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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Using the internet as much as I do, I read quite often where people with poor spelling and grammar skills have called others all sorts of derogatory names for the simple act of trying to help them learn to do better. The most frequent comment (that does not involve name-calling) is: “As long as you know what I mean, what difference does it matter?” Yes, I know, that question in itself isn’t properly worded.
Well, here is a website that, very deliberately and graphically, shows why it is important to know how to express your desire accurately. It is very humorous, but gets the point across marvelously.
I got a notice yesterday from SETI that is pretty special. Here it is:
SETI@home: Educational materials on life in the Universe
Berkeley SETI Research Center’s Dr. Steve Croft, in collaboration with colleagues at UC Museum of Paleontology and the Space Sciences Laboratory’s “Multiverse” education group have put together an educational site focusing on the conditions needed for life to arise in the Universe. Although aimed primarily at high school teachers and their students, this material may be of interest to broader audiences. In the “Research Profiles” section of the site you can also find an interview with BSRC’s Dr. Eric Korpela, Director of SETI@home.
The quote above has been variously attributed to both Plato and Socrates. It ranks right up there with the command, “Know thyself” – indeed, both are variations on the same theme.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have, for a very long time, been engaged in the examination of myself. I recently had an insight that humbles me, and shook to my core.
You see, one of the stable data I’ve worked with throughout my life was that, because of the combination of a higher-than-average IQ and a very high literacy skill, I have a near infinite capacity to learn new things. I’ve employed it to my advantage so many times that the list is ridiculous.
So, imagine my consternation at realizing that my gift has also worked against me.
A couple of years ago I embarked on the realization of a life-long dream to learn to play the guitar. I was in junior high school (primary school grades 7 & 8) when I remember first wanting to learn. The school music instructor had a special “extra curricular” class after school for students interested in learning. There was one catch – the school didn’t own any guitars, so each interested student had to provide his/her own. My parents were not willing to help me get one, so the chance passed me by.
Then I learned of the “video game” called ROCKSMITH – which you might compare to Guitar Hero, but the comparison is faulty. To use ROCKSMITH, you actually use a real guitar, and it teaches you how to play the real guitar. I bought the game, and an electric guitar, and settled in.
An hour later, I had to put the guitar down. The tips of the fingers on my left hand were so sore I couldn’t use them for hours. In the nearly 2 years since, I’ve repeated the scenario several times, with very long breaks in between. A few days ago I was sitting in the living room looking at the guitar, and wondering why I hadn’t learned to play it yet. Which led me to the epiphany.
Because learning has always come easily to me, I’ve never invested much effort into it. I never had to learn PATIENCE. But, patience is exactly what I need if I’m to condition my fingers for the job of playing a guitar. Or, perhaps it’s perseverance; I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see if I have “the right stuff.”
… folktales can be both interesting and fun… and metaphors for how things work are also stimulating for the psyche and the mind to contemplate in one’s own free time… but how things work in the physical and natural world involve something called science… such a taboo for some reason in some school systems to seperate this into its own classroom… and here it’s supposedly the year 2015… oh well, why does it matter how much time passes… let’s just make the average school day 17 hours, print all of the material out on paper, then spend the day cutting it all up, toss it into a giant hat and let the kids spend their day piecing it all together and call it education.
and on and on it goes… meanwhile, global warming… oh wait, O-Bumba will fix it. all is well… and now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Let’s play a game, and through it I’ll prove what I mean.
What is this thing we call “IQ”? It is the capacity to learn new material.
What governs the ability to learn? Understanding.
What governs understanding? Vocabulary.
Logically, if you consistently work to build a strong, flexible vocabulary, and make it a habit to ALWAYS look up words you see used in your reading materials that look weird, strange, or unfamiliar – look them up in a proper dictionary (after all, that is the authority on what words mean) – then you will have a strong capacity to understand what you read and learn new material.
The stronger your vocabulary, the higher your IQ. It actually is a cause-effect relationship (as near as I can tell).
