NOT ALLOWING A VOTE
Political experience should lead to statesmanship, but instead generally leads to more adept corruption. Replace career politicians with Mr. Smiths via a Constitutional amendment prohibiting consecutive terms.
LEGISLATION BASED ON HOW YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BEHAVE INSTEAD OF HOW YOU DAMNED WELL KNOW THEY WILL IS A CRIME!
NO TOLERANCE FOR LEGISLATION THAT IGNORES THE REALITIES OF SCIENCE OR HUMAN NATURE!
THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO BUSINESS DECIDING WHO "QUALIFIES" FOR "RELIGIOUS" EXEMPTIONS.
THE PARASITES THAT RUN THE WORLD ...
ANY CORPORTATE POLICYMAKER WHO FAILS TO SAY ANYTHING AND DO ANYTHING TO KEEP PROFITS AND STOCK PRICES UP AND BONUSES FLOWING IS IMMEDIATELY REPLACED BY SOMEONE WHO WILL.
ALL CORPORATE SPOKESPERSONS ARE PROFESSIONAL LIARS.
NO BUSINESS EVER CREATED A JOB THAT THEY DID NOT INTEND TO MAKE A PROFIT ON BY PAYING THE LOWEST WAGES AND BENEFITS THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH.
EVERY BUSINESS WILL SUPPRESS AND SABOTAGE ANY INNOVATION THAT MIGHT INTERFERE WITH AN EXISTING OR POTENTIAL PROFIT STREAM.
THE FREE MARKET'S INTERNAL CONTROLS ON GREED AND INCOMPETENCE ONLY WORK IN THE LONG TERM AND ON GLOBAL SCALES, NOT IN THE SHORT TERM OR LOCAL SCALES WHERE DEVASTATION HAPPENS.
THE RICH HAVE IT ALL SET UP TO PROFIT FROM WAR, POLLUTION, & POISON, NOT INFRASTRUCTURE.
The rich have things set up to profit from an economy based not just on oil but on wasting as much oil as possible. That makes public transportation and mileage improvements anathema to them.
Profit has three components -
MAKE THE RICH PAY FOR BUSH'S UNFUNDED WARS.
Turning American labor into just another third-world workforce continues.
Seen the '06 movie Idiocracy?
The Koch brothers are always looking for another sucker.
It is incumbent on advocates for illegal immigrants to find solutions that do not encourage more illegal immigration.
The term "undocumented" fails to recognize the fact that such status resulted from an illegal act.
It is incumbent on advocates of disparate impact to avoid trading one evil for another. For example, it is not some rich white kid who misses out on college assistance because of reverse discrimination; it is the poorest white kid who otherwise would have just barely qualified.
"State's rights" is Republican code.
"Smaller government" is Republican code. It ostensibly refers to reducing government bloat, interference in personal liberty, and unnecessary restrictions on business, but in fact is intended to promote deregulation of businesses, let the corporations run wild, the future be damned. Republicans "want smaller government" so they can pollute, sell unsafe products, and profit from bribery. It has nothing to do with saving money for middle-class taxpayers, it's just plain greed. Look at the trillions in debt, death, waste, and pork they racked up when they were in power. Their only agenda is to protect profit streams for big oil, big auto, big pharma, Wall Street, and all of the other soulless corporate parasites that see everything around them only as resources to exploit. Destroying public transit systems in the 1900s, starting wars, dismantling safety and fiscal controls, manipulating the Tea Party rabble, buying Senators and Congressmen and state politicians and appointees with bribes and unlimited political ads, Republican politicians give lip service to ethics while wallowing in corruption.
10th Amendment: "or to the people", people. That means actions by federal elected officials trump "States Rights".
When Republicans say they want smaller government, what they mean is their corporate masters want to own the government.
THE FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY THINKING BEING IS TO THINK FOR ONE'S SELF!
NEVER ASK FOR ANSWERS.
SANITY REQUIRES INDULGENCE IN THE COMFORT OF THE IDEA THAT THERE IS SOMETHING ETERNAL ABOUT THE ONES YOU LOVE, BUT COUNTING ON IT IS HOW THE PARASITES GET YOU TO SEND YOUR CHILDREN OFF TO WAR TO KILL AND BE KILLED BY OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN.
Fix Congress - Prohibit Consecutive Terms - Replace corrupt career politicians with Mr. Smiths
Replace term limits with a prohibition on consecutive terms and on fund raising or campaigning for a successor while in office.
Political experience should lead to statesmanship, but instead generally leads to more adept corruption. Replace career politicians with "Mr. Smiths" via a Constitutional amendment prohibiting consecutive terms.
Representatives need to do the people's work, not base every decision on getting corporate money to bamboozle the voters and get re-elected. If the people see good results from their work, they can always run again after a one term hiatus, during which they would have the opportunity to stay in touch with the actual needs and wishes of their constituents. There will always be plenty of experienced bureaucrats to keep things running smoothly.
No anonymous contributions over $100. No corporate contributions.
We did not have a President from the time W was sworn in until he was finally gone; we had an unelected Acting President, put in place by a corrupt Republican-packed Supreme Court on the fraudulent basis of rigged elections, especially in the Banana Republic of Florida run by W's brother Governor Jeb, and in Ohio where the statistical impossibility of the variance between the official election results and the exit poles has never been refuted.
This doesn't make the Republicans any worse than the Democrats; it just means that this time around the Republican election-fraud machine outperformed the Democratic election-fraud machine.
No public official who supports the purchase of any electronic voting device designed without a paper trail has any business holding office, then, now, or in the future. The only reason for installing voting machines without a paper trail is the hope that one's own party's election-fraud machine will outperform everyone else's election-fraud machine.
There is no excuse for acceptance of an insecure voting system. A description of a secure voting system is shown below.
