I voted today. If you live in Massachusetts, did you?
Besides the RedMassGroup.com (Republicans, not Socialists sadly) & BlueMassGroup.com (Democrats), we now have GoldMassGroup.com (Libertarians), GreenMassGroup.com (Greens) and PurpleMassGroup.com (anti-Libertarian Republicans & Democrats or something or other). There is one thing that unites them all it seems: registering their domain in the .com top-level domain.
I have noticed that many political campaigns register and advertise their internet presence with a .com domain. Why? .com domains are for for-profit companies, which political campaigns & groups are not supposed to be. .org works fine, is for non-profit entities, which political campaigns are ostensibly, and the price difference of registering in .org isn't measurably different.
It must be a pet peeve of mine, but I think, on some level, they are revealing the truth that our political system is dominated by corporations.
Voters cannot make an educated choice if they don't have information about the candidates. Thankfully, according to MassLive, all candidates on the general election ballot for the special election for Massachusetts' US Senate seat will be allowed to participate in all debates.
According to the MassLive article:
"Brown, Coakley and Kennedy will face off in the first televised debate on Tuesday. The debate will be taped, and is scheduled to be aired on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston from 8 to 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 and on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 28.
Brown and Kennedy also have confirmed they will attend a debate on Jan. 8 in Springfield sponsored by WGBY-TV Channel 57. Coakley, who grew up in North Adams, is also expected to attend.
The debate in Springfield is scheduled to be taped and then aired from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 8."
Democracy takes one small step further.
I have wished to talk about Fed. Chairman Ben Bernanke's renomination and the quality of the job that the former Princeton Econ prof and expert on the economics of he Great Depression did, but since Doug Henwood, of Left Business Observer, sums up Chairman Ben's performance so well, I'll leave it to him:
Why is this guy getting reappointed? He let the bubble inflate,
dismissed worries about the dangers of subprime mortgages and
derivatives, said in mid-2008 that the recession was unlikely to get
too serious (just as it was about to get very serious)—and then, when
everything fell apart, set about writing big big big giant big checks
to Wall Street. Yes, in a financial crisis, it’s essential that a
central bank flood the system with money to keep things from imploding
utterly. But he’s done so without any clear strategy or accountability,
and absolutely no commitment to insuring that it doesn’t happen again.
Truly the American ruling class is a rotting social formation.
Fed chair Ben Bernanke was before the Senate just the other day urging
Congress to cut Medicare and Social Security. I suspect that the upper
reaches of American society are deeply interested in imposing an
austerity program on most of us in order to pay the bills for the
bailout and stimulus programs. It’s never too early to gear up for that
The rest of Doug's article is his assessment of the latest economic news and worth the read as it always is, even when I disagree, which is seldom.
"I laugh when I hear the humanists whining about the reduction of people
to ciphers. What makes them think the destruction of men complete with
tricked-up names is any less inhuman than their destruction as a set of
numbers? I have already said that the obscure antagonism between the
would-be progressives and the reactionaries boils down to this: should
people be smashed by punishments or by rewards? As for the reward of
celebrity, thanks for nothing!" – Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life, Chapter 15 (Roles), Section 5.
"When people are overtaken by joie de vivre they are lost to leadership
and stage management of any kind. Only by starving the revolutionary
masses of joy can one become their master: uncontained, collective
pleasure can only go from victory to victory." – same as above, Section 6.
Congratulations to the German Greens for increasing their support in the German Federal elections from 8.1% to 10.7%. It is a shame they will remain in opposition, but that they will have more MPs to advocate for Green values.
Also, congratulations to the German Pirate Party for receiving about 2% of the vote in the election. While not the 5% they needed to get MPs in the Bundestag, still quite a respectable showing for such a new party. Keep up the fight!
BTW, there is an interesting discussion about the election at Matthew Yglesias blog.
"… the master-slave dialectic implies that the mythic sacrifice of the
master embodies within itself the real sacrifice of the slave: the
master makes a spiritual sacrifice of his real power to the general
interest, while the slave makes a material sacrifice of his real life
to a power which he shares in appearance only."
"The refusal of sacrifice is the refusal to be bartered. There is
nothing in the world of things, exchangeable for money or not, which
can be treated as equivalent to a human being. The individual is
irreducible. He is subject to change but not to exchange. Now, the most
superficial examination of movements for social reform shows that they
have never demanded anything more than a cleaning-up of exchange and
sacrifice, making it a point of honor to humanize inhumanity and make
it attractive. And every time slaves try to make their slavery more
bearable they are striking a blow for their masters."
This book and Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War are the two books I am striving to finish of late. Sigh… the Sicilian Expedition, about which I am reading, was yet another case of imperial overstretch. Not like our current follies.
Irving Kristol, "godfather of neoconservatism", died on the 18th. A friend blogged about this quote from Kristol:
"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people.
There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate
for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and
truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion
that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a
modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
Here he is expounding on the need for "Noble lies". Glad we got that cleared up. Nice to know the "grandfather of neoconservatism" thought it was ok for elites to lie to us lowly citizens. Its for our own good after all.
Considering the last eight years of lies: Iraq has WMDs, we need to bail out the fat cats on wall street who save the economy, the planet isn't warming because of our emissions of CO2, housing prices will keep going up, the rich deserve their wealth, I'd rather some truth please.
The Reason magazine article, don't worry they are libertarians, that reports the previous quote has this little Kristol gem as well:
"If God does not exist, and if religion is an illusion that the
majority of men cannot live without…let men believe in the lies of
religion since they cannot do without them, and let then a handful of
sages, who know the truth and can live with it, keep it among
themselves. Men are then divided into the wise and the foolish, the
philosophers and the common men, and atheism becomes a guarded,
esoteric doctrine–for if the illusions of religion were to be
discredited, there is no telling with what madness men would be seized,
with what uncontrollable anguish." (cite).
Seems to me that the Golden Rule of "do to others what you would like to be done to you" is pretty universal. Whether given from a god, gods, or just something we developed in our long evolution, it doesn't much matter. However, Kristol seems to believe "he who has the gold makes the rules". How very Machiavellian of him. I'll leave out the Dante reference.
It took me 23 months of long nights, with many fits and starts, but I am happy to say that I am finally done with merging three different GRP databases. I handed off the final merged data set off to the GRP Membership Director. Since I resigned from the State Committee and any of the other committees I was on, that concludes any direct involvement I have with workings of the Green-Rainbow Party at the state level. Both scary and exhilarating. New projects await.
My recommendation to anyone who maintains a party or non-profit database is to just have one. I recommend CiviCRM, though there are many others. If you must integrate other data sources, say a voter list on a periodic basis, then keep past versions of the data set around, extract the new records and merge those into your data set. Any conflicts will be easier to handle. If you do not have just one data source, then look at the brief notes I kept.