Are Politicians Honest Enough to Sell Used Cars?

My Party needs no ethics

This morning a headline caught my eye while I was browsing through the HuffPo politics section;  the article was not at all what I expected.  I suppose if a person read it without bothering to actually think about anything it said one might find it inspiring despite its sneering tone and total lack of logic, internal or otherwise.  Personally, I can’t even see the point of publishing it in a national online magazine.  Even with all benefit of the doubt regarding content the issues addressed belong in some high-level Democrat Party memorandum instead of a public polemic.

Let’s take it apart piece by piece and see what holds it all together.

Why Don’t Democrats Vote? I’ll Tell You Why.

 – U.S. Congressman for Florida’s 9th District

As you may have heard, Democratic turnout dropped off a cliff again last year, just like it did in 2010. I was wondering why, so I asked. I polled Florida non-voters. I found that the main reason why they didn’t vote last year was simple: They couldn’t see any difference between the candidates. When there is no difference between the candidates, Democrats don’t vote, and Democrats lose.

Take note of the phrases I have added emphasis to; we don’t need them yet, but keep them in mind.

I will skip over a wholesale and retail demonetization of Republicans plus a conflating of national and local politics.

The Democratic nominee was Charlie Crist, a REPUBLICAN former governor. Crist was so far to the right that he was known as “Chain-Gang Charlie.” In 2010, when Scott was first elected, Crist killed the Democrat’s chances for a US Senate seat from Florida by dropping out of his own Republican primary, where he was 25 points down, and running as an “independent.” That “stinking maneuver” (as Yitzhak Rabin would have put it) made Marco Rubio the junior senator from Florida.

Here is where anyone bold enough to actually attempt to think about what the kindly Rep. is saying will start getting very confused.  If Crist was the Democratic nominee would that not make him a former Republican as well as a former governor; why not just say former Republican governor?  Or is it Rep. Grayson’s contention that Crist retained his Republican identity and merely concealed it in order to conduct 5th column activity?  Does he have evidence of this, or is this insinuation as mean-spirited and sense-free as the rest of his polemic?

Even more nonsensical is the notion that, (according to Rep. Grayson), a far right, conservative candidate dropping out of the Republican primary to run in the general election as an Independent somehow split the DEMOCRATIC vote to allow the remaining Republican to win.  To put it mildly – this does not compute.  Instead, it gives the impression that the Democratic vote was so light that even with the Republican vote split the Democratic candidate was defeated in the general election.  It would be interesting to look up articles from just after Crist went Independent; I would not be surprised to see that the Democratic reaction was actually glee at facing a split conservative electorate.

Rather than shunning Crist for blowing that 2010 Senate race for the Democrats, the Democrats actually recruited him. They crowned someone who was a Republican just a few years earlier, and a conservative Republican at that, as the “Democratic” nominee for governor.

So, either the Florida Democrats are incredibly stupid, or their leadership thinks that they are, or maybe Crist was not seen by Florida voters as quite the Right-Wing dragon that the Good Rep. Grayson wants the rest of us to think he was.

Political strategists called this a brilliant move by the Democratic Party. And Democratic voters were appalled, as my own little poll showed. Democratic voters stayed home in droves, and the Democrats lost.

I wonder, did Grayson want the nomination only to be rebuffed?  As I said at the start, this whole article should have been addressed to the Party’s insiders instead of the voting public, unless part of his intent is of spanking Floridians for not nominating and electing him?

…We offered the non-voters 12 different reasons to explain why they hadn’t voted. Reason #1, the most “popular,” was that “people did not like either choice for Governor.” Forty-one percent of the Democratic non-voters said that this was the main reason why people didn’t vote.

Remember the emphasized phrases from the beginning that you were asked to remember?  I think Rep. Grayson had hoped that you wouldn’t because his own memory seems to be a bit faded, or maybe just a tad adjusted, like recalcitrant weather data in a report on global warming.

