Category Archives: Political

Should Weed be Legal?

I admit: I’ve never smoked marijuana. Does that make me some kind of “roll” model? Some residents of California, on the other hand, are assembling signatures to put an inititave on the November ballot to legalize weed for one and all.

What strikes me as odd with this situation isn’t the legalization of a natural substance, but that California is very much anti-smoking – something I certainly appreciated when I went out to bars, restaurants, public places, etc. Here’s what my friends had to say about it:

I'll be pretty stunned if they can get 694,354 signatures in two months. Then again, I was pretty stunned when they replaced Davis with a robot designed to hunt down and kill Sarah Connor – Dan Kaplan

sooo, will outsiders be able to order it over the internet from cali? – Chris Harris

hah probably – as long as the outsider's state gets to tax the "internet purchase" without having to deal with legality 🙂 – andy brudtkuhl

well, i'm not a pothead, i just would probably get excited over doing something that was illegal for so many years. kind of like taking a shot at age 18 or something lol – Chris Harris

wow im not surprised… – Michael Garrison via twhirl

Ah, one of the things I love about California. We're just crazy out here. Wait to see if this hits the ballot. Feds would still crack down on everybody though. – Hutch Carpenter

wouldn't the next logical step be decriminalization? – Matthew Davidson via twhirl

why is the number of signatures so precise? 694,354, curious… – Chris Harris

my liking does not endorse the use of illegal drugs 🙂 ha ha…just an interesting story – Sarah Perez

"Legalize it, don't criticize it…" – Larry Kless

I have a huge pet peeve with people who use the phrase 'We hold these truths to be self-evident' without understanding what that phrase means. to quote from the link: "We also hold these truths to be self-evident-That, as an intoxicant, marijuana is far less harmful to the health and safety of the People than alcohol…" 'Self-evident' means axiomatic: that it should be seen as true without requiring proof or substantiation. To say that the health risks of something should be seen as 'self-evident' is absurd. Cite the facts and the studies, rather than saying 'it's so obvious that we're right that we don't need to state how we know.' And please stop cribbing quotes from the Declaration of Independence because you think it makes you sound more legitimate. It doesn't. – Kevin Fox

I guess that would make them a Green state then, huh? 😉 – Mathew A. Koeneker

Yeah if they had legized that darn thing in the 60' then the hardcore stuff may not have trickled in.. right now the problem is not weed. its Crack.meth, cheese and heroin. Addicts should be dragged off the streets and throw into rehab and dealers should be given 10 yr sentence min for possession of 1gm . Tthereafter 1yr for each additional gram of shit they are caught with. I have yet to hear a case, where a weed smoker has gone and killed some1 money to get more weed to smoke ! – Peter Dawson

I lived in California for a few years, but I don’t know if I could ever find myself a California citizen again. SF was too expensive, LA was too hot and overcrowded, and every other place wasn’t SF or LA (seemingly too remote). Even if this were to attain 694,354 signatures by September, 5, 2008 – I wouldn’t find myself any more or less compelled to move back. And even if I did move back, I wouldn’t necessarily inhale.

Time to Pay Attention to Ron Paul

I subscribe to several political candidates’ email newsletters – for the sake of being as balanced as possible.

Ron Paul’s camp just blitzed this notice across my bow:

Yesterday was a remarkable day for Ron Paul, and it wouldn’t have happened without you. For those of you who haven’t yet heard, Ron Paul took over 10% in yesterday’s Iowa caucus, handily beating Rudy Giuliani and finishing right behind both Fred Thompson and John McCain. This despite that Rudy Giuliani made more visits to Iowa than Ron Paul. And, entrance polls showed that Ron Paul took first place (29%) among independent Republicans!

I’m certainly a happy camper; hitting double digits in Iowa is nothing to sneeze at. Conversely, I’m happy to see that Obama came out ahead on the Dem side.


What Makes Ron Paul Different

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I can’t believe that everyone in the chat room right now wanted me to record this video. I know it is likely to tick some people off, but so be it. My purpose is not to sway your vote. My purpose is to GET you to vote… to think… to make your OWN decision.

