Who is to blame? The N.R.A.

There have been 136 mass shootings in the US so far this year.

After a gunman entered a school and killed 5 & 6 year old children, we did…. NOTHING.  No.  I’m wrong.  The NRA convinced the elected officials of this country to resist any increase in gun regulation.  So we did do something, we STOPPED any change from happening.

After San Bernadino, the NRA again convinced the morally challenged congress to avoid regulation on guns for terrorists.   You can’t bring hair gel on a plane, but according to the NRA, someone on a terrorist watch  list should not be deterred from buying a gun in U.S.  The NRA says we might deter someone who is accidentally on the watch list.  So… maybe a dozen people in a year might try to buy a weapon and be stopped erroneously.  THAT would be a FAR GREATER PROBLEM than hundreds of people dying from legally purchased weapons.   Because some people might be inconvenienced, so screw all the people who die or get wounded.

So let’s discuss why.

THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION is to blame.  Let’s not mince words.  I’m not even going to try and be nice about it.  It’s lost it’s original intention of being a group of like minded individuals promoting responsible gun ownership.  It’s become a political lobby that has lost all sense of morality.

The Gun Manufacturers are to blame.  They, and do not be naive and doubt this, are the real instigators of this problem. They merely use the NRA as their shill.  So when I say NRA – its important to remember – the NRA, despite being proud of its many individual members, is essentially a mask for the Gun Manufacturers.

Why use the mask?  Compare these two positions.  Large Corporation wants to make money and so wants to keep Congress from gun regulation.  VS Individual Citizens want to have the right to hunt and protect themselves.  Get it?

Gun Manufacturers cannot directly support the NRA’s PAC.  BUT they can support the NRA generally.  They can make sure those in charge of the NRA are… well funded.  Generally speaking that means buying “advertising”.  I imagine other exchanges of benefit happen for various executives, but I’m not going to spend time looking into it.  Based on the NRA’s general morality, I would frankly be shocked if that wasn’t happening.

The NRA then focuses itself in two areas:

  1. Recruitment through evangelizing it’s imperative to own a gun at any cost
  2. Using its membership dues and membership numbers to force its agenda on congress.

Why?  Well, suppose you want to sell guns – you don’t want people to have a hard time getting them, right?  All businesses lobby for their right to do business with their customer.  Except it’s not quite that straightforward.

The thing about guns is that in a normal life, people don’t want more than 1, maybe 2 if you have a rifle for hunting and a handgun for personal protection.  But see, that is not a good thing if you SELL guns.  It limits your potential market. The answer to this is to artificially inflate your market.

FIRST,  you must convince people that guns are about to be scarce.  How?  You create a terribly decisive controversy around them.  You make sure that every time 49 humans are killed in a nightclub, all of your customers get afraid that they won’t be able to buy another gun ever, and so they run out to a gun store and buy guns IMMEDIATELY.  They already have a gun, but they might never be able to get another one, and so it’s better to hoard now for the imagined future need.  That’s the way our monkey brains work.  Monkey brains don’t work on logic, they work on emotional fear of lack.  Marketers know this and will advise you wisely to create this fear to increase your sales.

SECOND: You turn guns into a hobby.  A collectible, like Beanie Babies. And so people like having multiple guns for no other purpose but having them is “fun”.  As a result of this mentality, the US has 101 privately owned guns per 100 people.   Innocent people are dying because a small group of people want to have the right to collect an unreasonable number of deadly weapons for fun.  And the NRA is there to convince both them and your congressman that they should have an unencumbered right to do it.  No matter how many people are killed because of it.

THIRD:  You make ownership of a gun an underdog pursuit. An excellent advantage to fighting  the apparently logical and ethical choice to regulate guns is that it creates the sense that a small group of people is being mistreated by the government.  You turn the idea of guns into an essential right and it becomes a battleground.

Then you create a narrative with this battle that makes people tie their identity to the gun ownership.  People don’t own guns, they are gun owners.  You see the distinction?  Now it feels like government is going after them personally, not their guns.   Now you have a tribe, a community, fans.  You’re just like Apple, but you know, with guns instead of tech.  Sure you did it with blood and death instead of pretty and useful tech, but the end result is the same.  A group of people who support you no matter what you do.

