The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

The Electoral College is a relic of a time when the Framers believed that average people could not be trusted with selecting a president, at least not entirely. This was consistent with a general view of the dangers of direct voting systems. Until 1913, U.S. senators were elected not by their constituents but by the state legislators. When we finally got rid of that provision with the 17th Amendment, we failed to change its sister provision in Article II on the indirect election of presidents. END THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE (via azspot)

(via azspot)

First, we have to remember that in Securityspeak, “democracy” doesn’t mean what it does in English. You probably think of democracy as meaningful control by ordinary people of the decisions that affect their daily lives. The false cognate Securityspeak term “democracy” sounds the same but can cause great confusion. It actually refers to a society in which the system of power is disguised by the existence of periodic electoral rituals in which the public chooses between a number of candidates, all selected from the same ruling class. These candidates may argue a lot, but it’s all about the 20% or so of secondary issues on which the different factions of the ruling class are divided among themselves. The 80% of primary issues, on which the ruling class agrees — issues that define the basic structure of power — never comes up for debate. When the structure of power itself comes up for debate — when people start talking about, say, the concentrated ownership of land, or export-oriented development policy — it’s a sign that “democracy” is in danger of being replaced by “radical populism.” That’s a matter for the CIA or Marines to deal with. The whole point of Securityspeak’s version of “democracy” is to safeguard the fundamental structure of power by distracting the population with the illusion of choice. On Translating Securityspeak Into English by Kevin Carson (via arielnietzsche)

(via jayaprada)

Machine politics: the real threat of voter fraud

While great effort is being put into meeting the supposed threat of voting by people without proper ID, a more serious threat of election fraud is virtually ignored.  About one in four American voters will vote on digital electronic voting machines without any paper record to verify the machine tallied the results correctly.  Furthermore these machines use secret proprietary software, so there is no way to check for possible flaws.  >continue<

(Source: azspot, via zeitvox)

On the Refusal to Support with Linh Dinh

This political machinery cannot serve you, since its funders, its masters, are the banks and corporations that demand the cheapest possible labor, and profits by any means necessary, with no regards for human rights, their host communities or the environment. With your negligible salary, unemployment checks, welfare or food stamps, you simply don’t count. You don’t matter. Just as you may find street beggars annoying, your government sees you only as a nuisance, to be tranquilized with lies on television. If it could, it would deport you wholesale to Chinese sweat shops, and trumpet it as “The Right to Work Overseas Act.”

As they eviscerate you, they flood your intellect and conscience with endless bilge, while charging you a monthly subscription for your own drowning, even. Today’s urgent items for discussion, “Gold Medalist’s Postworkout Foods,” “Bad Jeans Styles for Guys” and “Cyrus Shaves Her Hair.” Do ponder these while your house is taken away, your car is dispossessed, your crops wilt and the sea rises to your ankles, and higher.

It would be easier, in their eyes, if we all simply died.

None of this is to exonerate the Republicans of the monstrous crimes they have most assuredly committed –and/or continued – during their turns at the top of the bipartisan helter-skelter. It is simply to note what the historical record clearly shows: first, that lack of ‘leftist’ support did not cost the Democrats the presidency in any of these years [1968, 1980, 2000]. And second, that the Democrats’ own crimes and atrocities and follies are part and parcel of a system of corporatist/militarist rule that has become so abominable that no one can without disgrace be associated with it. To see this clearly and say it plainly is not ‘vanity’ or ‘perfectionism.’ It is reality. And to deny this, distort it, and denounce those who no longer wish to legitimize it with their votes is not a courageous grappling with ‘moral ambiguity;’ it is a self-infliction of moral blindness. Chris Floyd

Related to the previous post.

(via theamericanbear)

(via theamericanbear)

None of this is to exonerate the Republicans of the monstrous crimes they have most assuredly committed –and/or continued – during their turns at the top of the bipartisan helter-skelter. It is simply to note what the historical record clearly shows: first, that lack of ‘leftist’ support did not cost the Democrats the presidency in any of these years [1968, 1980, 2000]. And second, that the Democrats’ own crimes and atrocities and follies are part and parcel of a system of corporatist/militarist rule that has become so abominable that no one can without disgrace be associated with it. To see this clearly and say it plainly is not ‘vanity’ or ‘perfectionism.’ It is reality. And to deny this, distort it, and denounce those who no longer wish to legitimize it with their votes is not a courageous grappling with ‘moral ambiguity;’ it is a self-infliction of moral blindness. Chris Floyd

Related to the previous post.

Sadly, we have an entire profession — the public relations profession — whose sole purpose is to pollute public dialogue with slogans and phrases that score well with focus groups while simultaneously being completely devoid of content. Public figures are drilled to stick to limited talking points, and never genuinely engage with ideas or others. You can see this phenomenon in play in any speech, press release, or other communication coming from almost any organization or politician. You can also see it in the presidential debates, a quadrennial spectacle so awful that it can only properly be described as a mind-numbing show of talking point call and response. Matt Bruenig

One does not need to delve too deeply into the idea of discourse ethics to realize that the present state of dialogue in American politics is antithetical to what would be required for a government by discussion — that is, a democracy. What kind of discussion is it when the most prominent and loudest voices are rattling off slogans and platitudes with the specific intent to avoid substantive ideas and positions? It is not a discussion at all. These ‘discussions’ do not mimic discourse or reasoning; instead, they mimic corporate branding and advertisement. Matt Bruenig, The American Dream and other attacks on deliberative democracy

Not to sound defeatist, but maybe the one-percent has already won this thing. With the poor now cheering for the rich, the plutocrats’ wildest and most ambitious fantasies have been realized. Not only have the rich succeeded in convincing workers to root against labor unions—the one and only institution dedicated to their welfare—they’ve convinced them to fight for the interests of the wealthy rather than the interests of their own tribe. Holy Mother of Jesus, this makes no sense. And it’s not simply politics. It transcends political ideology and voter booth privacy. Rooting for the rich is crazy. It’s not only illogical and impractical, it’s unnatural. Indeed, it’s tantamount to the chicken population of the United States naming Colonel Sanders its “Man of the Year.” David Macaray (via azspot)

(via randomactsofchaos)

BREAKING: Department Of Justice Sues Florida Over Voter Purge

underthemountainbunker:

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Florida after the state disregarded the federal government’s request to suspend its voter purge campaign. In a letter to the Florida Secretary of State, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez argues that Florida is violating the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act. “Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct,” Perez writes. The full text of the letter is available HERE. –Think Progress

Florida suspends Gov. Scott’s voter purge efforts

sinidentidades:

Florida’s election supervisors announced their decision Friday evening to stop the controversial effort of Governor Rick Scott’s (R) administration removing names off the state’s voter rolls, according to The Palm Beach Post

Spurred by the Department of Justice delivered a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the name purging was illegal, the state’s Supervisors of Elections president Vicki Davis acknowledged the numerous mistakes located in purging eligible voters off the rolls. 

“There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” David said. 

One area serving as the prime example of the Scott administration’s mistakes is Miami Dade County, a predominantly Democratic area. 1638 people in the county were flagged as “non-citizens” by the state. However, at least 359 people already provided information proving their citizenship. An additional 26 people were identified as citizens by the county itself. 

Supervisors acknowledged that they failed to send letters to those individuals getting removed from the voting rolls that would have given them 30 days to provide proof of citizenship to vote. 

The Justice Department gave Detzner until this Wednesday to respond to their letter. The Florida Secretary of State indicated that he would respond on time, but said his state “will continue to act in a responsible and cautious manner when presented with credible information about potentially ineligible voters.” 

Welcome to the Wormhole | James Howard Kunstler

The world is waiting to re-learn an old lesson: that untruth and reality exist in an adversarial relationship. Sad to say, there isn’t enough legal infrastructure in the world, nor enough time, to pass judgment on all the lies and misrepresentations that burden the current edition of what passes for civilization. This goes especially for money matters, where currencies, certificates, and contracts actually have to represent what they purport to stand for. When those relationships fail, as they have been doing for some years now, everything falls apart.

This is what comes of evading the enforcement of norms and standards and of running exchanges without clearing operations. The response to this mischief in deeds such as the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform act only heaps more hyper-complex untruth on the smoldering compost of prior intentional falsities. It all seems so hopelessly abstract that even thoughtful citizens can’t muster the means to object until that magic moment when, say, the supermarket shelves go empty or nobody will accept the green paper cluttering up your billfold.

For all the epic volume of blather on the Internet and elsewhere, few have even remarked on extraordinary passivity of the vulgar masses in the face of having their future looted out from under them. The ethos of the penitentiary must have saturated the zeitgeist wherein you are expected to just bend over and take it good and hard where the sun don’t shine and then you are rewarded with a baloney sandwich. At least that’s been the theme since 2008.

The way things are lining up, though, it might be a whole different story when the two political parties convene this summer for their nominating rigmarole. I remain convinced that these fatuous rites will meet with disruption. Of course, both parties deserve an equal dose of citizen-generated shock and awe. Both parties need to be rebuked, humiliated, and probably dismantled so that this country can get on with the business of trying to become civilized. Charlotte, NC, (the Democrats) and Tampa, FLA, (Republicans) are the venues for these dumbshows. I hope to be there running a pitchfork concession. [++]

States back Montana in Citizens United campaign finance fight

sinidentidades:

Nearly half of US states have thrown their weight behind a legal defence of local laws restricting corporate money in politics by asking the supreme court to revisit its widely-criticised ban on similar national legislation.

The states filed a brief with the supreme court on Monday in support of a century-old law in Montana – the Corrupt Practices Act – against companies pumping money into elections.

The law was struck down by a Montana court following the US supreme court ruling two years ago in the Citizens United case, which lifted most restrictions on corporations spending money on political advertising. However, the Montana supreme court has since upheld the state law, putting it in conflict with the Citizens United ruling.

If the supreme court agrees to take up the case, it is not likely to overturn Citizens United, but it could hand down a decision that would give state legislatures greater leeway in limiting corporate money in politics.

The states argue that corporate money can have an even more corroding effect at a local level than on national politics.

The Montana supreme court ruled that the ban was justified because of a history in the state of powerful corporate interests, copper mining companies, distorting politics with money. The ban was passed by a referendum in 1912.

That position has been challenged by a conservative interest group, American Tradition Partnership, which has asked the US supreme court to overturn the Montana ruling. The court blocked its implementation in February and is now considering whether to hear arguments in the case or simply issue a ruling reversing the Montana judgement.

In a submission to the supreme court on Monday, attorneys general from 22 states and Washington, DC representing both major parties called for the Montana law to be upheld.

“The Montana law at issue here, like many other state laws regulating corporate campaign expenditures in state and local elections, is sharply different from the federal law struck down in Citizens United, and the Court need not revise its ruling in Citizens United in order to sustain the challenged Montana law,” wrote New York’s attorney-general, Eric Schneiderman, in the brief.

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)