Category : elections

There’s something thrilling going on in Iran.

You wouldn’t know it from the coverage on many mainstream media news outlets this weekend (Fox, CNN and ABC, I’m looking in your direction), but there’s a revolution going on in Iran!

It’s a good kind of revolution; pro-freedom, pro-democracy and mostly peaceful (though many protestors are being beaten by police and Hezbollah thugs). The people of Iran are standing up for truth and justice and they are not being intimidated by theocratic thugs and government lies.

It makes me wonder why our U.S. media isn’t really standing with the people of Iran. Maybe it’s because I’m getting cynical in my (heh) old age, but I think it has something to do with the loss of their favorite boogey-man. It’s getting harder and harder to portray Iranians as fanatical terrorists bent on the destruction of the West:

Perhaps the most moving scene involved a group of young demonstrators, displaying the green colours of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the defeated challenger, breaking into English and chanting: “We want freedom.”In an instant, these television pictures from Tehran delivered a stark reminder that Iran is not a backward country of medieval fanatics, but a modern nation with 70 million people, two thirds of whom are under 30 and have the same interests and aspirations as their Western counterparts.

These are my peers. My fellow-Twitterers. My friends. My brothers and sisters.

This is the real Iran:

No more distortions. No more hate. No more fear-mongering, Fox News! No more! We are the same, the Iranian People and those of us in the United States who still value and cherish freedom.

There is no difference between us beyond geography. Many of the Iranians even speak English and they are young and internet-savvy: they have been using Twitter to organize on the fly and there was a collective moan when Facebook was blocked. This is a youth movement that is cracking the edifice of lies that have served the hardliners on both sides for far too long.

Just don’t watch television if you want the real scoop:

Today, as global geopolitics is shaken to its core by events in Iran, I turned on cable news this morning, and saw endless ads for a Larry King Jonas Brothers “interview”, Morning Joe yukking it up discussing Kuwaiti massage therapists, a video of a tomato throwing contest on CNN, talk radio blowhard Bill Bennett…and occasionally a phone call from Christiane Amanpour in Tehran. I can’t even bring myself to turn on the network morning programs, I might vomit.

The mainstream media is rapidly smothering itself into a coma of irrelevance. Do they think we’re too stupid to get the news from somewhere else? Heck, I don’t even need the media at this point; I can get info directly from the participants in the struggle via Twitter.

Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan are covering the protests virtually nonstop. With the Huffington Post on the case, who needs the MSM?

At this point, Big Media is just playing catch-up. They were asleep at the switch for several days, but now seem to be paying attention again… but they are definitely not leading; they are following.

I should note that I’m taking it for granted that the election was stolen. They apparently did not even do a good job of it. From the numbers I’ve seen, Ahmadinejad didn’t even finish second! He finished 3rd, behind another reform candidate! Mousavi, the challenger and probable winner, was actually told by the Interior Ministry that he had won and to prepare his victory speech (which they insisted must be gracious and not boastful) before turning around and declaring Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide. The numbers belie this laughable claim. The official results have Mousavi losing his home turf (preposterous) and big urban areas where he has polled higher than Ahmadinejad.

Let’s face it: This election was straight-up rigged. The Iranians know it and they’re not standing for it, which is more than I can say for Americans (*cough-2000-cough*). Now is our chance to repent for our laziness and apathy and support the democracy-loving Iranians with all our hearts!

I stand with the Iranian People in solidarity. We stand for Democracy, Freedom and Justice! May the winds of change bring peace and prosperity to Iran. Peace be upon you!

A new era? Meet the new boss…

So Obama’s president-elect. Whoopee.

A lot of people are saying that either Obama will be way, way better than Bush or that Obama will be significantly worse.

I think it will be neither.

I simply can’t imagine anybody being worse than Bush II. I mean, the guy didn’t do a single thing in 8 years that I 100% agreed with. And committing treason, launching an illegal war on false premises and doing everything he could to destroy the environment and the middle class will be tough to top.

On the other hand, will Obama be that much better? Well, he will be hard-pressed to even get us back to where we were in 2000, before W took over. Simply put: there is no way Obama will be as good as we hope. For one, he’s a moderate when we are in need of a radical. He’s good at compromise and bringing people together, but I don’t want to be brought together with the neocons who destroyed our country; I want to see them rot in jail for their crimes.

Secondly, he’s surrounded by advisors and colleagues who got us into this trouble in the first place. There were economic advisors on both sides of the election (Phil Gramm for McCain and Robert Rubin for Obama) who helped create the current crisis and who continually denied that there even was a crisis. This is extremely bad news for those of us hoping for a quick turnaround (and for “change” in general) and it puts Obama’s judgment and independence into question.

