Archive for May, 2008

If we look for leadership from the founding fathers of this nation, we have an abundance. These were people who would risk their own necks and personal wealth building to achieve a goal for the betterment of their, state, soon to be nation, and countrymen. These were people who could and would compromise to strengthen this country – they put the country and the goal of freedom and prosperity first over partisan rancor.

Where are the leaders with a true overarching future vision of where this country needs to be and the leadership and knowhow to make it happen, like Alexander Hamilton, rising from a poor and orphan like childhood to become the trusted compatriot of George Washington, to firmly set this fledgling country on a sound financial footing? Where are the Thomas Jefferson’s, who despite maintaining a very literal view of the Constitutional powers of the Presidency, took the opportunity, to acquire what became know as the Louisiana Purchase and worry about it later – the Constitution did not cover the acquisition of land for the United States? He did this because he knew it was the right move to better this nation and he had the leadership capability to pull it off. Where are the Teddy Roosevelt’s, who had a true vision of this nation as a great player among the great nations of the world? He saw the need to extend the growing power of this nation to influence world events, saw an opportunity, and initiated the great white fleet. He sent the U.S. Navy in modern formidable white ships around the globe as a means of demonstrating just how mighty the U.S. had become. Where are the Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt’s who had the vision and leadership to take on the national rebuilding to end the depression and then to lead this nation and the world through the largest coordination and assemblage of people and machinery in the history of mankind to defend the world against the tyranny of the Axis Powers? Where are the Ronald Reagan’s who had a vision of a world without the totalitarian iron curtain and who had the temerity to fight for and lead the world to the tearing down of the symbol of the iron curtain – the Berlin Wall? All these leaders did more for the country that the acts listed above – they were visionaries, leaders, and statesmen.

Today we are faced with three major choices and soon to be two major choices for the Presidency of the United States. Can we honestly say that any of these choices have a true vision of where this nation needs to be in 25 or 50 years? Or, more importantly, have the capability of leadership and understanding of the facets of the changes we need to make as a nation to retain the position as the nation with the greatest standard of living. Does any one of them understand that we may walk and talk like the world’s military super power and a nation possessing a consummate standard of living, but that the underpinnings of this strength and status are rapidly failing. The world knows this, but do we? Can we honestly say that we have the best and brightest in the Presidential race and in our Congressional and Senatorial races? Have any of them laid out where we should be, how we can get there for the second half of the twenty first century, and how they will lay the ground work to achieve the goal?

This country faces the combination of a complex and very dangerous foreign policy coupled with our ability to compete in the world to maintain our financial strength. Currently we operate like the rich playboy who spends his wealth, but has no means of replacing the wealth he spends.

Our populace is no longer being given heavy doses of history or civics in school. Without the preponderance of history and civics knowledge can we make good decisions about our legislators and Presidents? Can we fully understand the events that shape our world? The early childhood discipline coming from the schools and then from service in the military is gone. Today, discipline in schools is a dirty word – our children must be free to make their own choices as they have rights, despite solid scientific evidence that the brain is not fully developed in matters of judgment, until these children are will into their twenties. Without the discipline to expect what is right and to walk the tough walk, we seek the easy way – the short term solution to our problems. The mortgage crisis is an example of those seeking the short term solution to their problems without regard to the long term consequences.

Without the basics of understanding world events, we are more susceptible to undo influence by the media disguised as fair purveyors of truth, when they are making every effort to steer our thinking with selection of articles, selection of news items, and slanted interpretation of the happenings of the world, rather than just accurately and fairly presenting what has happened. The media disguises opinion commentators as news journalists to manipulate the populace. How are we to know the difference, unless we have the necessary background?

Our Congress is filled with people who are there, not for the public good, but for what they can get out of it. Why then would we have Congressman in office for many multiple terms, unless they are doing very well for themselves in office? If you do not believe me, just count the number of disgraced Congressman who have had to leave the Congress under sordid circumstances. We have political parties more concerned with the party than the country.

This country is facing challenges of the like that we have not faced before. We astoundingly have no comprehensive energy policy that factors in all sources of energy and the transformation over time from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Renewable energy is simply not ready to be the energy motor of this nation, so we need interim solutions. Energy is the motor that makes this country work. Without energy we will never achieve our objectives in this world today. We have allowed the world to dictate our cost of energy and yet we still will not start using our own resources on an interim basis. Our President recently went to Saudi Arabia to ask them to produce more. Had I been King Abdul, after I stopped laughing, I would have said “Let me get this right, you want me to produce more and you will not produce more in your own country – you will not drill in ANWR or on your east and west coast continental shelves, you will not build refineries, and you will not build nuclear reactors. You have the audacity to hope that we will deplete our reserves so you can retain yours. No! Go hug a tree!” We have no trade policy other than free trade, yet we are ill equipped to trade in a free market. What shall we trade with – do we produce for trade, do we make a guided national effort with leadership to determine what our national comparative advantage is and exploit it or improve it – No?