The NRA is the root of this problem.  We can all point to all the hate and paranoia and exclusion and mental illness.  Those things exist and they should not be ignored.  But the reality is that those societal factors would never have culminated in the death of 49 humans if the NRA had not been actively campaigning to protect the right of a few people to have a hobby. The NRA is the linchpin to this problem.  Without it, the gun manufacturers could not lobby a sufficient amount of sympathetic support.

They ARE a morally bankrupt group that has no qualms about the blood they feed off of to gain their advantage.  The NRA has caused the death of more than 1000 people in just mass shootings.  That doesn’t include accidental deaths, suicides and individual murders with legally obtained weapons.

Do not apologize for them.  They used to lobby for better gun regulation.  They used to have a moral center that was about responsible gun ownership.  But now they don’t do that.  Now they have taken this completely explicable turn toward fighting any kind of rational regulation.  And the explanation is that:

Gun Sales are improved by controversy.

The NRA killed 49 people this past weekend and so many many more before that.  They are as responsible as cigarette companies are over lung cancer.  Possibly more.

Let’s fix Congress

Congress is a bigger problem than the President.  We tend to ignore the problem that is Congress.  Congressional elections tend to get less turnout.  Most voters cannot name all of their congressman, including myself most days.

We are far less likely to know where are our congressional rep stands on any particular issue and merely project onto them the position of their party.

We don’t know how they vote, we don’t know if they are merely shills for various businesses, we don’t know if we have accrued any benefit in our region because of their efforts.

We tend to think of Congress as a whole entity, divided into two sides, fighting a constant civil war.  But we don’t think much about the individuals who are supposed to be there working for our area in particular.

Congress is supposed to the factory where we generate the legislation and budgets that make this country run properly.  Congress is the CENTER of how things are supposed to get done.  But generally we perceive them as a clown car driving in circles with various unknown clowns forcing their way in or out of the vehicle.

Congressional Representation RARELY represents the actual population of the region.  This is because of gerrymandering, low voter turnout, and PRIMARILY – the two party system.

This country has divided every situation into some dichotomy based on a two party system.  And it’s insanity.  People are voting for a party and not an individual and that creates a problem, since it is the individual who goes to congress and votes. 

We assume that if we agree with some of a party’s position, we must endorse all of it.  Indeed we have no choice but to do so, because there is only the two choices and we have been led to believe its a zero sum game.   So people who have always voted for a party are still voting for it even when the party is saying and doing things they don’t personally agree with – because they agree with other things that the party represents.

So I propose the following:

a.  EVERYONE HAS TO VOTE.  No exceptions – you can go and abstain, but you have to go.

b.  For the House  – Larger districts and multiple representatives from each district.  See this video for explanation.  If you make the districts larger, and have more representatives, this allows for people with a minority viewpoint to get some representation in Congress.

For Senate – Increase the number to 4 senators from each state.

c.  Multiple Parties.  We need to have more parties to allow a more nuanced representation of views.

d. Single Transferable Vote.  Again – look at the video.  But this allows for more parties and a more representational congress.  You can vote in order of preference rather than voting defensively.

e.  Gerrymandering.  Politicians, Parties, Lobbies, etal cannot have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the design of districts.  Period.  Nothing.  It needs to stop.  Non partisan committees must do this.

f.  Money -We need to get rid of the Super PACs and at least further regulate regular PACs.  We need to stop corporations and Rich People from giving more to a political campaign indirectly than any  average person can.  Basically we need to isolate this election to the money that is given directly to the candidate.  Also the party or a some lobbying group or the boy scouts cannot directly advertise for candidates.

I think it’s fine for a group to advocate for a particular policy as long as they did not link that ad directly or indirectly to the candidate or party.  So if a group is all excited about bathroom binary genders, that is the only thing they can say.  “lets police the bathrooms for genital sameness from birth.”  They cannot say the candidate’s name, party or have any logo, image or symbol that would link that issue to the candidate.

g.  ALL donations must be publicly announced on the candidate / congressperson’s website.  The donations are currently a publicly available thing – but not often acknowledged publicly by the candidate.  It needs to be out there.  tumblr_o8fkkhfjoy1vnghdeo1_540

h.  Platforms – they need to published and discussed when they announce their candidacy.  Again – detailed policy must be expressed and at least two valid objections must be countered.

