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late night across america with Michael & Debbie

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September 2016

NOT Wasting Your Vote (or Voting 101)

Debbie Lewis
September 29, 2016

Political Parties “…are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government…” George Washington

(Let’s just suppose for a moment, and for the sake of argument, that our votes actually count.)  If one more person tells me I am wasting my vote if I don’t vote for Trump or Clinton, I might just scream.  If one more person tells me if I vote for a third party candidate I may as well be voting for Clinton or Trump, I may pitch an all-out fit.  If one more person tells me I should just keep my mouth shut if I don’t vote, I may be forced to throw them out the nearest window.

People seem to have forgotten this country was not designed for a two-party system.  People have also forgotten how presidents were originally elected in this country.  People seem to have dismissed the true qualities for a real leader.  Yes, I know, I have several issues going at the same time.  But, if you’ll just bare with me, I think you’ll see it’s all related.

Let’s start with point number two, a very brief summation on the way in which the president and vice president were originally elected.  The states were assign a number of electors.  The job of each elector was to search out the most qualified candidates and cast their vote for two hopefuls.  The votes were collected at the state level, counted, sealed and sent to Washington DC to become officially counted.  The hopeful garnering the majority of the votes would become president.  The runner up would become vice president…yes, they were NOT necessarily from the same party (perhaps yet another check on executive powers?).  Of course, that’s not how it happens anymore.

This brings me to point number one, the two party system.  I bet most people don’t even realize George Washington did not belong to a political party when he was elected, and he remained unaffiliated during his entire presidency.  Washington believed parties would corrupt the hopefuls (maybe he was on to something!).  That notion was, however, short lived as John Adams was a Federalist and Thomas Jefferson and the next three presidents were Democratic Republicans.  After that, we’ve had fifteen Democrats, eighteen Republicans, and four Whig party presidents.  Not only that, but I wonder how many people realize that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson belonged to two separate parties?  Also, Jefferson and Aaron Burr, his vice president, were of two separate parties.

Did you catch the point up there about the most qualified candidate?  That brings me to my third point…a qualified candidate.  The search for the most qualified candidate has been cast aside for more nefarious things, like control, power and greed (Washington called it!).

So, what, exactly, makes a “qualified” candidate; a candidate of character, if you will?  Our very first clue comes from the Constitution, itself, in the form of the mandated Oath of Office;

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, one must first understand it. They should understand that the Bill of Rights was included because the Anti-Federalists saw the loopholes for governmental power grabs and demanded it be written to protect the people’s unalienable rights, as well as the rights of the states.  The office of the President was not established to chip, erode or outright steal our rights.  Anyone committing these acts against the population is not only not presidential, but needs a quick course in exactly what is meant be unalienable rights.

On June 14, 1963, Time Magazine published an interesting article with regards to Presidential Character. Among the things Former President Dwight Eisenhower felt were of the utmost importance were:

Self-restraint
Making decisions on positive ground, No extreme measures
Understanding why this country is so great, which includes:
“a respect for the freedom of people to work for themselves, their families, their
communities; and this with a minimum of interference from government.”
An inner calmness that helps him maneuver through crisis, which affords the ability to
make mature decisions
The where-with-all to surround himself with strong people with strong views
Experience – being wholly ready to take on the task if the Presidency
A principled leader

Jim Lehrer hosted a most interesting portrait of presidential nature in a mid-1990’s PBS special based on a collection of essays about former US presidents. During the special, Character Above All, James Cannon, author and former advisor on Domestic Affairs under President Gerald Ford, made the statement that presidential character consists of ethics, morality, self discipline, will power, and, of course, the ability to act in the best interest of the country. And, Cannon says these characteristics should reign supreme without regard to the person’s chances for re-election.

Many of the authors and historians participating in that PBS special see honesty, confidence, and courage as vital characteristics of a US president. Still other distinctive qualities considered of the utmost importance are consistency, vision and practical good sense.

Do any of these qualities ring true with either Trump or Clinton?  Yeah…I don’t think so…

Also, in watching a good portion of the first presidential debate, and remember, at the time, we were less than two months from the election, did either stand out as a shining example of a truly honorable candidate possessing outstanding character?  Yeah, I don’t think so.

So, now we get back to my original thought…not wasting your vote.  A wasted vote is a vote for someone devoid of true character.  A wasted vote is a vote for someone wholly unqualified, by virtue of their own political record.  A wasted vote is a vote for an “evil” person…even the lessor of two evils is still evil.  A wasted vote is a vote cast AGAINST the other candidate, not taking into account the actual qualities of the candidate you are voting for.  AND, by becoming informed, should you choose NOT to vote, couldn’t a “no vote” be an actual vote…a vote of no confidence?  Of course it can!  So, the next time someone tells you you are wasting your vote by not voting for one of the two major party candidates, remember these arguments…they will serve you well!

 

 

 

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Is It Worth It?

