Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making the USA a better place


I was asked the following question: Jeremy Hannon if you became President, what would you do to make The United States a better place?  What is your plan to make that happen?

What a huge question!  There are many things that I would do, each with its own implementation plan.  All, however are rooted in a few ideals.

  • The government must be empowered by the people - not the government permitting the people to act.
  • A government must be open, transparent, and be truthful
  • The way the government spends and manages money must fundamentally change.  Budgeting should reflect common sense and operate more like a business and allocate money where it is needed to accomplish tasks that are needed.   Currently we just increase a department's budget each year and assume they needed and wisely spent the money from last year and will continue to have the same need in the following year.
  • The federal government is the best place and is best equipped to handle some things - but those things are very few.  The governmental choices should be as close to the people as  possible.
Now I could get into the plans to change the way the executive branch manages itself and those agencies and services it oversees.  I could go into the plan to reduce some agencies to their core services and stop the "government sprawl" and their increasing encroachment into our daily lives.  I feel that there is, however, a more fundamental question here.

When the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was penned it had the phrase "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Property".  Private property was an important concept to the founding fathers, but they wanted something even broader and more inspiring so it was changed to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".  I think we need to reach for these higher ideals and broader inspiration.

The best way to make the United States a better place is to set an example.  Our leaders, all of which are human (last time I checked), need to realize they have been placed in a position of authority and need to lead by example themselves.  Each one needs to strive to live their life as if others were looking to them for guidance.  Each one needs to strive to be better for all.  Each one needs to strive to look at the big picture and leave their world just a little bit better.

Some of you may be thinking this is too "touchy-feely", but actually this is about work ethic and how we run the government.  Putting this attitude in place would make great strides in a more efficient government - one that responds to the people and wastes less.  For this to work, however, this attitude must come from the top.

For many years people have looked at a leader's qualifications, those things on paper, to determine who to vote for in the big position of President.  Morals, etc. were not a factor.  This has consequences for every position under the President, and to that of the whole country.  I believe that at this point in our nation's history we need a President that is from the common people, and can lead by example themselves, to change the attitude in the government, in this nation, and in how other nations perceive use.

In short, the best way to make America better is not in the numerous policies, reduction in taxes, and improving the environment for business and jobs to thrive -- all of which I would do.  The government is not one person, but the tone and direction is set by that one person.  The best way is to simply set a good example, and teach other leaders in the government to do the same.

The problems in America

Yesterday, I was on Afternoons Live with Dave Diamond, and I was asked what would I fix as President, what was the number one problem in this country.  After saying there are many problems, I went into a discussion on the economic problems that are caused by our government.

I was wrong.  While this is a major problem in America today, in part it is a symptom of the much bigger problem in America.  This problem goes by the name of Tyranny.

Tyranny - Cruel and oppressive government or rule.  It is what you get when a government goes unchecked.  Whether by sudden overthrow or by slow process, tyranny is not acceptable.

The government these days seems to be great at producing one thing:  red tape.  They seem too be able to build this at an alarming rate, or buy it in bulk on borrowed money.

The absolute first thing that needs to be fixed is to stop the ever encroaching federal government into our lives and give it back to the people.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stepping out of the boat

As we look upon the current state of affairs in this country, in this state of California, and further into international affairs it is becoming increasingly clear to me that now is not the time to mince words. Now is the time for action - so that others may understand what truth is and what power there is in simple truths.

As I have talked with others, all excitement about the Presidential candidates has drained away.  Voter turnout has gone from the higher numbers in the early primary states, to very low turnout now.  People I have talked to do not want to vote for anyone, preferring to mark nothing, write in "Mickey Mouse", or to simply not show up at the polls.  In this storm of crisis we face, this is not acceptable.

I am far from perfect. No one living on this earth is without flaws. The question is can one person still make an impact on today's bigger political scene? I believe so. With the lack of enthusiasm in the current presidential race, including record low voter turnouts, I believe not only should this theory be put to the test, but it must be put to the test. Therefore, for those who have asked, and those who want a different choice, I have taken the step of allowing myself to be a qualified write-in candidate for President of the United States here in California.

I am not doing this to show how great I am -- far from it.  What I want to do is give people a choice.  I am, as some would say, from "the 99%".  I am one who has virtually no political experience -- which is exactly what we need on the White House now.  We need someone who will lead on principle as they have lived by their principles;  who will protect our freedom and liberty, not their political friends.  The same can not be said of those who currently hold office.

If you are for my candidacy, or against it, let me know. I intend to follow my principles I laid out in my previous posts including answering nearly any question asked of me on any subject.

For reference:
 Thank you for joining with me on this important journey.  I offer myself as an alternative choice, but let us not forget that the goal is to save this country, to help people see their full potential, and to restore truth and honor.  Whoever you vote for, please vote with your eyes wide open.  But most importantly, vote - and vote for all the various positions on this and every ballot in the same manner.  With the way things are now, this is too important an election to stay at home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Buying Congress

Today's question from Brett J:
What reforms will you take to ensure that corporations and unions cannot "buy" seats in Congress and other positions, both legislative and executive?
There are really only two ways to "buy" seats in elected positions:

  1. To spend an extraordinary amount of money to influence voters
  2. To actually coordinate and commit voter fraud, including election rigging, etc. 
As for spending money, the solution is to not limit the amount spent by anyone (excluding foreign interests).  This allows everyone's voice to be heard regardless of how skillful you are at funneling money to the right places.  It is really the only fair way to do it and then hope the voters wake up to the truth.

A lot of these ad campaigns step way over the line into the illegal territory.  If I were president I would make sure one priority of the justice department would be to investigate and prosecute all election related crimes, regardless of party, race, etc.  We must have a fair election system in order to restore trust in government and ensure that those that wish to see the US destroyed do not have an illegal way into the government.  That, and those who just have shady motives.

On top of this, though, we ultimately need to make it less desirable to "buy" seats, beyond straight prosecution.  There must be ways to reduce the ability for congress to profit from their positions via special interests, inside information for their own personal business deals, ear marks to help their friends, etc.  Until you reduce the direct value of the position, people and groups will still try to buy their way in.

Maybe the original plan in the constitution for senators was right -- have them placed by their state legislature making them accountable to their state, not whoever can give them enough money to get elected.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Question: Money has too much influence in politics?

Today's question from American's Elect was asked by Shane M:
In the wake of the Citizens United decision by the United States Supreme Court, many people believe that money has too much influence in political campaigns. Do you agree? If so, how might we reform current election laws to change this?
For better or for worse money will always be a part of politics. On the downside the political power that positions bring will always bring people who want to influence those decisions. On the upside, in a republic like ours it can be a way to voice our opinion and help get someone who we think will represent us and our interests into office.

My understanding of the Citizens United decision specifically is that it essentially allowed corporations and other organizations such as unions the ability to use unlimited funds to do their own political activities including those that promote or propose to remove a candidate.

The problem is not that corporations can contribute in unlimited amounts, but that ordinary citizens are limited.

People who feel strongly about a cause will find a way to help it. If they can't contribute directly, they will do it indirectly. Currently we have very low limits onto what an individual can contribute. If we removed this limit people could give directly without going through back-door channels.  They could join together to pool their money to do their own promotion without fear of the FEC.

I believe we should remove most contribution limits from United States Citizens and create stronger enforcement of disclosure and tracking laws. If you really want to give to that person, should you not have the right to do that with your own money? Should we not have the right to spend it how we want to?

This is part of having freedom and liberty - the ability to do with your own finances as you see fit.  Limiting this is simply further limiting our individual liberty and our voice in how we are governed.  Remember, in the US we grant the government its power over us -- a government of the people, by the people.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Americans Elect & their questions

If you have not already heard, there is an organization that is forming an alternative, internet based way of nominating a candidate for president.  Americans Elect is currently getting signatures to qualify their eventual candidate onto the ballots of every one of the 50 states.

Here you can register and "track" the candidates you are interested in.  Ultimately, those who get a sufficient quantity of "clicks" will qualify for their primary process.  They claim you can participate in their primary process as long as you are a registered voter and regardless of whether you voted in your own party's primary or not.  You do not have to change parties.

This could have a lot of interesting consequences on the election process itself, but I will let you think about that for awhile and put my comments in on it another time.

The most fascinating section is where registered members can post questions that they want to ask potential candidates.  Members can then rate them up or down.  You can look at the highest rated questions at http://www.americanselect.org/debates/highest-rated .

I am planning on giving my own answers to several of the questions as I would answer them.  Are there any I should tackle first?  Hmmm....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to run an electoral campaign

If anything is to be learned from watching the Republic candidates compete for the nomination this year, it is how not to run electoral campaigns.  If your own party can't stand half of what is going on in the campaigns, it should tell you something.

I am not going to sit here and lecture about the mistakes, or point out the various ways to alienate your base voters and, etc.  Rather I intend to lead by example.

Last week, I stated some of the things that I would like in an ideal candidate.  Today, I am going to take it to another level -- apply those ideals specifically to a campaign.

Some things that I would like to see from a campaign:

  • Openness - This goes hand in hand with honesty.  A candidate should run their campaign unafraid of any question.  I understand not going into the absurd and some limits regarding decency, but in general I think a candidate should be able to field any question on any subject.  How hard is it to say "I don't know"?  I think that campaigns have become so fearful of negative sound bites and managing how they appear in the press that they loose that open channel of communication with the voters.  This is 2011 - we have the Internet, social networks, and multimedia tools you would not believe.  People expect communication.  They also are beginning to realize that anything can be edited or "PhotoShopped".  If you are limiting communication with the voters out of fear of what the press or the other side would do with a bad sound bite or moment, get over it.  It will happen regardless or someone will simply use digital magic to fake one.
  • Engagement - Not this fake manufactured social network stuff most of the candidates have, lets see some engagement with people.  We aren't far enough into the campaign to see somethings the candidates should do yet, but why do all of the campaign websites seem the same.  They all have some issues sections, videos, contact us, donate to us, the requisite Twitter and FaceBook sections.  Some are better than others, but I feel it can go further still.  Not sure completely how yet, but I am getting some ideas now.  I will share those on here at a later time.
  • Ethics and Religion - Let us not beat around the bush (no pun intended),  Everyone has a belief system and values to some extent.  Why is that not out in front?  If you truly believe something, it wouldn't be hidden.  I understand the tendancy to keep it to the back, or to honor this flawed application of "Seperation of Church and State" that many seem to want to do.
A short list?  Maybe.  There are others, but lets start there as they are big ones.

Now lets take this to the next level.  Someone once said that the only candidate who you can completely agree with is yourself -- and sometimes you may not agree with yourself!  Still, I want to take this lead-by-example aproach to a logical conclusion.

So, it is in this spirit that I invite questions.  Ask away.  Treat me as if I were one of the presidential candidates and ask any question on any subject.  I know that invites trouble, but the only dumb question is the one not asked, correct?  I will feel free to say "I don't know", or other such statements - you feel fee to ask.

And, as always on this blog, I reserve the right to change my mind.