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How a proper voting system should work

September 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

President Abraham Lincoln’s phrase in the Gettysburg Adress “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, is what a democracy is all about. Unfortunately politics, policies and personal preferences have turned a simple electoral system into a complicated mess.

Electoral systems around the world employ various different calculations to determine winners and qualifiers. In the United States, the Electoral System is the sole decider of who wins and who loses. The total number of votes received by a candidate is, surprisingly, not the deciding factor. How then, can this system be called a fair voting system? For example, a group of five people are deciding where they should go for dinner; three of them prefer one place and two of them prefer another. In this case the entire party would go where the majority wants to go – this would be a fair voting system. Now if the two dissenting persons happened to be the parents of the other three, then everyone would have to go where the parents wanted to go – this is similar to the Electoral College voting system.

A fair voting system should give value to and take account of every single person’s vote. If every vote is equal, then the idea of swing states will disappear forever. It would force politicians to campaign everywhere and try to convince every person of their policies. Any politician, and especially the President, should be a representative of the people and of what the people want.

How to Start a Petition

July 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Everyone feels passionate about something or other in their life at some point. Taking action sometimes requires petitioning. Here are some simple tips on how to go about the process of starting a petition.

• First of all put the issue into words. This will be your opening statement in the petition. Don’t worry if it sounds bad the first time, it will require some rewriting and editing before it is actually printed out.

Describe the problem that is being faced, why it is a problem and why people should do something about it.
• Present your ideas for a solution clearly and concisely. They can be radical but they need to have some logic in them if you want to win people over.

• Be careful of your tone in the whole petition; be passionate but not angry. Remember, you are trying to win people over and /or trying to galvanize them into action. If you come across as an angry person throughout the entire spiel, you may not be taken seriously.

• Present you evidence. Photographs, documents, audio recordings, video recordings etc., whatever it is try and present the most damning evidence possible. In the case of audio and video this might be a little difficult, if you are out and about, but not impossible by any means.

• Depending on what kind of issue it is, you will have to change your method of collecting signatures. For example if it is an extremely localized problem, a door-to-door signature collection campaign is more than enough. You can also set up signing tables in malls, send out teams to collect signatures or even use mobile (vehicle based) broadcasting and signature collecting if your cause demands it; however, all of this depends on the size of the problem and the area it is affecting.

How to Organize a Protest

June 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

f you care about something deeply enough you will feel compelled to do something about it. But sometimes your cause will require action that is a little more aggressive than usual. This does not mean that you have to resort to violence; instead, it means that you should find a more visible way of making your concerns known, like through a protest march.

The first step is to figure out whether you are going to be vocal about it (shout it out) or be silent and let other measures do the talking (e.g. sit in’s, placards, etc.)

The next step is to set the stage for the march. This involves educating the people about the issue. The more they know about it, the more they will take note of the march when it actually happens. This will also ensure that the message gets spread exponentially, because the education process will get people talking. Talk to all media channels (e.g. TV, Radio, Newspaper etc.) that are available in you city and try to get them to participate in spreading the message.

visibility is key. A park, busy city center etc. are great places to stage the protest. However, if a specific location is connected to your protest then use that because it will be more effective (e.g. the beach – if combating sea pollution is your cause).

Let figureheads do the main talking. Celebrities who support your cause or city councilors should be the key speakers at the protest. They are likely to be given more attention by the public at large as well as the media. The leaders of the protest should focus more on pepping up the protesters.

Stay legal. Ensure that all aspects of the protest are cleared with local law enforcement authorities. You should also assign key figures to control the protesters on the day of the protest to avoid incidents. Decide with your key co-protesters on how any disruptive behavior from your fellow protesters will be handled and communicate this to them on the day of the march.

How to Prepare for Government Protest Crackdowns

May 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

An insecure or corrupt government will never let dissent go without punishment. If you are organizing a protest against such a government you must be prepared for consequences.

The protest can be a peaceful sit in, a march to a significant place or even a violent measure (although this should not be a consideration). Whatever happens, you can expect an aggressive reply from the government. If this happens you should know what to expect and what to do about it.

Water cannons are a big favorite to disperse crowds. The force from these cannons is quite devastating and can knock a person of their feet. At this point they can be slammed against other hard objects and be injured. Make sure you have medical personnel on standby to help them or to take them to a hospital.
Tear gas is another method of crowd dispersal and quite an effective one. To counter this you need motorcycle helmets or some sort of face protector. If everyone is unable to bring one, tell them to bring plenty of water and a spare towel or t-shirt. Soak the cloth in water and wrap it around your head to avoid breathing in the fumes.

To counter any human rights violations, place several people with video cameras and digital cameras in strategic locations. Get them to record everything that goes in the protest when the crackdown starts. This way, any dirty tactics that were used can be highlighted and contested in a court of law.

How to get through Government Internet Filters

March 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Article written by Online education portal

Censorship of media is a practice that governments all over the world have resorted to at one time or the other. Implementing filters for the Internet is yet another practice of this. If it blocks child pornography, extreme violence and gore etc., this is well and good; but it is unacceptable when it blocks freedom of speech. If you are facing a situation like this, here are a few ways to get around it.

• Get onto Google or Yahoo and run a search for the website you want. When it is displayed, do not click on the link. Instead click on the link to the cached copy.

• Subscribe to a VPN service. The connection between the proxy server and your computer is secure and therefore not open for monitoring.

• Use the PING command to obtain the website’s IP address (e.g. ping yahoo.com) and enter that into the address bar. Note that you have to enter http:// in front of the IP address.

• Use Google’s translate option to translate the website. It doesn’t matter if the site is already in English, the process of translation will enable you to access it.

• Instead of typing http:// in front, try using https://

A more permanent way to solve this problem is to lobby the government to change its policies. Get them to make the block list transparent and justify the names on that list. Even if it does not work immediately, keep persisting. Governments change with every election and there is always a chance that the next bunch of people in charge will listen to you.