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user-inactivated  ·  2268 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: NSA: Linux Journal is an "extremist forum" and its readers get flagged for extra surveillance

I actually used that video in a way to help myself understand how to explain my privacy feelings to others. I showed your video to a friend, and she didn't really get it. Still thought, "I have nothing to hide, why does it matter?"

I then thought of something else, right on the spot, to add to it.

The average citizen should care about surveillance because it isn't about them, it is about the people they elect. The second that we elect a president or a congressman into power, that person has their entire personality profile, financial records, laws they broke (along the lines of what the police officer mentioned in the video) in the NSA's computers and are subject to blackmail. Ever wonder why whenever we elect a president they immediately change? It's possible they are immediately subjected to large scale blackmail to maintain the status quo. I of course have no proof of this so it is simply a conspiracy theory, but the ways that the civil servants whom are largely unknown to the American people operate, and how they can convince, manipulate, and trick politicians was well documented in the british series "Yes, Minister" (and subsequently, "Yes, Prime Minister").

If (and I stress, if) this is true that civil servants are manipulating the elected representatives on this sort of scale, then we are not living in a representative republic. It's just a song and pony show to make Americans think they are when they are not. (In fact, most Americans think they live in a democracy, which is kind of sad in itself... you use terms like "representative republic" with them and they'll say "same thing". It's not at all the same thing...)

In fact, it's already guaranteed a song and pony show because the American people don't understand what the president's job is. What do we elect presidential candidates on? Gay rights, beliefs on abortion, beliefs on health care, education, etc. These are fantastic questions to ask your candidates for the legislative branch, but the president is the civilian head of the executive branch. Candidates for president should be well versed in government auditing (he is supposed to be the civilian check and balance on the executive branch), academic study in foreign policy, diplomacy, and military strategy. Preferably this person will have no military history as well, so as to prevent loyalty to certain military entities (previous bosses in the chain of command, for instance) which are a conflict of interest.

Instead we get presidents that push legislation through Congress. What? You're supposed to be dealing with the executive branch, stop meddling with Congress.

I recently visited Washington DC, and when touring the Capitol building we were informed of the fact that the president is not allowed to enter the Capitol building without being invited first. I thought this was amazing! The guide then continued: This is just a formality, though, if the president calls Congress and asks to be invited, he is pretty much always granted.

What happened to checks and balances in this country? Why are they simply "formalities"? This isn't supposed to be just some silly idea that was previously thought of by our founding fathers, it was an ingenious way to make sure people are accountable for their actions while in public office.

I think the reason is that people elected to public positions are too afraid to rock the boat in fear that they will be ousted. It's because they are career politicians and it is the only job they know how to do and be paid a decent salary, just like I probably wouldn't be able to survive outside the IT industry.

The most vocal politicians are the ones that know they have reached their peak, have established job security, and know that they will go no further in their career.

I think it's interesting also that these politicians also feel they have a duty to those who helped get them in office. Not the individual taxpayers who helped get them there, the guys who helped market them. That is, in effect, all a presidential campaign is. One giant marketing campaign. As a result, they feel obligated to the people that served them the best and a large portion of those people are political party runners. So, the president feels they have to help out their fellow political party members.

A lot of people share a belief that the two-party system we have is bad, and that we should allow more parties into the mix. This is a sign of a mind that is skeptical, but a mind that has come to the wrong conclusion. A member of the green party, libertarian party, or other third-party will still feel the same obligations to their parties.

That's why I propose a no-party system. This solves so many problems with existing political issues that have been brought up before, but also protects those who get elected in office. Think about the IRS targeting scandal, in a no-party system, how could they target a political party if it none exist in the first place?

I get the idea, that the party system "ensures" that the winning president gets more than 50% of the vote. Why not then create completely independent presidential primaries with multiple voting processes to end up with a final result of 2 potential candidates? You then create a system that is completely independent of political party and still get a president that received over 50% of the vote still. We already filter candidates through primary voting this way, it's just run by political parties instead of the voters.

I'm too tired to continue thinking about this. Teh edn for now.