Let’s say, as a wonderful thought experiment, that Obama does intend to bring big change to Washington, and is largely successful based on his penchant for bipartisanship and his crew of old-hands who know how the game works. Then what? Then he gets shot! Simple as that; the system will not allow massive, systemic change without a fight.

For instance, the only way to solve the current financial crisis is to rid ourselves of the pestilence known as the Federal Reserve. This private bank has impoverished America and robbed her of her economic liberty. But the last president who attempted to get rid of it was shot in broad daylight in Dallas by multiple gunmen and there was never so much as a trial.

Until we get back on the gold standard our economic problems will persist. If you have the time, watch a movie called Zeitgeist: Addendum, which lays out all the problems with our current (fiat and fractional reserve) monetary system in great detail, and how it’s basically a pyramid-scheme and a scam to enslave us via money.

Will Obama make the painful changes necessary to rescue our nation from the inhuman greed of the international bankers and their cabal of cronies? Only time will tell, but it certainly doesn’t look good. Add to this the fact that he’s reinforcing Bush’s laughable al-Qaeda myth and encouraging attacks on both Afghanistan and Pakistan and you’ve got a continuance of the U.S.’s crypto-imperialist policies and the War on Terror scam, which is actually a war on civil liberties. These are the tools the Bush admin used to manipulate people, spread fear and crush dissent. If Obama uses them as the neocons did, we will know that he is a threat to liberty too.

I’m willing to give him some time and a short honeymoon, but we must continue to be critical and relentless in our pursuit of justice, liberty and freedom. I don’t care which party he’s in, what he professes to believe, what color his skin is, or what he says he’s going to do — it’s what he actually does that counts. And that’s what I will judge him by.

Holy cow — lookout! There’s banks falling like boulders all around us!

Luckily for them, when big, important institutions such as investment banks fail, they fall right into the loving arms of the Bush administration.

AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch this week alone. Am I forgetting one? Probably. Now regulators are calling other banks looking for buyers in case Washington Mutual fails too.

Wall Street couldn’t be in worse shape if it was literally on fire.

But, the GOP is there to bail these irresponsible banks out of trouble with — you guessed it — taxpayer money.

Soviet Palin

That’s what the Establishment truly believes in: Socializing losses and privatizing profits.

God bless America, Comrade.

Diebold to America: “Hey, thanks for all the tax dollars. Our vote counting software doesn’t work. Have a nice election!”

Bradblog is doing an excellent job, as usual, of covering the insanity that is our election system, especially when it comes to black box electronic voting.

Diebold has admitted that their tabulator software, known as GEMS, and used all across the country, in at least 34 states, does not count votes correctly.

In fact, it actually loses votes, by not counting them at all, yet gives the system administrator no indication that the votes were not counted. Instead, it tells them that all votes have been counted correctly. This bug has been in Diebold’s software — where it remains to this day– for years. Diebold has only admitted it now that it’s been found by someone else (a number of counties in Ohio, of all places) and with the 2008 Presidential election less than 80 days away.

On that note, have a great election, America!

I’ll be packing for someplace with a functioning democracy… like Pakistan!!

I didn’t even watch the damn debate and I could still smell its rancid stink by checking the livebloggers. God, what a wretched display of divisive, gotcha politics.

Here’s my open letter to ABC News and the neocon whores who run it:

Dear treasonous media jackals:

ABC News’ “debate” was a travesty and embarrassment to decent journalists everywhere. The gotcha debate style is more suitable to a professional wrestling match than an interview for the most important job in the world. Clearly, ABC News wants voters to be angry, uninformed and divided. YOU hate America, not people who don’t wear flag pins. Burn in hell, you traitorous corporate whores.

A hint for next time: If you don’t want to talk about important issues, don’t hold a debate. If you want to ask about stupid, pointless shit, why not get Jerry Springer to hold the debate? I’m sure he’d do a better job than the two ass-clowns you had run it.

…. You may think I’m being impolite. Wrong. You should’ve seen what I wanted to write.

Sincerely,
an American voter

Click here for a more reasoned and restrained open letter (not that you deserve it, ABC).

Well, they finally decided to pipe up, and it was on this dude’s TV set during American Idol (go figure).

But before I could turn off the sound, the ad was interrupted by the image of a sixty-something businessmen sitting behind a giant desk in a plush corporate office.

A message ran across the bottom of the screen. It said: “A Message from the American Corporate Plutocracy.”

Go read the whole thing.

Super Tuesday in Minnesota

Today’s the day, Minnesota.

The Freedom-Train is leaving the station. Hop on board before it’s too late.

