Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sequester stops Aircraft Carrier from Sailing !

There was an article in the paper that if the self-imposed sequester goes through tomorrow, then a new Aircraft carrier will not be able to be christened on its maiden voyage to the Persian Gulf.  So, our government can't flex its muscle on the world stage because the money's not available.  What's to become of us ?!   I jest , of course, but this begs the question;  "is not having another aircraft carrier really of any  consequence"?  At the beginning of WW II, the United States had the 17th largest army in the world.  In 5 years we went on to defeat two of the world's most powerful military powers, Japan and Germany, at the same time.  I think we can feel confident we're still prepared for most any offense, EVEN without that extra aircraft carrier.  The real truth that neither party wants to admit is we could easily do without much of our military right now and still be safe.  We continue to prepare for any eventuality because a lot of jobs depend on it, not because it's really necessary.  And when that happens, it's a huge problem and a huge waste.  As someone once said, "Justification for a job's existence cannot be so that job can exist".  Yes, the generals and admirals would not like it, and the power of DC would diminish on the world stage, but I don't see the need to always be prepared for ANY eventuality.  Neither party likes the idea of reducing the military too much because it makes them feel strong and mighty to command the world's largest military., but the reality is the people are the true power in our country and their "chest pounding" on the world stage is bankrupting our children's future.   If Democracy is threatened to a significant level with a real military attack on the world stage, I feel very confident our country would rise to the occasion as we always have.  We do not need to ALWAYS be ready for WW 3.   I say, "let the sequestering begin".

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Open Primaries for True Democracy

There is a new petition circulating in Florida and other "closed primary" states that bears mentioning in this "moderate" leaning blog (no, not leaning.....decidedly moderate).  I am inserting the wording in this blog, but feel compelled to elaborate a bit on the topic and how important I believe it is to our country.  We cannot progress to our true potential with the two political parties controlling all the power as they do now.  There is no way their incompetence will lead to anything other  than more gridlock. Nothing is accomplished and the two parties (ideologies, philosophies) go 'round and 'round and 'round.   Please, any readers in "closed primary" states consider getting involved in restoring true democracy to America.  There is nothing fair about always having only the two parties to choose from.   We should all have a primary system  where the "Top Two" winners are selected as the final candidates, regardless of their party.  

Some people say that being Independent means that you can't make up your mind., but I've made up my mind.  I have decided we all have to rise up and start insisting our leaders cease their petty politics and get into the business of leading our country, our state and our communities.  Every single problem must stop being turned into an ideological debate and instead they must be treated with respect as an issue the American people need to have solved.   "Top Two" is the first step to easing the vice lock that the partisan politicians have on our government.

Here is the wording of the Amendment;

• All information on this form, including your signature, becomes a public record upon receipt
by the Supervisor of Elections.
• Under Florida law, it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or
s.775.083, Florida Statutes, to knowingly sign more than one petition for a candidate, a minor
political party, or an issue. [Section 104.185, Florida Statutes]
• If all requested information on this form is not completed, the form will not be valid.
Your name:
Please Print Name as it appears on your Voter Information Card
Your residential street address:
City ___________________________________ Zip_____________ County__________________________
Voter Registration Number ________________________ or Date of Birth __________________________
I am a registered voter of Florida and hereby petition the Secretary of State to place the following proposed
amendment to the Florida Constitution on the ballot in the general election:
BALLOT TITLE: Top Two Open Primary Initiative
BALLOT SUMMARY: Top Two Open Primary elections are Primary Elections in which all registered
voters may participate regardless of political party affiliation. Only the Top Two winners by majority
vote advance to the General Election.
(b) If all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition
in the general election, Florida Primary Elections are Top Two Open Primary Elections. All candidates
are to appear on the same ballot along with their party affiliation, if any. All qualified electors,
regardless of party affiliation, if any, may vote in the Primary Elections. for that office.
________________________ X_____________________________________
Political advertisement paid for and approved by:
Florida Independent Voting.Org
1030 Sylvia Lane, Tampa, Fl. 33613
Paid Petition Circulator’s Name For Official Use Only:
____________________________________________________________________ Serial Number:______________
Address: ___________________________________________________________ Date Approved:_____________

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Global Warming Debate

Do you believe in Global Warming?  Or Climate Change, I guess is what we're suppose to call it now ?   Someone once asked me this, and it caught me off guard because it was like they were asking me if I believed in Santa Claus !  "Well", I muttered  "I'm not sure how to answer that".  He proceeded to give me a web site address that elaborated on the "conspiracy" of Global Warming and how all these scientists are conspiring to make us believe the planet is warming when it's actually not.  The year was 2008.  My opinion has not changed at all in 5 years., but after that conversation I realized that coming to a solution for a very real problem was going to be MUCH harder than I had thought because now it was becoming a "political" issue and nothing gets solved when it becomes political.  

Do I believe in Global Warming?  I can't say that I "believe" in Global Warming because it puts the issue in the realm of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.  Unlike either of these "made up" beings, Global Warming simply "is".  I don't "believe" in electricity, I just know it works because I see and sense its benefits every day.  It "is".  Science has brought us so many things;  air flight, internal combustion, computers, high definition television, modern farming, elevators, disease curing medicines.  I don't "believe" in any of these things, I simply know they exist because I see the benefits.  Global Warming is considered by nearly 100% of all Climate Scientists to be a reality.   I see no reason to not believe them any less than I would listen to scientists regarding any other topic.  So, what bothers me about the Global Warming Debate is that I don't think it should exist.  The only thing we should be discussing is what to do about Global Warming, "whether" it is or not needs to go the way of the "Dodo bird", it needs to become extinct before we do.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Restoring American Democracy, Part VIII The Media

The Media are the enablers.  What was once part of the solution is part of the problem in America.  There was a time, as I understand it, that the media via newspaper, radio, and then TV sought the truth.  This truth was sought for the best intentions so that the American citizen could be well informed of the issues and therefor come to logical choices once the elections came about.  No more.  Today the media stirs the pot at every given opportunity and has fallen into a cycle where rather than reporting the news and examining the facts they have become the story itself.  They seek the controversy, and if there is none then they create one. In addition, in recent years the media seems to have a tendency to offer up more of their opinions on news rather than just news.  This perception has lead to widespread mistrust of the media.  If the people don't trust the ones informing them then they can't see the real issue at hand either for analysis or consideration.   because they don't trust that the very problem even certainly exists.   In a democracy this is a real problem and I liken it to an Eagle that can't see well.  Eventually the eagle will starve.

