Posts Tagged ‘government’

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By @anarchyroll

With legislative gridlock being the norm in America nowadays, the courts are being left to decide political issues more and more. Partisan gerrymandering however is an issue that has been destined to be decided by the Supreme Court for decades.

Perhaps that is why the Republican Party has spent generations putting time, money, and resources into getting conservative leaning judges into as many judicial openings as possible at the local, state, and federal level.

A case like partisan gerrymandering is where the states meet the feds, where the courts meet the congresses. It appears very dry and boring on the surface but has all the makings of an Oscar nominated political thriller. The Supreme Court hears many cases but this case could be the most important not just of the year, but of the decade and the century. How? Ramifications.

The ramifications of a SCOTUS ruling on partisan gerrymandering has the potential to effect literally every election in the country that comes after. From national, to state, to local. From voting for president to voting on referendums. The way that voting districts are drawn up impacts every kind of election that takes place in America.

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Technology has changed the art of drawing up political districts into a science. Computer programs can set in place political districts that will lean towards one political party for decades to come. This has nothing to do with right versus left and everything to do with right versus wrong. It is one thing to be a liberal city in a conservative county or a conservative county in a liberal state. It is quite another to have voting districts carved up so that only one party has a pragmatic chance of winning elections and ballot measures. Thanks to modern technology being applied to centuries old rules, regulations, and practices that is now a reality.

Voting districts being drawn up with algorithmic precision has the potential to make election results permanent. Tipping the scale to the political party who gets to draw them in the favor from the war time paradigm of to the victor goes the spoils. Ronald Regan once called this practice “antidemocratic and un-American”. But as we have seen over and over again the modern day Republican party only likes name dropping Regan and talking the talk rather than walking the walk on how Regan served.

Permanent political power is literally the opposite of what America was founded on. Political affiliation doesn’t matter. No political party in America should ever be allowed to make their reign of power in a democratic government a permanent one. If the founding fathers wanted this, they never would have left England.

It is easy to beat up on the Republican party these days considering the state of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. But political gerrymandering is not more or less wrong because the Republican party is at the heart of this case. The Democratic party in Illinois has been doing this for generations. Being liberal or conservative, Republican or Democratic has nothing to do with the fact that gerrymandering on technological steroids is an affront to democracy in America.

The Supreme Court won’t be able to banish partisan gerrymandering, that’s not what the case they’re hearing is about. It is about setting a new standard and precedent for an age old practice that thanks to modern technology has been abused by those in power to maintain it. That seems to be going around these days like the flu.

by @anarchyroll
5/4/2014

I am not old enough to remember a time when Washington DC wasn’t all smoke and mirrors for the elite to create the illusion of freedom. A great example of this is the current effort by the Obama Administration seeking legal immunity for the major telecommunication companies for complying with the NSA’s bulk metadata collection programs. Why is this typical Washington BS? Because the telcomms already have immunity because they were following the law when they complied with FISA court requests. The White House feels the need to request immunity for telcomms because of the multiple NSA reforms that are currently making their way through Congress. But if the Bush Administration wasn’t prosecuted, Gitmo is still open, and no one from Wall Street went to jail after 2008; is formal immunity really needed from Verizon, Comcast, and the gang?

So a sarcastic blog paragraph, is that it? NO. The real story here is in the earmarks. Both supporters and defenders of the NSA are trying to attach hidden bills, add ons, amendments, etc to the various bills to advance their agenda through the back doors of democracy.

This is a problem not just because of how shady earmarks are in principle, but the fact that both sides are doing it threatens to undo any and all NSA reform. Both sides are saying all the right things but are doing very different things when the doors are closed and the cameras are off, what else is new? So keep an eye and an ear on the legislation that eventually makes it to a vote that reforms and repeals the NSA’s various Big Brother programs. Will they do nothing? Go too far? Not far enough? One will have to go beyond the headline and seek out whether there are earmarks and if so what they entail to know the validity and likely the fate of any changes to the NSA’s ability quest to destroy private lives as we know it.

 

 

by @anarchyroll
4/16/2014

What would happen to you if you lied under oath in a court of law?

What would happen if you lied under oath in front of the United States Congress?

What has happened to anyone in the NSA for doing either? Nothing.

What does that mean? What do you think that means? When a person can admit under oath he lied under oath to not the legislative body of the United States of America.