I believe in a lot of things, yet I don’t label myself as a Democrat, or Republican. I label myself as an American. I label myself as someone who lives in a free society, which has the potential to create positive change in our country. To that end, I want you to vote. I don’t really care who you vote for, believe it or not. I couldn’t care less if you vote for who I choose to give my support to. This isn’t a political ad, some campaign material, nor a plea for any certain candidate. I simply want you to get out there and vote come Election Day. I care that you vote… and that you think very carefully about who you vote for, and WHY you are voting for that particular person.

America isn’t run by politicians. It’s run by people who put the money in the politicians’ pockets. When I was younger, I didn’t follow politics at all really, nor did I vote. I felt as though it didn’t really matter, and that I couldn’t really make a damn bit of difference. I mean look at it this way: when you have companies who fund a particular politician AND his / her competition, something is seriously wrong. Now you don’t have a two-party system. You have one party. Follow the money trail. Special interest groups RUN this country. Cut. Print. Period.

I know you’re sitting there saying to yourself “Well, politicians have to get their money from somewhere”. Yes, they do. But here’s a novel idea. What about getting their money from US. Remember us? You know… the citizens these politicians are supposedly elected to represent. Yeah. Isn’t that just a crazy little idea, to have the American people decide who their money should go to, who they should support, and why? Imagine being that excited by a candidate that you would give them some of your hard-earned money? We all know money isn’t easy to come by. I automatically dismiss any candidate who accepts the majority of their money from corporations and special interest groups.

If they don’t have money, they don’t get elected? By today’s rules, by today’s media rate card. All that is about to change – and you have the power to change it.

I want to see more people apply critical thinking skills… not just to who they vote for, but in every aspect of their life. You are not in control, but… and here’s the kicker… you have the chance to be in control if you want to be. In order to do that, you have to STOP OUTSOURCING YOUR THINKING. Don’t just listen to me, or some newspaper, tv show, or even your own mother. Listen to yourself. Do your research. Open your mind!!! You have to see other perspectives in order to gain perspective. That is how you grow. If you only choose to listen to people you agree with, you’re living in an echo chamber.

Have we not clearly established that groupthink iS BAD?!

If you vote for someone because you think they are (or have a chance to be) a winner, you aren’t doing yourself or this country any favors. You vote for someone because you believe in them. What’s that? Just like you marry someone because you love them and believe in them – you vote for someone because you BELIEVE IN THEM. I’m tired of cookie-cutter politicians who spout the same tired things, changing their story and hiding their real relationships on a whim. The funny thing is you know you’re being lied to! Yet, you vote for them anyway – because you want to back a “winner.” Well, why not take a step back, and figure out exactly what a winner is?

Only you can decide that… for yourself.

This isn’t a “Blue” or “Red” issue. It’s not a “Democrat” or “Republican” issue. It’s an American issue. I hate when people spit out propoganda. It doesn’t matter if it’s slanted liberal or conservative… it’s still propoganda! I’m sure someone will watch this video and claim that I’m spreading propoganda… or that I’m a fool for beliving one thing over another. Yeah, well… at least I’m not telling you who to vote for. That’s totally up to you.

Just do your best to elect a person, not a company. Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

The Internet is Shaping Politics – Ron Paul

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Allan’s friend Jake sent me an email to ask me to discuss the impact Social Networking and the Internet in general are having on the US Presidential campaign. The “now” of Politics is online… the future is a given.

I am a fierce Independent, so I have done a lot of research into the different candidates this year. The more I research, the more convinced I am that in the future, politics will be decided online in a large way. Let’s talk about Ron Paul. Before we do, let me say this is not an endorsement of him as a candidate, nor am I saying who I am voting for. To me, that is very personal, and not something I’m willing to share. However, I DO want to discuss his campaign thus far.

Ron Paul has a HUGE following online. The Internet is full of not just Geeks, but technically astute people who research for themselves. They don’t just go by what they heard and see on the tv, radio or newspaper. Generally what Ron Paul stands for is just that… those types of values and mindset that much of us online share.

As far as I’m concerned, everyone should be an “Independent”. Why blindly follow a party? Do you REALLY believe that just because someone is a Democrat or Republican they are the best candidate? Do you really truly agree with every single thing “your” party stands for? When the citizens of this country, and even this world, finally all start thinking for themselves, we will be in a much better situation. Heck, I’m not even just talking politics here. Be independent in ALL of your thinking… from your choice of Operating system, to what car you will drive, and yes… to who you should vote for.