If they are up for RE-election, then their websites must contain both their voting history and their reasoning for the vote.

i.  Their fitness for the job must be declared.  No criminal backgrounds.  No tax problems.  No censures from any political body at any level of government.

Their experience must also be listed.  What is it that gives them the ability to sit in congress?

k.  Every election, the League of Women Voters publishes a wonderful summary of the voting options you have.  It is, sadly, not as well distributed as it needs to be.  I would propose that we need to make this sort of publication a REQUIREMENT and it needs to be delivered electronically or by paper to every person.

Today I didn’t commit suicide

There have been really terrible places and times in my life where that was a statement that ran through my head.  Times when it was a choice and I was aware of it as a decision.

When that statement was running in my mind, I recognized that my choice should have been an achievement, but mostly I was just aware of it as a fact.  I survived.  I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it.

There have been times recently when I think about suicide without actually intending it in any way. I think about how I would do it, what it would feel like. I’ve been told that is called suicide ideation.

That is a bizarre place to be.  When I step back and look at what I am doing, I realize – why am I thinking about this horrifying thing?  Something is really wrong in my brain.  And then I remember.  Depression.  Depression is wrong with my brain.

Depression is the most slippery of all the enemies I will ever have.  I have put a personality on my brain disfunction.  To recognize the disfunction as something OTHER than me.  Because that is what is so hard for me.  My brain seems to think and do all kinds of messed up things.  My brain – Me

But it’s not me.

It’s the bastard – Depression.

When I can step back and see that it’s this Other thing, I can watch the way my brain acts that feels foreign to who I am, then I can get a grip on the fact that it’s not me.  Its not who I am.  Depression is something outside of me, making my brain act weird.

The hard part is that the brain is the part of my body that holds Me.  So when it acts weird, it feels like I’m weird.  But then I’m letting the Depression define me.  When I don’t move, it’s easy to decide I’m lazy.  But that isn’t a characteristic of who I am.  It’s a characteristic of the Depression.  When I’m in charge – I move.

My point is – Depression is not who I am.  It will swirl around in my head, sweeping my thoughts in weird directions, so that I spend time planning a suicide I really have no current intention or interest in carrying out.  That is just one of the obvious things.  There are so very many weird things it makes me think and do.  But those things are not me.  They do not define me.  They define Depression.

And it just takes a small step back to watch it, to recognize it as an outsider in my brain – a fucking bastard whom I can imagine shutting into a closet.  I wish that imagining that would make it go away, but it’s not that simple.  What is helpful though is remembering to step back.  To realize – it’s not me.  It’s Depression.

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Let’s talk about how we use the word Love.

I watched a video that contained a segment that was intended to be encouraging.  In it were the words “Know you are loved.”

And I just wanted to scream.   She had no idea if the person watching this video was loved.  If she wanted to suggest that she loves them it’s worse.  Because she doesn’t, obviously.  She doesn’t even know them.

Love is not the word. It’s an emotion.  You don’t create it because you write or say it. You can express it through an action, but the action itself isn’t love either.  It’s just a method of expressing the emotional connection you feel to someone.  For example a hug isn’t love.  A hug is a hug, but you can use a hug to express your love for someone.  Just as you can use the word to express it.  But using either hugs or words doesn’t make actual love happen.

I do not feel loved because someone says “You are loved.” or “I love you.” unless there is actual reason to think that.

Do you know what constitutes reasons to believe that?  KNOWING ME.  There needs to be some context of a relationship for me to recognize that you have said something that is true.

If you don’t know me , saying you love me creates a sense of imbalance and incongruity in conversations.  It feels out of place, makes me question your integrity because it has no context.  I no longer can trust what you say because you just said something that was obviously untrue about one of the deepest and more cherished emotions humans hold.  The emotion of connectivity.

The person in the video had the best of intentions.  She truly wanted to reassure the watcher, but ultimately she is breaking the good she is trying to do by fracturing the trust with the most important thing we all experience.  Love.

