Thursday, November 4, 2010

Governor Gary Johnson Recap

Former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) came to speak at Fordham tonight and this, my friends, is the promised recap.

First things first, the guy is going to run for president in 2012, but will under no circumstances make it beyond the primaries. It's unfortunate, really, because he does represent the goals of the average American in almost every way. He is a political everyman, both in his moderate/libertarian belief system and in his manner of speaking. He is charming in the small, college venue in which I saw him; his demeanor is one of almost pathetic desperation (he spoke at Fordham for free, unusual for high profile politicians). This desperation, however, is derived not from an internal desire to elevate himself, but a desire to connect with his audience and externalize his ideas. He's endearing, and I'm sure he collected an inspired fanbase at Fordham tonight, but in an era of political demagogues and eloquent one-liners, Mr. Johnson simply stands no chance.

He mainly spoke about the legalization of marijuana (he pretty much agrees with what I said), the reduction of government spending, and focusing legislation on those bills advantageous for the average person, not based on popular support. He gave an example of the latter from his time as Governor of New Mexico: a high school athlete died in a pole vaulting accident and within a month, he said, a bill was on his desk that required all high school students to wear helmets during the pole vault. He himself had pole vaulted in high school, and he wouldn't have wanted to wear a helmet, so he vetoed the bill.

It's this sort of common sense political discourse which dominates his thinking that is both his most powerful asset and biggest enemy. He disagrees with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; in response to a question in which a student asked how many months or years he would take to scale down the troops, he responded, "Years? I think you mean days." The crowd laughed, but he was completely serious. He makes leaps of faith that many people think, but no one says in such blunt a manner. Even for those who agree with him, it's almost unnerving to hear these thoughts outside one's own mind. The audience, by the end of his speech, was most definitely rooting for him, albeit in an empathetic, nearly condescending way.

I wish him luck; on paper, the guy has a valid chance. He's going to get crushed.

UPDATE: The entire event was apparently recorded and uploaded to YouTube; watch it here (sorry about the quality).

Vote or Death in Myanmar

Myanmar will be holding its first democratic election in twenty years. Well, strike that. Fifty years. The dictatorial ruling class got absolutely obliterated in the attempted election twenty years ago, so they just decided it didn't count. Now, the military ruling class is going for it again. Funny way to set up an election:
“Every citizen who values democracy and wants democratic rule must cast their votes without fail,” says a daily exhortation running in the state news media that urges voters to choose “candidates correctly.”
I'm getting an Iranian vibe off these guys. Something tells me there may be rioting in the streets.

UPDATE: It's a bit like this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Just a quick heads up: tomorrow, former Governor of New Mexico and potential 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson will be speaking here at Fordham. I'll write about it.

yeah, this guy.

Can't We Just Die at War, in Peace?

We appear to be in a debacle; military spending is being reduced in wartime. just released this article regarding the debate between the only real options: cut troops or cut pay. Both options suck.

Both options suck, not only because I'm a pro-war radical Tomahawk with a chip on my shoulder, but also because, quite simply, the military is one of the most advantageous business opportunities open to today's young people. No, seriously. With the unemployment situation the way it is (9.2% in September), even for college graduates, the military provides an opportunity unique in its simultaneous capability of universal availability and relative prestige. Most professions cannot compare with the absurd benefits offered by the U.S. military, and, in the most superficial statement I've made in quite some time, joining the military is quite the resumé builder. The military is and has been the steam valve on the pressure cooker that is the modern job market. 

Reducing military spending for a war opposed by many in a nation with a massive national debt is a popular political concept for obvious reasons. But in an economy in which you baby boomers have simultaneously handed my generation the largest monetary debt in the history of the world and given us a crappy job market with which to pay it back, you're now eliminating or painfully manipulating one of the most secure opportunities we have available. Come on, can't you just let us die at war, in peace?

Congratulations, Connecticut

Dearest Connecticut,

I applaud you on your most recent senatorial election, in which you replaced one of the most absurdly talented manipulators in the history of American politics with, oh yeah, another pretty damn good one. I really shouldn't be surprised. You haven't been good at picking out the bad apples in the past; I guess nothing has changed.

