Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Proposed Amendment XXVIII of the US Constitution

Notwithstanding the First Amendment, efforts to influence elections to public office in the
United States and its’ subdivisions shall be limited to those who are able to vote in said election.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The only way this could happen is through a large grass roots campaign. The threats to the
existing way of doing business is too big for our lawmakers to accept this without a large groundswell.

Enforcement legislation would allow news reporting of the facts of elections by “legitimate news organizations” (defined, for example, as less than 50% of their reporting being political and less than 10% of their revenue coming from electoral campaigns). Complete public disclosure of donors would be required. States would be given the right to set limits on the size of contributions. Penalties for violation would include loss of voting rights, fines, and jail time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Something that George Souros & the Koch brothers can agree to fight

Herman Cain’s ascendancy should come as no surprise to any that understand that we are no longer represented by our Congressmen. As ex head of the American Restaurant Association, he has acted as “congressional representative” for the lobby. We now take our government concerns to our special interest groups because they are the only effective way to get change through Congress. They are able to not only give us the names and addresses of our elected representatives; they also give us the words to send to them. These 35,000 unelected representatives, called Lobbyists, are able to use money to sway our Congressmen in a way that only rich individuals like George Souros and the Koch brothers can emulate. The use of or the threat of the use of campaign contributions has altered the representative nature of our government. Elected officials have to be concerned about things that have no bearing on their districts because of the funds that will be used in their elections coming from these special interests. The gun lobby has made effective gun control a subject that can’t even be broached by beleaguered inner city representatives for fear of contributions going to an opponent. The health insurance lobby was able to use the US Chamber of Commerce to spread lies about health reform that have taken on a life of their own. The global warming skeptics all seem to be funded by the energy industries. The board of directors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency are elected by the exchanges and brokerage companies. It will be interesting to see how the CPA’s and tax preparers will fight the flat tax proposals currently surfacing. With over 70% of our Congressmen being millionaires, (the other 30% can be millionaires after they leave Congress to work as lobbyists), is it any surprise that they have decided to not increase their own taxes. The poor, of course, have no fiscally flush lobby, making it easy to make them a scapegoat. The current “I’ve got mine, screw you” attitude has no one with money to fight it.

The way to break out of this cycle of greed is to pass a Constitutional Amendment that defines “electioneering” and prohibits any from electioneering who cannot vote in the election in question. This would truly return our government to the local people who are really affected by their representative’s actions.

Friday, October 14, 2011


If we could stop calling each other names and screaming back and forth, we might realize that the loss of personal power to faceless bureaucracies is the primary motivation behind both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements. The Tea Party’s rants against the government are largely aimed at large bureaucracies within the government that are more interested in self preservation than serving the people. The Wall Street Occupation is also ranting about our large bureaucratic banks and businesses. The visible 1% consists of the top tier of the bureaucracies. The nature of bureaucracies is towards self preservation rather than creation or adding value. Because relatively few of us can “buy” a congressman, we rely on special interest lobbies to represent us to Congress. With these lobbies now reaching the size of giant bureaucracies themselves, there is little hope of reform for either government or banking as any effective reform will do a lot of damage to the lobbies. In order to return the power to the people, we have to stop delegating our power to our lobbyists and our employers. I would suggest two reforms that would reduce the concentrated power of this “corporate capitalism and government marriage:
1. Have a constitutional amendment that would define “electioneering” and exempt it from the 1st amendment while prohibiting any contributions for electioneering from anyone who could not vote in the election.
2. Eliminate corporate taxation by forcing corporations to pay out all of their annual profits to their shareholders like subchapter S corporations do today.
The first would focus our congressmen’s attention to what is really important to their constituents and eliminate the problem of voting due to money that has no interest in the electoral district. The second would force CEO’s to sell their plans to shareholders in order to raise capital for expansion, rather than explain to shareholders after they have acted. It would eliminate “too big to fail” problems because shareholders are unlikely to fund many of the projects that corporate boards find compelling due to large amounts of cash on their books.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gay Marriage

The hypocrisy of many of our “Christian Patriots” continues to amaze me. Not only do they ignore our constitutional provision about no established religion in the United States, they ignore the Christian teachings about “judging not lest you be judged” and “throwing the first stone”. Marriage is always a secular event involving government licenses, tax and employee benefits. The fact that it is usually a religious event shouldn’t cause us to confuse the two. If all men are created equal, shouldn’t all men and women have equal rights to the tax benefits of marriage? When will our legislators realize that their belief about “between a man and a woman” is a religious belief when even they refer to this as a “sacred belief”. “Rendering on to Caesar that which is Caesars” separates taxes from religion. Have these people so little faith in the Lord that they believe they must make judgments that the Lord has reserved for Judgment Day? This effort to codify religion in law is very similar to the Taliban’s effort to impose Sharia Law and should be treated the same.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pee Party

It’s become obvious to me that the Tea Party should really be named the Pee Party. I’m sure they would agree that they’re pissed off. They also seem to delight in getting as many others pissed off as they can. Their platform consists of not paying taxes by pissing on poor people, government workers, and others that can’t care for themselves. Taxes are the cost we pay for living in a civilized society. They don’t seem concerned with civility and haven’t looked at where they are taking us. It’s easy to be a critic, (even I can do that), it’s much harder to come up with real solutions.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fear and Anger Deny Logic

Our politicians and powerbrokers should be studying the happenings in the middle east to learn how fear and anger don’t work forever. The special interest groups in this country have combined to provide us with political choices that defy logic. Once logic is ignored, you can only gain support using fear and anger to push your points. Consider:

How do we get government out of our lives while pushing hard to insert government between a woman and her fetus?

