Saturday Posts . . .

I know – the Saturday Posts series are usually just a graphic with a one or two sentence idea that triggers thought or humor about some topic.

Today I’m going in a different direction.  Something has been on my mind that I need to share with you, and you all need the warning.  Yes, I said “warning”.  It is that big of a deal.

There is something about to happen.  All the major governments of the world know it will soon happen, but none of them are talking about it because, quite frankly, they have no idea what to do and fear triggering a panic they can’t spin or control.  The mass media also knows this event is about to happen, but they are keeping quiet for another reason – talking about it won’t sell advertising OR papers, so for them there is no upside to the story.

What is the story?  The world – yes, the whole WORLD – has already begun the decline to a life without OIL.  I could tell you a lot, but I’m nowhere near as good at telling this as the people who produced and directed a documentary my wife and I watched recently.  It is called “The End of Suburbia” – and we got our copy from the Netflix disc service.  Please, find this documentary and watch it.  We need to be informed to make the changes necessary to the post-oil world we will be living in within a few decades.

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Moving beyond 2016 –

Ok, I’m going to admit up front that this is a copy/repost of my own work.  The original can be found at https://mr-spock-rocks.com/2016-next-us-president/ and the only reasons I’m reblogging it now are to remind everyone what it will take to move us in a direction that will improve our national security and economic stability; and that this one document is BY FAR the most popular one I’ve written. – V

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2016 – What the next US President should do

Ok, since the mainstream press is already salivating over the next presidential election cycle (never mind that we haven’t had this year’s mid-term elections yet!) – I’m going to put forward the platform I would support, endorse, or at least like to see some candidate use.  This is a living document, subject to periodic reviews by me, and updated as I feel it is needed.  Originally published May 30, 2014.

Islam –

I have many posts on my blog about the nature of Islam and what Muslims believe and are willing to do.  I don’t want to belabor that point here, but suffice it to say that if all of humanity is a single living organism, it is my belief that Islam behaves like a cancer cell in that organism.  We’d be foolish to not address it in the same way medicine would address a cancer.

If I were to suddenly find myself filling Obama’s shoes, I would use an Executive Order to put Islam and all parasitic support organizations (Nation of Islam, Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Hamas . . .) on the list of officially recognized terrorist groups, and order all Islamists expelled from the country – as a start. Confiscate all their assets in this country, and divert the cash to compensation funds for the relatives & survivors of the acts of terror Islamists have committed against the US.  Sell all real estate holdings and add those proceeds to the compensation funds as well. Back Israel in securing it’s borders and providing for their defense. Help all our North American and European allies to move towards implementing the same rules towards Muslims that Japan uses – and move us that direction as well. That’s a good start.

Jobs

I’ve seen estimates saying we currently have 20 million legal US residents who are either completely unemployed, or working only part-time while wanting full-time work.  I’ve also seen estimates putting the number of illegal immigrants who currently hold full-time jobs in the US at around 12 million.  This means, by taking those jobs from the illegals and giving them to tax-paying citizens, we could effectively reduce unemployment by more than HALF with a few strokes of a pen.  Putting US citizens and LEGAL residents back to work should be a major priority. As such, here is a suggestion that would actually work:

Mandate the use of E-Verify for all employers nationally, no exceptions. This would need teeth – I propose a $10k fine, per undocumented worker per incident. Which would mean that if INS raided a factory and found 200 non-documented workers there, that one incident would generate a $2 Million fine. If it happened again 30 days later, that’s another $2 Million. We should use the fines to cover the cost of immediately deporting the illegal workers; no free time in our jails on the taxpayer’s dime. Also, no corporate bailouts or tax breaks for any corporation that imports more than 10% of the parts used in manufacturing or imports more than 15% of the retail goods it sells. No imported parts are to be used AT ANY POINT in the manufacture/repair of government or military equipment, as a national security concern.

Government

Lobbying is one of the largest parasites in the US, and only serves to move our Republic towards becoming an oligarchy. We need a total firewall between civil service and private sector employment, not a revolving door. We also need to totally prevent corporations from funding the studies that federal agencies use to determine the safety of products, medicines, and foods. The reason for that should be obvious – it creates a conflict of interest. Besides, even a dog knows not to bite the hand that feeds it. You will hear that phrase again.

Direct corporate lobbying should be prohibited. Private sector employment at any corporation that employs over 100 US workers shall be grounds for disqualification from civil service appointments, and vice-versa. US government branches like the EPA and FDA shall be directed to put public safety ahead of corporate profits, and where the two clash to always assume that nature’s own solutions are better than manufactured ones.

