6.11.12

Voting for someone, or against people?

Hi. I'm a registered Republican. My party is generally being led around by religious fanatics, tea party nutcases, the NRA, big money lobbying stuff like the RIAA, MPAA, Koch etc. (hmmm, wait a sec, I should look into that).

Over the last few weeks I've gradually changed my mind from Not Voting due to disgust at Obama's economic bailouts and disrespect for the people of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and how they try to deal with the problems along their southern border (which the federal government is trying to deal with also, but at great cost and effort only met with some success), and disgust at someone from a borderline cult religion (founded by a scam artist, google it and make up your own mind) with some rather questionable kow-towing to the extreme right-wing in the West Bank settler movement, and moderately questionable tax evasion history (which a person in his former positions should be expected to have done).

I'm not a huge fan of Obama. Bail outs. Ramming a rather perhaps decent health care program down the throats of an American people that simply... Don't. Want. That. The American people don't want someone to tell them they can't smoke cigarettes, or drink Big Gulps. But Mr. Bloomberg is right to say that this is a huge health hazard. The minor socialization of health care is perhaps very good for Americans. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea to force it on people. Yes, people are stupid and need to be told what to do. Witness lack of education, glorified crime and violence and stupidity.

I'm also no fan of Romney. Nice business background. Nice tax evasion and questionable practices, which is about par for the course for a man in his position, so no worries there. I'm very uncomfortable with US foreign policy, esp. in the Middle East, being dictated by West Bank settlers. Not that they're very much worse than our dictatorship allies in that same neighbourhood. I don't particularly care for his religion, but he's not that crazy fanatical about it, so no worries there either.

Then why am I voting against my own party?

Over the last few days I've been doing some research and looking at information I could glean from the websites, wikipedia articles, news sources and controversies surrounding the people on this list:

http://alexandriava.gov/elections/info/default.aspx?id=63424
and
http://voterguide.wamu.org/index.do?i=1

And I came to the conclusion that I want to vote, I have a stake in the outcome, but that I don't particularly want to vote FOR someone. I want to vote against:

Against my party being dragged along by religious nutcases.
Against the West Bank settlers, though to be fair I'd also like to vote against the dictatorships/racists/nutcases-with-money in the rest of the Middle East, i.e. the Arab states.
Against Fox so-called News.
Against the tea party.
Against the NRA and buying guns without background checks. Other than that I'm cool with states' rights on the rest of the gun issue.
Against torture and Guantanamo (yep, I realize Obama hasn't delivered on promises, but oh well).

I'd also like to vote against bail outs and excessive Democratic spending habits and not tracking tax evaders enough and having too many loopholes in the tax code for corporations and rich people and against lower class individuals paying a proportionately larger part of their income in taxes than better off individuals. I'd like to vote against tax havens overseas. I'd like to vote against changing your citizenship to avoid taxes. I'd like to vote for equal pay for equal work, no matter how many kids or whatever you have. I'd like to vote against giving incentives for people to pump out more kids when they're already on welfare or in difficult circumstances.

But on the whole, yeah, it turns out I'm voting more against what the GOP has become than I'm voting for Obama, etc.

So what about the Senate and House races? Why not vote along GOP lines there?

Because I don't want to push Congress further into the arms of the pro-life-at-all-cost religious people. Human life begins at conception. More or less. Depends on what you call "life". But I'm perfectly cool with you killing that life if you don't want it growing inside of you. Up to a point. A point somewhere around the stage where the kid is able to survive outside the mother without medical intervention and money and technology. By then it's a bit late, unless I suppose the mother's life was in danger.

Because I don't want to push Congress further into the pockets of the West Bank settlers and their version of what's good for Israel. Because I want less tax burden for the average joe and a higher burden for the people who are currently easily able to move their money overseas or exploit expenditures and charitable deductions and religious contributions for tax purposes. Religion should not be tax free. Because I can't stand Fox so-called News, the tea party and the NRA. Because I'd rather give Obama a bit more of an opportunity to do something about Guantanamo than I want to keep that place around for another 4 years. He won't succeed, but I'd rather he fail than the GOP not even try.

So yeah. I'm a fiscal conservative. I'm not religious. I think people are basically fairly stupid and need to take some personal responsibility. I'd rather tax the ever living hell out of marijuana than try to fight it. I want more money and resources for the IRS and a more easy-to-understand tax code that doesn't effectively put a higher burden on a secretary than her boss.

My ideal ticket would be Rice/Powell. Or possibly Rice/other smart centrist woman. But my ideal ticket is not available, so I'm voting against the stuff above.

I'm voting against the opponents of Obama (yuck, that makes me feel ill at ease) and whatstheirnames Democrats for House and Senate; and for women and GOP and a Libertarian who's anti-marijuana-prohibition for Alexandria City Council.

EDIT: Or not. I apparently registered to vote five days too late. Ouch. That'll teach me to make up my mind to vote earlier next time, since I'll have moved a few times by then.

5.8.12

What I would ask the Presidential candidates right now.


  1. Israel - what does the US get for our ~$30 billion per year of US taxpayers' money going to indirectly supporting the actions of Israel in Gaza and the West Bank? Do we really need to continue to invest in allies that treats its neighbours in these ways? Does the average American really need to pay to support discrimination based on race and religion in another country's armed forces? - How do you feel about Israeli nuclear weapons and whether or not they should receive American taxpayer funds while not a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty? - How do you feel about Iranian nuclear weapons, and what can and cannot be done to stop them? 
  2.  Gerrymandering - how do you feel that this impacts the polarization of American politics, gridlock in Washington, our cultural fabric and the American Way? What are you going to do about it? 
  3.  Junk Mail - do we really need to continue to accept random spam delivered into our private mailboxes every day? Shouldn't this be opt-in instead of opt-out? If I move into a new apartment and immediately get spam mail addressed to every single previous occupant "Or Current Resident" - should I not be able to allow my mail delivery person to drop it in the recycling bin that I provide expressly for such spam? Why do these companies have the right to force their product into my mailbox when I don't want it? 
  4.  Torture - have you ever been waterboarded (or anything close to it) and how do you feel about American forces doing it? Do you consider being put in stress positions and being forced to not sleep and listen to extremely loud music for hours and hours in solitary confinement to be torture? How do you feel about our allies, esp. Israel and Egypt and Saudi Arabia using these and similar tactics? Related - how do you feel about the Chinese and Japanese justice systems? 
  5. Guantanamo - are we all equal before the law, or do we just designate someone an "illegal combatant" and then no longer have to respect their "human rights"? Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States' support for religious schools in Pakistan and elsewhere? As well as American fundamentalist churches support for schools and settlers in Africa and Israel, resp.? 
  6.  Subsidies - What businesses and industries are too big to fail, or too important. Which, if any, deserve subsidizing by the American taxpayer? 
  7.  How will you combat corruption in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan? How do you feel about American Congresspersons and Senators not releasing their tax returns, and not making transparent their connections to big business and contributors? Do you feel that corporations have a right to freedom of speech? How do you feel about Citizens United? How will you combat pay-to-play politics, and near-anonymous TV advertising? How do you feel about the greater and greater monetization of American political races? 
  8.  Guns - do you feel that a society with more guns is safer? How do you feel about the NRA? Do you feel that it's up to Washington DC to tell Southern and Western states what they should and should not do with respect to gun ownership? How do you feel about internet gun sales? Gun shows? High-capacity magazines? 
  9.  Drugs - why is marijuana so much worse than alcohol? How much is the US responsible for the drug war in Mexico and Colombia? Why can we not stop the money and guns from going south?  
  10. Nanny-laws - how do you feel about massive sodas and Big Gulps and trans-fat bans and Bloomberg's crusade against things that take advantage of stupid people to make them fat and addicted and be a burden on the rest of society? 
  11.  How do you feel about offshore tax havens, money laundering, the rich taking advantage of tax legislation to pay less taxes than the average worker/cubicle dweller? How do you feel about welfare and paying people not to work, or paying them to have babies? 
  12.  How do you feel about driver's licenses without full-face pictures, or pictures with facemasks or full hijab/face covering? 
  13.  US Congress - how do you feel about the interests of rural America being dramatically overrepresented in the current iteration of the House of Representatives and the Senate? Does the US really need more than one Representative per million people, and more than one Senator per State? 
  14.  Should people in Washington DC be telling people in the border states what they should and should not do to combat illegal immigration happening on their southern borders? How do you feel about Illegal immigrants signing up for 5 years in the military, or contributing to society as firefighters, police, EMT/rescue or doctors? How will you stop money and guns from flowing South and contributing to the instability and crime in Mexico and the rest of Latin America? 
  15.  The MPAA and RIAA - do they deserve to have legislation custom-written for them, and then custom-enforced by American law enforcement, both inside and outside the country and on the internet? Is this really conducive to technical and artistic progress and innovation? Do we really need a music and radio and movie industry that's ruled by only a few corporations? Do we really need to export our brand of entertainment mega-business, forcing it down the throats of other countries? How do you feel about Copyleft and Kopimism. How about the pharmaceutical industry aggressively defending it's legislative and international interests, to the detriment of millions of poor people all over the world?
  16. Abortion - why or why not should a woman be allowed to abort an unborn child, and up to what point in the pregnancy?
  17. To what extent should the US taxpayers support religious schooling for Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other faiths? Where do you feel the line should be drawn between religion and state?
  18. Do you really believe that a person can become pregnant without having sex first, or that a person can walk on water, or that some dude received golden plates filled with "Reformed Egyptian" characters that was the literal word of god? Are the Jews really God's Chosen people, as opposed to all the other people on the planet? Who should be in charge of the areas known as Palestine/Israel/Judea-Samaria/West Bank-Gaza? Do refugees have a right to return? Was what happened to the Native American tribes a result of fair treatment, and what's that got to do with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict?

