Category Archives: Southern Scene

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Online Debates Look Fun

MONTICELLO — Even if you don’t enjoy politics, debates can be fun!

   The first Democlican-Republicrat debate starts at 9 p.m. EST from the University of Denver campus in Colorado.

   The New Civil Rights Movement provides Debate Lingo cards pictured at right, or you can play Amnesty International’s Human Rights Presidential Bingo online or by downloading four Bingo cards!

   Sure, you can watch the debates on nearly any TV station, but who watches theirTube anymore? Ustream offers PBS and CBS feeds. Google streams the debate live via YouTube. You can also see it online at CSPAN, hulu or the Huffington Post.

   If you want to hear more than the two sides to issues, Democracy Now and Common Dreams provides two additional presidential candidates! Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party will answer the moderator’s questions immediately after the Democlican and Republicrat candidates. Tune in at 8:30 EST to begin.

   Twitter should be afire, “officially” using #debates as the hashtag. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will not be in the debates either, but the Unauthorized Gary Johnson Twitter Army plans to twitterbomb #GaryJohnsonForPresident from 8:45-10:30 p.m. to trend the hashtag during the debate; Johnson may still be crowd-surfing. Politifact will live-tweet, answering questions from the #PolitiFactThis hashtag and providing an Argument Ender app.

   The American Democracy Project hopes you’ll join a tweet-up at 9 p.m. EST by using #ADPdebate. Amnesty International wants the bingo players to use #AIBingo. The Independent Voter Network will answer tweets with the hashtag #indyvote. The Coffee Party Movement wants you to use #CPdebate, promising to use comments and thoughts in next week’s posts and radio shows. NPR is using a special #factcheck conversation.

   Texters might win a HRC T-shirt if they correctly answer four questions; Just text DEBATE to 30644.

   Of course, politics bores some folks and Bingo seems a bit tame. If you can find a designated driver on a Wednesday night, you might try this drinking game from Conservative Intelligence Briefing.

vote

UPDATE: Include 3rd Party Candidates!

MONTICELLO — You’ve seen the national conventions of the Democlicans and the Republicrats. Soon you will see them square off through your devil’s box, i.e. your computer or television.

But you deserve to know all of your choices. Which is why this campaign will change focus to support a petition drive from four different political bents united by a single purpose, i.e. including third-party candidates in the televised debates.

Citizens of the United States deserve to know their choices. An informed populace makes better decisions at the ballot box than one misinformed. If a candidate appears on two-thirds or more of the state ballots, s/he deserves equal airtime on the “PUBLIC” airwaves at the very least.

***

We believe knowledge gives power to the American voter. Therefore, we find it necessary to ask for that which should already be freely given in this 21st Century.

Whereas we are the free citizens of the United States,

Whereas we elect our president through the ballot instead of the bullet,

Whereas we can show the world democracy still exists in our Republic,

Let us therefore DEMAND all presidential candidates appearing on two-thirds of the United States ballots be available for voter inspection by including them in ALL televised debates.

America: Be Fair!

Sign and Share:

http://www.change.org/petitions/open-up-the-2012-presidential-debates?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of California

Why a Libertarian Vote Matters

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of California

MONTICELLO — In hopes of limiting facebook political rants, I’m blogging for those wishing to consider and discuss.

We just thought it was ugly so far.

***
Prior to Labor Day weekend, I plan to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. In a nutshell, here’s why:

If you want to keep the wars, vote Democlican or Republicrat.
If you want to keep the drug war, vote Democlican or Republicrat.
If you want to remain a slave to the Federal Reserve, vote Democlican or Republicrat.

If you think it’s insanity to continue things more-or-less the way they’ve been while expecting change — well, you know what I think. Just remember: when civil liberties disappear, it’s impossible to correct government.

(Note: I plagiarized myself by writing the previous bit here, posting it to facebook, then deciding to repost it here yet again.)

***

This election cycle disheartens me. I see the nation split along social lines as blatantly visible as those in my childhood.

