to begin? I don’t even know.
Let’s start with TV, America’s babysitter. Parents rely on tv to keep their kids occupied so they aren’t bothered by them. Unfortunately, not everything on tv is suitable for kids and monitoring what they watch is just too much damn work. So parents form groups of busy bodies that would find something objectionable (likely something their church told them was bad), and complain loudly about it rather than turn the channel. Seriously, these people go through movies and shows frame by frame (1/30th of a second) to find something that might look from a certain angle like a penis.
They complain to their congressman, the congressman forms a committee, the committee tells the studios to knock it off, and we get a decade of overly sanitized television. There are two things that are important here. One, these groups are very organized, extremely vocal, and can get people elected. Two, they are easily influenced and will not stop watching television.
That said, they are the problem. Any thought provoking television will either offend them or get them in an uproar about something, and if that something is directly tied to profits or re-election then it’s a problem. Now, the thing to do is proccupy them with a bunch of crap.
There’s a reason the top headlines are about sports and celebrities. It fills the gaps where meaningful information should go. I’ll bet at least 9 out of 10 people couldn’t tell me who the Koch brothers are, even though they’re a huge part of our political landscape. Big media plays along and in return the government helps them squeeze every penny out of mindless television, crappy movies, and overly cloned pop music. All so parents won’t have to be bothered to watch their kids.
I really believe that Corporate America is playing Middle America and the fundamentalists against the left. The worst part is how well it’s working. The political center of this country has moved so far to the right that Eisenhower and Nixon would be seen as centrists at best. There’s no proof of course. These scenarios are just what I’ve got going on in my head.
I can see a future in America that looks a lot like the present day Middle East. A huge divide between rich and poor with next to no middle class. Councils for morality and decency at the local level of government, and maybe even a house committee as well. My hopes are that this doesn’t happen, I don’t live to see it, or I’ve moved to another country.
This is likely my last post. My need to scream into the void is just that, screaming into the void. I have other obligations and an imploding personal life to keep me busy. Perhaps one day I’ll revisit this place and look back with relief that my fears were for nothing. Perhaps, and I hope this is never the case, I’ll look back and say I told you so.

Good bye
God bless
And may the force be with you


Health Care as a guarantee of your right to life.

It’s no secret that health care has taken an oxymoronic turn for the worse in this country. The debate over it’s reform has a lot of people up in arms. Words like recision and socialism have crept into every day conversation. So, let’s you and I talk about it. If you’re from outside the US, feel free to chime in. I’m Interested in people’s opinions who live in countries with government run or controlled health care.
That said, lets look back in history and peer into words of our fore fathers. In the Declaration of Independence we have three of what they call inalienable rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’ve already given my thoughts on the pursuit of happiness, but what I want to look at right now is life. It occurred to me that our current health care system is in direct conflict to this inalienable right. When an insurer takes away your coverage, after you’ve paid your premiums and jummped through their hoops, they are infringing on your right to live. You’ve played their game, by their rules, and they still won’t play fair.
This is where I think socialized medicine should come in. We need to decouple the word socialism from communism and think of it more like public works and infrastructure. I think the government should be involved in our health. It’s their job to look out for our well being. When decisions about our health and well being are being made by a group who are more concerned about profit than people, I believe the government should act on the behalf of the people. Plenty of other industries are regulated in the interest of the public, and health care should certainly be no different.
Those in the government who are influenced by health care lobbyists will tell you that socialized medicine is expensive. Well, it is. You may pay more taxes, but you might not ever pay premiums or copays again. You would also have the peace of mind in knowing that a major illness won’t lead to bankruptcy and that you’ll get the treatments you need. Additionally, the government has a vested interest in keeping you alive. You pay taxes, and they want your money.
In almost all major illnesses early detection leads to greater success in treatment, but if it’s cost prohibitive many people wait until it’s worse than it ever should have become before seeking treatment. If the government is picking up the bill, then you can go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.
There are some other benefits to socialized medicine. The government can focus on prevention and healthy living by encouraging (and paying for) regular screenings and check ups. By focusing on prevention and early detection, the government actually save money by avoiding costlier more invasive and time consuming treatments. This would then benefit you by not leading tax increases to pay for expensive procedures.
A healthy populace is an important aspect to any government. Healthy workers make for more efficient and productive workers. A more efficient and productive work force makes for a stronger economy. A stronger economy means higher wages and better benefits. You win again.
People, socialized medicine is not a restriction of you personal liberties. It is in fact guarantying one of your inalienable rights as stated by our declaration of independence. Socialism is not the end of the American dream, it is not communism, and it is not going to replace our representative democracy.

Actually, the brick wall was more receptive…

My fellow Americans, we need to talk. You, collectively and individually, are not the center of the universe. Most of you voted for change, but when the price of that change was clear you balked. Logic, reason, and understanding have fallen out of fashion. Now I must be stern with you, so here are some facts.

