Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Hey all,

This is it: the time to move on – from political tirades to actual creativity.

I have wasted too many hours preaching to the choir about politics, which truly mean nothing unless there is a discussion going on, so one side can defend itself. On a blog, there is very rarely any meaningful discussion going on, simply because of the disadvantages of the medium. Therefore, I will stop producing a good that no one wants, and instead produce a good that no one wants. But, as any good salesman knows, you can sell a customer anything as long as you do not give them the choice to not have your product; instead, you ask them whether they’d like a red or a blue product.

I am moving to blogging logic puzzles. No, not creating sudoku or kakuro puzzles (both of which I immensely enjoy), but word and number problems you all probably did when you were kids. I am a bit of a puzzle junkie myself and have been making puzzles for awhile, so that’s what I’ll do here on the internet, because I don’t know of any sites that continually produce logic puzzles on a daily basis. Yes, they do make daily sudokus, crosswords, and whatever else people do everyday, but they do not produce word puzzles or anagrams like I will. Creating and solving puzzles are what I like to do in my spare time (as well as read and write), so that is what I will concentrate on here in my corner of the internet (probably a different corner since I’ll be making a new blog to house my puzzles).

In the meantime, for my political (intellectual?) side, I will be reading. I currently have a list of 62 books that I will try to read before 2009 is over, spanning philosophy, political theory, and classic literature. I highly, highly, highly recommend that anyone who is currently a political blogger starts blogging less and reading more, for that is the only way to real thought.

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This post has been long in the making: it has resided in my brain since the time I started this blog and it has certainly made itself apparent throughout this part of history that will surely become known as the Great Manic Depression (you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen). This will be the last post, officially, of the 59 Second Minute in its current, utter useless form, but it will also begin an era of new, more fresh, political commentary by me, as well as another project that will ultimately end up taking more of my time and is totally different from anything I’ve done here in my blogspace in the cybersphere. This post carries a message of imperative importance to everyone who considers themselves politically informed, or is involved in any way in the politics of the United States.

The message is this: both the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same, wretched coin. Together, they compose an entity that is against the liberty of all American citizens. There is not a party that is for freedom – no mistake about that.

Consider that most people dislike the Republicans for their over-reliance on evangelicals; for their restrictions on the decisions of women via their “pro-life” stance; and for their traditionally anti-gay views. This is infringing upon peoples’ social liberty because it restricts their freedom based on sexuality, gender, or, in some religious extremists’ cases, religion.

Consider that some people dislike the Democrats for trying to increase taxes and increase the role of government in all sectors of life, especially now in the economy. This is infringing upon people’s economic liberty because they seek to restrict the way that people trade goods and conduct their business. Having freedom of any kind naturally carries risk – the risk of failure. The government, in essence, seeks to remove the risk of failure by taking over the banks, etc., etc.

When you put these parties together (have a compromise between the two), what do you get? General authoritarianism, where the government dictates what you do, both socially and economically. Is this the type of system the “land of the free” deserves? NO!

I’d argue, that since the founding of this country, political thought has become increasingly homogenized, especially in the past 60 years, due to the two-party system. Again, ask, “What makes two people in the Democratic party any different from one another?” Not much; and I’d wager that that fact is a cause (or is it an effect?) of the lack of diversity in political thought from our people, and, thusly, the representatives they elect. And if there is no diversity in political thought (along party lines, of course: Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democratic), then, one can argue that no one’s really thinking at all. Think about it: if your political views mesh with the typical Democratic robot, then you don’t have to think, for they think for you! You hear them talk, you nod in agreement, and life goes on. Then you hear a left-leaning journalist spit fire at the Republicans, you, again, nod in agreement (for Republicans are The Enemy), and life goes on. Whenever you talk politics, you just vomit back what you heard on TV or read in the newspaper, and life goes on, without any analyzation of your beliefs.

This type of system benefits nobody but the ruling class. We’ve become programmed like Pavlov’s dogs: the majority of the populace has been conditioned to think highly of a person that has that capitalized “D” next to the state they represent when they’re interviewed on the major news networks (note: substitute “D” for “R” when appropriate). And when the “R” shows up – well, he’s just another Bush and shouldn’t be listened to.

(As a side note: when there is infighting among parties – witness the fears of Hillary “ripping apart” the Democratic Party during the Conventions last year- people hope they all “get along” and keep going with the party line. Back then, I said I hoped she would concede to Obama but now I realize there was no correct choice, and I imagine that it would’ve been preferable for the party to be torn apart if Hillary pulled a stunt during the Conventions. My reason? I don’t want parties)

Is this the kind of divisiveness we need in our country?

