Showing posts with label election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label election. Show all posts

Friday, December 29, 2017

Voting Is Not Informed Consent

at least not under the current paradigm


Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program

The U.S Government Supports Genocide Against Indigenous Peoples Through Conservation

Federal Programs Fund Secret Stingray Spying

For instance, did you know that the pentagon spent $22M investigating UFO sightings from 2007 until 2012. Most of the money went to aerospace research company run by Harry Reid’s billionaire friend Robert Bigelow, without producing much in the way of results. We aren’t any closer to being certain that UFOs are alien spacecraft than we were in 2007 before the program began. Of course, pentagon officials claim they have stopped funding the program for good, but we wouldn’t know that for sure since it was part of the $52.6B Black budget; things you are forced to pay for but aren’t allowed to know about. The federal government could be scheming against you, but you’d be none the wiser. The use of cell site simulators by state and local police is the most recent example. The funds to purchase this surveillance equipment comes from federal agencies such as DHS and DOJ, and police departments are made to sign non-disclosure agreements upon purchase, which prohibits them from releasing any information about the use and purchase of the equipment itself. For all we know, Uncle Sam could be using the data collected through stingray surveillance to keep tabs on its citizens. Of course, there are more insidious historical examples such as COINTELPRO and MKUltra, both of which in the long run aimed to crackdown on political dissent. The NSA was a secret agency for the first 23 years of its existence, and yet citizens were still forced to pay for it. There are other programs that aren’t kept secret, but which few people know about anyway. For instance, are you aware that USAID funds conservation efforts in the Congo basin by partnering with private NGO’s, like the WWF, and giving them the money to implement their goals? It’s a little known program called the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment that was created during the Clinton administration. Even fewer people know that the program is used to finance the genocide of traditional hunter-gatherer societies like the Baka tribe. Sure these secret and obscure programs are small potatoes in the grand scheme of the $4 trillion dollars, but they run counter to what we were taught in civics class and what the media frequently tells us: that we are a democracy and the government cannot do anything without the consent of the people.

The notion of ‘government by consent’ blossomed out of the enlightenment, but ever since the widespread adoption of republican forms of government few people have contemplated what it actually means. We are familiar with the idea of consent in our interactions with other private individuals. For instance, the majority of people know and acknowledge that sex with another person without their consent is rape regardless of who perpetrates the offense. Informed consent is required in other interactions too. In psychological and biomedical research, researchers cannot use participants in their experiments without their informed consent. It is considered unethical to do otherwise. It is similarly required for medical procedures in non-emergency situations. Informed consent is also required in your daily transactions. When you go to the grocery store and when you shop online you must authorize payments, giving your consent to exchange a certain amount of money for certain goods or services. Informed consent is required for life changing choices such as who you decide to marry. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, considers forced marriage and a lack of informed consent as grounds for an annulment. But for some odd reason people throw their ethical standards by the wayside when it comes to the government. When it comes to the government, they are willing to simultaneously accept secrecy and forced compliance, as long as it doesn’t personally inconvenience them. Supposedly we are consenting to be governed as long as we get to select a name with an R or a D in front of it every two years, but it could hardly even be called assent. The theory that elected officials are accountable to their constituents doesn’t hold weight in real life. The truth is that most voters probably don’t even know half of the things their governments do; in fact, I’d say they know even less. Even people who consider themselves politically savvy probably couldn’t name all of the programs run at the federal level, which numbers into the thousands, or even the state level. To complicate matters further, there are thousands of federal criminal statutes and regulations that can be enforced criminally. I’d say it’s safe to assume that voters don’t know all of them, or even half of them, or even a quarter of them. How did we consent to thousands of laws and programs we don’t know about? The current theory of a “social contract” cannot explain this disparity between voter knowledge and acceptance of the status quo. The reality is that it’s impossible to give your consent to a government that has duplicative programs for every problem in society. Information asymmetry is considered a problem in the private sector, but somehow gets a free pass when it comes to government since you know politicians are such altruistic people who only have our good at heart. Apparently, you can trust people with power, but not freedom.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tomorrow Morning Is The Anniversary of Trump’s Election Victory