What was it he said?  Oh, yes, he said that voters felt there was no difference between the candidates.  But the actual response only said that the non-voters did not like either candidate for what I assume to be a wide range of unspecified reasons.  To claim that “Don’t like either” is identical with “There is no difference between them” is not just disingenuous, it is dishonest!

By the way, the non-voters were overwhelmingly Democratic, whether or not they were registered as such. When asked whom they had had favored in the 2012 Presidential race, they chose Obama over Romney by 17 points. President Obama won Florida — among the actual voters — by less than one point.

I honestly don’t think that the honorable State Representative understood that this statement destroys his entire thesis regarding Democrats staying home because the candidates are too similar.  Clearly, the Democratic presidential voters in Florida failed to turn out in numbers that reflected poll results, but Grayson thinks that this was because Romney and Obama were too similar?  Seriously?  Or is he just running his mouth to score emotional points without paying attention to how much damage each new point might do to his main thesis?  Is he that dumb, or does he really believe, and act as though the voters are even dumber?

So, let’s be honest. When we put up a pseudo-Democrat or a neo-Democrat or a quasi-Democrat or a semi-Democrat for Team Blue, our voters are not amused. They are not fooled. And we only hurt ourselves.

The voters deserve a choice. In fact, they insist on it. Or they simply won’t vote.

Once again it is clear that this is not a message meant for the ears of voters.  It is the adult conversation meant to be overheard by the children to reassure them that at least one of a pair of combative parents really cares.  Or maybe he is just primping for the next run for governor?

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

P.S. Big news tomorrow.

Another chance at a run for governor?  I never would have guessed!

Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

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My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

How Dumb are Creationists?

Whose Side Were You On Again?

Just when it seems that the Right is getting its act together by nominating a truly original candidate for president, one that has a chance of moving our republic in more healthful direction, we get a resurgence of conservative-embarrassing silliness from their theocratic fringe.

Why is it so much trouble for the Republican party to step back from one of their more idiotic platform positions? Is it all merely the result of decades of defending traditional ideals against the worst idiotic of the ideas of non-Republicans, and not a few good ideas just because they come from “liberals”? Is tribalistic partisanship the only culprit?

Personally I doubt this; the Right has too many of its own people caught up in ‘magical thinking’. Case in point would be this article, or sermon I should say, targeting Bill Nye for having the temerity to lecture parents about programing their children to believe nonsense instead of science.

‘Creationists’ run the gamut from ‘theistic evolution’ believers so “unitarian” about the subject that they might as well be Deists, their God does not interfere once the Big Bang has the ball rolling, to full on Young Earth Creationists who believe that the Earth, and the entire universe for that matter are barely more than 6,000 years old!

The anti-evolution brand of Creationists have been a long time in building their base, God knows no-one else will give them the time of day once the theistic underpinnings of their “science” is exposed. Unfortunately they have long tuned their message to appeal to uninformed ears. Using “common-sense” arguments and misrepresenting real science the peddlers of YECH (Young Earth Creationist Hokum) depend on the complexity of the subject to prevent anyone in their audience from being able to refute them convincingly.

Creationist presentations are aimed at their target audience’s emotional and religious prejudices, and tailored to the blind spots in their understanding of science and mathematics. There is nothing random about biological evolution when you look at the species level; there is certainly nothing random in the progression of gene-evolution resulting from natural processes!

I could not pass up this opportunity to high-light the manipulative lack of real reason or real science in the apologetics of the creationist creed, this time it is the Right that is in the hot seat. Get your pencil and be ready to take notes Virginia!

Bill Nye the Pseudoscience Guy

By Terry L. Mirll

In a recent YouTube video, former children’s TV host Bill Nye weighs in on evolutionary biology by telling the rest of us how to raise our children.  If we want to deny evolution, he says, that’s our business, “but don’t make your kids do it.”  Presuming that what we teach our children is any of his business, a more fundamental question presents itself: how do we presume to teach our kids something that may or may not be true, particularly when we don’t really seem to understand it?”

