Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My Proposed Solutions in Light of Yesterday's Arizona Primary Fiasco

In case you haven't been watching the news, yesterday's Arizona primary was a hot mess. People waited 4-6 hours to vote and only 60 voting places were designated in Phoenix, a city of over 4 million people. This number constitutes a third of the voting places open during the 2008 primaries, which saw a similarly large voter turn-out. The reason for this is that the state legislature recently voted to greatly reduce the number of polling places, effectively stifling the democratic process and catering to already entrenched interests.

This particular case highlights the urgent need for drastic election reform in our country, if we are to continue describing ourselves as a democratic republic, instead of an oligarchy. In case you need further evidence of the problem, below is a video that was posted on Facebook by a voter in Phoenix, showing just how ridiculous the lines were yesterday.

I haven't lost my faith in #democracy, but I do think we need some very serious election reforms if we are to stem the...

Posted by Ian Hyde on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Within the embedded post, you'll notice that I offer three specific measures (each requiring either state or national Constitutional amendments) that I think are necessary if we are to preserve the democratic nature of our republic. If you're having trouble viewing the embedded post, here's a quick rundown:

1) A reasonable number of polling places should be required based on the population of eligible voters and mail-in ballots should be universally available to voters.

2) A "person" and their associated natural rights should be defined by the Constitution as individual humans, instead of corporate entities.

3) Congress and state legislatures should have term limits imposed on their members (12 years for Senators, 8 years for Representatives) through a Constitutional Amendment (most likely brought about by an Article V Convention of the States), thereby limiting the influence of outside lobbyists and solidifying their connection to their constituents.

I go a bit more into detail on the reasons for these three measures in the embedded post, but I think they are necessary for the preservation of the American experiment in democracy. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

#‎EndCitizensUnited‬ ‪#‎ArticleV‬ ‪#‎AZVoterSuppression‬ ‪#‎AZVoterTheft‬ ‪#‎AZRiggedElection‬ ‪#‎ArizonaRiggedElection‬ ‪#‎Election2016‬ ‪#‎EndSuperPACs‬ ‪#‎SuperPACs‬

Monday, February 29, 2016

Election 2016! My Brief Take on the Nonsense...

This is the only time I plan on making a political post this election cycle, and here are my thoughts in response to a friend's endorsement of Hillary Clinton:

"Hey brother! I know this is pretty late, but my state votes on Super Tuesday (in about 48 hours, in other words), so it's still fresh on my mind. The reason I am supporting ‪#‎Bernie‬ is that I think he will force a mass, public recognition of the desire for equitable economics and social justice.

While I don't think he will win the nomination, he will definitely push the DNC conversation in a more progressive direction. This, in turn, will provide the nation with a provocative challenge to the entrenched economic oligarchy which has supplanted democratic government in an often deceptively subtle way.

Each vote for Bernie is a vote challenging the multi-generational injustice which dictates that those who are born poor will die poor, and those who are born rich will die rich, all the while preserving the illusion in popular culture that a person can “pull themselves up by their boot-straps”.

We live in an age of neo-feudalism, where fiefdoms no longer need the immediate sanction of church and state, and instead find expression in multinational corporations, privatized prisons, and private armies (i.e. “contractors”) who carve out mass economic territories which rule people's lives.

The truth is that every candidate in this election is flawed, but that's the human condition. I think that by voting for Bernie, even though he may not win the nomination, will push the conversation in the right direction and challenge us to think of new economic models to replace the old, entrenched, and often overlooked ways of doing business."

‪#‎BernieSanders‬ #HillaryClinton ‪#‎election2016‬ ‪#‎capitalism‬ ‪#‎socialism‬ ‪#‎corporatism‬ ‪#‎populism‬ ‪#‎politics‬ #DNC

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Need for Congressional Term Limits

Imposing term limits on Congress would go a long way in limiting the oligarchical (rule of the few over the many) trend our legislatures are currently exhibiting. We have congress members who have been in power for decades, the majority of which are multimillionaires, and many of whom belong to political dynastic families. If this isn't the definition of an aristocracy, I don't know what is.

