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Comment: Re:Sick Society (Score 5, Interesting) 155

by Shakrai (#46802603) Attached to: L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

As long as the NRA and RWNJ refuse to acknowledge that we have a gun problem, not a people problem, the deaths will continue and there will be nothing to stop it.

~300,000,000 guns, ~100,000,000 gun owners, with about ~14,000 annual homicides committed with firearms. Rhetorical question: What's 14,000 divided by 100,000,000 or 300,000,000?

It is a people problem. Studies have shown that the vast majority of first time murders already had extensive violent criminal records. Clearly the justice system is not doing these people or society justice, since there were ample opportunities to intervene before they took a human life.

It's also a socioeconomic problem, because crime is driven in large part by poverty. You want to cut gun violence? End the war on drugs, increase education and job placement funding, and start to look at seriously reforming our mental healthcare system.

Of course, all of those things are hard to do. It's a lot easier if you can just blame the guns, as though inanimate objects are possessed of powers of their own.

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1) 200

by Shakrai (#46802025) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

You're claiming that Reynolds v. Sims was a bad decision?

Yes, it was, because it allows the urban parts of the country to dictate policy to the rural parts. It removed a critical check against the tyranny of the majority. It has lead to three generations of rural disillusionment and resentment that has now reached the point where there are mainstream secessionist movements (because Reynolds v. Sims couldn't touch the structure of the United States Senate, just the State level upper houses) in several States.

Your perspective would probably be different if you lived in any part of New York outside of New York City, or Western Massachusetts, or Southern Illinois, or rural California, blah, blah, blah.

f you want to argue against it, please explain on what grounds you believe it to be a problem, and why what you would replace it with would not be worse.

Explain to me why it's acceptable for the United States Senate to be allocated based on geography instead of population, but not for the New York State Senate to be similarly allocated? What would be so horrible about creating a State Senate that granted each County two Senators while retaining the population based Assembly?

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1, Informative) 200

by Shakrai (#46800787) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

The 17th Amendment began the process of destroying the Federal structure of the United States, empowering the Federal Government to expand into areas that were previously the sole province of the States, expansions that would have been resisted if the State Legislatures still had direct representation in Washington. Centralization of power comes with all manner of negative consequences, ranging from the ease with which well monied interests can exploit the process to the tyranny of the majority over the minority.

Comment: Re:Why concerned about only one side of Keystone X (Score 1) 200

by Shakrai (#46800109) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

I'm not a Republican. I just cant fucking stand the dripping hypocrisy, nor the unimaginable logical fallacies of the fucking American Democrats any longer.

Reminds me of a quote: "I hate conservatives but I really fucking hate liberals." -Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1) 200

by Shakrai (#46800079) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Arse? So a Brit presumes to lecture me on the American system of government? Don't you have an un-elected Monarch to go pay tribute to or something? Maybe some inalienable rights (RKBA, the right to remain silent, the right against self-incrimination, and so on) you'd like to try and take back from your Government?

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1, Troll) 200

by Shakrai (#46799857) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

The word "democracy" does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, nor the US Constitution, nor any of the State Constitutions that I'm familiar with.

Words matter, and the United States is properly described as a Federal Republic, made up of 50 States, that regain their sovereignty in all matters not explicitly assigned to the Federal Government by the United States Constitution.

Comment: Re:Just another facet of post 'Citizens United' US (Score 1) 200

by Shakrai (#46799827) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Actually it's power that politicians worship (haven't you ever seen House of Cards?), which is an entirely different concept than money. To be sure, there's overlap between the two, but they are not one and the same. At the end of the day the best way to send a message to a politician is to vote them and/or their party out of office.

To answer your question about Keystone and Immigration policy: Few people vote on either of those issues. Take a look at the Second Amendment if you want an example of an issue that people are passionate enough to base their votes on, an issue that has little to do with money and everything to do with pure political enthusiasm.

Comment: Re:Why concerned about only one side of Keystone X (Score 2) 200

by Shakrai (#46799795) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

but not concerned with the Koch brothers

What's the deal with this Liberal/Progressive/Leftist obsession with two people that the vast majority (85% in one poll I saw) of the American people have never even heard of? It's like the Democrats are already trying to rationalize why they've lost the 2014 mid-terms. It wasn't the platform, the electorate's exhaustion with the party, the bad economy, or even the usual historical trend away from a two term President.... it was those Machiavellian brothers and Citizens United!

Seriously, it's counter-productive to keep beating that particular drum, and the defeatism is a bit premature to say the least.

Incidentally, I see your Koch brothers and raise you George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The right is obsessed with those two figures, though not to the same degree the left is obsessed with the Koch brothers.

Comment: Re:Just another facet of post 'Citizens United' US (Score 0) 200

by Shakrai (#46799743) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

The "big players" get the same number of votes as everybody else: One

At the end of the day the only difference between the "big players" and everybody else is the size of their respective megaphones, since money buys a nicer megaphone. That difference matters a lot less than it used to (the internet cheaply empowers anyone whose ideas can command a following) and even if it didn't the 1st Amendment doesn't allow for the infringement of speech in the name of equal access.

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 5, Insightful) 200

by Shakrai (#46799669) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Sometimes I wonder if democracy is dead.

Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one paying attention in Civics and Social Studies. Cliff notes version:

1) The United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic.
2) The devolution of Democracies into fragmented self-interests is a problem that's been studied since the time of Athens. It should surprise no one.
3) The United States Federal Government was obstinately set up to minimize the aforementioned trend, but several big mistakes (Reynolds v. Sims and the 17th Amendment top the list) along the way and 200 years of mission creep have undermined most of the protections put in place.

What can we do about it? You've got me. My best suggestion is to pray for the emergence of an existential threat, because that's the only thing that will get the American people to set aside their differences long enough to find the sort of common ground it took to come up with the original Constitution. You've actually got two problems to overcome:

1) The iPad crowd's apathy towards the political process, which is reinforced by:
2) The tendency of those engaged in that process to assume that those who disagree with them are out to destroy the American way of life.

Center meeting at 4pm in 2C-543.

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