Let’s stop demeaning love by using it as so much confetti to be thrown into conversations without context.  It’s not a call sign, it’s not a salute, it’s not a joke.  It’s the connective tissue of our relationships.  It deserves more respect.

I get the impression sometimes that people find it easier to say to acquaintances and strangers and rarely say it to the people they truly care about.  There is a reason for that.  Love is a huge thing.  It’s hard to say when you deeply mean it because it’s expands in quality when it uttered.  The more you mean it the more it becomes your source of fragility to rejection and loss.

You diminish real love when you toss it into conversations until it litters the world like cigarette butts at highway exits.  Let’s take a moment to consider who we really love and then take the hardest of steps and say it directly and personally to them.  Without it being the substitute for good bye, or the sign off on a text, or a thank you.  To give it the respect and power it fully deserves.  emotions-1034916_960_720

Mrs Macefield vs the Building of a Mall

If you have some time, listen to this story from 99% Invisible.  Because my summary won’t do justice to it.

In Seattle they were going to build a new mall.  But one of the homeowners refused to sell.  Edith Macefield was in her 80s and she turned down first $750,000 and then $1,000,000 for her home, which was valued at about $120,000.

The news, quite naturally, loved this story and made Mrs. Macefield into an icon about blight of urbanization etc.  They projected their own agenda on to the story.  Mrs. Macefield mostly refused to speak to them, so they were free to make any story they wanted about it.

If this was a movie, the constructions guys would be the bad guys, but as it turns out, they liked Mrs. Macefield and the supervisor made friends with her.  They kept an eye on her, while they build the mall around her tiny little home.

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In the end though, it turns out that Mrs. Macefield  wasn’t angry at the builders or at the way the world was changing. She was friendly with the construction workers.  She was just old and it was hard to change and hard to move around and she already knew where everything in her home was.  She had no family to leave it to, therefore the money was just irrelevant to her.  So, she didn’t move.

Its important to remember this.  Mrs. Macefield’s real story is different than the one projected on her by the news media, who told her story like it was David vs Goliath but with high minded ideals about over urbanization. And so the public of Seattle saw Mrs. Macefield entirely as something she wasn’t.

We view the stories of the world through the only lens we are provided.

And that lens is the news media we consume.  We are aware that we are seeing a skewed version of politics depending on which news channel we watch.  Aware of the distortion caused by which country’s news we are watching.  But less distinct is the everyday things we see as straight reporting.

No matter how its presented, the person writing/reporting a story is projecting their version of the story. That version may not be the same version someone else involved in the story would give.  Sometimes the fault lies in lack of information that gets filled in by the storyteller.  Sometimes the fault lies in innate views of the storyteller, which inform everything they see.

In any case, the actual events aren’t quite as they are being told.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was a Born Again Christian

In a weird roundabout of life, I’m living next door to the church I went to when I was a newbie Christian.

It was a wonderful church and it helped me tremendously at a very hard time in my life.

But that’s not really the beginning.  The beginning is the fact that my mother chose not to baptize me as a baby.  She grew up in religious home.  Church and related church activities from sun up to sun down on Sundays.  She baptized both of my sisters.  But I was a late life baby.  She was farther from her childhood and she decided to let me decide what to believe.

So I only went to church when my grandma visited or occasionally I went with my best friend to Sunday Mass.  I LOVED Mass.  It was so mystical and cool.  I did NOT love Protestant Church, which was so boring and uncomfortable.

When I was 16 my father died.  I was oddly not emotionally upset about his death.  I’m sure there are deep psychological reasons, and I won’t bore you with them.  But  I was more affected by all the uncertainty and change that came when the earner was gone and by my mother’s decision to move to Ohio.

Ohio was where I started to attend a group called Young Life.  Young Life in my high school was FUN.  It was a bunch of kids singing cheerful pop (not religious) songs and playing silly games.  A very cool and handsome guy would stand up and give a very short talk about things high school kids struggle with, which was generally funny and emphasized a strong moral imperative to act right.

God was only mentioned when we prayed before and after each meeting.  Also short and sweet.  Praying before a meeting used to be thing for just about any meeting so I really didn’t think it was too odd.