You guys know that I rarely actually ask you to support a cause or share something. Usually I just blurp my own little thoughts and opinions onto social media and let you do with them as you will... which usually involves arguing with me :)

But I think that imposing term limits on Congress through a convention of the states as enumerated in Article 5 of the Constitution is a necessary and worthy cause if we want our republic to maintain its character as representative of the people of the United States. Congress won't propose and approve such an amendment themselves, as they aren't willing to limit their own power. It is the nature of oligarchies to hold on to power at all costs.

In order for a national convention to amend the constitution to happen, 34 of the 50 state legislatures would have to request it. But if they did, Congress would not be able to oppose it, and once an amendment was proposed, it would go directly to the state legislatures for ratification.

So what I'm asking you guys to do is, watch the video below and check out the ATCL site, and if you think it's worthy, get involved. Read up on the Constitution and specifically Article 5. Help us to take back our republic. There is no reason this shouldn't be a non-partisan issue. Conservatives and liberals both desire a more responsive government that reflects the will of the people. All of my military and veteran friends actually swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and this movement is designed to reinforce the ideals behind the Constitution.

I'll close with this quote, in the hope that you will join the movement to limit the power of political elites who desire to rule over us schlubs...

"Nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republican government as a periodic rotation." - George Mason, Founding Father.

‪#‎ReclaimOurRepublic‬ ‪#‎ResistOligarchy‬ ‪#‎Article5‬ ‪#‎CongressionalTermLimits‬ ‪#‎ACTL‬ ‪#‎Congress‬ ‪#‎TermLimits‬ ‪#‎Constitution‬

Saturday, October 03, 2015

My Thoughts on Gun Control in Response to the Recent Mass Shootings in America

I posted this in response to a friend's posting regarding the recent Oregon shooting, and thought it was worth sharing on my page:

The Relationship Between Mental Health Care and Gun Violence
I do think that we need to take a hard look at gun violence, its relationship to our gun laws and culture, and have a measured discussion about pros and cons of gun ownership. But I am also pretty disappointed that most of the articles I read rarely mention the abysmal state of mental health care in this country.

Over the past decades more and more people are experiencing a sense of isolation and depression, while our nation systematically shuts down and under-funds what resources are available. In many jurisdictions, signs of mental illness are an arrestable offense. Our prisons are our mental health hospitals.

When the gun debate is brought up, it's generally these mass shootings which take the spotlight and while they should definitely be taken into account, they are barely a blip on the radar of gun violence. In fact, suicide by firearm (21,175) accounted for over half of all suicides in the U.S. (41,149) in 2013 and were almost double the figure for firearm homicides that year (11,208).

Whether we keep, restrict, or expand the availability of firearms, I am pretty sure addressing the above mental health concerns will go a long way toward lowering gun violence rates and may even have a greater effect than passing more gun control legislation (if anybody knows whether research has conducted in this regard, I'd like to know).

In fact, Scandinavian countries (and Switzerland) have high gun ownership rates, but very low violent crime rates. They also have, in my opinion, greater options for mental health care. Anyway, I think that just arguing over gun laws while doing nothing to address the underlying social concerns behind violence does little to move our society forward.

Regulation: More or Less?
Now we get into the nitty-gritty of the push for (and against) regulation. Generally, the public discourse seems to revolve around the concern for public well-being and safety vs. individual freedom (which in turn is often a component of an individual's sense of well-being). I believe that one of the great contributions of our form of government and American culture in general, is its emphasis on the value of individual freedom. This value was forged in the fires of revolution and carried over from the philosophical developments of the Enlightenment. It would be a shame to lose our value for individual freedom over and against the power of the state, out of an emotional response to fear.

Because of my concern for individual freedom (and the individual's right to defend themselves, and even oppose oppressive forces when necessary), I'm generally not in favor of more regulation over gun ownership, however I do believe public safety is a worthy concern and despite what both the pro-gun and gun control lobbies might say, I do believe there is room for compromise.

Concrete Measures to Promote Both Personal Freedom and Safety
This is why I propose a mandatory training requirement (10 hour minimum) to buy a gun and better training for concealed carry and hunter's safety. Currently (in CO anyway), you can get a concealed carry permit after only 3 hours of training or your hunter's safety card after 10 hours of training. In addition to the mandatory training to buy a gun, I'd like to see the concealed carry course beefed up to 10 hours as well.