Without true nonpartisan leadership at all levels, we will not be and cannot continue as the nation with the world class standard of living and the ability to influence world events through both financial and military might. Are the candidates running for President the leaders with a true vision for not only what they will deliver to the country, but also how they will get it done. It is easy to promise much and deliver little – it is easy to limit your focus and promise on a few things, but it is another thing to size up a gargantuan task and have the vision to know where we should be, how to get us there, and the leadership and experience to pull it off.

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What are the impediments and the solutions to making the necessary changes to this country to get it back on track? The impediments are simple, the Presidency and the Congress. Perhaps you were going to answer special interests, lobbyists, and maybe partisan behavior by Congress and the President – any President, Republican and Democrat. The solution is not McCain-Feingold or other worthless legislation that is intentionally filled with loopholes. The solution is two fold and is very simple.

First, pass a Constitutional Amendment restricting the source of funds, personal property, real property, or in-kind services contributed to a campaign for the House of Representatives. Allow only individuals primarily residing in the district to contribute to a campaign for that district – allow no outside, political party, or corporate money to go to any congressional candidate’s campaign. No longer will a corporation or individual be able to contribute to the campaigns of candidates for Congress in districts where they have no stakeholder residence. An elected Representative will then be focused on his or her constituency and not the other folks who helped him or her get elected or reelected – who have no interest whatsoever in the people of that district. Any violation of this amendment, means forfeiture of the House seat. The opponent would sue in U.S. District Court – the loser pays all costs for the court and both sides of the litigation.

Second, repeal the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment foolishly took away the power of the States to control Congress by eliminating the State Legislature election of Senators. It replaced it with the direct election by voters. At first blush, you might say what is wrong with Senators being elected by the Citizens of the State? Well our two house system , the bicameral Congress was specifically designed to allow the Senate to represent the States of the United States of America and for the House of Representatives to represent the people. The special duties and authority given to the Senate were structured to enable the Senate to be a check in balance for the House and the Executive Branch. The Seventeenth changed all this and eliminated any control over the Federal government by the States.

Repealing the Seventeenth or modifying it will bring back the balance needed in Congress to control, lobbyists, special interests, and out of control campaigns for the Senate. It will make the Senate directly accountable to the States’ Legislatures who put them in the Senate. The only change needed would be to limit the recall of a Senator by requiring a two thirds super majority of each house of the States’ Legislature for bicameral and the one house of the unicameral Nebraska Legislature, and the concurrence of the governor of that legislature’s state. Once members of Congress are representing the right parties – the people of the district and the state legislatures, this country will start to be more bipartisan, and start to correct the problems we face. Read more at: https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/1913-was-the-true-birth-of-our-federal-government/


Updated May 17, 2008: The following is a link to a web site which discusses the repeal of the seventeenth in more depth. While I feel the seventeenth should be repealed, I do not fully accept the verbiage of the proposed amendment to repeal the seventeenth. I specifically oppose the liaison committee concept and the recall by a majority vote. I do, however, totally endorse the repeal of the foolhardy seventeenth amendment.


The following is a link added May 21, 2008: Barnstablepatriot

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The Washington Post has a piece today on Obama and the racism towards him and his supporters.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/12/AR2008051203014.html?hpid=topnews

What the piece fails to convey is that the national outlook about Senator Barack Obama changed due to the Senator himself. Early on, the junior Senator from Illinois conducted himself as a different candidate. He was a man with a vision and one who purveyed hope to those in political and financial despair. He was assisted by the media who portrayed him as a rock star politician, without bothering to vet him. His followers listened to him, believed him, hung on every word. They did not question his, out of nowhere, rise to a key national political role. His inexperience also was not considered by those impatiently seeking change, in fact it was considered a plus. Early followers were crying for change and ignored his inexperience and history of partisan legislation. They were enraptured with his oratory style promising what they wanted to hear. He engaged the young voters in mass – young voters who have no experience of rapture with a politician lacking the experience and dealing solely in ideals, without regard to the pragmatism of the real world – Jimmy Carter comes to mind.

Today, things have changed, post Reverend Wright and post Michelle Obama’s comments on how proud she is now, finally. Barack Obama’s handling of these distractions and his own comments on voter class, the “bitter” comment, have changed how he is viewed by some who have already voted for him, a substantial segment of the Democratic party, and a significat number of undecided independents, who have not as yet voted.

A previous posting called, “The Real Barack Obama!”, talks to the transformation of Obama from a man running for office to a black man running for office. https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/48/ The media really want to perpetuate the racism issue as it is an enticing news story. In fact some in the media and perhaps Obama’s supporters want to perpetuate the racism issue in an effort to drive sympathy toward him and his campaign. As time goes by and Obama starts to really get vetted, his inexperience and idealism will predominate. His far liberal nature and voting record, when he actually voted; his view on taxes – no middle class tax increase, but maintain the tax on gas and diesel, increase the social security tax, and the dividend tax rate which all will actually tax the middle class reveal the impact he would have on the economy and jobs. His distortion of the truth in campaign ads and his comments toward his opponents, even after being corrected, steal away his veneer as the different candidate. Other than the idealistic young voter and the far left liberal, the voters previously supporting him will begin to peel away as the opposition shines the light of reality on Barack Obama.