I sometimes wonder if Creationist writers moonlight as speech-writers for radical Leftists or Islamist apologists; those are the only people I know of that use this blatantly disingenuous style of bull crap. It is all there – from the insulting headline to the bending and twisting of other people’s words, to the all-pervading unfounded assumptions that are meant to lull the ignorant into accepting, instead of questioning, the outrageous.

Let us be charitable and Leave aside the idea that someone who has long been thought of as “America’s Science Teacher” is not the person to publically call out parents for deliberately programing their kids to believe theistic creationism is a science and that tools used every day are unreal simply because those kids parents’ pastors fail to understand BS level science.

No offense but, the conservative Protestant sects have not been known for producing cutting edge biological scientists; for that matter no heavily partisan sect or nation has done well in that regard – think Lysenkoism under the political religion of Stalin.

But what about the last bit? Does our outraged Mr. Mirll have a point here:

“how do we presume to teach our kids something that may or may not be true, particularly when we don’t really seem to understand it?”

Nope, not even close! If it were a valid argument then it would be wrong to teach psychology, sociology, neurology, micro-biology, quantum physics, electronics, climatology (as a SCIENCE, not just the politicized version), metallurgy, all meditation, relaxation or visualization techniques… the list is endless. Being unable to explain in detail all aspects of a phenomena is hardly uncontestable evidence of fallacy; that is why testing is part of the process.

There is a tendency in the economy of belief to oversimplify.  Generally speaking, this is a good thing — or if not good, at least practical.  One hardly needs to understand how an internal combustion engine works in order to drive a car.

However, oversimplification is anathema to maintaining a robust and rigorous science.  As Einstein famously put it, make it simple, but not simpler.  He meant that any theory, if it is to be a scientific one, needs to be reduced to its fundamental elements, without omitting any elements necessary to make the theory workable.”

That last bit was apparently included so that the author could have a nice, high pseudo-scientific platform from which to pronounce the next bit of data-free character assassination.

In Nye’s mindset, there are two basic positions concerning evolution: 1. You believe in it, or 2. You’re just a big fat doody-head.

This, I would argue, is an oversimplification.”

Without a doubt I agree; Mr. Mirll’s characterization of Dr. Nye’s inner mental functions as supposedly revealed in his video is an oversimplification; after having viewed the video in question, rather than an article about it, I also think it is an insult.

The pattern of demagoguery continues with three paragraphs showing supposed objectivity in the “Science vs. God” debate followed with a flat-out declaration that science, in the person of Dr. Nye, is simply wrong.

“What is most remarkable is that Nye is hardly alone in his asseveration.  In fact, the vast majority of people — among those who believe in evolution wholeheartedly, as well as those who see evolution as just so much nonsense — seem to hold the same view.  Either we believe in evolution, or we believe in God.

Unfortunately, however, those who hold this view fail to understand what it implies about science and religion, setting up what philosophers of science call the Conflict Thesis — that science and religion are mutually exclusive domains (that is, with no overlap) and are thus at odds with each other.  But the Conflict Thesis is incorrect, offering up a false choice: science or religion.  What, then, are we to make of Stephen C. Meyer’s claim that “[s]cience, done right, leads to God”?

Additionally, this already overly simplistic notion is further exacerbated by another oversimplification — that science is a rational proposition based on reason, while religion is a spiritual proposition based on faith.  Thus, scientific formulations are reliable, based as they are on the Scientific Method of observation, hypothesis, theorization, testing, and reformulation; religion, in contrast, is antithetical to the Scientific Method, akin to fairy tales and superstition.  Framed in this way, we can understand the essence of Nye’s concern for what we teach our children: assuming that evolution is scientific, for any parent to teach his child to deny evolution is thus to teach him to deny reason.

And Nye would be right but for the inconvenient fact that he is wholly and utterly wrong, in his basic assumptions as well as his understanding of evolution.””

