#Politcs

Why does the western world seem to be getting more and more conservative? I don’t seem to have any friends who are conservative, but apparently that is just because I don’t have that many friends.

Back home in Alberta (Canada), they just had their provincial election. Now, Alberta has always been extremely conservative, but this year it got even more conservative. A new, even further to the right party — the Wild Rose Party — was threatening to over take the already right winged Progressive Conservatives. And a lot of people who normally would have voted for a left wing party, now had to decide between voting with their hearts or voting strategically (i.e. in order to make sure the far right didn’t win over the not as far right). That’s how conservative my home province is.

And maybe because I used to live in the left neighbourhood of Old Strathcona (which, by no coincidence, is also the coolest neighbourhood in Alberta), I naively thought that two right wing parties would mean that they would steal votes from each other and it might be a good opportunity for a left wing party to finally grab a seat. But then I look at the Alberta Election Results map and see that, yes, the two right wing parties did split votes… but in most areas you could still combine all the left leaning parties votes and that still would not have been enough to win a seat (although, it is hard to say how many people ended up voting strategically).

I just don’t get it. Who are all these conservatives? And it’s not just Alberta. It’s everywhere. England is now run by conservatives. America, even with a Democrat as a president, still seems to be run by conservatives. And it’s not just politics, it’s our media and education too. Last night on The Colbert Report he was interviewing a guy who helps decide what goes into text books… and not only does he not believe in evolution, he point blank said that he believes the humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Why the people we’d never hang out with are the ones we let make all the rules will never make sense to me. This Todd Snider song, on the hand, continues to ring painfully true.

It will be interesting to see how many votes Stephen Col… I mean Herman Cain gets today in South Carolina. For those of you not in the loop, here is a quick summary of what the what is:

Stephen Colbert (soft t) is a comedian who plays an over the top, tongue in cheek Conservative news host on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report (soft t’s). A couple of weeks ago, a polling company did a poll (as they do) to test the waters in South Carolina before the upcoming Republican (Republican=Conservative) primary. And Stephen Colbert —who, of course, was not on the ballot as he was not running and isn’t even a real Conservative Republican, he just plays one on tv— came in at 5% (which was 1% higher than actual candidate John Huntsman). This news prompted Stephen’s character to begin considering a run for President of the United States of South Carolina. At first it appeared that this would not be taken any further than his show basking in the comedy / satire gold that fell in their laps for a few weeks. Even though Stephen Colbert has a history of not just making jokes and pointing out the flaws of the American system from behind his desk, but of actually doing real things (he started his own Super Pac, he’s worked as a migrant farm worker, etc), it was revealed that there was no way his name could ever get on the ballot in South Carolina. They do not allow write-ins and all the candidates were printed months ago. So it would seem that the joke would stop there. But then they had the brilliant idea of using Herman Cain. Since the ballots were printed so long ago, that means candidates who have dropped out of the race are still on the ballot. So — as the actual commercial from Stephen Colbert’s former super pac, now run by John Stewart shows — you can vote for Stephen Colbert by voting for Herman Cain. To make things even more interesting, South Carolina allows for non-Republicans and independents to vote. He even had a rally in South Carolina with special guest… Herman Cain.

There really is no better lens to view American politics through then the glasses that Stephen Colbert and John Stewart wear (and their writers).

Stop Internet Censorship

stop sopa (found at: http://www.rollogrady.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/tumblr_lxz2k7sAbr1qg42myo1_500.jpg)

(this post is really just a reblog of what Rollo & Grady posted on their website, which is a great email that Bob Lefsetz sent out earlier today… so I’ll just add a ‘ditto’ to what Bob is saying below)

You don’t mess with the Web. Isn’t that what the battle between Napster and the music industry taught us? That despite having the law on your side you just can’t win?

Meanwhile, the pirating of music is in its sunset years. People will pay for streaming services just like they used to pay for push button phones and now pay for mobile handsets. It’s inevitable, it’s about convenience, but just don’t ask anyone in the content industries to see the future, they’re afraid of the past.

If it weren’t for the Web, Lana Del Rey never would have been on SNL. And you might think this is a good thing, but it’s Interscope’s worst nightmare. The dirty little secret is these media companies employ the Web to build buzz. And sure, they might trade this ability for a complete Internet shut down, but that ain’t gonna happen.

If you want to enter the future you don’t put on the brakes, you press down on the accelerator. But the only people doing this are computer-savvy youngsters, who are running circles around the old guard. Hell, hackers brought down Sony, Howard Stringer is gonna lose his job, do the members of Congress truly believe they’re impervious?

In a land where Congressmen are beholden to monied interests, swaying whichever way the Benjamins are blowing, and have better health care insurance than most Americans, the injustice is palpable. And people know. And are continuing to spread the word.

I used to say we’d have a revolution in America the day abortion was outlawed, god forbid. But if you want to see people revolt, take away their cell phones. And now it’s all about smart phones, with Net access, but in some misguided attempt to turn our country into China, the government wants censorship. But it’s worse that that. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s history. And now they want to spread that concept far beyond war criminals to you, the general public.

Oh, that’s not what they’re saying, they say it’s all about those damn foreigners. But did you ever notice the Web has no bounds, and you’re used to getting information from overseas, and once censorship begins, where does it stop?

Yup, you’ve got the dreaded law of unintended consequences.

I don’t think content should be free, but I refuse to put my head in the ground and believe the Internet does not exist, and that I can change it with laws.

This is a seminal moment in America. This is when the public gets power. Used to be, he with a broadcast license had power. That’s the essence of television and radio. But now, everyone’s got a license to broadcast, online. And this is what they’re afraid of, this is their worst nightmare. Gun nuts might think they need firearms to protect their rights, but rifles are no match for the Internet, where armies of people all over the world can band together to bring down governments and change policy.

Soon, it’s gonna be a government for and by the people. Sure, Citizens United is heresy, but the real story isn’t that money so much as the power of people to organize using modern communication methods to get their message out. Those Middle East despots were wealthy, but that didn’t keep their regimes from tumbling down.

A politician is no match for Google. Obama was smart enough to question SOPA. People love their Google, their Wikipedia. Make the Internet go dark and everybody knows. It’s like your cable going out, but worse. You can’t get a date, can’t expose your music, can’t discuss your favorite topic, can’t get the news…

That’s what everybody now uses the Net for.

It’s undeniable.

And it’s the best organizational tool known to man.

You’ve got to play nice with the people. Erect a wall and they’ll tear it down. Both old media and new is rife with stories of corporations who felt they didn’t have to listen to their customers. Those days are through. You’re in bed with the people, you’ve got to respect them, they’ve got the power.

And the ruling class doesn’t like this, to the degree it even understands this.

I’d say the times are a-changin’, but they’ve already changed.

It them versus us.

And we’re us.

The individuals banding together online and saying WE’RE MAD AS HELL AND WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

– Bob Lefsetz

—>  Join the strike against internet censorship.

Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become.

- Matt Taibi

One of the best political and current event writers going (well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s the best, but there’s a chance I’m wrong), Matt Taibi chimes in on Occupy Wall Street. He’s also the main reason for still paying attention to Rolling Stone. The quote was pulled from a great Matt Taibi article, but I first found out about it in the also great (and extensive) write-up on Occupy Wall Street that Ian MacKenzie posted, which you should check out.