I do love the hypocrisy of Slashdot.
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I do love the hypocrisy of Slashdot.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Of course, it's all fun and games when it's "those people" we disagree with that get harassed and silenced by our increasingly authoritarian government. Those people bring it on themselves, it's not the fault of the establishment we intentionally built. Oh and "those people" don't have to be the tea party if that's what you were thinking, how about all the minorities convicted of things like drug crimes or pulled over for driving while black?
People that, say, believe in the right to be free from religion but want to impose "some common sense gun control" are no better regarding our rights than someone that believes in the right to keep and bear arms but wants to impose "some common sense moral standards."
Worse, the latter are willing to stand up for themselves, once their most important rights have been violated too deeply*, while the former will just sit there and ask someone else to stand up for their rights despite campaigning to remove the very ability for people to stand up against a despotic government.
If you want to protect your rights, stand up and protect them and quit waiting for everyone else to do it for you. Worse, don't trample on the rights of others just because you don't hold those rights as dear as they do, for you are simply asking for them return the same of you.
Government is a tool to ensure all of our rights, not for one group to lobby for the removal of rights other people hold dear to benefit another group. We, as a people, have lost sight of that in an effort to impose our own values upon everyone else (and I'm not talking about just religion). We, ourselves, cannot be free, so long as we demand the government remove the freedoms of those we disagree with and force them to live the life we would want them to live. At that point, we have, ourselves, become that which we, supposedly, oppose.
* Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
You answered your own question... The only viable alternative was just as bad.
Romney is a jerk, don't get me wrong... I didn't vote for either of Obama or Romney.
BUT the people would have had one, maybe two, advantages with Romney that we don't have with Obama. That is, Romney would want a second term (first advantage), so he'd be more likely to publicly condemn what the preceding administration(s) have done and possibly be willing to investigate it and put the people to blame on trial (second advantage).
And therein lies the danger of term limits... once someone is a lame duck, they have absolutely no pretense of needing to act on behalf of the people. In the case of the Presidency, not since Nixon, has a President faced the likelihood of his own party turning on him to evict him from office.
And as long as people are only willing to vote for the big two parties, primarily because they believe the "other" party is evil even though "their" party routinely lets them down on key issues, the abuses will continue.
Since the 80's, That process has been undercut by congress "loaning" then money to itself in the form of special bonds, and then using the proceeds to offset spending (such as excessive defense spending, welfare, and reducing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans).
Check out the 1967 amendment to the Social Security Act. Just two years in, The Great Society already busted budget projections and, combined with LBJ's escalation in Vietnam, the budget deficit was getting out of control. Rather than admit they screwed up, Congress and LBJ agreed to amend the SSA to state that any government body program ran a surplus would transfer that surplus to the General Fund in return for the General Fund covering any deficits those programs ran in future years.
They knew the budget was unsustainable but they played accounting games to cover it up so they wouldn't have to be accountable to the people, which meant they could keep their jobs despite having pushed an agenda they knew would eventually bankrupt us. By the time the shit hit the fan, they'd be retired or dead - essentially untouchable. Earlier in that decade, there was a politician that would later become President who was already warning that Social Security was going to go bankrupt on its own, but I'm guessing that's the guy that gets most of the blame today, despite him not being the one that actually caused the problems or drained the Social Security Trust Fund (in fact, it wasn't even his party that created Social Security, The Great Society, the 1967 Social Security Amendment or escalated Vietnam, but most people blame them anyway because, ahem, "reality" has a well known liberal bias).
Well, at one point back in 2007 or 2008, Gannett made the decision to force all of their papers onto Pluck. It was infuriatingly slow, it could be hard to find stories, but obviously, it was meant to give the papers more editorial control over all of their content (it's nice when you can make stories suddenly disappear from memory) but also encouraged them to do it with reader comments. Opinions which differed from the paper's staff, reasonable and polite or not, were deleted. The paper would start "ghosting" users, so that their posts appeared when they were logged in, but nobody else could see them. Readers that agreed with the paper's biases could get away with any amount of abuse of other readers. The editorial staff and executive staff of the paper didn't care, they just let things fester.