Now, our defender of parental dignity-in-ignorance marshals his forces of misstatement, misdirection and mischaracterization to defeat the forces of evil reality!

“When we examine the underlying assumptions of Nye’s position, we find:

§ Science is not “based” on reason,

§ Religion is not “based” on faith,

§ There’s no such thing as “the” Scientific Method,

§ Religion is no fairy tale, and

§ Evolution is not what Nye thinks it is.””

Now then, stop giggling Virginia, show respect to older people, even if their heads are spinning slowly widdershins; I am sure Mr. Mirll will “explain” his “logic” in each case.

“First, though reason is certainly a component of scientific inquiry, it is not the only component.”

That was slick; he says ‘not ‘”based in reason”’, then refutes a totally different concept –  the idea of reason as the only component of science!

“There are, for instance, any number of scientific assumptions that cannot be proved and thus must be accepted on faith.  First and foremost among these is the assumption of uniformity — that what applies to our corner of the universe applies to all corners.  (This, after all, is what makes a universe a universe and not, say, a polyverse.)  Imagine the caterwauling among physicists if we discover that light travels at a uniform speed within the confines of the Milky Way, but at a variable speed in the galaxy Andromeda.”

This is a willful distortion of science, the assumptions science makes are ones for which we have virtually no negative evidence; if solid evidence of variance is found the assumption is abandoned; such as the very idea that the speed of light can be exceeded by material particles.

To address the non-proof above: if the speed of light were different in Andromeda we would either a. see the difference or b. there would have to be mechanisms built into the universe essentially ‘reformatting’ the light as it traveled to us so that we would see only effects compatible with our speed of light… sounds dumb doesn’t it?

“Nor is reason relegated only to science.  Religion, too, has its rational component, with pronouncements based on observation and empirical knowledge.  The Buddhist considers the Buddha, studies his life, hears his message of compassion and service to others, and makes the rational decision to emulate him.  The Christian hears the story of the resurrected Christ, an event that is claimed to have occurred in real time and witnessed by some five hundred, and chooses to follow him.  These are not simply matters of faith.”

He now doubles down on the same strategy with religion; he states one thing then refutes something else but, the fact remains – ‘based in’  is not the same as ‘excluding everything else’

“Instead of “the” scientific method, we find any number of methodologies that share various features but which cannot be said to demonstrate anything akin to a single, uniform method.  Consider, for instance, the notion that science is based on observation.  If this is a necessary prerequisite to a scientific theory, what are we to make of the claim that our universe may be only one of a series of universes?  Has anyone ever observed one of these extra universes?  How can such an observation be possible, even in theory?  There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for the multiverse.  And what do we call “the evidence of things not seen”?”

The above armchair physics comes courtesy of someone who obviously never bothered to incorporate quantum physics into their version of reality; isn’t this the guy who was so concerned about over-simplification a while back in this very same piece?

All he does is make all of science’s shades of color into a 320dpi black and white line-scan, and then complain that it does not represent the real world accurately. If he bothered to learn the subject he would find that it was the evidence, the results of observation and experiment, that made people see the cracks in the classical view of reality!

The multiverse theories Mr. Mirll disparages are based solely in observational science. To put it succinctly, quantum physics is the most un-refuted theory/world-view in the history of science. It has been held valid in its most bizarre predictions every time those predictions have been tested; I am sorry you don’t understand it, the entire industry involving things we call ‘electronic’ from can-diodes to micro chips is nothing but quantum physics-based engineering.

And the entirety of micro-biology is based in evolution, not as a theory, but, as a tool!

“Those who equate religion with fairy tales fail to understand what the word means.  “Religion” comes from the Latin religio, which means “to bind or constrict” and thus entails a twofold meaning.  First, it identifies a body of adherents to the religion itself.  These need not be adherents of any particular religion; it is sufficient that they identify themselves as members of the group, whatever the group.  Second, it is in some way normative; that is, it prescribes what the members of the group ought to believe, though it does not necessarily imply that the members will adhere to their beliefs at all times.  In other words, though a Christian will on occasion do things that are demonstrably un-Christian, this does not stop him from being a Christian altogether.  Neither aspect of religio has anything to do with fairy tales.”