The key to maintaining security against election fraud is to use the same two fundamental methods that are used for ultra-high-security computer systems - an air gap, and separation of control of incoming and outgoing data.
Ultra-high security systems do not allow outside direct access to the core of the system. Data is input directly either from a keyboard or from intermediate media (CD, tape, etc.) that has been scrutinized when not under the control of the originating system. For high security communications, the incoming and outgoing communication paths are kept separate and monitored to detect attempts to control both paths simultaneously. Systems that don't use air gaps will always be vulnerable to electronic tampering.
The application of an air gap and separate communication paths will provide secure voting, and can be accomplished with off-the-shelf technology.
Below is an outline of the protocol:
Internet Line to Centralized Vote Recorder
↓ Air Gap!
Return Phone Line to Voting Booth
Each voting station is equipped with two basic laptops, one printer, a broadband internet connection, and a phone line.
One laptop would be used for transmitting the vote over the internet, and the other for receiving confirmation of the vote over the phone line.
These could be the "$100 laptops" currently being produced for distribution to third-world children, or laptops provided by donors for the purpose of public relations and that would be subsequently donated to local schools. The same could apply to the printers.
Each laptop would be prepared by erasing and reformatting the hard drive, and installing an open operating system such as Linux and open internet communication software such as Firefox. The vote transmission laptop would have internet broadband connection and point-&-click balloting software installed. The vote confirmation laptop would have internet phone-connection and printing software installed. There is no connection between the two laptops. More intensive security measures should be considered, such as tests to detect hardware viruses or other tampering not eliminated by standard erasing and reformatting procedures.
Here in Silicon Valley, it should not be hard to find freely available or donated software that would record the votes and also monitor the incoming signal for signs of tampering and take the appropriate action.
Each incoming ballot is printed or otherwise visibly displayed at the recording facility.
The printout or display of each incoming ballot is scanned by a system not connected to the incoming system. This is the key air gap. Scanners have become relatively inexpensive, and could also be donated for subsequent donation to local schools. Standardization of ballot formats would simplify the scanning software requirements and speed up the entire process by allowing a text scan/print rather than an image scan/print.
The scanning system transmits the scanned ballot via the phone-line internet connection to the confirming laptop, where two copies are printed (one for the voter, one for the precinct).
The confirmation signal would also be monitored for signs of tampering. The separation of the signal paths would require perpetrators to simultaneously control both the transmission signal and the confirmation signal, which in itself should be sufficiently difficult that the voting system could be expected to remain secure.
Cost of components: Initially the number of voting stations would be virtually the same as the current number of voting stations, and each voting station would require the same set of components as described below, ideally with the components being donated by manufacturers or other parties for later distribution to schools. Each polling station could be set up by volunteers according to established standards, and then each station would be certified by traveling teams of reviewers (as I assume they are currently). While some polling stations may need inexpensive temporary wiring and adapters to multiplex the use of multiple stations over single phone lines and internet lines, polling stations in schools could be generally expected to have the necessary capacity in place.
Timing: The system would be composed almost entirely of available off-the-shelf software and hardware, and could be put in place very quickly. The first step would be to determine the feasibility of the system, then establish minimum standards for the hardware and software at the polling stations and the ballot recording facility, followed by a campaign to solicit donors and volunteers.
The future: As the public becomes familiar and comfortable with the concept of secure voting using air gaps and separation of communication paths, it would be expected that online voting would substantially replace voting in person at a poll station, allowing reduction in the number of physical stations required. The separation of paths for online voting would be in the form of a confirming email that is transmitted by an internet path that is electronically verified to be sufficiently separate from the ballot transmission path to ensure that both paths cannot be simultaneously controlled by any perpetrator for the purpose of altering a statistically significant number of votes. This would also enable real-time polling on a wide variety of issues and reduce the ability of special interests to claim greater support for their agenda than actually exists. This would also enable voters to have access to thoughtful pro and con consideration of issues at a central resource well in advance of an election, instead of basing their vote on sound bites, biased media offerings, and brash conflicting claims in State-issued voter pamphlets. While it is not expected that an extremely high number of eligible voters would devote sufficient time to understanding the issues, it can be expected that a high proportion of those who actually vote would do so.
We have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead the way to elimination of election fraud nationwide and ultimately worldwide, and changing apathetic or repressed societies into involved societies.
The "Congressional report cards" currently available on the internet often cover only one issue, or just a few, for a single legislator, and may appear biased or have a hidden agenda.
I believe there would be wide interest in similar reports from a nonpartisan organization (such as yours) that compare all legislators' votes to available polls, including a score card for the poll itself, regarding how representative it was, how it was or was not biased, what is known about the parties funding the poll, and what their interests and any hidden agenda might be. This could be accomplished prior to (or without) passage of legislation.
I have two concerns about legally binding legislators to vote according to poll results, or bypass them entirely and create laws directly by referendum: First, some legislation that might be considered the highlights of American democracy probably would not have been enacted on the basis of public opinion polls. I understand that the term "republic" does not mean "representative", but we do rely on our representatives to occasionally make progress at a greater pace or that is more far-sighted than can be expected from the public at large. Second, certain organizations, such as the religious right, have already established systems to "get out the vote", and inundate legislators (and TV sponsors) with ostensibly "spontaneous" calls, mailings, and emails from their members. A binding referendum system would put us in peril of having our lives run by such people.
It would not require a binding system, let alone a Constitutional Amendment, to make representatives more responsive to public opinion. Current internet public opinion polls could be expanded to provide detailed explanations and rebuttals on any issue. I suggest "accountability" legislation that would require legislators to timely provide a public explanation when their vote in Congress contradicts representative poll results from their constituents. Sufficient improvement might be seen to make the specter of a binding system moot. (Even an "accountability" system could ultimately lead to dictatorship by the well-organized, but I believe this is a risk worth taking. It will be up to the rest of us to be better organized.)
