Some other things to think of while reading. A epitaph for the GOP
And another thing – Polarized Political Culture
How our brains don't work - Your Brain Lies to You And related commentary
Are Americans Pro Slavery?
And a couple of Advertisements
I do not have the solution to the problem of the cancer of government (10 Trillion dollars of debt and growing – consuming 40% of the wealth of our nation... For what?) and the dumbing down of our populace. (If you think that intelligent design is science you can stop reading here. You live in the 21st century and you do not know what science is. You also think that I said ID is false and Darwinism is true which I did not. You probably claim that Darwinism is “JUST A THEORY” News flash. General Relativity theory, and quantum chromodynamics are also “just theories”. Of course without them your cell phones and computers and internet would not work.) I am not sure that I am even stating the problem correctly. I do know that at the core of the problem, or perhaps the entirety of the problem itself can be accurately described by Sun Tzus dictum of Know Your Enemy. I am also fairly sure that if you do not read this web page through and think about it, at least parts two through 4, that you will continue to fail in your attempts to reform government, just as you have failed for the past thirty plus years. If you do not have the time or interest to read this, what makes you think that you will have the time or commitment to do the hard work necessary to keep our country from dying?
No matter what lies you tell yourselves, the cancer of government has continued to metastasize and to consume more of our wealth and time, and other resources while destroying more and more of our freedoms. We, who have been fighting this, have been failing.
We must accept people as they are. People seem to have the incredible ability to believe these two diametrical opposed concepts. We are all alike. We are all unique. Amazingly, depending on how one examines the situation, both statements are accurate. Unfortunately, the way that most people examine the situation both statements turn out to be false. That is, they assume that others are like them (moral, reasonable, etc.) when in fact they are not, and they assume that they different, that is that they are driven by base motives and hate god or morality, when when they are just different – unique if you will. If this seems totally illogical to you, then think of it as a zen practice. Nah... forget that. Realize that the important thing is to realize when a person, NOT PEOPLE, but a person is different from you and attempt to find commonalities. Try to put yourself in their shoes. But realize that some people are broken – they are really sociopaths, or have been seduced by power. and that finding commonality is not always possible. Good has nothing with evil other than survival.
If you think that your stupid neighbors, and hey... we all have stupid neighbors don't we?? or Brittany Peers, or Mel Gibson, or any (ethnic slur here) stirred up by rabble rousing demagogues should have any say in how you have sex, eat, drive, get medical attention, raise, discipline and educate your children, earn your money, spend your money, etc. etc. etc, then you might as well stop reading now. However, if you think that in addition to having a right to live your life as you see fit, you have a god given right to tell others, including your stupid neighbors, how to live their lives, (for their own good of course, or because your god says so, or “for the good of society”), if you think that you have a direct revealed line to THE TRUTH then please be aware of this:
You may indeed have the truth. I am an agnostic as I say below. Thus I take no position on your claim. Your belief in (your gods name here) as revealed in (your holy book here), and as explained by (the person who interprets your holy book – this may be you) may in fact be the TRUTH. I do not think so, but I am not claiming that you do not have a right to this position. What I am claiming is that you do not have the right to use the force of the state or government to impose this position on other people. This is especially true in matters involving all forms of consensual adult behavior including sex, how to have and raise children (except for extreme methods of corporal punishment), education of children, health and medical issues involving family etc. If you think that your version of the TRUTH does entitle you to do this then go back and read the previous paragraph, because, you see, you are that stupid neighbor.
On the other hand, if you think that no one is more capable of living your life than you are, and both you and your stupid neighbor have a GOD given right to be stupid, as well as “immoral” (as long as you do not do direct harm to others) then you really ought to read this. This paper lays forth what I think is a comprehensive way of addressing the socially destructive cancer that is government, and how that cancer, a necessary evil, can be brought to heel and once again made the servant of the people, and not its master. To do this we need to learn how to communicate with others, find our commonalities, and work from there.
Realize that not everyone can put this idea of finding commonalities into practice. At the same time, some people - the Clintons for example – have a knack for bridging the gap between themselves and others. In fact, this ability is the key to the success of sociopathic persons. It is also an ability that many successful leaders have who are NOT sociopaths.
A couple of notes on my philosophy – three actually along with some facts in support of that philosophy.:
Selfishness is not doing what you want to do, it is attempting to force others to do what you want them to do.
If you are your ideas – that is if when your ideas are attacked, you see it as a personal attack on you, then you need to get off of the internet except for email. You will waste everybody's time including your own.
Faith when applied to unwilling others, especially on a large scale, kills. It is dangerous and evil. No matter how many 'reallys' you place in front of the statement I believe, it does not matter, and does not make what you believe congruent with reality. At this time about half of Americans no longer believe in the faith into which they were born. So the evidence would indicate that if there is a TRUE faith the message of this truth is having trouble getting through. I doubt that the parties responsible for fubars that were Challenger and Columbia did not really really really... believe in what they were doing. But the facts they had in front of them said otherwise to almost all the engineers. Facts trumped belief as they always do. People died. I do not care about the nature of the god in which you believe. It may be the TRUE belief. But mixing belief with politics gets people killed, families destroyed, and wastes hundreds of billions of dollars. The rules you want for society, the rules using the coercive power of the state at the point of a gun, should be based on the best knowledge available and a broad consensus of what is best (hence the 70%), They should not be based on your own TRUE revealed beliefs.
I will go on a brief detour here to give a very concrete example of the dangers of faith, morality, belief etc. This is the pro-life movement. People who claim that they are pro-life are, in fact, not. What they are is pro authority. With the exception of a few libertarians or agnostics/atheists , I know of no instance in which the following is not true: Given the choice between a real persons real life, and a pro-life persons belief in their God and their morality, they will always choose their view of their morality and their view of what their god wants as opposed to the real life of a real person. For example, say a person is dying and needs an organ to stay alive. This ill person can pay for the organ by either giving money to the person donating the organ or to their survivors. However a “Pro-Life” person thinks that this is bad. They think that the sick person should die (and every year tens of thousands do die because of a scarcity of organs) because somehow paying a person for a spare organ (Kidney) or an organ that can re-grow (liver lobes) is worse than having a person die. Paying the donor in addition to everyone else in the organ transplant business may lead to something bad. Apparently tens of thousands of people dieing every year for want of organs is not bad.
Some pro life people go so far as to say that a “human” comes into existence when sperm and egg unite. The basis for this is some poetry in the bible, specifically in the psalms. But poetry is not reality There is nothing in science that supports this belief. In fact, science has no clear definition of either life or human. Before the mid twentieth century there is nothing in philosophy or religion that supports this belief. At least thirty percent of female eggs fertilized in the normal manner spontaneously abort. http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=pregnan/5386 and http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3225/is_n1_v43/ai_10365381. Some eggs split resulting in twins and triplets. Since no one would claim that each member of such a multiple birth is not a unique person, it is logically inconsistent to also say that it is the uniting of sperm and egg that uniquely determines a human. To complicate things even more, there are instances when, during the early development of multiple embryos, one is absorbed by the other.
On top of this, we have in-vitro fertilization. We take cells from a female, and from a male and join them in a glass dish. (Hence in vitro – within the glass) No human has ever touched this combined thing. At least half of these are simply not capable of developing into a baby. In fact only about 1/3 of these creations result in a pregnancy when implanted into a woman. http://www.greenjournal.org/cgi/content/full/101/5/959. Of this third about twenty percent result in spontaneous abortions. In other words, despite best efforts, only twenty five percent of in-vitro fertilizations can actually come to term. But for some reason many people claim that this chemical substance that has never touched a human is still --- well human ---. And here is yet another idea on why a fetus, while of the human species, is not what most people call a human.
Then there is drug use. Marijuana is bad. It can not kill, and there is much medical evidence that it makes ill people better off, and in some instances can save lives. But because it is mildly intoxicating it is bad, so the Pro-Life people think that people should suffer and sometimes die. This same argument can be made for experimental drugs and pain killers. I am sure that many of you can come up with other instances where some peoples version of faith, morality and god leads directly to the death of some unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of this so called morality. Of course, given this myopic vision of right and wrong, it is easy to see why they think that a completely malformed fetus that is, by all measures, doomed to a life that is brief and full of pain should not be aborted, but should be condemned to a brief suffering existence. And of course this suffering should be shared by its family. It is for this and similar reasons that faith has no business in politics and government.
A note about me. I think this is necessary since I am going to pontificate, and put forth some ideas, and it may help if you see the context in which I set them out. Some of you may get the impression that I am angry and/or attacking you. This is not the case. I am an agnostic Jew with Buddhist leanings. I believe in the great spirit who lives in all things. (Whatever that means). I think that atheists who deny the existence of anything beyond the physically observable universe are as illogical as those who postulate a personal god. Seriously, the latest theory of the universe is that something like 90% of it is made of stuff that we can 'see' only because of its gravitational affects. In no other way does it interact with the known universe. It is sort of like 'spirit stuff' but with mass.
Why this should be done: Think for a minute on the enormous amounts of resources that are wasted.
Money wasted on incarcerating people because we do not like what they are doing to/with themselves and others (the drug wars – 20 to 30 million in prison primarily for drug related offenses at 50K per year is one hundred billion+ a year just to house them.)
The monies spent putting them in prison and the related costs of trafficking, funding terrorists, persecuting legitimate doctors because some yahoo at the BATF does not like how that doctor is treating chronic pain sufferers.
The monies paid in political campaigns.
We have Hundreds of millions of hours wasted trying to comply with idiotic regulations which simply waste resources since the inspectors are out playing golf with the people they are supposed to be watching. (The free market is the best protector for the consumer, if the government would get the **** out of the way) Look up links for Westland/Hallmark Meat Company.
We have more millions of hours complying with a gazillion pages of tax law, and still more hours wasted in electing crooks and psychotics of various stripes to office.
I read a line recently, from this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lehrer
I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them."
Well I do not want to vaporise them. Part of Buddhist teaching is forgiveness. A line from Tolstoy (I thought it was Buddhist) is to understand all is to forgive all. I am NOT going to claim that I understand all, but I will assert that I think that I understand a lot. I think that means that I forgive a lot. So, along the lines of understanding, not wanting to punish, or vaporize, but wanting to fix, (And to be left the fuct alone) and understanding that kicking a delegate electronic instrument is highly unlikely to make it work better. I herein set forth my ideas to make the world a better place.
Wisdom of Sun Tzu
Since the inception of the Libertarian party about 30 years ago, the ideas of freedom have had about as much impact on the relentless growth of the cancer known as government as a small bird pooping on a hippo. Why is this? What can be done about. The following is from Sun Tzu.
Verses from the book occur in modern daily Chinese idioms and phrases, such as the last verse of Chapter 3:
This has been more tersely interpreted and condensed into the modern proverb:
Many people interpret this sentence as 'If you know both sides, you will win a hundred times in one hundred battles. (知己知彼 百戰百勝)'. This translation is incorrect. The word '殆' in Chinese means 'danger'. '百' in this sentence is better interpreted as 'numerous' rather than 'hundred'.
Furthermore, knowing both sides doesn't guarantee winning. '知己知彼 百戰百勝' is untrue since in the beginning paragraph of chapter four, Sun Tzu wrote 'Hence, we can well predict who would win but there is no strategy guaranteeing winning (故曰: 勝可知，而不可為。)'. The reason of the uncertainty is quite simple. How about dealing with the opponent who knows both sides better than you do?
Similar verses have also been borrowed -- in a manner construing skillfulness as victory "without fighting" -- for example:
Why Government Fails
Cautionary note. When talking about complex entities, there are always exceptions. People get shot in the head and survive with no noticeable adverse affects. So when reading below, bear in mind that there exist some exceptions to my generalizations. Like people getting shot in the head and not suffering perceptible neurological deficits, they are few and far between.
Consider the nature of people that government attracts. It attracts and keeps two kinds of people. The first kind of person is that driven to acquire power over others. They call themselves leaders and and servants. But this is an example that extends through all levels of government. Almost all the words by career government employees use are lies, including the words 'and' and 'the' There is a reason for this.
Let us examine the psychopaths that are at the higher levels of government, our elected officials and their immediate underlings They are not our servants. They do not do what we want, they force us to do what they want, and they use force to take our money to boot. (booty?) If they lead, it is clearly not by example. As a class of people, they have a higher criminal record than any other occupational class in society. In their case all words they use are lies. Every utterance is designed for one and only one purpose. That purpose is NOT to convey information or to represent reality, but to enhance their power and status. To be successful they must be good salesmen and excellent liars, telling voters what will get them elected regardless of what the situation is. If there is a congruency between what a political leader says and reality it comes about by accident, not intent.
Think of this specific almost universal example. To the best of my knowledge, without exception, all such officials give themselves very generous retirement packages. Now these people claimed to be smart enough to tell us how to lead our lives, including what should be done with the money we earn. Yet they were not so competent as to be able to take their generous salaries, save some of it, and invest in such a way that they would not be a burden on society when they retired? And even when they do well after retiring they still collect this retirement. Bill Clinton, despite a family income in excess of ten million a year still draws over $100,000 a year in just his presidential pension. Surely I am not the only one who sees a blatant contradiction here.
Now what is the connection between these people and most citizens, including us? Well, let us compare that relationship with the relationship between individuals in high levels of private industry and their customers. How is success or failure measured in the private industry? With few exceptions, a private business offers a good or service (gos). People choose to purchase this gos or not. Even with a relatively poor product produced by a company headed by someone whom the evidence indicates is dishonest to the core such as Microsoft, and its former chairman Bill Gates, people had the choice to use something else, or nothing at all. When a sufficient number of people stop using the product, the company looses market share, its price goes down, and it may go out of business. People, including senior executives loose their jobs. and suffer pay cuts. Almost everybody in the enterprise has a motivation to keep customers happy by doing their job. Simply keeping your boss happy is not sufficient. In addition, customers must be kept happy on a more or less continuing basis. If there is a serious screw up, or fraud, customers can sue a company for substantial damages. (Well, they can provided that the government does not make a business immune to some degree from such lawsuits. And think what that means that the government thinks of citizen juries.)
Now consider what an elected official does. He and his marketing team have to lie to the voters every two to six years, most often four years. In between elections, he can do whatever he wants with no regard to how this affects his constituents If things go badly, say the price of goods doubles, he can blame “the economy” or his opponents. If things go well he takes credit. In between elections he collects money from people who want him to use the power of the state to make them rich (lobbyists and personal friends), and ignores most citizens.
Except for a very few things like roads, police, defense and fire departments, politics is a zero sum game. That is, the only way for someone to benefit is if someone else looses. Force is used to take money from some people, and then to give it to others. Think farm subsidizes. No product such as roads, adjudication (courts) or protection (police/defense) is produced. Money is simply transferred, usually in a leaky bucket. Much of what police and the courts do is worse than a zero sum game. They are used to coerce some persons version of morality onto others. Imagine how much better our country would be if all this effort of wealth transfer and morality coercion were actually put into productive behavior. Here is the federal budget.
Do you want a better idea of how bad government is. Take a piece of paper or two. Divide them into two sections, and in one list all things or services provided almost entirely by the private sector. That would be such things as food, clothes, houses, entertainment, Information technology, cars, planes, electronics. In the other list all things that are provided by the government such as Air traffic control, roads, bridges, water, or are heavily regulated by the government like medicine and health services. Where exactly do the problems with our society lie? Are cars better or worse? How about bridges?Are we having problems with adequate food or with enough water? Are you beginning to see a picture here?
When government goes toe to toe with the free market it ALWAYS looses. I give you but two examples. Drugs and sex. Is there any evidence that since government started regulating drug usage that we have fewer drug users, or less criminal activity associated with drug use? Here is another example. Remember the fantasy that pornography causes rape? And the government MUST control such pernicious filth. Yet in the late 1980's we saw the proliferation of phone sex and computer distributed porn. Then in about 1994 we saw the internet go public and along with it a ubiquity of porn. There is nothing sexual that is now more than a few clicks away. And yet rape has fallen since then from 22 per ten thousand to about 5 per ten thousand or a decrease of about 80% Imagine that – our environment is permeated by pornographic filth, yet rape has dropped 60 to 75 percent. How much more wrong could the government have been. It kind of makes you wonder how wrong they are about drugs and crime does it not?
By the way, it should be noted that the government laws against drugs and alcohol and sex are all based on someones version of “god given morality” When someone does consensual sex, or drugs or gets drunk they MAY harm themselves, and by extension their family. But this is not the domain of government. This is an instance of people imposing their version of morality based on god on the rest of us. And in the process they waste resources , destroy lives and create crime and criminals. – all to the detriment of society that they claim to be protecting.
Government by Consensus
I have observed the cancerous growth of government in this country. How it is slowly but surely consuming more of the resources of society and restricting more and more of the freedoms of individuals.
Surely the founding fathers were as a whole more intelligent more competent, more learned than any similar sized collection of individuals before or since.
And yet their best efforts have fallen way short. They woefully underestimated what can be described as the bad and the blindness that resides in some men's harts and the lengths that they will go to to distort and even destroy meaning and language in order to achieve their ends. For an example of such behavior one need look no further than the recent supreme court ruling that says that the commerce clause grants the congress the right to regulate everything and every conceivable action not listed in the constitution because everything that humans do affects commerce.
So I have thought long and hard about this situation in an attempt to come up with an idea for government that 1. Is fairly simple, it being harder to corrupt and distort the simple than the complex. 2. Will, for a long time in the future address the problem of the necessary evil of government.
I have experience with Quakers. For Quakers, vote is a four letter word. They, like other similar groups, have a history of righteousness. They arrive at almost all of their decisions by almost universal consensus.
Well, it is fairly clear that such a practice is not likely to work for a nation of over 300 million. However the constitution states that an amendment requires 75% of the states to ratify it. On the other hand a constitutional convention can be called with only two thirds of the states proposing such. http://www.article-5.org/file.php/1/Articles/TextOfArticleVOfTheConstitution.htm Sixty Seven percent is more than two to one. I decided that a good compromise would be seventy percent, hence the name of this proposal.
Here are some sites about the nature of humans and thought that have shaped my thinking. My guess is that any number between two thirds and three quarters will work.
Now before continuing further there a number of articles about how poorly humans are suited for logical rational thought. You would be well advised to read them before proceeding. Below is the first.
What I am proposing is this:
Given that we claim that humans should have as much freedom as possible EXCEPT where that freedom directly and clearly infringes on the freedoms and rights of others.
'Others' are specific autonomous individuals, not "society" Society is an abstract concept, a collection of individuals and is not the same thing as an individual
Property: The right to have and own property is the basis for individual freedom. Individuals care for property much better than 'societies' or governments. If government destroys public property --- well who cares. And besides no one is responsible. You will probably not destroy your own property. And if you destroy others property, you will have to suffer consequences from which government is immune.
Words are the foundation of rules. If the words have no meaning than the rules will have no meaning. If the meaning of the words are unclear, than the meaning of the rules will be ambiguous at best.
WE ARE A REPUBLIC, NOT A DEMOCRACY The idea behind a republic is that the rights of the minority should be respected. In our society they are not. Putting a 70% rule into play will take us back to respecting the rights of the minority
Things that are comprehensible can usually be explained or stated on the side of a panel truck. While certain complex business situations may require hundreds of pages to be throughly explained, the laws needed by people to lead their lives should be easily understood by the average person. Thus there should be a fixed upper bound on the number of laws that shall exist. This number shall conform to the seventy percent rule.
Given the above, I propose:
In the future any regulation that limits the actions of a person because such actions are harmful to society, must be agreed to by seventy percent of the legislators or of the voting public.
In order to repeal such a rule, only fifty percent (55, 60%?) of the population or legislators need to vote for the repeal.
All existing laws that restrict individual personal behavior shall be put to the legislature at the rate of ten percent per year for a vote to keep or repeal. In order to be kept, the legislature must re-pass the law by 65%.
No, zero, none, nada transfers of government money to private business shall happen unless it is approved by 70%. The exception to this shall be contracts for the armed forces. Such contracts shall need the approval of a majority of the JCS, as well as 60% of the legislature. Man, if you can not agree by that amount on what is needed for defense, it probably is not needed.
Thus we shall eliminate almost all subsidies. We will eliminate “defense” projects that do nothing but make some fat assed congressman look good in his home district. Current projects shall be reduced by 30% per year over the next 5 years, with the last year resulting in the elimination of the subsidy.
The meaning of a noun or verb used in legislation shall require 70% agreement. Think life, person, force, torture, freedom, or impaired, or homicide. All words used in a law shall be able to be referenced in a standard law dictionary to be created for this purpose.
This will eliminate such silliness as defining a human as coming into existence when a sperm fertilizes an egg. Or torture as something that at minimum causes permanent bodily injury or organ failure. Really, has anyone in favor of defining humans in this way realized that if a human exists upon fertilization, and that if homicide is suspected in the event of an unexpected death (human ceases to be alive or to exist) than at least a million spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) a year would have to be investigated as potential homicides, and the associated doctors investigated as possible conspirators?
All Juries shall always, and in all circumstances, be advised that they may ignore a law in determining guilt or innocence. Furthermore, they may have the option of punishing the prosecuting attorney for wasting everyones time and money. Further, in any criminal proceeding, if the accused is found not guilty, his entire legal expenses shall be paid by the prosecuting attorneys office. In addition, he shall receive ten percent of this amount, to compensate him for his own time and mental anguish.
If a person, after serving time in prison, is later found to be innocent, he shall be paid compensation for the time in prison, an amount not less than 3 times the average wage of people in his area, or three times his own salary at the time of his incarceration whichever is greater, including interest. No taxes shall be paid on this compensation.
Unless an area of activity is deemed the province of government, the government shall vacate that area. That is to say, unless at least 70% of the population believes that the government shall be involved in building roads, teaching or raising children, maintaining airports, etc, than the government shall remove itself from that area over a span of ten years, auctioning off relative assets and thus helping to pay down deficits.
Since the only thing that government does well is Kill, it shall, to the greatest extent possible, be limited to areas where a monopoly of force is appropriate. That is in policing, common defense, enforcing contracts. If 70% of some people somewhere think that the government should extend its reach, than that is appropriate. Otherwise, given the history of incompetence and dishonesty of government at almost all levels, government shall stay out of peoples lives. (Let us not hear about fire departments. Those people who live in areas with private fire departments have lower insurance rates. See for example: http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=1982&month=09. ) Let me note that this municipality may may have returned to being a government entity. I do not know the why and how of this, but I suspect that if one looked, one would see the hand of government coercion.
Unless 70+% of the people want it, than the government shall make no law that in any regulates or subsidizes or penalizes how people live. Thus it shall make no law regarding marriages, lifestyles, care and feeding of animals etc. Again, the exception is if 70% of the people want it, or in the case of conflicting property rights, simple majority. For example, noise regulations will get a 70% approval rating, regulating having chickens as pets or 10 cats probably will not. Having a pet tiger probably will. Taxes shall require 70% approval and exceptions, such as for people with children, the elderly, students, military etc. shall also require a 70% approval.
Hey, if we really need government involvement, than it is likely that over 2/3 of the people will see that and it will come about. Otherwise, lets keep government out. If government than screws things up so badly that 55% think it should go, than it probably should go.
Paying off the debt.
The government owns a LOT of land; over six hundred and fifty million acres, or about 28% of the land in this country. It is a very poor steward of this land. It should be sold off the the highest bidder. But so as not to have a disastrous affect on real estate markets and the economy that such a sudden move would cause, the land shall be encumbered for a period of years. Much of it will be dedicated to parks or other public use supported by fees. Large established public interest trust funds such as universities have, or the nature conservancy would be good candidates. It is hard to find land in this country for less than a couple of thousands of dollars per acre, so by selling off land that is not used for military bases or buildings, the government would take in a couple of trillion. Of course, being a much smaller government, there would be less of a need for a lot of prime property in cities across the country. That is where land goes for millions of dollars an acre.
All retirement programs of government employees shall be means tested. If your income or wealth from other sources is over 2.5 (3,4?) times the national average you get zero retirement benefits. Hey, if you are smart enough to tell us peasants how to run our lives, you should have been smart enough to save enough for retirement.
Non Political Supreme Court Judges
Constitutions are relatively simple documents. A law either clearly conforms to that document or it does not. If it is way to complex for a smart person to figure out, then it fails Feynmans Panel truck rule, and probably is unconstitutional. Also the law should be comprehensible to be constitutional. The law should follow logic, and not be decided based on politics.
Now there actually exist a relative large class of people who can think logically, are exceedingly competent, can learn complex things quickly, and would make excellent constitutional judges almost free of politics. These are the world class men and women in the fields of engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry and other hard sciences. And by 'hard sciences', I mean those areas of science that admit themselves of well defined experiments where theories can be falsified. In this area being charming or a good salesman will get you nowhere. And by world class, I mean winners of Nobel prizes, field medals, MacArthur foundation grants.
What I propose is that such intelligent and logical people, when they retire, be enticed into dedicating five to ten years of their lives to serving on the US supreme court, and other state courts as openings arise. That each court have at least three such members, and that for a majority to prevail, at least one of the three must be on the side of the majority. That is that a unanimity of people who have spent their lives in the service of logic have a veto power over law.
Eliminating Illegal Lobbyist Influence
person who has been on the payroll of any business or organization in
the past five years may have any private interaction with any
legislator unless that relationship pre-dates the election of the
legislator by at least two years. A private interaction is one that
takes place in real time between the a lobbyist and any congressman
and or any of his or her staff either directly or indirectly, and is
not recorded. It may also be a interaction by phone or letter
or other similar method, and the contents being not recorded or
published. All such recorded interactions must be placed onto
the internet within 48 hours under the name of the legislator and the
name of the company employing the lobbyist
The reasons for this are clear. There is only one reason for a lobbyist to interact with a legislator and that is to have influence on the publics business. There is no need for this interaction to be private. It is, after all, the publics business. Lobbyists may hold seminars in auditoriums or send information to legislators or their aids via web sites set up by the legislator. The lobbyist must be clearly identified, along with the company he works for, and how much he is paid.
It is possible that some lobbyist for some company must convey classified information. This can be conveyed to the military. The military may then convey this information to a legislator.
While there may be problems with this that are not immediate, I am sure that the minds that gave us the current tax code, the Iraq war, the $600 hammer, can figure something out.
If, as a new legislator, you have a new best friend who also happens to be a lobbyist. Well you will have to make this sacrifice for the greater good. That is what leaders do and you are a leader aren't you?
Hey, you want to go out with your new best friend who just happens to also be a lobbyist, and talk about your families or your kids or philosophy? Record it. With todays technology it is easy to do and to do so in a completely unobtrusive way..
The first offense shall be punished by a fine of $10,000, and the requirement that the legislator recuse himself from all votes on any business with which the lobbyist is associated for one year. The second offense shall be punished by a fine of 100,000, and the loss of office of the legislator.
“I lost the recording” shall not be an excuse.
Testing Candidates for Office
It is amazing, is it not? We routinely test airline pilots and ships captains to be sure they have the mental and physical ability to safely ferry dangerous cargo or a couple of hundred passengers. But no one has ever thought to have similar concepts applied to Physicians, or Corporate executives running billion dollar enterprises, or to politicians who oversee the safety and welfare of millions. We screen the men and women who guard the president, but not the president who is supposed to guard our country. We have numerous tests that can determine if a person is currently functional, mentally and emotionally stable, likely to be honest, and, on any given day, physically functional. Why not make use of them?
Now, I am not saying that a specific result should disqualify a candidate for office. What I am saying is that the results should be public. If a person has sociopathic tendencies similar to say, the former head of Enron, well that should be made known to the voters. I am certain that people will object on various grounds. Some will claim that the tests can be subverted or mis-interpreted. I am sure that is possible, but these seem to me to be insufficient reasons to abandon the attempt before even trying.
For very high positions, we could even look directly into candidates brains. The brains of people who are sociopathic, process information differently than the brains of normal people. I think it might be nice if voters could know these things before a pack of nut cases like the present administration get control of things again and do more damage to our country.
A comment for those of you who resent my comments about the present administration, and claim, that at least they kept us safe. Let me see they have run the economy into recession, devalued the dollar by 30% in less than eight years, run up trillion deficits, removed basic rights from the citizens, severely weakened our military in both men and material. That safeness you feel is the same illusionary safeness that victims felt in gun free zones before they were shot.
Freedom of ONLY the press
When our constitution was written freedom of the press assumed the existence of voters who were literate. Since that time press freedom has been extended to include broadcast media. There is really no reason in the constitution for this to be the case. In fact I see no evidence that allowing people to be assaulted by mindless meaningless sound bites designed by propagandists who have their intellectual origins in the techniques of Nazi Germany makes for a better government or more freedom. In fact, one could make the case that broadcasting political sound bytes is antithetical to freedom. This is true whether the broadcasting is done by people in or out of government.
