First amendment rights

The first amendment is the most important amendment to the Constitution and that is why it is the first amendment. Without freedom of speech and a free press, there will be no freedom at all. Today, freedom of speech is being restricted by government and militarized police forces. A corporate media is not a free press. Newspapers have always been subject to censorship by their advertisers. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” meant that newspapers did not criticize the source of their revenue.

That still holds true today on TV. If you watch the ads for drugs, weapons makers, energy companies, insurers and banks, you know what companies and industries will never (hardly ever) face critical news coverage on that TV station. Without a neutral and honest press, politicians and corporations can lie with impunity. It is easy to lie and ascertaining the truth is often hard work. However, without that hard work and a source for the truth, freedom cannot exist in the US for much longer.

Universal suffrage

I support universal suffrage because it is fair to all citizens. Once you begin to limit the right to vote, the question becomes who can vote and who decides who can vote. It becomes a very divisive question that can only be avoided by universal suffrage.

A property qualification has been a sticking point since the Greeks invented democracy more than 2000 years ago. Property owners are supposedly the responsible members of society and they often resent paying taxes for government services to the poor. They argue that the poor will sell their votes to the highest bidders. That may be true to some extent, but owning property or other wealth does not make an individual an informed voter. Without the vote, segments of the population can be safely ignored by government. That in turn produces a weaker society.

The independent (swing) voter

The independent voter, no matter the party affiliation if there is one, is the voter who decides elections. 80% of the electorate will always vote for their party, half Republican and half Democratic. The goal of each side is to get their voters to the polls. In a close election, the independent vote may split roughly 50-50 producing a close result. When the independent vote goes strongly to one side or another, it produces a 60-40 split which in our system of government is considered a landslide victory.

Trying to convince the other side’s base is a waste of time. The action that matters with the base is motivating them to vote. Efforts to convince matter only in the case of the independent voter, regardless of party affiliation. It is the independent or swing voter who decides elections.

Mealy-mouth

Today Ted Cruz mealy-mouthed his opposition to voting on a replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder after the election in the lame duck session of Congress. He insists that the vote be held after the next Congress is sworn in early January. Of course, he is anticipating that the GOP will win control of the Senate. What will his position be after that does not happen? After all, the GOP have been talking of impeaching Holder for years.

Repression

Repression: the denial of the rights of the majority by an elite or small minority, usually involving the use of force. During the Cold War, the US supported repressive regimes around the world and justified that support as helping to contain the USSR. After the USSR dissolved, the US continued to support repressive regimes to promote stability in the world, and access to oil in the Middle east.

9-11 and Osama bin Laden were the spark that set off a chain of events that led to the current unrest in the Middle East. George W. bush did not cause the unrest, but it was his poor decision to invade Iraq that caused the unrest to happen NOW. Repression will eventually lead to a reaction. It always does. George W. Bush just released the reaction that was caused by decades or centuries of repression.

Currently, the majority of the US population are repressed by our government and large corporations acting on behalf of the 1%. Just as the US has supported repressive regimes abroad, so too does the government of China support repression in the US. They do that through financing the US deficit, and after Citizens United, they probably are funneling dark money into US elections, despite laws against foreign contributions in US elections.

Why does China support repression in the US? Because China itself represses its own people and China benefits from oppression in the US through the US jobs we export to China and the goods we buy there. A repressed population in the US is too busy with our own concerns to forcefully confront China about their repression. Repression always leads to reaction. I cannot predict when or in what form it will take place, but it will happen both in the US and in China.