Friday, February 5, 2016

This Mind Is Not For Rent

This mind is not for rent to any god or government...

Seemed appropriate given yesterdays post.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Be Libertarian with Me

It may be early and I may be stealing Silverfiddle's thunder, so consider this a personal endorsement if you will.  I'll leave the other moderators and our host to speak for themselves, but I've come to the conclusion that I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, or any others from the parade of Asshats marching across my television screen these days. 



Gary Johnson Facebook 

We can bitch and moan that a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for the opposition or no vote at all, but screw it, nothing is going to change as long as we keep maintaining the status quo between D & R. Lets turn the nation GOLD! If you're stuck with Clinton, Sanders, Trump, or Cruz you have only yourselves to blame.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Silverfiddle's Campaign Finance Reform

That quadrennial festival of canned talking points, fake plastic hero worship, pandering and lies known as the US Presidential Election is upon us, whether we like it or not.  Hillary Clinton will roll into the general election with over a billion dollars of big donor contributions, and the GOP candidate is expected to match that.

Like my liberal friends, I hate the outsize influence big money elites have on our elections.  I sat down and thought up some Federal Election Commission rules to try to put us all on equal footing, and here is what I came up with:

Silverfiddle's Federal Campaign Rules

* Limit the primary season to three months, and the general campaign season to three months.

* Limit fundraising season to a one year period prior to the election. Politicians and candidates may not raise, collect or spend so much as one cent of campaign cash outside of that period

* Elected politicians and declared candidates may not accept any gifts, plane rides, vacations, cash, meals, or even a ballpoint pen under any circumstances. Nothing. Ever.

* Only registered voters may contribute to a candidate. If you can't vote, you can't contribute any money to the campaign.

* One Person, One Vote, One Dollar (or $1000. Whatever we decide the amount each voter can spend is).  I don't care if you're Sheldon Adelstone, Darkwing Duck from Snob Hill, or Shirley Sue from Sheepdip Holler. Each citizen can only spend X amount of dollars.

* All contributions go through and are registered with a government entity like the FEC, who then doles out the cash to the candidate and posts the transaction on-line. Any money transfers outside of this channel are illegal and will be prosecuted.

* Only registered voters may engage in "campaign speech" advocating a candidate. Businesses cannot, organizations cannot, corporations cannot and unions cannot. However individual members of such entities who are voting US citizens may pool or bundle their money, but contributions of each person goes against their overall authorization.

* For the general election, major party candidates running against a president/senator/congressman gets equal time in the news media.

Free Speech 

After coming up with such a brilliant list of rules, I realized it was all for naught. I don't know what to do about a Citizens United type case where an organization like Citizens United publishes a book, or a person like Michael Moore makes a movie about a candidate.

Regardless of what you think of the leftwing gob of hog lard wrapped in human skin, what he produces is art, and it falls under free speech.  So, he could literally produce a movie bashing GOP presidential nominee Ted Cruz right before the election, and government may not interfere.

Something else to consider...

What happens when a candidate publicly attacks the coal industry or Planned Parenthood? Prohibiting them from responding would be a gross injustice.  Is there a financial limit on their response?  Is it federally-circumscribed "electioneering?"

Communication is changing drastically...

I was almost ready to propose a roll-back of Citizens United, and declare a federal campaign a unique phenomenon of the government and the people and therefore subject to special rules. Essentially a legally-designated special class of activity with a bubble over it where the activity is tightly-controlled in the interest of shutting out corporate and outside noise so that each citizen's voice may be heard.

Alas, I believe that is impossible in this day and age...

* No more Big Three networks acting as gatekeepers.

* Thousands of channels, the age of free YouTube, tweets, etc.

* Americans have daily access to foreign press, which is not under US jurisdiction

What if an individual fires off a tweet or makes an independent YouTube video about a candidate that goes viral?

Limit campaign speech over the Internet? How? What if it emanates from outside US jurisdiction?


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let's Turn the Tables

The banter the other day on Hugh's post regarding HRC got me thinking... let's try something completely different.  The subject is what's wrong with Barrack Obama and George Bush, or heck any president for that matter... what's different is that conservatives may only comment on conservative presidents and liberals on liberal presidents.  So have at it! What do we think of our own sides?  And to make it even more interesting, let's throw in the current crop of candidates.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Berning Blue Collar Conservatives?

Democrats for Trump?

Conservatives are righteously angry at the GOP for collapsing into a squishy establishmentarian farce. The SEIU gang boss worries that over half her workforce could vote for Trump.  A standard howl from the outraged is that we need a third party. My stock response (with apologies to General George S. Patton) is:
You don't win elections by going third-party; You win elections by making the other poor, dumb bastards go third-party.
If we are to break the Demican-Republicrat stranglehold on our nation, we need a deliciously diverse panoply of parties. People of all stripes are ready, but no matter how much the true believers despise the perfidy of the party panjandrums, they know abandoning ship for a "pure" third-party candidate would hand the election to the other side, so many of us are stuck in an unhappy place.