This election will truly show America’s new colors. But it’s the old “colors” that still grab the headlines:

  • The Republican Party attacks women on an array of issues as a new guard of men raised under an old guard try to recapture power over women … WHILE THERE’S STILL TIME! Yet new generations of women never really considered their bodies to be accountable to anyone but themselves. Women still hold a numeric advantage over men according to the newest Census figures. Yet America still has yet to pass an Equal Rights Amendment. Congress did it’s job in ’72, but the states didn’t ratify by ’82 and here we are in ’12 — 40 YEARS LATER — with little discernible “change.”
  • The G.O.P. attacks “illegal” immigrants “taking American jobs” although the most recent numbers indicate more and more are heading home. It’s got to be a hard lot when you’d rather return to the Mexican drug wars than stick it out in El Norte. Led by the esteemed Barack Obama, the Democrats seem to “understand” the immigrant issue as Obama offers those born and raised in America the opportunity to be on the “non-enforcement” list. But what happened to natural-born citizenship? If John McCain could claim to be a natural-born citizen since his parents were in the Canal Zone at a U.S. submarine base, who has the right to say anyone born on American soil is not an American? On the other hand, Obama is deporting more immigrants than Bush did. It’s almost like he’s pulling a Clinton, i.e. taking a perceived weakness and treating it with overkill to pander to the other side.
  • The Constitution of the United States demands equal citizenship. In what should be a simple matter of citizen rights to be able to leave inheritance and insurance payouts to whoever you want, gay couples cannot do that if they’re not legally married. The state gives the license regardless of what deity one follows. Although many conservatives claim government should stay out of business, the insurance industry shows just how problematic that statement is, i.e. how many insurance companies do you know who provide life insurance policies with the premiums available to a LGBT partner? It seems there would be a mint to make, especially considering the rich LGBT population in the medical and academic professions. Instead, the nation must deal with self-righteous bigots who want to make sure the LGBT community cannot claim these rights because it might offend their definition of God’s will.
  • On the positive side, nowhere can the United States see more growth than in the daily treatment of black Americans. No more bodies swing in the Southern breezes. Black and white men work side by side. America elected a black president. Yet the most virulent attacks on Obama come from those raised thinking they had a right to keep blacks from becoming “uppity.” We’re living in the 21st Century, yet still idiots throw peanuts at black media personnel with tauntsincluding, “This is what we feed animals.”
  • Let’s not forget the natives. Although their fortunes have improved with the gambling industry, many still live in poverty. The nation within a nation still has no Congressional representation.

Remind me how any minority aware of their standing will vote Republican? Oh yeah, there’s these people. I digress.

Only 10 percent of Americans approve of Congress, tying a historic low. And why should they? Those mid-year Tea Partiers basically ground things to a halt on the economy. Meanwhile, they sped through provisions to spy on Americans with drone planes and to arrest Americans for practicing FREEDOM of SPEECH near those in power. It’s almost like they forgot who put them in charge. And the president, that bastion of courage, happily signed away freedoms with the NDAA and HR 347. It’s almost like the uber-elite decided the peasants just needed to be kept in check.

The nation approaches this tipping point when U.S. economic health is at the worst in my lifetime. Obama can blame the G.O.P. for hindering the jobs bill this year, but it was the Democrats last year, which leads one to wonder what kind of leader is this man?

***

I’ve been asked to consider the following video about third parties and voting outcomes. My responses follow the link:

1 – When describing the federal government, the caller claims it’s a result of what the states do. The points she gives eloquently describe some of the problems structure presents. But this is based on a faulty premise, i.e. since the adoption of the 14th Amendment, the federal government no longer kowtows to state government. We saw this in Brown v. Board of Education when the federal government demanded equal access to schools for all, regardless of what the states want.

2 – The caller describes the attempts to change state voting rules, which have come to mixed results and questionable impact.

