I’m a Libertarian, officially

This past Thursday, I wrote that I had submitted my voter registration change form to switch from the Democratic party to the Libertarian party.  Here is the screen grab I made to signify the change.

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There were ONLY three choices, another example of how we’ve been forced into a two-party system with no real choice.

Years ago I had been registered as an Independent and revelled in the calls and visits to my home practically begging me to switch to the Republican or Democratic party. The only real argument that really had any weight with any of these people is that I didn’t have the ability to vote in primaries and was “stuck” with who won both parties at the regular election in November. It wasn’t until 2008 that I decided to switch to the Democratic party so that I could vote in the primaries for the next President. Out of both parties, which I now see more similar than different, I aligned more with the Democrats (at that time). I’m going on record here that I actually voted for Clinton in my state primaries and in my defense, I had no idea about our political system in 2008, my eyes were still covered. When she lost, I ended up voting for Obama and 4 years later, voted for him again. If I had known then what I currently know now, I probably would have not voted for him in 2012, but still would have voted for him in 2008. Obama’s challenger in 2008 did not appeal to me in any way and his policies were old-fashioned.

Well, fast forward to this past Friday and my state election board accepted my voter registration change and is sending me out an updated card. I feel this is the right choice to make right now for several reasons that I’m going to go into shortly. I had a long conversation with my wife over this weekend about this change as she used to be a Republican but recently has been questioning the political system as I have been. It was a spirited conversation that had its moments of raised voices and interruptions to make points, mainly from her as I kept myself rather reserved in tone and volume. I’ve invested significant amounts of time reading, learning, reading some more, observing, more reading…… My wife is more the “did you see this on Facebook?” kind of person that asks questions about whether what is posted is real or not. I’m working on her, but it’s a slow process as politics is so not her favorite subject to talk about let alone read about. She did admit that she voted for Johnson in this past election based on the conversations we had leading up to the election. My views and supporting detail of those views convinced her that neither Trump or Clinton were good choices and I’m sure she checked up on some of them.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I would remove my ability to vote in the primaries. The blunt and simple answer is that I think the primaries are ineffective. As voter turnout is public record, I did some research on the recent elections for my state and was shocked to see the numbers for voting-elegible population (VEP):

  • 14% Primaries (2012)
  • 59% General Election (2012)
  • 36% General Election (2014)
  • 33% Primaries (2016)
  • 62% General Election (2016)

SOURCE: United States Elections Project

Looking at the 2016 general election, across 50 states and the District of Columbia, the average turnout was only 60.5%! In raw numbers, an average of 39.5% of VEP did not vote for our current President. This represents a 20 year low in voter turnout that has been showing a down trend in recent years. Nearly 40% of the country that is eligible to vote doesn’t bother to show up and actually vote? That is just sad. I personally refuse to be so jaded that I stop voting all together because damn, it’s still my right in this country and hasn’t been taken away (yet).

I changed my party because I want to bring awareness to the people in my small circle that a two-party system is no longer effective anymore and in some arguments is just broken. It has been warped and altered, slowly, over the last few decades, to become something of a trivial formality that is constitutionally required but rigged for the candidates that named their number and are now playing the game as pawns in the oligarchy that has emerged. All the emails leaked leading up to the general election painted a picture of corruption, manipulation, media control and a general lack of accountability to the American people. Would Bernie Sanders have won the Democratic nomination if there wasn’t corruption and fair coverage in the media? We’ll really never know as it’s doubtful that he will run in 2020.

libertarian_party-svgBy my being a Libertarian, I’m rebelling against the status quo and sending a message that I’m not a sheep that can be placated and condescended into thinking that my life is only worth as much as I can spend at the store. I have joined the revolution that is questioning the system, interrogating the system, researching and learning all the details that the system doesn’t want me to know. Changing my party to Libertarian is a signal that I’m now aware of the game that has been perpetrated for at least the last 40 years. I’m going to encourage others to do the same; whether Libertarian, Green, or even Independent. Choosing anything other than Democrat or Republican on the voter registration form is sending a strong message to the ones that are in control. The sheep have seen the wolf and word is spreading.

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Unofficial logo of the Libertarian Party, a porcupine, symbolic of just wanted to be left alone (from the perspective of government)

Three Things Thursday – 02/02/2017

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Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

BRING THE HAPPY!

100 Followers!

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I finally hit 100 followers after just over 5 years. Admittedly though, my blog wasn’t “public” until the past year, so it’s a little misleading. Happy to have finally reached that milestone and hope that I continue to organically add followers as I continue to improve my writing, both in content and style. For better balance in my life and to let Life Between 0 and 1 be for it’s original purpose, I’ve created Mission Politics for all the politically driven posts I have been publishing here.  Going forward, non-politics is here and politics is on Mission Politics.

