An Open Letter to MoveOn.org

1 07 2010

To Whom it may concern…
I joined MoveOn during the Bush presidency because I felt it was a strong voice against what I saw as a rabid conservative bias in the government. MoveOn was taking a strong (sometimes too strong) liberal tack against the hawks, and I found this to be an excellent way to express my horror at what was happening in Washington.
Later, MoveOn took some positions I did not necessarily agree with, but, just as some choices by the ACLU are ones I might not support, I chose to remain a member because I felt the mission was still important.
Recently though, I’ve been bothered by MoveOn’s policy of taking political stances and setting up petitions to protest something, without really getting the constituency’s feedback as to whether this is something we, the members of MoveOn, would like to support.
Recently, MoveOn sent a request out asking for it’s members to sign a petition :
> **burning endangered sea turtles alive**
> News has emerged from the Gulf Coast that BP is burning endangered sea turtles alive.
> That’s right. BP is using “controlled burns” to contain the oil spill, and any turtles that are not removed from the area before the fire is lit are literally burned alive.
> With BP already facing so much public outrage, we can step in and stop this from continuing. But we have to speak up right now.
What does this have to do with balancing political change in Washington, where the populace needs a voice to counter right wing ideology? Even your home page states:
> **Stand for Democracy**
> It’s time to rescue our government from corporations and lobbyists. Endorse the blueprint to take back our democracy.
MoveOn is using petitions to be a ‘voice of the people’. Petitions are a poor mechanism for gauging the opinion of the membership. The only answer to a petition is “Yes!” – the other answer is silence.
MoveOn, when you ask your constituents to weigh in on an issue, offer them the opinion to say No.

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Is it just me?

23 05 2010

… but if you see this text on the home page of a vendor, on the internet – where the rest of the site seems… well, useable, but not particularly inspiring… would you reconsider doing business with them?

Born free American! fighting to stay that way. The government earns no money everything it spends is STOLEN from YOU your children and your grandchildren. STOP the madness, STOP the slavery. We the people surround them. Stand up for individual liberty and limited government. Help restore the constitution and honesty to our country. You are not free until the dollar again reads United States Treasury instead of FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE – END the FED!!!
NOT RACIST, NOT VIOLENT – JUST NO LONGER SILENT

I’m all for freedom of expression and political activism. But mixing personal opinions with business and commerce seems like an awful idea. It has personally made it impossible for me to consider doing business with these people (if they feel this much anger at the federal government, how can I trust their business is sound, legal, and not subject to closing down while they owe me a product or a service?)





Texas Board of Education – Rewriting History in favor of Political Ideology

16 03 2010

The folks over at the Texas freedom Network decided to attend the Texas Board of Education as it debated revisions to the school curriculum regarding political history. What they saw was a board dominated by extreme right wing politics. TFN comments:
> These board members clearly haven’t got a clue how to craft a curriculum document that’s streamlined, coherent and focused. They are far more interested in seeding the standards with whatever ideological pet causes they have. Pity the students and teachers of Texas for the foolishness they must endure.
Some choice bits noted from the meeting:
> The board’s far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America’s exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America’s Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.
During a debate regarding capitalism and free enterprise, several of the board members object to the term ‘Capitalism’ because it is considered a negative term. One member states, regarding using the word, “I do think words mean things. . . . I see no reason, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia.” When it is pointed out that the person who recommended the terms ‘capitalism’ and ‘free enterprise’ be used is actually a republican professor at Texas A&M, the information is ignored, and the board passes the measure:
> The Texas State Board of Education has stricken from the standards references to “capitalism” and “free market” because the board’s right-wingers think “capitalism” is a negative term. The only permitted term for such an economic system will be “free enterprise.” We wouldn’t believe this if we hadn’t just watched it happen. This is so stupid it makes our head hurt.
It’s this sort of subtle manipulation of curriculum, particularly in public schools, that has the greatest effect on the political positions of children and young adults. If ideology is allowed to triumph over fact (and in many points in this discussion, fact is trumped in favor of personal stance), how can people trust their public schools, and by inference their local governments? I ask that folks pay close attention to their local school boards, and when they see absurdity like this, raise the roof and call it out – that is the only way this sort of ideological undermining of education can be stopped.





Health Insurers Caught Paying Facebook Gamers Virtual Currency To Oppose Reform Bill

14 12 2009

According to this article on BusinessInsider.com :

Health insurance industry trade groups opposed to President Obama’s health care reform bill are paying Facebook users fake money — called “virtual currency” — to send letters to Congress protesting the bill.

Sort of puts to bed the entire notion that the health care industry has a single care for your personal well-being.





Some repercussions. Jay Severin gets spanked.

18 05 2009

On my way home from work I frequently tune to WTKK in Boston to get an idea about what the far right is saying. I think it’s good to hear “the other side” of things. In the spectum of social policy, I’m frighteningly liberal – so it’s good to hear what the conservative wanks are going on about.

This leads me to listening to Jay Severin, who is about as far into radical politics as you can go. He’s a foaming-at-the-mouth Libertarian, from which you can get an idea where his politics are.

I listen to him because it gives me perspective on how twisted a view of reality can be generated. This is the fellow who consistently refers to the president as Barack Hussein Obama, well known Muslim and Communist, etc etc etc.

Apparently WTKK had enough of him during a show Severin did on April 30th. I happened to be listening to this when it aired, remember going “Yep, it’s Jay completely off the deep end again. Ah well” – but here’s his words:

Now, in addition to venereal disease and the other leading exports of Mexico — women with mustaches and VD — now we have swine flu… When we are the magnet for primitives around the world — and it’s not the primitives’ fault, by the way, I’m not blaming them for being primitives, I’m merely observing they are primitives — and when you scoop up some of the world’s lowest of primitives in poor Mexico and drop it down in the middle of the United States — poor, without skills, without language, not share our culture, not share our hygiene, haven’t been vaccinated… Millions of leeches from a primitive country come here to leech off you…. Now, at this particular moment in history, they are exporting to us a rather more active form of disease, which is the swine flu.

Now, after hearing, er. commentary like this, before I get all indignant, I ask myself “Does he really think this? Or is he affecting a persona that believes this?” – Jay is very eloquent – he could easily be presenting this image and these ideas deliberately to push folks into the red.

TKK wasn’t having anything to do with it, and has indefinitely suspended him.

Maybe there is some sanity in the world.





House Defeats Bailout Bill – And now it begins

29 09 2008

As I’m sure folks know by now, the US House of Representatives has defeated the bailout bill.
What follows is my own personal opinion. Disclaimers are put forth – I am not an economist, a financial investor, or particularly savvy in us world markets. I have, however, spent a lot of time reading, listening to level-headed reporting and commentary.
I think we’re in deep doodoo.
My opinion is that the US lawmakers just took the side of localized petty politics, instead of doing what is right for the nation. And we’re not talking about this whole “main street vs wall street” BS that’s been bandied about. To me that’s a distraction away from the real issues.
Most people don’t understand how the larger financial markets work. They think ‘credit’ is a bank loan to buy a car. It isn’t. The global credit market is about the hundreds of billions of dollars that are exchanged every night in short term credit between banks and businesses. This is about a production plant in Wisconsin that normally needs $1,000,000 a day to operate. The night before, the bookmakers say “We’re short $100k. We need a loan”. They call up their broker, say “Gimme $1,000,000, I’ll pay you back on Thursday”. They get the loan, the plant functions another day, they bring in $1.1million on Thursday, and pay off the loan. Done.
That is how industrial and business credit works. It is the lifeblood of our economy.
If that loan can’t happen, that plant either operates at a loss, or they shut down for the day. That daily shutdown means instead of making $900,000 that day, they make zero.
Which is worse?
This credit cycle is what this bill is… er… was… designed to protect. It was to keep the markets alive and ease the credit tensions so the banks wouldn’t continue jacking up the interest rates on those short-term loans, thereby making it very difficult for a business to make money on a day to day basis. There’s already stress on this market, already ‘credit freezes’ going on. Businesses unable to get the short term loans necessary to function. Now it’ll just get worse.
Unfortunately, the politicians and the general US population doesn’t understand this. They just see fat cat Wall street folks getting zillion dollar paychecks, and other people getting foreclosed on houses. They vote down what might have been the only thing that could have kept the banks in business, and the credit flowing.
IMHO, we are now in serious danger of a depression. And frankly, I’m scared.
Thank you Washington. You may have killed us all.





Orson Scott Card – Totally Nucking Futs.

12 08 2008

I usually give authors some leeway in their personal lives and opinions. I mean, particularly SF authors are an odd lot, and entitled to their quirks.
I had heard that OSC had some pretty off the wall opinions regarding gay marriage and the like, but this latest rant, published in the July 24th, 2008 “Mormon Times” as an op-ed piece, takes the ‘batshit crazy’ to a new level.
I suggest you sit down and steady yourself with something soothing before reading that piece. There’s hardly a paragraph that doesn’t elicit a “WHAT?!??!” and “That’s a blatant lie” and “You have GOT to be kidding me”, but here’s a taste if you don’t feel like wading through the vitriol. The first paragraph pretty much sets the tone;

The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to “gay marriage,” is that it marks the end of democracy in America.

Got that? Democracy’s over, kids! Lets head for the caves!
How bout a few more tidbits:

Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement. When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage. It took about 15 minutes for that promise to be broken.

Wait, who? what? Who promised what where? And I hardly remember laws being passed where it was stipulated “We shall not pursue gay marriage!”
It just goes on. Enjoy the humor value of his ravings, and know that in fact there are many people in the world who think this way. Mores the pity.
Thanks to laist.com and Digg for the pointers.