All in all, I definitely feel that the Internet will be shaping political races in the future. Oh, wait. It’s shaping one now, isn’t it? The future is here, folks. Isn’t it time you joined it? Get online. Do your own research. Draw your own conclusions. Let’s bring this country back to where it should be, then help it move forward.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

The United Corporation States of America

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Dissolve? Separation? Were the Founding Fathers not too happy with the government under which they lived? Guess so, otherwise this may have been called the Declaration of Complacency.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Liberty is awesome.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Abolish? Dude. That’s terrorism. Apparently, so is printing your own currency.

Democrats and Republicans are the same. They’re owners – and they most certainly don’t give a fzck about you, your life, your liberty, or enabling the pursuit of your own happiness. Wake up.

I don’t care who you vote for, just do your best to vote for someone who hasn’t taken campaign contributions from corporations – m’kay?

Is it Time to Abolish the Federal Reserve?

The economic pundits are out in full force this week discussing subprime lending’s imminent (if not present) collapse. I’ve heard ’em on ABC, NPR, Fox, CNN – they’re everywhere, and some of them are smart enough to realize that the problem stems from America being a host to the disease known as the Federal Reserve (read: we’re not controlled so much by government as we are by a central bank).

I wanted to call your attention to one person in particular. Catherine Austin Fitts:

Catherine Austin Fitts offers a unique perspective on the global financial system and on the political economy. Her background includes: Wall Street: Managing Director and member of the Board, Dillon Read & Co. Inc.; Government: Assistant Secretary of Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner; Entrepreneur: President and founder of Hamilton Securities investment bank. Catherine has designed and closed over $25 billion of transactions and investments to-date and has led portfolio strategy for $300 billion of financial assets and liabilities.

Okay, credibility established – right? I hope you’re sitting down. This is part of what she shared last night on the radio:

Fitts spoke on black budgets—money used by the federal government which is not reported in their financial statements—and how they are used to fund (on a non-transparent basis) corporations performing secret military and intelligence functions. She said the people who control these ‘covert’ cash flows end up manipulating the ‘overt’ world.

She described how money can be laundered through publicly traded companies, using the European Union’s lawsuit against RJR Nabisco as a case study. Fitts explained stock ‘pump and dump’ schemes, pointing out that not only can stocks be pumped up and dumped but so can real estate, countries (Iraq), and even the planet. Fitts noted problems with the central banking warfare model, which she said helped make America successful but is not sustainable and no longer works. She also explained what she calls the ‘tapeworm economy,’ in which a small group of insiders centralize political and economic power to make money in a way that actually destroys wealth.

Fitts discussed the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which she said is being run as a “criminal enterprise.” According to Fitts, HUD reported $17 billion missing in fiscal 1998 as well as $59 billion in undocumented adjustments the following year. The HUD inspector general refused to produce financial statements, she said, noting that it is illegal to spend money that has not been appropriated by Congress. Fitts also talked about the last housing bubble, the current crisis in the housing and mortgage markets and how it was engineered.

I’m still trying to sift through Noam Chomsky’s latest: Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. I’d imagine it’s right up Catherine’s alley, too. I’m sure the Ron Paul’ites will come out of the woodwork to state that he’s the only presidential candidate who wants to abolish the Fed – which may be true, but I’m more concerned about the other candidates who either (a) don’t have a clue, or (b) are a part of the problem.

[UPDATE: I was going to save this for a later post, but now’s a good a time to link to it as any. Cameron Reilly had Noam on G’Day World a while ago, then had me on at a much later date to discuss similar matters. I returned the favor last night, although my video conference with Cam hasn’t yet been posted.]

Spy vs Spy vs You

Okay, this article is just too timely: U.S. to Expand Domestic Use Of Spy Satellites. I wish I was making this up. I wish this wasn’t coming directly from the WSJ. I wish I didn’t see this as an extreme violation of my civil liberties as an American.

According to officials, one of the department’s first objectives will be to use the network to enhance border security, determine how best to secure critical infrastructure and help emergency responders after natural disasters. Sometime next year, officials will examine how the satellites can aid federal and local law-enforcement agencies, covering both criminal and civil law. The department is still working on determining how it will engage law enforcement officials and what kind of support it will give them.