I am a case study in this. When I was a child, still in primary school, I was not a genius. Average would be more appropriate. The town I grew up in was the very definition of “small town” – if you mapped out a 100 square mile plot with that town at the exact heart – your square on the map would encompass the homes of about 800 people. Well, 800 at the time I lived there. Almost every lesson was brought around to it’s application to farming, in some way or another. At least, that was how it seemed to me.
Problem was, I knew even then that I was not going to grow up to own a farm or ranch. I was the smallest, and physically most frail, kid in my class. Even the smallest girl was bigger and stronger than me. If I had any hope of finding a place in the world, I was going to have to leave that town. Until I left, I spent great amounts of time reading. I read everything I could lay my hands on in the school library, then went to our town library and read everything there – then went back to the school library and showed them the (definitely NOT age appropriate) materials I was reading from the town library and persuaded them that I could handle reading things above my grade level. By the time I started Junior High (grade 7) I had read everything in town and had library cards for libraries in 3 other towns.
My imagination, combined with a few VERY strict teachers who forced the entire class to use a dictionary every time one student didn’t know the meaning of a word in the textbook, led me to a wonderful insight on the world. Everything was interconnected. Farming and ranching were just one end of a large chain of consumerism. The birth ward at the hospital, the local grocery store, and the funeral home were all connected. So were the fire department staff, the ambulance staff, the police, and the military. Humanity perhaps has the veneer of intelligence, but as a whole it functions as a small part of the global eco system.
When I started to take my initial strides out into that eco system, I found that my insight served me very well. My first job training school in the US Army was helicopter repair – and because I could see the entire system in my head and map out how things fit together and what they gave to the whole, I found it easy to learn how to fix a malfunctioning ‘chopper. The challenge was learning to use the tools.
The bone tumor in my left leg derailed that. You can’t remove, repair, or install malfunctioning rotor units with a physical limitation of “no pushing, pulling, or lifting over 30 pounds”. When I told the captain of my training unit that I wanted to stay in the service if possible, he arranged something that was supposed to be less physical.
I was sent to school to work in the secretarial pool. All that paperwork – you had to learn what form to use for what.
And I got another insight. This wasn’t just paperwork. It was the internal communication that made it possible for the organism to survive. Orders, requisitions, transfers, inventories – it all kept the Army functioning. Unfortunately, new regulations (another form!) on the qualifications for that job disqualified me before I completed school. I couldn’t carry a 30 pound manual typewriter AND a full field pack on my back at the same time. Once again, I was offered a discharge, and asked to stay.
This time I was sent to school to train as a field medic – where I had another powerful insight. The systems of the helicopters, the paperwork of the military – those were like the systems of a LIVING BODY. If things don’t flow when they should, or move where they should, disease and decay take over. Communication (nerve signals) rules every human body. In the same way that a PFC in the Pentagon can receive orders from a General, type them up, and forward them to a unit in Europe with the expectation that the unit will understand and follow the order, our brains direct all that goes on within our bodies. Well, that was how I saw it then.
The point is – vocabulary made it possible for me to learn those different types of work. I was good at my jobs, too. As a medic, working a dispensary in a field artillery unit in Europe, one of the cases I saw was a man who had been written off by everyone. He was called a malingerer. He was on sick call every morning, and nobody wanted anything to do with him. I asked a specific question, ordered some non-standard (but legitimate) tests – and in 1981 caught one of the US Army’s first documented cases of HIV. Well, I didn’t know what to call it – I just ordered the right tests and the right referral to get it diagnosed correctly. The point was – he had nothing to gain from torpedoing his career, because he wasn’t getting discharged for coughing.
When I was in primary school, my IQ was probably (though not tested at that time) around 124. Not stupid, by any means, but not gifted either. By the time I left the US Army in 1982, my IQ was 132 – at that time it was considered “genius” by some. Ten years later, with more study, more words defined to where I could comfortably use them correctly, my IQ had climbed to 149. We’re not talking about the cheap internet websites, either.