Office 365

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Disclaimer, I’m not getting paid for this. I’ve recently tapped into all the benefits of an Office 365 subscription (not enterprise, consumer). With the subscription, that is now three years old, I get 5 installations of Office 2016 Professional, 1 TB of OneDrive storage for up to 5 people (5TB in total), and 60 Skype minutes for up to 5 people (300 minutes in total); Skype calls to non-Skype users that is. I’ve just recently farmed out the subscriptions to family/friends to install their own copy of Office 2016 and get 1TB of OneDrive storage for backups, storage of pictures, etc. I’m happy that I’m finally taking advantage of all the benefits of the annual subscription 🙂

Voter Registration – Change of Party

changeofparty

I finally did it. I exited the Democratic party officially and am now registered as a Libertarian (once it’s processed that is). It was necessary for me to do this mentally. I’ve come to disgust the majority of policies the Democratic party is pushing and of course, distrust them after the Sanders/Clinton DNC controversy. Republicans aren’t much better and as I’m not a conservative by any measure, I’ve never associated with the majority of their policies. Politicians are essentially the same anyway, so party affiliation is sort of an irrelevant point. My registration change, among other things, is to raise awareness of the fact that third parties (and even fourth parties) are relevant and should be included with the political process in this country. A modernization to the Electoral College is necessary to make this a reality, still quite a few years away, if ever in my opinion.

TTT Album Recommendation

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This rock is approved!

Devil in Disguise
by State of Mine

Manipulation of the masses

I watched the “news” this past weekend for the first time in a long time. I’ve exclusively been getting news from 3-4 online sources that I’ve found to be truth leaning and have demonstrated that they’re not controlled by standard mainstream media channels. Sitting there and watching the 30 minute show (actually 17 minutes if you take out the commercials), I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of disgust and anger. At the end of the half hour, I had a disturbingly clear picture of WHY people don’t believe the truth even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary right in front of them. Americans have been conditioned to believe that anything worth reporting on the news is important, and anything that doesn’t make the cut isn’t worth their time. I’ve already realized that 17 minutes of news is ridiculously inadequate. The manipulation has been so gradual, so subtle, that to think that all mainstream media has been in on this manipulation of the American people is literally a slap in the face of our collective intelligence.

After watching Rigged 2016 recently, I fully understand the total and complete impact of misinformation being shoveled at us through massaged and softened “news” from mainstream media. Most of who I know well get their news from sources that do not include newspapers, local news, or American world news (if you can call it that). From my own observation, which isn’t anywhere near scientific, it would appear that around 45-ish is a divide between television/newspaper (older) and online sources (younger). I understand the reason for this, especially when reading sites like CounterPunch, Wikileaks, and the such. Americans are not stupid, and quite the opposite, they are starting to wake up and realize that their parents and grandparents method of information isn’t reliable. The Internet has allowed for unfiltered and near real-time reporting of incidents that have no chance of being altered before delivery. The documentary explained that the establishment has been backed into a corner where their manipulation has been exposed and people are starting to reject their mainstream thinking. While I’m disappointed that this didn’t happen this year, I can sure as bet my life that 2020 is going to be a monumental and history making election year provided that, at the very least, Libertarians obtain 5% or more of the popular vote. My hope is that the Libertarian and Green party manage to get at least 5% of the popular vote. That would set the stage for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens on the debate stage. A figurative middle finger to the two-party system indeed!

One important lesson I’ve learned recently is that you can’t force someone to change their opinion no matter what evidence you present to them. A Clinton fan will be a fan no matter what they know to be true or not. There is a belief that anything negative is viewed as conspirator rhetoric done on purpose to attack their credibility or character. My own view has been changed and I see her for what she is, a manipulative war-loving elitist that will do everything she can to remain in power (and wealthy). The fact that Trump has no political experience isn’t much better and is as much a part of the corrupt system as Clinton, however he is seeking more power where Clinton is seeking to keep her current power. We are on the verge of an awakening in this country that is causing more and more Americans to question the “business as usual” politics and economics of the last 50 years. Americans are tired, frustrated, and angry of having to struggle every day just to make ends meet. Content released by Wikileaks has been enough to put doubt into the minds of a lot of people around the world. It is no longer accepted that politicians are looking out for our best interests, quite the opposite, they’re looking out for their own interests. I’m angry that we, as a people, have allowed this to take place, but I can accept why it’s happened in the first place. At no point in our history have we had so much information available to us through the Internet, and the failure of the political systems in place to recognize this is our chance to actually make a REAL difference in the course of our country.