The legislation would include criteria for qualifying such polls as "representative", that is, that the poll constitutes an accurate and meaningful representation of public opinion.
The criteria for accuracy would be statistical: a sufficient number of respondents from a representative cross-section of the constituency, and full accounting of discarded responses. Since some citizens cannot or will not respond via the means available (the internet), obtaining responses from a fully representative cross-section is not feasible; therefore, the hard part of establishing the accuracy criteria will be developing a nonpartisan protocol for correcting the results to account for such citizens.
The explanations and rebuttals would be prepared by the Congressional committee drafting the legislation. Those currently provided by state and local governments can be a confusing jumble of factual disputes and opinions. The criteria for meaningfulness should at least include a requirement that the explanations and rebuttals include one section for "statements of fact", and a separate section for discussions of conclusions drawn from those "facts". Finally, the criteria should include a requirement that the verbiage be vetted for understandability through review by "outsiders".
For privately funded polls, voters' concerns about hidden agenda should be mitigated by full identification of all contributors financing the poll, the amounts contributed by each, and identification of contributors' relevant interests and related agenda, with opponents' rebuttals. For congressional polls, the same information should be provided by the legislator about all of his or her financial supporters.
Any legislator should be able to call for a national poll on specified types of legislation, with a relatively small number of supporting votes required for initiation of the poll. If approval of only a quarter of the legislators were required to initiate a poll, and two-thirds to make it binding, the dominance of the majority party would be reduced, and more issues would be polled.
When key legislation, such as the budget, gets held up by special interest and pork barrel amendments, the poll process could be used to require that such amendments be converted to separate legislation.
I would like to see the first use of a binding poll to be on whether all future surpluses should be used to pay down the national debt. (I believe that most Americans can be convinced of the long-term financial benefits of paying down the debt, instead of giving the surplus to the rich when the Republicans are in the majority, or throwing it away on ill-conceived social programs when the Democrats are in the majority.)
Other polls I would like to see:
Should we spend $50 billion on upgrading our energy transmission infrastructure, or a fraction of that in developing local storage devices, which would make complex transmission less critical? (The availability of an affordable battery system, fuel cell, or other device that could power a home for an extended period, would dramatically reduce the impact of a large scale disaster.)
Corollary: Should a portion of the energy transmission upgrade funding be allocated to development of alternative energy sources? Much to the disdain of the oil interests, cold fusion may not be that far off; perhaps all we need is further improvement in laser technology (article).
Government-issued "Anonymous ID" cards which can: Track criminals while protecting citizen privacy. Allow distribution of sales taxes to areas with below-average retail businesses. Eliminate the need for personal income tax. Please see details at: http://gosto.org/ID.htm
Allow use of "tainted" evidence in prosecution of violent criminals. Please see details at: http://gosto.org/Evidence.htm
Treat drug abuse as a medical rather than criminal problem. Please see more at: http://gosto.org/Drugs.htm
I will be following your organization's progress with interest. If you know of any organizations that might be interested in conducting any of the above polls, I would appreciate your letting me know about them.
My primary concern is that avoiding domination of the process by organized special interest groups will require a higher level of consistent participation by the full spectrum of the constituency than can be reasonably expected.
It's not enough just to raise the money required to inform voters of the issues; you also have to actually get them to vote. The special interests, particularly religious organizations, will always have the unfortunate advantage of ideological motivation, in addition to funding.
The difficulty in achieving the required level of participation by the general populace is evident from the disastrous consequences of school boards nationwide being taken over by the Christian right, which they achieved by proselytizing their members to get out and vote in elections which traditionally have very light turnouts. Their organizations control enough voters that they cannot be considered margin influences, even in national elections.
The Chamber is just a front for vulture capitalists. A carbon tax would be just the tip of the iceberg. Every product and service should be subject to a liability tax to cover the cost of mitigating the damage they can be expected to cause to our health and to the environment that future generations will have to deal with. The vulture capitalists figure they won't be around to pay for the damage they cause, so someone else will have to pay for it. After all, you can never have too many yachts and villas.
Help me out here. Why do they even need a bill? Since there is so much money to be made, why don't they just start building? Do they need a bill to shield themselves from environmental regulations or railroad property owners with eminent domain corruption or otherwise ignore their impact on the rest of us? Keystone When would the jobs start? Years away? What is the danger to groundwater? What are the other unsettled environmental issues?
There are five kinds of politician: The rich, those trying to get rich, those that love to toady for the rich, and two kinds trying to do the right thing: those that are too fouled up with religious or other personal agendas to be effective, and those who are actually competent but too few in number to be effective except in extremely rare instances.
The solution? VATI. Vote Against The Incumbent. Let them all know that they need to spend their term doing their job instead of working on reelection. Let them know that they need to impress us not only with what they did in office but also with how what they did turned out during the next term. Let them know that they need to run on the basis of the actual impact of their actions, after a one-term hiatus to see what that impact is. Make them represent the common man instead of the special interests.
The world is run by powerful people whose only motivation is to maintain their power - religious leaders, the rich, and the mindless, soulless corporations - parasites all. The importance of democracy is that it gives the common man at least a modicum of control over the worst excesses the parasites crave to perpetrate.
The parasites have no interest in anyone's welfare. They exploit anyone and anything they can, including each other. They have been raised to adopt a lifestyle of self-interest, and taught to shun the natural sense of a greater good. They don't care whether the rest of us live or die, as long as there are enough of us to serve them. They don't care how educated we are, as long as we are educated enough to serve them. They don't care how healthy we are, as long as we are healthy enough to serve them, but not so healthy that we fail to spend much of our income, and particularly most of our retirement savings, on the drugs, for-profit health facilities, and insurance investments from which they profit. Now that they have discovered that they can get reliable high-tech labor from foreign sources, they are using unfair free trade agreements to turn the American middle class into a third-world workforce, by forcing us to compete head-to-head with workers in countries with no wage protections, no child labor laws or other workers' rights, and no environmental restrictions, and by fostering illegal immigration instead of paying a living wage for unskilled labor. The politicians who signed, voted for, or otherwise supported these agreements either were too incompetent to understand their impact on American workers, or understood and intentionally betrayed their constituents. In either case, none of them have any business holding an elected or appointed office, then, now, or at any time in the future.