Then Gannett made the decision that there was just too much abuse going on in the comments and that it was too much work to keep up with, so they switched to facebook commenting (the reality, based on reading a Gannett insider blog, I get the distinct impression that may be that an exeucitve had pre-IPO stock in facebook, so this could be quite a personal boon as well).
Next thing you know, they were instituting a paywall, requiring a large mandatory subscription increase for paper-only subscribers that have no interest in digital, while simultaneously letting more than two dozen staff members "retire early" and shrinking the paper to a size that you couldn't start a fire with. About the same time, they printed a story on local tax delinquints, only they forgot to disclose that an editor at the paper was himself a delinquint, tried to scrub the posts when a reader posted it and then threatened legal action (ok, "consulting a lawyer about legal action") for libel when the story, along with the link to the state database, spread. A senior editor doesn't know that truth is an absolute defense in a libel/defamation case! And rather than simply admit it, the editor and one of the executives waged an online campaign against the readers before ultimatley hiding the comments.
They just seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot at every opportunity. And Gannett's executives just seem to be milking the company for every little drop they can get out of it along the way.
Ironic, given who it came from, but a lesson to learn anyway.
When former Greece Police Chief Merritt Rahn was found guilty of cover-up crimes involving two of his officers, he lost his job, his reputation and his freedom. He didn't, however, lose his taxpayer funded pension. For the past two years, while behind bars, Rahn has been collecting a retirement pension of $55,000 per year.
"Well if he does, he doesn't deserve it, that's for sure," said Greece resident Bob Warnick when we told him of Rahn's pension.
In fact, that's just the tip of the iceberg. We found many public employees convicted of crimes and still collecting their pensions. And it's perfectly legal.
After digging online, we ran the names of some former dubious local public employees into a database that tracks pensions. And here's what I Team 10 discovered:
*Former state assemblyman Jerry Johnson. Convicted of breaking into a staff member's home in Livingston County, he retired in 2000 and now collects an annual pension of $39,807.
*Bob Morone, in prison for his part in the county Robutrad scandal...$18,790.
*Former City of Rochester inspector William Redden, who admitted to taking bribes in a bid rigging scheme...$21,376.
*Former Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy James Telban was found guilty of misdemeanor DWI in a crash that killed a motorcyclist. He still gets his pension...$30,000 a year.
*John Stanwix, former Monroe County Water Authority chairman who pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of steering contracts to a consulting company he owned has an staggering pension of $98,658 per year.
*Nelson Miles, Jr., formerly a teacher in Caledonia-Mumford, who downloaded child porn...$21,705.
*Crooked cop Gary Pignato, now locked up for using his badge in Greece to coerce women into sex, gets $45,494 a year.
and that's just a partial list from one small area that isn't Chicago or New Orleans
That they've consistently refused to do anything about it, implies that they really don't have a problem with it. In fact, they tend to be advocates of spending more money and creating more programs at the federal level, which is the same problem those states have at the state level.
Spying isn't just about gathering information and such to bring home, it's also about influencing others from the inside through the effective use of propaganda.
Not only that, but the rail was often poorly laid and a good chunk of it was of such bad quality that it later had to be torn up and laid again. The Union Pacific Railroad went bankrupt twice in the 30 years after construction.
The Great Northern Railroad was built from St. Paul to Seattle entirely with private money and operated profitably for years until the other railroads complained that the owner was charging cheaper rates because he also had a shipping business across the Pacific and he would give discounts to people using both. They convinced the government to pass the Hepburn Act to effectively put him out of business... and in the long run, it's a piece of what eventually helped push road based shipping/transportation over rail.
Crony capitalism, brought to you a century and a half ago... yet people act like it's something new and are always surprised that there are unintended consequences that ultimately just cause the "need" for more crony capitalism to fix the last intervention. Funny part is, some people insist that they were a success despite the evidence pointing to the opposite. Then again, most people don't know any better since schools don't teach that part of history since it doesn't fit their agenda...
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
Clearly, this willful infringment was part of his duties as a Congressman (unless you want to argue that it's an act of treason to reveal a trade agreement). Come on, politicians are always exempt from the laws they force on everyone else.
ok, ok.. so in the case of legislative debate, it's actually a good thing or else not much debate would likely occur.