That is nice. What does this have to do with the myths that form the foundation of almost all religions so adhered to? How does it prove that any religion’s myths that cannot be substantiated by objective historians are on a par with ‘fairy-tales’?

Answer: Nothing, and it doesn’t; moving on…

“In fact, Nye’s own understanding of evolution is itself a kind of fairy tale.  For him, it is akin to biological magic, to be believed for its own sake.  (Woe unto you, ye unbelievers!)  Evolution, he says, “is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.  It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates.”

Other than a handful of multi-doctorate polymath geniuses who understand first-hand and in detail more than a simplified, cartoon version of what really happens in any of the sciences? That is why science demands theories be testable, and the test be repeatable.

Actually, it’s like, it’s not like that.  For one, geologists operated for centuries without believing in tectonic plates.  As nifty as plate theory may be, it’s hardly fundamental to the idea of geology; rather, it’s derived from geology, based on current scientific understanding of the earth’s structure. 

Virginia, it is not attractive when you cross your eyes like that; stop pretending to be a zombie columnist stalking the brains of gummi-republican.!

I do see your point though; it is hard to know where to begin deconstructing that mass of congealed steer-residue!

Unless you are reading your history while standing on your head the early geologists’ whole purpose in “operating” was to learn what was happening in the way of a dynamic Earth; what exactly does he mean saying that they “operated” in ignorance of most of the how’s, what’s and why’s of the Earth’s structure? Is this how doctors “operated” in medicine before the advent of germ theory?

Did they find gold? Yes, sometimes. Did they know why it formed and where it might be found absent surface clues? Error, faulty, faulty!

And please take note of the lovely all-but-lying way he claims plate tectonics is a nifty theory when the basic notion that the plates exists and move in certain ways is an observed fact. The plates move, have moved and still move.

Young Earth creationists believe that The Flood produced virtually all of the erosion and sedimentation etc. that science understands to be the result of uniform processes over time. They have to go to all sorts of lengths to deny reality though refuting evidence is everywhere to see.

In Southern California is a desert park that has often been used by the movie and TV folks for interesting outdoor locations because of its unique rock formations and convenient distance from Hollywood. It is called Vasquez Rocks and has formations familiar to the entire movie and TV watching world. I mention it because there are several places within the area of a suburban lot that give lie to every Young Earth fairy tale ever told.

There you will find pebbles of metamorphic rock  made by sedimentary rock being compressed and distorted and then rounded by water mixed into a sedimentary sandstone, and the whole mess folded over with igneous formations from volcanic eruptions from AFTER the formation of all of the above, AND major water and wind worn patterns in all of the above that are continuous over the different materials; explain to me, Virginia, how all that happened in a forty day flood!

That the movement of the plates explains events organically and phenomena that the creationists have to pretend are still mysteries surely produces the most amazing mental gymnastics given that lasers from satellites in space have for a long time watched and measured the motion of the plates; which in no way deviate from the expectations of the “theory” that Mr. Pseudo-Reason finds so controversial.

Evolution, likewise, is deduced from two primary observations: the fossil record, which, so it is claimed, shows evidence that life represents a continuum of biological forms expressing a progression from the simple to the more complex; and the similarity of hypothetically related species, such as human beings and apes.

We should not be surprised by now I suppose to see this author seeming to tell outright lies, it is part of his faith apparently but, that does not mean I have to respect the lies.

Those two observations are not honestly complete, let alone the only basis for the modern understanding of evolution or for when the theory was being formulated; many different observations and types of evidence went into the mix that produced the first evolutionary theories.