Your have been robbed. You are still being robbed. The people who wrecked our economy still have their jobs. They work on Wall St. and they will wreck it again.
The government helped them rob you through decades of policy. Nothing much has changed there either.
Health care is broken. It is expensive, exclusive, and unreliable.
Death panels are already here. They are the Insurance companies and their practices are called it recision. Look it up.
Socialized medicine is a good thing. It means everyone gets health care.
Socialism isn’t a four letter word. S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M. See it has nine letters.
Yes socialized medicine might raise your taxes. But then you won’t be paying premiums or co-pays.
Church leaders are not objective. Stop getting your information from them. I’m looking at you Evangelists/Fundamentalists.
News organizations are not objective. You should get your news from a variety of sources.
Just because it’s on tv, a website, or in print doesn’t make it true. Do some research before you make decisions.
Scare tactics are there to scare you into a certain point of view. Do not fall for it. Again… research.
Fear is the mind killer.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Squeaky wheels are usually broken in some way. Don’t trust them. Replace them.
The environment is being ruined. We are doing it.
The planet is in no way in danger. We are. Once we destroy our habitats and die, it’ll get along just fine without us.
Our president deserves at least as much respect as the last one. Tomorrow I’ll read about some idiot with no sense of history calling our president a Nazi. Again.
This will accomplish nothing. All of about three people read this blog.
Change is coming. Good or bad, it’s on it’s way. The status quo in our nation is unsustainable. We can make positive changes now, while we still have a choice. That option will not be around forever. Your choice America.

With your head in the sand, it sounds like you’re talking out of your ass…

For a long time now, I’ve harbored a simmering dissent with my political ideology. At 32, I’ve spent much of my life on the conservative side of issues. I registered independent to keep my options open, but historically I’ve leaned to the right. Until recently this hasn’t really been an issue. However, since the election I’ve become increasingly unhappy with that side of the coin.
My anger stems from the attitude of the Republican party. Instead of being a gracious in defeat, they have taken the most immature stance I can imagine. Fellow conservatives have openly admitted to me that they hope this country falls flat on it’s face under our new president, just so they can say they were right. They stubbornly oppose any ideas from the left, just because they lost. They refuse to adapt to a changing nation. They have lost their way.
I can understand being reluctant about new ideas during years of prosperity. I firmly believe that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Unfortunately it is broke. When the staus quo fails, it’s time to try something new. That’s just good trouble shooting.
What we need from them right now is for them to bring their best ideas to the table. Not cling to party rhetoric, but to be innovative. Instead we get slander and childish temper tantrums. We need them to play nice with the other side of the aisle. Sorry, but you can’t say the other side is not being bipartisan if you resolutely show no interest in working with them.
My former conservative colleagues, it’s time to look to the future. It’s time to find a place in this new century for us. The world is changing and if you don’t keep up, you get left behind. I’m not saying change everything, or that run away liberalism is the answer. I’m saying be open to new ideas and embrace the change you cannot stop.
The cold war is over. It’s been more than two decades since Reagan was president. It’s time to let go of the past and move on. A house divided against itself cannot stand. A republican said that. You may have heard of him, Abraham Lincoln. He was president once and saw first hand the horros of a house divided.

The spirit of Democracy: all access govenment

I hear the word change a lot these days. Truthfully, there does seem to be an abundance of the stuff lately. Not all of it’s good, but it’s still abundant. The question is, how much of this change is real change? How much of it is going to fundamentally change the way we live?
Todays world is run by yesterday. The people in power are of a different age. The world has moved onto a new game, and they trying play by old rules of an old game. This is true of how our government work. It’s time to upgrade to a swifter more efficient government, and social networking is the key.
Quick fact: you (fellow American) do not live in a true democracy. You live in what is called a representative democracy. You don’t vote on every issue in our government, you elect representatives to do that. One reason for this is the speed of information. While information moves at the speed of light today, it moved at the speed of horse in 1786 (when the constitution was drafted). Basically the time it would take to propose a bill, get the word out, have everyone vote on it, count the votes, let everyone know how the vote turned out, then implement the bill, would take a year or more. One every issue.
So now we have our representatives and they have to vote how we tell them. Not exactly. They can vote however the want. If they want to keep their jobs, they should probably vote with the majority of their constituents. That’s why we have polls, yet another representation of our will. So now what?
We have a unique opportunity here to use the internet to directly impact our government. I envision a government site (call it G-space) where a citizen can view the agenda for congress on any given day, view the details of a bill, and make their opinions known. They could weigh in on any and all voting to be done. G-space would be the congressional version of facebook. A twitter like feature would allow for quick, to the point updates and messaging on both sides.
Everyday I see a blog about some bill being voted on and plea to contact my representative to tell them which way to vote. A dozen times a day I log onto facebook, twitter, and email to stay in touch. Why couldn’t I devote a minute to giving a thumbs up or down to a bill? Congressional leaders would be able to access the other end of the site, and see almost real time what their constituents want. Voting history and how often they voted with or against their constituency would be available at a click. Handy during election time.
There would be no voting by the citizenry here. That would disenfranchise voters without access to the internet. For these voters though, I imagine kiosks in all federal buildings dedicated to giving G-space access to anyone with a voter registration card. Security would also prohibit the possibility of voting on G-space. The idea is to give the voting public greater access and generate greater interest into congressional workings, not participate. For that we would still need election day.
There would be problems to overcome. There would have to be a way to safeguard the system against hacking, and keeping voter ID’s secured. Voter registration numbers plus a password should make it at least as safe as online banking. Throw in validation questions and government level system security just to be safe. Not having the ability to vote is probably the best security, especially since you can just shutdown the system if it’s compromised with out impacting our right to vote.
Our most recent presidential election showed one thing very clearly. The vast majority of our leaders are clueless about the internet and it’s power. President Obama certainly understands it, but I’ll bet if you asked a Senator to twitter you’d get a dirty look. Well, they’re going to have to learn. We can do this. We can do this today if we wanted.
Why am I throwing this out to the ether? I haven’t the foggiest idea how to make this suggestion to someone interested, who would understand it. Congress would probably not care to have their records easily available to a large majority of America. I’m not certain that they would understand the opportunity we have here. They’re not big fans of change. If you like the idea, spread the word. If not, share it with a friend for discussion.