Citizenship and Politics
Virginia General Election, 2005
What is our government doing with their time?
We have 435 U.S. Congressional Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators. Each of them makes at least $158,100 per year. How is it possible that with over 500 highly paid elected representatives we do not have:
- Verified Voting: after the fiasco of the year 2000 general elections, how can these our so-called representatives live with themselves knowing that they have done nothing to fix the problems exposed in 2000?
- Open Presidental Debates: why are the presidential debates strictly controlled by a bi-partisan commission that does not allow for open, transparent, public participation in the debates? Why is it that the "Commission on Presidential Debates" does not allow third parties into the debates? Why is it funded by large corporations? This is not democracy, this is expertly applied propaganda. Call your senator or representative now and demand open debates. Perhaps the candidates selected for us by the two major parties are not capable of debating openly, perhaps they lack the mental skills needed to talk about the issues that matter to the people...
- A balanced federal budget! H. Ross Perot was way out there on many issues, but he was absolutely right that there are only three good reasons to operate a nation with a deficit budget: when survival is at state, when you are building infrastructure that our children will enjoy, and to kickstart the economy out of a depression. To operate a deficit budget as we do now is simply theft from future generations of Americans who will be saddled with the debt just as boomers were saddled with debts from World War II. At least boomers got something for their money. What are we leaving our children?
- A National Energy Policy, with heavy investment into research into renewable and de-centralized sources of energy.
- A better way of voting than pluralistic voting, which pretty much guarantees that there will only be two parties. Illinois and Hawaii are considering vastly superior Instant Runoff Voting and Borda voting. Condorcet is finally feasible in the 21st century. All are good ways to handle more than two candidates, and all tend to find compromise candidates who are generally acceptable to all.
- More Representatives and Senators with children in the United States Armed Forces!
2004 General Election:
Candidates for U.S. President:
- George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney (Republican Party) - the party of greed, hatred, theft of public funds and erosion of environmental protection... and recently, the party of the financially irresponsible
- John Forbes Kerry and John Reid Edwards (Democratic Party) - the party of the people, though also the party of corrupt special interests
- David Keith Cobb and Patricia Helen LaMarche (Green Party) - one party for peace, and the environment - sadly does not stand a chance under unfair and undemocratic Virginia voting systems
- Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo (Independant some places, Reform Party in others) - how can he be so correct, yet so wrong for the country? I wish Nader had a contingency plan for success in the elections...
- Michael J. Badnarik and Richard V. Campagna (Libertarian Party) - I was a Libertarian until I figured out that no government means no education for all, and that means unequal opportunities for citizens, gee - that's what we have under the Republican regime - barf! At least the Libertarians are one of the few parties for peace, and Mr. Badnarik appears to have real integrity.
- Michael Anthony Peroutka and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) - it is sad and scary that the Constitution Party is on more state ballots than the Green Party - and proves that Americans are more greedy than they are altruistic.
- Walt Brown and Mary Alice Herbert (Socialist Party) - only getting on a few state ballots, but interesting debate points... why can't we have proportional representation in the United States?
We (the United States) should not be going to war with Iraq. It is not proven to be linked to terrorism, this war has nothing to do with terrorism, and everything to do with imperial hegemony over the world. Frankly we (the U.S. of A.) are not qualified to be the world's leaders nor it's police force. My government does not represent me, and it certainly does not care about it's impact on the world. It is ironic that democracy is catching on all over the world, but losing ground here in the United States.
- Ways that democracy is being eroded in the United States:
- The case of Maher "Mike" Hawash, a US Citizen (arab-american) working at Intll until he was arrested, his computers seized, and held without charges, nor access to a lawyer. The reasons for the arrest are "secret" according the the authorities, but secret arrests are not possible here in the United States - they are a tool of autocratic despots like Hitler and Saddam - right?
- The case of Jose Padilla, also a US Citizen (latino) who has been jailed without trial, without even charges, for years! Jose is probably as guilty as they come, and probably deserves jail time; but only after he's had a fair trial. What is to stop our government from declaring any of it's detractors to be "enemy combatants" and thus repeating the situation Jose Padilla finds himself now?
- Two U.S. Presidential Elections in a row (2000 and 2004) with huge questions regarding the legitimacy and accuracy of the vote, in which more and more Black Box Voting mechanisms are used to prevent us from ever validating, veryifying, or even understanding the real vote counts. Both parties in control of our government want voting to be hidden from the voters so we cannot see who really won any given election. The machines made by Diebold corporation have been deliberately designed to skew their tallies by small percentages from remote dialup connections, exactly what is necessary to subtly shift an election a few points in either direction at whim. The only reason people put a feature into software is because they expect it to be used. Diebold's programmers knew that corrupt and cheating parties would be using these features, or they would not have wasted valuable engineering time writing them into the software.
