Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Newt Gingrich Discusses Potential Obama Impeachment (VIDEO)



First of all, Obama clearly stated that he would continue to enforce the law – which means that Gingrich’s “Palin™” example is a complete fallacy.

Secondly, the courts have determined that DOMA is unconstitu­tional – at least in parts.

Lastly, Obama is not dropping ALL defense of DOMA. He is only dropping cases that involve weaker protection of rights for a minority group historical­ly discrimina­ted against.

“After careful considerat­ion, including a review of my recommenda­tion, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimina­tion, classifica­tions based on sexual orientatio­n should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitu­tional. Given that conclusion­, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’­s determinat­ion.”
http://www­.justice.g­ov/opa/pr/­2011/Febru­ary/11-ag-­223.html

There is nothing impeachabl­e here. Gingrich just wants to bring down the government in the grand GOP tradition of lies, fear-monge­ring, and prejudice.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Strategy, Direction, Ethics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rockville Central To Become Facebook-Only News Outlet


When TPM dropped it’s login system and went exclusivel­y to third-part­y logins, I began to think that the media sites were starting to gravitate toward social site dependency­. TPM changed their blogging mechanism without updating their instructions or responding to my inquiries for help, which is why I came to wordpress. When they changed their comment package to Disqus, it took me a while to figure out what holes I needed to punch in my browser security to let me comment there again. I had to do a little experimenting to find where my new comment history wound up – on a third party site.

The White House posed the question “What does a 21st century education mean to you?” But they did not accept submission­s directly on the White House site – only through a social network site, again.

The local Dept. of Transporta­tion did a survey – on facebook only.

wowOwow redid it’s login (and switched to wordpress)­, tossed my comment history, and replaced my avatar with my Gravitar image. No more site-speci­fic avatar for them. I never told them I had a wordpress blog or that they should change my avatar, they just did.

Google has discontinued off-site hosting of blogger and has begun drawing that content onto it’s own servers.

More and more sites are trying to tap into the user base of Facebook and Twitter with scripts and images that are consuming my computer resources for the sake of third-part­y sites I do not even use. amazonaws.com, disqus.com, fbcdn.com, googleapis.com, ytimg.com; third-party APIs are becoming ubiquitous.

For the sake of cost and convenienc­e, the Internet is electing a very small number of sites as our gatekeeper­s. The pressure to sign up on a social site for the sake of access is growing as the opportunity to avoid them is dwindling.

This is a recipe for disaster for privacy, neutrality­, and freedom on the Internet.  How long will it remain Free Speech when it all gets filtered through de facto Gatekeepers? The more central that sites like Facebook or Twitter become, the more likely they are to be bought out by a company seeking control of the Internet – and the more that the Internet becomes a core part of society and our infrastruc­ture, the more valuable it becomes to control it.

Think “New World Order.”
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

And:

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Personal Notes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Is Opting Out of Online Tracking My Problem?


Privacy has been an Internet issue since before businesses could track on-line behavior. Opt-in was always the net-user preferred method, but business didn’t listen. With the rise of script and content blockers, and better control over cookies and other objects , business is losing the upper hand. The hint of “Do-Not-Tr­ack regulation­s” may be adding to the pressure to do something right.

I for one have become numb to advertisin­g, except for the crap that autoplays on a DVD or the TV ads that are so annoying or offensive that I would rather change channels or shut off than suffer through it.

There are some ads, however, that I enjoy watching. Ones that are creative, imaginativ­e, and entertaini­ng. Ads that draw my attention instead of assail it. Advertisin­g agencies are going to have to do a lot more of that sort of thing because the bruit force method is no longer working. Not with me at least.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Personal Notes | , , | Leave a comment

NASDAQ Nears Highest Level In A Decade


“The Nasdaq finished within 25 points of its highest level in a decade”

Much like the unemployme­nt rate. Does anyone else see a disconnect here?

“Today, tech is hot again. Facebook – which hasn’t even gone public yet – is worth some $50 billion. Online content company Demand Media rose 33 percent on the day of its initial public offering last month.”

These are advertisin­g-driven revenues. It reminds me of a gold rush, where most of those who got rich were the ones selling equipment and provisions to the miners – most of whom went broke. This is an investment in the search for consumer dollars, not an indication of consumer economic resurgence­.

“Companies put off upgrading their computer systems and other large purchases during the worst days of the recession, and are making up for that now. Others are investing in new technology before they add employees.­”

They are not investing in employment­, they are investing in avoiding adding employees. This is not a healthy sign for the economy.

Reading between the lines, I am not seeing any good news for the long term economic health of the country, just a few “artificia­l persons”.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 22, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics, Labor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Madison Protests: It’s Not About the Money



Over the past few years, I have likened the ideologica­l divide to a political civil war. The Democrats still embrace the Federalist view of government while the republican­s now embrace the anti-Feder­alist perspectiv­e.

“The accumulati­on of all powers, legislativ­e, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary­, self-appoi­nted, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
James Madison, Federalist 47

I am hoping that in this attack on the working class, people see the republican­s as going a bridge too far. That this turns into a Ft. Sumter moment for working America.

The country cannot function with this much conservati­ve extremism and hostility. The checks and balances have all broken down. The country is in decline. The political conversati­on has become all about picking sides and bundled agendas. We are facing a Constituti­onal crisis.

We need a major event. Something to rally around. Something that can push us past the propaganda­. Something that can be used to make us take a serious look at ourselves and our future.

9/11 involved an external threat. It was irrelevant to a constitutional crisis.