3 – The caller notes Duverger’s Law provides the structure for a two-party system. She does an excellent job of describing that process, but fails to consider this:

Most students of electoral systems would now consider such attempts to rescue Duverger’s law as reflecting a misplaced characterization of institutions as deterministic, and hence statements about the effects of institutions on political outcomes as deterministic. Despite the law-like character of the propositions formulated by Duverger, it is now standard in the study of electoral institutions to treat institutional characteristics as producing tendencies in party systems that are probabilistic, not deterministic in nature. Duverger himself claimed in a 1986 essay that he had not intended for his ‘law’ to have the deterministic significance later attributed to it (Duverger, 1986).

Indeed, the proposition depends on interplay between psychological and mechanical factors, i.e. some people tend to believe they’re wasting their vote on a third party, which leads to their accepting what I call the “lesser of two evils.” I do not mean to imply Duverger’s principle does not work often; I note it does not work ALWAYS. I will come back to that, but here’s a hint:

‘Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies but which let wasps and hornets break through’ — Jonathan Swift.

4 – The caller suggests we could fix structure through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. However, the United States does not need to elect the president by popular vote. LET ME REPEAT: The United States should NOT elect the president by popular vote. Why? Majority rule leads to mob rule, which leads to minority repression. America should step away from — not back into — minority repression. If you want a dictator swept into office by the cult of personality, get rid of the Electoral College.

5 – I somewhat agree that you must build third parties at the state level. It’s what gets them on the ballot in the first place. One third-party candidate has that state support, i.e. the Libertarian party represents the fastest-growing party in the United States, easily taking the slot of the third largest political party in the nation. Libertarians are not a fringe group, either having held or currently holding seats at the local, state and national levels.

6 – The caller follows the same logic many of my friends claim when talking about the strategy of voting third party, i.e. “Why try to build an engine of change in an environment where the engine is unlikely to work?”

Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t wait for a better day to initiate his “dream.” Mahatma Gandhi took on the English empire: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Consider the full ramifications of the insight of anonymous[1]: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We cannot wait for change; we must instigate it.

7 – The caller suggests an Article 5 convention be held. Demand that your state legislature call for an Article 5 convention to update our Constitution to a 21st Century status. OK. I’m all behind that. Considering the historic low Congressional approval ratings previously mentioned, we’ve got a better chance of pushing that through than ever before if we’ll vote the riffraff out. But I don’t think it necessary to elect a third-party president.

The caller goes on to discuss centrism. This response will stick to electable third-party candidates, which is what I believe America may finally be ready to do.

***
Do I really need to describe the “NEED” for a legitimate third-party option?

The year of our Lord 2012 marks an American recovery in spite of efforts by both parties to continue sabotaging our nation. Recovery? You ask in disbelief. Yes, recovery. Obviously I’m not talking about the economy …

The American psyche was in a fragile state following the 9/11 attacks. Americans refused to heed Benjamin Franklin’s dire warning: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But who could blame them? They’d only seen things like that in the movies.

The previous terrorist act on American soil (the Oklahoma City bombing) featured an American enraged by events at Waco and Ruby Ridge, an American seemingly inspired by Andrew MacDonald’s “The Turner Diaries.” The previous “Act of War” on the homeland featured brother against brother in yet another financially driven power-grab clouded by the latest social issue of the day.

Although some vehemently disagree with me, it does not matter if the government knew about the Sept. 11 terrorist plot. What matters? The government took advantage.

In the name of security, the government now claims the right to indefinitely detain you — yes you, an American citizen. Which candidates support this? While you can thank Barack Obama for signing that little piece of New Year’s Eve legislation, know “Rmoney” wants it, too.

So what does that really mean? If the government doesn’t like someone talking about “minority” problems, the government can lock them away. So you don’t think they’d do that? Really? Have you not paid attention, i.e. they’ve locked people away for smoking a weed! A WEED! Not some chemically manufactured shit; A WEED.

Do you really think they’ll have any problem putting away dissident voices when they’ve mastered putting people away for A WEED? I digress.