22.1.12

Good luck, American factory workers.

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhonemanufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
How will the American labour unions match that? Is it a good business decision to set up a plant in America, these days? Are you entitled to government protection, or should you have to compete? At what point do you start getting concerned about underage labour, "unfair" wages and how companies and governments overseas treat their workers in what kinds of conditions?

There has to be a baseline for human rights and the rights of workers to affect the political decision-making process. After that, I'd rather see free, fair, transparent and open competition with special interest groups like the American auto-lobby, the American agri-business, Japanese rice-farmers and pompous French traditionalists taking a backseat. Don't even get me started on the Common Agricultural Policy. And let's not pretend that China doesn't do everything it possibly can to promote Chinese industrial hegemony, both within and outside China's borders (which in themselves are a source of massive disputes, particularly some very dangerous expansionist claims in the South China Sea). But the fact remains that you'd be a fool to set up an average industrial operation in the US right now. Flexibility. Regulations. The sense of entitlement. Costs per worker.

7.1.12

2012 Republican candidates rundown.

I wikipedia'd and looked through Google News for stupid dumb stuff. The wikipedia pages seem to be scoured of anything remotely negative about the candidates - I'm guessing the campaigns are fairly up these days on having small-time editors able to massage the text on a wiki page to make sure little things like, say, sending a man to his execution when there's very credible and rather obvious scientific evidence available that he didn't kill his children. Check out Rick Perry's wikipedia page editing history. That part about CTW mysteriously shrunk over a period of a few weeks. The tide of people editing to smooth that stuff over was just too great. Now check the CTW page and come back to compare. Looks like positive things stick, negative things less so, unless it's particularly huge in the media.
  1. Newt Gingrich - bit of an arse to his women, ethics issues, dumb "invented people" idea.
  2. Ron Paul - nutcase re: gov't agencies, extremist anti-abortion views (?), but other than that - okay, and would be fun to watch in a trainwreck/fireworks kind of way.
  3. Rick Santorum - extremely anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-settler, money ethics issues (?). I kind of dislike the rude google-bombing, though.
  4. Rick Perry - sent an innocent man to be executed, extremist religious.
  5. Mitt Romney - a bit too religiously motivated for my taste (no more G.W.-ish "crusaders", please), pro-settler.
  6. Jon Huntsman - drawing a blank on stuff that makes me dislike the others. Is he even a serious candidate?
Ref: I don't really care if you smoke weed, and would rather it be taxed than send a bunch of cash and guns south. I don't really care if you want to kill unborn babies as long as they're not viable outside the mother without massive medical intervention. I don't really care if you want to execute people, as long as they're actually guilty and you don't ignore sound science saying they're not. I don't really care if you want to change the definition of marriage in one state here or there, or every one. 1967 borders (or one state heh) and let's not support dictatorships or long-term occupation or torture or indefinite detention. Disabled veteran. Immigrant from Sweden.