But these are mere claims, not scientifically, independently verified facts.  The fossil record is stubbornly discontinuous, and human beings ultimately may only look like apes — a 1972 Chevy Malibu looks an awful lot like a 1971 Chevy Malibu, but this does not mean that the ’72 Malibu is biologically descended from the ’71 model.

It is not nice to stare at crazy people Virginia. Yes, I know that on a biological level, from micro-biology to forensic anthropology there is no genus Homo, and that humans are of the genus Pan, like our only living ‘species’ cousins, the chimps.

Someone hurry and go tell the zoo vets that all the apes in their care are really humans under the fur; think of the money saved in simplifying simian care across the board; not to mention using simian vets to fill the gap in qualified pediatricians!!

Think about it, imagine calling something a ‘canine’ when no other ‘canine’ cousins exist and it is 98% identical in its genes to the lion family of genus feline. Is that a ‘canine’ or just another feline? The pan genus has several species of chimp and we are 98% the same but, we are our own genus? Ri-i-i-ight!

Welcome to Pan Sapiens, Homo Sapiens was a fairy tale!

As far as the “incomplete fossil record” goes I do not expect that any number of ‘missing links’ will satisfy the creationists. They have been making this objection since the fossil record resembled an etch-a-sketch more than an oil painting but, today the record for many species, like birds and horses, looks more like a time-lapse YouTube video and they still  make the same objection!

“Nye’s position, then, is no acquiescence to scientific truth; it is merely a component of his belief system.  He may as well tell us not to raise our kids as Presbyterians.

And Bill Nye the Pseudoscience Guy can keep his beliefs to himself.”

Sorry, this guy is not making any points at all, now he wants to steal the credibility of the Presbyterians when most of them are comfortable with billions of years and a god that uses evolution; Jesus wept.

How to Reform Politics: What Your Politician Will Never Tell You

Guy DeWhitney's Heretics Crusade: Defendng Western Civilization

You hear it on the Left, you hear it on the Right, you hear it from the Third Parties – Reform Campaign Finance; Reform Congressional Lobbying, Reform Labor Relations and Unions! But, you never hear solutions, at least not solutions that amount to more than “things would be wonderful if those people over there (labor, management, government, you and me, etc. ad nauseum) were not allowed to participate in the process at all!!!“.

And the sad part Virginia, is that the solutions are so damn simple anyone can see it the moment they drop their “but, we have to win”/zero sum perspectives.

How do we reform campaign finance? We can’t, so we don’t.

That is, we don’t reform it, we eliminate it! It is nothing but a source of potential corruption and cannot be “fixed” by any means available to man, so let’s drop it. All election campaigns should be financed from a pool of government funds; if politician A gets X number of signatures qualifying for a place on the ballot for the office of Y he/she would get the same exact amount as every other andidate who qualified for that ballot.

I eagerly await anyone who can show me that this is a bad idea, except for the fact that their side, the good guys, can’t use it against the evil bad guys, their opposition, whoever they may be at the moment.

That takes care of a huge part of the inefficiency and corruption of modern politics at one fell swoop; how about we go after most of the rest with our backhand?

Congressional lobbying, bending the ear of Senators and Representatives, is quite arguably inseparable from a meaningful freedom of speech or a responsive government, so how do we reform what we cannot eliminate? We pass a law making it illegal to pay (in goods or services as well as money) someone to do it for you, that’s all.

Both of these ideas put central the concept that money is not equal to speech;a nonsensical conclusion to anyone who is not desiring to benefit from corruption before it is shut down if I ever eard one!

Think about it Virginia, if Citizen A has 10 dollars his political voice is only ten dollars “loud” but, if Citizen Y, or worse, Corporation M and foreign national R, with ten million dollars have voices that make Citizen A virtually invisible on the political stage; surely this is not what any of our founders
envisioned!

Which brings us to the unions! SO much has changed since the heyday of the teens and twenties of the last century. Remind me again, in this day and age just what purpose do Union Leaders serve… other than their own?

My proposal once again is very simple, organic and even elegant: when a union ends a despite and signs a new contract they immediately disband.

