Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Wrecking Crew - Introduction

(this post is incomplete, but if I do not get it out there, I may never be encouraged to continue)

Introduction (Follow this Dime):

Ok, first two pages... He weaves some nonsense about everyone thinking that really big corruption in government being a thing of the past. I disagree. Where there is power, there is corruption. See Lord Acton. He begins laying the groundwork for his premise "Republicans claim there are just a few bad apples... I say it's just the way Conservatism inherently works"

The author states
Corruption is uniquely reprehensible in a democracy because it violates the system's first principle, which we all learned back in the sunshiny days of elementary school: that the government exists to serve the public, not particular companies or individuals or even elected officials.
There are a number of things I disagree with from this paragraph:

  1. The United States of America is NOT a democracy, it is a representative republic. The people do not vote directly on any policies of the United States

  2. He's relying upon a readership that was brain washed by the government schools into thinking that the government is good for us.

  3. He's also trying to claim that this assertion is basic knowledge.

  4. The Federal Government of the United States of America is not a service organization. We can read The Constitution to find out why the government exists.

  5. Corruption is bad, but it's also expected. It has nothing to do with the philosophy of the people the author calls conservatives. It has everything to do with the nature of power and mankind.

But Wait! The Introduction isn't over... I'm just lazy and haven't read / commented on all of it.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank

I'm not sure how I'm going to structure this information. I've started reading the book in the title of this post. One of my Father's friends bought it for him, and he suggested I read it. My Father's friend is a lawyer and a liberal. He probably giggles and cheers while reading this book, whereas I groan and shake my fist while trying to muscle through the paragraphs. This is inherently because I disagree with most liberals that government can solve much of anything. I suggest that more people pay more attention to Lord Acton's Dictum about power and corruption.

I've decided to keep this overview post and link to further posts over each chapter, starting with the introduction.

The Wrecking Crew
- by Thomas Frank

Introduction: Follow This Dime

Part I - Insurgents

1. Golconda on the Potomac
2. Their Enemy, the State
3. The World as War and Conspiracy
4. Marketers of Discontent
5. From Paranoia to Privatopia, by Way of Pretoria

Part II - Saboteurs

6. "The Best Public Servant Is the Worst One"
7. Putting the Train in Reverse
8. City of Bought Men
9. The Bantustan That Roared
10. Win-Win Corruption

Conclusion: Reaching for the Pillars

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Greene County Circuit Clerk coverage by

First off, let me state that Jason is doing an amazing job with his coverage of local politics. I am better off reading his coverage than I am any other source I have found. The way he handles things is extremely fair and the format has advantages over all others because he conveys all the information he has been given without typical short attention span problems on TV, or limited column space in newspapers. It is people like Jason that are proving that news can be better found on-line than in the "Mainstream Media".

In particular, I am responding to Jason's posts about Steve Helms and Jim Lee, who are running for the Greene County Circuit Clerk position. Jason's questions were fair and informative. They also did fairly well to deal with recent issues and offer both candidates the opportunity to weigh in as much or as little as they desired.

I was going to respond in the comments section of Steve Helms post, but I became so long winded that I wanted to bring it to my blog and simply link to it from their comments section.

I am disgusted with both the Democrats and Republicans, but that is generally from the state-wide level up. Both parties are experts at gaming the system and using technicalities to their advantage. They have built up a system of rules and regulations that virtually eliminate anyone that isn't an expert at politics from winning. Notice I'm talking about the party establishment in general.

Bright Yellow Gun (Joseph Hughes) wrote:

Life of Jason, 8 October 2008:

“I spoke with Steve Helms this morning and he did not ask Mr. Trower to investigate this. However, Mr. Helms said that he was aware of the suspicion and that it’s possible he mentioned it in passing to Mr. Trower. Mr. Helms said that he had mentioned this to several people in the Republican party so this could have been the “tip” referred to by Mr. Trower.”

Italics mine. It’s obvious that Mr. Helms discussed his little “suspicion” with certain of his fellow Republicans in the hope that one of them might do his dirty work for him and get his opponent (per Mr. Tim Trower’s own words) “thrown off the ballot.” What other reason would Mr. Helms possibly have?

Greene County doesn’t need someone of Mr. Steve Helms’s “character” in the office of County Clerk, especially when we have a much better choice.