- Corporations completely control the "Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD)" which is allegedly non-partisan (technically it is bi-partisan, and parties other than the Republican and Democratic are excluded). Corporations completely control most of the strong, well-funded, political lobbies that buy and sell our politically elected legislators. Because the people have no say in this arrangement, the Presidential Debates held in this country for decades have been a sham. A real democracy would allow for more open debates, transparent to public scrutiny and open to the participation of the people as questioners, and third party candidates.
This photo is one of m27coalition's shots from the April 7th, 2003 protest outside the Carlyle Group's headquarters in NYC.
Joe Sobran's editorial on what the new Gulf War is really about
Bruce Springsteen: "The pressure coming from the government and big business to enforce conformity of thought concerning the war and politics goes against everything that this country is about - namely freedom. Right now, we are supposedly fighting to create freedom in Iraq, at the same time that some are trying to intimidate and punish people for using that same freedom here at home."
Candidates for Other Offices I can vote for (Vote-Smart and http://www.speakout.com/votematch/):
US Senate Race in Virginia:
US House (District 11):
US House (District 10):
US House (District 8):
US House (District 1):
- Ken Longmyer (D)
- Tom Davis (R), incumbant
- Joseph P. Oddo (Independant
- Jo Ann S. Davis (R)
- William A. Lee (I)
MoveOn, Organization to force government to do it's job (Interesting - interesting)
Open Secrets, track Campaign Funding Sources for yourself
Star Telegram Editorial on the Bush Campaign's hypocracy
Very offensive site dedicated to eradicating people who masterbate, I pray this is a joke...
Elections and Voting in General:
Vote, and make yours an informed vote.
ABC Story about Complacency at MicroSoft
Windows98 and Privacy
Pentium III and Windows98 and Privacy
Our government is becoming infamous for implementing rules, laws, and regulations that accomplish nothing and prove that there are a lot of lawmakers in office who have no clue about technology.
Some of the dumber things that have happened in the past few years:
- Copy protection schemes for DVD, CD, etc...
Have not figured out a good way to say that copy protection schemes that cripple paying consumer's access or quality while doing nothing to stop piracy are silly and hypocritical. The RIAA's fight against DAT had more to do with keeping musicians dependant on the major record labels than it had to do with "piracy" at all. Likewise the attempt to strickly control the DVD viewing software has more to do with forcing people to use Windows (where their activity can be tracked) instead of letting them chose their own OS.
EFF has some great info on the issue.
- The Clipper Chip
- Making encryption illegal is effective only against law abiding citizens. Criminals don't care if it is illegal or not.
- The Clipper Chip's encryption scheme was easy to break during the time of it's inception.
- What gives anyone, including law enforcement the right to access my data? And how is the government going to protect their back door to my data from illegal use?
- The Communications Decency Act (CDA)
- Censorship is not the job of any government, it is the job of active parenting. Parents who want to control what their children see, should spend time with the children. See the Families Against Internet Censorship home page for more information.
- Information wants to be available and free.
- Thank goodness the US Supreme Court figured out how silly this one is. My lawyer friend tells me that we should not stop fighting CDA though, because it has not been repealed, only made more difficult to enforce for a while. It is also worth noting that the idiots who came up with CDA are still in office.
- The Search and Seizure of Steve Jackson Games' computers on a rediculous allegation
- Come on guys, this is the United States, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.
- The State of Oregon vrs Randal Schwartz
- Proves you should never work for Intel.
- Make sure your boss knows what you are doing, even if your boss is not smart enough to come find out regularly.
- Washington Post Article on the Randal Schwartz Case
- The US Government Harassment campaign against Phil Zimmermann, author of PGP
- Export restrictions on technology are a dinosaur left over from times when the whole world did not depend on all of it's neighbors.
- August 12, 1997:
The source code for PGP 5.0 has been exported in book format (books are not covered by the US Export Restrictions on encryption technology). The source is now posted to the University of Oslo's website, effectively making it available to anyone in the world without breaking the US laws on encryption export. PGP Incorporated made the source code publically available as a book so that peers could look at the source and know there were no backdoors or holes.
Full ZDNN Article at:
PGP Incorporated, of San Mateo California can be reached at 415-572-0430 or www.pgp.com.
- Phil Zimmermann
- Internet Access by Individual Citizens:
FCC Fact Sheet on Internet Access
Preserve Open Access to the Internet, do not let cable monopolies become internet monopolies as well. Write your senator and ask for your broadband provider to be required to provide access to other internet service providers as well as their own internet service. Like being able to choose long distance for your phone.
- Right to Privacy:
- Real Education on Sex, Sexuality, and Common Dangers of Living in Modern America:
- Laws that protect the near monopolies held by Alcohol distributors.
Free the Grapes is an organization that supports allowing unrestricted shipment of small wine orders over state lines. Today I cannot order wines from my favourite small wineries in California because there are bogus laws on the books that protect the middle-man distributors and their high margin business. The laws have nothing to do with protecting children, which some people allege - what child is ordering by credit card anyway?
Caveat: The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of my employer, my wife, our cat, nor our ferret. Besides, none of them take me seriously, why should you? :-)
Author: Scott Nolan,
(How to send me email)
Last updated: October 26th, 2005