My point is that I never really recognized that this was a religious group.  I thought it was just a club where all of my friends could go and be silly.  I loved it.

Then they had a retreat and I went.  And that is where the God Factor was fully revealed.  They gave a full on evangelical talk and even though I had serious doubt that God even existed, I was also in a lot of angst, from being a teenager, from losing my father and because my mother was an alcoholic.

This is the summary of what I heard.  God loves you and ACCEPTS YOU JUST LIKE YOU ARE.  That last part was said over and over.  And I heard it.  And so I accepted Christ into my life.

I started to attend the church my good friend attended, (the one next door) and met lots of kind people in the process.  I got very involved in the youth group, in bible study, in youth service.  I loved the people and the activities and the sense of belonging.

I learned the deep importance of forgiveness from being a Christian.  I was taught the practical ways I could forgive someone who had harmed me.

I learned the joy of helping people just for the sake of helping.

I was very earnest in my belief, but it was slowly born on me over the next few years that I was the victim of a bait and switch game.  The simple message that attracted me to God was love and acceptance.  But the message that was swirling around in the undercurrent and occasionally in the open at church was not about love and acceptance.

I grew up being taught to look at each person as an individual.   To accept a person until that individual has done something to merit condemnation.  That is deeply ingrained in me.  And I was having a very hard time with all of the condemnation of groups that weren’t part of the Christian life.  There was this built in sense of us and them.  Not her, not him, all of the Them.  The oversimplification that comes from putting people into a group and judging.  The basis of all prejudice.

Then there was realization that there was a disconnect between church and my relationship with God.  Religious Life is an unspoken hierarchy of righteousness.  Another religious friend of mine and I compared it laughingly to being in Mary Kay.

Everyone was working for the Holy Pink Cadillac of churchiness.   You get a point for attending church.  You get a point for volunteering for something that helps the church.  You get a point for being in bible study.  You level up if you lead a bible study.  You get a point for being in choir.  You get a point for going to the Wednesday night service.  You level up for bringing in a new member, And if you convert someone.  That is the pinnacle.  If you are the reason someone converted you have achieved the Holy Pink Cadillac.

See, church is made up of humans and that is what humans do in all group situations.  Only in church it’s kind of weird because you are supposed to be there for God, but most of them are there working for the Pink Cadillac of Holiness.  I was finding myself just as guilty of it and not liking it.

So I stopped going to church.  I figured then it would just be me and God and I would skip the distractions.  But there is a reason why they work so hard to keep you going to church.  The same reason why sober alcoholics are more successful if they keep going to meetings and dieters are more successful if they attend the weight watcher meeting instead of just the weigh in.  Because humans respond to the need to fit in, to conform when we are in group situations.

Without the group telling me what to believe about what I read in the bible, my mind was free to think about it differently.  At first this was very freeing, I was able to find lots of reasons to discard the prejudices that abound in Church and accept all the groups they condemned.

Eventually, I explored other religious views and other ideas and over the course of 20 years I came to where I am today.  A nonbeliver.

But I don’t regret my time as a Christian.  It was just what I needed.  I met some very wonderful and kind people.  I learned some valuable life skills.

The Problem with Victim Blaming

There is a tendency to say to people who are the victims of common crimes – “It’s your own fault, if you had just done X or Y, it wouldn’t have happened.” Or alternatively, “If you had just not done V or W, it wouldn’t have happened.”

The most basic flaw in this logic is that you have undermined a basic contract of civilized society.  We all agree to abide by the law so that we can all be safe.  So, for example, in order for me and you not be killed, we agree not kill other people.  And we agree that there will an applicable punishment and social stigma for breaking this law.

All of our basic laws are ultimately a way for all people to feel safe.  If we give in to the idea that certain crimes are so common that one of the people to blame for the crime is the victim for not protecting themselves properly, we have now changed the basic tenet of civilization.  We have now tacitly accepted that this crime is an exception to the social contract.

The contract says we all have a right to the safety of ourself and our property.  That is the fundamental reason for civilization.

When enough people blame the victims, the perpetrator of the crime is perceived as  less guilty because it was so “easy” and the victim was thereby assigned some of the criminal’s guilt.  It also gives permission to more people to do something illegal or immoral because it was just easy and they were asking for it by not taking better precaution.