Go out and vote!!

Oh wait, it’s a total hatchet job:

Paul keeps white supremacist donation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist, and the Texas congressman doesn’t plan to return it, an aide said Wednesday.

Don Black, of West Palm Beach, recently made the donation, according to campaign filings. He runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto, “White Pride World Wide.” The site welcomes postings to the “Stormfront White Nationalist Community.”

The mainstream media (MSM) has no intention of covering the presidential race fairly. They plan to turn it into a horserace and throw the issues out the window.

I’ve written extensively about this before. From their incredible (and intentional) stupidity to their orthodox adherence to inanity the mainstream press apparatus is nothing more than a treasonous corporate whore. Glenn Greenwald has been covering this issue superbly as well.

It’s been fascinating to watch the media blackout on Ron Paul. I mean, Pravda couldn’t have done a better job at squashing stories about him, but the internet has provided Paul supporters a platform to spread the word. It’s interesting to watch the media desperately try to keep a lid on his campaign even while he’s breaking fundraising records.

The media still has to cover him, of course. A total blackout would be rather bizarre and would draw more attention than it would divert. However, the “subtle” blackout we’ve been subject to is obvious and suspicious nonetheless.

I should point out that I’m not a fervent Paulite. I don’t like a lot of his conservative positions, but his opposition to the Federal Reserve certainly caught my attention. Apparently it caught the Oligarchy’s attention too, which is why Dr. Paul is not getting any mainstream play.

You’ll notice that even the mainstream outfits that do cover Paul tend to do it in their “blog section”, which is exactly where I found the link above. That same blog post displays the most common way reporters deal with Paul; draw attention to his supporters and make them seem a little unhinged:

His legions of alert supporters scour the Internet for slights to right, frequently crudely, and any opportunities to promote their strict constructionist candidate. They dismiss the polls as slanted and the money-raising as the real indicator of the 72-year-old ob-gyn’s growing national support among disaffected Republicans, Democrats and previous non-voters. The Times’ James Rainey examined one Southern California meet-up group for Paul here.

We’ve written about these supporters here and examined hundreds of their comments here. No doubt there’ll be some more to read down below here shortly.

Nice of them to examine the man’s supports and their internet activities, but (and maybe I’m old fashioned here) what about his position on the issues?

Oh silly me. I forgot the Media has already decided that we’ll be choosing between Hillary and Ghouliani.

But what if I want to live in a democracy?

A shocking KSLA news report has confirmed the story we first broke last year, that Clergy Response Teams are being trained by the federal government to “quell dissent” and pacify citizens to obey the government in the event of a declaration of martial law. Economic Collapse? Another mass-casualty, false-flag attack? [/digg]

This is incredibly disturbing. Here’s the news clip for those who doubt:

Am I cynical to believe that something terrible will happen either right before or right after the elections (before inauguration)?

If it does, we’ve gotta stick together, organize and resist. This can’t happen to America. It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

Wow, okay, my last post went over like a lead balloon on Reddit. I thought it was fair and coherent, but apparently people disagreed with my conclusions and downmodded it as a result.

However, one guy (it could be a girl. Perhaps I assume too much) was rational, calm and intelligent enough to discuss it with me without a flamewar erupting. He’s known as Strontium90 in the comments of that last post. He continued the discussion over on reddit but I want to make sure y’all read this because I think his points are good, even though I’ve refuted most of them. Here’s what he had to say:

I commented on your blog as Strontium90. Unfortunately, you seem to be confused about what a null hypothesis is, the concept of the burden of proof, and the nature of positive/negative claims. You also dismiss the subtle differences between agnosticism and atheism as mere semantics, while insisting that something as innocuous as a water-like substance could be discovered, which we would call god. This is a double standard.

You also seem to be under the impression that atheists do not believe in gods because they do not like them, which is why you brought up several examples of gods that atheists would likely find favorable (such as the love-goddess) as a counter-example. Unfortunately, the repulsiveness of deities is not what causes atheism; their implausibility does.

You also seem to be unable to grasp bobbincygna’s analogy. I will attempt to elucidate.

[[[For readers: When I implied atheism is a religion someone responded: "If Atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby." And then bobbincygna attempted to defend the analogy. -Vemrion]]]

On bobbincygna’s analogy:

Take the set of all hobbies out there. H = [hobbies]. This includes everything you would call a hobby, from collecting stamps to messing with telemarketers. Now, let us suppose that we take the (rather passive) activity of not collecting stamps. Is it reasonable to place it in that set? No, of course not. Someone who has no hobbies can call called an a [without] hobbyist [person who has a hobby or hobbies].