Debbie Lewis, September 8, 2016

According to a July 10, 2002 GPO report on Water Resource Management Issues on the Missouri River, “The Missouri River directly affects over 10 million people in eight Missouri River Basin States, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Montana, Kansas, and Wyoming. The management of this river is significant to the people in all of the States…”

So, Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, decided there wasn’t enough press covering his opinion, and he wrote an article in the Bismark Tribune discussing the other side. He is, of course, on the side of the pipeline…the side in favor of building the pipeline, which is his right. He makes the case that the pipeline will employ around 12,000 people over 4 states and raise $129 million is taxes. We need jobs in most places, so that seems like it would be a good thing.

But, when you take into account the millions of people who rely on the Missouri River for water and other things, including the wildlife for food, not to mention the sacred lands of the Native American’s, does a few thousand jobs seem a fitting argument for the pipeline? While we’re at it, the side against the pipeline argues, what happens to the water supply if something should happen to the pipeline? Those in favor of the pipeline seem to think that’s a bit of a stretch. Really???

Just last month in South Louisiana there were three consecutive oil spills. The same article reported that “the average volume of oil spilled annually in Louisiana is 330,000 gallons. That’s a lot of contamination. If that was in a main waterway, say one that supplies over 10 million people water, who knows how much damage that would do and when that would get cleaned up! Not to mention the damage and contamination an oil spill could do to the sacred land of the indigenous peoples there!

So, I must ask, is that damnable pipeline worth 12,000 jobs and $129 million in tax revenues? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

Disgusting Treatment of We The People!

Debbie Lewis, September 5, 2016

While researching for an article I was preparing to write regarding the recent Nestle’ travesty involving the loss water rights to the community of Fryeburg, ME, my research took a turn into a ten year summation of Monsanto Lobby activity.  As we fight for our right to clean water, we’ve lost our right to know what’s in our food…As anyone who has taken any amount of science in grade school knows, good food and clean water are vital to our health and survival.  As anyone who has taken any manner of REAL history knows, we have a unalienable right to LIFE.  I’d say that includes good food and clean water.  Apparently Nestle’s nor Monsanto think so.

First, let me say the appalling stance taken by Nestle’ Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is simple unconscionable.  To actually think a corporation could deprive a community of its water supply is criminal…to actually do it is…well, unthinkable, and yet that’s just what Brabeck-Letmathe want’s to do.  he has gone so far as to propose that clean fresh water is not a human right!  Later, though, in full damage-control mode, Nestle’ posted on it’s website that Brabeck-Letmathe was NOT against clean water for communities…Maybe Nestle’s and its Chair don’t remember that once something is out there, it’s there:

“The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.

As you can see, Brabeck-Letmathe’s opinion is that water isn’t a public right.

But, as I said, I stumbled on some disturbing figures concerning Monsanto Lobbying activity.  The ongoing fight for GMO labeling may have been doomed from the start.  Why, you may ask?  Well…money, of course!

Lobbyists are prevalent in Washington, D.C., and where are our representatives?  Yeah, in Washington, D.C.!!!  Over the past 19 years, lobbyists averaged 12,600 in D.C. spending, on average, $2.37 Billion PER YEAR to peddle their particular legislative wishes to OUR representatives.  Now, you and I have nowhere NEAR that amount of money, so do you think our representatives are listening to us?  Apparently not, as congress passed the Dark Act, basically shunning the wishes of their constituency for their apparent benefactors!

Monsanto is the main company pushing GMO’s on the market, and the people, and therefore it stands to reason they would be against labeling.  They aren’t the only one.  BUT, a ten-year analysis on Monsanto lobbying spending habit sheds some much needed light into just how far a company will go to get their way.  Let’s take a look.

In the industry of Agricultural Services/Products, Monsanto has held the Number 1 spot for spending, followed closely by CropLife America, The American Farm Bureau, and Archer Daniels Midland (CropLife America and the American Farm Bureau jockeyed for 2nd and 3rd place 8 of the past 10 yrs.  ADM held the 4th spot for 6 of the past 10 yrs).  Are you ready for this?  Monsanto spent an average of $6-plus MILLION averaging 19% of the total spending in this industry!  We have 535 representatives in D.C. and that totals a whopping $11,000-plus spent to lobby on behalf of their sinister agenda. It’s purely disgusting!

What adds to the disgust is the government’s all-out attack on the First Nation people in North Dakota over the Dakota Pipeline.  That pipeline is coming over Sacred Land AND will contaminate the drinking water there (maybe why Nestle’ is taking water from the East Coast!).  Doesn’t anyone care about that?  The Mainstream Media is not properly covering that…why?  The protests have been nothing but peaceful, yet recently, the protesters have been attacked by what appear to be mercenaries.  Wonder why?  could it be the government doesn’t want to get its hands dirty?

If you’re not outraged, you aren’t paying attention.  So, maybe these problem don’t affect you personally, yet.  Believe me, though, if you aren’t taking a stand, they will, and heaven help us all if we aren’t willing to stand up to this corruption!

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