Will Rough-and-Tumble GOP Primary Leave Permanent Scars? Let's hope so.
Ideally this election will be the death knell of the entire GOP platform: The same old "trickle-down" Big Lie, theocracy over democracy, "war is good".
The GOP needs to be rebuilt from scratch, starting with the principles of freedom, self-sufficiency, and opportunity, with the addition of the principle of taking control away from those who perceive everything and everyone as resources to be exploited.
Republicans need to decide whether they will promote ethical business and political practices, and honor the principal of separation of church and state, or continue to lose by pandering to a handful of unethical billionaires, zealots, and racists.
The GOP has admitted their only interest is global free market profits no matter who gets hurt. They should write off 2012 & save their money for 2016. But they won't - their backers have billions to burn, stolen from the rest of us.
Ideally this election will be the death knell of the entire stale GOP platform: The same old "trickle-down" Big Lie, theocracy over democracy, "war is good". The GOP needs to be rebuilt from scratch, starting with the principles of freedom, self-reliance, and opportunity, with the addition of the principle of taking control away from those who perceive everything and everyone as resources to be exploited.
The GOP is currently stuck with promoting their shades-of-Sharia theocracy as their only issue to fire up the lunatic fringe of their base - the rest of their base has lost interest. "Trickle-down" is a dead economic position. Palin and (horror-of-horrors) another Bush are both non-starters.
The GOP and their US Chamber of Commerce have no credibility, because they are controlled by and pander to corporations who are primarily interested in global markets, not the American economy, let alone American workers. They even resist the idea of accepting assistance from the government. To level the competitive playing field we should apply reciprocal protectionism against foreign companies that receive subsidies from their own government as well as against global corporations that receive public subsidies or that benefit from other unfair trade practices and exploitative labor practices. GOP/COC/GlobalCorp policymakers resist such assistance because global profits can be higher without protecting America businesses and their American suppliers.
The US government needs to stand up and level the playing field whether GlobalCorp likes it or not, and punish corporations for putting global profiteering ahead of the American economy and the interests of the American people. Reciprocal protectionism should also level the playing field between American workers and their foreign competitors who are expected to accept a standard of living below that which Americans consider necessary and fair. The rich like globalization and are happy seeing the American middle-class turning into a third-world workforce. Our government exists for the purpose of standing up to them. Let's hold our representatives responsible.
When I joined the Republican Party 47 years ago, I admired the idea of building the future using self-reliance, a free market, and capitalism. Since then, the Party has been taken over by people who have replaced the ideal of building for the future with a philosophy of "take the money and run". I haven't found a Republican candidate to vote for in 46 years (except Gerald Ford when Jimmy Carter began spouting his "born again" nonsense). Like I said, we need to start over from scratch.
The GOP needs to clean itself up from the inside out and become the "anti-corruption party"
The free market's internal controls on greed and incompetence do not work in the short term or on local scales, only in the long term and on global scales, too late to protect against market turmoil, destruction of companies that could have been saved, and loss of jobs. To reinvent the American economy as an example for the world, we need to regulate companies to direct their focus on the American economy and jobs over global profits. We need to tax the wealthy, including the job outsourcers, the wealth hoarders, and also those job creators who are destroying our children's future, with protection for responsible job creators. We need to provide reciprocal (as opposed to predatory) protectionism for American companies, as well as punish them for putting global profits ahead of the interests of the American people. We also need to make supporting Americans who refuse to pull their own weight a task for the charities, not for the taxpayers, and take the money out of drugs by treating addiction as a medical condition rather than criminal issue.Comment
Profit is comprised of two components, deserved and exploitative. The GOP's position is that the exploitative component is always zero. Much more intense regulation is needed to control the short-term and local-scale effects of free market greed and incompetence, including vulture capitalism. Private equity firms need to be closely regulated to prevent destructive practices.
Vultures will always be vultures. Equity firms will always destroy a company if bigger profits can be made than by saving it, always, unless closely regulated and heavily taxed on their profits from vulture practices. Health insurance companies will always limit themselves to the healthiest population they can, provide the least coverage possible, and stonewall patients to death, always, unless they are closely regulated and fined for such practices and are forced to compete with a public option or only offer coverage not included in the public option. Comment
Romney is right that the job losses he created were the product of the free market - a poorly regulated free market. He blurs the distinction between deserved profit and exploitative profit - it's all the same to him. Predatory capitalism needs to be closely regulated in the same manner as anti-trust actions. Comment
The oil profits minimum tax is long past due. Our economy is based on wasting oil - the more waste, the bigger the profits. Big Oil, Big Auto, and the military-industrial complex, owned or controlled by the same obscenely rich families, have conspired for decades to sabotage and delay efficient engines and public transportation, and have had their stooges in Washington start wars just to protect oil profit streams. These same people deal in arms and no-bid contract support for the military; they have promoted wars to waste as much military material as possible so they can get richer resupplying the military, as they did in Iraq. They have a huge backlog of dues to pay; we can use the minimum oil profit tax revenue to mitigate some of the damage they have inflicted on us and on future generations. Comment
Obama has made a good effort in reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but spectacular results will only be achieved by government investment in "fringe" science - cold fusion, better batteries, more efficient solar cells, biomass fuels that don't displace food crops, etc. The only thing that has ever made lasting improvement to the human condition is Science. We can't wait for corporations to see a way to profit from new science, let alone count on them to support developments that could compete with their existing profit streams. We also can't wait for universities to take long shots on research that might be perceived to have the potential to damage their image. Just as only government can be counted on to invest in infrastructure, only government can fund projects like the space program that create the technologies that change the world forever. Pure research is the answer to the problems of the world; always has been, always will be.