As I said before, if we all think along the party line(s), who do we elect? The same people, or, at the very least, people who follow the party line(s) – the sad thing being that there is no tangible difference between the two options. And so, we elect the same people, and they continue to get nothing done or they decide to do the worse alternative: make bad laws.

We wonder why the country is going downhill, and then you look at Congress’s approval rating, which has hovered around 30% for what seems to be time immemorial. If we really dislike who is in Congress that much wouldn’t it make sense to vote them out of office by replacing them with someone more competent and has a political ideology that would better represent us?

But, the problem is, we’re given two choices in most races, and are forced to pick one of the two party lines that fits ours the best. And, most often, we elect people of the same party – people who closely share political ideologies… Who are likely going to repeat the failings of their predecessor. So we vote in what seems to be a revolving door of people who follow a certain party line, but, somehow, 70% of us more or less disapprove of Congress as a whole.

The issue lies in the homogeneity of the parties and of the populace. It has become evident that the two-party system is worthless and is destroying the quality and quantity of political thought in this country. It gives no choice to those who disagree with the dominant parties and force their hand into voting for the lesser of two evils. I say that we abolish the party system and vote for people based on the quality of their thought and their policies, not the name of the party they’re a part of. I say we stop casting our votes for both parties, since they are against our liberty. I say we open our minds and encourage those with alternative viewpoints and vote for them instead. I say we pick up a book on political theory or economics instead of turning on our televisions.

And, if you don’t believe me, I think you’ll take George Washington’s word that the party system does not work. From his farewell address in 1796:

They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally…

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

Right now, I am calling it: the Obama presidency will be a disaster, partly because of the legacy Bush left him, and the errors that he will make on his own, namely continuing to hand out money in order to “stimulate” the economy, as well as continuing the farcical “War on Terror” that Bush started, and will never end until people realize it is just an attempt to expand America’s control in Eurasia. Admittedly, I don’t think the ailing economy will be Barack’s fault, though social spending programs are likely to make things worse in the future.

Hail to the thief?

Normally, I’d be obliged to write my own material concerning the auto industry’s bailout (well, that’s for tomorrow!), but this piece (that was on the Delicious popular page) was way too good to pass up.

Linked from here.

…The lesson here: Unlike their counterparts GM and Ford, Toyota has always taken a long-term strategic view about their employees. Toyota understands that laying off thousands of employees for slowdowns or plant retooling is counter productive. They wisely utilize the time to redistribute their workforce to understaffed plants, provide additional training for the new products, and leverage their workforce to speed the transition for newer products. Their philosophy has avoided labor disputes and staffing shortages. It has kept the company as a leader in quality and profitability over its shortsighted competitors….

Check it out!

In the wake of the financial crisis that’s engulfing the world right now, there have been many on the Left that proclaim that capitalism will cease to exist, since it alone (in their deluded eyes) has caused this collapse.

I’m astonished at their ignorance and lack of gratitude for the monetary system that has, singlehandedly (well, along with the establishment of the United States), lifted much of the world out of poverty and into a culture of freedom, free from the monarchs and Communists.

These Leftists spout useless drivel about how it’s capitalism’s fault that people are losing their jobs, that it’s capitalism’s fault that the banks did ill-advised lending, that it’s capitalism’s fault that people are in poverty in undeveloped countries, that it’s capitalism’s fault for somehow putting a gun to the head of our legislators and “making” them institute a $700 billion bailout for these banks. It’s not capitalism’s fault, and I can guarantee that those people who lost jobs wouldn’t have had them in the first place without it, that the banks would commit more fraud without it, and there would be more government intervention without it.

And then they say that capitalism is not moral; that it doesn’t give people living wages and it makes them poor. Except, naturally, they forget that capitalism has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and into work, that it allowed people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to make millions with a vision for the future and the drive needed to make that dream a reality. Capitalism has let people make money with their work and their skill. It allows the individual to pursue the course that they want (economically), and they are rewarded for their competence – nothing more, nothing less.