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When an individual decides to run for the House, the first challenge that comes to mind is “I need money”. The second challenge that comes to mind is “Where can I get it”? If you have a little free time, do a little research on your Congressional Representatives. Odds are good that they received more money in donations from political action committees and individuals located outside their district, than from inside. This means their virtual constituency extends across the nation and maybe into foreign countries. How can any representative to Congress adequately focus on the needs of their local constituents, when they are beholden to so many outside their constituency for so much?

We continually hear how the special interests have taken over Congress. They have! Is it the candidate’s fault – No! Yes we have our share of unethical or even criminal candidates, but for the most part they are good people who know the other guy will raise oodles of money from the special interests, and they know that unless they raise as much, they have no chance to get elected. So the good people pander outside the district to raise money. Mostly the problem is the system and not the candidate. The fix is relatively simple.

Can we only allow fund raising from individuals whose primary residence is located in the district of the candidate? Unless there was an amendment to our Constitution, court challenges would be made that the rule violates the first amendment. If the elected folks in Congress really wanted to stop this carousel of political favors, fund raising, and special interests, they could propose a constitutional amendment to fix this problem forever. It might simply state that “Candidates for The House of Representatives, may accept campaign contributions of gifts in kind – media, money, personal property or real property only from individual Citizens of the United States, who primarily reside in the district the recipient candidate would serve, if elected. A candidate deemed to have failed to abide by this amendment would forfeit his or her seat in the House, upon a formal challenge brought to the House by the candidate’s opponent or opponents”

The Senate suffers the same special interest problem, but the fix there is different. The only special interest the Senate should serve is the State they represent. The Senate years ago lost its way as the Upper House of Congress representing the interests of the States. The solution here is straightforward, repeal the Seventeenth Amendment. Read more at: https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/1913-was-the-true-birth-of-our-federal-government/

Of course, the repeal amendment would have to right wrongs the Nation tried to correct with the Seventeeth. The repeal amendment, would have to control the method of recall of the Senator. It should require a super majority vote in each House of the state legislature and the concurrence of the state’s governor.

Follow this recipe and the special interest grip on Congress would be broken.

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Ever wonder why the Federal Government has grown so large, why we have Federal Departments that duplicate States Agencies, like the $66 Billion annual budget of the Department of Education? Have you ever wondered why small States have disproportionate representation -of one person one vote? Why Wyoming has two Senators and California has two Senators? Why do states have unfunded mandates?

When this country was founded it was no coincidence that is was named The United States of America. It was not named the People’s Republic of America. The States were to provide for the laws and services required of government and the Federal Government was required to provide the necessary laws to protect the States (common defense), regulate commerce and trade between States, and provide for a consistent and standardized basic set of rights for all people of all these United States. So why then has this changed and do we look to Washington D.C. to solve not only our national but also our local problems? States Rights were so important that we even fought a Civil War over them. Just when did the States finally lose their battle to be an integral part of this nation’s guiding force and be an equal partner with the Federal Government?

Well, it was 1913! In 1913, the States abdicated their role as an equal partner with the Federal Government by ratifying the Seventeenth Amendment. This Amendment replaced a provision in Article 1, Section 3, which stated: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,for six years; and each Senator shall have one Vote…”

Upon ratification in 1913, the Senate of the United States was now responsible only to the people by direct election and no longer were they responsible to the Legislature of their respective States. The direct pandering to the people had begun. No longer was the Senate the so called upper house with responsibility to the States. It was now on a par with the people’s house, The House of Representatives, and with all the requisite pandering and special interests, but with the exception that they were in office for six years instead of two and one third of the Senate was up for election every two years.

In 1913, the people of this nation lost a valuable check and balance which inhibited the Federal Government from growing out of control. If you carefully look at the Constitution, you will find that the founders set up checks and balances over three branches of the Federal Government for the States.

  • The Senate must provide advice and consent on all Executive appointees and this includes Judicial appointees, notably the Supreme Court and Federal inferior Courts – circuit courts, etc.
  • The Senate must ratify all treaties submitted by the Executive Branch, giving the States some control over foreign affairs.
  • The Senate must agree with the House to pass legislation and sits as the jury in matters of impeachment.

The Seventeenth Amendment effectively neutralized the power of the States to control the Federal Government. Read more on why some think the Seventeenth Amendment should be repealed at http://www.liberty-ca.org/friendsforamerica.org.htm. (Not an endorsement of their site, just an opportunity to read what they have to say on the matter.)

Was the Seventeenth Amendment a good thing – I don’t believe so. Let me give one example. Today Congress regularly provides mandates for the States, called unfunded mandates, to spend money on education initiatives, managing illegal alien populations, or supporting medical care for those with no medical coverage, at local hospitals, etc. Now that the Senate is not responsible to the States, it regularly agrees with the House on these mandates, as the alternative would be Federally funded programs requiring an increase in taxes. Instead an unfunded mandate requires the States to increase taxes and your Congressional Representative can say that they have not increased taxes. This ill advised Amendment has fostered an uncontrolled, unchecked runaway Federal Government in size and power.

If you want real change from your Congress, push for repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Additional reading: http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=360

Added May 21, 2008: read – Barn Stable Patriot

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