It is too idealistic to assume that certain crimes don’t happen.  But there is a difference between blaming the victim and teaching yourself or another person to be prepared against a possible crime.

Victim Blaming is not just hurtful to the victim, it is detrimental to our society in general.

Kids are Wild Animals

They will, just by nature, do lots of stupid, destructive and embarrassing things.

They aren’t tame yet.

And just like any animal, they are REALLY good at jumping in a gorilla pit or knocking over a 10,000 piece Lego Sculpture or asking your fat boss if their baby looks like an Alien.

That is just regular NORMAL behavior.  Yeah, it’s our job as adults to try and get them to act just a bit more rationally and with slightly more awareness of the consequences of their actions, but it’s a process.

And unless you intend to superglue yourself to a child until they are release into adulthood, they will do stupid stuff.  In fact they need to do stupid stuff.  Mistakes are how kids learn.  Mostly the mistakes are confined to small disasters that are relatively tiresome but easy to clean up or fix.

But there are the outliers.  There are always going to be kids who destroy part of themselves or someone else or something else while they are busy being the wild beasts that they are.  Humans have always known this, but for some reason we have been getting a sort of collective amnesia recently.  We seem to have forgotten that children are really just potential disaster areas.

This obsession the 1st world has with over-parenting, keeping children safe from every possible harm, with making their lives into one long moment to moment entertainment complex, has made us forget – kids aren’t really designed like that.  They are like wild animals put in a zoo.  They are still wild and unpredictable no matter how many buffers you put around them.

It’s been happening for millenia.children_playing_tag

 

Let’s fix the US Election for President

The Problems:

Money in many forms.

The U.S. Election is funded by rich people and corporations.  That is why Sanders enjoys pointing out his percentage of individual donors.  There are laws that limit how much any one person can give a candidate directly. These laws were supposed to avoid this issue.  But the candidates developed Political Action Committees.  PACs are just huge bank accounts where anyone can give any amount of money and that money can be spent any damn way.   If they don’t even have to spend it all on the election, they can use it to go to Barbados.  It’s not a problem.

The money problem is not just centered with the candidates and their donors.  That money buys Advertising.  During an Election Season Advertising in Media costs THREE TIMES MORE.  Yup.  So as you can imagine, the media conglomerates are NOT super excited to clean up that nasty PAC problem.

The platforms:

Over the last couple of decades the elections have increasingly become a 24 hour reality show.  The election has always been big for TV and Newspapers.  And since those TV and Newspapers needed to get people’s attention, they preferred colorful short stories.   Candidates learned to use “soundbite” phrases that would resonate well in small clips on TV.  Complex ideas and discourse were ignored.

However when 24 hour news channels arrived, things started to drift south at an alarming rate.  And it soon became clear that the things that got attention were NOT the tax plan or the budget or foreign policy.  It was concepts that packed emotional impact. That people could square off on in a talk show.   So those things became an increasing part of the simplistic speeches.  And if a policy didn’t have any emotional impact it was linked to something that did.  Or ignored.

Actual detailed policy and platforms are sometimes ignored to the extent that they aren’t even published.    And even if they are published there is no need for them to be viable.  Because for the most part the candidates don’t have to defend or explain the details.  They can hit the highlight reel and ignore the hollow center of their plan.

VOTING:

Not enough people vote.  Not enough are even registered to vote.  This creates an unrepresentative election.  The candidates have a vested interested in this and go to some lengths to continue this trend.

Electoral College:

Right now we have an electoral college.  This means it’s possible to win the election by winning only 22% of the actual votes.  YUP.  And that’s in a 2 party system folks.   Everyone’s votes in this system are not equal.  My vote is less powerful as a Ohio voter than someone’s vote in North Dakota.  There is a conscious reason for this, but it is also deeply unfair.  The electoral college was created to more evenly weigh the less populated states with the heavily populated states. But we have elected presidents who have not won the popular vote.  In other words the guy who lost became President.  That’s not actually very democratic.

