The Political Compass

I found a site that has a test you can take which will measure where you are on the political compass. The idea is that the traditional left/right political scale only accurately measures economics, so they’ve made created a compass that has social politics on an up-down scale. The site is internationally acclaimed. It’s important to note that where they say “neo-liberalism” they are referring to the economic right, the opposite of communism, which in America we label “conservatism.” I understand the logic. That would mean that most American conservatives prefer a “liberal” (as in free) market economy, which on this chart places them on the right.

So here is where I score – My Political Compass.

Economic Left/Right: -6.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

And here’s a chart provided by the site, to which I added myself, using my score values. I guess I better go get some literature on The Dalai Lama.
International Chart

Take the test!

It Can’t Happen Here

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

It Can't Happen HereWhilst perusing a web forum, I found this interesting quote.

It sounded very interesting, so I went straight to the people who know about all subjects – Wikipedia – and did some reading on Mr. Lewis.

Apparently Mr. Lewis authored a satirical novel in 1935, titled “It Can’t Happen Here.”

Since I haven’t read it yet, I won’t try to give my own synopsis. Instead, here is a quote from a comment on Amazon (on the paperback edition page):

Surprisingly, Sinclair Lewis’ darkly humorous tale of a fascist takeover in the US, “It Can’t Happen Here,” is not merely out-of-print, but also quite hard to find. As dated as it is (1935), its themes will be quite familiar to Americans today. It starts with the highly contested election of an oafish yet strangely charismatic president, who talks like a “reformer” but is really in the pocket of big business, who claims to be a home-spun “humanist,” while appealing to religious extremists, and who speaks of “liberating” women and minorities, as he gradually strips them of all their rights. One character, when describing him, says, “I can’t tell if he’s a crook or a religious fanatic.”
After he becomes elected, he puts the media – at that time, radio and newspapers – under the supervision of the military and slowly begins buying up or closing down media outlets. William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his times, directs his newspapers to heap unqualified praise upon the president and his policies, and gradually comes to develop a special relationship with the government. The president, taking advantage of an economic crisis, strong-arms Congress into signing blank checks over to the military and passing stringent and possibly unconstitutional laws, e.g. punishing universities when they don’t permit military recruiting or are not vociferous enough in their approval of his policies. Eventually, he takes advantage of the crisis to convene military tribunals for civilians, and denounce all of his detractors as unpatriotic and possibly treasonous.

Yikes. Without straying too far into politics, all I can say is that’s a strangely familiar vision of dystopia.

Randy Garsee: The Decapitated Talking Head

Randy Garsee, the top news anchor in Southern Arizona, was apparently fired on Tuesday. Rumor has it that he sent an email critical of KOLD-13 management. I tend to prefer Guy Atchley and KGUN-9, when I actually watch the news, but I feel like Randy Garsee (and Kris Pickle, who left a few months ago) is (or was) the face of Tucson news.

There are two very good things that come out of this situation:

1. Reporters should, by nature, challenge everything. Including authority. If KOLD management doesn’t understand that, then I’m not interested in watching their (boring, censored, totalitarian) newscast. Randy Garsee is now a reporter/anchor who I can cautiously trust. He challenges his authority at work, so maybe he is inclined to challenge any authority of wrongdoing…

2. Randy Garsee is a blogger. Blogs may not still be around in 20 years, but they will have evolved into some form of mass Internet communication that also replaced the need for traditional news sources. I expect to see more freelance reporting through the blog medium in the near future.

Check out his blog – http://randygarsee.blogspot.com/

Graf Rejects “No Child Left Behind”

I’d give my vote just for this, despite disagreeing with much of the rest of his platform.

“Solutions to problems in education should be as close to students, teachers, and parents as possible. Sending dollars to Washington, to have nickels returned by Washington bureaucrats with strings and requirements attached, is not the answer. No Child Left Behind has not been a viable solution for Southern Arizona.”

http://www.votegraf.com/randygraf/issues/education.php

Gabrielle Giffords criticizes the NCLB act as being underfunded, but doesn’t outright reject it. But, I do really like the rest of her platform.

http://www.giffordsforcongress.com/issues/

New CEA Ad Plays The Right Tune

The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) is running an ad intended for Congresscritters, debunking the RIAA’s efforts for regulation on Satellite radio.