It almost passed me by this week, as I usually don't keep track of these sorts of things, but the recent surge in Antifa violence reminded me that the anniversary of Trump’s election victory is upon on us. To be honest, Nov 8 th , doesn't really hold any special meaning to me. I was never on the 'Trump train'. I thought he was a clown and unserious candidate from the start, but on this night last year I found myself cheering him on as he surpassed Shillary in the electoral college. I stayed up until 3 in the morning just to make sure the Hildabeast lost the election and then revel in all the liberal tears that followed (the Young Turks reaction was especially lulzfull). I was still in college at the time too, but luckily I went to a relatively conservative university and wasn't attacked for being white the next day. What a lot of people have forgotten since that time is just how bad the choices for president were. Hillary was probably the worst presidential candidate of all time. As much as we might dislike Trump, he at least has some redeemable qualities. Hillary has none. She was an out of touch elitist and career politician banking on the fact that the DNC establishment and msm would push her into the oval office. On the otherhand, the Trump campaign was a grassroots movement. He appealed to the common man, spoke about their concerns and ran a tight ship on a shoestring budget (compared to everyone else). When Trump spoke you knew it was his own thoughts, not his donors'. His strongest trait was his brutal honesty.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Reason Clinton Lost the Election - Trade Policy

It wasn't due to 'Russian Hackers.' Trumps narrow victory in the electoral college, and yes it was a narrow margin of victory despite what Trumpbots may believe to the contrary, hinged on a few rust belt states without which he wouldn't have won. If he had lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio alone he would have only received 262 electoral votes. Had he also lost in Pennsylvania, he would have dropped to 242 in the electoral college. It was Obama's support for the Trans Pacific Partnership and Hillary's silence on the matter, and probably private support, that cost her a likely sweep of these traditionally blue states in presidential elections. Even the Soros funded 'fact-checker' Snopes acknowledges that Clinton had voiced public support for TTP several times during her tenure as Secretary of State and only attempted to distance herself when the campaign year came around.
Despite her current opposition to the agreement and her attempts during more than one presidential debate to recast her previous support of it as "hopeful," the record shows that Clinton spoke glowingly of the TPP on more than one occasion, not least when she praised it in 2012 as setting "the gold standard in trade agreements."
"We want to realize the benefits from greater economic integration. In order to do that, we have to be willing to play. To this end, we are working to ratify a free trade agreement with South Korea, we’re pursuing a regional agreement with the nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we know that that will help create new jobs and opportunities here at home."
"The United States is also making important progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will bring together nine APEC economies in a cutting-edge, next generation trade deal, one that aims to eliminate all trade tariffs by 2015 while improving supply change, saving energy, enhancing business practices both through information technology and green technologies."
"This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment."
Trump, on the other hand, was very outspoken against the TTP from the beginning of his campaign and took a strong stance against it and previous trade agreements like NAFTA, unlike Clinton, who beat around the bush when the topic of trade policy was brought up.

Since the Trans Pacific Partnership was negotiated in secret, the only source for it contents came from Wikileaks. So the Mccarthycrats are correct when they say Wikileaks cost Clinton the election, but not in the way they think it did.

It is important to note that the purpose of these so called 'free-trade' agreements is not to break down international market barriers, but to consolidate corporate power on a global scale and consequently dismantle democratic institutions. Had their purpose been to simply reduce or remove duties and tariffs on imports from member nations the agreement would not have been thousands of pages long and kept hidden from the public. Had TTP been ratified, it would have given multinationals the power to sue national governments, in international tribunals, for any regulations that even slightly cut into their profit margins, essentially eroding national sovereignty. It would have allowed pharmaceutical companies to use ever-greening to artificially inflate drug prices, and it would have criminalized investigative journalism that exposes industry abuses with vague trade secret rules. Don't get me wrong, I am pro-free trade; I'm just against all of the other provisions included in these so called free trade agreements. Its like mixing 80% spring water with 20% raw sewage. In general though, free trade would only raise wages and the standard of living if it was coupled with a land value tax; otherwise, rising rents will reduce wages and inflate housing costs. Even though it would lead to economic growth, most of the new wealth would just accumulate at the top.