Whose in charge here? Think about that.

If the NSA can lie under oath without penalty of any kind. Can admit to lying under oath without penalty of any kind. What is there place in the pecking order?

That is what stood out to me about this story. It made me think about consequences. It made me think about power and control.

Those in power, with control, are afforded luxuries that the common person is not. They are allowed to do things that other people aren’t.

Why does the NSA have a $52 billion “black budget”? How is a “black budget” allowed to exist in a democracy?

The go to line on that passé logic is that what the public doesn’t know won’t hurt them. I think that has been proven to be false in the post Edward Snowden era…

 

by @anarchyroll
3/14/2014

I’m not much for conspiracy theories. Mainly because I’ve been out in the world and seen more incompetency than ability to control an entire country with hundreds of millions of moving parts under wraps. However, I do believe that there are political and economic interests in charge who use shady methods to stay in charge and have the resources to keep their actions secret, quiet, and more hidden from the general public than obvious. The NSA bulk surveillance, war profiteering, media consolidation, and of course all of those political assassinations and military coups during the 1960s would be some examples of hard to ignore conspiracy theory fodder events.

I have been wondering what the effect of social media will have on the military, CIA and NSA. Specifically; as more people are able to instantly stream, document, back up, and show the world an event before they can be black bagged, put in a truck, and sent to Guantanamo; will daylight start to sanitize the shadow government(s)?

Obama, through Jay Carney has officially condoned the Bush era. By not only staying silent, not pursuing an investigation, and now obstructing a Senate investigation into the ‘enhanced interrogations’ Obama is now just as responsible and complicit as Bush and Cheney were and are. Change? Certainly change that big donors and shadow government officials can believe in. The illusion of change, the illusion of choice, truly the legacy Obama leaves behind after two terms. At least his wife is trying to publicly combat obesity, good for her. More and more people are seeing who is pulling the strings and making the machine that is the United States move. There will only be more people with more access to real time information going forward. What effect(s) will this have?

Will the ability to witness, share, and spread information around the entire world in real time get more eyes on the activities of our military/defense agencies? When more people are more aware of the budget sizes and activities of these agencies how will they react? Will this generation spur change or follow the hippies and become even more greedy and war hungry than their parents? I think change will happen slowly, as all important change does. Forget morals, I think people in ‘Merica will not want to be taxed to pay for these trillion dollar defense budgets. They’ll want those resources that are going to other continents being used in their counties. Just a guess…or a hope, whatever.

by @anarchyroll
3/13/2014

The situation in the Ukraine has been getting a lot of press, and justifiably so. A potential hot war involving Russia has implications as far reaching as it gets in the political and violence realm. While the situation in the Ukraine has been deteriorating since December, another situation involving civil unrest and government instability has been brewing in Venezuela. In February, the unrest boiled over.

Political unrest in Venezuela has been going on for some time. The unrest that has been boiling over in the streets of Caracus has been brewing for over a decade while now Hugo Chàvez was still alive. Chàvez’s successor, current President Nicholàs Madura won a very close, very disputed election in the spring of last year. He came into office during an economic depression in which food, milk, and other essentials such as toilet paper are in short supply across the entire country.

The situation has boiled over in the last several months. According to Al Jazeera a female student claimed was sexually assaulted, causing a wave of protests to begin. Why? Rape is bad, but protests of sexual assault don’t usually lead to violent protests that put a government on the brink of collapse. According to The New Republic, the university had been asking the government for better security for over a year to combat rampant crime in the area.

In the eyes of the majority of the people of Venezuela, the government is unable to provide them with food, water, shelter, employment, or safety. The sexual assault at ULA’s Táchira in San Cristóbal sent the boiling water frothing over the edge.

February 4th is when the protests started. February 13th is when they turned violent. How? Why? By whom? Has been disputed in so many conflicting reports I honestly can’t say. From what I’ve gathered by the data I’ve read, it would seem that the protesters pushed a little too hard, and the police/military used deadly force to push back. The human condition always wins out no matter how civil we think we are.

Since the protests turned violent a month ago 50 people have died. Madura has ordered all US diplomats out of the country claiming the US is involved in a conspiracy against his Socialist Party along with the far right party members of Venezuela. The leader of the protest movement Leopoldo Lopez turned himself into police. The charges against him have been reduced from terrorism to arson but President Madura continues to call the college aged protestors terrorists. Bashir Al-Assad of Syria says the same thing of the protesting civilians of his country where his military has killed 100,000 civilians in the past three years.