The 10 hours of training should be before buying a gun and proof could take the form of a card (similar to a hunter-safety course card) or certificate, with the training having been taking within 5 years prior to purchasing the gun. It wouldn't be construed as a license-to-own, but only required to purchase.
I sort of go back and forth on it, but I think I'd also support high-capacity magazine bans restricting sale and possession of magazines which can hold more that 17 rounds. As far as I'm aware, most states have no such restriction. This largely wouldn't force a major change in pistol manufacturing, but would effectively limit the use of 30 round magazines found in some rifles.

I'm also in favor of background checks through the FBI to ensure a felon isn't buying the gun and if a 3 day waiting period can be measurably linked to a reduction in crimes of passion or suicides, then I would favor that as well. Such measures would hopefully give people time to “cool down” if they're buying the gun for the wrong reasons, and would effectively enforce ownership restrictions already in place, while still allowing everyone currently legally able to buy a weapon to do so.

I think the NFA (National Firearms Act) already does a sufficient job of controlling Title II weapons and I wouldn't support laws to restrict weapon or ammunition types further other than the high-capacity magazine restriction above 17 rounds, mentioned earlier. I would suggest that higher than 17 round capacity magazines not be outlawed outright, but instead be included in the NFA list. The NFA already includes machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, short barrel rifles, rpg's, grenades, etc. and requires a $200 stamp, extensive background check, and inclusion in the NFA registry.

Finally, I do not support gun or gun-ownership registration, beyond the already existing NFA registry for Title II weapons. And as a reciprocal check on state power, I also believe police forces should be demilitarized. The police are still civilians, and if we can't carry high-capacity magazines, neither should they.

It seems to me that the best balance between individual freedom and safety is struck by placing an emphasis on training over restrictions. My biggest problem with the pro-gun lobbying groups is that they keep shouting down restrictive regulations without offering any real alternatives. I think the above measures would provide alternatives that even those who are pro-firearm should be able to support.


#GunViolence #GunDebate #GunControl #MassShootings #SecondAmendment #PublicSafety #PersonalFreedom

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scottish Independence

Sure, it's been 5 years since I last posted on this blog.  And there have been quite a few changes since then.  But let's ignore all that history and address the major issue currently being decided...

Scotland has a pretty big decision ahead of herself today. For those of you who don't know, the nation will be voting on independence. If a simple majority vote "yes," Scotland will leave the United Kingdom and form its own nation.

I would feel remiss if, in this potentially historic moment, I didn't voice my support for her independence. Am I doing this because I want to be on the side of history or am I doing this because I actually care or do I simply love change, and maybe a little bit of chaos? I'll let you be the judge of that. In fact, I invite your judgment, as it always amuses me when others think they know me so well.

For those of you who might wonder whether I've really thought about the consequences of Scottish independence... I have. I thought about my own ancestors and why they fought for such a thing. I also thought about what might happen to the average Scot under a new system.

The Scots currently have their own parliament and are capable of the hard decisions of a nation-state. They are capable of the executive, legislative, and judicial needs of the Scottish people to thrive. Demographically they have a low population, but are rich in resources. Economically, they may still anchor their currency in the British pound, just as many nations do on the American dollar, and remain stable.

But most of all, they have the cultural right as a people to decide their own future, just as all people do. That means they have both the rights and responsibilities of a nation-state, and no archaic reasoning should hold them to the British Empire. This is not meant to speak anything against the British, except that the British should simply look after their own welfare first, and likewise the Scots should look after their own people. All men and women can thrive under such direction, as long as they take the responsibility to do so. There is no need for contention. If a people wish to be free, and have the capability to govern themselves responsibly, then they should be free. It's that simple.

So, without further ado, Good Luck Scotland and may God grant you independence and a bright future! 'In my defens God me defend!'

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm back, baby!

That's right, you bums! I'm back to updating this blog! Hopefully in the next few weeks or so, I'll begin that project I talked about a while back, where I reminisce about my crazy, globe-trotting adventures.

In the meantime, make sure you check out my other two blogs, The Eucharist Project and Theological Discussions.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Poopenheimer, USA

Hey all!

i just got back from my trekking trip to pacmanistan. it was great! the mountains were beautiful and the people were way hospitable. for some sweet pics of mountains and sketchy bridges, check out my facebook profile. that's all for now, 'cause i'm way tired. i might add some stories from my trip in the next couple of days.