Friday, October 14, 2016

In 2016 Vote For No One

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman 

The choices offered in this presidential election are just as abysmal as they have been in previous elections. And who are people really voting for? The next figure head of the empire: someone who will oversee the continuation of phony wars (e.g. terror and drugs) perpetrated against the American people under the guise of protecting our 'freedoms': someone who will oversee the doling out of favors, which is made incumbent by the norm of reciprocity: someone who will oversee the further concentration of power, via upward wealth redistribution, into fewer hands. No matter who is elected president in November, the same system will remain in place. At most he/she may tweak it a bit; Clinton might get paid family leave implemented or Trump might push through his tax cuts, but the same neoliberal system will be left in place, the same police state will be left unabated (and probably made even more repressive given the leading candidates attitudes toward civil liberties), and the same imperialist wars will be continued.

It might be worth it to mention some of our candidates' positions just to demonstrate what most people should already know. I've listed the candidates and some of their positions in descending order, from worst to least worst.

Clinton's policies
supported war in Iraq
supported war in Afghanistan
supported Libyan rebels who carried out an ethnic cleansing of black Libyans
after Gadhafi’s death 
supports CIA drone war (now in 7 countries)
will probably start WWIII as president (as indicated by her hawkish tone on Syria)
supported TARP bailout
supported repeal of Glass Steagall Act (under her husband's admin)
supports Import-Export bank: provides low interest rate loans to multinationals
supported Patriot Act and its extension
supports NSA prism program
supports terrorist watch list
supports no fly list and wants to use it to also curtail 2nd amendment rights
supports the Trans Pacific Partnership (in fact she advocated it as secretary of state)
supports ruthless dictators like former Egyptian president Mubarak, King Salman bin Abdulaziz (and former King Abdullah) and Al Sisis
her top campaign donors include JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BOA, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley

Trump's Policies
supported war in Iraq (as indicated in 2002 Howard Stern Interview)
supported TARP bailouts
wants a national 'stop and frisk'
believes American citizens accused of terrorism should be tried in military courts
he is ok with using eminent domain to take property from one private citizen and give it to another (Kelo vs. City of New London)
supports NSA prism program 
proposed looting people's bank accounts as a way to pay down the national debt in a 2000 CNN interview
supports terrorist watch list
supports no fly list and wants to use it to also curtail 2nd amendment rights
supports reauthorization of Patriot Act
supports Obama's drone wars in seven countries
wants to deploy 30,000 troops, and God only knows how many private mercenaries, to Iraq and Syria

He opposed the reauthorization of Import-Export Bank 
Is the only candidate, besides Jill Stein, who has spoken out against the Trans Pacific Partnership
Wants to reinstate Glass-Stegall Act
Is less hostile to Russia and the Syrian government
and unlike Hillary, he isn't bought off by the finance industry

Trump is by far the lesser evil, but the lesser evil is still a bad choice. Neither of the two sincerely believe in the neoconservative ideology they are peddling; their true ideology is egotism. The biggest difference is that Trump is at least open to compromise.

Gary 'bake the cake' Johnson's Policies

or perhaps he could be more aptly called Gary 'what is Aleppo?' Johnson 

He wants to replace the federal income tax with a 23% national sales tax which is worse in some regards because it is a tax specifically on labor and would shift most of the burden of taxation onto the working class. Soak the poor is what Johnson's so called fair tax amounts to.

He supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, like any quintessential neoliberal who's concept of freedom amounts to cheap labor for multinationals and often bonded labor, since five of the twelve countries that have signed on are havens for human trafficking.

He opposes campaign finance reform and is opposed to any of the current limits on campaign donations, despite the fact that he would have a much better chance if political campaigns were only allotted public funding and SuperPacs were prohibited.

And did I mention he thinks jewish bakers should be forced to bake nazi cakes, even though political affiliation isn't a protected class in any civil rights legislation. I think what he was actually trying to convey was that Christian bakers, and christian wedding planners, and christian ministers should be forced to celebrate homosexual marriage against their conscience. If that is the case then it undermines any other objection he may have to any other forms of forced labor.

I probably agree with the vast majority of Gary Johnson's platform, especially when it comes to foreign policy and civil liberties, but his position on the TTP and tax reform, his wack-a-doodle demeanor, and his gross ignorance on current events makes him untenable as a candidate. I could tolerate some of his atrocious policies, but his support for the Trans Pacific Partnership was a deal breaker. Its pretty sad that this clown is the best candidate the Libertarian Party has to offer.