That’s it. If a new issue arises and the workers vote to form a new union to deal with it all is well and good. And when a new contract is signed the leaders go back to work instead of sinking their fangs into the real worker’s necks and riding them until they die, or their industry is killed instead.

Now, take those three, simple changes, all of them unassailable on Constitutional grounds, and project the country past two presidential election cycles; does your mind boggle at the possibilities for real improvement? Does a shiver run down your leg?

Then take it and run with it! The beauty of our system is that no matter how much a pol does not want to do something, if enough people get an idea in their heads the pols have to go along and pray to survive the next election.

All of these changes have one thing in common, reality, they make the government deal with facts and voters, not special interests and corporate funds; and that Virginia, is really all this country needs to be a strong and beautiful as it can be.

Political Parties Exist to Subvert Instead of Enable the Voice of the Individual.

heretics-crusade,guy-dewhitney,partisan

My Life for Ze Party und Ze Leader!

Why is it again that, in 2010, political parties still exist? Well, other than for the implimentation of the control of a few who claim the voice of many, I don’t see much reason; member voices are given more lip service than respect from the party’s “leaders”. And, while we are attacking preconception, why a party “leader”? Would not an “impementor” be a more appropriate term for the desired function of the office.? Someome trusted to make the will of the members of the party heard effectively?

But how is that again? A party is supposed to make the voice of its X number of citizens louder than this other bunch’s equal number of voices?

Do you people out there ever completey agree with every part of “your” party’s platform? If one election cycle you do happen to agree with it all have you ever in your life seen the party hold to each and every plank after the election?
Remind me again Virginia; just WHO these parties claim to serve?

A Modestly Heretical Proposal

Get rid of the parties. No labels to hide behind, no pols in pocket of biz or party, pols un-electable without personal support from the community, pol has to listen on every issue and best of all, the most important, the pol would be judged more by accomplishments and record than by their associations.

Today there is no practical reason not to elect individual candidates directly.

Not sure you like the idea? Think about this: neither. Obama nor Palin would have ever been nominated without an agenda following party forcing them upon their supporters. Think about that for a while…

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Women in Iran march against discrimination


By Moni Basu
CNN

(CNN) — Like thousands of other Iranian women, Parisa took to Tehran’s streets this week, her heart brimming with hope. “Change,” said the placards around her.

Women, regarded as second-class citizens under Iranian law, have been noticeably front and center of the massive demonstrations that have unfolded since the presidential election a week ago. Iranians are protesting what they consider a fraudulent vote count favoring hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but for many women like Parisa, the demonstrations are just as much about taking Iran one step closer to democracy.

“Women have become primary agents of change in Iran,” said Nayereh Tohidi, chairwoman of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.

The remarkable images show women with uncovered heads who are unafraid to speak their minds and crowds that are not segregated — both the opposite of the norm in Iran, Tohidi said.

She said a long-brewing women’s movement may finally be manifesting itself on the streets and empowering women like Parisa.

“This regime is against all humanity, more specifically against all women,” said Parisa, whom CNN is not fully identifying for security reasons.

“I see lots of girls and women in these demonstrations,” she said. “They are all angry, ready to explode, scream out and let the world hear their voice. I want the world to know that as a woman in this country, I have no freedom.”

Though 63 percent of all Iranian college students are women, the law of the land does not see men and women as equal. In cases of divorce, child custody, inheritance and crime, women do not have the same legal rights as men.

In the past four years, Ahmadinejad has made it easier for men to practice polygamy and harder for women to access public sector jobs, according to CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Even the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the Islamic republic, voiced frustration at the way women are treated.

“Women are just living things,” Zahra Eshraghi told Amanpour. “A woman is there to fill her husband’s stomach and raise children.”

For the first time, women were allowed to register for the presidential race, though none, including Eshraghi, were deemed fit to run by the religious body that vets candidates. But women’s issues surfaced in the campaign.