Our actions this year and over the next four years are crucial so as to break the stranglehold of the two-party system in our country. Americans are not dumb, despite what Clinton and Trump have said through leaked emails and transcripts. Americans are waking up and have started to take a position that is polarized AGAINST what the Democrats and Republicans have established in the last 50 years. All the racial tensions, all the anger, all the frustration is a symptom of the problem: a government that is too big and corrupt to get out of their own way. I’m a believer that we can affect the change necessary to start making things better. That starts with the recognition that third parties are not just “footnotes” or “afterthoughts”. Third parties are, after this year, a viable alternative to the deplorable two-party system we’ve had shoved down our throats. A really good metaphor from the Rigged 2016 documentary that truly resonated with me: “The political parties are like car manufacturers. People no longer buy Fords or GMs because their parents did. People are making their own choices now.” That resonated with me because my Dad is voting for Trump (because he’s not Clinton) and my Mom is voting for Clinton (because she’s not Trump). I think there is a better choice and I’m choosing to vote third-party. Mainstream media can go to hell, I’m aware of your game, and I will no longer accept your brand of thinking.

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Year of the third party candidate

Conversations with people over the last several months has consistently floated into politics. I like to consider myself having an open mind and as such, form my opinions based on fact rather than other people’s opinions. I refuse to pander to the mainstream media’s view of “Trump or Clinton” where this is no other choice. My strong opinions and views of both these candidates is barely classified as mediocre at best. The reasons are many, but that isn’t the point of this blog post, rather this blog post is about the rise of the third-party candidate and their strong chances this year to actually affect the elections positively. We have the Libertarian ticket with Johnson/Weld (JW) and the Green ticket with Stein/Baraka (SB). During my research of both, I’ve found a lot more similarity than difference in their positions. The key factor here is if one or both of them can make it to 15% or more on the 6 national polls to allow them an opportunity to participate in the Presidential debates. Without that, I fear that neither will have a major impact on the elections and have a similar impact as Ross Perot and Ron Paul in previous elections.

I’m so frustrated with the back and forth that Trump and Clinton have started. Some of the articles I’ve read make it feel more like two bullies at recess fighting to see who is better, something I’ve had a lot of experience with being on the receiving end of a bully or two. A lesson in how to herd cats, neither the Republican or Democratic party can figure out if they’re looking at their heads or their butts. Media certainly doesn’t make anything better in their obviously filtered decisions on what to cover and what not to cover. Statistics based on polls of males college educated vs. non-college educated, minorities, women college educated vs non-educated, individuals who believe the sky is purple….. the ridiculous list of stats goes on and on. Stats don’t show the true story of what or how people are thinking in my opinion. The stats are the media’s way to justify headlines like “Clinton responds to Trump labeling her a ‘bigot'” and “Clinton see Trump ties to ‘alt-right’ dystopian ideology”. I’m literally shaking my head after typing that last one….. and this comes from the Associated Press of all places. Dystopian ideology indeed. Ask anyone the difference between utopian and dystopian and I’d wager they would need to look it up. I’m a science-fiction fan, so know the different pretty well. Bladerunner = dystopian, The Giver = utopian (but discovered truly dystopian). Star Trek The Next Generation, in essence, is a utopian society in that they eliminated poverty, hunger, war (at least on planets in the Federation). Enough geeking though.

I was close to a decision on a third-party candidate and my choice takes into a lot of factors that technically aren’t relevant to this blog post. The Monster in Your Closet has provided her endorsement and I share a lot of the same viewpoints she does in her support of Jill Stein and the Green Party.  Several of the platform points that I’m behind are:

  • 20 million new jobs by creating WWII-era workforce mobilization to migrate to 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe
  • Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act which banned secondary boycotts and permitted state “right-to-work” laws. Enact a federal just cause law (to prohibit firing without just cause,) and outlaw scabbing on striking workers
  • Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve
  • Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure
  • Abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote with ranked-choice voting
  • Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers

The above are not in any particular order of importance. A lot of what she is standing for in her platform is what the American public has told her are the problems that need to be corrected. Both the Libertarian and Green parties have listened to the “people” who most politicians have ignored to a large extent. Normal people are not part of the inner circle of greed and therefore, don’t have any leverage to change anything. I’m a normal person and as such, feel powerless to make any change, or so I thought. Both Stein and Johnson have a major battle to not only be part of the debates, but also be listed as a candidate on all 50 state ballots. There are so many rules and blocks to getting on the ballot no wonder we’re stuck in this two-party system rut. Our power as individual voters lies with social media, conversations, and grass-roots efforts of support.

I’ve yet to choose my third-party candidate at this point, however I lean heavily to Stein/Baraka. My decision will most likely come down to who, if any, make enough headway to earn their spot in this years debates. One thing I am certain of though, is that my vote will NOT be for Trump or Clinton, as I feel for me, that is endorsing one of the two school yard bullies. Supporting a bully only results in slightly less attention, but you continue to be bullied regardless. I can no longer support a system that continues to get richer while I struggle to keep myself above water without making any real difference. The difference I’m making this year is in support of the “good Samaritan” that steps in to stop the bully in the schoolyard from picking on me. If one of the third party candidates manage to win the election, it will truly be one for the history books.