Taxes

I support totally abolishing the income tax system, and transitioning to a flat national sales tax. However, that does not go far enough to disengage the government from your pockets. Beginning with those who are under 30 years old now, we need to begin making individuals responsible for their own retirement plans for the future. This nation’s original architects did not envision a society where Uncle Sam took care of you – you were supposed to take care of yourself. Churches and family were the expected backups, the government was NOT supposed to be a part of the process. I believe that you can take care of yourself, if we get rid of a lot of government interference and incentive not to.

Voting Rights

Originally, only males who owned land could vote. Voting has always been a privilege that you had to meet qualifications for, not a right. Back in the early days of the Republic, you had to work for a living to have a voice in government. To some degree we still need this. While the definition of citizenship has changed, and needed to, in the last 2 centuries, what has not changed is that outside influence and internal entitlement are tearing our country apart.

So, another change to voting law is needed, IMHO. Only those legal citizens who work full-time jobs, are self-employed, or have been honorably discharged from the US Military, should have the right to vote. That not only excludes those who support themselves on welfare alone, but those who make more money from investments than they do from wages. A government-issued photo ID should be required.

Additionally, we need to reform the Electoral College. As it stands right now, candidates can focus on less than 6 states and have a viable shot at winning the Presidency. That is totally ridiculous. Every state matters, and anyone who dismisses the heartland of the country as “the Fly-Over States” doesn’t deserve to be our national President. So, instead of apportioning Electoral College votes by population, they should reflect the number of seats each state holds IN THE US SENATE.

But there is one more change that is more important than all others – we need a Constitutional Amendment that would invalidate the results of any national election that failed to generate participation by at least 65% of all eligible legal voters, nationwide.  This would put an end to our nation being governed by those who barely managed to gain a majority of votes in elections that only 45% of the voters participate in.  Think about it – does someone who wins the support of only 23% of the eligible voters in the US really deserve to be our President?

Education

This is probably going to be controversial, but I’m going with it anyhow. All post secondary education centers should be privatized and treated as for-profit organizations, subject to taxation. While nothing should prohibit those who can afford to do so from studying “impractical” liberal arts courses, the focus should be on graduating job-ready candidates who meet acknowledged industrial or commercial needs. This means a lot less need for “BA or MA” schools, and a lot more Vo-Tech. I would salute anyone who completed a vo-tech school, went to work, and then took his/her own money and continued their education along lines they were personally interested in. In the words of JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Next; we need to stop training children to take a nationally standardized test.  Train them to study effectively.  Train them to think clearly. Train them to use a library and do research to answer questions for themselves.  Once they’ve learned to read, they no longer need to be lectured.

One more thought, though this should be obvious:  the strength of any school’s sports squad has no bearing of any kind on the quality of their academic education.

Health Care

For the last 50-60 years, we’ve been engaged in the wrong discussion. The practice of medicine should be focused on maintaining health/wellness first, and repairing it second. Every high school graduate should know as much about health and nutrition as they do about mathematics. Every medical doctor, and every pharmacist, should know as much about nutrition and functional medicine as they do about pharmacology.

The United States has the finest trauma and crisis centers in the world, and we do need them – but trauma care should be the END of the for-profit medical journey. When dealing with illness, we need a system more like the older oriental approach, where each “general practitioner” would have a specific group of people under his/her care, and as long as they stayed well, they pay him a set fee every month. If they get ill during that month, not only do they not pay the fee, but treatment of the illness is free. Patients would be allowed to seek out the best caregiver they could find, creating competition between caregivers to do the best job of keeping people healthy. There would be NO need for insurance companies or other parasites between the doctor and the patient, and no reason why the doctor’s treatment records would need to be seen by anyone else.

Foreign Policy

When I was in the US Army, I loved traveling abroad. The year I spent in Germany was magical, to me. However, I was not blind to the undercurrents of anti-US sentiment (specifically in Europe, since that was where I was stationed, but more generally around the globe as well). Therefore, the next president should immediately order the following:

End all international aid programs except NATO and Israel, and keep the money at home where we can spend it on our own prosperity and security. Make it official policy to allow all other nations to decide for themselves how to live, and turn in our “World Police” badge. Immediately recall all troops assigned outside the physical boundaries of the US, except those directly attached to Embassy Security details (which should be doubled immediately). Those troops returning to US soil who are wishing to remain on active duty should be assigned to the border patrol. All National Guard units and assets are returned to the control of their respective state governors, for use as those governors see fit.