That was partly the result of a women’s movement comprised of educated, urban, middle-class women that has grown in recent years with the addition of more conservative and poorer women, said Tohidi, a longtime observer of women’s rights in Iran. Ironically, traditional women first gained voice under the clerics.

“Khomeini needed their votes, so he encouraged them to be publicly active,” Tohidi said.

The middle-class women who enjoyed certain freedoms in prerevolutionary days refused to turn back, while a new generation of conservatives were awakened to feminism.

In 2003, lawyer and women’s rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, providing a “big boost” for Iranian women, Tohidi said.

At the same time, private organizations and charities that deal with women’s issues blossomed under the presidency of reformist Mohammed Khatami, growing by as much as 700 percent, Tohidi said.

Marriage age increased as more women opted to marry for love, instead of entering arranged marriages. The One Million Signatures Campaign officially launched in 2006 sprouted new discourse and attention with a petition that asks the parliament to reform gender discriminatory laws.

Two opposition candidates, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, vowed to look into parts of the Iranian constitution that defer women’s rights to what is regarded as an outdated version of sharia, or Islamic, law. Moussavi had even promised to appoint women as cabinet ministers for the first time.

Some women in Iran looked to Moussavi to carry their banner, perhaps because they were inspired by his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a much-admired academic who told CNN’s Amanpour that Iran’s 34 million women want civil laws and family laws revised.

Author and journalist Azadeh Moaveni, who spent several years working in Iran, said Ahmadinejad’s fundamentalism has pushed Iranian women to the edge.

“He has been a catastrophe for women,” said Moaveni, who wrote “Lipstick Jihad” and co-authored “Iran Awakening” with Nobel laureate Ebadi.

The weight of discrimination against women is felt most profoundly through Iran’s legal system, but Moaveni said Ahmadinejad added to the hardship by clamping down on women’s lifestyles. He mandated the way women dress and even censored Web sites that dealt with women’s health, Moaveni said. A woman would be hard-pressed to conduct a Google search for something as simple as breast cancer.

Moaveni was almost arrested because her coat sleeves were too short and exposed too much skin. In that setting, she said, it’s striking to see women protesting, especially without their hijabs, or head coverings.

“While it’s not at the top of women’s grievances, the hijab is symbolic. Taking it off is like waving a red flag,” Moaveni said. “Women are saying they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Azar Nafisi, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” said she has been watching the footage from Iran with “inordinate pride.”

She marched on the streets during the 1979 revolution because she believed in greater freedoms for her people, only to see her dreams shattered as hardline clerics took hold of Iran. “Reading Lolita” is largely a memoir of her harrowing days in Iran until 1997, when she immigrated to the United States.

“The way I walked down the street became a political statement,” Nafisi said.

She recalled her own mother being a devout Muslim who chose not to wear a veil. Her grandmother, like more traditional women in Iran, wore a veil but resented the government ordering her to do so. Covering up, Nafisi said, was a matter of faith, not politics.

Nafisi believes that women have become a symbolic statement of the power of the Islamic state. She called Iranian women canaries of the mind — barometers of how free society is.

It’s impossible to predict what will transpire in Iran in the coming days.

Nafisi believes a regime change will not be enough; that only a change in mindset can lead to greater freedoms for women.

Moaveni said the sheer scale of the demonstrations assures her that the political and social climate will never again be the same in Iran.

Tohidi is keeping her fingers crossed that the protests won’t prompt Iran’s hardliners to clamp down and rule by repression.

But all of them shared the hopes of the women — like Parisa — who are marching on the streets.

“Today, we were wearing black,” Parisa said, referring to the day of mourning to remember those who have died in post-election violence.

“We were holding signs. We said, ‘We are not sheep. We are human beings,'” she said.

Parisa was thankful for all the images being transmitted out of Iran despite the government’s crackdown on international journalists. She was thankful, too, that the world cared.

“Today,” she said, “I had this feeling of hope that things will finally

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