How do we defend “for profit health care” when the only way to increase profits is by: postponing cures in favor of treatment, having more sick people, or increasing the cost of care?

How can we defend the idea that all men are created equal, when we want to deny gays the right to the same benefits that the rest of us have?

How can we condemn the Muslim theocracies in the world while trying to make the United States a “Christian” nation?

With a media so scattered that it is impossible to determine the “Truth” about so many issues, I propose that we should be measuring our reactions to our politicians using Gandhi’s statement:

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cutting off the nose to spite the face.

After 35 years in the insurance industry I have become too familiar with the idea of cutting your nose off to spite your face. This is caused by a combination of CYA and a lack of intellectual capacity. It seems that those most interested in complaining about America’s decline are the same ones causing it; by refusing to discuss tax increases. As the US Congress cuts spending, vital programs are passed on to the States; whose politicians have refused to discuss tax hikes, and cut aid to the cities, counties and towns. As a result our schools suffer, our infrastructure doesn’t get the upgrades necessary to remain competitive, our police and fire departments can’t do their jobs and those that can’t care for themselves are tossed onto the street. The politicians involved in this have ‘kept their pledge about not raising taxes” and think they are qualified to enjoy a higher political office. They have passed these costs to our grandchildren! Meanwhile, our collective taxes are amongst the lowest in the developed world.

The Social Security actuaries have stated that a total of 2% increase in the Social Security tax would completely solve the deficit in that system. Other simple changes like allowing some of the trust fund to be invested in blue chip bonds would also go a long way towards reducing this tremendous deficit. The cuts proposed by both the administration and congress would not dent the size of the deficit. When are our politicians going to stop relying on fear, anger and ranting about failed 19th century economic systems, and actually make some of the difficult decisions we need to go forward as a nation?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Reform Insurance or Health Care?

I believe the quickest way to put many of those hurting out of work people back to work has not to do with creating jobs, but with creating job openings. By making it possible for the millions that would rather not be working to retire, we would be opening up those jobs to those waiting for the opportunity, and would ultimately create many open positions. Assuring health care to all, whether employed or not, without individual premium dollars would go a long way towards accomplishing this.

The critics, who keep saying we are going back to 19th century ideas don’t realize that the United States is in a position to not only provide “according to ones needs”, but to also provide “according to ones abilities” at the same time.

The lack of integrity shown us by the health insurance industry should disqualify them from engaging in the debate to reform health care. The passage of insurance reform, while an improvement over the older laws, still gives 15% or more of every health care dollar to insurance companies that are not adding any value to the system.

Health care reform has three basic requirements:
1. People should be able to chose their own doctor.
2. Doctors should be able to charge whatever they feel is appropriate.
3. Jobs that are lost should be high salary, and low impact to patient care. This means the health insurance industry.

I believe a single payer system is necessary. A Medicare type fee for service schedule, (or several different payment schemes), should be set so that doctors, clinics and hospitals that accept the set fee will get 100% of that fee. Those that charge more than the fee would get paid less than the fee, with the patient making up the difference. (This is the real opportunity for the health insurance industry.)

Funding for this universal coverage is as easy as taking the employer health insurance premiums from their schedule 5500 for the previous year and providing a tax for the same amount. No net change in expense for the employers.

We have already decided as a country to provide universal health coverage by passage of Emergency Room treatment obligations in all 50 states. By providing earlier treatment options, we could reduce expenses overall.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Moral Variation

As a navigator, I am well aware of the use of variation and deviation in compass courses. Variation is the difference between true north and magnetic north and is different as you move around the world. Deviation is the difference between magnetic north and what the compass reads and is caused my magnetic properties close to the compass. We frequently talk about a moral compass, and I believe that a person’s moral compass is also subject to variation and deviation. We are all aware of the deviation aspect of this, but tend not to look at the variation. I believe that the United States moral compass is suffering from variation that came about so slowly that most of us haven’t seen it happening.

We used to hear a lot about “Family Values”, the less we talk about values the more we seem to be ignoring two basic ones that come from the God of Abraham: Lying about our neighbors, and speaking evil of others. Because pundits have found that they can make a lot of money by creating fear and anger, they can only continue to do this by demonizing individuals. I can’t imagine anyone going into public service to do evil. People that go into the public sector generally do so because they want to improve the lives of others. Just because we disagree with their beliefs or methods doesn’t make them evil. Unfortunately it is easier for the media to profit by printing gossip than by discussing the issues that are actually the sources of disagreement. If we ignored “The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism” while monitoring our own words, we would do much better as a country.