These qoutes from past RIAA/MPAA representatives, on previous technologies, are great for persuading anyone away from DRM (digital rights/restrictions management).

“I forsee a marked deterioration in American music…and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue – or rather by vice – of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines…”
– John Philip Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)

“The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials.”
– Record Label Executive on FM Radio (1925)

“But now we are faced with a new and very troubling on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder…”
– MPAA on the VCR (1982)

“When the manufacturers hand the public a license to record at home…not only will the songwriter tie a noose around his neck, not only will there be no more records to tape [but] the innocent public will be made an accessory to the destruction of four industries.”
-ASCAP on the Cassette Tape (1982)

Those funny folks. And obviously the Player Piano came and went without destroying the industry, the tape came and went without destroying the industry. Satellite and digital radio are quickly replacing FM. And digital files are beginning to replace CDs. The Industry always wants to squeeze as much money from its sales, and they want full control of the all creative content. Here’s the deal. As consumers, we should be able to:

  • Buy CDs/DVDs and listen/watch them on any device, without restriction
  • Make copies to listen on our computers, watch on our portable televisions, listen to on our iPods, etc. (we paid for the material; we should not have to pay for different copies on every device we own)
  • Make backup copies (we paid for the material; we should not have to repay if it gets destroyed or lost)
  • Record live television/radio so we can watch it on our schedules. Sorry, but when microwaves are beamed into my home, I’m free to do with those microwaves whatever I want for personal use in my home.

Did you know?

  • The RIAA wants to make it illegal to record digital/analog copies of CDs, even for backup purposes?
  • The RIAA wants you to buy separate media for all your devices (car, CD player, computer, iPod)
  • The RIAA wants to make it illegal to record live radio
  • The MPAA wants to make it illegal to record live television
  • It IS illegal to make backup copies of your DVD movies
  • It IS illegal to watch DVD movies on any “unauthorized systems” (aka, my Linux computer, a Japanese-region DVD player, your home-made home theater PC).
  • It IS illegal to rip a CD to mp3 using an “unauthorized encoder” (aka, my l.a.m.e encoder on my Linux computer, and freeware/shareware mp3 encoders)
  • It IS illegal to reverse-engineer any form of digital copy protection, even for scientific research or education

My Political Manifesto

I just finished reading an End-Times extremist spamvertisement, without realizing its true identity until the last few paragraphs. I hate manipulation and I’m not a fan of the common practice among Christians to “conceal” a subliminal message into otherwise decent text. So it got me to thinking about where I currently stand in politics. I think it is important for everyone to understand what they believe, whether religiously, politically or ethically.

First, I consider myself a Protestant Christian, in that I strongly affirm the words and ideas of the Nicene Creed as well as the Reformation’s Five solas. That alone should be enough to convince anyone that I am indeed a conservative Christian. But I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the “Christian Right” agenda in America. Because of this, some conservative Republicans think I’m liberal or moderate, and most liberal Democrats think I’m grossly conservative.

At the heart of most constitutions, certain irrevocable rights are bestowed upon the citizens of that country (or, in most cases, to human beings everywhere). That demands a moral code – a clear definition of what should be right and what should be wrong. That is where I base my political beliefs. The sanctity of human life is the foundation and morality forms the building blocks.

