Mark has been politically active, but has been disenchanted with politics in the modern world. He votes for the best candidate and very seldom sees victory at the polls.
He has opinions and experience with:
As an engineer, Mark's different views of politics are derived from reflection on the conflict between form vs.. function. In reality, success is achieved when a product/service appears to and actually performs as expected. For instance, an engineer makes a car go fast and a stylist makes it look like it goes fast. Together, they can sell many automobiles. One without the other will lead to failure. If the car style does not appeal to the consumer, you won't sell the car. If the car does not perform as expected, you won't sell another car.
In true politics (see definition 1 above), the intent is to reach an agreement that will work in the long term. The other form of politics (see definition 2 above) reflects a "get rich quick" scheme that seldom results in long term success. In today's modern society,
As a final note, I am strongly influenced by the writings and schizophrenia of Thomas Jefferson - a great statesman torn by his beliefs and actually putting them into practice. God rest his soul.
Democracy is Four Wolves and a Lamb,
Voting on What to have for Lunch.
For another view, consider DEMOCRACY DIRECT: Reclaiming Representative Democracy.
This little tidbit contains all you really need to know about government
* * *
Pythagorean theorem: 24 words.
The Lord's prayer: 66 words.
Archimedes' Principle: 67 words.
The 10 Commandments: 179 words.
The Gettysburg address: 286 words.
The Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words.
The US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words.
Oh! Speaking of dogs ... my dog, Spot, is beginning a presidential election campaign. Check it out for yourself.
Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy", until you find a rock.
You can see a lot by looking.
D.C.'s Political Report on Minor Parties
Race Relations. How can we even discuss this issue with the poor data collected by our government. For instance, employers are required to report racial make-up of their employees to the government, but it is illegal to ask what their race is - so they guess. The data collected by the census asks ethnic and racial origin, but there are only limited choices, no definitions, and over half of the population does not correctly fit any of the categories. Project Race is an effort to put a bit more sanity into our governments naive policy on race relations. My suggestion, if race/ethnic origin is information necessary to produce policy (and there is not a consensus on this point), then allow multiple choices as necessary. Even allow percentage. Also, allow an other clause to discover emerging changes in perceptions.
Campaign Reform. How can we discuss solutions when we can not agree on the problems. This issue, as most, are based on unspecified assumptions. Loaded terms are used to insight emotional response, but no intellectual thought is used to analyze the problem and the effect of proposed solutions. My suggestion (as Spot has adopted) is to pay each political party $1 for each vote received. This could be based on political party, individual candidate, or both. Simple, cheap, and fair. And in keeping with the progressive thought that only the poor deserve government support (an idea from the minds that don't believe in the US constitution), major parties & candidates do not qualify. In addition, I would suggest the money only go to challengers, not to incumbents. It encourages change-over in the people who hold public office without discriminating or limiting a persons right to run for public office (such as term limits).
More Political Reform. Quit subsidizing political parties
at taxpayer expense.
First. Quit the abomination of the primary election. The purpose is to reduce the field of candidates down to two, so we can have someone win with a majority. Today, the primary election is nothing more than taxpayer subsidy to select party endorsement. This is not for the public good.
Second. Abandon recognition of "majority leader" and "minority leader" positions. In the days of multiple parties, it only helps entrench the two party system and lock out the public from the political process.
War on Terrorism. How can we propagate so much contradiction in such a short time?. We claim a war on terrorism, but we claim captured combatants are not prisoners of war. We put armed militia into our airports and claim we are safe. From what or whom? We "protect" our airports, but ignore most every other form of transportation - buses, trains, light-rail, auto rentals, etc. We claim the world has changed, but other than the government's proclamations I see little change in the lives of individual Americans. My suggestion, quit preaching tolerance and diversity, while using excessive force to mold people into our way of thinking. Even the Roman Catholic church has given up phrase "Repent or Die!" Look to the source of the violence and you will usually find the effect is caused by the frustration of a trapped people. There is no other opportunity left open to them but to lash out in a futile attack. We ought to reread the words emblazed onto the plaque at the base of the statue of liberty and act on the them - "Give us your tired, your poor,. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ..." We should be giving them rest from their fight. Freeing and empowering them to pursue the opportunity to pursue their lives in a productive manner. Not bombing them and letting Allah sort the good from the evil.
Wars bring scars.
If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.
If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.
But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to
improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world.
This makes it hard to plan the day.