AFP, the Kochs, and Rove are just spending money preaching to their choir. They have no credibility with independents, let alone with Dems. Everyone will assume AFP and the Kochs and Rove are the sources for any attack ads against President Obama, ignore them, and think even less of the Republican candidates, if that's possible.
I see where Republicans are proposing a to help the GOP win women voters. I just don't think there are enough racist misogynist homophobic anti-jobs anti-education home-schooled women who have the power to put global profiteering ahead of the American economy and the American people and lead us to Sharia-style theocracy
The parasites feared a civil war in Iraq would interfere with the oil profits they need to maintain their obscene lifestyles, so they have used America in an attempt to install a stable government. The parasites have no interest in the welfare of the Iraqi people or anyone else.
style='text-autospace:none'>W's legacy will be his role as toady for the parasites in his destruction of Iraq, his waste of at least a half-trillion dollars on the war, his no-bid contracts for his friends and his successful effort to deplete our military resources to a dangerous level so that his rich friends can get richer selling replacement weapons and equipment to the taxpayers.
George W. Bush will go down in history as the greatest criminal to hold the office. We did not have a President from the time W was sworn in until he was finally gone; we had an unelected Acting President, put in place by a Republican-packed Supreme Court on the "basis" of rigged elections, especially in the Banana Republic of Florida run by W's brother Governor Jeb, and in Ohio where the statistical impossibility of the variance between the official election results and the exit poles has never been refuted.
This was just the beginning of W's criminality. His legacy will be his destruction of Iraq, his waste of at least a half-trillion dollars on the war, his no-bid contracts for his friends and his successful effort to deplete our military resources to a dangerous level so that his rich friends can get richer selling replacement weapons and equipment to the taxpayers, his betrayal of democracy and his replacement of our democracy with his own personal idiotic theocracy, the needless suffering and death millions of Americans and others throughout the world as a direct result of his evil interference with embryonic stem cell research and family planning charities, and his Ludditism that has set American science back at least 50 years, an moral outrage from which we may never recover, scientifically, medically, environmentally, or economically. Only an evil moron would create such immense suffering for the people of the world just to get his thirty pieces of silver from the christian right.
Besides making his friends rich, W's other motivation for invading Iraq was the potential loss of oil profits from the impending civil war being brought on by his predecessor's installment of the monster Hussein. Ending Hussein's vile, cruel rule had little chance of avoiding the civil war, but W saw American lives as a cheap price to pay in his attempt to protect oil profits.
We waited to no avail for President Bush and Senator Kerry to answer "The Question". This could well have been essentially a single-issue election:
"When NAFTA came to a vote, what was your plan for the Americans who you knew would lose their jobs?"
The single honest answer appears to be: "There was no plan, and we all knew it."
On Lou Dobbs recently, an economist (Glassman) tried to support the President's agenda, but when asked directly what jobs should a laid-off 55-year old steel worker be re-trained for, his response was to look like a deer caught in headlights, then weakly respond with something about a projected shortfall of software engineers in the year 2025. 2025!? What about today?! Software engineers!? Hasn't he heard how India and China are already leapfrogging us in software engineering!?
In passing NAFTA Congress betrayed the American workers. The general consensus among voters is that the vast majority of the members of Congress do not choose to represent the American people; they choose to represent the rich families and mindless corporations who have been drooling over cheap, exploitable foreign labor for decades, and who want to transform the American labor force into a third world, low paid, and benefit-deprived resource, through:
"Free trade" agreements, such as the ones Congress enacted with no wage or environmental standards, or other protections for American workers.
No effective control of illegal immigration.
No effort to transform "third world" jobs in America into first world jobs, by raising the minimum wage above the poverty level, and requiring health coverage for all employees.
Giving tax cuts to the rich, while taxing the middle class beyond reason, and denying medical and educational assistance to even lower middle class taxpayers because they make slightly more than those who "qualify".
Blocking technical innovations until the last dollar of profit has been squeezed out of costly, polluting products and practices.
Candidates continue to spend much of their campaigns trying to put spin on their betrayals, most especially NAFTA.
We are all still waiting for them to answer "The Question", and tuning out their attempts to divert us from this foremost issue.
Simple question for every candidate for national office: Considering that a "flood" is commonly considered to be the result of excessive rain, do you consider damage from wind-driven water to be uncovered flood damage or covered wind damage? In other words, do you represent your constituents or are you just another toady for the criminal insurance companies?
VOTE AGAINST THE INCUMBENT!
CLEAN UP WASHINGTON!
TAKE BACK AMERICA!
VOTE AGAINST ANY INCUMBENT WHO DOES NOT VOW TO:
STAY OUT OF THE NEXT ELECTION
Do your job for your constituents, instead of running for re-election.
After a term out of office, run again on the basis of what your earlier efforts achieved.
VOTE AGAINST ANY PORK OR
SPECIAL INTEREST RIDER ON ANY BILL
PUBLICLY DENOUNCE ANY SPECIAL INTEREST
THAT ATTEMPTS TO INFLUENCE A VOTE
AGAINST THE PUBLIC INTEREST
REPEAL NAFTA AND THE TELECOM ACT
Every politician who signed, voted for, or otherwise supported NAFTA was either so incompetent as to not know the effect on American workers, or knew and deliberately betrayed us.
The Telecom Act concentrates control of media in the hands of ruthless manipulators of public opinion and promotes unfair trade practices that create monopolies over vital services.
None of the politicians who supported these laws have any business holding public office - then, now, or in the future.
RESTORE AND SECURE COMMON CARRIER STATUS FOR THE INTERNET
Media special interests are trying to take control of the Internet - Don't let them do it!