  • I believe in a free society, where individuals have the freedom to choose their own actions, except when those actions may harm or adversely affect others.
  • I believe that a proper welfare goverment can only exist where citizens have the freedom and choice to participate in funding and receiving benefits.
  • I believe in tax-funded services such as public education, disaster relief, commercial regulation and deregulation, and essential utilities (food/water/electricity) for the poor (when and where appropriate).
  • I believe in the importance of a secular state and a secular society, because a look into history will show us that whenever religion and politics mix, war and the absence of peace ensues.
  • I believe that full-scale war is archaic, barbaric and immoral; a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life. Modern political issues can be resolved with diplomacy.
  • In the case of war criminals and abusive totalitarian dictators, I cautiously believe that when diplomacy has failed, foreign moderation and incarceration should occur.
  • I believe that a utopian society is impossible, and any such attempt will inevitably lead to dystopia.
  • I believe there can be a balance between anonymity, privacy and security.
  • I believe that in our postmodern digital world, information wants to be free. This means I (obviously) reject digital rights management (DRM), proprietary software models, and most cases of patents to software or otherwise. Inventors should strive for noteriety and a greater good, not monetary gain. When information is free, creativity and innovation are free of burden, and human society as a whole will reap those benefits
  • I believe that there is no just argument for capital punishment. A vote of confidence in capital punishment says it is acceptable to murder innocent humans, because no justice system in the world will ever be perfect, and will always be prone to human error.
  • I believe in lifetime incarceration for those proven guilty of the worst crimes through a fair justice system, however, the human ability to redeem and forgive is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, so parole must always be an option.
  • I believe that abortion is an unequivocal form of murder; a taking of human life. There is a delicate balance between the life of a mother and her child, so exceptions might exist. The most important step in the fight against abortion is to spread information and to criminalize the medical procedure. Put the doctors in jail, not the frightened 16-year-old who doesn’t fully understand her situation.
  • I believe that guns should be generally outlawed; society has proven its inability to cope with the dangers of citizen ownership of guns. Sport hunting (likewise should be outlawed) is not an argument. In a safe, secure society, guns are illegal, and personal protections exist to counter those guns that will inevitably still exist.
  • I believe that all ethnic, religious, and gender groups should be treated equally and fairly. A secular society cannot criminalize homosexual life styles or lifepartnership.
  • I believe in Equal Opportunity for all only when it works and is still applicable.
  • I believe that national history and heritage plays an important role in determining future law. Although it may not seem appropriate in a secular society, the reference to “God” on American money and the American flag pledge is part of our American heritage and serves to teach us about our founding and our roots. That is not to say that religious relics in all forms of government objects will not eventually be removed.
  • I believe that illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty when the cause of said illegal immigration is war, unlivable conditions, or an abusive totalitarian regime.
  • I believe that citizenship should not be difficult to obtain for legal or illegal immigrants. Every person alive has ancestors who immigrated from one place to another.
  • I believe that certain social educational topics (sex ed, drugs, ethics) are primarily the responsibility of parents, and should only exist in public education as an afterthought.
  • Did I mention that information wants to be free? This also means that copyrights should enjoy short lifetimes, and should be non-renewable. Digital equipment in the home should be as non-restrictive as traditional equipment. An analog television set and VCR let you watch and record anything you wanted. A typewriter allowed you to add to any letter or document you received in the mail. A phonorecord or cassette tape could be played or copied. Laws pertaining to digital equipment should respect the “analog tradition” of freedom and consumer choice.
  • If a non-communist, non-socialist society without economies of monetary value could exist, I would endorse it and probably move there.

What the heck is going on?

Astrodome

I’m sorry, I thought we lived in America. Three cheers for the blogosphere, which has saved us from the censored corporate media.

Media being turned away from Jefferson Parish

FEMA to Reuters: no photos of the dead

Rape, Murder and Beatings in Astrodome (Houston!!), and Emergency Radio broadcast blocked
(caution – I’m not endorsing this website, but the reporter, Xeni, also contributes to Wired News and National Public Radio)

Pictures from inside Astrodome

Goodbye $25 decades-lasting driver’s license; hello evil expensive eight-years-only National ID

http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/dailystar/84765.php

IANACT, but what’s next? National RFID tags connected to the unabridged demographic data collected by surveys/contests/malware/credit cards/census (sold to the US Federal government for trillions of taxpayers’ dollars and heralded as “National Security”)?

*I am not a conspiracy theorist