Domestic Policy

Even the most minimalist estimates say our current national debt is over $17 Trillion – and that is money we’re borrowing from our kids and grandkids before they even start school. It is inexcusable. While there has been a lot of talking about balanced budgets, that only tries to keep the beast from getting larger. We need to curtail spending to sustainable levels that enable us to responsibly pay down the debt, with a clear (and achievable) goal of being debt-free within 20 years. That means paying the full interest on our debt every year, plus paying down 5% of the principle based on the current debt level.

We also need to learn the lessons of the past – specifically regarding Prohibition. The US needs an end to the domestic “War on Drugs” immediately, and re-purpose that $50 Billion/year on long-term, in-patient mental health facilities, and paying down the debt. All non-violent drug offenses of the past should be granted a Presidential Pardon, and the prisons directed to return those so incarcerated to civilian life. Finally, we need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent any more experiments with imposing morals on society as a whole through national law. Prohibition failed, the War on Drugs failed, and there are 2 or 3 other experiments currently working their way through either Congress or the Courts that I predict will fail because of one thing – Nobody Ever In History has ever been capable of getting over 300 Million people to all agree on anything. Trying to force it is only asking for trouble. Look at history for lessons on this.  Ghengis Khan & Rome may have had two of the largest empires in global history, but their longevity was not because of imposed uniformity. Instead, both integrated local societies that were empowered to continue pretty much as they already were, except that they were sworn to loyalty to the empire. The lesson for the US is that State Governments should have more influence on their residents than the Federal Government, and each state should be allowed (even encouraged) to be as individual and distinct as it wants to be, in comparison to the others.  Citizens who dislike the social environment in one state should be encouraged to relocate to a state more to their liking.

Immigration

As long as we have over 20 million of our own workers either unemployed or working in jobs outside their field of training, we have no need to import new labor of any kind. Especially when we have engineers who are unemployed because their job was given to a sponsored immigrant who cost the company 20% less. Here is my immigration/naturalization proposal:

1. No automatic birth citizenship unless at least one parent is already a legal permanent resident of the US, regardless of where the birth occurs. Yes, I know we’d probably have to change the wording of the 14th Amendment through another Amendment, but it’s what we need to do for the good of the United States. Every other industrial nation on this planet has already ended this practice, so it is not unreasonable for us to also protect our own.

It is also possible that the Supreme Court could fix this by simply overturning the earlier ruling.  It wouldn’t be the first time a sitting SCOTUS overturned a ruling by an earlier SCOTUS.  It’s worth looking into.

2. Anyone caught illegally entering the US (or illegally overstaying a visa by more than 30 days) will be automatically deported and prohibited from legally returning for at least 10 years, regardless of familial ties.

3. Anyone illegally within the US who is convicted of any felony will be automatically deported and placed on a list of persons permanently prohibited from re-entry.

4. Anyone who is not able to produce verification of legal residence is prohibited from utilizing any of our national entitlement programs, either for their own benefit or on behalf of any dependents. Anyone who can’t pass a credit check is prohibited from renting any place of residence.

5. English will be the language of national business – if you can not speak or read it well enough to properly fill out the paperwork, you are not eligible to become a naturalized citizen. Government employees who primarily deal with the US public should not need to be bi-lingual, and government offices should not need to employ translators for any non-English language.

6.  One of the major motivations of those who illegally enter the US is the ability to quickly make much more money than they would be able to earn legally in their home country, and then use wire transfers to send a lot of that back to relatives still at home.  The final (I think) plank in a sound plan to reverse illegal immigration would be to block all wire transfers to Mexico and Central America.

7. Every legal resident of the US keeps ID with them almost constantly. You must have it to drive a car. You must have it to cash a check, or pay with a check at any merchant. You must have it if a police officer asks you for it. Additionally, anyone who has traveled abroad can confirm that US Citizens are required to have ID to check in at any motel or hotel, anywhere in the world – and in developed nations like Europe most hotels will HOLD your ID at the desk, available to police inspection upon request.

THERE IS NOTHING unreasonable about expecting legal visitors to our country to expect the same conditions we confront internationally, or follow the rules we ourselves live by. If any US police officer encounters someone who refuses to produce papers that verify legal entry and/or legal residence, it is fair to assume that is an illegal and begin processing them for deportation.