Debates:

Debates only retained the name, but not the actual intention or form of a debate.  It is essentially an opportunity for the candidate to say the things they want to say without much of a challenge to their position.  They are not forced to even answer the question that is asked most of the time.  They nominally start to answer the question and the pivot the answer into their standard rhetoric on some topic where they know most people agree.

Follow up Questions are often not even part of the agenda and most of the conversation happens between the moderator and the candidate and not between the candidates.

The solution:

Money:

We need to get rid of the PACs.  We need to stop corporations from giving more to a political campaign either directly or indirectly than any one individual can.  Basically we need to isolate this election to the money that is given directly to the candidate.  Also the party or a some lobbying group or the boy scouts cannot directly advertise for candidates.

I would not go so far as to eliminate allowing a group to advocate for a particular policy as long as they did not link that ad directly or indirectly to the candidate or party.  So if a group is all excited about wall building, that is the only thing they can say.  “let’s build a wall.”  They cannot say Trump, Republican or have any logo, image or symbol that would link that issue to the candidate.

There should also be a cap on the total dollars spent on a campaign.  And it should not be anywhere close to $1 billion dollars.  I would cap it $50 million.

Voting:

4 candidates should be running.  See my primary thoughts on how to accomplish that.  Then we use the Alternative Voting System.  This allows a person to vote for a candidate they truly believe in without feeling that they are throwing away their vote.

EVERYONE must vote.  You can show up and mark Abstain, but you have to show up.

Electoral College:

Let’s ditch it like dirty dishwater.  Its NOT working.  The idea that certain areas will be ignored without the electoral college  is unlikely.  If it were true, since candidates could conceivably win an election by winning all of the small states, that would be where the candidates would be spending a good deal of their time.

BUT NO.  Candidates disregard those states and focus on about 12 of the 50 states.  This system doesn’t give those small states any more attention from the candidates BEFORE the election so you KNOW it’s not causing any attention after election.

Popular vote is a fairer way.  Period.  I know this Republic is based on States and what not, but that is what our Congress is there for.

The Platform:

Candidates are required to publish and discuss all of their proposed policies on a pre-set list of issues.

In depth. You want to build a wall around the US, you need to submit a plan that shows how much it will cost, how it will be funded, details on how it will be accomplished, and analysis on expected outcomes WITH EVIDENCE.  Your proposal must include at least 2 legitimate objections to your plan and your counter position to those objections.  “We’ll see” doesn’t count as a counter argument.

You need to provide this upon declaring your candidacy.  If you change it – you must note your changes.

DEBATES:

Debates must include challenges by opponents and moderators.  False information must be shown that way as soon as humanly possible.  In fact I would make all follow up shows be about the accuracy of the information presented.  And if it is possible for a moderator to know in real time and challenge the information, that must be done.  Indeed when you think of it, I imagine the public will find that more entertaining.  A sort of quiz show mentality.

 

 

 

 

 

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There are days when I think a fascist dictator would be a nice thing.

You know why?

Because with a dictator – THERE’S THE PROBLEM.  Its this one idiot who we can point to.  They are the problem.

When it’s a democracy – well, that’s not so easy is it?  There’s all the idiots in elected positions.  Idiots who got voted in by the population or at least some portion of it.

And then you have to face how complicated it all is.  Everyone is the problem. The system is a complicated pile of problems.

Can’t get rid of democracy/republic.  That’s the only thing we can all agree on.  It doesn’t work really super well, but it’s generally regarded as being a good thing.

Can’t get elected officials to change laws that will be a disadvantage to said elected officials.  That a nonstarter for obvious reasons.

Can’t convince other members of the population that their particular choice of elected person is an idiot.

All of it grinds to a halt and nothing happens on a regular basis while either a brawl or a standoff is going on. Which does at least make good theater.

But in the meantime stupid amounts of money being wasted on pointless bridges to nowhere or entire populations being poisoned or war happens.

So I fantasize about a nice simple dictatorship.  Where the problem is nicely contained in that one person.  So easily explained.  So thoroughly eliminated when that person is eliminated.  AND once that ugly dictator problem is eliminated, you get to start with a clean slate re-do of the basics in the way a proper democracy / republic should work.

It all looks good on paper.  If you ignore all the horrors that are associated with most dictatorships.

Sigh. I suppose ignoring that would be bad.