Forget “Get out the vote”; if you don’t care, don’t vote

Popular wisdom seems to suggest that “democracy” in this country is somehow assisted when more of the population robotically get themselves to the voting booths each election cycle and pull the lever for [generally] one of two political parties.  The more people who vote, they say, the better off our country will be.

But that’s fundamentally wrong on virtually every level.  Encouraging more people to vote – for the sake of increasing voting numbers – contributes nothing positive to this nation or our way of government.  In fact, I would argue that it is downright harmful.

People who are informed enough about the current state of our nation and our system of government do not require convincing when it comes to making their voices heard through our electoral process.  When people care, votes naturally follow.  In the absence of a genuine desire to participate in our voting system, all that is left is a breathing carbon-based entity who’s vote is no more meaningful than that of a monkey’s.

I hold no innate ill will towards those who choose not to exercise their right to vote.  In fact, I personally respect the notion of not swaying the results of the election by placing an ill-informed vote for a politician of any party.  If you cannot be bothered to pay attention, that is fine, to each their own.

But, when those people are encouraged to vote under the presumed nonsensical guise that somehow an uninformed vote helps our Republic flourish, it directly effects our nation’s future and helps support the idea that voting is an act that need not be taken seriously.  Just vote for somebody, right?.  This turns our electoral process into a mockery.

Want to help improve our nation’s future?  Forget voting.  Instead, focus on getting more people to actually care about the future of their children, their grandchildren and our nation.  Easier said than done, no doubt.  Convincing people to put down their game console remotes, or unbury their faces from their cell phones long enough to observe their environment and reflect on how our government influences their lives, is a monumental undertaking.  But, it’s one that needs to be taken, for this is how true reform is achieved.  Throwing votes around does nothing.  Paying attention to our government, however, contributes to something real.

Let’s start a “Put your phone down and pay attention” initiative instead.  Focus on providing the resources and incentives necessary to build a more informed population first before approaching the issue of voting.  Once we have an informed populace, I can guarantee you that an increase in voter turnout will follow soon after.  We will get that for free.

Budget Office predicts another year of $1t+ deficits

According to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, the government will once again run deficits that exceed $1 trillion in 2012, this time reaching $1.1 trillion.  The economic future of this nation is “uncertain”, at best.

“CBO expects the economic recovery to continue at a modest pace for the remainder of calendar year 2012, with real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growing at an annual rate of about 2¼ percent in the second half of the year, compared with a rate of about 1¾ percent in the first half.”

Is Paul Ryan a believer in small government?

Before we talk about how Paul Ryan is a pseudo believer in small government, I find it prudent to at least mention a simple statement: Ryan is not a horrible pick.  A true Libertarian Mr. Ryan is not, but then again, he’s a far cry from Mitt Romney and his “less than small government” agenda he set forth as governor of Massachusetts.

One of the bigger criticisms of Paul Ryan is that of his proposed budget, which does cut some spending, but most small government activists believe the Ryan budget to fall short of instituting true reform.  Others point to the budget and are thankful that the Wisconsin Congressman at least put forth something on which to debate.  Small victories, I guess, in today’s political world of virtually no progress.

Ryan voted in favor of a $15b bailout to General Motors as well as another $192b in so-called “anti-recession” spending.  Ryan supports using the Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman and supports a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Ryan supports making the Patriot Act permanent as well as an initiative to allow electronic surveillance without a warrant.

Ryan supported the military invasion of Iraq in 2002 and voted in favor of the nearly $80b in emergency spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Ryan was not in support of bringing our troops home back in 2007 (and again in 2011) and previously voted to allow indefinite stationing of troops in Iraq as part of our nation’s supposed “War on Terror”.

Ryan does offer some better qualities.  For example, Ryan voted to terminate funding for National Public Radio in 2011.  In 2000, he supported a $46b tax cut plan for small businesses in the U.S. and generally supports the concept of tax simplification, as well as a nearly $400b deduction in marriage taxes over 10 years.

But, Ryan’s support of propositions like the Patriot Act, DOMA, TARP and a wide variety of wasted stimulus spending leaves a lot to be desired in Paul Ryan’s support of small government.  Again, not a horrible pick, but definitely nothing too encouraging when it comes to his actual voting record that Libertarians and small government activists could hang their hat on.

Cowardly Afghan police kill Americans, then flee

In an act of extreme cowardice and betrayal, a U.S.-trained Afghan police officer opened fire and killed at least three members of the American Special Forces after being invited to a dinner under the pretext of discussing security.

According to reports, details of the incident remain foggy.  The premeditated murder occurred in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan at a checkpoint location.  The gunman ran from the scene after the shooting and disappeared into the surrounding landscape.  The names of those killed will not be released until their respective family members are notified.

This continues to beg the question of why our American forces are forced to maintain a presence in the area in a clearly dangerous environment where even our so-called allies are blood thirsty.

Here’s a link for further details of the situation:

Obama campaign distancing itself from healthcare ad

The Obama campaign is quickly distancing itself from a new super PAC political ad that falsely accuses the Bain Capital shutdown of the GST Steel plant of causing the death of a former steel worker.

The ad features Joe Soptic, a steel worker who was laid off after the GST plant closer.  He claims in the ad that he lost his insurance after the layoff, and shortly thereafter, his wife was diagnosed with cancer.  22 days later, she died.  The ad does not mention, however, that Joe’s wife remained employed for some time after his layoff and even maintained health coverage.  Further, it neglects to reveal that his wife’s unfortunate death came 5 years after his layoff.

The Obama campaign team claims to have no knowledge of the situation, even though Joe’s story is highlighted on the Obama campaign’s own web site (as of August 9th).  Further, Joe Soptic actually spoke with the Obama campaign several months ago regarding the story of his wife’s illness.

The Obama campaign responded by claiming they have no control over what Super PACs do and cannot dictate the ads that they run, and added: “The important point here is that Mitt Romney’s campaign is based solely on his experience as a corporate buyout specialist, and while he has been quick to claim he created jobs, he refuses to accept responsibility for the jobs that were lost and workers that were impacted.”

False.  The important point here is this PAC attempted to use an inaccurate report of a woman’s death to further Obama’s campaign, and this so-called “husband” apparently let it happen.

Moving towards war in Syria through sanctions

In his “Texas Straight Talk” weekly report, Ron Paul says that the United States is fast approaching another war in the Middle East, this time with Syria, by placing further sanctions over the rogue nation that the administration has deemed a threat to our national security.

“In Syria we see once again we see how our interventionist policies backfire and make us less secure,” Paul wrote, citing possible ties between al-Qaeda and the Syrian opposition.  This clear presents an interesting question: by promoting war in Syria, are we essentially supporting the very individuals whom we are supposedly fighting against in Iraq?  Even Hillary Clinton asked this question, Paul notes.

“It clearly demonstrates that the United States has no business at all being involved in the Syrian civil war. In the 1980s we supported a resistance movement in Afghanistan that later gave birth to elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. When will we learn our lesson and stop intervening in conflicts we don’t truly understand, conflicts that have nothing to do with American national interests?”

Feds cannot account for $30m in GSA bonuses

Reported by a CBS affiliate television station in Washington D.C., the federal government apparently cannot account for a whopping $30 million in taxpayer-paid bonuses in fiscal year 2011, proving once again that our federal government is neither prepared nor responsible enough to manage virtually any amount of money.

According to the CBS affiliate, the General Services Administration reported only 1/3rd of its actual bonus payouts and did not respond to interview requests.  They did issue a statement that indicated the GSA will look  into the matter and how the agency manages compensation – but who actually believes that?