Now, take the set of all religions, from Buddhism to Scientology, call it R. All items in set R are characterized by various elements: the lionization of faith, the existence of holy books or scripture, the presence of some sort of supernatural elements, etc. Does a belief which simply consists of “I do not believe in the supernatural, I do not believe that books are holy, and I do not take extraordinary claims on faith” belong there? I don’t think so. It, like the lack of stamp collecting, is a lack of theistic belief. This is what atheism means – a [without] theism [belief in god].

Atheism, the most oft-displayed example of metaphysical naturalism, can be termed as a philosophy, or perhaps a meta-religious view (view about religion), but it certainly is not a religion. There are no holy texts, only books which effectively sum up the philosophical arguments against theism. There is no dogma among atheists, unless you count a lack of belief in gods. This does not really count though, because it is necessarily true that an atheist lacks belief in gods. And he certainly will not be excommunicated or disowned by his parents if he later professes theism. Faith is not celebrated, instead it is essentially abandoned in favor of reason. Leaders and followers do not exist: Richard Dawkins might be influencial, but I don’t consider his words to be gospel, and neither do most atheists. They happen to share a lot of his beliefs, though. There is no formalized ritual such as prayer, sacrifice, etc, which is another thing that sets atheists apart from theists.

Pretty well-reasoned, I thought. But I definitely want to challenge some of his assertions. Here is my response:

My apologies for the confusion over the water-diety. I didn’t make it clear, but I was referring to something similar to a water elemental — basically a spirit that is infused with one of the four elements (water is a compound, of course, but it’s also one of the classical elements), Fire, Earth, Air and Water (the Chinese add a 5th: Metal). It’s probably not a very good analogy since it’s completely hypothetical and imaginary, at least as far as science is concerned.

I grasp the stamp hobby analogy just fine. It’s a poor analogy, though, which you seem unable to grasp. Here’s why:

Collecting is an activity. Philately is a hobby. However, you could still be a philatelist and not actually collect anything. How? By knowing a heck of a lot about stamps, that’s how. Philately is the study of stamps, not the act of collecting them. You could be an expert in stamp lore without actually having a collection or wanting one.

Actually, maybe the analogy is not so poor, since once you learn how faulty it is you might be able to understand how atheism could be considered a religion. Of course, this does depend on semantics to an extent.

An extremely simple definition of religion is this: “A religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people.” Boom. You hold beliefs in common with other atheists (you refuse to worship “known” gods) and your practices are also similar in that you refuse to attend worship services (I assume. Personally, I make exceptions for weddings and funerals, but I don’t “worship”). It may be negative, but that doesn’t mean you can’t group it under religion.

For example, you’ve already admitted that atheism is a philosophy. Would you also consider it a theological perception? Just because the content of your theological perception attacks the underlying structure of most other theologies and even theism itself, that does not stop it from being classified as some form of theological outlook. Do they study atheism in theology classes? In many cases, yes (there might be some bias in many of them, of course).

As for dogma, yes I consider the lack of belief in gods to be a dogma among atheists. If someone claimed to be atheist, but continually made shrines to Buddha would you consider him a “real” atheist?

To take it even further, have you ever heard “The first rule is that there are no rules.” Is that a rule? Sure seems like it to me, even though its singular act is to bar all other rules. It may be recursive, negative and contradictory… But it’s still a rule.

Also, if you knew more about theology you’d know that there are several religions that are nontheist. They generally don’t deny the existence of gods, they just aren’t concerned with them, and don’t take a stance on them either way. Confucianism and other eastern religions are a perfect example. For this reason, many people like to call them philosophies rather than faiths or religions, but this is another semantic argument, one that is caused by the overwhelming prevalence of Christianity in the weltanschauung of westerners.

If you consider ritual a necessary part of the definition of religion, consider the scientific method. It’s also a dogma of sorts, and it prescribes a methodology for discovering and verifying knowledge in such a way as it will be acceptable to others in the sci
entific community. In much the same way that a priest prepares to consecrate bread and wine, a dutiful scientist will prepare for an experiment by controlling for variables and making predictions (hypotheses) before the experiment-ritual itself is performed.

As for proceeding from the assumption of the null hypothesis, that’s your business. It’s certainly a good idea in science, but in matters of faith things are not so cut and dried.

Also, please note that I am not calling you a religious person by stating atheism could be considered a religion. I’m just pointing out that atheism is quite similar to other religions, and as it grows there is a risk that it could be seized and exploited by charlatans. I believe there was a South Park episode about this. I am also sure you would see through the bullshit and hopefully refrain from any atheistic fundamentalism, but just remember that there are a lot of stupid people out there. In fact, some people are dumb as fuck!

