I have some personal news and an explanation for it after the Occupy news today. Stay tuned. (Haha...)
-- [Chuck] The people Occupying the TransCanada Pipeline feel they have much to be concerned about, and it turns out they are right. A man who worked for TransCanada has come out in person as a whistleblower, revealing that TransCanada often breaks Federal rules and guidelines. He went to the NEB (National Energy Board) with his complaints, and they have since opened up an investigation of the oil giant. This video is an exclusive interview with the man who went through so much to fight the company from inside.
-- [Chuck] Fracking is quickly becoming a nationwide issue, even though the term was almost unheard of five years ago. Cities in North Carolina are taking preemptive steps against the practice, with many municipalities putting ordinances in place against the controversial practice. The local legislators are concerned about water and soil contamination, especially since wells in Pennsylvania have been found to have an increasing methane content. The laws are mostly symbolic, because if the state decides to allow the practice, that overrules their ordinances.
-- The police officer that shot and killed an 18 year old Black man in Oakland will not be facing charges. Although witness statements and forensic evidence point to Alan Blueford being shot while lying on the ground, the official statement from the officer says that he was standing and reached for his pants, as if for a weapon. These discrepancies are not even mentioned in the DA reports, and the unanswered questions are weighing heavily on the minds of those who knew Blueford and witnessed the event. The Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition will be asking other officials to step in and investigate, including the California Attorney General and the U.N. Commission for Human Rights. In November, the group will be holding a march against racial profiling.
-- In France, an unfinished mosque became the target of anger for some 70 French youth, who climbed to the top of the incomplete building to protest its construction, and the spread of Islam in France due to immigration. Muslim leaders were shocked by the actions, saying that these young people somehow cannot see that the world has changed, and that "people can live differently than in a mindset of war and conflict." At least three people were arrested for incitement of racial hatred and damage to property. The French protesters carried a banner reading "732," which was the year the city drove out Muslim invaders.
Let's move on to my news, which has several links to support my story.
I have decided that I won't be voting this year.
Now, before you get all huffy and puffy, let me tell you why. I have several reasons for this.
First off, I've been disenfranchised. Not in the "I hate this system" way, even though that would technically be accurate as well. As a college student, I have two legal addresses. One is my mother's home several counties away, and one is where I am now, going to school. So where do I vote? I've been told here, there, both, neither, and so on. My driver's license says that I should vote back at my mother's address. My voter registration says I should vote here. Either way, I need an absentee ballot to be able to vote. That's just how it works. To get the absentee ballot, I need to go to the courthouse and claim a ballot. That means I have to drive at least 20 miles, if I am voting here, or 100 miles, if there. I've tried to call and ask them to send me one. I have to pick it up in person.
So basically, I have to pay to vote. And to tell you the truth, I don't have the money. I can barely afford to go and pick my wife up from school, which is only about two miles away. We usually ride the bus, but they've changed the schedules so that our late classes end after the buses stop running.
Second, I'm not happy with the candidates. If I were to vote, it would be for Jill Stein, and we all know that she isn't going to win because of our amazingly bullshit two party system. They won't even let her into the debates without arresting her. On a recent episode of The Daily Show, President Obama comments that he and Romney are "two sides of the same coin," and I could not agree more. I don't trust either of them. I don't want either of them in office. Here's a few links to give reasons why. These were all sent to me by Chuck, but their sentiments could not be more accurate for me.
-- If Romney becomes President, how would that affect women, their health care, and their reproductive rights? Horribly. And it wouldn't just be horrible for Americans either.
-- At the debate the other day, a woman asked Mitt Romney how he was different from Bush. The answer should have been a resounding "Not by much." Foreign policy is an important topic in America, and it's fairly interesting to find out who Romney wants to work for him on it.
-- President Obama visited the Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day, and in the interest of "comedy," Jon Stewart took it so easy on him that you really expected them to start ogling each other in love. I'm apparently not the only one that feels this way. Check out RT's scathing review of the episode. The sad thing is, this reporter is right on target. The President's policies for drones and the like are killing so many innocent people that it really is no wonder why America is so hated.
So there are a few points. Now please, do not take my choice to abstain from voting as advocacy for you to do the same. I do not want to encourage anyone to step away from the voting booths. Everyone has their own reasons for what they do. In my case, I believe that no matter what I do, or who I choose, things are not going to get better. Does this mean I "don't have a right to complain?" Not at all, and if you believe that, you are foolish. I pay taxes just like everyone else. I am a citizen of this country, regardless of whether or not I choose to use my right to vote for candidates that are both snakes in the grass. I am affected by policies they put in place. Having the right to do something does not mean you lose other rights because you don't act on them. That's not how it works.
Will I complain later about whoever is chosen? Probably. And that is also my right. I was very torn up about this decision at first. I wanted desperately to vote. I tried to figure out what I should do, how I could make it matter, and so on. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it doesn't matter. Not in the sense of my vote not counting, but in the sense that either way this election goes, I'm still going to be poor. I'm still going to have crappy healthcare. I'm still struggling, and my marriage still isn't legal. I'm still stuck under a capitalist regime that doesn't give two shits about me. This regime is still moving toward fascism, and we all know that, no matter who our choice is.
For me, not voting is my vote. I don't want either of your regimes. I don't want your drones. I don't want your fascism. I don't want your indefinite detention. I don't want your war on women. I don't want your tax breaks for the 1%. I don't want your ideas, ideals, or ideology. I don't want either of you. That's my vote.
To contact me, email firstname.lastname@example.org.