I tried to support the president after that, knowing that he was trying to “compromise” with a Congress not wanting to put his jobs’ bill through. I thought of all of the things promised in 2004 and — somewhat amazingly, considering the intentional obstructionism — how many have been fulfilled.

But then “The Man” signed HR347; you know it as the “anti-protest bill.

“Such a lopsided vote suggests that nobody in Congress is bothered by this, on either side of the aisle.” “It is a federal offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison to protest anywhere the Secret Service might be guarding someone.” “The people who believe they are important enough to warrant protest can now shield themselves from protestors.”

Next came his Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness, i.e. martial law by executive order.

The United States is essentially now under martial law without the exigencies of a national emergency.

In short, “The Man” elected to protect our freedom deliberately ATTACKED our freedom.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice … I’m no “Dubyah.”

You may have even been mad about it at the time. But the big “O” doesn’t want you to remember that right now. Why won’t “RMoney” bring it up? BECAUSE HE WANTS THE SAME THING. REPEAT: THE SAME THING.

Instead of bringing up this unpleasant fact, both parties conspire to shout: “LOOK! OVER THERE!” The dearly departed Mark Gibson once called it “The Boo! Game.” It’s a time-honored tradition from the GOP, especially in the South. The Democrats see how to use it too, i.e. if politicians scream about social issues long enough, the electorate won’t notice the theft of our freedoms.

Without our freedoms, WE ARE NOT AMERICANS. And I believe most Americans, when they’ll stop listening to the culture war long enough to really consider it, most Americans will realize 2012 represents our best chance to break the cycle.

So where’s this recovery I see? Americans have grown tired of being AFRAID. The American psyche is back that damnit, something MUST be done. But what?

***

The Whig Party once held considerable prestige in American politics. The question of expanding slavery to the territories ultimately proved to be its demise, i.e. putting too much stock into social issues caused the electorate to turn away from the Whig Party.

Sound familiar? Only if you’ve been paying any attention to the aforementioned G.O.P. attacks on minorities. Rake me over the coals for comparing today’s issues with slavery if you will, but realize again: both issues basically come down to equal rights and equal protections under the law for ALL Americans.

And what will the Republicans’ “slavery expansion” likely turn out to be? Attacks on women. They’ve been attacking minorities a long, long time. But this assault on the MAJORITY of the U.S. population will be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.[2]

You cannot cherry-pick the Constitution. You cannot cherry-pick who can be an American and who cannot. We’re at a point in history that if you don’t like that, do yourself a favor and get the fuck out. Yes, I realize I just used vile language for the point, but it seems to be the only language that gets through to people who think they have some superiority to others due to their gender, race, creed, religion or bank account.

***

Why do I have a dog in this hunt, other than being an American citizen?

I only love God and family more than I love media. That love means I have no choice but to follow politics.

Gallup notes Barack Obama sits at 46 percent approval ratings. No president since Johnson has won with less than 49 percent prior to the election.

Within that 46 percent, the vast majority I personally know are very scared of the possibilities of a Republican presidency. “RMoney” took a lead today, if your one who keeps up with the horse-race.

But it’s August and “RMoney” just received his “bump” from the Republican National Convention. If it’s this still this close after the bump, it’s likely to diminish not too long after Labor Day, i.e. the Republicans picked a loser. Democrats should be celebrating in the streets.

But who wants to celebrate when either party means we keep the same policies that got us to this point?

When either party means we keep scores of our citizenry in chains?

When either party means we continue to prosecute people for smoking A WEED?

When either party means we continue to remain a slave to the Federal Reserve?

When either party means we continue to fight wars oversees when AMERICA NEEDS ITS CITIZENS TO REBUILD AMERICA?

When either party means we continue to fight culture wars to keep the populace from focusing on the issues that will MOVE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD?

We cannot afford either party anymore.

Either party knows the natives grow restless, so either party courts the dollars of the six corporations controlling American media under the assumption that if Americans cannot see a choice, they will not make a choice other than the false choice of the duopoly.

Understanding the trick is the first step to not being fooled by the magician.