So, it’s okay for them to spy on us – with closed intelligence – just so we might be able to stop criminals from doing the things they’re going to do anyway? Yeah, that’s a pretty big leap of faith, and I have absolutely no faith in this being a good thing. Is this 1984? Big Brother is finally peering into your living room.

Access to the high-tech surveillance tools would, for the first time, allow Homeland Security and law-enforcement officials to see real-time, high-resolution images and data, which would allow them, for example, to identify smuggler staging areas, a gang safehouse, or possibly even a building being used by would-be terrorists to manufacture chemical weapons.

This is your government, folks. What if they thought you were a terrorist because you tried to bring toothpaste onto an airplane without first placing it safely inside a baggie?! Okay, so maybe that’s a bit extreme – but so is their unchallenged ability to WATCH EVERY DAMN MOVE YOU MAKE based on suspicions and no due process.

Unlike electronic eavesdropping, which is subject to legislative and some judicial control, this use of spy satellites is largely uncharted territory. Although the courts have permitted warrantless aerial searches of private property by law-enforcement aircraft, there are no cases involving the use of satellite technology.

More loopholes! w00t!

“This all has to be vetted through a legal process,” he says. “We have to get this right because we don’t want civil-rights and civil-liberties advocates to have concerns that this is being misused in ways which were not intended.”

Sure, because government officials can never be corrupted – nor can they be purchased by any special interest group at any price. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. I put my own life online because I choose to do that – but what about people who value their privacy? I mean, is that something we should so willingly suspend in the hopes that this “intelligence” and technology can help us make this world a safer place?

Then again, does spying make the world a better place?

Your privacy is constantly in jeopardy. It’s not just about blocking third-party cookies, comrades. Just how much of yourself do you no longer own? How much of yourself are you willing to give over to these various online social networks? How much of yourself are you willing to expose to the globe, to nameless / faceless people on the other end of the lens?

This deserves much, MUCH more thought…

On Ron Paul and Libertarianism

Apparently, there are conversations about this blog happening on StumbleUpon every day (cool, but I really wish I would be notified in some way – possibly through a trackback to the comment, or in being able to have those external comments show up as comments in my own threads). Regardless, “Ultimate Josh” had posted a response to a response that I thought was valid enough to be given its own post.

This is another perspective on Ron Paul (not one I necessarily agree with, mind you):

I’d like to skip your comments about being propagandized because I think I clearly explained myself in the blog, but to be frank, if Outfoxed influenced you, yes, you’ve been propagandized. It should not have taken a film to catalog all of the problems with FOX news since the discrepancies between it and traditional journalism are so blatantly obvious, and if you made up your mind from a hit piece instead of actually watching FOX for yourself, then congratulations, you are a dumb American. Please enjoy the NASCAR races, celebrity gossip and the always low prices.

A clear review of history will not yield such ferocious indictment of the selling of the Iraq War, the corrosion of the constitution, or the history of US intervention, but it will also not defend, support or exonerate it. Objectivity can teach you more than anger and emotion. I have no problem with watching these films for entertainment, I’ve seen all of the films on your list myself actually, but I do warn against giving them “influence” over you. It’s a disservice to your own cognizant abilities and a disservice to the causes you may claim to support.

As for Ron Paul, I have numerous problems with him.

First of all, his claims of a long US history of peaceful intentions and amicable non-intervention is absolute bullshit. Out first overseas military commitment was in 1806. End of story. Given the weight of the subject matter, to me, this goes beyond a simple campaign fallacy and into the point of being dangerously out of touch.

Second, he is a Libertarian. Libertarians interpret the constitution as deriving all rights from property, including the property of your physical self. Therefore, committing murder would be an unconstitutional violation against someones right to property of life. Sounds good, except that’s not exactly what the Libertarians had in mind, when they came together and formed their party. What were they thinking? Well, given that life is property, and one has a human right to own private property…Oops! Slavery. That’s right, Libertarianism is simply the flashy, sexy politically correct new label for the Confederates of the 19th century (not to be confused with the Anti-Federalists of the 18th).

So, do I think this means Ron Paul will restart slavery? Absolutely not in a million years. It’s simply to illustrate the true ugliness of libertarianism, as it is too easily swept away in pro-abortion, pro-drug, pro-gun euphoria.

Slavery is one piece of danger, but along with confederate liberty comes hyperconservatism at the national level. While this is sold to you as saving you tax dollars, in reality it would almost entirely privatize our national infrastructure. That’s everything from the Interstate system to the CIA, the Air Force to the FCC. It even includes our government agencies responsible for maintaining and developing our nuclear arsenal.

Do you like that every electrical device plugs into the same AC outlet everywhere in the country? Ron Paul doesn’t like that government oversight. Do you like that the secret service is working to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of our economy’s hard money supply? Ron Paul doesn’t. Do you like that someone loyal to the constitution regulates your air traffic, or would you rather have someone loyal to money? Ron Paul likes that privatized money.

But it goes far beyond that. Ron Paul’s vision of total private enterprise is also poisoned with anti-Globalization xenophobia. It’s true that he may prevent things like the Chinese poison pet food, but you’d have to stop playing your Sony Playstation, hang up your T-mobile phone, and spit out that coffee you’re drinking. Imagine 1000 years ago had the Dutch trader-barons returned to their King with news of the great Silk Road, and the King replied that no, their silk unfairly competed against Dutch blankets, their literature was decidedly un-Dutch, and their scientific advances would provoke a Mark and Sextant Gap! Not very realistic, not very wise.

And if there is one thing history teaches us unequivocally, it’s that Xenophobia kills. Ask a Jew. Or a Cherokee.

And there is just a few of my problems with Ron Paul. But let’s be honest, even if he was able to elevate himself above his fourth tier status and take the party nomination and win the popular vote and take the most electoral votes, absolutely none of what I said would come true.

Why? He would have absolutely no partisan support. The Republicans don’t like him and the Democrats don’t like him. Who would pass his bills? Who would confirm his nominees? Who would keep him in office? He’d be lucky to simply paralyze the American infrastructure for four years. At worse, he could cripple the constitution permanently and completely expose the United States to nihilist influence, domestic and abroad.

That’s ultimately why I mentioned him only in passing, instead of an indictment like this. He is simply not a threat. He could not be elected, and if he was, he could not enact his policies. Fortunately for the stability of the constitution, the majority of Americans are not free-market conservative libertarians, even though the rhetoric sounds so convincing.

Convincing like propaganda.

Assuming Dr. Paul’s supporters will come out of the woodwork to debunk Josh’s assertions, I… still can’t help but wonder if the world will ever understand “truth.” It’s all a matter of perspective, but how can we gain perspective when everybody’s perspective is completely different. In many cases, RADICALLY different. Yes, that was a sentence fragment – a fact I believe we can finally agree upon. Regardless…

Josh’s comment was left in a somewhat “private” social network (StumbleUpon, of which I am a HUGE supporter but not an active user). I don’t mind that conversations take place elsewhere on the Web, but I never would have known that there was a somewhat “private” thread based on my very public posts. I can’t really call them PRIVATE, but I’m certain that most people who read my site may not have known that the StumbleUpon thread existed around my original content (in context).

Dunno… just kinda weird to have that going on, especially with such dissenting viewpoints. How can the Web converse if half of these conversations and perspectives are behind walled gardens?

So, I'm the Conspiracy Theorist, eh?

Even when evidence is planted directly beneath your nose from a well-known (albeit, heavily unbalanced) resource, you still want to believe that such a thing could never have happened in the first place. Certainly, prominent Americans would never have supported Hitler – right? I guess the Associated Press article titled Bush’s Grandfather Directed Bank Tied to Man Who Funded Hitler is a total fabrication, even with documents supporting the assertion that some of us have been asserting for some time now?

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism. The documents do not show any evidence Bush directly aided that effort. His position with Union Banking never was a political issue for Bush, who was elected to the Senate from Connecticut in 1952.

Does it matter if he DIRECTLY did anything, though? Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists – right? Why isn’t the money trail important? Why would government-appointed commission after commission sweep facts like these aside as though they were… inconsequential? He traded evil for evil, for selfish motives – not for the good of his country.

No charges were brought against Union Banking’s American directors. The federal government was too busy trying to fight the war, said Donald Goldstein, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Right, because we had to make more money to give to a bank we have absolutely no control over. The world is filled with conspiracy theories. Sadly, however, most of them are accepted as gospel truth.