I have known Steve Helms from working with him as a board member of the Metro Republicans for the last year or so. He is not interested in unjustly eliminating his opponents, or using tricks to win. He was concerned that his opponent was raising money and not reporting that money. He expressed that concern to others around him as he stated, and one person ran with it. I believe Steve that he did not directly ask anyone to file a complaint. In politics, fund raising is a significant measure of support, though not the only one, but one that is required to be publicly available.

Generally speaking, there is a great deal of mistrust between the two parties. Often that is well placed mistrust because there have been people that have come before that have done disgusting things in the name of victory. I personally do not think that Steve Helms is such a man. He wants a clean campaign, and is an upstanding citizen.

Len Eagleburger said:
Mr. Helms, by his stated attitude, still disagrees with the highest Court in our Country and separation of “church and State”. I guess he has never heard of the concept of “tyranny of the majority over the minority”, or “for the greater good”. Is this the person we need to take care of our County’s business. He seems to believe that because he is a religious person, he is above the law.

Len Eagleburger is (or was) a central Committee Person for the Democrat party, though that is not mentioned in the post. What we see here are standard partisan attacks. Further, it appears from the link I provided that Mr. Eagleburger has been interested in this position for several years, but was not interested / available to run himself. In the last election cycle, he blamed the Republicans for eliminating the corrupt process of straight ticket voting, a process akin to reforms that I propose changing further.

As Steve said in his answers, he is not bringing party or politics into the operations of the office he is responsible for. The poster, which was a patriotic poster which heralded the values of the people that fought for our independence and freedom through our history, was not one which espoused a particular religion, or required anyone viewing it to do anything. In short, it was not tyranny, neither by the majority, nor by a minority. Steve may have bought into the "other party is bad" problem at times, but I do not see any evidence that it is affecting the operation of the Circuit Clerk's office.

I will be voting for Steve Helms because I think he is a man with integrity, as well as a person with the correct abilities needed to improve the operations at the Circuit Clerk's office. I will not be voting for Steve Helms the Republican, but simply Steve Helms the man. I am extremely frustrated with the Republican party, and am looking elsewhere for better representation, especially at the Federal level. At the local level, there are still honest people involved, even in the Democrat party. I do not believe that Jim Lee is anything but an honest man, but I know Steve Helms better.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Premature Pontification

I have a few ideas for election reform. Some of these ideas will require state laws to be changed, others may only require county regulation changes.

  1. Stop using Taxpayer money on partisan primaries.

    1. I can't believe that the public thinks its OK to pay for the ballots that the parties use to settle internal party business

    2. I doubt that most people consider this to be a subsidy for the major parties

  2. Stop publishing the party membership of the candidates on the ballots

    1. It's EXCELLENT that we no longer have straight party voting here.

    2. We should take it a step further and require voters to know even the least amount about a candidate before voting for them.

    3. If not this, then fusion ballots may be an alternative (a candidate can be the nominee for multiple parties and have them all listed on the ballot)

  3. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) or some other method that allows more expressive balloting

    1. IRV allows you to vote in order for the top three candidates you like.

    2. My top three in the president's race might be

      1. Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party)

      2. Bob Barr (Libertarian Party)

      3. John McCain (Republican Party)

    3. This way, I could vote for the people that I identify with most. There would no longer be any negative consequences of voting your conscience.

With these kinds of reforms, we could level the playing field and allow more competition in the arena of politics.

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Change? Only if it means PRINCIPLES.

This is a response to a post on Chris Brewer's blog and the ensuing comments.

The primary reason Obama is popular is because he's touching on an amorphous word, "Change". Change means whatever the LISTENER wants change to mean. He's capitalizing on uncritical thought. He's also a very pleasant looking and charismatic man. He just makes people feel better when they're watching him. This is no basis for selecting a President.

Most of the national candidates from the two parties are just mealy mouthed wastes of breath. It doesn't matter what they say, not even to your own face in person, because they're saying something different tomorrow, or whenever someone else is listening.

I'm screaming out for someone to actually have PRINCIPLES and to stand for what this country was founded upon. The Constitution is a document which does everything it can to restrict the Federal Government, but we the people have let the politicians in Washington walk all over it. Some of them think it's good for toilet paper.

I'm not saying it's impossible for you to agree with Obama's stances on issues. I am saying that it's very difficult to pin down what those stances even are. If you think that you agree with Obama more than any of the other 5 candidates, then he is definitely who deserves your vote. If you expect, like I do, your elected representatives to have integrity and principles, then you have to express that same level of integrity and principle in your voting methods.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Communication to Excess

Well, this may be excessive, but I wrote my Representative, Roy Blunt, and my Senators, Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill 6 times this afternoon. The bailout is a horrible and destructive grab for power that is completely unprecedented. I cannot believe that ANYONE is OK with giving Mr. Paulson the ability to write checks to an unlimited number of entities to purchase an unlimited number of "bad assets".

  1. Why would the citizens of the United States want to purchase ANY bad assets?

  2. Why is anyone OK with the fact that the bill has provisions to prevent oversight of any type over these purchases?

  3. Who in their right mind thinks its OK to write a law that prevents everyone from bringing legal action against Mr. Paulson for any misdeeds that he may yet perform?

  4. Does anyone that supports this bill have any clue that it allows Mr. Paulson to purchase assets held by anyone in the WORLD?

This legislation is ABSURD, DANGEROUS, and HORRIBLE. I cannot believe that anyone has been duped into thinking this legislation is good. Oh wait! Most people don't have any idea what is detailed in this plan, and that's because they don't have anywhere they can go to actually READ it!

Since the Senate is forced to cheat the system by appending the Bailout to a bill already passed by the house without the bailout I wrote this:

Please introduce's "One Subject at a Time Act" (OSTA). You can find the text of the legislation here: I'm writing to you today about the OSTA because the Senate is circumventing the checks and balances of the Constitution by inserting the bailout into another bill that has already been passed by the House WITHOUT the bailout present. This kind of shell game is unacceptable. I don't want the bailout under any terms, especially not by circumventing Constitutional checks and balances.

Since no-one in the public has access to this horribly important piece of legislation, I wrote this:

Congress needs to start reading the laws it passes. Please introduce's "Read the Bills Act." I know you have the power to introduce this legislation on your own, without waiting for anyone else. I urge you to do so. This is a much-needed, common sense reform. I can see no justification for not introducing it. I'm telling my friends about it, and I look forward to hearing that you've introduced it. You can find the text of the legislation here: I'm writing about the RTBA today because the bailout that failed in the House was voted upon against these theoretical rules. In particular I don't want anyone voting on anything that hasn't been made publicly available for 7 days. I don't want Congress voting on bills that they haven't read. I don't want your claims of emergency to justify attempts to circumvent these principles. Pass the RTBA tonight instead of the horrible bailout.

Since at least one member of Congress claimed they couldn't adjust the accounting rules that are contributing to this problem, I wrote this:

Please introduce's "Write the Laws Act." You can find a summary and the full text of the bill here: I'd rather you pass WTLA than the horrible bailout bill. I don't want you delegating more authority to unelected bureaucrats with the bailout bill, and I want you to revoke the power of the SEC, and the Department of the Treasury. Laws and regulations should only be written by Congress, and they should only pass excellently crafted laws. This means that you should be passing far far fewer and shorter laws. Don't pass the bailout. The American Public has spoken clearly about this.

Since there is absolutely no authority in the Constitution to grant the kinds of power that they are trying to grant with the bailout, I wrote this:

Please bring John Shadegg's 'Enumerated Powers Act' (HR 1359) to a vote as soon as possible, and please do all you can to support the passage of this bill. I'd rather you pass the Enumerated Powers Act instead of the Bailout. You can't cite the portion of the Constitution granting you the authority for the bailout bill because it doesn't exist. Congress does not have the authority to steal 700 Billion Dollars from the Citizens of the United States and spend it covering the collective failures of the global economic industry. If, after you've made this bill available online for 7 days, revoked any portion of the bill that allows bureaucrats the power as stated in the original bill, and cited clearly in the public version of this bill where the authority lies to do this, then I would be willing to review this bill and consider whether it was acceptable and beneficial to the United States of America.

Since Congress is so willing to spend our money, but still get their own fat paychecks, I wrote this:

Please co-sponsor H.R. 500, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007. Deficit spending is unacceptable. If you think the bankers need money, maybe you should pass the plate and get volunteer offerings of good will from the American people. The bailout is horribly backwards. HR 500 would be a great bit of good will towards the citizens of this country. Increase the budget of the Federal Government by forfeiting your pay. If things are so bad, and you're really doing all you can, I'm sure you'd be willing to put your money where your mouth is and contribute your salaries to the problem. Pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act instead of the disgusting immoral bailout.

Finally, as a capstone to show my complete disgust, I wrote this:

Please cut federal spending.

If you haven't gotten the point yet, I don't want the bailout passed. You are only showing your contempt for the people of this great nation by ignoring our outcry. You do so at your own peril. We will be organized against you in your next bid for re-election if you vote for this bailout.

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