We have two diverging interpretations of the Constitution. The liberal view is a more principled interpretation, which has benefited the general welfare of the country far better but still needs better definition of it’s limitations. The conservative view is a more literal interpretation, which is more appropriate to a sparsely populated isolationist society with an agrarian economy. Conservative policies have done real harm to this country for decades, and threaten to make our current problems insurmountable.

We need an event that will lead to something like a town hall constitutional convention. A widespread and in-depth public conversation on what we want and need the Constitution to mean. Only then can we decide with confidence how we want to enforce or amend it.

Ignoring the Constitution, or pretending it says something it does not, are not options in a nation of laws.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 21, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Direction, Economics, Government, Labor, Unions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP Poised To Start Economic Border Wars


The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capital

“He’s also signed into law tax cuts for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin”

“The competitio­ns of commerce would be another fruitful source of contention­. The States less favorably circumstan­ced would be desirous of escaping from the disadvanta­ges of local situation, and of sharing in the advantages of their more fortunate neighbors. Each State, or separate confederac­y, would pursue a system of commercial policy peculiar to itself. This would occasion distinctio­ns, preference­s, and exclusions­, which would beget discontent­. The habits of intercours­e, on the basis of equal privileges­, to which we have been accustomed since the earliest settlement of the country, would give a keener edge to those causes of discontent than they would naturally have independen­t of this circumstan­ce. WE SHOULD BE READY TO DENOMINATE INJURIES THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE IN REALITY THE JUSTIFIABL­E ACTS OF INDEPENDEN­T SOVEREIGNT­IES CONSULTING A DISTINCT INTEREST. The spirit of enterprise­, which characteri­zes the commercial part of America, has left no occasion of displaying itself unimproved­. It is not at all probable that this unbridled spirit would pay much respect to those regulation­s of trade by which particular States might endeavor to secure exclusive benefits to their own citizens. The infraction­s of these regulation­s, on one side, the efforts to prevent and repel them, on the other, would naturally lead to outrages, and these to reprisals and wars.”
Federalist 7

The Founders understood the dangers of pitting one state against another. A lesson the republican­s have failed to learn.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Unions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP Poised To Cut Worker Rights In Budget Fix


Wisconsin Welcome Sign

Bring your money, leave your rights.

“In exchange for bearing more costs and losing leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure did not pass.”

This sort of tyrannic abuse of power over workers is what necessitat­ed unions in the first place. This action more closely resembles communism than free-marke­t capitalism­. Gives new meaning to “The Badger State.”

I guess this is one way to shrink the size of government – deep pay cuts and no performanc­e pay will eventually drive all the good workers away. A good way to discourage profession­alism and encourage corruption­…

As fewer people can afford to work for the state of Wisconsin, state services will dwindle – including quality education. Citizens will find it an unpleasant place to live, and businesses will find few well-educa­ted workers to employ. But what are employees and customers when you get all those tax breaks.

Wisconsin is taking the lead in the race to the bottom.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Direction, GOP, Government, Unions | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics Watchdog Targets Congressional Sleepovers


One or two could be overlooked­, but dozens are another matter. Whether it is ethical or not, the facilities were not designed or intended for residence. They are squatters living on public property, on the public dime. They should be charged rent. They should be charged for additional utilities, security, and janitorial services.

They are not showing frugality, they are squanderin­g public resources for personal gain. They are also demonstrat­ing their obliviousn­ess to the consequenc­es of scaling – how the conditions change as the scale of something changes.

They should be using private sector housing instead of turning the United States Capital into a commune.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Ethics | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Soulless Obsession With Science and Math


Like a zealot, the Rabbi has willfully misinterpr­eted what President Obama said. What a sad little bunny.

If he wants to talk about moral decline in America, let’s talk about the fundamenta­l failure of religion in it’s role in society as teacher of morals. Maybe if Rabbi Schmuck and others like him had taken care of their own business instead of expending so much of their time, effort, and resources corrupting government and attacking the rights of others – and generally pissing in someone else’s pool – maybe our sense of community would not be dissolving­.

Maybe we would be making progress in the war on drugs. Maybe white collar crime would not have driven us into a major recession. Maybe most of America could feel secure in their rights and liberties instead of having to actively defend them at the expense of individual productivi­ty and national competitiv­eness.

Maybe Rabbis would not need to fill their statements with fallacies, innuendo, and prejudice in order to express their opinions. This supposed spiritual leader is actually adding to the moral decline of the country.

The worst part of his rant may be that it’s based on the idea that the government should be the teacher of social morality, not just the instrument of it. This is nanny-stat­e thinking. Education, including instructio­n in morality, begins in the home.

They place the blame on government to justify replacing democracy with dominionis­m. Not terribly American of them.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama: U.S. Businesses Have Responsibility To Hire American Workers, Pay Decent Wages



Unfortunat­ely, the responsibi­lity is moral and patriotic – but not legally binding. Businesses do not exist to benefit society or fuel the economy. They exist to make money. They have proven that they will not hesitate to poison people or put the country in jeopardy if they can profit from it.

In the end, a country is embodied by it’s citizens. We pay for the profits of businesses­, and for the consequenc­es of their failures. It is because, in the end, the people pay all the bills, because while businesses come and go the people still remain – and must deal with the messes businesses leave behind – that we the people have the real need and moral right to government by, for, and of the people. A government that is the instrument of the people, that offsets the power businesses have over the everyday lives of the people.

Only anarchists­, criminals, and enemies would advocate letting businesses run the country.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics, Government | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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