And another thought on the subject - especially our assault on Iraq.The entire Poem by Emma Lazarus, written to help fundraising for the Pedestal
(Bronze plaque with the poem was mounted in the base of the Statue in 1903)
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
a mighty woman with a torch
whose flame is imprisoned lightning,
and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand glows
her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor
that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands your storied pomp!"
cries she with silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That
All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers
for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
And the longer quote ...
And while we are on a role...
And a bit of insight from a fortune cookie...
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his
house and laying up supplies for the winter.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his
house and laying up supplies for the winter.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CBS, NBC and ABC show up to provide pictures of the starving grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Then a representative of the NAAGB (National Association of Green Bugs) shows up on Nightline and charges the ant with "green bias", and makes the case the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of greenism.
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on the CBS Evening News to tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly during the Reagan summers, or as Bill refers to it, the "Temperature of the 80's."
Richard Gephart exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."
Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Greenism Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare moms who can only hear cases on Thursdays between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. when there are no talk shows scheduled.
The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he's in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him since he doesn't know how to maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ant's food, they are showing Bill Clinton standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of "fairness" has dawned upon America.
Prepare for trouble!
Make it double!
To protect the world from devastation!
To unite all peoples within our nation!
To denounce the evils of truth and love!
To extend our reach to the stars above!
Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light!
Surrender now, or prepare to fight!
From the Capitol Steps, a word about Congress: Superfranticnonproductivenothinglegislation.
Today we mourn the passing of an old friend, by the name of Common
Common Sense lived a long life but died recently in the United States.
No one really knows how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools, hospitals,
helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.
He generally cultivated such valued lessons as to know when to come in out of the rain,
why the early bird gets the worm, and that life isn't always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend
more than you earn),
reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it's okay to come in second.
A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived cultural and educational trends including bodypiercing, whole language, and "new math."
His health declined when he became infected with the "If-it-only-helps-one-person-it's-worth-it"
In recent decades his waning strength proved no match
for the ravages of well intentioned but overbearing regulations.
He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers.
His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero-tolerance policies.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for
kissing a classmate,
a teen suspended for taking a swig of mouthwash after lunch,
and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.
It declined even further when schools had to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student
but could not inform the parent when a female student was pregnant or wanted an abortion.
Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandments became
churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims,
and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from the Boy Scouts to professional sports.
Finally, when people, too stupid to realize that a steaming cup of
coffee was hot enough to cause burns,
sued the restaurant and were awarded a huge settlement, Common Sense threw in the towel.
As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding questionable regulations such as those for low flow toilets, rocking chairs, and stepladders.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust;
his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by two stepbrothers: My Rights, and Ima Whiner.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
|Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration
of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary
War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and
their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means and well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died Bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed His wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. Some of us take these liberties so much for granted ... We shouldn't.
In the End; we will remember not the words of our enemies; but the silence of our friends.
Politics at its best:
Project Race is an effort to put a bit more sanity into our governments naive policy on race relations. Redemocracy
Always remember, it is a matter of perspective.
Nothing of importance happened today.
How Taxes Work....
Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every
day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If
they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like
this: The first four men-the poorest-would pay nothing; the fifth would
pay $1, the sixth would pay $3, the seventh $7, the eighth $12, the ninth
$18, and the tenth man-the richest-would pay $59. That's what they
decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every
day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement-until one day, the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.00. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six-the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, Then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59.
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued
to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men
began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man, but he, (pointing to the tenth) got $7!". "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar, too, ........It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!". That's true!" shouted the seventh man, why should he get $7 back when I got only $2?" The wealthy get all the breaks!". Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important. They were FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS short of paying the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. Where would that leave the rest?
Unfortunately, most taxing authorities anywhere cannot seem to grasp this rather straight-forward logic!
The more a coutry makes military weapons, the more insecure it becomes.
If you have weapons, you become a target for attack.
Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their
days interesting. Well, for example, the other day I went down town to
go to the newsstand for the Wall Street Journal so I could track my investments.
I was only in there for about 5 minutes.
When I came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. I said to him, "Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break"? He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a "Nazi." He glared at me and wrote another ticket for having worn tires. So I called him a "doughnut eating Gestapo." He finished second ticket and put it on the windshield
with the first. Then he wrote a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.
Personally, I didn't care..... I came down town on the bus. The car that he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said "Hillary in '08." I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important to my health.