If we could make some kind of pact to all jump at once, here are three parties I could see springing up or becoming revitalized:

* Green Party
* Libertarian Party
* True Conservative Party

Collectively they might cadge around 36% of the electorate, but that alone prevents either the Dems or Repubs from gaining an outright majority on the national level, and hopefully they would spawn even more splinters like...

* Workers Party
* Constitutionalist Party
* Progressives
* America First!

How about advocacy group parties?

* La Raza
* Black Lives Matter
* White Rights-Blue Collars
* American Indian Movement
* Sons of the Confederacy
* Evangelicals

What would such a political environment do to presidential elections?

Thanks to the wisdom of the Electoral College, we would never end up with a shyster like Daniel Ortega taking the presidency of Nicaragua with 32% of the vote. You must take at least half of the Electoral College votes to be president.
If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House. (Federal Archives)
With no single party big enough to seize a majority, coalitions would have to form.

"Aha!" The skeptic retorts. "But they would eventually coalesce into two opposing blocks, so we're back to the two-party circus!”

Real-world experience in multi-party democratic republics shows that the parties do not form solid, permanent blocks; instead, they they shift and switch depending on the issues of the day, so yeah, blue collar conservatives under extreme economic pressure could form a coalition with Berning Sandernistas, and sophisticated liberals concerned with civil liberties but tired and embarrassed by the activist flamethrowers and cultural trench warfare could escape to the Libertarian Party.

The Result?

Working class folk could return to the Democrat Party as the GOP returns to the bosom of Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce and abandons any pretense of helping working people or even liking them.

Would the Democrat party truly embrace the anti-big biz workers and risk losing all that Silicon Valley cash? Probably not, but honest anti-corporate liberals could escape to the Green Party.

On the surface, one could speculate that not much would change...

The Dems and the Repubs would probably remain the largest flagships and would garner the most lobbyist lucre and corporate cash, but they would still have to answer to their sloughed-off dissidents if they wanted to win elections, and they would have to compromise and throw support behind smaller party candidates, and they would have to deal with usually-dissimilar smaller parties ganging together for an election cycle around a common interest.

I think this would result in a healthier body politic...

...since deal-making and coalition reforming would happen every two years and would be focused on what the nation is facing at the time. Continually shifting alliances would mean few permanent friends or enemies, and thereby inject more reality and compromise into the equation and draining the discourse of the more poisonous vitriol and demonization. The “crazies” you flame today may be your crucial margin of victory tomorrow! 

We would get more honest debate and less hyper-partisanship since the parties would be reforging alliances around ideas and issues of the day rather than our current gray, humorless lock-step trudging to the polls with Soviet-style propaganda blaring in our ears.

Related:  The Last Gasp of Political Parties?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I'm Trying to be Charitable, Dammit

FreeThinke and I like to sit on the front porch and have long, rambling conversations about Brahms, contemporary social issues, the Circle of Fifths and blogging. He's said to me more than once that he just can't help liking Jersey McJones, and lately I've come to agree with him. Jersey is an entertainer, a thinking man's provocateur, and he taps into the age-old tradition of keeping controversy and lively argumentation alive by opposing anything and everything you say. It keeps the fires stoked.

I also feel the same way about Ducky. We have tangled for years here in Right Blogistan, but I enjoy his insight and biting sarcasm. It shocked me when he seemed to take genuine offense when I called Bernie Sanders, "Boob Bait for Bolsheviks."

So, let me back up and explain...

I tried adopting a new attitude sometime last year, and really, I've been evolving over the years. I started out as a flag-waving rightwing Christian conservative and die-hard Freeper, but I'm now a jaded libertarian Libertarian who still clings to his guns, guitars, and Bible, but realizes its all in God's hands.

People may not have noticed my efforts to be more charitable, because I will bring out the nuclear powered blowtorch when called for, especially when me and my buddies have been spending some time with ol' Jack and I decide to look in on the blogs before staggering off to bed...

I have tried. Perhaps it doesn't come across, but I value and respect the opinions of Dave Miller, Ducky and Jersey. I greatly admire our British Laborite friend Jez. Ronald Ward is welcome here also, but his points often get lost in his prolixity... and that attitude. He comes off like a pathetic and huffy fire drill coordinator in a windstorm, toupee flapping, red cheeks puffy because no one is listening to his forty pages of instructions.  Then he pulls the bad parody of a snooty professor, demanding essays from everyone on every hairbrained opinion he spouts.  It's tedious.  But I try.

But I write today to clear up some old business. I called Bernie Sanders "Boob Bait for Bolsheviks," and I meant no insult by it.  It's shorthand, and it's funny. This is blogging, not the Harvard debating society.  When I argue with you, please don't take it personally.  We all use these little short-hands, and usually they're amusing.  Below are a few from me.


