Archive for the ‘US politics’ Category

My ideology

I can proudly say I am a:

Post-Colonial Anarcho-Monarchist

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Thoughts on US Third Parties.

This comes from watching the French election, which is a similar legislative-executive system to the US.  I will also admit to voting Green from a disgust with the US duopoly (i.e., the Democrats and Republicans) and its stranglehold on the system.

In a way Dan Savage is correct, the third parties should be running candidates lower down the ticket, in particular for the legislature. That is because a third party would be more effective in pushing its agenda there, or at least in blocking other parties from pushing theirs. It is more effective to be a spoiler/fixer in the legislature than in an election.  Third parties will become a force to be reckoned with once they demonstrate they have power, but they need to be the force to do what the obstructionists in congress have been doing. Or to thwart the obstruction.

One of the Clintonista/Democrat talking points was that the party is a coalition of various political views, but the duopoly parties are failed coalitions.  In some ways, they have become titular left-right parties, although I would argue any difference is more in appearance and relation to hot button issues (e.g. abortion and gun control [1]).  The past election showed how detrimental relying upon hot button issues is to real issues (e.g., the environment).

Third parties are good for keeping politics real. Case in point are the presidential debates which are no longer run by the League of Women Voters.  The president of the LWV, Nancy M. Neuman, denounced this action when the LWV ceased having any real control over the debates:

“It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” Neuman said. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

Neuman said that the campaigns presented the League with their debate agreement on
September 28, two weeks before the scheduled debate. The campaigns’ agreement was negotiated “behind closed doors” and vas presented to the League as “a done deal,” she said, its 16 pages of conditions not subject to negotiation.

Most objectionable to the League, Neuman said, were conditions in the agreement that gave the campaigns unprecedented control over the proceedings. Neuman called “outrageous” the campaigns’ demands that they control the selection of questioners, the composition of the audience, hall access for the press and other issues.

“The campaigns’ agreement is a closed-door masterpiece,” Neuman said. “Never in the history of the League of Women Voters have two candidates’ organizations come to us with such stringent, unyielding and self-serving demands.”

Neuman said she and the League regretted that the American people have had no real opportunities to judge the presidential nominees outside of campaign-controlled environments.

lwv.org/press-releases/league-refuses-help-perpetrate-fraud
I would that change is drastically needed in US politics, particularly its system of elections, but that will not come as long as the duopoly holds power.

I have pointed out that the Electoral College needs to be abolished, yet the fact that Clinton’s “loss” was due to her failing to secure enough votes in the Electoral College is again overlooked and substituted for blame on everything except the existence of that body (as was the case in 1990).  Both times the “losers” won the popular vote.

Of course, abolition of the Electoral College is only one thing in what is probably a long wish list of electoral reforms needed in the US:

open debates run by an impartial body like the League of Women Voters, shorter election cycles, open primaries, ranked choice voting, return of the fairness doctrine and equal time rule (Trump used the lack of it to get shitloads of free publicity), campaign finance reform–if not publicly funded campaigns, easier access to the ballot for parties, reform or abolish the electoral college, end gerrymandering, handcounted paper ballots or receipts, and I am sure that is only the beginning.

While one can dream that there will be internal change, it doesn’t seem likely since the parties still seem entrenched in the same behaviours which have led to the US political system being the disaster it is.

OK, we also need to add in media consolidation here since it is one way the “state” can get away with  form of censorship, but only allowing one message to get out.  Also controlling any opposing voices.

Any real change has to come through the system since violence will backfire and result in the wrong type of change.  Thus any dissenting parties best chance has to be to try and thwart the duopoly and use the duopoly’s power against it.

Change has to come, but it must come by using the system to gain power and then force change.

[1] This is not to say gun control is not important (or abortion), but these issues have been used to get people to vote against their interests.  Neither is one of left and right, but of public welfare and safety.

Interesting quote of the day:

From the FAIR blog:

Where media define the “center” or the “middle” tells you a lot about the worldview they are promoting. The “center” doesn’t usually indicate where most of the public is, but rather where elites have determined an appropriate middle between opposing arguments. Confusing the two concepts is common (and not an accident).

The Article in question is about the economic advice from two of the most prominent economists who have worked at the highest levels of government and academia.  On the other hand, this is a fairly telling comment as I have been seeing a lot of political terms being misused, such as “socialism” and “conservative”.  The last term being the most thoroughly brutalised of all of them.

“Conservatism”, from the Latin: conservare–“to retain”, is defined as a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative. Conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity. According to the 2nd Viscount Hailsham, a former chairman of the British Conservative Party, “Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.”

To me to be a “Conservative” one must be strongly for social order and institutions while not accepting change to that order without good reason.

Of course, the definition is used about has this caveat:

There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus, conservatives from different parts of the world – each upholding their respective traditions – may disagree on a wide range of issues.

I am of the opinion that the precedent set in the US by its use of force to obtain independence from Britain (a decidedly non-conservative act) has left its mark on US politics to bring about what I call the “reality challenged right”.  Although, one could also add that other factors are also afoot to create the “reality challenged right”.

The main characteristic of this is the belief in the use of force in politics, which is not found in most civilised nations.  In fact, that is probably the most obvious characteristic of this movement.

Another characteristic is being fact adverse, with the most frightening aspect being the failure to address climate change as news comes that the atmospheric level of a carbon dioxide has reached a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.  Scientists believe the rise in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

I have to admit that I find this movement quite frightening and am not sure how it could have been allowed to arise, but the fact that such a disastrous political faction could be given any level of credibility, let alone called “Conservative”, boggles my mind.

Joe Walsh’s idiotic and offensive comment.

ImageI try to avoid US politics these days, but I have to admit that hearing someone who never served in the military call someone who was wounded in combat not a true hero really pisses me off.

During the First World War, women used to hand out white feather for cowardice, there was one woman who tried to hand someone a feather on a tram, but he couldn’t get up to accept it since he lost both legs in combat.

Of course, the woman was suitably chastened.

I only hope that a similar humiliation awaits Walsh.

I have to admit to supporting Duckworth now, not that it would have taken me too much of a push given that Walsh is offensive in more than one way to me.

The rightward trend in US politics.

Sure it’s a cartoon, but Ted Rall hits the nail on the head:

That about says it all…

or why I hate US elections and am happy that I have somewhat insulated myself from them:

Posted 03/05/2012 by lacithedog in US Election, US Elections, US politics

Nimrata, you are such a shame!

Nimrata, why are you ashamed of being Indian?

I look at this picture and you look like a Farangi (If I were using Cantonese, the word that comes to mind is “gweilo”).  Did they lighten your skin up? Did they Photoshop you to change your looks?

Sikhism is a noble religion.  Why did you give up the kirpan for guns?  The symbolism of the kirpan is much more productive than the ridiculous chant of “gun rights” that people mindlessly chant as a mantra in your neck of the woods.

Isn’t ahimsa a better principle to live by?

Not to mention, I have a thing for Indian Food and music.  Bollywood movies are over the top, but what the heck, they are fun. I seriously think you should choreograph your next speech as a Bollywood dance routine!

So, does your American Story mean that you have to renounce Indian Culture to fit in?  Does it mean that you have to hide how you look and assimilate into the culture?  Why can’t you be proud of your Sikh heritage?  Or do you associate that with corner shops rather than being a governor?

Remember Margaret Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter when you think such thoughts! Not to mention that your father was a doctor.

I don’t know, Nimrata, but this picture scares me quite a bit about the US.  Does one have to assimilate and lose their heritage to belong to that society?  Is historic amnesia part of the American nightmare?  Does one need to become a White, Christian to be a proper American?

Somehow, all that seems wrong.  The US is headed in the wrong direction–not that I really need to care about that myself.  The society I live in is working at living with its diversity and moving forward.

What I see in the US and from its media, shows that it is a society that is moving backward to a world that I don’t want to live in. I am glad to have left it.

You should say the Punjabi equivalent of “Jai Ho”, not “Can’t is not an Option”


I will add as a postscript that my copy of Flora Steel and Grace Gardiner’s The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook, which was a guide for British ladies living in Colonial India first published in 1888 on how to live in that society, just arrived today.  That seems rather fitting to add that bit of the Empire to end this post.  Maybe Nimrata is trying to be a Memsab!