I realize my friends see risk rather than opportunity here. But if you’ve made it this far, please hear me out.

There’s a good chance the G.O.P. breaks this year, especially with Gary Johnson promising no corporate taxes. You read that correctly.

Immediately my liberal friends will be up in arms. Before losing feeling in your fingers, though, consider Johnson’s positions compared to the corporate media’s preferences:

Anti-War; Pro-choice; Pro-gun; Anti-drug war; simplifying Legal immigration; anti-Internet censorship. I’ll let you read more, because those are important. But above and beyond all of those?

END the assault on privacy and REMAIN NEUTRAL on personal beliefs. Patriot Act? NDAA? Don’t listen to me:

2012 represents our best chance in years to truly make a difference and show the corporatocracy that even if they buy our media, even if they rig the system, the people will still overcome once they see through the lies. I don’t know how to be any clearer and I’m probably preaching to the choir.

But I’ll be damned before I continue to contribute to the insanity.


[1] Quote famously misattributed to Albert Einstein and Mark Twain. Whoever said it, common sense tells you it’s true.

[2] I’m not the only one who sees the gender gap, though there seems to be a definitive generational gap as well:

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TOWN WATCH

Watch Your ‘hood

MONTICELLO — You wouldn’t think this would be a topic to discuss in the South.

People once sat on front porches waving at everyone coming up and down the street. People once knew not only everyone on their block, but likely on the entire street and more than a score in the community. Southern life isn’t like that anymore.

So it’s a good thing to get outdoors on National Night Out. You might even enjoy an evenin’ breeze.

And if you happen to run into a police officer, give a wave. Get to know his or her name. Let ‘em know where you live and that you appreciate the efforts to deter crime. A teaspoon of prevention is worth a pound of enforcement.

Leroy Sitton reads his newspaper, with the top just low enough to see the flat-screen TV on the wall. I'll always remember dad this way.

Show Your Support of The Southerner Journal

Leroy Sitton reads his newspaper, with the top just low enough to see the flat-screen TV on the wall. I’ll always remember dad this way.

MONTICELLO — If you haven’t noticed, this blog represents a labor of love about a region we’ve inhabited the majority of our lives.

Sure, you see blog ads on the side and we may get pennies on the dollar if you click through them. You can contribute directly through PayPal, which makes the best way to support investigative journalism.

But what if you don’t have any money to spare? So what can you do to help, patient reader?

You’ll notice the “Around the South” section features someone reading a newspaper. We show this as a tribute to all of those years folks got their “facts” from trusted newsprint. Some still do, though many are going digital.

If you’d like to appear in The Southerner Journal on your birthday, send us a picture of you reading a newspaper. Better yet, make a pic of you next to a computer screen, iPad or cellphone with The Southerner Journal. Send the photo, your name and birth date to sitron45 at gmail dot com (making sure to write it like an email address) with the subject heading: Southerner Read.

We’ll do our best to use your picture on your birthday if it arrives in time. Just another way of saying THANKS! for continuing to come back for an Independent take on the South in the 21st century.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

Include 3rd Party Candidates!

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

MONTICELLO — We believe knowledge gives power to the American voter. Therefore, we find it necessary to ask for that which should already be freely given in this 21st Century.

Whereas we are the free citizens of the United States,

Whereas we elect our president through the ballot instead of the bullet,

Whereas we can show the world democracy still exists in our Republic,

Let us therefore DEMAND all presidential candidates appearing on two-thirds of the United States ballots be available for voter inspection by including them in ALL televised debates.

If you agree, please sign the petition.

Landmark-Elementary-School-Days

Higher Lottery Sales: Good for Education or Signs of Desperation?

here's hoping

here’s hoping by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr

Lottery sales keep breaking records this summer: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Some states essentially made the lottery into an education lifeline, but not all of the money goes to education as shown in this South Carolina example. Missouri budgeted for an increase that did not occur. Ohio educators claim education does not receive the money it deserves. With that much money, is it any wonder crime occurs?

What do you think?

Feel free to comment.