Boob Bait for Bolsheviks: 1) Bernie Sanders as Clinton tool. 
2) Allows liberals who vote for Hillary in the general election (and we know they all will...) to salve their consciences by being able to say they voted for socialist Sanders in the primary. As a bonus, they can keep the Bernie! bumper sticker on their car. 
3) A riff off of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's comment that Bill Clinton's welfare reform was "boob bait for bubbas." 

Prog:  Short for Progressive, or proglodyte, depending on how upset the user of the word is.

D-Bagger:  Leftwing true believer.  Everything the sneering lefties think of the tea partiers? We hold D-Baggers in the same contempt.

DemonCrap Party: Who can argue that the once-great party of Give 'em Hell Harry and JFK has devolved into the devil's excrement?

In the interest of comity and parity, here's a neologism from Kook and Criers:

BOOBS: Billionaires and Oligarchs Opposing Bernie Sanders

Got any neologisms?  Put 'em out there in the comments.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Music: New Old Stuff

The internet does occasionally rise above it's dubious status as Time-Waster Central and The World's Most Efficient Porn Distribution Network....

It has allowed regional bands and creative genre-shattering mashups to build small but global fandoms, and it has also resurrected obscure music from the past to be appreciated and enjoyed by new generations.

I have two selections for us going into the weekend...

Kyuss - Space Cadet

Before Queens of the Stone Age, Frontman/guitarist Josh Homme and drummer Alfredo Hernandez were cranking out excellent Stoner Rock/Alternative Metal. This song has some Tool-like echoes, but Kyuss came first. Listening to the vocals, I also wonder if Days of the New were influenced by them...

Excellent soundscape music accompanied by an equally-excellent and hypnotic video.  Enjoy!

From 1994, Kyuss's masterpiece, Space Cadet...


Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence  

Finn brought us two versions of The Sound of Silence last week, and when he featured the original, it was the true original.  I apologize for chewing old cabbage, but I had planned a blog post on this song, but Finn got the jump on me.

I accidentally stumbled across the un-remastered original that just happened to be on a CD I purchased.  The CD is stashed away somewhere, but the liner notes said this original version was featured on their debut album, Wednesday Morning.  The album flopped, and Simon and Garfunkel parted ways.  But the song's producer remixed it and layered in more instruments, re-released it, and it became a hit. That is the song we are all familiar with, so when I heard this un-remastered version for the first time it knocked me over.  The sparseness of it, the very folkie strumming acoustic guitar and their voices sound much more folkie in this bare-bones arrangement.

If you didn't give it a good listen last week, please put on some headphones, close your eyes and listen to it. If you haven't heard it before, and even if you are tired of the radio version, you will find this original recording haunting.

I like the original better, but I've been in rebellion lately against over-produced music; one of the factors that killed country music for me.  I apologize if I'm telling you something you already know. I discovered Simon and Garfunkle among my dad's collection of musty old LPs, and although not an avid devotee, I appreciate their artistry, and I have their Greatest Hits CD.

From 1964... Simon and Garfunkel's un-remastered The Sound of Silence...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Email Server to Die For

By Hugh Farnham

HUMINT, or human intelligence, is one of the most closely held secrets possessed by our government.  The reason is quite clear:  release of this information puts our hard-won informant's lives at risk.

One of the greatest fears for a CIA agent is the identities of his assets will get out into the open.  This usually happens either by a mole or inadvertently by the intelligence community itself.  Each recruited spy represents many months of effort in research and finesse.  

Somehow, thousands of classified emails ended up on Hillary Clinton's private server.  These emails had information classified as Top Secret and above, including Special Access Programs and HCS-O, or HUMINT.  Deadly data to be hosting on a server touching the Internet.

These emails began their life on systems like JWICS, which is a Top Secret level network.  It has no connection to the Internet.  There was no way to get the data from JWICS into Hillary's private server unless very conscious criminal steps were taken.  Conscious actions by several people.  Huma Wiener?  Sidney Blumenthal?  The late Tyler Drumheller?

It is likely that a smart phone was used, snapping photos of documents, then OCR'd and stripped of their security markings before sending to the Hildabeast.

Robert Gates recently said "the odds were pretty high" other countries got access to this server.  She was, in the parlance of hackers, a "whale" - a Moby Dick.  The highest priority for intelligence services.

I believe it was extremely likely nation state actors had full access to this server, and were stumbling over each other getting data out of it.  I'm talking about Russia, China, Britain, and Israel.

I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop.  Did she use this classified information to feather her own nest, that in the Clinton Crime Foundation?  Offer inside knowledge for contributions?  I know this was the modus operandi for the Clinton White House - donations made to the DNC or Bill's campaign in exchange for a pass from regulatory agencies.

Only time will tell how many of our loyal intelligence assets were executed because of this corrupt woman. 

So what is the real difference between John Walker, who sold our secrets for cash, and Hillary Clinton?    

Hillary's body count.

Photoshop credit:  INK361

Related Western Hero Articles: