Archive for March 4th, 2010

Twitter Log Beyond the cut…

I’m going to start today with a web site’s “Civility Pledge.” Towards the end I will circle back to my comments about the group site that created this pledge:

“As a member or guest of ***, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful towards people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process”

The existence of the above pledge makes me absolutely sick. It thoroughly offends me that this pledge exists. Now, before every person I know grabs pitchfork and torch while trying to find out who scrambled my brains… allow me a clarification.

The pledge sickens me. Not the sentiment. The pledge sickens me because frankly it should NEVER be necessary to codify this sentiment into a pledge in relation to the governance of the USA. Americans are a nation of people founded on the concept that ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL. You may remember “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Admittedly, from a Thelemic philosophy, everyone has the right to hate, lie, disrespect, and manipulate.

The above pledge is from the new counter movement called the “Coffee Party.” I’ll talk specifically about the group later but first their raison d’être.

The group formed as a result of one Facebook member ranting about the current obstructionism in the government. Friends ranted, someone made a joke about the Tea Party… and then there was a ‘Coffee Party.’

I very specifically in a recent post said that I was not interested in discussing politics. Well, it’s been 24 hrs; I’ve had a bad day; and I haven’t come up with anything better from Formspring.

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Jim Bunning

The Bunn Ultimatum has come and gone. Bunning tried to suggest he’d filibuster (without the support of his party) and the opposition positioned itself to make him actually stand up and filibuster. In response he offered a solution that undermined something else the opposition was working on and inevitably ran and hid.

Current obstructionism. I have to highlight current because it’s the same obstructionism that’s been going on in our government on both sides for a very long time.

Now another comment to make you again wonder if I have suffered an ‘alien brain scramble.’ “I don’t want to be a Democrat.” (amaransezwha?) For what it’s worth, “I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO BE A REPUBLICAN.” I did. For a while I really was up for ‘fiscal conservatism’ and ‘Keeping government small and keeping the fed out of the state’s business.’ Which was great… until Trickle down economics didn’t. Which was great… until the Fed marched into Florida to help with their 2000 election mechanics.

The Coffee Party and I see eye to eye on one major topic. Finding a bipartisan solution is not the problem. Bipartisanism is the problem. Three houses to form checks and balances fail if the entire game becomes a race for one of two parties to take over all three houses. The concept that independents are asked which of the two parties that they will caucus for makes no sense to me.

Hearing that tertiary candidates are not allowed in the current debate because they don’t have the level of representation which is decided on by the parties that do makes no sense to me. Continually, I hear stories of tertiary candidates being taken forcibly from debates by police because they aren’t allowed in.

Our current government is a football game of “We Good, you Evil” So much for civility towards ‘the other party.’

I don’t want to be a Democrat. I am currently watching the “Rachel Maddow” show on MSNBC. (And don’t get me started on the concept of NBC plus Microsoft equals news.) Rachel Maddow is like watching Jon Stewart without the occasional laugh at his own side. The current rant is over the hypocrisy that the Republican representatives are doling out. And it doesn’t take much effort to see it. Unfortunately, I cannot stomach the other side of the debate enough to watch a “Glenn Beck” or a “Rush Limbaugh” give examples of the hypocrisy of the left because they are too busy playing the “Incite to Riot” card (See previous two links).

So, on one side we have the Conservatives. These are the people who during the Bush Administration said, “You don’t like the president? Suck it up or you’re a treasonous traitor to the country.” These are the same people who are painting pictures of Obama to look like Hitler ({en:Godwin’s_Law|Godwin} Points) and calling for “Revolution.” Of course they don’t realise that the Pacific Northwest is defined as “Hippies that want their guns too.”

The Right is running on fear. Terrorize the masses into believing the Left is evil, destructive, villainous, and planning the downfall of Apple Pie and Mom. (Remember, Health Reform is socialism; but SOCIAL security isn’t)

The left. There’s the dove. At least that’s the visual message they offer. We love everyone, we want to bridge the gaps, and we’ll meet you half way in that {en:Zeno%27s_paradoxes|Zeno’s paradox} kind of way. (What, halfway more? But if I keep cutting the distance in half; I’ll never get to you.) The problem is that the left wants to play by the rules up until they are pushed to break the rules and then … well, they don’t admit they’ve changed their tone either.

Let’s face it. From the moment that the Left lost 60 in the Senate; they knew Health reform Reconciliation was on the table. The fact that they still haven’t “Said it” is just an olive branch being held by a fist.

Personally, I think the Democrats right now are far more dangerous than the Republicans. Not for what they want to do; but for how far they will be pushed and compromise before they decide that all bets are off. Let’s look at historical examples of behaviour that is pushed over the edge: {en:Road_rage}, {en:John_and_Lorena_Bobbitt}, {en:Going_postal}.

I will hand it to the Left for trying to hold out as far as they have. But I really think that before things go much further… it’s going to become a figurative blood bath in Washington. Honestly, I have never felt as close to the history of the Civil War as I did in the run-up and aftermath of both the 2000 and the 2004 election.

So we have the Bully and the Conscientious Objector. Pick your side. That’s what Washington really wants. As long as they can keep this country torn down the philosophical center (no matter where the lines are) then their pundits will keep putting them back into office and they will maintain their 50/50 split of only handling issues that most people are too apathetic or untrained to see.

Let me comment about some of the changes I want in the US government:

  1. A bill must pertain to one topic.
    • How the hell the Port defense act garnered bank control for online Poker is beyond me.
    • The idea here is as follows: Take a bill that overwhelmingly is going to pass both houses from both parties. (Typically this would be something like… oh I don’t know… shoring up unemployment). One rep has a pet peeve that she/he wants to nip in the bud. Worse, they are under pressure from a lobbyist to fix something that’s causing them to lose money. In the 11th hour when no one is paying attention, the amendment to the bill is slipped in. Exploiting parliamentary procedure loopholes may do this. Wording the amendment in a manner that is innocuous to those that haven’t spent time studying it may do it. The committees study the bills, not the amendments.
  2. Committees are transparent and your representative listens to you about issues that aren’t on their committee.
    • I used to write my congressional representatives and senators. I do not anymore. I am not a lobbyist. I am just the person that either did or more likely did not elect them. One law that passed in Washington I was very unhappy with. I contacted the state reps that voted against my opinion and was told that I should contact my own representative. I contacted my federal representative from my own district concerning a bill I wanted to see supported. I was told, “That bill is not in my committee.” I honestly don’t care if it is or isn’t in your committee. You can talk to your ‘friend’ the representative from “where-ever” and tell them that your constituents care about this bill.
    • Since the activities of committees are done so secretively to the public, we really don’t know which elected official is supporting a bill, discussing it in committee, or even aware that the bill exists. And when we do contact them; if we aren’t talking them out to dinner or golfing or creating a trust fund in their name; our opinions don’t seem to matter.
  3. Hare Clark. Hare Clark. HARE CLARK
    • For the rest of you: this is “{en:Single_transferable_vote}.” This system eliminates “Wasted Votes”, “Spoiler Candidates” and, “Blowing off the good candidate because he can’t win.” I’m not going to explain how the system works. It is a bit on the complicated side.
  4. My favourite one. Hypocrisy and self-serving abuses of power in the Federal positions of the Legislature, Executive, and Judicial are treasonous acts against the country and should result in public execution. Said execution will be pay per view with the proceeds going to pay back the deficit
    • I guarantee you, hang one Democrat and one Republican on PPV; you’ll easily knock ½ trillion off the deficit and the rest of the gov’t will get REALLLLLY HONEST REALLLLLLLLY FAST.
    • A note: I am not condoning killing our elected officials. I’m not a fan of the death penalty. I often float this idea more for the reaction than an actual desire to see it enacted. Please do not call the FBI, the CIA, or the ASPCA on me.

Now, there are countless other things that could contribute to fixing our problem. One of course is remembering that just because a corporation is a legal entity; doesn’t make it a person. Corporations have far too much power in this country and this alone is a topic for another post.

So let’s stop for some coffee.

I digress. I resent the Tea Party; not just because they are primarily composed of people that I view as alarmists and the easily manipulated. I resent them for co-opting tea. I love tea. The Tea Party doesn’t even connect to the Tea Parties of history no matter how hard their leaders and representatives try to shoehorn the definition. These Obama-as-Hitler mobs are the same people who decried arguing with the president 2 years ago. I’d use the more apropos ‘objurgate’, but I’m pretty sure less than .01% of them could define it before the other 99% accuse me of using some gay-socialist code word.

Right… coffee. The founder/leader/talking-head of the Coffee party is Annabel Park. As far as I can tell, the Coffee Party extols olive branches to both sides with the hopes that they will play nice. If they don’t play nice, the Coffee Party will hold their representatives accountable.

The Coffee Party currently has just over 75.5K ‘fans’ on Facebook. I don’t mean to doom say here. But if we divide that number by 50 we get a number that winds up being just over 1500 per state. This number doesn’t represent enough people to get a referendum on most state election boards let alone the strength to remove a 6 term senator who plays the politics game very well.

You don’t organize a movement by ranting politely and offering olive branches. You don’t affect change without a much larger mass. You can tell how seriously the mainstream media takes them when CNN entitles their story with the pun, ”Coffee Party gaining Steam.” My biggest concern with the future of the Coffee Party is that Ms. Park has very little charisma to inspire anyone to stop being inevitably apathetic about government.

And here (in my less than humble opinion) is the root of our problem. Washington polarization and gridlock has led to our general apathy with the whole problem. And here is proof. How many of you knew/know the following:

  1. How can one senator stall a bill without majority support? Without even minority support?
  2. What was the actual bill that was stalled? Do you know the H.R. number? Where can you find the text of the bill? Where can you find the text of the laws changed by the bill?
  3. What amendments were added to the bill? Who added them? Who supported or didn’t support them? Why?
  4. What have your representatives voted for or against this session? How in line with their, your, all parties was it?
  5. How many of you know how to get a referendum on your own local ballot?

American Civics is a joke for the places that even still bother to teach it. We have been raised and continue to raise our young to follow the status quo and trust someone else to tell us how to think and what to do.

Sure, I want to believe the Coffee Party has some legs on it. Granted, I also want tea back from the radical jihad of the intellectually conservative. (I guess now that the intelligent Christians have wrestled their religion back from the extremists and the Republicans; the Republicans need a new group that they can find a stupid sub group within to be their voice of fear and doom.)

I remember about 9-10 years ago trying to deduce what a Democrat and a Republican stood for. After asking moderates on both sides all it really came down to was, “Don’t trust the other side.” The tenants of “Fiscal conservatism”, “Social evolution”, “Government regulation” all became talking points that you used to identify which ‘team’ you ‘played for.’

None-the-less (with some exceptions over theTea Party members, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh) I have tried to comport myself within the confines of the “Pledge of Civility.” I suppose I rule the aforementioned out because they do not come to the floor with opposing ideas. They simply come with the words of hate and mistrust based solely on either their own imaginations (as in the talk show hosts) or the imaginations of others without seriously giving consideration to what is going on.

I want to see cooperation in government. I think the Coffee movement has its heart in the right place. I just don’t see government really worrying about the hearts of the individuals of this country. I really don’t see government as a whole really worrying about major changes to the status quo.

…because the status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just… need to blog it.