2nd Amendment

Let’s face it – after the Revolutionary War, our Founding Fathers’ had two unifying fears; that the world’s greatest existing military would return to continue the fight; or that our nation’s government would some day be as bad or worse than the one they had just kicked out. The purposes of the 2nd Amendment were to ensure that anyone, anywhere, would have the physical means of mounting an effective resistance to an armed invasion force landing on our soil, and that if it was ever necessary, the citizens of this country would have the means to resist the abuse of power by our own government. Thanks to technology and our standing military, we don’t have to worry about being surprised by an armed invasion. However, the revelations by Edward Snowden have shown us that the threat of our own government abusing it’s power has never been more real. The 2nd Amendment applies to individuals, and to any firearm or weapon an ad-hoc group of civilians might use to defend themselves against armed government agents/military. If the government can justify arming cops with it, law-abiding citizens should be allowed to buy it. The same also goes for defensive gear – if the police and military have Kevlar, no private citizen should be prohibited from buying it if they can afford to.

We also need to fully reinstate the “Posse Comitatus” Act, and set it in stone that our military forces will NEVER have authority to act against our own civilian population.

Military Reform

Many of the veterans my age or older will confirm that we were taught that we had a duty to disobey illegal orders. However, in talking with some of them more recently, I’ve seen some serious “rose-colored glasses” about the consequences of doing such. Having been in that position myself, I can tell you that disobeying a direct order results in an automatic non-judicial punishment (Article 15, when I was in the Army). If, however, you want to seek legal counsel on whether or not to fight the Article 15, the act of doing so automatically escalates the punishment to a Courts Martial proceeding. For the record, I chose the Article 15, for reasons to be explained as I continue. Conviction at a Courts Martial will usually mean, at a minimum, a dishonorable discharge with loss of pay and pension/benefits. The Courts Martial will be judged by an officer of the same branch of service, usually from your current chain of command, and the prosecutor and defense attorneys will both usually be officers from your unit, or at best the local post’s own JAG office.

It’s a stacked deck, and it’s no wonder that most Courts Martial trials result in conviction. Add to that the fact that the ENTIRE military takes orders from the POTUS, and Private Manning never had a chance at a fair trial. To fix that, I propose that the UCMJ be abolished, and that all military disciplinary actions be handled in civilian courts, under civilian judges, and open to the public and media scrutiny. The members of the military should never obey an order to do anything they would feel needs to be hidden from the public they serve.

Government Reform

I struggled to try to include these thoughts in one of the areas above, but they are so diverse that they didn’t fit anything specifically. Anyhow, here we go:

The original architects of the US government envisioned that it should be a controlled beast, kept on a short leash, run by people who themselves worked and lived under the policies invoked in it’s name. From 1776 to the advent of the Civil War, most of the routine business of the US government could be done in a few weeks, up to 3 months – mostly during the winters. This was by design – the elected officials went back home to run farms and businesses that needed attention through the rest of the year. Doing this kept them plugged into their local communities, where they knew the problems their friends faced and whether national or international policy had caused any of those problems. The more remote the government is from those it governs, the LESS power it should wield directly over their lives. No agent of the government should ever have authority that exceeds that of the local police, or overrides them.

The only elected officials who should be paid directly from the coffers of the national government are the President and Vice-President. All congress electees of both chambers should be paid by the states that elected them – for the reason that this keeps them more accountable to the state than to the national behemoth. Congressional benefits packages should be identical to the benefits available to any military service member or G-2 employee, and to adjust congressional pay should require a super-majority of the participating voters at the next national election to ratify it.

National elected officials should be prohibited from serving more than 2 terms of elected office, as an accumulated total. This would cause a constant turnover, which would reduce the likelihood of corruption. A 2nd term senator could not run for the house or the presidency. An appointed Vice-president who then serves one term as an elected Vice-president would be eligible for a maximum of one term as the President, unless he/she has previously served in the national Congress. Those currently serving elected terms who have already exceeded that limit would be allowed to complete the current term, but prohibited from running for national office ever again.

As a matter of national policy, we need to strip corporations of “person-hood”. The only thing a corporation has in common with a person is it’s natural inclination towards self-preservation. It does not create anything – the people working in it do. It does not make anything – the people working in it do. It often seeks to preserve itself at the expense of those working for it. It should not have the ability to own Intellectual Property, nor should it have the ability to influence elections.

The NSA should be directed to immediately shut down all domestic surveillance operations that are not supported by unsealed, non-classified judicial warrants. All judicial surveillance warrants should be available to public/media scrutiny. The TSA should be fully de-funded and dismantled, having failed to accomplish any of it’s mission objectives.