It is these hypocrites that do not know what they’re saying when they say, “Capitalism must go!”, because they, truly, don’t have an idea of what capitalism is. They scream that the capitalist system must go, but they have no idea what economic system to put in its place; it is this fact that makes these people ignorant and nothing more than sheep. They don’t understand that, in eliminating capitalism, you must erect something with the structure of socialism (perhaps even Communism) in its place, which would surely destroy the framework of this country and all the worlds’ economies. Surely, if we’re going to remove capitalism, where capital is held and moved primarily by the private sector, we must consolidate it within the public sector – giving more control of the economy to the state.

It is this that reveals the true hypocrisy of these fools. These are probably the same people who (correctly) say that our government has grossly mishandled and misled us into two wars, the government that is putting most of its money into feeding the military-industrial complex in doing so, and is corrupt to the core. But, in destroying capitalism, these people are advocating letting the very same government run our economy, giving out handouts as they wish. How does that make any sense? Our main legislative body has a single-digit approval rating, and these imbeciles think that we should give them more control over the country?

This is why capitalism cannot and will not fall: the citizenry will wake up and realize that more (bad) government isn’t the remedy to the situation. In fact, it’s more poison.


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The BBC reports that Russia is willing to move the Iskander missiles it placed on its western border as long as the US removes the plans to build a missile shield in Poland.

Was there ever any doubt?

Russia’s foreign minister has said it will abandon plans to station missiles in Kaliningrad if the US does not base part of a missile shield in Europe.

Sergei Lavrov said short-range Iskander missiles would only be deployed in the western enclave, which borders Poland, to neutralise any perceived US threat.

President Dmitri Medvedev unveiled the planned counter-measure a week ago.

The US insists the planned shield is designed solely to guard against attack by “rogue states”, such as Iran.

At present, the system will include a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in northern Poland. Moscow says they could threaten its own defences.

These would be in addition to radars and interceptors in Alaska and California in the US, and another radar at Fylingdales in the UK.

Another move in an ongoing game. It appears that the two sides have stalemated, with Russia trying to get the US to remove its missile shield by putting missiles of its own to disrupt said shield. Wouldn’t it be counterintuitive for the US to even keep its shield there if the Russians got jam it with their own ballistics?


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He is, indeed, a true American hero, and his work, from Common Sense to the Age of Reason, is recommended to anyone with a brain. A few money quotes:

From The Age of Reason (which I’m currently reading):

Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

The Christian Mythologists, after having confined Satan in a pit, were obliged to let him out again to bring on the sequel of the fable. He is then introduced into the Garden of Eden, in the shape of a snake or a serpent, and in that shape he enters into familiar conversation with Eve, who is no way surprised to hear a snake talk; and the issue of this tete-a-tete is that he persuades her to eat an apple, and the eating of that apple damns all mankind.

After giving Satan this triumph over the whole creation, one would have supposed that the Church Mythologists would have been kind enough to send him back again to the pit; or, if they had not done this, that they would have put a mountain upon him (for they say that their faith can remove a mountain), or have put him under a mountain, as the former mythologists had done, to prevent his getting again among the women and doing more mischief. But instead of this they leave him at large, without even obliging him to give his parole—the secret of which is, that they could not do without him; and after being at the trouble of making him, they bribed him to stay. They promised him ALL the Jews, ALL the Turks by anticipation, nine-tenths of the world beside, and Mahomet into the bargain. After this, who can doubt the bountifulness of the Christian Mythology?

Having thus made an insurrection and a battle in Heaven, in which none of the combatants could be either killed or wounded—put Satan into the pit—let him out again—giving him a triumph over the whole creation—damned all mankind by the eating of an apple, these Christian Mythologists bring the two ends of their fable together. They represent this virtuous and amiable man, Jesus Christ, to be at once both God and Man, and also the Son of God, celestially begotten, on purpose to be sacrificed, because they say that Eve in her longing had eaten an apple.

From Common Sense:

Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.

Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals.

From The Rights of Man:

I am contending for the rights of the living, and against their being willed away and controlled and contracted for by the manuscript assumed authority of the dead, and Mr. Burke is contending for the authority of the dead over the rights and freedom of the living. There was a time when kings disposed of their crowns by will upon their death-beds, and consigned the people, like beasts of the field, to whatever successor they appointed. This is now so exploded as scarcely to be remembered, and so monstrous as hardly to be believed. But the Parliamentary clauses upon which Mr. Burke builds his political church are of the same nature.

Every government that does not act on the principle of a Republic, or in other words, that does not make the res-publica its whole and sole object, is not a good government. Republican government is no other than government established and conducted for the interest of the public, as well individually as collectively. It is not necessarily connected with any particular form, but it most naturally associates with the representative form, as being best calculated to secure the end for which a nation is at the expense of supporting it.