Keep the free flow of information and innovation working by maintaining equal access to the Internet for all!
ENFORCE THE LAW REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO VERIFY
ELIGIBILITY TO WORK
Employers who hire illegal aliens must be held accountable! Pay a living wage to Americans!
ESTABLISH AN "ANONYMOUS ID CARD" PROGRAM
We need a national ID card program that protects privacy while controlling illegal immigration, terrorist movements, and predator monitoring. The card would be used anonymously as a financial avatar for most purposes. Other benefits of the program include a method to distribute sales tax revenue to meet the needs of all communities, and abolition of personal income tax. See below for details.
Pass legislation to allow "tainted" evidence to be introduced at trial. Allowing criminals to walk the streets is not the way to protect our rights. The rights of a criminal are worthless compared to the right of the next victim not to be at risk. See gosto.org for more discussion.
RESTORE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
"Faith-Based" Legislation is by definition contrary to the most sacred principal of democracy, the separation of church and state.
President Bush failed to honor this most sacred principle. He and his colleagues violated our trust in order to maintain the support of right-wing zealots. He condemned thousands to needless suffering and death by refusing to fund embryonic stem cell research, on the basis of his personal belief that ensoulment occurs at conception. He declared that while it is immoral to create new stem cell lines, it is in his view somehow not immoral to use existing cell lines, demonstrating his own muddled hypocrisy, and his true motivation - political posturing for personal gain.
The Other Choir
"My family has had nothing but trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country."
Major Charles Emerson Winchester (played by David Ogden Stiers in the tv series M*A*S*H)
We should reject any person who fails to support every person's right to separation of church and state, and freedom from traditions and ideologies that can only be sustained through ignorance, oppression, and violence. In particular, naturalized citizens who swore to uphold the Constitution but harbored and still harbor mental reservations regarding religious beliefs "trumping" the Constitution should be stripped of their citizenship and deported.
The real problem with immigration is that we can't deport home-grown undesirables, like rappers, preachers, survivalists, teabaggers, loud people, etc.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land; all other laws are secondary. No person or law is perfect, not even the Constitution, let alone the secondary laws or any legislator, judge, attorney, or jurist.
Laws are not written by omniscient statesmen; they are written by politicians. Politicians write laws that reflect their personal level of knowledge and insight (such as may be); their need for support from uniformed, misinformed, unenlightened voters; their dependency on powerful self‐serving special interests; and their personal delusions, prejudices, and egotistical needs. No law can be treated as the definitive product of perfect wisdom covering every possible set of circumstances.
The Constitution provides for a jury trial. Next only to putting oneself in danger to protect another or one's country, jury duty is the highest calling the average citizen can expect. The jury is the source of justice. It is the responsibility of every jurist to rise above all of his or her own personal imperfections, as well as those of the laws, the judge, the attorneys, law enforcement, and the other jurists. An extreme challenge, but also the right of every defendant.
Carrying out this responsibility is made all the more important, and all the more difficult, by the corrupted jury system that has evolved in this country. Fundamentally flawed ideas abound in our courtrooms every day, such as the idea that the source of justice is the law or the judge, and that jurors must be treated as mentally incompetent and emotionally irrational with "prejudicial" or "tainted" evidence withheld from them and directed to blindly follow the judge's instructions.
Ii is the responsibility of the defense to counter the prejudicial nature of any evidence. "Tainted" evidence is still evidence needed by the jury to provide justice. The trial should cover not only the charges against the defendant but also simultaneously cover any complaints by the defendant regarding alleged violations of due process or other civil rights or laws, as well as the guilt and punishment, if any, to be applied to the perpetrators of such violations. Egregious violations will be sufficiently constrained by the anticipation of such possible consequences.
Allowing a judge to unilaterally decide whether to withhold evidence of any kind from the jury leaves the integrity of the court system open to failure, and is an insult to the jurists.
The jurist is left having to fill in the blanks, divine hidden political, social, and personal agendas, and decide on a "verdict" that provides the highest probability of an ultimate result having the closest possible resemblance to justice.
As a separate issue: Jury selection should begin with volunteers, such as retired persons who wish to serve their community in a meaningful way and whose service will not harm them financially or place other hardships on them or their families or employers. The final action every jury should take is to conduct a secret ballot regarding which other jurors each juror would want empaneled in a trial of their own; this information would be used to weed out problem volunteers from future selection.
Finally, "religious" laws have no place in our court system. It is not the business of the government to decide whether a person or organization "qualifies" for a "religious exemption" or is bound by any "law" not enacted by a public legal entity. There should be no mention of religion in any law (other than the Constitution ‐ which provides for freedom from religion), or, for that matter, in any political campaign.
No exemptions. No toleration for "enforcement" that conflicts with secular rights.
The Waste of "Tainted" Evidence
What do you think?
On the other hand, teachers are being asked to do a lot more than teach these days. We've all seen moving stories about a teacher who helped a troubled student or even a large group of troubled students, but these teachers are highly exceptional people, and we can't count on having one in every classroom. A competent educator should not be penalized for not being able to solve or compensate for a student's problems at home, whether they get too little motivation, time, or help from their parents, or have much, much worse problems at home. Nor should they be penalized for the frustration of those who want to move more quickly.
I can remember when the educational system in my home town began its descent along with the other schools in America - the day in September 1971 that the school board instructed the teachers that henceforth no student was to be failed, that the worst student was to get a D, and everyone else was to be graded on the curve from that point. The politically "correct" idea that school is about making kids feel good about themselves, instead of educating them about how much they still need to learn, is what got education in America into the mess it is in.
How to help problem students? Hard question, but not the first one we should try to answer. The more important question is how to keep problem students from disrupting the education of motivated, well-behaved students. This is the problem that is dragging down our entire society, along with the tolerance for coarse behavior and violence endemic in TV and other "entertainment".