BBC looks at tonight’s GOP debate…

I found a very interesting article on the BBC.com website.  It’s a fair look at the various candidates for the GOP who are participating in tonight’s debate.  Of course, the contest is barely begun, and there is still time for a lot to change before next year and the primary.  IMHO, the main things we need to be looking at (in no particular order) are jobs, immigration, health care, and holding the Obama administration accountable everywhere that the law has been broken, by anyone working under him (Hillary ….).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33782153

Immigration Reform

One of the hot button topics in politics these days is “immigration reform”.  The truly sad thing is, even those who talk about it fail to define what it is they are talking about before attempting to say whether or not they agree with you about it.  This is a crucial point, for, if we start with immigration law as it currently exists (not as it is currently enforced) – there are two directions you can go that both count as “reform”.  One path would, at the most extreme, grant instant citizenship to everyone currently within the US borders.  The other path, also at the most extreme, would be to declare open season on anyone who can’t produce papers that verify legal residency and allow them to be shot in the street.  Both ideas are “immigration reform”.  Also, IMHO, both ideas are wrong.

That is not to say that we don’t need to make some changes, we just need to be careful what changes we make.   For some perspective, when Ronald Reagan was confronted about illegal immigration back in 1986, the consensus was to grant an amnesty so that everyone here would be legal, and supposedly that would fix everything.  The official estimates at the time said we had approximately 2 million people here illegally.  They got the amnesty – and suddenly 2 million swelled to 2.5 million, and some estimates now say we may have granted amnesty to upwards of 10 million.  Twenty years later, the debate began raging again, with the complication that in 2006 our economy went into the toilet as the housing bubble burst and the investment banks collapsed.  How many illegals did we have then?  The official estimate at the time was 10 million – but now some official sources are admitting it may be OVER 20 million.

If we work only with the original estimates (2 million in 1986, 10 million now) we see a 5x increase after the amnesty.  If we apply that ONLY to the original estimates, and try to project what will happen in the future, we can safely predict that what happened before will happen again.  If we give 10 million illegal visitors an amnesty now, in 20 years we will have to deal with AT LEAST another 50 Million.  50 million is approximately 1/6th of our current legal national population.

We can not afford to grant an amnesty while legal residents and citizens who need meaningful full-time jobs do not have them.  Fortunately, we do not need to grant an amnesty – nor do we need the huge expenditures of mass deportations, either.  All that we need to do is make our society so toxic to undocumented residents and illegal workers that they chose to leave because they are convinced that they are better off somewhere else.  I have a 5-step plan for making this happen.

1.  Anchor babies – this is the hardest part of my plan, because it would require one of two things to happen.  Either we would need for the SCOTUS to rule that the 14th Amendment is not absolute, and does not apply to children born to non-citizen parents, or we need another Constitutional Amendment.  Either way, what we need to do is limit birthright citizenship to only children who have AT LEAST one parent who is already a citizen.  Where they are born would be less important than the fact of one parent being a citizen – because we can’t hold it against the kid if they have 2 parents who are citizens – serving at the US Embassy in France at the time the child is born.  As another part of this step, we need to make absolutely certain that no one (not even the newborn babies) gets citizenship for illegally entering the country.  There is one thing every parent instinctively knows – if you reward bad behavior, you WILL get more bad behavior.

2. Mandate e-Verify for all employers nationally, no exemptions for anyone or any type of work.

3. No entitlements for anyone not legally here.  That applies to housing, welfare, health care, food stamps, WIC – anything that is a national entitlement program.  Not only would someone who can’t prove legal residency be prevented from using these programs themselves, but they would be blocked from using them on behalf of any dependents.

4. No free jail-time. Deport all illegal aliens convicted of any crime automatically, then see if they can get the courts to overturn their deportation.  In several of our south-western states more than 80% of the long-term prison populations are illegally inside the US.  These are felons who were convicted of crimes like breaking and entering, armed robbery, assault, rape, and murder.  The problem is – we’re supporting them.  It’s the ultimate entitlement program!  All they have to do is cross the border illegally, walk up to a bar and start a vicious fight, and when the cops show up, surrender – and they get 10 years of free room and board, with free health care that is better than our veterans get!  Some prisons even give free cable TV and access to fitness rooms to work out.

5. Fine all employers caught using “undocumented workers” $10k/worker/offense, and use the fines to finance the deportations.  Let me spell out how this would work:  If the INS raids a restaurant and finds 5 illegal workers there, that is a $50,000 fine.  Most restaurants I’ve worked in made less than $2,000 per day, and have to pay rent, utilities and buy food supplies out of that before they look at payroll.  One $50,000 fine is more than their total profit for an entire fiscal quarter.  Expand that to a factory – where one INS raid might catch 200 illegal workers in it’s net.  That’s a $2 Million fine – per incident.  All of those illegal workers would be processed by fingerprinting, DNA sampling, a photograph taken, (all of that information would be permanently stored in a national database tied directly into the E-Verify system) and then automatic deportation.