The best part is this: you can have all his books for free here. Read them, and read them swiftly.

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In a predictable response to the US missile shield deployed in Poland in August, Russia has made its move. The BBC reports:

Russia is to deploy new missiles in a Baltic enclave near Nato member Poland, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.

Short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region would “neutralise” the planned US anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, he said.

The US says its shield is a defence against missiles from “rogue” nations, but Moscow sees it as a direct threat.

This was, again, an easily foreseeable move on Russia’s part, and brings back vestiges of the Cold War. I don’t think Eastern Europe is doomed yet, but, if a second Cold War were to return, Europe would collapse due to Russia’s stranglehold on the oil industry.

There have been comparisons between President-Elect Obama and John F. Kennedy. Maybe Obama will have to prove himself against the Russians much like Kennedy did.

This editorial in the Guardian’s pretty good:

Thanks to America’s insistence on a shield of unproven worth, and Poland’s backing for it, eastern Europe now faces the nightmare return of the short-range missile. Go back 16 years to discover just how dangerous this bluff was. Taking the chips off the table is going to be more difficult, even though Barack Obama told Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, about his doubts concerning the effectiveness of the missile shield. Whatever the truth about the Pentagon’s claim that the shield is not aimed at Russia, the installation has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Pawn to D5. White, your move.

…particularly Michael Moore, who said:

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

Michael, I’ll tell you when absolutely anything is possible: when we elect an atheist for president. When that happens, I’ll certainly believe that anything is possible.

Yes, voting in a black man is an important step forward for this country, but it doesn’t smash all the barriers of prejudice in this country. Voting in a “godless” person will be a much harder task to accomplish than it was to elect a black man, simply because discrimination based on religion is in vogue, while racism is unacceptable in our society.

A week or so ago, thebeadden posted a comment on MusEditions’s blog, lamenting the corruption in charity and “every social structure” in the world. This post is intended to be a response to that comment.

I’ll tackle bead’s argument point for point, doing the best I can (you can read the full comment/post here!). The first part:

The only problem I have is that when we start donating aid and money, it doesn’t always go to helping the people it is meant for. Believe me when I say that a lot of money goes to the wrong hands. I work around people from many different countries and some of them tell me about the scams, some of them have opened businesses here with that money. And I have been told how I can get in on it too. I just about choked try to keep my mouth shut but inside I was seething.

Totally agreed, and this points to a lack of morality on the scammer’s part, and a lack of discretion on the donator’s. While it seems like whoever is donating to these NGOs and charitable organizations is getting scammed when the funds do indeed get scammed (and they are!), a chunk of the responsibility is the donor’s, no ifs, ands, or buts. It is the donor’s responsibility to exercise serious discretion when selecting a charity to donate to, just for this reason – one should check exactly where the funds go and who sponsors the charity for the sake of security. If the charity doesn’t seem legitimate, nobody should donate to it; no one’s holding a gun to the head of the donor and saying they have to donate to any charity at all.

Another reason is that there are people out there just dying for a one world government. I wish with all my heart that it could happen and be a good thing. Small movements are started, and everyone on the lower level thinks they are doing this for all the right reasons. In truth many of these efforts are only stepping stones to pave the way for people to give in to the bigger plan.

One world government would end the world, or at least set the stage for a dictatorship of the majority, whatever that happens to be. There are simply too many voices on this earth for a single, unified government to work — think of how many political parties there would be. With that many parties, all the voices would be drowned out in the white noise.

You allude to some movements losing their integrity after they assume control. Yes, while there are cases of corruption destroying a leader/movement, more often is the fact that what works in theory doesn’t necessarily work in practice. As things start to go wrong with their agenda, it appears that the movement is self-destructing, and, as that happens, leaders turn dictatorial.

And the ones running the show don’t have the goodness in their heart that all these people have. All that has to happen is one of them getting to be the one running the show. We elect people who don’t know anything put power, corruption and greed.

Not necessarily – there are some who are indeed good people. In fact, I’d wager that most of the elected officials are good people. But, the System has constraints, and these people have to keep their jobs by being in bed with corporate interests and especially the military-industrial complex. The people at the tops of those ladders are the ones who need replacing with able-minded and pure people, not those in government. It’s the corrupt lobbyists and corporate infrastructure that corrupts the legislative process with their “gifts” to the legislative bodies (also known as bribes).

Part 2 is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned.