Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Americans Elect 2012 Review and Comments

I'm always spouting off about being or getting involved. Even if you don't agree with me you should be engaged in your world and the movers and shakers. A new, to me anyway, method is Americans Elect 2012. I looked it up and signed up just to see what it was all about.

Essentially the site is going to do the things needed to get a non-partizan candidate for President and Vice-President on the ballot in all fifty states. It will do this by havign registered voteres sign up, answer questions about thier views, and vote in an online convention. The winner of the vote will be placed on the ballot in all fifty states. The site believes it will break the gridlock of partisan politics.

Overall I think the site has merit. I think that if their sales pitch actually works it could, over time, become a focus of a growing debate. So, I will see it through just to find out if I am right or not.

After answering 136 questions (there are more but my clicker was asking for overtime cash) I stumbled across one that floored me. Remember that everyone on the site is supposed to be a registered voter. That means they care and actually participate in the process. Your answer, weighted based on priorites you establish, is factored into all the other answers so you get a national and state average.

The Question was: Which of the statements below is closest to your personal view?

The results were:

Option and % Of Answers Answers
A 13% It is very important to stick to principles
B 18% It is more important for politicians in Congress to stick to the principles and values on which they campaigned
C 67% It is more important for politicians in Congress to work with members of the other party and make consensus policy
D 2% Unsure

That tells me that I am wasting my breath talking about character. It appears to me that 67% of the registered voters who have been to the site would knowingly elect crooks and liars as long as they reach across the aisle and come to a consensus.

It's no wonder that an Ethics Challenged for Speaker who moonlighted as a Serial Adulterer is gaining in the polls.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's It Going To Take?

Are you ready for the end of the election yet? I mean, it's pretty obvious that the world is going down the pot in an ugly swirling motion. This is the year that the best the Republicans care to offer is a Serial Adulterer and Ethics Deficient Congressman, or the perfect coif of the Obamacare Architect. Yeah things are shaping up good for the shining city on the hill.

We've managed to add language to the NDAA which trashes the Bill of Rights. Our Supreme Court has decided against religion. The super pacs are in charge of the political debate. And, the average American hasn't figured out that it is time to get angry.

The OWS crowd can't seem to get unified in anything but anger at the rich and demands that they be accommodated. The Tea Party is in danger of being marginalized even though they had a great start.

And, the average American still hasn't figured out that it is time to get angry.

What's it going to take?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Character Counts in Politics

The Presidency is not merely a political figurehead. The person holding the office is supposed to be a leader. And, if you cannot trust the fundamental character of a leader you need a new leader.As a child, it used to be common for kids to say "I want to be President when I grow up". The President was someone we were supposed to admire for all the right reasons and chief among them was the persons character. A list of Leadership Traits and Principles used to train Marines quantify the importance of character in a leader.

To put a point on it, the name of the game is character. The word itself has positive and negative aspects. If you say, "That George, he's such a character" the impression is often good. But, tell someone that they are not real, they are "just playing a character"; and depending on context it could be a bad thing. Then there is character in the form of the gestalt of personality traits and quirks that often defines if one is perceived as a good and moral person.

Mitt Romney, as a person, appears to be a man of character. I've seen nothing to indicate that he is anything but a loving father and husband. He is devout in his faith. As a person of high morals I'd say that he is a man of good character. Politically I cannot endorse him since he reminds me of the typical chamelion politician. But that is a professional observation.

Newt, on the other hand, is the opposite of Romney. Newt is a great politician. But, his character stinks. He is a serial adulterer, his ethics are atrocious, and a he's moral hypocrite to boot. I used to be a fan back in the day until his (now) obvious character flaws came to light.

Ron Paul appears to have the character of Romney in his personal life. Politically, his character is one of consistency over about thirty years. So, I can vote for him instead of simply against President Obama.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ron Paul is Right. Politifact Got It Wrong.

I wrote about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. In my opinion, the Senate made a huge mistake. Politifact has decided that Ron Pauls comments regarding this legislation are mostly false.

Go ahead and read it for yourself. By page 428 you will notice that the Secretary of Defense merely need submit a waiver which states you are a national security risk. That paragraph ensures that the provision stating that this entire process doesn't apply to US Citizens is null and void.

Politifact got it wrong.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

RIP for the Bill of Rights

It's official, we the people are screwed without getting kissed. Our Senate voted 93 to 7 to pass a bill that allows you and I to be scooped up on a whim. Don't believe me. Read it for yourself on page 426 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

If you are still here, you are probably shaking your head in disbelief. This is so blatantly anti-Constitutional that the entire Senate should be taken out and beaten.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not Tonight Dear, I’m Occupied

Occupy Wall Street is taking the world by storm. Now well past the month mark, lots of the folks continuing to protest are dirty and smelly. They would feel right at home in the filth and grime I remember from deployments. So what has it garnered them? Is it working or is it just providing a sound byte? I don’t know, but I am glad they are out there instead of sitting at home whining about life and the system in general.
I’ve read that if you are on the left or unionized, then OWS is making a mark. In fact some are saying that it is a movement that is made with the union label. Oh wow, organized labor getting political. Who didn’t see that coming? And, the movement is everywhere. There is even an “Occupy Lubbock” movement. So far the people in Lubbock are limited to a couple of tents and one or two guys holding signs at University and 19th Street. But, I have to give them credit for stepping up and getting involved. The guy I talked to said that for the most part he’s been treated ok by the locals. Not counting a beer can or two tossed at him. But, this is Texas and that is something you risk when you look like a bum and stand on a street corner wearing a sign.
Like I said early on, I don’t agree with a lot of the occupiers demands. I am not angry at the rich for being rich. I am angry at the corrupt politicians who are not statesmen. I don’t think Corporations are evil. I think that the tax code which forces Corporations to export jobs is evil. But I am so glad to see people doing something they believe in. I have no idea how it will turn out. But this is a great expression of the First Amendment.
Now…. What do you do? How do you make a difference?
If you are legally able to vote then you should be involved in how your government runs. Maybe you don’t care about what goes on in Washington DC. How about what goes on in your back yard? Here is an example. Schools need advocates for tough teaching. If we keep cutting education and lowering standards we will eventually graduate a class where the Valedictorian can’t read a note card unless it’s written in texting lingo.
The lesson of OWS (no matter your philosophical leanings) is that Activism beats Slacktivism any day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Documented Media Bias

Back in the dark ages of the 1980's I took journalism in high school. We were constantly being told that our writing had to be free of our opinions and contain nothing but the facts. Our facts had to have proof backing them up just in case someone challenged them. Opinions were for the editorial page.

Today, most news outlets would fail that class handily. Today's "Journalists" disdain the idea that a mere "reporter" should simply report the news. Instead, the news must be shaped. And, no one is better at it than the mainstream (or "vintage") media outlets. If you don't believe me look at the republican field of candidates and tell me who the two front runners are and why. Look at who is being dismissed as unelectable.

The media needs to learn that they are not responsible for making the message. Instead it up to them to document the message. What I think about it is completely up to me.

Check this out for examples of how the media is spinning one candidate under another:

Hope and Change didn't work any better than Mission Accomplished. Time for a new message.

But will the media allow you to hear it?

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Banking and Politics: Why Obama Might Win Again

On TV there is an advertisement that is poking fun at the Bank of America debit card fees by telling a customer to "just accept it". A whole horde of people tell him how banking is essentially corrupt and he should just roll over. Just accept it. Then his date brings it into focus by telling him how he will die if they miss the movie. Just accept it.

Politics is the same way. We have the big name Republicans in the form of Mitt Romney and Tricky Ricky and they are telling the voters to "just accept it".

Congress is trying to extend the drug war overseas on Americans citizens. Just accept it.

Obama is killing American citizens who haven't been convicted of any crime.

Just accept it.

And as we move closer to actual primaries we see the establishment coming out and telling us to look hard at Romney or Perry. We have Christie and Palin making news for not running. We have religious leaders at the latest straw poll denigrating another mans religion as a cult. While some occupy wall street, more Americans occupy prisons in the failed war on drugs. It's ok though. This is how it's always been.

Guys like Ron Paul and Herman Cain almost have no chance. After all, the game is rigged by the establishment.And, Obama will likely win again. He will continue to lead the nation into ruin. Why is it always the same? How come every four years the same meme is played out no matter which party is in charge? You guessed it.

Because most people Just accept it.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Twitter drama over the #fairtax

Twitter is a huge success. Like Facebook, it is something I am coming to late in the game. So far I am not addicted to it as others are.

I've laughed at others for "facebook drama" and "twitter drama". And now, wonder of wonders, I have a mild Twitter drama thing going on. Everyone knows that I am pro-fairtax. Well there is a Fairtax denier on twitter named @filmcriticone that has gone to considerable effort to debunk what he thinks are issues with the Fairtax.

Personally I could care less as long as there is a discussion. But our boy also likes to send out what he or she thinks are witty attacks. Check out the posts. Normally, such childishness is best ignored. But, since this person wants to be a bully, it might be best to slap him around a bit just so he knows that he isn't blocked and actually has an audience of one.

If you are interested in the other side, look him up on youtube. I think his other professional screen name is itchyfoot or something like that. He purports to've submitted stuff to the Ways and Means Committee as "testimony". If so, I'm not sure that he has the good sense to realize how embarrassed he should be.

His major points seem to be culled from "Fairtax Documents" as opposed to the actual line-by-line legislation. Here's a clue. Make every objection based on chapter and verse of the actual legislation as opposed to a private lobby group and you might gain a speck of credibility. Until then, you are shooting badly and at the wrong target.

9-11 And the Politics Of Terror

What did we learn? According to Ron Paul, 9/11 was in part caused by US actions in and around the mideast in years or decades past. Ok, I can see that. Everything has a cause and the domino effect is in full force.

But, with respect to Mr. Paul, the terrorists made war on women and kids instead of being men and slugging it out eye-to-eye. So, I feel no remorse for their dead. Maybe I am wrong and maybe I am less human. So what. As far as I am concerned our nation must not treat with terrorists. We must instead hunt them down and kill them all. I don't care if it is with special ops guys or infantry division on-line. If you cannot negotiate (diplomacy) or fight like men, then you deserve no more or less than to be hunted like a rabid animal and put down.

Ten years and one day later I am hoping that the radical elements of the world will realize that this is only a prelude. There will come a day when America will no longer take the high road and conduct ourselves will such restraint. I hope that for the sake of everyone's children, people learn to respect each other. Live and let live is a pretty good philosophy as long as we are shaking hands with a mailed fist.

So, to paraphrase a recently famous Marine: "Be courteous and kind, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Starving Dogs: Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, and Michelle Bachman

The debate sucked. The moderators obviously were not interested in hearing all the candidates speak. If you were not Rick Perry or Mitt Romney then you might as well have been a starving dog at the back of the diner hoping for scraps.

I want a debate where every candidate gets an equal amount of time to either shine or make a fool of themselves. I want the journalists (lol) neutral and simply asking the questions. They can commentate afterwards on the various spin shows. I want the questions taken from real voters via facebook or twitter and not the recent soundbites.

Most of all I want the debates held often enough that even the most apathetic voter has no excuse for not knowing what's going on.  

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rock em Sock em Radio Hosts

The world has fallen victim to bizzaro-itis. Two of my favorite radio talk show hosts, Mark Levin and Mike Church, have gone to war over Ron Paul. And, I don't get it.

I used to listen to both on a daily basis. I have read every one of Marks books and learned a lot. I followed Mikes' historical docudramas (is that a word?) regarding our founding with unabashed enthusiasm. And now, they are at war. Just google both names in the same search and then read all about it.

This is profound. These are not slippery politicians here. Both men are Patriotic Americans. Both men are truly gifted entertainers who provide an educational service if you read between the lines. I respect Mark the most for his practical experience in government. I respect Mike the most for his outstanding use of comedy, music, drama, and satire to educate those willing to listen.

I don't agree 100% with either one of them. But I agree with enough of each that I cannot fathom why, at a fundamental level, they are not simpatico. Hopefully in a day or two this will be revealed as a very detailed hoax. Might as well hope for honest politicians while I'm at it eh?

Alright guys, it's time to face off directly instead of by proxy and duke it out. Get it out of your systems and get back to the business of educating the occasional listener who wanders in from outside the fold. Each one of those listeners will be key to defeating the coalition of the stupid that is killing my country.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Leadership over Politics - Please

We are clearly in the opening rounds, the preseason if you will, of the 2012 Presidential race. Whoo hoo, so far I like the NFL preseason better. Right now we need to be looking at the candidates and deciding if anyone is a true leader as opposed to a politician. Let the rant begin.

Who in the field will step up and tell the Congress to stop the petty nonsense and deliver some results not tied to a lobbyests wet dream. Anyone? Bueller... Bueller...

So far I have a small bit of faith that Ron Paul could be such a leader. But, I have very little faith that the middle of the country will vote him in. Most just don't care as long as thier pet tax break or program is unimpeded. The other candidates so far appear to be merely politicians to me. But, I am slowly learning more on each in order to be fair.

If you are reading this I have a challenge for you. Figure out your top three issues and sell them to three people in your neighborhood or workplace that you don't talk politics with. If you can sell them on your passion to the point that they call, write, or email the alleged statesmen who has an influence.... then you are among the very few Americans who actually cares what is going on in government today.

Your issue can be local, state, or federal. It can be liberal or conservative. As long as it is real enough to raise your body off the sofa and do something it'll be great.

Get involved. Demand that those who represent you be leaders and statesmen instead of political mouthpieces. Your grandkids might thank you for it.

Here are some interesting links that made me write this rant in the first place.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Preseason Politics

Today Mr. Pawlenty dropped out of the race. And we all know that Mr. Perry stepped in with a move obviously timed to disrupt the kids in Iowa. As preseason gaming goes, the NFL is ahead on points.

Right now, my goal isn't so much to pick the next Republican nominee. My goal is to get to know them. A two party system is Darwinian by its brutal simplicity. Each candidate needs to show how he or she is the perfect Republican. And, since there is no perfect anybody.... that's tough.

Preseason allows me to view the candidate and see how they perform under pressure. I could care less about their stand on today's talking points when compared to how they will react immediately following a terrorist attack. So, I want to see more questions and harder debate. I'm also looking for character traits of a great leader, a statesman, to emerge.

The President has a huge advantage. No matter how bad you think he is doing the job...... He is doing the job. It's going to take a lot of deep looks to convince me or anyone else to take an unknown over the known, even if the known isn't well liked.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Americans: Marine and Soldier Receive Medal of Honor

This is the stuff of legends. This is why America has the foremost Army and finest Corps of Marines in the world. While politicians point fingers and claim credit these two heroes have walked the walk without talking the talk.

Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry and Marine Sergeant (then Corporal) Dakota Meyer are the latest recipients of the nations highest award for valor under fire. Each man rose far above and beyond the already high standards members of the armed forces are held to. Our politicians should hang their heads and give thanks that we tolerate them when such fine examples to live by are right here.

This is only the second and third Medals of Honor awarded to living recipients since the Vietnam war. Once again, in a time of political upheaval and social confusion, our fighting men have shown us the way and given a stellar example to aspire to.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Ron Paul Rules GOP Debate

As anyone can see, Ron Paul put a thumpin on the other GOP candidates according to the folks at Fox, Iowa GOP Debate - Topix. This is the equivalent of the first NFL preseason game. We knew going in that it would be soundbyte city and Obama bashing. The first is boring and the second is a given. But, the race to 2012 is underway.

Does this mean that Paul will be nominated? Nope. It means that so far the political machine hasn't mocked him, marginalized him, or made the voter feel like an overly idealistic neophyte. But it is coming. If you are a Ron Paul Fan, and yes; I am, then stand the hell by. It won't be long before the media disinformation of 2008 is replayed.

Let's not read too much into the debates just yet. The answers were canned and predictable to include Michelles submissive wife answer. And if you didn't figure on Perry's entry timing... well it's early in the season.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Invasion of the Supercommittee?

I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And here it is.

One of the Dems wants to make another supracongressional "supercommittee". This one is for job creation.

The danger is that this committee isn't authorized per the constitution.
  • It is, or will be, another branch of government.One that isn't accountable to any non-government citizen.
  • This branch will once and for all dispense with the notion that all citizens and every state is represented in the Congress.
  • This branch will be a single focus for lobby minded organizations.
  • It, and it's proposed siblings, will become the elite of government. They will be removed from the people and leave the weaker congress to answer for its' decisions.
First the debt, now maybe jobs; What's Next?

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

How to Budget Congress

It isn't the deficit, it's the debt. I keep hearing that. But in reality it's the first step in killing the debt. A deficit budget guarantees a higher debt. We must balance the budget and include debt reduction as part of the spending plan. Here is the short and sweet method of balancing your budget. It works for families, it works for business, and it will work for any government or government agency.

Forecast Revenue: Figure out how often you are going to stop and count your money. For most of us it is weekly or monthly. For a business it might be quarterly. For the Treasury it is annually. Using that as a base, take your best guess on how much cash you will have. Then subtract about five percent as a fudge factor.

Prioritize Line Items: List everything you are going to spend money on during the period you just forecast. Each item is "Need to spend", "Good to Spend", or "Nice to Spend". Simply put, "Need" means that bad things will happen if you don't fully fund that item and commit the cash. "Good" means that bad things could happen but it's just short of certain. "Nice" means you can postpone it without anything truly bad happening.

Revise Your Revenue: On the prescribed day, count the actual cash on hand.

Revise Line Items: For each item listed as "Need", skip to writing the checks. Total the cash remaining. Let's pretend you now have forty dollars. Will the forty dollars pay off the "Good" items? If it will, write the checks. Is there any left over? Let's say you have ten dollars remaining. Ten is 10% of the original $100. So, pay ten percent of each remaining line item. This way, nothing is totally left out. But, at the same time the truly important (in relation to the other items) stuff is fully funded.

Write Checks: I think we all know how to do that.

I'm not going to try to write the official procedure and the flowchart of tasks needed to accomplish this at the federal level. I also get that our elected neighbors will scream that every item they sponsor is a "need". That exact lack of integrity is what gets us to deficit spending in the first place. You and I must elect someone who can be honest and say that while it would be nice to provide Americorps, the world won't end if we don't. It's a hard call and will take enormous amounts of character and moral courage.

By now you may have noticed that I switched gears in a clumsy ham handed way. Politics is supposed to be the art of getting it done. It takes Statesmen and all we are seeing is the basic professional pol. From the Vice President and others that denigrate the Tea Party by calling them terrorists, to would-be Presidents that use words like "Tar baby" and "Boy" in just the right way to invite screams of racism no matter the intent; We face a deficit of Statesmen. Until we fix that, the debt will never be paid.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Deeper in Debt: What's the Next Step?

The US Senate has voted 74-26 to approve the plan set out by the US House. The President has already signed it. And, the pundits are very deep into the postgame show. Lest you think that Mr. Obama is happy, his take on it is anything but.

Democrats are furious that tax revenues weren't part of the package, and the president pledged to continue to press for tax increases to help balance the budget.

"Everyone is going to have to chip in. It's only fair," Obama said in a Rose Garden address, singling out subsidies to oil and gas companies and tax loopholes. "That's the principle I'll be fighting for during the next phase of this process."

Read more:

Revenue is code for "Raising Taxes" on everyone. Apparently the political elite can't understand that it doesn't matter who signed the check to the IRS. All taxes are paid by the consumers at the final point of sale. If you raise taxes or remove subsidies, then the increased cost goes to the consumer in the form of higher prices. If you raise the personal tax rates of the richest people, then they will recoup their personal loss with modified business practices.

It's time to get serious about the financial future of the country. Drop the income tax and replace it with the Fairtax. Balance the budget by reducing each line item by the same percentage. Do it now or watch your kids have to do it later under the gun of whoever owns America.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Is This The Sound of Civil Discourse?

I seem to remember the President asking that some bit of civility return to politics.
Yeah right. A smattering of easynews will cure that wish faster than a firehose on a birthday cake.

Right now, it seems that Politico is calling those aligned with the Tea Party "Terrorists". And that sentiment is echoed by various members of congress in full hearing of the Vice President.

Of course, I'm sure there are people on the other side of the aisle that call the liberals all sorts of names. I could be wrong, but I haven't seen anything from the main stream media documenting it though.

I guess it's too much to hope for that the powers that be will simply get it done in a workmanlike manner. While a well turned phrase is a mark of style it seems that Civility is just another casualty of the culture wars.  

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The Debt Crisis: Why We Are Not Done Yet

Who blinked? Was it President Obama, the Senate, or the Republicans? I think they all did. The bottom line is that we are still in debt up to our eyeballs. The American people are still in denial about the seriousness of it all.

The Daily Mail said it best:
At the root of all this is sheer hubris. From the Eighties onwards, the American people have refused to accept that to keep their status as the world’s most powerful economy, they need to make tough choices over the size of the government budget and levels of taxes.

Instead of working hard and consuming less, they have allowed themselves to grow fat and lazy. They’ve racked up debts as if there were no tomorrow, forgetting that one day those dues must be paid.

Those are harsh words to be sure. But wait, there's more....(at the same link)
It is no exaggeration to say that the American economy is at a crossroads.

If Washington somehow managed to conquer its addiction to debt, then the great productive capacities and inventiveness of the American continent would once again be unleashed.

Just like always there is hope. In order to make it happen you and I need to talk to our neighbors. We need to contact our elected mouthpieces. We need to demand financial reform in government.

Here is a short list of what has to happen:
  • Reform the tax collection system. The income tax no longer works. Switch to the Fairtax.
  • Reduce spending and government to only those items that absolutely need to be funded. That means that Defense is on the table and so is Government Charity such as welfare.
  • Create a line item in the budget specifically to pay down the debt.
It can be done. It must be done. If it isn't done then you will likely die in poverty and your last view of this world will be your children and grandchildren wallowing in it as well.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

HR25; Fairtax gets a hearing

My Loyal Readers, all three of them, know that I support elimination of the income tax. We all know that the tax is unfair and subject to corruption at any level. I would prefer a simple national sales tax without any frills. After all, just look at how many states operate that way. If I had to, I could live with a flat income tax. A flat tax still leaves a lot of room for blatant violations of taxpayer rights. It still leaves room for corruption as well. But, it beats what we have now.

This last Monday the House Ways and Means Committee finally, after only about a decade, got around to giving the Fairtax a hearing. This is a landmark event. Under the august leadership of Charlie "the taxman never cometh" Rangel, HR25 never got an even break. Even if this version doesn't get a vote it shows a bit of momentum.

If you read anything about politics you know that anyone who goes to DC is corrupt. I'm sure that some, if not all, either mean or meant well. But, the constant compromise and the seniority system pretty much ensure that no one can hold his or her ideals very high. And, taxes are the vehicle by which it happens. Consider if you will the sheer volume of the tax code. Consider if you will who benefits. Every break will help out someone. Every break can be translated into either money for campaigns or votes in November.

On the flip side we also know who suffers on this tax scheme. It isn't the super rich. Taxes to them are naught more than an expense to be managed. And, most of them pay capital gains taxes. It isn't the poor either. The poor do not pay taxes. Instead they are forced to publicly demonstrate every year that they don't have what it takes to succeed. It is the middle class that suffers.

We, the middle class, get to divulge every bit of our personal lives to the IRS. Our employer is required to verify how much we report as income. Just imagine a pissed off IRS employee with access to the last ten years of your life. They know where you live, where you work, how much you made or lost, when you got promoted or demoted. They also know if you rent or own your home, and how often you deal with doctors. If you give to charity, they know it. Can you say Identity Theft?

Anyone with a lick of sense can see that the tax code is broken. The same person can also see that denigrating a system that is already in use in most of the states of the union has to have an ulterior motive.

Take a look at the youtube video of the hearings. Take note of the guys that are most negative. Ask yourself what they have on the table that will go away if the income tax becomes history. I could live with someone being skeptical. I can understand how someone might not be well enough informed to understand just how much of an improvement this legislation is. I mean, it's not like this bill has been held up by this committee for ten years. It aint like there aren't several Fairtax books, best sellers, that break it down to the nuts and bolts.

There is such a thing as loyal opposition. But, I think what we are seeing now is opportunistic opposition. So, take this opportunity to look at people like Bruce Bartlett, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), or Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). Find out how they profit by the current system. Then, let them know that they are profiting via your quality of life.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Is Spanking Illegal?

I cannot believe that in my own state, the STATE has deemed spanking a child to be illegal. Folks we are not talking about child abuse here. We are talking about a woman who exercised her rights to discipline her child. By all appearances this wasn't a case of abuse. It was a case of the Judge going way too far.
"You don't spank children today," said Judge Jose Longoria. "In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children."

Rosalina Gonzales had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injury to a child for what prosecutors had described as a "pretty simple, straightforward spanking case." They noted she didn't use a belt or leave any bruises, just some red marks.

Judge has harsh words for Mom before sentencing her for spanking her kid
Why do we tolerate the state interfering in our personal liberties? You and I may not believe that spanking is the most effective form of discipline anymore but does that give the state the right to dictate it? Hell no. This is an example of the state getting on the bandwagon. By and large society no longer follows the train of thought that spanking is good. But, that doesn't mean it is abuse either. By bringing this case before the judge, and by her idiotic ruling, the door has closed another inch on your right to be the decider in your own home.

Tell your elected representatives to reign in stupid judges.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Political Jokes

Ya gotta hand it to Congressman Weiner. I mean this guy is apparently the total package. Errr, well, you can be the judge of that I guess. At least he's not campaigning on the idea that we'll be seeing more of him as time goes on. Or, that he's an up-and-comer. I know that I should be more respectful of an elected representative. But, c'mon folks, if he's gonna put it out there ...

Now that I got all the bad jokes out of my system we can get serious. Is this the guy you want making decisions for you? Is he an example for your kids? Even if we don't care about his private life, and we shouldn't, HE LIED. That's the deal breaker for me. HE LIED. His integrity isn't worth squat and if he was my congress critter I'd be working on cancelling his contract in a very near future.

It's too bad that Congress cannot strip him of the ability to work and kick his lying ass to the curb. I hope he mans up, and bows out.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Should Electric Cigarettes Be Banned?

It's time to do a change up on this blog. So instead of politics, let's look at your personal liberties and the politics of fear. Folks that is "FEAR". Absolute shrill, high pitched, 60's or 80's scream queen crazy fear.

I am an e-cigarette "vaper". I smoked for about thirty years give or take. I remember when all public transportation had smoking areas in the back of the bus or plane. I remember when my high school had a designated smoking area. I also remember falling out and the Platoon Sergeant saying "Smoke em if you got em" or "The smoking lamp is lighted". It's a bygone era.

With the eCig I can vape away without hurting anyone else. And as an American I should be able to. Remember, our liberties should only stop when they infringe on someone else. It's that simple, and thanks to the rule makers and a myriad of agencies both public and governmental; that complex.

I blog all the time about doing due diligence on political candidates and causes. So, here is a chance to do due diligence on someones civil liberties. Should vaping (e-cigarette use) be allowed in public places or should it be banned along with tobacco cigarettes? Do you know what an electric cigarette is? Do you know how to form an educated opinion? Or, are you merely part of the 80 percent that will go along with the first media outlet or website report? I'm going to ask you to do something no blogger should ever ask; Namely, after reading this entry, leave my blog and read the two links I provide that issue a pro and con. Then come back and comment or not. In any event, thanks for stopping by.

Here is the first side of the story. It is filled with authoritative statements that sound damning. I almost quit my electronic cigarette in fear and went back to smoking; NOT. If you don't know how to do your due diligence, this would be the group forming opinions that your congressman or local mayor might make their decisions on. Think of all the other regulations both public and private levied on your liberties. This is how it goes down. You don't have to agree with either piece. But any restriction on your right to choose how to live your life needs a really hard look.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America’s first antismoking organization, strongly supports the need for legislation to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes, e-cigars, and e- pipes [e-cigs] in workplaces, public places, and other areas where smoking is not permitted in order to protect the overwhelming majority of the public who do not use such devices from exposure to chemicals in the e-cig vapors, and the potential attendant health risks to nonusers.
On the other hand, there is a rebuttal. And, it actually comes from Australia. It addresses each of the allegations and arguments made in the anti e-cig piece. Most people who vape (as opposed to smoke, since we exhale vapor without particulate matter) already know a lot more about their product than I knew about cigarettes as a smoker. So, I am need you, the average joe, to read and form an opinion one way or the other. But, even more important I am need you to have an informed opinion you can discuss with others. I don't mind if someone disagrees with me. I do mind if I did my homework and they didn't. Onward.

The first organisation to respond to SMOKESCREEN’s initial concerns was ASH Australia. Some of the information they provided causes us to rethink some of our positions and change our focus according. Unfortunately much of their correspondence led us to believe that ASH was more focused on the anti-tobacco ideology rather than the solid science of Tobacco Harm Reduction.

After reading the latest news from ASH America there is no longer any doubt at all. Check out our deconstruction on their article “Why Ban Use of E-Cigarettes in No-Smoking Area”. Let’s try and ignore the bad english and regular spelling mistakes and just focus on what we do best – the raw science.
There it is. The pro and con just waiting for you to decide and maybe research a bit more. Go for it, I promise that the internet will still be there when you're done :)

The first quoted website, ASH, came from here.
The second site, Smokescreen , came from here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Am a Ron Paul Supporter

Isupport Ron Paul's candidacy for President of the United States. There, I said it. You can now tattoo the word NUTJOB on my forehead and move on with your lives. That's what most people reading will do anyway. 

I hope that some of Ron Paul's handlers and influential supporters read the link.It shows the true enemy. Don't sweat Obama. He is just another politician. Don't worry about Newt. He is way too obviously just another politician as well.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Questions for Ron Paul

On the Wall Street Journals Question of the Day section there is a discussion going that wonders if Ron Paul can be the GOP Nominated Candidate.

One person, jay addams, has boldly proclaimed that
He will take away from the front-runner in the next election as an Independent or third party candidate.-- Source

My response on the message board is intended to wake up those who can be of some help. The facts are that we get the government we deserve. We need to build a bridge to get from where we are to where we want to be.

So, my questions to all those who support Ron Paul are limited. As you look at them, remember that the answer must fit within today's reality while honoring the philosophy of Ron Paul and the ideals of a literally read Constitution.

  1. What do we do about the national debt?
  2. How do we get rid of Social Security without screwing over the people who have a lifetime of wages paid into it?
  3. How do we raise the money needed to pay for the government we get? Let alone the one we want?

Those three questions are more than enough for one mere presidential contender. I hope they choose to address them.

Why Vote For Ron Paul?

Back in 2008 I wrote an "open letter" that explained why you should seriously consider voting for Ron Paul. Here it is again. I appreciate everyone willing to read and get involved even if you don't agree with me.

I am watching Robin Williams in the movie "Man Of the Year". Interesting movie, but just imagine ... FTFGIMAD

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Herman Cain announces bid for president

Herman Cain announced today that he'd be running for the GOP Nomination for the 2012 Presidential Race. To be honest, he doesn't have any more of a shot than Ron Paul. And, to be more honest, that is a real shame. Too many Americans will listen to an establishment media give all the points to established politicians. Do yourself a favor and look him up or listen to him on the radio. Then if you still feel the need to vote in someone with a scandal sheet as long as your arm at least you'll know what you are getting. Good luck Mr. Cain. I look forward to getting to know you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich for President?

Ipersonally cannot support NG except as the lesser of two evils. For me that means that I will likely not support an attempt to get him nominated. And if nominated, I will study his opponent very closely to see how they stack up.

Essentially, NG has failed the Leadership Traits as well as the Leadership Principles test. For me, the first qualification for a President is to be an ethical leader. There is so much "special trust and confidence" invested in that office that breaches of integrity cannot be overlooked in favor of political prowess.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ron Paul Announces For President 2012

Folks might be right when they say that RP has no chance of winning. That means a lot of people will not vote for him for fear of "wasting" a ballot on a lost cause. I'd rather die on my feet fighting for a lost, but worthy, cause than to live on my knees just to say I was on the winning team.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Identity Theft Risk Elevated by Jury Summons

Igot another jury summons. The last time I did this I ended up as the foreman and we sent a child rapist to jail. Hopefully this experience will go as well for all concerned. Speaking of concerned, do you have any idea how much information you put "out there" even off the internet?

My summons includes a data sheet I have to fill out. And, it isn't like I get to opt out. It has to be filled out and turned in when I report for selection. This means that someone I have never met will know my name, address, marital status, number of kids, age range of my kids, where I work, my number of years employed, my job title, my wife's name (and by default her address), her job title, long she has been employed and by whom. And, that isn't all. I just got tired of typing for a second.

If that isn't bad enough, they get this information whether I get selected or not. I sure hope I didn't cut the county clerk off in traffic. To be honest I don't know for a fact that it'll be typed into a database owned by the government before lunch. Of course, if I were a betting man...

I took the advice I usually give to others. My State Senator and Representative each received an email detailing my concerns about privacy and identity theft along with what I believe a workable fix to the problem is.

And just to demonstrate that this is not idle paranoia... Breach in Texas comptroller’s office exposes 3.5 million Social Security numbers, birth dates | Texas Regional News - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News

Links to help minimise the chances you take. Minimizing Your Risk of Identity Theft, MINIMIZING IDENTITY THEFT - Wisconsin DOJ


Monday, April 11, 2011

Election Reform

Looking back at the Y2K Election, I remember writing this essay while still stationed in Japan. With all the news in Wisconsin and other places over Voter Fraud, or Election Fraud, it still makes sense. Please ignore any anachronisms that may amuse you. Some, but not all, of this has already come to pass. Just not nationwide.

As we have already kicked off the Y2K+4 elections I am wondering if we are setting up for a repeat of Florida all over again. Remember what you saw on the news? People counting "chads" for christsakes. The courts having to preside. Doesn't matter who you supported, it had to be about the most embarrassing spectacle politically we could achieve. But it was great TV. My friends in Japan laughed and laughed. They thought it was hilarious that the most powerful nation on earth, couldn't figure out how to vote. The rolled and laughed harder and started making more jokes that started "We can put a man on the moon.........". That's really lame since we did that over thirty years ago. Oh damn that's the point huh?

Each of us has a vision. Mine gets blurred by too much coffee sometimes but it still is really clear on how we should vote. See, until 2003 I never, ever, used a ballot machine. I voted absentee as part of the US Military's effort to allow everyone to vote. Our Voting Officers made sure we could register, and when elections went. I had to read the ballot and follow directions. No double holes allowed. No "folding, spindling, or (god forbid) mutilating". I knew that if I was too stupid to follow directions, then my ballot voided. The price of stupidity was to lose your voice as it were.

Here's how I wish we elected people.

For starters we need a National Standard. One Machine. One tabulating method. One school if needed to make it work from sea to shining sea. I see an ATM being used because they are simple to make (thousands out there), never heard of one being hacked, and they print a receipt.

Picture this on election day.

You and your closest buds head down to the polling place.

As you open the door you are greeted by the local election dude who asks for some ID. He then checks your name off a list, and gives you a PIN. Then you are directed to an ATM where you enter your pin and step aside. The result is that your presence has been recorded both manually and digitally.

