Mental Capacity?

Discussing the GOP's lack of initiative regarding immigration reform, someone recently said that if Republican's don't move on it soon it'll be because "they have real problems with their mental capacity." Comments like this are a dime (penny) a dozen (a thousand, really) on forums and blog threads all over the inter-web. The only reason I bring it up here is because this didn't come from some disgruntled elderly and staunch Democrat who just discovered how to email or the youthful ramblings of some 20-something liberal who knows it all.


Impotent (No) Labels

I already wrote about how the "No Labels" campaign is just a "new" label for political (mostly Democrat) centrists as opposed to an effort to bring people of opposite ideologies together towards a more constructive dialog - a much more noble goal in my opinion. I'm glad to hear in the news, from even the likes of Rush Limbaugh, that No Label's isn't fooling anyone.

The Financial Times yesterday said it well:


Santa's workshop spikes productivity 2010

Let's just say I made out like a bandit this year...

Damn my generous friends and family and my conspiratorial wife for being so embarrassingly amazing. At 24, I shouldn't feel like a child on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!


On Julian Assange (and Wikileaks)

So, I've had some time to digest the Cablegate scandal. There's certainly a lot to mull over. I don't condemn or applaud Assange. I like his dry sense of humor and agree with some of his politics, but I also think he's immature and misguided. I don't pretend to know whether or not he actually committed violent sexual attacks on two Swedish women but they deserve retribution.

The conclusion that I've come to is that discussions about the morality and legitimacy of Julian Assange's actions are unproductive and irrelevant. Whether you love him or hate him - it's a matter for the courts to decide if he's due punishment. He should face justice, but there is a difference between justice and politically motivated persecution.

What is more important to me is the substance of the information released and the manner in which our government has responded. Many people on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum have long feared the rise of authoritarianism and see it manifested in our own government. Both the right and the left will point to different evidence and blame the other side, of course.


Happy Christmas

Today marks the anniversary of John Lennon's death who left the world at the far too young age of 40. We're in the Christmas season so enjoy...

Tea Party vs. Julian Assange

Tea Party leader Judson Phillips has publicly stated how he believes Julian Assange should be executed for his role in the release of hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables.

Conservatives in general have historically viewed secrecy as a weapon of Big Government and a threat to democracy. Instead of embracing the media revelations of what their government is up to, even Fox News pundits Bill O’Reilly (via youtube) and Rush Limbaugh (via youtube) condemn Wikileaks.

The Tea Party is well understood as an anti-establishment political movement. Assange has described himself as a market-Libertarian. The Tea Party is flagrantly infatuated with the Constitution to the point of elevating it to religious dogma while Wikileaks is an active agent in exercising freedom of speech, a most basic and obvious constitutional right. There’s a lot in common between them. Julian Assange fancies himself the biggest threat to authoritarian regimes and Tea Party activists also regard the US government as an unnecessary bureaucratic giant, and an abuser of people’s rights. The question is - why do they want to kill the man who proves it?


More on Wikileaks and sloppy blogging

In the interest of time - of which I have very little right now - I'm just going to post a couple of links. This first one is a great essay that dissects an essay by Julian Assange talking about why he does what he's doing and how most in the media just don't get it.

Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”

This next one I haven't even read yet, but it's relevant and I infer from the first couple of paragraphs that it will be pretty interesting. Hopefully I'll get some time to offer some insightful commentary on the matter (oh and actually read the second one) and by the time I do, we'll both be up to speed on these to discuss!

Why Wikileaks Matters via UTNE Reader

I haven't yet developed an opinion about Assange and his endeavors, but the more I read, the more I'm impressed and inspired. I appreciate how he values truth and wonder if he's influenced by some of Gandhi's writing.


Big is OK

I just found this gem by Michael Lind, Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation which is particularly timely after my debate on Corporate and Government power. Lind does a better job than me at pointing out the flaw in conservative criticisms of Big Government and corresponding liberal criticisms of Big Business and how thinking small (or local) is dangerous in our current economic predicament when growth is needed most.


Wikileaks reinforces my thoughts on military reduction

Wikileaks has done it again by exposing thousands of secret US documents, this time Diplomatic cables. (The Guardian has done a great job dissecting this information.) Honestly, there's not a whole lot in it that should come as a surprise and very little game-changing details were leaked. In fact some bits are actually just plain entertaining. Actually, there are quite a few damning truths revealed in the leaks.

