Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chris Hedges and Lawrence Lessig: Getting Money Out of Politics

Chris Hedges and Lawrence Lessig: Getting Money Out of Politics

Please watch this excellent video interview that in very short order identifies the major problems in America, and then proposes a solution.

Among their points:

- a fraction of 1% of the voters contribute all of the money today. This buys that small group considerable power over the election process.

- it's not only the political system that's been seized by the corporate state, it's the labor unions, public education, etc.

- think insiders and outsiders, not left and right

- underlying cause, deep corruption inside government, because of the way we've embedded power

Their analysis matches mine very closely and we've come to the same conclusion, and believe in the same solution: election campaign refresh to take the money out of politics.

There is absolutely no doubt that a highly effective election process can be placed onto the Internet. Heck, I've got one such design at the ready and could actually build it myself. And I would love to, but I'd love it even more if a competitor has a better system! The objective is to get it done, and I don't really care who does it.

I've worked with large computer systems for many years and see an election/voting system as just another application, there really is nothing special about it from a computer point of view. The special part comes by what it can be designed to do: which is to help the voter become better informed of the issues and the candidates positions on the issues, as well as to register the voters own positions, which the computer can organize as a personal decision chart. Organized as such, it's a simple matter for a program to help the voter narrow down the candidates to those most in line with the voter's positions.

And it's an ongoing process. It doesn't begin and end on election day, but instead is developed throughout the election cycle. While votes are actually cast on election day, the information collection and development process is ongoing and continuously being improved, both by the information suppliers and the voter's input as well. The voter now has the time and when the inclination strikes to spend some time with the system, the results are that much better, and when election day does come around, the voter's submission will be hugely better cast.

The cost is nominal, existing and available government and Internet computer systems can easily carry the load. Security people have a variety of ways to secure the system from anyone's hacking.

Where is Google on this issue?


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moyers & Company On "Winner-Take-All Politics"

If you give even a tiny fraction of a hoot - or if your blood is boiling - over what's happened (and is happening) with the American economy, then you will especially appreciate Bill Moyer's latest show.

Nobody delivers crystal clear explanations of complex subjects better then Bill Moyers, who has come out of retirement because he couldn't stay on the sidelines, and we should be very thankful he has.

He begins his return to TV hosing a series of compelling accounts, the first of which is a series that can be viewed on PBS (search your listings for "moyers") and online Click here (and follow the link to "How Washington made the rich richer at the expense of the middle class").

This is riveting and compelling material that may or may not motivate you, but at the very least you should be aware.


IRAN: The Next War on Washington’s Agenda Politics

IRAN: The Next War on Washington’s Agenda Politics by Paul Craig Roberts

"In my judgment, the US government’s war preparations are driven by three factors. One is the neoconservative ideology, adopted by the US government, that calls for the US to use its superior military and economic position to achieve world hegemony. This goal appeals to American hubris and to the power and profit that it serves.

A second factor is Israel’s desire to eliminate all support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israel’s goal is to seize all of Palestine and the water resources of southern Lebanon. Eliminating Iran removes all obstacles to Israel’s expansion.

A third factor is to deter or slow China’s rise as a military and economic power by controlling China’s access to energy. It was China’s oil investments in eastern Libya that led to the sudden move against Libya by the US and its NATO puppets, and it is China’s oil investments elsewhere in Africa that resulted in the Bush regime’s creation of the United States Africa Command, designed to counter China’s economic influence with US military influence. China has significant energy investments in Iran, and a substantial percentage of China’s oil imports are from Iran. Depriving China of independent access to oil is Washington’s way of restraining and boxing in China.

What we are witnessing is a replay of Washington’s policy toward Japan in the 1930s that provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan’s bank balances in the West were seized, and Japan’s access to oil and raw materials was restricted. The purpose was to prevent or to slow Japan’s rise. The result was war.


We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran? What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours.


Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government.

That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

The current crop of presidential contenders, except for Ron Paul, represent the controlling interests. War and financial fraud are the only remaining American Values."