In Venezuela; the economic depression continues, the political unrest continues, the protests continue, the violence continues. There is no end in sight, there are no simple answers. Surprised? Well, welcome to Post 2008 1st World Earth.

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by @anarchyroll
2/10/2014

Much like the politicians who are running for the elections I will be a judge for, I’m doing it for the money.

I showed up the a suburban library to get a once over of the basic information that involves being an election judge. It was given in a combination Powerpoint fueled verbal presentation, a bound packet, and an interactive dry run of our duties. It started at 10 am, not an ungodly early time of day so I went in rested and somewhere between optimistic and pessimistic.

I was clearly the only person under the age of 50 in the room. I noticed this by both sight and smell. Old man stink for days. The first half hour could have easily been confused for the senior citizen throat clearing Olympics. The guy to my left took home the gold in that regard.

However, the two very nice, very proficient women in charge of the presentation stuffed my pessimism in a sack mister. They knew what they were talking about, were not dependent on the Powerpoint slides, answered every question asked without skipping a beat, and gave us a bathroom break at the exact right moment. Kudos to you ladies.

Besides the knowledge that the state of Illinois was hiring smart, savvy, experienced people to train those at the local election level, I was impressed by the infrastructure of fail safes, paper trails, and laws to attempt to prevent voting shennanigans.  I certainly can’t speak for states with electronic voting machines from the Diebold corporation, because Illinois uses paper ballets that are first verified by two sets of eyes, then a computer, then rechecked by multiple sets of eyes before being mailed in sealed containers, before they are electronically scanned, then checked by multiple sets of eyes again to verify authenticity of individual voter and election result.

The process of checking to make sure everything on the level at a polling place in Illinois is very much like the organizational structure of a casino. We were done by 1 pm. We have the option of taking additional online proficiency exams and training, for extra pay in return for that extra work. If only the government itself had competent people like the ones I encountered today, in office. If only the government operated with a little more time efficiency and a little less old man throat clearing.  If only the agencies and social safety nets had logical infrastructure in place like ones I learned about today. If those things were so, maybe voter turnout would equal or be higher than that of American Idol.

Now, which one of you assholes stole my tumbler while I was in bathroom after class ended?

by @anarchyroll
1/21/2014

Contrary to what FOX News would have you believe, the ACLU is not a terrorist organization.

American Civil Liberties Union…those four words, to me, couldn’t scream democracy more if Uncle Sam was eating a deep fried Twinkie, while driving a Hummer, and taking an IG selfie while making a duckface with the toaster filter all at the same time.

The ACLU is your friend, whether you care or not, whether you want to help them or not. They are the ones, playing within the system to change the system, and make it work for the people, by the people.

It should come as no surprise then, that they’re no fans of the NSA bulk surveillance program that was created in the dark, in secret, and exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden this past summer.  Both Congress and President Obama have said the public debate Snowden started is a good thing for democracy, yet he is still a wanted fugitive, go figure.

The NSA has been using Freedom of Information requests to try and shed more light into the dark and shady world of the NSA’s metadata dragnet.  Surprise, surprise the government is just flat out refusing to grant the ACLU access to various documents. I thought this was America.

Snowden and the ACLU aren’t looking to put soldiers in danger or expose mission critical information that will aide or abed real, actual terrorists who wish to do real, actual harm to innocent civilians on American soil.

Snowden and the ACLU are simply looking to put all of the cards on the table for the American people to decide for themselves.  It is the same thinking behind listing ingredients in food.  We (the country) just want to know what we’re putting into our body (government policy) to make sure it isn’t going to harm us (evaporate our personal privacy).

Allergies, fitness goals, overall health dictate a person must know what their food is made of. Where did it come from? Is it organic? Is it processed? How much salt? How much sugar? What is polymethylsiloxane? These are things that we NEED to know for our own health and peace of mind.

The same goes for what exactly, specifically is the NSA doing with their $1.1 trillion (that’s trillion with a t) budget. How much info are they storing? How often? For how long? From what sources? Are they authorized? Is it legal? By whom? This is not the Soviet Union or Red China. We the people get a say, and at the least have the right to know. If it is important to know if our food has gluten, it is important to know if we are giving up our personal privacy in the name of national security.