Teacher evaluations need to take into account all of the problems imposed on them by problem students, incompetent administration, and inadequate funding for both salaries and school supplies.
Motivated, well-behaved students need to be segregated from disruptive students. That is the first step. As far as improving the American education system, how to help the disruptive students is a secondary problem.
Now, as to how to help problem students. Start with removing coverage for children in food stamp programs and giveaways. In the homes of some problem children (you never know which ones they may be) food stamps and giveaways will be sold for drugs and alcohol. Instead, provide children with 3 meals a day 7 days a week year-round at school. Considering the long-term (lifetime) cost of early malnutrition and associated antisocial behavior, this would be the best and least-expensive method to deal with child hunger in America. Provide child care for all working parents. Provide free contraceptives and unbiased family planning education to all students. Strictly enforce expulsion for any act of violence, including bullying, hazing, possession of a weapon, or incitement of violence or harassment, and let the authorities deal with the perpetrators. The failure to learn how to behave may not be the fault of the student, but the right of potential victims not to be victims comes
Our politics and businesses are corrupt from top to bottom, but the reason everyone wants to come to America is because it is so much less corrupt than everywhere else.
That is why we are far too tolerant of our politicians wallowing in corruption every day.
Corrupt practices are routine in Congress, for both parties:
Representing key financial backers instead of constituents.
Accepting anonymous donations.
Passing benefits for Congressmen and Senators that are not available to the general public.
Passing tax breaks that are only available to the rich.
Repeating the lie that Trickle Down ever worked for anyone but the rich.
Repeating the lie that corporations can ever be trusted to put the Greater Good ahead of profits.
Holding up a bill that a majority wants to vote on.
Letting the majority party decide which bills will be even discussed, let alone voted on.
Holding a vote without time to read and discuss a bill.
Voting on a bill without ever reading it.
Ignoring scientific reality.
Routine hostage-taking with self-serving unrelated amendments.
Lack of rules for filibusters.
Hiring shills to drown out opponents at gatherings.
Spending most of your time focused on the next election instead of doing your job.
Taking Budget and Debt Ceiling legislation hostage is not just corrupt, it is traitorous.
Drones take care of problems that would otherwise put US troops in danger. Their use must have adequate oversight, and they need to be much more precise, such as by using a large drone to drop small drones with real-time video flight and detonation control and face recognition capability so they go off in front of the right face, specifically, anyone who claims the right to impose religion or other cultural "traditions" on others.
Ten years from now drone delivery of pizza, groceries, mail, packages, etc. will be commonplace and we will wonder how we ever got along without it. Peer-to-peer communication devices on drones, smart phones, and other devices that treat every packet as a virus and accept no executables will be immune from hacking and government interference. Anyone who does not work in a factory or in one of the few remaining brick-and-mortar outlets will teleconference from home. Traffic will be a thing of the past. A trip to local markets to buy locally made products will be a treat instead of a hassle.
Technology is progress as long as it is not controlled by the rich.
War Profiteers vs Our Vets
The war-profiteering Republicans don't want the VA to get caught up with the outrageous backlog of benefit applications because that would create further proof of the true cost of their unfunded wars.
The VA could get caught up in weeks if they allowed online volunteers to input the data from the forms, using multiple inputs of the same data for error checking. Tens of thousands of volunteers would be glad to spend an hour or two a day inputting the data - we can never do enough for our vets!
Charlatans of every stripe, both greedy exploiters and power-mongering self-proclaimed zealots, are seeking to use the current instability to further their own personal interests. The rule of law can only be reestablished and maintained by the underlings of the rich, since the zealots will never have the vision or courage to acknowledge that religious imposition is a crime. The zealots' insistence on establishing an Islamic state and imposing their beliefs makes them the enemy of everyone else.
Morsi's "democratically-elected" government was never even remotely representative, and just as corrupt as its predecessors. Religious imposition and corruption are the issues. The solution is for the Egyptian Army to recognize that religious imposition is a crime, and enforce its prohibition. Then when a new REPRESENTATIVE government is formed, it can focus on ending corruption. Those who prosper from corruption and the chaos of zealotry are the enemy.
"State" refers to the United States, unless the authors were talking among themselves about the possibility of their respective states going to war with each other in the future, which is nonsense.
The authors had no conception of modern weapons and their killing power. If they had, they would agree with the current practice of limiting private ownership of heavy weapons.
We have a well-regulated militia - the US armed forces. The need for handy weapons in order to form a militia is now a meaningless anachronism. Anyone who is so paranoid and twisted that they fantasize about going into battle against our own troops needs to be locked up, not listened to. I agree with George Washington's concept that a proliferation of small arms might keep some forms of violence in check, but today the people kept in check are the gun nuts themselves. (I own several and enjoy target shooting.) "Shall not be infringed" is also an anachronism - sane people have historically passed laws limiting what weapons can be privately owned and under what circumstances.
The only relevant remaining question is, what kind of weapons should be available to private citizens? Common sense says that having more assault weapons out there is a bigger risk to the public than limiting private ownership of assault weapons. I think that the 10-round limit is high enough, despite what the greedy gun manufacturers and their knee-jerk toadies rant about. Universal background checks are just common sense.
Guns and Predators
I am an avid target shooter. I like to tell my hunter friends that anyone who believes they have the right to hunt should be allowed to, but only each other. I envision a large area in the Australian outback with higher levels of weaponry allowed the deeper in you go - fisticuffs at the perimeter, then edged weapons, small arms, heavier carried weapons, two-man machine guns, tanks and artillery, fighters and bombers and small missiles, and, of course, in the center, duking it out with nukes.
Humanity needs to rise above creating unnecessary suffering. The thrill of the kill does not justify taking the chance of a bad hit. Nature provides enough cruelty - we don't need to add to it. Hunting is never a "sport".