Given this, maybe the freedom of the press amendment should be
re-interpreted with regard to political speech to apply ONLY TO THE
press and readable media. That is, we should NOT allow politicians to bombard us over the airways with lies. And here I am assuming that, to paraphrase Mary McCarthy, every word a politician says is a lie, including the words 'and' and 'the'. They can say anything they want in media where people have to actually go looking for the information. This would also make all signs and mailings off limits for political “speech”. But you say, that gives incumbents a distinct advantage. Well, not if all of their franklin privilege mail three months prior to an election, must also include comments of equal size from ALL parties who were on the ballot of the last election. And all broadcast “news” from anybody not the president, must also have an equal amount of time from candidates for which said person is standing for re-election. (There will be details to be hammered out. The point is that broadcast advertising is not logical or informative. If anything it is hostile to good government.
With the existence of the internet, broadcasting is not necessary to make ideas available to any who want it. To those who claim that “the poor” will not have access to this information, I respond that, if they can afford TV, they can afford internet. If they can not afford both, well they have made their choice.
By removing political advertising we will increase freedom since
we will remove the influence of demagogues and of the mindless mob.
And we know that the targets of political advertising are stupid and
ignorant. Seriously, does anybody think that a thirty second spot is
directed at any but those who reside at the shallow end of the gene
Before you rush to burn me at the stake as a statist give some thoughts to this. As I write, it occurs to me that broadcast media could be used
for political debates, and messages that last more than five minutes. These would be the kind of things to which people would deliberately go.
Please write to me here if you have suggestions as to how this can be improved / marketed.
I recently engaged in a debate with someone on the abortion issue. After dancing around various sub topics and ideas, his final statement was:"You are attempting an end run around my question. Everyone in the so-called "pro choice" camp does this. From human means exactly what it is, the same as a tadpole is a form of the frog species, a caterpillar of the same species as the butterfly it becomes. If the embryo in a human woman is not of the human species, what is it?"
It appeared to me that the question of "if the embryo in a human is not of the human species, what is it" is a false question. Of course it is of the human species. But that is not the question. The following pairs of things are all of the same species. Tadpole-frog, caterpillar-butterfly, acorn-oak tree. Yet no one would confuse one of the pair with the other, nor call them the same thing. If you were to see a shoot coming out of the tree, and say, look at that oak tree, people would look at you funny. A shoot is not an oak tree and neither is an acorn. And no one calls the first green twig out of the ground a small oak tree.
So, I ask all of your readers who think that a fertilized egg is the same as a fully grown adult. Why? Why do you differentiate between the starting point and the more developed form in all other areas of biology, but do not do so for humans? Over the centuries, and when referenced in the bible, the embryo was not thought of as a human, and at worst its destruction was a minor property crime committed against the husband of the woman who lost the fetus. Much ink was expended on arguing when a soul took residence in the fetus, but no one thought it happened at conception.
If you claim that abortion is murder, and thus that legally, morally and economically a fertilized egg is the same as a child, than what is your scientific, logical, biblical, or other source for this claim? It is not uniqueness, or some value to God since most fertilized eggs are never born, and twins are evidence that fertilization of the egg by a sperm does NOT determine uniqueness. Uniqueness does not happen until later.
My view is that a fertilized egg is no more than a blueprint, and
remains pretty much that until well after implantation, at least
until quickening. To claim different is to confuse the
blueprint with the finished structure. Someone who had plans
for a unique custom house and those plans were destroyed would be
upset - as are women who have a early spontaneous abortion. But
that is not the same as loosing the house. Others have
said that the fetus is more than a blueprint. It is the entire
package including building materials and construction crew standing
buy. But this statement is false. A mother has to
import a lot - almost all - of the building material (does eating for
two mean anything???) and I do not know what is meant by the
construction crew. It is not the mom, she is the construction
site. One might say that in this case the plans come with self
assembly instructions. But they are still just plans.
In fact they are capable of turning out multiple distinct but similar
copies. And these copies are influenced by the
environment, and if there are errors in the plans, the final product
will be trashed by the supervisor (god or nature depending on your