The Agent’s Thought Dump: Part 2 – More Brain Droppings

So many thoughts. And yet so few words. Source: SwanWaters

So many thoughts. And yet so few words. Source: SwanWaters

Once again, I’ve hit a point where all the thoughts in my brain space have been taking up space while not being substantial enough for a full article. Combined with an upcoming and sudden moving day that threw off a few plans, I’ve been more creatively strained than usual.

So, it’s time once again to have a mental cleaning day in hopes relieving my stress. Let’s begin with the obvious thought that’s (I hope) on everyone’s minds…

How is America not imploding right now?

Seriously, have you seen the news lately? People are freaking out about gangs of creepy clowns, cities are without safe drinking water, oil companies are defiling people’s homes, and our primary choices for our future leader are a corporate-sponsored Dolores Umbridge and a mentally unstable, geriatric Oompa-Loompa. In the words of Dexter Holland, “s*** is f***ed up.”

It almost feels like everyone in my country is suffering some kind of short-term memory loss that makes them forget all of the madness going on around them as soon as they fall asleep so they don’t make forward progress on the problem. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve long since entered a state of ‘optimistic pessimism’ where I just hope for a civil war/dictatorship/apocalypse to happen so I can stop losing my mind over it.

On a lighter note, since this is about decompressing my stress…

I need to add One Punch Man to my watchlist

Have you seen this s***? It’s literally an anime comedy deconstruction of the western comic book-style superhero where a guy has phenomenal strength and speed but is tortured by the fact that having overwhelming power makes things too simple for him and all he wants is to be able to feel the emotions swirl inside him as he battles for the earth.

Basically, what if a normal guy had Superman’s power?

Add to that the fact that it seems hilariously over-the-top, and I can see why it’s taking off.

Speaking of anime that’s peaked my interest…

There is an anime where Buddha and Jesus are roomies

I wish I was talented enough to make that sentence up.

I’m not even joking; there exists a slice-of-life comedy called Saint Young Men where Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ live on earth and share an apartment in modern day Tokyo while fumbling with mortal human culture to hilarious ends.

Screw political correctness; I need this to be dubbed into English. I must live in a world where Jesus identifies with us bloggers.

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Presidential Peril: Why I Fear That The 2016 Election Will Be Apocalyptic

You have been warned.
Source: gfi.com

Wow, it’s been far too long since I’ve talked politics here. But in my defense, it’s not the most fun topic to write for. Still, things need to need to be said.

At the moment, it seems that the two big names in this coming race for the presidency are Bernie Sanders and (god have mercy on us all) Donald Trump. This is, to me at least, highly problematic.

There is the obvious problem that exists with the possibility that Trump will be commander-in-chief. As a world-renowned corporate sleazeball, he will undoubtedly push for laws that give larger corporate entities like himself an unfair economic advantage – pushing the rest of us even deeper into crippling poverty.

But, as much as I like Sanders’ politics, I predict problems with him in power as well.

I’ve mentioned in the past my policy on not voting due to the obvious flaws in the system that make it practically worthless. But there’s another reason why I don’t vote: our votes don’t count.

A recent study by Princeton University showed that the only votes that matter belong to the upper 10 percent of the people; i.e., the people who can afford to buy political power and swing the laws in their favor at the expense of the other 90 percent. And bare in mind that this isn’t a recent development. This study goes back through 40 years of data and the corruption likely stems even further back than that.

To put it in simple terms, I dread the next election because I fear it will expose this corruption to everyone once and for all. Either Trump will allow a flood of stupid laws that will kill our country or Sanders will be overridden with every positive move he makes (he may not be for sale, but the people in the senate and house that can cancel a veto with a two-thirds vote are).

This is going to make me sound like a paranoid doomsayer, but the best case scenario I can see from this is civil unrest finally growing out of control. The worst, on the other hand, is our learned helplessness allowing us to be consumed by an unfeeling government that just doesn’t care about us.

I’m scared, frustrated, and angry, field operatives… and you should be, too.

The Agent’s Democracy (or What It Would Take To Get Me To Vote)

It’s going to take a few changes to get me to want to choose a commander-in-chief.
Source: calhouncotx.org

Election day is coming up soon. As such, I felt it was time to discuss a topic that most politically minded people will likely judge me for; I don’t vote.

In fact, I’ve never voted. The reason for this is because, even as a child I realized that it was an exercise in futility – and I mean beyond the fact that no one we elect could possibly do a perfect job that pleased everyone.

You see, despite what we call it, we are not a true democracy. As it stands now, the votes of the people count for very little if anything at all. If the system were reworked to give the public’s opinion more power, I might care enough to cast a ballot or two.

But how, you ask, would I see that power granted? Well, if I were in a position to change such things I would…

Dissolve The Electoral College

For those that don’t know how voting works, here’s a primer. After the votes are tallied, the results are sent to a series of Electors who cast their votes (538 in total) as the people in each state they represent ask them too.

… at least, that’s how it works in theory.

This was a good idea back in the days when gathering everyone’s vote meant riding on horse through miles of treacherous nature and fewer votes representing the whole made the job easier. However, in the modern world where fiber-optics send information across the globe in fractions-of-a-second, it does far more harm than good.

Firstly, the fact that the votes go to states instead of people means that it can be surprisingly easy for one candidate to win with a minority of the people’s votes (ie: less than half of the country) because he or she gets all of the votes from key states. Remember, all you need to do to win a state’s Electoral College votes is half of the people in a state plus one, meaning the votes don’t actually represent the wants of the people accurately.

But even this is made a moot point when you realize that many Electors don’t even NEED to vote the way the people ask them to. To quote an excerpt from archives.gov:

“There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.”

The Electoral College is a fundamentally flawed system. It needs to be dissolved and the votes need to go back to the people.

But what about the smaller third party candidates that inevitably get pushed out of the running? Even without the Electoral College, they never have a chance and just divide the country further – increasing the likelihood of victory by minority rule. That’s why we need to…

Embrace The ‘Alternative Vote’

The Alternative Vote , also known as the Runoff Vote, is a system designed to ensure that people vote for the candidates they actually want rather than forcing them to vote strategically – ie. voting against candidates they don’t like rather than for ones they do.

Rather than simply casting a single vote, a person ranks the candidates running from their most preferred to least preferred. Once all of the votes have been cast, a winner will only be selected if they have more than half of the public’s vote.

But what if no one candidate makes up half of the polls? Well, that’s where the ranking process comes into play. The lowest scoring candidate is dropped from the race and his or her votes go to the person that each voter listed as their next preferred.

This process of dropping candidates and transferring votes continues until one candidate makes up the majority rule or only one candidate remains. This gives smaller parties a fighting chance and the people who vote for candidates that fail never feel like their vote was wasted.

So there you go, folks. With just two changes in policy, I have given electoral power back to the people. But, I want to hear what you think (this is an article about democracy after all). Tell me how you would change the system (if you would at all) and why you think it would be better that way.