Nature's great "plan" for virtually every living thing is for it to be eaten alive or die of hunger, thirst, injury or disease. There is nothing beautiful or magnificent about predators - they are the result of millions of years of mindless random mutations and natural selection. If you are prone to spouting drivel about needing predators or human hunters to "thin the herd" to avoid overpopulation and starvation, then instead of removing the biggest, healthiest animal you can find from the gene pool you could take the trouble to learn how to identify the genetically weakest in the group and shoot it with a contraceptive dart. If this doesn't do it for you, you are just another animal filled with blood lust, the world would be a better place without you, and you should be fed to a bear. Same goes for people who choose lifestyles where they are dependent on hunting or, even worse, trapping.
Humanity needs to rise above cowardly obsession with having control over others. Humanity needs to realize that we are no longer in the wilderness, and that with thoughtful cooperation everyone's needs can be met without resorting to violence. It's people like you that keep the world an unpleasant place.
The best we can hope for is to last long enough to develop the technology to rise above our entrapment in organic existence and make nature optional. Then we can free all other self-aware life from the vicissitudes of organic existence.
Sane people have always infringed upon the Second Amendment, otherwise there would be no laws keeping you bozos from walking around with RPGs and driving tanks through town. The Founders had no concept of modern weaponry, or of a society that lets loonies run around loose (which began with Governor Ronald Reagan closing mental hospitals in California for "budgetary" reasons - Nancy's astrologer must have been really high that day).
The last thing any of us want is for you survivalists and "preparers" to have weapons of any kind. If there is an apocalypse, we will all be united with the first priority - taking you guys out. You are nothing but brainless stooges who swallow all the bullshit the gun manufacturers shove down your throats. You waste your lives obsessed with a doomsday that will never come, as your excuse to never man-up and actually do anything constructive. People who are paranoid about having their guns taken away should have their guns taken away.
Anyone who points a weapon at a peace officer belongs in jail, even in Nevada.
I also remember the retired NYC police psychiatrist who said in his memoirs "in 35 years as a police psychiatrist, I never met a cop who should be allowed to carry a gun". Every action by a law enforcement officer should be recorded.
Every cop should be wearing a camera that shows what he or she sees. Every firearm should have 2 operating internet cameras, one pointed at the target, the other pointed at the shooter's face. Prevention of real-time public display of recordings for more than 24 hours should require a court order in every instance. Every firearm should have computerized scans of a sample fired bullet stored at the manufacturer's facility and available online to law enforcement to compare to crime scene evidence. The NRA should be required to maintain a database of gun owners and their weapons, available to law enforcement with a court order. No secret courts. No secret court orders. When we are invaded by Canada, the NRA can destroy the database. Anyone who fantisizes about going into battle against our own troops needs to be locked up, not listened to.
No monkeywrench, no shutdown, no debt defaults. The Republicans own the "Defund ObamaCare (originally known as RomneyCare)" monkeywrench. It's all on them. All of it.
Most of the teabaggers are mindless manipulated anarchists who fail to understand that the purpose of government is to protect us from the exploiters and zealots, and the rest are just corrupt shills for the insurance industry, who want us to keep trusting our health and homes to people who are in the business of denying claims. Throw them all out in 2014!
We'd be a lot farther along if the administration had just used the correct sound bite from the beginning:
"We will negotiate anything but a ransom."
but we've got to stop kidding ourselves. The GOP has no intention of avoiding the next default or shutdown until they are ridden out of town on a rail.
The only safe investments now are in tar, feather, pitchfork, torch, and of course rail, futures.
There is no cure for global piracy operations, certainly not by infringement on internet freedom in America. The entertainment industry will eventually move to a subscription system, where people pay in advance for a new release based on free prequels, ads, and history.
End game? Watch the mindless zealots and greedy, ambitious, ruthless warlords use their own people as fodder to slaughter each other's people indefinitely. Just like the GOP did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just like the British did when carving up pieces of the Empire to intentionally create perpetual conflict. Just like all of the West has in Africa, South America and elsewhere when oil and other forms of greed were not at stake for the world's rich, aka the parasites.
We're a long way from honoring the fundamental principle of separation of church and state, or electing statesmen instead of politicians, right here in the US, let alone in the Middle East.
War profiteers have a vested interest in keeping the world in chaos. They are pulling the strings. Governments, hawks, baggers, warlords, and zealots are just their puppets.
The very purpose of gerrymandering is to make our democracy less representative, which is fundamentally unconstitutional.
The Justice Department should go after every guilty legislature, Rep or Dem, and impose non-partisan redistricting plans nationwide.
Here's your zero-politics starting point:
Use a 3D version of the map, like the one below, to draw new Federal election districts - child's play for a topological expert, might take a whole afternoon. Could also be done as an online game like gene folding.
Draw a circle around each population peak to include about 700,000 people. Surround each of those circles with other approximate circles each including about 700,000 people until the whole country is covered. Refine the lines based on legal borders (just as soon skip this step, but big ducks ...). Use Google Maps etc. to further refine the borders along street lines, natural barriers such as rivers, lakes, mountains, etc. Finally refine the lines based on common community interests, with input from the public, being very, very careful to avoid introducing partisan contamination. These are your new Federal election districts, each including essentially the same number of persons. (~700,000), courtesy of simple mathematics.
Require states to justify (to a Federal court) using any other districting plan, strictly prohibiting any attempt to impose political advantage.
Premise: American corporations have gone global and are happy to see the American middle class turned into just another third-world workforce.
Question: Should we begin supporting American corporations by practicing reciprocal protectionism as well as punish them for putting global profits ahead of the interests of the American middle class?
Premise: We cannot afford to take care of the entire world.
Question: Do you believe in separation of church and state, or are you an idiot?
Question: If you believe in doing the right thing and promoting the greater good, why do you need religion?