War on Iran: It’s Not A Matter of “If” by Alexander Cockburn

"[referring to the chart on this page] ... Imagine if the Iranians had done this to the US dollar? Can you imagine any American politician who would have refrained from calling this an act of war?


As Pierre Sprey remarked to me, “Note also that this is one of those rare but dangerous moments in history when Big Oil and the Israelis are pushing the White House in the same direction. The last such moment was quickly followed by Dubya’s invasion of Iraq.” "

Anyone interested in the history of the start of WWII will also be interested in the discussion of this subject and the links in this article.

But the main point of this article, and others by similarly well-informed people, is that war in the Middle East is far from over. It matters not that this has been my analysis all along - that the Neocon gang who caused the invasion to be launched did indeed bet our farm on their crusade to establish military control of the Middle East - but that now, as we have had years to see this truth, seem completely incapable of doing anything about it.

Talk with your friends, your neighbors, your family, anyone who will listen ... ask if this war is what you want for our world. Do something no matter how small to stop them. If everyone did just a little something, maybe we can make a difference. But if we just sit around and watch this play out we will certainly be very sorry we didn't do something when we had the chance.

Iran: the Neocons Are At It Again by Ralph Nader

"The same neocons who persuaded George W. Bush and crew to, in Ron Paul’s inimitable words, “lie their way into invading Iraq” in 2003, are beating the drums of war more loudly these days to attack Iran."

Herding Americans to War with Iran by Robert Parry

"For many Americans the progression toward war with Iran has the feel of cattle being herded from the stockyard into the slaughterhouse, pressed steadily forward with no turning back, until some guy shoots a bolt into your head."


Friday, January 6, 2012

Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? by Patrick J. Buchanan

From comments:

"The thesis of "Suicide of a Superpower" is that America is disintegrating right before our very eyes and that it is probably too late to reverse it. So what do Americans have to look forward to?


Suffice to say that Pat Buchanan has left no stone unturned in his heroic attempt to define the colossal problems we are facing as a nation and in his effort to present possible solutions."

Read more comments for other opinions and attacks (of course), and then order the book and read what he has to say for yourself. I intend to.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Can Gift Exchange Fix the Problems of Capitalism and Rebuild our Lost Community?

Can Gift Exchange Fix the Problems of Capitalism and Rebuild our Lost Community? By Charles Eisenstein

"... a gift circle reduces our production of waste. It is ridiculous to pump oil, mine metal, manufacture a table and ship it across the ocean when half the people in town have old tables in their basements. It is ridiculous as well for each household on my block to own a lawnmower, which they use two hours a month, a leaf blower they use twice a year, power tools they use for an occasional project, and so on. If we shared these things, we would suffer no loss of quality of life. Our material lives would be just as rich, yet would require less money and less waste."

This article is an interesting examination of an alternative to economics.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Was It Worth It?

Was It Worth It? by Laurence M. Vance

I've taken the same position as Laurence Vance in this article since the pump-up for the invasion of Iraq began.

What I can't believe is that he, I and way too few people understand what happened well enough to sort it out. It is truly amazing to see the mind control exercised by America's information supply in action, and especially in cases like this where the truth is so clear yet so well masked, hidden and spun for the benefit of those who own the presses.

The Lies of War by Jack Random

"We understand at our stage of development that a president cannot apologize for the harm done in the name of our nation."

While I agree with everything said in this article, this one sentence is wrong. Not only can our President apologize for the harm done, he must do so. And furthermore he must put the perpetrators on trial for the war crimes they committed. This must be done because there is one thing we must have at any price: our sense of justice, without which we will free-fall into the abyss.

Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War by Corbett Report
"Far from being a dispassionate observer of these developments, however, the media has in fact been central to increasing those tensions and preparing the public to expect a military confrontation. But as the online media rises to displace the traditional forms by which the public forms its understanding of the world, many are now beginning to see first hand how the media lies the public into war."

It’s time to admit defeat By Tom Engelhardt