Nonetheless, it did reaffirm my opinion that we can comfortably reduce military expenditure as a means to either reallocate that wealth to other government programs, cut taxes or start making significant reductions to our deficit - a wonderfully nonpartisan solution.

Some things just aren't partisan

From the 'frontpage' today of Pine Tree Politics comes this Op Ed from Cynthia Dill, state representative from Cape Elizabeth.

The Republican Speaker-elect’s baggage is now widely known. Stories abound in the news that as the owner of True’s Pharmacy, Robert Nutting was found to have overcharged the State of Maine $1.6 million for rubber gloves, incontinence pads and liners between 1997 and 2001. He spent “over six figures” on fancy lawyers, counter-sued the state, and then declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy after paying back only $433.188, leaving Maine taxpayers holding the bag for $1.2 million.
Speaker-elect Nutting maintains that overcharging the state repeatedly using a formula that marked up some products 143% instead of 40% an “honest mistake.” He blames complicated rules and the stranglehold of government bureaucracy for his troubles.
Don’t take it personally, Mr. Speaker, if some of us can’t push our green button next week and vote to usher you in. You see, this isn’t really about you, but rather what you stand for, and what we are elected to do.
He will take it personally and so will every Republican in the State House, as well as the new resident across the street. But don't take that as a partisan attack. Democrats would respond the same way.


In the spirit of debate

I have the pleasure of knowing several people on friendly terms with whom I constantly disagree on matters of politics and economics... and it’s awesome. Unlike media pundits or politicians, we’re able to have and enjoy civil debates, usually via Facebook (or sometimes in World of Warcraft between raiding dungeons. That’s right, I’m a Kingslayer.) At best our discussions will lead at least one of us (preferably all of us) towards enlightenment of some sort, but I think the main purpose of our deliberation is to amuse ourselves and perhaps tickle our egos.


Fair Elections

The Sun Journal posted my letter to the editor in response to one of their editorials on Ranked Choice or Instant Runoff voting:


Armistice Day

Today, around the country we celebrate our veterans' service to the United States. My grandfather is a great guy and paid a large price to protect our country during the second World War. Proudly lying about his age at 17 he enlisted in the Army and shortly after joined the fight in Normandy.

He almost never talked about his experience abroad. My mother says he suffers from post-traumatic stress. What I do know is from stories shared by my grandmother. Grampy witnessed the death of his best friend and subsequently suffered ankle injuries from shrapnel.


PPH OpEd: Democracy in Paralysis

This opinion piece was published last month in the Portland Press Herald:
... Our democratic system is in a state of advanced paralysis. One doesn't need a degree in political science to see that, and the agent of that paralysis is money, mostly taken for the purpose of surviving the next election, mostly given for the purpose of buying influence.
The challenges we face are huge and serious, and have been brewing for a very long time. But little will be done to solve them so long as those who represent us and create policy are beholden to the "generosity" of the rich, powerful interests.
So long as we are distracted by the irrelevant sideshow of the talk-show big mouths and suckered by the slick manipulations of the political marketers that those mountains of money are spent on, "change" will continue to be just another word.

Invisible Inc.


Maine Green Independent Party

I was recently interviewed by Jeff Peterson on the local Fox News station about the status of the Green Party in Maine. Despite a bad case of "ums" it went pretty well considering it was my first time on TV. After my interview, Fox aired a segment called "Reality Check" in which Peterson interviewed WGAN personalities, "Ken and Mike" about their perspective on my interview. Ironically their report represented very little of reality.


New... err... No Labels

I was invited to an interesting dinner the other night. It wasn't so much a fundraiser - even though it felt like one - but was rather a "support" raiser recruiting names and bodies. The topic of discussion was the soon to be launched No Labels campaign - an initiative that may be doomed to begin with.


From Indexed, (March):


What's wrong with America?

Millions are unemployed. The deficit is incomprehensibly huge. Health costs are astronomical. Our civil rights are ignored or violated. The environment is in peril (or, depending on your point of view, there is a serious epidemic of fraudulent scientists.) Our country is at war. Taxes are too high/low. The list goes on.

Kind of makes you want to open your window and scream.