Even as I’m drawing religion and science together, surely you’ll concede there is much that separates them. The problem is that the scientific method is not known to work for the business of discovering gods. I believe Scott Adams once compared this folly to using a metal detector to check for unicorns in one’s sock drawer. The fact of the matter is, we haven’t discovered a “god” (definitively, based on the scientific method) so how can we say we’re using the best tools for the job?

Perhaps a new method is called for. Of course, if I knew that method I’d present you with solid proof of the existence of god(s). But you could easily reject it by saying my method does not adhere to the principles of the scientific method. But what if my method was better, at least for discovering and identifying divine beings?

A question to ponder: Have your placed your faith in the scientific method?

Proving once again that they value partisanship over America, freedom and informed debate, the sellout hacks at DailyKos have “warned” anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan that if she posts more about her independent candidacy she will be banned.

I can’t post here anymore because my potential run for Congress is not on the Democratic ticket.

If Speaker Pelosi does her constitutionally mandated duty and I don’t run, then I can come back and post.

DailyKos is shameful. The site is bathed in hypocrisy and founded on partisanship.

The two-party system has destroyed America and put us in the current mess, and DailyKos and other Yellow Dog Democrats are part of the problem. They care about Democrats first and America second (just as the Republicans look after themselves first and America… well, okay they don’t care about America at all).

That said, there is still some hope that Pelosi is just being strategic, but where has trusting the Democrats to hold Republicans accountable got us so far? I can see Cindy’s point; what’s the purpose of having the Democrats in charge of Congress if they won’t impeach? 50% of the nation is pro-impeachment (46% for Bush, 58% for Cheney) and the Democrats aren’t even talking about it. Once the real investigations start and we find some dirt the numbers will go higher. But will the Democrats have the balls to do it?

Only if it doesn’t harm their precious party, or the two-party system.

Ironically, many DailyKos regulars are the best enemies Bush could hope for: weak, timid, divided and fucking stupid. They proceed with undue caution and fret that attacking Bush could make them look like big meanies. They make excuses rather than try and build a consensus on impeachment, and they are far more concerned about their electoral chances in 2008 than in actually holding the illegal Bush/Cheney administration accountable. In short, they are Bush’s enablers.

Sheehan gets points in my book for being against the Federal Reserve, which many Kossacks think is a Republican position (it’s not), so, unthinkingly, they reject it like the fucking mindless borg shitheads that they are.

Opposition to the Fed is generally an independent position (Ron Paul is the exception here, but he’s so hated by his own party that I think it only strengthens my point), and is generally the province of informed, independent-minded folks who don’t follow marching orders of the Washington establishment oligarchy.

The sad truth is the there’s nothing progressive about DailyKos; it’s about as regressive and unimaginative as you can get. These people are too wrapped up in the sports team mentality (“Gooooo Dems!”) to realize that their party is as much a part of the fascist oligarchy as the Republicans.

DailyKos is decidedly mainstream, and worships at the altar of pragmatism, not freedom, liberty, or truth. Their only goal is victory (and they admit as much), although they still like to pretend to be anti-establishment nothing could be further from the truth. When Kos casts himself as a revolutionary, he doesn’t mean to change the system. He merely wants to sieze control it and use it for his own selfish aims… Just like everybody else in politics.

The Democrats, for their part, have accomplished exactly nothing in Congress. Not that Bush would sign their reform bills anyway, but isn’t that all the more reason to impeach the stonewalling, lying, election-stealing fascist bastards? Apparently not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s only one party — The Business Party, and Democrats and Republicans are merely factions of that monolithic party. We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic that is quickly shedding the “constitutional” part for fascism instead. And what are the Democrats doing to stop it? About as much as they’re doing to stop the war: Nothing but a few bellicose speeches for the choir.

Still, the Kossacks will continue to support the Dems, no matter what. Blind loyalty is their modus operandi and they show no signs of changing it. So, how are they any different from the Republicans who support Bush no matter how many laws he breaks?

Partisans on both sides are the same. They all think it’s okay to break a few rules in order to achieve their party’s higher goals. What’s best for America doesn’t enter into it.

Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek, reporting for Infowars.com, was arrested for asking a question to one of Giuliani’s staff members in a press conference. The press secretary identified the New York based reporter as having previously asked Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building collapses and ordered his arrest. [/digg]

Here’s the video:

Take note, reporters: Apparently asking tough questions is an arrestable offense in New Hampshire.

And people wonder why reporters are so soft on our leaders! Well, when the elite can have you arrested with a snap of their fingers that sort of puts a damper on things, wouldn’t you say?

This is a sad day for true Americans who believe in the First Amendment.