I certainly don't advocate any limits on journalism.   Freedom of the press is so important I can't see that there is any way to shackle the press from its bad habits without hindering its real purpose, to seek out and broadcast the truth.   The only real solution is to educate our children and young adults regarding what to look for in journalism and what do demand from the media.  How can they know what's right if they haven't been taught?  The media is only giving us what we ask for through our poor judgment regarding what is really important to ourselves our families and our communities.  If the public were to stop feeding this ravenous pig  and its piggy ways, then it would have no choice but to transition to a more agreeable animal such as the  Owl for its wisdom or the Eagle for its eye for prey.   We need a press that seeks the truth and demands the facts from our leaders.  There is no need to create a story if the people are educated enough to recognize the story is already there.  There will always be issues to understand and decisions to be made that the media can help with.  There is no need to exacerbate the situation with trumped up and fabricated stories of controversy over benign, non-issues.  The media should not be offering their opinion on any story (op-eds and editorials being an obvious exception).  Let the facts speak for themselves.

With an educated public and a new system of elections as I have suggested in this blog then the truth of the matter can be examined and the core problems that are real problems can be understood by the public and addressed by our leaders.  Case in point is the national deficit.  The $17,000,000,000,000 debt that our country has racked up is a REAL problem, not a fabricated one.  The only thing that will satisfy the logic of the free market system is a real solution to our debt situation.  The longer we wait to address it, the bigger a problem it becomes.  This fact should be the kind of thing the media focuses on and sinks their teeth into like pit bulls.  An educated American public would understand the very serious consequences to the national and global economy.  There should be outright demand for solutions to this situation rather than the  partisan bickering that we see out of Washington today.   This partisan bickering is only aggravated by the  media's fixation on controversy and the already mentioned tendency of theirs to side with either the right or the left, thus leaving doubt to the veracity of what they are telling us.  The consequence is we have a massive national debt that all 200,000,000 adults in America know is a problem, but as usual the solution is stuck in a quagmire of name calling and petty politics.  What happens?  A very real problem festers and endangers the well-being of all of us and our families and our communities and our world.

Get money out of the equation in elections and the problem will solve itself because we will have leaders who are focused on the job at hand not the funds required for the next election.  Once again, it's simply a matter of the process by which we select our leaders.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Restoring American Democracy- Part VII The Parties

It should not be a surprise to any reader of this series;  "Restoring American Democracy" that I am vehemently opposed to the parties.  I have some  major issues with BOTH parties and I feel they are very slowly ruining our country.   The way I see it, either party with a large majority turns into a ravenous shark.  They lose all control and become so overwhelmed with the smell of blood that they start tearing apart all semblance of dignity.  They see something they want and proceed to grab it,  and their promises during the election become a distant memory.  Their position as a representative of the people ceases and their eyes roll to the back of their head as they bite into the blood- filled meat of power. 

Each party has developed a niche according to the two basic philosophies of government., that it is either there to help people (the Democrats) or, alternately, it is there only to provide for the basics of government;  defense, currency, and infrastructure (the Republicans).  In the past, both parties were able to come to some sort of compromise and each got "some" of what they wanted and things "got done" such that the basics of the American population were being served.  No more !  Today each party is so partisan in their ideas and philosophies and so unyielding in their approach to legislating that nothing is accomplished and even common sense solutions to our nations problems become "dead in the water" as each group gravitates to the extremes of their parties.  More often than not, this position is not only a refusal to  compromise,  but also the least intelligent and thoughtful of all options.  They are like children having tantrums because they cannot get their way.  

In the last election, I was fortunate enough to be a "guest columnist" for the Orlando Sentinel.  I submitted a letter that I felt focused on the most important issue at hand in the election;  "Which candidate is capable of working out compromise with the other party?".  (Published Oct. 31, 2012)  In the article I quoted George Washington's opinion of the idea of political parties in his farewell address in 1796; 

"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

If our nation's founding father was so clearly opposed to this idea of political parties then how did we come so entwined in it?  More importantly., why do we continue to tolerate it?  

Once again, if you look at the money you will see the chance for liberation. 
If no candidate needs money to run for office, then he/she no longer has to have affiliation with either party.  He is free to take a stand on what he thinks is important and stand up for what it is the people want and need.  After all, isn't that why he's there in the first place?    Get rid of the money and the parties cease to have such a detrimental effect on our government.   I'm not so naive as  to say they will cease to exist, but their power will be more in line with where it should be as an influence but not the deciding factor in each election and in each candidate.  There would be be a multitude of ideas to choose from, not just the right or left idea and even party members would be more likely to offer up new,  more flexible ideas without fearing their financial support would suddenly be withheld. 

I will probably always be an Independent, but if any candidate gravitates more towards compromise than not, I am more likely to vote for that candidate.    This is true, even if the compromising party is not to my personal philosophy.  
Until money is removed from the process of elections, that is the only way for an individual to have a positive effect on our government.