Since I will be traveling next week I decided to cast my votes today. The process was very quick and easy. In the past I have been opposed to early voting; this is mostly because opinions can change due to events before Nov. 6. However I must say this is how I will do voting in the future.
South Dakota happens to be a ‘no excuse’ state for voting. This means you don’t need a reason to vote early. I actually was going to the Brown County Auditors office to get an absentee ballot. I had no idea there would be actual voting booths setup and I could do the whole process there (I’ve lived out of state for a number of years, haven’t voted in SD for a long time). Since I already knew all of my votes it took no time at all. I would say the whole process took ten minutes, and that included the time I was waiting in line.
So for those that wish to avoid the long lines on election day early voting is a great option. Or if your like me and believe you will be gone Nov. 6 you should early vote as well. I would however still do your early vote as close to Nov. 6 as possible. You never know when you will find some piece of information that will change your vote on something.
On November 5 SoDak NORML will send another letter to the legislators in South Dakota. SoDak NORML is the South Dakota affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). This series of letters being sent to legislatures are important to me personally for the following two reasons:
- Marijuana use in combination with opioids has proven to be a more effective treatment for chronic pain sufferers. I have a good friend in a state that allows medical marijuana. The use of medical marijuana has allowed him to reduce the use of prescription opioids and live a more normal (NORML) life.
- Thousands of South Dakota residents are arrested each year for a victim-less crime. Creating criminals does nothing but fill our prisons and make it harder for people to get jobs once they have a drug conviction.
Many other states have begun to decriminalize marijuana or legalize medical marijuana. By doing this the states are telling the Federal Government they will no longer partake in their failed ‘War on Drugs”. The issue of the War on Drugs is different from the issue of “are drugs good”. Even if you are against the use of marijuana it is quite apparent the war on drugs has been a failure.
All I ask at this time is for people to go over to the SoDakNORML page about the Letters to the Legislature. While there let your name be added to the list of South Dakota voters that wish to bring back sensibility to criminal legislation. You will notice that the current list of signers has a lot of cancer survivors, business owners, and concerned citizens. There is no commitment behind giving your name. Your name is used to show legislatures that people care about this issue and want the debate opened back up.
This is now day 7 of Free Speech Week 2012. Instead of writing for this day I will provide links to some highlights this week. In my view disseminating information is just as important as creating new content.
My posts for this week:
Another great source for Free Speech has come from the CATO@Liberty blog. The following articles there are among my favorite regarding free speech at the CATO site.
To fight for free speech on campus there is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire). Fire has been on the forefront of free speech battles on America’s campuses. The president of FIRE had “Feigning Free Speech on Campus” published as an 0p-ed In The New York Times.
I think the most important thing to take out of this week is we need to celebrate and fight to keep the free speech we have in the United States!
I will finish this great free speech song from Remy:
Earlier this week a close friend of mine asked damn good question: Ken, why the hell do you waste your time on those blogs? At the time I was too busy to answer him. He asked it again today after reading my comments about journalism versus blogging on another site. He was expecting a highly moral and political answer. However all he got was: I need practice writing.
Yep, that’s the reason I blog. I don’t think I will change anyone’s opinion on anything; although if that ever happened it would be cool. The simple fact of the matter is I am trying to get as much writing done before I write my dissertation as possible. I know many of my shortcomings as a writer and hope to overcome them this way. After posting a new blog entry I will look back at what I wrote about a month later. That allows me to see if I have made any improvements or notice any other trends in my writing that needs to change.
Does that mean I don’t believe what I write on this and other blogs I’m involved in? Nope, I wholeheartedly believe everything I write. In fact writing my opinions down seems to reinforce them.
This friend of mine was almost disappointing by my answer. He then asked if it was moral to take such selfish approach to blogging. I replied with an answer: “Who is John Galt”.
It is now day 6 of Free Speech Week 2012. I figured what better way to celebrate this occasion than to actually post the actual words from the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This text comes directly from the Bill of Rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In regards to free speech all I can say is ” Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. To me this is pretty self explanatory. Unfortunately it isn’t to everyone, especially those in DC.
It is well-known there are two schools of thought pertaining to the Bill of Rights. There is a school of though that the Bill of Rights is the US Constitution giving certain rights to the citizens I do NOT fall in this camp. The way I look at the Bill of Rights is that each of the 10 amendments addresses individual rights that every citizen has because they are a human! The Bill of Rights does not give rights; rather it prevents the government from infringing upon rights we have as free-willed humans. From my viewpoint any law or regulation that restricts free speech is an attack on my personal rights as a human, not as a citizen of the US. Hopefully as time goes on more people will see the Bill of Rights in the same view as I do.
I finally took two minutes to watch the attack ad on Varilek by the South Dakota Republican Party. I have posted it below. It seems quite odd that this is an attack ad. I actually think the ad makes Varilek look more ready to tackle DC; as opposed to the small town South Dakota girl who helped run a family farm and restaurant?
I’ll just use this as further proof the Republican Party in South Dakota is falling apart. Hopefully it will continue to crumble, then we can work on reducing the Democratic Party as well. If we can get all of this two-party stuff out of the way maybe we can get some candidates that care about preserving liberty for our citizens. The mindless expansion of government by Democrats and Republicans have been driving our country into the ground.
To people of both parties I would give the same advice that the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is giving: vote your conscience, not your fears!
Well, we’ve made it to day 5 of Free Speech Week 2012. One great aspect of free speech in the United States is the ability to speak out against the leaders we voted into office. This is a right that is fairly new to the world, and one which many parts of the world still do not have. Looking at recent events alone: in Russia two members of the activist music group Pussy Riot have been placed in
gulags labor camps, a dissident radio station owner in Cambodia was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and who could forget the protesters in of corporate Olympic sponsors in England that were arrested for ‘spilling custard’. It is quite clear that countries of all types have problems with political speech being dealt with harshly.
That is not to say the United States does not have problems of its own with government cracking down on political speech. Heck we have some crackdowns that are just plain crazy such as nine men that were arrested for ‘religious speech after sundown‘. But overall we do have a lot of freedom to criticize our government. Speaking out against the government is a fundamental way to let leaders know we are unhappy with the actions they are taking.
To me the best form of speaking out against our politicians is through the use of parody. I mean if there is a class of people that lend themselves to being parodied its politicians. For decades comedy variety shows such as Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show have been mocking politicians. As funny as these sources can be the Internet has allowed for a whole new wave of political parody to reach the masses. Just yesterday I received a tweet with a very good example of this. The following four videos are done by The Gregory Brothers. These videos take each of the four presidential debates and songifies them.
The Final Debate songified:
Town Hall Debate songified:
VP Debate songified:
First Debate songified:
For great political parodies such as those above I salute everyone who has ever posted a YouTube video showing how silly our politicians really are.
Bonus Video: Pundit Dream – Katy Perry Political Parody
More of a libertarian view of Left vs Right.
Previously I posted a summary of my votes for the South Dakota 2012 Ballot Questions. Since that time I have changed my mind on the four constitutional amendments (thanks to Gant) and added my opinion about the SD Supreme Court retention of Justice Glen A. Severson. It will be very easy for me when going to the polls this November 6, I will be voting NO on every yes/no question Following is my votes for each of the questions and a link to my reason why:
All I can say is November 6 will be a “Just Say NO” day for me.
This last Tuesday Free & Equal hosted a Presidential Debate that included Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice). The event was streamed online by RT America and televised by C-SPAN. Overall I thought the event went well, especially for Gary Johnson. You can see my takeaway from this debate here.
After the debate Free & Equal held an online poll to determine the top two candidates from the debate. The two winner from that poll would be invited to a final debate in Washington DC on October 30. In a not-so-surprising announcement Free & Equal declared Gary Johnson and Jill Stein the winners of this debate. Gary Johnson by far got the greatest number of votes. But both candidates blew both Goode and Anderson away by a large margin.
I for one am looking forward to this debate in DC. Both Johnson and Stein represent very different views for the future of the United States. Back on October 19 the Independent Voter Network (IVN) hosted an online debate that included these two candidates. I thought this debate went great and look forward to a repeat performance between these two Presidential candidates.
So far only RT American has said they will stream this online. However I have hope that C-SPAN and possibly other networks will choose to air the debate on cable TV. If not I will still watch the debate online. No matter what, I will live-tweet my thoughts (and see how many un-follow me because they hate non-sport-related twitter bombs).
This is an ad that will be running for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson:
Whats crazy to me is neither the Democratic or Republican candidates even campaign on peace.