At that point you see a few more ATM's and you get in the line of your choice. Normally the short one right? Except me, I always go long cuz if I pick a short line it will back up. As the line moves along finally its my turn.

Moving up to the ATM I notice that it has no keyboard to confuse me. Only a number pad. The screen is flashing "Press 999 to begin voting.", so I do. That demonstrates my first ability to follow simple directions. Then it asks me to read one of three questions and answer them. At the end of each question it says "to answer this question press 1 (or 2 or 3)". So I press one and answer, b, cause it is multiple choice. The point of the questions is to identify someone who cannot understand English or follow directions. If you can't get past this point, there will be election workers to assist you.

Finally I am proven smart enough to vote. It says on the screen FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PLEASE SELECT ONE. They are in Alphabetical Order. My candidate is number four on the list. So I press "4". The Screen asks me to Press the Enter Key to confirm my vote. Repeating this process over and over until the slate is full. When I am done the Screen says "You have voted for:[LISTING] Press Enter for final confirmation".

I press the Enter button and my receipt prints out. I note that it lists the same vote I just confirmed. I also note the barcode along the bottom.

Me and my receipt exit the ATM where we find a worker. He asks me to formally look over my receipt one last time. "Are those your votes?" he asks. "EeYup", I reply. I am instructed to place my ballot in the locked box. Then he asks me to enter my pin that I got as I entered the building into his ATM. Finally he checks my name off on his list.

As I leave I notice that there are no reporters to ask me how I voted. Under Phil's World View you don't have the right to know the progress of an election. Only the final results once the polls are closed and the results certified.

Once the polls are closed the election workers begin to do the following to ensure the integrity of the voting.

FIRST: Verify the number of voters checked off entering and leaving the building.
SECOND: Verify the number of pins entered into the two ATM's entering and leaving the building.
Steps one and two must Match exactly.
THIRD: Have the voting ATM's consolidate the numbers (selections) and spit them out separately by machine.
FOURTH: Scan the individual receipts and ensure the numbers match the ATM's. Each receipt will also list the number of the ATM it came from.
Steps three and four must match exactly.
FIFTH: Verify the total number of ballots against the numbers in steps one and two.

If all five verification steps match, the vote is electronically transmitted up the chain until final tally. The receipts are forwarded under guard to the Governors designated place for safekeeping for the period designated by law. The vote is considered certified and the results can be released to the public at the local election officials discretion.

If any of the five steps don't match, then all votes are immediately destroyed. The memories of the ATM are purged. The election board figures out what went wrong during the night. For the next three days, there is a do-over in that one voting area. It is as if it didn't happen.

You have positive counting of voters in and out of the building by two separate methods.
Without compromising the privacy of the voter, you ensure they are not stupid, and the vote they cast is the one they wanted. IOW, no question of intent.
By not releasing the results before closing, you ensure that no one feels that "there's no point, da udder guy dun won".
If the results are somehow invalidated, instead of multiple, slanted, recounts: You just do it over.

Not touch screen: Lack of touch screens do the following: It discriminates against illiterates, stupid people, and non-English speakers. Touch screens are still too buggy and expensive in my view. Until price goes down and reliability goes up simple ATM programming is the way to go. Besides some idiot would punch the picture of his opponent, break the screen, and cut his hand.

No networking: It would be better to network this somehow. But I am not sure how. Hackers, Crackers, and other internet boogey men could get into the mix.

Still too many potentially partisan election officials still in the mix. You got the guy at the front, the back, and the one we hope will help the idiot who couldn't get past the first set of questions on the ATM. I'd like to see a voting system that allows me to cast my vote, verify it, and not worry about any human polluting my process.

FINALLY: I'd like to modify the Electoral College so it isn't winner take all. Pretend your state gets 10 electoral votes. Divide your state into 10 voting districts. Now you are casting your ballot to actually determine ONE electoral vote. This makes a popular turnout more important. It means that the candidate who wins the popular vote in six of the mythical ten, will walk off with six electoral votes. Its not quite a straight line popular vote, but it would ensure that the low E-count states would be more heavily involved than maybe they are now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Taxman Cometh

Life Happens. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are, Murphy's Law will come into play. I haven't really had the time or interest for a good many months to blog our political games. Most of the folks I talk to are more worried about the price of gas and groceries than what is going on in Washington DC.

But we are getting close to my un-favorite time of year. Yep, it's tax season. Time for Uncle Sugar to rob each of us at gunpoint. It's the only armed robbery where you can call the cops with a videotape and they just tell you to be glad that you didn't get a harder beating.

Just in case you can't remember why the income tax is a liberty sucking dragon that needs a lance rammed down its' throat...

Read the story of how the IRS decided to destroy one American Citizen.

Then come back and tell me it isn't time for a fundamental shift in how our nation collects its' revenues.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Billions in Bloat ... - WSJ.com

I have repeatedly blogged on the size and scope of the US Government. I even went so far as to propose a method of lightening the load with as few unintended consequences as possible. It's nice to see someone with the time and resources add hard facts to my humble opinion.
Billions in Bloat Uncovered in Beltway - WSJ.com: "The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development." ...
The rest of the article is well worth your reading time.

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