Not frequently does the New York Times write such a blatantly accusatory article against a Democratic candidate, especially in such an essential midterm election, as the one they authored this past spring:

"And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2000, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”
It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes."

The article goes on to point out that Mr. Blumenthal responded to questions about the, ehem, misunderstandings, by saying, "he can't know what is reported in all" the articles about him. Bullshit. I worked for former Congressman Christopher Shays during an election period. It was my personal responsibility, every day, to scan through each and every newspaper from the state of Connecticut, as well as national papers, for any article containing Mr. Shays' name. Those articles were then recorded and filed on multiple computer programs. Under no circumstances was the Blumenthal campaign unaware of the pervasive rumor that Mr. Blumenthal had served in Vietnam.

Yet you, voters of Connecticut, just elected 'Ole Richie 54-45, according to unofficial statistics. Good work, my fellow Nutmeggers.

UPDATE: And specifically to you assholes in the 4th District, your newly reelected congressman, Jim Himes, has only successfully sponsored one bill in his time in office, and it just recognized the anniversary of another bill.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Legalize the Ganja

I read an interesting editorial today regarding the resounding success of Portugal's drug decriminalization experiment. Go read the article for yourself, but basically it can be summed up by a few statistics:
"Drug use among 13- to 15-year-olds fell from 14.1 per cent in 2001 to 10.6 per cent in 2006. Among 16- to 18-year-olds it has dropped from 27.6 per cent to 21.6 per cent. This, incidentally, has come after years of steadily increasing drug use among the young; between 1995 and 2001, use in the 16-to-18 bracket leapt up from 14.1 per cent to its 2001 high. This drop has come against a background of increasing drug use across the rest of the EU."
I do, of course, feel a conscientious requirement to inform you that these statistics come from a study by this libertarian think tank, so we can't exactly call this the most unbiased reporting the world has ever seen. Still though, stats are stats.

I'm a nineteen year old kid, so you are naturally going to expect me to be in favor of legalization. Truth be told though, I don't smoke. Politically and logically, legalization simply makes sense. Reason numero uno is pretty well summarized in the editorial I just linked to. Drug use seems to fall when the kick of its illegality is taken out of the equation. For those of you who know your history, when Great Britain legalized opium in China during the Opium Wars, they pretty much killed their own industry.

There is, however, another fairly compelling argument specifically in favor of marijuana's legalization. The weed kids smoke today isn't Bob Marley's grass. No, I've seen first hand this stuff can be laced and altered in ways that I'm pretty damn sure aren't doing anyone any favors. It's being chopped and grown in a warehouse in Brooklyn by a toothless Jamaican guy (sorry Jamaicans), and dished out to me and my college buddies. There are reported cases of lacing that have sent people to the hospital. No bueno.

Legalization allows for a legitimization and regulation of a previously illegitimate and unregulated industry. It allows for honest profits, a new economic niche and, potentially most importantly, the drastic reduction of drug war related deaths.

Oh, and the federal government will save a bunch of money, which is a pretty good thing right about now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Requisite Introduction

For those of you close friends who have followed my interesting tour through cyberspace, I appreciate it. I'm sure you're laughing to yourself now as I start up what I believe is my ninth blog since seventh grade. This one is going to be a little different, though. I have intellectually matured to the point that I now realize I don't really know all that much. It's a phenomenal feeling, and it provides a cool freedom that hopefully will do itself justice on this blog.

For those of you who know me as far back as, say, Right Wing Reasoning, you know me as a political junky. Not so much anymore. In fact, I now haven't a clue where I fall on the spectrum because the political arena is, in my mind, only a small piece of an overarching logical and philosophical structure. I now tend to think case by case, issue by issue. I'd like to point out this doesn't mean there is no rhyme to my reason; I have a pretty intense moral and logical viewpoint of the world; you'll discover it (and I will too, in a way), as I write and debate.

Personally, I'm a sophomore at Fordham University. That means I'm smart. You should listen to me. You'll learn more as time progresses.